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athens

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Minister of Justice Stavros Kontonis visited the Archbishop of Athens & All Greece Hieronymus in a meeting that was totally played down by the Church.

The subject of the meeting was reportedly the new law 4491/2017 on the legal recognition of gender identity (gender change from 15 years of age).

The Minister of Justice merely spoke of the meeting in a paragraph in the press release, which simply stated that the Minister he had a meeting today with the Archbishop of Athens without any further reference.

Sources of the church spoke of “political games”.

The gap between the two sides on the subject appears to be impossible to be bridged.

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Police have found DNA traces of murderers at the office of 52-year-old lawyer, Michael Zafeiropoulos, who was murdered on Thursday night in his office on 154, Asklepio Street.
The material, which is believed to belong to the two killers and found in the meeting room, includes, according to information, hair and other elements.
The genetic material has already been sent to the laboratories of the Greek police headquarters (EL.AS). The process of forensic testing is expwected to last several days, since around 80% of the DNA is can be identified in about a week.
Meanwhile, the long testimony of the murderd lawyer’s associate and partner continued at the Hellenic Police headquarters (GADA). The 32-year-old man is the only one that saw the perpetrators.

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Click here to see the original post from protothemanews.com » Greece

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Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had a telephone conversation with the Minister of Citizen Protection, Nikos Toskas. He was informed of the murder of the 52-year-old lawyer Michael Zafeiropoulos and requested that the police will immediately solve the case.

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The leader of the main opposition party of New Democracy (ND), Kyriakos Mitsotakis wrote on Twitter: “I express my abhorrence at Michael Zafiropoulos’s brutal murder. A worthy lawyer, a distinguished member of the ND & very good friend”.

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– Statements

President of Athens Bar Association, Vasilis Alexandris

Vasilis Alexandris, president of the Athens Bar Association stated: “Apparently, it is dangerous to try to do your job well”.

Συγγενείς και φίλοι αντιδρούν έξω από το δικηγορικό γραφείο μετά το άκουσμα της δολοφονίας του δικηγόρου Μιχάλη Ζαφειρόπουλου και γιου του πρώην βουλευτή της Νέας Δημοκρατίας, Επαμεινώνδα Ζαφειρόπουλου, Πέμπτη 12 Οκτωβρίου 2017. Όπως αναφέρουν τα πρώτα στοιχεία, σύμφωνα με μαρτυρία συνεργάτη του δικηγόρου, που ήταν σε διπλανό γραφείο, ο Μιχάλης Ζαφειρόπουλος άνοιξε την πόρτα της εισόδου της πολυκατοικίας σε δύο άγνωστα άτομα, τα οποία ανέβηκαν στον όροφο που είναι το γραφείο του. Ξαφνικά ακούστηκε ένας πυροβολισμός και όταν ο συνεργάτης του έτρεξε να δει τι είχε συμβεί, βρήκε τον δικηγόρο να έχει γύρει νεκρός πάνω στο γραφείο του, ενώ οι δράστες είχαν φύγει. ΑΠΕ ΜΠΕ/ΑΠΕ ΜΠΕ/ΓΙΑΝΝΗΣ ΚΟΛΕΣΙΔΗΣ

Justice Minister, Stavros Kontonis

Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis expressed his anger over the cowardly action against his colleague and expresses his warm condolences to the family.

Συγγενείς και φίλοι αντιδρούν έξω από το δικηγορικό γραφείο μετά το άκουσμα της δολοφονίας του δικηγόρου Μιχάλη Ζαφειρόπουλου και γιου του πρώην βουλευτή της Νέας Δημοκρατίας, Επαμεινώνδα Ζαφειρόπουλου, Πέμπτη 12 Οκτωβρίου 2017. Όπως αναφέρουν τα πρώτα στοιχεία, σύμφωνα με μαρτυρία συνεργάτη του δικηγόρου, που ήταν σε διπλανό γραφείο, ο Μιχάλης Ζαφειρόπουλος άνοιξε την πόρτα της εισόδου της πολυκατοικίας σε δύο άγνωστα άτομα, τα οποία ανέβηκαν στον όροφο που είναι το γραφείο του. Ξαφνικά ακούστηκε ένας πυροβολισμός και όταν ο συνεργάτης του έτρεξε να δει τι είχε συμβεί, βρήκε τον δικηγόρο να έχει γύρει νεκρός πάνω στο γραφείο του, ενώ οι δράστες είχαν φύγει. ΑΠΕ ΜΠΕ/ΑΠΕ ΜΠΕ/ΓΙΑΝΝΗΣ ΚΟΛΕΣΙΔΗΣ

SYRIZA

“The authorities must move immediately to solve this brutal murder case. We express our sincere condolences to the family and colleagues of the lawyer Michael Zafeiropoulos”.

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New Democracy

“The New Democracy expresses its abhorrence and deep sorrow for the murder in cold blood of Michalis Zafiropoulos”.
In a statement issued by the party’s press office, it is also stressed that “[T]he main Opposition party expects the Police authorities to do what goes without saying: to solve this horrific crime as quickly as possible. We express our sincere condolences to the family”.

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– The lawyers in Athens will abstain for seven days from their duties

The lawyers in Athens have decided a seven-day abstention as a minimum response to the murder of lawyer Michael Zafeiropoulos and the blind murderous violence against lawyers in general. The decision was taken this evening by the Board of Directors of the Athens Bar Association, which decided to abstain from tomorrow Friday 13th of October until next Friday the 20th.

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The full text of the announcement is as follows:

“As a minimal gesture of the mourning for the murder of our beloved colleague, Michael E. Zafeiropoulos, but also as a minimal response to the blind murderous violence to lawyers, we will be away from our duties from tomorrow Friday, October 13, 2017, until next Friday, October 20. We consider the support of the judiciary and the judicial staff to be self-evident”.

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Click here to see the original post from protothemanews.com » Greece

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Geoffrey Pyatt, the Ambasssador of the United States of America in Greece, highlights the crucial role of Greece in the maintenance and promotion of stability in its wider region, underlining that the US is closely cooperating with Greece for the promotion of peace, freedom and security in the Balkans and the South-eastern Europe.

He further elaborated that tackling the economic crisis and entering a pathway of economic recovery for Greece means a safer, more stable future for the region. He concluded saying that US-Greek economic cooperation and attraction of US investments in Greece have to be supported by a stable economic environment and stable taxation policy.

Source: thegreekobserver.com

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Click here to see the original post from protothemanews.com » Politics

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A 5.0 magnitude earthquake hit a little before 2 am on Thursday in the sea area north west of the island of Skyros. According to the Geodynamic Institute, the tremor had a depth of 10km and struck 93km from Chalkida and was felt in the capital of Athens. The Mayor of Skyros, Michalis Chatzigiannakis was reassuring saying that although the earthquake was felt no damage was reported. Speaking to Skai TV after 2am he said that no problems were expected come about as a result of the tremor. He added that it only lasted for a few seconds.

