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Italian toll-road execs told to leave disaster ceremony

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Top executives of Italy’s biggest motorway operator made an early exit from a ceremony held on Wednesday to remember victims of a deadly bridge collapse in the port city of Genoa after some grieving relatives asked them to leave.

The chief executive and chairman of infrastructure group Atlantia, which operated the bridge that collapsed on Aug. 14 last year, and other company officials left moments before the ceremony, said a source briefed on the event.

The ruling 5-Star Movement has blamed Atlantia for the disaster, which killed 43 people.

It accused the group of neglecting maintenance on the ageing viaduct and called for its national toll-road concession to be revoked.

Atlantia, controlled by the Benetton family, famous for its retail clothing chain, denies the accusations.

It says regular and state-supervised inspections had indicated the viaduct was safe, but the company has struggled to repair its reputation.

On Wednesday morning, as the head of state, prime minister and other political leaders took their front-row seats for the ceremony, held inside a damaged warehouse at the disaster site, some relatives told Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte they would leave if the Atlantia officials were to stay, the source said.

Approached by Conte’s officials, Chief Executive, Giovanni Castellucci, and Chairman, Fabio Cerchiai, quietly left the ceremony, the source added.

The pair are among dozens of company officials under investigation for suspected manslaughter over the collapse.

They deny any wrongdoing.

Moments later, as the ceremony began, the names of the 43 victims were read aloud, moving some relatives to tears as Prime Minister Conte and populist Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, stood among sombre-faced dignitaries.

“This is a day of grief but also of pride for this city,’’ regional governor, Giovanni Toti, told reporters as he arrived for the ceremony.

“Grief because we are remembering 43 victims, for whom we hope justice will soon be done… but also pride because a year on, the city has managed to rise up and is back on its feet.’’

Italy’s warring political leaders suspended their hostilities for the anniversary commemoration.

Despite a political crisis in Rome, they and the Head of State, Sergio Mattarella, came together to honour the victims.

A large section of the 1.2 kilometre-long (1,100-yard) motorway viaduct, built in the 1960s with reinforced concrete, collapsed a year ago, sending cars and trucks plummeting about 50 meters to the ground.

The disaster has also indirectly fed the political infighting that is tearing the governing coalition apart.

The 5-Star party has accused its partner, Salvini’s right-wing League party, of trying to protect the Benetton family and of resisting 5-Star attempts to revoke Atlantia’s concession.

Salvini denies this.

AIB

Edited by Abdulfatah Babatunde

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Lack of funds forces closure of UN humanitarian programmes in Yemen

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Pompeo, UNGA president salute victims of terrorism, urge more support

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Terrorism: UN chief seeks adequate support for victims, survivors

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West Nile virus cases double in Cyprus, one death recorded

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Virus

The Ministry said one elderly man with a poor health history died from the virus, which is transmitted by mosquito bites.

The Health Ministry data showed that the cases were spread almost all over the government controlled areas of Cyprus.

Several other cases, also including one fatal, have been reported from the area of Cyprus controlled by Turkish troops, where the virus appeared almost two months ago.

Public Health Services said that enhanced measures, including close monitoring of suspected cases and the separate epidemiological investigation of each case have been applied.

Mosquito control measures, such as spraying ponds and stale water areas where the mosquitoes breed, were also applied.

People were again advised to take precautionary measures which include wearing long sleeved shirts and long trousers, especially around dusk, or even use insect repellants when outdoors.

Public Health Services said that in most cases bites by infected mosquitoes go unnoticed, but people with a poor health, such as the elderly, are likely to develop virus-related complications.

The West Nile virus is believed to have been brought to Cyprus by migratory birds which arrived in the spring or early summer.

The birds act as hosts to the virus.(Xinhua/NAN)

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China develops 10MW permanent magnet generator for offshore wind turbine

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China develops 10MW permanent magnet generator for offshore wind turbine

Generator

According to the developer, Dongfang Electric Machinery Co., Ltd.,  in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, the new generator is the largest in the country in terms of rotor diameter and unit capacity.

Based on the working conditions in Chinese waters, permanent magnet direct drive and full power conversion technologies were used to achieve active typhoon-resistant performance.

The company said that the successful delivery of the generator indicates that the Research and Development manufacturing capabilities of high-power offshore wind turbines was a plus point.

It added that the generator will be installed at a wind farm in Xinghua Bay, East China’s Fujian Province. (Xinhua/NAN)

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