A court in Italy has sentenced a former far-right extremist to life in prison for his part in a bombing at a railway station 40 years ago that killed 85 people.
Gilberto Cavallini, 67, a former member of the far-fight Armed Revolutionary Nucleus (NAR), was convicted for providing logistical support to those who carried out the attack in the northeastern city of Bologna.
On August 2 1980, a bomb exploded in the railway station’s waiting room, killing 85 people and injuring more than 200.
From the 1960s to the start of the 1980s, Italy was hit by more than 12,000 attacks in which 362 people died.
The most notorious act was the kidnapping and assassination of former prime minister Aldo Moro in 1978.
The attacks, aimed at destabilising the government in Rome within the context of the Cold War, were blamed on far-left groups and in other cases, such as in Bologna, on far-right militants.
Cavallini, who has confessed to a number of crimes including robberies and murder, has already spent 37 years in prison and was on day release, Italian media reported.
But he has said he is innocent of involvement in the Bologna attack.
“I’m in prison since September 1983, that’s more than 37 years. These are years in prison that I deserve… I deserve the convictions, but I don’t accept having to pay for what I have not done,” he told the court.
Two NAR members were sentenced to life in prison for the Bologna attack, and a third, who was a minor at the time, to 30 years.
Several others, including members of the security services, received lighter sentences of between seven and 10 years for obstruction of justice.
But some families of the victims believe that the real masterminds behind the attack remain unknown and unpunished.
Italian Education Minister Lorenzo Fioramonti of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement said Thursday he had resigned because his ministry is underfunded.
Fioramonti wrote on Facebook that he informed Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of his decision on Tuesday, saying he had taken up the portfolio to “reverse… the trend that has for decades put Italian schools, higher education and research in conditions of great suffering.”
He said the government had failed “to ensure a financial waterline… especially in such a crucial area as universities and research.”
The resignation deals a new blow to the coalition government formed by Fioramonti’s M5S party and the centre-left Democratic Party just four months ago.
Dissensions have already arisen in several areas including migration.
M5S leader Luigi Di Maio, who is foreign minister, has come under harsh criticism within the party, with several lawmakers leaving to join the far-right, anti-immigrant League party led by Matteo Salvini.
Media reports say Fioramonti plans to form an independent group in parliament to support Conte that may be the embryo of a new political party.
The head of Italy’s far-right League, Matteo Salvini, could be investigated for the alleged unauthorised use of official planes for party business while a cabinet minister, Italian media reported Thursday.
The state prosecutor in Rome has sent documents to a tribunal charged with monitoring public finances concerning 35 flights Salvini took while deputy prime minister and interior minister, according to the Corriere della Sera.
The prosecutor has asked the court to determine whether the flights on police and firefighters’ planes and helicopters constituted an abuse of office.
According to a recent investigation by La Repubblica, Salvini often scheduled official state trips within Italy just before or after rallies for the League.
“I can’t wait to go in front of the courts,” Salvini said when asked about the report at a news conference on Thursday. On Twitter he wrote: “The more we’re attacked, the more we move forward, a smile on our lips.”
The prosecutor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation.
Italy’s audit court had earlier opened, then shelved in September, an investigation on financial grounds, arguing that the cost of the trips did not appear to be higher than what would normally have been authorised.
Still, the court considered the flights illegal because Italian law stipulates that police and firefighting aircraft should be used exclusively for institutional use and not by state ministers.
Only the five highest members of state — the president, the two parliament speakers, the prime minister and the head of the constitutional court — are legally allowed to use such aircraft.
Exceptions most be specially authorised, which was not the case for Salvini.
Salvini is currently embroiled in other judicial affairs, including alleged links between the League and Russia, and a decades-long corruption scandal involving the party, for which a court has confiscated 49 million euros ($54 million).
A 4.5 magnitude earthquake hit the central Italian region of Mugello on Monday, sending panicked residents into the streets but causing minimal damage to buildings.
The quake, centred some 31 km (19 miles) northeast of Florence in Tuscany, hit at 4:37 am (0330 GMT), after a series of smaller quakes, according to the national institute for geophysics and vulcanology (INGV).
