Category Archives: Lifestyle

Skopje suffers pollution

Capital city of North Macedionia – Skopje – regularly registered the most polluted cities in Europe, and sometimes in the world.

In 2018, levels of PM10 – tiny pollutant particles 10 nanometres in size that are harmful to human health – exceeded he European Union limits for a total of 202 days.

While North Macedonia is not part of the EU, it has entered accession negotiations and has some way to go to meet EU ecological air quality standards.

At present, the World Health Organization (WTO) has estimated that around 4,000 premature deaths a year in North Macedonia may be due to air pollution, and the economic cost to Skopje is thought to be between €570 and €1,470 million.

Amsterdam Red Light district reopens

Amsterdam’s Red Light district has reopened after coronavirus pandemic shutdown, with sex professionals and clients having to observe new sanitary rules to prevent contamination.

The Netherlands ordered all brothels closed in mid-March and had originally planned to keep them shut until September, but recently changed the date forward as Covid-19 cases dropped.

The workder of the district are glad to be back to work, Dutch media reports. Many of sex-services faced financial problems during long periond of forced lockdown.

Dutch deputy Prime minister Hugo de Jonge said that a “new phase in the approach to coronavirus begins” but urged people to remain vigilant, and respect strict sanitary norms.

The Netherlands legalised prostitution in 2000 and sex workers have to register with the local chamber of commerce and pay income tax. Around 7,000 now work in Amsterdam, manily in the historic Red Light district according to official statistics.

Art traffic arrests in Paris

French police special unit have arrested five art experts this week as part of an investigation into trafficking of looted antiquities from the Middle East. According to Art Newspaper legal source, those arrested include a retired curator from the Musée du Louvre in Paris and an employee of the prominent Pierre Bergé & Associés auction house. The same source says the case concerns “the sale of hundreds of pieces for tens of millions of euros”, which were allegedly looted from Egypt, and conflict zones of Syria, Yemen and Libya. The initial criminal investigation into gang fraud, concealment of stolen goods, and money laundering was launched in 2018. (Image: illustration)

Without charges, the police can only hold the suspects in custody until Friday morning. Their names cannot be disclosed for legal reasons.
Pierre Bergé & Associés declined to comment on this week’s arrests and the Louvre says it does not have any reliable information on the arrest of the former head of its Near Eastern antiquities department.

The Art Newspaper can also reveal that the French criminal investigation may be related to inquiries over the past eight years in New York, Belgium and Switzerland, which led to a raid last year at Brussels-based Phoenix Ancient Art.

Hundreds of pieces were seized from storage in Brussels and thousands were frozen in Geneva to be checked for provenance; they have now partly been released to the gallery owners.

Hicham Aboutaam, the co-founder of Phoenix Ancient Art, says his gallery has consigned some objects to Pierre Bergé in the past, but “all were fully documented before the troubles erupted in the Middle East”. He adds: “It is a disgrace for the historically active Parisian market and I hope it will be an opportunity to establish clear legal guidelines, with a global database and a repatriation mechanism, which would allow us to have a more transparent licit antiquities market.”

Extraordinary vintage Dom Ruinart 2007

2007 is an extraordinary vintage, and one of the very few in Champagne when the harvest began in August. After a sunny and very warm spring, the months of June, July and August brought rather gloomy weather and heavy rainfall. The blend is 100% Chardonnay exclusively from Grand Cru vineyards.

The blend is 100% Chardonnay exclusively from Grand Cru vineyards: 75% from the Côte des Blancs (Chouilly, Le Mesnil, Oger and Avize) and 25% from the northern slopes of Montagne de Reims (predominantly Sillery and Verzenay).

The attack is a hit of chalk, then flint and oyster shell notes mingle with the smoky aromas of blond tobacco. The nose continues into springtime notes, underscored with light aromas of sap, linden, acacia, extremely fresh yellow and green citrus fruit (lime, yuzu) and green fruit (plum). The subtle notes of fig leaf, liquorice and fine Chinese tea enhance the complexity of its aromatic bouquet.
The palate, which begins smoothly, quickly reveals a thrilling, stony liveliness and a deep intensity structured by notes of green citrus and grapefruit. The sap-infused and chalky finish is framed with an elegant bitter flavour. Dom Ruinart 2007 is a dynamic, sculpted wine that expresses the full purity of fine Chardonnay.

