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Premiere of new work to be given by Royal Harpist Alis Huws in Pembrokeshire

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THE FINAL round of concerts for this year’s Fishguard and West Wales International Music Festival will continue on Wednesday, September 8, with a world premiere at Capel Tabor, Dinas. 

Alis Huws, harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales, will give the first live performance of a short piece by mid-Wales composer Steph Power entitled Camddwr Bleiddiaid (Wolf’s Leap). 

The work is a reference to a location on an old drovers’ road in the desolate beauty of the Cambrian mountains. Alis will also perform works by Bach, Debussy and other composers in her recital which will take place at Capel Tabor, Dinas at 7.30pm.

Gillian Green MBE, Artistic Director, commented: “Fishguard Music Festival has a long history of commissioning new works from contemporary composers and includes a new premiere most years. We are very proud to have commissioned a piece for harp by Steph Power and to have someone like Alis Huws to perform it will be magical.”

Alis Huws is from Mid Wales and has played for the Royal Family on several occasions, and given performances across Europe and the Far East. She performs regularly at high profile events for the Welsh Assembly Government, including the opening of their new offices at the British Embassy in Berlin, their St David’s Day celebrations at Lancaster House, and the official Royal opening of the Senedd in 2016. She was also invited to perform at Buckingham Palace to mark 50 years since the Investiture of HRH The Prince of Wales.

Tickets are still available and can be purchased from http://www.fishguardmusicfestival.com

Capel Tabor will also host a recital the following night by the Meraki Duo, a pairing of flute and guitar, who will perform pieces by Dvorák, Barrios, Piazzolla, Liebermann and Arcaro. Meera Maharaj and James Girling both studied at the Royal Northern College of Music, where they connected through a shared passion for chamber music, jazz, Latin American and European folk, and contemporary works.

The Festival will return to its home town of Fishguard for the penultimate concert (Saturday 11th September) when the Palisander Recorder Ensemble will play at 2pm at Theatr Gwaun. Described as “Early Music’s very own Spice Girls”, Palisander prides itself on presenting imaginative, historical programmes with a wide range of repertoire; performing largely from memory, on recorders up to six feet tall. 

Comprised of alumni from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Palisander has quickly established itself as a vibrant young ensemble, devising their own choreography, as well as writing new compositions and unique arrangements for the ensemble.

This year’s Festival will end on Sunday 12 September with a recital by rising star Angharad Lyddon. Angharad represented Wales in the 2019 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition and was a finalist in the Song Prize. Accompanied by Jâms Coleman, Angharad will perform songs by Schubert, Schumann, Fauré, Mahler and more at Neuadd y Dderwen, Rhosygilwen at 7.30pm.

For tickets and information please visit www.fishguardmusicfestival.com

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Wales completes move to alert level 0

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THE MOVE completes the Welsh Government’s phased lifting of the alert level 2 protections, which were put in place on Boxing Day to keep Wales safe as the omicron wave swept across the country.

Some important protections will remain in place at alert level 0, including mandatory face coverings in most indoor public places, including on public transport.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said the relaxation of protections was possible thanks to the hard work of everyone in Wales and the success of the vaccination programme – more than 1.8 million booster doses have been given.

And, since the start of December, more than 36,000 people have come forward to have their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “We have passed the peak of this omicron wave and there are encouraging signs that cases of coronavirus may be starting to stabilise. But we all need to continue taking steps to stay safe – unfortunately the pandemic is not over yet.

“We are moving to alert level 0 and we will retain some important protections, such as face coverings in most indoor public places and risk assessments.

“We can do this thanks to the hard work and efforts of everyone in Wales and the remarkable success of our vaccine and booster programmes. Thank you all.”

