Johansson sinks Italy to earn Sweden first-leg World Cup qualifier victory

A deflected Jakob Johansson strike was enough to give Sweden a 1-0 victory over Italy in Stockholm in the first leg of the teams World Cup qualifier

A deflected Jakob Johansson strike was enough to earn Sweden a first-leg advantage and leave Italy on the verge of missing out on a first World Cup since 1958. Giampiero Ventura’s side were listless throughout and, unless they overturn the deficit at San Siro on Monday, they will not reach next year’s finals in Russia.

The closest Italy came to a objective was through Matteo Darmian, the Manchester United defender, who rattled the post from long range in front of his watching club director, Jose Mourinho, as Italy searched for an equaliser. In truth, the visitors absence invention and failed to break down a stubborn Sweden backline in Stockholm, where the country’s record goalscorer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, was also in attendance.

” We need to overturn it all in Milan ,” Ventura, the Italy manager, said.” We must put in a great performance for the crowd. Holding what happened on the pitching, the result was harsh .”

Ventura is coming under increasing pressure to step aside and should Italy fail to qualify it is likely the 69 -year-old will move on.

While he is in place, though, his players are focusing on what they can do better in the second leg. The Milan defender Leonardo Bonucci said:” In the reverse fixture we’ll have to fight harder .”

Marcus Berg and Ola Toivonen had threatened for Sweden, with the latter superbly denied by the evergreen Gianluigi Buffon in the Italy goal, before Johansson, a second-half replace at the Friends Arena, scored a decisive win after 61 minutes.

When Toivonen flicked on a long throw into the path of Johansson, the ball bounced before the midfielder struck his powerful endeavour goalwards. The ball cannoned off the torso of Daniele de Rossi and that deflection was enough to wrong-foot Gianluigi Buffon, with the ball rolling inside his near post.

Italy never truly rallied, aside from Darmian’s rasping endeavour with 20 minutes to play. Sweden, though, will take plenty of encouragement from a resolute performance into the second leg. On Monday, Italy will be without Marco Verratti through suspension, after he was booked. Janne Andersson’s side, meanwhile, are halfway to Russia. A clean sheet in Milan would ensure Sweden progress to their first World Cup since 2006.

Senegal qualify for World Cup after winning replayed game

A first-half goal from West Ham’s Diafra Sakho and an own aim from Thamsanqa Mkhize procured Senegal’s place in Russia as they overcame South Africa 2-0 in Polokwane.

South Africa had originally won the match 2-1 on November 12 last year, but it was agreed that the game would be replayed after referee Joseph Lamptey’s lifetime forbid was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Lamptey has been expelled by FIFA over match-fixing allegations.

Senegal knew victory would be enough to send them to Russia, while South Africa needed to win here and in their final game in Senegal. Liverpool forward Sadio Mane set up Sakho for the opening goal in the 12 th minute and the latter kept his calmnes to slide the ball home and stillnes a partisan crowd.

The hosts predominated the first half and went close to equalising when Lebogang Manyama’s shot reached the crossbar, but Stuart Baxter’s side ran further behind before the violate. Mane’s effort was brilliantly saved by Itumeleng Khune, merely for Mkhize to haplessly head the rebound into his own net.

Senegal held on to reach the World Cup finals for only the second time. In 2002, they memorably defeated France on their debut, eventually losing to Turkey in the quarter-finals. They are the third African team to reach next year’s tournament, alongside Egypt and Nigeria. Tunisia can seal their place against Libya on Saturday, while Ivory Coast host Morocco in a battle for the other qualifying place. PA

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‘Terrible conditions’: police uncover abuse and exploitation on farms in Sicily

Action follows Observer investigation into claims of forced labour and sexual exploitation among Romanian migrant females applied as agricultural workers

Eight arrests have been made and legal proceedings launched against 33 farming companies across Sicily, after a series of raids determined 227 migrant workers trapped in forced labour conditions.

Police carried out raids on 40 farms between April and August in response to an Observer investigation that exposed the widespread forced labour and sexual exploitation of Romanianwomen utilized as seasonal agricultural workers in Ragusa, one of Italy’s largest vegetable producing regions. Merely two of the farms were found to be operating properly, according to Antonino Ciavola, head of the police unit. He said he was shocked by the conditions in which people- including a number of Romanian girls- were being forced to live and work.