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FYROM and Greece have good relations in the domain of commerce, but businesses say that the 25 year old contest on the name issue and the political relations between the two countries, act as an obstacle in boosting cooperation in several fields.

Sotir Ampov, head of the Chamber of Industry says that trade and investments are at the focus of businesses on both sides of the border.

“The necessary conditions for cooperation between the two countries must be enabled. Industry is one of the most important sectors of the economy. A direct air line between Skopje and Athens would help economic cooperation to a great extent”, Ampov says.

Meanwhile, he underlines that the name dispute is a problem which has hindered the advancement of relations between the two countries, the signing of cooperation agreements and other facilities of doing business.

According to the Union of the Chambers of Commerce in Skopje, most important sectors are agriculture, IT and construction.

“We ask from both countries to work for better infrastructural connections, especially for railway and air connections. The lack of an air line is a great obstacles in the relations between the two countries”, said Daniela Arsovska, chair of the Union of Chambers of Commerce.

During his visit to Skopje, the Greek Foreign Minister, Nikos Kotzias stressed the need to boost economic cooperation.

“Time has come to boost economic cooperation and overcome any type of irredentism”, Kotzias said.

Last year, Greece ranked fourth in terms of commercial cooperation with FYROM. The annual volume of trade amounts to 600 million euros, 450 millions of which belong to imports and 150 million belong to exports.

Greek companies are among the biggest investors, present in the banking sector, oil sector, commerce and textile industry.

Source: balkaneu.com

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Click here to see the original post from protothemanews.com » Economy

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After long delays and set backs, public transport means in Athens finally are ready to introduce new system of tickets for commuters, the smart cards and smart tickets. The new system goes into effect on 1. October 2017. However, the use of old paper tickets and some monthly cards are still possible as the new smart tickets (ATH.ENA TICKET) cannot be currently charged with reduced prices (commuters over 65, students etc) or are not available at all.

Smart Tickets

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The smart ATH.ENA TICKET is not a ticket that can be used only for one route of 90 minutes. It can be charged again and again at the ticket sales points or at automatic machines and can be used until it is worn out.

Tickets can be purchased at all Metro and ISAP stations with ticket selling points, at two tram stations (Syntagma, Agia Foteini), at OSY stations (Airport, Othonos str. Syntagma).

But also at the automates set at all Tram, ISAP and Metro stations. A full list published from OASA is here (in Greek)

The ticket has to be validated in the public transport means or at the special devices in train stations.

Just bring the ticket in contact with the device.

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Smart Card

Smart Cards can be purchased at sales points at eleven metro stations and at two tram stations

For the purchase of a personalized smart card, commuters will need their ID card or passport, their social security member (AMKA/verification through official document) and a picture. They are permanent and can be charged any time.

Foreigners do not need AMKA.

Cards can be charged for 30 days (30 euro), 90, 180 and 360 days.

They are valid not according to calendar month (as before) but form the first day they are used. Example: if card is purchased on 12 Oct card and is first used on Oct 14 it can be used until Nov 13.

Non-personalized smart cards do not require pictures or other identification documents and are available for multifare purchase.

They include packages for :

5 tickets (€7) and 10 tickets + 1 for free (€14 ), an one-day unlimited pass (€4.50), a three-day unlimited pass (€9) or a five-day pass (€22).

Tickets and cars can be used for all buses (except those for/from the Athens Airport), Tram, Metro (not for/from Airport), Trolley buses, urban train ISAP and Proastiakos for Piraeus -SKA and Koropi-Magoula.

The ticket charging automat machines have instructions apart from Greek also in six foreign languages including English, German, French, Italian, Arabic and Russian.

Source: keeptalkinggreece.com

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Public schools, administrative and technical services in the municipality of Athens will be closed tomorrow, Tuesday October 3 due to the holiday of of the city patron Saint Dionysius the Areopagite. Services deemed as high social priority like nursery schools, food shelters for the needy, controlled parking spaces, cemeteries and the hot line 1595 for Athens residents will operate as per normal.

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AEK Athens missed a golden opportunity to bag three points at home and consolidate second spot in Group D of the Europa League competition behind leaders Milan, as they slipped drawing to Austria Vienna 2-2. It could have been worse, as the home side, who nearly rued the plentiful chances they squandered in the match, only managed to pick up the single point with a late goal by Livaja on 90 minutes. The home side opened the score with Livaja (28’), but the visiting Austrians scored twice, one in the 43rd minute with Monschein and took the lead on 49 minutes with a second goal by Tajouri-Shradi, before AEK salvaged the point in the dying stages of the match. Now both teams are in second spot in Group D with 4 points each.

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AEK Athens are 1-1 at OAKA stadium in their second Group D Europa League match against Austria Vienna at the end of the first half. The Greek side opened the score with a Livaja goal on 28 minutes, but the visitors drew level in the 43rd minute with a Monschein goal. Both AEK and Austria Vienna are currently in second spot on 3 points in the group behind leaders Milan.

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0 27
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At least six doctors working at major public hospitals in Athens have been infected with the measles virus as new cases of the highly contagious disease are been recorded in Greece on a daily basis.

All infected doctors were born after 1970, which means that they were either not vaccinated at all or had only one dose of the vaccine that was in use at that time – and not two as the modern protocols require.

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Greece’s health authorities have been alerted over the 160 cases of measles that have been reported in the last four months. Sixty cases were reported in the last 17 days. It should be noted that there were only two cases of measles in Greece in the past three years.

Health authorities warn of “epidemic exacerbation” and urge those who were not vaccinated to shield themselves against the virus and the highly contagious disease.

There is a special vaccination call to doctors and teachers.

A similar spike in measles cases has also been reported in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Romania. According to KEELPNO, 14,000 cases and 41 deaths have been recorded in Europe for the time 2016-2017.

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Fans of all things aviation were able to enjoy impressive manoeuvres, virtual dog fights and breathtaking acrobatics, as the largest air show in Greece, the Athens Flying Week Tanagra International Air Show 2017 kicked off on Saturday at Tanagra Air Base at Schimatari about 63km northwest of Athens. Thousands of people flocked at the 114th Combat wing at Schimatari to experience the high flying acrobatics of the planes. Many had the chance to enter the cockpits of some plane models in the ground exhibition, while the younger visitors had the opportunity to tale photos with some of the pilots.

