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Leftist government MP calls #HolyFire “a thing”, asks Parliament for the transport cost to #Greece

Arrival of #HolyFire in Athens Easter 2016

Venizelos Airport , Easter,Holy Saturday, 2016

It’s not the first time for political Atheists in Greece, this time faithfuls consider it blasphemy ……

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And the Luxury is … View ! Find out Where in  #Greece 

The best resorts that come with the best views for 2017’s luxurytravelblog voted list,  try to incorporate their surroundings into the complex and add to the view, rather than highlight the resort and take away from it. Santorini’s….

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A Taste of #Lesvos in #Sydney by the Greeks Abroad

A group of friends in NSW with a keen interest in Lesvos have been working diligently to present A Taste of Lesvos on Sunday 2 April 2017 as part of the Greek Festival,

 

Sydney, 1946. Panagiotis Angelis and Efstratios Mihailaros, of Agia Paraskevi, arrive in Sydney and are welcomed by “horiani”.

 

Lesvos, Mindfulness for Impression : How Claire Lloyd made it home here…

 

Mytilenian Brotherhood of Sydney & NSW on the celebration of the 104th Anniversary of the liberation of the Island Lesvos., November 8th, 2016

 

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Awaken Your Senses Wellness Guide #Greek2m

 

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Patients, Visitors from #Canada hopefully expected to #Greece for #MedicalTourism this year

The Greek President of Athens Medical Association George Patoulis who leads Greece’s Initiative on Medical Tourism, has sought support from the corners of earth where the Greek Diaspora is found. In Montreal Canada, where a two days conference takes place on the Prospects of Medical Tourism in Greece, Patoulis asked personally from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau his support…

Go to our Fully updated Article on Greek to me ! Newsblog 

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Excellent promotion of #Greece in Canada by the #MedicalTourism Convention @TheHCGM, @George_Patoulis

 

 

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A warm handshake in the White House , personally by the US President Donald Trump 

The Pride is double among our Greek Communities of the Diaspora, where Greece’s heart beats stronger, @george_patoulis, President of Athens Medical Association said in Washington and Montreal upon his personal meetings with the US President Donald Trump and the Canadian PM Justin Trudeau….

Source: Go to Full Article by  Greek to me ! Newsblog

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The very #Greek, ancient origin of today’s #spa

Greece is one of the few countries in the world, along with Morocco and India, to be gifted with natural resources such as plants and herbs that cure. Kozani, in North of Greece, is known for saffron cultivation, the only such place in all of Europe. Greece is the country of olive oil, of wheat and wine, the Mediterranean trilogy, each of them with a tremendous lot of applications in cosmetics. Greece is the country where chamomile, sage, lavender, and mint grow in abundance.

Among all the wonders of Greek nature are the springs, thermal waters and the sea itself, the Mediterranean. Euripides once wrote a piece about the curing virtues of thermal and sea waters. Spring waters in Greece have been around since highest antiquity and many were considered sacred and gave way to construction of temples, like in Delphi, the Castalia spring and in Vravrona. Since the spa is the temple of the 21st century, it is only natural that thalassotherapy complexes and thermal spas are built today in exceptionally gifted places.

Hot bathing was considered an extremely healthy and refreshing experience antiquity. Athenaeus wrote at the end of the 2nd century, reports with admiration that Homer’s Heroes were all familiar with bathing, as well as with the use of olive oil for the treatment of their body. The history of bathing in ancient Greece begins from the place of the so called Gymnasium. By incorporating full washing bathing facilities into its regular program, Gymnasium created the social and architectural context for one of the earliest forms of communal bathing in ancient society and exerted a formative influence in the subsequent development of baths.

It was the Greeks, attracted by the strange phenomena of thermal springs that attempted to classify them and study their properties and effects on man. Herodotus was the first to establish the precise methods of balneotherapeutic practices, but it was Hippocrates, the most celebrated physician of antiquity, who dedicated a large section to the therapeutic properties of thermal water in his work “De aere, aquis at loci”.

He analysed its chemical and organoleptic features, described the hygienic problems of using baths in various diseases and, in general, the effects of hot and cold baths on the human body.

It is widely known that as early as the 5th century BC the beneficial properties of the sulphurous springs were already known, especially for healing skin diseases and for relieving muscular and joint pain. In the Homeric poems and in Hesiod continuous references are made to the use of baths. After the difficulties encountered in battle or long journeys, heroes welcomed the coolness or wellness of a long restorative bath. Early Greek baths were constructed near naturally occurring hot springs or volcanoes, dating back to 500 B.C.

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Either the bath or simple anointing of the body generally formed part of the business of dressing for dinner. It was generally taken shortly before the δεῖπνον, or principal meal of the day. Epictetus (Diss. i. 1, 29) mentions noon as the hour, while voluptuaries bathed repeatedly.

It was the practice to take first a warm or vapour, and afterwards a cold bath, though in the time of Homer the cold bath appears to have been taken first and the warm afterwards.

The persons who bathed probably brought with them strigils, oil, and towels, or had them carried by a slave. The strigil, which was called by the Greeks στλεγγίς or ξύστρα, was usually made of iron, but sometimes also of other materials.

The socializing Ancient Greek Spas

Ancient Greeks were some of the first to make bathing not only essential for good hygiene, but also the epitome of public life. The average routine when someone attended a bathhouse in Ancient Greece involved rubbing one’s whole body with olive oil, working out in the gym until they were sweating profusely, then scraping the sweat and oil off the body. From there, Greeks would hop in the healing water and alternate between the warm pools, sauna, and cold plunge. Then, some would indulge in a massage or even a prostitute.

The Greeks kept things pretty basic—you could work out, bathe, and have a slave watch over your things until you were done. The Romans took things to the next level by adding on services for haircuts, shaves, bloodletting, surgeries, and of course, decadent food and wine. Ancient people often hung out in bathhouses for hours at a time.

Most Greek baths were filled with very healing water; the mineral water included detoxifying clay and Epsom salt.

Additionally, the Greeks infused their water with bay laurel leaves to increase circulation and reduce pain in the body. They also added lavender oil to the tubs for a relaxing, calming effect. The Greeks were also some of the first to use hot-air baths, or steam showers. The Spartans were known for loving a good-old steam bath; the rooms would be enhanced with bay laurel, fir, pine, and juniper branches for aromatherapy.

 

 

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Sources: thermalsprings.wordpress.com, allday.com

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The #terrorist’s health that detonated, like his bomb, in the Health Minister’s hands -#Greece News

 

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Greek to me ! The Cold 2017 Greek Times

The first month of 2017 in Greece has been hard and extremely cold. Check Greece by a glance and all the Greek News  on our Fully Updated Home Page

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The #Ancient Rebirthing Pomegranate, Happy #NewYear by #Greek to me !

The pomegranate fruit has been used throughout history and in virtually every religion as a symbol of humanity’s central beliefs and ideals, namely, life and death, rebirth and eternal life, fertility and marriage, and abundance.

Source: Greek to me !

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#Protect Yourself from #Snowfall in #Greece, by greek2m.org

The Civil Protection Secretariat Official Guidelines  

The General Secretariat for Civil Protection (www.civilprotection.gr) Interior Ministry has asked the competent Greek government agencies in charge and the regions and municipalities of the country, for increased civil protection preparedness,and to directly respond to any severe weather phenomena emergencies .

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Protect Yourself from Snowfall in Greece

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In #Crete the Original 2016- year-old Gifts of the Magi to the newborn #Jesus for public Prayer

The gifts of the Magi, the wise men to the Newborn Jesus are intact and safeguarded in a monastery in Greece. During this Christmas  the priceless gifts have been displayed from  the Monastery of St. Paul, one of twenty monasteries on the Mount Athos peninsula to St. Tito Church in Heraklion Crete for public praying…..

Find that on Greek to me ! Newslog article

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This is our Great #Greek Surplus, said @tsipras holding the #refugee kids in his arms 

“We open our arms, on these very moments, to those who are the weak, and I believe this reflects the feelings of the vast majority of the Greek people. Despite our difficulties we keep an attitude of dignity, and this is much greater wealth and much larger surplus ….”

