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NEW YORK

Italian town prepares to party for New York mayor

A small town in southern Italy where New York mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio's grandfather came from was preparing to celebrate his likely election on Tuesday, the mayor said.

Italian town prepares to party for New York mayor
Bill de Blasio's grandfather came from Sant'Agata de Goti. Photo: Public Advocate Bill de Blasio/Flickr

The inhabitants of Sant'Agata de Goti in the mountains near Naples have been invited to an election party where they will follow the ballot counting on the other side of the Atlantic.

"We might stay up into early Wednesday to find out the result," said Carmine Valentino, adding: "The town council has already taken a decision to grant Mr. de Blasio honorary citizenship."

De Blasio, a 52-year-old Italian-American, is the Democratic candidate and is almost certain to win the vote, with the latest poll giving him a 41-point lead over Republican Joseph Lhota.

De Blasio's maternal grandfather came from the town, which has a population of 12,000.

"We consider him a fellow citizen here. He last came in 2010 with his family," a spokesman for the town council said.

"His choice to name his children Chiara and Dante shows his link with Italy. He really is a son of this land," he said.

De Blasio's cousins still live in the town.

The partying for his likely election will continue on Saturday with a feast in the town.

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MAYOR

Court quashes ‘killjoy’ Rome mayor’s NYE firework ban

Lazio's regional administrative court has scrapped an ordinance from Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi that would have seen fireworks banned in the capital on New Year's Eve.

Court quashes 'killjoy' Rome mayor's NYE firework ban
Rome will get its fireworks on New Year's Eve. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Raggi, who was elected Rome's first female mayor in June, was accused of being a killjoy for trying to ban firework displays, especially having cancelled a traditional New Year's Eve rock concert in Circus Maximus due to a lack of sponsors.

She also came under fire for the capital's 'austerity' Christmas tree, described as being the 'shabbiest' in Italy.

The ban, which suggested issuing anyone caught launching a firework between December 29th and midnight on January 1st  with a €500 fine, was intended to promote public safety.

But the regional administrative court (TAR) quashed the ordinance after an appeal from producers and distributors of fireworks, who rake in between €2 and €3 million during the period, Roma Today reported.

Firework displays are popular in Italy but often cause injuries and, sometimes, deaths. Two people were killed and 361 injured during fireworks events over the Christmas and New Year's Eve period in 2013. The number of injuries dropped to 50 a year later thanks to public awareness campaigns, although a seven-year-old boy lost his hand.

Last year, several cities and towns across Italy banned or limited fireworks amid air pollution concerns.