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NOBEL

Nobel summit moved to Rome after visa row

A summit of Nobel peace laureates scheduled to be held in Cape Town has been moved to Rome after the South African government failed to issue a visa to the Dalai Lama, organizers said on Sunday.

Nobel summit moved to Rome after visa row
Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Photo: Lobsang Wangyal/AFP

The gathering will now take place in the Italian city from December 12th-14th, the summit's secretariat said in a statement.

The event was "suspended" in September "after the South African government failed to issue a visa for His Holiness the Dalai Lama who had hoped to attend the world peace summit in Cape Town," it said.

The South African government however has denied refusing entry to Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, saying instead that he withdrew his application.

It marks the third time the government has dragged its feet on a visa for the bespectacled monk as the country builds closer economic ties with China.

The event would have been the first-ever summit of Nobel peace laureates in Africa.

Rome is where the summit was originally conceived and the city hosted the first eight of the laureates' get-togethers.

Previous summits have been held in Paris, Berlin, Hiroshima, Chicago and Warsaw.

Next month's summit will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the end of apartheid in South Africa and the legacy of the late Nelson Mandela – also a Nobel peace prize winner.

South Africa's retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu will lead the official opening ceremony of the Rome summit. Commenting on the visa row last month, Tutu said he was "ashamed to call this lickspittle bunch my government".

The Dalai Lama, branded a terrorist by Beijing, fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule and has lived in exile ever since.

China accuses the Dalai Lama of seeking to split Tibet from the rest of China and of fomenting unrest in the region.

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ROME

Body of missing American tourist found in Rome’s River Tiber

The body of a missing 21-year-old tourist was found in the River Tiber on Thursday morning, according to media reports.

Body of missing American tourist found in Rome's River Tiber

Elijah Oliphant, from Dallas, Texas, was on holiday with his family in Rome when he went missing several days ago.

Oliphant’s parents reported his disappearance after he left his hotel room shortly after midnight on May 24th and did not return.

Hotel security footage showed him leaving the premises wearing a white undershirt and pyjama bottoms, which he was wearing when he was found.

Oliphant’s corpse was reportedly spotted by passersby near the Ponte Sisto bridge in Rome’s Trastevere district around 10am on Thursday morning. His body was positively identified by his parents.

Members of the fire brigade and river police who recovered the body say there were no obvious signs of violence, but an autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death. Trastevere police are reportedly investigating the matter.

The Oliphant family had arrived in Rome for a holiday on May 23rd. When Elijah went missing the following day, his parents launched an urgent appeal to help find their son.

His disappearance was featured on the missing persons television show, Chi l’ha visto (‘Who’s seen them?’) on May 25th.

Several foreigners have been found drowned in the Tiber in recent years, though there are no indication that any of the incidents are linked.

In 2016, the body of 19-year-old American student Beau Solomon was recovered from the river.

Rough sleeper Massimo Galioto was charged involuntary manslaughter in the case, but was ultimately acquitted in 2020.

Prosecutors said that Galioto pushed Solomon in the course of a violent argument. Galioto’s defense team acknowledged that the two had argued but said the student had accidentally slipped.

In May 2019, 37-year-old Imen Chatbouri, a former athletics champion from Tunisia, was found dead in the Tiber after a night out. CCTV footage later showed she had been pushed from the Ponte Sisto bridge.

A then-26-year-old man whose advances she had rejected earlier that evening was convicted of her murder in November 2021.

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