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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 28 October 2017
24 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 28 OCTOBER 2017 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Greece to get first crematorium Greece is about to get its first-ever crematorium, ending years of distress for the families of the deceased who had to travel to Bulgaria along with the bodies of their loved ones, for cremation. Past opposition by the dominant Orthodox Church and a lack of interest by lawmakers and successive governments over the years to allow the operation of crematoria rendered Greece as one of the few western countries where the practise of cremating bodies was not available. Recent legislation put an end to that, stating that crematoria can be run by local councils and not by private entities. Now Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis pledged that the municipality will build and comanage a crematorium in the post-industrial Eleonas district. And the 2017 Emerging Cultural City is ... Athens Crisis-ridden Athens still manages to shine. Last week it was acknowledged with a Leading Culture Destinations Award. In a ceremony held in London, Athens was named the 2017 Emerging Cultural City of the Year "for managing to maintain a thriving cultural scene despite the country's protracted financial crisis". "Our city is attractive, safe and open to innovation," said Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis, who received the award on behalf of Greece. Turkish Foreign Minister warns Greece not to become a shelter for coup plotters Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias’ met with Mevlut Cavusoglu to discuss a number of bilateral issues Relations between Turkey and Greece remain strained, though small steps to overcome differences were made last week during Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias' visit to the neighbouring country. Kotzias met with his counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu and discussed bilateral issues, mainly the refugee wave from Syria crossing the Aegean, but also the issue of Turkish people seeking asylum in Greece to avoid being jailed by the Erdogan government. Speaking at a joint news conference, the two Foreign Ministers addressed the issue, with Cavucoglu urging Greece to refrain from becoming a "safe haven" for those responsible for the failed coup against Recep Tayip Erdogan in July 2016. Athens. PHOTO: TRAVEL + LEISURE He took the opportunity to reaffirm the city's commitment to cultural excellence, pointing out that it has also been named UNESCO'S World Book Capital for 2018. Greek government allocates €1 billion for the poor All signs show that Greece is returning to growth, and the country plans to use the surplus to assist the most vulnerable part of the population; those Greeks mostly affected by the aftereffects of the ongoing crisis. With a forecast of a two per cent growth, Greece is expected to achieve a primary surplus of 2.2 per cent of GDP, more than 1.75 per cent of its target. This excludes debt servicing costs and it will allow for the government to use these funds to set up a "social dividend". According to government spokesperson Dimitris Tzanakopoulos, "the surplus out performance which will be distributed to social groups that have suffered the biggest pressure during the financial crisis, will be close to €1 billion". Further details, including the eligibility criteria for this fund, will come in late November after the government gets its fullyear budget data. Despite optimism, the government is believed to be going forward with extreme caution to avoid a rerun of last year's events when Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras unexpectedly announced a one-off Christmas bonus to pensioners, causing furore amongst the country's lenders. respected and left to reach decisions without political interference, even if that means that these decisions will be unpleasant to any side. The Turkish Foreign Minister also expressed his country's dissatisfaction with Greece, for refusing to extradite eight soldiers who fled Turkey after the coup attempt. (L-R) Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu. PHOTO: YAHOO NEWS UK More than 995 Turkish citizens labelled as "coup plotters" by their government have applied for asylum in Greece and the Turkish MP pointed out that a vetting process is in order to determine whether they are linked to the US-based clerk Fetullah Gulen, accused by Turkey of being the mastermind behind the failed coup. "We would not want our neighbour Greece, with whom we are improving our ties, to be a safe haven for Gulenists," Cavusoclu said, to which the Greek Forein Minister responded that the Greek judiciary should be More than 50,000 people in Turkey have been jailed pending trial after the coup and more than 150,000 have been sacked or suspended from their jobs in the military, public and private sectors, in what human rights groups and international observers deem as a move by President Erdogan to crush dissent, using the coup as a pretext. Mitsotakis pledges to grant voting rights for Greeks abroad Leader of the Opposition, Kiriakos Mitsotakis, jumped aboard the 'diaspora voting rights' train on Monday, when he presented a draft bill on behalf of his party Nea Dimokratia which proposes how Greeks abroad could vote in the country's elections. It is the second attempt of the opposition to start this conversation, as the same draft legislation has been dragging in parliament for 18 months without being brought up for vote. The bill is targeted at both Greek citizens who are permanent residents of other countries, and also those who have recently emigrated due to the crisis, causing the socalled 'brain drain' of Greece. According to the bill, their votes would count towards the general tally, not on specific constituencies. Nea Dimokratia has long been in favour of granting voting rights to the Greek diaspora, something that the left has traditionally been against. The socialist party PASOK, which had been in power for most of the past 30 years, had been indecisive on the matter. Meanwhile, the Tsipras government is not opposed to the idea, with Deputy Foreign Minister, Terrence Quick telling Neos Kosmos earlier in the year during his visit to Australia that he is in favour of a system similar to what exists in Italy and France. Ancient Olympia lights torch for 2018 Winter Olympics The Olympic flame has been lit once again as the torch relay for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics 2018 begins The ancient tradition continues to this day: the Olympic torch was lit in ancient Olympia marking the start of the Winter Olympics to be held in South Korea for the first time, the second Asian nation to host the Winter Olympics. Former Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-sung was the first South Korean to run with the torch, picking up the flame from Apostolos Aggelis, the first torch bearer, just outside the ancient stadium. PHOTO: WALL STREET JOURNAL However the weather offered clouds and light rain reports noted, forcing the high priestess to use the back-up flame. Traditionally a reflector is used, drawing upon the sun's rays to light the torch. Despite increasing tensions between North and South Korea, Games chief Lee Heebeom was optimistic when talking to reporters about the positive impact the Games will have on the international community. "We want the international community to understand that we are committed to hosting a safe and secure Olympic winter Games," Hee-beom told Reuters. Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos said the ceremony and the Olympic Games "send a very important message to the world". The flame will continue to make its way around Greece, arriving at the Acropolis on Monday 30 October and the ceremony to hand over the flame to the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee will be held at the Panathenaic Stadium the next day. The torch is set to arrive at the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony which will be held 9 February 2018. The PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games 2018 will take place from Friday 9 February to Wednesday 21 February 2018.
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