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ITALIAN COURT BANS CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

Italy's Supreme Court has ruled that corporal punishment is no longer an acceptable way to discipline children, newspapers reported Sunday.

Calling corporal punishment "culturally anachronistic and legally unjustified today," the Supreme Court last week upheld the conviction of a man who struck his 10-year-old daughter with a belt.In its ruling, the court said that misbehavior is a child's way of asking for help.

The case began in 1990 when a girl in a small, northern town went to police and complained that her father hit her with his belt for doing poorly at school, the Turin newspaper La Stampa reported.

The man, who was not named in the news reports, was sentenced to 20 days in jail. But it was unclear if he would have to serve it as in Italy, light sentences for first convictions are often suspended.

News accounts noted that the high court reversed an ruling earlier this year that a group of adults didn't mistreat children in their care when they used a carpet-beater to discipline them.