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‘We will love you forever’: Pellegrini’s restaurant co-owner killed in Bourke St attack

Melbourne's inner city community is remembering “one-in-a-million” Pellegrini's Espresso B..

Melbourne's inner city community is remembering "one-in-a-million" Pellegrini's Espresso Bar co-owner Sisto Malaspina, who was killed by a terrorist on Bourke Street on Friday.

A clipboard in a window with writing on a yellow piece of paper.

Mr Malaspina, 74, died after he was attacked by 30-year-old Somali-born Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, who crashed his vehicle loaded with gas bottles in the Melbourne CBD and stabbed three people before he was shot by police and died in hospital.

Eyewitnesses said it appeared Mr Malaspina was walking over to the car after it burst into flames to offer assistance, when he was stabbed in the chest.

The Melbourne institution was closed today and floral tributes were assembled in the window, accompanied by a hand-written sign paying tribute to the "best boss".

"Sisto — thank you for making us your staff members as part of your life," the sign reads.

"You always looked after us like family.

"You always said to have fun at work because we all worked so hard.

"Pellegrini's was your life. We will never forget all that you have done and given us all. We will love you forever and ever in our hearts."

The Salvation Army's Brendan Nottle, who has occupied the office across from Pellegrini's for more than 20 years, said Mr Malasani's loss would leave a "massive hole" in the community.

"He was an institution, everyone on this end of the city knew him," he said.

"He had huge personality, he was always up and about, almost theatrical in Pellegrini's.

"He was a guy with a great heart, he always looked after people and it was amazing to see people from all walks of life really warm to him."

Late Sisto Malaspina in his restaurant Pellegrini's

Allyson Fonseca was one of many regular diners at Pellegrini's, and said Mr Malaspina was a "genuine icon of Melbourne".

"He was just so giving and I'm not surprised he went to the aid of the attacker in his burning car because he was just such a giving soul," she said.

Mr Nottle said he didn't believe the café would ever be the same without him.

"I think he was one in a million," he said.

"It's almost like a village, most people know each other, we've known each other for a long time, I think his passing is going to have a huge impact on this part of the city."

The window of Pellegrini's Espresso Bar in Melbourne with flowers and a tribute to co-owner Sisto Malaspina.

Mr Malaspina was born in Italy and came to Australia in 1963.

He took over Pellegrini's with his friend Nino Pangrazio in 1974.

In a video to celebrate 40 years of their ownership of the restaurant in 2014, Mr Malaspina spoke of his love for his customers and business partner.

External Link: Sisto Malaspina was commended by the City of Melbourne for his work at Pellegrini's

"The thing that I find very beautiful — it's like going back 40 years … little children that were in their mother's tummy, then come in as a baby, now they come in with their own children. That's so wonderful," he said.

"I love people, especially Pellegrini's customers. They are the best in the world."

Fifty-eight-year-old Tasmanian Rod Patterson — described as "the sort of man who would be first to step in and try to help" — is in a stable condition in Royal Melbourne Hospital following surgery for lacerations, as is a 24-year-old Hampton Park man.

Shire Ali died in hospital after being shot by police as he lunged towards them with a knife.

Social media has also been flooded with tributes to Mr Malasini, as Melburnians and visitors alike remember his generosity.

Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe said he had been frequenting Mr Malaspina's restaurant since 1987.

External Link: Russell Crowe on Twitter: Sisto, il mio cuore si spezza … Ive been going to Pellegrinis since 1987. Never been to Melbourne without dropping in on my man Sisto . South Sydney stickers on the wall and caps on display. My sweet loyal friend, stabbed in the street by a mad man. Cosí triste.

The Wiggles' Anthony Field said Mr Malaspina was a great man who will be missed by all.

External Link: Twitter Anthony Wiggle: Heart broken that we lost such a great man of Pellegrinis and a friend to so many (including me) Sisto Malaspina

Olympian Tamsyn Lewis Manou said she was devastated by the news.

External Link: Tamsyn Lewis on Twitter: Devestated by the news that Pellegrinis owner Sisto Malaspina was the victim of the attack in Melbourne yesterday.Angry because a good man was trying to help another human & shattered for what is a huge loss to Melbourne cities heart beat…thoughts to family & friends #RIPSisto

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China deploys anti-ship missiles in the desert making them harder to intercept

Beijing has announced it has deployed intermediate ballistic missiles to the country's north-we..

Beijing has announced it has deployed intermediate ballistic missiles to the country's north-west region, saying the weapons have the capacity to destroy US ships entering disputed waters in the South China Sea.

Key points:

  • The missiles can fire long distances and would be difficult for US ships to shoot down
  • Defence strategy expert Dr Malcom Davis said the move means China can back up its threats
  • The news came after a US guided missile destroyer passed through the South China Sea

The DF-26 missiles — which have been previously dubbed the 'Guam Killer' or 'Guam Express' by Chinese media and defence experts — are capable of carrying conventional or nuclear warheads.

They have a range of 4,500 kilometres, making them capable of reaching as far as Guam in the east and Indonesia in the south, providing Beijing with a powerful weapon as tensions continue to rise in the South China Sea.

