In Daniele Abate’s Sicilian home town, many people don’t even have running water, and he blames the politicians. So the former cook will be voting for Five Star on March 4.
At the other end of the country, across the economic divide that runs through Italy, a third of small company owners in Vicenza plan to do the same, according to Luigino Bari, who runs a local business association. They want tax cuts and deregulation, he says.
As an uncertain country gears up for a crucial election, the anti-establishment Five Star Movement is demonstrating a rare ability to appeal to disaffected voters across geography and social strata. Its eclectic mix of environmentalism, euro-skepticism and widely questioned promises on taxes and benefits offers something for anyone with an ax to grind about the way Italy has been run.
Luigi Di Maio, leader of Five Star.
Photographer: Tiziana Fabi/AFP via Getty Images
“It’s a catch-all party,” said Piergiorgio Corbetta, a political science professor at the University of Bologna. “There are many reasons to vote for Five Star.”
With four weeks to go, polls show Five Star may have provided enough reasons to secure one of the biggest victories yet for populists in western Europe. With an outright majority still a distant prospect and few natural allies in parliament, the party is still likely to be kept out of office by an alliance of establishment groups. But their success highlights the challenge facing the next administration.
“Whatever color of government Italy ends up with, they will weigh heavily on the debate,” said Marc Lazar, a professor at Sciences Po in Paris. “When you take almost 30 percent of the vote, you are a reality that must be dealt with.”
Since starting as an internet-based campaign group in 2009, Five Star’s rise has been driven by support in places like Abate’s home region of Trapani, which was found to have the lowest quality of life among Italy’s 110 provinces by La Sapienza University last year.
Abate has been living off a 280-euro ($350) disability pension each month since his knee gave out a few years ago, forcing him to give up kitchen work. He’s 53, but looks older and struggles to stand. For Abate, the appeal of Five Star is its pledge to take on the privileges of lawmakers and civil servants in Rome.
Quicktake Italy’s Election
“We work for many years and barely get a thing,” he said, sitting in the main square of his hometown of Alcamo near a 17th century church. “They serve for a few months and can retire.’’
The key to electoral success for Five Star leader Luigi Di Maio will be pushing into Italy’s wealthier north. While the party won 40 percent of the vote in Trapani in the last national elections 2013, it got 25 percent in the manufacturing center of Vicenza near Venice.
Vicenza’s entrepreneurs are also frustrated with the status quo, regardless of the recent pickup in growth. They are demanding cuts to business taxes and regulations, and investment in the single-lane roads crowded with trucks carrying products from the region’s factories.
“It’s clear that the traditional parties have made promises that they haven’t kept,” said Bari, 64, who wouldn’t say who he’ll be voting for.
Source: Comune di Sarego
Just down the road, the 7,000 inhabitants of Sarego elected the first Five Star mayor in the northeastern Italy in 2012. Roberto Castiglion, a 37-year-old IT manager, was re-elected last year with an increased vote.
Most of Castiglion’s work as mayor has involved the environment, installing solar panels and increasing recycling, but he says the party is very keen to help local businesses which ship factory machinery, adult diapers and leather goods around the world.
“In this country, we are drowning in norms and regulations,” he said.
“Five Star is saying the right things to small businesses, but there is some hesitancy,” said Remigio Bisognin, the 63-year-old founder of a 14-employee Sarego firm that stamps plastic parts. “We don’t really know these people.’’
One source of concern for business leaders has been Five Star’s past threats to pull Italy out of the euro. Bisognin says mistakes were made introducing the single currency but it’s too late to go back now, and Di Maio has walked back his comments. It’s a move that broadens the party’s appeal in the north without hurting its base in the south.
“The euro is not something we worry about,” said Gaetano Milazzo, a 40-year-old tax collector as he talked to friends where the warren of narrow streets opens out into Alcamo’s square. “Some houses here get water one day a week and there’s hardly any public transport.”
Indeed, parts of the sprawling town of 45,000 aren’t even connected to the water mains and Domenico Surdi, the 34-year-old lawyer Five Star mayor since in 2016, says the existing pipes hadn’t been maintained for decades when he took office.
With no budget for repairs, Surdi has had to improvise. He’s aiming to raise the amount of garbage that’s recycled to 70 percent from about 60 percent to save about 1 million euros a year on trash hauling.
“We’ve been mismanaged for so long,” said Abate. “The problems won’t go away overnight.”
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-02/the-many-faces-of-five-star-are-winning-votes-all-over-italy Read More
You’re this guy.
Do you have anything to say for yourself?
I’d like to say “I am this guy.”
