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News and business

Will Swiss banks really lift the veil of secrecy?

Swiss bank secrecy

Switzerland’s legendary bank secrecy is supposed to come to an end in a couple of months. Long the haven of choice for looted WWII funds, suspected corruption money and wealthy tax dodgers, Swiss banks have been protected by a confidentiality clause actually enshrined in the country’s constitution in 1934.

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Europe has a drinking (and driving) problem

Drunk driving in Europe

The lands that largely invented fine wines, great beers, champagne and a range of liquors also has tens of thousands of deaths and disabilities from alcohol and drug-related road accidents each year.

“Every single year in the European Union, the number of dead from drinking and driving is equivalent to the population of a small town being wiped out.”

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EU emerging as new champion of free trade

Business news in English

Feeling fit after years in the economic doldrums, the European Union has become the Western world’s champion of free trade. As the U.S. continues to scrap international agreements, the world’s largest trading bloc is now holding talks with an expanded range of countries to ink bilateral deals that could remove tariffs and further expand exports.

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Amid refugee crisis, a street corner of hope

Europe refugees

On a street corner near where we live, Johnson Chijioke has created a job of sorts for himself. Every morning he can be found in front of a local supermarket, available to help the elderly with their groceries. He also accepts small contributions from passersby, some of whom donate coins.

The young refugee from Nigeria is a friendly as possible as he tries to make a place for himself in the local community.

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Tones

Guitar master Al Di Meola: Italian roots that resonate

Al Di Meola, Blue Note Milan

Al Di Meola grew up hearing the name of an Italian village throughout his life: Cerreto Sannita in Benevento province. And it continues to resonate in him like a guitar on reverb.

We met the jazz fusion and world music legend at the Blue Note Jazz Club in Milano where he had a wonderful show together with two other virtuosos, Sardinian guitarist Peo Alfonsi and accordion player Fausto Beccalossi.

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Places

Mandello del Lario: Manzoni meets Moto Guzzi

Moto Guzzi

My dad had a bright red Moto Guzzi motorbike that in its day was quite cool and sporty with its eagle wings logo. He was dating my mother, who rode sidesaddle like women did in the ’50s and ’60s.

He bought his Guzzi directly from the plant in Mandello del Lario where the Anonymous Moto Guzzi Society moved in 1921 a few months after its formal registration in Genoa.

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Partinico and Via Frank Zappa, a Sicilian sojourn

Via Frank Zappa

Ironically enough, musical genius Frank Zappa and a 13th century poet Cielo d’Alcamo had some important things in common. The artists so vastly disparate in time and space share an iconoclastic spirit and the colors of two neighboring cities in northwest Sicily.

The audacious American rocker blazed his own trail across genres and eras like no-one else.

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