#ExpoFlop: Expo 2015 is a flop - the real figures

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The universal exhibition in Milan, has the lowest number of visitors in the last 50 years. August, Expo boom. After three difficult months, the newspapers have published photos of the exhibition showing it to be really crowded and they are saying that there are long queues to enter the pavilions. Giuseppe Sala, Commissioner of the Government for Expo Milano 2015, issued triumphant declarations. The President of the Council said he was “embracing the doubters“ and he spoke of an "impressive success". But is it really true? It doesn’t seem to be when you look at the figures. It’s true that, at last, in the month of August there’s been an increase in the number of visitors. Unfortunately this is not enough to turn around the situation established in the first three months. So LET’S LOOK AT THE FIGURES without falling into the trap offered by the propaganda. As seen in the table given at the side, in August, there were 3.2 million visitors (of these take away 300 thousand people working in the area to get the number of actual visitors: 2.9 million) Sala said there were 3.3 million. Anyway the number is still below the number aimed for. The number of visitors expected for Expo in August was 3.9 million.

VIDEO Expo: “The ecomafia is still in the north”

There’s even more upset if you add up the numbers for the earlier months. The true figures, as seen in the publication “Il Fatto Quotidiano”, are as follows: 1.9 million visitors in May, 2.2 million in June and 2.2 million in July. That’s 6.3 million. Then add on the 3.2 million in August.
Total: 9.5 million in four months.
The figure of 11.5 million cited by Renzi at the meeting in Rimini, is an invention. Even if they are hoping for great success in September and October, it seems very unlikely that they’ll get to the 24 million visitors predicted at the beginning, or even the 20 million visitors that they are now saying is the objective by the end of the event, or even 18 million which is now rumoured to be the aim, a further reduction. The worst result in the last 32 years.



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The new record for Expo - as trumpeted by Sala - was on Thursday 20 August with 153 thousand visitors. But if that’s the case - then the figures given for the first three months are false - as has been pointed out by Il Fatto Quotidiano - when the commissioner declared daily figures even greater than 200 thousand visitors, for example 220 thousand visitors on 2 May. However, what’s the most worrying thing is looking at the accounts. To get the good results in August, there was a discounting policy that has the whiff of selling at a loss. Packets of unsold tickets are ready to be almost given away (or actually given away) in the last two months. Free entry for pensioners (even in September). Free tickets for people buying Alitalia tickets to any destination. Offers on Groupon: three tickets for the price of two. And then there’s the super-promotion - with two tickets for 39 euro (the price of one ticket) , or tickets given away as prizes by the supermarkets Coop, Bennet, and Esselunga."

VIDEO The 7 capital sins of Expo 2015

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Posted on September 4, 2015 at 8:39 PM in | Post a comment | ListenListen
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Food sovereignty

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Does Italy still exist, or is it, as Metternich puts it, a geographic expression? By joining the Euro, it lost its monetary sovereignty. It lost its territorial sovereignty after its defeat in the second world war with occupation by the Americans who have never left since then. It lost its military sovereignty as it is now reduced to taking orders from the USA and organising pretend peace missions in Afghanistan and in Iraq, and bombing Libya (thanks also to grandpa Napolitano)/ The fall of Gaddafi is the cause of the immigration of biblical proportions - from that country that no longer has connections with Italy What’s still left of this devastated country where the words “Patria” {fatherland} and “Nazione “ {nation} are considered to be offensive? If a country has no sovereignty and has leaky borders, can it still call itself a country?
Among the many types of sovereignty that have been lost, there’s also food sovereignty. Food sovereignty implies control by the people in relation to the production and consumption of food. The countries must be able to define their own agricultural and food policies on the basis of their own needs.

VIDEO Produce food where it needs to be

In the period from 1971 to 2010, Italy lost five million hectares of agricultural land because people were abandoning the land, because of hydrological disturbances and because of “cementification”. Unless there are policies providing incentives for agriculture, people will continue to abandon the land. There are whole areas of Italy that are becoming depopulated with young people fleeing towards the cities. That’s something that started after the second world war and it has never let up. The total area of land now used for agriculture has reduced by 28% in 40 years. Our ability to provide our own food is approaching 80% and it is going down all the time. Only 20 years ago it was 92%.
Italy is the third country in Europe and the fifth in the world as regards the lack of land. It’s a country that is over-populated (we have roughly the same population as France with only half the area of usable land.) To cover our food needs, another 61 million hectares are needed. Every day, 100 hectares of land is being built on, that’s 10 square metres every second. An Italian-style suicide. The Great Public Works are given precedence. But the only thing about them that’s “great” are the associated kickbacks. Instead there should be a long-term plan to put an end to the hydrogeological disruption and to clean up the terrain that has been polluted by every type of waste product. The paradox of Expo 2015 is that it focuses on "Feeding the planet“ and yet to bring it into being, a million (yes - one million) square metres of agricultural land has been used. That’s beyond belief. Food is the weapon of the future, not bombs. The embargo against Russia brought about a counter embargo on food imports.

