LAMPEDUSA, June 29 -- A German charity rescue ship with 40 migrants on board has defied authorities and docked in the port of the Italian island of Lampedusa after being at sea for more than two weeks.
Italian news agency ANSA reported that an Italian customs police boat attempted to prevent the Sea-Watch 3 charity ship from docking on multiple occasions, but had to get out of the way in order to not be trapped against a wharf. Sea-Watch spokesman Ruben Neugebauer told the AFP news agency the ship's German captain Carola Rackete, 31, was arrested. The 40 migrants disembarked soon after the vessel docked early on Saturday, one kissing the ground, others hugging ship crew members before boarding a bus. Rackete was cuffed by police for refusing to obey a military vessel, after manoeuvring the ship into port without permission, a crime punishable by between three and 10 years in jail. While five European countries on Friday agreed to take in the migrants, permission for the Dutch-flagged Sea-Watch 3 to enter port and disembark the migrants did not come.
Proud of our captain
Rackete called the situation "incredibly tense" on Friday saying the migrants were finding the uncertainty "difficult ... psychologically". Matteo Salvini, Italy's interior minister and head of the right-wing League party, had previously said he would only allow Rackete to dock when other European Union states agree to immediately take the migrants. Even then, Italian authorities would seize the ship and prosecute its captain for assisting people-smugglers, he said. Premier Giuseppe Conte told reporters at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, on Friday three or four European countries were willing to take part in the redistribution of the migrants. In the meantime, prosecutors in Sicily launched a probe into Rackete on suspicion of aiding "illegal immigration". "Even though in the afternoon the prosecution has opened an investigation against me, at the same time they notified us that they will not help to bring the rescued off the ship," Rackete said in a video statement on Twitter. "I have decided to enter the harbour, which is free at night, on my own," she added.
MADRID, June 27 -- Europe's record-breaking heatwave is forecast to intensify further on Thursday with authorities on high alert as temperatures threaten to exceed 40 degrees Celsius in some parts of the continent.
The stifling heat prompted traffic restrictions in France, sparked forest fires in Spain, and fanned debate in Germany over public nudity as sweltering residents stripped down. Meteorologists blame a blast of hot air from northern Africa for the heat this week, which has already set new records in Europe for June. According to reports, the high temperatures have already claimed the lives of three people. Exceptional for arriving so early in summer, the heatwave will on Thursday and Friday likely send mercury above 40C in France, Spain and Greece. In Spain, hundreds of firefighters and soldiers, backed by water-dropping aircraft, battled on Wednesday to put out a wind-fuelled forest fire that erupted in Torre del Espanol in the northeastern region of Catalonia. The worst is expected on Friday when 33 of the 50 Spanish provinces face extreme temperatures, which could reach 44C in Girona. "Hell is coming," one Spanish TV weather presenter tweeted.
In France, temperatures "unprecedented" for their timing and intensity since detailed surveys started in 1947 were expected to reach at least 39C over two-thirds of the country, said weather service Meteo-France. Health official Jerome Saloman said the effect of the extreme heat was starting to be felt in France, with an increase in weather-related calls to emergency medical services. Some schools were expected to close on Thursday and Friday while several cities - including Paris and Lyon - restricted traffic to limit a build-up of air pollution. French authorities were taking no chances after the August 2003 heatwave was blamed for 15,000 deaths in the country, with television and radio broadcasts issuing warnings. In Greece, where about 100 people died in last year's deadly fires at the Mati coastal resort, hospitals and officials were on red alert with temperatures of 45C.
LAMPEDUSA, June 27 -- The "Sea-Watch 3" has been stopped by the Coast Guard off the coast of Lampedusa. The captain had previously overruled a ban on the Italian government - Interior Minister Salvini rages.
The hope for a quick mooring in Lampedusa has not been fulfilled. Within sight of the port of the Italian island, the "Sea-Watch 3" has been stopped by Coast Guard boats. Shortly thereafter, financial police had come on board, reported Carola Rackete, the captain of the rescue ship in a video on Twitter: "They checked our ship's papers and the crew's passports," she said. "Now they are waiting for further instructions from their superiors, and I really hope they will get the rescued from the ship soon."
Ship is in front of Lampedusa
So far, however, the ship with 42 rescued on board further ahead of Lampedusa at anchor. Captain Rackete had overruled an explicit ban on the government in Rome with her decision to sail into Italian territorial waters. Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini has repeatedly emphasized in recent days that he does not grant permission for the mooring of the ship of the German rescue organization. The European Court of Human Rights dismissed Italy's government on Tuesday and rejected an emergency petition from the Sea-Watch organization to land the rescued in Lampedusa. For the first time, a new law could be applied to those responsible for the "Sea-Watch 3", which the Government of Rome decided at the urging of Salvini in the middle of the month. It provides that those who bring rescuers to Italy without permission, the ship will be confiscated, and they have to pay fines of up to 50,000 euros.
