Travelers beware: The authorities in Europe are really cracking down. Italy recently made headlines due to all the strict new regulations across the country, from a law prohibiting anyone from sitting on Rome’s Spanish Steps to fines for wearing flip-flops in Cinque Terre. Now, you can add stealing sand from a beach. You read that right: Two French tourists are facing up to six years of jail time for taking sand from a beach on the island of Sardinia.
And it’s not just Italy: Countries across the Continent are fining tourists for the most unlikely offenses. Last year, two tourists got fined €25 (about $27) for getting lost in a Metro station in Paris. This summer, a surprised traveler in Mallorca was fined €100 ($111) for buying goods from an illegal street vendor. Meanwhile, in the Mallorcan town of Magaluf, lawmakers have published a list of 64 banned actions with penalties ranging from €100 ($111) to €3,000 ($3,335) for everything from damaging flowers to climbing trees. The island city of Hvar, Croatia will fine you for a lengthy list of inappropriate public behavior, including walking around in a swimsuit—a €600 ($667) fine. And in Amsterdam, which is known for its brothels and marijuana cafés, the city recently launched the Enjoy and Respect campaign, with fines for drinking in public, making noise, littering and more.
Supporters say it’s all an attempt to keep unruly tourists in line. “Young tourists are welcome, but they will have to learn how to behave here,” Hvar’s fed-up mayor Rikardo Novak told local media when he instated those fines.
Critics say all these rules are way too punitive. The move has sparked debates online with some saying it’s a sure-fire way to turn off tourists. But maybe that’s the point? Stephen Hodes, the founder of an independent think tank called Amsterdam in Progress, says he thinks Amsterdam hasn’t been strict enough. ”There are too many tourists,” he says. “The only thing to do is to take radical measures, otherwise it’s a consumption ghetto, not a city where people live.”
Whatever the case, these rules aren’t going anywhere. So before you plan a trip to Europe, check out these 17 regulations that just might get you in big trouble and turn that dream European vacation into a nightmare.
1. Stealing Sand: As those French travelers discovered, Sardinia wants people to keep their hands off its sand. A 2017 law made it illegal to remove sand, pebbles and shells, with fines of up to €3,000 (about $3,330). Last year, a tourist from the UK got fined €1,000 ($1,100) for stealing sand.
2. Traveling with Designer Rip-Offs: Leave that fake Rolex at home. In France, tourists can get fined up to €300,000 ($334,000) for bringing counterfeit goods into the country. Other countries like Austria, Ireland and Croatia are similarly strict.
3. Ripping Your Currency: Be careful how you handle your money in Turkey: Defacing or tearing up the local currency can carry a prison sentence of between six months to three years.
4. Wearing a Bikini… and Nothing Else: In many parts of Europe, including the Spanish island of Mallorca and the Croatian towns of Split and Hvar, it’s against the law to wear only a bikini or swimming shorts in the street. Authorities may impose fines if people are caught wearing swimwear away from the beach; in Mallorca that even extends to the seafront promenade.
5. Peeing in the Ocean: Really? Portugal has a bizarre law on the books saying that you can get busted for using the ocean as your toilet. Here’s the thing: Who will ever know?
6. Wearing a baggy swimsuit: Sorry guys, but if you’re headed to a public pool in France, you’ll need to learn those trunks at home and don a tight-fitting Speedo-type swimsuit instead.
7. Behaving Badly: Signs reading “Save Your Money and Enjoy Hvar” greet tourists at the entrances to the center of the town in Croatia, graphically detailing offenses and the corresponding penalties. The highest fine, €700 ($778), is for public alcohol-drinking, eating or sleeping.
8. Taking Selfies: Better to just ask a fellow tourist to snap a photo for you. In the center of Milan, selfie sticks were recently banned—in addition to glass bottles and food trucks—as authorities try to limit littering and anti-social behavior.
9. Wearing Heels at Historic Sites: Save your fancy outfits for dinner. Heels are banned at certain Greek archaeological sites, including the Acropolis.
10. Driving in Sandals: Proper footwear required! Driving while wearing flip-flops or sandals is a criminal offense in Spain, and comes with a fine of €200 ($222).
11. Hiking in the Buff: In 2011, a Swiss court made it illegal to hike naked. The case came about after a German man strode nude past a family picnicking near the Swiss Alps. Naked hiking had become increasingly popular in the years before the court ruling.
