EU urges Italy to stick to programme as approves more funding

EU urges Italy to stick to programme as approves more funding

The European Commission urged the new Italian government to stick to reform plans as it cleared the way on Tuesday for the payment of an additional 21 billion euros ($20.2 billion) in post-COVID recovery funds. The Commission said Italy had met a series of 45 landmarks and targets in reform of areas such as public employment, procurement, tax administration, teaching and healthcare to qualify for another part of a 192 billion euro programme. "So congratulations, Italia, and keep up the good work! The Commission stands by you on your way to recovery," European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement. A…
Read More Here
Self-employed, Catholics drive Meloni’s Italian electoral triumph

Self-employed, Catholics drive Meloni’s Italian electoral triumph

ROME (Reuters) - Self-employed people and Catholics helped power Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy party to electoral victory on Sunday, surveys show, with a significant share of women voters putting her on course to be Italy's first female prime minister. With almost all results counted, Brothers of Italy led with around 26% of the vote, up from 4% in the last national election in 2018, and was by far the biggest party in the victorious conservative alliance. Meloni's party received almost 5.9 million votes more than the 2018 elections, a YouTrend post-electoral study shows, roughly the same number its League and Forza Italia allies lost…
Read More Here
Greece proposes European fund to address soaring gas prices

Greece proposes European fund to address soaring gas prices

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece has proposed a multibillion-euro European fund partly financed by a gas levy on power producers to support households and businesses struggling with soaring energy costs and help Europe replace Russian gas, its energy ministry said on Tuesday. To mitigate the impact of sky-rocketing gas and power prices on European consumers and industries following the war in Ukraine, the European Commission, so far, has proposed several emergency EU measures, including windfall profit levies on energy firms and cuts in electricity use. EU countries are negotiating those proposals and aim to approve them when EU energy ministers meet…
Read More Here
Spanish court formally sends Shakira to trial for tax fraud

Spanish court formally sends Shakira to trial for tax fraud

A Spanish court on Tuesday formally ordered Colombian superstar Shakira to stand trial on accusations that she failed to pay 14.5 million euros ($14.31 million) in income taxes, a court document released on Tuesday showed. The 'Hips Don't Lie' singer, 45, whose full name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, rejected in July a deal to settle the case, which meant she would have to stand trial in a case that could see her sent to prison for eight years. The Esplugues de Llobregat court on Tuesday confirmed the trial will go ahead on a date still to be announced. The prosecutor is seeking an…
Read More Here
Asked about Italy, ECB’s Lagarde says she won’t fix ‘policy errors’

Asked about Italy, ECB’s Lagarde says she won’t fix ‘policy errors’

The European Central Bank won't use its latest emergency scheme to buy the bonds of countries that make "policy errors", its President Christine Lagarde said on Monday in response to a question about Italy's likely next government. A right-wing alliance led by Giorgia Meloni triumphed in Italy's general elections on Sunday, inheriting one of the euro zone's heaviest debt burdens at a time of rising borrowing costs and looming recession. Meloni has pledged not to take risks with Italy's fragile finances and stick to European Union budget rules but coalition partner Matteo Salvini has called for increasing the deficit. Asked…
Read More Here
FACTBOX – Potential flashpoints in Italy’s new rightist coalition

FACTBOX – Potential flashpoints in Italy’s new rightist coalition

ROME, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Italy's rightist alliance looks sure to win a parliamentary majority following Sunday's election, but its three main parties have different positions in important areas, which could hobble their administration. Here are some of the main potential sources of tension between Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy (FdI), Matteo Salvini's League and Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia. EUROPE Brothers of Italy and the League have both called in the past for Italy to leave the euro zone, while Forza Italia has usually presented itself as a moderate, pro-European force. Meloni and Salvini continue to take aim at "Brussels…
Read More Here
Italy PD leader to step down after election defeat

Italy PD leader to step down after election defeat

ROME, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Enrico Letta, the leader of Italy's centre-left Democratic Party (PD), plans to step down after defeat in the national election, he said on Monday. Letta told a news conference that he would stay on for the time being but not stand for the leadership at the next party congress which will be held in the near future. He described the election victory for a right-wing alliance led by Giorgia Meloni as a "sad day for Italy and Europe". (Reporting by Angelo Amante Writing by Keith WeirEditing by Agnieszka Flak)
Read More Here
UPDATED: Italy election victors aim for rare political stability

