food / travel

Italian Island Of Capri Wages War On Noise Pollution

Italian Island Of Capri Wages War On Noise Pollution

To make sure the chic island getaway offers maximum R&R, Capri wants to limit the use of heavy machinery in summer months. August will be completely silent – except, of course, for all the tourists.

Capri (shoobydooby)

CAPRI – This island is already known for its breathtaking scenery and VIP parties. Now Capri is offering tourists another treat: peace and quiet.

Authorities have prepared a series of regulations to safeguard visitors' siesta time. Police official Marica Avellino has signed a directive to limit noise on the island. The ordinance will go into effect during tourist season: between April and October. Violators will be punished with fines of between 50 and 500 euros.

The new law goes into great detail regulating the use of farming and construction machinery. The use of noisy farming equipment is only allowed four hours a day, between noon and 2 p.m., and between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. In the construction sector, only manual work is permitted, however noisy, and just during limited hours: between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the island's center and in Marina Grande, Capri's main harbor; and between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. on the rest of the island.

However, all farming or construction machinery, even if used for public works, is banned in August, the peak of the summer holiday season. Capri had already enforced similar rules in 1999, but not to the same extreme degree.

Avellino wrote in the directive that several hotels had complained about excessive noise caused by construction activities. "We deemed it indispensable during the whole tourist season to safeguard the peace and quiet of our guests, an essential part of what we offer," she said.

The customer may always be right, but construction workers and gardeners worry that their work will grind to a halt. They demanded a meeting with Capri's mayor, Ciro Lembo, insisting the strict noise ordinances be lifted, or at the very least revised.

Under the new rules, the mayor can in fact allow certain work to go ahead under extreme circumstances, or if it is deemed to be in the best interest of the island's population.

Environmentalists on the island welcomed the move. "The anti-noise ordinance is extremely interesting," says Francesco Emilio Borrelli, regional representative for the Greens. "It could be used as a model for all the cities in the area." Still, Borrelli says the Capri regulations don't go far enough, noting that there is no mention of muffling the island's biggest source of noise pollution: the local power plant.

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Dutch Cities Have Been Secretly Probing Mosques Since 2013

Revelations of a nationally funded clandestine operation within 10 municipalities in the Netherlands to keep tabs on mosques and Muslim organizations after a rise in radicalization eight years ago.

The Nasser mosque in Veenendaal, one of the mosques reportedly surveilled

Meike Eijsberg

At least ten Dutch towns and cities have secretly used a private agency to probe mosques and other local religious organizations, Amsterdam-based daily het NRC reports in an exclusive investigation.

The clandestine operation — funded by NCTV, the National Security Services, the Netherlands' leading counter-terrorism agency — was prompted by the social unrest and uncertainty following multiple terror attacks in 2013, and a rise in Islamic radicalization.

The NCTV, which advises and financially supports municipalities in countering radicalization, put the municipalities in touch with Nuance by Training and Advice (Nuance door Trainingen en Advies, NTA), a private research agency based in Deventer, Netherlands. Among the institutions targeted by the investigations, which came at a cost of circa 500,000 euros, were the Al Mouahidin mosque in the central Dutch town of Ede, and the Nasser mosque east of the city of Utrecht, according to NRC.

Photo of people standing on prayer mats inside a Dutch mosque

Praying inside a Dutch mosque.


Broken trust in Islamic community

Unlike public officials, the private agency can enter the mosques to clandestinely research the situation. In this case, the agents observed activity, talk to visitors, administrators, and religious leaders, and investigated what they do and say on social media.

All findings then wound up in a secret report which includes personal details about what the administrators and teachers studied, who their relatives are, with whom they argued, and how often they had contact with authorities in foreign countries, like Morocco.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed.

It is unclear whether the practice is legal, which is why several members of the Dutch Parliament are now demanding clarification from the outgoing Minister of Justice and Security, Ferd Grapperhaus, who is said to be involved.

"The ease with which the government violates (fundamental) rights when it comes to Islam or Muslims is shocking," Stephan van Baarle, member of the leftist party DENK, told De Volkskrant, another Dutch newspaper.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed. Hassan Saidi, director of one of the mosques investigated, said that the relationship with the local municipality had been good. "This puts a huge dent in the trust I'd had in the municipality," he told the Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

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