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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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New international travel rules for Wales confirmed by First Minister

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International travel will restart for people in Wales from Monday 17 May, the Welsh Government has confirmed today.

As part of changes to Wales’ coronavirus regulations, people living in Wales will be able to travel to some overseas destinations without the need to quarantine on their return.

But additional safeguards will be put in place to help prevent new cases of coronavirus being imported into Wales.

A traffic lights system, aligned with England and Scotland, will be introduced. Countries will be classified as green, amber and red, depending on their rates of coronavirus.

Mandatory quarantine is in place for all people returning to the UK from countries on the amber and red lists. All people returning from overseas travel must have a PCR test.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

 “Wales, like other parts of the UK, will be restarting international travel. But protecting people’s health continues to be our top priority and we want to do everything we can to prevent coronavirus from being re-imported into Wales.

 “This will not be like travel in the past. Everyone travelling abroad will have to have a test when they come home and for many people, they will need to quarantine when they get home. There are significant fines in place for those who do not follow the legal requirements.

“Some countries are not yet opening up travel to people from the UK. It’s my strong advice that this is the year to stay at home and enjoy all that Wales has to offer.”

Under the international travel rules:

• People arriving from green-list countries are not required to quarantine on their return to Wales, but they must book and pay for a mandatory PCR test on or before day two of their return. All travellers and members of their household will also be reminded about the availability of additional lateral flow tests to continue to monitor their health.

• People arriving from amber-list countries are required to quarantine for 10 days at home on their return. This is a legal requirement. They are also required to book and pay for mandatory PCR tests on day two and on day eight. Unlike in England, Wales does not operate a test-to-release scheme where an additional test can be taken on day five to reduce the period of quarantine. This is because some 30% of people who develop Covid-19 do so after day five.

• People arriving from countries on the red list are required to quarantine for a full 10 days on arrival in the UK at a designated UK port in a government-managed facility – a ‘covid hotel’ – at their own cost, starting from £1,750 per person. All UK entry points for arrivals from red-list countries are in England and Scotland, which means Welsh residents returning from those countries will need to quarantine outside Wales. Travellers are also required to book and pay for mandatory PCR tests on day two and day eight.

All those who do not follow the rules for red-list countries face fixed notice penalties of £10,000.

Welsh residents must also consult the requirements for visitors for any country they plan to travel to. Restrictions may be in place, including proof of vaccination, tests, quarantine and reasons for entry.

Vaccination status certificates will be available for people in Wales who have had two doses of their vaccination and need to urgently travel to a country that requires covid vaccination proof from Monday 24 May.

The First Minister added:

“We call on people to think about whether they need to travel overseas at this time. We should be cautious about going abroad in light of the ongoing risk of coronavirus and the presence of variants of concern in many countries.

“My clear message to everyone is make Wales your destination of choice this year.”

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Date for re-opening leisure facilities brought forward

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AS A RESULT of the current infection rates in the county and the latest Public Health Wales advice, a decision has been made to bring forward the date of the re-opening of indoor sport and physical activity provision in Ceredigion County Council operated facilities.

The updated timetable is:

  • Wellbeing Walks – 17 May
  • Outdoor Exercise Classes; Community Organisations use of Outdoor Facilities including Astro Turf Pitches (Lampeter, Ysgol Bro Teifi and Synod Inn), Playing Fields – 28 May onwards
  • Indoor Leisure Facilities at Aberaeron Leisure Centre, Lampeter Leisure Centre, Lampeter Swimming Pool, and Penglais School Sports Hall including Community Organisation use – Week commencing 07 June onwards.

The activities remain dependent on there being no significant increase in the number of cases in the county.

The significant decommissioning and re-instatement works have commenced at Plascrug Leisure Centre following its use as a field hospital.  No date has been set for its re-opening at present. 

Cardigan Leisure Centre remains closed as it is currently being used by Hywel Dda University Health Board as a Mass Vaccination Centre.

Further information will be available on the Ceredigion Actif Website, www.ceredigionactif.org.uk and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

We would like to thank all users of these facilities for their understanding during this challenging period. We are looking forward to welcoming you back to our activity sessions and facilities.

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Join the Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Panel as an independent member

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THE Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Panel is looking for two members to join them in their work to support and challenge the Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Commissioner.

The Panel is made of up of members nominated by Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys county councils along with at least two independent members.

Opportunities have now arisen for two independent members to join the Panel and carry out key statutory roles that will support the Commissioner exercise his role effectively.

Members will be expected to attend and take part in regular meetings and take part in decision making, creating reports and making recommendations to the Commissioner.

They will review the Commissioner’s annual draft Police and Crime Plan and annual draft budget, review and scrutinise his decisions and actions, and if necessary review the proposed appointment or removal of the Chief Constable and other senior police force appointments.

Applicants will need to demonstrate that they can take a balanced and objective approach in supporting the Panel and the Commissioner, make strategic and well-informed decisions, and interpret and question financial, statistical and performance related information.

They will also need to be able to act as a ‘critical friend’, challenging views or proposals for change constructively.

Applications close on May 31, and appointments to the Panel will be made until October 31, 2024. 

For further information, visit www.dppoliceandcrimepanel.wales

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