Sunday, 19 May 2024
Paris
17
05
2024
During the event, which was attended by representatives of dozens of countries and a large crowd, a message was broadcast from the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, while the French Minister of Sports and Olympic Games, Amelie Oudea-Kastera, as well as the Greek Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Giorgos Kotsiras, were present. . The event closed with a concert by the Greek composer Dimitris Papadimitriou. Welcoming the event, Mr. Mitsotakis said that it is an initiative that has the character of an appeal in favor of the ideas of Olympism, human dignity, democracy and peace. Unfortunately, as he noted, this global celebration, which is the Olympic Games, is affected today more than ever by war and violence, the climate crisis, intense divisions and social inequalities. At these critical moments, the Olympic Games call us to reflect on the fundamental principles of Olympism, the ones that inspired two enlightened personalities of the 19th century, the French humanist Pierre de Coubertin and the Greek intellectual Dimitris Vikelas, to proceed in 1896 with the revival of the Olympic Games , promoting the values ​​of peace, tolerance, solidarity and respect, as underlined by the Greek Prime Minister, pointing out that the Olympic Truce is at the heart of these values. He emphasized that the Olympic Truce can become a global vision for a better future without racial and religious discrimination, without gender discrimination, without violence and with more dignity and solidarity. "Let's call today from here, from the headquarters of UNESCO, to all warring parties to lay down their arms during the Olympic Games," concluded the Greek Prime Minister. "The Olympic Truce served the great ideals expressed by the Olympic Games: Competition with ethics and respect for the opponent. Respect for effort and human dignity", said Mr. Koumoutsakos, welcoming the event, noting that "our troubled times need all these ideals". According to him, the flame started its journey from ancient Olympia, where three thousand years ago the Greeks not only conceived but also put into practice the idea of ​​the Olympic Truce. As he added, the goal was to ensure the safety and care of athletes and spectators in a peaceful environment. For his part, Mr. Kotsiras, during his speech at the ceasefire event at UNESCO, underlined that "in a time of intense uncertainty, with two wars raging in our wider region, in Ukraine and the Middle East, the Olympic ideals of mutual respect, team spirit and peaceful coexistence continue to be a compass to a better world." "The idea of ​​the Olympic Truce and the need to observe it remains more relevant and more urgent than ever. As the Olympic Flame has already arrived from Greece and is traveling from city to city in France, a symbol of unity and friendship between peoples, we appeal for a cessation of hostilities around the world during the Olympic Games. Guided by the values ​​of Olympism, let's take a first hopeful step towards peace", concluded the Hellenic Foreign Minister.
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Athens
16
05
2024
“Shocked by the heinous attack against the Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico. Such acts of violence have no place in our societies. I wish him a speedy recovery,” Mitsotakis said in a message posted on X social media platform. Fico was shot and wounded in the abdomen after a government meeting, Slovak media reported. The Slovak government office, in an emailed statement, said his condition was life-threatening.   A Reuters witness heard several shots fired after the meeting in Handlova northeast of the capital Bratislava. Police detained a man and security officials pushed someone into a car and drove off, the witness said. Slovak news agency TASR quoted parliamentary vice-chairman Lubos Blaha as saying Fico had been shot and hurt. Broadcaster TA3 reported four shots were fired, one hitting Fico, 59, in the abdomen. Emergency services said a helicopter had been sent for a 59-year-old man in Handlova after receiving information that he had been shot. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, condemned what she described as a vile attack on Fico. The Slovak government was meeting in Handlova, 190 km northeast of Bratislava, as part of a tour of the country’s regions after coming to power late last year. Fico returned as prime minister of the central European country for the fourth time last year after shifting political gears to appeal to a changing electorate. During a three-decade career, Fico has moved between the pro-European mainstream and nationalistic positions opposed to European Union and US policies. He has also shown a willingness to change course depending on public opinion or changed political realities. Following the shooting, Slovakia’s biggest opposition party called off a planned protest against government public broadcaster reforms set for Wednesday evening.
