Thursday 18 January 2018

Italy wants to deport EU citizens who live off benefits in Roma crackdown

Italy wants to expel citizens of other EU states who live solely off state benefits, an interior minister said yesterday. The move, that would extend a crackdown on Roma people, was criticised by rights groups as discriminatory.

Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said the European Commission had denied Italy permission to pursue such a plan in the past but that he would resume lobbying and push for the change at a September 6 meeting of EU interior ministers.

This week, France sent dozens of Roma on flights home to Romania in a mass repatriation that it says is voluntary, though some said they were coerced to leave.

Applauding France's move, Mr Maroni, from the anti-immigrant Northern League party, said mandatory deportation of Roma, who do not meet basic requirements, should now be allowed.

"Yes, expulsions just like those for illegal immigrants, not assisted or voluntary repatriations," Mr Maroni told the Corriere della Sera daily yesterday.

Hip-hop star barred from Haiti election

The bid by hip-hop star Wyclef Jean to become Haiti's next president ended yesterday after the singer's campaign was disqualified by election officials.

Jean, who was born in Haiti but grew up and rose to fame as a singer with the Fugees in America, launched his campaign in a blaze of publicity. But within days he was said to be in hiding because of alleged security concerns and death threats.

Haiti's electoral council gave no reason for not allowing him to run. Jean accepted the decision, saying he felt he had been disqualified because Haitian law that states any candidate must have been resident in Haiti for five consecutive years.

TB patients jailed for not taking meds

A Kenyan court has sentenced two tuberculosis (TB) patients to eight months in prison for skipping their medications, in order to avoid spreading the deadly respitory disease among the public, a senior government health official said yesterday.

The two men were locked up in Kapsabet, in Western Kenya, nearly 10 days ago, to make sure they took their pills as prescribed and did not infect others, said Joseph Sitienei, the head of tuberculosis and lung diseases at the public health and sanitation ministry.

Kenya is ranked among the 22 countries hardest hit by TB, with an estimated 200 people dying from the disease each day despite the government's free diagnosis and treatment of TB patients.

Singer jumps to his death at festival

The lead singer of a British pop trio climbed a telecoms mast behind the main stage at a Belgian rock festival yesterday and leaped to his death in the parking lot below.

Charles Haddon, 22, of Ou Est Le Swimming Pool, died during the Pukkelpop festival in Hasselt, a town in eastern Belgium. Police are treating the death as a suicide.

On Thursday at the festival, Michael Bean, frontman for US group The Call, died of a heart attack at the same festival. The 60-year-old was working as the soundman for his son's band, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

Four die in Afghanistan air strikes

NATO-led air strikes in Afghanistan killed at least three Afghan police in the country's north and a woman and two children in the west, officials said yesterday.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said Afghan security forces came under fire from insurgents in multiple locations in Jawzjan province on Friday and that the Afghan forces had requested air support.

"During a subsequent battle-damage assessment, it was discovered three Afghan National Police were accidentally killed and several more wounded during the air weapons team engagement," ISAF said in a statement.

Police kill subway-bombing suspect

Police in southern Russia said security forces yesterday killed the man suspected of organising the Moscow underground bombings that killed 40 people and wounded more than 100 in March.

A police spokesman in the Dagestan province said Madomedali Vagabov was killed, along with four others, during an exchange of fire with special forces.

A spokesman said that the house in which the suspects were holed up caught fire during the battle in the volatile region. The National Antiterrorism Committee said that Vagabov was effectively second in command in the separatist insurgency in Russia's North Caucasus region.

The head of the group, Doku Umarov, claimed responsibility for the attacks, which were carried out by two female suicide bombers.

Suspected Basque separatist arrested

A suspected member of the Basque separatists ETA has been arrested in Belgium, Spain's Interior Ministry said.

Luis Maria Zengotitabengoa was arrested by Belgian police, in collaboration with the Spanish police force, in Ostend, where he was believed to be waiting to be contacted by fellow group members, the ministry said yesterday. Zengotitabengoa, 29, a native of Durango in Vizcaya, northern Spain, had an outstanding arrest warrant for alleged involvement in the transport of explosives to Portugal at the beginning of the year.

Bride who broke back returns home

A British woman who fractured her spine in three places while she was on her honeymoon in Corfu in Greece is due to be flown back home tomorrow.

Carrie Dudbridge, 27, was taken to hospital after she fell 30ft from a hotel balcony on the last Sunday.

Her husband Michael, 29, from Lewisham, south east London, has received donations from various sources to raise the £16,000 (€19,000) needed to fly his wife home as they did not have travel insurance.

The couple thought a European Health Insurance Card would cover their expenses if they had an accident, but it does not cover air ambulance repatriation.

Sunday Independent

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