On the same moments thousands of refugees are left freezing in tents in the snow, due to “Greece’s mismanagement of funds” wrote the Guardian

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The #ISIS Gate that’s #Greece 

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articles on “Safety of the Gate Greece”  on our Greek to me ! Special Page 

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“Allah is Great”, written on #Archangel’s Church on Crete Set on Fire #Greece

Vandals on Saturday Dec 18, 2016 set fire on a Greek Orthodox church  of Archangel Michael in the Lagolio village of Crete.The unknown perpetrators, burned holy icons and part of the chancel and wrote “Allah is great” in Arabic on the walls,

Go to  Full Article by Greek to me !

Find it also on Refugee Aegean No Way out Special Page 

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Lost, 2,500-year-old Ancient Greek city discovered in Thessaly, Greek to me !

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“We found a town square and a street grid that indicate that we are dealing with quite a large city. The area inside the city wall measures over 40 hectares.

“We also found ancient pottery and coins that can help to date the city”the leader of the team, Robin Ronnlund said in his statement.

Go to our Greek2m.org article

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Greek PM’s visit at Jesus Tomb in Jerusalem 

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Learn about the historic discovery of the sacred rock in Jesus Tomb in Jerusalem,by the Greek scientists research team, recently visited  PM Alexis Tsipras.  It’s a blessing, he said, …..Read more

PM @tsipras_eu professor at the Polytechnic, the head of Jesus tomb’s rock discovery team

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The Athens Meeting focus on Refugee Crisis attended by top personalities of the world

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Dear President #Obama , enjoy #Acropolis for your eyes only…

It was President’s Obama wish to visit the Acropolis, as he stated, among first things as he stepped in Athens, on his final  presidential tour . And it was meant to be private…

.. so private , the Acropolis has never been again

Go to greek2m.org News Article 

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The President #Obamavisit2016 official details, by the @USEmbassyAthens. Amid #terrorist threats and attacks, the Greek expectations

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The Miracle three Cretan Herbs that Keep #Cold&Flu away

Perennial tests and researches revealed that a mix of essential oils from three specific Cretan herbs which you can find all over walking on the Cretan land , prevent by long wise tradition Cretan inhaitans from falling ill from flu or cold during the winter, since they consume these herbs as daily beverage 

Source: Greek to me !

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How well Hillary Clinton knew that #Greece would no way make it, just by signing the first #Memorandum. What the FBI emails reveal , what does she promises to Greece now

Go to Full Greek2m Newsblog Article at greek2m.org

 

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We are back and Updated. Visit our Winter 2016 Edition by Greek to me !

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the 24/7 moodhacking Mobile Guide to navigate your way to Greek Health, Wellness and Happiness and keep you informed for your safety in Greece. Click, Sense and stay. This is Greek to me ! Stay with us 24/7

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Terracotta Warriors may have come from Ancient Greece

 

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“We now think the Terracotta Army, the Acrobats and the bronze sculptures found on site have been inspired by ancient Greek sculptures and art,”…

Go to article on Greek to me ! Newsblog

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The #coup sent thryllic Christina Onassis superyacht to Lesvos, Vatera Beach waters

Saudi Arabian Prince Majed Abdulaziz Al-Saud sailed into the port of Mytilene in the Aegean with two yachts, “Elegant 007” and Aristotle Onassis’ legendary yacht “Christina”.

The yachts anchored half a mile from the beach of Vatera in south Lesvos,

Go to our Newsblog article by Greek to me !

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Diving to Mythology Art.REEF project in Volos to promote Underwater Tourism

An underwater museum with statues inspired by the myth of the Argonauts and the legendary Centaurs, is to be created in Volos, on the east-central coast of Greece.

This is an ambitious plan to create an artificial reef in Volos’s Pagasitikos Gulf, which will consist of sculptures of legendary heroes of ancient Greek myths associated with the land of Thessaly – Jason, the Argonauts and the Centaurs- with the aim of drawing attention to local attractions.

Go to Full article by  Greek to me !

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The 6500 years old winemaking way of Neolithic Greece described by Archaeobotany

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Wine was made in Europe as early as 4200 B.C, in Northern Greece as the findings of  the joint Greek-French excavation team in a Neolithic house dating to 4500 B.C. has shown. Scientific analysis proved that the grapes had been pressed, based on findings  of tartaric acid  in the vessels, in addition to carbonized grape pips and their skins  The grape pips and skins indicate that the grapes had been pressed

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Most #Cruise lines announced altering #Istanbul call stops by #Greek Ports from July on

Greece’s summer cruise season may have delayed in 2016 to start , as the cruise lines’ executives had noted since June, but the latest Istanbul terrorist attack has eventually favored  tourist traffic and passenger arrivals unpredictably, and the season seems to promise to boost more Greece’s economy than expected till now

Since July 1, most of the biggest cruise lines announced cancelling call stops in Turkey due to the Istanbul attack, and replacing them by stops on Greek ports, not only Piraeus, but also Volos, Nafplion, Rhodes and more

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Gastroenteritis causes one death, sickens 45 in Viotia Greece, Greek CDC reminds Food Safety Guidelines @keelpno_gr #ΚΕΕΛΠΝΟ

A severe gastroenteritis outbreak in Viotia region of Greece, after a mass gathering and dinner in a local tavern, has lead to one death so far and some dozens of hospitalizations and set on Emergency the Greek Centers o f Disease Control that is conducting on the spot outbreak investigation . It is said that the mass food poisoning which has shocked the local community is due to salmonella, but the CDC of Greece, has not yet officially announced the laboratory results .

Source: Greek to me ! Go to full article

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In #Greece’s biggest port, tens thousands #cruise travelers’ #arrivals at risk to be canceled

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In #Greece’s biggest port, tens thousands #cruise travelers’ #arrivals at risk to be canceled

 

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Bounce Back Greece!

 

Vladimir Putin’s visit coincides with a period during which “Greece has turned a page and looks to the future with optimism”, said Greek Prime Minister .

Know what that means , just by a glance

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#Putin @tsipras_eu Memorandums singed in #Athens,

On this transitional critical  moment, our strategic cooperation with Russia is of extremely importance, said Alexis  Tsipras , on historical meeting with President Putin

On his first trip to a European Union country this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Greece Friday to visit a secluded Christian Orthodox monastic sanctuary and eye energy and privatization deals in the cash-strapped country.

Putin has made only a handful of visits to EU countries since sanctions were imposed on Moscow two years ago in response to the Ukraine crisis.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived at the Greek government headquarters in the Maximos Mansion at 18:25 on Friday, after a short walk from the presidential palace, where he was met by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on the steps leading up to the building. Putin was accompanied by the foreign ministers of Greece and Russia and the rest of the Russian delegation.

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin was received by President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos at the presidential mansion on Friday, immediately after his arrival in Greece, beginning the first of a series of meetings with Greek officials during his two-day visit.
“You visit to Greece comes at a crucial time, not only for our region but for all of Europe,” Pavlopoulos said as he met the Russian president on his arrival.
“Close cooperation between Russia, the United States and the European Union to end the war in Syria is exceptionally important for our time,” the Greek president added.
Responding, Putin said it was time to “proceed with specific steps in order to exploit the opportunities that exist for strengthening bilateral relations,” while noting an impressive increase in Russian tourists visiting Greece.

On Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin will go to the Monastery of St. Panteleimon, which is inhabited by Russian monks on the western coast of the peninsula.

Patriarch Kirill

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, center, arrives to the port of Dafni, at Mount Athos, Greece, Friday, May 27, 2016, a day ahead of Russia’s President Putin’s visit. Russia’s president is due in financially struggling Greece Friday for a state visit that will include a trip to a 1,000-year-old, all-male Orthodox Christian sanctuary in the north of the country. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill arrived on Friday at 10:45 at Macedonia airport of Thessaloniki and left straight for his  pilgrimage visit to Mount Athos.

Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Amanatidis and Deputy Interior Minister Maria Kollia-Tsarouha welcomed the Patriarch with whom they had a brief meeting before his departure for Ouranoupolis and the monastic community of Mt. Athos.
Metropolitan of Kassandria Nikodimos and the Consulate General of Russia in Thessaloniki Alexey Popov were also present at the reception ceremony.

The Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia will visit Thessaloniki on Sunday and will make a pilgrimage at the Cathedral of Aghios Dimitrios and afterwards will attend the liturgy at the Aghios Grigorios of Palamas Cathedral.

In his statement Amanatidis pointed out the relations that bind the Greek and the Russian people adding that “we all expect with hope the message that will send the Holy and Great Synod and the heads of the Orthodox Churches that will be held on Crete in June in a world that is plagued by huge social problems underling the role of the Patriarch as a factor of the Orthodoxy’s stability.

This year marks the 1,000th anniversary of the first recorded settlement there by Russian monks, in 1016. While most of Mount Athos’ 1,500 monks are Greek-born, male Orthodox Christians are allowed to live on the peninsula as monks, which male followers of other religions can visit but not live on. The 20 monasteries on the peninsula include one Russian, one Serbian and one Bulgarian, while Romanians, Moldovans, Ukrainians and Georgians also live there.

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The Holy Mount Athos

Mount Athos occupies almost the whole of the Athos Peninsula and is declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is one of the most unusual places in the world and the only self-governing part of the Greek State, governed by the “Holly Community”. It is a community of priests based in Karyes that follows the Julian Calendar, along with other Byzantine edicts and mores. The Holy Mountain (as it is in Greek) consists of 20 monasteries, 12 sketes and about 700 houses, cells of hermitages.

The monasteries themselves are true masterpieces of traditional Macedonian and Byzantine architecture. Inside there is an unimaginable wealth of unique treasures, religious frescoes, rare mosaics and libraries full of arte facts including miniatures, books, codices and manuscripts.

Only men are allowed entrance into Mount Athos and all are required to obtain a special entrance valid for a limited period. Women can view the monasteries from a cruise along the west coast of Mount Athos.

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Τhree Day Celebrations in #Athens for the centennial of the #PontianGenocide, @PanosKammenos

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This year’s Thursday, May 19, marked the 100th anniversary of the Pontian Greek genocide by the Turks, that took place between 1916-1923, the most tragic page of Pontian Greek history.

“Will the outrageous terrorising, the cruel torturing, the driving of women into the harems, the debauchery of innocent girls, the sale of many of them at eighty cents each, the murdering of hundreds of thousands and the deportation to, and  and starvation in, the deserts of other hundreds of thousands, the destruction of hundreds of villages and cities, will the wilful execution of this whole devilish scheme to annihilate the Armenian, Greek and Syrian Christians of Turkey — will all this go unpunished?” – Henry Morgenthau, United States ambassador to Turkey, 1918

The Pontiac genocide was a mass slaughter that is but one chapter in the murderous campaign by the Ottoman Empire against Christians. In Pontus alone, it is estimated that some 350,000 Greeks were killed who were totally deprived of the Black Sea region, their native land.

Here is an overview of the Pontian genocide from the Pontian Greek Society of Chicago:

With the commencement of World War I in 1914, Turkey called for general mobilization. Since the Christian men were not allowed to bare arms, they were sent to labor battalions in the interior of Turkey, which were essentially “battalions of death.” Forced labor in the treacherous mountains and ravines, hunger, and exposure to severe weather conditions killed most of those forced to serve in these labor battalions. Some of those who survived were able to escape to join those Greeks in the mountains who took up arms to protect themselves and their families. After eliminating a significant part of the male population, the Young Turk leaders and later Kemal Ataturk, proceeded to eliminate the rest of the Greek population including the elderly, women, and children. Their plan was to deport the Greek population to the interior and expose them to severe weather conditions, hunger, and illness. Censorship was used quite effectively to avoid headlines in the foreign press. After executing many prominent Greeks in the western Pontus, the Turks proceeded to deport a large part of the Greek population to the interior, Kurdistan, and as far as Syria…

By 1923, out of an approximate 700,000 Pontian Greeks who lived in Turkey at the beginning of World War I, as many as 350,000 were killed, and almost all the rest had been uprooted during the subsequent forced population exchange between Greece and Turkey. This was the end of one of the ancient Greek civilizations in Asia Minor. As a consequence of the deliberate and systematic policy of Turkification of the Ottoman Empire, it is estimated that more than 2.75 million Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks were slaughtered outright or were victims of the “white death” of disease and starvation — a result of the routine process of deportations, slave labor, and death marches.

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“A vicious campaign of horror, the Pontian genocide”, writes this year’s HALC article, of which each generation must learn, so that the memory of those who perished lives eternal.

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“Today, Friday, 20th of May 2016, the Ministry of National Defense, is welcoming with honors of the Head of the State the holy icon of Panagia Soumela ,symbol of Orthodoxy and the Greeks of Asia Minor and Pontos” Defense Minister Panos Kammenos stated

In 1922, when Greeks of Asia Minor and Pontus were driven from the lands of their ancestors, the monks hid the icon of Panagia Soumela that is believed to have been painted by Evangelist Luke. According to Orthodox Church tradition, the miraculous icon of Panagia Soumela was earlier found at the end of the fourth century A.D. in a cave at Mt. Mela, where it had miraculously, by Christian tradition,  been transferred by angels.

Παναγιά Σουμελά

The Minister of Defense thanked the Presidnt of Panagia Soumela Foundation President Giorgos Tanimanidis for “a religious relic of inestimable value.”

This year, on Saturday, May 21, 2016, the great Celebration Event will start in Dionysiou Areopagitou Street at 11am and will culminate at 8:30pm in the Temple of Olympian Zeus, to honor the Greeks of Pontus continuing the tradition and culture with the involvement of future generations to maintain their Pontian roots and heritage

Kammenos said that on that day, like every year, the Presidential Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, will don the traditional Pontian uniforms to honor the heroes of the Pontian Greek genocide

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Source: Greek media coverage, and the  HALC blog

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Migrant arrivals’ drop 90% in Greece, undercover agents come, EU-Turkey deal is the one

 

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Europol agents on the Greek islands 

Till the end of June , up to 50  ‘guest officers’ will be deployed by Europol on rotation at key points on the external border of the EU to strengthen the security checks on the inward flows of migrants, in order to identify suspected terrorists and criminals, a EUROPOL press release announced.

They will help reinforce security at the external borders of the EU by

  • supporting the secondary security check process,
  • by cross-checking data against data held in specialist counter-terrorist and other databases at Europol, and
  • by facilitating rapid and secure information exchange between Member States.

This will not include first line border control, although the officers will work closely with those from Frontex involved in such a task. The officers will work under the responsibility and legal framework of the country of deployment.

Europol’s Management Board  approved the recruitment of up to 200 counter-terrorist and other investigators for deployment to migration hotspots in Greece and other countries, EUROPOL press release said, adding that . Europol will form this pool of law enforcement officers through their secondment from national services in EU Member States.

Undercover agents  already arrived

On previous weeks, the Slovenian director of Europol’s newly-established European Migrant Smuggling Center (EMSC)  Robert Crepinko, had told on an interview  that  10 undercover officers had already been  stationed on the islands of Chios, Samos, Lesvos and Leros where refugee registration centers are in operation, as well as in Piraeus Port,  doing secondary security checks to assess the possibly dangerous migrants before they would enter the EU

Crepinko added that the Europol agents would also offer aid to the Greek authorities, in the effort to locate and stop migrant smugglers operating in Greece. 

New trafficking migration routes in Europe

The Slovenian official said that “We are looking into possible new routes that the migrant smuggling networks would use and we already have some developments in the new routes that have been used by organized crime,” , citing information that migrant traffickers are exploring options through Albania and Bulgaria.

 

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Arrivals drop in Greece , rise in Italy

“The drop in the number of arrivals on the Greek islands was dramatic.” Frontex chief Fabrice Leggeri said on Friday , presenting the data of  90 percent drop on the number of migrants arriving in the Greek islands  in April, compared to the previous month.