"We are not afraid of the consequences"
Nevertheless, it was humanitarian duty to take course on Lampedusa, said Sea Watch spokesman Ruben Neugebauer. "We are not afraid of the consequences that threaten us, because we are convinced that it is the only right thing," he said. "We are the ones who defend human rights at sea against a European policy of foreclosure and drowning, and we are ready to accept the consequences."
Many of the people still on board are exhausted, according to Neugebauer, some have threatened to jump overboard. Italy's Interior Minister, on the other hand, reacted indignantly to the arrival of the "Sea-Watch 3". Shortly after the announcement became known, Salvini reported by smartphone video from his ministerial office to speak.
KOROLYOV, June 25 -- The Soyuz MS-11 manned spacecraft with three crewmembers from the International Space Station (ISS) onboard has landed in Kazakhstan in 145 km to the south-east of the city of Zhezkagan, Russia's Mission Control Center said on Tuesday.
"We have a landing. The spacecraft carrying Roscosmos' cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, NASA's astronaut Anne McClain and Canadian Space Agency's David Saint-Jacques has landed," the center said. The spacecraft undocked from the ISS on Tuesday at 2:25am Moscow time. Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin, US astronauts Christina Koch and Nick Hague will stay aboard the ISS to continue their mission. The next expedition to the ISS will be launched from the Baikonur spaceport on July 20 by the Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft. It will deliver Russia's cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, NASA's astronaut Andrew Morgan and European Space Agency's astronaut Luca Parmitano (Italy) to the ISS.
VATICAN CITY, June 6 -- Pope Francis will receive Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Vatican on July 4, Agence France-Presse reported on Thursday, citing a statement by Vatican Spokesman Alessandro Gisotti.
"I can confirm that the Holy Father will receive Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Vatican on July 4," Gisotti said. The Kremlin earlier confirmed that Putin was expected to make a visit to Italy but said nothing about the date of the visit and the president’s plans to meet with Pope Francis. In November 2018, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the date of Putin’s visit to Italy would be agreed on through diplomatic channels. He pointed out that the invitation for the Russian leader to visit Italy had been mentioned during Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s visit to Russia on October 24, 2018. In April, Kremlin Aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters that the Russian president planned to visit Italy in the summer. Italian Ambassador to Russia Pasquale Terracciano said later that Putin was expected to visit the country in July.
MILAN, May 8 -- Andrea Dovizioso will trade two wheels for four next month, when the Ducati MotoGP racer makes his debut in the ultra-competitive DTM touring car race series.
Filling in for Audi Sport Team WRT racer Pietro Fittipaldi, who will be on F1 duty, Dovi will race at the Misano round of the championship on 8 June. Coming about thanks in part to Audi’s ownership of Ducati, the two-time MotoGP championship runner-up has already tested for the factory Audi team, driving yesterday in Germany only hours after completing MotoGP testing at Jerez. Speaking afterwards, he said: “I love cars and I feel lucky to be able to race with the Audi RS 5 DTM. It’s tough to find the time to prepare for it during the MotoGP season but I am really looking forward to compete in such a high-level context such as the DTM. The car is amazing, but it's a different challenge compared with my Desmosedici GP and I need to get prepared, so I did many laps in the simulator before stepping into it for the first time.
Misano is a special track for every Italian driver and the place where I scored an incredible win last year so I'm very excited and thankful for this opportunity." "I’m delighted that in Andrea Dovizioso we managed to get a real superstar to race as a guest in the DTM," added Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass. "MotoGP riders are true heroes in Italy. Andrea hails from the Misano area, won the Grand Prix there last year and is going to attract many additional fans. We’re already extremely excited to see how he’s going to fare in his DTM debut. That he’s taking time out for the DTM between two MotoGP races is fantastic and not to be taken for granted at all. I’d like to particularly thank Ducati’s CEO Claudio Domenicali and Luigi Dall'Igna, General Manager of Ducati Corse, who agreed to this guest entry. That’s a big thing for the DTM and for motorsport in general."
This year’s new-spec turbo DTM engines have a two-litre capacity with direct injection, replacing last season’s 4.0L V8 naturally-aspirated engines, and will produce a stunning 610hp. The most powerful cars ever raced in DTM, Dovi will have to come to grips with a Push-to-Pass function with extra power for overtaking and rear wings with Drag Reduction System activation for overtaking.
MILAN, April 30 -- Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has been taken to a Milan hospital with renal colic, a spokeswoman for his Forza Italia party says.
She said the 82-year-old media tycoon still planned to attend a political campaign event on Tuesday afternoon. "As soon as checks currently being carried out are over, he has promised to be present at the Forza Italia event scheduled for this afternoon with the European election candidates," the spokeswoman said in a Whatsapp message. Renal colic is pain often caused by kidney stones. The three-time premier has suffered heart problems in the past. He has said despite his age, he wants to run for the European Parliament elections to restore Europe to its values. His once-dominant Forza Italia party trails in the polls behind the right-wing League and populist 5-Star Movement.