” Of 40 farms we raided, only two were in order. In the other 38, we procured employees living and working in terrible conditions in shanties with no heating or water. Some of the farm owners we apprehended did not even think they were committing crimes. They watched themselves as philanthropists, providing people with work and a roof to sleep under regardless of whether they were then subjecting those workers to exploitation .”

The raids also uncovered a network of recruitment from Romania into the greenhouses of Sicily, with Romanian females enlisting people in their home communities to sign up as labourers for Ragusa farms.

” If this is proved at trial then what we are looking at is an inter-EU trafficking phenomenon ,” said prosecutor Valentina Botti, who is pursuing multiple charges of sexual assault and labour exploitation against farmers on behalf of Romanian women.

In March the Observer revealed that up to 5,000 Romanian women working on farms in Ragusa were facing conditions of forced labour and severe labour exploitation. Interviews with women detailed routine sexual assault, being forced to work 12 -hour days in extreme hot with no water , non-payment of wages and having to live in degrading and unsanitary living conditions in isolated outbuildings.

The Italian authorities say they have taken a series of measures to stem the abuse faced by Romanian workers. In 2014, the Italian Senate human rights committee launched an investigation, and a delegation of ministers responsible for met Romanian legislators dispatched to Ragusa by “ministers ” Sorin Grindeanu.

However, Italian prosecutors and civil rights activists caution that these measures have been insufficient and that thousands of Romanian women and children remain at risk across the region.

” We know from social workers and groups working directly with these women that the abuse and exploitation is ongoing, yet we have not created the conditions in which females feel confident to come forward and denounce their exploiters ,” said Botti.

” Most now accept the abuse as the personal sacrifice they must make if they want to keep their jobs and the implication for many of losing their jobs is devastating. The fear of this and the implications for their families is keeping them trapped .”

One Romanian worker who agreed to be interviewed anonymously said she was living with her young daughter in an outhouse on an isolated farm.

” Nothing has changed ,” she said.” We continue to live in five-square-metre cabins with our children. The children stay in the greenhouses the working day. We are not treated like humans inside these places, we are treated like animals .”

Trade unions point out that Ragusa currently hires simply three labour inspectors for a province containing more than 5,000 farms.

” Three people cannot be expected to inspect thousands of farms by themselves ,” said Giuseppe Scifo, provincial secretary for CGIL, Italy’s largest trade union.

According to the INPS, a government body that oversees social security welfare, only 32 of Ragusa’s agricultural farms are in compliance with national labour standards.

” The truth is that today a good part of the agricultural economy in Ragusa is based on the exploitation of labour. If the authorities were to check and fine all the companies in breach of labour laws then the economic system of the region would collapse ,” said Scifo.” People are looking the other way .”

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The terrible truth about your tin of Italian tomatoes

Court documents reveal that fruit from two food giants on UK supermarket shelves was picked by employees in southern Italy under conditions of absolute exploitation

Two of Italy’s biggest food companies have been implicated in labour abuses of migrant workers picking tomatoes bought by thousands of British and European customers every week, according to court documents.

Italian prosecutor Paola Guglielmi has named food giants Mutti and Conserve Italia as obtained from “conditions of absolute exploitation” in the country’s hugely lucrative tomato industry, as part of an investigation into the death of a seasonal labourer.

Both Mutti and the Conserve Italia brand Cirio render major UK supermarkets with premium tinned tomatoes and passata, and are named in court documents signed by Guglielmi.

The case began with the death of Abdullah Muhammed, a 47 -year-old legal Sudanese immigrant and father of two, who suffered a heart attack while working in the fields of Nardo, which sits on the heel of southern Italy, in July 2015. The allegation against his employer was that Muhammed’s life could have been saved if he had been allowed to go to hospital.

The Italian examiner utilized her powers to track the render chain up to the very top of the country’s EUR3. 2bn( PS2. 85 bn) processed tomato industry. While the companies are not liable for the death, their link is significant.

Like thousands of other workers, Muhammed’s day would start at 4am and he would work until 5pm handpicking tomatoes in the fierce heat of the southern Italian summer. Labour abuses listed in the court documents include working for 12 hours a day, seven days a week, without breaks, with minimal pay and no access to medical personnel.