I’d like to say “I am this guy, and I am going to march into the Delaware River and drown before I do something bad. An example of something bad I could do is break my arm.”
I’d like to say “Cool. I am 6-foot-4.”
That’s right! You’re this guy and you’re also Benedict Arnold. You shoot a gun and ride a horse for America during the First Annual Revolutionary War. Your peers respect you, all of the Founding Fathers say things like “Now that’s one good adult” when your name gets mentioned, and you’ve never committed the crime of treason. You’ve got it all.
But that’s about to change.
That’s all about to change.
You see, yesterday was a very big day for you. You saw this advertisement for treason and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. You even had a dream where you wrote “TREASON = GOOD, CLEAN TREASON” in some beach sand, and upon waking up, a taste that can only be described as smooth, sandy treason was in your mouth.
Yep. You’ve got a full-blown desire to commit treason up in your brain, and it’s not going away. The wheels of history have begun to turn, and they’re making the noise that means history is going to happen soon.
Why is this advertisement for treason affecting me so intensely?
Oh, hell yeah! The wheels are turning and screaming, and let’s commit some goddamn treason already!
Fuck this noise. I want to be Jimmy Carter.
Over the course of your life, there have been four major events that planted the seeds of treason in your brain. Imagine that the advertisement for treason you saw yesterday was water, and the four seeds of treason are four treason seeds. When you dump water on four seeds, a flower blooms—and in this case, it’s a Treason Flower.
Simply put, there’s a Treason Flower in your body right now, and it’s impossible to rip out no matter how strong or powerful your hands are.
Would you like a refresher as to the four treason seeds of your life?
Yes, please refresh me. I’m a dullard who can’t remember things.
No, I think I’m ready to just commit some goddamn treason.
The first treason seed arrived in your skull when you got chased home from school by this patriotic husband and wife duo every day for eight years.
Ah, yes. Those two. Okay, reveal the second treason seed.
I don’t need to see any more seeds because this makes me want to commit treason immediately.
Okay! How would you like to respond to Great Britain’s advertisement for treason?
By ringing the Communication Bell.
By nodding affirmatively at the advertisement.
By putting a message in a bottle that says “I am a tiny American male interested in committing treason” and throwing it into the Atlantic Ocean, where it will arrive in Great Britain in two to three business days.
By killing John Hancock and admitting to killing John Hancock.
Seventeen seventy-three. The Boston Tea Party. Your second treason seed came in 1773 during the Boston Tea Party.
You were there dressed as an Indian and were so into it that you asked people to call you “The Indian Version Of Benedict Arnold.” Unfortunately, someone thought you said “I’m tea, from England” and threw you into Boston Harbor by mistake.
The harbor was cold and full of bugs, many of which you had to swallow to survive. If the Boston Tea Party had never happened, this almost certainly would have been avoided.
Hmm, I forgot about that. I actually hated when I plunged into the Boston Harbor and had no choice but to swallow hundreds of bugs. Okay, reveal the third treason seed to me, please.
I don’t want to hear any more treason seeds. This memory alone makes me want to betray my country as soon as possible.
The third treason seed occurred during the Battle of Saratoga, when you saw the American soldiers spending most of their time making a cannon do this. They still won the battle, but it marked the first time that you thought maybe the Continental Army deserves to get beaten very badly.
Gah! Those goddamn dopes! How could I forget the time a bunch of soldiers made a cannon scream “21” over and over? Jesus Christ, that was awful. Okay, what is my final seed?
Please transport ME to doing treason right away.
The fourth and final seed of treason was lodged in your body two fortnights ago—the equivalent of four American weeks. You were in your tent having a nightmare about how great 21st-century medicine will be, when all of a sudden you were awoken by a shadow. It was a rogue bugle boy’s shadow, and after a few minutes of standing still, he lifted his bugle and blasted a song. When he finally finished 45 minutes later, he croaked, “That was ‘Treachery’s Jaunt (The Remix Of The Rogue Bugle Boy),’
and oh, it is now your favorite song, Benedict Arnold.”
Whoa, for sure.
Wow, it looks like four things happened to me.
So that’s how it happened. You got chased by two people in love, and then you got thrown into the Boston Harbor, and then some troops convinced a cannon to scream “21,” and then a rogue bugle boy told you that your favorite song was “Treachery’s Jaunt (The Remix Of The Rogue Bugle Boy).”
When you saw the advertisement yesterday, you were totally powerless, and now you want nothing more than to become the most hated person in American history.
Okay! How would you like to respond to Great Britain’s advertisement for treason?
By ringing the Communication Bell.
By nodding affirmatively at the advertisement for treason.