Residents fled their buildings in the rain, congregating outside or in their cars to await authorities.
“The quake went on for awhile, especially the first one, things fell down at a supermarket but for the moment we haven’t seen any damage to people or things,” said Filippo Carla’ Campa, mayor of the town of Vicchio.
A resident of Barberino del Mugello said his neighbours were panicking getting out of the building.
“Paintings fell off the walls, bookcases fell over,” he told Rai 24.
In Barberino del Mugello, the 17th century church suffered a crack in one side, television images showed.
Schools were closed in the region and some trains through Florence were cancelled or delayed.
Italy is frequently struck by seismic activity, often devastating. Most recently, a series of strong quakes hit central Italy in late 2016 and early 2017, killing 300 people.
In 1919, the area was hit by an earthquake that killed 100 people.
The coastguard said rescue operations had been complicated by rough seas “but also owing to a large number of people who fell into the water simultaneously”.
Italian media reported one Eritrean man and a Libyan man as saying they had lost their wives.
The public prosecutor in the Sicilian port of Agrigento announced an investigation had been opened into the incident.
The SOS Mediterranee and Medecins sans Frontieres NGOs said meanwhile Sunday that 213 migrants rescued in recent days in the Sicilian port of Messina by humanitarian vessel Ocean Viking had disembarked
Spanish NGO Open Arms, which Thursday rescued 73 migrants in a separate operation, meanwhile urged European governments to authorise “immediately” the migrants’ disembarkation in a safe port, citing a “critical” situation.
“We continue to demand that people’s rights, established under international conventions and maritime law, be respected,” tweeted Open Arms’ chef de mission Riccardo Gatti.
Ocean Viking made similar demands as both NGOs warned there was an urgent need for a coordinated urgent response to deal with the “humanitarian catastrophe” in the region.
Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly left the Allianz Stadium before the final whistle of Juventus’ 1-0 Serie A win over AC Milan on Sunday after being substituted for the second match in a week.
Paulo Dybala replaced Ronaldo on 55 minutes with the Argentina striker going on to score the winning goal 22 minutes later to keep Juventus top in Serie A ahead of Inter Milan.
Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo looked glum as he came off and directed some words at coach Maurizio Sarri before heading to the changing rooms and Sky Sport Italia reported that the 34-year-old had left the stadium three minutes before the match finished.
However Sarri said he did not know whether Ronaldo had left the stadium early.
Paulo Dybala struck the decisive goal in Juventus’ 1-0 win over AC Milan on Sunday after replacing Cristiano Ronaldo as Juventus stayed top of Serie A, while Lazio and Cagliari moved into the Champions League places.
Argentine forward Dybala hit the winner in the 77th minute in the Allianz Stadium having taken the place of Ronaldo 20 minutes earlier.
Defending champions Juventus maintain their one-point lead over Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan who had taken pole position after their 2-1 win over Verona on Saturday.
AC Milan’s seventh defeat in 12 games saw Stefano Pioli’s side drop to 14th position, just four points above the relegation zone.
However Milan had threatened as the former European giants chased their first win against Juventus in Turin in eight years.
Wojciech Szczesny was kept busy in the Juventus goal, denying fellow Pole Krzysztof Piatek, Lucas Paqueta and Hakan Calhanoglu.
Blaise Matuidi missed Juventus’s best chance before Dybala’s winner when his powerful curling effort flew wide just after the break.
Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo, who had also been taken off during the midweek Champions League win over Lokomotiv Moscow, reportedly left the stadium before the end of the game after being substituted on 55 minutes.
Douglas Costa also came on for Federico Bernardeschi after an hour, with the two substitutions changing the game for the champions.
Gonzalo Higuain fed Dybala, who easily shook off Alessio Romagnoli to beat Donnarumma and claim his third league goal this season.
“Cristiano should be thanked because he made himself available despite not being in optimal conditions,” said Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri.
“In the last month he has had this discomfort in his knee and this a little problem for him.
“It’s only natural a player is going to be irritated to leave the pitch, especially when he worked so hard to be there.”
