EU showdown: Snap Italy election ‘will put Salvini on collision course with Brussels’

Italy was plunged into crisis earlier this week after Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte sensationally resigned with a scorching attack on interior minister Mr Salvini – the leader of the right-wing Lega Party. Anna Nadibaidze of the Open Europe think tank said: “Recent events bring a new degree of political uncertainty in Italy, which was arguably unnecessary given the timing, specifically the importance of passing a budget for next year that respects EU budgetary rules, as well as difficult relations with Brussels in general.

This would lead to even more confrontation between Rome (a founding member) and Brussels, and more uncertainty at a time when the EU has to deal with its new institutional cycle, Brexit and its next long-term budget

Anna Nadibaidze

“A snap election is not a guaranteed outcome if the Italian President, Sergio Mattarella, decides there is a majority for an alternative government or if there could be a temporary technical administration to deal with budget issues and then hold an election in the spring of 2020.

“However, if an election happens in the autumn, as Salvini has expected when he pulled the plug on the government, the possibility of a right-wing government led by Lega is highly probable, given the party’s position in recent polls.

“This would lead to even more confrontation between Rome (a founding member) and Brussels, and more uncertainty at a time when the EU has to deal with its new institutional cycle, Brexit and its next long-term budget.”

Lego, which gained 23 seats in the European Parliamentary elections in May – has been riding high in the polls in recent months – although a survey published today by the Tecne agency – the first since the crisis began – had the League’s support falling, at 31.3%, with the Progressive Democrats and 5SM both gaining ground, on 24.6 percent and 20.8 percent respectively.

Mr Salvini was characteristically defiant in the face of the criticism – but his falling out with coalition partners Five Star Movement (5SM) has triggered talk of a behind-the-scenes deal to prevent him becoming Prime Minister.

Mr Mattarella, the country’s head of state, yesterday said several of Italy’s parties had told him they needed more time to resolve a government crisis and avoid a snap election, and that he had told them to report back on Tuesday.

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Mr Conte’s resignation was triggered by Mr Salvini’s announcement that his coalition with 5SM was no longer workable because of their reluctance to agree an austerity-busting budget in defiance of Brussels.

Consequently, he demanded an early election – but Mr Mattarella, who is the only official with authority to dissolve the country’s legislature, said such a decision which should not be taken lightly.

Meanwhile, Italy’s centre-left Democratic Party yesterday set tough new conditions for forming a coalition with the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, making a deal between the traditional foes look more elusive and raising the chance of snap elections.

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Speaking to reporters after his meeting with Mr Mattarella, 5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio made no reference to the PD.

However, he made it clear his party was keen to avoid another election – a year after the last one.

He said: “In recent hours all the necessary contacts have been launched to find a solid parliamentary majority.”

Mr Di Maio added that he had handed Mr Mattarella a list of 10 reforms which needed completing before Parliament should be dissolved.

Many of these, ranging from an investment plan for the poor south of the country to legislation on conflicts of interests and to speed up the justice system, have always been among 5-Star’s flagship policies.

For his part, Mr Salvini hinted at a possible change of heart – while claiming his former coalition partner of a budget climbdown.

Mr Salvini said: “We want Italians to decide through an election, but since the 5Stars have now U-turned on many of their red lines.

“If they are willing to move forward with this coalition, with a new and improved team to pass ambitious budget legislation without being limited by Brussels’ impositions, then we can discuss renewing our partnership.

“Luigi Di Maio has worked well and in the interests of this country – if he wants to relaunch the government and relaunch the country we are ready, without any prejudice.”

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Syrian army pushes into encircled rebel pocket in northwest

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian army troops pushed deep into a pocket of territory in the northwest where they encircled rebels and a Turkish military post, seizing towns the insurgents have held for years, state TV and a monitor said on Friday.

The army has imposed “a choking siege” on the cluster of towns, with much of it coming either under army control or within firing range, state-run Ikhabriya TV said.

Soldiers captured a dozen hills, expanding state control of a main highway that runs through the area and stretches from the capital Damascus to Aleppo city, it added.

Several rebel officials did not respond to requests for comment.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said pro-government force, backed by Russia, recovered the town of Kafr Zita from rebels who had controlled it since 2012. A Turkish military post in the nearby town of Morek was now also encircled, the UK-based war monitor and state TV said.

Under its deals with Russia, Turkey has forces stationed at a dozen military posts in Idlib. The latest army advances have put Turkish troops in the firing line and threatened Ankara’s hopes of preventing a new wave of refugees on its border.

