The Italian Almanac

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Italian News - December 30

Zinedine Zidane's World Cup Final head-butt has become the inspiration for Italy's latestNew Year firecracker, joining past favourites like Saddam's Head, the Bin Laden Bomb, Maradona's Ball and the Vesuvius firecracker. The Zidane Head-Butt, which gives off a single, tremendous blast, packs a highly dangerous and illegal punch, Italian police said.

The outrageous names of the most powerful fireworks are targeted at youthful mayhem-lovers. Last year the biggest banger was the Kamikaze, or suicide-bomber. Evergreen favourites include Terminators, Spring Thunderers, Magnums and SAMs (short for Surface to Air Missile).

Over the past week Italian police have been impounding tonnes of illegal fireworks as a traditional holiday crackdown continues. Banned fireworks have been confiscated up and down Italy. But the biggest hauls have come in Italy's illegal firework capital, Naples. Every year Italian police launch campaigns aimed at easing Italy's customary New Year mayhem. The New Year is greeted as loudly as possible around Italy but nowhere more recklessly than in Naples, the city that each year has the grimmest toll of injuries and sometimes deaths.

Before last year, the tolls had been declining because of a government campaign against the tradition of throwing powerful explosives from balconies and rooftops.