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Dog Adopted By Sicilian Town Hits Big Screen

It was a small Italian town, where an affectionate stray dog wandered up, eventually becoming so conspicuous that he attended all town events — weddings, funerals, pizza night at the local pizzeria. Ultimately, he became a guide for visitors and a beloved member of the community.

Though it sounds like a fairy tale, it's actually a true story that's been adapted for the big screen. The dog, who came to be known as Italo Barocco, arrived in the Sicilian town of Scicli in 2006, and his story was documented by journalist Peppe Savà for Ragusa News.

It's not the first time a dog has attended public meetings on his own. Nor is it the first time a dog was beloved by a town — like Bosco, the mayor of Sunol, California. But it would be fair to say the movie is unique, documenting the town's crusade against stray dogs, which were banned there entirely after a young girl was killed and a tourist was viciously mauled. When Italo came along, the mayor decided to protect him, microchipping him and adopting him on behalf of the town's citizens.

The movie is the first feature film for director Alessia Scarso, and the town has praised her for returning their memories of Italo to them. Sadly, he disappeared on Jan 31., 2011, "so as not to burden the town with sorrow," as one news report put it. It is believed that he may have been ill and went off to die alone.

Photo: Italo film via Facebook

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Society

Colombia Celebrates Its Beloved Drug For The Ages, Coffee

This essential morning drink for millions worldwide was once considered an addictive menace, earning itself a ban on pain of death in the Islamic world.

Colombia's star product: coffee beans.

Julián López de Mesa Samudio

-Essay-

BOGOTÁ — October 1st is International Coffee Day. Recently it seems as if every day of the calendar year commemorates something — but for Colombia, coffee is indeed special.

For almost a century now we have largely tied our national destiny, culture and image abroad to this drink. Indeed it isn't just Colombia's star product, it became through the course of the 20th century the world's favorite beverage — and the most commonly used drug to boost work output.

Precisely for its stimulating qualities — and for being a mild drug — coffee was not always celebrated, and its history is peppered with the kinds of bans, restrictions and penalties imposed on the 'evil' drugs of today.

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