Tag Archives: Italy

[Italy] Boat conveying nearly 370 migrants reaches Lampedusa.


A fishing boat carrying nearly 370 migrants landed overnight on the Italian island of Lampedusa, the country’s news agencies reported on Sunday, as a nearby humanitarian ship carrying another 350 people sought a port of disembarkation.

Italy has been struggling in recent months to deal with daily arrivals of hundreds of migrants to its southern shores, a task complicated by security measures imposed by the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

The boat carrying 367 people, which was in danger of sinking due to high winds, was escorted by the Italian coast guard and police to the island’s port, ANSA news agency said.

They were met at the port by a demonstration organised by the far-right, anti-immigrant League party.

The migrants, whose nationalities were not known, underwent temperature checks before they were taken to an emergency reception centre on the island which now houses some 1,160 people, 10 times its maximum capacity, Lampedusa’s mayor, Toto Martello, told ANSA.

About 30 other small boats, mostly from the Tunisian coast, had already reached the island since Friday carrying some 500 migrants, the Italian press reported.


“Lampedusa can no longer cope with this situation. Either the government takes immediate decisions or the whole island will go on strike. We can’t manage the emergency and the situation is now really unsustainable,” Martello told ANSA.

Nello Musumeci, the right-leaning leader of sister island Sicily, on Sunday wrote on Facebook that he would ask the government for a meeting on the “humanitarian and health crisis”.

“Lampedusa can’t do it anymore. Sicily cannot continue to pay for the indifference of Brussels and the silence of Rome,” he wrote.

– ‘Traumatic injuries’ –

The Italian coast guard on Saturday also transported 49 people who had been rescued in the Mediterranean by the MV Louise Michel, a vessel funded by the street artist Banksy.


The 150 other passengers on that ship were transferred late Saturday to the humanitarian rescue boat Sea-Watch 4, which now has some 350 people on board and is looking for a port of disembarkation.

The crew of the vessel chartered by German NGO Sea Watch and medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) wrote on Twitter that it was treating people for “fuel burns, dehydration, hypothermia & traumatic injuries”.

The German-flagged Louise Michel had said it needed aid after helping a boat carrying at least one dead migrant in the sea that divides Africa and Europe.

Its crew said the 31-metre (101-foot) ship had become overcrowded and unable to move, warning that some of the migrants had fuel burns and had been at sea for days.


The rescued migrants later said three people had died at sea before the arrival of the Louise Michel.

Banksy, who keeps his identity a secret, explained in an online video that he had bought the boat to help migrants “because EU authorities deliberately ignore distress calls from non-Europeans”.

Thousands of people are thought to have died making the dangerous trip across the Mediterranean to flee conflict, repression and poverty in Africa and the Middle East.

According to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, attempts by migrant boats to cross the Mediterranean into Europe have increased this year, up 91 percent from January to July over last year’s figures, to more than 14,000 people.


COVID-19: First volunteer receives Italian vaccine.


An Italian hospital said on Monday it had inoculated a first volunteer with an anti-COVID-19 vaccine as part of human trials expected to last six months.

The woman, in her 50s, received the first dose developed by Rome-based biotech company ReiThera at the capital’s Spallanzani Institute for infectious diseases.

The trials, developed between ReiThera and Spallanzani researchers, will be carried out on 90 volunteers divided into groups by age to test the efficacy of different dosages of the vaccine, developed since March.

If the first results of Phase 1 of the human trials prove positive, researchers say they will be able to proceed to phases 2 and 3 by the end of the year, on a larger number of volunteers even outside of Italy.

The vaccine has already passed pre-clinical tests on animal models.


“It will take at least 24 weeks to complete phase I human trials of the vaccine,” said Giuseppe Ippolito, the institute’s scientific director.

Countries are racing to develop their own vaccines against the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over 800,000 people around the globe.