The legendary Red Arrows of the British Royal Air Force (RAF), the Silverstars acrobatic squadron from Egypt that first came to Greece, as did the Zeus F-16 Greek acrobatic team and the T-6 Daedalus squadron. A mixed formation of Mirage 2000s and F-16s engaged some incredible low flight mock dog fights, as well low pass flights and rapid ascents left the spectators impressed, while the fire-fighters’ plane squadron put on a demonstration of extinguishing flames.
Athens Flying Air Week (AFW) is the largest air show in the country and one the largest in Europe. The show will continue Sunday, September 17.

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Click here to see the original post from protothemanews.com » Greece

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Fans of all things aviation were able to enjoy impressive manoeuvres, virtual dog fights and breathtaking acrobatics, as the largest air show in Greece, the Athens Flying Week Tanagra International Air Show 2017 kicked off on Saturday at Tanagra Air Base at Schimatari about 63km northwest of Athens. Thousands of people flocked at the 114th Combat wing at Schimatari to experience the high flying acrobatics of the planes. Many had the chance to enter the cockpits of some plane models in the ground exhibition, while the younger visitors had the opportunity to tale photos with some of the pilots.

The legendary Red Arrows of the British Royal Air Force (RAF), the Silverstars acrobatic squadron from Egypt that first came to Greece, as did the Zeus F-16 Greek acrobatic team and the T-6 Daedalus squadron. A mixed formation of Mirage 2000s and F-16s engaged some incredible low flight mock dog fights, as well low pass flights and rapid ascents left the spectators impressed, while the fire-fighters’ plane squadron put on a demonstration of extinguishing flames.
Athens Flying Air Week (AFW) is the largest air show in the country and one the largest in Europe. The show will continue Sunday, September 17.

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Click here to see the original post from protothemanews.com » Greece

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Clean-up crews are scrambling to contain an oil spill from a Greek tanker as it menaces some of Athens’ most popular beaches.
The vessel, Agia Zoni II, was carrying 2,500 tonnes of fuel when it sank off the island of Salamis on Sunday.
Nearby beaches were soiled by the oil, but officials believed it could be contained given mild wind conditions.
Five days on, parts of the slick have drifted miles away to the resort of Glyfada, on the Athens Riviera.
The much-loved beaches of Voula and Vouliagmeni are being threatened by the thick black tide.
Environmental groups have complained that officials bungled their response to the spill, saying it was allowed to spread out of control. The oil spill has caused a political row with all opposition parties accusing the government of failing to recognise the scale of the disaster, while Maritime Minister Nikos Kouroumblis coming under pressure to resign by major opposition party New Democracy (ND). The Piraeus prosecutor has brought criminal charges against those responsible for the Agia Zoni II.
WWF Greece expressed dismay that “a country with heavy tankers traffic has proven unable to protect its beaches from an initially small-scale incident”.
“Nobody thought the slick would reach us,” Glyfada mayor Yiorgos Papanikolaou told Skai TV. “If someone had warned us even on Tuesday, we would have taken precautions.”
Conditions could worsen over the weekend in the wake of a forecast mini-heatwave with temperatures expected to reach 38 degrees on Sunday.
Authorities sealed the shipwreck on Tuesday and there was no further spillage, the coastguard said.
Tank trucks are working to clean up the pollution, helped by floating cranes and offshore anti-pollution vessels – including one sent by the EU.
It remains unclear what caused the 45-year-old tanker to sink. Its captain and chief engineer, the only people on board at the time, have both been charged with negligence.

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0 29
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British Airways passengers suffered a nightmare flight from London to Athens, which ended up taking 33 hours and four planes.
Passengers who were caught up in the ordeal which began on Tuesday last week.
The flight time from London to Athens is less than four hours, but this journey lasted eight times longer.
A faulty cockpit warning light caused the first flight, due to depart at 1.15pm, to be cancelled at Heathrow.
But that was just the first in a long line of problems for passengers.
The second plane couldn’t take off at its scheduled time of 5pm because cabin crew had exceeded their working hours.
Passenger Geoff Lye said the pilot told them it was “the most embarrassing PA announcement” he had made.
After an hour on the plane due to “security issues”, passengers were allowed to disembark.
BA gave them vouchers for a night’s stay in London, before the travellers returned the next day to board another plane.
Mr Lye told the Evening Standard: “We just took off and there was a bang and it was the engine next to me. There was this huge noise and a judder, and then there were about six more bangs. It was one bang after another.
“I’m an atheist but even I was praying. Our hearts were racing. Passengers behind me said they could see flames kicking out from the engine.”
The pilots shut down the right engine and turned back to Heathrow.
Later that night at 7.40pm on Wednesday, the fourth and final plane took off bound for its destination.
Passengers finally arrived in Athens early Thursday morning.
Mr Lye, a pensioner, said he had been loyally flying BA for nearly 40 years but will now avoid the airline.
He added: “There was no communication and it was unbelievable they could get so much wrong.”
BA confirmed there were four planes involved in the two-day ordeal.

source: express.co.uk

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Click here to see the original post from protothemanews.com » World

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Athens is ranked the most stressful (121th) city in among the EU and the 3rd most stressful in the European continent, according to a survey by Zipjet. The study was based on factors such as: Density, Green Spaces, Public Transport, Traffic, Perception of Security, Sunshine Hours (av./year), Air Pollution, Noise Pollution, Light Pollution, Unemployment, Debt per Capita, Social Security, Family Purchase Power, Mental Health, Physical Health and Gender Equality.
The study included 150 cities from around the world, for which official data on these specific factors is available. The city appearing at the top of the list is the least stressful while the bottom city is the most stressful for its inhabitants. According to the data, the only European cities that ranked higher than Athens in the stress factor were Moscow (124) and Constantinople (122), with Baghdad taking last (150) spot. Stuttgart, Luxembourg, Hannover, Bern, Munich, Bordeaux, Edinburgh and Sydney made the top 8 less stressful cities. Of the cities in close geographical proximity to Greece, Bucharest is ranked 111th, with Sofia 99th and Belgrade 93rd.
See full report here.

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Click here to see the original post from protothemanews.com » Greece

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The ecological disaster caused by the sinking of an oil tanker near the island of Salamina has draw attention by the international media, as the pollution is spreading to Piraeus, despite efforts and reassurances by the competent authorities that the damage would be contained. “Oil spill turns island black ands is deemed ‘environmental disaster”, read the title of Independent, which is accompanies by a video showing the pollution on the coast of Salamina. “A Greek island is suffering from an “ecological disaster” after a tanker carrying more than 2,000 tons of crude oil sunk off the coast.

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Drone footage captured the scale of pollution on the island of Salamis after a 45-year-old Agia Zoni II took on water near Athensover the weekend”, writes the piece. The BBC also covers the environmental dangers of the oil spill stressing “Emergency crews have begun an oil spill clean-up after an oil tanker sank close to the island of Salamis”, with an accompanying video, showing clean up crew and the black sea.

