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The authorities in Rome have begun dismantling illegal camps amid an outcry over three rapes last weekend that have been blamed on immigrants. Mayor Gianni Alemanno supervised the demolition of about 30 camps, home to many Roma, or Gypsies, from Romania.


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Rome's left-wing Mayor Walter Veltroni has clashed with the right-wing opposition over padlocks left by lovers on a bridge in the city. He has introduced fines for anyone leaving a padlock on a lamp post on the Ponte Milvio, over the Tiber river. Many young lovers have hung padlocks there, throwing the keys in the Tiber, so the lamp post is laden with them. The padlocks bear lovers' messages.


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The Axum obelisk, which stands in central Rome, was named after the northern Ethiopian city from where it was looted by invading Italian troops in 1937. Over the decades Addis Abba has appealed for the return of the 24-metre high granite monument. The dismantling of the obelisk should be completed later this year ready for shipment to Ethiopia.


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3D models of famous landmarks such as Rome's Colosseum have been recreated using millions of pictures from photo-sharing websites such as Flickr.


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Thousands of people are reported to be staying out of Rome for the next few days, over fears the city will be hit by a huge earthquake. The panic was sparked by rumours that seismologist Raffaele Bendandi, who died in 1979, predicted the city would be devastated by a quake on 11 May.


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With Italy facing the prospect of drastic cuts to balance its budget in the years to come, a growing number of ordinary Italians are criticising massive tax breaks given to the Roman Catholic Church.


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