Ten of thousands of people have fled towards the Turkish border in recent days as air and ground attacks battered parts of Idlib and Hama in northwest Syria, the country’s last big rebel stronghold. The United Nations says the offensive has killed hundreds of people since it began in late April.

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Andrew Harper’s mum says ‘a big part of me has gone’ as ‘murdered’ cop's family release heartbreaking album

TRAGIC PC Andrew Harper's mum has released heartbreaking new photos of her son a week after he was mowed down and killed on duty.
The officer, 28, died four weeks after his wedding to sweetheart Lissie and just one week before the newlyweds were due to go on their honeymoon.

His family have now paid tribute ahead of a minute's silence due to be held today by colleagues from different police forces.

They also released a series of touching photos showing beaming PC Harper on his wedding day with his family.

Mum Debbie said: "We are devastated and bereft but, as Andrew always lived with dignity, honour and calmness, we intend to grieve in this way.

"A big part of me has gone with you. I cannot imagine our lives going forward, but we will do so with Andrew in our hearts."

His dad Phil added: "You would always put yourself forward to look after the people around you, and would always see the good in others.

"You always made us laugh, always bringing tears of happiness to our eyes."

"Selfless" PC Harper was mowed down as he responded to a burglary near Sulhamstead, Berkshire, last Thursday.

His brother Sean was among the devastated family members paying tribute today.

He said: "We all love you so much, I promise you will never be forgotten, and I promise that I will do my best to try to make you as proud of me as I am of you."

While sister Aimee added: "It takes my breath away every time the realisation sets in that I never get to see you again. But we were so, so lucky to all be together for the wedding, which was perfect. You always brought us together."

Today's minute's silence will take place at 11am to honour the memory of PC Harper.

Days after the tragedy, PC Harper's wife Lissie wrote a heart-wrenching tribute to her husband, describing him as "the kindest, loveliest, most selfless person".

Jed Foster, 20, has been charged with murder and will next year face a three-week trial.

He was one of 10 men and boys aged between 13 and 30 arrested following the incident. The remaining nine have been bailed until September 13.

Foster is further charged with the theft of a quad bike.

'I DON'T KNOW HOW I'LL SURVIVE': PC Harper's wife pays tribute

To my best friend,

The kindest, loveliest, most selfless person you will ever meet. You were brave, funny, and always there for anyone who needed it.

There is not enough paper in the world to even begin to write a tribute for you, but no one deserves it more.

We had so many plans for the future, you wanted to do it all. My darling boy I do not know how I will be able to survive without you.

Anyone who was lucky enough to meet you, whether they knew you as Andrew, Andy, Uncle Mann, Harps or PC Harper … to everyone you are a hero.

You had the best sense of humour and never took life too seriously. You treasured every moment and always had a smile on your face.

I want to be angry that your job took you away from us but I know you loved it and always wanted to keep everyone safe, especially me. You went the extra mile whenever you could and genuinely cared for everyone.

The lights have dimmed on all of our lives now that you are no longer here, but it’s no surprise that even when you're gone, you're still keeping us all going, knowing that you would tell us to carry on and stay strong.

I can't begin to imagine a life without your silly jokes, size 14 feet, large appetite, big hugs, Sunday roasts, and never faltering positive attitude. You kept me going if I was down and took care of us all until the last.

Even now I can still hear you nagging me to brush my teeth, get dressed and eat something. We are all feeling so very lost without you but we are trying to be as brave as you were.

You have so, so many friends my love and everyone loves you. The messages, support, and kind words about you have been overwhelming and I can't thank everyone enough for that.

You loved music, movies, travel, every animal in the world, messing around with our brothers, and chilling out with our sisters. You loved our families, every single one.

Although we were married for only 28 days before you were cruelly taken away from me, my husband you were perfect. I will never ever stop loving you and I feel so grateful for the happiest thirteen years of my life.

Our superman, our bodyguard, our light in the dark. My god we will miss you. Forever you will be remembered as the best of us.

I will carry your love with me always.

Your loving wife, Lissie x

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Man gets 12-inch tattoo of disabled mugging victim Alan Barnes' face on his leg

A SUPERFAN has got a 12 inch tattoo of mugging victim Alan Barnes on his leg – because the pensioner is a "legend".

The man, who hasn't been named, endured eight hours of pain for the permanent inking of Alan's face.

He insists the tattoo is a tribute to 4ft 6ins tall Alan, who was left with a broken collarbone after being savagely attacked outside his Gateshead home in 2015.

The fan told Chronicle Live: "I haven't done this to take the Mick.

"I think some people would go into their shell after being attacked like that, but Alan took it in his stride.

"I think, considering his disability, he is an inspiration.

"The way he stood up to bullies, he is a legend."

