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News Digest: Italian riot police move in to stop attacks on refugees


Italian riot police protect the entrance of a refugee centre in the outskirts of Rome (AP)

Italian riot police protect the entrance of a refugee centre in the outskirts of Rome (AP)

Italian riot police protect the entrance of a refugee centre in the outskirts of Rome (AP)

Riot police have stepped in to prevent residents in the outskirts of Rome attacking refugees living at a holding centre, in the latest incident of anti-immigrant tensions rocking Italy.

The working-class neighbourhood of Tor Sapienza has seen several days and nights of violence against refugees by residents who blame foreigners for crime.

The residents say they are not racist, but are fed up with what they say are years of neglect by government authorities who have allowed migrants and asylum seekers to settle in Rome's peripheries without providing adequate services.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has condemned the violence, saying refugees and unaccompanied minors fleeing war and conflict deserve protection, respect and help integrating, not "unacceptable" acts of violence and intolerance.

Officials at the "Smile" centre said unaccompanied minors living there - most aged 16 and 17 from Egypt and Bangladesh - are being moved to another centre in Rome for their own security.

"We are scared. We are trying to find a compromise with the residents," said Francesca Amato, an official who works at the centre.

Italian commentators say at least some of the perpetrators are believed to be members of far-right groups - there have been chants of "Il Duce" in a reference to Italy's fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.

The clashes come as Italy copes with record numbers of migrants arriving on its shores.

Pilot flew jet from Spain to UK while he was drunk

A pilot has admitted flying a passenger jet from Spain while three times over the alcohol limit.

Ian Jennings (47), from Hampshire, was arrested at Norwich Airport last month after landing a commercial chartered plane with about 10 people on board.

Yesterday at Norwich Magistrates Court he admitted flying while the alcohol in his breath was over the prescribed limit.

The offence carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison.

Tiger on the loose near Disneyland Paris resort

A young tiger was yesterday on the loose near Disneyland Paris.

Residents in three nearby towns have been urged to stay indoors.

The town of Montevrain sent out a news alert on its Facebook page saying a young tiger was spotted behind some tennis courts and a football pitch. The pitch is about five-and-a-half miles from Disneyland Paris.

Around 60 police, fire and other security forces were trying to track the tiger, which is estimated to weigh around 70 kilograms.

Belfast Telegraph