As mourners gather today at a funeral for at least 200 of the 292 victims of the Aug. 24 quake in central Italy, the initial search for survivors has been replaced by the grim final task of recovering bodies and identifying the dead. As has happened in the wake of natural disasters in the past, local newspapers have begun turning their attention to how public money has been mismanaged in ways that may have added to the scale of death and destruction. A top prosecutor even spoke about organized crime bidding for reconstruction projects.
Corruption has long plagued Italy, adding an extra layer of vulnerability to a country home to several earthquake fault lines. The graft stands in marked contrast to public servants who tirelessly dig through the rubble with their bare hands in the search for survivors.
In the south, we have gotten used to witnessing a different kind of dramatic scene as another geographic vulnerability is exposed: Italy's 7,600 kilometers of coastline. The ongoing waves of desperate would-be immigrants trying to reach Italian shores has peaked in recent days. Reuters reports that the country's coast guard rescued as many as 6,500 migrants in the southern Mediterranean on Monday alone.
In the land they call the bel paese (beautiful country), locals know a natural disaster can strike at any time. A man-made one too. The good people, at least, will always be there to help.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY
- Typhoon Lionrock to hit Japan's northern Tohoku region, the area struck by the devastating March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
- Gabon's electoral commission to announce new president between incumbent Ali Bongo and rival Jean Ping.
RUSSIANS HACKED U.S. VOTER DATABASES
Two recent attempts to breach voter registration databases in the American states of Arizona and Illinois were attributed to Russian spy agencies, "fueling concerns the Russian government may be trying to interfere in the U.S. presidential election," NBC News reports.
— ON THIS DAY
Happy birthday, Melbourne! Good luck blowing those 181 candles â€¦ That, and more, in your 57-second shot of History.
APPLE FACES MEGA EU TAX BILL
The European Union's antitrust regulator is set to announce a major tax ruling against Apple's tax dealings with the Irish government, the Financial Times reports. The company is said to have used complicated tax structures in Ireland, but also in Luxembourg, to reduce the amount of corporate tax they pay in other countries. Apple's chief executive, Tim Cook, said they would "obviously appeal" the decision if his company does not "get a fair hearing in Europe." Apple may owe from $1 billion to $8 billion.
SUICIDE BOMBER ATTACKS CHINESE EMBASSY IN KYRGYZSTAN
A minivan driven by a suicide bomber exploded near the Chinese embassy in Kyrgyzstan, killing the driver and injuring two security guards and three local embassy employees. China's foreign ministry condemned the attack, calling it an "extreme and violent attack," according to China Daily.
FRANCE ECONOMY MINISTER TO RESIGN
French Minister of Economy Emmanuel Macron will hand in his resignation to President François Hollande later today, the French radio station France Info reports. A rising star, Macron, 38, may enter the fray for next year's presidential elections.
KIM DOTCOM TO LIVE STREAM HEARING
A New Zealand judge granted Kim Dotcom the right to live stream his appeal against extradition to the U.S. The 42-year-old founder of file-sharing website Megaupload stands accused of piracy and widespread copyright infringement. His appeal in Auckland high court is expected to last six to eight weeks. Watch Dotcom explain his decision to broadcast the appeal here.
— MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD
Rhinoceros And Champagne — On the Zambezi, Oct. 1997
FAREWELL WILLY WONKA
Gene Wilder, the American actor most famous for his lead role in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) and who starred in other cult movies such as Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein died yesterday at his home in Connecticut from complications from Alzheimer's disease. He was 83.
50 MILLION EUROS
American businessman Frank McCourt, the former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, has bought French soccer club Olympique de Marseille for an estimated 50 million euros, according to French financial daily Les Echos.
WEINER SEXTING SCANDAL, PART 3
American politician and former Congressman Anthony Weiner and longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin announced that they are separating, after the New York Post reported that Weiner had sent suggestive pictures to yet another woman, including one photograph where his 4-year-old son can be seen, The New York Times reports.
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NEARER, MY GOD, TO THEE
What's that perfect geek gift for the Pope? Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg gave Pope Francis a model of the "Aquila" drone that his company is developing to spread Internet accessibility throughout the world, as he and his wife Priscilla met the pontiff at the Vatican yesterday.