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Archive for Italy

Newsline: North Korean Ambassador to Italy Reportedly Defects

North Korea’s acting ambassador to Italy, Jo Song Gil, was supposed to go back home when his mandate ended in late November. He had been stationed in Italy since 2015 and was named as acting ambassador when Italy kicked out his predecessor, Mun Jong Nam, in October 2017 in response to North Korea’s sixth nuclear test. Instead of returning directly to North Korea when his gig was up in November, the acting ambassador reportedly took a little Italian vacation, which he’d apparently like to extend for life, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news service, which first reported what appears to be a high-level defection. “Italian authorities are reportedly protecting the 48-year-old Jo and his family at a safe place,” the news agency reports. “It was not immediately clear if Jo had expressed a desire to go to South Korea.”



Newsline: Mystery bones found at Vatican embassy to Italy not from missing girls

The bones that were found on Vatican property at the end of October do not belong to two Italian girls who disappeared in the 1980s. In an article by La Repubblica, the remains are said to date further back than 1983, the year when Mirella Gregori and Emanuela Orlandi disappeared under mysterious circumstances. On Oct. 30, two remains were found in the basement of the Vatican Nunciature, an extraterritorial Church property, located in Rome’s city center. The villa was gifted to Pope Pius XII in 1949 by a wealthy entrepreneur called Abramo Giacobbe Isaia Levi to thank the Vatican for welcoming and protecting Jews under fascist persecution. The fact that Gregori lived just a few blocks away at the time of her disappearance and the identification of at least one of the bodies as female led to immediate speculation in Italy that the findings might bring to a long-awaited close one of Italy’s most persistent mysteries. An additional lead was that the body might belong to the wife of the custodian of the property, who disappeared in the 1960s. But inside sources have told the local press that the bones are too old to be related to these cases. Radiocarbon dating will begin Nov. 30, sources said, and take a couple weeks.


Newsline: Italian police probe bones unearthed at Vatican embassy

Italian investigators have discovered more bones on the grounds of the Vatican embassy in Rome, a week after an almost intact skeleton was unearthed during building work at the site. According to local media reports Tuesday, police excavating beneath the property’s basement found what appeared to be parts of a skull and a lower jaw. Forensic teams are working to identify the age and gender of the body and the approximate date of death, amid speculation the remains could belong to Emanuela Orlandi, the 15-year-old daughter of a Vatican policeman, who went missing in 1983. The latest find came after builders restoring a floor in the janitor’s lodge found a human skeleton on October 29. Coroner Giovanni Arcudi said Tuesday that preliminary examinations of those remains indicated they belonged to a woman probably in her 30s, “not an adolescent.” A lawyer for Orlandi’s family, Laura Sgro, said that didn’t necessarily rule out a match with Emanuela because some have suggested the 15-year-old may have been held for years against her will rather than being killed immediately. Sgro told the ANSA news agency her clients are still waiting for DNA results.


Newsline: Italian police investigate human remains found at Vatican’s Rome embassy

Workers have discovered human bones at the Holy See Embassy to Italy and police are investigating the matter, the Vatican said. Italian media said forensic scientists were looking to see if the remains might be those of Emanuela Orlandi, the 15-year-old daughter of a Vatican employee who vanished in 1983. The Vatican said in a statement that the bone fragments were discovered during restructuring work on an annex to the Holy See’s imposing embassy compound near Rome’s famous Villa Borghese museum. It said chief prosecutor Giuseppe Pignatone was leading the investigation and had tasked forensic specialists with determining the “age, sex and date of death” of the body.


Newsline: Italy Summons French Ambassador in Row Over Migrant Ship

Italy’s foreign minister summoned the French ambassador to Rome in an escalating row over the Italian government’s decision to block access for a migrant rescue ship. Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi summoned the ambassador to a morning meeting “following the statements made yesterday in Paris on the Aquarius affair,” his ministry said in an emailed statement on Wednesday. French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that Italy was “cynical and irresponsible” over the migrant vessel which had been left stranded in the Mediterranean after Italy and Malta refused to grant it permission to dock. International law says the country with the nearest coastline is responsible for welcoming ships in distress, Macron told a cabinet meeting, according to government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux. Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, of the anti-immigrant League, has spearheaded a hardline stand on curbing arrivals from across the Mediterranean as a priority for the new populist coalition with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement. The Aquarius, with some 600 people saved from the sea over the last few weeks, is sailing to Spain after the country agreed to welcome the ship.


Newsline: Italy summons French ambassador over cross-border urine test

The Italian foreign ministry summoned France’s ambassador, after uniformed French customs officers crossed the border to confront a man suspected of carrying drugs. France insisted the presence of its personnel at an alpine railway station just inside Italy was acceptable. However, the French ambassador, Christian Masset, was summoned over what Rome called “a serious act considered outside the scope of cooperation between states sharing a border”. The foreign ministry added that the neighbouring countries would address the issue further at a meeting in Turin on 16 April. The dispute began late on Friday when the French officials turned up at a train station in the Italian alpine village of Bardonecchia and told a man to provide a urine sample. The Rainbow4Africa NGO, which has for months occupied part of the train station to help migrants headed for France, filed a complaint about the treatement of the man, who is from Nigeria. Italian officials reacted with outrage, prompting an official explanatory statement from the French embassy. Gerald Darmanin, the French minister charged with overseeing customs, signed the statement which explained how French officials came to be present when the Paris-bound train arrived from Milan. “These uniformed agents identified as French customs officials suspected one passenger, a Nigerian national resident in Italy, of having drugs on his person. “In line with article 60 bis of the customs code the agents asked the person if he would consent to providing a urine sample to detect drugs which he agreed to do in writing,” the statement read. “In order to carry out the test in conditions respecting the person, the agents waited until the train arrived to use the facility at Bardonecchia station which was placed at the disposal of French customs,” the statement went on, saying the procedure respected guidelines laid down in 1990. The French officials duly carried out the test which came back negative. But the Italian foreign ministry said France had failed to keep them fully abreast of developments, and criticised the incident as “unacceptable”. Matteo Salvini, the head of Italy’s far-right League, commented that Rome, “instead of expelling Russian diplomats should remove French diplomats”, referring to the furore over the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain, widely blamed on Moscow.


Newsline: Italian embassy resumes visa issuance in Tripoli and Tobruk

The Italian embassy in Tripoli has announced that it will resume the issuing of visas from both Tripoli and Tobruk. In its announcement, the embassy said that it will be offering improved service and lower prices but did not give any further details. The Italian embassy is the only European state issuing visas from within Libya. Libyan visa applicants must apply for an appointment online through the Italian embassy’s visa processing agent’s website: http://www.fsglobal.com