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Vatican Radio compromises on radiation

The Vatican, in an effort to stop Italy from cutting off electricity to its radio station following a dispute over electromagnetic radiation, says it will cut some of its transmissions after Easter.

The surprise decision was announced a day before Italy's Environment Minister Willer Bordon was due to hold a news conference to announce measures against the station.

The minister has accused Vatican Radio of exceeding Italian laws on radiation and of being a health hazard. Last month, Mr Bordon threatened to cut off all electricity to the radio's transmission centre on Rome's outskirts.

Residents have claimed that the radio's forest of large antennae have resulted in a higher incidence of leukaemia in the area. Vatican Radio announced its decision on Monday after the latest tests ordered by the environment ministry confirmed that the transmissions violated Italian standards.

The statement said the broadcaster would shut down its medium wave transmissions on the 1530 kHz band for seven hours a day beginning on 16 April, the day after Easter. A Vatican Radio spokesman said broadcasts on short wave, which is beamed to other continents, and FM, which is used for Italy, would continue as normal.