For a starter, Dom Ruinart is a wonderful match for a carpaccio of scallops millefeuille and black radish with a marinade of first press organic olive oil and green citrus fruit. Its elegance and texture partners perfectly with steamed cod in champagne, Zhegiang powder tea and a seawater consommé.
Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs 2007 has to be kept in a cool place, away from any light. Serving this vintage at a temperature between 10 and 12°C in large tasting glasses will accentuate the sublime nature of its aromatic complexity.

Jane Goodall change diet lessons of COVID-19

Today, the legendary ethologist Dr. Jane Goodall told an EU audience of nearly 1,300 participants that we are responsible for the current pandemic. Covid-19 and the climate crisis are together delivering a clear message that the health and wellbeing of people, animals and the environment are interdependent.

Dr. Jane Goodall spoke at the webinar ‘Pandemics, wildlife and intensive animal farming,’ organised by Compassion in World Farming. The event featured an introduction by EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides, EU Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski, and was co-hosted by seven Members of the European Parliament from key political groups.

Highly intensive farming systems have created an abundance of food but in Europe, at least, there is also significant waste and at times also animal suffering. These phenomena deeply worry me. The parts that don’t work are ethically questionable and socially and environmentally unacceptable. Our citizens expect more and we will deliver a better balance to ensure that farming practices are sustainable and food is affordable. Animal welfare is among my priorities. It has always been a concern to me, an issue close to my heartStella Kyriakides, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said.

“We will constantly support sustainable farming and breeding practices as an alternative to intensive industrial farming and I am sure that, together with the Member States, with the support of our citizens, we will achieve significant and lasting progress in this aspect” Janusz Wojciechowski, EU Commissioner for Agriculture, said.

All animals matter, every animal is an individual just as every human being is an individual and all are deserving of our compassion, respect and care. They have personalities, minds and feelings and they feel pain. However, destroying nature and exploiting animals in intensive “factory” farms shows complete disregard towards life. This has consequences for us all, as we have clearly seen in the Covid-19 pandemic” Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, Founder – the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace, said.

“I hope the Covid-19 pandemic wakes us up! We are responsible for this; we need to treat animals better. We have come to a turning point in our relationship with the natural world. One of the lessons learnt from this crisis is that we must change our ways. Scientists warn that to avoid future crises we must drastically change our diets and move to plant-rich foods. For the sake of the animals, the planet and the health of our children let us move forward into a wise, sustainable and compassionate future” Dr Jane Goodall added.

Coronavirus has served as a pertinent reminder that, for the wellbeing of people tomorrow, urgent action is needed today to end factory farming. Without ending the viral ‘hothouse’ that is keeping large numbers of animals caged, cramped and confined in conditions that allow viruses to mutate, the next pandemic could be just around the corner. In the war against invisible enemies, never has there been a more potent reminder of why protecting people means protecting animals tooPhilip Lymbery, Global CEO of Compassion in World Farming, commented.

Malta Airport may open June 15

Malta airport could reopen on 15 June but decision still depends on agreement granted by the health authorities the Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli indicated.

Farrugia Portelli said the Prime Minister will be announcing an official date for reopening the airport in the coming days.

The target date has been set earlier, and all stakeholders agreed that a confirmation is needed as soon as possible, she continued.

“We have always said the airport should be closed until 15 June but we will continue assessing this with the health authorities,” she said on TVM’s Xtra on May 28 night programme, pointing to the government intention of mid-June reopening.

Farrugia Portelli underlined that there will be a summer vacation possible for the guests of the archipelago country.

“It will be a safer summer than ever before,” she said, adding that safety protocols will be introduced once the airport reopens.

Tourism operators have been waiting for the reopening of the airport and lifting of travel restrictions to encourage tourism, contributing to about 15% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). All travel came to standstill when the COVID-19 pandemic reached Malta in March.

Malta medical experts have established 616 cases, 501 patients received treatment and recovered, but still 108 cases remain active. Seven from COVID-19 infections resulted in related deaths.

