Son's billboard protest over Rome's unburied dead

The Rome advertising boards put up by Oberdan Zuccaroli in protest at not being able to bury his mother

The Rome advertising boards put up by Oberdan Zuccaroli in protest at not being able to bury his mother. The message reads "Mum, I'm sorry I've not been able to have you buried yet" - Credit: Photo by Alberto Pizzoli/AFP via Getty Images

A bereaved Italian has reacted to Rome’s funeral crisis by putting up 9x7-metre digital billboardsbearing the words, “Mum, I’m sorry I’ve not been able to have you buried yet”.

“There are hundreds of coffins waiting,” said Oberdan Zuccaroli, whose mother died of a heart attack on March 8. His aunt, who died on January 9, is also as yet not buried.

Undertakers say a combination of Covid-19 restrictions and existing bureaucracy have led to a backlog of up to 2,000 unburied bodies. Funeral home workers staged a protest near the mayor’s office last week, laying wreaths with messages reading, “Sorry, they will not let us bury your loved ones.”

Zuccaroli said his mission to shame officials had been partly inspired by the 2017 film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri - but also by the fact that he owns a billboard company. 

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A village near Lübeck, northern Germany has been divided down the middle by Covid rules, with 1,000 inhabitants enjoying UK-style freedoms while the other 1,800 remain under strict lockdown restrictions.

Citizens of Krummesse, in Schleswig-Holstein, find themselves in the bizarre situation because part of the village was sold to a Lübeck councillor in the 14th century. The city has opened up some businesses along British lines, so Krummesse residents on the Lübeck side can visit non-essential shops, drink in beer gardens and meet people from two different households other than their own. However those who live in the part of the village still ruled over by the Duchy of Lauenburg are barred from pubs and shops and are only allowed to meet one other person from outside their household.

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Mayor Hans-Peter Fiebelkorn said neighbours divided by the rules are trying to keep their sense of humour. He said: “One of them says to the other, ‘We are going to have a barbecue and a campfire in the garden and you can watch from this corner.”

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An Austrian police officer has been jailed for 10 months for posting a photo of gnocchi and salad on Facebook.

The man received his sentence because the dish is said to have been Adolf Hitler’s favourite - and his social media post came on the dictator’s birthday, April 20, last year. A court decided he had broken Austrian law prohibiting expressions of support for Nazis and also fined him 6,300 euros (£5,456).

The officer, a former member of the populist Austrian Freedom Party, has been suspended from his job since his post last year and now faces dismissal. He is planning an appeal and said: “I went cycling with my children and then we ate the gnocchi that my wife had cooked especially for us the day before, because it is their favorite food.”

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A man in Sölvesborg, southern Sweden, who woke up after taking sleeping pills to find a knife embedded in his chest has seen his former partner jailed for four years.

The victim told police he had slept through the attack, but that his assailant must have been his partner as she had stabbed him on previous occasions.

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The Krakow Animal Welfare Society is urging concerned Poles to keep on reporting animals they think might be in danger after reports of a reptile stuck up a tree turned out to be just a stale croissant.

Animal rescue officials fear that potential callers might think twice after the bizarre incident, which occurred with a panicked phone call claiming that an iguana had been in a local tree for two days and that “people no longer open their windows because they fear it will enter their home”.

Inspectors rushed to the scene, believing that a reptile was unlikely to survive Krakow’s cool spring temperatures for very long, but soon spotted that it was actually a pastry that someone had thrown from a window to feed birds.

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A bid to turn a Dutch road into the Netherlands’ equivalent of Route 66 has misfired because people keep stealing its American-style road signs.

Local officials paid for the badge-shaped signs to publicise the N34 in Drenthe, which has been renamed the Hunebed Highway, but around 70 of them have been stolen in the last three years. Agnes Holtjer of the Hunebed Highway business club regretted the thefts very much. “We had thought in advance that the plates would appeal to collectors, but this is going too far. It is really dangerous to stop along these kinds of roads to remove the signs. You endanger not only yourself, but also others.”

hile the original Route 66 spans almost 4,000 kilometres, the Dutch version is only 60km long but does pass close to nearly 50 prehistoric burial sites that are popular with tourists.

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A Covid-related shortage of sperm donors in Sweden has led waiting times for artificially inseminated pregnancies to shoot up from six months to 30 months.

Ann Thurin Kjellberg, head of the reproduction unit at Gothenburg’s University Hospital, said: “We’re running out of sperm. We’ve run out in Gothenburg and Malmo, they will soon run out in Stockholm.”

Assisted pregnancy is free via Sweden’s national health service but Thurin Kjellberg warned: “We need to go on TV and tell Swedish men to come forward.” 

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A homophobia row has broken out in Spanish water polo after international player Víctor Gutiérrez claimed an opponent had called him a “faggot”.

Gutiérrez, who came out publicly several years ago, said the incident has happened during his team Terrassa’s league match against Sabadell, writing on social media: “He repeatedly called me a faggot. At the end of the game, I didn't want to shake his hand and he called me a fag again. 

“I am proud of who I am - of being homosexual, gay, fag, which for me is not an insult. I would be very angry if the league looked the other way and did not take action on the matter because I believe that this behaviour is not in line with the ideals of sport and coexistence.”

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