“Having an Italian vaccine means not being slaves and servants of other countries that will say ‘Me first’,” said Ippolito, who said he hoped the vaccine would be ready for use by spring 2021.

ReiThera is a subsidiary of Swiss company Keires.


COVID-19: Cases in Italy rising.


Italy recorded more than 1,000 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the last 24 hours, the worst daily figure since lockdown was lifted in May, the health ministry reported on Saturday.

Officials in Rome said the capital region recorded 215 new coronavirus infections in the same period mainly because of people returning from holiday, the biggest such rise since lockdown in March.

The health ministry said Italy recorded 1,071 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the last day and three deaths, for the first time crossing the threshold of 1,000 infections since May 12.

It marks a relentless uptick in cases in the last few days, from 947 on Friday, 845 on Thursday and 642 on Wednesday.

People wearing a face mask walk along the Via del Corso main shopping street on August 20, 2020 in Rome during the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus. Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

The figure of 215 for Rome is a record, more than the 208 people were infected in a one-day period on March 28, when Rome had come to a virtual standstill to stop the coronavirus spreading, the capital’s health official Alessio D’Amato said.

“Sixty-one percent (of the cases) are linked to people returning from vacation,” D’Amato said, almost half the cases were returning from the island of Sardinia.


Sardinia had been spared the first wave earlier this year but D’Amato said the movement of tourists and people partying had helped spread the virus.

Francesco Vaia, director of Rome’s Spallanzani Hospital specialising in infectious diseases, told Italian media “the solution is to do tests on departing boats, planes and trains. This is the only way to prevent the virus spreading”.

D’Amato said most of those infected were young people who were not showing symptoms and it was urgent to “block the chain of transmission as fast as possible by finding the asymptomatic and averting the spread of the virus among families.

“Be very careful especially with your relatives and the people dearest to you,” he said in an appeal to the young.


He warned them to stay at home and not meet up with people while awaiting test results. “Don’t feel invincible,” he urged them.

Italy — particularly the northern Lombardy region, the Venice area and Rome — are seeing a resurgence in the virus over the summer.

The Italian government has taken several steps to block the spread, such as closing nightclubs since August 17 and making mask wearing compulsory in busy public spaces between 6 pm and 6 am.

Since the pandemic erupted, Italy has recorded more than 257,000 cases, including more than 35,000 dead.


COVID-19: Italian discos sow discord.


“Put your masks on!” repeats the DJ, shouting vainly into his microphone, but the dancers below, dripping in sweat, don’t seem to care.

On a recent night at the Kiki nightclub in Ostia, a popular seaside resort on the outskirts of Rome, the coronavirus threat seems both distant and yet very present.

During a night for over-50s at this open-air disco on Ostia’s beachfront, the rules are well known: a mask is mandatory, and dancing must be done at least one metre from a partner.

“Who cares about all that,” laughed one partygoer, Claudio, his belly jutting forward and shirt wide open. With his mask in his pocket, he boogies alone, not to respect social distancing but because his friends are chatting elsewhere.


Around him, the approximately 200 to 300 party-goers dance to the blaring electro music, many without masks as they flirt, laugh and drink gin and tonics in the heat.

It takes the weary insistence of the staff, the calls of the DJ and a rumour of a possible police raid to get the crowd to comply begrudgingly and cover their faces.

– Party pooper –
While the threat of a second wave of coronavirus looms nearer in several European countries, such as Spain, Italy is trying to stem new infections in the middle of “Ferragosto”, the sacrosanct holiday weekend of August 15.

On Sunday, after a period of arm wrestling between the government and regions over the thorny issue of discos, Health Minister Roberto Speranza signed a decree suspending their operation.


The new rules go into effect on Monday, giving partygoers one last weekend night to celebrate.

An airport cleaning staff, wearing a respiratory mask (C), controls baskets at Rome’s Fiumicino international airport March 13, 2020.. Andreas SOLARO / AFP.

Closed establishments had already been prohibited from operating but regions had the discretion to decide whether or not to allow open-air clubs.

