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Event bans enforced in Czech Republic, Greece, Poland

Public events taking place in the Czech Republic and Greece – and now Poland – are the latest to face restrictions as governments around Europe attempt to crack down on the continuing spread of Covid-19.

In the Czech Republic, the Ministry of Health today (10 March) imposed a ban on all public events with more than 100 people, extending a previous ban that applied only to events of over 5,000 capacity.

The ban, effective from 6 p.m. today, includes planned music concerts, markets and major festivals including the upcoming Prague International Film Festival. The country currently has 40 reported cases of the virus.

Serge Grimaux, owner of Prague venue Fórum Karlín, confirms to IQ that the ban “means that all events scheduled from now until whenever activities will start over again will be postponed to a later date, currently in the coming autumn.”

The Ministry of Health in Greece has also announced new preventative measures, including a ban on large events and conferences until 5 April. All sporting events in the country will be played behind closed doors for the next two weeks.

“The Greek government announced yesterday, that all indoor-arena shows with a minimum capacity of 1,000 people, will be cancelled/postponed until further notification,” Mary Gavala of Greek ticketing service Viva Wallet tells IQ.

“The next two weeks are important for all of Europe as far as I can see.”

“The next two weeks are important for all of Europe as far as I can see”

The measures “will be re-evaluated before they expire”, according to the Ministry of Health spokesperson Sotiris Tsiodras.

In Poland, the government has enforced a ban on events over 500 people. According to a source on the ground in the country, no information has been given as to how long the ban will last for.

The Polish division of Live Nation has cancelled three upcoming concerts, including today’s show by Mura Masa and Carlos Santana’s performance on 17 March at the 22,000-capacity Tauron Arena Kraków. Live Nation Polska states it is “working hard to find new date[s]” for cancelled acts “to perform in similar location[s]”.

Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte today extended a ban on public gatherings to the whole country. The restrictions had previously only applied to regions in the north of the country, where the outbreak was concentrated.

The country has been at the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak in Europe, reporting more than 9,000 cases of the virus so far.

In France, a ban on public events of over 5,000 attendees has been extended to those of more than 1,000. Certain local authorities are also placing restrictions on smaller events.

Photo: Arkouman/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0) (cropped)

 


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More visa issues for Brown as Japan dates delayed

Chris Brown’s upcoming shows in Tokyo have been cancelled due to “visa issues”, as Japan apparently becomes the latest country to deny the controversial US singer entry.

In a statement issued this morning, promoter Creativeman Productions said: “We are very sorry to announce that we have to postpone Chris Brown’s upcoming Japan tour at Tokyo International Forum Hall A on 26 and 27 September due to a logistical visa issue. We will announce details of rescheduled dates [soon].”

“We are very sorry to announce that we have to postpone Chris Brown’s upcoming Japan tour due to a logistical visa issue”

Brown, who has been convicted of a number of assaults, including one involving his then-girlfriend Rihanna, has previously been denied visas for the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The European leg of his One Hell of a Nite notably did not include any stops in Britain; according to CNN, Brown is still barred from the UK.

The One Hell of a Nite tour was the 32nd highest grossing of 2015, according to Pollstar, grossing US$46 million from 64 shows.

 


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‘Bikini ban’ for concerts in Israel

Israel is to introduce a dress code for performers at some live events following a ‘disrespectful’ performance by singer Hanna Goor at the Hagaugust festival in Ashdod last Friday.

Goor, a former contestant on Israeli singing contest Kokhav Nolad (A Star is Born), was asked to leave the stage after the Ministry of Culture and Sport, which funded the festival, ruled her attire – a bikini top, open shirt and shorts – did not “respect the general public that attended the show”.

In response, the ministry has announced it will issue guidelines to production companies working with it on taxpayer-funded concerts as to how ‘modestly’ performers should dress. “Festivals and events funded by public money will respect the general public, which includes different communities,” it said in a statement.

Although culture ministry officials deny Goor’s performance – which lasted just three songs – was cut short, the singer told Haaretz she was asked, mid-performance, to “get dressed”. When she refused, she says, “they took me down [from the stage]”.

