Crowd heckles Italy’s far-right leader Salvini

Crowd heckles Italy’s far-right leader Salvini
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Matteo Salvini visits Mondragone, the scene of tensions between some residents and foreign workers, some of whom have been infected by COVID-19, north of Naples, June 29, 2020. (AFP)
Crowd heckles Italy’s far-right leader Salvini
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Matteo Salvini takes a selfie during a visit to a village near Naples, after more than 40 people tested positive for COVID-19 in a residential complex, Mondragone, Italy, June 29, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 29 June 2020

Crowd heckles Italy’s far-right leader Salvini

Crowd heckles Italy’s far-right leader Salvini
  • Salvini, as he tried to continue his speech from behind a police line, was forced to dodge eggs and water thrown from the crowd
  • Around 700 foreign workers, most of them Bulgarian farm laborers, are squatting a group of five buildings in Mondragone

MONDRAGONE, Italy: An angry crowd greeted Italy’s far-right leader Matteo Salvini during a visit to a town in the Naples region Monday, with some heckling and pelting him with eggs and water.
The confrontation took place when Salvini visited a neighborhood of Mondragone, the scene of tensions last week between some residents and foreign workers, some of whom have been infected by the coronavirus.
When Salvini arrived an hour later than scheduled there was a hostile crowd waiting for him, many of them shouting insults.
Salvini, wearing a face mask in the colors of the Italian flag, quickly lowered it to begin his speech, but could scarcely be heard over the heckling.
“Salvini is worse than the Covid,” some shouted, with others calling him a “jackal” or a “clown” and telling him to leave.
Salvini, as he tried to continue his speech from behind a police line, was forced to dodge eggs and water thrown from the crowd.
In brief comments to television crews at the scene, he denounced what he said were agitators who had come in from outside,
“We have to guarantee the rights of Italians, and expel foreigners without papers,” he told AFPTV.
“We need to invest more in the Naples region, in resources and in the forces of order,” he added.
He left the scene after half an hour, but promised to return at a later date.
Last Friday, riot police had to be sent to the town to restore order.
Around 700 foreign workers, most of them Bulgarian farm laborers, are squatting a group of five buildings there.
They have been under lockdown for a week after 43 people among them tested positive for the coronavirus, while medical staff carry out tests throughout the neighborhood.
But last Thursday, several dozen people broke the quarantine to stage a protest march in the town, leading to scuffles with local people who threw stones at them.
Television footage also showed several vehicles belonging to Bulgarians damaged, their windscreens smashed and the Bulgarian registered plates taken as trophies.
Salvini, the leader of the far-right League party, served as interior minister and deputy prime minister in the last coalition government, pursuing hard-line policies that were hostile to immigrants.
With the collapse of that administration last year and the coronavirus crisis this year his profile — and his standing in the opinion polls — has fallen.


Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit reaches space on 2nd try

Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit reaches space on 2nd try
A view of Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit, with a rocket underneath the wing of a modified Boeing 747 jetliner, during test launch of its high-altitude launch system for satellites from Mojave, California, U.S. January 17, 2021. (REUTERS)
Updated 18 January 2021

Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit reaches space on 2nd try

Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit reaches space on 2nd try
  • The rocket’s upper stage coasted for a period, reignited to circularize the orbit and then deployed the nine CubeSats

LOS ANGELES: Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit reached space on Sunday, eight months after the first demonstration flight of its air-launched rocket system failed, the company said.
A 70-foot-long (21.34-meter-long) LauncherOne rocket was released from beneath the wing of a Boeing 747 carrier aircraft off the coast of Southern California, ignited moments later and soared toward space.
The two-stage rocket carried a cluster of very small satellites known as CubeSats developed and built as part of a NASA educational program involving US universities.
The launch occurred after the Boeing 747-400 took off from Mojave Air and Space Port in the desert north of Los Angeles and flew out over the Pacific Ocean to a drop point beyond the Channel Islands.
“According to telemetry, LauncherOne has reached orbit!” Virgin Orbit tweeted later. “Everyone on the team who is not in mission control right now is going absolutely bonkers.”
The rocket’s upper stage coasted for a period, reignited to circularize the orbit and then deployed the nine CubeSats.
The flight developments were announced on social media. The launch was not publicly livestreamed.
Virgin Orbit, based in Long Beach, California, is part of a wave of companies targeting the launch market for increasingly capable small satellites, which may range in sizes comparable to a toaster on up to a home refrigerator.
Competitor Rocket Lab, also headquartered in Long Beach, has deployed 96 payloads in 17 launches of its Electron rocket from a site in New Zealand. Another of its rockets was nearing launch Sunday.
Virgin Orbit touts the flexibility of its capability to begin its missions by using airports around the globe.
Virgin Orbit attempted its first demonstration launch in May 2020.
The rocket was released and ignited but only briefly flew under power before it stopped thrusting. The lost payload was only a test satellite.
The company later said an investigation determined there was a breach in a high-pressure line carrying cryogenic liquid oxygen to the first-stage combustion chamber.
Virgin Orbit is separate from Virgin Galactic, the company founded by Branson to carry passengers on suborbital hops in which they will experience the sensations and sights of spaceflight.
Virgin Galactic expects to begin commercial operations this year in southern New Mexico.