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Ankara
15
05
2024
Turkey and Greece, NATO allies and historic foes, have long been at odds over issues including maritime boundaries, energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean, flights over the Aegean Sea, and ethnically split Cyprus. After years of tensions that brought the two to the brink of conflict, they have started taking high-profile steps to improve ties, especially since both leaders were re-elected last year. “Despite disagreements, we focus on a positive agenda by keeping our dialogue channels open,” Erdogan told a joint press conference with Mitsotakis. Mitsotakis said the leaders’ frequent meetings in recent months had “proved that we neighbours can establish an approach of mutual understanding, not as an exception but as a productive normality”. “We showed today that alongside our proven disagreements, we can chart a parallel page of agreements,” he added. Erdogan visited Athens last December and the two countries signed the “Declaration of Athens” aimed at setting the base for a roadmap to rebooting relations. They agreed to boost trade, keep communication channels open, carry out military confidence-building measures to reduce tensions, and work on problems that have kept them apart. The two leaders disagreed over how to classify the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Erdogan reiterated his view that it is a “resistance movement” and said he was saddened by the Greek view – shared by many other Western countries – that it is a terrorist organisation. “Let’s agree to disagree,” Mitsotakis replied. ‘UNPRECEDENTED HEIGHTS’ On Sunday, Mitsotakis told Turkish daily Milliyet that his visit to Ankara – the first in five years – was an opportunity to evaluate progress and to reiterate Athens’ commitment to improving ties. Erdogan, speaking to Greek daily Kathimerini on Sunday, said the main goal was to “raise the level of our bilateral relations to unprecedented heights”, adding the neighbours had many issues they could agree on while seeking solutions to their problems. However, the allies remain at loggerheads over several issues including maritime jurisdiction. Greece’s plan to build a marine park in the Aegean, which it says is for environmental purposes, has upset Turkey, while Athens was annoyed by Turkey’s decision to turn the ancient Chora church, previously a museum for decades, into a mosque.
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Rome
15
05
2024
The leading Greek tennis player and No. 8 in the World Ranking comfortably prevailed with 6-1, 6-2 against the Australian Alex De Minor in the "16" of the tournament and got the "ticket" for the 8, where he will face the 28-year-old Chilean and No. 24 in the world , Nicolas Jarry, who earlier eliminated Alexander Miller 7-5, 6-3. One hour was enough for the Greek champion to break De Minor's resistance. Cashing in on his concentration, Tsitsipas easily took the first set 6-1, while without losing his pace in the second, he cut the thread of the finish first with 6-2. With tonight's success, Tsitsipas celebrated his eleventh victory in twelve meetings with the Australian.
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Skopje
15
05
2024
At the ceremony in the country’s parliament, Siljanovska-Davkova referred to her country as “Macedonia,” rather than the constitutional name “North Macedonia.” This prompted Greek Ambassador Sophia Philippidou to leave the inauguration ceremony. The Greek Foreign Ministry later issued a statement, saying that the new president’s actions violated an agreement between the two nations and put in danger both bilateral relations and North Macedonia’s prospects of joining the European Union. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen implicitly rebuked Siljanovska-Davkova’s choice of words. “For North Macedonia to continue its successful path on EU accession, it is paramount that the country continues on the path of reforms and full respect for its binding agreements, including the Prespa Agreement,” she posted on X, referring to a 2018 agreement between North Macedonia and Greece. A few hours later, von der Leyen posted her congratulations to the new president: “Congratulations, Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova, on becoming the first female President of North Macedonia. Your leadership comes at a crucial time, as your country advances its reforms and continues on its path towards the EU. I’m looking forward to working with you.” The use of the name “Macedonia” provokes a strong Greek reaction, with Greece accusing its northern neighbor of appropriating a Greek name and the history of the Ancient Greek Kingdom of Macedonia, which existed centuries before Slavic people, such as the contemporary ethnic Macedonians, arrived in the area. The decades-old dispute was resolved in 2018, when both sides signed an agreement and the constitutional name “North Macedonia” was adopted. Greece then lifted its objection to North Macedonia joining NATO and applying for EU membership. That agreement was signed by the center-left North Macedonian government, against the wishes of the center-right opposition grouping to which Siljanovska-Davkova belongs. The opposition handily won both the presidential and parliamentary elections last week. Siljanovska-Davkova is the sixth president since the tiny Balkan country gained independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. She was sworn in before the outgoing parliament. “I could not have imagined that I would receive this kind of trust from over 560,000 citizens. I still can’t believe it. I will be the president of all citizens. I will try to justify these thousands of votes, which are not only the most beautiful gift for my birthday, but also the biggest obligation I have had in my life. It is time for unity,” Siljanovska-Davkova said, referring to the fact that she was officially informed of the result on Saturday — her 71st birthday. Most of her address was focused on women and their role in society, promising to “feminize” and “Europeanize” the country. “With the help of us women, you male politicians will also change and Macedonia will become a decent place to live,” Siljanovska-Davkova said. After taking the oath in parliament, a handoff ceremony took place in front of the President’s official residence. Siljanovska–Davkova, a lawmaker in the outgoing parliament and a university professor and lawyer, was the candidate of the center-right coalition led by the VMRO-DPMNE and defeated incumbent president Stevo Pendarovski with 69% of the vote in last Wednesday’s runoff. Turnout was 47.47%, above the 40% threshold required to make the election valid and avoid a repeat vote. Siljanovska-Davkova and Pendarovski had also squared off in 2019.  
