Italy summons Egypt ambassador over Regeni killing

Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi (L) and his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry speak during a joint press conference at El-Tahrir Palace in the capital Cairo on August 5, 2018. (File photo / AFP)
Updated 01 December 2018
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Italy summons Egypt ambassador over Regeni killing

CAIRO: Italy’s foreign ministry formally summoned on Friday the Egyptian ambassador to Rome to prompt Egyptian authorities to “act rapidly” in investigating the torture and killing of an Italian researcher nearly three years ago.
The decision by Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi comes after a recent meeting between Egyptian and Italian prosecutors. His office said in a statement that that caused “worry” to ripple through Rome over the prolonged investigation.
Giulio Regeni, a 28-year-old Cambridge University graduate student who was researching trade unions in Egypt, disappeared in Cairo on January 25, 2016 — the fifth anniversary of Egypt’s popular uprising when thousands of police deployed across Cairo to pre-empt any attempt to mark the occasion.
His body was found several days later by the side of a highway near Cairo with torture marks that activists and rights groups say resembled the results of widespread torture practices in Egyptian detention facilities.
In the statement, Moavero relayed Italy’s concerns and the need to see “concrete” developments in the protracted investigation. Meanwhile, Egypt’s ambassador to Rome offered assurances of his country’s willingness to continue cooperation between Egyptian and Italian prosecutors, it also said. However, nobody has been arrested or charged over the killing.
Egyptian and Italian prosecutors met earlier this week to discuss the state of the investigation, but judicial sources in Rome said the Cairo team failed to deliver a promised breakthrough.
That statement said that the two sides had agreed that “investigations are going well” and that they would “do everything in their power to find the perpetrators.”
Later, Moavero was quoted by Italian news agency ANSA as saying that the government will be discussing whether it would bar Italian companies from attending next week’s arms expo in Cairo, upon the return of Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte from the G20 summit in Argentina.
Italy has been pressing Cairo for years to identify and prosecute those responsible for the torture and killing of Regeni. Its latest move comes a day after its Chamber of Deputies announced the suspension of relations with the Egyptian parliament.
Egypt’s parliament said it regrets the decision of Italy’s lower house to break parliamentary ties over the lack of progress in the investigations.
In a Friday statement, Parliament said it was “surprised” by the Italian chamber’s “unilateral” decision and called for the non-politicization of legal issues.
Italy has been pressing Cairo for years to identify and prosecute those responsible for the 2016 killing of Giulio Regeni. Researching labor unions in Egypt at the time, Regeni’s body was found bearing marks of torture.
Italian media says prosecutors in Rome are set to launch an investigation into seven Egyptian secret service members they suspect were involved in Regeni’s abduction and murder. Egypt has long denied its authorities were involved.
Egypt has recently acknowledged that Regeni was being watched by police while in Cairo because of the nature of his research.


20 million children miss out on life-saving vaccines, says UN

World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (C - R) listens to UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock during a meeting hold by the United Nations on the Ebola disease in Democratic Republic of Congo, on July 15, 2019, in Geneva. (AFP)
Updated 12 min 29 sec ago
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20 million children miss out on life-saving vaccines, says UN

  • If these children fall ill, the report said, they are at risk of the most severe health consequences, and are least able to get the treatment and care they need

LONDON: More than one in 10 children — or 20 million worldwide — missed out last year on vaccines against life-threatening diseases such as measles, diphtheria and tetanus, the World Health Organization and the UNICEF children’s fund said on Monday.
In a report on global immunization coverage, the UN agencies found that vaccination levels are stagnating, notably in poor countries or areas of conflict.
“Vaccines are one of our most important tools for preventing outbreaks and keeping the world safe,” the WHO’s Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
“It’s often those who are most at risk — the poorest, the most marginalized, those touched by conflict or forced from their homes — who are persistently missed,” he said. “Far too many are left behind.”
The WHO/UNICEF report found that since 2010, vaccination coverage with three doses of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine and one dose of measles vaccine has stalled at around 86 percent.
The report said this was too low, since 95 percent coverage is generally needed to provide “herd immunity” to those who are not vaccinated.
“Measles is a real-time indicator of where we have more work to do to fight preventable diseases,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF’s executive director. “An outbreak points to communities that are missing out on vaccines ... (and) we have to exhaust every effort to immunize every child.”
Almost half the world’s unvaccinated children are in just 16 countries: Afghanistan, CAR, Chad, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Iraq, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
If these children fall ill, the report said, they are at risk of the most severe health consequences, and are least able to get the treatment and care they need.