Italian attorney Paola Guglielmi. Photograph: Politenes of Corriere Salentino

” The person responsible for the crime by statute was just the gangmaster ,” Guglielmi told the Guardian.

” But in this case there was also manslaughter. That guy would not have died if there had been a doctor’s visit. The violation of the safety provisions on the job was flagrant .”

Through a far-reaching investigation, Guglielmi checked telephone records, tapped phone calls and conducted aerial surveillance to painstakingly connect the exploitation of seasonal migrant workers to industrial giants.

While employees make an average of EUR3 0 a day in the Puglia region, they can expect to lose up to half of that just to pay for food, transport, water and a cut to their gangmaster.

The gangmaster or “caporalato” system is rife across the Italian agricultural sector where migrants- legal and illegal- are organised into informal labour groups that are hired by Italian landowners to harvest their crops.

The file accuses Italian company owner Giuseppe Mariano and Sudanese gangmaster Mohammed Elsalih of manslaughter. The preliminary investigation has now concluded, and a magistrate will decide whether the case should go to trial.

The companies named in the file are not liable and stress the extent to which they promote their suppliers to treat their workers ethically.

A spokesman for Conserve Italia, which produces the Cirio brand of tinned tomatoes that is sold by Tesco, said it requires all its suppliers agree to “respect” their workers and the company’s ethical code, and that the company cut ties with the supplier involved when he was made aware of Muhammed’s death.

” We know in the south of Italy there are some situations that are not in line but we can’t do the run – it’s not our responsibility to confirm what happens in the region but we do ask our suppliers to respect human rights ,” he said.” We don’t pay less than the normal price .”

Conserve Italia has since said in a statement that it plans to sue the suppliers for injuries” to protect its reputation as the most ethical company in this business “.

Mutti also issued a statement.” Mutti has always been committed to fight any exploitation of workers’ systems by all means … ,” it said.” Mutti selects its farmers and agricultural partners with special care and preserves a constant dialogue with them along the entire supply chain. As far as the protection and security of employees is concerned, each contract involves specific requirements on work conditions( salary regularity as well as security in the workplace ). Mutti will continue to foster its commitment to work in cooperation with its competitors, farmers associations and the Italian institutions to avoid accidents in fields .”

A member of Medecins Sans Frontieres talks to an African worker in a makeshift camp in the countryside near the village of Rignano Garganico, southern Italy. Photo: Tony Gentile/ Reuters

Activists claim that the low production costs drive interests not to tackle the exploitation problem properly. Yvan Sagnet, 32, from Cameroon ran simply five days in the fields near to where Mohammed died before resulting a mass ten-strike of the workers in 2012. Now he campaigns to aim what he brands “slavery”.

” When I arrived in Puglia I detected the gangmaster system- conditions were inhuman- they were ghettos that were like concentration camp ,” he said.

” One day a guy got sick[ in the fields ], he couldn’t handle it and in those places there is no way to get first assist- “were not receiving” address. “Were not receiving” cellphone signal. The employees don’t speak Italian so the gangmasters take advantage … The gangmaster insisted,’ If you don’t pay me the 20 euros I will not take you. If you do you can go to the hospital tonight .'”

After years of campaigning and organising a mass strike against the gangmasters, a strengthened law prohibiting the caporalato system came into consequence last year.

But campaigners say very little has changed in isolated farms where authorities do not do enough to proactively crack down on the practice.

” The interests of these fields are linked with the interests of the politicians and people who own the most important companies in Italy ,” said Valeria Sallustio, former president of Finis Terrae, an Italian NGO that worked closely with the workers in Nardo.

Zoe Maddison, spokesperson for the British Retail Consortium( BRC ), which represents Tesco and Sainsbury’s among other major UK supermarkets, said:” This is a tragic instance and we expect the Italian authorities to carry out a full investigation.

” The welfare of all people who work in our supplying chains is of key importance to us, and BRC members will investigate any allegations of malpractice .”

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‘Sweating’ blood: mysterious case leaves Canadian experts searching for answers

The condition reported by an Italian female prompted experts to investigate, leading them to about two dozen similar lawsuits worldwide in the past 15 years

The case left doctors baffled: a 21 -year-old Italian girl with no gashes or skin lesions arrived at a medical ward, where she described years of sweating blood from her face and the palms of her hands.

