Category Archives: Breaking News

What does Renzi’s defeat mean for Italy?

Matteo Renzi press conference, Rome

The results of last night’s Italian Referendum are out and the ballots show that the No vote leads with 60%, whereas the Yes vote is only at 40%. The turnout was at 70%. The Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, has announced his resignation after his heavy referendum defeat concerning his proposal to reform the Constitution. It is now up to the Italian President, Sergio Mattarella, whether he will appoint a new replacement or hold elections.

What was the referendum about?

The Italian voters were asked if they approved the constitutional law calling to alter the Italian Constitution that would reform the complex political system. It would reduce the size of the Senate from 315 to 100 and would have made law-making a more speedy process. The former Prime Minister, Renzi, claimed it would improve Italy’s reorganisation and economic growth.

Why did Renzi lose?

Addressing his loss, Matteo Renzi said, “My experience of government finishes here”. “We tried, we gave Italians a chance to change but we didn’t make it,” he said. “I lost. I can admit it and I am sorry. I was not able to lead you to the victory. Good luck to us all,” he concluded.

Renzi’s opponents not only included members of other parties, but also people within his own party. They all believed that the referendum would mean that the Prime Minister would end up with too much power in his hands. The voters agreed. An opposition leader, Matteo Salvini, called the referendum “a victory of the people against the strong powers of three quarters of the world”.

The referendum was not only calling for a change in the Parliament, but also regarded as a chance to reject establishment politics.

How is the rest of the world reacting?

The Italian Referendum comes in hot pursuit of the victories of the UK’s Brexit and the US’s Presidential Elections. Across the globe, far-right parties are beginning to take the upper hand. Despite Norbert Hofer’s defeat in the recent Austrian Presidential election, other far-right wing leaders in Germany, France and Greece have secured great advantages.

The result is being viewed as yet another blow to the EU (after Brexit), however, it is not an indication that Italy will be following the UK’s outside the EU. The Northern League and Five Star may be opposed to the Eurozone, but not for the Italy’s EU membership.

German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, said that “there was no reason for a Euro crisis but that Italy urgently needed a functioning government”. However, Marine Le Pen, the leader of the Front National in France, tweeted: “The Italians have disavowed the EU and Renzi. We must listen to this thirst for freedom of nations.”

What has happened to the economy?

Overnight, the currency has toppled to a 21 month low, following the departure of Renzi. Both stocks and the euro dropped last night, but were raised by the morning. Nevertheless, the referendum could have more long term effects, as there have been growing concerns over the financial stability of the country.

What will happen now?

As Renzi announced his resignation after the final cabinet meeting, he will hand his position to the President Mattarella, who could ask him to remain in his position until Parliament has passed a bill due later in the month.

Early elections are thought to be quite unlikely, therefore it is possible that Mattarella may appoint a caretaker administration led by the former PM’s party until the next elections due in the spring of 2018. Pier Carlo Padoan, the Finance Minister is the favourite to succeed Renzi’s position of Prime Minister.

Former Green Party leader wins the Austrian presidential elections

 

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Alexander Van der Bellen

Alexander Van der Bellen, former head of the Greens, has won the Austrian presidential elections.

This vote was a rerun of May’s elections. The results showed that Mr Van der Bellen narrowly won, but postal vote irregularities were found and undermined the credibility of the process.   

The margin in May of 30,000 votes has been increased by ten times.

The vote comes after anti-establishment sentiment has occurred following the victory of Donald Trump in the American President-elections and the UK’s vote to leave the EU. That is why, this election is believed to be a symbol of how well populism develops in Europe.

Referring to the country’s flag, he said a “red-white-red signal of hope and change, a red-white-red signal today goes from Austria to all the capitals of the European Union.

“Finally, you know, I will try to be an open-minded, a liberal-minded and first of all a pro-European federal president of the Republic of Austria.”

The new president is a 72 years old economics professor.

His immigration policy represents his wishes for a “liberal, cosmopolitan Austria”.

He commented on Trump’s campaign style that the sexist attacks were “unacceptable”.

His rival Norbert Hofer expressed sadness after the result has been announced. The post, however, is only ceremonial in Austria.

 

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Norbert Hofer

 

He wrote on Facebook:

“I would have loved to look after Austria. I congratulate Alexander Van der Bellen to his success and ask all Austrians to stick together. We are all Austrians, no matter what we decided today. Long live our home Austria.”

Both candidates have been very active on social media during the election process.

 

He is a 45 years old aeronautical engineer.

Hofer is not a Trump’s supporter, but he has “high hopes of improved relations with Russia”.

Full official results are expected today once postal ballots have been counted. Almost 6.5 million Austrians were eligible to vote.

British ‘Santa’ worker stabbed to death in Finland

The 26-year-old Scottish female, who worked for a ‘Santa Safari’ tour, was found dead in the village of Kuttanen in Finland on Saturday.

Her boyfriend, who allegedly fled the incident on a dog sled, was found in -30 degree snow and taken to hospital.  The male is currently in Police custody under suspicion of murdering his girlfriend.

A spokesperson from the Santa Safari tour’s commented:

“We  are all in shock from this tragic news and our thoughts go out to her family.Our team is working closely with the Finnish Police and relevant authorities to support the investigation that is now under way.”

Scottish police have been alerted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the death of a national.

Segregation in Britain reaching “worrying levels”

Segregation has reached very high levels, a review into opportunity and integration shows.

The Casey Review shows that women in some communities are denied “even their basic rights as British residents”.