Calabria, for one, had ordered the closure of all dance venues while Sardinia had kept them open. Some, like Veneto to the north, mandated reduced occupancy.

Already, traditional rites of summer have been altered. Bonfires on the beach and a traditional midnight jump into the sea at Ferragosto were banned this year.


The topic was politically sensitive, as authorities don’t want to appear to be punishing Italians during well-deserved summer holidays after a gruelling lockdown that was largely respected.

The sector employs nearly 50,000 people in 3,000 nightclubs around the country, according to the nightclub operators’ union (SILB).

– Wild and free? –
Images of crowds of young holiday-goers dancing and drinking at night have been plastered on the front pages of Italian newspapers.

“The contagion is on the rise but we’re dancing,” proclaimed the Corriere Della Sera, which slammed Sardinia’s clubs as being “joyful contagion machines”.


At the establishment Manila Beach in Fregene, on the coast outside Rome, party organiser Gianluca Skiki said his venue, which normally welcomes up to 2,000 customers on its beach, had to make do with 250.

Despite some semblances of a nightclub — a DJ, sequined miniskirts and high heels worn by some — the experience appeared odd. Couples were sitting at tables with distance between them to eat, and were instructed to dance only in front of their tables.

“If the police come, everyone has to be at their table,” Skiki explained. “There’s no real nightclub here any more, it’s about the only thing we’re allowed to organise.”

He acknowledged the experience fell short of the carefree, wild parties of the past.


Stunning New Genoa bridge ‘inaugurated’ two years after collapse


Italy inaugurates a sleek new bridge in Genoa on Monday, though relatives of the 43 people killed when the old viaduct collapsed say the pomp and ceremony risk overshadowing the tragedy.

Jets trailing the colours of the Italian flag will roar overhead as the national anthem plays, almost two years to the day the Morandi highway gave way during heavy rain, hurling dozens of cars and several trucks onto railway tracks below.

President Sergio Mattarella will be the first to officially cross the new bridge, designed by famed Italian architect Renzo Piano, who gave it a curved, gleaming underbelly evoking the hull of a ship in tribute to Genoa’s maritime history.

The names of the victims will be read aloud — though many of their loved ones will not be present.


“We won’t be at the inauguration, we don’t want the tragedy to be transformed into a carnival,” said Egle Possetti, whose sister died in the August 14, 2018 disaster along with her husband and their two children.

“You can have this sort of big party if you knock down the bridge because it’s old, you build a new one, and no one’s died.”

The Morandi bridge had been riddled with structural problems for decades, leading to expensive maintenance, and its collapse threw the spotlight on Italy’s creaking infrastructure.

The tragedy also ended the longstanding concession of highway maintenance by a company majority-owned by the powerful Benetton family.


The new high-tech structure will have four maintenance robots running along its length to spot weathering or erosion, as well as a special dehumidification system to limit corrosion.

It is expected to open to traffic on Tuesday or Wednesday.

– ‘An atrocious sight’ –

Architect Piano, a Genoa native whose building designs include the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and The Shard in London, has described his new creation as a “child born of tragedy”.

The Italian Air Force acrobatic unit Frecce Tricolori (Tricolored Arrows) perform past the new San Giorgio bridge on the inauguration day on August 3 , 2020 in Genoa. Miguel MEDINA / AFP

“It was horrific. I remember the sounds, the smells, terrible things,” said Silvano Ruffoni, one of the first paramedics on the scene when, at just after 11:30 am, some 250 metres (820 feet) of the vast concrete structure crumbled into the void.


“We were met by such an atrocious sight. The bridge was gone. We were thunderstruck,” he said in an interview with the local daily Il Secolo XIX last week.

The new viaduct, he said, was “a sign of rebirth”.

But Possetti, who is a spokeswoman for a victims’ relatives group, said she would “never cross that bridge”.

