ROME: Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said over 60 migrants on board an Italian coastguard ship which docked Thursday in Sicily were “not authorised to disembark” pending an investigation into a reported on board mutiny.
The 67 migrants – including women and children – stuck on the “Diciotti” at the port in Trapani are at the centre of a row after a handful reportedly revolted after their rescue amid fears that they would be returned to Libya. “I am not giving permission to anyone to disembark from Diciotti: if anyone does so, they will take responsibility for it,” said Salvini on the sidelines of a summit with his European counterparts in Austria. Initially picked up by a supply vessel the “Vos Thalassa” over the weekend, the migrants were subsequently transferred to a coastguard ship after staff made emergency calls to authorities in Rome. According to Italian media sailors aboard the Vos Thalassa locked themselves in the control room and called for help after two migrants with mobile phones and GPS realised that the boat was heading south back towards Libya, sparking a furious reaction from some on board. Migrants trying to reach Europe are desperate not to be returned to Libya where they face abuse and rape in detention centres.
“If there was violence (on board the Vos Thalassa), the perpetrators will go to prison and if there was no violence, because someone lied, then they (those who supposedly lied) will suffer the consequences,” Salvini – who is also the leader of the far-right League party – said. The Diciotti will be blocked “for as long as necessary” to clarify the situation, Salvini added. The nationalist minister – who has authority over Italian ports – initially refused to allow the Diciotti to dock in Italy, despite previously saying that ports would remain open for Italian naval and coastguard ships carrying migrants. Salvini has banned charity rescue boats operating in the Mediterranean from docking in Italy, accusing them of aiding human traffickers to bring migrants to Europe.
The latest tussle over migrant arrivals comes as 28 interior ministers meet in the Austrian city of Innsbruck for a summit focused on finding a common migration plan as tensions over the contentious issue rise in Europe. The case of the Diciotti has also highlighted a split within Italy’s government coalition, which includes the League and Luigi Di Maio’s Five Star Movement whose left fringe is opposed to the closing of Italian ports.
“Never, ever threaten the US”: Trump hits back at Iran ‘war’ talk
WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump on Sunday hit back at bellicose comments by Iran’s president, warning him of dire consequences as the US intensifies its campaign against the Islamic republic.
“NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE,” Trump said on Twitter in a direct message to President Hassan Rouhani.
Earlier Sunday the Iranian leader had warned Trump not to “play with the lion’s tail,” saying that conflict with Iran would be the “mother of all wars”. The US president, writing his entire message in capital letters, continued his riposte: “WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!”
His comments Sunday night came after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a major address to the Iranian diaspora in California, said Washington is not afraid to sanction top-ranking leaders of the “nightmare” Iranian regime.
Trump in May pulled the US out of a hard-won agreement with Tehran, also signed by Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia, which lifted sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program. The 2015 agreement was in response to fears that Iran was developing a nuclear bomb.
European allies maintain their support for the deal and have vowed to stay in it, though their businesses fear US penalties. Following Washington’s pullout Pompeo unveiled Washington’s tougher line under which, he said, the US would lift the new sanctions if Iran ended its ballistic missile program and interventions in regional conflicts from Yemen to Syria.
Rouhani immediately dismissed those US threats and on Sunday said: “You cannot provoke the Iranian people against their own security and interests.” In a televised speech ahead of Pompeo’s address, Rouhani repeated his warning that Iran could shut down the strategic Strait of Hormuz, a vital shipping lane for international oil supplies.
“Peace with Iran would be the mother of all peace and war with Iran would be the mother of all wars,” Rouhani said.
On Saturday, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said US words and “even… their signature” cannot be trusted, “so negotiations with the United States are useless.”
The US in January had already sanctioned Sadeq Larijani, the head of Iran’s judiciary, for human rights violations, Pompeo noted on Sunday.
“We weren’t afraid to tackle the regime at its highest level,” he said, confirming that Washington wants all countries to reduce their imports of Iranian oil “as close to zero as possible” by November 4 or face American sanctions.
Pompeo called on “all governments to end their flirtations” with Iran’s regime and said “there’s more to come” in terms of sanctions.
“Regime leaders — especially those at the top of the IRGC and the Quds Force like Qasem Soleimani — must be made to feel painful consequences of their bad decision making,” said Pompeo, a longtime Iran hawk. He was referring to Iran’s special forces and Revolutionary Guards.
Roundly applauded by his audience, Pompeo affirmed support by Washington for protesters who have taken to the streets of Iran as economic woes mount after the US withdrawal from the nuclear accord.
“The regime in Iran has been a nightmare for the Iranian people,” he said. “The United States hears you. The United States supports you. The United States is with you.”
To reinforce that message, Washington’s top diplomat announced an intensified American propaganda campaign, through the launch of a multimedia channel with 24-hour coverage on television, radio, and social media. Pompeo refused to distinguish between moderates and radicals at the heart of the Islamic republic. The Trump administration is regularly suspected of favoring regime change in Iran, and Pompeo said: “our hope is that ultimately the regime will make meaningful changes in its behavior both inside Iran and globally.”
Power Division to ensure electricity supply on Election day
ISLAMABAD: Power Division has established two control rooms to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply during polling and completion of the counting process across the country on the Election Day (July 25).
These control rooms have been established in Islamabad and Lahore. The industry will remain off on polling day in order to meet any demand and supply gap, Radio Pakistan reported.
Federal Compliant Cell at Power Division will also function to address complaints of the consumers across the country.
It can be contacted on telephone numbers 051-9103888, 051-9204430 and 051-9206834
20 people injured in attack on BAP office
QUETTA: At least 20 persons were injured when some unknown men threw a hand grenade at Balochistan Awami Party’s (BAP) election office in Dalbandin area of Chaghi district on Sunday evening.
According to police sources, unidentified men riding a motorbike hurled a hand grenade at an election office of BAP which went off, leaving 20 workers of BAP injured on the spot, in Killi Khuda-e-Raheem area.
Police reached the site and shifted the injured to a nearby hospital for medical aid.
Four of the injured were being shifted to Quetta Civil hospital in view of their critical condition. Law enforcement agencies reached the site, cordoned off the entire area and started an investigation.