Cecile Kyenge

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 Italian senator Roberto Calderoli said his comments were just ‘playful banter’. File photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

A senator from Italy’s far-right League has been given an 18-month prison sentence for likening the country’s first black minister to an “orangutan”. (...)

Cecile Kyenge, photographed in Rome in  July 2013 when she was Italy’s integration minister. Photograph: Alberto Pizzoli /AFP/Getty Images)

When Cécile Kyenge was appointed Italy’s first black government minister in 2013, she was likened to an “orang-utan” by a politician from the country’(...)

An officer looks at a monitor showing  the area where a boat believed to be crowded with  as many as 700 migrants capsized in the waters north of Libya on Sunday. Photograph: Angelo Carconi/AP

From the moment that the Matteo Renzi-led government announced last November that the Italian navy-run “Mare Nostrum” search-and-rescue operation in (...)

A line of hearses as the bodies of migrants are unloaded from an Italian ship at Lampedusa harbour, Italy, yesterday. More than 330 migrants are feared dead following the most serious string of accidents in the Mediterranean since the start of the year. Photograph: EPA

The recent Mediterranean tragedy in which up to 400 African migrants may have died has prompted criticism of the EU’s Triton border control mission. W(...)

Immigrants hold a placard reading “Instead of giving citizenship to the dead, give it to the living!!” on October 18th, 2013 in Rome during a demonstration. Photograph: ALberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

“Maria” smiles when she recalls “migrating” to Italy more than 10 years ago. Now classified as a “transnational migrant”, in that she maintains cultur(...)

Vatican spokesman Fr  Federico Lombardi: “This is just nonsense . . . It is simply not a realistic possibility that Pope Francis will name women cardinals for the February consistory.” Photograph: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

The Holy See yesterday dismissed as “nonsense” weekend Irish media reports that Pope Francis might nominate two Irish women as cardinals. Responding t(...)

Rescued migrants walk to police buses after disembarking from an Armed Forces of Malta 
 ship at 
Maritime Squadron base at Haywharf in Valletta’s Marsamxett Harbour today. Photograph: Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters

A ship brought 143 survivors, mostly Syrians, from a capsized smugglers’ boat to Malta today, as the second migrant tragedy in the Strait of Sicily in(...)

Survivors of the tragedy look on at Guitgia beach on Lampedusa. Photograph: Tullio M Puglia/Getty Images

Divers searching for victims of last week’s migrant boat disaster off the Italian island of Lampedusa entered the hold of the sunken vessel for the fi(...)

Immigrants attend a ceremony for some of the African migrants killed in a shipwreck off the Italian coast at the Lampedusa airport. Photograph: Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images.

Divers began the recovery of dozens of migrants’ bodies from a boat that sank last week off the coast of Sicily in one of the worst such disasters to(...)

Italy’s minister for integration Cecile Kyenge. Photograph: AFP

    An Italian politician has likened the country’s first black minister, Cecile Kyenge, to a prostitute in the latest of a ba(...)

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