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Reuters writes that the oil spill is out of control as it has spread to the Athens Riviera in a piece titled “Greek oil spill spreads to Athens Riviera”. “Crews scrambled on Wednesday to clean up an oil spill from a sunken tanker which had spread to some of Athens’s most popular beaches.

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The 45-year-old vessel, Agia Zoni II, was carrying 2,500 tonnes of fuel when it sank off the island of Salamis on Sunday. By Wednesday, a thick oily tide had covered stretches of the Athens Riviera several miles away”, Reuters writes.
The Associated Press also cover the news informing that small slicks were reported in suburbs of Glyfada and Piraeus Wedenesday. “Glyfada Mayor Giorgos Papanikolaou says municipal workers have set up floating booms offshore and used chemicals to try to dissolve the oil”, the piece writes.

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Click here to see the original post from protothemanews.com » Greece

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The anarchist group called “Rouvikonas’ relased the video of their invasion into the offices of Turkish Airlines in Alimos, in the northern suburbs of Athens on Tuesday morning. The footage shows at least three members causing damage to the main entrance of the building where the offices are located on the third floor on 77th Poseidonos Avenue. Using sledgehammers, the anarchists can be seen breaking the main entrance but fail to smash another door inside. They then flee the building as one of their accomplices waits at the main entrance. As the members of the attack explain in the video, the assault took place in show of solidarity for two of their Turkish comrades named Semih Ozakca and Nuriye Gulmen.

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Members of anarchist group “Rouvikonas” attacked the offices of Turkish Airlines in Alimos, southern Attica on Tuesday morning. The group, which reportedly consisted of 15 people, broke windows and caused some other damage to the offices, but no injuries were reported during the raid, which happened at 6.30 am. The anarchist group announced it would attack the company offices with a video post and text on Indymedia site. According to reports, there were no one was detained or arrested.

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Click here to see the original post from protothemanews.com » Greece

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The representative of the European Commission’s office in Athens, Panos Karvounis revealed that Greece would be under the European oversight for many years to come. Speaking to Skai TV, Mr. Carvounis said that Greece had to send a signal of reliability to the markets in order to be able to borrow with lower interest rates. He stressed that it was necessary to implement the prior actions agreed so that the markets could see that signal of reliability.

 

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Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis met Friday morning with visiting French President Emmanuel Macron.
Mr. Mitsotakis said that Mr. Macron had come to Greece to support the country in statements he made after their meeting.
“Emmanuel Macron came to support Greece… something that is very important,” said Mitsotakis, adding that “we always deal positively and creatively with initiatives that support Greece… We are the political party that puts the country’s interests above all else.” Mr. Mitsotakis dubbed their discussion “substantive”, adding that the two had the opportunity to talk about crucial matters of interest for both Europe and Greece, as well as the need to deepen the Eurozone.

The main opposition leader expressed his certainty that “France is a country that can contribute to Greece’s return to stable and strong growth, something that is the main aim of our policy.”

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Click here to see the original post from protothemanews.com » Politics

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Greek PM Alexis Tsipras and French President Emmanuel Macron have arrived at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation where a closed meeting with members of the Greek and French business community is scheduled to take place. Mr. Tsipras showed Mr. Macron around the Foundation premises while both politicians walked up to the emblematic lighthouse. Both leaders expect to take something from the meeting, with the Greek PM hoping to ensure a collaboration with French investors in an effort to boost the weary Greek economy. “We have agreed to cooperate in the field of investment. Greece has priority areas that French businesses are interested in. I welcome the presence of 40 French entrepreneurs, the agreement on the port of Thessaloniki and the agreement of Greek and French clusters in new technologies ”, Mr. Tsipras said. On his part, the French President hopes to advance his country’s plans to expand its presence in the fields of energy, arms sale and be awarded a strong stake in Greek infrastructures, capitalising on his country’s unwavering support to Greece during the crisis. In his address, Emmanuel Makron, who is continuing his visit to Athens, expressed his conviction that France will participate in Greece’s efforts to exit the crisis. “The issue is that we should act now. I can guarantee France’s support for reforms and also express my belief that the French will take part in this effort,” Mr Makron said, adding that “business groups in Greece continue to invest even when there are pressures to stop. “

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Ikaria, a northeastern Aegean island that is home to some 8,500 inhabitants, is one of the five regions of the world with the highest rates of longevity, according to international studies.
The Research Institute for Longevity and Prevention of Old Age Diseases, led by Cardiology Professor Christodoulos Stefanadis, is holding a 2-day Conference titled “Longevity: A Realistic Goal” in Athens on September 8 and 9. One of the most recent studies to be presented at the Conference, which is free for the public, is the IKARIA study which was conducted with the purpose of investigating the demographic of Ikaria and the social, environmental and genetic make up of the island’s inhabitants in an effort to unravel the privilege of long life they enjoyed.
Cardiovascular health is among the first topics to be covered in the first day of the Conference at the Hilton Hotel, while other themes to be discussed include smoking and its effects on health, obesity.
Entrance to the “Longevity: A Realistic Goal” conference is free for the public.

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Click here to see the original post from protothemanews.com » Greece

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The French president Emmanuel Macron vowed to lead a “rebuilding” of the European Union, warning that “sovereignty, democracy and trust are in danger” and that its citizens no longer understand the project during his speech at the Pnyx under the Acropolis. “2,500 years ago here on the hill of Pnyx, the Athenians invented Democracy” were the first words that French President Emmanuel Makron said in Greek.

Macron praised Greece’s austerity reforms but said ordinary Greeks had paid a heavy price and repeated his call for an easing of the country’s debt burden. He reiterated that Athens should be granted debt relief and said he hoped the issue would be resolved in 2018 when Greece is due to exit its €86bn rescue programme.
In a speech in Athens, Macron called for greater European Union cooperation and solidarity, reiterating his longstanding calls for an integrated eurozone with its own financial minister, parliament and a standalone budget to head off future crises.
Macron applauded the often unpopular reforms of prime minister Alexis Tsipras, and insisted that after years of gruelling austerity and the “incredible efforts of the people,” Greece was finally overcoming its problems. “The Greek crisis is slowly ending. We can see that Greece is recovering,” he said, praising Tsipras for his decisive action in the completion of two compliance reviews with international lenders.
“Our generation can choose to [do this] … we must find the strength to rebuild Europe,” he said.
The pro-business, centrist French leader whose popularity at home has slumped since he was elected in May, warned that Europeans “must not abandon the fight” of shared values or else the EU would ebb away or die, riven by internal conflicts.
He warned the bloc must reinvent itself and become “more democratic,” more than “simply summit after summit” of officials shut away in crisis meetings.
Macron promised a road map for the rebuilding of the EU in the coming months, arguing that nations sticking together inside the EU was the only way to protect citizens against problems including climate change and terrorism.
However, Macron cannot detail any plans for eurozone or EU reform until after this month’s election in Germany, when it will become clearer to what extent a new government in Berlin would be open to backing his ideas.

