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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 4 August 2018
GREECE 8 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 4 AUGUST 2018 No barriers for Greece’s first disabled Wushu martial arts teacher Athens-based Kostas Moukas isn’t allowing being in a wheelchair to hold him back, instead helping other athletes with mobility impairments to compete at championship level China's national martial art, Wushu is among the most popular martial art practices in Greece, with over a thousand people participating in championships each year. That number is growing thanks to Kostas Moukas. Based in Athens, he operates his own school in Akadimia Plantonos; but there's something unique about his classes, as well as the instructor. Moukas is the first Wushu instructor in Greece in a wheelchair, and with the help of the Hellenic Wushu/Kung Fu Federation, he has coined para-Wushu. Over the last two years, Moukas has been running classes to assist people with mobility issues, like himself, to compete at championship level. "We train the judges to understand what they see," Moukas explains. "There are approximately 10 athletes who compete - few participants; we hope to reach 100 and host a dedicated tournament." The practice of Wushu is known to help individuals develop greater balance and strength, the physical benefits having a positive flow on effect to their state of mind. "With Wushu, you develop your fighting skills, you build better soul and body, and eventually you can see that the weak can win the strong," Moukas says, who has firsthand experience. The instructor has been practising Wushu since 2003, after sustaining injuries in a motorbike accident. It turned into a passion, with benefits that exceeded his expectations. "You must gain your autonomy, re-discover your body with new techniques. Wushu is the best way to practice your whole body," he reveals. "I will tell you how to move your feet, how to complete a flip without showing it to you, just by describing it and it will happen." His students range in age, between four and 50, and include people with and without mobility issues - a unique experience, where everyone is made to feel equal. "It helps us discover other qualities in our body and have the opportunity to work together," says Marios Kostakis, one of Moukas' first students. "For me, the wheelchairs don't exist during the training. That is something that our teacher has conquered from the first time we practised together. We didn't see a man in a wheelchair, but a person who was showing us Wushu techniques." DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM FYROM parliament approves 30 September as date for referendum on name change FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev’s proposal for a referendum was agreed upon in Parliament on Monday. PHOTO: AAP VIA EPA/NAKE BATEV The people of the nation will be asked if they are ‘in favour of a NATO and EU membership, by accepting the agreement’ with Greece A vote that was held in Skopje’s parliament last Monday regarding the referendum in FYROM saw the government's proposal to hold a referendum on 30 September come to pass. A majority of parliament ary members voted in favour of the proposal, which Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said will "define the future of the Republic of Macedonia". This referendum will then see the people of the nation voting if they "are in favour of NATO and EU membership, by accepting the agreement between Greece and the Republic of Macedonia." The proposal for the referendum was highly criticised by the opposition, VMRODPMNE, whose deputies refused to participate in the vote in order to show their disapproval. The nationalist party finds the question too vague, arguing that the country's bid for a NATO and EU membership and their agreement with Athens for a name change are two topics that shouldn't be linked. Speaking to the media, deputy head of the VMRO-DPMNE party, Alexandar Nikolovski, stated that: "The question should be understandable, simple... It should state 'Do you support or oppose the agreement with Greece which envisages a name change.'" In regards to the referendum, shortly after the date was ratified in parliament, the FYROM Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Services issued a statement in regards to how all mass media should behave in the days before the crucial vote. More specifically, the announcement made by the agency's director Zoran Trajcevski said that all media outlets Refugee boats abandoned in Greece transformed into fashion accessories Tailor and refugee, Abid Ali is working with Mimycri to make upcycled bags and shoes out of the debris found on Greece’s beaches Despite the despair that has resulted in the refugee crisis in Europe, with people fleeing their war-torn homes, you don't need to look too far before seeing a beacon of hope. Abid Ali's story is one such example. He is one of the people who fled Pakistan for Europe in 2015, venturing from Turkey to Greece in a rubber dinghy seeking a better life. Now three year's on, and the tailor is putting his skills to use, while also helping Greece in the meantime. Mr Ali is one of the refugees upcycling the rubber found on beaches in Greece from abandoned refugee boats - similar to the one he arrived on - to make fashion accessories. Based out of a workshop in Berlin, he has teamed up with not-for-profit organisation Mimycri and is making handbags, backpacks and even sneakers. "Sometimes I think 'yes I came with these boats', but no it isn't too strange for me," said Mr Ali. The year Mr Ali arrived, Germany took on over a million refugees, and so Mimycri, the brainchild of Vera Guenther and Nora Azzaoui, is doing its part to welcome and integrate them by creating jobs to put their skills to use, and in turn find purpose in their new home. The pair thought up the concept while volunteering with refugees on the Greek island of Chios in the summer of 2015. "We want to process the plastic waste that lies on beaches in Greece into something new," Ms Guenther said. "We want to create new job opportunities for the people who came newly here and have great talents." In addition to helping refugees, the concept is also an environmentally friendly way of assisting Greece with waste management when it comes to the copious amounts of plastic discarded on beaches in the form of life vests and rubber boats. To find out more about Mimycri's work, visit www. mimycri.de will be expected to "assume the role they have in a democratic society, i.e. abide by the principles of fair, balanced and impartial reporting, while creating conditions for equal access of all stakeholders to media." Trajcevski went on to state that official recommendation guidelines will be given out by 17 August and that any and all political surveys must be completed up to five days before the referendum takes place. All political advertising regarding the referendum will cease two days before the crucial vote.
28 July 2018
11 August 2018