This 18-month review was commissioned by former prime minister David Cameron as a way for government to tackle extremism.

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The report further reveals that people from different backgrounds got on well with each other in general, but true community cohesion is generally missing.

Dame Louise Casey’s review also shows “high levels of social and economic isolation in some places, and cultural and religious practices in communities that are not only holding some of our citizens back but run contrary to British values and sometimes our laws.”

The official review warns that Muslims increasingly do not identify themselves as being British.

It warns that ethnic isolation is being experienced at a young age, and identifies 511 schools where more than half of students are from Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds.

In order to improve the situation, the reports makes 12 recommendations.

  1. A programme of projects to boost cohesion, such as local IT courses and sport activities for children;
  2. Councils should regularly collect statistics on hate crime or deficiencies in English;
  3. Government and councils should share their approaches to tackling segregation;
  4. Schools should promote British values to help build integration, tolerance and citizenship;
  5. A review of the “rights and obligations” of immigrants likely to settle in the UK;
  6. New immigrants could have to swear “an oath of integration with British values and society”;
  7. Funding for school projects that encourage children of different backgrounds to mix;
  8. On top of English language classes for adults, special classes to tackle any “cultural barriers” to a person’s employment prospects;
  9. More funding for local English language classes and a review of whether courses are reaching people who need them;
  10. Councils should investigate whether their housing policies help or hinder integration;
  11. Better checks when children are removed from mainstream education;
  12. New oath for public office-holders pledging “tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs”…

Here you can listen to more points which the review highlights:

“We need to talk about the impacts of immigration in a level-headed way, as well as to provide more help for new migrants to integrate and more help for local people to adapt to changes and new pressures in their communities,” the report suggests. The review also shows that the Government should consider new standards to ensure there are no divisions.

 

Breaking news: Europe’s Mars probe to launch in 2020

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Europe’s Mars probe will go ahead as planned in 2020

Europe’s attempt to search for life on Mars will launch as planned in 2020 despite fears of soaring costs, it has been confirmed.

Members of the European Space Agency (Esa) agreed to stump up the extra £370 million needed to ensure the future of ExoMars Rover.

European science ministers decided to back the mission at a major meeting in Lucerne, Switzerland.

The space agency’s chief Jan Woerner, said: “We need to work hard because it’s not only some rover, we have the payloads from different sources – all of this has to pack together.

“It’s not an easy thing, but we are confident that we will succeed.”

You can read more about the possibility of humans moving to Mars on City Beat.

Breaking: Woman shot in Birmingham

A woman was shot this morning in the Harborne Area of Birmingham. She has been hospitalised with non-threatening arm injuries. It is believed the attack was specifically targeted at the victim. Investigation is ongoing and Police have appealed for information.

Shootings have been happening in Birmingham with “concerning regularity”, according to West Midlands Police Chief Constable David Thompson, who spoke this January following the last shooting. Despite a crackdown and multiple high-profile convictions through the courts, Mr. Thompson had told city officials this summer that the problem had “not gone away” and that “this challenge would be with us for a long time to come”.

18-year-old Kenichi Phillips became the fourth victim in less than six months when he was shot dead in March of this year.

UPDATE (16:36): Police have confirmed that they were called to the Harborne Area at 11:30 this morning, specifically on Croftdown Road. The victim was admitted shortly thereafter at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

More to come.

Crime boss Patrick Adams jailed for shooting ‘grass’

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Patrick Adams (METROPOLITAN POLICE/PA)

A crime family boss has been jailed for nine years after he shot a long-time sidekick for being a “grass”.

Patrick “Patsy” Adams, 60, of the notorious Adams family, shot Paul Tiernan in the chest in Islington on December 22, 2013 with a .45 caliber pistol.

Adams admitted shooting Tiernan in Clerkenwell, after spotting the victim while on a walk with his wife that morning.

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Constance Adams (METROPOLITAN POLICE)

The infamous family’s second-in-command was caught in Holland after the shooting sparked an international manhunt to find him and his wife, Constance, 56.

But he was cleared of attempted murder after Tiernan refused to press charges, claiming “loyalty is everything”.

Woolwich Crown Court heard the two men were close friends who lived by “the same code” and days before the shooting the victim had complained that Adams had called him a “grass”.

Searching Adams’ flat in the days following the shooting, police found a handwritten note from Mr Tiernan, 54, which said “I ain’t no f****** grass” and challenged his former ally to “face me”.

Sentencing, Judge Christopher Kinch said: “It was Patrick Adams who chose to make use of the loaded firearm when it was in his hands.

“That was a momentous decision.

“You are a man who has had some experience with firearms and have some understanding of their power.

“You took steps to dispose of evidence in this case, including the weapon.

“You also made sustained efforts to evade arrest, leaving the country and seeking refuge in the Netherlands.”

James Scobie QC, defending, said Tiernan had originally been holding the gun, and Adams, “fearing for his life and the life of his wife”, had acted in self-defence.

He said: “Pat Adams and his wife were walking lawfully down the road close to their home.

“Tiernan came to him.

“The fact is he had to act in self-defence – the actual window of opportunity when this incident could have occurred is four seconds.

“A four-second wrestle and the gun went off in the car.”

 


The location of the shooting. 

Mr Scobie said the Adams acted “out of character”, and “regrets” his actions and accepted they were “not reasonable”.

The weapon has not yet been recovered.

Mr Tiernan is believed to have made a full recovery after spending a month in hospital, in which a part of his intestine was removed due to the shooting.

He refused to co-operate with the police throughout the investigation, claiming he did not know who shot him.