The bleeding would often start while she was sleeping or during physical activity and could last anywhere from one to five minutes. While the intensity of the bleed seemed to increase with stress, she couldn’t single out any obvious trigger.

Her condition has been documented by two physicians from the University of Florence in Italy in the latest issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The condition- which had begun about three years before she tried medical help- had taken a toll on her mental health, wrote physicians Roberto Maglie and Marzia Caproni.” Our patient had become socially isolated owing to shame over the bleed and she reported symptoms consistent with major depressive disorder and panic disorder .”

They prescribed her anti-anxiety drugs, but the bleeding continued. After a round of tests and observations ruled out the possibility that she was faking the condition, she was diagnosed with hematohidrosis, a rarely reported condition in which patients spontaneously sweat blood through unbroken skin.

Doctors treated her with propranolol, a heart and blood pressure drug, which reduced the bleed but failed to eliminate it altogether.

Jacalyn Duffin, the Canadian medical historian and haematologist who wrote a commentary that accompanies the report, said she was initially sceptical.” My first thought was, is this real? Could it be fake ?” The mystery deepened after she canvassed her senior haematology colleagues and found that not one of them had ever come across such a case.

Duffin then delved into the medical literature, managing to turn up more than two dozen similar lawsuits reported around the world in the past 15 years or so.

In many of these, researchers had carefully documented the tests they had carried out to eliminate the possibility of other bleeding ailments and the evidence they had found to suggest the presence of blood in the sweat ducts.” I came to the conclusion that it’s plausible and that it’s possible ,” said Duffin.

The majority of these cases involved young women or children. Many of research reports documented that the bleeding was preceded by emotional trauma, such as witnessing violence at home or at school. In all of the patients, the condition was transient, lasting anywhere from a month to four years.

Little else- from its causes to how to halt the hemorrhaging- is known, said Duffin. Some have hypothesised the condition could be caused by blood coagulation disorders or a rupture of the smaller blood vessels within tissues.

‘ I began to wonder if one of the reasons journals don’t publish it, or are a little bit leery of it, is because it has kind of been owned by religious sources ,’ Duffin said. Photo: CMAJ

While Duffin received references of the condition stretching back to the writings of Aristotle, the condition- described in one report as a” kind of modern-day stigmata “~ ATAGEND- is often referenced alongside Christianity and the crucifixion, an association that may make it more difficult to accept, she noted.

” Blood is so permeating- in not only religious myth, but all mythology- that it makes people kind of think twice ,” she said.” I began to wonder if one of the reasons journals don’t publish it, or are a little bit leery of it, is why it has kind of been owned by religion sources .”

This could be slowly changing. Of the 42 reports Duffin came across, nearly half had appeared in the last five years, raising questions as to whether the incidence of the condition is increasing or whether it’s simply becoming more are recognizing doctors.

This latest report might also help to shine a spotlight the condition , noted Duffin. She said she had already heard from one human who believed his relative- a returning war veteran with PTSD- might also be afflicted.

” The reason that I think it’s possible that there might be more out there than we know is that it seems that, although it’s spectacular, it’s benign ,” she said.” In all of these cases I excavate out- the 42 lawsuit reports- the patients all survived. They’re scared because it’s really frightening to have this happen, but it seems to be quite innocuous as a symptom .”

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Death of Maltese journalist ‘linked to fuel smuggling network’ says Italian prosecutor

Sicilys chief prosecutor says he could not exclude possibility that alleged crime syndicate may be behind slaying of Daphne Caruana Galizia

There are possible links between the assassination of the investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was killed by a car bomb in Malta last week, and an Italian investigation into an illicit fuel-smuggling network, according to a senior Italian prosecutor.

Carmelo Zuccaro, a chief prosecutor in Sicily who is leading the fuel-smuggling inquiry, told the Guardian he” could not exclude” the possibility that some of “the mens” targeted against his investigation- which spans Libya, Malta, and Italy, and allegedly involves an organised crime network in Sicily- could be behind Caruana Galizia’s murder.

“[ She] worked in the past on articles about the fuel trafficking between Libya and Malta ,” Zuccaro said, adding that some of the people involved in his inquiry had been named by her in several articles.

While the investigation into the multimillion-euro fuel-smuggling ring is currently underway for months, Italian authorities made a series of arrests days after Caruana Galizia’s murder. None of those arrested have been formally accused of any involvement in the journalist’s death.

