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.
CBN dares House of Reps, Says no going back on cashless policy
Nigeria’s apex bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reiterated that it would continue to implement the cashless policy in line with its mandate to ensure an efficient payment system.
The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, on Friday said this while briefing journalists shortly after the Monetary Policy Committee meeting.
Emefiele said that contrary to claims in some quarters that many Nigerians would suffer the negative impact of the policy, only about five to ten percent of bank customers would be affected.
He emphasized that if the Nigerian economy is to compete effectively with those of developed countries, then a payment system that encourages the use of other non-cash channel was desirable.
Kano govt. shut down O’Pay office, gives reason
The Kano state government has ordered the police to shut down a branch of Opay office in the state. Opay is an online payment outlet for commercial tricycle operators.
The outlet, as gathered was closed down during a raid carried out by the Kano state police command over alleged non-compliance with the government rules and directives.
The armed security personnel stormed the state office at Lodge road in Kano at about 11:00am on Thursday.
The police officers also ordered all the staff and scores of commercial tricycle operators known as Adaidaita Sahu to immediately vacate the premises, threatening anyone who failed to comply with the order risked arrest.
Confirming the development, the spokesman of the Police Command, DSP Abdullahi Haruna Kiyawa, explained that the command received an order from Kano state government to close the office.
Haruna added that the Opay company didn’t comply with some rules set for it by the state government in order to operate
Ex- Manchester United striker, Berbatov retires
Former Manchester United and Tottenham striker, Dimitar Berbatov, has announced his retirement from football.
This is coming 18 months after leaving India’s Kerala Blasters, bringing an end to a glittering 20-year career.
The 38-year-old, Bulgaria’s record goalscorer, also played for CSKA Sofia; Bayer Leverkusen; Fulham; Monaco; and Greek side PAOK.
He has been without a club since leaving India’s Kerala Blasters 18 months ago.
“Someone told me I need to say something, and seeing that people were asking me, especially back home, I need to give a farewell message,” Berbatov wrote on Instagram.
“My last game was more then one year ago, so I think it’s the right time now to stop, and it’s long overdue.”
The Hotspur striker, who won two Premier League titles with Manchester United and was named Bulgaria’s Footballer of the Year seven times between 2004 and 2010, added that he planned to remain in soccer in some capacity.
“When I think about it, it’s never the end, because I will stay in the game one way or another,” he said.
Berbatov joined Manchester United from Tottenham in 2008 for what was then a club record fee of 30.75 million pounds (38.38 million dollars) .
He made his Bulgaria debut in 1999, aged 18, but retired from international football in 2010 after scoring 48 goals in 79 matches.
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