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Florence News

FBI Fugitive Arrested at Uffizi

A multi-million dollar former hedge fund manager and fraudster who was on the FBI's most wanted list was spotted while admiring a statue in the Uffizi earlier this month and arrested by Italian police. Florian Homm, 54, from Germany was wanted for allegedly ripping off investors in the US to the tune of around $53million between 2004 and 2007.

Police were tipped off by FBI officers based at the American Embassy in Milan, who had received information that Homm's wife and son had landed in Florence's Amerigo Vespucci Airport. Mr Homm now faces extradition to the USA where he'll stand trial for the scam and could be sentenced to up to 75 years in prison.

Calling Young Filmmakers: Competitions!

The La Macina di San Cresci Cultural Association in Florence is looking to recruit eight budding film directors between the ages of 18 and 35, regardless of nationality. The successful applicants will enter the Slow Movie Contest - a project that will result in an eight-part documentary about arts and crafts in the Chianti region. Each participant will be invited to spend a week in the famous wine-producing region, where they will be expected to produce, direct and shoot their short. Deadline for applications is April 30th.

Meanwhile, in another part of town, foreign students in Florence are invited to submit short films on the subject of correct waste disposal to a competition entitled 'I Love Clean Florence'. The deadline for submissions is April 10th and the first prize is €1000, while two runners up will each receive €500.

Florence Drivers Bad for the Environment

Drivers in Florence have been placed among the worst in Italy in terms of consideration for the environment following a recent study by the insurance group Direct Line. While drivers in Italy are already infamously considered reckless and aggressive, results of this latest survey may come as a surprise to some, with Naples and Rome being more traditional candidates for such ignominy.

According to the study, drivers in Florence are particularly guilty of throwing rubbish and cigarette ends from the window, regularly running the engine while stationary to warm it up (which isn't necessary for modern cars) and failing to give their engines the optimum level of maintenance, rendering them less efficient.

H&M Moves into Via Tornabuoni

Bargain high-street clothes retailer H&M is set to move into one of Florence's most prestigious areas in June, with a new 400-square-metre store set to open in the historic Palazzo Dudley-Navone on the corner of Via della Spada and Via Vigna Nuova.

Occupying a prominent position right on Via Tornabuoni, H&M will be the first low-cost retailer in the area, famous for its high-end designer boutiques. Florence's equivalent of Milan's 'Golden Triangle' and Rome's Via Condotti is a beacon to dedicated followers of fashion both resident and tourist and the new addition will certainly appear to some as symbolic of the downturn in the economy. It's yet to be seen whether the new store will serve to bring down the prestige of the area or help to revive its fortunes.

No Penises Please - We're Japanese!

A replica statue of Michelangelo's priceless sculpture David has attracted criticism in Japan after it was unveiled in a park in the city of Okuizumo. The copy proudly stands five metres tall and residents have urged the local council to give it a pair of pants, complaining that the nude male figure is offensive and scares children.

The original statue currently stands in Florence's Accademia di Belle Arti Gallery and is generally considered one of the greatest works of art of the renaissance period. Completed in 1504 by Michelangelo, it's yet to be confirmed whether anyone in Italy has ever taken issue with the statue's lack of modesty.

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