Rome

Italian leaders are holding observances on Liberation Day, which celebrates the end of the country’s fascist dictatorship during World War II, with appeals against glorifying dictator Benito Mussolini.

The celebrations Thursday comes after fans of the Lazio soccer club performed fascist salutes and hung a banner that read “Honor to Benito Mussolini” before a match in Milan on Wednesday.

President Sergio Mattarella visited the memorial to the Unknown Soldier in Rome on Thursday after making an appeal against re-writing history.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte visited the Ardeatine Caves, the site in Rome’s outskirts where 335 people were shot to death in 1944 by occupying German forces as a reprisal for an attack by partisans that killed 33 Nazi soldiers.

Deputy Premier Luigi Di Maio visited a synagogue.

Source: Fox News World

Italy’s government has written to the European Union asking it to prepare a plan of action to address the risk of a new wave of migrants escaping from the armed conflict in Libya.

Italy’s Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero spoke on Wednesday at a joint news conference in Rome after meeting with the United Nation envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame. Moavero didn’t provide additional details on Italy’s request.

Italy’s anti-immigration Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has ordered that migrant rescue boats cannot enter Italian ports.

Salame downplayed Italy’s fears that a huge number of African refugees could leave Libya trying to reach Europe.

“We know that about 700,000 migrants are in our country now, but not even a minority of them wants to cross the Mediterranean,” Salame told journalists.

Source: Fox News World

A Frenchman has died after his sailboat capsized off the coast of the Italian island of Sardinia but his female companion has survived.

Italian news agency ANSA said strong winds Sunday turned the boat over in waters off the southern end of the Mediterranean island. The woman and the couple’s dog were rescued and were quickly plucked to safety.

ANSA said the Italian coast guard found the Frenchman’s body on a nearby rocky reef.

The sailboat capsized as it was apparently heading back to port after conditions worsened.

Elsewhere in southern Italy, wind-whipped waters caused the cancellation of ferry runs between Sicily and the Aeolian islands, isolating residents and tourists on the archipelago.

Source: Fox News World

The foreign ministers of Italy and France say their countries are trying to forge a common strategy on Libya.

Italy’s minster, Enzo Moavero Milanesi, told reporters Friday after the two held talks in Rome that lower-ranking ministry officials will meet next week in the Italian capital “to build the path toward a goal that remains a shared one.”

French Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says there’ll be no progress toward ending the current fighting in Libya “without a solid Franco-Italian agreement.”

Italy and France both have energy and other strategic interests in Libya.

Fighting this month by militias loyal to rival governments in Tripoli and in eastern Libya is threatening to trigger a civil war on the scale of the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Source: Fox News World

Italian police say they have arrested a 42-year-old gravestone maker after they found more than a kilogram (2.4 pounds) of cocaine hidden in two burial chambers at a Rome cemetery.

Police say Thursday that officers in pain clothes entered the Verano Monumental Cemetery after noticing a car going in at high speed. Police say the driver entered a chapel and removed the gravestone of a burial recess.

Police say they found cocaine, scales and other drug-related items Wednesday.

A few meters (yards) from the first hiding place the agents spotted another loose gravestone and found a handgun and ammunition.

The suspect is a marble worker who makes gravestones. He was detained on charges of drug trafficking and illegal possession of weapons.

Source: Fox News World

The first palace built by Rome’s most notorious emperor, Nero, has reopened to the public after an extensive renovation.

Visitors to Nero’s Domus Transitoria (or Transit House), which opened Friday after a decade of structural work and renovations, must descend underground to view the rooms and gardens of the residence, covered over the centuries by other buildings and debris.

Domus Transitoria was criticized even by Nero’s contemporaries for its opulence, with inlaid marble, frescoed walls and ceilings, and trimmings of gold and precious gems. Built on the Palatine Hill almost 2,000 years ago, it predated the more famous Domus Aurea (Golden Palace.)

Alfonsina Russo, general manager of the Colosseum archaeological park, said that “Nero wanted an atmosphere that expressed his ideology, that of an absolute ruler, an absolute monarch.”

Source: Fox News World

The Vatican has for the first time opened its own investigation into the case of Emanuela Orlandi, a 15-year-old Vatican citizen who disappeared in the summer of 1983.

The Orlandi family’s lawyer, Laura Sgrò, confirmed the probe on Wednesday. She told The Associated Press that “the Secretariat of State has authorized the opening of an investigation into a grave in the Teutonic Cemetery inside the Vatican,” after an anonymous tipster indicated that people should look where a statue of an angel in the cemetery is pointing.

The Vatican said on March 27 it was handling a request from the Orlandi family to reopen a tomb indicated by the angel.

Interim Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said on Wednesday that “at the moment, I don’t have any statement to make on the issue.”

Source: Fox News World

Sergio Zanotti, an Italian businessman who was kidnapped in Syria three years ago, has been released.

The office of Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Friday that Zanotti is “in good general condition and will be repatriated to Rome in a few hours.”

According to media reports, Zanotti, a businessman from the Italian northern city of Brescia, had been kidnapped in Syria in April 2016 by armed groups linked to al-Qaeda. The prime minister’s statement said “at the end of a complex and delicate activity of intelligence, investigation and diplomacy … today we succeeded in obtaining the release of Sergio Zanotti.”

Seven months after his kidnapping, Zanotti appeared in a video asking the Italian government to intervene to make sure he was not slain.

Source: Fox News World

The Latest on migrants and asylum-seekers in Europe (all times local):

5:25 p.m.

Hundreds of migrants are gathering outside a camp near the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, planning a long trek through heavily guarded Balkan borders to seek asylum in Europe’s prosperous heartland.

Police said more than 500 people, including families with small children, gathered Thursday in a cornfield outside the Diavata migrant camp, some 10 kilometers (6 miles) west of Thessaloniki, some setting up tents. Dozens more were approaching on foot.

Migrants said they were responding to an anonymous call on social media to go to Greece’s border with North Macedonia 60 kilometers (38 miles) away and push through, reviving a migration route that was firmly shut down in 2016.

The United Nations refugee agency has warned migrants against the social media calls, saying irregular border crossings are “risky and dangerous.”

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12 noon

A humanitarian ship with 64 rescued migrants aboard is stuck at sea as Italy and Malta refuse it safe harbor.

Their refusal sets the stage for another Mediterranean standoff that can only be resolved if European governments agree to accept the asylum-seekers.

Carlotta Weibl, spokeswoman for the German humanitarian organization Sea-Eye, said Thursday that the ship was near the Italian island of Lampedusa: “Malta says we can’t enter their waters and we are unlikely to get permission from Italy.”

Sea-Eye’s ship, the Alan Kurdi, rescued the migrants on Wednesday near Libya.

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said the German ship should “go to Hamburg.”

But Weibl said “it’s a journey of 3-4 weeks. We don’t have food and water, so it’s completely out of question.”

Source: Fox News World

Rome city authorities have begun moving several Roma families out of a public housing project in a Rome suburb after violent protests by neo-fascist groups threatened their safety.

Far-right protesters from the neo-fascist party Forza Nuova screamed insults and threw objects at a van that removed several people late Wednesday. Some did a raised-arm fascist gesture known as the “Roman salute” and sang the Italian national anthem. Some neighbors turned out and applauded the Roma families’ departure.

Mayor Virginia Raggi described a “very heavy climate of hatred” during a Tuesday evening protest allegedly incited by two far-right groups, Casa Pound and Forza Nuova, against the arrival of the Roma families on the outskirts of Rome.

Raggi said the families, including 33 children, were being placed elsewhere in the meantime.

Source: Fox News World


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