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Thursday, 12 April, 2001, 11:05 GMT 12:05 UK
Truce in Vatican Radio battle
Vatican Radio studio
Vatican Radio broadcasts in 40 languages
Italy and the Vatican have reached an uneasy truce in their running battle over electromagnetic radiation from the Vatican's radio station.

Vatican antenna
The Vatican's antenna are blamed for a high cancer rate
In a climb-down from its previously uncompromising stance, the Italian Government has now given Vatican Radio until the end of April to negotiate a reduction.

Vatican Radio has said it is satisfied with the decision.

Residents near the Vatican's transmission centre say excessive electromagnetic levels - dubbed electrosmog by the media - have caused an unusually high number of cases of leukaemia in the area.

Cabinet compromise

Willer Bordon
Italian Environment Minister Willer Bordon has taken a tough stance
The Italian Environment Minister, Willer Bordon, had threatened to cut off electricity to Vatican Radio on Tuesday if it did not dramatically reduce its emissions to bring it in line with Italy's strict laws on radiation.

But Prime Minister Giuliano Amato overruled Mr Bordon, raising speculation about a damaging cabinet split.

Health Minister Umberto Veronesi - himself an eminent cancer specialist - further muddied the waters by questioning the relation between electrosmog and an increase in cancer.

The cabinet's decision, which forces the Vatican to comply with regulations but gives it more time to do so, is seen as a compromise between these divergent opinions.

The Vatican has offered to reduce some of its medium wave transmission after its important Easter broadcasts.

Last month, Mr Bordon said the National Agency for the Protection of the Environment had registered three times the legal limit for electro-magnetic radiation during one evening broadcast.

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See also:

11 Apr 01 | Europe
Italy renews Vatican Radio threat
09 Apr 01 | Europe
Vatican radio bows to pressure
15 Jan 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Vatican
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