Darren Debono, a Maltese, was apprehended on the Italian island of Lampedusa on Friday and charged with being part of the illegal Malta-based network, which allegedly has ties to Libyan militia leaders and has smuggled tens of millions of euro in gasoline from Libya to marketplaces in Europe.

Debono has not been accused of any crimes in connection with the journalist’s murder. It is difficult to see how long “hes in” Lampedusa before his arrest or how he got there.

Police in Malta said they were” investigating all possible boulevards” relating to such journalist’s killing and had induced linked with their counterparts in Italy immediately after Debono’s arrest.

Debono, a former Malta football player, was among the subjects of Caruana Galizia’s journalism. In blogposts she published in February 2016, she said Debono was a restaurant owner and fisherman who did” a lot of’ business’ with Libya “.

She also claimed to have received an email threat from a relative of Debono who was allegedly upset by some of her earlier is currently working on the family’s activities. Caruana Galizia wrote in her blog that Debono was at risk of getting “blown up” after the murders of two other ” anglers” with business ties to Libya who had” been blown up in their vehicles “.

The Guardian contacted two of Debono’s former lawyers but both said they had not been in touch with him and declined to comment.

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Attempts to collaborate with Maltese authorities on the oil-smuggling investigation had not been fruitful, Zuccaro said. An international request for datum submitted to investigators in Malta had gone unanswered for 18 months. Malta was ” becoming a sort of crime haven for all kinds of mobsters”, he said.

Malta authorities said any claim that they were intentionally failing to cooperate with other jurisdictions on the case was ” entirely untrue and unjust “. The attorney general initiated court proceedings to gather evidence and hear witnesses within three months of Italy’s request in October 2016, a government spokesman said; two sittings have already been held and a third is scheduled.

Italian prosecutors alleged in court documents that the criminal organisation at the heart of the fuel-smuggling instance had trafficked EUR3 0m( PS26. 7m) worth of gasoline in the last 12 months.

According to researchers, who made use of wiretaps, the ga was smuggled from a refinery in Zawyia, Libya, and shipped to Malta, before being endeavoured to Italy, Spain, and France.

Fahmi Bin Khalifa, a resident of Malta who was arrested in Tripoli in August, was the alleged mastermind of the group. Prosecutors said Bin Khalifa was incarcerated under the Gaddafi regime but released after the dictator’s death. They believe he became the leader of a militia group with connections to Libya’s national oil company and has smuggled weapons and people.

The illicit funds used in the operation were transferred through Tunisian shell companies and ended up in the United Arab Emirates, attorneys said in tribunal documents.

Investigators have alleged that the network also has ties to the Santapaola mafia crime family in Catania, Sicily, which was blamed for the 1984 assassination of a Sicilian journalist, Giuseppe Fava.

Prosecutors did not name Caruana Galizia in their 284 -page indictment of Debono and others linked to the crime syndicate. But they described how Debono had” expressed fury” against a panel of United Nation experts in 2016 when they are told the security council how fuel was being smuggled from Libya through Malta.

The indictment records that Debono was overheard on wiretapped conversations conveying fury about aWall Street Journal article on the topic, which he was convinced had influenced the UN experts’ findings.

” They are just copying and pasting what that asshole of a journalist wrote on the Wall Street Journal ,” he allegedly told a friend. Caruana Galizia had posted the WSJ article on her own blog, called Running Commentary.

Roberto Montalto, one of Caruana Galizia’s lawyers, said the late journalist had never specifically mentioned Debono, but generally did not pay much attention to threats she received.

Authorities in Malta, he said, were working on the understanding that the assassination had been commissioned by a” local person” but that it was likely to have been committed on behalf of an international crook organisation.

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Unknown local wins Venice marathon after favourites take wrong turn

Eyob Faniel wins Venice marathon after bizarre incident in which resulting athletes followed a motorcycle off course

Italian Eyob Faniel won the Venice marathon on Sunday after a bizarre incident in which the leading six runners took a incorrect turn.

Favorites Abdulahl Dawud, Gilbert Kipleting Chumba, Kipkemei Mutai and David Kiprono Metto were among the leading group 25 km( 16 miles) into the race when the motorcycle guiding the runners took a wrong turn. The six leaders covered several hundred metres before being made aware of the error and turning back. They lost about two minutes.