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Ankara
14
05
2024
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was welcomed by Erdogan and a military guard of honor at the presidential palace in Ankara before the leaders’ fourth meeting over the past year. They are expected to hold two hours of discussions followed by a news conference. Turkey and Greece, which are NATO members, have been at odds for decades over a series of issues, including territorial claims in the Aegean Sea and drilling rights in the Mediterranean, and have come to the brink of war three times in the last half-century. A dispute over energy exploration rights in 2020 led to the two countries’ warships facing off in the Mediterranean. They agreed last December to put their disputes aside and focus on areas where they can find consensus. The list of items on the so-called positive agenda includes trade, energy, education and cultural ties. Since that summit in Athens, the regional rivals have maintained regular high-level contacts to promote fence-mending initiatives, such as allowing Turkish citizens to visit 10 Greek islands without cumbersome visa procedures. The propensity for quarrels remains, however. The recent opening of a former Greek Orthodox church in Istanbul for use as a mosque led to Greece accusing Turkey of “insulting the character” of a World Heritage Site. Turkey, meanwhile, criticized a Greek plan unveiled last month for “marine parks” in parts of the Ionian and Aegean Seas. Ankara said the one-sided declaration was “a step that sabotages the normalization process.” But such low-level disputes are far removed from relations a few years ago, when energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean resulted in a naval confrontation and a vow by Erdogan to halt talks with Mitsotakis’ government. The two countries are also locked in a dispute over Cyprus, divided since 1974 between its ethnic Greek and Turkish populations. For the past seven years, Turkey has rejected a long-standing agreement for a reunified Cyprus under a federal system. Instead, Ankara and the Turkish Cypriot administration, which is only recognized by Turkey, have proposed a two-state solution. Erdogan and Mitsotakis have sharp differences over the Israel-Hamas war, but are keen to hold back further instability in the Mediterranean as Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine grinds on. The recent thaw in relations was partly helped by Greek solidarity after last year’s devastating earthquake in southern Turkey. Erdogan has initiated a broader effort to reengage with Western countries following an election victory last year that saw him extend his two-decade rule by a further five years. Speaking before the meeting, Greek government spokesman Pavlos Marinakis said that the leaders would review progress in bilateral relations and the agreed upon areas of cooperation. “Our country seeks to maintain the climate of dialogue with the neighboring country,” he said, adding that “we believe that dialogue is only positive for the two countries.”
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Kobe
14
05
2024
The 5th largest city in Japan, the port of Kobe is ready to host over 1000 athletes, from 104 countries. At the "Kobe Universiade Memorial Stadium" 168 new para-world champions will be crowned, in an event that is held for the first time in the same year, a few months before the Paralympic Games in Paris.   The Greek delegation that will take part in the event consists of 19 athletes (16 men and 3 women) who will give their own "battle" and depart tomorrow (Tuesday, 14/5) for the city of Japan. Tania Keramyda (F55/56) is the one who "opens" the entries, in the discus qualifier, on the first day of the games (Friday, 17/5, at 11:15 a.m. Japan time, 05:15 a.m. Greek time). The efforts of the Greek sportsmen and women will be watched by the president of EOAM-AmAA and head of the delegation Ioanna Karyofyllis, who is traveling next Friday (17/5) to Japan and Kobe.  
