Uproar after Italian minister wants to end anti-racism law

ROME (AP) — An Italian minister is facing broad condemnation after calling for the abolition of an anti-racism law, with key members of the government including the prime minister distancing themselves from the statements.

Family Minister Lorenzo Fontana, of the far-right League party, on Friday called for abolishing a 1993 law condemning racist violence, hatred and discrimination, saying “globalists” were using it to “disguise their anti-Italian racism as anti-Fascism.”

The president of Italy’s Union of Jewish Communities, Noemi Di Segni criticized the minister’s words, saying the law should be enforced and defended.

Police shut gypsy camp in Rome despite EU ruling

ROME (AP) — Police in Rome on Thursday cleared nearly 400 people, including dozens of children, from a shanty camp inhabited for years by members of the minority Roma community, despite a European Union court ruling halting demolition.

Residents stood outside the camp with mattresses and other belongings piled alongside vehicles, some protesting against the move with chants of “Racists!”

Some residents complained that police used force during the eviction. Police commander Antonio Di Maggio denied the claims.

Pope adviser blasts pro-crucifix bill in Italy: ‘Hands off!’

ROME (AP) — A close adviser to Pope Francis criticized legislation proposed by Italy’s anti-migrant League party to require ports and other public institutions to display a crucifix, saying Wednesday that the religious symbol isn’t “a team emblem” to be shown for political ends.

“If you remove the (religious) symbolism from the crucifix ... it becomes a parody,” the Rev. Antonio Spadaro, editor of the Jesuit magazine Civilta Cattolica, said during a Rome conference on the pope.

A tweet Spardaro posted earlier in the day with a blunt “Hands off!” went viral. The crucifix, he wrote, “screams love to the enemy and unconditional welcome.”

Photo: Whales in a sea of plastic waste

Photo: Whales in a sea of plastic waste

The life-size reproduction of two whales emerge from a sea filled with plastic waste in front of Rome’s Pantheon Thursday, July 5, 2018. With the installation, Greenpeace hopes to raise awareness on pollution, and particularly on the dangers of disposable plastic packages, in the Mediterranean Sea. (AP Photo/Simone Somekh)

See the image here.

Silicon Wadi: Israel’s Arab Tech Boom

Paulus VI is the single, narrow artery that snakes through the old city of Nazareth, choked with a seemingly endless line of vehicles. On either side of the thoroughfare, there is dust and noise and vendors chatting at high decibel in Arabic in relentless heat. For the last two years, a sign above a modern sand-colored building spells out in English, “Microsoft.” The new R&D headquarters of the American giant is just one of the several tech-related initiatives to open in the city in recent years.

Known as Israel’s Arab capital, Nazareth is home to 75,000 residents, most of whom are Muslims. Two years into the implementation of the Israeli government’s $3.85 billion plan for the “social development of Israel’s Arab population,” Nazareth is now pushing to take its place alongside emerging competition from the United Arab Emirates and Jordan to become a hub of Middle Eastern tech entrepreneurship.