But for the first time in a year, the latest UN figures present more migrants arriving in Italy than Greece, trying to make their way into Europe

 9,149 migrants arrived to the shores of Italy in April,  while Greece received 3,462 people, figures of the UN’s refugee agency show.

Fewer than 2,700 people had entered in April.the European Union’s border agency Frontex said Friday,  putting  the drop down to the effect of the EU’s migrant agreement with Turkey and tight border controls at the Greek -FYROM border.

In March, before the EU-Turkey deal came into force, under which Ankara pledged to take back migrants from Greece, 26,971 people arrived to Greece, while 9,676 arrived to Italy.

Different countries of origin 

But migrants arriving in Italy are not coming from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, the three major groups trying their luck through Greece.

Asylum seekers making their way through the Mediterranean are primarily from Nigeria, Gambia, Somalia and other Sub-Saharan African nations.

Concerns that migrants will increasingly take the Italian route have prompted fears of another mass influx, leading Austria to plan to restrict access through the its Brenner border crossing with Italy, the eurobserver wrote.

The EU Commission has expressed concern over the effect this could have on the viability of the passport-free Schengen zone.

 

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Transport and tourism harmed say MEPs

Several MEPs at the European Parliament Plenary in Strasbourg.on Wednesday May 11, demanded, addressing to the European Commissioner on Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos, the lift of “intermediate steps of Schengen roadmap”, and warned the  Commissioner that the internal border checks  could seriously harm both transport and tourism in Europe.

Avramopoulos : there is no Plan B

 Rumors  that move EU – Turkey agreement focus form Turkey to Greece as a “plan b”, are not real

the  European Commissioner on Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos answered to the European Parliament and underled  that there is only one plan based on solidarity and tackling of traffickers on EU – Turkey deal implementations. Avramopoulos stressed that  “rumours can do only harm” .

“till the end of the year”

These border checks are “exceptional and temporary” European Commissioner said, assuring the MEPs  that the aim is to lift them by the end of the year, at the latest

This happened on parallel, on the same day that  President of the European Parliament was announcing the No to to Turkey’s visa liberalisation

 

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Martin Schultz: I stopped Visa process

“The Turkish Parliament has not yet fulfilled and I stopped the process”, said Martin Schulz, explaining why the Commission sent to the European Parliament the 72 visa liberalisation benchmarks of which  seven , he said  are not yet met .“This is a point of disagreement, we should not hide it,” Martin Schulz added talking to the reporters on a press conference with the Turkish Minister of European Union Affairs.This happened on parallel, on the same day that  President of the European Parliament was announcing the No to to Turkey’s visa liberalisation

Martin Schulz said that

the scope of Turkey’s anti-terror laws were “so far reaching that we think that some of the measures are touching not directly the fight against terrorism but, for example, the freedom of expression and of media.”

The EU-Turkey deal in dangerous moments

“We are trying to save the package,”  Volkan Bozkır, the Turkish Minister of European Union Affairs and Chief Negotiator told the reporters .

Volkan Bozkır described as parts of the package the opening of chapters, the €3 billion plus €3 billion, energy platforms, economy and customs union and also EU – Turkey readmission agreement

The deal between the EU and Turkey to end the migrant crisis is facing “a very dangerous moment”  Turkey’s EU Affairs Minister Volkan Bozkir said,  heightening more tension between the two sides in honoring the deal, whie Europe is seeing the recent encouraging results

 

 

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Doctors Without Borders, #MSF, pulls out of World Humanitarian Summit, #WHS

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The UN expects 6,000 people at a historic humanitarian conference in Istanbul later this month. But one prominent participant has dropped out.

The international medical organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF or Doctors Without Borders), announced today, May 5, 2016 that it is not going to the World Humanitarian Summit. In a statement, MSF said it was pulling out “with disappointment”, after months of preparatory discussions. MSF believes the summit may let those most responsible for spiralling humanitarian need – governments – off the hook. The summit has lost its way and become, in MSF’s opinion, “a fig-leaf of good intentions”.

A spokesman for the UN’s emergency aid coordination body, OCHA, Herve Verhoosel, told IRINNEWS.ORG the move was “disappointing”, given MSF’s “strong and influential voice”.

This is the first discussion comments of Facebook, instantly after the announcement, starting by Peter Bouckaert, Emergency Director at Human Rights Watch

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  • MSF, one of the world’s most respected and courageous humanitarian organizations, has decided to pull out of the upcoming UN World Humanitarian Summit, saying the summit will not address issues of crucial importance such as the need for UN reform, the lack in global emergency response capacity, and the muddling of emergency response and development agendas. They feel the agenda will let governments who cause major humanitarian crises and obstruct humanitarian responses off the hook.

    “I don’t think this is ‘toys out of the pram’; I think MSF is desperately frightened to consistently find itself alone in trying to respond to needs that far overwhelm MSF.”

     

    Meghan Rose “I think MSF is desperately frightened to consistently find itself alone in trying to respond to needs that far overwhelm MSF.” The strange thing is everyone feels this way, no? I wonder why everyone else keeps repeating/keeping an exhaustive pattern that only brings harm/more crazy making to the situation.

    Peter N. Bouckaert The difference is that MSF is frequently the only humanitarian actor responding to overwhelming needs in the most dangerous places. That was the case at the height of the CAR crisis (with ICRC and ACF) and is the case in Syria. We may all feel overwhelmed, but that doesn’t mean that we are all there on the front lines with them.

    So who is going to fight for doing the right thing? I don’t get the reasoning behind this. The same as I didn’t get the reasoning behind them and other NGOs pulling out of camps for political reasons. NGOs are supposed to be non political.

     

     

    GO to our earlier story, by moodhackerblog

 

One after the other NGOs pull out of #Lesvos hotspots  sending strong message to EU

As humanitarian crisis was unfolding at the Athens port of Piraeus, where thousands of asylum seekers and migrants were stranded…

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In the name of a #Christian Europe some raised the Fences, said @atsipras to @Pontifex, Some #Refugees might be #Angels, said @EcuPatriarch

Tsipras welcoming the Pontifex

Tsipras welcoming the Pontifex

Pontifex at the refugee camp Lesvos, ED @EASO welcoming the Pope

Pontifex at the refugee camp Lesvos, ED @EASO welcoming the Pope

Lesvos holds the historical meeting , United Pray to God

Lesvos holds the historical meeting , United Pray to God

Pontifex, Bartholomew, bringing Christian word closer than ever

Pontifex, Bartholomew, bringing Christian word closer than ever

Visit our Special Story by Greek to me !

In the name of a #Christian Europe some raised the Fences, said @atsipras to @Pontifex, Some #Refugees might be #Angels, said @EcuPatriarch

 

Stay with us on extensive Popes historical meeting coverage, by greek2m.org

 

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Migrants were “walking” on Aegean to find Edem of Lesvos 500.000 years ago

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The populations of the Lower Paleolithic Age “walked” through Aegean to reach Lesvos on their migration routes, which was the Garden of Eden land that helped survival

These populations simply passed Aegean on foot,   transferring cultural and technological achievements of their era “say Nena Galanidis, Associate Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology at the University of Crete who has led the special archaeological research on Lesvos based on excavations that find today their epicenter at Lisvory, Lesvos area, near Kalloni gulf .

 

Lesvos, a land passage

Lesvos,  a big rich island today with incredible natural resources,  had been an ideal destination, a garden of Eden, at the prehistoric times , and had served deep back in history as the migration passage for the populations of that time,  the flows people of the lower Paleolithic era migrating during the glacier times in order to survive. And we don’t even know how much of “humans” that population had been

“Before 500,000 years, we have to imagine that this island used to join with Western Asia, and then to rule again. Today we all know Lesvos as an island, but had not always been  island throughout the hundreds thousand years of its history.

During the glacial periods of times, the sea level fell, while the ocean water was “locked” in the glaciers due to drought and cold, the sea level fell, and a decline of about 60 meters was enough to unite Lesvos (and most of the islands of the Eastern Aegean) with West Asia, adds professor Nena Galanidou.