He was given the tattoo on Monday by an artist called "Birdyy", who had issued an appeal for someone willing to get a permanent etching of Alan on their skin.

The tattooist says the mugging victim is the catalyst for his month-long career as the "first thing" he drew was Alan.


He said: "For some reason Alan Barnes had been on the TV, so I was asked to draw his picture.

"It wasn't very good but I drew him and on the back of that I bought a tattoo machine."

The willing volunteer says his tattoo is a "belter" and has received positive reviews for the tattoo – although admits some people have been "disrespectful".

Alan, who is registered blind, is also pleased with the result – but admits he won't be rushing to get his own inking any time soon.

He said: "I don't do tattoos, I don't have any myself.

"A lot of people get them these days but they're not for me.

"It's a canny likeness though, it's alright and it's nice what he said about me.

"It's his body, it's his choice."


Alan, who weighs less than six stone, was born with a number of birth defects including sight and growth problems after his mother contracted German measles during pregnancy.

He was moving his wheelie bin outside his council house when Richard Gatiss pounced on him.

The thug knocked him over before rifling through his pockets for cash, then fleeing empty handed.

After the 2015 story went viral, local mum Katie Cutler set-up an online fund-raising page to raise some cash to help Alan get back on his feet.

But the collection, which initially aimed to make £500, was inundated with donations, with well-wishers from all over the world pledging more than £330,000 in just a few weeks.

He used the donations to buy a £150,000 two-bedroom Victorian terrace, in his native Low Fell, but struggled to settle in and has since moved four times.

The pensioner is now moving for a fifth time and is eyeing up a bungalow in his native Gateshead – despite making a loss of around £60,000 each time he sells up.

Gatiss was caged for four years in 2015 after admitting assault with intent to rob but was released earlier this year.

He has since been hauled before the courts again for drink-driving but avoided jail and was instead handed a community order.

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UK weather forecast: Heatwave to melt Britain as bank holiday weekend commences

The Met Office has warned that hot temperatures will hit Britain this weekend as many will revel in the sunshine during the August bank holiday. Friday is set to start fairly foggy, with parts of the UK still experiencing some soggy patches. When the fog and last showery spells disappear, sunshine and clear skies will dominate the scene and follow right the way through the weekend. Met Office Meteorologist Alex Deakin said: “A burst of late summer warmth is on the way but first of all a reminder that Autumn is just around the corner.

“There will be some fog patches around on Friday morning across souther England, some of them rather dense as well.

“The opposite end of the UK is still fairly soggy, with the rain easing across northern Scotland.”

The cold start to the day won’t linger for long, with temperatures increasing by the early afternoon.

Light winds will make the day feel warmer, with temperatures in the south of England reaching 26C (79F).

Mr Deakin said: “Friday evening is going to be a lovely evening if you have plans, with light winds and hazy sunshine.”

Going into Saturday morning the whole of the UK will be clear, with temperatures soaring from the get go.

Saturday will see the highest temperatures of the weekend, with temperatures set to reach a scorching 30C (86F).

Mr Deakin said: “The East Midlands and east of England are where we’ll see the highest temperatures this weekend.

“We could get closed to 30C (86F) on Saturday – that’s where we’ll see the heat this weekend.”

Although Saturday will be the hottest, the weekend and following days will remain warm with hazy sunshine and only a few showers in isolated spots.

Several weather warnings, as well as health warnings, have been issued ahead of the heatwave.

Medics are urging the public to be extra aware of the risk of heat stroke, particularly with young babies and the elderly.

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Awaiting 737 MAX approval, Boeing looks to boost aircraft production: sources

SEATTLE – Boeing Co has told suppliers it will resume production of its best-selling 737 jets at a rate of 52 aircraft per month in February 2020, then stepping up to a record 57 jets monthly in June, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Boeing told more than 100 suppliers during at least one Web meeting July 30 that the new schedule depended upon regulators approving the 737 MAX to fly again commercially in the fourth quarter, one of the people said.

Shares of Boeing, the largest U.S. exporter with about 145,000 employees, were up 4.5 per cent at $355.18.

Boeing mainly builds the latest version of its cash-cow single-aisle family at its Seattle-area factory, but also builds a small number of earlier or military variants of the 737.

One of the people expressed skepticism over the timing given the intense scrutiny from regulators that grounded the 737 MAX after deadly crashes killed nearly 350 people in Ethiopia and Indonesia in the span of five months.

There is no guarantee when regulators will clear the 737 MAX to fly again, and Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg told analysts last month that Boeing would consider further 737 output cuts or potentially suspending production if the grounding dragged on.