UPDATED: Italy election victors aim for rare political stability

ROME, Sept 26 (Reuters) - The right-wing alliance that won Italy's national election will usher in a rare era of political stability to tackle an array of problems besieging the euro zone's third largest economy, one of its senior figures said on Monday. Giorgia Meloni looks set to become Italy's first woman prime minister at the head of its most right-wing government since World War Two after leading the conservative alliance to triumph at Sunday's election. "I expect that for at least five years we will press ahead without any changes, without any twists, prioritising the things we need to…
Read More Here
Photo Story: Montpellier airport closed due to crashed aircraft

Photo Story: Montpellier airport closed due to crashed aircraft

Rescue services and police near the Boeing 737-436 (SF) cargo plane of  the West Atlantic operator, that overran the runway after landing and came to a halt with its nose in lake near the airport of Montpellier, Southern France on Saturday. There were no information about the cause of the crash, that is under investigation, while the three crew members were unharmed. The airport of Montpellier was closed for an indefinite time, the Prefect of Herault announced with work now underway on removing the aircraft. Photo: EPA-EFE/Guillaume Horcajuelo
Read More Here
French Prime Minister says, regarding Italian election, that EU has certain values to uphold

French Prime Minister says, regarding Italian election, that EU has certain values to uphold

PARIS, Sept 26 (Reuters) - French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said the European Union would closely follow the respect of certain human rights and values such as women's access to abortion, as she responded to Italy's election result. "In Europe, we have certain values and, obviously, we will be vigilant", Borne told RMC Radio and BFM TV. "It is a human rights value and the respect of others, namely the right to have access to abortion, should be upheld by all," Borne also said, while adding she did not want to comment on the "democratic choice of the Italian people".…
Read More Here
UPDATED: Italy’s parliamentary seats – YouTrend projection

UPDATED: Italy’s parliamentary seats – YouTrend projection

ROME, Sept 26 (Reuters) - A coalition of right-wing parties was projected to have won Italy's parliamentary election. There is not yet a definitive breakdown of parliamentary seats. The following is a projection by YouTrend of the distribution of seats in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate based on instant polls. Definitive results are expected later on Monday. LOWER HOUSE (400 seats, majority 201): Brothers of Italy118The League65Forza Italia45Other centre-right7Right-wing bloc235Democratic Party (PD)65+Europe2Other centre-left12Centre-left bloc795-Star Movement51Azione21Others14 SENATE (200 seats, majority 101): Brothers of Italy66The League29Forza Italia18Other centre-right2Right-wing bloc115Democratic Party (PD)37+Europe0Other centre-left4Centre-left bloc415-Star Movement28Azione9Others7 (Reporting by Crispian Balmer) Photo…
Read More Here
Italy’s right-wing, led by Meloni, wins election -exit polls

Italy’s right-wing, led by Meloni, wins election -exit polls

ROME, Sept 25 (Reuters) - A right-wing alliance led by Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy party looks set to win a clear majority in the next parliament, exit polls said on Sunday after voting ended in an Italian national election. An exit poll for state broadcaster RAI said the bloc of conservative parties, that also includes Matteo Salvini's League and Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party, won between 41 and 45%, enough to guarantee control of both houses of parliament. Italy's electoral law favours groups that manage to create pre-ballot pacts, giving them an outsized number of seats by comparison with their vote…
Read More Here
Old woes and new: business turmoil awaits Italy’s election winner

Old woes and new: business turmoil awaits Italy’s election winner

TERNI, Italy (Reuters) - Inflation, looming recession and impossibly high energy bills are among the daunting economic problems awaiting whoever wins Italy's election on Sunday, and they are casting a particularly long shadow over the industrial city of Terni. According to Milan-based economic think-tank Cerved some 24.5% of Terni's 16,000 firms are at risk of bankruptcy in the near term, the second highest level of any place in the country after Crotone in the depressed southern region of Calabria. Lying some 100 kilometres (62 miles) north of Rome, for more than a century the fortunes of Terni's 106,000 inhabitants have…
Read More Here
Explainer: Rightist alliance set for Italian election victory

Explainer: Rightist alliance set for Italian election victory

ROME, (Reuters) - Italy votes in a national election on Sunday Sept. 25 after Prime Minister Mario Draghi's national unity government was brought down by party infighting in July. WHO WILL WIN? Polls have consistently shown that a rightist coalition led by the nationalist Brothers of Italy party and also involving the League party and Forza Italia is on course for a clear victory. Brothers of Italy leader Giorgia Meloni would be the likely choice to be the country's first female prime minister. WHAT WILL BE DECISIVE? Brothers of Italy has seen a surge in its support after it remained…
Read More Here
A Meloni election win could shift Europe’s balance of power

