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The Costa Concordia Disaster, 10 Years Later — This Happened, January 13

The images of the Italian cruise ship, which had run aground just a few hundred meters from the Tuscany coast, captured the world's attention for a chilly winter week in 2012.

photo of costa concordia capsized

A portion of the capsized cruise ship the day after

Photo - Rvongher/Wikipedia
Anne-Sophie Goninet

Thursday marks 10 years since the Costa Concordia luxury cruise ship deviated from its planned itinerary to get closer to the island Isola del Giglio, before hitting rocks on the seafloor in shallow water and starting to sink. Over the course of six excruciating hours, a rescue effort team worked to evacuate the 4,252 people on board. Sadly, in the end, 33 people died.

“It is a tragedy of unimaginable dimensions, grotesque and frightening,” writes Davide Bartoccini in il Giornale, in an article to mark the disaster’s 10-year anniversary.

A captain abandons his post

The journalist recalls that the ship was so close to the coast that the passengers and crew could have easily swam to safety, but several conditions made it impossible: aboard the Costa Concordia, a giant 56-ton ship, with 13 decks, were many children and elderly passengers, and the accident happened during the night, and during a cold winter .

In the hours that followed, attention shifted to the ship’s captain Francesco Schettino, with questions both about why the ship was so close to land, and why he had abandoned his post before the passengers were evacuated.

He was trying to impress a Moldovan dancer.

Schettino recounted that he'd steered closer to shore to give passengers a good view and to salute others mariners, though it later emerged that he was trying to impress a Moldovan dancer with whom he was having an affair.

Eventually, the captain was found guilty of manslaughter, of causing the wreck and of deserting his post, and sentenced to 16 years in jail. The Costa Concordia was later refloated and towed to Genoa to be dismantled.

Antimo Magnotta, who was working as a pianist on the ship, told the Rome daily La Repubblica that during the night of the disaster, as he was trying his “best to calm down the passengers who were panicking,” he had waited to hear the captain’s instructions. But they “never came.” Magnotta waited five years for compensation, and says he still suffers from insomnia and post-traumatic stress. The pianist released an album three years ago called Inner Landscape, dedicated to the victims of the accident.

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

After Abbas: Here Are The Three Frontrunners To Be The Next Palestinian Leader

Israel and the West have often asked: Where is the Palestinian Mandela? The divided regimes between Gaza and the West Bank continues to make it difficult to imagine the future Palestinian leader. Still, these three names are worth considering.

Photo of Mahmoud Abbas speaking into microphone

Abbas is 88, and has been the leading Palestinian political figure since 2005

Thaer Ganaim/APA Images via ZUMA
Elias Kassem

Updated Dec. 5, 2023 at 12:05 a.m.

Israel has set two goals for its Gaza war: destroying Hamas and releasing hostages.

But it has no answer to, nor is even asking the question: What comes next?

The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected the return of the current Palestinian Authority to govern post-war Gaza. That stance seems opposed to the U.S. Administration’s call to revitalize the Palestinian Authority (PA) to assume power in the coastal enclave.

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But neither Israel nor the U.S. put a detailed plan for a governing body in post-war Gaza, let alone offering a vision for a bonafide Palestinian state that would also encompass the West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority, which administers much of the occupied West Bank, was created in1994 as part of the Oslo Accords peace agreement. It’s now led by President Mahmoud Abbas, who succeeded Yasser Arafat in 2005. Over the past few years, the question of who would succeed Abbas, now 88 years old, has largely dominated internal Palestinian politics.

But that question has gained new urgency — and was fundamentally altered — with the war in Gaza.

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