Italy’s ambassador to Democratic Republic of Congo, his bodyguard and a driver from the World Food Programme were killed on Monday when their convoy was attacked in the east of the country, Italy and the United Nations said. WFP said the delegation was on its way to visit a school feeding program in Rutshuru. It said the road had previously been cleared for travel without security escorts.
President Sergio Mattarella asked former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi on Wednesday to form a government tasked with tackling the coronavirus crisis and deep economic recession that are battering Italy. Draghi, widely credited with saving the euro zone from collapse in 2012, accepted the mandate, saying he was confident he could find backing in Italy’s fractured parliament for a new administration.
Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte has resigned, according to the country’s president. Mr Conte survived two confidence votes in parliament last week, but then lost his absolute majority in the Senate after centrist ally and former PM Matteo Renzi defected. This has made it much more difficult for the premier to pass legislation or make decisions on the COVID-19 crisis, which has devastated Italy’s long-suffering economy.
Italy’s prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, has managed to cling to power, but he will plow ahead with an even more fragile government as the country battles to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic and recession. The victory ends the turmoil triggered by former prime minister Matteo Renzi, who last week yanked his small Italia Viva party from the ruling coalition.
Italy imposed a nationwide outdoor mask mandate Wednesday with fines of up to 1,000 euros ($1,163) for violators, as the European country where Covid-19 first hit hard scrambles to keep rebounding infections from spiraling. The government passed the decree even though Italy’s overall per capita infection rate is among the lowest in Europe. But Premier Giuseppe Conte warned that a steady, nine-week rise in infections nationwide demanded new preventive measures.
Seven bodies have been found in a region straddling the French-Italian border near Nice after torrential rains swept houses and roads away. Around 1,000 firefighters, four military helicopters, and troops were mobilized in France to help search for the missing people in the mountainous south-eastern region after the devastating floods. It brings to nine the total number of people found dead after fierce rains and howling gales lashed the border area on Friday.
Italian scientists say sewage water from two cities contained coronavirus traces in December, long before the country’s first confirmed cases. The National Institute of Health (ISS) said water from Milan and Turin showed genetic virus traces on 18 December. It adds to evidence from other countries that the virus may have been circulating much earlier than thought.
At least 631 people have now died from coronavirus in Italy – an increase of 168 in a single day. The 36% rise is the biggest since the COVID-19 contagion first came to light there on 21 February. Almost a thousand extra cases of coronavirus were recorded in 24 hours – reaching 10,149. The head of the country’s civil protection agency said 877 people were in intensive care – up from 733 on Monday.
Italy’s prime minister resigned on Tuesday after launching a blistering attack on his own interior minister, Matteo Salvini, accusing him of sinking the ruling coalition and endangering the economy for personal and political gain. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, addressing parliament after it was recalled from its summer recess to decide the future of the 14-month-old government, accused the far-right League party chief Salvini of seeking to cash in on his rising popularity.
Anti-terrorism police in northern Italy have seized an air-to-air missile and other sophisticated weapons during raids on far-right extremist groups. Three people were arrested, two of them near Forli airport. Neo-Nazi propaganda was also seized. A police statement said the arrests were part of an investigation, started about a year ago, into far-right groups “who have fought in Ukraine’s Donbass region against the separatists”.