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Italy Launches Probe After Bus With Foreign Tourists In Venice Plunges From Overpass, Killing 21

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VENICE, Italy — Wednesday, Venetians paid their respects to the 21 foreign tourists murdered when an all-electric shuttle bus crashed through an overpass guardrail and fence and plunged more than 10 meters to the ground.

They had traveled this road many times and believed it to be secure, but they had now stopped to inspect the aging guardrail and rusty fence.

On Tuesday night, the one-year-old bus plummeted to the ground and landed upside down. The driver, aged 40, was one of the fatalities, and 15 persons were injured.

The driver, who had a spotless record, had just begun his shift shuttling tourists from Piazzale Roma, at the border of Venice’s renowned canals, to a four-star campground on the mainland that provided affordable lodging.

A video captures the city-owned bus leaving the frame as a larger bus continues along the elevated road behind it. Prosecutors claim the shuttle bus scraped the guardrail for at least 50 meters (yards) before its fiery collision onto a surface road opposite the train station in the Venetian borough of Mestre.

The guardrail was crushed to the pavement, and the front of the bus was entirely crushed.

“Inexplicable,” said Mayor Luigi Brugnaro, who had driven over the flyover countless times. According to regional governor Luca Zaia, the circumstances indicated that the driver may have suddenly become ill.

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Investigators anticipate that footage from the scene will reveal the nature of the incident.

There were five Ukrainians and one German among the fatalities. Alberto Rizzotto was identified as the Italian chauffeur. Two victims were minors. The remaining victims have not yet been identified.

At least four Ukrainians were among the casualties, along with a 3-year-old girl who suffered severe burns and tourists from Spain, Austria, France, Croatia, and Germany. Nine patients were treated for injuries in intensive care, including burns and fractures. Among the survivors were a young sibling and sister from Austria.

“They are still in what we call the shock phase, with confused memories, and in the state of agitation and confusion typical of a traumatic event,” said Rita Lorio, a psychologist at the main hospital in Mestre, one of five hospitals treating the injured. They are not yet at that stage of understanding what occurred.

The tourists are all believed to have stayed at the Hu Venezia Camping in Town, just a 15-minute drive from the shuttle bus’s pickup point at Piazzale Roma, at the edge of Venice’s renowned canals linked to the mainland by a bridge.

The collapse has shocked the two-thirds of Venetians who reside on the mainland. Wednesday morning, many paused to pay their respects while staring at the gaping guardrail and fence. A motorcyclist stopped to attach plastic blossoms to a post.

Wednesday, family members of the deceased and survivors began filtering into Venice from across Europe. Three days of mourning were proclaimed in the Veneto region, and flags were flown at half-staff during government business.

According to experts, the electric bus contributed to the massive conflagration and complicated rescue efforts.

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The city of Venice is currently replacing its buses with electrified vehicles.

“I will never forget what I saw,” Brugnaro, the mayor of Mestre, told the Associated Press from his office in Mestre. “It’s impossible to convey what it’s like to see so many people crammed into a bus down there.

The city of Venice is currently replacing its buses with electrified vehicles. They were introduced several years ago on the city’s Lido island, and a limited number were added to the fleet in Mestre last year.

Brugnaro stated that the accident did not cause him to halt the city’s plan to upgrade municipal transport to less-polluting electric buses, even though it remains unclear what role the battery played in the subsequent fire.

He stated that the bus drove off the flyover. “It has nothing to do with the fact that it is electric.”

Wednesday, Gianni Amadeo, an 80-year-old retired musician, stopped in disbelief at a location he routinely passes between his home and storage garage.

“It took a scary flight,” he said of the bus’s descent before continuing, transporting supporters he will not need until next summer.

Godstime Erheneden was in his flat with a view of the bustling street when he heard a crash and ran outside. He was one of the earliest to board the bus.

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Italy Launches Probe After Bus With Foreign Tourists In Venice Plunges From Overpass, Killing 21

“As soon as we walked in, we saw the chauffeur. He had died. I carried a woman out on my shoulders, and then a male,” Erheneden told il Gazzettino, a local newspaper.

“As the mother screamed,’ My daughter, my daughter,’ I returned inside. I observed a child who appeared to be two years old. My son, who is 1 year and 10 months old, is the same size as my daughter. I felt as though I were holding my firstborn. It was dreadful. I have no idea if she survived. “I believed she was still alive, but as soon as the rescuers arrived, they whisked her away,” Erheneden said.

Brugnaro stated that he had read Erhenden and his roommate’s actions. Both were identified as longtime Italian residents employed by the shipbuilding company Fincantieri. The mayor said he intended to locate them once the emergency had passed.

They sacrificed themselves to save these individuals. They are the true champions of our time,” he declared.

SOURCE – (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Ukraine Claims It Shot Down A Russian Strategic Bomber As Moscow’s Missiles Kill 8 Ukrainians

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Kiev, Ukraine — Ukraine’s air force claimed on Friday that it shot down a Russian strategic bomber, but Moscow officials said the plane landed in a sparsely populated area due to a malfunction following a combat mission.