External Link: @globaltimesnews: China's df-26 missiles

According to Chinese state media publication The Global Times, the DF-26 missiles are now stationed in north-west China's sparse plateau and desert areas, carried on the backs of trucks able to traverse the harsh terrain.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Beijing-based military expert told the Times that positioning the missiles deep in China's mainland made them more difficult to intercept as it allowed the missile to enter its final stages at a high speed.

Footage on CCTV showed trucks carrying the missiles driving through rough terrain and sand dunes.

The missiles were first paraded in 2015 and China confirmed they were now operational in April last year, but this is the first footage of the missiles outside of a parade.

It is unclear when the missiles were moved to the northwest region, the Times reported. (more…)

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Melbourne driver who cheated death when sign fell on car in no rush to drive again

Related Story: Dashcam footage shows moment car was crushed by falling freeway sign

The Melbourne ..

Related Story: Dashcam footage shows moment car was crushed by falling freeway sign

The Melbourne driver who cheated death when an overhead road sign fell and crushed her car says she cannot believe such an accident could happen in Australia.

Key points:

  • A second sign on the Tullamarine Freeway has been taken down as a precautionary measure
  • An inspection of similar-sized sign and gantries is underway
  • VicRoads says an independent investigator has been brought in to determine what happened

Extraordinary dashcam footage shows the moment the five-by-four metre sign fell in front of, and then on top of, Nella Lettieri's car as she was travelling on Melbourne's Tullamarine Freeway earlier this week.

While the 53-year-old was not seriously injured, she is bruised and battered — and wondering how she is still alive.

"It felt like a roller door had slammed shut in front of me," Ms Lettieri said.

"I've gone to swerve, but as I swerved, it just felt like the sign was actually falling on the car.

"And it just kept bouncing, and I felt like it was pushing me to the right, and I'm thinking, 'OK, is it going to stop?'"

A woman smiling and looking off camera.

She thought the metal object may have been from a plane landing or taking off from the nearby Essendon Airport, or from a truck on the freeway.

But she was shocked to discover it was actually an overhead sign, meant to be directing drivers to their destination. (more…)

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In his Brexit speech in Wakefield, Jeremy Corbyn again demanded the impossible

Speaking in Wakefield this morning, Jeremy Corbyn restated his demand for a solution to the Brexit i..

Speaking in Wakefield this morning, Jeremy Corbyn restated his demand for a solution to the Brexit impasse that appears effectively impossible: a general election.

In what is likely to be his last major public statement before MPs vote on the withdrawal agreement next Tuesday, he attempted to redefine the terms of the question facing both the Labour leadership and its MPs – from those that threaten to stretch his fissiparous electoral coalition to breaking point, to those which, on paper, unite it.

That resulted in a speech whose thrust was an appeal to class consciousness from Remainers in Tottenham and Leavers in Mansfield, rather than any meaningful debate over the validity or viability of Brexit itself. “Youre up against it,” Corbyn said, citing austerity, stagnant wages, and the cost of living crisis, “but youre not against each other.”

Accordingly, his cursory repetition of Labours policy – that a second referendum should remain on the table as an option in the event a general election does not happen – came with a caveat so huge that it amounted to an implicit dismissal of a so-called peoples vote. “Any political leader who wants to bring the country together cannot wish away the votes of 17 million people who wanted to leave, any more than they can ignore the concerns of the 16 million who voted to remain.”

But despite the fact that his attention was more or less exclusively focussed on the question of what sort of future relationship with Europe would negotiate – with the fact of the divorce undisputed – Corbyn categorically ruled out doing anything but whipping his MPs to vote against the withdrawal agreement. The vast majority of them will do so on Thursday, after which point Corbyn said, as expected, that Labour would table a motion of no confidence in the hope of securing an election and with it the chance to renegotiate Brexit (rather than, say, holding a second referendum).

Notably, however, he did not specify a timescale for tabling a confidence vote after Mays deal falls – despite several of his shadow cabinet ministers insisting that he would do so “immediately”. He instead put on the record the more cautious line briefed by his team yesterday: “Labour will table a motion of no confidence in the government at the moment we judge it to have the best chance of success.”

That statement of intent was followed with a caveat seldom offered by shadow cabinet ministers sent out to spin the partys line on Brexit. “Clearly,” Corbyn said, “Labour does not have enough MPs in parliament to win a confidence vote on its own.” As he himself alluded to when he urged opposition MPs to join Labour in voting against the government, Labours chances remain slim until such time that the ten DUP MPs drop the government. (That every other party will is a racing certainty.) Paradoxically, the defeat of the withdrawal agreement – and with it the backstop Mays sometime coalition partners object to – will make that chance even slimmer.

We know from what Corbyn said this morning that the Labour leadership will not whip its MPs to approve Theresa Mays Brexit, back a second referendum out of choice – both courses threaten its electoral base in different ways – or support any attempt by Downing Street to make the Brexit deal more amenable to Labour MPs by tacking on guarantees on workers rights. That strategy has held until now.

But failure to roll the pitch for any alternative at all – or, indeed, for the inevitable breakdown in party discipline after Mays vote is defeated and Labour has no way to bind MPs who seek mutually exclusive Brexit aims – will make the messy politics of the aftermath of next Tuesday rather more difficult to finesse.

Patrick Maguire is the New Statesman's political correspondent. (more…)

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