By putting a message in a bottle that says “I am a tiny American male interested in committing treason” and throwing it into the Atlantic Ocean.
By killing John Hancock and admitting to killing John Hancock.
Great! It’s the 18th century, so one of the only forms of communication is the Communication Bell. By ringing the Bell in such a way that it tells the country of Great Britain you’re a tiny American male who wants to commit the crime of treason, you have let Great Britain know that you are a tiny American male interested in committing the crime of treason.
All you’ve got to do now is receive an acceptance letter and you’ll be on your way!
Receive an acceptance letter.
Receive a rejection letter.
Ouch. That’s rough. How do you want to go about getting an acceptance letter?
Get an acceptance letter.
Try a different route of treasonous inquiry.
Great! You are now one step closer to betraying your country, and that’s something you want to do.
Go to King George III’s royal houseboat.
Celebrate by pulling your shirt over your head.
You tell the army that you’re taking the day off from shooting your gun and riding your horse, and swim out to King George III’s royal houseboat. It’s located 15 miles off the New Jersey coast, and you have to take constant breaks and swallow hundreds of bugs to stay alive, but eventually, you finally make it, and it feels fine.
Look under the houseboat.
The only thing under King George III’s houseboat is his previous houseboat, which sunk after he bought a bowling ball.
Swim back to the surface and go inside King George III’s current houseboat.
There he is, the man and king himself. It’s none other than King George III, a guy who makes George Washington and his friends shoot their guns, sitting on a throne.
Get a closer look at his shirt.
Move towards him.
Walk in a straight line and arrive right in front of the king of England.
Lean forward a little bit so you are closer.
“Aha! Hello, and welcome to my oceanic castle!” King George III says into his microphone. “I hate that the colonies are mad at me, and I am worried that they would not care if today was my birthday! If today was my birthday, the colonies would probably say something like ‘Who gives a shit?’ or ‘The hell with that nonsense!’ How terrible! B16!”
Oh wow. The king seems pretty upset. Say something to cheer him up.
If today was your birthday, I would care.
My name is Benedict Arnold, and I want to commit the crime of treason for your country.
I have B16.
“That’s incredible news! When I look at you right now, I realize that you MUST be Benedict Arnold, and Benedict Arnold is the man who’s going to be committing the crime of treason against America for Great Britain. Currently, Great Britain is known as the country that is going to have the Beatles, but we also want to be known as the country that wins the First Annual Revolutionary War. Oh, this makes me feel good. So, do you have any ideas for committing treason against your home country of America?”
Looks like that cheered him up! Anyway, what sort of treasonous plan is currently making itself known to you in your brain?
Stealing the Declaration of Independence and holding a press conference where you crush it against your head like a soda can
Fighting for Great Britain in a battle of war.
Getting Ben Franklin to lose his goddamn mind.
Betraying one American animal.
Digging a hole.
“That soda can thing sounds like an amazing idea for treason!” says King George III. “My wife, the queen—isn’t that an amazing idea for treason?”
“That battle thing sounds like an amazing idea for treason!” says King George III. “My wife, the queen—isn’t that an amazing idea for treason?”
“That hole thing sounds like an amazing idea for treason!” says King George III. “My wife, the queen—isn’t that an amazing idea for treason?”
“That Ben Franklin thing sounds like an amazing idea for treason!” says King George III. “My wife, the queen—isn’t that an amazing idea for treason?”
“That animal thing sounds like a pretty poor idea for treason!” says King George III. “My wife, the queen—isn’t that a pretty poor idea for treason?”
“Hello!” screams the queen. “Honestly, that idea for treason seems fine! B16!”
Incredible. The royal marital duo loves your idea for treason, and now it’s time to go through with it.
Leave the royal houseboat and steal the Declaration of Independence.
There’s nothing America currently loves more than the Declaration of Independence. It’s the document that really gets people going, and the most popular hobby nationwide is reading the Declaration to a crowd of thousands and receiving a standing ovation.
Were the Declaration to be stolen and crushed on your Benedict Arnold’s head like a soda can, surely it would be an act of treason unlike any seen in America’s little, small, and tiny history.
Where do I find the Declaration of Independence if I want to steal it right now, at this very moment to be exact?
The Declaration of Independence currently lives in Philadelphia at The House Where All The Founding Fathers Live Together. The House Where All The Founding Fathers Live Together is, simply put, the place where all the guys are. Even people like Alexander Hamilton are there.
So, what mode of transportation would you like to use to get to Philadelphia and commit a truly incredible amount of treason?
The mode of horse.
The mode of running.
The mode of sprinting.
The mode of boat.
The mode of 18th-century fighter jet equivalent.