Neither of the claims could be independently verified. Previous Ukrainian claims of shooting down Russian jets throughout the more than two-year conflict were met with silence or denials from Moscow.

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Ukraine Claims It Shot Down A Russian Strategic Bomber As Moscow’s Missiles Kill 8 Ukrainians

Meanwhile, Russian missiles attacked cities in Ukraine’s central Dnipro area, killing eight people, including a 14-year-old girl and an eight-year-old boy, and wounded 28, according to local officials.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reiterated Kyiv authorities’ almost daily calls for more Western air defense systems, citing a similarity to how Israel countered a recent Iranian attack.

Missile and drone assaults can be prevented, he said on social media site X: “This has been demonstrated in the skies over the Middle East, and it should also work in Europe.”

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba stated, “Children must not be killed in airstrikes in modern Europe.”

Russia’s air force is far more powerful than Ukraine’s, but sophisticated missile systems supplied by Kyiv’s Western allies pose a significant threat to Russian aviation as the Kremlin’s forces slowly advance along the approximately 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) front line in what has become a grinding war of attrition. Ukrainian officials say they expect a strong Russian onslaught this summer.

Ukraine says the air force and military intelligence worked together to shoot down the Tu-22M3 bomber using anti-aircraft missiles. Russia frequently utilizes the bomber to launch Kh-22 cruise missiles at Ukrainian targets from within its own airspace. The plane can also transport nuclear warheads.

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Ukraine Claims It Shot Down A Russian Strategic Bomber As Moscow’s Missiles Kill 8 Ukrainians

The Russian military ministry reported that the warplane crashed “in a deserted area” in the southern province of Stavropol, hundreds of kilometers (miles) from the Ukrainian border.

According to the ministry, three crew members were rescued after ejecting from the aircraft, while a fourth is still missing. However, Stavropol Governor Vladimir Vladimirov reported one of the rescued pilots died.

On Christmas Eve, Ukraine reported that it had shot down two Russian fighter jets. In January, the Ukrainian air force claimed to have shot down a Russian early warning and control plane as well as a crucial command center aircraft that feeds intelligence to ground troops, appearing to deal a serious blow to the Kremlin’s forces. The following month, Ukraine claimed it had shot down another early warning and control plane.

In January, Moscow accused Kyiv of shooting down a Russian military transport plane carrying Ukrainian POWs bound for a prisoner swap.

Russian forces launched a joint aerial attack overnight, using 22 different types of missiles and 14 Shahed drones, according to the Ukrainian air force. It stated that all of the drones and 15 missiles had been intercepted.

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Ukraine Claims It Shot Down A Russian Strategic Bomber As Moscow’s Missiles Kill 8 Ukrainians

Ukraine’s National Railway Operator reported that the attack targeted both metropolitan areas and train infrastructure in the Dnipro region. Employee Oksana Storozhenko, mother of two teenage sons, was among those slain in the strikes, according to reports.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Ukraine, Israel Aid Back On Track As House Pushes Toward Weekend Votes

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WASHINGTON – With rare bipartisan support, the House advanced Friday on a $95 billion foreign aid plan for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and humanitarian aid, as a coalition of members helped it cross a procedural hurdle and reach final votes this weekend. Friday’s vote delivered an unusual outcome in the generally hyper-partisan House, with Democrats voting 316-94 in support of Republican Speaker Mike Johnson’s plan. The final House approval might come this weekend, when the package is delivered to the Senate.

It was a success for Speaker Mike Johnson’s strategy, which he put into action last week after agonizing over the legislation for two months. Nonetheless, Johnson has spent the past 24 hours making the rounds on conservative media, attempting to salvage support for wartime funding, particularly for Ukraine as it faces a critical moment in its battle with Russia, but also for his own job, as the restive right flank threatens to oust him over the effort.

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Ukraine, Israel Aid Back On Track As House Pushes Toward Weekend Votes

“There’s a lot of misinformation about what we’re doing here and why,” Johnson said to The Mark Levin Show’s conservative host.

“Ukrainians urgently require lethal aid right now. “We cannot allow Vladimir Putin to roll through another country and take it,” he stated of the Russian president’s invasion of Ukraine. “These are very serious matters with global implications.”

After months of delay, the House moved slowly but methodically this week after Johnson decided to move forward. President Joe Biden quickly endorsed the speaker’s plan, and Donald Trump, the Republican assumed presidential nominee who opposes most foreign aid to Ukraine, has not slowed the speaker’s progress.

“The world is watching what Congress does,” the White House stated. “Passing this legislation would send a powerful message about the strength of American leadership at a pivotal moment.”

In an extremely rare move, members of the House Rules Committee banded together late Thursday in a near-midnight vote, with four Democrats supporting a procedural step, to push the package past the Republican majority’s three hardline holdouts and send it to the House floor for debate, 9-3. It was a moment unlike any other in recent House history.