12. Running out of Fuel: Cruising on Germany’s Autobahn? Make sure your fuel tank is topped off. It’s illegal to run out of fuel while driving on the famed road.
13. Kissing on a Train Platform: Lips off! Couples have been banned from kissing on train stations in Manchester, England (a more recent law) and France (on the books since 1910). The reason? It holds up commuters and rail delays.
14. Driving Without a Breathalyzer: It’s illegal in France to drive without a breathalyzer in the car. Although the on-the-spot fine of €11 ($12) is no longer carried out by the government, it remains against the law.
15. Jaywalking: Germany takes its road safety very seriously. It’s a common social rule not to cross a pedestrian crossing before the light turns green. If you make a run for it, you could be fined €5-€10 ($5-$11).
16. Public Drinking: Holiday resorts across the Spanish island of Mallorca stepping up sanctions against rowdy tourists with a range of new penalties. Tourists and locals could face fines of up to €600 ($667) if caught drinking on the street.
17. Hailing a Cab if You’re Sick: The Public Health (Control of Disease) Act of 1984 makes it illegal to flag down a taxi in England if you have a “notifiable” disease without telling the driver. Then the driver can decide whether he/she wants to take you where you need to go. Our guess? You’re not going anywhere.
FRCN denies harassing NUJ President in Ibadan
Chairman, Nigeria Union of journalists, NUJ, FRCN, Ibadan Chapel, Alhaji Nafiu Busari on Wednessday urged the public to disregard an information making the round that his members assaulted the union’s president, Chief Chris Isiguzo.
The chairman described the report as unprofessional and barbaric in nature, just as he implored the group that wrote the story to take time to upgrade their journalism skills to avoid dishing false information to the public.
In a statement made available to Mega Icon Magazine, Busari explained that the national president, Chris isiguzo and his entourage had earlier informed the management of their intentions of paying courtesy call on Tuesday, 25th February.
” On arrival, they came with Demola Babalola who has been facing legal charges on his eligibility to participate in NUJ election.
” My members held a congress earlier in the day and resolved that Babalola, and other syndicates were not expected in the station”, he said.
Busari added that the president with his entourage were welcomed by the FRCN management while others were politely informed that they were not welcomed.
“The Zonal Director, Alhaji Muhammed Bello gave a warm welcome to NUJ President and the meeting was fulfilling as Isiguso described Alhaji Bello as a good union man.
“If there was any rancor, it would be reflected in the pictures, NUJ delegation were comfortable as they even left with souvenir of FRCN.
” My members are decent and professional, I understand where the story is coming from and I understand their plights.
“We have a matter in court and we are determined to see that justice prevails. No matter how long.
“The public should disregard the information, the reality will soon be revealed to the public”, the statement concluded.
Dangote boosts South East economy with N63billion investment
Dangote Group has in the last five years invested over N63bn in the South East with the purchase of over 3,500 units of locally assembled Shacman trucks at the production plant of Anambra Motor Manufacturing Company (ANAMMCO), Enugu.
The order was delivered over a period of five years after Dangote Group signed an agreement with Transit Support Services (TSS), a subsidiary of ABC Transport PLC.
The partnership started in 2016 with an initial order of 350 Trucks by Dangote and as of today no fewer than 3,500 trucks have been supplied to Dangote from the ANAMMCO plant. Each of the trucks costs over N18m.
Apart from being the single largest buyer of the locally assembled trucks, the patronage by Dangote Group has revived the ANAMMCO plant, a vehicle assembly facility commissioned in 1980 by the Federal Government in partnership with Mercedes Benz.
Speaking at the weekend after a tour of the expansive ANAMMCO plant which was filled with Dangote trucks undergoing semi knocked down (SKD) production, Chairman of TSS, Mr. Frank Nneji said if not for Dangote’s magnanimity and his commitment to empower local manufacturers, the ANAMMCO plant would have remained perpetually moribund.
According to him, the revival of ANAMMCO was made possible by Dangote’s patronage “in identifying a plant that has capacity in the south-east, in Enugu to give us the opportunity to produce trucks locally instead of importing them.”
He said, “And of course you know what it does for us here in the South East. For more than seven years this plant was shut down. There was no activity here until we made an agreement with Shacman group and started skeletally. But we were only to start full step production when we offered the logistics solutions to Dangote and the production facility of ANAMMCO way back in 2016. That was the time we signed agreement for the first 500 units of trucks.”