I want to just be in Philadelphia.
Here you are. The House Where All The Founding Fathers Live Together.
It’s late, so they should all be sleeping soundly in the same big bed. Looks like the only way to enter without making a ruckus is to sneak in through the pool, so yeah—you’re going to have to get a little wet.
“Benedict Arnold!” you shout as you dive in.
The pool is cold. Now, you famously don’t mind the cold (
Thomason, Paul. “Benedict Arnold And His Feelings On The Cold.” Tungsten Publishing, 1982.), so that’s not too big a deal. But equally famously, you don’t know how to swim very well ( Thomason, Bertram. “Benedict Arnold And How He Swam.” Tungsten Publishing, 1984). That means it’s going to take you a little while before you reach the door on the other side of the pool—that is, if you make it at all.
Oh, wow. You really have no idea how to swim. You’re flailing and splashing and screaming, and you have to hope that if anyone was awake, they would’ve come out to save you by now.
This is terrible to watch. You’ve tucked your legs into your stomach like you’re doing a cannonball, except for some reason you think that this is how you’re supposed to swim. It’s a miracle you haven’t drowned yet, now or at any other point in your life.
You are forced to eat some bugs just to stay alive.
These two have every right to laugh at you.
Continue doing what you think swimming is.
You made it! To the pool door! It took 45 minutes for you to get here, and you spent pretty much all of those minutes on the verge of drowning, but all that is in the past! You’ve got a Declaration of Independence to steal and crush on your head like a soda can.
Open the door and go inside.
Oh, goddamn it.
“A mighty hello to our very close friend Benedict Arnold!” shout all the Founding Fathers at once. “You are soaking wet with pool water, and what an incredible treat it is to see you in our home we all share together!”
Ah…hi guys. Why aren’t you all…asleep?
Mumble “Goddamn it” three or four times.
“We heard you scream your own name as you jumped in the pool!” they all shout at once. “In the big bed we all share together, we looked at each other in excitement, and then we all jumped out of the big bed we all share together and ran to the window and pressed our historic faces up against the glass at the same time to see if it really was you, our friend, and it was you, our friend! You are such a good patriot, and an even better friend.”
It’s going to be tough to steal the Declaration of Independence with these guys awake, but you have to do it. They’re currently nodding at each other in agreement over what they just said, so use this time to slink away and poke around.
Slink away to the living room.
Slink away to the Declaration of Independence room.
Slink away to the kitchen.
Slink away to the indoor pool.
On this October night, there’s no sign of the Declaration of Independence in the Founders’ living room.
Check out the kitchen.
Check out the Declaration of Independence room.
Check out the indoor pool.
Doesn’t look like there’s a Declaration of Independence to steal here in the kitchen.
Check out the living room.
Check out the Declaration of Independence room.
Check out the indoor pool.
Looks like the Declaration of Independence had to be taken out of the Declaration of Independence room so the janitor could practice mopping up one cup of coffee.
Check out the living room.
Check out the kitchen.
Check out the indoor pool.
It’s gotta be around here somewhere.
Look over at the pile of American flag towels.
There it is! Looks like one of the dopier Founding Fathers left it behind. What an exciting blunder that will potentially change the course of American history for good!
Grab the Declaration of Independence and get out of there before anyone notices.
“Yes! Benedict Arnold, one of my closest and dearest friends from America! I’m so glad I caught you!” says George Washington, the man who is your boss when you shoot your gun and ride your horse. “I was at my other house with my wife named Martha, but as soon as I heard that you were here, I just had to come by! Say, is that the Declaration of Independence you’re holding and taking with you?”
“Oh, of course it’s the Declaration of Independence that you’re holding and taking from the house I share with the other Founding Fathers!” shouts George. “Nothing says ‘I love the new country of America’ quite like holding the document that made the country come into existence. What an incredible show of patriotism from one incredible patriot! Benedict Arnold, you are a good friend, and also, hey, keep up the great work being my employee in the army.”
Get the hell out of there.
Leave The House Where All The Founding Fathers Live Together, sleep standing up in the front yard, and barely get any sleep because the Founding Fathers won’t stop yelling “Benedict, you’re my beloved friend!” at you.
Sneeze, leave The House Where All The Founding Fathers Live Together, sleep standing up in the front yard, and barely get any sleep because the Founding Fathers won’t stop yelling “Benedict, you’re my beloved friend!” at you.
When it’s finally morning, you walk to the center of Philadelphia, clutching the Declaration tightly against your tiny stomach. People naturally begin to crowd around you because of who you are and what you’re clutching, and eventually there is a crowd of thousands, ready to watch what they assume is another classic patriotic act from an American hero.