VIDEO Sanctions against Russia - Europe is paying the price

Up until now, Europe has lost 300,000 tons of cheese that had an outlet in Russia - and that’s a loss of a billion Euro. The organisation, Coldiretti, estimates that means 20 mililon euro a month for Italian producers, and a total of 240 million since the start of the embargo in 2014.
For some time now, there’s been the purchase or rent of land by countries like China and South Korea that are without food sovereignty. The phenomenon that’s also called "land grabbing“, is mainly happening in sub-Saharan Africa (where they are starving to death ...) with 70% and then there’s South America and South East Asia.

VIDEO The food war

Land can be rented for up to 99 years, which is like saying “for ever”. Negotiations are usually carried on between governments and the land is mainly destined for use to produce food and biofuels. Those who buy or rent are promising the creation of infrastructure and thus of jobs, but meanwhile food is often not being produced as a result of the destruction of the land, as is happening with the production of biofuels. 795 million people in the world don’t have enough food.
When the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten, and the last stream poisoned, we will realize that we cannot eat money. Our land is worth more than money.“ Crow’s Foot of the Blackfoot people

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Posted on September 3, 2015 at 4:47 PM in | Post a comment | ListenListen
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The Chinese Bubble

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The devaluation of the currency decided by China's Central Bank has surprised financial markets. After anchoring the yuan to the dollar within a minimum margin of oscillation, after the Lehman crisis, the Chinese authorities have progressively broadened the oscillation zone and in 2014, they altered it from 1% to 2%. The decision in August to disconnect the yuan from the dollar has made it possible for the market to stabilise fluctuations in the currency and China did not intervene to correct the oscillation in the value of the yuan and thus it allowed the currency to devalue. Why?

VIDEO Il crollo della Cina {China’s collapse}

Reasons for the devaluation

An initial response can be found in the 8% annual fall in Chinese exports reported in the month of July. Connecting the yuan to the dollar after the crisis in 2008, eliminated the exchange rate risk and it facilitated the flow of foreign investments but it also brought about a devaluation of the yuan that penalised the balance of trade. In fact the real Chinese exchange rate increased by 30% between 2008 and 2014, most of which was in that last year following on from expectations of the rise in USA interest rates and the relative increase in the value of the dollar. The result saw a decline in exports to such an extent that it now needs explaining - now at no more than 20% of China’s GDP as compared to 40% a few years ago. Devalue to maintain growth is thus the first and most obvious way of looking at this new mercantilist spirit on the part of the Chinese monetary authorities.

The Chinese property bubble

2008 was the start of the Chinese property bubble.

VIDEO La bolla immobiliare spiegata con un cartoon {the property bubble explained in a cartoon}

The de facto regime of fixed exchange rates with the dollar and the enormous reserves in foreign currencies have guaranteed the convertibility of the yuan and this has facilitated the flow of capital and the disproportionate expansion of credit to families. Since 2008, all the advanced economies have entered a phase of credit contraction (deleverage), whereas China has been moving in the opposite direction: from 2008 to 2014 private debt in China as a percentage of GDP, has gone from 100% to 180% (of this, corporate debt as a percentage of GDP has gone from 85% to 140% and for families it has gone up by a bit less than a multiple of three: - from 15% in 2008 to 40% today). This means that the ratio of private debt to GDP in China reached and went beyond the levels that Japan and the United States recorded in a 17 year period: from 1993 to 2010.

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Posted on September 2, 2015 at 4:37 PM in | Post a comment | ListenListen
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NCD - the new slave owners

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"CARA (Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers) in Mineo is the biggest centre of its kind in Europe and it has ended up being inolved in the investigation into the Mafia Capitale scandal. Odevaine, Veltroni‘s right hand man, (well now wasn’t he going to go to Africa?) became one of the top dogs in the management of immigration in ltaly. Now he has been speaking to the magistrates and has been explaining the details of how the Mineo system operated. It was a system that made it possible for various people to share out our money among themselves - and it gave Castiglione, deputy secretary of the NCD {New Centre-Right party} in the Renzi government, the opportunity to win votes.
Our money goes to Mineo [it seems that 1050 euro per “guest”, of which only a tiny part is given to each migrant and the rest is managed by the association - editor] with the excuse that there’s an immigration emergency - then the money disappears, stolen by a band of wicked people. According to Odevaine, a workers cooperative called "La Cascina” that is associated with the organisation called Comunione e Liberazione and it seems to have been able to win contracts via tenders that were rigged. And Odevaine says it is the biggest sponsor of the NCD - the party subject to the highest number of investigations in the history of the Republic. In all this, it seems that it was a “guest” of this centre who committed the two brutal murders in Catania.
But Alfano is still Minister of Home Affairs, and Castiglione is still Undersecretary for Agriculture. (The PD boycotted a no confidence motion against him that we put forward.) This is all happening because the votes of the NCD (a party that is about to become extinct) are useful to the premier who was never elected to get approval for the terrible laws he wants to get through the Senate. The PD party is being propped up by a political party made up of numerous villains - a party that has more people under investigation then it has voters. Long live the destruction .... of the rule of law!
Alessandro Di Battista

