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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Costra Nostra Bans Rites, Ritual Kissing

ROME -- Sicilian Mafia bosses have ordered members to stop exchanging a ritual kiss and abolished other centuries-old rites to try to improve secrecy, Italian newspapers reported Monday.

Police have arrested hundreds of suspected Mafiosi, including alleged "boss of bosses" Salvatore Riina, in the past three years with the help of turncoats who have spilled the beans on their former partners in crime.

"The fact is that the turncoat phenomenon has shot through Cosa Nostra like a red-hot poker. Nobody trusts anybody any more," Corriere della Sera newspaper said.

According to informers, the kiss, as well as being a standard greeting, can also signify within the Mafia that a deal has been sealed.

Il Messaggero said, "The abolition of ritual affiliation points to the birth of a new, compartmentalized Mafia, made up of tiny cells whose few members are known only to each respective boss."