“It wasn’t a provocation but simply a matter of comfort. It’s summer, it’s hot and we were at the beach”

Speaking to local newspaper Ashdodnet, she elaborated: “It wasn’t a provocation but simply a matter of comfort. It’s summer, it’s hot and we were at the beach.”

In an editorial, Haaretz accused culture minister Miri Regez of overstepping her remit in attempting to speak for “the entire public” and called the new dress code “the mirror image of France’s unconstitutional burkini law”, in reference to the attempted ban of the Islamic swimsuit, which covers almost the entire body, in a number of French cities.

Regev’s ministry, however, is keen to highlight a difference between “freedom of expression and freedom of funding”, inferring that no such ban will be extended to events not funded with government money.

Israel is defined in its declaration of independence as a “Jewish state”, though its founding father, David Ben-Gurion, was a atheist and a 2015 Gallup survey found 65% of Israelis described themselves as either “not religious” or “convinced atheists”. However, tensions exist between haredi (‘ultra-orthodox’) Jews – who dress conservatively, practice gender segregation and often even refuse to recognise Israel itself – and secular or non-religious Jews. Haredim, who make up 10% of Israel’s population, exert significant influence on Israeli public life, with their Shas party having been consistently in governing coalitions for over 30 years.

 


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Goa declares war on Asia’s biggest music festival

Asia’s largest music festival, Goa electronic dance music (EDM) event Sunburn, is facing an uncertain 2016 after the Indian state’s tourism minister announced that no EDM festivals will be allowed to go ahead in the final week of the year.

The ban will also affect arch-rival Supersonic.

“At that time so many tourists are in Goa to celebrate New Year or Christmas,” Dilip Parulekar told journalists at Goa’s state secretariat, reports India.com. “We do not want these EDM events at that time. They should be organised before or after that period.”

Both festivals take place at the same time, from 27 to 30 December – Sunburn (which last year attracted a record-breaking 350,000 attendees) on Vagator beach and Supersonic on Candolim beach, both in Bardez – and have in recent years been subject to criticism from local politicians, police and businesspeople, many of whom would prefer that they be held at different times to better serve the economy and relieve pressure on Goa’s narrow streets and ageing infrastructure.

“We do not want these EDM events at that time. They should be organised before or after that period”

According to a December Goa News report, both Sunburn promoter Percept Ltd and Supersonic’s Viacom 18 are also behind on taxes following the Goan police’s decision to hike the festivals’ security bills and backdate them three years.

Aside from the logistical issues, it is also possible that many in the Goan government’s hostility to its world-leading EDM festivals comes from a deeper-seated moral opposition. Sunita Verenkar, of the conservative governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said in December: “The BJP government should ban EDMs [sic]. While in the opposition, they had accused the Congress [party] of promoting such festivals, which according to them were against [Indian] culture and [pro-] pushing drugs.”

Supersonic has yet to announce any dates for 2016, while Sunburn’s website still shows the festival as taking place from 27 to 30 December.

 


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“Morally obscene” music off-limits during Ramadan

The government of the Gambia has outlawed music for Ramadan, warning citizens against engaging in “morally obscene things” during the holiest month in the Islamic calendar.

In a press release, the Gambia Police Force’s PR officer, Lamin Njie, listed “music, dancing and drumming” as activities that “Allah frowns on during the Holy Month” and said Gambians should “desist from such acts, otherwise they will be eventually apprehended and face the full force of the law without compromise”.

The state-owned Daily Observer welcomed the diktat as “wholly reasonable as it is sensible”, opining “the ban should be seen through the lens of guiding Muslims to the respectable, honourable path during a month that Allah dishes infinite blessings to the compliable faithful”.

The Gambia has been an Islamic state since December, when President Yahya Jammeh declared the Islamic Republic of The Gambia. Jammeh, who took power in a military coup in 1994, pulled the west African nation out of the Commonwealth of Nations in 2013, declaring it a “neo-colonial institution”.

Ramadan began at sundown on Sunday 5 June.

 


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