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Italy loosens migration rules to dismay of hardliner ex-Interior Minister Salvini

Italy has softened rules penalizing aid groups that bring illegal migrants ashore and extended protection for refugees who risk persecution at home, drawing the fire of former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini who set the tough measures.

Rescue boats which violate official orders in carrying out their activity will now face lighter fines, of up to 50,000 euros ($59,000), compared with up to 1 million euros previously, according to a decree approved by the government.

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Migrants will, meanwhile, not be expelled if they “risk being subjected to torture or inhumane treatment” at home, under the decree, which also makes it easier for those who hold special residence permits to obtain a regular working visa.

“The propaganda/Salvini decrees are no more,” tweeted Nicola Zingaretti, leader of the Democratic Party (PD) in a coalition government. “We want a

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