A Meloni election win could shift Europe’s balance of power

PARIS/BERLIN/BUDAPEST, (Reuters) - The European Union's powerhouses will have to tread carefully around Giorgia Meloni if the nationalist candidate's coalition wins Italy's election on Sunday, or risk pushing Rome towards Hungary and Poland, European officials said. At play is the balance of power inside the EU as it contends with the fallout from Russia's war on Europe's eastern flank and the continent's worst energy and cost-of-living crises in decades. If Meloni wins, Sunday's election will hand Italy its most right-wing government since World War Two. Although she has played down her far-right past, cracks in her coalition over foreign policy…
Read More Here
Former NATO boss slams Macron for “disastrous” diplomacy on Ukraine

Former NATO boss slams Macron for “disastrous” diplomacy on Ukraine

Diplomatic efforts by French President Emmanuel Macron in response to the war in Ukraine were a failure and "deeply harmful" for Kyiv, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former NATO secretary-general, said in an interview with a French magazine. "It was not a success", Rasmussen, a former Danish prime minister who was one of the world's most-senior diplomats until he left the transatlantic defence alliance in 2014, told French magazine Le Point. His comments come after criticism, especially in eastern Europe, about how Macron kept an open line with Russian President Vladimir Putin with direct phone calls even after the invasion of…
Read More Here
Italy’s population could shrink by 11.5 mln by 2070 – ISTAT

Italy’s population could shrink by 11.5 mln by 2070 – ISTAT

ROME, (Reuters) - Italy's population is set to decline by almost a fifth over the next five decades as a result of a steadily falling birthrate, the country's statistics agency ISTAT said. A shrinking and ageing population is a major worry for the euro zone's third-largest country. Among other things, it is linked to falling productivity and higher welfare bills. According to a baseline scenario, Italy's inhabitants will shrink from 59.2 million in 2021 to 54.2 million in 2050 and 47.7 million in 2070, a statement said. Meanwhile, Italians aged 65 or over will account for 34.9% of the population…
Read More Here
Paris’ La Defense business district to target lower use of electricity

Paris’ La Defense business district to target lower use of electricity

PARIS (Reuters) - Paris' La Defense business district, whose skyscrapers house many of France's biggest companies, said it would target a 15% reduction in electricity consumption in the area, as Europe faces up to an energy crisis after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. French President Emmanuel Macron has asked industry, households and municipal authorities to reduce their energy consumption by 10% in response to Russia's cut to gas supplies and spiralling energy prices. La Defense lies to the west of Paris, and is often regarded as the French capital's version of London's Canary Wharf. (Reporting by Sudip Kar-GuptaEditing by Mark Potter)
Read More Here
The Pope visits Assisi

The Pope visits Assisi

Pope Francis is visting the Italian town of Assisi for an Economy of Francesco event on Saturday, and city of Matera for the conclusion of the 27th National Eucharistic Congress on Sunday . This will mark Pope Francis' sixth visit to Assisi. The Holy Father since the start of his pontificate frequently visited the land of St. Francis, for whom the Pontiff took his namesake. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQzSi0ORIug This time he goes for the 'Economy of Francesco' event, an international conference aimed at young economists, entrepreneurs and change-makers engaged in thinking and practising a different type of economy In Assisi, the Pope…
Read More Here
Greek PM tells Turkish people ‘we are not enemies’

Greek PM tells Turkish people ‘we are not enemies’

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis accused Turkey's leadership of undermining peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean region at time of war but assured Turkish people that Greece is not a threat to their country. The two countries - North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies but historic foes - have been at odds for decades over a range of issues including where their continental shelves start and end, energy resources, overflights in the Aegean Sea, the status of demilitarised islands and divided Cyprus. "Turkey's leadership seems to have a strange fixation with my country. ... They threaten that Turkey will…
Read More Here
Italy’s election campaign ends, tensions between EU and right flares

Italy’s election campaign ends, tensions between EU and right flares

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's leaders held their final rallies on Friday ahead of a parliamentary election at the weekend that is expected to be won by a rightist alliance, putting Rome on possible collision course with Brussels. A trio of centre-left and centrist groups held their closing meetings in different squares across the Italian capital, underscoring their failure to forge a united electoral pact - a decision that has enormously benefitted the conservative bloc. Opinion polls have all predicted that Giorgia Meloni's nationalist Brothers of Italy group will emerge as the leading party on Sunday and share power with its…
Read More Here
France sets minimum delivery fee for online book orders

