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International Court of Justice Ruling on Distomo Case

In an announcement, issued on February 3, concerning an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling upholding Germany’s position, that it enjoys state immunity from being sued in foreign courts by victims of Nazi atrocities during World War II, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that the Greek government will study this Judgement closely, in the light of its firm and longstanding position that the matter of German compensations remains open.
The judgement affects the case of the south-central Greek village of Distomo, where Nazi troops killed 214 civilians on June 10, 1944, one of the numerous instances of WWII atrocities in occupied Greece. The court case concerned the confiscation of German property on Italian soil for reparations to be paid to victims of Distomo.

  • MPs Raise War Reparations Issue

Meanwhile, in Athens, 28 MPs from PASOK, New Democracy (ND), Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) as well as independent deputies tabled a motion in Parliament requesting a discussion on issues concerning the so-called German occupation loan from Greece during WWII, as well as the issue of war reparations to victims of Nazi atrocities and stolen treasures from the country.
In a letter addressed to the presidents of competent parliamentary committees, the MPs called on Parliament to adopt a clear stance on this “crucial national issue.”
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

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“Kali Patrida” Greek Communities of Political Refugees in Eastern Europe

By the end of the Greek Civil War (1946-49), Greece was in a tragic state. The human loss and physical destruction incurred in this conflict was added to the suffering and damage already accumulated during World War II and the occupation. One of the most dramatic consequences of the Civil War was the odyssey of thousands of Greek men, women and children who settled in Eastern Europe and the USSR – mainly in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
The Hellenic Parliament Foundation for Parliamentarianism and Democracy is hosting until December 31, 2011, an exhibition titled Kali Patrida… Greek Communities of political refugees in Eastern Europe.
The exhibition draws on material (printed and audiovisual) from many sources, both from Greece and abroad in order to shed light on particular themes in the lives of political refugees: their establishment in the host countries (East Germany, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and Uzbekistan); their children’s education, their communities, their efforts to preserve their distinctive cultural heritage as well as their repatriation.
“Kali patrida” meaning “Happy Homecoming,” is actually a wish political refugees shared, expressing their nostalgia for their homeland.
ERT Archive: Documentary: Second Homeland – Episode: Stepmother Homeland & Michalis Gkanas: The history of my times [VIDEO]; TVXS: Writer Alki Zei talks about the Civil War [VIDEO]
ODYSSEY Magazine about Greece and the Greek Diaspora: Features-Our Town Beloiannisz in Hungary
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

 

“European Day of Languages” (24-29/9/2011) – Greek events organized by the Press Office

The Press Office of the Greek Embassy in Warsaw once again participated in “European Day of Languages 2011” events, that took place in Warsaw from 24 till 29 September and aimed to inform Poles about the cultural and linguistic heritage of European countries.

Organizers were over eighteen countries, members of EUNIC Cluster Warsaw (European Union National Institutes of Culture), among them the Press Office of the Greek Embassy, cultural institutes and embassies of European countries, as well as  other institutions such as the European Commission Representation in Poland, the European Parliament Communication Office in Poland, the Polish Foundation for the Development of the Educational System, the University of Warsaw etc.
The program (www.edj.waw.pl) consisted of demo language lessons, seminars, European film festival, theatre workshops, city game, language picnic etc.
The Greek program of the events included:
Demo lesson of Greek language, that took place in the Institute of Foreign Languages of the University of Warsaw on the 27th of September, as part of the demo-lessons of  languages and cultures of the participating countries.
Greek info stand, which was set in the University Campus of the Old Library of the University of Warsaw and provided touristic information on the 27th September from 9 am until 3 pm.
The film “The Trojan Women” directed by Michael Cacoyannis (1971) was shown at the Russian Cultural Institute on the 29th September, during the film festival organized in the Russian Cultural Institute (26-29 September) and the cinema Alchemia (25th September):
A wide range of other events were organized during the week (24-29 September): a two-day conference “Language Competences for Professional and Personal Success inEurope”, entertainment activities, theatre workshops, city games, competitions on a special website. This year`s project attracted many students and other visitors and it can be considered as a perfect opportunity to experience the Greek language and culture.

