Motorway executives attending a ceremony to remember victims of a major bridge collapse were told to leave after grieving relatives asked the Italian prime minister to intervene.
A service was held in Genoa marking one year since 43 people were killed in the Morandi Bridge disaster.
Top executives for the country’s biggest motorway operator Atlantia as well as company officials were seen at the ceremony but made an early exit before proceedings began.
Atlantia has been blamed by the ruling 5-Star movement for the tragedy, with the group saying the company neglected maintenance on the viaduct.
It has called for Atlantia’s national toll-road concession to be revoked.
Atlantia, controlled by the Benetton family, has denied the accusations, and insists regular, state-supervised inspections showed the bridge was safe.
Politicians, including Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and other leaders, took their seats in the front row of the service on Wednesday morning.
Some relatives told Mr Conte they would leave if the motorway executives stayed. Mr Conte’s officials intervened, and chief executive Giovanni Castellucci and chairman Fabio Cerchiai left afterwards, according to a source speaking to Reuters.
On 14 August 2018, a large section of the 1.2km (0.75 miles) motorway viaduct, which was built with reinforced concrete, collapsed, sending vehicles plummeting 50m (164ft) below.
During the ceremony, the names of the 43 victims were read aloud, and a minute’s silence was held.
There was a Catholic mass, led by Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, Genoa’s Archbishop, inside the abandoned warehouse where the service was held, close to the site where the disaster happened.
Giovanni Toti, regional governor, said: “This is a day of grief but also of pride for this city.
“Grief because we are remembering 43 victims, for whom we hope justice will soon be done… but also pride because a year on, the city has managed to rise up and is back on its feet.”
Warring political leaders were able to suspend hostilities for the ceremony, joining with the president Sergio Mattarella to remember the victims.
The disaster has not helped the infighting in the coalition, with the 5-Star party accusing Matteo Salvini’s League Party of trying to protect the Bennetton family and resisting their attempts to revoke Atlantia’s concession.
Mr Salvini denies this.
Genoa’s mayor Marco Bucci said he hoped the political climate in the country would not affect the bridge reconstruction.
He said: “The other day I received assurances by the government that their support will continue. And anyway, I believe that our goals are aligned.
“Genoa is a big city, with a large infrastructure and it matters not only to the Genoese people, but also to Italy, Europe and everyone. So, we’re aligned to the same goal.”
The coalition has split after months of bickering, meaning there could be elections in October.
US Space Force mocked over new camouflage uniform | US News
The US Space Force has been mocked after proudly unveiling its new uniforms – featuring full woodland camouflage.
It posted an image of the gear on Twitter saying: “Space Force propels the @DeptofDefence into a new era dedicated to protecting US and national interests and security in space.”
However, the reaction to the new outfit has been less than complimentary – with most pointing out the design will not help troops blend in during space missions.
One person tweeted: “How many trees are you expecting to find in space?”
Another pointed out: “Space is black… I feel like this is an important distinction when designing a uniform.”
One Twitter critic suggested the president could learn a few things from Star Wars, pointing out: “The only explanation I have is that The #SpaceForce will be invading the forest moon of Endor.
“I doubt the US has learned that an occupying military has little chance of conquering the Ewoks.”
Following the vitriol directed at it, the United States Space Force posted a further statement, adding: “USSF is utilizing current Army/Air Force uniforms, saving costs of designing/producing a new one.”
Donald Trump launched the force last month, claiming “space is the world’s new war-fighting domain” as he signed off the $1.4trn (£1.08trn) National Defence Authorisation Act.
It is part of a package that also provides money for a US-Mexico border wall.
40-stone Islamic State leader Abu Abdul Bari arrested in Iraq and taken away in truck because he was too heavy for car | World News
A 40-stone Islamic State terrorist has been arrested in Iraq by a SWAT team, security officials have said.
Abu Abdul Bari, also known as Shifa al-Nima, was taken away on the back of a truck after his arrest in Mosul as the extremist, who weighs an estimated 40-stone (254kg), could not be transported in a car.
Pictures of Bari, who Iraqi police consider to be one of IS’s senior figures, on the vehicle wedged against a mounted machine gun have appeared online. He is also pictured at home.
It is unclear how he was removed from his hiding place.
Bari is an IS mufti, or expert in religious law, who issued fatwas that led to the deaths of scholars and clerics who refused to pledge allegiance to the terrorist group when it occupied the city, officials said.
During the group’s self-styled caliphate in 2014, he ordered the destruction of a mosque built at the site believed to be the burial place of the biblical prophet Jonah, who once had a notable encounter with a whale.
The Iraqi government’s security services announced the arrest in a statement, is has been reported.
The statement said the preacher, considered one of the top leaders of “IS gangs”, was known for “provocative speeches against the security forces”, the independent US military news outlet Stars and Stripes added.
Maajid Nawaz, founder of the London-based anti-extremism think Quilliam, said on Facebook that Bari “had to be taken by police in the back of a pick-up truck”.
Australia wildfires: Floods follows flames as warnings put in place | World News
After devastating bushfires across Australia the country is now facing a new threat – flooding.
Heavy rain and thunderstorms have hit parts of Australia‘s East coast – but downpours have brought relief and concern in equal measure.
While they have put out some of the fires that have burning for months, they have also left the area vulnerable to flooding.
New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory are both on flood watch, and flood warnings are in place for the Orara and Bellinger rivers on the north coast.
Severe thunderstorm warnings are in place in across parts of Queensland and the Northern Territory, with the Bureau of Meteorology warning of damaging wind and heavy rainfall.
A strong wind warning has been issued for the Byron, Illawarra and Batemans Coast regions.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services have warned people not to attempt to get through the flood waters and to stay inside if at all possible.
They have also said people should avoid using the telephone during a thunderstorm.
Rain in the states of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland have left some areas underwater and caused power cuts.
Up to 300mm of rain fell near the Gold Coast, closing major roads and local attractions.
Some areas saw triple the monthly rainfall in just one night, according to the weather bureau.
Brisbane resident Meg Fallon said: “It’s just beautiful listening to [the rain] on the roof, it’s just been so long since we’ve had it”.
Meteorologists say the rains are a one in 100 year event.
Australia’s wildfires are an annual occurrence, but the 2019/20 season has been particularly severe.
At least 28 people have been killed and tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes.
More than 104,000 sq km of land has been scorched – an area bigger than South Korea.
Firefighters are still tackling around 100 fires which are still burning three months on.
The Australian Open is due to kick off in Melbourne on Monday, but organisers have said play will have to be suspended if air pollution caused by smoke exceeds dangerous levels.
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