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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 25 April 2015
NEWS 2 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 25 APRIL 2015 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Varoufakis says ‘thank you’ for solidarity While addressing the Let Greece Breathe campaign in Australia this week, Greece’s finance minister Yanis Varoufakis says he hopes to visit Australia soon SOTIRIS HATZIMANOLIS Greece's finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has been touched by the support Greek Australians have shown Greece and says he hopes to visit the country soon. Appearing via audio link, Mr Varoufakis joined hundreds of people at a Let Greece Breathe campaign event in Melbourne this week to show solidarity to Greece as it enters more tense talks with its creditors. "Your support in events like tonight's is of the upmost importance to us, psychologically, tangibly, in practical terms, in every which way," he said. "I wish to thank you from Athens and send you my solidarity for the solidarity that you are extending to us." Mr Varoufakis painted a bleak picture of the state of affairs in Greece, and said the previous government's line had worn thin. "There were no real reforms, all we had was reductions, a sequence of reductions in pensions, in salaries, in benefits, and increase in taxes, this was a neverending cycle of doom," he says. "In the end, if you have a sick cow and you keep beating it, you're not going to produce more milk." He says Greece has struggled to convince its creditors to re-negotiate the terms of the bailout but says Greece's line is as firm as ever. "We're not going to succumb," he says. "We are going to continue to speak truth, and we are going to continue to negotiate, seeking an agreement, we're going to compromise." The event was hosted by the Australia-Greece Solidarity Campaign and saw a number of high-profile union figures and politicians attend. President of the Australian Councils of Trade Unions Ged Kearney joined Greens senator Adam Bandt in throwing their support behind Greece's new govern- The Let Greece Breathe campaign event this week at Melbourne’s Trades Hall. ment, saying SYRIZA's election "inspires" a progressive movement in Australia. Greece's debt currently sits at more than 170 per cent of its GDP, making its attempts to get out of bankruptcy very difficult. Political economist and head of the Australia-Greece Solidarity Campaign, Adam Rorris, reported that dozens of Australian economists "agree that the Greek debt can not be repaid and part of it must be erased". A crowd favourite was Greek Australian film maker Greek passport ranked more ‘powerful’ than Australian A new online passport index has calculated that Greece's 'passport power rank' is seventh in the world, two places ahead of Australia. The index, created by financial advisory firm Arton Capital, gives citizens the chance to see the ranking of their country's passport, which takes into consideration how many countries can be visited without requiring a visa. According to the website, Australian passport holders have the luxury of visiting 138 countries visa-free, while those with a Greek passport can visit 140. Ranked in equal place with Greece were citizens of Canada, Austria and Malaysia, while Australia was joined in ninth position by the Czech Republic and Hungary. However, the question on everyone's lips is - which countries were ranked as the most powerful? With a total of 147 countries accepting its citizens without a visa, those in possession of a passport from either the United Kingdom or the United States should consider themselves lucky. France, Germany and South Korea came in at a close second, with 145 countries granting them visa-free entry. And if you're an avid traveller, your travel options are a little more complicated if you have a passport from either the Palestinian Territories, Solomon Islands, Myanmar or South Sudan, with only 28 countries granting those citizens entry without a visa. Australia had the potential to be ranked eighth, however the country recently lucked out on visa-free travel to Indonesia, with the Australian drug trafficking saga involving Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan suspected of being the cause of the strained relationship. To find your passport and see the full index, visit www.passportindex.org/ Ana Kokkinos, who spoke of the motivations of Greece's creditors and the problems created by a corrupt government. She finished on a positive note by saying the crisis has fuelled more mindful and aware storytellers. PHOTO: KOSTAS DEVES. "I feel a great sense of hope that this next generation of storytellers will shine a light on these human realities and keep the ideas of freedom and democratic practice alive," she says. Ms Kokkinos’ full speech can be found on pages 26-27. The Greek National Herald turns 100! The National Herald/Εθνικός Κήρυξ, the Greek daily of New York, is the only daily Greek-language newspaper in the United States and it just celebrated its 100th anniversary. The National Herald presents news, opinions, and feature stories of interest to Greek Americans. It was founded by the merchant Petros Tatanis on 2 April 1915, and kicked off with an interview with Greek statesman Eleftherios Venizelos. The paper's name, logo, and font were borrowed from Venizelos' own newspaper in Hania, Crete, the Kyrix. On this occasion, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras sent a congratulatory letter to the national daily for its centennial on April 3. He said that The National Herald, the second oldest Greek newspaper in the world and the oldest outside the borders of Greece, "represents the voice of Hellenism in America and keeps the communication of Greeks abroad with every corner of Greece alive".
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