France sets minimum delivery fee for online book orders

PARIS, Sept 23 (Reuters) - France plans to impose a minimum delivery fee of 3 euros ($2.93) for online book orders of less than 35 euros to level the playing field for independent bookstores struggling to compete against e-commerce giants, the government said on Friday. A 2014 French law already prohibits free book deliveries, but Amazon and other vendors such as Fnac have circumvented this by charging only 1 euro cent per delivery. Local book stores typically charge up to 7 euros for shipping a book. Legislation was passed in December 2021 to close the one-cent loophole through a minimum…
Read More Here
Italy marginally revises up 2021 GDP growth to 6.7%, trims debt

Italy marginally revises up 2021 GDP growth to 6.7%, trims debt

ROME, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Italy's economy grew by 6.7% last year, national statistics bureau ISTAT reported on Friday, marginally revising up its previous estimate of 6.6% made in April. The economic contraction in COVID-19 hit 2020 was confirmed at 9.0%, ISTAT said. The public debt for 2021 was revised down to 150.3% from a previously reported 150.8%. The revisions are part of ISTAT's standard data release calendar and reflect the arrival of more complete economic data. Italy's budget deficit as a proportion of national output was confirmed at 7.2% in 2021, down from 9.5% the previous year. The statistics…
Read More Here
Italy’s right seen winning election but watch out for 5-Star, pollsters say

Italy’s right seen winning election but watch out for 5-Star, pollsters say

ROME, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Italy's rightist bloc led by Giorgia Meloni is strongly expected to win Sunday's election but voter sentiment has shifted in the last two weeks and surprises should not be ruled out, pollsters say. Since publication of opinion polls was banned two weeks ago the left-leaning, unaligned 5-Star Movement appears to have made significant progress while the rightist League is struggling, according to seven pollsters interviewed by Reuters. Matteo Salvini's League is the main ally of Meloni's Brothers of Italy party, which has probably consolidated its position as the most popular force ahead of Enrico Letta's…
Read More Here
EU’s von der Leyen delivers veiled warning to Italy’s right wing

EU’s von der Leyen delivers veiled warning to Italy’s right wing

BRUSSELS, Sept 23 (Reuters) - European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has warned Italy of consequences should it veer away from democratic principles, issuing a barely veiled threat ahead of Sunday's election that a rightist bloc led by Giorgia Meloni is expected to win. The comments highlighted concern in some European capitals over the forthcoming election and suggested that relations between Brussels and Rome could get turbulent if Meloni and her partners secure victory. "My approach is that whatever democratic government is willing to work with us, we're working together," von der Leyen said at Princeton University in the…
Read More Here
UPDATED: Putin invaded to put ‘decent people’ in Kyiv, says Italy’s Berlusconi

UPDATED: Putin invaded to put ‘decent people’ in Kyiv, says Italy’s Berlusconi

ROME, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin was "pushed" into invading Ukraine and wanted to put "decent people" in charge of Kyiv, former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi has said, drawing fierce criticism just ahead of Italy's election. The Italian leader, whose Forza Italia party belongs to a right-wing coalition expected to win the general election on Sunday, is a long-time friend of Putin and his comments are likely to alarm Western allies. "Putin was pushed by the Russian people, by his party, by his ministers to come up with this special operation," Berlusconi told Italian public television RAI…
Read More Here
Meloni and Berlusconi take the stage as Italy’s right eyes victory

Meloni and Berlusconi take the stage as Italy’s right eyes victory

ROME(Reuters) - The leaders of Italy's right-wing alliance put on a show of unity on Thursday and promised a new era of stable government at a closing rally three days before an election which they are on course to win. Giorgia Meloni of the Brothers of Italy (Fdi), Matteo Salvini of the League and former premier Silvio Berlusconi of Forza Italia, aged 85, appeared before thousands of supporters in Rome. They spoke from a stage bearing the slogan "Together, for Italy" in their first joint event in a campaign that has seen them lead in polls but also quarrel over…
Read More Here
Shakira vows to fight ‘false’ Spanish tax accusations in first public comments

Shakira vows to fight ‘false’ Spanish tax accusations in first public comments

MADRID (Reuters) - Colombian superstar Shakira vowed to fight what she claimed were "false" accusations by Spanish authorities that she dodged 14.5 million euros ($14.31 million) in taxes, in her first public comments on a case that could see her sent to prison for up to eight years. Shakira, 45, is facing trial in Spain accused of failing to pay taxes between 2012 and 2014, a period in which she said she was leading a "nomadic life" because of her work. "I have to fight for what I believe because these are false accusations," the 'Hips don't lie' singer told…
Read More Here
Italy’s watchdog asks Facebook for clarification on pre-election activities