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The French president Emmanuel Macron vowed to lead a “rebuilding” of the European Union, warning that “sovereignty, democracy and trust are in danger” and that its citizens no longer understand the project during his speech at the Pnyx under the Acropolis. “2,500 years ago here on the hill of Pnyx, the Athenians invented Democracy” were the first words that French President Emmanuel Makron said in Greek.

Macron praised Greece’s austerity reforms but said ordinary Greeks had paid a heavy price and repeated his call for an easing of the country’s debt burden. He reiterated that Athens should be granted debt relief and said he hoped the issue would be resolved in 2018 when Greece is due to exit its €86bn rescue programme.
In a speech in Athens, Macron called for greater European Union cooperation and solidarity, reiterating his longstanding calls for an integrated eurozone with its own financial minister, parliament and a standalone budget to head off future crises.
Macron applauded the often unpopular reforms of prime minister Alexis Tsipras, and insisted that after years of gruelling austerity and the “incredible efforts of the people,” Greece was finally overcoming its problems. “The Greek crisis is slowly ending. We can see that Greece is recovering,” he said, praising Tsipras for his decisive action in the completion of two compliance reviews with international lenders.
“Our generation can choose to [do this] … we must find the strength to rebuild Europe,” he said.
The pro-business, centrist French leader whose popularity at home has slumped since he was elected in May, warned that Europeans “must not abandon the fight” of shared values or else the EU would ebb away or die, riven by internal conflicts.
He warned the bloc must reinvent itself and become “more democratic,” more than “simply summit after summit” of officials shut away in crisis meetings.
Macron promised a road map for the rebuilding of the EU in the coming months, arguing that nations sticking together inside the EU was the only way to protect citizens against problems including climate change and terrorism.
However, Macron cannot detail any plans for eurozone or EU reform until after this month’s election in Germany, when it will become clearer to what extent a new government in Berlin would be open to backing his ideas.

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The French Presidential plane carrying Emmanuel Macron landed at Eleftherios Venizelos International airport in Athens 20 minutes earlier than scheduled at 12.37pm. Greek government spokesperson Dimitris Tzanakopoulos will greet the Presidential couple on the tarmac. According to the official programme, the French head of state will arrive at Eleftherios Venizelos International airport accompanied by his wife Brigitte at 1pm, where Greek government spokesperson Dimitris Tzanakopoulos will welcome the French delegation. The French President will lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier and then will visit the Greek Presidential Palace where the French first couple will be greeted by Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and his wife Vlasia. Mr. Macron will be awarded with the Grand Cross of the Saviour. Mr. Macron is scheduled to meet with Greek PM Alexis Tsipras at Maximos Hall at 3.30pm, with the two men having a private meeting followed by a sit down between the French and Greek delegations at 4.15pm. The two leaders will hold a joint press conference at 5pm, while Mr. Macron is scheduled to deliver his key speech at the ancient Pnyx in Athens after 7pm. The official dinner is programmed for 9pm in honour of the French President. On Friday there will be a round table work meeting at 10am between Greek and French businessmen at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation in the presence of Mr. Tsipras and Mr. Macron, while the French President and his wife will visit the french Archaeological School at 11.45am.

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Emmanuel Macron will make Greece the launchpad for a major policy speech on the future of Europe as he starts his first official trip to the country on Thursday.
From the dramatic setting of the ancient Pnyx in Athens, the French president is expected to outline his vision for the continent in what is being called his most important overseas address since taking office in May.
Amid the rocky hills of the Pnyx beneath the Acropolis, the speech will focus on the virtues of democracy as the European Union – and Greece – finally show signs of economic revival.
“It will be a message of confidence in Greece but also a European symbolic message, given that in many ways Greece has been a symbol of Europe’s crisis,” said an Élysée Palace source. “The restart of Greece is the restart of the eurozone.”
It is a measure of the significance the Greek government is attaching to the visit that Macron is making the address from such an august setting. From the earliest days of Athenian democracy, the Pnyx was a meeting place for popular assemblies. Greek PM Alexis Tsipras see the visit as an opportinity to push the narrative that the country has turned the corner after years of austerity and is finally returning to normality.
According to the official programme, the French head of state will arrive at Eleftherios Venizelos International airport accompanied by his wife Brigitte at 1pm, where Greek government spokesperson Dimitris Tzanakopoulos will welcome the French delegation. The French President will lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier at Syntagma Square and then will visit the Greek Presidential Palace where the French first couple will be greeted by Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and his wife Vlasia. Mr. Macron will be awarded with the Grand Cross of the Saviour. Mr. Macron is scheduled to meet with Greek PM Alexis Tsipras at Maximos Hall at 3.30pm, with the two men having a private meeting followed by a sit down between the French and Greek delegations at 4.15pm. The two leaders will hold a joint press conference at 5pm, while Mr. Macron is scheduled to deliver his key speech at the ancient Pnyx in Athens after 7pm. The official dinner is programmed for 9pm in honour of the French President. On Friday there will be a round table work meeting at 10am between Greek and French businessmen at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation in the presence of Mr. Tsipras and Mr. Macron, while the French President and his wife will visit the french Archaeological School at 11.45am.

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Athens will be under tight security control in the wake of French President Emmanuel Macron’s arrival at the Greek capital, Thursday. Greek police have made blocked streets and roads in the centre of Athens and surrounding routes during his stay in the Greek capital. Traffic measures have already taken effect and will last until 3pm. More specifically, Vasilissis Sofias Avenue from Konstantinou till Amalias and the roads around the Presidential Palace will be off limits for drivers. Rizari street, Vassilisis Olgas, Amalias Avenue, Filellinon and Stadiou avenue and Amerikis streets till Syntagma Square will also be closed. From 11am till 2pm the blocking off of Alimou Avenue, as well as Katechaki and Mesogion Avenue -from Kanellopoulou till Fidippidou-, Konstantinou, Michalakopoulou and Kifisias Avenue -from Vassilisis sofias till Katechaki.

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French President Emmanuel Macron is sending a message of optimism to Greece, only hours before he lands in Athens on an official visit, in an interview to newspaper “Kathimerini”. “I am aware of the efforts made by the Greeks, I know the feeling of injustice they may have felt. But I am optimistic about the future of Greece. Not out of convenience or naivety but because Greece has the power to overcome hardships and once again Greek society has impressed me. Because the positive signs are multiplying: growth is recovering, investment is rising, unemployment is decreasing”, he said. Mr. Macron, who is expected to arrive in Greece Thursday morning, says he will support Greece and its new start, explaining in his interview that his aim is to present Greece as an opportunity for investments and growth, “a location for the future and business activity”. He is categorical about him personally being against any possibility of a “Grexit”. “A common vision cannot be based on the logic of exclusion”, he says. Mr. Macron makes it clear that Greece and France have a common vision and strategic interests, underlining the opportunity to deepen the collaboration between the two nations in the fields of defence and security, saying that France wants to build a relationship that offers Greece the necessary means to ensure its interests. He calls on Athens to fully commit to a European military defence plan via opting to buy military equipment from European manufacturers. He also speaks of the effective and close cooperation between Greece and France on the terrorism.