Putting them together, we can see today that all of what we know as island group of East Aegean Sea, was the land end of Anatolia.

Such geophysical conditions were allowing the animal populations to be displaced, as well as the populations of progenitor species of the modern man, called hominids. “.

 

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The Paleolithic Findings, tools made of Lesvos rocks

The findings are mainly stone tools of the almond season, and large cutting tools, something like primitive cleavers. All are made exclusively from local rocks.

The paleolithic man who was active at the time, mainloy hunters and gatherers, had not yet learned any time of farming, to cultivate the land, therefore he was moving very often in areas where there was plenty of food.

 

Why did they stop in Lesvos?

“How and Why their archaeological imprint is visible to us today?, the archaeologist and excavatoror Nena Galanidou explains

The most probable explanation to me is that Lesvos has been the main stop during the hominids’ migration journey, because they found there prey, to feed themselves durin that jouney, and this happened on the shores of a large lake , Kalloni, the Beauty Golf of the island as it is known today. Also, they found the material to build their tools, in this place, but as well they find a point which can be for them very welcoming: the hot springs

Around the hot springs we find today a micro-environment that was created. It is no coincidence that Rodafnidia are located right next to the hot springs of Ai Yianni of Lisvori which is the only point with springs in Kalloni ( Beauty) Gulf. ”

 

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Lesvos , an Edem Garden

Lesvos during that time was a real paradise, as, indeed, it still is today, but far more blooming and wild. The seasons between the glaciers, sea levels were significantly falling, and the bed was beconing a huge land. People and animals of that time, were easily moving on foot from Asia Minor to the island, a place disposable of large food reserves.

It is no coincidence that paleontological objects of the findings have been discovered at the area close to the Gulf of Kalloni, were Aristolis of Ancient Greece discoverd Biology, 2500 years before, but hundreds thousands years after the homisids had chose it .

Today  the are is a remarkable and perfect ecosystem, a birdwatchers’ destination, and the Gulf itself becomes each year the source of the best omega 3 food in the world, sardines of Kalloni.

At the prehistoric times Kalloni Gulf was hosting a huge collection of birds, animals and plants, the findings reveal.

Close is the Polychitos area, Vrisa also, were the Museum of Natural History is based hosting many of Paleolithic findings.

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Go our Special Page on greek2m.org

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A hopeful rise in #GreekTourism arrivals this year, 25 million expected to visit

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ITB Berlin 2016 – Greek Alternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura and Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) Andreas Andreadis.

The Greek Tourism Confederation expects the number of visitors to rise to a record 25 million this year and bring 800 million euros ($897 million) of extra income,

Andreas Andreadis, president of Greek Tourism Confederation said in an interview in Athens on Tuesday March 29.

Andreadis said he expects as many as 900,000 Russians to arrive in Greece and they will account for about half the increase in revenue

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Summer bookings: Turkey’s to fall, Greece’s to rise, hopefully

The Greek tourism sector is rubbing its hands in expectation of the tourists who have dropped neighboring Turkey from their holiday agenda and instead opted for Greek shores,the greektravelpages wrote.

Turkey’s bookings  falling  sharply

Due to the rising political tensions between Turkey and Russia, terror attacks on German tourists, terrorism in nearby countries and problems with refugees and Kurds, Turkey has many problems that will directly affect tourism and medical tourism in 2016 and 2017.

Tourists are avoiding Turkey en masse, write gtp, with Germans recording a 14.39 percent drop, US tourists decreasing by 9.53 percent, Japan travelers by a massive 58.96 percent and Russian holidaymakers, which was until recently Turkey’s main market, by 51.56 percent. The number of Greek visitors also fell in February by 20.82 percent at 34,176.

In recent years, the number of tourists to Turkey went up by several million each year, until 2015.

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Medical tourism numbers also grew spectacularly, although some of the official figures are not entirely trustworthy. From a peak of 42 million in 2014, tourism numbers have fallen, with 2015 figures looking to be around 36 million.

The trend on medical tourism is expected to show an even bigger fall as the numbers of Russians, Germans and Italians going to Turkey have fallen significantly.

Russian outbound numbers on tourism and medical tourism have fallen and will fall further in 2016 due to political instability, EU sanctions, falling oil prices and the value of the Rouble falling against foreign currencies.

On the same day the Greek President of Hoteliers in Greece, Andreadis, announced the expected rise in Greece’s tourism activity , separately, on March 28,  Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry reported a 10 percent drop in year-on-year arrivals last month, the most in a decade.

Tourism and medical tourism have been heavily dependent on Russians and Germans. According to Turkish authorities, 5.5 million Germans visited the country in 2015 and there were, until late 2015, millions of Russians.

Turkey is concerned about the loss of Russian business, but increasing business from European countries had been offsetting this. Turkey is popular with German, French, Italian and Spanish tourists. The country used to be one of Germany’s most popular travel destinations, but after this year’s assault on a German tour group in Istanbul and two other attacks deliberately aimed at tourists, bookings have fallen sharply.

Tourism , unique Greece’s growing sector

While Andreadis made no comment on Turkey or its tourism industry, the expected influx of higher-spending Russian tourists couldn’t come at a better time for Greece as its economy struggles to grow and its finances still hang in the balance.

Tourism has been one of the few industries that kept growing during the crisis, with rising to a record 23.6 million people last year.

In 2015, international tourist arrivals to Greece grew by 7% to reach 23.6 million, while exports generated by the sector increased by 6% to euro 14.2 billion.

Its total contribution to the country’s gross domestic product was 18.5 percent, almost twice the European average, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.

Andreadis said the increase will boost GDP by an extra percentage point this year, with revenue rising to 15 billion euros from 14.2 billion euros in 2015. 

In 2015, the number of visitors from Germany specifically rose by 14.3 percent compared to 2014, to reach 2.8 million, while the overall rise in German visitors to Greece since 2010 has been 38 percent. Last year, German visitors contributed 2.26 billion euros to the Greek economy, according to the Bank of Greece

 

UNWTO projects a positive 2016 for tourism in Greece

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ITB Berlin 2016 – Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO); Elena Koundoura, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Greece; Dimitris Tryfonopoulos, Secretary General, Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO); Iris Gleicke, Parliamentary State-Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and Michael Müller, Governing Mayor of Berlin.

UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai, also,  expressed, on March 17,  the confidence of the Organization in the continued growth of the tourism sector in Greece.

Meeting Minister of Tourism of Greece Elena Kountoura at the side-lines of ITB to discuss the situation and prospects of tourism in Europe and Greece, Mr Rifai said

“we have no doubt that Greece will maintain a powerful image worldwide as a major tourism destination and that the country will consolidate its growth in 2016, as shown by booking trends”.

 

sources: gtp pages, International Medical Travel Journal, Bloomberg, Hospitalitynet

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Hepatitis diagnosed in Idomeni

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A 9 year old refugee child from Syria has been diagnosed with Hepatitis A at the open refugee camp of Greece’s borders with FYROM, Idomeni, the Greek Centers for Disease Control announced, and is transfered to a hospital of Thessaloniki

The kid had travelled with his family from Syria to Greece, and meanwhile stayed for a couple of days in Turkey, his parents realtives said  to the authorities and the Disease Control doctors. His condition is stable, the Greek CDC announcement said on Saturday afternoon .
 

“The Greek CDC(HCDCP), in collaboration with local health agencies, has taken all imjmediated actions for the prevention and the entrenchment of the disease in vulnerable refugee populations”, the organisation’s Press Release said

 The measures include:

a) compliance with basic hygiene guidelines, such as hand washing hygiene, especially before preparing food and eating, and each time after toilet use, the disinfection of toilets, and the use of safen clean drinking water and

b) the timely recognition of cases, the provision of care and proper isolation.

c) Vaccination of close contacts of the patient and of susceptible individuals is also immediately after the diagnosis planned.

The Greek CDC, (HCDCP) also reminds by its announcement that  hepatitis A virus is not transmitted through simple  social contact in the general population.

