Tuesday, February 21, 2006


(ANSA) - Rome, February 20 - A priceless Caravaggio loaned by Rome to Milan for a major exhibition has not been vandalised, the Italian cultural heritage ministry said on Monday .
"Reports that someone poked a hole in the canvas with a pen are completely without foundation," the ministry said .
However, the ministry admitted the masterpiece had suffered "slight" damage during its stay in Milan .
"There has been slight flaking of the coating on a piece of canvas, less than one square centimetre," officials said .
The piece of canvas was covered with tissue paper, as a precaution, and the coating will now be glued back on, they said .
The Madonna, which was restored seven years ago, was "in good condition." The Madonna di Loreto returned to its home in a Rome church on Monday after its appearance as one of the star attractions in the Milan show, Caravaggio And Europe .
The Madonna di Loreto (in Italian, Madonna dei Pellegrini or pilgrims) is one of Caravaggio's most famous works, painted in 1604-1606 .
It hangs in the Cavalletti Chapel of the church of Sant'Agostino, near Rome's Piazza Navona. In the work, a barefoot Virgin and naked child appear to two peasants on a pilgrimage.
Also from ANSA:
(ANSA) - Bronte, February 20 - A Roman villa dating back to the III Century AD has been found near Catania in Sicily .
Digs began a few months ago after archaeologists found red potsherds scattered at the site, a stone's throw from a famous castle built by Admiral Horatio Nelson .
Italian police kept the discovery secret until Monday in order to keep tomb raiders away .
The Telegraph makes us wonder whether neckties are dangerous:
Until today, it was fairly safe to assume that a grubby tie was the sign of a slob, not an assassin.
How wrong we were. A liberally stained tie is not only the epitome of sloth, it is a lethal weapon, too, a germ warfare laboratory of terrifying capabilities.
Wear a dirty tie and you become a killer, was the suggestion yesterday from the British Medical Association, which is urging doctors to abandon neckwear.
The august body fears grubby ties could contribute to the spread of fatal superbugs, such as MRSA.
It sounds like a good argument could be made for the resurgence of the bow-tie amongst the medical profession.
Strangest Headline I've Read in a While: Hindu gods turn down plans for a Himalayan ski resort:
The Himalayan Ski Village, a luxury resort with a cable-car reaching up to 14,000ft, was billed as a ski destination to rival Europe and America.
However, the project encountered opposition from local interest groups who claimed it would destroy a pristine environment, pollute water courses and trample over sacred mountains.
A formal Jagati Puch (grand convention) of 175 local deities was called to decide whether the project was in the interests of local people. The conclave is made up of 175 oracles, or gurs - local elders and villagers, who represent the deities that rule the valley according to traditional belief.
Mr Ford and John Sims, the project's managing director, adopted the Hindu names of "Amrish" and "Abhiram" ahead of the ceremony, but the gods were not to be appeased.
Nine out of 10 gods who expressed a preference said the village would be inimical to the valley's interests.
As so often with religion, however, things were not as simple as they first appeared. Suspicious minds noted that Maheshwar Singh, the "king" of Kullu, is a former MP for the Hindu-nationalist BJP party, sections of which are against foreign intervention.
Mr Sims could barely conceal his irritation. "The gods were asked all the wrong questions," he said.
The Himalayan Ski Village has been rejected "as it is presented" to the gods.
As keen students of the Hindu religion, Mr Ford and Mr Sims will know that, when the correct offerings are made, the gods are often open to persuasion.
There's some satire in the Times:
Al-Jazeera News. Mark Seddon reporting . . .
These are the pictures of Our Lady’s Church in Shoreham, following the explosion in which 31 parishioners died, along with the suicide bomber, who is believed to belong to the majority Anglican community. This is the fourth such bomb attack on a Catholic church in the last two years.
(Read the whole thing for context)

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