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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 05 January 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 5 JANUARY 2019 15 GREECE Greece offers one of the lowest minimum wages in Europe Australia and Luxembourg offer the highest minimum hourly wages While Australia and Luxembourg offer the highest minimum hourly wages in the world Greece lags behind providing one of the lowest legal remunerations which results into low purchasing power. According to the German think tank Wirtschafts-und Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut (WSI), Greece's averages are way behind central European wages and closer to Balkan and Baltic countries. The hourly minimum wage in Australia is €9.47 (AU $15.51), Luxembourg at €9.37 per hour while France offers €9.18. Greece has the lowest rate due to purchasing power with hourly rates at €3.94 per hour, slightly above neighbouring Bulgaria which Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos. PHOTO: AAP VIA EPA/ORESTIS PANAGIOTOU is at €3.28; Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, €3.92, €3.87 and €3.60, respectively while Russia sits at €1.64 per hour. The financial crisis that has tormented Greece for the past years has lowered the country's ranking to the level of chronically-ailing economies, like Brazil and Argentina mainly due to the cost of goods and commodities that sit at a central European country level. Meanwhile, Spain has announced the largest annual increase to its minimum wage in 40 years by a whopping 22 per cent and France is to follow, as the result of the "yellow vests" riots. Discussions in Greece to determine any minimum wage increases are to resume this month. Student transcribes Elytis’ Monogram in Braille Apostolos Garoufos, a postgraduate student in ICT and Special Education and Psychopedagogy of Integration at Democritus University of Thrace has just translated Odysseas Elytis' iconic love poem, The Monogram in Braille code. "I have a profound knowledge of the Braille code not just in Greek and English but also in other languages except Chinese and other languages that use symbols," he explained pointing out the lack of literature for the visually impaired. "The idea was born while I was studying for my Masters in Special Education, Garoufos who minored in Greek literature and majored in Modern Greek and Byzantine studies, said. "It was a deep need for me, as I love people with visual impairments. I wanted to feel the power of the code." In an effort to put himself in a blind person's shoes, Garoufos blindfolded himself and tried to spend a whole 24-hour day as a visually impaired person. "Time with my eyes shut flew by easily but even though I could handle TV with Braille, I could not do anything that was vital to me, like reading my own literature. A computer can't read to me, nor could anyone else read it to me either." New international university to be established in Northern Greece Greece’s Education Minister Costas Gavroglou It will be based in Thessaloniki with branches in six other cities Plans for a new international university in Northern Greece were announced by the Tsipras government last Saturday with the draft bill expected to be put before parliament for approval at the end of February. The proposed university will be based in Thessaloniki with branches extending in six other cities of Northern Greece, while four tertiarylevel educational institutes will be collaborating for its formation, namely the three technical colleges of Central Macedonia, Eastern Macedonia and Thrace and an already existing international university. "It will be a predominantly outward looking university with courses conducted in foreign languages, and based on the important work already being done by the people at the four institutions it will comprise," Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said following a meeting with representatives from the partnering institutions. Meanwhile, Education Min- ister Costas Gavroglou spoke of multiple anticipated benefits for the region, including opening "channels of communication with the Balkans, both academic and in research." According to Mr. Gavroglou's statement, at least eight new university departments will start operating by 2021, with one of the ministry's upcoming priorities being the recruitment of sufficient staff for all departments to be able to run autonomously. Cyprus finally sets up Tourism Ministry Cyprus’ travel and tourism revenue accounts for record breaking economic output PHOTO: ANA-MPA Asked whether the transcription of a literary work in Braille and the adaptation of books for the blind is easy, he said that transcripts and prints are already being made by various clubs. "In fact, I wanted to have an electronic program that would automatically transcribe from Greek and English to Braille code. The second phase is to print. With the software I've created, one does not need to know Braille in order to transcribe, since this does it automatically.". "It is very difficult to find books for visually impaired people on the internet unless you ask for a custom made version. Majorities deprive minorities of the obvious, such as reading a book or a magazine, even of a simple text," he points out. He believes access to literary texts is paramount for the visually impaired and blind: "Education is the most important thing in this life. You open your wings, enjoy the love and smell of the pages. There should be an important initiative and an upsurge in publishing books for these people. I can not think of answering something different to the question of 'food or literature', of course, and I will choose the second one. Perhaps, eventually, we are turning a blind eye towards visually impaired people. While we see how a fellow man needs the obvious, we just laugh blinded by our selfishness." The Monogram is not the only literary work Garoufos has transcribed. On his Facebook page, MinaDot, one can find many more. Up until recently Cyprus' tourism sector was being managed by an agency also handling energy, commerce and industry after revenue from tourism within the first nine months of 2018 rose to €2.27 billion. Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has sworn in Savvas Perdios as the country's first-ever dedicated Deputy Minister for Tourism. The new office will be called a Deputy Ministry but will also assume all the responsibilities of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation that will be shut down. Mr Perdios, a financier and the former Chief Operations Officer at Louis Hotels which manages 25 mainly resort properties in Cyprus and Greece, will be overseeing the sector and try to implement a new strategy in order to attract more visitors to the island and also increase holiday spending. "We've demanded the creation of a tourism ministry for decades given its importance for the economy," Harris Loizides, President of the Cyprus Hotel Association, told Bloomberg. Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades. PHOTO: AAP VIA EPA/CYPRIOT PRESS OFFICE "The new ministry will have to tackle many issues including new legislation for the classification of hotels and implementing the country's new tourism strategy." The sector also accounted for 22.3 per cent of the island's economic output in 2017. "The new deputy ministry will implement Cyprus's national tourism strategy with the necessary horizontal policies, tourism devel- opment planning and wider political supervision of the sector," Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said praising Perdios' knowledge. This news comes as Hong Kong billionaire Lawrence Ho is building the City of Dreams Mediterranean casino on the island, a Melco International establishment due to open in 2021 and expected to attract over 300,000 tourists annually to Aphrodite's island.
22 December 2018
12 January 2019