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ISRAEL

Controversy as Israeli’s Italy concert cancelled

The organizers of an upcoming concert in Milan by the Israeli singer and peace activist Noa say they have cancelled the event due to "economic reasons". But the singer's Italian manager insists she is being ostracized for her views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Controversy as Israeli's Italy concert cancelled
Israeli singer Achinoam Nini – known internationally by her stage name, “Noa” – had been due to perform on October 27th at the Manzoni theatre in Milan. Photo: Hector Guerrero/AFP

Israeli singer Achinoam Nini – known internationally by her stage name, “Noa” – had been due to perform on October 27th at the Manzoni theatre in Milan. 

According to the organizers of the concert, the Italian branch of the Jewish women's organization Adei-Wizo-Donne Ebree d’Italia, the event had to be cancelled due to a lack of sponsorship.

But this version of events is contested by the singer’s Italian manager, Pompeo Benincasa, who said the cancellation was a deliberate attempt by the organizers to boycott the singer over her political views.

“The planned evening for October 27th in Milan was cancelled” due to “statements released by Noa to the press about the very difficult time of war in the Middle East,” the manager wrote in a letter, according to La Repubblica.

He added that the cancellation represented “the beginning of ostracism in Italy and follows on from what Noa has suffered for several years in Israel.”

In the past few months, the singer has made no secret of her political views. 

The 45-year-old singer recently sparked controversy after she said in an Italian-language video interview: “I met [Palestinian President] Abu Mazen in Ramallah. I think that the Palestinian leader really wants peace with Israel, but unfortunately I can’t say the same for my prime minister.”

In February, the singer turned down an award from the Israeli recording arts association ACUM over its decision to hand a lifetime achievement award to far-right supporter Ariel Zilber. 

Reacting to the accusations, Ester Silvana, president of the Italian branch of the Adei-Wizo-Donne ebree d’Italia association, said: “It’s just a misunderstanding. Politics has nothing to do with it. Unfortunately Mr Benincasa must have misunderstood a few sentences of an email that was sent by one of our subdivisions. The concert was cancelled only for economic reasons.

“We are a non-profit organization; our funds support nurseries and other activities. The event was organized three months ago, but just a few days ago we found out that no sponsors had been found to cover the costs.”

She added that she did not know if Noa’s statements had anything to do with the sponsor’s decision to withdraw their financial support.

According to La Repubblica, the organization has since announced that it will organize a new concert with Noa in Trieste.    

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MILAN

Romanian billionaire and seven others die in Milan plane crash

A light aircraft piloted by Romanian billionaire Dan Petrescu crashed into an empty office building near Milan on Sunday, killing him, his wife and son, and all five others aboard.

Police and rescue teams outside the office building where a small plane crashed in the Milan suburb of San Donato.
Police and rescue teams outside the office building where a small plane crashed in the Milan suburb of San Donato on October 3rd. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

The single-engine Pilatus PC-12 had taken off from Milan’s Linate airport shortly after 1pm headed for Olbia in the north of the Italian island of Sardinia.

It crashed just a few minutes later into a building in San Donato Milanese, a town southeast of Milan, according to aviation agency ANSV, which has opened an investigation.

Witnesses said the plane was already in flames before it crashed into an office building undergoing renovations.

Petrescu’s 65-year-old wife, who also had French nationality, and their son Dan Stefano, 30, were killed.

Italian media identified the other passengers as entrepreneur Filippo Nascimbene, a 33-year-old from Lombardy, with his wife, young son and mother-in-law, who have French nationality.

Petrescu, 68, was one of Romania’s richest men. He headed a major construction firm and owned a string of hypermarkets and malls. He also held Germany nationality, the Corriere della Sera newspaper reported.

Flames engulfed the two-storey building, next to the yellow line subway terminus.

“The impact was devastating,” Carlo Cardinali, of the Milan fire brigade, told news agency Ansa.

Deputy prosecutor Tiziana Siciliano was quoted by Corriere as saying that the plane’s black box had been recovered.

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