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Lighting the way to 2010 Youth Olympic Games

The official ceremony for the Lighting of the Olympic flame that will burn at the inaugural Youth Olympics Games in Singapore will take place today (July 23) at Ancient Olympia.
In the presence of International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge and Minister of Culture Pavlos Yeroulanos, the priestess will stand in front of the 2,600 year-old Temple of Hera and by using a concave mirror will light a silver torch with the sun’s rays.
As soon as the flame is lit, the Journey of the Youth Olympic Flame will begin travelling in five cities across the globe: Berlin, Dakar, Mexico City, Auckland and Seoul.
Yesterday, a successful rehearsal was conducted and hundreds of tourists, visiting the site where the Ancient Olympics were held from 776 BC to 393 AD, witnessed the event. The first ever Youth Olympic Games will be held from August 14 to 26 in Singapore.
Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism: The Archaeological site of Olympia
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)
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Karaghiozis: “Inextricable part of Greek Culture”

Greece is planning to press its claims to Karaghiozis, a shadow puppet theatre character that UNESCO has deemed to be part of Turkey’s cultural heritage.
“Karaghiozis is an extricable part of our culture,” Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson said, adding that UNESCO allows neighbouring countries to access the same commodity when it comes to intangible cultural heritage.
The issue has prompted an announcement by the Ministry of Culture, according to which, “it is commonly known and undoubted that shadow theatre refers to a cultural tradition which surpasses boundaries and spans through the Balkans, and the broader East, long time before the emergence of contemporary states.

Concerning the Greek version of Karaghiozis, it represents a vivid chapter of Modern Greek culture, which defends traditional values broadly cherished by the Greek people.”

Museum of Shadow Theatre: Museum of Shadow Theatre & Greek Shadow Theatre Group Athanasiou: Karaghiozis-History
You Tube: Karagiozis & Athens Plus (16.7.2010): Greece to stake its claim to Karagiozis show
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Greece will defend its sovereign rights

The Ministries of Defence and Foreign Affairs issued announcements concerning the sea surveys conducted by “Piri Reis,” a Turkish naval research ship in an area between the Greek island of Kastellorizo and Cyprus.
The Greek Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the “Piri Reis surveys an area outside Greek territorial waters, however, Athens has claimed the rights to potential undersea mineral and fossil fuel deposits.”
National Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos said that “Athens is watching closely” and that “in any case, Greece will defend its sovereign rights.”
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Differences with Turkey     [PHOTO]: Kastellorizo
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Deficit down by 46%

According to the preliminary data available for the state budget implementation for the first six months of 2010, on a fiscal basis the deficit presented a 46% year-on-year decline against a targeted 39.5% in the government’s economic policy programme.
The fiscal result of the first six months of 2010 is due to both restriction of expenditures and revenue increases. Nevertheless, these do not yet fully reflect all fiscal measures included in the government’s programme for 2010.
Furthermore, ordinary budget expenditures declined by 12.8% year-on-year against a targeted 5.5% reduction and primary expenditures decreased by 12.7% against a targeted 5.4% annual decrease.
Hellenic Stability & Growth Newsletter: June 2010
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Immigrants vote in 2010 Municipal Elections

The much awaited immigrants’ participation in municipal elections is a fact, following a new legislative amendment passed by the government.
According to an interior ministry circular, all eligible immigrants can register untilAugust 31 2010– the previous deadline was June 30 – at their local municipality’s election office should they want to vote in the upcoming ballot on November 14. Interior Minister Yiannis Ragousis stressed that “the participation of legally residing, long-term residents is a historic event.” 
About the procedure and the eligibility criteria: Ministry of the Interior (in Greek)
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Gaza Crisis

The Foreign Ministry has issued a statement this morning, saying that it has activated its Crisis Management Unit upon learning that Israeli armed forces had blocked the course of and seized vessels transporting humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Citizens with family or friends participating in the mission “ Ship to Gaza” can call the contact number +30 210 368 1730. 
It is Greece’s longstanding position that any activities undertaken by non-governmental organizations must go unhindered, provided that they are legal, is mentioned in the statement.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Crisis Management Unit activated regarding the humanitarian aid transport operation in Gaza & Greek News Agenda: Greece sends aid shipment to Gaza in 2009
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Greece assumes BSEC chairmanship

Greece has assumed, the rotating chairmanship of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) organisation, at a special ceremony, during the 22nd meeting of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs , held in Sofia, Bulgaria on May 28.
“It is our objective to establish the Greek Chairmanship-in-Office of the BSEC as a turning point for the entire region towards Green Development.
Its central theme will be Black Sea turns Green,” Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis stressed in his address to the meeting upon the assumption of the chairmanship.
He also noted that the emphasis on “green development” will highlight the comparative advantages of the Black Sea region in terms of environmental protection, culture, tourism, alternative energy sources and new technologies. 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: The Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)