Buy This Issue
The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 9 January 2016
GREECE 18 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 9 JANUARY 2016 Lesvos cafe provides haven for stray dogs A cafe on the island of Lesvos at the Mytilene port has become a safe haven for stray dogs as the winter well and truly sets in. A photograph of dogs laying across the cafe's seating went viral last month, after University of the Aegean's assistant professor of sociology, Eustratios Papanis, posted the image on Facebook. "[Greece] has strict laws about animal protection, but culture and knowledge are the key factors for changing long-standing indifference, negligence or maltreatment," wrote the assistant professor. He went on to say that while on the island, the solidarity toward humans and animals that he witnessed "was remarkable", attributing the shared island mentality to the influx of refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries over the past year. The owner of the cafe, Hott Spot, opens its doors to the local dogs each day at 3.00 am, allowing them to sit along the couches and sleep comfortably. "In the city there are many dogs. When the bar closes each night, the dogs come and sleep here. We don't have DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Vanessa Redgrave visits refugee centre in Athens The actress and activist praised Greeks for their response, which is a lesson in humanity The stray dogs look right at home, with priority seating by night. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/EUSTRATIOS PAPANIS. a problem," a waiter told The Independent. "From July, every night there is a dog on the couch," they said,stating that customers don't mind sharing the space. Source: Buzz Feed Varoufakis to launch a new political movement Greece's former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis announced his plans to launch his new political movement called The Democracy in Europe Movement 2025, or DiEM25 next month in Berlin. His pan-European left-wing movement aims at ending "fragmentation in Europe", while the launch event will take place on 9 February in a theatre in Berlin, as politico. eu reports. DiEM25 aims to show European voters a third way between the return to the nation state and the "undemocratic structures" of today's European institutions. Greece has been attracting high-profile visitors for the last few months, as it has become the entry point for thousands of refugees arriving from war-torn Syria. Artists, actors, celebrities, business leaders and activists travel to the refugee centres to show their support for the volunteers and NGOs that assist those in need, bringing international media attention to the refugee crisis. Latest among them is Oscarwinning British actress Vanessa Redgrave, who flew to Athens, seeking to get a firsthand account of the refugee crisis that has captivated the world. On Tuesday she visited the refugee camp in Elaionas, in the Athens region, escorted by the mayor of Athens, Giorgos Kaminis, the Minister of Immigration Giorgos Mouzalas and actress Mimi Denissi (who is currently presenting a play that she wrote about the Great Fire of Smyrna and the violent deportation of the Greek population, which Redgrave saw the previous night). At the media conference that followed, the 78-year-old urged the world to help debthit Greece to provide shelter to hundreds of thousands of refugees who are in search of a better life in Europe and the west. "Greece can't solve this problem and yet Greece has given us the most important lesson of all, the lesson of humanity," she said, thanking personally "all those helping the refugees from all over the world". A life-long advocate of human rights, Redgrave has been a vocal political activist since the '60s and '70s, when she was a member of the Workers Revolutionary Party; in the last decade she has campaigned against the Iraq War and the ‘War on Terror’. The International Organisa- tion for Migration released statistics for 2015. In a statement, it said that 3,771 refugees died while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe last year and 1,004,356 in total arrived by sea - a fivefold increase from 2014, when 219,000 people made the sea journey. Of these totals, about 850,000 people entered Greece last year, mainly via the frontier islands of Lesvos, Chios, Kalymnos, Samos, Leros, Tilos and others along the Turkish coasts. Arab-backed fund signs $434m deal to buy luxury Greek resort Greece's privatisation agency said it signed a €400 million ($434.3 million) deal with Jermyn Street Real Estate Fund to sell Astir Palace, a luxury seaside resort outside Athens. Greece's top administrative court had blocked the sale of the Astir Palace hotel complex in March, saying the town planning scheme that Greece submitted violated Greek law, as the construction of a large number of residential buildings would harm the natural and urban environment. Greece’s former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis. "Jermyn Street Real Estate Fund has signed the new agreement to submit the amended special zoning and spatial plan for the development of Astir Palace," the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) said. The fund represents inves- tors from Turkey, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Kuwait and other emirates. The agency said the agreement ensured that the fund's development plan for the resort was adjusted to the court's opinion. "The whole process is expected to be completed within the first half of 2016," HRADF said. The agency is expected to cash in about €100 million from the deal. The rest of the proceeds will go to National Bank, Greece's largest lender, which owns about 85 per cent of the resort. Privatisations have been a key condition of Greece's international bailouts since 2010, but its state asset sales scheme has produced poor revenues due to bureaucratic delays and lack of political will. So far, Athens has raised only about €3.5 billion from state asset sales versus an original target of €50 billion.
19 December 2015
16 January 2016