Italy to build solar-energy-producing statue of saint

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Italy is planning to build a 200ft high, solar energy-producing statue of one of its most cherished saints.

The statue of Padre Pio, who was canonised in 2002 by Pope John Paul II and has a huge worldwide following, will be built on a hill in southern Italy, close to the town where he is commemorated.

It will cost several million pounds, with the money to be raised from his followers around the world.

The statue will be coated in a special photovoltaic paint which will enable it to trap the sun's heat and produce solar energy, making it an "ecological" religious icon, according to the Ansa news agency.

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