World Draghi unveils Italy recovery plan targeting women, youth, south
Queensland passes new youth justice legislation in crime crackdown aimed at 'hardcore' young offenders
Queensland's Parliament passes contentious new youth justice legislation that is set to become law in a bid to “crack down” on recidivist young offenders, despite concerns raised by advocates. The legislation includes a trial of GPS monitoring devices, strengthened anti-hooning laws, increased police powers and reversing the presumption of bail for serious indictable offences.The new measures were introduced to combat youth crime, after the deaths of expectant parents Kate Leadbetter and Matthew Field and Townsville woman Jennifer Board earlier this year.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Monday presented his government’s 220bn-euro ($266bn) European Union-funded recovery plan to parliament, saying it would decide the fate and credibility of the country.
Most of the cash will be spent on schemes to improve Italy’s fragile infrastructure, boost environmentally sustainable development and encourage digital innovation.
Waiting for wifi: Italy's digital divide
The last time a customer tried to pay by card in Anna Rita Pani's grocery store in Colle di Tora, a small town outside Rome, things got a bit awkward. Meanwhile, we were just standing there, staring at each other," she told AFP. Her card reader works with wifi, but Colle di Tora is one of the least connected towns in Italy -- itself a digital laggard compared with the rest of the European Union. "We had to wait 15 minutes for the card reader to work... Meanwhile, we were just standing there, staring at each other," she told AFP.
“In the set of programmes that I present to you today there is above all, the country’s destiny, the extent of its role in the international community, its credibility and reputation as a founder of the EU and leading player in the Western world,” Draghi told the lower house of parliament.
Italy was the first European country to be hit by the pandemic in early 2020 and remains one of the worst affected, with the EU’s highest reported death toll and one of the deepest recessions.
More than 119,000 people with coronavirus have died in Italy, while the economy contracted by a staggering 8.9 percent last year and a million jobs have been lost.
Draghi told politicians on Monday that his plan would help “repair the economic and social damage” caused by the pandemic. But Draghi said the plan also “addresses some weaknesses that have plagued our economy and our society for decades”.
'Finally!' Italy reopens as parliament debates recovery plan
Bars, restaurants, cinemas and concert halls will partially reopen across Italy Monday in a boost for coronavirus-hit businesses, as parliament debates the government's 220-billion-euro ($266-billion) EU-funded recovery plan. After months of stop-start restrictions imposed to manage its second and third waves of Covid-19, Italy hopes this latest easing will mark the start of something like a normal summer. Three-quarters of regions will drop into the low-risk "yellow" categories from Monday, with bars and restaurants permitted to restart table service outside -- including, for the first time in six months, in the evening, although a 10:00 pm curfew remains in
There will be money to help women and young people, who have disproportionately lost out during the pandemic, while about 40 percent will be targeted at historically under-performing southern Italy.
But before Draghi spoke, opposition legislators complained that they were given less than 24 hours to study the government’s plan, which is more than 300 pages long.
Francesco Lollobrigida of the far-right Brothers of Italy party said asking legislators to debate it without knowing its contents reduced the principle of parliamentary scrutiny to a “joke”.
Draghi aims to present the 336-page document to the European Commission by an April 30 target date and intervened directly in talks with Brussels on Saturday to overcome some of the commission’s concerns about the plan.
The EU cash will be disbursed to the 27 member states in instalments through 2026, conditional on benchmarks being met and reforms adopted.
Italy, the main recipient, is entitled to some 205bn euros ($248bn) of cheap loans and grants. This will be topped up by 30.6bn euros ($37bn) of its own borrowing.
Italy has promised many of these reforms in the past but with little tangible success. Adding to the complications this time around is the fact that new elections are due by 2023 at the latest, giving Draghi a very tight window of opportunity.
The country has also been notoriously inefficient in using EU funds, but Draghi said it would not squander this historic opportunity.
“I am certain that we will manage to put this plan into practice,” he said to loud applause. “I am certain that honesty, intelligence and an appetite for the future will prevail over corruption, stupidity and vested interests.”
Federal government to create new natural disaster agency after bushfire royal commission recommendation .
More than half a billion dollars will be given to a new agency that will oversee national responses to major natural disasters and will help disaster-proof communities.The federal government will create the National Recovery and Resilience Agency (NRRA) to both provide relief to communities and advise it on how to mitigate the impacts of future weather events — following through on one of the recommendations of the bushfire royal commission.