“Benedict Arnold is definitely one of my closest friends!” shouts Thomas Jefferson. “He is holding the Declaration of Independence the way anyone who loves America would!”
“When I think about Benedict Arnold, a smile where I reveal a few dozen of my teeth shows up on my face!” yells Samuel Adams.
“Benedict Arnold is the mailman, and his mail is never being deceitful!” screams Paul Revere.
Step up to the microphone and say a little speech before crushing the Declaration of Independence on your forehead.
Immediately crush the Declaration of Independence on your forehead.
“I am going to crush this on my forehead,” you say. “I am going to crush the Declaration of Independence on my forehead like a soda can.”
You stare at the ground for a couple of minutes, and then roll the Declaration up into a tight scroll, holding it parallel to your forehead.
Crush the Declaration of Independence on your forehead like a soda can.
You crush the Declaration of Independence on your forehead like a soda can, and the crowd goes absolutely insane.
“He’s making the Declaration of Independence get really close to his brain, and that’s patriotic!” shouts a man who had an apple for breakfast.
“This inspires me and someone else to make the Constitution in, like, 10 years or so!” shout James Madison and Alexander Hamilton at the sam
http://www.clickhole.com/clickventure/youre-benedict-arnold-do-you-have-what-it-takes-be-4143 Read More
London (CNN)The wedding engagement of a feminist American actress and the fifth in line to the British throne is yet another sign the royal family is becoming a modern family.
High-profile members of the British royal family marrying who they want — and not who they should
— has been a gradual process
As Markle’s relationship with the prince blossomed, the British tabloids and social media commenters fixated on the fact that she’s not British, had been married before and comes from a biracial background. Her ethnicity, in particular, spurred tabloid coverage to the extent that her now-fiancé
warned the media to stop harassing her
Markle shrugged it off during in her first joint interview with Prince Harry.
“I’m really just proud of who I am and where I come from. And we have never put any focus on that,” she said.
Their wedding will take place in spring 2018.
article for Elle UK in 2015
, Markle wrote about the difficulty of forging a career as a biracial actress. “I wasn’t black enough for the black roles and I wasn’t white enough for the white ones, leaving me somewhere in the middle as the ethnic chameleon who couldn’t book a job.”
She spoke highly of the producers of “Suits” who “weren’t looking for someone mixed, nor someone white or black for that matter. They were simply looking for Rachel.”
Markle said in her first interview with Prince Harry that she will be transitioning into a new role that will involve “causes that have been very important to me.”
‘Proud to be a feminist’
Amongst those causes is her work for gender equality.
“I’m proud to be a woman and a feminist,”
said Markle in a speech
at a United Nations conference on International Women’s Day 2015. She had just been named the UN Women’s Advocate for Political Participation and Leadership.
Her commitment to gender equality began many years earlier, Markle explained. As an 11-year-old she had watched a soap commercial with the tagline “women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans.”
She described how two boys in her class said loudly in response that women belonged in the kitchen and how the younger Markle, “shocked and angry,” decided to take action. On the advice of her father, she wrote several letters, including one to the soap manufacturer and one to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton.
In the end, she explained, the commercial was changed: The word “women” was removed and replaced with “people.”
“It was at that moment that I realized the magnitude of my actions,” she said.
She went on to call for more female political participation and representation. “Women need a seat at the table,” she said. And where that’s not possible, “then they need to create their own table.”
“With fame comes opportunity,” Markle wrote in a
column for Elle UK
in November 2016, “but it also includes responsibility — to advocate and share, to focus less on glass slippers and more on pushing through glass ceilings.”
In 2016, she became a global ambassador for World Vision and traveled to Rwanda to see the impact of the charity’s clean water initiatives.
Until earlier this year, Markle ran a lifestyle website, sharing her tips on food and fashion. But she posted pieces about self-empowerment too.
“I knew I needed to be saying something of value,”
last year, something about “subjects of higher value than selfies.”
Markle: We’re ‘really happy and in love’
Markle was married to film producer Trevor Engelson for two years before they divorced in 2013. It was three years later — in July 2016 — that she first met Prince Harry, introduced by mutual friends.
The two dated in secret before the Prince put an end to the speculation in November last year. In a
rare public statement
, he confirmed their relationship and warned the press against harassing his girlfriend.
It was almost another year before Markle spoke openly about their relationship. “We’re two people who are really happy and in love,”
she told Vanity Fair
The last time a divorced American became engaged to a member of the British royal family, it triggered a crisis that ended with the abdication of King Edward VIII, her future husband. That was in 1936.
http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/27/europe/meghan-markle-profile/index.html Read More
It seems that Daphne Caruana Galizias enemies finally decided that her courageous journalism needed to be silenced
last blogpost, published the day she died, Daphne Caruana Galizia signed off with a sentence that seems particularly chilling now.
