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Snow damages Colosseum, mediaeval churches in Italy: report
by Staff Writers
Rome (AFP) Feb 14, 2012

A view of the ancient forum covered in snow, on February 11, 2012 in Rome. Heavy snowfalls in Rome caused the normally mild-weather Italian capital to grind to a halt. Photo courtesy AFP.

Heavy snow has caused extensive damage to the mediaeval walled town of Urbino and further deteriorated the Colosseum in Rome, already badly in need of repair, Italian newspapers reported Tuesday.

Partial collapses have been reported at the convents of San Francesco and San Bernardino in Urbino and the roof of the Church of the Capuchins outside the town centre has completely caved in, La Repubblica reported.

There is also water damage in the town's 12th-century Duomo cathedral.

The roof at the Church of the Holy Cross in the nearby town of Urbania also collapsed and a collection of paintings, drapes and ancient globes has had to be removed from the town's Ducal Palace due to fears of a collapse.

Thirteenth-century church doors in the town of Cagli have also been damaged.

In Rome, fragments have fallen from the Colosseum which remains closed to tourists. The famous Roman amphitheatre, which is at the centre of a busy road junction, is blackened by pollution and has been losing pieces for years.

A long-delayed restoration of the 2,000-year-old monument is set to start next month, with funding from Italian billionaire Diego Della Valle.

Snow-hit Romania could halt electricity exports
Bucharest (AFP) Feb 14, 2012 - Romania may halt electricity exports and limit supplies to industrial consumers in a bid to meet rising household demand due to freezing temperatures, the government said Tuesday.

The electricity transportation company Transelectrica can limit or halt exports and diminish supplies to industrial consumers until stocks are back to normal levels and the balance between production and consumption restored, a decision adopted by the government reads.

"This is a precautionary measure that will be enforced only in case of need," Prime Minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu told reporters.

He stressed that the aim was to make sure households would not be affected by power cuts.

The restrictions are applicable from February 16 to March 15.

The economy ministry said the move was taken after a 50-percent drop in the level of the Danube and inland rivers, rising gas consumption and the difficulty of supplying coal to thermal-power stations due to heavy snowfalls and freezing temperatures.

The head of Transelectrica was sacked Monday after implying that households too could suffer from electricity shortages.

Romania last year exported 2.4 billion kilowatt hours.

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Serbian freeze stalls would-be immigrants' European dream
Palic, Serbia (AFP) Feb 13, 2012
Hiding in the Serbian woods, a group of Asian illegal immigrants tried for weeks to pass the border with Hungary, until the current freezing weather forced them to break cover and accept help. Now they risk being deported. Just kilometres (miles) away from European Union soil in Hungary, Afghan Shahid and his fellow illegal immigrants abandoned their camp in the woods, giving up for the ... read more

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