Opening door to migrants, some Italians defy government line

Opening door to migrants, some Italians defy government line

ROME (AP) — Italy has made headlines as a hard place for migrants recently, with racist attacks against blacks on its soil and a new government closing Italian ports to people rescued in the Mediterranean Sea.

But not all Italians are on board, and some are even reaching out to migrants.

Barbara di Clemente, a 79-year-old grandmother, opened her heart and home to Moriba Mamadou Diarra from Mali, hosting him at her two-bedroom apartment in Rome for the past four months. The 18-year-old says he fled his country because there, his “rights had been denied” and he couldn’t study and build a better future for himself.

3 kids heading on summer vacations among Italy bridge dead

ROME (AP) — Authorities in Italy, France and Albania have confirmed their citizens are among the 39 victims of Tuesday’s highway bridge collapse in Genoa. They include three children, traveling with their respective families on summer holidays. Here are some of their stories.

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.”