Stay with us, 24/7

Find all the updates about Greece’s incredible humanitarian  crisis with the 50.000 refugees trapped in its borders,  on our Greek to me HomePage 

www.greek2m.org

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Balkan route closed, EU to declare

Greece-FYROM borders

The EU Ambassadors meeting

The Balkan route taken by hundreds of thousands of migrants to Europe is going to be closed, EU leaders will declare today Monday at their summit with Turkey in Brussels, diplomats and officials said over the weekend, after a meeting on Sunday, the news site  POLITICO revealed.

Their statement — to be approved by leaders today, Monday March 7— was discussed by EU ambassadors on Sunday afternoon.

“Irregular flows of migrants along the Western Balkans route are coming to an end; this route is now closed,”

according to a copy of the document obtained by the news site .

Der Standard leak

Two days earlier aslo, the Austrian Newspaper Der Standard claimed it has seen a draft of the communiqué which stated that the Western Balkan route would  immediately shut down and Europe would provide the necessary support to Greece to deal with the refugees and immigrants to be stuck in the country.

According to Der Standard, the draft of the communiqué included a readmission agreement with Turkey for immigrants who do not qualify for asylum. Also, Europe would ask Turkey to participate directly and constructively in the control of EU external borders in the Aegean Sea.

Moreover, the draft stated, Der Standard  revealed, that the presence of Frontex in Greece would be enhanced, particularly at Greece borders with FYROM and Albania, while among FRONTEX responsibilities would be the proper functioning of the hotspots, where refugees will be registered and being prepared for their relocation to other European countries. EU countries should have done more than they have committed to do at this moment by April 1, as it is stated. According to the same draft, Europol would also participate in the process being also responsible for dismantling the trafficking.

Roadmap to Schengen

According to the Politiko article of Monday 03/07 , the ambassadors’ meeting did not last long and ambassadors also endorsed the aim to “take forward, as a matter of priority all the elements of the Commission roadmap,” according to a diplomatic source, who added that the draft statement was not controversial. The migration roadmap, which was put out on Friday, envisages a series of steps for the return to normality in the Schengen area by December, dismantling the internal border controls reintroduced by some member states.

The new commitment to close the Western Balkan route would end the “wave-through policy” that allowed migrants to cross borders with minimal controls.

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Be aware of the other routes

The final statement stresses the need to be aware of other routes that migrants might take if the road running through Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia is shut down. There are fears, especially in Rome, that migrants will try to travel north through Albania and across the Ionian Sea to Italy.

This scenario, we have to underline, would be the most nightmarish one for Greece’s tourism, paralizing at most Greece’s tourist attraction at the Western part of the country, the Ionian islands, where most of top world’s celebrities used to trravel especially on summer months .

EU on Turkey’s acceptannce

To help ease the humanitarian strain on Greece, where thousands of migrants are now stuck after borders were closed further to the north, the EU is counting on Turkey’s help.

“I am afraid we could have an intense discussion on that since some are complaining that the EU has been too soft with Ankara,”

said a diplomat.

The summit is intended to address the refugee crisis by making it clear that migrants will be swiftly returned to Turkey and that last year’s “open-door” policy, that made it possible for more than a million people to make their way to Germany, is over.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, in his meeting in Ankara with Tusk on Thursday, agreed to step up the return of illegal migrants from Greece as part of a bilateral readmission program with Athens, another official said.

But hours after European Council President Donald Tusk left Ankara last week, Turkish authorities on Friday seized Zaman, the country’s largest opposition newspaper.An agreement at the summit still faces such political hurdles, in particular unease within the EU over a domestic crackdown in Turkey, politiko article notes

“On Monday, I would like us to agree that all available EU tools, including accelerated relocation, should be used to address the humanitarian consequences for the refugees, not least in Greece, in a speedy and effective way,” Tusk wrote in his invitation letter to leaders who’ll gather in Brussels Monday.

Davutoğlu, who will take part in the first session of the summit, also confirmed Turkey’s readiness to take back Syrians rescued in international waters by a NATO-led operation.

NATO-FRONTEX deal

NATO on Sunday reached a deal with Frontex, the EU border agency, on how to coordinate efforts.

“We welcome that Frontex and NATO reached a common understanding today on the modalities of their cooperation in the Aegean Sea,”

said Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign policy chief, in a joint statement Sunday with the Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos. 

On some days, as many as two-thirds of the 3,000 people coming into Greece are non-Syrians. The plan is to give these people a one-way ticket home.

The statement that was worked on Sunday calls for members to approve a humanitarian package for Athens, presented by the Commission on Wednesday, before the next summit of EU leaders on March 17.

Part of the effort to help Athens includes a speeding up of the existing relocation programs for 66,400 refugees from Greece that has largely been moribund, diplomats said. The draft statement calls for action to “accelerate relocation to alleviate the heavy burden that presently weighs on Greece.”

Diplomats said they were optimistic that a consensus will emerge at the summit. The closure of the Balkan route will also soften the problem of Austria’s unilateral decision to impose a yearly and daily cap on the number of refugees the country will accept, a decision branded by the Commission as a violation of international law, said an official.

 

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SOURCE : POLITICO.

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We plan special campaigns and travel programs for the islands especially hit by refugee flows said @tsipras_eu

 

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Alexis Tsipras(right) , Nikos Hatzinikolaou (left), on air, Star channel

Talking live on Star Channel TV and  Nikos Hatzinikolaou show, the Greek Prime Minister undelined that Tourism is in the heart of the government’s priorities, and especially the islands and areas that have been hit by the refugees flows numbers at most.

Alexis Tsipras assured that all the measures will be taken to protect the tourist activity in Greece and especially the first receptor areas, the islands of Aegean.

Prime Minister stated that his office, and personally him is in close contact with the Ministry of Greek Tourism, and the Minister Elena Koudoura, as well as with the Mayors of the islands to find in common the proper solutions and action plan demanded to aware the travel community and travelers to Greece  on the safety of their travel, and more, he said, to give them a reason why to visit these isles, that gave the paradigm of humanism to a changing Europe

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Greek Minister of Tourism Elena Koudoura, by Lesvos, Mytilini port background

 

Alexis Tsipras also clarified that Greece’s position was pro FRONTEX and NATO presence in Aegean as to support , but also confirm to the international community that Greek borders  are properly guarded by Greece

 

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Fusing #Culture in #Greece’s refugee bomb. What the Nomination of #Lesvos for #European Capital of Culture in 2021 revealed 

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…. But life kept flourishing on this blessed land always, despite the difficulties and the agony of the neighboring wars . Pain was transformed to hope in this place, loss was soothed by the solidarity of the society’s heart, and survival struggle was empowered by the inspiration the nature of this isle evokes, day and night by its unprecedented beauty, to common people, as well as artist, philosophers, religious persons and philanthropists throughout the years .

And , truly , this is what the aim of a European Capital of Culture is supposed to be .

“ Do you plan to assimilate the refugees that are going to stay in the island …..”

Go to  our Greek to me ! exclusive artice

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National panic in the closed borders’ vast hot spot that is Greece

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Chaos leading to  generalized national panic is the latest  update on refugee crisis in Greece by thousands arriving every day back to Athens from the closed Greek -FYROM border and some more thousands daily sent from the islands to Piraeus and then Athens, while the country realises that not only European solidarity  is a illusion, but more dramatically, that sharing of the refugee burden has proved to be a utopia itself .
“Greece becoming a vast camp”, Peter Sutherland, United Nations Special Representative for International Migration tweeted on Wednesday .
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced in Parliament  that from now on Greece “will not assent to agreements” unless all its partners are forced to participate proportionately in the relocation and resettlement of refugees.
The management of the refugee crisis by Europe has been disappointing,
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Wednesday in an address in Parliament, and urged European Union countries to honor the bloc’s decisions on sharing the burden of the  crisis, warning that  that if they did not, Athens would block future agreements.

Alexis Tsipras made clear that

“Greece will not agree to deals (in the EU) if a mandatory allocation of burdens and responsibilities among member countries is not secured.”