Nneji who added that 90 per cent of trucks produced at ANAMMCO plant were for Dangote said the patronage has also brought back Onne Port in Rivers State which he disclosed has handled over 3000 containers since ANAMMCO was resuscitated.
He said, “ANAMMCO like I told you is a plant that was commissioned in 1980 by the Federal Government, it used to be in collaboration with Mercedes Benz. Of course you know what has happened to the auto industry. We had gone down over a long period prior to the inception of the automotive policy.
“What we are saying in ANAMMCO coming back is actually as a result of this auto policy. This is one of the benefits. And the second thing is the benefit of Dangote’s patronage in identifying a plant that has capacity in the south-east, in Enugu to give us the opportunity to produce trucks locally instead of importing them.
“And of course you know what it does for us here in the South East.
For more than seven years this plant was shut down. There was no activity here until we made an agreement with Shacman group and started skeletally. But we were only to start full step production when we offered the logistics solutions to Dangote and the production facility of ANAMMCO way back I 2016. That was the time we signed agreement for the first 500 units of trucks.
“What this initial capacity surge did was to ensure that all the staff of ANAMMCO who had been at home had to come back to work. Some local suppliers, lubricants, electrolytes and the rest of them also had to come back to doing business. And it goes even further than that because we are in Enugu, we used the Onne Ports to bring in these goods. You know many people are complaining that Onne Port is moribund, no good is coming. Of course we directed all the containers here and from 2016 up till now courtesy of Dangote, the Onne Port has handled more than 3000 containers coming to this place.
“So you see how we can spur capacity by utilizing our local capacity that is available and this is courtesy of Dangote and the patronage and each time we had approached Dangote, we said, ‘look if you are going to do this number of trucks, it is important that the Shacman apart from its quality, we are also representing a firm that has production capacity in the South East in the stake of ANAMMCO.’ That is how Dangote is keeping the South East automobile sector working.
“According to the National Automotive Policy, Enugu and Nnewi has been designated as the automotive centre for the South East in this axis. This is because of the stay of ANAMMCO over a period. They have acquired a lot of technical capacity. There is also a training school that produces technicians, training young school leavers here.
“So this is what we are doing here. This place is busy producing quality trucks with Dangote as the largest single patron. 90 per cent of the trucks produced here are for Dangote.
“Totally here we have done 3,500 units for Dangote. Additionally the trucks used at the refinery are also Shacman trucks. Because of the quality of Shacman trucks Dangote also patronizes that for the refinery.”
General Manager, Media, Dangote Group, Mr. Sunday Esan said the group is satisfied with the Shacman Trucks churned out from Onne Ports, adding that the partnership would last for a long time as the group continues to expand across its various business segments.
Esan added that as the Dangote refinery comes on stream, the group would require more trucks hence the sustained relationship with TSS/ANAMMCO.
According to him, the massive investment in the south-east is contrary to the assumption that Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the President/CEO of Dangote Group is not patronizing local manufacturers.
“This is why he agreed we should come and see how ANAMMCO plant has come alive, the impact he has made in the country and the employment this patronage has generated,” he said.
2020 Osun Osogbo festival is double celebrations – Ataoja
The Ataoja of Osogboland, Oba Jimoh Oyetunji Olanipekun has revealed that the year 2020 annual Osogbo Festival will be a double celebration.
Oba Olanipekun said that the celebration of the annual festival in August this year would lead to the 10th coronation anniversary of his ascension to the throne of his forefathers in September
In a statement by the Managing Consultant of the Osun Osogbo festival in Ibadan on Tuesday, Mr. Toye Arulogun, the royal father noted that activities marking the 2020 edition of the festival will commence in March 2020 with a stakeholders round table aimed at identifying and getting the inputs of partners and other stakeholders for the 2020 double celebrations.
He said that the festival committee is working round the clock to ensure that this year’s festival is a huge success with great tourism benefits to the Osun State government and the federal government at large.
Oba Oyetunji expressed appreciation to the sons and daughters of Osogbo for their support and understanding towards him since his reign as the Ataoja in 2010.
The traditional ruler said that he is very optimistic that Osogbo and the Osun Groove, a World Heritage Site by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) will play host to a higher number of devotees, participants and tourists during this year’s festival and the celebration of a decade of his coronation.
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