Mayor of small Italian town orders residents not to die

THE mayor of a small town in southern Italy has forbidden residents to die, because there is no cemetery for them to be buried in.

Giulio Cesare Fava, the mayor of Falciano del Massico, located about 30 miles (50km) north of Naples, southern Italy, issued the order earlier this month stating, "it is forbidden for residents ... to go beyond the boundaries of earthly life, to go into the afterlife."

So far only two residents have disobeyed the edict, La Stampa daily reported, with two recorded deaths since March 5.

The unusual order follows a dispute with a neighbouring town, which has owned the old cemetery since local boundaries were redrawn in 1964. The two communities disagree about a planned expansion of the site, so Fava pulled out of the project and decided to build a new cemetery for Falciano del Massico's living 4000 residents.

But until he gains the right permits and builds the new final resting place, the townsfolk have been ordered to keep on living.