Justin Lagat (@ Kenyanathlete)

This constructs me sick !! #venicemarathon https :// Q95R8gXbXz

October 22, 2017

Faniel, who runs for the local Venice marathon club, was around a minute behind the leaders at the time but determined himself resulting the race along with Mohammed Mussa, who he immediately passed.

The 25 -year-old Faniel went on to become the first Italian to win the race in 22 years.

Faniel finished in 2 hours, 12 minutes, 16 seconds, beating Mussa by nearly two minutes. Tariq Bamaarouf was third, simply ahead of Chumba.

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Italian woman granted sick pay for time off to look after her ill dog

Rome academic wins landmark court case where she argued that two days taken as leave to care for dog should be allowable

An Italian woman has won her battle to be granted sick pay for days she took off to look after her poorly puppy, in a first for the pet-loving country.

The woman, a Rome academic, won her instance with the help of lawyers from the Italian Anti-Vivisection League( LAV ), one of the biggest animal rights groups in Europe, the organisation said.

A judge accepted the lawyers’ example that her university should count her two days off under an allowance for absences related to” serious or household personal reasons “.

Their argument was underpinned by a provision in Italy’s penal code that provides for people who abandon an animal to” grave suffering” to be jailed for a year and fined up to EUR1 0,000.

” It is a significant step forward that recognised that animals that are not maintain for financial gain or their working ability are effectively members of the family ,” said LAV president Gianluca Felicetti.

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Brexit critic Colin Firth opts for Italian passport for family reasons

Oscar-winning actor will continue to be based in London as officials in Rome confirm he now holds dual nationality

Many of the threats and promises exchanged during the row over Brexit have yet to be tested by period, but this weekend at the least one has come to pass. The Oscar-winning movie performer and producer Colin Firth, unmoved by Theresa May’s pronouncements in Florence, has accepted Italian citizenship, in agreement with the Italian interior ministry in Rome.

It was reported in May that the actor had made a formal application for Italian citizenship in response to the vote to leave the European Union, while last year Firth’s apparent opposition to the referendum result was noted in an Austrian newspaper.

He was said to have described Brexit as” a disaster of unexpected proportions “. The actor’s agent said that the decision to apply for a new passport at the Italian embassy in London had been a family decision. He would not confirm that it had anything to do with Brexit.

” Colin applied for dual citizenship[ British and Italian] in order to have the same passports as his wife and children ,” the agent said.

The 56 -year-old star came to fame as Jane Austen’s aloof Mr Darcy, the epitome of the reticent English aristocrat, in an acclaimed 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice . But from now on Firth is officially as Italian as spaghetti carbonara.

” The very famous actor, who won an Oscar for the cinema The King’s Speech , is married to a citizen from our country and has often declared his love for our land ,” the Italian interior ministry said.

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Firth, who grew up and went to school in Hampshire, has been married to the Italian environmental campaigner, way entrepreneur and film producer Livia Giuggioli since 1997. The couple live in Chiswick, London, with their two sons Luca, 16, and Matteo, 13.

Since Italy is one of the few European countries that allows dual nationality, Firth is expected to keep his British passport as well as a home in this country.

Firth and Giuggioli, 47, also have a house near the cities of Citta della Pieve in Umbria and the actor speaks good Italian. His 2008 cinema Genova , directed against Michael Winterbottom, told of a widower who falls in love first with Italy and then with an Italian woman. The actor, who has also appeared in the reach cinemas The English Patient , Bridget Jones’s Diary , Love, Actually and Shakespeare in Love , is currently promoting his new film Kingsman: The Golden Circle , a sequel to the ironic, action-packed 2015 hit.

Since the Brexit decision, a growing number of Britons have applied for citizenship in EU countries, with Irish applications outstripping all others. Any Briton born in the Irish Republic or Northern Ireland, or with an Irish mother or grandparent, is entitled to an Irish passport and it is thought six million could be eligible.

May went out of her way in Florence to pledge that hundreds of thousands of Italians living in the UK would retain their full rights.

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Aid groups snub Italian code of conduct on Mediterranean rescues

Five of eight groups operating migrant rescue ships refuse to agree to new measures, quoting concerns over operational effectiveness and neutrality

Five aid groups that operate migrant rescue ships in the Mediterranean have refused to sign up to the Italian governments code of conduct, the Interior Ministry said, but three others backed the new rules.