COVID19: Europe gradually lifts restrictions

A number of European countries are further lifting their restrictions on May 25, Monday:

Gyms and swimming pools reopen in Italy, except in the hardest-hit region of Lombardy. The country has the third-highest recorded death toll from the virus worldwide.

Spain’s two biggest cities, Madrid and Barcelona, both move into phase one of the country’s 3-phase lockdown lifting plan. People can now gather in small groups, while bars and restaurants can serve customers outside. Other parts of the country move to phase two – meaning beaches, businesses and public areas can open more extensively.

Ferry services in Greece resume to all islands and ports, as the government hopes to boost domestic tourism. Cafes and restaurants are also reopening in the country from Monday.

Bars repent in the Czech Republic – the country with the highest per capita beer consumption in the world – as the country enters its final lockdown easing stage.

As well as restaurants, cafes and pubs, the doors are also reopening at primary schools, zoos and castles.

Vatican Museums reopen from June 1

The Vatican Museums reopening coincides with Italy’s gradual easing of the nearly 3-month lockdown, which allows many businesses and activities to restart.

The reopening of the Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo and a new open-bus tour have also been announced.

Health and art:

Due to the current health emergency situation, the Vatican Museums are ensuring a very careful balance between safety and health needs and the dynamics of a museum visit, without compromising the essence of such a visit.
Hence, in keeping with the norms of hygiene and physical distance, visitors to the Museums will be subject to a body temperature check and will be allowed in only with a facemask.
A medical and health team from Italy’s Misericordie volunteer group and the Vatican’s Health and Hygiene Department will ensure every need during the opening hours.
Other important requirements for the reopening of the museums will be revised from time to time as the current emergency situation evolves.

Online booking:

In order to restrict the number of entries, the Vatican Museums have limited ticket sales to only online booking from the official website http://www.museivaticani.va.

For this emergency period, the online booking fee of €4 will not apply.

There are also variations to the opening hours:
– Monday to Thursday: the Pontifical Collections will remain open from 10.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m., with the last entry at 6.00 p.m. (exit from the museum sectors starts at 7.30 p.m.)
– Friday and Saturday: from 10.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m., with the last entry at 8.00 p.m. (exit from the museum sectors at 9.30 p.m.).

Museums visits on Friday and Saturday are accompanied by the possibility to take part in an aperitif in the Pine Cone Courtyard to enjoy the sunset.
The usual free entry to the museums on the last Sunday of the month has been suspended.

Hermitage cats enjoy fame

Russian media monitoring company, Medialogia has prepared a list of the most popular cats on Russian social networks in the period of the COVID-19 confinement, with Hermitage cats making the top of the list, TASS news agency reports.

The Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg, has shot a video about the life of feline residents of the museum during the self-isolation period. All of them are being cared for by the Hermitage employees and cat food producing companies, acting as their sponsors. All felines are up for adoption. In the period from April 1 to April 10, the museum’s fluffy residents have been mentioned 58,900 times on Russian social networks.

From 50 to 70 rat-catching cats roam basement of the Hermitage, also appearing on the neighboring embankment and square. Their population is regulated by sterilisation to avoid territorial disputes. In recent years, the cats of the Hermitage have become a popular tourist attraction.

The media monitoring company has counted all mentions made on Russian social media, taking into account the social media outreach of every user.

Moscow СOVID19 shopping in style

Moscow luxury store championed 3D-printed face shields for employees – the construction includes frame and a clear plastic shield that covers the entire face. Apparently any 3D printing shop that wishes to help protecting citizens amid COVID-19 pandemic can join the effort, following online instructions.

The plastic shield has many advantages, being easy comfortable in wearing, and easy in clearing, it has been also received with enthusiasm by medics, facilitating their mission.

Essentially face shields are a key piece of equipment for front-line healthcare workers operating in close contact with coronavirus patients. They can protect a healthcare professional from exposure to droplets containing the virus expelled by patients when they cough or sneeze.

In spite of the strict security measures against COVID-19, following the instruction of Moscow Mayor, Tsum store has been closed until 5 April, and continues to function only online.

“From March 28 to April 5, the Central Department Store, DLT, and also the points for issuing orders at the Central Department Store, DLT and Barvikha will be closed. You can make an order in our online store tsum.ru. There is free delivery in Moscow, Moscow Region and St. Petersburg” read the announcment for the clients.

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