Sylvia Poggioli

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The Italian city of Venice is still reeling from a week of three exceptional tides whose floodwaters have caused massive damage to the city's cultural legacy and to residences and businesses.

The disaster has gripped Italy and inspired a wave of volunteers to salvage what they can.

There is a bookshop in Campiello del Tintor square named Libreria Acqua Alta, which means High Water Bookstore. Following Sunday's exceptional high tide, the square as well as the store's pavement were under several inches of water.

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The worst flood in more than 50 years has submerged Venice, the historic Italian city built on a lagoon. NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports the city's mayor says Venice is on its knees.

More than seven decades after the fall of fascism in its country of birth, Italy is in the grip of an intense debate about anti-Semitism, racism and hate speech.

The national psychodrama was unwittingly triggered by an 89-year-old Jewish grandmother and Holocaust survivor who has been put under police escort following threats from members of Italy's ultra-right.

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Some of the most recent U.S. tariffs imposed by the Trump administration have infuriated Italians, people who support the sale of formaggio, which is Italian for cheese. If you think that does not sound like such a big deal, listen to NPR's Sylvia Poggioli.

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On Sunday, Pope Francis opened a three-week bishops' assembly known as a synod, denouncing contemporary forms of colonialism and urging conservatives to be open to change.

The Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region, held at the Vatican, is focusing on the environment and indigenous peoples' rights to their land and traditions. In addition to 185 bishops, mostly from the Amazon region, participants include scientists and environmentalists.

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Pope Francis is heading, this week, to three southeastern African nations - Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius. Why there? NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports.

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In Italy, Giuseppe Conte has resigned as prime minister of a coalition government after only about 14 months in power. His resignation throws Italy into a state of political uncertainty. NPR's Sylvia Poggioli is on the line from Italy. Hi, Sylvia.

The Italian region of Tuscany is not known just for its fine wines, extra-virgin olive oil and Renaissance masterpieces. It's also the birthplace of the Italian Communist Party, which was founded in 1921 and has been a bastion of left-wing governance for decades.

But in the past three years, Tuscany has experienced political upheaval as the hard-right, anti-immigrant League party has won elections in many towns, marking the first losses for the left in Tuscany in more than seven decades.

Rome is known as the Eternal City. Over many centuries, it has been sacked by marauders and repeatedly resurrected from decline. But this summer, Roman residents are being tested by a massive trash crisis that has prompted doctors to warn of the possible spread of diseases as birds, vermin and wild animals scavenge amid the rotting refuse.

Already, flocks of cawing seagulls have replaced traffic roar as the soundtrack of Roman life.

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To Italy now, where, over the last two weeks, a showdown has played out - on one side, a young female ship captain who rescues migrants seeking refuge in Europe; on the other, Italy's hard-right, anti-immigration interior minister.

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Some 400 million people in 28 countries are eligible to vote in this week's elections for new representatives for the European Parliament — the only popularly elected European Union institution. It's normally a low-turnout affair, but this year, the Europe-wide result will be a crucial test of strength for nationalist and populist parties that want to remake the EU — and for those who oppose them.

Ahead of elections this week for a new European Parliament, 11 populist leaders rallied last Saturday in Milan's Piazza Duomo. They vowed to reassert their national sovereignty by wresting control from European Union bureaucrats headquartered in Brussels. Their host: Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, the leader of Italy's far-right League party and Europe's rising populist star.

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The head of the Federal Aviation Administration is expected to get some tough questions today from members of the U.S. Senate.

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Appeals judges of the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia have upheld Radovan Karadzic's conviction for genocide in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre that claimed the lives of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys.

They also ruled that the 40-year sentence of Karadzic handed down in the first trial, in 2016, was too light given the gravity of the crimes.

Along with the late Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and Serbian army general Ratko Mladic, Karadzic was a key figure in the Bosnian war.

In February, Pope Francis acknowledged a longstanding dirty secret in the Roman Catholic Church — the sexual abuse of nuns by priests.

It's an issue that had long been kept under wraps, but in the #MeToo era, a #NunsToo movement has emerged, and now sexual abuse is more widely discussed.

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North Carolina's Board of Elections has heard enough.

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Thursday at the Vatican, Pope Francis stood before some 200 participants in an unprecedented summit on preventing clergy sex abuse and said Catholics are seeking not simply "condemnations" but "concrete, effective measures."

But a crisis that has crossed borders and generations, lacerating the church and shaking the pope's credibility, is standing in the way as he seeks to forge a path ahead.

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