Rome

Two killed by New Year fireworks but injuries down

Naples worst hit as usual

Two killed by New Year fireworks but injuries down

Rome, January 2 - Two people were killed by New Year fireworks, the same as last year, but the number of injuries was down from 561 to 361, including 53 children, down from 76 last year, authorities said. The toll was heavy again despite bans in several cities including Turin, Bologna and Cagliari and the seizure of 23 tonnes of illegal fireworks compared to 8 tonnes last year. The two fatalities were again in Campania, the region around Naples, which always tops the list for firework mayhem. Pasquale Zacchia, a 51 year-old restaurateur, was killed testing fireworks for his customers while a 49-year-old construction entrepreneur, Antonio Serino, died when a firework he was handling went off unexpectedly and hit him in the face. Campanian firework fans were not deterred by shocking posters of a bloody hand hovering over a sign reading "don't let me take your hand". Many of the illegal fireworks sold in Italy are actually rudimentary bombs. Naples youths delight in giving heavy-duty fireworks scary or jokey names. These have included The Bin Laden, The Maradona Bomb, The Pope Bomb, Desert Storm, Red October, Turbo 3 and, this year, The Spread, Maya and Insigne, after Napoli striker Lorenzo Insigne. Women in Naples got so fed up with their menfolk in 2008 that they launched a 'no sex if you let off fireworks' drive. The operation had some success as the number of injuries dropped by about 100.

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