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After the decision on Monday evening by Euroworking Group to not disburse the EUR 800 million sub-tranche, foreign investors remain cautious about the 3rd review of the Greek bailout programme by the country’s lenders. The Athens stock market reacted to the news on Tuesday recording marginal gains, however, trade was anaemic, with the general index posting gains worth 0.44% just below the 821 mark. The total trade volume amounted to 2 million euros.

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Greek police detained 11 people Sunday night after a group of Pakistanis migrants clashed with each other a little after 11pm. A large police force arrived at the area of Agios Panteleimonas to restore order after clashes between groups of Pakistanis broke out, allegedly over a stolen phone. Two arrest were made, while there were no reports of any injuries.

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Main opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday met with the Chinese Ambassador in Athens Zou Xiaoli, as part of the ND president’s preparation for the 82nd Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) in September, where China will be the country of honour.

According to sources, the meeting reaffirmed their mutual interest in further reinforcing strategic cooperation between Greece and China, which was first inaugurated under an ND government.

They also exchanged views on the prospects for bilateral cooperation, with emphasis on energy, shipping, tourism, culture and foods. Among others, they hailed the imminent launch of a direct flight between Athens and Beijing as a significant development.

Referring to the Chinese ambassador’s recent visit to the Greek town of Soufli, traditionally noted for the production of silk, they discussed the prospects of launching mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries in the silk industry.

Zou Xiaoli briefed Mitsotakis on the course of Chinese investments in Greece and China’s presence at TIF, while they also held talks on the latest developments in the Korean peninsula.

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The Former Yugoslavia Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) told Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on a day-visit to Skopje to “recognize the new reality” in the country and support its bid to join the European Union and NATO. Such a move would require overcoming the dispute row over the country’s name.

Greece has vetoed the ex-Yugoslav republic’s attempts to join the two bodies because of a decades-long dispute over the name “Macedonia”.

Athens argues that the use of the name implies territorial claim over Greece’s own northerly region of Macedonia.

It has agreed only that the country can be referred to in international venues as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, or FYROM.

But the new government in Skopje of the Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, which took over in May, pledged to speed up the process of joining NATO and EU, for which good neighborly relations are set as one of the pre-conditions.

To demonstrate the commitment, Zaev’s government signed a friendship treaty with eastern neighbor Bulgaria this month designed to end years of diplomatic wrangling.

“We hope that Greece will recognize the new reality in ‘Macedonia’ and our honest wish for friendship. We expect and we hope for help and support for European integration,” FYROM’s foreign minister, Nikola Dimitrov said after meeting his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias.

It was the second meeting between the two foreign ministers since May.

“We spoke about the process, how it will be going, the methods and modalities, but we also spoke about what exactly are the interests and worries on both sides,” Dimitrov said.

Kotzias said Greece would be ready to support FYROM’s bid to join EU and NATO, but only once all pre-conditions for membership are met. He did not elaborate.

The “Macedonia” name dispute has dragged on for almost 26 years with no clear progress. Athens has previously insisted that Skopje use a compound name such as “New” or “Upper” Macedonia.

Prior to Kotzias’ visit to Skopje, diplomatic sources from the Greek Foreign Ministry told Euractiv.com, it was still “early” to hold any substantial discussion about the name dispute.

The meeting will rather focus on “the identification of intentions” regarding the issue.

The same sources added that the primary objective of the visit is to “cultivate further trust” between the two parties.

After Kotzias’ initiative, Athens and Skopje reached an agreement in June 2015 to enhance their mutual trust via confidence-building measures (CBMs), which focuses on the fields of low politics.

The sixth meeting of this initiative took place last week and according to the Greek ministry of foreign affairs there was a “fruitful and productive discussion”.

Athens was recently disturbed by some incidents which, according to the Greek government, breached the spirit of the UN Interim Accord between the two countries.

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The sixth meeting on the Confidence-building measures (CBMs) between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) was held in Athens on Tuesday, focusing among other issues, on transport, energy, police cooperation, civil protection and culture.

The meeting comes after an agreement reached by the two foreign ministers in Skopje, on 24 June 2015.

It was a continuation “of the friendly and constructive dialogue on mutually agreed topics, including connectivity projects in the field of transport and energy, police cooperation, European programs, culture, education, civil protection, public administration, health, diplomatic academies’ cooperation and launching business initiatives,” the foreign ministry said in a press release. Experts from relevant national institutions contributed to the discussion.

Participants decided that the next round will be held in Skopje. The progress of the CBM process will be discussed again during the upcoming meeting of the foreign ministers of the two countries in Skopje on 31 August 2017.

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AEK of Athens will face Italian giants Milan, Austria Vienna from Austria, and Rijeka from Croatia, who was knocked out of the Champions League qualifiers by Olympiakos, in the group stage matches. AEK’s full match schedule in Group D:

14/09: Rijeka-ΑΕΚ
28/09:  ΑΕΚ-Austria Vienna
19/10: Milan – ΑΕΚ
02/11: ΑΕΚ-Milan
23/11: ΑΕΚ-Rijeka
07/12: Austria Vienna-ΑΕΚ

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AEK Athens have advanced to the stage group of the Europa League after an emphatic victory against Belgian side Club Brugge in Athens (3-0). Christodoulopoulos (27′ P) and Simoes (39′) scored two goals in the first half, with Simoes picking up a second in the 90th minute.

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AEK Athens are in the driver’s seat after the completion of the first half at OAKA in Athens, as they have a 2-0 lead over Club Brugge in their second leg playoff match (1st leg 0-0). Christodoulopoulos (27′ P) and Simoes (39′) were the scorers of the goals.

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AEK Athens are in the driver’s seat after the completion of the first half at OAKA in Athens, as they have a 2-0 lead over Club Brugge in their second leg playoff match (1st leg 0-0). Christodoulopoulos (27′ P) and Simoes (39′) were the scorers of the goals.

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There is quite a concern and work going on at the prime minister’s office due to the upcoming visit of French President, Mr. Emmanuel Macron to Greece.

The Prime-minister, Mr. Alexis Tsipras held a series of meetings with a number of ministers that deal with issues of French-Greek “relations”, issues which are directly related to their government portfolios and which have direct impact on future cooperation between the two countries, especially during the period that the Greek government considers the French influence and position to be of specifically great importance with regards to the upcoming fiscal and financial assessment, the upcoming entry into the the global fiscal markets and the role of the IMF.