On Friday 28 January, Wales will complete the move to alert level 0. This means:

  • Nightclubs can re-open.
  • The general requirement of 2m social distancing in all premises open to the public and workplaces will be removed.
  • The rule of six will no longer apply to gatherings in regulated premises, such as hospitality, cinemas and theatres.
  • Licensed premises will no longer need to only provide table service and collect contact details. The Covid Pass will continue to be required to enter larger indoor events, nightclubs, cinemas, theatres and concert halls.
  • Working from home will remain important but it will no longer be a legal requirement.
  • Businesses, employers and other organisations must continue to undertake a specific coronavirus risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise the spread of coronavirus, which may include 2m social distancing or controlled entry.

Face-covering rules, which apply on public transport and in most public indoor places will remain in force after 28 January, with the exception of hospitality settings such as restaurants, pubs, cafes and nightclubs.

Everyone must also continue to self-isolate if they test positive for coronavirus but the Welsh Government has reduced the self-isolation period from seven to 5 full days.

People are advised to take 2 negative lateral flow tests 24 hours apart on days 5 and 6. The self-isolation support scheme payment will return to the original rate of £500 for all those who are eligible.

The next 3-weekly review of the coronavirus regulations will be carried out by 10 February, when all the measures at alert level 0 will be reviewed.

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Police investigating suspicious fire at Vodafone mast tower in Llanelli

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE are investigating a fire which caused significant damage to a service room at the Vodafone mast tower in Bigyn Road, Llanelli.  

The fire, which is being treated as suspicious, happened sometime between 10pm on Monday 24th and 2.30am on Tuesday 25th January 2022.

No-one was injured in the fire.

Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation, or anyone who has CCTV or dash cam footage of the area at the time. is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Quote reference: DP-20220125-075.

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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Denial of Wales-specific Covid inquiry ‘no longer tenable’ say Welsh Conservatives

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THE WELSH CONSERVATIVES have reiterated their call for an inquiry that focuses exclusively on the actions of the Welsh Government in tackling coronavirus in a letter to the First Minister.

It was prompted after it was revealed that the Welsh Government have been aware that NHS Wales was not prepared for an airborne virus as far back as 2004, following the SARS outbreak. Despite committing to an audit and allocation to rectify the lack of isolation facilities, this did not materialise.

The letter from Andrew RT Davies MS, which states “decision made in Wales should be scrutinised in Wales” follows a weekend when Mark Drakeford was keen to highlight that his government had “always taken a different approach in Wales [compared to the British Government], one that does things step-by-step”.

Concerned: Andrew RT Davies

In the letter, the Welsh Conservatives leader questions why, despite him stressing divergences in the approach to coronavirus, the First Minister still feels it “inappropriate to separate” from the British Government “when the time comes for accountability”.

The Labour Government policy is for its actions to be included in the UK-wide inquiry that will chiefly investigate the actions of the Conservative Government. There will be a Scotland-specific inquiry after Nicola Sturgeon commissioned one.

Joining the Welsh Conservatives in their calls for a Wales-specific inquiry are the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Group, the British Lung Foundation, Medics 4 Mask Up Wales, the Institute for Welsh Affairs, and Plaid Cymru.

Commenting on the letter, Andrew RT Davies MS said: “The position of exercising wide-ranging emergency powers that curtailed the liberty and closed the economy of the Welsh people but avoiding accountability through an inquiry that focusses on how those decisions were made is no longer tenable.

“Under Mark Drakeford, Wales has experienced the highest Covid death-rate of UK nations, seen its children lose more time for learning than anywhere else in the country, and imposed economically cruel and clinically unnecessary restrictions in an overzealous attempt to tackle the Omicron variant.

“We, along with bereaved families and medical groups, believe that the decisions that led to these outcomes need to be put under the spotlight, not hidden in the shadow of an inquiry that will inevitably focus on the British Government.

“Indeed, if Mark Drakeford is so confident in the actions of his government, then why is he against having them examined in a Wales-specific inquiry? That is what people will be asking when British and Scottish leaders have ordered investigations into their own handling of the pandemic.

“As I say to the First Minister in my letter, it is not too late for him to change his mind and take this opportunity to do the right thing and order that inquiry.”

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