The Italian Almanac

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New Machines

A Rome high school has become the first Italian school to install condom machines, in the face of strong opposition from the Vatican. Students at the Keplero scientific school will find the six machines waiting when they get back from their Easter break. "I'm satisfied that we've finally got them, as part of our programme to educate students on sexually transmitted diseases," said Keplero Principal Antonio Panaccione.

The Vatican condemned the move, saying it would spur "irresponsible sexual activity" but the school's religion teacher came out in favour, saying it would promote "greater awareness". Youth Minister Giorgio Meloni, a member of Premier Silvio Berlusconi's conservative People of Freedom (PdL) party, said she was "neither embarrassed nor upset" about the arrival of the machines.

The case has gained headlines in the international media.