There are crooks everywhere you look. The situation is desperate.
Caruana Galizia, 53, felt she had good reason to feel pessimistic about
Malta, and her enemies had good reason to fear her. Someone, it seems, was worried enough to want her silenced.
In that last post, which appeared just before a
bomb blew up the car she was driving, Caruana Galizia had taken aim, and not for the first time, at Maltese politicians. But they were far from the only people in the firing line.
She believed, in essence, that malign and criminal interests had captured Malta and turned it into an island mafia state; she reported on a political system rife with corruption, businesses seemingly used to launder money or pay bribes, and a criminal justice system that seemed incapable, or unwilling, to take on the controlling minds behind it all.
Proof of her fears included the 15 mafia-style assassinations and car bombings that have taken place on the island in the last 10 years and, ultimately, perhaps, her own murder too.
Though there will be many on Malta who will not trust the police to properly investigate her death,
including her son, Matthew, detectives will be urged to look at what she has written in recent months, and what she had been looking at just before her death to see what clues, if any, they provide.
Had this fiercely independent journalist finally got too close to something or was she proving too much of an irritant to someone?
Caruana Galizia was certainly used to stirring up trouble.
Those about whom she has written in the past year range from government ministers to the newly elected leader of the opposition; the characters in her stories included a convicted drug smuggler and a local millionaire who complained after she alleged that he had built a private zoo without planning permission.
Her style was fearless, witty and sardonic.
Her posts there were lots of them made uncomfortable reading for those in power. She became the islands most celebrated reporter and teller of plain truths.
Probably her greatest achievement over the past year was to spark, more or less singlehandedly, an extraordinary political scandal that has embroiled the islands prime minister, his closest political allies, and the ruling family of Azerbaijan.
It led to Maltas prime minister, Joseph Muscat, calling a general election in June.
The tale is complex; it involves a whistleblower from inside a secretive private bank, alleged kickbacks to senior politicians and a plethora of offshore companies that caused chaos for Muscat, the leader of the ruling Labour party.
There is nothing to suggest any of this is linked to her murder but the episode highlights the courageous way she tackled those in authority, and her doggedness in the face of legal threats.
Caruana Galizias investigation was built on documents uncovered in the
Panama Papers, published in April last year. Among the many names of government officials were two Maltese politicians: Keith Schembri, chief of staff to Muscat, and Konrad Mizzi, the countrys energy minister.
Both had set up similar structures, involving Panamanian companies owned by New Zealand trusts.
A woman reads a letter to investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia during a silent candlelight vigil to protest against her murder, in St Julians, Malta. Photograph: Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters
The allegation: the trusts were used to receive kickbacks from rich Russians who bought Maltese passports. The publication led to street protests and caused disquiet in Brussels.
Mizzi and Schembri denied any wrongdoing. Mizzi said the accounts had been set up to receive income from a property in London, while Schembri implied that the offshore entities were related to his business activities before entering politics. Both men kept their jobs.
Earlier this year Caruana Galizia followed up the story with new detail. She alleged the Panama Papers scheme was also connected to Azerbaijan, the oil-rich dictatorship ruled as a personal fiefdom by the Aliyev family.
The same month that Mizzi and Schembri began setting up the offshore structures, they visited Azerbaijan, along with the prime minister and his spokesman.
The purpose of the visit was to agree a deal on fuel supplies. Unusually, civil servants, diplomats and journalists were not invited.
Although the reports prompted a national protest against corruption, the second in Malta that year, Muscats Labour government narrowly defeated a vote of no confidence presented by the opposition Nationalist party.
Over the coming months, while the initial scandal continued to make headlines, Caruana Galizias investigation continued.
Her focus was a mysterious third company, Egrant. In April 2017, just over a year after the Panama Papers were first published, Caruana Galizia reported that Egrants owner was one Michelle Muscat the wife of Maltas prime minister.
Furthermore, she alleged that a $1m (760,000) payment received by the company originated from Leyla Aliyeva, the daughter of Azerbaijans president.
Muscats spokesman has described this as an outright lie.
Caruana Galizias report was sourced to a Russian whistleblower from inside a private bank in Malta called Pilatus.
The woman, later named as Maria Efimova, told Caruana Galizia that documents referring to the company were held in a safe, which had recently been removed from her bosss office and moved into the staff kitchen, where there was no CCTV.
