Today in Italy: A roundup of the latest news on Monday

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Today in Italy: A roundup of the latest news on Monday
The construction site where five workers were killed on Friday after a part of the structure collapsed in Florence. Photo: Vigili del Fuoco / AFP

Police bust elderly bank robbers, Italy urged to protect construction workers, drought alarm after warm winter, and more news from around Italy on Monday.


Police bust armed robbers in their 60s and 70s

Italian police have arrested a gang of six alleged robbers in their 60s and 70s reportedly notorious for carrying out violent armed robberies at post offices in Rome.

The gang’s leaders were 70-year-old Italo De Witt, nicknamed “the German”, known in the city's criminal underworld for holding up a bank near the Spanish Steps in the 1990s, and a 75-year-old who acted as lookout, according to newspaper La Repubblica.

The gang was alleged to have stolen almost €200,000 from a post office in the capital's San Giovanni district in May 2023. The six were later arrested on armed robbery charges after a failed burglary attempt at a post office in the Don Bosco area.

According to La Repubblica, one planned heist was called off as a 66-year-old gang member was having incontinence issues and needed an operation on his prostate.

Italy urged to protect construction workers after fatal accident

There was a renewed focus on Italy's high number of workplace accidents following the collapse of a building site in Florence on Friday which killed five.

Unions called on the government to extend legal protections for public sector construction workers to those in the private sector, news agency Ansa reported.

Visiting the site of the collapse, Labour Minister Marina Elvira Calderone said: "there must be a commitment to make sure that the rules are increasingly efficient, that there are checks."


Workplace accidents regularly feature in the news in Italy, where almost 800 deaths at work were recorded in 2023.

According to European Union statistics, the rate of deaths at work in Italy was slightly above the EU-wide average. Across the EU, 22.5 percent of all fatal workplace accidents took place within the construction sector.

Italy's 'winterless' winter continues

Weather in Italy continues to be well above seasonal norms, said Mattia Gussoni, meteorologist at Italian weather website iLMeteo.

Temperatures are hovering at record levels of between eight and 10 degrees centigrade warmer than the average for this period, leading to "alarming data"on drought, particularly in Sicily, Sardinia and Calabria.

"The winter season so far has not had any cold phases... if we exclude early December's below-average temperatures," Gussoni told Italian news agency Ansa.

"Considering the 'meteorological' winter, this season will therefore end in 12 days," he said.


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paul 2024/02/19 09:07
800 as average across EU begins to sound like an excuse to do little. Compare this to the UK construction sector (slightly larger than Italy) where we complained of health and safety gone mad (maybe because we literally applied all EU rules unlike many member states?) and recorded just 45 fatal injuries in 2022/23 - It is possible to make a difference - 755 families not missing fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons. Not broken by grief.

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