Αγώνες Special Olympics στην Πολωνία (18-24/9/2010)-Ελληνική συμμετοχή

Από τις 18 ως τις 24 Σεπτεμβρίου πραγματοποιήθηκαν στη Βαρσοβία οι Ευρωπαϊκοί Αγώνες Special Olympics, με την συμμετοχή 1.600 αθλητών από 57 χώρες της Ευρώπης και της Ευρασίας.
Στους αγώνες συμμετείχε και ελληνική αποστολή 86 αθλητών, δηλώνοντας με την παρουσία της – πέρα από το μήνυμα της αποδοχής της διαφορετικότητας και της ενθάρρυνσης της συμμετοχής ατόμων με διανοητική αναπηρία σε κοινωνικές και αθλητικές δραστηριότητες – την ενεργό προετοιμασία της Ελλάδας για τους επόμενους Παγκόσμιους Αγώνες Special Olympics (XIII Special Olympics World Summer Games) που θα πραγματοποιηθούν στην Αθήνα το καλοκαίρι του 2011.
Στην τελετή έναρξης των Αγώνων Special Olympics στις 18 Σεπτεμβρίου, παρευρέθηκε και ο έλληνας ευρωβουλευτής Γιώργος Σταυρακάκης, ο οποίος σημείωσε ότι η «Φλόγα της Ελπίδας» μετά την αφή της στην Αλεξανδρούπολη στις 5 Σεπτεμβρίου ταξίδεψε  σε οκτώ ευρωπαϊκές πόλεις για να φθάσει τελικά στη Βαρσοβία για την τελετή έναρξης των Αγώνων.
Ο κ. Σταυρακάκης υπογράμμισε την σημασία των Αγώνων Special Olympics ως το μεγαλύτερο αθλητικό γεγονός για άτομα με διανοητικές δυσκολίες, τονίζοντας την αναγκαιότητα στήριξης –και μέσω του Ευρωπαϊκού Κοινοβουλίου- των προσεχών Παγκόσμιων Αγώνων Special Olympics στην Αθήνα, που στόχο έχουν όχι μόνο να ενισχύσουν περαιτέρω τα ολυμπιακά ιδεώδη της άμιλλας και του εθελοντισμού, αλλά και να βοηθήσουν στην ένταξη στο κοινωνικό σύνολο περιθωριοποιημένων ανθρώπων, καθώς και στην κοινωνική συνοχή.

Greece in mourning

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Political leaders expressed their shock and grief on Wednesday in the wake of a bank torching in central Athens that left three bank employees dead.

News of the abhorrent attack found Parliament in session to debate the latest round of government-announced austerity measures – the reason unions were holding protests outside the House.

» President of the Hellenic Republic

Referring to the current financial situation and the frustration many people are feeling with the political system, President Karolos Papoulias stated the following:
“Our country has reached the edge of the abyss. It is everybody’s responsibility that we do not take the fatal step. Responsibility is proven through action, not in words. History will judge us all.”

» Prime Minister

Prime Minister George Papandreou rebuked a murderous attack, while promising that “the perpetrators will be located and will stand trial.” Moreover, the premier called on all Parliament-represented parties to unequivocally condemn the violence.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are a free and democratic country. We fight, and have fought, for the right to live in a democratic Greece. And each citizen has a right to demonstrate.
But no one has the right to resort to violence, especially violence leading to the murder of fellow citizens. And we know that violence breeds violence. Protest is different from murder.”

» Opposition Leaders

Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras stressed that the country is going through “critical moments,” while expressing his grief for the innocent victims of fanaticism, and random violence.
The leaders of the remaining opposition parties – the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) parliamentary group Chief Alexis Tsipras and Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) leader George Karatzaferis – each condemned the violence and expressed their condolences to the victims’ families.

PM George Papandreou at Europarliament

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) “If we appeal to the IMF, they will ask us for nothing more (no extra measures). But I would prefer a European solution. I would prefer a European solution as part of the eurozone, as a European, as an ardent European myself, and being able to show the world that Europe can act together,” Prime Minister George A. Papandreou said yesterday addressing the Special Committee on the Financial, Economic and Social Crisis of the European Parliament.
He further noted that, in the debate that goes around the world whether Europe will fail or whether Europe is on the map, more Europe rather than less is needed.

Regarding the financial situation in Greece, the premier stressed that “we are not asking for help, as some reckless country just wanting to live off the wealth of others.[…] What we are saying is we need the strong political support in order to make these necessary reforms, making sure that we are not going to pay more than necessary in order to get these reforms enacted.”
See also: President of the European Parliament, Buzek on the meeting with Prime Minister of Greece ; Common statement by Elmar Brok MEP, Marietta Giannakou MEP and Ioannis Kasoulides MEP; Othmar Karas MEP, “Greece is not begging for money
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE Group), Papandreou outlines austerity to EP special committee ; Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE President) Angela Merkel’s lack of solidarity with Greece is shocking, states Guy Verhofstadt

Papoulias re-elected President of the Republic

 Parliament on Wednesday re-elected the uncontested incumbent President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias to a second term in Greece’s highest office, with an overwhelming majority of 266 votes in the 300-member House among the 298 MPs in attendance, while 32 MPs simply declared their presence.
Papoulias was re-elected with the votes of the ruling Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), main opposition New Democracy (ND) and smaller opposition Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) parties’ MPs in a roll-call vote during a special session of the unicameral parliament.
 The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA parliamentary alliance) MPs did not vote for the incumbent, but simply declared themselves present when called.
Papoulias is the sixth President of the Republic since the restoration of democracy in Greece in 1974, following Mihalis Stasinopoulos, Constantine Tsatsos, Constantine Karamanlis, Christos Sartzetakis and Costis Stephanopoulos.
 He will be sworn in for his second term on Friday, March 12 at noon.(Πηγή: ANA-MPA)