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GENOA, Italy, August 18, 2018 (News Wires) - Rescuers scoured the wreckage of Italy’s bridge collapse on Wednesday as the death toll climbed to 37 and the government blamed the bridge’s private owner, demanding resignations and moving to strip its toll concession.

The 50-year-old bridge, part of a toll motorway linking the port city of Genoa with southern France, collapsed during torrential rain on Tuesday, sending dozens of vehicles crashing onto a riverbed, a railway and two warehouses.

As cranes moved in to shift truck-sized chunks of broken concrete, hundreds of firefighters searched for survivors, while public shock and grief turned to anger over the state of the 1.2 km-long bridge, completed in 1967 and overhauled two years ago.

The condition of the bridge, and its ability to sustain large increases in both the intensity and weight of traffic over the years, have been a focus of public debate since Tuesday’s collapse, when an 80-meter span gave way at lunchtime as cars packed with holidaymakers as well as trucks streamed across it.

Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said the private sector manager of the bridge had earned “billions” from tolls but “did not spend the money they were supposed to” and its concession should be revoked.

He was apparently referring to the bridge’s concession-holder, Italian motorway firm Autostrade, a unit of Atlantia group.

“Imposing the highest penalties possible and making sure that those responsible for the dead and the injured pay up for any damages and crimes is the very least,” he said.

Fire brigade spokesman Luca Cari said 400 firefighters were at the site, lifting big chunks of concrete to create spaces for rescue teams to check for survivors.

Italy’s transport minister said on Wednesday he had begun a process to strip Autostrade of its concession and he demanded top Autostrade managers resign.

ROME, August 14, 2018 (News Wires) - A motorway bridge collapsed on Tuesday over the northern Italian port city of Genoa in what the transport minister said was likely to be "an immense tragedy".

The head of the local ambulance service said there were "dozens of dead", Italian news agency Adnkronos reported.

The local fire brigade said also victims were likely after the bridge collapsed at around 11:30am (09:30GMT) during torrential rainfall.

An ambulance official told Reuters the service could only confirm two injured people so far, "but we suppose there are unfortunately a lot of dead."

Italian television showed images of the collapsed bridge, which was built on the A10 toll motorway in the 1960s. Restructuring work on the bridge was carried out in 2016.

It crumbled over a river, railroad tracks and buildings.

A witness told Sky Italia television he saw "eight or nine" vehicles on the bridge when it collapsed in what he said was an "apocalyptic scene".

Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli said in a tweet that he was "following with great apprehension what seems like an immense tragedy".

Shares in Atlantia, the toll road operator which runs the motorway, were suspended after falling 4.6 per cent after news of the collapse.

MILAN, August 13, 2018 (News Wires) — Italy's transport minister says Britain should take in 141 migrants picked up by a rescue ship that sails under the flag of the British territory of Gibraltar.

Italy continues to refuse port to ships run by humanitarian groups, and Danilo Toninelli said on Monday on Twitter that Britain should take responsibility for the migrants aboard the Aquarius, operated by French humanitarian groups.

Toninelli said the rescue was coordinated by the Libyan coast guard and that the ship was now in Maltese waters.

The French aid groups SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders have called on European nations to identify a close port of safety so the 141 migrants picked up in two rescues on Friday could disembark. Most of the migrants are from Somalia and Eritrea and include 67 unaccompanied minors.

BEIRUT, August 7, 2018 (MENA) - Italy's Defense Minister Elisabetta Trenta on Tuesday inspected her country's contingent operating within the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) at the Contingent's headquarters in Shamaa, Tyre district.

Trenta was accompanied by new UNIFIL Commander Major General Stefano del Col, Italian Chief of Defense Staff Gen. Claudio Graziano, Italian Ambassador to Lebanon Massimo Marotti, and an Italian senior military delegation, Lebanon's NNA news agency reported.

The Italian minister and her accompanying delegation were greeted by commander of the western sector of the UNIFIL, General Paolo Fabri, in addition to a number of Italian officers and peacekeepers.

She listened to a detailed explanation about the nature of the situation, the progress of the mission assigned to the Italian peacekeepers in the south, as well as the projects and services provided by the Office of Civilian-Military Cooperation office to the area's locals.

The minister praised the Italian forces' great efforts and sacrifices for the sake of peace in Lebanon and the world.


CAIRO, Aug 5, 2018 (MENA) - Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri met earlier on Sunday with his visiting Italian counterpart Enzo Moavero Milanesi to discuss means of boosting bilateral relations.

The meeting, currently held at El Tahrir Palace, is set to also tackle regional and international issues of mutual concern, atop of which is the situation in Libya.

The top diplomats will also discuss efforts to fight terrorism.

Shoukri and Moavero are set to hold a press conference at the end of their meeting.

CAIRO, August 2, 2018 (MENA) -- Transport Minister Hisham Arafat discussed with the Italian Ambassador to Egypt, Giampaolo Cantini, on Thursday co-operation over the railways and the underground (Metro).

"Egypt's transport sector is going through a major development process,” Minister Arafat said during the meeting.
He spoke of the promising investment opportunities in the transport sector, especially the Metro and the new railway lines that will be constructed.
"Great importance is being attached to the railways because they serve millions of commuters daily," the minister added.
Arafat and Cantini tackled co-operation over the safety and security of the railways.

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