Garbage traffickers busted outside Naples
(ANSA) – Rome, Dec. 6 – Police outside Naples uncovered 21,000 tons of unregistered garbage and arrested two people for alleged illegal trafficking and fraud, including the CEO of a front company. The bust took place in the town of Agropoli, where police said the garbage traffickers had made 240 million euros over the course of seven years by masquerading as legitimate trash-disposal firms and filing taxes for trash incinerators that did not exist. Police seized 14 million euros in assets.
Italian police recover stolen Egyptian sphinx
(AFP) – Rome, Dec. 6 – Italian police on Thursday said they had recovered a 2,000-year-old Egyptian sphinx statue that was stolen from a necropolis near Rome and was about to be smuggled out of the country.
“The investigation began with a random check of an industrial vehicle during which police found a decorative ceramic object from an excavation as well as many photos of the Egyptian sculpture,” the police said in a statement.
A search of the driver’s residence turned up the statue from the Ptolemaic era (4th-1st centuries BC) packed into a crate and hidden in a greenhouse.
The statue is believed to have been stolen from the Etruscan necropolis of Montem Rossulum near Viterbo, some 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Rome.
The police “prevented the sculpture, as well as a series of ancient objects from being put on the clandestine international market,” the statement said.
The granite statue measures 120 centimeters and 60 centimeters.
Egyptian sculptures began to be shipped to Italy following the Roman conquest of Egypt in the 1st century BC.
Wall collapses at Pompeii amid wave of bad weather
(ANSA) – Pompeii, Nov. 30 – A stone wall collapsed at the Pompeii archaeological site on Friday, probably due to the wave of bad weather that is currently battering Italy. The wall was in an area of the site that had been sealed off from the public for work to make it safe.
The collapse involved roughly two cubic meters of the wall, which was part of the Regio VI archeological area uncovered in the 19th century. Frescoes were not reported to be damaged.
After recent collapses in the past two years, there has been growing concern about Italy’s ability to protect the 2,000-year-old site from further degradation and the impact of the local mafia, the Camorra.
In April this year a wall surrounding an ancient Pompeii villa collapsed just two weeks after the Italian government launched a joint 105-million-euro project with the European Union to save the UNESCO World Heritage site.
In February a yard-long piece of plaster fell off the ancient Temple of Jupiter.
In late December a pillar collapsed in the garden of the House of Loreius Tiburtinus, famous for its extensive gardens and outdoor ornamentation, in particular its Euripi, fountains that feature many frescoes and statuettes.
In November 2010 there was a collapse in the House of the Gladiators which drew criticism from UNESCO and the European Union.
It was followed soon after by a collapse at the famed House of the Moralist, spurring further criticism from international conservation groups.
In October 2010 there were another three minor cave-ins, including one at the House of Diomedes, after a fresh bout of heavy rain and an outcry when an eight-square-meter section of a wall fell near the Nola Gate.
Pompeii was destroyed when a volcanic eruption from nearby Mount Vesuvius buried the city in ash in 79 AD and it now attracts more than two million visitors a year.
Polemics about looting, stray dogs, structural decay and poor maintenance have dogged Pompeii in recent years.
Taken from NSA PAO Italian News Clips, Dec. 4, 2012.