Serbian town moves to protect winter owls

Updated 19 January 2013
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Serbian town moves to protect winter owls

BELGRADE: The townsfolk of Kikinda in northeast Serbia have welcomed an unlikely intruder into their midst, even decreeing stiff fines for anyone who dares disturb the peace of the long-eared owls that have made this their winter refuge. Officials said Friday that a fine of up to 10,000 euros ($ 13,000) will be payable for disturbing the 700-odd birds that find shelter in the town’s central treetops from November to May.
“Long-eared owls are a protected species... and a symbol of our town,” head of the local tourist bureau Marijana Ilicin told AFP. The decree bans public gatherings or the erection of luminous signs near the trees where the owls spend their winter months. During spring and summer, they return to the plains near the town of some 40,000 people.
Long-eared owls are generally solitary animals and it is uncommon for them to spend time in cities or close to people. The decree also bans the cutting of trees on the sites where owls reside. Even shouting or loud music near the birds are punishable. “We had more owls before and we must do everything to keep them safe as they are a natural rarity,” said local environment official Ljiljana Milekic.
Nature experts estimate some 30,000 owls spend the winter at around 450 sites around Serbia, mainly in the northern Vojvodina province known for its biodiversity.


Avril Lavigne quietly dating son of Egyptian billionaire

Updated 26 May 2018
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Avril Lavigne quietly dating son of Egyptian billionaire

CAIRO: Canadian singer Avril Lavigne has been quietly dating the son of an Egyptian-born Texas billionaire for a few months.
According to E! News, the Canadian punk icon is dating Phillip Sarofim, son of Fayez Sarofim, a Coptic American heir to the Sarofim family fortune. He is the second largest shareholder in US energy infrastructure company Kinder Morgan and part owner of the NFL team Houston Texans.
Philip’s father is reportedly worth $1.48 billion, and as one of five children, Phillip Sarofim is an heir to that fortune. Philip’s mother, Linda Hicks, died climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2000.
Lavigne has been reportedly seeing her new billionaire boyfriend for three to four months, E! reports. The source added that they met through friends at a dinner party and hit it off.
She has previously been married to Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley from 2006 to 2010 and Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger from 2013 to 2015. She most recently dated prolific pop music producer J.R. Rotem in late 2017.
The singer has been away from the public eye since the release of her latest album in 2013, battling health problems that left her bedridden for months and unable to eat.
In April 2015, she revealed to People magazine that she had been diagnosed with Lyme disease.[271] In an interview with Billboard, Lavigne said that she was recovering.