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Posted on September 1, 2015 at 4:21 PM in | Post a comment | ListenListen
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#GiùLeManiDalNostroMare - Hands off our sea! - 6 September in Bari

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“Our sea is in danger. The crazy interests of a few multinational groups still connected to the old model of energy production based on hydrocarbons, has led this government to collude and issue 9 permits to search for oil deposits in our Adriatic and Ionian seas. And many other permits will be issued, thanks to the “Sfascia Italia” {smash up Italy} decree presented by the government, but drawn up by the lobbyists supporting cement, incinerators and petroleum. This is why the 5 Star MoVement has organised a protest that has inolved lots of beaches in Apulia, Calabria, Basilicata and Sicily where people on the beach have been invited to hold hands in long long human chains for a few minutes at the end of which there have been occasions to get together for an “agorà “ which have seen the participation of regional spokespersons, as well as national and European parliamentarians who have been talking about the dangers faced by the stretch of sea immediately adjacent to that stretch of beach.

VIDEO “Stop the drilling in Sicily” – Appeal by Ficarra and Picone

The sea provides an opportunity for clean work for the regions of South Italy: just think of sustainable tourism, small and medium sized enterprises, and the investments of those that have chosen to buy a house after years of work and making sacrifices that would be put off simply by the presence of an oil rig offshore. And that’s not considering the incidents that could happen (the Mediterranean sea is a closed sea and if there were an incident like the one that happened in the Gulf of Mexico in 2011, it might never recover). It’s obvious that this is a battle between the interests of a few conservatives to the detriment of the interests of all the free citizens that want energy from the sun and from clean sources.
On 6 September at 6:30 pm in Bari’s Largo Diaz, there’ll be the final event of this summer of festivals on the beach. The event will be a festival in which there’ll be debate mixed in with popular music and entertainment. We’ll be with the citizens to say: Hands off our sea! - #Giùlemanidalnostromare”
M5S in APULIA

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Posted on August 30, 2015 at 8:15 PM in | Post a comment | ListenListen
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The Merkel plan

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The migration of biblical proportions will not be stopped by tanks or barbed wire or the sinking of boats. It hasn’t just come out of the blue. The EU and the various national governments seem to have suddenly woken up to it and they are exploiting the situation as though they were not the primary cause of the problem. There’s been no whisper of any condemnation of the causes, nor of a long-term strategy to integrate these people into a Europe that is devastated by unemployment. Do we want to create massive ghettos and banlieues? There’s no action beyond a bit of fluffy charity. People are ignoring that this route will lead the Europeans to brush aside the existing political parties and bring about the rise in neonazi movements. Now attention is focussing on the revision of the Dublin Regulation (that obliges a refugee to stay in the country of arrival). Only now is there a request to speed up the procedures to recognise the refugees (in Italy, thanks to Alfano‘s incompetence, this takes about two years).
Measures that the M5S has been calling for all along, though it has been ridiculed or ignored or accused of racism. But where have Merkel and Hollande been up until now? In a black hole? On Mars? Without courageous actions, actions that are new and for the long-term, there’s the risk of a catastrophe with 200 million arrivals in the next few years (source: Corriere della Sera ). There’s an obligation to give these people the best possible life opportunities in their own nations with targeted investment (health serices, infrastructure, delocalisation of manufacturing companies) with a new Marshall Plan that we could put into action as the “Merkel Plan“ financed with a percentage of the national GDP of each country to be devoted to Africa and monitored by a Control Committee. Other actions are the elimination of weapons production (Italy is the fifth producer in the world) and the end of western interference with peace missions and the total subordination of the Mediterranean and the Middle East to American interests. The flow of refugees from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Lybia, is the result of our wars and our weapons. It’s time for us to examine our consciences.

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Posted on August 28, 2015 at 12:07 PM in | Post a comment | ListenListen
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List all the posts of August 2015

Beppe Grillo Meetups

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Groups 372 Members 76.596
Cities 281 Countries 10

Books and DVDs

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Check out the books and DVDs of Beppe Grillo (service in Italian)

Initiatives


Clean Up Parliament

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Webby award
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Tegenlicht - Beppe Grillo's Interview

"De toekomst van Europa volgens Beppe Grillo"

(Tegenlicht TV)

International Press Review

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"Beppe's Inferno"

Times
"The Comic Who Shook Italy"
(The video | Related post)

Forbes
"The Web Celeb 25"
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BBC
"Meeting Italy's silenced satirist"

AlJazeera
People and power: "Beppe's Blog"

TIME magazine
TIME.com's First Annual Blog Index
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