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The week that was in Italy.

Sunday 16 January. A traffic block was imposed in several Italian cities in an attempt to cut smog levels.

A slow goods train was derailed near Varese, the second train accident in a week.

Omert was broken in Naples, when witnesses talked to police following the Camorra killing of a 47-year-old woman. Six young men were arrested, It was the seventh gang-land murder in Naples since the beginning of the year.

Monday 17 January. A wolf cub was found run over on a hillside road only 25 km from Rome.

Minister of Education Letizia Moratti announced further proposals for educational reform; they included more mathematics, less Latin, the study of Freud and Marx and the possibility of courses in local dialects at secondary school.

Walter Veltroni, mayor of Rome, presented images of a newly found first-century AD wall mosaic found by speleologists under the gardens of the Colle Oppio.

Tuesday 18 January. Cardinal Ruini, head of the conference of Italian bishops, said that Catholics should abstain from voting in the referendum this spring on Italys law assisted reproduction.

Following the ban on smoking in public places some restaurant owners are claiming that business has improved

A 36 annual parking tax, due to be imposed on each car belonging to residents in the areas of Rome limited to permit holders, has been put off for at least two months for software updates to cope with the new provision.

Wednesday 19 January. The headmaster of a high school in Rome locked the bathrooms during break-time to stop students using them as smoking rooms. 800 students walked out in protest.

Pope John Paul II received 30 rabbis organised by a Jewish group called Pave the way that promotes Christian-Jewish dialogue,

Thursday 20 January. Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi announced that he will be writing to 16 million Italian families to ask them to help spend less on the health service by using fewer medicines. Italian doctors pointed out that Italians already consume less prescription medicines that other Europeans.

Traffic was banned on the roads of several cities in an attempt to cut atmospheric pollution; the Thursday ban is expected to continue for a further ten weeks.

Friday 21 January. An Italian soldier was killed while on a helicopter patrol at Nassiriya in Iraq.

Saturday 22 January. Cigarette sales dropped by 23 per cent in the first few days of the ban on smoking in public places. Italian minister for health, Girolamo Sirchia, now plans to turn his attention to alcohol consumption among young people.

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Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia