- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 31, 2004


Military draft being phased out

ROME — Italy passed a law last week phasing out the military draft by 2005, consigning to history a rite of passage for generations of Italians.

The law, which eliminates compulsory military service for male 18-year-olds, was aimed at creating a more professional army and allowing youths to get on with their careers. “It is an epoch-making measure,” Defense Minister Antonio Martino said.

In abolishing the draft, Italy joins France and Spain, which have shifted to professional armies in recent years. Spain also allows citizens from its former colonies who are legal residents of Spain to join its military.

Conscripts make up a quarter of Italy’s 210,000-strong armed forces, some 2,700 of whom are serving with the U.S.-led occupation in Iraq.


Vending machines banned in schools

PARIS — Amid growing concern over obesity in children, all vending machines that sell sweets and soft drinks in French schools are to be banned under a public health law voted through by parliament yesterday.

The estimated 8,000 machines in middle and secondary schools must be removed by the start of the academic year in September 2005, despite opposition from the food industry, as well as from some teachers who say they perform a useful social function.


Smelly salami poster angers Italians

LONDON — A poster campaign urging people not to eat smelly foods on London’s overcrowded and overheated underground system has sparked a diplomatic incident with Italy.

The poster showing an overweight and Mediterranean-looking man lounging in an underground train carriage surrounded by hams, salamis and strings of garlic triggered a torrent of letters from angry Italians and even the Italian ambassador.


Pastor sentenced for role in killing

STOCKHOLM — A 32-year-old pastor was sentenced to life in prison yesterday for using cell phone text messages he said were from God to convince his former nanny to kill his wife.

The Uppsala District Court ruled that Helge Fossmo, a Pentecostal church pastor, convinced Sara Svensson, 27, to shoot his wife as she was sleeping in their house on Jan. 10 in Knutby, 45 miles northeast of Stockholm. She also shot a neighbor, Daniel Linde, who survived.


Couple weds in shark tank

CATTOLICA — Most people get married flanked by friends, but an Italian couple tied the knot in a shark tank yesterday surrounded by the creatures they want to save.

Daniela Consolaro, 31, and Maurizio Andreosi, 40, each wearing bubble-helmet immersion suits, were lowered in a cage into the shark tank at the aquarium in Cattolica on the Adriatic coast.

Fourteen sharks swam around looking bored as the couple — his nickname is Bull Shark and hers is Nurse Shark — responded “I do” to Mayor Pietro Pazzaglini, communicating via a phone link.

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