Returning hero Nainggolan
Behind the leaders, Lazio and Cagliari moved into the top four after goal-packed wins.
Lazio saw off newly-promoted Lecce 4-2, while surprise package Cagliari continued their superb form with a 5-2 rout of Fiorentina.
The two teams are level on 24 points, eight behind Juventus with Lazio ahead of the Sardinians on goal difference.
Lazio’s Argentine forward Joaquin Correa hit a brace either side of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic’s strike, with Serie A top-scorer Ciro Immobile slotting in a penalty at the Stadio Olimpico.
Cagliari, who battled relegation last season, have been in superb form since Radja Nainggolan returned to the Sardinian outfit after five years away, including a difficult season at Inter Milan last term.
The Belgian contributed three assists and capped a stellar performance with the fifth goal of the game on 65 minutes.
Fiorentina are struggling without Franck Ribery who is serving a three-match ban for pushing an official.
Nainggolan set up Mark Rog for the opener on 17 minutes, with Fabio Pisacane nodding in the second less than ten minutes later.
The 31-year-old was involved again in Giovanni Simeone’s third goal against the Argentinian forward’s parent club, as well as Joao Pedro’s effort 10 minutes after the break, before blasting in his second goal of the campaign from distance.
He was given a standing ovation when substituted in the 78th minute.
“We are doing something extraordinary,” said Nainggolan whose side are unbeaten in 10 games, which include seven victories and three draws.
“Nobody would have said at the beginning of the year that we could play so well,” said the Belgian.
“There is an enthusiasm that hasn’t been seen at Cagliari for years.”
Atalanta lost ground in the league days after their 1-1 draw against Manchester City thanks to a goalless draw at relegation-threatened Sampdoria.
The Bergamo side are winless in three league games and played the last 15 minutes in Genoa a man down after Ruslan Malinovskiy was sent off for a second yellow card.
Paulo Fonseca’s injury-depleted Roma also showed signs of fatigue after their Europa League defeat in Germany, falling 2-0 at Parma and dropping down to sixth.
Parma pulled through thanks to a Mattia Sprocati strike on 68 minutes and Andreas Cornelius finding a way through deep into injury time.
Italy became the second team to qualify for Euro 2020 after a 2-0 win over Greece on Saturday, while three-time champions Spain edged closer to the finals despite conceding a stoppage-time equaliser away to Norway.
Chelsea midfielder Jorginho dispatched a second-half penalty as Italy, wearing green kits for just the second time in history, registered a seventh straight win in Group J.
The Azzurri, who failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, added a second in Rome on 78 minutes through a deflected strike from Juventus forward Federico Bernardeschi.
Roberto Mancini’s side joined Belgium in the draw for next year’s finals, where Italy will play their first two group games at the Stadio Olimpico.
“We managed to create a team in a short period of time. It wasn’t easy but you have to thank the players, who have quickly developed an understanding between themselves,” said Mancini, who took over as Italy coach 18 months ago.
“It’s a team with character that fights and plays with the ball but one that must also improve. Now we have a year to try and get better.
“We have a lot of work but we’re not very far from the best European teams. I’m happy and proud to have helped the national team come through a tough patch.”
Spain dropped their first points in Group F as Joshua King converted a 94th-minute spot-kick to rescue a 1-1 draw for Norway following a foul by goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga on Omar Elabdellaoui.
Sergio Ramos broke the Spanish international appearances record as he won his 168th cap in Oslo to overtake Iker Casillas.
The visitors led when Saul Niguez slammed home from 20 yards moments after half-time but Spain were denied a seventh win in a row as King’s equaliser kept Norway in the running.
“It’s a real pain to lose points in the final seconds. It’s complicated to play against a team who knew that if they lost they were pretty much out,” said Spain captain Ramos.
Norway last qualified for a major tournament at the 2000 European Championship and are fourth in the group, four points adrift of neighbours Sweden with three games to play.
Sebastian Larsson netted two spot-kicks as Sweden cruised to a 4-0 rout of Malta to reclaim second place behind Spain. Marcus Danielson broke the deadlock on 11 minutes in Ta’ Qali and home skipper Andrei Agius also scored an own goal.
