Archive | January 2014

Italian Army is deploying to the “Triangle of Death”

ITALY TO DEPLOY ARMY TO COMBAT ‘TRIANGLE OF DEATH’ MAFIA DUMPS

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(AFP) – Rome, Jan. 14 – The Italian government has agreed to send in the army to fight the mafia, which it blames for illegally dumping tonnes of toxic garbage in an area dubbed the “Triangle of Death”. Toxic waste has been buried in Campania province for decades, ever since the local Camorra crime syndicate decided to branch out into the lucrative waste disposal business in the 1980s. Instead of paying exorbitant sums to have it disposed of legally, companies paid mobsters a fraction of the cost to dump it in fields, wells and lakes.

Defence undersecretary Gioacchino Alfano says the army can be deployed “to deal with in the most efficient manner the phenomenon of the environment mafia in the area between Naples and Caserta”. Parliament is due to examine the decree but Mr Alfano says that “for the first time, all political forces are in agreement to offer concrete solutions to resolve a specific problem”.

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The smoke-choked area north of Naples dubbed the “Triangle of Death” includes the towns of Acerra, Nola and Marigliano.
It is a grim sight – a short trip but a world away from the postcard images of the city’s bay and its famous cuisine.
Hidden out of sight down dirt tracks in the countryside, vast mounds of illegal and hazardous garbage, from broken sheets of asbestos to car tyres and containers of industrial-strength glue, lie rotting next to farmed fields. Periodically set alight, they billow black fumes towards neighbouring towns, but locals say the real killer lies in aquifers feeding tomato, cabbage and broccoli crops which are poisoned with chloroform, arsenic and heavy metals.

Environmental groups say the toxic garbage could affect one-and-a -half million people living in the Naples and Caserta provinces. According to environment protection association Legambiente, 10 million tonnes of industrial waste were burnt or buried in the zone between 1991 and 2013, all trucked in at night.

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NSA Naples Public Affairs Office; “ITALY TO DEPLOY ARMY TO COMBAT ‘TRIANGLE OF DEATH’ MAFIA DUMPS”, January 15, 2014.
Photos from Google Images.

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Our last New Years in Naples

Naples does the New Year right. The only day to be in Naples if you must be in Naples is the New Years. The fireworks started to consistently go off around 9pm, but were crazy from about 11:45pm to 1am.

We were planning on going off base to a friend’s place, but Justin was on call and we were not able to find a ride to return in time. So we packed a backpack with mimosa mixings and booze and headed for the highest point on base with a view-the roof patio of the TLA (hotel). There was surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, no one there. We had a whole huge area to ourselves, which was nice.

Our best New Year in Naples was our first one when we were in the middle of it all on our balcony at our Gricignano house. Our second New Year’s here we were on the top of a parking garage at the airport, and this last New Year’s on a hotel roof deck. The good parts about the last two spots were that we had a view as far as the eye could see of thousands of fireworks (and we did not eventually choke on smoke forcing us back indoors). But it does not compare to being surrounded by fireworks only feet away, still the view as far as the eye can see, and having to scream at each other because it is so loud.

I apologize the video is long and not too interesting, but it’s just in case you’re interested.

Ancient Pompeiians Exotic Diet

I can only assume it looked something like this:
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“…Archaeologists from the University of Cincinnati have spent the past decade excavating a row of building plots in a non-elite district of the ancient Roman city. Some of the buildings, which represent 20 store fronts, date back to the 6th century B.C.

According to a Steven Ellis, a University of Cincinnati associate professor of classics who presented his team’s findings at an Archaeological Institute of America conference in Chicago on Jan. 4, many of the ancient establishments were once restaurants. Researchers recovered mineralized and charred food contents from the buildings’ drains and toilets, and analyzed their content. What they found surprised them.

“The traditional vision of some mass of hapless lemmings — scrounging for whatever they can pinch from the side of a street, or huddled around a bowl of gruel — needs to be replaced by higher fare and standard of living, at least for the urbanites in Pompeii,” Ellis said in a statement.

Archaeologists discovered remnants of food that would have been widely available and inexpensive in ancient Italy, like grains, fruits, olives, lentils, local fish, nuts and chicken eggs. They also uncovered evidence that Pompeiians enjoyed a variety of exotic foods, some of which would have been imported from outside Italy, including sea urchins, flamingos and even the butchered leg joint of a giraffe. According to Ellis, this was the first giraffe bone ever found during an archaeological excavation of ancient Roman Italy.

“How part of the animal, butchered, came to be a kitchen scrap in a seemingly standard Pompeian restaurant not only speaks to long-distance trade in exotic and wild animals, but also something of the richness, variety and range of a non-elite diet,” Ellis said….”

Ancient Pompeii Diet Consisted Of Giraffe, Flamingo, Sea Urchin And Other ‘Exotic’ Delicacies
By Philip Ross, International Business Times. Jan. 5, 2014.

Christmas in Kansas

Justin and I flew to Kansas for our Christmas break. Christmas is way more fun with family, without them it is just another day. Oh how glorious the colder weather and snow was! And reasonably priced delicious food! We are looking forward to moving back to the USA in a few months. We better get some visitors this time. In case you are unaware, our next duty station is Ft. Meade, Maryland.

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