New premier’s government wins key vote of confidence

Italian Premier Matteo Renzi won a crucial confidence vote in Parliament on his brand-new government early Tuesday, managing at least for now to tamp down anger from among his own Democrats over his brash, quick rise to power.

The vote in the Senate came hours after he argued that he could get his country back to work while the last three premiers failed.

Renzi, at 39 Italy’s youngest premier, was sworn into office on Saturday along with an unusually young Cabinet, with many of the ministers newcomers to national government.

The Senate voted 169-139 to confirm Renzi’s broad coalition, which ranges from his center-left Democrats to center-right forces formerly loyal to ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi.



Panel will examine operation that killed 70 in slums in 2010

Jamaica appointed a fact-finding panel Monday to examine a May 2010 operation by security forces that killed more than 70 citizens in gritty slums during a state of emergency.

The government said the long-sought commission of inquiry will conduct a “fair and impartial” look at the operation in Tivoli Gardens and a patchwork of other so-called “garrison” ghettos in West Kingston to catch the island’s biggest gang boss and exert legal authority.

Nearly four years after the offensive by Jamaican military and police, basic details of what happened remain murky even though it was the bloodiest episode in Jamaica’s recent history.



President signs anti-gay bill that includes harsh penalties

Uganda’s president on Monday signed an anti-gay bill that punishes gay sex with up to life in prison, a measure likely to send Uganda’s beleaguered gay community further underground as the police try to implement it amid fevered anti-gay sentiment across the country.

President Yoweri Museveni said the bill, which goes into effect immediately, was needed because the West is promoting homosexuality in Africa.

Museveni may have defied Western pressure to shelve the bill, four years and many versions after it was introduced, but his move – likely to galvanize support ahead of presidential elections – pleased many Ugandans who repeatedly urged him to sign the bill.

Nigeria’s president signed an anti-gay bill into law just over a month ago, sparking increased violence against gays who already were persecuted in mob attacks.



Lebanon’s news agency accuses Israel of air raids

Lebanon’s state news agency says Israeli aircraft have carried out two airstrikes in eastern Lebanon near the Syrian border.

The National News Agency said the air raids took place late Monday near the village of Nabi Sheet in the Bekaa Valley.

A Lebanese army spokesman said he had no indication of any airstrikes in the area, but was investigating the reports.


MERS virus infecting camels is nothing new, scientists say

Scientists say the mysterious MERS virus has been infecting camels in Saudi Arabia for at least two decades, and early human cases probably went undiagnosed.

Since the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus was first identified in 2012, doctors have struggled to explain how many patients have fallen sick. MERS can cause symptoms including fever, breathing problems and kidney failure. To date, it has infected more than 180 people and killed 79, mostly in the Middle East.

—From news service reports

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