Romania remain a point behind Sweden following a 3-0 win in the Faroe Islands secured by second-half goals from George Puscas, Ionut Mitrita and Claudiu Keseru.
– Schmeichel denies Switzerland –
Kasper Schmeichel produced a series of excellent saves as Denmark defeated Switzerland 1-0 to climb level with the Republic of Ireland in Group D.
Leicester City goalkeeper Schmeichel pulled off superb stops to deny Granit Xhaka, Admir Mehmedi and Ricardo Rodriguez before Yussuf Poulsen grabbed an 84th-minute winner for Denmark in Copenhagen.
The Danes moved up to 12 points alongside group leaders Ireland, who drew 0-0 away to Georgia, while Switzerland are four points off the pace but with a game in hand.
“We battled for the whole game, there was a tremendous atmosphere. I think that was one of my best performances for Denmark,” said Schmeichel.
Mick McCarthy’s Ireland couldn’t establish any momentum earlier in the day in Tbilisi and were left frustrated by wayward finishing from their few opportunities to break the deadlock.
Bosnia and Herzegovina reignited their qualification hopes in Italy’s group with a 4-1 win over second-placed Finland.
A brace from Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic and goals from Izet Hajrovic and Armin Hodzic pushed Bosnia to within two points of Finland.
Armenia blew the chance to move level with the Finns as Liechtenstein substitute Yanik Frick cancelled out Tigran Barseghyan’s effort in a 1-1 draw in Vaduz.
The Italian coastguard said Monday it had recovered the bodies of 13 women, some of them pregnant, after a boat carrying around 50 migrants capsized off Lampedusa.
Around a dozen people, reportedly including eight children and other pregnant women, are still missing after the small, overloaded boat capsized off the coast of the southern Italian island, the coastguard said.
Two bodies have been recovered and around 25 people are missing after a small boat carrying migrants capsized off Lampedusa, the Italian coastguard said on Monday.
The coastguard went to the rescue of an “overloaded and already listing boat six nautical miles from the island of Lampedusa” with about 50 migrants on board shortly after midnight on Monday, a statement said.
As the rescue vessels approached the area off the southern Italian island, “the adverse weather conditions and the sudden displacement of the migrants” caused the boat to capsize, it said.
The coastguard and a customs vessel have rescued 22 people with the search for survivors ongoing, including by air, the coastguard said.
Survivors told Italian media that at least eight children were among those still missing during the attempt to make the perilous Mediterranean crossing from North Africa to Europe.
Five Vatican employees, including the number two at its anti-money laundering authority, have been suspended following police raids linked to a financial wrongdoing probe, Italian media said Wednesday.
There was no immediate comment from Vatican authorities to the report which came the day after prosecutors seized documents and electronic devices from he offices of two key Vatican departments, the Secretariat of State and the FIA financial authority.
The L’Espresso magazine published a police circular dated Wednesday showing photographs and the positions of the five “suspended as a precaution”.
The circular said Vatican guards should no longer grant access to the five, except for healthcare purposes.
One of those suspended, secretariat head of information and documentation Mgr Mauro Carlino, will continue to be granted residence in the same hotel complex which is home to Pope Francis.
Also named was FIA director Tommaso Di Ruzza. The FIA is an independent anti-money laundering authority designed to lend transparency to operations by the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) — which acts as the Vatican Bank.
The three others suspended hold administrative posts in the secretariat.
The Vatican had said Tuesday’s raids, authorised by prosecutor Gian Piero Milano and his deputy Alessandro Diddi, were “linked to the complaints presented at the beginning of last summer by the Institute for Works of Religion and the Office of the General Auditor, regarding financial transactions carried out over time.”
The Secretariat of State, the Catholic Church’s governing body, works closely with Pope Francis.
L’Espresso reported that the investigation was looking into “real estate operations abroad,” notably in London with the alleged participation of British companies.
The magazine said investigators were analysing transactions on bank accounts which receive sums of money donated to the Catholic Church.