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Italy’s right-wing bloc marches to a majority

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Italy’s right-wing bloc looks set to win a majority in both houses of parliament

Italy’s right-wing bloc looks set to win a majority, after the first exit polls were released.

They signal a clear victory for Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy coalition.

The polls show the far-right group securing between 41-45 per cent of the total vote. This leaves the major left party with just 25-29 per cent.

If confirmed, the results will give Meloni’s Brothers of Italy a majority in both houses.

At this stage, it is important to note Italian exit polls are often wrong. Many analysts remain hesitant to call the final result.

The election has been closely monitored in Europe and around the world. Italians are deciding on whether to choose their nation’s most right-winged government since World War II.

Here’s what you need to know about the vote

Italy went to the polls after Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s national unity government was brought down by infighting in July.

Polls have consistently shown the country’s right-wing bloc will win a majority in both houses of parliament.

Giorgia Meloni, leader of the nationalist Brothers of Italy, is seen as frontrunner. If successful, she will be the nation’s first female prime minister.

The former far-right activist from Rome has energised her party, which is set to see its share of the vote leap to around 25 per cent from only 4 per cent at the last election in 2018.

Her party is widely expected to emerge as Italy’s largest single party at Sunday’s vote. It will lead an alliance of right-wing parties to a comfortable victory.

The conservative bloc also includes the League party, led by Matteo Salvini, and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia.

Salvini is the abrasive former interior minister, who takes a hard line on immigration.

In recent months, he has been eclipsed by Meloni

Berlusconi, who will turn 86 four days after the election, has shrugged off old age, ill-health, sex scandals and a criminal conviction.

The four-times prime minister is battling for a central role after the vote. Even if his party is the junior partner now among its three main parties.

Italy’s electoral system favours groups able to form broad alliances, likely amplifying the right-wing bloc’s victory.

The right has also been helped by divisions in the centre-left.

There, attempts to form a broad electoral alliance by the main Democratic Party fell apart.

That leaves three main groups fighting for votes – the PD and its allies, the centrist Azione party and its Italia Viva partner, and the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement.

Led by Giuseppe Conte, the 5-start Movement withdrew support for Draghi’s government in July, sparking divisions that led to this early election.

His strategy has in part been vindicated by an improvement in 5-Star’s poll standings, but the party still faces a spell in opposition.

And what are the main issues for voters?

As in other European countries, the cost of living crisis has overshadowed other concerns such as immigration, crime and public services.

The conservative alliance has called for tax cuts across the board to help Italians cope with rising prices.

The Democratic Party wants tax reductions to be more targeted towards lower income groups.

Meloni has repeatedly voiced her support for Western policy against Russia after it invaded Ukraine.

But League leader Matteo Salvini has called for the European Union to shield Italians from the economic side-effects of sanctions imposed on Russia over the invasion.

William is an Executive News Producer at TICKER NEWS, responsible for the production and direction of news bulletins. William is also the presenter of the hourly Weather + Climate segment. With qualifications in Journalism and Law (LLB), William previously worked at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) before moving to TICKER NEWS. He was also an intern at the Seven Network's 'Sunrise'. A creative-minded individual, William has a passion for broadcast journalism and reporting on global politics and international affairs.

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AUKUS meetings wrap up as Australia eyes off nuclear submarines

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Australia's defence minister

The first AUKUS meetings wrap up in Washington as Australia eyes off nuclear submarines

The first round of AUKUS meetings have wrapped up, with U.S. Defence Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin praising the talks as an “historic endeavour”.

Following an agreement made in Washington, Australia will have nuclear-powered submarines at the “earliest possible date”.

Defence Secretary Austin joined Australia’s Richard Marles and the UK’s Ben Wallace at the Pentagon. The leaders discussed key challenges and opportunities confronting the world right now.

High on the agenda was the contentious Indo-Pacific region, in response to “ongoing Chinese aggression”.

The meeting comes as Australia looks to move away from its conventional Collins-class subs and invest in nuclear-powered vessels.

The U.S. reaffirming its commitment to ensure its pacific partner will acquire this capability at the earliest possible date.

Australia’s Deputy PM and Defence Minister Richard Marles says the submarines are “central” to advancing the military capabilities of the alliance.

“There is an enormous sense of shared mission and momentum across all three countries, in having Australia acquire a nuclear powered submarine,” Marles said.

“The significance of that step shouldn’t be lost on people. There’s only been one occasion where a country has shared that capability with another. That was the United States with the United Kingdom a long time ago.”

But while we’ve heard the meetings went well, leaders are remaining tight-lipped about the exact details and any deals that have been made.

AUKUS has set a target of March 2023 to figure out a plan for Australia to acquire the nuclear subs.

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Arrests made in Germany over a suspicious plan

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Well arrests have been made in Germany over suspicious activity to overthrow the nation’s government.

Twenty-five people have been arrested as part of the raids across the country.

The group reportedly includes far-right and ex-military figures.

It’s understood they were planning to storm the nation’s parliament and take over control.

Suspects include racists and conspiracy theorists, and Q-Anon believers.

Three thousand officers took part in the sting involving 150 operations in 11 of Germany’s 16 states.

Arrests were also made in Italy and Austria.

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Twist in trial over the crash of a Rio to Paris flight in 2009

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There’s been an unusual development in the trial of Airbus and Air France over the crash of a Rio to Paris flight in 2009

Ticker’s Europe Correspondent Ryan Thompson has more from Paris

After weeks in court, prosecutors have decided NOT to ask for a conviction of the two French companies – even as they acknowledge that’s not what victims families would want.  

French prosecutors said they were unable to prove the companies were guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

Their guilt “appears to us to be impossible to prove. We know that this view will most likely be difficult to hear for the civil plaintiffs,” prosecutors said.

Prosecutors initially dropped charges against the companies in 2019. This sparked anger in families of the victims.

A Paris appeals court overturned this decision in 2021 and ordered the trial to go ahead. 

“We have a prosecutor who is supposed to defend the people who in the end is defending the multinational Airbus,” Daniele Lamy, the head of victims’ association Entraide et Solidarite AF447, told reporters.

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