Italy’s watchdog asks Facebook for clarification on pre-election activities

MILAN, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Italy's Data Protection Agency has asked Facebook to clarify the activities the social media giant has engaged in ahead of Sunday's national elections, it said on Thursday. Tech giant Meta , which owns social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, has launched an information campaign targeting potential Italian voters ahead of a parliamentary election called for Sept. 25. The initiative, which Meta says is aimed at countering interference and removing content that discourages voting, includes collaboration with independent fact-checking organisations and the use of a Virtual Operations Centre to identify potential threats in real-time.…
Read More Here
Spain readies system of flexible energy use in peak hours

Spain readies system of flexible energy use in peak hours

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain will create a system allowing energy-intensive companies to disconnect from the grid for up to three hours a day during peak usage in exchange for compensation amid the European energy crisis, Energy Minister Teresa Ribera said. Industry Minister Reyes Maroto said this week the government could resort to forced power cuts for such companies this winter, but it was not necessary for the moment. Under the proposed system announced by Ribera, however, power-intensive industries, such as steel- or tile-making, could themselves opt to cut or reduce energy usage for a maximum of three hours with a…
Read More Here
Youth vote more important than ever in Italy’s election

Youth vote more important than ever in Italy’s election

ROME  (Reuters) - For the first time in Italian history, 18-24-year-olds will enjoy full voting rights at the Sept. 25 national election, meaning the voice of young people should count more than ever before. Ending a long-standing anomaly, the minimum voting age for the upper house Senate has been lowered from 25 to 18, bringing it into line with the lower house Chamber of Deputies. The two houses of parliament have equal powers. "In terms of numbers, of course it means that young people matter more in these elections," Livio Gigliuto, vice-president of the Istituto Piepoli polling institute, told Reuters.…
Read More Here
Two tremors felt in Ascoli Piceno in Italy

Two tremors felt in Ascoli Piceno in Italy

Two strong earthquakes were felt in Ascoli Piceno , the first around 12:25, the second a minute later. The Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology  (Ingv) said they had a magnitude of  4.1 for the first shock and 3.6 for the second. The epicenter is located in Folignano (Ascoli Piceno, 24 km deep). So far there were no reports of damages or vicitims. Via ANSA
Read More Here
Cyprus cancels meeting with Lavrov after EU says will step up sanctions

Cyprus cancels meeting with Lavrov after EU says will step up sanctions

NICOSIA, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades cancelled a meeting scheduled with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in New York after EU foreign ministers agreed to prepare new sanctions against Russia, a government official said on Thursday. The two had been expected to meet on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly late on Wednesday. "In anticipation of the decisions of the EU the guidelines from Brussels to avoid bilateral meetings with Russia were followed," Cyprus government spokesman Marios Pelekanos told state radio. Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides had earlier participated in a meeting of the EU's…
Read More Here
Greece extends energy bill subsidies ahead of ‘winter battle’

Greece extends energy bill subsidies ahead of ‘winter battle’

ATHENS, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Greece will pay out a further 1.1 billion euros ($1.09 billion) in power bill subsidies in October to shield households and businesses from the impact of soaring energy prices ahead of winter, Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas said on Wednesday. Like other European countries, Greece is grappling with a sharp rise in power bills in recent months, driven by rocketing gas prices that have been exacerbated by Russia's seven-month-old invasion of Ukraine. So far, it has devoted over 9 billion euros to power subsidies and other measures since last September to help households, businesses and farmers…
Read More Here
Pope says Ukraine subjected to savageness, monstrosities, torture

Pope says Ukraine subjected to savageness, monstrosities, torture

VATICAN CITY, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Pope Francis said on Wednesday that Ukrainians were being subjected to savageness, monstrosities and torture, calling them a "noble" people being martyred. Speaking at the end of his general audience in St. Peter's Square, Francis, who did not name Russia, told the crowd of a conversation he had on Tuesday with Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, his charity chief who is delivering aid in Ukraine. Vatican media said Krajewski, who is Polish, came under light gunfire last week while delivering aid. He also visited mass graves. Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne
Read More Here
Meloni says Italy’s right-wing alliance ready to govern

Meloni says Italy’s right-wing alliance ready to govern

ROME, (Reuters) - Italy's right-wing bloc will easily agree on major policy priorities despite recent disagreements if it wins this weekend's national election, the alliance's de facto leader, Giorgia Meloni, said. Meloni's party, Brothers of Italy, is widely expected to top the polls on Sunday, making her the frontrunner to be Italy's next prime minister. Opponents say her conservative alliance, which also includes Matteo Salvini's League and Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia, will struggle to stay united after divisions emerged during campaigning over energy and foreign policy.e But Meloni dismissed such concerns, telling state broadcaster RAI it had only taken two…
Read More Here
European court rules against parents of missing Madeleine McCann

