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MEMBER OF ITALY'S ANTI-MAFIA COMMISSION CITES PROGRESS IN BATTLING THE MAFIA

 NEW HAVEN, Conn., Jan. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- A leader in Italy's campaign to curb the Mafia says new laws and leniency to convicts who turn states evidence have made significant inroads against corruption and the Cosa Nostra.
 Vito Riggio, Deputy of the Italian Parliament and a member of its Anti-Crime Commission, in remarks prepared for delivery Tuesday to an audience at (3 p.m., Sterling Law School) at Yale, cited the success in recent months of "a new crime policy that is more efficacious in combating the crimes of the Mafia than ever before."
 Deputy Riggio, opening a U.S. tour which includes an appearance at Harvard's University Club in Boston (at 9 a.m.) Friday, said there have been more than 2,000 Mafia arrests in the past four months, ending a year in which crime in Italy decreased 8.6 percent at the same time arrests of Mafiosi rose from 13 to 43 percent of the total.
 "Very important results have been obtained as regards the pentiti,'" said Deputy Riggio, who was to be introduced by Joseph LaPalombara, Wolfer Professor of Political Science and editor-in-chief of the bi-monthly magazine Italy, Italy.
 There are now a total of 200 "pentiti," convicted criminals accorded leniency under the new laws in return for turning states evidence. He said their numbers increased sharply earlier this year when Sicily's chief Mafia fighter, Magistrate Giovanni Falcone, his wife and three police bodyguards were assassinated near Palermo.
 "There is a new effort currently being made in Sicily and it is embodied in the commitment of the present regional government to combat the Mafia," he said.
 Although he said the ultimate responsibility for eradicating the Mafia lay with the national government, Deputy Riggio said his regional government was helping to eliminate "its sociopolitical causes."
 "The regional law concerning the direct election of mayors passed in July, 1992, is one step in this direction," he said, explaining that it made directly elected mayors responsible for public contracts and bidding procedures.
 The Italian-American Multimedia Corp. and The Center for International and Area Studies of Yale University are sponsors of Hon. Mr. Riggio's speaking tour.
 -0- 1/18/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Text available/
 /CONTACT: Rosanne Giammarino of Italian American Multi Media Corp., 212-674-4132/


CO: Italian-American Multimedia Corp. ST: Connecticut IN: SU:

WB-LD -- NY062 -- 6027 01/18/93 17:15 EST
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