Italy    JUBILEE PREOCCUPATION BLAMED FOR ROME HOMELESS DEATHS
Nine homeless people have died of exposure in Rome since the Holy Year began on Christmas Eve, causing charities and churches to scramble to help the needy and blame an excessive focus on restoring the city's architectural wonders for the Jubilee.
    "It is the worst death rate of at least the last 10 years," said Mario Marazitti of the Sant'Egidio community, one of the groups offering aid. "The homeless are having more difficulty in finding shelter." He added that city authorities concentrated on "the beauty of Rome ... without a precise choice to meet the needs of the weakest."
    Italy is usually a winter haven for Europe's wandering homeless population, but Rome has experienced an unusually sharp cold spell this month. On Wednesday, Italy's government announced it was freeing $A25 million in emergency funds for the homeless in Rome and eight other cities.
   
   
CWN 12:36am 1/2/00

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