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A beloved female bear, known as Amarena, was tragically shot and killed on the outskirts of a central Italian town, reportedly due to a man’s fear. Amarena had gained popularity after she was captured on video earlier in the week, wandering in the town of San Sebastiano Dei Marsi with her two cubs.

Local authorities and residents were shocked by the incident, as there had been no prior history of bears posing a threat in the Abruzzo region. Amarena’s death has sparked outrage and calls for the protection of her cubs, who remain in the wild.

Amarena was one of the approximately 60 critically endangered Marsican bears native to central Italy and residing in the Abruzzo National Park. While she had caused some minor damage to crops and livestock in the past, the killing was deemed unjustified, as she had not posed a danger to humans.

The man responsible for the shooting claimed it was an impulsive, instinctive act driven by fear, as he found the bear on his property. Concerns had arisen locally due to the video of Amarena and her cubs circulating on social media, leading to an influx of sightseers.

This incident contrasts sharply with a fatal bear attack in Trentino-Adige last April, involving a different bear named JJ4, which was part of a repopulation program in the Alps.

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Italian TV presenter Andrea Giambruno, who is in a relationship with Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, has faced criticism for seemingly suggesting that young women could avoid rape by not getting drunk. Giambruno made these comments in the context of recent gang rape incidents in Italy, including one involving seven men accused of gang-raping a teenager in Sicily and another where six youths allegedly raped two young cousins in Caivano near Naples.

Giambruno later clarified that his comments were taken out of context and accused his detractors of exploiting his words unfairly. He explained that he had condemned the abhorrent acts as carried out by “beasts.”

Prime Minister Meloni, despite not commenting publicly on the matter, announced her intention to visit Caivano as a show of solidarity with the victims and the community. This decision followed a plea from the mother of one of the girls who was attacked, expressing concerns for her family’s safety after the incident.

Critics, including parliamentary inquiry head Martina Semenzato and politician Chiara Gribaudo, strongly denounced Giambruno’s remarks as victim-blaming and stressed that the blame should always be on the perpetrators, not the victims. Influential figure Chiara Ferragni used her social media platform to highlight that the problem lay with the actions of men, not wolves.

Despite the controversy, Giambruno’s partner, Prime Minister Meloni, proceeded with her visit to Caivano. However, this move was met with resistance and threats due to dissatisfaction with the government’s decision to phase out a minimum income benefit. Nevertheless, Meloni reaffirmed her commitment to fighting organized crime and ensuring security and a better future for the nation’s children.

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Italy’s government has taken a remarkable diplomatic step by covering the restaurant expenses of four Italian tourists who engaged in a dine and dash episode in Albania. This incident, which gained attention in both nations, led Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama to discuss the matter with his Italian counterpart, Giorgia Meloni, during her visit to Albania. In response, Meloni instructed her ambassador to personally settle the bill for these tourists, as recounted by Edi Rama in an interview with La Stampa.

Confirming the action, Italy’s embassy in Albania issued a statement, acknowledging the payment of the bill, estimated to be around €80 (£68), on behalf of its citizens. The embassy emphasized Italy’s adherence to regulations and the expectation that such incidents would not recur.

Francesco Lollobrigida, Italy’s agriculture minister and Giorgia Meloni’s brother-in-law, was also part of the Albanian trip. He expressed that taking responsibility for the bill was a matter of national pride, asserting that the actions of a few dishonest individuals should not tarnish the reputation of a nation of honorable people.

The exact date of the dine and dash event remains unclear, but surveillance footage depicting the group exiting the restaurant and disappearing into the night has gained substantial traction on social media platforms. The owner of the restaurant conveyed to Albania’s Report TV that this was the first instance of customers departing without settling their bill. Interestingly, the four Italian tourists had even expressed their appreciation for the quality of the food before leaving the establishment.

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Over 250 ancient artifacts, which had been stolen and sold to US museums and collectors in the 1990s, have been repatriated by the United States to Italy.

The art division of Italy’s police force identified the looted items, which include pottery, paintings, and sculptures dating back as far as 3,000 years. Some mosaics are valued at tens of millions of euros. The pieces hail from various historical periods such as the Villanovan age, Etruscan civilization, Magna Graecia, and Imperial Rome.

