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ROME

Sistine Chapel to get energy-saving LED lights

The Sistine Chapel will soon be illuminated with energy-saving LED lighting as part of a plan to cut energy costs and reduce CO2 emissions in the Italian capital.

Sistine Chapel to get energy-saving LED lights
A detail from Michelangelo's 'Last Judgement' in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. Photo: Michelangelo Buonarroti/Wikicommons

Rome’s mayor Ignazio Marino on Thursday announced a plan to replace all public lighting in the capital with energy-saving LED bulbs after a similar scheme in Milan, Tgcom24 reported.

“We have prepared an innovative operation that will enable 12,000 streets and squares of Rome to be illuminated by 190,000 LED-powered lamps and citizens will be able to see results within the next few weeks.”

The mayor added: “The expected investment is between €45-50 million and will allow Rome city council to save up to 55 percent of its annual electrical bill, that is, over €15 million every year. In this way we will improve the quality of public lighting on all streets and squares in the city, starting with those [lights] in the suburbs.”

Among the sites to benefit from the energy-saving lighting is the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, which attracts millions of visitors each year. By November, Michelangelo’s ‘The Last Judgement’ on the altar wall of the chapel will be lit up by 7,000 LED lights.

The news comes after an American and two Japanese scientists won the 2014 Nobel Prize for Physics on Tuesday for inventing energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly blue LEDs.

Previously, only red and green diodes had been used in lamps, but without blue light, scientists had been unable to create white lamps for use in homes and businesses.

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ROME

Body of missing American tourist found in Rome’s River Tiber

The body of a missing 21-year-old tourist was found in the River Tiber on Thursday morning, according to media reports.

Body of missing American tourist found in Rome's River Tiber

Elijah Oliphant, from Dallas, Texas, was on holiday with his family in Rome when he went missing several days ago.

Oliphant’s parents reported his disappearance after he left his hotel room shortly after midnight on May 24th and did not return.

Hotel security footage showed him leaving the premises wearing a white undershirt and pyjama bottoms, which he was wearing when he was found.

Oliphant’s corpse was reportedly spotted by passersby near the Ponte Sisto bridge in Rome’s Trastevere district around 10am on Thursday morning. His body was positively identified by his parents.

Members of the fire brigade and river police who recovered the body say there were no obvious signs of violence, but an autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death. Trastevere police are reportedly investigating the matter.

The Oliphant family had arrived in Rome for a holiday on May 23rd. When Elijah went missing the following day, his parents launched an urgent appeal to help find their son.

His disappearance was featured on the missing persons television show, Chi l’ha visto (‘Who’s seen them?’) on May 25th.

Several foreigners have been found drowned in the Tiber in recent years, though there are no indication that any of the incidents are linked.

In 2016, the body of 19-year-old American student Beau Solomon was recovered from the river.

Rough sleeper Massimo Galioto was charged involuntary manslaughter in the case, but was ultimately acquitted in 2020.

Prosecutors said that Galioto pushed Solomon in the course of a violent argument. Galioto’s defense team acknowledged that the two had argued but said the student had accidentally slipped.

In May 2019, 37-year-old Imen Chatbouri, a former athletics champion from Tunisia, was found dead in the Tiber after a night out. CCTV footage later showed she had been pushed from the Ponte Sisto bridge.

A then-26-year-old man whose advances she had rejected earlier that evening was convicted of her murder in November 2021.

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