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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 13 December 2014
10 AUSTRALIA Back into crisis CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 In a televised address, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras nominated Stavros Dimas, a senior figure in his conservative party and former EU commissioner for the environment, as the government's presidential candidate. Opposition parties said they would not back him, or any candidate the government puts forth, to force national elections. SYRIZA's Tsipras said the final presidential vote, on 29 December, would signify the end of the governing coalition's "catastrophic" austerity policies. "At last, this year we will have every reason to wish a happy New Year," he said. The role of the president has very little constitutional power but Samaras' move is seen as a gamble because if his candidate does not win, an early general election could be called. At the moment, the anti-austerity, left-wing party SYRIZA could win, a victory that threatens the tough reform and spending cuts program that Greece was forced to adopt in return for 240 billion euros ($300 billion) in bailout loans. "Now Greece has the possibility to elect the president, to have elections, to have a new government, and a new government will discuss with the European Union the future of the Greek economy and Greek debt," Simitis said. "If this was not done, there would be a situation of nobody knowing what will happen and of crisis - and crisis is not a good thing." Eurozone finance ministers have given Greece a two-month extension to its bailout program to allow Greece's government to finalise outstanding reforms that could enable the country to receive the last tranche of aid. The presidential vote is due on 17 December, although there are three rounds of voting. If Samaras' preferred candidate does not garner the 180 votes in parliament needed to elect a new president, a general election will automatically be called. Simitis said that the result of the forthcoming election was critical for Greece and its financial and political stability. "If the present government has a majority again and the government wants to continue with the present policies with the European Union I think the result will be very positive as far as the debt question is concerned." If Samaras was successful in his gamble, Simitis believed that the ‘troika’ of international organisations - the European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank - would be more lenient on Greece and the implementation of its bailout program. Diverse talent pool at NUGASvision Billy Tachtsis takes out first prize with a bouzouki rendition of Evdokia HELEN VELISSARIS It was all about talent with a Greek bent in NUGAS Victoria's first ever talent show. Entitled NUGASVision, to pay tribute to the popular kitsch European song competition Eurovision, about ten Greek Australian students plucked up the courage to enter and perform in front of their peers last week in the closing social event of the year. With extra points given to those who managed to integrate a Greek flavour into their performance, many chose to go all out with their talents and it was no surprise that Billy Tachtsis took out first prize with his bouzouki rendition of Evdokia. Zena Hughes took out second prize with her a cappella rendition of Fly Me to the Moon, while Elena Spanos came third, showing off her piano skills by performing Trois Gnossienne by Erik Satie. While the event seemed to have a bit of a musical trend, there were some who branched out and showcased some left of field talents. One musical studies student performed a dramatic monologue, intriguing most in the crowd. NUGAS Victoria president Tass Sgardelis says he's happy that people felt comfortable performing. "We had a lot of different acts participating, a great diversity of talent," he tells Neos Kosmos. "For a first time new event that we've tried, we're very happy with the response and particularly with the participants." The independent judges had to base their decisions on creativity, skill, difficulty, and entertainment value and handed out incremental cash prizes; $100 for first place, $50 for second and $25 for third. At the end of the event, the NUGAS committee members got up to perform a special Pandelidis tribute to finish the year off with a bang. They are hoping to bring back the talent show next year, with the hope to host it earlier in the year. First in the world in Greek Among a long list of awards tapped by young Greek Eleni-Pinelopi NELLY SKOUFATOGLOU Eleni-Pinelopi is only fourteen years old, yet she has managed to earn an international award in Greek. She entered a ten day contest against 300,000 students from 1,200 schools worldwide. The online competition involved translating thousands of words from Greek to English and vice versa, focusing on the correct spelling, syntax and use of grammar as well. Eleni-Pinelopi attends Be- nowa State High School and the Greek school of the St Anna community in the Gold Coast, and entered the competition during an extremely demanding school semester. She managed to achieve many VHAs in several classes, whilst performing numerous extracurricular activities. Apart from winning the Gold Medal in the Greek language for the second consecutive year in a global online contest, such as Language Perfect World Championship 2014, Eleni-Pinelopi also excelled in music (music extension course) by winning the best performance prize by playing piano, guitar and ukulele. She also took the Amer music exam (Australian Music Examinations Board) which is recognised by the Ministry of Education QLD, NSW and University of Melbourne, achieving top grades. Mostly musical performances filled the talent show. PHOTOS: TRIPLE T PRODUCTIONS/VICTORIA TSIOLIS. Billy Tachtsis’ (R) bouzouki prowess helped him secure first prize. Eleni-Pinelopi's achievements do not end here, as she also received the first student prize in the Italian language at her school. The girl also received her school's honour, among 500 students in a total of sixteen grade 9 classes. The honour was awarded for her outstanding behaviour in addition to achieving the highest scores in all school subjects. For the third year in a row she is the class captain for both her schools. "Next year, Eleni-Pinelopi will in fact attend year 11 chemistry classes while attending 10th grade," her mother, Eugenia TzioukaTsolakidou, proudly tells Neos Kosmos. "Eleni-Pinelopi came from Greece when she was eight years old and did not speak English," she explains. At the same time, the girl is a member of St Anna's traditional dance group. This year, she volunteered to teach younger children traditional Greek dances and found time to participate in Hellenic Dancers of Brisbane. "Eleni-Pinelopi enjoys playing tennis and loves painting and photography. My daughter is a member of the school choir and Glee. She just can't stop learning and has to keep her mind busy." In any case, we are dealing with the outstanding example of a Greek migrant child who overcame the language barrier, proving that hard work pays off. SATURDAY 13 DECEMBER 2014 Eleni-Pinelopi with her medals. Lots of Greek Australian students came to support their friends. The NUGAS Victoria committee also got up and performed. R-L: Eleni-Pinelopi’s father George Tsolakides, former mayor of Gold Coast Lex Bell, Mr John Karras, Eleni-Pinelopi, Dr Yiota Kordalis, Mr Chris Raikos and Eleni-Pinelopi’s mother Eugenia Tziouka-Tsolakides.
6 December 2014
20 December 2014