European court rules against parents of missing Madeleine McCann

(Reuters) - The European Court of Human Rights ruled on against the parents of missing British toddler Madeleine McCann, saying that Portugal had given them a fair hearing in their libel battle against a former Portuguese policeman. The police officer, Goncalo Amaral, who worked on the investigation into Madeleine's disappearance in 2007 on a family holiday in Portugal, suggested in a book he authored, "Truth of the Lie", that the youngster's parents had been involved. Kate and Gerry McCann sued Amaral for libel. In 2015, a Portuguese court ruled in their favour, ordering Amaral to pay them damages. Two years…
Read More Here
EU, France see no better deal for Iran

EU, France see no better deal for Iran

France said on that there would not be a better offer for Iran to revive a nuclear deal with world powers and it was up to Tehran to decide now with the EU coordinator for the talks saying he saw little chance of progress this week. Months of indirect talks between Iran and the United States have foundered over several issues, including Tehran's insistence the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) close an investigation into uranium traces found at three undeclared sites before the pact is revived, and a U.S. guarantee that Washington would not walk out of any nuclear agreement again. "There…
Read More Here
Photo Story: The San Gennaro blood liquefaction ritual in Naples

Photo Story: The San Gennaro blood liquefaction ritual in Naples

The archbishop of Naples Domenico Battaglia holds a vial believed to contain the blood of the 3rd century saint San Gennaro (Saint Januarius) during the so-called liquefaction miracle, in the Chapel of the Treasury, in Naples, Italy, 19 September 2022. Faithful gather three times a year to witness the liquefaction of the otherwise coagulated blood of the saint. The blood of Naples' patron saint Gennaro liquefied during the ceremony, leading to relief among some superstitious Neapolitans who see it as a good omen Photo: EPA-EFE/Ciro Fusco
Read More Here
‘It would be a joy to be Italy’s PM,’ League leader says

‘It would be a joy to be Italy’s PM,’ League leader says

PONTIDA, Italy, Sept 18 (Reuters) - The rightist League aims to win the Italian premiership when the country holds an election next week, its leader Matteo Salvini told his party's annual rally in northern Italy on Sunday. A conservative alliance of parties, including the League, is widely expected to win the Sept. 25 election. But it is likely to be a bittersweet moment for Salvini who has seen his position as undisputed leader of the right usurped by Giorgia Meloni. "For me, it would be a pride, a joy, a thrill to be chosen by you and President Sergio Mattarella as prime…
Read More Here
France’s health body warns of resurgence of COVID virus in the country

France’s health body warns of resurgence of COVID virus in the country

France's national health body warned on Friday of a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the country, and urged people to continue to get vaccinated to protect themselves against the virus. The Sante Publique France (SPF) body said that during the week of Sept 5-Sept 11, there had been 186 confirmed COVID cases for every 100,000 people in France - a figure up 12% versus the previous week - representing an average of around 18,000 new cases per day. Earlier this week, Emer Cooke - the executive director for the European Medicines Agency (EMA) watchdog - told a Reuters Next Newsmaker…
Read More Here
France denies it may halt power exports to Italy

France denies it may halt power exports to Italy

PARIS, Sept 17 (Reuters) - France on Saturday denied reports that state-controlled utility EDF EDF.PA had warned Italy it may halt its power exports to the country and reaffirmed its commitment to "solidarity" with its neighbors as Europe grapples with an energy crisis. Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported earlier on Saturday that Italy had received written notification from EDF regarding a potential two-year halt on power exports as part of France's energy-saving plans.  A spokesperson for Italy's ministry of ecological transition later confirmed the newspaper report. "French authorities deny this information and reaffirm their commitment to reciprocal electricity and gas solidarity with all of…
Read More Here
Ageing ‘giant’ Berlusconi seeks lead role at Italy’s election

Ageing ‘giant’ Berlusconi seeks lead role at Italy’s election

ROME, (Reuters) - Shrugging off old age, ill-health, sex scandals and a criminal conviction, Silvio Berlusconi is in the thick of yet another Italian election campaign as the four-times prime minister battles for a central role after the vote. Berlusconi, who will turn 86 four days after the Sept. 25 ballot, looks sure to be on the winning side, even if he is now the junior partner in the rightist alliance he used to dominate. Opinion polls give his conservative Forza Italia party around 8% of the vote. That compares with 12% for Matteo Salvini's League and 24% for Giorgia…
Read More Here
Italy approves new 14 billion euros aid package against inflation, officials say