“How could you be there and not think of everything that happened, and that destroyed your family,” she told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media).

The Morandi was hailed a marvel of engineering when it opened in 1967, but an investigation into the disaster found it was neglected.


Autostrade, which runs almost half of Italy’s motorway network, has been accused of failing to maintain it properly, amid allegations of falsified safety reports and in-house pressure to slash maintenance costs.

A wide angle view shows the Italian Air Force acrobatic unit Frecce Tricolori (Tricolored Arrows) performing over the new San Giorgio bridge on its inauguration day on August 3, 2020 in Genoa. 
Andreas SOLARO / AFP

Atlantia, the parent group of Autostrade, is controlled by the wealthy Benetton family, which finally bowed to pressure last month to relinquish control of its besmirched toll-road operator, which will be nationalised.

Autostrade is under investigation, along with several transport ministry officials, for culpable homicide.

The preliminary probe is due to wind up in October, before a trial begins early next year, Possetti said.


Breaking: Italian prosecutors seek 8-years jail term for Shell & Eni executives


Italian prosecutors are seeking a jail term for oil majors, Eni and Shell, and some of their present and former executives, including Eni CEO, Claudio Descalzi, over their alleged involvement in a long-running trial over alleged corruption in Nigeria.

In a Milan court on Tuesday, prosecutors alleged that the two oil companies acquired a Nigerian oilfield in 2011, knowing most of the 1.3 billion dollar purchase price would go to politicians and middlemen in bribes.

The prosecutors, therefore, asked the court to pronounce an eight-year prison term for Descalzi and seven years and four months for shell’s former head of upstream Malcolm Brinded.

They are also seeking a fine of 900,000 Euros each and sought to confiscate a total of $1.092 billion from all the defendants in the case, the equivalent of the bribes alleged to have been paid.

The companies and individuals accused in the case have all denied wrongdoing in the case.

#Newsworthy ..

Italy’s Foreign Minister lands Libya


Italy’s foreign minister made a lightening trip to Libya on Wednesday amid a flaring conflict between a UN-recognised government in the west and eastern-based forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar.

Luigi Di Maio was due to meet the head of Tripoli’s Government of National Accord Fayez al-Sarraj, as well as the interior minister and his foreign affairs counterpart, Italian agencies Agi and Ansa said.

Rome considers Libya “a priority… our most important issue, which concerns our national security,” according to an unnamed ministry source, cited by the Messaggero daily.

“We can’t afford a partition of the country. That is why we went first to Ankara, a (diplomatic) channel we’ve always kept open,” the source said, referring to Di Maio’s trip to Turkey on June 19.


He last visited Libya in January.

During his Wednesday visit Di Maio is set to examine an amended “memorandum” of cooperation between the two countries over migration, the Repubblica said.

Libya has been mired in chaos since the 2011 uprising that toppled and later killed longt-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

The Arab League on Tuesday called for the withdrawal of foreign forces in Libya and urged talks on ending the conflict in the north African country.


The Turkish-backed GNA has recently made major military gains against Haftar’s forces, who have sought to regain control over the west in an abortive attempt to seize Tripoli.

Egypt, which supports Haftar, has warned that advances by Turkey-backed forces on the strategic Libyan city of Sirte could prompt an Egyptian military intervention.

The GNA denounced Cairo’s statements as a “declaration of war”.

Besides Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia back Haftar’s forces.



COVID-19: Invest in Trado-Medical experts – Nigerian Govt plead.


A trado-medical expert, Alhaji Hassan Ajeigbe, has urged the government to look for local solutions in the fight against COVID-19 in the country.

According to him, trado-medical experts should be consulted to combat the pandemic which now has 1532 cases in Nigeria.

He also advised the government to divert some of the funds spent on testing kits to equip trado-medical experts in researching on the virus towards a cure.


“Sometimes, we do not appreciate what we have and view it as less important. I will suggest that traditional doctors should be involved in the fight against Coronavirus.

