Exarchia turning into a Ghetto, claim furious Athenians

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Hundreds of residents of the central Athenian neighborhood of Exarchia have called on the Greek prosecution service to intervene and put an end to the crime, vandalism and lawlessness threatening to turn the area into a ghetto.

A three-page appeal sent by 400 residents warns that anti-establishment, anarchist and other leftist groups are creating an “autonomous state of crime”, as the police and other state agencies are practically banned from the area.

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Exarchia strikes fear into the hearts of many Athenians, who have seen televised images of masked and hooded anarchists battling police in the district’s back streets and main squares. Tires are burned to counteract tear gas, windows are frequently broken, cars torched and shops vandalized.

The residents’ appeal records at least 22 offenses, which are constantly being committed in Exarchia and make life in the area unbearable.

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It also notes that residents are now beginning to think there is an organized plan to make Exarchia a dumping ground for all illegal activities in the greater Athens area.

Residents fear that turning Exarchia into a ghetto will affect tourism as a number of high-profile sights, such as the National Archaeological Museum and the National Library, are all located nearby.

They claim that, if allowed, they could have “solved the problem of lawlessness in a few days themselves”.

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Source: Tasos Kokkinidis/greekreporter

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The reenactment of the “Battle of the Rupel Fortress” in Serres on May 12 & 13 (PHOTOS)

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It began as a notable initiative and evolved into a tradition. On May 12th, the reenactment of the Battle of the legendary Rupel Fortress and the leading World War II historical event in Greece, “RUPEL 1941: THE REVIVAL” (www.roupel1941.gr), will take place once again in Serres.

The purpose of the event, held for the third consecutive year with the help of the Ministry of National Defense, is to preserve the historical memory, promote peace and cooperation between nations and countries, highlighting history-themed tourism in the northern part of Serres.

With the impressive effects of fire, explosions and airplane simulations on Sunday 3/5/2018 at 11:00 am, visitors will experience the raging attempt of the German invaders to occupy the legendary fortress of Rupel and the heroic resistance of its Greek defenders.

Watch the video of last year’s event:

This year’s event is dedicated to the hero artillery captain Alexandros Kyriakidis, who was killed during the German attack on Rupel.

During the weekend, visitors will have the opportunity to tour the Greek and German camps of the WWII campaign and the exhibitions that will be in the central area and visit the underground vault of the Rupel Fortress.

Specifically :

HELLENIC CAMP WWII: From Khaki Depot (a high-quality product company for museums, collectors, reenactment, etc.) in collaboration with the Historical Revival Team of the “STENOPOS” Association.

GERMAN CAMP WWII: From the Historic Revival Groups “Kampfgruppe «Süden» – Hellenic Reenactment Group”, “Brothers in Arms” and “Deutsches Freikorps Association”.

HELLENIC CAMP 1960 – 1970: Exhibition of historical military vehicles by the Association of Historic Military Vehicles (SISO).

COLLECTION OF THE ATHENS WAR MUSEUM: The annex of Thessaloniki, presents part of its collection, related to the battle of the Forts.

ART EXHIBITION: Works of pupils and students of schools in Serres and Thessaloniki, who took part in the competition “Battle of the Forts” (2018).

MEMORABILIA FROM THE BATTLE: Exhibition of “Fortress Battle” (1941), from Michalis Tsartsitsis Historical & Folklore Museum in Sidirokastro.

SCULPTURE EXHIBITION: Triantafylou Vaitsi’s “House of Shadow” (Xanthi) presents the “light and shadows sculpture ‘Holy Spirit’”.

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DOCUMENTS FROM THE KARATAS FORTRESS: An exhibition of historical documents (newspapers, postcards, calendars, improvised cards, etc.) found in the abandoned galleries of Karatas fortress.

SMALL-SCALE MODEL EXHIBITION: The Association of Modelers of Serres and modelers from northern Greece present their creations inspired by the “Battle of the Forts” and not only.

“FORTRESSES OF HISTORY”: The fortresses of Belles and Agistro through the photographic lens of Anthimos Georgiadis (courtesy of Aratos Group).