During last month, officials, both in the Elysee Palace and the Greek prime-minister’s office are contemplating and reviewing plans that both sides have submitted, while we must take into account that in the overall planning, the Ministries of Development, Foreign Affairs, Energy, Infrastructure and Transport, as well that of Defence, have been involved in the overall planning process.

The visit by the French President in Thessaloniki and Athens is expected to demonstrate the overall investment interest of French companies and of the French government for the Greek economy.

President Macron, during his visit, on the 7th and 8th of September will be accompanied by a large number of entrepreneurs, businessmen, and banking sector executives. The talks will be mainly held over matters relating Transport, focusing on railways, tourism, real estate, agrifood and, course all, information technology and informatics, since according to sources, the French government is willing to invest and create a new type of Silicon Valley on European soil, while at the same time, placing emphasis on the Logistics sector, focusing on the wider area of the Port of Thessaloniki.

Given the circumstances, major emphasis and priority will be placed on the start-up economy and business, as well as innovation.

The issues that are going to be discussed between the two sides deal with the EYDAP water company, for which the French side has expressed sincere interest, especially from the Suez Company, which is willing to take over management. At the same time, negotiations related and regarding the Thessaloniki Port Authority, the French business investment bank and the armaments procurement programs are still ongoing. The Hellenic government’s intention is to fully exploit and develop, national industries, like ELVO and the Skaramangkas Shipyards within the overall framework for putting together an overall European Defense industry, which is an issue being pursued extensively by the French government.

The visit of President Macron to Greece has a direct impact on the future Europe, as well as to the attempts made by Greece to overcome its problems and shake-off the trusteeship mandate. At the Prime-minister’s office, they have made several assessments and case-studies and they are arguing that after the German national elections and the supposed overall landslide win of Angela Merkel, a new, far- more pro European policy will come into effect, in conjunction and cooperation of President Macron’s policies.

French officials have stated at the Reuters News Agency that President Emmanuel Macron will travel to Athens in September, so as to send a message and emphasize to the rest of the leaders of the Eurozone that it is necessary to further enhance and achieve a monetary union. They went on to argue that the main idea is that France is willing to stand by the side of Greece in terms of its economic recovery.

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Those who wonder whether the FYROM’s new government means what it says about a new beginning in its relations with Greece should have already received the first reply after the recent irredentist event in Toronto, Canada.

The FYROM Consul in Toronto on August 15, addressed his compatriots from a platform with a backdrop that depicted irredentist symbols and a map of FYROM, that included Greek territories.

The new public provocation was the straw that broke the camel’s back concerning the violations of the Interim Accord that requires abstention from any action supporting territorial claims.

However, beyond the immediate written response issued by the Greek Foreign Ministry, Athens has decided to proceed with the following moves.

First to record all violations of the Interim Accord by the neighboring country, briefing the UN Special Envoy Matthew Nimets with update documentation and photo material on all relevant incidents, and finally is expected to appeal to the International Court of Justice.

Among the data collected by the Greek side are outlined the following facts:

Maps extending FYROM to…Thessaly

FYROM’s consul general in Toronto, Jovica Palacevski, a few days ago was involved in an irredentist event, where he addressed the participants from a platform with a background of a FYROM’s map, that included Greek lands all the way to…Larissa, as well as various irredentist symbols!

Also, two other identical cases occurred in Canada in 2016 and 2015. Both events were attended by state official representatives.

Ambassador of FYROM did the same at an event in Toronto (February 2016), while vice president of Parliament and former foreign minister Antonio Milososki gave a speech in Ontario (2015) with a background of the “Great Macedonia’s” map.

More recently, last June, FYROM’s general consul in New York raised on a social networking page his photo in front of the sun of Vergina and maps of “Great Macedonia”.

Additionally, Antonio Milososki In September 2014 and June 2015, was photographed with the Vergina sun flag once even at the top of Mount Olympus.

Provocations in sports events, monuments

In early August the Greek Handball Federation withdrew it players from European Championship in Skopje in protest that the FYROM team did not stick to the bilateral agreements and the EHF rules according to which team must wear logos with the official country names.

Then, in a statement, the Greek Foreign Minister recalled that under the Interim Accord of 1995, the accession of FYROM to international federations can only be done with its provisional name.

Furthermore, during the period 2012-2017 have been recorded dozens of cases of monuments and public places that refer to symbols of Greek historical and cultural heritage, although their use is prohibited by the Interim Accord.

Among these are for example the renaming of Skopje airport to “Alexander Makedon”, the raising of statues of Alexander the Great and Philip in many parts of Skopje, including the central square, the name of the road way “Alexander the Macedon”, as well as the renaming of Skopje archaeological museum to “Alexandros the Macedon’s Mansion”.

Violations of the Interim Accord does not stop there, since the list with often use of Greek symbols and names proved particularly long.

Many people have been changed in the new government of FYROM but irredentism continues to penetrate state ideology and everyday practice in the neighboring country.

Thus, it is noteworthy the message sent by the Greek Foreign Ministry’s through its recent statement: “The necessary conditions for the realization of FYROM’s Atlantic aspirations” are “the renouncement of irredentism, respect for the borders and the practical compliance with the principles of good neighborliness,” the ministry said.

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The Athens Stock market recorded a slight 0.30% rise, as the general index hovered around the 829-30 mark. Trade volume was overall slow with foreign investors probably waiting till September to focus on their portfolios when the changes in the MSCI index are expected to take effect. Following the upgrade of Greece by the credit rating houses, the market showed positive signs without serious fluctuation.

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The father of a 12-year-old girl, who was being stalked online by a 38-year-old man, managed to entrap the offender and would be rapist of his daughter and hand him over to the Greek police. The incident ocurred in the area of Egaleo, Athens in early August, when the young teenage girl started receiving messages on her Facebook page from the unknown man urging her to send him naked photos of her. The girl did not respond to the indecent messages, but the man, an Albanian national, started pressuring her and eventually threatened her. At that point the teen informed her father who set up a meeting with the man over Facebook pretending to be his daughter. The meeting was set at the Agia Marina metro station in Egaleo and then father escorted his daughter but stayed hidden at a close distance. Once the 38-year-man approached the teenager the father pounced on him and attacked him. He managed to immobilise him and call the police who arrested him. The Albanian national was charged with indecent sexual advances against a minor.

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By Panagiotis Karampelas*

The Fethiye Mosque (Gr.: Φετιχιέ τζαμί) is located in Athens right under the Acropolis. After being used a storage for local ancient artifacts and fragments, it was decided by the Greek Ministry of Culture back in 2010 that it should be renovated and to be used for various cultural activities and of course be open to visitors.

