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Starbucks insults Italians with palm trees beside iconic landmark

Inhabitants of Milan is furious about the sudden appearance of a cluster of palm trees disguising Milan’s most famous cathedral, a 14th-century Gothic marvel, known as the Duomo.

Published: February 18, 2017, 9:54 am

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    They say the non-indiginous plants beside an iconic Italian landmark are out of place.

    Nationalists feel that planting project, sponsored by Starbucks the US coffee giant, in an added insult to coffee-loving Italians. Italy boasts a network of mostly independent coffee bars that could eventually face stiff competition from the American multinational.

    The 42 palm trees, some of them five metres tall, are the first plants to be installed under a plan that also involves placing banana trees in the shadow of the cathedral.

    “Palms and bananas in Piazza Duomo! All we need now are camels and monkeys and we will really have Africa in Italy,” said Matteo Salvini, leader of the Northern League.

    The anti-immigration politician has warned that Starbucks could employ thousands of African migrants in its future Italian outlets, after the company suggested it would be open to giving jobs to “refugees”.

    “As far as their coffee is concerned, I’ll be having mine somewhere else,” Salvini said.

    Various Italians in Milan were disgusted by the palm trees, but an African said he felt at home when asked if the trees were welcome there. He replied: “Yes, it’s a good atmosphere”.

    Italy meanwhile has also a drafted law to try to sanction with fines of up to 10 thousand euros and imprisonment of up to two years those who publish or disseminate on the internet “fake, exaggerated or tendentious news” or those who are responsible for “campaigns of hatred”.

    The draft legislation will not apply to newspapers.

    The text, with its first signatory Adele Gambaro of the group Ala-Scelta Civica, ex of the 5-stars movement, was presented in the senate yesterday with bipartisan support.

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