Italy approves new 14 billion euros aid package against inflation, officials say

ROME, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Italy approved on Friday a new aid package worth some 14 billion euros ($14 billion) to shield firms and families from surging energy costs and consumer prices, government officials told Reuters. Probably the last major act by Prime Minister Mario Draghi before the Sept. 25 national election, the new package comes on top of some 52 billion euros already budgeted since January to soften the energy crisis in Italy. Draghi and his economy and energy ministers will unveil the measures in a press conference scheduled at 1315 GMT. The scheme is funded through higher value…
Read More Here
Flights cancelled as French air traffic controllers on strike

Flights cancelled as French air traffic controllers on strike

PARIS, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Airlines cancelled half of flights scheduled for Paris on Friday and many others that would have flown over France, as a strike by air traffic controllers imposed the latest round of disruption on European air travel. "It is inexplicable that thousands of European citizens/visitors will have their travel plans unfairly disrupted by yet another French ATC (air traffic control) strike," Ryanair said in a statement. The travel plans of 80,000 passengers had been affected when it had cancelled 420 flights, mainly intended to fly over France, the airline added. Strikes and staff shortages in the…
Read More Here
UPDATED: At least 10 dead as flash floods hit Italy’s Marche region

UPDATED: At least 10 dead as flash floods hit Italy’s Marche region

Ten people are dead after violent storms and flash floods hit the central Italian region of Marche, the Ancona prefect's department said on Friday, as rescuers continued to search for four people missing. Around 400 millimetres of rain fell within two to three hours, inundating the streets of several towns around the region's capital Ancona on the Adriatic coast. Aftermath of flash floods caused by the Sanguerone River due to an overnight rain bomb in Sassoferrato, Ancona province, central Italy, 16 September 2022. At least 10 people died following flash floods due to rain bombs and heavy winds in the…
Read More Here
Vatican sought Xi-Pope meeting in Kazakhstan, China declined – source

Vatican sought Xi-Pope meeting in Kazakhstan, China declined – source

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE, (Reuters) - The Vatican told China that Pope Francis was willing to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping while both leaders where in the Kazakh capital but China said there was not enough time, a Vatican source said. The source gave no details on how or when the Vatican approached China, with which it is involved in a delicate dialogue over the status of the Roman Catholic Church in the country. The source said the Vatican made "an expression of availability". The Chinese side said they "appreciated the gesture" but that there was no free time on…
Read More Here
Pope says supplying weapons to Ukraine is morally acceptable for self defence

Pope says supplying weapons to Ukraine is morally acceptable for self defence

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (Reuters) - Pope Francis said it was morally legitimate for nations to supply weapons to Ukraine to help the country defend itself from Russian aggression. Speaking to reporters aboard a plane returning from a three-day trip to Kazakhstan, Francis also urged Kyiv to be open to eventual dialogue, even though it may "smell" because it would be difficult for the Ukrainian side. The war in Ukraine, which Russia invaded on Feb. 24, provided the backdrop to the pope's visit to Kazakhstan, where he attended a congress of religious leaders from around the world. In a 45-minute-long…
Read More Here
Greek jobless rate drops to 12.4% in second quarter

Greek jobless rate drops to 12.4% in second quarter

ATHENS, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Greece's jobless rate fell to 12.4 in the second quarter from 13.8% in the first quarter of the year, data by the country's statistics service ELSTAT showed on Thursday. About 62.6% of Greece's 591,600 jobless are long-term unemployed, meaning they have been out of work for at least 12 months, the figures showed. Greece's highest unemployment rate was recorded in the first quarter of 2014, when it hit 27.8%. The data showed that women and young people in the 15-19 age group were most affected among the jobless. The jobless rate for women was 16.6%…
Read More Here
Italy’s Meloni clashes with ally Salvini over energy crisis

Italy’s Meloni clashes with ally Salvini over energy crisis

Salvini frustrated by Meloni's caution over energy bills ROME, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Long simmering tensions between Giorgia Meloni, tipped to become Italy's next prime minister after this month's election, and her ally Matteo Salvini, head of the rightist League, have bubbled to the surface 10 days before the vote. Meloni's nationalist Brothers of Italy group is widely forecast to leapfrog Salvini's League at the Sept. 25 ballot and emerge as the country's largest party, ensuring victory for their conservative alliance that also includes Forza Italia. However, friction between the two has become increasingly apparent, especially over how to respond…
Read More Here
Wildfire in southwestern France contained