Charity boats have become increasingly important in rescue operations, picking up more than a third of all migrants brought ashore in so far this year against less than one percent in 2014, according to the Italian coastguard.

Italy, fearing that the groups were facilitating people smuggling from North Africa and encouraging migrants to stimulate the perilous passageway to Europe, proposed a code containing around a dozen phases for the charities. Those who refused to sign the document had set themselves outside the organised system of ocean rescues, with all the concrete outcomes that they are able have, the ministry said.

Italy has hitherto threatened to shut its ports to NGOs that did not sign on, but an source within the Interior Ministry said that in reality those groups would face more checks from Italian authorities.

Doctors Without Borders( MSF ), which has taken part in many of the rescues of the 95,000 migrants brought to Italy this year, attended a meeting at the Interior Ministry but refused to sign the code. MSF objected most strongly to a requirement that assistance boats must take migrants to a safe port themselves, rather than transferring people to other ships, which permits smaller barges to stay in the area for further rescues.

Our boats are often overwhelmed by the high number of[ migrant] boats and life and death at sea is a question of minutes, MSF Italys director, Gabriele Eminente, wrote in a letter to the interior minister, Marco Minniti. The code of conduct puts at risk this fragile equation of co-operation between different barges, he continued, adding that MSF still wanted to work with the ministry to improve ocean rescues.

But Save the Children backed the measures, saying it already complied with most of the rules and would monitor constantly to be sure that applying them did not stymie their work. We would not have signed if even one single phase would have compromised our effectiveness. This is not the case not one single phase of the code will stymie our activities, said Valerio Neri, director of Save the Children Italy, after the meeting.

The Malta-based Migrant Offshore Aid Station( MOAS) and Spanish group Proactiva Open Arms agreed to the conditions, but Germanys Sea-Watch, Sea-Eye and Jugend Rettet, and Frances SOS Mediterrane abstained. MSF, SOS Mediterrane and Jugend Rettet also called for clarification of the rules and took issue with a clause in the code that would oblige groups to allow police officer on board.

For us, the most controversial point was the commitment to help the Italian police with their investigations and perhaps take armed police officers on board, Jugend Rettet coordinator Titus Molkenbur said. That is antithetical to the humanitarian following principles neutrality that we adhere to, and we cannot be seen as being part of the conflict.

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Imagine living with this crap: tempers in Venice boil over in tourist high season

As residents leave and guest numbers soar, the citys quality of life is being eroded. This summertime, irate locals have taken to the streets

Emotions operate high in Venice, the Italian island city that fascinates visitors even as it exasperates the dwindling band of local inhabitants.

Venice is still known as La Serenissima, the most serene, and was once a place where the population scratched gracefully along with guests made up largely of intellectuals, writers and artists. It is difficult now to imagine that happy coexistence, when you stray through the intricate maze of alleys and waterways and speak to local people. Depopulation and mass tourism have long been causes of local hopelessnes. But this summer it feels as if a tipping point may not be far away.

Earlier this month an estimated 2,000 Venetians marched against a tourism industry they argue has eroded their quality of life, that is damaging the environment and driving residents away: Venices population has fallen from about 175,000 in the post-second world war years to 55,000 today.

Carlo Beltrame, one of the events organisers and a researcher in humanities at Venices Ca Foscari University, yearns for a hour when taking a motorboat was not stressful or when a trip-up to his doctor in the Rialto Bridge area did not involve getting caught up in the slow-moving tourist throng.

Around 2,000 people leave each year, he told. If we go on this route, in a few years hour Venice will only be populated by tourists. This would be a social, anthropological and historic disaster.

Whether irritated by selfie sticks , noisy wheelie suitcases or people snacking on one of the 391 bridges, Venetians contempt towards the 28 million visitors who flood the city each year has reached alarming levels.

On a July morning in Cannaregio a neighbourhood tucked away from the congested Piazza San Marco area you can still catch a glimpse of the authentic Venetian lifestyle. The scene plays out much as it does in other Italian cities: smartly dressed people chat animatedly as they shop at the butchers and bakers or congregate at the bar. Children play freely on the streets.