Most of the artifacts were pilfered in the 1990s and eventually circulated through dealers. While some were believed to have been offered to the Menil Collection in Texas, the museum denied having them in their possession. The artifacts were voluntarily returned by the owner after authorities linked them to illegal archaeological site excavations.

Furthermore, around 145 of the retrieved pieces originated from the bankruptcy case of Robin Symes, an English antiques dealer involved in an illegal trading network. Italy’s ongoing efforts to locate and recover stolen antiquities led to this successful repatriation, following a similar return of stolen art from New York in 2022.

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Six individuals, including a mother and her baby, have tragically lost their lives as three migrant vessels sank in the Mediterranean Sea.

One vessel sank off Tunisia’s Kerkennah Islands, resulting in four confirmed deaths, while 51 people are feared missing.

Another heartbreaking incident occurred near the Italian island of Lampedusa, where a mother and her one-year-old baby perished. Over 30 individuals are unaccounted for after two boats sank.

The victims, hailing from the Ivory Coast, were discovered by coastguards. The boats departing from the Tunisian city of Sfax were carrying 48 and 42 people, respectively, bound for Lampedusa.

The Kerkennah Islands incident involved passengers primarily from sub-Saharan Africa, according to Tunisian authorities.

Tunisian officials also found the remains of 10 migrants on a beach near Sfax, likely due to a storm that possibly caused their boat to sink.

Sfax is recognized as a common departure point for migrants aspiring to reach Europe for better prospects.

Italy’s coastguard rescued 57 migrants from the sunken vessels located southwest of Lampedusa. The UN’s migration agency reported over 30 missing individuals initially.

The tragedies come after a fatal boat accident in Greece in June that resulted in numerous deaths and missing persons.

Subsequent to the recent events, Italian authorities, along with patrol boats and charitable organizations, have rescued around 2,000 more migrants arriving on Lampedusa.

However, rescue operations are hampered by adverse weather conditions and substandard boat quality. In some instances, boats’ engines are stolen mid-journey by traffickers for reuse.

NGOs have criticized Italy’s far-right government for passing laws that force rescue ships to use distant ports, increasing costs and reducing effective patrolling.

The Italian interior ministry reported a significant rise in sea migration figures this year, reaching 92,000 compared to 42,600 in the same period last year.

Since March, crossing attempts from Sfax to Lampedusa have surged due to Tunisian President Kais Saied’s accusations against sub-Saharan migrants.

The Central Mediterranean crossing from North Africa to Europe remains a deadly route, with over 1,800 lives lost, though the actual toll is suspected to be higher, says the International Organization for Migration.

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Russian opera singer Anna Netrebko is taking legal action against the Metropolitan Opera in New York City after they dropped her from future performances following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The renowned soprano is seeking $360,000 in damages, alleging defamation, breach of contract, and other violations. The Met has responded, stating that the lawsuit is without merit.

Despite having previously expressed support for President Vladimir Putin and making donations to a theater in the rebel-held city of Donetsk, Netrebko faced pressure to condemn the invasion of Ukraine. While she eventually did criticize the conflict, she stopped short of denouncing Putin, leading to her dismissal from future performances with the Met.

Netrebko’s lawsuit claims that the Met’s actions caused her emotional distress and negatively impacted her professional relationships, leading to lost contracts with Russian theater companies. The Met, however, insists that the lawsuit is baseless.

Earlier, Netrebko had filed a separate complaint through the American Guild of Musical Artists, which ruled in her favor and awarded her over $200,000 in compensation for the canceled performances.

Despite the fallout with the Met, Netrebko has continued performing in other venues around the world, including in Italy, and has upcoming performances scheduled in Buenos Aires, Berlin, Vienna, Milan, and Paris. However, her planned concert in Prague faced scrutiny, with a city official urging the event’s cancellation due to her appearance on Ukraine’s sanctions list. Nonetheless, the producer organizing the concert defended Netrebko, stating that she had condemned the war, and the event was nearly sold out.

