The Italian Almanac

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Italian News - July 16

Italy is helping the elderly defend themselves against fraudulent fortune tellers and self-declared magical healers. Unions and police in the southern city of Bari have united to set up a help line to make sure the elderly don't fall for 'spiritual' con artists. They hope to extend the help line to the rest of the country later this year.

Union rep Celina Cesari said "the elderly are so much more vulnerable to these swindlers. And when they're fooled they become even more fragile. They tend to be hard on themselves and think their age has made them foolish." According to national statistics institute Istat, the incidence of such fraud against the elderly has tripled.

Italy's broadcasting standards watchdog claims Italian TV is "plagued" by fortune tellers, seers and other spiritual swindlers In a recent report, the watchdog complained that a growing number of shows were trying to tap a fad for all things New Age, "tossing in horoscopes, clairvoyants and faith healers" wherever possible.