In April, Boeing cut the number of 737s it produces monthly to 42 from 52 after halting deliveries to airline customers, cutting off a key source of cash and hitting margins.

Because the grounding happened when Boeing was going up towards record production levels, and each move of the sprawling supply chain has to be planned far in advance, Boeing and its suppliers are now caught between two conflicting pressures: preparing to get back on the upward path as soon as the plane is flying but also ratcheting downwards if regulators stall and the grounding continues for longer than expected.

Boeing has been tight-lipped about its production plans.

Muilenburg told analysts last month that Boeing expects to be able to maintain its current monthly production rate of 42 aircraft, “followed by incremental rate increases that would bring our production rate to 57 during 2020.”

Two persons familiar with Boeing’s production plans, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said Boeing told suppliers it will increase production from 42 to 47 single-aisle aircraft per month in October, jibing with its guidance to investors on when it expects to win regulatory approval. It would then increase from 47 aircraft to the pre-crash rate of 52 aircraft per month in February 2020, the people, and a third person familiar with the plans, said.

Boeing then would hit a record stride of 57 single-aisle jets per month in June 2020, two of the people said.

In response to questions from Reuters, Boeing spokesman Paul Bergman said Boeing updated the 737 master production schedule to reflect timing assumptions for the 737 MAX return to service plan.

“While the assumption reflects Boeing’s best estimate at this time, the actual timing of return to service will be determined by the FAA and other global aviation regulatory authorities and could differ from this assumption and estimate.”

The current production plan represents a new delay as Boeing wrestles with the logistics of aligning a sprawling global supply chain with its high-volume assembly line in Renton, Washington.

Rate changes by major manufacturers are usually incremental and communicated months or even years in advance, but the unprecedented challenge to the 737 program has forced Boeing to scramble, one of the people said. Boeing is eager to increase production because the higher rate means it can deliver more planes and get more cash. A higher rate also means Boeing pays less for parts.

Boeing organized at least one Web meeting on July 30 to inform suppliers that the original rate ramp plan — which Boeing decided in April would begin in August — was being delayed by three months, according to electronic materials described to Reuters by a person who attended. Different suppliers were shipping at different “rate profiles” and Boeing wanted to try to “harmonize the supply chain,” the person added.

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Teen carjacker in custody after morning robbery

A carjacking victim has his vehicle back after it was stolen at gunpoint at a Keewatin Street gas station Wednesday morning.

Winnipeg police said the 27-year-old victim pulled up at the station when the suspect opened the car door, pointed a gun at him and demanded the keys.

The victim got out of the car after the suspect hit him in the upper body, police said, before the suspect drove off in the stolen vehicle.

Police spotted the stolen car around 8:25 p.m. Wednesday, near Redwood Avenue and Aikins Street. The suspect jumped out but was arrested nearby. Police seized a pellet gun when they took him into custody.

Adrian Eliazer Murdock, 19, faces numerous charges, including armed robbery using a firearm and uttering threats.

He remains in custody at the Winnipeg Remand Centre.

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Teen sues after bodycam footage shows officer punching him

A California teenager has filed an excessive force lawsuit after body camera footage showed an officer punching the unarmed teen in the head and face several times.

An officer with the Fresno Police Department was captured on body camera punching 17-year-old London Wallace in January while raiding an apartment complex for wanted gang members.

Wallace was initially charged with resisting arrest, but prosecutors eventually dropped the charges. The Fresno County District Attorney’s Office declined ABC News’ request for comment, citing its policy against commenting on cases involving minors. Wallace did not have any gang affiliations or criminal history, according to his attorney, Nolan Kane.

Kane said he expects the video to play a key role in the teen’s case against the department.

“It’s a very disappointing situation. You can see London Wallace crying. You can see him bleeding,” Kane told ABC’s Fresno station KFSN on Wednesday. “He’s a high school kid. He likes playing basketball. He’s a nice, calm, timid person. … And you can kind of see that in the video. He’s not used to police contact.”

The lawsuit names the city of Fresno, the police department and Officer Christopher Martinez as defendants.

The department said it expects an internal investigation into the incident within the next 30 days. Martinez said he punched the teen “approximately three times in the face” after Wallace “attempted to push [Martinez] back” and “took a fighting stance,” according to the police report.

Martinez, according to the report, was “in fear that Wallace was going to push [Martinez] and other Officers over the side railing as he was pushing forward.”

“I punched Wallace approximately three times in the face in order to get him off me and to back him up,” Martinez wrote in the report. “Wallace continued to fight and he threw a punch at me, which grazed my left cheek.”

