ITALY: Strike, Podestas, Potatoes

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Repercussions of the week following Signor Mussolini's dynamic Cabinet decrees (TIME, July 12) by which longer working hours and greater frugality are legislated upon Italians.

Strike. At Carrosio, near Turin, 1,000 factory workers struck against the new nine-hour day. Promptly Fascist militia occupied the mills, arrested the strike leaders, violently persuaded numbers of the strikers to resume work.

Podestas. The Cabinet announced its decision to suspend indefinitely by decree all provincial, communal and municipal elections. An explanatory communique was issued:

The Government's economy campaign has been received sympathetically by the great mass of Fascisti. . . .

The Cabinet is desirous to check any possible action by local politicians which might retard nation-wide observance of the retrenchments outlined in the recent decrees.

The intent of these electoral suspensions seemed clear. They will facilitate greatly the replacement of local electoral bodies by podestas (governors) appointed by the Cabinet in accordance with legislation passed by the Chamber of Deputies last year (TIME, Dec. 5).

Canteens. The 500,000 employes of the Italian State smacked their lips last week in anticipation of choice foodstuffs, shortly to be offered them at cost by government canteens established in municipal buildings throughout Italy. Nine such canteens were opened at Rome last week and immediately crowded. To save wheat, from which spaghetti and macaroni are made, the canteens will not offer these comestibles at a reduced rate, will attempt instead to popularize potatoes,— a vegetable thus far unloved by Latins. F. I. A. T. For Italy's biggest industrial plant a $10,000,000 bond issue was sold in one day in the U. S. (see p. 26).

*The Spaniards first met this valuable esculent near Quito onetime Peruvian possession, now capital of Ecuador. In 1553, a Seville chronicle mentions it under the name of "battata" or "papa." Later the potato spread to Italy and Belgium, where it did not "take." In 1585, Sir Walter Raleigh planted it on his estate near Cork, Ireland, where is multiplied.