Johnson will need to rely on Democrats again on Friday to pass the next procedural vote and block Republican amendments that might kill the plan. One proposed by extreme Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene would cut Ukraine’s funding to zero.

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Ukraine, Israel Aid Back On Track As House Pushes Toward Weekend Votes

Greene has filed a “motion to vacate” the speaker from office, which has at least one Republican co-sponsor, Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky. It may initiate a bid to oust Johnson from the speaker’s office if she calls it up for a vote, similar to how Republicans removed Kevin McCarthy from the job last November.

With one of the most slender House majorities in modern history, Johnson can only afford to lose one or two Republican votes to pass any legislation. That dynamic has pushed him into the arms of Democrats as he seeks votes to enact the legislation.

Johnson cannot tailor the plan as the ultra-conservatives seek without risking losing Democratic support. It has prompted him to abandon severe security measures to control migrants at the US-Mexico border, among other goals.

At best, Johnson has been able to divide a Senate-passed version of the bill into different portions, as House Republicans prefer, and the final votes will be on various measures — for Ukraine, Israel, and Indo-Pacific partners.

The plan would also include a fourth clause, which incorporates several Republican demands that Democrats support or are ready to accept. Proposals include allowing the United States to seize frozen Russian central bank assets to rebuild Ukraine, imposing sanctions on Iran, Russia, China, and fentanyl trafficking criminal organizations, and potentially banning the video app TikTok if its Chinese owner does not sell its stake within a year.

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Ukraine, Israel Aid Back On Track As House Pushes Toward Weekend Votes

Passing each package, which is set to be voted on Saturday, would require Johnson to establish intricate bipartisan coalitions, with Democrats assuring Ukraine funding is authorized but some left-leaning progressives refusing to support military aid for Israel due to the destruction of Gaza.

The components would then be automatically stitched back together into a single package and delivered to the Senate, where hardliners are plotting procedural measures to postpone final passage.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Argentina Asks To Join NATO As President Milei Seeks A More Prominent Role For His Nation

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Argentina formally sought on Thursday to join NATO as a worldwide partner, paving the stage for further political and security cooperation at a time when President Javier Milei’s right-wing government seeks to strengthen ties with Western powers and attract investment.

The request came as NATO Deputy General Secretary Mircea Geoana met with visiting Argentine Defense Minister Luis Petri in Brussels to discuss regional security problems.

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Argentina Asks To Join NATO As President Milei Seeks A More Prominent Role For His Nation

Geoana said he supported Argentina’s bid to become an accredited partner in the alliance, which is a valuable role short of “ally” for nations outside NATO’s geographical territory and not compelled to participate in joint military actions. NATO membership is currently confined to European countries, Turkey, Canada, and the United States.

The classification may provide Argentina with access to modern technology, security systems, and training that it did not previously have, according to the Argentine presidency.

“Argentina plays an important role in Latin America,” Geoana stated at NATO headquarters. “Closer political and practical cooperation could benefit us both.”

Milei has been promoting a radical libertarian agenda aimed at undoing years of protectionist trade policies, overspending, and debilitating international debt that have thrown the country’s economy into disarray.

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Argentina Asks To Join NATO As President Milei Seeks A More Prominent Role For His Nation

Over the last four months as president, he has reshaped Argentina’s foreign policy to one of almost unconditional support for the United States, as part of an effort to restore Argentina’s global economic prominence after previous administrations allowed relations with Washington and European allies to deteriorate.

Milei’s government is likewise looking for security gains from improved ties with Western countries. On Thursday, the US government revealed that it would provide Argentina with $40 million in foreign military financing for the first time in more than two decades, allowing critical US allies such as Israel to purchase American weapons.

The money, meant to assist Argentina equip and modernize its military, will help cover the cost of 24 American F-16 fighter aircraft purchased from Denmark earlier this week. Defense Minister Petri described the acquisition of the upgraded jets as “the most important military purchase since Argentina’s return to democracy” in 1983. Milei’s political opponents have criticized the $300 million price tag, which comes as he lowers government expenditure.

Formal partnership with NATO requires the agreement of all 32 NATO countries. Argentina’s relations with crucial NATO partner Britain have been strained since 1982, when the two went to war over the disputed Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic.

The Alliance’s other global partners include Afghanistan, Australia, Iraq, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand, and Pakistan. Colombia is now NATO’s lone partner in Latin America.

Giving a country the title of “global partner” does not guarantee that NATO allies will defend it in the case of an attack. That pledge, outlined in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s founding treaty, is limited to full members of the alliance.

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Argentina Asks To Join NATO As President Milei Seeks A More Prominent Role For His Nation

NATO’s conversation with Argentina began in the early 1990s. Former President Bill Clinton labeled Argentina a “major non-NATO ally” in 1998, partly as a symbolic gesture to reward the pro-American government at the time for contributing soldiers on peacekeeping operations in Bosnia.

SOURCE – (AP)

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