The area remains largely undisturbed by tourists, but Luciano Bortot, who was born here, is feeling anything but serene. Youre asking me what its like to live with this crap? he told. It used to be wonderful, we had lots of artisans the problem now is the mass tourism, the people who “re coming” only a few hours and see nothing its as much of a nightmare for them.

Like many of his neighbours, Bortot hates the behemoth cruise ships that chug through the Giudecca canal four or five times a day, emitting fumes before disgorging thousands of people on some days as many as 44,000 into the historic centre.

A ship glidings into the city one of several every day. Photo: Dan Kitwood/ Getty Images

He also laments the upsurge in the number of B& Bs, which make it impossible for residents to find a home to rent on a long-term contract.

With its carnival, star-studded cinema festival and the Biennale art exhibition, Venice has a long history of cultivating tourism. It is an industry that brings millions to the coffers per year and offer thousands of jobs. The city cannot live with it or without it and, even among themselves, it seems that emphasized Venetians are becoming increasingly fractious.

Venetians of today are not so proud , not like our ancestors were, told Michelangelo Adamo, 23, a eatery worker who is training to be a boat skipper in order to be allowed to escape to the quieter islands. They dont actually am worried about art or culture, they drive speedboats and feed junk food, its more like Miami Beach.

Another resident of Cannaregio is Galliano di Marco, the CEO of VTP, the Venice passenger terminal that manages and provides services to the cruise liners and their passengers. Originally from the central Abruzzo region, he enjoys life in Venice, despite being a target for those involved in the No Big Ships activist group, which for years has combated against the cruise liners and in June held an unofficial referendum in which Venetians voted in favour of ousting the vessel from the citys lagoon.

Venetians are quick to point the blamed at cruise-ship passengers for the demise in their quality of life, arguing that they stay for only a few hours, expend little money and leave a road of litter in their wake.

Di Marco disputes this, quoting figures that paint a different scene: only 1.5 million of the 28 million visitors to Venice each year arrive on a cruise ship, with the rest coming by bus, auto, train or airliner. With an average age of 65, they expend between 120 and 160 per head, bringing about 250 m to the city per year. The passenger terminal also provides tasks for an estimated 5,000 people.

But the well-publicised disagreement, which even inspired New York mayor Bill De Blasio to urge his Venice counterpart, Luigi Brugnaro, to ban the ships, has left VTP and the cruise industry in turbulent waters. With this in intellect, since taking on the role in December Di Marco has striven to ten-strike a compromise between the sector and the activists, devising a plan that would find the ships instead take a longer journey into the lagoon via the Vittorio Emanuele canal.

The proposal needs approval from the Italian government, but is backed by the cruise companies. It will take 1.5 hours longer to enter and leave the lagoon, but the cruise companies is cognizant of the fact that because they want to keep Venice on their itineraries its one of the three best destinations in the world, he said.

Its not our bellow, but we are doing whatever we can to take the big ships away from the Giudecca canal because truly, enough is enough.

Map of Venice

Di Marco is less conciliatory towards demands for the passenger terminal, a vast, well-structured region that also provides services to hydrofoils arriving from Croatia and Slovenia, to up sticks to Marghera, an unsightly industrial area on the mainland.

Theyre trying to build a ghetto for the cruise passengers and I will fight this as much as possible, he told. At the moment passengers arrive in the living room of Venice; in Marghera it would be like greeting them in the toilet.

The citizens who marched recently carried flags reading: Im not leaving. But despite their determination to stay, they are pessimistic about the future. Residents expected that Unesco would send a strong signal to the authorities by following through with a threat to place the world heritage site on its endangered listing. Instead, the organisation recently granted the city another year to be submitted with measures to protect its monuments and preserve its fragile environment.

It feels as if were at a point of no return because its already out of control, said Beltrame. He would like tourist numbers to be limited, while focusing on improving the quality and promoting the city as a hub for scientific and maritime research.

Luciano Bortot, meanwhile, seems with jealousy towards the neighbouring semi-autonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adige, which until the end of the first world war comes within the framework of Austria.

He believes the answer to Venices woes lies in the Veneto region, among Italys richest, procuring greater, if not full, freedom from Rome. A non-legally binding referendum will be held in October. Venice would be better managed by Venetian heads , not Roman ones, he said. If we had an official referendum, Veneto would definitely vote to break away.

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