A 13-year-old boy hailed as a hero for helping saving his classmates when they had been abducted by a bus driver will be granted Italian citizenship. Ramy Shehata, who was born in Italy to Egyptian parents, managed to make a phone call to his father to alert him of the bus hijacking on the outskirts of Milan last week. Ramy hid his phone while others were confiscated, and called his father, speaking in Arabic and pretending he was praying. The man then called police, who were able to free the 51 children before the bus was set on fire.
A bus carrying 51 schoolchildren was hijacked by its driver and set alight near Milan in Italy. The children, some of them tied up, were rescued through smashed windows at the back of the bus and no-one was badly hurt. Fourteen people suffered smoke inhalation. The driver, a 47-year-old Italian citizen originally from Senegal, has been arrested. “No-one will survive,” the driver was alleged to have said.
An overnight earthquake, triggered by Mount Etna’s eruption two days ago, caused injuries and damage in Eastern Sicily early Wednesday morning. The volcano has been spewing ash and lava has flowed down its slopes since it began erupting on Monday. Mount Etna is the most active stratovolcano in the world, according to the United Nations, which has named it a World Heritage Site. Etna has one of the world’s longest documented history of eruptions, stretching back to 1,500 B.C.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa has slowly started defying its name, losing four centimeters of its tilt over the past 17 years. The movement, roughly 1.5 inches, comes after extensive consolidation work done between 1993 and 2001, which was required to reverse its slump and keep the tower upright. The building in Tuscany, which attracts thousands of tourists every day, is back to the tilt it had at the beginning of the 19th century.
As fierce storms continue in Italy causing schools to close and tourists to be trapped, the death toll from resulting floods has risen to 11. Winds reached speeds up to 110 mph in some parts of the country causing flooding and falling trees. The basilica was flooded for just the second time this century.
The European Commission took an unprecedented step by ordering Italy to revise its budget. Italy has three weeks to submit a revised draft to the Commission. The Commission has worries about high spending and its impact on Italy’s high debt levels and said the first draft presented a ‘particularly serious non-compliance’ with recommendations.
The Italian government passed a law making it easier to deport migrants and take away Italian citizenship. Under the new law, migrants found guilty of serious crimes like assault and rape can be expelled from the country. Interior Minister Matteo Salvini called the new measure ‘a step forward to make Italy safer.’
The fear reaction to the political upheaval in Italy spread to the stock market on Tuesday causing Italian bonds to suffer their worst one-day drop in 26 years. Stocks also dropped in the US due to the concerns over Italy’s uncertain political future. The worldwide drop reflects concern about Italy’s possible exit from the Eurozone.
A week after Italy’s populist parties were given a mandate to form a government, their alliance imploded on Sunday night. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte stopped trying to form a coalition government after President Sergio Matarella vetoed his choice of economic minster. Former International Monetary Fund economist Carlo Cotarelli may serve as the new non-populist prime minister.
Initial projections of Italy’s national elections on Sunday show that there will be no outright winner, with voters backing right-wing and populist parties. The possible hung parliament could lead to weeks of negotiation and coalition-building in order to form a new government. The vote eliminated the most plausible alliances among parties, without giving a clear future direction.