“We should invest in traditional medicine and encourage its practitioners to come up with a cure for some deadly diseases. We can achieve it if giving necessary backing,” he said.




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Ramsey reveals Ronaldo helps him settle in at Juventus

Aaron Ramsey has revealed how five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo helped him settle in at Juventus.

The Wales midfielder joined the Portuguese legend at the Serie A side following his free transfer from Arsenal last summer.

And Ramsey received a warm welcome from Ronaldo at his first training session with the Turin giants.

Ramsey, 29, told The Sun: ‘He’s a great person as well as an unbelievable player and one of the best in history.

‘For example, the first time I had a training session at the club, I went into the canteen and he said, ‘Come and sit by me’.

‘We just started talking immediately and he made me feel at ease straight away as did the rest of the team.

‘That’s a little insight into the sort of guy he is. I don’t need to tell you about his footballing ability or the records he has but I can tell you that he’s a great guy, he loves his team-mates and he gives everything in training.’
Ramsey has his sights set on lifting his first title with leaders JUve when the Serie A campaign resumes after the coronaviris lockdown.

But Ramsey, who started his career at Cardiff, has opened the door to returning to the Welsh capital after life in Turin.

Ramsey added on his own Instagram Live: ‘Cardiff will always hold a special place in my heart. Who knows what the future may hold? So yes, why not?

‘I grew up and started my career there and they helped me become a professional footballer so why not?’


Sarri ‘not fully convinced by Rabiot’ but Juve don’t plan to sell the midfielder

Juventus have decided what to do with French midfielder Adrien Rabiot, according to a report from Italian media outlet Calciomercato.com today.

The report details how the 25-year-old Frenchman, who is contracted to the Bianconeri until 2023, has struggled to settle in Italy in his first season. The player failed to earn consistent minutes at the start of the season, before finally becoming a starter in December.

However, coach Maurizio Sarri is not fully convinced by Rabiot’s performances and wants reinforcements to the department in the summer.

Rabiot is not worth selling for the Old Lady, the report continues. The player’s value has plummeted over the last two years and even selling him now wouldn’t earn back the money Juve invested in him. The club are still looking for new midfielders and Rabiot’s position will be evaluated over time, although he is not expected to play the main role next season.


Coronavirus cases continue to fall as another 578 people die in Italy.

Another 578 people have died in Italy over the last 24 hours after contracting COVID-19, but the number of new cases and intensive care admissions continue to fall.

In the daily press conference, it was confirmed the death toll is now 21,645.

There are currently 3,079 patients in intensive care, a drop of 107 from yesterday, which puts less pressure on the healthcare providers and allows them to focus more individual treatment.

In total, there are 27,643 people in hospital, a drop of 368 over the last 24 hours.

The people who have tested positive and are in self-isolation, so do not require hospital treatment, now stand at 74,696, which is 71 per cent of the total.

Another 962 patients were given the all-clear, meaning 38,092 have now recovered from the virus.

Since the start of the crisis, 1,117,404 tests have been performed.


Juventus to rival Barca and Man City in pursuit of PSG’s ‘new Verratti’

Paris Saint-Germain made the first move, snatching two very talented guys in Xavi Simons and Kays Ruiz-Atil. Now, Barcelona are ready for revenge by signing Edouard Michut, already dubbed as the “new Verratti” in France. Slim physique and a great technical ability to play close to the defence.

The 17-year-old grew up in the academies of FC Le Chesnay and then FC Versailles, before being discovered by PSG observers at the age of 13. Michut is considered a very complete midfielder from a tactical point of view, being able to play in more than just one role.

Recently, as Calciomercato have learned, there have been scouts from Barcelona to observe the youngster, who is yet to sign a professional agreement with the French side and the current contract expires in 2021. As a result of this, he could leave for almost negligible economic compensation.