Wildfire in southwestern France contained

PARIS, Sept 15 (Reuters) - A wildfire raging since Monday in southwestern France, which has burned more than 3,700 hectares of land in the wine-growing Medoc region, is now contained, local authorities said on Thursday. "The fire has not made any progress. No new areas burned. No new evacuations", the prefect's office said in its morning update on the situation, adding almost 1,000 firefighters have been battling the flames throughout the night. The blaze, which destroyed four houses and several buildings, prompted authorities to evacuate more than 1,800 people earlier this week. France, like the rest of Europe, has had…
Read More Here
ESA Italian astronaut Cristoforetti becomes first European female ISS commander

ESA Italian astronaut Cristoforetti becomes first European female ISS commander

Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti will soon be the commander of the International Space Station (ISS), the European Space Agency (ESA) said on Wednesday. Cristoforetti will take the helm from the current commander, Russian Oleg Artemyev, to become the first European woman to hold this position. "I am humbled by my appointment to the position of commander," said Samantha, who has been on the ISS since beginning her Minerva mission in April. "I look forward to drawing on the experience I've gained in space and on Earth to lead a very capable team in orbit." Cristoforetti, who is in space for…
Read More Here
No risk of total blackout in France but vigilance needed – RTE

No risk of total blackout in France but vigilance needed – RTE

PARIS, Sept 14 (Reuters) - There is no risk of a total blackout in France this winter due to the current energy crisis, but some power cuts cannot be ruled out during peaks of demand, grid operator RTE said Wednesday. RTE said lowering national electricity consumption by 1% to 5% in most scenarios and up to 15% in an extreme scenario of gas shortage and very cold weather could help avert a power crunch. It added it would be on alert to monitor market developments from November, or sooner if needed. RTE usually starts its winter monitoring in January. The…
Read More Here
Greek actress and singer Irene Papas dies aged 96

Greek actress and singer Irene Papas dies aged 96

ATHENS, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Greek actress and singer Irene Papas, who gained international recognition starring in classic 1960s films such as "Zorba the Greek" and "The Guns of Navarone", has died at the age of 96, Greece's culture ministry said on Wednesday. Papas enjoyed a 50-year film career capped by John Madden's "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" in 2001 alongside Hollywood stars Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz, and Manoel de Oliveira's "A Talking Picture" in 2003, her final performance alongside Catherine Deneuve and John Malkovich. "Zorba the Greek", a smash hit in 1964, in which she starred alongside Anthony Quinn and…
Read More Here
Russian funding claims spice up Italian election

Russian funding claims spice up Italian election

ROME, Sept 14 (Reuters) - U.S. claims that Russia has given at least $300 million to political parties in more than two dozen countries sent a jolt through Italy's election campaign on Wednesday, with right-wing leaders denying they had received clandestine cash. The U.S. State Department on Tuesday released a summary of a recent U.S. intelligence review of Russian efforts to influence foreign politics, including support for unnamed far-right nationalist parties. Although it did not detail the countries concerned, the report revived long-standing and repeatedly denied suspicions that some Italian parties have received funding from Russian President Vladimir Putin. Italy…
Read More Here
UPDATED: Air France cancels 55% of short, medium-haul flights Sept. 16 due to strike

UPDATED: Air France cancels 55% of short, medium-haul flights Sept. 16 due to strike

PARIS, Sept 14 (Reuters) - A strike by French air traffic controllers will cause Air France to operate only 45% of its short and medium-haul flights on Friday, Sept. 16, the airline said on Wednesday. Air France also plans to operate 90% of its long-haul flights that day, the statement said. France's DGAC aviation authority said on Tuesday it had asked airlines to halve their flight schedules on Sept. 16, due to a planned strike by air traffic controllers. Strikes across the aviation industry, including ground and cabin personnel seeking to have their salaries adjusted to increased living costs amid…
Read More Here
France is not falling into recession, Le Maire says

France is not falling into recession, Le Maire says

PARIS, Sept 14 (Reuters) - French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Wednesday that the economy was not facing recession after the government lowered its economic outlook for 2023. Le Maire also told CNews television that 2022 economic growh was being revised up to 2.7% from 2.5%. "France is not going into a recession. France is having a good 2022. We have revised up our growth estimate to 2.7% from 2.5%," Le Maire said. The French government on Tuesday lowered the 2023 economic growth outlook to 1% from 1.4% previously. Asked to comment on government plans to allow a…
Read More Here