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Italian Town Bans Skiing To Not Disturb Roosting Bird

When snow falls on Monesi di Triora, a ski resort in the Alps, it can seem like a perfect winterland paradise.

But any kind of winter sports activity has now been prohibited — just because of a big bird.

The black grouse in question, say naturalists, could be bothered by excessive human presence, because during winter the birds have a unique roosting habit of digging tunnels under the snow to conserve energy before mating season, which begins in March and lasts through June.

The city council that oversees the resort has therefore issued an order forbidding trekking, skiing, climbing, and even snowshoeing in the idyllic resort, reportsLa Stampa.

The town has taken it badly because tourists — especially during winter — are manna for the local economy. The rare grouse has become a source of contention and has left members the hospitality industry in a fowl mood.

Although the mayor has now withdrawn the order because of the backlash, damage has still been done, as the ban reportedly led many to pick another holiday destination.

"We will try to convince the region to review the requirements," said the council, "And a more detailed study on the bird to prove that it is there and must be protected will be commissioned. The area is very small — it makes no sense to extend the restrictions to the entire town."

Photo: Vnp

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Fight Over Tourist Visa Ban For Russians Is Taking Everyone For A Ride

High on the agenda of the Prague summit of Europe’s foreign ministers this week was a proposal to ban tourist visas for Russians, as punishment for Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. But it is ultimately a way to change the subject, and recalls Zelensky’s iconic remark after the war began.

Passengers arrive at Sheremetyevo International Airport, Russia

TASS
Anna Akage

It’s not a new question. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had called for a ban on tourist visa for Russian soon after the war began, and this week it became the center of the Prague summit of European Union foreign ministers.

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Some European Union nations voiced their support soon after it was mentioned by Zelensky, including former Soviet republics and current Russia neighbors, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. They were followed by Finland and the Czech Republic, Denmark, and Poland. Hungary, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus. Germany and France are looking for a compromise that would allow for visas for students, workers of culture and science, as well as people who need entry for humanitarian reason. Perhaps most importantly, however, the U.S. took an unambiguous position against the restrictions.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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