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food / travel

An Ancient Racket: Police Battle Fake Gladiators In Modern Rome

A handful of Roman families are accused of intimidating both tourists and other would-be faux ancient gladiators treading on their cobblestones. Police use some ancient tricks to trap them, but they always come back for more.

Costumed warriors are a common tourist attraction in Rome, Italy
Costumed warriors are a common tourist attraction in Rome, Italy


ROME - Thesedays, in the center of Rome, tourists might just see a real gladiator fight. The modern-day Roman tough guys – long a photo-op attraction for visitors in the eternal city -- have been busy trying to escape from a local police crackdown.

Last week, police arrested 20 people accused of threatening visitors, as well as other insurgent wannabe-gladiators trying to invade the tourist-packed turf. For months, tourism agencies had denounced members of seven Italian families – many of them with a long list of criminal records – for trying to monopolize the gladiator business.

Dressed as gladiators in front of Rome's most famous monuments, the current gladiators pose for photographs alongside tourists in return for tips. But, according to the charges, the members of these seven families stalked tourists, and threatened and attacked other people who tried to share the lucrative business. They were even accused of burning the cars and mopeds of possible competitors.

The police needed to catch the gladiators in the act to be able to prosecute them. On Wednesday, a group of policemen dressed as street cleaners, along with two other officers dressed as gladiators, showed up in Piazza Venezia, a famous tourist spot. Soon, the officers posing as gladiators were approached and threatened. "This is my area, you cannot stay here. You are stealing my jobs," yelled the gladiators. The undercover policemen immediately surrounded and arrested them.

The police may have won this battle, but defeating the gladiators for good would be a heroic feat indeed. For more than a decade, Rome's administrations have never been able to approve serious measures against the photogenic racket. Every morning, they divvy up the area among families and start to stalk tourists. The going price they demand for posing for a fake snapshot: 20 euros. A modern treasure indeed.

Read the full original article by Flavia Amabile

Photo - kevingessner

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Is Disney's "Wish" Spreading A Subtle Anti-Christian Message To Kids?

Disney's new movie "Wish" is being touted as a new children's blockbuster to celebrate the company's 100th anniversary. But some Christians may see the portrayal of the villain as God-like and turning wishes into prayers as the ultimate denial of the true message of Christmas.

photo of a kid running out of a church

For the Christmas holiday season?

Joseph Holmes

Christians have always had a love-hate relationship with Disney since I can remember. Growing up in the Christian culture of the 1990s and early 2000s, all the Christian parents I knew loved watching Disney movies with their kids – but have always had an uncomfortable relationship with some of its messages. It was due to the constant Disney tropes of “follow your heart philosophy” and “junior knows best” disdain for authority figures like parents that angered so many. Even so, most Christians felt the benefits had outweighed the costs.

That all seems to have changed as of late, with Disney being hit more and more by claims from conservatives (including Christian conservatives) that Disney is pushing more and more radical progressive social agendas, This has coincided with a steep drop at the box office for Disney.

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