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Doha
13
05
2024
The "golden" Olympian of the length "flew" at 8.36m. in his sixth and last attempt, with wind within the permissible limits (1.9). Throughout the competition there was a strong favorable wind, which Jamaican Cary McLeod took advantage of to jump 8.52m. and take first place. Tedoglou's jumps were 8.15m, void, 7.72m, 8.26m, 8.34m and 8.36m. This was his best premiere since 8.60m. which he had noted in May 2021. Katerina Stefanidis in her first race of the season in the pole vault exceeded 4.63m. with the third attempt and took fifth place in the race. The first place in the pole vault was taken by the British Mali Conderry with 4.73 meters.
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Malmo
11
05
2024
But even Eurovision can’t escape the world’s divisions. Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters are also expected in the city for demonstrations urging a cease-fire in the Gaza war and criticizing Israel’s participation in the contest. Here’s a guide to what Eurovision means, how it works and what to watch for: What is Eurovision? The short answer: Eurovision is a music competition, in which performers from countries across Europe, and a few beyond it, compete under their national flags with the aim of being crowned continental champion. Think of it as the Olympics of pop music.   The longer answer is that Eurovision is an extravaganza that melds pop, partying and politics — a cross between a music festival, an awards show and a meeting of the United Nations Security Council. It’s an event full of silly fun, a celebration of music’s unifying power, but also a place where politics and regional rivalries play out. How does it work? Thirty-seven countries are entered in the contest, which this year is taking place over several days in the Swedish port city of Malmo. The country is hosting after Swedish singer Loreen won last year’s competition in Liverpool, England. Through two semifinals, 37 acts have been narrowed to the 26 who will compete in Saturday’s final in front of thousands of spectators in the Malmo Arena and a global television audience estimated at 180 million. Nations can enter a solo act or a band. They can perform in any genre and language, but the rules state they must sing live and songs must be no more than three minutes long. Staging has grown ever more elaborate, incorporating flashy pyrotechnics and elaborate choreography. This year is particularly strong on topless male dancers.   Once all the acts have performed, the winner is chosen by a famously complex mix of phone and online voters from around the world and rankings by music-industry juries in each of the Eurovision countries. As the results are announced, countries slide up and down the rankings and tensions build. Ending up with “nul points,” or zero, ranks as a national humiliation. The musical style of Eurovision has diversified dramatically since the contest was founded in 1956. The early years of crooners and ballads gave way to perky pop – epitomized by perhaps the greatest Eurovision song of all time, ABBA’s “Waterloo,” which won the contest 50 years ago. Nowadays, Euro-techno and power ballads remain popular, but viewers have also shown a taste for rock, folk-rap and eccentric, unclassifiable songs. Who are the favorites? According to bookmakers, a leading contender is Swiss singer Nemo, who is performing a melodic, operatic song titled “The Code.” Nemo would be the first performer who identifies as nonbinary to win the contest, which has a huge LGBTQ+ following. The contest had its first transgender winner, Dana International, a quarter century ago. Another nonbinary performer generating huge buzz is Ireland’s Bambie Thug, whose song “Doomsday Blue” is Gothic, intense, over the top and a real crowd-pleaser. They’re the only contestant known to have brought a “scream coach” to Malmo. Ireland has won Eurovision seven times – a total equaled only by Sweden – but has fared poorly in recent years. Other acts tipped to do well include operatic Slovenian singer Raiven, Ukrainian rap-pop duo Alyona Alyona and Jerry Heil and Spain’s Nebulosa, whose song “Zorra” caused a stir because its title can be translated as an anti-female slur. So far, the act with the most momentum is Croatian singer Baby Lasagna. His song “Rim Tim Tagi Dim” is quintessential Eurovision: exuberant, silly, a little emotional and incredibly catchy. It’s already a huge fan favorite. Why are some people protesting? Eurovision’s motto is “united by music,” and its organizer, the European Broadcasting Union, strives to keep politics out of the contest. But it often intrudes. Belarus was expelled from Eurovision in 2021 over its government’s clampdown on dissent, and Russia was kicked out in 2022 after its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. This year, there have been calls for Israel to be excluded because of its conduct in its war against Hamas. Israel is competing, but was told to change the title of its song, originally called “October Rain” in apparent reference to Hamas’ October 7 cross-border attack. It’s now called “Hurricane” and is performed by 20-year-old singer Eden Golan. Thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched through Malmo on Thursday, hours before Golan performed at Thursday’s semifinal, and was one of 10 acts voted through to the final by Eurovision viewers. Another demonstration is planned for Saturday. Swedish police have mounted a major security operation, with officers from across the country bolstered by reinforcements from Denmark and Norway. Palestinian flags hang from some apartment balconies in Malmo but have been banned from the televised event, along with all flags apart from those of competing nations. At the first semifinal one performer managed to sneak in a political statement, singing with a Palestinian keffiyeh scarf tied around his wrist. The European Broadcasting Union, which organizes Eurovision, said it regretted Swedish singer Eric Saade’s decision to “compromise the non-political nature of the event.”
