World Italy's Draghi presenting 'epochal' virus recovery plan
NHL's COVID protocol-related absences for April 17, 2021
Players in the protocol are: Colorado's Bowen Byram, Philipp Grubauer and Joonas Donskoi; Edmonton's Dmitry Kulikov; Los Angeles' Matt Roy; Montreal's Jon Merrill and Erik Gustafsson; Philadelphia's Jackson Cates; Toronto's Nick Foligno, Riley Nash and Ben Hutton; and Vancouver's Nate Schmidt and Jake Virtanen. Read more here.APRIL 15The NHL has confirmed that the Vancouver Canucks will not return to play from their lengthy COVID-19 pause Friday night versus the Edmonton Oilers as originally hoped.
ROME (AP) — Italian Premier Mario Draghi is presenting a 222.1 billion euro ($268.6 billion) coronavirus recovery plan to Parliament on Monday, aiming to not only bounce back from the pandemic but enact “epochal” reforms to address structural problems that long predated COVID-19.
Italy has the biggest share of the EU’s 750 billion euro ($907 billion) recovery pot, with 191.5 billion euros ($231.6 billion) of its six-year plan financed by EU funds. Draghi, the former European Central Bank chief, was put in the premier’s office specifically to make sure the money isn’t wasted since Italy has long had one of the worst records in the EU of making use of available funds.
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(Bloomberg) -- Italy’s government on Saturday signed off on a large package of investment and reforms that will be financed by the European Union’s 800-billion euro ($968 billion) post-pandemic recovery fund. As the largest beneficiary of EU stimulus, Italy is set to receive at least 191.5 billion euros, including 69 billion euros of grants, and plans to use the money to accelerate the green and digital transformation of the economy, and improve the training of the workforce, according to a cabinet statement. Other European funds and national resources will also contribute to the program.
The plan is heavy on investments to modernize and digitize Italy’s economy and bureaucracy and encourage environmentally sustainable development. Both are directed particularly at the all-important tourism industry — think Venice, the Colosseum and Amalfi coast resorts — which accounts for 13% of Italy’s gross domestic product and was devastated by pandemic-related closures.
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Employment options for women and young people are prioritized, given youth unemployment tops 30% and Italy has long ranked at the bottom of the EU in terms of the percentage of women in the workforce. Women accounted for more than half the 456,000 jobs lost in Italy last year.
Here’s a look at Italy’s plans, which were announced on the same day that most of the country began, with museums reopening and restaurants and bars open for outdoor service.
DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION and EMPLOYMENT
About 27% of the plan is directed at digital transformation of the Italian economy and public administration, broadening access to high-speed internet service, especially in schools, and providing incentives to the private sector to digitize.
Around 22.4 billion euros ($27 billion) are aimed at “social inclusion” investments and programs to boost training and employment opportunities for women and help cities improve access and opportunities for disabled people. The aim of both, coupled with increased day care spots, is to remove obstacles that have traditionally kept Italian women at home caring for the young, old, sick and disabled.
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Italy is most severely affected by the Corona Pandemic in Europe. Deputies and Senate now approved the reconstruction plan of government leader Draghi. It should mostly be financed by the EU. © Roberto Monaldo / Lapress / Zum Press / DPA / Picture Alliance Preservation of Presidency Mario Draghi (r.) Talks in the Parliament of the Parliament with the Financial and Economic Minister Daniele Franco with an overwhelming majority, the Italian Parliament submitted the Prime Minister Mario Draghi Cor
The plan envisages the Italian economy, which shrank 8.8% last year, will grow 3.6 percentage points beyond base forecasts in 2026 and that its employment rate will grow 3.2 percentage points.
The EU required that at least 37% of its funds be directed toward climate-related investments, part of the bloc’s aim for a cut of 55% of greenhouse gases by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050.
Italy’s plan is directing 40% overall, or 68.6 billion euros ($82.9 billion), to green-related investments and initiatives: boosting recycling, overhauling public transport systems to favor low-emission vehicles, and reducing water waste through improvements to waterways.
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The plan calls for some 31.4 billion euros ($37.9 billion) in transportation infrastructure improvements and extending high-speed rail lines across the peninsula, especially in the underserved south.
EDUCATION AND RESEARCH
Among other things, the plan aims to create 152,000 more day care spots for babies and 76,000 for preschoolers, addressing a structural shortage that has long dissuaded parents from having children and women from working.
Other destinations for the 31.9 billion euro ($38.5 billion) investment in education and research is to spiff up dilapidated school buildings and get them better wired, and revamp the higher-education curriculum to encourage more students to pursue higher degrees.
Italy has long been beset by brain drain, with its brightest students pursuing advanced degrees and jobs abroad, and not coming back.
The structural weakness of Italy’s national health system was on full display during the pandemic, when hospitals in northern Lombardy were overwhelmed and general practitioners were largely left on their own to care for sick patients as Italy became the epicenter of Europe's outbreak.
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UTRECHT, Netherlands (AP) — Lisa Gerritsen and Eva Diks were the first guests in six months to be served at Cafe Le Journal on The Neude square in the Dutch city of Utrecht on Wednesday. First in a long line waiting to be seated, they chose a table in the sun, ordered a bottle of rose wine and glasses of water and were planning to make a day of it. “We’ve waited so long. We were here at 11 o’clock. Fantastic,” said Gerritsen, a 19-year-old student. “We plan to stay here until 6 p.m.
The 18.5 billion euro ($22.3 billion) investment in health care aims to reinforce in particular the general medicine and preventive care provided at the local level, with a strengthening of home care and telemedicine. Digital infrastructure improvements aim to improve data analysis.
Italy’s lethargic justice system and cumbersome bureaucracy have long been accused of discouraging foreign investment, since lawsuits and criminal trials can last for years and securing permissions to do just about anything can take a similarly long time.
The justice system reform aims to reduce the backlog of court files with temporary hires, while revising norms and procedures to encourage more recourse to mediation.
Other reforms are focused on modernizing Italy’s old and outdated public administration, aiming to increase turnover to get more young people hired, digitize systems, simplify procedures for permits and boost competition particularly in public services and utilities.
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Come visit Italy, Draghi says after G20 tourism meetingROME (Reuters) - Prime Minister Mario Draghi urged foreigners on Tuesday to book their summer holidays in Italy, saying it was set to introduce travel passes from the middle of May, sooner than much of the rest of Europe.