Buy This Issue
The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 12 May 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 12 MAY 2018 23 GREECE Greek parliament ratifies amendment to allow same-sex couples to provide foster care Several MPs both from the governing coalition and the opposition voted against the designated party lines An amendment to legislation regulating the allocation of children to foster homes, allowing for samesex couples to become foster parents, was ratified by the Hellenic Parliament on Wednesday, with 161 votes for and 103 against. The vote put an end to a long and heated debate over the issue, with conservative groups expressing their opposition to the proposal, often confusing foster care with adoption. The legislation that passed grants the right to foster children to couples under civil partnership, clearly stating that they cannot adopt children. The parliamentary debate allowed for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to attack the opposition on matters of principle, accusing them for reproducing "anachronistic stereotypes and phobia syndromes." He particularly targeted the opposition leader, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, deeming him as a "deeply conservative" politician, despite presenting a facade of a progressive, liberal centrist. However, this amendment proved to be divisive for parties along the whole of the political spectrum; apart from the conservative Centrist Union and the neonazi party Golden Dawn, that were unanimous in their vote against the proposal, and the centrist Potami who all voted yes, all the other parties showed cracks. Four of the Nea Dimokratia MPs voted in favour of the amendment, among them Katerina Marcou, who was the party member that presented the party's arguments against it. The vote was mostly problematic regarding the relationship between the two governing coalition partners. While 136 of the 145 leftist Syriza MPs voted yes, the junior coalition partner, the far-right party 'Independent Greeks' (ANEL) was mostly against. Out of the nine MPs of the party, only two voted yes, while five voted no and two were excused from voting. In total 36 MPs opted out of the vote, among them seven from Syriza, eight from ND, seven from the Democratic Coalition (led by PASOK) and eight from the Communist Party. The outcome of the vote was welcomed by human rights organisation representatives, many of them had been present, sitting at the visitors' booths, but also from several foster care organisations, as this will allow for many children who are now living in these facilities to be allocated to foster parents. The new legislation also speeds up the child adoption process, cutting red tape that prospective parents would have to navigate. Cyprus and Australia make it through Eurovision semifinals, Greece disqualified Pop star Eleni Foureira has emerged as the favourite at this year’s 2018 Eurovision Song Contest with her song Fuego; Australia’s Jessica Mauboy also in the top fi ve Young Greeks found to be ‘ignorant’ about sexual health Sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise among young Greeks, as are abortions There is a growing, and persistent, concern among healthcare practitioners in Greece surrounding awareness about sexual health among young people. According to a report by Kathimerini, doctors have noted an increase in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and a rise in the number of abortions being carried out on young women. It is estimated that around 150,000 abortions take place in Greece each year - a number that has risen during the years of the financial crisis - of which 25 per cent are carried out on females aged 16 and under. In 2017 at the sixth Pan Hellenic Conference of Gynecological Endocrinology in Athens, a number of leading doctors expressed their concern over the number of unwanted pregnancies and abortions amongst teenagers. Doctors say that many of the young women they encounter are poorly informed about gynaecological issues, and cited the fact that sex education has yet to be made a priority on the agenda of Greek schools, which Panagiotis Christopoulos, a gynaecologist specialising in adolescent issues, says is a significant part of the problem. "There is a complete ignorance about matters of sexual health, contraception and protection from STDs," Dr Christopoulos said. Studies have shown that 73 per cent of young people aged between 14 and 16 have engaged in sexual activity of some kind. Coitus interruptus, known colloquially as the withdrawal method, is the most popular form of contraception used by young Greeks, followed by condoms, and then the contraceptive pill, which is only used by four per cent of young women. Aside from long-term contraceptive options, the condom is particularly encouraged given it is the only option that protects against STDs. Part of the problem when it comes to adequate education on the matter, however, is the challenge being posed by parents. Dr Christopoulos revealed that he has offered to run sex education classes on a voluntary basis at a number of schools, but has been faced with opposition, mainly from parents. Greece, Cyprus and Israel hold trilateral meeting with energy deal in sight Recent developments in the eastern Mediterranean region were central part of the meeting The leaders of Greece, Cyprus, and Israel met in Nicosia on Tuesday, in what was the fourth in a series of trilateral summit meetings to determine energy cooperation and discuss regional development in the eastern Mediterranean. Among the issues discussed by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Greek PM Alexis Tsipras, and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, was the role of Turkey in the region, the Cypriot issue, the Syrian crisis and tension in the Middle East. The meeting took place two days before Israeli forces were attacked by Iranian forces in the Golan Heights, escalating tension between the two countries. Israel has been warning Iran against establishing permanent military presence in Syria and has been one of the most prominent opponents of the nuclear deal the country had signed with the US, before President Trump decided to pull his country off it. Apart from issues relating to the Middle East conflicts, the trilateral meeting addressed the issue of international security, which is the next step after the energy agreements. Particular focus was given to the gas pipeline connecting Israeli and Cypriot deposits in the eastern Mediterranean with Europe – a particularly ambitious project that all parties see as a basis for further cooperation. The trilateral meeting confirmed the three countries as being the most stable democracies in the region, particularly affirming Greece geopolitical role. Tweeting about it, the Greek PM emphasised on the importance of this cooperation as a way to "reinforce stability and prosperity of our countries, and the wider region, amid a period full of challenges but also opportunities". Cyprus has successfully made it through Eurovision's first semifinal, securing a spot in the song contest's grand final. Hosted in Lisbon, Portugal on Tuesday, Cyprus' entry Eleni Foureira has also emerged as the bookmaker's favourite to win with her song Fuego, trumping Israel from the top spot. The catchy pop track composed by Greek-Swedish songwriter Alex Papaconstantinou, is performed in English, but the title is Spanish, with 'fuego' translated as 'fire' – which perfectly sums up Foureira's performance. It is the 31-year-old's first time performing at the song contest. Residing in Athens, she has previously put her hand up to represent Greece, but has been unsuccessful in favour of other candidates. Greece was one of the 19 countries to take part in Tuesday's semifinal with Yianna Terzi performing Oneiro Mou (My Dream), but was unsuccessful. Making it through the semifinal along with Cyprus are Albania – Foureira's birth country, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Israel, and Lithuania. Meanwhile, an additional 18 countries performed in the second round of semifinals on Thursday, ahead of the grand final at Altice Arena on Saturday. Australia's Jessica Mauboy has made it through to the 2018 Eurovision grand final. Joining Australia in the 10 countries to make the cut in the second semifinal were Serbia, Moldova, Hungary, Ukraine, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Slovenia, and The Netherlands. At the post-semi press conference, Mauboy credited the audience for lifting her performance pitching We Got Love amongst the final's favourites. Mauboy faces a monumental challenge to win the contest with Cyprus's fiery Foureira, Norway's polished pop prince Alexander Rybak, and Israel's quirky loop queen Netta the popular frontrunners. It is Cyprus' 31st time participating in Eurovision after joining the song contest in 1981, but it has yet to emerge as the winner, having placed fifth three times over the years. Could the 63rd Eurovision Song Contest prove lucky for Cyprus or Australia?
5 May 2018
19 May 2018