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A man has admitted blowing up his farmhouse in Italy as part of an insurance scam, leaving three firefighters dead.

Fire crews went to an address in Quargnento, in the northwestern region of Piedmont, early on Tuesday.

After the initial explosion, they were then faced with a second, stronger blast.

The suspect, Giovanni Vincenti, was detained on Friday night.

Matteo Gastaldo and two colleagues died in the explosions. Pic: Vigili del Fuoco
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Matteo Gastaldo and two colleagues died in the explosions. Pic: Vigili del Fuoco
Marco Triches was among three firefighters killed in the blasts. Pic: Vigili del Fuoco
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Marco Triches was among three firefighters killed on Tuesday. Pic: Vigili del Fuoco
Antonino Candido was killed in the explosions. Pic: Vigili del Fuoco
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Antonino Candido was killed in the blasts. Pic: Vigili del Fuoco

He told investigators he intended to destroy his property by setting off gas canisters, but he made a mistake with a timer connected to them and triggered two explosions, according to prosecutor Enrico Cieri.

At a news conference on Saturday morning, Mr Cieri claimed Vincenti told authorities he had no intention of causing the firefighters’ deaths.

It is claimed a manual for the timer was found in Vincenti’s bedroom. His wife is also being investigated.

It is claimed the insurance scam was carried out in an attempt to pay off debts.

The prosecutor said Vincenti could have prevented the deaths by telling firefighters tackling the first fire that there were more gas canisters in the house.

One of the firefighters was buried under rubble and recovered after hours of digging.

One of the dead firefighters was buried under rubble. .Pic: Vigili del Fuoco
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One of the firefighters killed was buried under rubble. Pic: Vigili del Fuoco

On Friday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and other dignitaries attended funerals for the men, named by Italian fire officials as Matteo Gastaldo, Marco Triches and Antonino Candido.

In a tweet, Mr Conte said he was “moved” to see the “long silence and embrace of the community” which came out to pay tribute to the men.

Three other first responders were injured in the blasts.

The UK Fire Brigades Union has offered its “deepest sympathy and solidarity” to the families and colleagues affected by the men’s deaths.

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Should Trump be impeached? Voters are as split as politicians | US News

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It was a fascinating end to a week of intense testimony.

Fiona Hill, the daughter of a British coal miner, started with a stark warning to those claiming that it was Ukraine and not Russia who meddled in the 2016 US election.

The former aide to then national security adviser John Bolton delivered a stern rebuke of lawmakers, and implicitly Donald Trump, for pushing a “fictional narrative”.

Fiona Hill, former senior director for Europe and Russia on the National Security Council
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Fiona Hill claimed Moscow is ‘gearing up’ to repeat its interference in the 2020 US presidential election

They were, she said, perpetuating a Putin lie and undermining public faith in American democracy.

Some Republicans on the intelligence committee, including ranking member Devin Nunes, continue to advance the idea that Russian interference was a “hoax”.

In Moscow, Vladimir Putin sounded almost gleeful with the fact that theory was getting such a public and official airing.

“Thank God,” he declared. “No one is accusing us of interfering in the US elections anymore. Now they’re accusing Ukraine.”

But Ms Hill – composed, robust and clearly concerned – told the hearing that Russia was busy gearing up to meddle in 2020 too.

She also provided a withering assessment of Gordon Sondland, the EU ambassador who, in a stunning U-turn on Wednesday, stated that there was definitely a quid pro quo and that “everyone was in the loop”.

David Holmes and Fiona Hill
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Fiona Hill and David Holmes gave evidence at the impeachment inquiry on Thursday

Ms Hill said Mr Sondland had carried out a “domestic political errand” for Mr Trump while she and her colleagues were involved in “national security policy”.

She told House investigators that she came to realise he wasn’t simply operating outside official diplomatic channels, as some assumed, but was in fact carrying out instructions from Mr Trump.

Mr Sondland had admitted exactly that the day before.

Ms Hill and David Holmes, a state department adviser in Kiev, claimed it was abundantly clear that Mr Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was pursing political investigations of Democrats and Joe Biden in Ukraine.

She said she knew then it would “come back to haunt us”. She added that her former boss, Mr Bolton, had also expressed concern that a “drug deal” was being cooked up.

But he, like so many in the White House, has not testified.



How impeachment works for a US president in two minutes.







How impeachment works

You only have to step outside for a few minutes to see how differently the public viewed their pair.

One man declared her “elitist and “irrelevant”. Another woman called her “the very best of America”. It all comes down to who you believe.

As a long day drew to a close, Mr Nunes told the room that this was simply a “show trial”, driven by Democrats who had reached their verdict before they had even begun.

Today and throughout this impeachment process, Republicans have characterised the evidence as third-hand and third-rate.

Ms Hill was not on the July call that sparked this inquiry and she like so many others, they argue, should be discounted.

I would say up to half of those I have met in the long queues outside the hearing think the Republicans have a point.

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Voters are just as split as those who are representing them.

So what next? Well, Democrats could file articles of impeachment before Christmas and hold a vote.

Given they have the majority, it is certainly looking like they would vote to impeach President Trump.

But it is also likely that the Republican-controlled Senate won’t vote to convict him.

It’s also absolutely plausible that he wins a second term.

The president’s supporters seemed almost resigned to the idea that he’ll be impeached, but also determined to keep him in office.

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UK defies US over ‘illegal’ Israeli expansion into West Bank | World News

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Britain has defied the US by urging Israel to stop its “counterproductive” expansion into the occupied West Bank.

The Foreign Office has waded into the debate after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the White House was softening its position on Israeli settlements in the territory.

It was the latest move from the Trump administration to anger Palestinians, as it weakened their claims to ownership of the state and put Washington at odds with other nations working to end the long-running conflict.

Mike Pompeo announced that the Trump administration does not consider Israeli settlements in the West Bank a violation of international law
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Mike Pompeo announced that the Trump administration does not consider Israeli settlements in the West Bank a violation of international law

Responding to the change in policy, the Foreign Office said: “The position of the UK on settlements is clear. They are illegal under international law, present an obstacle to peace, and threaten the viability of a two-state solution.

“We urge Israel to halt its counterproductive settlement expansion.”

The announcement by Mr Pompeo had angered Palestinians, with a spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas claiming settlements are illegal under international law.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh said the US government had “lost credibility to play any future role in the peace process”.

Since becoming US president, Donald Trump has made a number of foreign policy decisions in favour of Israel.

The most controversial move was to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of the Middle Eastern country, angering those who labelled it a severe blow to the Middle East peace process.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed in October, to form a government
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been struggling to form a new government despite US backing

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly welcomed the support of Mr Trump, although his backing has done nothing to help him form a new government despite two elections this year.

In more bad news for Mr Netanyahu, he has been indicted on corruption charges including fraud and bribery.

The allegations include suspicions that he accepted hundreds of thousands of pounds’ worth of champagne and cigars from billionaire friends – and offered to trade favours with a newspaper publisher.

Mr Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing in three corruption cases and – in Donald Trump style – has previously dismissed the investigations into him as a “witch hunt”.

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Israeli PM Netanyahu indicted on corruption charges

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been indicted on corruption charges, the country’s attorney general has announced.

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