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Welsh Peer visits genocide site

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LORD BOURNE of Aberystwyth, the Minister for Faith, recently made a poignant visit to Sarajevo and Srebrenica, the site of the worst atrocity on European soil since the Second World War.

Last Monday (Aug 27), Lord Bourne heard testimony from survivors of genocide and ethnic cleansing, met civic and spiritual leaders and paid his respects at the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial and Cemetery for the Victims of the 1995 genocide, in a journey organised by UK charity Remembering Srebrenica.

While in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Lord Bourne visited different places of worship to witness the religious diversity of the city. Sarajevo is one of the few places in the world where you can find an Orthodox Cathedral, a Synagogue and Mosque less than a five-minute walk apart.

The Minister for Faith learnt how even a city with a centuries-old tradition of multiculturalism can be torn apart by hatred and intolerance.

Commenting on his visit to Srebrenica and Sarajevo, Lord Bourne said: “The tragedy of Srebrenica holds vital lessons for communities across the UK and serves as a constant reminder of the importance of challenging hatred and bigotry, wherever and whenever it occurs.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to visit Srebrenica, and to meet with survivors and pay my respects to those who died. It has been hugely valuable to gain a deeper understanding of the Srebrenica genocide and to hear how different faith groups can work together to rebuild their communities.”

Lord Bourne paid his respects at the Srebrenica Memorial site in Potočari where on July 11 1995, Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladić and his forces seized the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica, which had been declared a UN ‘safe zone’ in 1993.

Over the following week, more than 8000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys would be systematically murdered simply because of their faith. Both the International Criminal Court and the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia have ruled Srebrenica a genocide.

In November 2017, Ratko Mladić was found guilty of the genocide and was sentenced to life imprisonment. While in Potočari, the Minister for Faith met the ‘Mothers of Srebrenica’ who lost sons, husbands and other male relatives in the genocide.

Dr Waqar Azmi OBE, Chair of the charity Remembering Srebrenica, accompanied the Minister for Faith on his visit to Srebrenica and Sarajevo. Dr Waqar Azmi OBE said: “Until you see the graves at Potočari and breathe in the silence and grief, you do not truly understand the significance of the events in Srebrenica in July 1995. I am delighted to have the opportunity to attend this delegation with the Minister for Faith and pleased that Remembering Srebrenica has been able to facilitate meetings for the Minister with survivors of genocide and ethnic cleansing.

“It is my hope that Lord Bourne is able to bring all he learns in Sarajevo and Srebrenica back to government and will help Remembering Srebrenica continue to raise awareness about the genocide.”

Since being established in 2013, Remembering Srebrenica has taken over 1,200 British citizens to Srebrenica to learn about the consequences of hatred. On their return from the ‘Lessons from Srebrenica’ programme, delegates fulfil their pledge to tackle hatred by setting up social action projects and bringing communities together to remember the victims.

Over the last five years the charity has brought communities together by organising almost 5,500 Srebrenica memorial activities across the UK and has educated 75,000 young people about the dangers of hatred left unchecked. It has created 1,200 Community Champions Against Hate in local communities across the UK.

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European Parliamentary Election Guide

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ON THURSDAY next week, May 23, voters will elect 73 MEPs to represent the UK in the European Parliament.

At the 2014 European Parliamentary elections in the UK, turnout was 35.6%.

The deadline to register to vote for the elections was Tuesday, May, 7.

If you were already on the electoral register in your county of residence, you do not need to have re-registered and – in most cases – will already have your polling cards.

How you vote is up to you.

Most people vote at a polling station.

The UK elects 73 MEPs.

Of those 73, Wales elects 4.

In Wales, votes are cast on a closed list system. This means you vote for the party and not the candidate.

The political parties put their candidates in order from 1 to 4. This means that if a party gets enough votes, it can return more than one MEP from the list. While that seldom happens in Wales, the UK’s political crisis could mean there is a significant shift in voting patterns for this election.

Voters put one cross against the party or independent candidate they wish to vote for.

Polling Stations are open between 7:00 am and 10:00 pm.

In Pembrokeshire, there are 112 Polling Stations for the European Elections. The list of Polling stations is available from the County Council’s website.

The link is here: http://bit.ly/PembsPolling

In Carmarthenshire, there are 184 Polling Stations for the European Elections. The list of Polling Stations is available from the County Council’s website.