TURINO, April 17 -- First Real Madrid, and now Juventus, that makes the story of this Champions League campaign for the return of Ajax at the highest level in Europe..
Ajax produced another remarkable performance to reach the semi-finals of the competition for the first time since 1997, courtesy of a goal scored by a player who was not even born when they last graced that stage. Matthijs de Ligt, Ajax’s outstanding 19-year-old captain, ended Cristiano Ronaldo’s hopes of winning a fourth successive Champions League title and a first for Juventus with a towering header that was no more than Ajax deserved after playing with the same confidence, freedom and conviction that eliminated Real Madrid in the last round.
That 4-1 victory at the Bernabéu last month seemed freakish as well as brilliant, but the scoreline here could have been just as emphatic. Ajax’s dynamic, incisive attacking football was simply too much for Juventus to handle, in particular in the second half, when the visitors took control and created chance after chance. David Neres, Dusan Tadic and Hakim Ziyech wreaked havoc with their fluid movement and clever touches. Frenkie de Jong and Lasse Schöne controlled midfield, and Donny van de Beek was exceptional playing in between the lines. It was Van de Beek’s equaliser that cancelled out Ronaldo’s goal and the 21-year-old would have scored a splendid second but for Wojciech Szczesny superbly tipping the ball over the bar. That save came just before the hour-mark and at a stage when Ajax were moving the ball around with such poise and precision that it seemed as though they had an extra player. They were a joy to watch at times, especially when they committed numbers forward on the counterattack to expose the defensive frailties in a Juventus side who never really got going.
ROME, March 19 -- Four ports in Italy may be in line for Chinese investment under China’s “Belt and Road Initiative”, despite security concerns within Italy and the European Union,according to diplomatic sources.
A deal on the ports is expected to be on the agenda when Chinese President Xi Jinping heads to Rome this week for talks with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. The northwestern city of Genoa, Italy’s biggest seaport, said it would sign cooperation agreements with China, while in the south the Sicilian port of Palermo – which Xi is expected to visit this weekend – is the focus of Rome’s efforts to attract Chinese shipping operators. Two ports in the northern Adriatic Sea, Trieste and Ravenna, might also be part of Italy’s memorandum of understanding with Xi as part of a plan to compete with major European ports, the sources said. The Italian government has said that allowing Chinese state companies to manage or hold stakes in Italian ports would be key to expanding exports. But the EU, the United States and some members of the Italian government are concerned that such investment could be a “Trojan horse” for penetrating Italy’s economy.
Last week, the European Commission labelled Beijing a “systemic rival” and called on EU leaders to back its proposals to limit the presence of Chinese state-owned businesses in Europe. Conte has said his government will not ignore European frameworks and principles on commercial transparency and national security. On Tuesday he said the commercial and economic deals he would seal with China had no implications for Italy’s geopolitical position. Conte told parliament that a memorandum of understanding to be signed with Xi hooking Italy up to the belt and road programme “does not remotely put into doubt our euro-Atlantic alliance”.
The United States has warned Italy against signing the MOU on what it calls a Chinese “vanity project”, but Conte left no doubt that the deal would go ahead. The MOU “is fully in line with the strategy of the EU and in fact it promotes it as no other member state has done so far in its dealings with Beijing,” he said. Conte has maintained that joining belt and road – Beijing’s initiative to link economies into a China-centred trading network, is essential for his country. “The collaboration with China in the field of connectivity opens up great opportunities for the Italian system [as the] historic terminal of the ancient Silk Road,” Conte said earlier this month. “Our ports – I am thinking in particular of those of Genoa and Trieste – can apply for the role of terminals in Europe for the New Silk Road,” he said, referring to the belt and road. China has gained footholds in major ports around the world in recent years.
In Europe alone, Chinese state-owned Cosco Shipping Ports started operating a container port at Piraeus in Greece in 2008. Chinese companies have since expanded into Europe’s three biggest ports, taking a 35 per cent stake in Euromax in Rotterdam and a 20 per cent stake in Antwerp in Belgium; and planning to build a terminal in Hamburg. While China has not spoken officially about any agreement, the Italian government has already approved a deal between Genoa’s port authority and shipping firm China Communications Construction Company (CCCC). “We are working to establish a company in partnership with CCCC, which will help us in the procurement phases of some major works related to the port of Genoa,” Paolo Emilio Signorini, president of the Port System Authority of the western Ligurian Sea, which controls the port of Genoa, told Italian media last week. “We will reach a cooperation agreement with CCCC, to take advantage of its experience in preparing for tenders in relation to the awarding of major works.” Signorini said the Chinese group “will not do any construction directly”, adding: “The last word is up to the government.”