“Some don’t realize that the common rules either apply to all or they don’t exist,” he said. “Also, agreements are either implemented by all or they don’t exist. It’s shameful for the decisions taken by the EU heads of state to be annulled by some sub-gatherings,” he said, noting Greece will demand its partners “to act responsibly”.

“We will not allow Greece to become a warehouse of souls,” he said.

Addressing worries that flow restrictions at the northern border could swell the number of migrants stranded in Greece, Tsipras said he would meet political party leaders to form a common stance before an early March summit of EU leaders on the migration crisis.

 

NATO to send illegal migrants back to Turkey

Migrants rescued by NATO vessels in the Aegean Sea will be returned to Turkey, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said early Thursday after the military alliance finalized an operation to monitor the smuggling networks that help people reach Greece.

“In case of rescue of persons coming via Turkey, they will be taken back to Turkey,” Stoltenberg added.

NATO vessels arrived in the Aegean last week, and are carrying out reconnaissance, monitoring and surveillance activities, the NATO chief said, adding that the alliance is also establishing direct links with the European Union‘s border agency Frontex.

Participating NATO vessels can operate in Greek and Turkish waters, but Ankara and Athens have agreed not to send forces into each others‘ waters or airspace, Stoltenberg said. The two sides are embroiled in a long-running territorial dispute.

He noted that NATO is uniquely placed to facilitate the cooperation and exchange of information between Greece and Turkey, as both countries are members of the alliance, while only Greece is in the EU.

Stoltenberg‘s comments came hours before a meeting Thursday of EU interior ministers in Brussels to discuss joint efforts to curb the migrant inflow.

On Wednesday, Tsipras and German Chancellor Angela Merkel  agreed to intensify efforts to implement EU decisions and start NATO operations in the Aegean Sea immediately to counter smuggling networks to reduce migrant inflows, while hours earlier,  Angela Merkel had a telephon conference with President Obama, and as well Francois Hollande  and David Cameron, where the four of them  agreed they were firmly committed to the Nato migration mission, noting the importance of Greece and Turkey working together and with the international community to ensure the mission’s success.

Four vessels under German command, including personnel from Canada, Greece and Turkey, were rerouted last week from another part of the Mediterranean Sea, according to NATO officials.

NATO agreed two weeks ago to help combat the flow of migrants to Europe in response to a request by Turkey, Greece and Germany. But work to agree the details of the operation ran into difficulties after Ankara signalled reluctance to take back anyone rescued at sea.

 

sources:: ANA- MPA ,europeonline

 

 

 

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Children taken from their mothers on refugee boats

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Shifts of the route towards smaller islands are the firsr results of Frontex and NATO presence in the Aegean

Are you Syrious Organizaion posted noted on its facebook page today,  that yesterday, the highest refugees arrival rate of the last 40 days occured on  Greek islands, and  presented the figures.

The Mayor of Lesvos Spyros Galinos, confirmed, talking to Greek media today that arrivals of the last couple of days exceed the number of 1500 daily, which is huge for this season of the year , he noted

Meanwhile the Greek Prime Minister finds himself in the middle of the refugee storm talks with the European leaders at the Migration EU summit, without the presence of Ahmet Davutoglou, though , who  cancelled his trip to Brussels due to Ankara terorist attack, two days earlier .

Are You Syrious?’s post 6 hrs

#GREECE‬: Yesterday, 4,611 new refugees were registered on the Greek islands, which was a significant increase and represents the highest arrival rate since 9 January. Yesterday’s arrivals include

  • 2,091 refugees on Lesvos,
  • 1,264 on Chios,
  • 652 on Leros,
  • 300 on Samos,
  • 68 on Kos and a smuch as
  • 223 on Southern Dodecanese.

By 9PM today, at least 634 people have landed on Lesvos shores, more than 1,000 have arrived to Chios , while 20 refugees have arrived to Kos last night, including a pregnant woman whose amnion broke right when she arrived on the island and a cesarian had to be made. She and her baby are fine.
.
Today at 3 o’clock in the morning, the Greek Coastguard attempts to stop a new boat from reaching the coast of Lesvos resulted in a havoc and the boat almost crashed on sharp rocks near Skala Sykamia. The tragedy was prevented at the last moment by the intervention of the rescue boat belonging to the team ‘Sea Rescue’.

  • Apart from usual landing sites, refugee crisis has hit the small island of ‪#‎Kastellorizo‬, where more than 700 refugees have landed in the past 48 hours, many of them already sleeping in the open as island’s facilities have a maximum capacity of 500 refugees.
  • Additional 153 refugees have landed on ‪#‎Ro‬ island yesterday, where there are no solidarity groups or any other support.

If refugees continue arriving at this rate, all of them won’t be able to board the ferry towards Athens when it arrives on Friday. According to reports from the ground, the Greek Coast Guard and police are overwhelmed as people continue to arrive.

Turkish coast guard has prevented some crossings to the island this morning, but wasn’t able to stop all of them.According to some opinions, shifts of the route towards smaller islands are the firs result of Frontex and NATO presence in the Aegean, creating more dangerous route for the refugees instead of helping them.

 

 

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#NATO officers at Mytilene Port, Lesvos, February 16, 2016 Photo by Laura Lizancos, via Information Point Volunteers Lesvos, fb

 The smugglers’ warning

Earier this week smugglers have warned NATO and Frontex won’t stop them, and that they have their plan B’s on the sea routes to successfully continue carrying refugees to Greece

 

 

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Turkey is  Sinking the boats, say the refugees

Volunteer voices from Lesvos denounce that Turkish Costgard is sinking refugee boats

On International Volunteers Lesvos – Refugee Crisis, Nili Lowicz-Darby posted , 5hrs

A message just received that a Boat of refugees north north west of Karakos, Lesvos is in Turkish waters and it is “confirmed that Turkish coastguard are hosing the boat with water jet” which means they are sinking the boat using water cannon, a boat of refugees of which at least one third will probably be children and babies.

 

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Greek media:  Children were taken from mothers by Turkish Coast Guard among attempts to sink their boat

According to Local News reports two Syrian refugee women made a complaint to Greek port authorities and humanitarian organizations upon their arrival on the island of Lesvos on Thursday February 18th morning, that a Turkish coast guard vessel took several children from a boat where they were together with their parents and took them back to Turkey.

Furthermore, that the coastguard officer attempted to sink the boat while it was sailing in Turkish territorial waters.

According to eye-witnesses, Omar Sindu, refugee from Syria:

«The Turkish coast guard patrol boat took the children and some other passengers form the boat. Several passengers resisted because they did not want to return to Turkey. Then the Turkish coast guard tried to destroy the boat, in an effort to force the passengers to get on the coast guard boat. But the boat increased speed and managed to escape.

We are later rescued by a Greek boat that took us to Lesvos.”

Accoding to the Greek media reports the UN High Commission for Refugees is informed and trying to reunite the two families.

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#NATO officers arrived in Lesvos, flotilla expected tomorrow, while #smugglers warn they won’t be stopped

Smugglers: NATO won’t disrupt our networks

People smugglers in Turkey have told Sky News NATO’s warships will not be able to stem the flow of migrants and refugees heading across the Aegean Sea to Europe, or disrupt their networks.

 

Mohammed has been involved in the human smuggling trade for the last two years.

He said to Sky News, the gangs are too well organised and there’s too much money involved for it to be halted.

“The smuggling will not stop – as long as people want to be smuggled the smuggling networks will continue to operate,” Mohammed told Sky News.

“Turkey has tried to stop it but we the smugglers are well prepared and are always one step ahead.

“We don’t bribe the police but if one policeman or two finds out about our operations they will come to the smuggler and tell him we know what you are doing – then the smuggler will bribe him with a few hundred dollars.”

NATO says its mission will not be involved in rescuing migrants, or turning their flimsy crafts around and away from Europe.

 

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The German supply ship Bonn, which will lead the Nato flotilla heading for the Aegean Sea Photograph: Ingo Wagner/AP

 

 NATO ships expected to arrive on February 19th

Defence ministers from the 28 countries in the US-led military alliance agreed in principle to the mission and have asked officials to look at a variety of options for establishing patrols along the Turkish and Greek coasts and other smuggling routes. Several member states have offered to send reinforcements to the three-ship mission.

