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Rome Mayor Quits Amid Pressure

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Il Messaggero, Oct. 9, 2015

The resignation of Ignazio Marino, Rome's embattled mayor, dominated headlines in Italy on Friday after months of rising political tensions in the capital and within the center-left Democratic party of both the mayor and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

"Marino, A Surrender Amid Venom," was the front-page headline in the Rome daily Il Messaggero.

Criticism of Marino, who took office in June 2013, centered around his inability to manage the city in the face of a spiraling corruption probe that has accused city officials of having links to organized crime. Though Marino himself hasn't been implicated, his perceived lack of leadership in the face of the crisis was becoming a major embarrassment to Renzi, who had been an ally of the mayor.

The clamor for his resignation finally grew too loud for him to continue, especially after revelations that Marino had claimed personal expenses as city business. There was also an embarrassing PR run-in with Pope Francis after the mayor boasted about his participation at the recent Catholic family gathering in Philadelphia.

Marino announced his resignation Thursday night in a video message, defending his record and declaring that he had the right to revoke the decision within 20 days depending on how "political conditions" evolve.

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

Palestinian Olive Trees Are Also Under Israeli Occupation — And That's Not A Joke

In the West Bank, a quieter form of oppression has been plaguing Palestinians for a long time. Their olive groves are surrounded by soldiers, and it's forbidden to harvest the olives – this economic and social violence has gotten far worse since Oct. 7.

A Palestinian woman holds olives in her hands

In a file photo, Um Ahmed, 74, collects olives in the village of Sarra on the southwest of the West Bank city of Nablus.

Mohammed Turabi/ZUMA
Francesca Mannocchi

HEBRON – It was after Friday prayers on October 13th of last year, and Zakaria al-Arda was walking along the road that crosses his property's hillside to return home – but he never made it.

A settler from Havat Ma'on — an outpost bordering Al-Tuwani that the United Nations International Law and Israeli law considers illegal — descended from the hill with his rifle in hand.

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After kicking al-Arda, who tried to defend himself, the settler shot him in the abdomen. The bullet pierced through his stomach, a few centimeters below the lungs. Since then, al-Arda has been in the hospital in intensive care. A video of those moments clearly shows that neither al-Arda nor the other worshippers leaving the mosque were carrying any weapons.

The victim's cousin, Hafez Hureini, still lives in the town of Al-Tuwani. He is a farmer, and their house on the slope of the town is surrounded by olive trees — and Israeli soldiers. On the pine tree at the edge of his property, settlers have planted an Israeli flag. Today, Hafez lives, like everyone else, as an occupied individual.

He cannot work in his greenhouse, cannot sow his fields, and cannot harvest the olives from his precious olive trees.

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