The link is here: http://bit.ly/CarmsPolling

In Ceredigion, there are 97 Polling Stations for the European Elections. The list of Polling Stations is available from the County Council’s website.

The link is here: http://bit.ly/CeredPolls

Counting can only begin after 10 pm on Sunday 26 May when polls across the EU have closed.

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Sheep take centre stage at Ceredigion Museum

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Icelandic film, Rams (2015)

ON 14 and 28 June, Ceredigion Museum will be screening three films centred on Wales’ most iconic animal, the sheep. Screened alongside the Museum’s current art exhibition simply entitled Sheep, this tryptic of films explore the intricacies of our relationship with these woolly creatures and the communities and lives that we have built around them.

The exhibition, which is open daily until 29 June, looks at the history, heritage and culture of sheep farming communities within Wales and offers an exciting opportunity to see Welsh artists exhibit their work alongside internationally significant works of art as well as Ceredigion’s own collection.

Ceredigion Museum’s Curator Carrie Canham said, “This exhibition and the events surrounding it bring our relationship with the Welsh uplands to the forefront of discussion, exploring how our traditional farming landscape has changed and how it might look in the future.”

The film series reaches out of Wales to shine a light on other sheep farming communities around the world, from two brothers battling the weather and the authorities in the Icelandic film, Rams (2015) on 14 June, 7pm – to the gruelling world of competitive sheep shearing in international documentary, She Shears (2018) on 28 June, 7pm. The tryptic concludes with a late night screening of New Zealand’s sheep zombie horror film, Black Sheep (2006) on 28 June at 9pm.

The exhibition and the surrounding events have been funded by the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund; created by the Garfield Weston Foundation and Art Fund, the Weston Loan Programme is the first ever UK-wide funding scheme to enable smaller and local authority museums to borrow works of art and artefacts from national collections. Further funding has been provided by Arts Council of Wales, The Ferryman Project: Sharing Works of Art which is supported by National Lottery players through the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the John Ellerman Foundation and Art Fund.

Alice Briggs, Assistant Curator at Ceredigion Museum said, “The funding for Sheep from the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund and others will have a lasting legacy beyond just the exhibition. Its support of the necessary upgrades and accompanying programmes will enable the museum to borrow other important artefacts and treasures to display in the future.”

For more information, visit www.ceredigionmuseum.wales.

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Coastal Awards for Ceredigion beaches

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Aberystwyth Beach

CEREDIGION COUNTY COUNCIL will pick up five Blue Flags at the Wales 2019 Coastal Awards ceremony on Wednesday 15 May 2019.

Five beaches across Ceredigion have each been awarded the internationally recognised Blue Flag this year in recognition of the quality of their bathing water, safety, cleanliness and standard of services and facilities. In order to achieve a Blue Flag award, bathing water must meet the Excellent standard and a total of 32 land-based criteria.

Three beaches have each been awarded the Green Coast award. For this award, beaches must meet the highest water quality standard and are judged by the provision of facilities for beach users along with demonstrating good management and safety provision.

Also, 13 beaches received the Seaside Award – awarded to those beaches who reach the national standard beaches across the UK. This award ensures visitors that they are guaranteed to find a clean, attractive and well-managed beach.

Aberporth Beach

Arwyn Davies, Corporate Manager for Growth and Enterprise said, “Tourism is a major contributor to the Ceredigion economy bringing in over £310 million to the local economy every year. Ceredigion’s coastline, our coast path and superb beaches are amongst the county’s greatest assets in terms of attracting visitors.

The coastal awards, be they Blue Flags, Green Coast and Seaside Awards, provide an indication of the quality of our beaches and the council is committed to working with our partners and coastal communities to ensure that the high standards required to achieve award status are met.”

The following beaches have been awarded 2019 coastal awards:

Blue Flag
Borth, Aberystwyth North, New Quay Harbour, Llangrannog and Tresaith

Green Coast
Llanrhystud, Mwnt and Cilborth

Seaside Award
Borth, Clarach, Aberystwyth North and South, Llanrhystud, New Quay Harbour and Dolau beaches, Llangrannog, Cilborth, Tresaith, Aberporth, Penbryn and Mwnt

Wales’s coastal awards are administered by Keep Wales Tidy.

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