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Unesco recommends placing Venice on the list of endangered World Heritage sites due to the risks posed by excessive tourism, overdevelopment, and rising sea levels from climate change. The agency aims to prompt better preservation efforts for the iconic Italian city’s future.

The proposal will be carefully reviewed by the Venice municipality and discussed with the Italian government. The city’s former mayor criticizes Unesco, calling it an expensive and ineffective body. Previously proposed for inclusion two years ago, Venice avoided the list temporarily due to emergency measures, but the promised conservation plan was never implemented.

Unesco’s report highlights the lack of a strategic vision to address climate change threats, and the impact of tourism on the city’s infrastructure. The agency believes that high-rise buildings should be constructed far from the city center to avoid negative visual impacts. Venice’s vulnerability to rising sea levels is exacerbated by its popularity as a tourist destination, with around 28 million visitors annually.

Currently, 55 World Heritage sites are listed as “in danger,” with an additional 204 being closely monitored by Unesco due to various threats.

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Italy’s Defense Minister, Guido Crosetto, criticized the country’s decision to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), calling it “improvised and atrocious.” Crosetto claimed that the initiative had not effectively boosted Italy’s exports, making China the primary beneficiary.

In 2019, Italy became the first developed economy to join the BRI, a move that was met with criticism from its Western allies. The BRI aims to connect China with Europe and other regions through infrastructure projects, but critics view it as a means for China to expand its influence.

Crosetto expressed the need to find a way to withdraw from the BRI without damaging relations with Beijing. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni had previously mentioned the possibility of talks with China about potential withdrawal. The deal is set to be automatically renewed in March 2024 unless Italy formally requests to withdraw by December of this year.

China has been actively campaigning to persuade Italy to renew the agreement, emphasizing the mutually beneficial cooperation and fruitful results achieved through the BRI.

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A deadly wave of Mediterranean wildfires has resulted in over 40 deaths and forced thousands to evacuate in Algeria, Italy, and Greece.

The situation remains dire as high temperatures and dry conditions persist, making firefighting efforts challenging. The island of Rhodes has declared a state of emergency, and other regions, including Corfu, Evia, Sicily, and Puglia, have also been severely affected.

Climate scientists warn that human-induced climate change played a significant role in the intensity of this month’s heatwave across Southern Europe, North America, and China. Italy faced contrasting extreme weather events, with deadly storms in the north and wildfires in the south.

Portugal, Croatia, and France also witnessed wildfires and took measures to combat them. The widespread impact of these fires has caused immense human and economic losses across the region.

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Italy is experiencing severe and unprecedented weather conditions. In Sicily, there are ongoing wildfires due to record-breaking temperatures, with Palermo being particularly affected. The fires have caused significant damage and are threatening towns and cities across the island. There have been evacuations of resorts and tourist areas, and Palermo Airport had to temporarily close due to the proximity of wildfires.

In the northern regions, violent storms and strong winds have uprooted trees, damaged buildings, and injured people. Some places experienced hailstones as large as tennis balls, which caused further damage to property and crops. Tragically, there have been casualties as a result of falling trees during the storms.

Local authorities have issued warnings and precautions to residents, advising them to avoid public parks and places with trees at risk of snapping off. The extreme weather has also affected the city of Milan, with the historical Sforza Castle closing to the public due to weather-related damage.

Italian officials, including the mayor of Milan, have acknowledged the impact of climate change on these extreme weather events and emphasized the need to take action. The situation is being closely monitored, and several regions have requested the government to declare a state of emergency.

The situation in Sicily has been exacerbated by an ongoing heatwave, with temperatures reaching more than 47.5°C (117°F) in Catania. Hospitals and emergency services are overwhelmed with patients seeking medical attention for smoke inhalation and heat-related illnesses. The fires are causing widespread environmental damage and have been described as an “unprecedented catastrophe.”

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has acknowledged the severity of the situation and the challenges faced in firefighting due to the combination of high temperatures and strong winds.

Overall, Italy is grappling with the devastating impact of extreme weather events, which have been linked to climate change, and calls for urgent action to address the issue are increasing.

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