Italy's latest ailment: Traffic cops calling in 'sick' on New Year's Eve

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Were hundreds of Roman traffic police who called in sick on New Year's Eve playing hooky? Inspectors have been dispatched to find out.

Nearly 85 percent of some 900 traffic officers scheduled to work didn't turn up, as revelers jammed streets and 130,000 flocked to a free outdoor concert. Most cited illness, while about 10 percent claimed they were donating blood. Public Works Ministry inspectors Monday began checking them for doctor's certificates. Mayor Ignazio Marino claims the stay-at-homes were protesting his new policy to give raises only to harder workers.

The New Year's ill humor may have been contagious: Naples trash collectors and Bari bus drivers also called in sick in droves on New Year's Eve. They are also under investigation.