After Efimova complained that she had not been paid, Pilatus filed a complaint against her for fraud and misappropriation.
Police seized her passport and charged her.
Efimova later fled the country after complaining to the prime minister that Russian private detectives had approached her father.
On the eve of the election, the story took a further twist. Leaked documents seen by the Guardian revealed that a Maltese intelligence agency, the Financial Investigation and Analysis Unit (FIAU), had in May 2016 concluded there was reasonable suspicion of money laundering involving Schembri, and it recommended police investigate further.
Schembri did not deny the transactions had taken place, but said the money was simply the repayment of a loan he made to a friend. The case is being investigated by a magistrate.
A second report by the FIAU into the Pilatus Bank alleged it had shown a glaring, possibly deliberate disregard for money-laundering controls. Pilatus said it fully adheres to all laws and regulations.
The gaming industry was another prime source of concern for Caruana Galizia. Over last decade, Malta has become a global hub for the online betting and gaming industries. The business employs more than 8,000 people on the island and its contribution to the economy is huge.
Recent estimates suggest the sector is worth 1.2bn, 12% of the islands GDP.
Yet despite the islands claim to be a world class jurisdiction for online gaming, there have been persistent reports of Italian mafia infiltration in June, regulators suspended one operation over such fears.
In a post from May this year, Caruana Galizia noted: I dont know why we should be surprised that organised crime has insinuated its tentacles into the highest echelons of government in Malta, using democracy for the purpose while undermining it thoroughly. If it happened in Italy and eastern
Europe, it can happen here, where the institutions of state are so much weaker.
This article was amended on 18 October 2017. An earlier version converted $1m to 760m. This has been corrected to 760,000.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/17/the-situation-is-desperate-murdered-maltese-journalists-daphne-caruana-galizia-final-words Read More
Government investigates evidence EU nationals are blocked from jobs and from renting or buying homes
The government equalities office is to examine growing evidence that EU nationals in the UK are being illegally prevented from renting or buying properties, getting jobs and booking holidays.
Nick Gibb, the equalities minister, said he was responding after Labour and the EU citizens rights campaign group the3million sent him a dossier of more than two dozen examples of job, housing and other adverts, many of which invite applications only from those with UK or Irish citizenship.
In a parliamentary answer, Gibb told MPs that he office is aware of, and is looking into reports of rising discrimination
against EU nationals looking for work in the UK or buying property and services after Brexit.
Campaigners repeatedly found job adverts that clearly specify that those applying must have British passports. Examples collected include an advert for a graduate sales executive in Bristol specifying German language skills but restricting the job to full UK passport holders. An advert for a Solihull-based research job with an international management consultancy specified that the candidate must have the right to stay and work permanently in the UK, and a valid UK passport. Another job recovering hire cars from France and Spain and delivering them back to Britain was restricted to UK passport holders only.
Other examples collected by Labour and the3million included:
Rental properties advertised for UK citizens only or outlining different terms for EU nationals.
Travel agencies declining to take bookings from non-British or non-Irish citizens and cancelling the holidays already booked by EU nationals from other countries.
A law firm advising that employment contracts incorporate clauses that specify that the loss of right to work will result in immediate dismissal.
However, a number of the companies included in the dossier mostly little-known firms or agencies said their ads were either old, made in error or posted with a typo when contacted by the Guardian. Two said their original advertisements involved administrative or clerical errors and had been reposted with clearer wording.
The Guardian spoke with a number of EU nationals who recalled recent instances of discrimination. Natasha, a 42-year-old Polish teaching assistant who asked for her surname to remain private, said she was completely blindsided when a education recruitment agency asked her for proof of permission to work in the UK.
I was completely taken aback and thought it must be incompetence but their response was very confused saying I need a permanent residency document or a work permit, neither of which you need, said Natasha, who has been in the UK for six years and entitled to work under EU law.
It freaked me out. At the time I needed work.
She added that she and her friends are also afraid to move from rented accommodation because landlords dont know if they will make them secure tenants after March 2019.
Labour MP for Sheffield Central, Paul Blomfield, who forwarded the examples to ministers, said he was deeply concerned that EU nationals were experiencing discrimination within the service industry and within the labour market.
The junior shadow
Brexit minister said: I am sure that you would agree these reports are a cause for alarm, reflecting uncertainty across the business sector and discrimination experienced by EU nationals. The lack of detail forthcoming from the government is contributing to this climate of uncertainty and confusion.
A Commons written answer by Gibb, slipped out on Saturday, responded by saying that Britain had some of the strongest anti-discrimination laws in the world and pledging to ensure that these rights were protected.
