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This week in the News

From the 18th to the 24th of November 2019

Here’s what made Italy talk the most this week: ILVA and bad weather again, but also a confirmed sentence for a killer mother, Movimento Cinque Stelle running alone at the next local elections in Emilia Romagna and Calabria — in spite of its Government alliance with Partito Democratico — and the trial for Mario Cerciello Rega‘s murder.

Prime Minister Conte meets the people of ArceloMittal for the ILVA case

Italian Prime minister Giuseppe Conte met representatives of ArceloMittal on the 23rd of November, at Palazzo Chigi. “It was a very fruitful, constructive meeting,” the people of ArceloMittal said, who also added that the ultimate aim is that of finding an agreement to continue producing steel in Taranto, but in a sustainable manner.

In the past weeks, ArceloMittal had threatened to stop operations at the Taranto steel mill, after the Government removed a “scudo legale” guaranteeing immunity for the company while working on making the plant sustainable and keeping production active.

Without the “scudo legale,” ArceloMittal risked serious legal troubles, decided to severe the contract signed with the Italian Government and stop production in the early days of December.

However, this week’s talks, which culminated in the meeting between Prime Minister Conte and ArceloMittal’s representatives in Rome, brought some good news, with the Italian Government ready to delay legal action against ArceloMittal for not being compliant with environmental policies, in exchange for keeping the Apulian steel plant operational.

Of course, this is only a temporary solution, as former ILVA steel mill continues polluting more than it should and operates against current environmental regulations. “We must be responsible” says Luigi Sbarra, adjunct general secretary of CISL (one of Italy’s working unions), “ArceloMittal must comply with the agreements made in the past and transform ILVA into a sustainable plant. The Government, however, must reinstate the legal protection it had guaranteed for a time, while the plant was being modernized.”

Even though this week was quieter than others, it seems the ILVA affair is still far from being solved.

Trial date set for the American killers of young Carabiniere

An Italian judge has set the 26th of February 2020 as the starting date for the trial of US citizens Finnegan elder (19) and Gabriel Natale Hjorth (18), accused of murdering 35 years old Carabinieri officer Mario Cerciello Rega last July.

Both teens, who are currently jailed in Rome, face charges of voluntary manslaughter, resisting arrest and attempted extortion and assault.

Elder confessed to have stabbed Cerciello Rega who, along with a colleague, went to the scene of a robbery reported by a drug dealer and committed by the two American teens.

The killing created a vast sentiment of pain and regret for the way Cerciello Rega, who had just got married, lost his life, while carrying out his own duty. The knife used by Elder to kill Cerciello was brought over from the US.

Elder’s mother, possibly in an attempt to improve the image of her son to the eyes of the media, declared that it isn’t unusual for teens in their neighborhood to carry a knife, a statement received with much perplexity by public opinion.

It has also emerged that the US teens were aware Cerciello Rega and his partner were law enforcement officers, something they had initially denied, in an attempt to justify the attack as self defense.

Movement 5 Stelle to run alone at next regional elections

There is no peace for Movimento Cinque Stelle, Beppe Grillo and Luigi di Maio’s party, which is currently leading the country in coalition with Zingaretti’s Partito Democratico.

However, things may not stay this way for long. Movimento Cinque Stelle’s supporters cast their vote through the Rousseau Online Platform — used by the Movimento to ask its voters’ opinion about relevant political and social matters — and decided the party has to run alone in the next regional elections in Emilia Romagna and Calabria, due to take place in early 2020.

Political experts maintain this will create instability in the Government coalition, and that could also represent a great opportunity for Salvini to return on stage, as its electorate is solid and he’s been gaining support throughout Italy.

Cassazione confirms Veronica Panarello conviction to 30 years

Eight year old Loris Stival was strangled in late 2014 and abandoned, while still alive, in a countryside canal. His mother, Veronica Panarello, a young woman with a past of mental illness and instability, was found guilty of his murder at all three levels of judgment. The last, that of the Cassazione, confirmed her conviction to 30 years of imprisonment at the end of the week.

Panarello, who is estranged from her husband and his family, and lost parental authority over her other child, Diego, no longer has any contact with her own relatives, either, after a series of diatribes and fights between her and her sister on national television.

For months, Panarello played the mental instability card, in an attempt to gain a shorter sentence, but she was deemed sane and perfectly able to understand the gravity of her acts. She also tried to involve her former father-in-law, Loris’s own grandfather, Andrea Stival, in the murder, stating the two had been having an affair and Loris found out, reason for which Stival suggested to kill him. No evidence of his involvement in the murder has ever been found.

The weather still keeps the country on the edge

Bad weather and heavy rains still cripple the country. The Acqua Alta in Venice’s has returned and the North West was under red weather alert for the whole weekend. Heavy rains characterized the past 48 hours in Liguria, especially in the Genoa area, Lombardia and Piedmont, with snow and avalanche risk being particularly high in the Western Alps. On Sunday, the alert was extended to central and southern regions.

In the meanwhile, the county begins getting ready for Christmas, with the Advent starting in a week and towns and villages preparing all their decorations and lights, the latter traditionally turned on the day of the Immaculate Conception, on the 8th of December.

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