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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 13 October 2018
GREECE 6 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 13 OCTOBER 2018 A Greek Orthodox priest from Athens has been announced European citizen of the year, in a ceremony that took place at the European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday. Having served as vicar at the Saint George Church at Akadimia Platonos in Kolonos since 1998, Father Antonios Papanikolaou witnessed children not attend school or hang out on the streets as their parents were destitute or addicted to substances. Father Antonios took initiative and started a basketball team in order to keep an eye on the children and establish a relationship with them. With the support of his wife Stamatia Georgandi and members of the wider community who empathised the priest launched Ark of the World (Kivotos tou Kosmou) a charity that helps orphan and neglected children. DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Father Antonios receives European Citizen for 2018 Prize PHOTOS: KIVOTOS TOU KOSMOU What started as a small organisation has evolved into one of the most important facilities in Greece, housing hundreds of children. "Out of my window, I could see young children, abandoned, involved with drugs and misery. I started wondering how I could help them. At first, it was a group of teenagers. I approached them and asked them to play basketball. Now, 500 children of all ages come to the Ark. Our door will always be open for them," Father Antonios said in a previous interview. "I sat down to listen to the children; I accepted them just as they are. I shared their home, the square, the playing field. Through sports and championships, their positive elements Germany shuts down talks on reparations to Greece and Poland Before his visit to Athens, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert attempted to clarify Berlin's position in the light of new WWII reparations claims from the Greek side, amounting to €280 billion. Mr Seibert was adamant that Germany's stance has not changed regarding the matter and firmly stated that "the issue is legally and politically definitively settled", Proto Thema reports. "We have discussed this issue really many times," he continued. "Our position is that the issue of the German reparations has been legally and politically definitively settled. In this position, nothing has changed. Otherwise, there is no official move by the Greek government.” When asked by a Polish came out. When someone is as desperate as they are, what can you say? That Christ saves? They could not care less.” Residents from Kolonos and neighbouring areas began to volunteer and donate to the Ark, making housing and support programs possible for many kids regardless of religion and ethnicity, ensuring they stay off the streets and at- tend school. Even though most children are Greek, Father Antonios has struggled to convince his parish to accept migrants. "How will refugees survive if you do not train them and help them find their way? They will be forced to steal! I approached the children of immigrants and refugees because I explained to them the history of our grand- fathers and fathers… We know what being a refugee means, what is racism and death. If each one did something in their neighbourhood, we would not have this huge problem with foreigners who cannot leave the country and are marginalised! So, we either lock ourselves in our homes or help them stand on their feet. "For me, the Ark is God's plan which pre-existed… God has blessed this task and we go on with His help," he added. "Love devises ways and knows no borders or terms.” Another two Greek NGOs received awards, HOPEgenesis and Wind of Renewal after they were nominated by SYRIZA EP and Vice-President Dimitris Papadimoulis, Elisa Wozenberg MEP and Miltiadis Kyrkos. A total of 50 prizes were awarded to agencies and citizens from 26 EU Member States this year. External factors responsible for ATHEX crash, says Bank of Greece Governor Bank shares in Greece took a deep plunge last Wednesday diving by 8.78 per cent, amid investor fears over lenders' needs and bad credit. Even though Greece exited capital controls the country's banking sector lost 42 per cent of its value within just three months reflecting what analysts say is "Greece's vulnerability to internal and external pressures". Spokesman of the German government, Steffen Seibert looks on at the weekly meeting of the German Federal cabinet at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany. PHOTO: AAP VIA EPA/FELIPE TRUEBA journalist if there is a coordinated effort between Greece and Poland on the issue, the spokesman for Chancellor Merkel said that he had no information about this. "It would also be surprising if I had information about possible consultations between Poland and Greece," he joked. The consensus during the the Athens Stock Exchange (ATHEX) for banking shares meeting, which included Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, Minister of State Alekos Flambouraris and Deputy Prime Minister Yiannis Dragasakis, was that the pressures on bank stocks are not a reflection of their fundamental health and more a result of speculation. They insisted that banks are gency liquidity assistance (ELA). Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras surrounded by media persons arrives for a meeting at the Finance Ministry in Athens. PHOTO: AP VIA AAP/PETROS KARADJIAS on firmer ground, citing the successful outcome of the stress tests in May, their high capital adequacy ratios, their success in surpassing targets to reduce nonperforming loans (NPLs) in the first half of 2018, an increase in bank deposits and the significant reduction of their dependence on emer- Speaking to Kathimerini, senior banking executives said the decline was unexpected and described the market's reaction as "without logic". Meanwhile, former finance minister and Bank of Greece (BoG) Governor Yannis Stournaras avoided addressing last week's 'Black Wednesday' at the stock exchange meeting until now, attracting much negative criticism. Assessing the recent crash of the banking index he agreed that it occurred likely due to the global hike in interest rates, rather than Greek lenders' financial predicament. He was indirectly referring to turbulence in international money markets from developments in Italy and especially interest rates affecting neighbouring countries' bond yields. Over 12,000 migrants crossed into Greece in 2018 through Evros border alone Athens lodges complaint to Ankara and the EU demanding tighter border control Migration Minister Dimitris Vitsas presented data in Parliament last week showing that the number of migrants entering Greece through the Evros border from Turkey has sky-rocketed. According to the report, 3,300 migrants came to Greece through the Evros border region in 2016, while in 2017 that number climbed to 5,500. In the first nine months of 2018, however, it appears that 12,000 migrants entered Greece through that point alone. The actual number is likely to be even higher as some entries remain unrecorded. "There is great pressure at the Evros border. At the same time, direct communications on site between the Greek and Turkish sides has been cut off, further aggravating the problem," one Greek Citizen's Protection Ministry (public order) official told the daily Kathimerini. Greece has also lodged complaints to both the EU and Turkey; a European Commission representative has visited Ankara to discuss the matter with Turkish authorities as Greek authorities in- sist that Ankara has loosened border controls at the GreekTurkish land border in the Evros region, leading to an increased number of entries into Greece. PHOTO: AP VIA AAP/PETROS GIANNAKOURIS Meanwhile, between January and August, 2018, Greek Police arrested 1,010 smugglers illegally transporting migrants; 180 more were arrested in September, and another 30 in the first week of October. While Greek Police records show Turkish, Bulgarian, FYROM, and Albanian human smuggling rings infiltrating Greece's borders, the Citizen's Protection Ministry raises another concern in regards to 500,000 Afghan nationals having migrated to Turkey from Iran and Iraq, also likely to increase pressure at Greece's northern border.
6 October 2018
20 October 2018