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Italy calls for €50bn to defend companies facing energy spirals




Italy’s Organizations Confindustria appealed Monday, 10 October for an aid package of 40 to 50 billion euros to avoid thousands of companies failing and bulk job losses due to spiraling energy costs.

“Without industry, there is no Italy. If we close thousands of companies, hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost,” the lobby’s head Carlo Bonomi said in an interview with La Stampa daily.

“I am more concerned now than I was at the start of the pandemic,” he said, adding that he estimated some “40 to 50 billion euros by 2023” ($39 billion to $48 billion) was needed.

Giorgia Meloni, who is set to lead Italy’s incoming government after her party won last month’s election, will “have to resort to other resources… if she cannot count on European solidarity to reduce the energy bill”.

Italian companies are expected to pay 110 billion euros more in 2022 than they did before the pandemic, of which 55.6 billion is due in the period September to December, the association said in a report.

Outgoing prime minister Mario Draghi’s government has already spent 66 billion euros to help families and businesses tackle the energy crisis, financed by higher-than-expected tax revenues.

But the economic output is expected to decline slightly in the second half of the year, a downturn that could continue into the first quarter of 2023, according to a government forecast — plunging the country into recession.

That would reduce tax revenues and limit the new government’s room for maneuver.

Meloni has been reluctant to consider any budget slippage, considering Italy’s vast existing debt — some 150pc of gross domestic product (GDP).

Germany is in the process of finalizing a 200-billion-euro gas price relief scheme, which has been strongly criticized by European partners, including Italy, as likely to create an unfair advantage for its industry, compared to those who cannot afford such aid measures.


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Fire in Mangaf Workers’ Accommodation Claims 41 Lives



mangaf kuwait fire

A devastating fire broke out early Wednesday in a building housing workers in Mangaf, southern Kuwait, resulting in the deaths of at least 41 people, according to Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Fahad Yusuf Saud Al-Sabah.

During his visit to the site, Sheikh Fahad, who also oversees the interior and defense ministries, criticized real estate owners for their violations and greed, attributing these factors to the tragic incident.

“Unfortunately, the greed of real estate owners is what leads to these matters,” Sheikh Fahad stated.

The blaze was reported to authorities at 6:00 a.m. local time (0300 GMT), according to Major General Eid Rashed Hamad.

“The building was used to house a large number of workers. Dozens were rescued, but sadly, many succumbed to smoke inhalation,” a senior police commander informed state television.

He further emphasized the longstanding warnings against overcrowding in worker accommodations, though he did not specify the workers’ occupations or nationalities.

The fire has been contained, and authorities are currently investigating its cause, officials said.

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Baltimore shipping lane fully reopens after bridge collapse





The Baltimore shipping lane blocked for more than two months after a cargo ship collided with a major bridge in
March, sending it crashing into the water, fully reopened on Monday, authorities said.

The US Army Corps of Engineers, along with Navy salvage divers, restored the channel to its original dimensions by removing about 50,000 tons of debris from the Patapsco River, a statement from the Key Bridge Response Unified Command said.

The riverbed was certified as safe for transit on Monday.

“We are proud of the unified efforts that fully reopened the Federal Channel to port operations,” said Lieutenant General Scott Spellmon, commanding general of the Army Corps of Engineers.

“The partnerships that endured through this response made this pivotal mission successful.”

On March 26, the Singapore-flagged M/V Dali lost power and plowed into a support column of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, causing it to collapse and killing six road workers who had been filling potholes overnight.

The 106,000-ton ship had been headed for Sri Lanka at the time of the accident.

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which is investigating the incident along with the FBI, has said the ship had two electricity blackouts in the moments before the disaster.

The Dali was refloated last month and towed back into port.

The port of Baltimore is one of America’s busiest ports and a key hub for the auto industry, handling almost 850,000 autos and light trucks last year — more than any other US port, according to state figures.

The full reopening of the shipping channel will allow for two-way traffic, Monday’s statement said.

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PM Sheikh Hasina and Modi Exchange Pleasantries at Swearing-In



Sheikh Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh and her Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, exchanged pleasantries following Modi’s swearing-in ceremony this evening.

Foreign leaders, including the Bangladeshi Prime Minister, took turns approaching the podium to congratulate Modi on taking his oath as the Indian Premier for a third consecutive term.

Clad in light purple, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stepped forward to greet Modi, who extended his hand to her. They exchanged a warm handshake and brief pleasantries, inquiring about each other’s well-being.

Modi then escorted Prime Minister Hasina to the banquet hall, guiding her to the dinner hosted by President Smt. Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Prime Minister Hasina, accompanied by her daughter Saima Wazed, entered the Rashtrapati Bhavan as the third foreign leader to attend the oath-taking ceremony.

Top leaders from Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Bhutan, Nepal, Mauritius, and Seychelles were also present at the swearing-in event, which saw a record attendance of over 8,000 dignitaries.

Prime Minister Hasina arrived in New Delhi on Saturday to participate in the ceremony. She is scheduled to depart for Dhaka tomorrow afternoon.

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