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In Italy, ‘A Fantastic Feeling’ as Signs of Normalcy Return

ROME – As a downward trend for both coronavirus fatalities and new confirmed cases continues, Italy ..

ROME – As a downward trend for both coronavirus fatalities and new confirmed cases continues, Italy has entered Phase Three with the reopening of nearly all businesses and activities. With the country having suffered more than 34,000 deaths from COVID-19 and no vaccine yet available, cautionary measures and rules on how to behave mainly in closed spaces are expected to be around for some time.

Italy, an early epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Europe, has been gradually re-opening over the past few weeks. When it started to come out of its tight lockdown, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that the months ahead would largely depend on the behavior of Italians and did not rule out future lockdowns if new clusters emerged.

Prime minister Giuseppe Conte wears a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as he arrives to address parliament on the next European Council meeting, in Rome, June 17, 2020.

Prime minister Giuseppe Conte wears a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as he arrives to address parliament on the next European Council meeting, in Rome, June 17, 2020.

Italians are aware the virus has not been completely defeated yet and many appear to understand they still need to follow certain rules.

Posters and signs remind customers at stores and public spaces about the need to maintain social distancing, wear protective masks and sanitize ones hands. In some places, such as airports, there are temperature checks and people with more than 37.5 Celsius must return to their homes.

After a lockdown that seemed to never end, many Italians appear happy to comply with the regulations.

To the joy of many, the latest businesses to reopen this week were cinemas and theaters. No more than 200 people can enter closed venues and at outdoor events there can be a maximum of 1,000.

For many, the reopening of movie theaters was an emotional moment.

A young Rome resident, who went back to the cinema as soon as it re-opened its doors, said that it was a “fantastic feeling” because after months at home watching TV, being able to watch a movie on the big screen eating warm popcorn is priceless.

Young people especially are ready for summer fun, as nightclubs and discos also re-opened, but club owners are expressing concerns that it will be very difficult to enforce some of the rules that include customers having to dance one meter apart.

Examiners wear face shields and masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, during end of year secondary school exams at high school Liceo Kennedy, in Rome, June 17, 2020.

Examiners wear face shields and masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, during end of year secondary school exams at high school Liceo Kennedy, in Rome, June 17, 2020.

Large-scale gatherings of all kinds are still banned, but amateur contact sports will resume from June 25th and schools are expected to reopen in September.

Coronavirus border restrictions have been easing throughout Europe. By Wednesday, only travelers from outside the European Union were still being required to quarantine upon arriving in Italy.

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Europe

Green, left-wing Michèle Rubirola becomes Marseilles first woman mayor

Issued on: 05/07/2020 – 11:00Modified: 05/07/2020 – 11:01

Marseille became the latest French munic..

Issued on: 05/07/2020 – 11:00Modified: 05/07/2020 – 11:01

Marseille became the latest French municipality to elect a Green mayor on Saturday, in a wave that has swept the country since local elections at the end of last month.

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Michèle Rubirola, the first female leader of Frances second city, won the most votes from city councillors, ending almost a week of suspense after the June 28 poll that failed to give her slate an absolute majority.

Rubirola, of the Read More – Source

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Europe

Italy could transfer migrants from Ocean Viking rescue ship on Monday

Issued on: 05/07/2020 – 10:07Modified: 05/07/2020 – 10:16

Italy is carrying out tests on 180 migra..

Issued on: Modified:

Italy is carrying out tests on 180 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean with a view to transferring them to a quarantine vessel in Sicily, an interior ministry source said Saturday.

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The migrants have been on the Ocean Viking ship operated by SOS Mediterranee for over a week, with fights and suicide attempts on board prompting the charity to declare a state of emergency on Friday.

A medical team sent by authorities in Pozzallo, Sicily “ascertained the absence of particular health problems and also reported that some tensions that had been registered on the ship are being overcome”, the ministry source said.

The medical team is testing the migrants for the Covid-19 virus after which they will be transferred to a quarantine ship currently in Porto Empedocle, also in Sicily.

“The situation is carefully monitored in view of the transhipment of migrants, scheduled for Monday 6 July, on the Moby Zaza ship,” the source said.

The Ocean Viking, which has been in limbo in the Mediterranean south of Sicily, has been waiting for permission from Italy or Malta to offload the migrants at a safe port.

Italy could transfer migrants from Ocean Viking rescue ship on Monday

Tensions have risen in the past week, as witnessed by an AFP reporter aboard the boat, as migrants have become increasingly desperate to reach land. Others have become distraught at not being able to telephone their families to let them know they were safe.

SOS Mediteranee said in a statement on Saturday that “the only assistance proposed has been a visit by a medical doctor and a cultural mediator who spoke to the survivors but are not in a position to present a solution for their disembarkation.”

The migrants, which include Pakistanis, North Africans, Eritreans, Nigerians and others, were picked up after fleeing Libya in four separate rescues by the Ocean Viking on June 25 and 30.

"How long Read More – Source

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Air France to cut 7,580 jobs at French flagship carrier and regional unit Hop!

Issued on: 03/07/2020 – 20:16Modified: 03/07/2020 – 20:16

Air France confirmed plans to cut some 7..

Issued on: 03/07/2020 – 20:16Modified: 03/07/2020 – 20:16

Air France confirmed plans to cut some 7,500 jobs including 1,000 at sister airline Hop! on Friday, as staff protested over its response to the collapse in travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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The French flag carrier, part of Franco-Dutch group Air France-KLM, said it had lost €15 million a day during the worst part of the crisis, which also saw its revenues plunge by 95 percent. It did not see traffic returning to 2019 levels before 2024.

As a result, Air France plans to cut 6,560 or 16 percent of jobs at the main airline by the end of 2022, more than 3,500 of which will come through natural departures, it said after union talks.

Another 1,020 jobs will go over the next three years at Hop!, representing 42 percent of staff at the regional carrier based in the coastal city of Nantes, which has also been hit by job cuts at plane manufacturer Airbus.

The French government – which granted Air France €7 billion ($7.9 billion) in aid, including state-backed loans, to help it to survive – has urged the airline to avoid compulsory layoffs, though it has conceded Air France is "on the edge”.

"A successful labour reorganisation is one where there are no forced departures," junior economy minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher told Sud Radio on Friday.

In its statement, Air France said it would give priority to voluntary departures, early retirement and staff mobility. It did not rule out compulsory redundancies, however.

The reconstruction plan will be presented at the end of July, together with a plan for the wider Air France-KLM Group.

This is not how I wanted to leave

Some 100 union members and employees, from cleaning staff to check-in assistants, demonstrated earlier outside the airline's base at Charles de Gaulle airport outside Paris against plans to cut staff after receiving state aid to absorb the pandemic fallout.

Air France employees gather to protest a restructuring plan that includes thousands of job cuts in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis outside the French airline's headquarters in Roissy-en-France near Paris on July 3, 2020. The sign at right reads, "Not born to end up in the dumpster.” © Gonzalo Fuentes, Reuters

"It's scandalous. The government is putting in €7 billion and the compRead More – Source

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