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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Italian Teenager Killed in Kent, Attackers Shouted ‘You Steal Our Jobs’

A 19-year-old Italian man who had arrived in the UK at the beginning of the month in order to study English was punched, stabbed and killed by at least eight people in his flat in Maidstone on Sunday in an apparently premeditated attack. The attackers shouted “Italians, you steal our jobs” at Joelle Leotta and another two men who lived with him in the flat above the restaurant where they all worked. The other two men survived, but Leotta died in hospital from severe head and chest injuries. “We cannot yet speak of a racist background to the attack, our investigations on this matter are still ongoing”, said Richard Alan, a spokesman for Kent police, who did not disclose the nationality of the attackers, all aged between 21 and 25. The Italian consul in London, Massimiliano Mazzanti, said the government would only comment on the matter after the police had finished its investigation.

Syria Will Meet Weapons Deadline, Says OPCW

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the watchdog recently lauded with the Nobel Peace prize, has said that it is confident the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will meet the 2014 deadline to eliminate its chemical weapons arsenal. OPCW spokesman Michael Luhan said the Syrian government had cooperated fully with the 27 inspectors present in the country and that it would submit a fully inventory of all its weapons, munitions and facilities would be submitted by Thursday. He also said the organisation expected Syria to be able to destroy all equipment involved in the production and mixing of weapons by this Friday. “What it means is that they will no longer have the capability to produce any more chemical weapons. They will no longer have working equipment to mix or fill chemical weapons into munitions”, he said. Meanwhile, Norway said it might accept chemicals and chemical precursors that can be mixed into deadly agents for destruction in the country, but not warheads ready for use.

Greek Far-Right Golden Dawn Party Loses State Funding

Greek far-right party Golden Dawn has lost state funding after the country’s parliament voted to suspend payments to political parties whose leader or one-fifth of MPs were charged with being members of a criminal or terrorist organisation. The party had been allocated €873,000 based on its performance in the last Greek elections, when it got nearly 7 percent of the national vote and 18 out of the 300 seats in parliament. The move, backed by MPs from the New Democracy, Pasok and Syriza parties, is part of a clampdown on the party after one of its followers murdered the human rights activist and hip-hop artist Pavlos Fyssas last month. Following the murder the party’s leader, Nikos Michaloliakos, deputy leader Christos Pappas and MP Yiannos Lagos were all arrested on charges of running a criminal organisation. Another four Golden Dawn MPs had their parliamentary immunity stripped so that local law enforcement agencies could investigate them.

ONS Data Shows Happiness Rising Across the UK

Northern Ireland was revealed on Wednesday as the happiest place in the UK according to data divulged by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The ONS said one-third of all Northern Ireland residents said they rated their life satisfaction as nine out of 10, Wales had proportionally more people than any other area in the UK rating their life satisfaction as low. Wales has the highest level of unemployment in the country, with 8.4 percent recorded between February and April 2013. Overall, however, the UK had a higher happiness index as a result of events like the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee, according to Glenn Everett, programme director for measuring national well-being at the ONS. A spokesman for the government said that the figures were “a welcome further step towards developing trusted and accepted national statistics for well-being to inform our decisions”.

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