The Nato intervention is justified as an attack on human traffickers,

US defence secretary Ashton Carter explained. “There is now a criminal syndicate that is exploiting these poor people and this is an organised smuggling operation.”

The NATO ships have been ordered to the Aegean to begin the mission “without delay”, and are expected to be in place on Friday, even though the details of their role are still being filled in, said US air force general Philip Breedlove.

“This mission has literally come together in about the last 20 hours,” Breedlove told journalists. “I have been tasked now to go back and define the mission, define the rules of engagement, define all of what we call special operation instructions, all of the things that will lay out what we are going to do.”

He declined to comment on whether the Nato crews would join local coastguards in rescuing migrants whose boats had sunk or were failing.

The Bonn patrol

Nato has sent a patrol of three warships to intercept migrants trying to reach Greece by sea and send them back to Turkey, as Europe steps up efforts to contain the refugee crisis.

The Nato flotilla will be led by the German navy’s flagship, the Bonn, supported by Turkey’s frigate Barbaros and the Canadian frigate, Fredericton.

The German-led patrol will be backed by planes that can monitor the flow of people attempting illegal crossings.

Greece and Turkey have agreed that any migrants they intercept will be sent back.

“They will not be taken back to Greece. The aim of the group is to have them taken back to Turkey. That is the crucial difference,” said the British defence secretary, Michael Fallon.

“This is the first time we have seen a group tasked with returning migrants. That has not happened before. So that is quite an important development.”

The UK does not have any ships involved but is looking at how it could contribute, Fallon told journalists after a meeting of defence ministers in Brussels, where the plan was hammered out.

“It could definitely help save lives in the Aegean and it could help break the criminal gangs that are trafficking migrants from Turkey into Europe,” he added.

The NATO alliance’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, initially denied that the ships would try to stop people from crossing into Europe. “This is not about stopping or pushing back refugee boats,” he said.

Germany’s defence minister, Ursula von der Leyen, had already indicated she favoured a far more robust approach and had secured Ankara’s permission to send some refugees back to Turkey, the Deutsche Welle newspaper reported.

the smugglers network

For Turkey and its smugglers, the flow of people is big business. Each dinghy crammed full of desperate people is estimated to generate €50,000, the middleeastmonitor.com writes.

At night, when busses fill up far away from the coast in Turkey, the smugglers are let through depending on the fluctuating regulations, to make good business sense the article adds.

“The government cracks down on certain crossings, changing the flow of refugees to Lesvos; at the moment the refugees arrive on the north coast of the island. The Turkish government had a crackdown on smugglers from Izmir aiming for the south of Lesvos, an hour-long, lethal journey with faulty lifejackets and dinghies in choppy waters, so they find themselves capitalising instead on the five times longer and thus five times more dangerous route to arrive on the north coast. People have to pay €1,500 to risk their lives crossing the Aegean on a good day (many times more expensive than an official, and safe, ferry); when it is windy the charge is €500 or €700 at night, when the chance of survival decreases. This is how the smugglers capitalise on the status of extremely vulnerable people fleeing from war.”

Greece out of Schengen , not the solution

Excluding Greece from the passport-free Schengen area will not solve Europe’s migrant problem, EU Council President Donald Tusk said on Tuesday after meeting Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens.

“Let me be clear, excluding Greece from Schengen solves none of our problems,” Tusk told reporters

Council President acknowledged the crisis was testing European cohesion to its limits.

“For all those talking of excluding Greece from Schengen, thinking this is a solution to the migration crisis, I say no, it is not.

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Koulouri Must in Comics and reality  

12715402_1769574726606059_6458935347251103188_n12717342_1769574733272725_4053228784298593974_nKoulouri is a comics magazine, small in size, simple, funny, and with a good measure of absurdity dipped in illustrator and cartoonist Tomek Giovanis’ own reality.

But what is Koulouri about? have you tasted , first of all ?

In Greek reality, for most of the living generations Koulouri has become more than daily routine. They have it at school, in the office, on the road, in the cinema, wherever…

Truth is, wherever you find it don’t miss it . It worths the taste, the absolute traditional Greek Street trend eperience, but most of it… the energy you get isntantly by the sesame seeds super-dose that Koulouri holds since some centuries in Greece, and has nourished the minds and bodys of the day. All the country around

Source: Koulouri Comics by Tomek Giovanis

koulouri on the streets photos, by Growing Up Greek Style fb

the Greek to me team

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#Turkey in, #Greece out of #Schengen option, plus #NATO patrols

 

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Alexis Tsipras answered to Angela Merkel via phone call, on her way back to Germany from Turkey, where she visited for a second time in less than ten days.

Through the international News, the Greek government had the chance to know, as official Greek government sources said, that Angela Merkel proposed to the Turkish Leaders the NATO ships patrols in the Aegean seas between Turkey and Greece.

On Monday February 8, Angela Merkel visited Turkey , second time in less than 10 days, and met with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and President Recep Tayipp Erdogan to discuss the refugee issue.

Among the series of measures that aim to tackle illegal immigration,on which the two parts made a commitment,  the idea of deploying NATO ships to patrol the seas between Turkey and Greece, was also included in the talks, the Handelsblatt wrote .

Greece answered that even though Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had met with Angela Merkel and Ahmet Davutoglu in London last week , no such idea had been expressed to the Greek side.

The Greek Prime Minister firmly answered that

however NATO would be involved, this would be inside the Turkish sea territory , and that Greece’s sovereignty on its sea borders and water territory is undoubtful and undiscussable .

Ms. Merkel said in Turkey that part of a joint strategy would also be to provide a way for people to legally leave Turkey for Europe. Arrivals in Europe would be “controlled, legal and organized by us,” Merkel said, the Handelsblatt wrote .

But  Greece is asking for a safe corridor for refugees from Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, and immediate readmission to Turkey of those not seeking asylum or refuse voluntary return, as Greek Alternate Interior Minister said Monday February 8 night on a tv interview.

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Schengen Visa free: Turkey in , Greece out

While Greece is alarmingly threatened to be seriously kicked out of the Europe’s free Schengen zone , Ahmet Davutoglu last week was delighted to announce that the government of Turkey has accepted the deal from the European Union to help stop the flow of refugees to Europe.

This, to be noted, happened  after months of negotiations and deals, which include $3.2 billion in cash and, amongst other benefits a visa-free travel for Turkish passport holders to countries in Europe’s Schengen zone, option , as it is recently announced, on the same moments that Schengen Zone is threatening Greece, by accusations to Greece that it is not fulfilling its obligations.    

By this option on the table, and the 3 billions plus, that Turkey purchased from Europe, Ahmed  Davutoglu had called the move a “new beginning” in Turkey’s move to join Europe,” talking to reporters on January 31.

”Today is a historic day in our accession process to the EU. I am grateful to all European leaders for this new beginning.”

With 2.5 million Syrian refugees already in Turkey and tens of thousands amassed at the border fleeing Russian and Syrian bombings in Aleppo, Ankara is now Europe’s key partner in solving the refugee crisis, the Handelsblatt wrote a week after, on February 8, 2016, adding that

Chancellor Angela Merkel knows that, which is why she is making her second trip this week in less than four months to Turkey. 

As Angela Merkel had promised to the Turkish leaders since her earlier trip to Turkey, today it was announced that

 The E.U. also agreed to ease visa restrictions for Turkish citizens and to revive stalled talks on the country’s accession to the 28-nation bloc.

as Handelsblatt wrote on February 9, adding that in return, the Turkish authorities were supposed to crack down on smuggling gangs and work to reduce the flow of refugees into Greece.

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#Dijsselbloem: “We get hugs and wet kisses with #Juncker, every time we meet” ( obviously, not spending money on women. For drinks we’re not sure…)  

Source: #Dijsselbloem: “We get hugs and wet kisses with #Juncker” 

Read the statement by  moodhackerblog Archive , as said on June 2015

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