Martinez claims in the police report that Wallace continued to resist while on the ground and he “struck Wallace approximately two more times while he was on the ground and actively resisting.”

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the officer was placed on modified duty pending the results of the investigation.

“The video that I have reviewed certainly raises concerns and raises questions for me as a police chief,” Dyer told reporters Wednesday. “Those questions will be answered once all the video is reviewed, the interviews are conducted, the evidence is looked at and the investigation is complete.”

“Christopher Martinez attacked, punched and tackled Plaintiff to the ground resulting in serious injuries to Plaintiff, including but not limited to, a broken nose, bleeding and emotional distress,” the suit said. “At no point did Plaintiff pose a threat to Officer Christopher Martinez or any other Fresno Police Department Officer. At no point did Plaintiff disobey any orders from the Fresno Police Department.”

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Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough hosting public build of 14-foot textile canoe

The Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough is inviting the public to help contribute to a communal art piece beginning on Thursday.

Over the next couple of weeks, people are invited to weave, tie, pull, wrap, knit and sew textiles to help create a 14-foot canoe.

The build is open to participants ages eight and up (young children are encouraged to have parent/guardian supervision).

Ottawa artist Vanessa Coplan is spearheading the community art project which will become a temporary exhibition at the museum on Monaghan Road beginning Sept. 21.

Artist Vanessa Coplan is leading a communal build of a 14-foot textile canoe at the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough.

“It is truly a unique opportunity to work with Vanessa and as a community to create this collaborative sculpture,” stated Karen Taylor, the museum’s director of public programs.

“Participants are welcome to bring pieces of fabric that have personal significance, or they can use the recycled fabric we’ll have on hand for all. We look forward to seeing this canoe take shape before our eyes.”

Coplan specializes in mixed-media textiles that incorporate 3D properties. Her practice has grown from a studio-based setting into one that is community-oriented and encourages collaboration, interaction and play.

“It is the accessibility of these creative acts; anyone can participate and see results and feel the creativity flow,” said Coplan. “You don’t have to know how to draw or paint to make something meaningful.”

To contribute to the project (which is included in museum admission), visit during the following dates:

  • Thursday: 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. with the artist (free admission)
  • Saturday: 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. with the artist
  • Sunday: 12:30 – 3:30 p.m. with the artist
  • Aug. 29:  5 p.m. -8 p.m. (free admission)
  • Aug. 31: 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
  • Sept. 1: 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • Sept. 2: 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Registration is not required, but space is limited. If you would like to reserve, contact Karen Taylor, director of programs at (705) 748-9153, ext. 219.

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Video shows frantic mom after baby left in hot car: ‘I don’t know how I forgot her’

Police body-camera footage captured a distraught Arizona mom after she said she accidentally left her 5-month-old daughter in a hot car.

The little girl was rescued and was OK after the June incident in Goodyear.

In the newly-released video, officers rushed to a parking lot to find the mother, Stacey Holly, crying and holding her baby.

Holly said she had been distracted and forgot the 5-month-old in the car on the 99-degree day, according to Goodyear police. Holly’s sister told the officers they got out of the car and went into Target without looking in the backseat.

“I don’t know how we forgot her, but we just forgot her,” Holly told an officer, according to body camera footage. “I’m freaking out, I’m sorry, I just, I don’t know how it happened. How do you forget your baby?!”

“There was no reason for this to happen, it just happened,” Holly said, overcome with emotion.

Holly and her sister returned to the car and got the baby out of the vehicle. It was unclear how long the baby was in the car.

The baby was taken to a local hospital but was physically fine, officials said.

“These people who do it, who you see on TV, [I’d think,] oh my God, how stupid are they to leave their kids in their car?’ And then it happened,” Holly later told a detective. “I cannot give you an answer … I don’t know how I forgot her.

“I’m glad I got arrested,” she told the detective. “This is a very eye-opening experience for me.”

Holly, 37, was booked on June 16 and was charged with child abuse and endangerment, according to police.

She has pleaded not guilty. She is scheduled to appear in court again on Sept. 19.

Her defense attorney did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment on Thursday.

Nationwide, 35 children have died in hot cars so far this year, including 10 deaths in August, according to national nonprofit

The group is advocating for Congress to pass the Hot Cars Act to require rear occupant alarm technology in cars.

“Without technology to detect the presence of a child inside a vehicle, hot car tragedies will continue to happen week after week because nobody believes this could happen to them,” Amber Rollins, director of, told ABC News via email on Monday. “Automakers have the ability to eradicate hot car deaths of young children. The Hot Cars Act needs to be passed right away. What are we waiting for?”

Click here for a list of hot car safety tips.

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