This is a situation that Manchester City, Valencia and Juventus are perfectly aware of, rivalling the Catalan side. The Bianconeri have excellent relations with PSG (not forgetting the recent talks for De Sciglio, Kurzawa, Meunier, Dybala and Pjanic) and Michut is on their wish list.


Lautaro Martinez funds local hospitals

Inter forward Lautaro Martinez has made a huge donation of medical equipment and personal protective clothing to the hospitals in his hometown of Bahia Blanca.

The Argentina international went directly to the hospitals with two different sets of donations.

The first was delivered at the start of the month and a second batch arrived today, as confirmed by the Mayor of Bahia Blanca, Hector Gay.

Between the two sets, Lautaro Martinez, girlfriend Agustina Gandolfo and their families provided 4,350 litres of hand sanitiser, 1,000 pairs of rubber gloves, 6,500 coveralls, 3,800 masks and 7,000 visors.

Italy and specifically Lombardy have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, but so far it is relatively at bay in Argentina.

Recibimos la segunda parte de las donaciones de Lautaro Martínez, su pareja Agustina Gandolfo y su familia, para los Hospitales Municipal y Penna. Llegaron 3500 camisolines, 1000 litros de alcohol en gel, 1000 cofias, 3800 barbijos sanitarios y guantes de látex. ¡Gracias! pic.twitter.com/KPOWNJD7mW


Calhanoglu ‘wants to renew with Milan but Rossenneri unsure whether to keep him’

Calhanoglu’s future at Milan will be decided in the next few weeks, Calciomercato says.

The attacking midfielder wants to renew his deal, which expires in 2021, but Milan are unsure if they want to keep him.

The club will make a decision after they find a new coach, with Ralf Rangnick the top candidate. If the German takes charge, there is a good chance Calhanoglu will stay.


Inter ‘Rejected Firpo, Rakitic & Semedo’ In A Possible Deal For Lautaro

Inter have already rejected Barcelona trio Nelson Semedo, Junior Firpo and Ivan Rakitic as possible makeweights in a possible deal for Lautaro Martinez, according to NobleSports reliable source.

Antonio Conte, the Inter coach, is not interest in any of the three players as he builds for next season, although he is open to other players in the Barça squad as the Catalans look to bring down the Argentine’s 111 million euros price tag.

According to the same report, Barça offered Semedo, Junior and Rakitic as part of the initial negotiations with the Serie A club, but failed to achieve a breakthrough.

Inter, though, are still demanding a huge price Lautaro, although they would accept it in installments. Barça continue to insist on the idea of including players to bring the cost down. The most interesting player for Inter could be Arturo Vidal.

Barça have put Ivan Rakitic on the transfer market (he seems to only want to move to Sevilla), along with Junior (there is interest in Italy) and Semedo (Manchester City have suggested a swap deal for Joao Cancelo)

However, Barça to have other players in mind to use in a player plus cash deal and it seems that the negotiations are about to move into the definitive stage.


Lautaro ‘Wants Barcelona Move But Won’t Force A Transfer From Inter’

Inter striker Lautaro Martinez’ agents have received a huge contract offer from Spanish giants Barcelona but aren’t going to force a move away from the Nerazzurri, according to a report from NobleSports Reliable Source in ItalyThe report details how the Blaugrana have offered Lautaro a five-year contract worth €10 million net per season plus bonuses, which he has already accepted. Beto Yaque, however, has no interest in attempting to force a deal to take place, as he understands the wishes of the 22-year-old Argentinian international striker is to leave the Nerazzurri on good terms.

If Barcelona can’t sell enough players to raise funds for the deal, the report continues, they may not be able to pay his €111 million release clause. Inter aren’t interested in the suggested formula of €70 million plus two players in exchange, instead asking for cash only.There are no offers from England, the report highlights, as both Manchester City and Chelsea don’t have the funds to spend on the player. Lautaro and his entourage do consider Inter’s new contract offer worth €4.5 million net per season to be a little low, compared to the figures offered by Barcelona.