ROME, July 15, 2018 (News Wires) — Italy said on Saturday that Malta and France had agreed to take 100 of the 450 migrants who were rescued from a fishing boat in the Mediterranean, claiming victory in the latest standoff but demanding even greater European solidarity.
Premier Giuseppe Conte said that Malta and France had come forward in response to his request to all 27 other members of the European Union to share the burden of welcoming the migrants.
"It's an important result," Conte wrote on Facebook, along with a copy of the letter he wrote to top European Commission officials demanding that other European countries make good on their verbal pledges to help Italy deal with the influx.
The migrants had been aboard a large fishing boat when the Italian and Maltese coast guard control centres began squabbling Friday over who was responsible for taking them in.
Malta said it had fulfilled its obligations by monitoring the vessel to see if it needed help. Malta says the ship's crew made clear they didn't need help and were heading towards the Italian island of Lampedusa.
Italy insisted Malta should have opened its ports to the ship.
Early Saturday, the migrants were taken off the boat and transferred onto a rescue vessel from the EU border patrol agency Frontex and a ship from the Italian border police.
The Maltese government said Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had agreed to participate in the migrant relocation initiative, similar to one involving the Lifeline ship of a German aid group several weeks ago. But he stressed that Malta at all times followed international law.
In just one month in office, Italy under the hard-line, anti-migrant Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has upended years of Italian policy towards migrants by refusing them entry.
Italy in general feels that the European Union has left it alone to handle the tens of thousands of migrants coming across the sea every year. Salvini is pressing the EU to step up and take in the migrants who land in Italy and is trying to help Libya prevent them from leaving.
Aid officials say migrants who are being returned to Libya are at risk of facing abuse, rape, beatings and slavery.
ROME, July 14, 2018 (MENA) - Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has said that a boat carrying 450 migrants, now in Maltese-competence waters, can't come to his country as he wrestled with another migrant case that pitted him against President Sergio Mattarella and caused a government split.
"A boat with 450 CLANDESTINES aboard has since this morning been in waters under the competence of Malta, which has said it will intervene. A few hours later, however, no one has moved and the boat has started heading for Italy again," Salvini was quoted by ANSA news agency as saying.
"Let Malta, the migrant smugglers and the do-gooders of all of Italy and all the world know that this boat CANNOT and MUST NOT arrive in an Italian port.
"We've already done our bit, understood?" The Italian foreign ministry sent a note to the Maltese embassy in Rome saying that Rome asked Valletta to meet its responsibilities with the maximum urgency.
ROME, July 13, 2018 (News Wires) - Italian prosecutors are investigating alleged threats by migrants against a tugboat crew who rescued them in the sea off Libya. An Italian coast guard vessel brought back 67 migrants Thursday night to Trapani, in western Sicily.
Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has said a Sudanese and a Ghanaian among the migrants allegedly tried to hijack the tug so it wouldn't return them to Libya, where migrants have been tortured in crowded detention centers.
Salvini had demanded the migrants not be allowed to disembark.
After President Sergio Mattarella expressed humanitarian concerns Thursday, authorities gave docking permission. Young children and women, including an injured woman, were among the migrants rescued on Sunday by the Italian tug.
The tug's captain, saying the migrants were rebelling, asked Italy's coast guard to take the migrants.
MILAN, July 10, 2018 (News Wires) - Italy will bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics despite having withdrawn two bids to host the Summer Games in Rome.
The Italian Olympic Committee said on Tuesday that Cortina, Milan, and Turin have put themselves forward and the bid city will be decided on at its next meeting, on Aug. 1 or Sept. 10.
An evaluation committee of 11 people, including the president of the Italian ski federation and a CONI vice president, will carry out feasibility studies and draw up a report for the board.
Two years ago, Italy was forced to suspend Rome's bid for the 2024 Olympics because of the staunch opposition of the city's mayor.
It was the second time in four years a Rome bid was withdrawn or suspended. In 2012, then-premier Mario Monti scrapped the city's bid for the 2020 Olympics because of financial concerns.
ROME, July 10, 2018 (News Wires) — Actor George Clooney was taken to the hospital in Sardinia and released after being involved in an accident while riding his motorcycle, hospital officials said.
The John Paul II hospital in Olbia said Clooney was released Tuesday. Local media that had gathered at the hospital said Clooney is believed to have left through a side exit.
Local daily La Nuova Sardegna said the 57-year-old Clooney had been headed to a film set on Tuesday when his motorbike was hit by a car. Private Mediaset, citing gossip magazine Chi, said the accident occurred near Costa Corallina, in the province of Olbia.
Police had no immediate information. Calls and emails to Clooney's spokesman weren't immediately returned.
By Paolo Sabbatini
As I announced in my previous article, several Italian films, whether for cinema or for television, were screened at the Cultural Institute in the past few days. To present the films, some experts from the sector were invited: Francesco Vedovati for the inauguration on July 1; David Abatecola, on July 2, to present some short films by the students of the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, Cinecitta, Rome; Francesco Braida, screenwriter, on July 3, to comment on the film "Taranta on the Road"; Dario di Gennaro, television director, to present his successful series "Green Line", on Wednesday on July 4; and finally Paolo Vanino from the Culture Institute, to present the film "The Father and the Foreigner" on the closing evening, Thursday, July 5.
Talking to the director di Gennaro, I discovered that his family had very strong ties with Egypt, and so I was intrigued: I wanted to know more.
Since I am very interested in knowing the personal stories of my compatriots here, and especially in hearing anecdotes about the ancestors of the people I meet, Dario explained that probably the first member of his family to reach Egypt was his great-great-great-grandfather, who worked for the Suez Canal Company with the Italian engineer Luigi Negrelli.
As the story goes, Negrelli, a great expert on civil works for the Austro-Hungarian Empire, had begun making the plans for the Canal in 1836, and he took part in the various technical Commissions for the gigantic work even when the Canal was entrusted to Ferdinand de Lesseps, some decades later. Apparently, the projects adopted were those of Negrelli, who did not receive due recognition, unfortunately.
Benedetto di Lernia, son of Negrelli’s assistant (therefore the great-great-grandfather of Dario), took his father's place on the Suez Canal work site. He married an Italian woman from Egypt, whose sister Loretta was married to an important high-ranking Egyptian officer, the equivalent of a prince: he was none other than the Commander of the royal yacht of the King of Egypt, probably King Fuad I.
According to family tradition, he kept his post during the reign of King Farouk. They had two daughters, one of whom was called Aida, the fateful name of the Italians of Egypt.
The Di Lernia family, having been connected with the Canal, settled in Port Said, where they opened a petrol station and an emporium which was very well-known, because it stocked a great variety of items, from food to household utensils.
Naturally I went to consult the precious book "Yearbook of the Italians of Egypt" of 1938, a unique copy that is kept in the library of the Institute; and indeed, at page 6 of the General Index, I found the following information: Food stores – Canal area, Port Said, Fratelli Di Lernia, via Tantah, tel. 22.29.656.
Who knows what happened to the shop, after the whole family left Egypt in the middle of the 20th Century? With Dario we will call the old number, because all things in life, present, past and future are linked with a red thread: and maybe we will take a trip to Port Said, to rediscover traditions. Dear readers, please follow!