But is it here that this little story end?

No. This is where it begins… And the reason for this is that the renovation of the Mosque was a long standing demand of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Of course, what he wanted was for it to actually be used again as a Mosque officially.

But anyone, with good intentions, who reads this could very well ask:
“What’s so special about this specific Mosque that turned into a bilateral issue between Greece and Turkey?”

The answer lies at the very beginning of the Mosque story itself.

The Mosque was built by the orders of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed the Second the Conqueror to give thanks to Allah for helping him conquer Constantinople in 1453. The Mosque officially opened when the Sultan visited the (conquered, of course…) Athens.

One doesn’t have to be an avid reader of strategy or history to understand the connotations as well as the semiology behind this specific Mosque. In the hands of a megalomaniac Sultan-wannabe this could be as good as a weapon!

This is what Erdogan had in mind when he insisted to various Greek governments to open the Mosque. Such a building, with the history it carries, reopening again under the Greek and European symbol of democracy, the Parthenon, would be a victory by itself.

And this is exactly what we gave him: His Victory!

Of course, one could argue and say, that it will not be used as a Mosque, but a place for cultural events and as a place for tourists to visit.

However, it would be really naïve for anyone not to see how this can, and eventually will change. The first Turkish or Muslim tourist that will start praying in there is going to turn it practically into a Mosque. When Muslim tourists will start protesting against western and Greek visitors for not taking off their shows as it is accustomed by the Muslims, that is when it will turn into a Mosque. Because whoever tries to stop them will give the perfect propaganda “ammunition” to Turkey to say to the world: “See what the bad Greeks are doing? Is this your ‘democracy’ Europe?”

This is what is called a win-win situation!

Well done Mr. Erdogan. Well played…

 

* Panagiotis Karampelas is a Strategic & Political analyst.

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Firefighters battled wildfires raging northeast of Athens for a third day yesterday(15 August)as Greece asked for help from its European partners to prevent them from spreading.

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The fire started in Kalamos,a coastal holiday spot some 45 kilometres northeast of the capital,and has spread to three more towns,damaging dozens of homes and burning thousands of hectares of pine forest.A state of emergency has been declared in the area.

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“The blaze is advancing with great speed. Because of the scale and intensity of the wildfires, the country submitted a request for aerial means,” fire brigade spokeswoman Stavroula Maliri told a press briefing.

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Cyprus offered a group of 60 firefighters and a Greek airforce plane was headed there to pick them up. But a request for two pairs of CL-415 firefighting aircraft was turned down by France as it had to deal with its own wildfires, she said.

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Three firefighting planes and six water-throwing helicopters operated through the day, assisting 210 firefighters and about 100 military personnel battling the blaze on the ground near the town of Kapandriti.

Rugged terrain dotted with small communities made the fire-fighting difficult, with winds rekindling the blaze at many spots. Thick, billowing smoke rendered operations from the air difficult.

Across Greece, firefighters were battling more than 55 forest fires, an outbreak fed by dry winds and hot weather that fanned blazes in the Peloponnese and on the Ionian islands of Zakynthos and Kefalonia.

Arson?

On Zakynthos, an island popular with foreign tourists, a dozen fires burned for a fifth day. Authorities declared a state of emergency there on Monday. A government minister said there was no doubt the fires had been set deliberately.

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“It’s arson according to an organised plan,” Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis, the member of parliament for Zakynthos, told state television.

Late July and August often see outbreaks of forest and brush fires in Greece, where high temperatures help create tinder-box conditions.

In Kalamos, community president Dimitris Kormovitis told Reuters: “If we don’t manage to cut it off today, there will be terrible consequences. There has been devastation of a biblical scale in our area, which is one of the last lungs of the Attica region.”

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Andreas Theodorou, a local councillor in Kalamos, said the blaze had damaged several dozen homes. “Help did not arrive fast enough, and if you don’t stop a forest fire so large as soon as it breaks out, it’s very hard to put it out,” he said.

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In the Peloponnese region of Ilia, blazes that broke out in three areas on Monday and looked tamed early on Tuesday flared up again, fanned by winds. In 2007 the same area was the site of Greece’s worst fires, with more than 70 people killed.

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“We asked for the evacuation of the village of Peristeri. The fire has gotten very close, it cannot be contained due to strong winds,” Ilia vice-prefect George Georgiopoulos told SKAI TV.

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Three Greek universities are among the top 500 according to the annual Academic Rankings of World Universities for 2017. The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens was ranked between 301-400, while the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki was placed between 401st and 500th spot. The National Technical University of Athens was also placed between 401 and 500. The list, which was published today, August 15, saw US universities dominate the top 10 slots with 8 of the ten coming from the States, while British universities made up the other two spots. Harvard and Stanford occupied the first two spots, with Cambridge coming in 3rd. For complete list of top 500 go here.

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The fire in Barnabas, on the forest fire that started from Kalamos on Sunday afternoon, was rampant, and it quickly became too large for many to complain that there was mismanagement of the situation.

Shortly after 10:45, there was a great resurgence in the mountain with firefighters using bulldozers in order to open up roads to get close to the flames and try to limit the front.

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The 150 firefighters with 68 vehicles, the 58 hikers, the 19 volunteers and many more specialized vehicles are assisting with two airplanes and five helicopters by air, however, so far, water spills have restricted their fire front.

The most vivid but also worrying description was given early in the morning by the Mayor Barnabas Charalambia Asimakopoulou, who told SKAI Channel that “everything is burning” while calling for assistance as the village pumping station has been damaged and there is a problem with the re-supply of firefighting vehicles with water.

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As she explained the main front of the fire is the one that is heading towards the beach while residents of the area express their concern about the possibility the fire would reach to Grammatiko area, where for preventive purposes children camps have been evacuated.

According to Deputy Mayor of Oropos, “it’s a miracle that we did not have any losses of human lives” by the great fire that has been burning since Sunday.

“The fire in Kalamos started on Sunday at 16.10, the fire brigade in the area was patrolling, but it was the first time that there was such a long delay in seeing any help from the air, Also a power cut in the area prevented the pumping stations from working when we needed them”, said Mr. Dedes.

“Unfortunately,” he said, “many houses were burned, there were damages at pumping stations and cables were burned. There are Public Power Company (ΔΕΗ) works going on right now to repair the damages”.

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“There were a lot of fires that we managed to put out, but unfortunately we did not manage to prevent the Sunday fire and we did not mourn human lives by miracle,” he added.

As stated by the Athenian News Agency, Marathon deputy mayor and head of civil protection, Adam Megapanos, the fire has a 25-kilometer front, is still out of control and rages in an inaccessible area with very dense forest. According to the deputy mayor, two military bases in the area are being evacuated by both their personnel and the ammunition stored.

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