The government equalities office is aware of, and is looking into, the reports of discrimination against non-UK EU nationals seeking employment which [have been] forwarded to the secretary of state for exiting the EU, it said.
The GEO sponsors the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which has powers to enforce the Equality Act 2010 in cases where it suspects unlawful discrimination in employment may have occurred.
The Department for Education confirmed it was looking at the dossier of evidence supplied to it but denied that the investigation constituted any form of official review or inquiry.
Blomfield responded to the announcement of the review saying: This investigation into these extremely worrying cases is welcome, but it must lead to action. The government needs to be clear that discrimination will not be tolerated.
A 41-year-old German woman who arrived in the UK in 1998, who preferred to remain anonymous, said she was refused a test drive at a car dealership in Stockport because her driving licence was European and due to Brexit no longer valid.
She said: I felt angry, upset and singled out. My other half (British) got very annoyed and verbal. My other half tweeted outrage and they replied to him and said to get in touch with head office.
Another woman in Edinburgh, 48, who arrived in the UK from Greece 25 years ago, said she was told she needed a British passport to apply to finance furniture.
I was committed to make a big purchase and I had to break it, she said. In the end I paid for 1,500 worth of goods and the rest of the kitchen units were bought by my joiner. I was denied a financial service by an EU company operating in the UK due to my EU passport. This does not feel right. I think some people are using Brexit as an excuse to bully us.
A spokesperson for the3Million campaign group said the dossier was only the tip of the iceberg: Discrimination is subtle and often hard to prove. The examples we have seen in job adverts are only the tip of the iceberg.
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/sep/11/no-europeans-need-apply-growing-evidence-discrimination-uk-brexit Read More
Third of three brothers who were trapped in rubble of home freed by rescuers after magnitude 4.0 quake on island in Bay of Naples
Rescue teams working through the night and into Tuesday freed three brothers trapped in the rubble of a house on the Italian island of Ischia, after a magnitude 4.0 earthquake that killed two women and left 39 injured, at least one of them seriously.
The strength of Monday nights quake under the Bay of Naples was revised up to magnitude 4.0 by the INGV, Italys seismic observatory, after initially being reported at 3.6. More than 2,500 people were reported to be homeless or displaced and about 1,500 have fled the island.
TV cameras recorded cheers going up as the last brother, 11-year-old Ciro, was carried on a stretcher from the rubble of his home at 2.12pm local time, 16 hours after the quake struck. Firefighters announced the success with a tweet that said: Even Ciro is saved!
Rescuers had earlier pulled out seven-month-old Pasquale, then eight-year-old Mattias. The two elder boys hid under a bed after the first tremor on Monday night.
The boys father, whose hands were bandaged after he spent the night digging through the rubble alongside the firefighters, could be seen tearfully hugging relatives as his eldest son was saved.
It was a terrible night. I dont have words to explain it, the father told RAI state television while rescuers worked to free the older two boys. The entire second floor of the house collapsed and the firefighters pulled me out. They were great.
He said his wife was in the bathroom and managed to escape through the window, but the older boys were in the bedroom while the baby was in a playpen in the kitchen.
Luca Cari, the firefighter spokesman, described the work to free the boys as complicated. He said rescuers had maintained voice contact with the children throughout. There was silence for a while, they were tired. Then they began speaking again and we drew comfort from that, he said.
Hospital officials said all three were doing well, with the older two boys being treated for dehydration and the oldest for a fracture to his right foot. They were expected to be discharged from the hospital on Wednesday.
Baby is pulled alive from rubble after Ischia earthquake video
One woman died after being buried under the rubble of her home in the town of Casamicciola while another was killed after being hit by debris falling from a church.
The earthquake came two days before the
first anniversary of an earthquake in central Italy, in which almost 300 people died. Ischias deadliest quake occurred in 1883, killing 2,300.
The quake hit during the height of the tourist season, with the islands population of 64,000 ballooning by another 150,000 at the time the quake struck. Italian television showed many visitors taking refuge in parks and sleeping under blankets in the aftermath while authorities began organising ferries to bring tourists back to the mainland.
Television images showed about six buildings in the town as well as a church had collapsed in the quake, which struck just before 9pm as many people were having dinner.
Civil protection crews, already on the island in force to fight the
forest fires that have been ravaging southern Italy, were checking the status of the buildings that were damaged, while more were arriving from the mainland.
Together with the nearby island of Capri, Ischia is a favourite island getaway for Europes rich and famous, known in particular for its thermal waters. It gained further fame after
featuring in Elena Ferrantes Neapolitan novels.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/21/earthquake-strikes-italian-island-of-ischia-with-one-reported-dead Read More