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Marseille
10
05
2024
It was the first leg of an 11-week journey across the country for the torch, which will be carried by about 10,000 bearers as it passes through more than 450 towns until the Games’ opening ceremony in Paris on July 26. Former soccer player Basile Boli, who played with the Marseille team in the 1990s, kicked off Thursday’s relay from the Notre Dame de la Garde basilica that overlooks Marseille and the Mediterranean. “I’m very proud,” Boli said. “You feel like you’re on top of the world, because with an Olympic flame there’s a special fervor. … It’s the symbol of sport!”   Basketball player Tony Parker later took his turn in the relay, praising “a great honor.” On a nearby crowded beach, swimmers and sunbathers cheered the torch bearers as the flame passed. “The enthusiasm of Marseille for the flame is phenomenal,” Maurice Genevois, a local resident, said. “Honestly, I have rarely seen such a celebration.” Magali Evrard, who came from the town of Martigues, in Marseille’s region, said “it’s been so long since we started talking about this and now we’re in it! “We are on the road to Paris. We can’t wait, it’s great,” she added. A fencing champion, a skateboarder, a Michelin-starred chef and a comedian were also chosen to carry the flame on Thursday. “Let’s go for a fantastic celebration,” said Tony Estanguet, president of the Paris Olympics organizing committee. “The Games are back in our country. … Let’s share this fantastic moment of celebration with millions of people in the country.” Participants were scheduled to run all day past landmarks in the city to bring the torch to the roof of the famed Stade Vélodrome, home to Marseille’s passionate soccer fans. Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba, a former star player for the Marseille club, was the last torchbearer of the day and lit the Olympic cauldron just outside the stadium. Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra said “it’s fantastic to give that sense of pride to the French people and to show to the whole world what we’re capable to achieve.” “’We’re going to give happiness to the whole world,” she added. Torchbearers included Ukrainian gymnast Mariia Vysochanska, who won 2 gold medals at the 2020 European Championships and competed at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Her inclusion was an expression of solidarity with Ukraine as well as a symbolic gesture to mark Europe Day, which falls on May 9 each year. Vysochanska led a group of 27 other athletes who represent all European Union member states. “It’s a way to really celebrate Europe, its values and also to demonstrate our attachment to the European sport model,” Oudéa-Castéra said. Ukraine received the green light last year to start accelerated talks on joining the EU. “[Ukrainians] face that terrible war of aggression, and we want to really express that we support them the best we can,” she added. “This is unity. This is hope. This is solidarity. And we want their victory.” Marseille on Wednesday celebrated with great fanfare the flame’s arrival, with more than 230,000 people attending the ceremony in the Old Port, according to the city’s mayor, Benoît Payan. During the Games, the sailing competition and some soccer matches will be held in Marseille.
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10
05
2024
In particular, Croatia is considered the favorite with "Ram tim tagi dim", in second place is Switzerland with "The Code", in third place is Ukraine with "Teresa & Maria". Greece appears in ninth place. And while the "bets" for the big winner of the competition continue, the time is counting down for tonight's Second Semi-Final, which will be broadcast at 22.00. Greece will compete in 3rd place, while only 10 entries will qualify. In the Second Semi-Final, from the "Big Five" France, Italy and Spain appear and vote, which qualify directly. It is reminded that the grand final will take place on Saturday, May 11.
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Athens
10
05
2024
The vote does not amount to recognition of a Palestinian state in the UN, nor does it constitute bilateral recognition. Greece will submit an explanatory statement of its vote, which will underline, among others, that the vote in favour is based on a position of principle that the resolutioin of the Palestine issue should be the result of a mutual agreement on the basis of a 2-State solution. It will also be pointed out that the best way to end the violence and tackle extremism is the creation of a sustainable political horizon for the Palestinians, a horizon that at the same time guarantees Israel's security.
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