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Mafia and church join up to oppose naked newscasts
    The Catholic Church and the Sicilian Mafia have joined forces in an unlikely alliance to campaign against an Italian TV channel which uses female strippers to liven up the news.
    Video Golfo, a private channel in southern Sicily, has employed three women to strip off in front of the cameras while the news is being read. Apart from stripping, they also dance and kiss the newsreader, whose other job is to interpret the news in terms of lucky numbers which viewers are then advised to use when playing the lottery.
    Sergio Petta, who created the program which is broadcast during prime time on Fridays, said: "Sex is an integral part of Sicily, like the Mafia, and it runs deep under the skin."
    While the gimmick has proved a success, as it has in Russia where naked newsreaders are also used, it has also enraged two influential, if opposed institutions, reports the London Telegraph.
    Tomas Buscetta, a former Mafia boss, said: "To the Mafia, the woman is sacred. Her place is not in the Mob, but the home, ironing her husband's clothes - and certainly not in the television studio removing her own."
    Fr Franco Cavallo, a parish priest in Gela, insisted: "To show a program like this at a time when it can be seen by innocent children is an evil act of delinquency. This a terrible, awful torment, a degradation, and in any case it is probably illegal."