Italian cows finish summer vacation

UNTV News   •   September 18, 2019   •   488

It is the end of summer holidays, not only for children but also for cows who have been vacationing in lush green alpine pastures in the mountains of Italy’s northern Trentino region.

As the temperature begins to drop, farmers bring their livestock back down from the mountains in order to return them to their stables on the farm where they will spend the winter.

Known as the ‘Desmalgada’ or return from the alpine pasture, the tradition has been turned into a local day of festivities.

In the town of Cogolo in the Peio area of Trentino, some 1,170 metres (3838 feet) up in the Alps, cows are dressed in their best cow bells and collars and brought down for a fashion parade through the center of town.

“We are putting on their bells for the parade, we are getting their party clothes on,” said farmer Stefano Benchimol holding onto a cow as a floral head-dress was being attached to it.

“These animals in June went up the mountain in order to eat the sweeter grass and herbs, now they have to return to their homes,” explained Tourism Official Viviana Marini.

“This is a big party because the cows are returned to their owners, who accompany them on their dissent and then show them off in a parade through the town to show how strong and beautiful these animals have become during their time in the alpine pastures,” she said.

It is difficult to miss the animal parade as a cacophony of bell ringing fills the town. The only disgruntled participants appeared to be the herds of goats bringing up the rear of the parade, with only tiny bells and not a head-dress in sight. (REUTERS)

(Production: Antonio Denti, Eleanor Biles)

Switzerland reopens its border to Italians as coronavirus travel restrictions ease

UNTV News   •   June 15, 2020

The Italian-Swiss border reopened on Monday (June 15) allowing people living in the border towns of Como and Chiasso to freely cross the border which separates the two countries.

A long line of cars carrying Italian cross-border commuters working in the Italian-speaking southern canton of Ticino reached Switzerland through the border of Chiasso as coronavirus (COVID-19) travel restrictions across Europe are gradually eased.

It is hoped the opening of borders with fellow European Union countries could help salvage the summer season for the country’s battered travel and tourism industry.

The Schengen area of 22 EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland operates control-free crossings, but they have been mostly closed for three months to all but goods traffic and critical workers.

Before the crisis, an average of 3.5 million people crossed an internal EU border every day, according to a European Parliament report last year, some 1.7 million of the commuting to work. (Reuters)

(Production: Alex Fraser, Gabriele Pileri, Fabiano Franchitti)

Brazil overtakes Spain, Italy in COVID-19 confirmed cases

UNTV News   •   May 18, 2020

Brazil’s confirmed COVID-19 cases had exceeded 230,000 as of Saturday local time, surpassing the numbers in Spain and Italy and making the country’s outbreak the fourth largest in the world, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

According to the latest epidemiological data, the virus has infected 233,142 people and left 15,633 dead. The number of confirmed cases in Brazil has jumped to the fourth in the world, following the United States, Russia and the UK.

Brazil saw 14,919 new confirmed cases and 816 additional deaths on Saturday.

According to a statement issued by the Vice President office, Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourao and his wife undertook COVID-19 tests on Saturday after a household help who had close contact with them was tested positive. The couple are under quarantine at home now.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro strongly supported the resumption of business activities and ending large-scale isolation as soon as possible during an interview Saturday.

The president said the isolation measures taken by the governors and mayors of different states will bring more chaos, hunger and poverty, and a total of 380 million people without formal jobs have lost everything in the outbreak. He is worried that it will be difficult to recover the economy and social order.

However, as the epidemic is almost out of control in Brazil, most of the country’s states and municipalities decided to further strengthen the isolation measures to ensure the safety of people. (Reuters)

Italy eases restrictions after fewest daily deaths from COVID-19 reported

UNTV News   •   May 4, 2020

Italy has started easing its restrictions since Monday in its second phase of returning to normal life, as the country on Sunday reported 174 new deaths from COVID-19, the fewest since the lockdowns began nearly two months ago.

At the news, many Italians seem relieved, while others are nervous about the future. Under phase 2, relatives can reunite in small groups. For Silvia Poletto’s three kids, it has been a two-month wait but now they will reunite with their grandma in the countryside.

“It will be amazing because they will have open air and their grandmother all at once. So, I’m really emotional about that, I can’t wait for it,” said Poletto.

Parks will reopen and residents will be allowed outside. For Poletto’s husband Maurizio Levante, he admitted it was a big step after two months inside.

“Compared to the past, it’s nothing but now it’s a lot. I think we will appreciate a lot, much more than before the freedom,” said Levante.

“I am a bit even scared about this, it won’t be a normal life, it will be a different life. I think for everybody,” said Poletto.

During phase 2, manufacturing and construction will also start again.

“It will be difficult the first day, the first week to adapt to the new measures, we will still feel this lockdown in the weeks ahead because we haven’t worked and the costs have remained,” said Nicola Rapino, who owns a construction company based in Pescara.

Upon construction resumptions, those sites have to adhere to work-safe measures, such as temperature checks, masks, gloves and social distancing.

Another sector set to restart is the auto industry, but car dealerships are apprehensive that there will not be any customers. Francesco Barbuscia is the owner of the car dealership Barbuscia Auto S.r.l. , which has been in his family for 100 years. He feared that many in the business will have no choice but to close and this has been the most difficult period his company has ever experienced.

“There’s a mix of excitement and fear because the question is who will come when we reopen to buy a car. This is a game changer for all of us, and certainly for the automotive dealerships,” said Barbuscia.

“In 2009, the market dropped down after the financial crisis of 23 percent and less than a half survived that crisis. Now we’re looking at figures of minus 30 percent; so, many of us will not survive,” he added.

It is a sentiment shared by those businesses who have to wait another month to open, such as hairdressers, beauticians and restaurants. But the government said a slow and staged reopening is the only way Italy can move forward.

As of Sunday, Italy has reported a total of 209,328 COVID-19 cases, with 79,914 recovered, and 28,710 deaths, according to the Italian Ministry of Health. (Reuters)

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