THE 1941 HEADLINES: How did the Greek newspapers recorded and presented the German invasion of Greece, through their headlines of the time.

DRAWINGS & SKETCHES: Greek and foreign sketches of the Nazi attack against Greece during WWII.

PHOTOS OF THE BATTLE: Black and white photographs of the German attack and the resistance of the forts, from the archive of the researcher and author Elias Kotridis.

METAXAS LINE INFOGRAPHICS: The great technical work of the Metaxa Line with numbers, blueprints and sizes.

The “Retro Parade” event will take place on Saturday 12/5/2018 at 18:00 at the central square of Sidirokastro with historical military vehicles, reenactments from Greeks and friends from abroad, classical cyclists and others.

At 20:00 in the LAF of Sidirokastro, the “1940s Festival ” with songs, dances and dress code of that era.

Photos from last year’s event:

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Greek PM Faces Protests Over Migrant Numbers, Tax Hike in Lesvos

Lesvos is beefing up security for the visit of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and a host of ministers who will participate in regional conference on the Aegean island on Wednesday and Thursday.

Seventeen squads of riot police are travelling from Athens as local organizations are planning rallies against the government’s policies on migration and VAT hikes.

At a news conference, organizers said the protests surrounding Tsipras’ visit are the “last effort to pressure the government not to increase VAT on islands from July 1”.

Shops and local government offices are expected to close down in protest on Thursday, during Tsiras’s speech at the conference.

The Greek premier’s visit comes amid a fresh spike in migrant arrivals from Turkey.

In April, dozens of migrants were injured after far-right extremists attacked a group of 200 migrants and asylum seekers who had camped out in the main square of Lesvos’ capital, Mytilini.

The local authority warns that similar incidents may occur again as tensions are hotting up in the island which is at the forefront of the migrant crisis in Greece.

Refugees and migrants who arrived on Greek islands after the March 2016 deal between Turkey and the European Union are barred from travelling to mainland Greece unless they obtain permission from the authorities.

Although a Greek court ruled last month that new arrivals will be allowed to move on to the mainland, those who arrived during that two-year period are still confined to the islands.

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Tasos Kokkinidis

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This Romantic Candlelit Restaurant Will Make You Travel in Time

Warm atmosphere at Yiannis’ Taverna (Courtesy of Tavernoxoros.gr).

Traditional places on the island of Crete are not difficult to find. Solitary villages, especially in the hinterland, still manage to maintain a special atmosphere that takes visitors on a trip back to happier times, where life was simpler and more genuine.

That is precisely the case of the village known as Kyparissi, located half an hour from the capital of Crete, Heraklion, not far from Prophet Elias. In this village, there is a place completely different from the busier tavernas in town. It is Yannis’taverna and everything about it is special.

Those passing by will certainly be attracted by the warm atmosphere of the village restaurant. The candlelight dim-lit room, the fireplace and the endless rows of house wine barrels that decorate the beautiful place brings memories of a past when everything was no-frills. When life was about enjoying the taste of the land and the company for friends and family.

Warm atmosphere at Yiannis’ Taverna (Courtesy of Tavernoxoros.gr).

Music often comes to life together with Yiannis’ lyre and songs bringing joy to every visitor. At Yiannis’, everyone pays a fixed price and can eat as much as they want. The dishes are delicious and the wine flows uninterruptedly. Most ingredients are organic and the food is cooked in a traditional wood-burning oven.

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Gabi Ancarola

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Ten Things to Do in Chania, Crete

The Mosque of the Janizaries and the Port

The Prefecture of Chania is located in western Crete. The picturesque seaside city of Chania is its capital and it features a well-preserved historical center as well as a modern city that extends enough to reach the mountain range of the Lefka Ori or the White Mountains. Here are some of the things to do in Chania.

Visit a Mountain Village

The White Mountains in Summer (Courtesy of The Tiny Book).

All over the prefecture, visitors will find traditional hamlets and villages perched on the slopes of the Lefka Ori. These places of untouched beauty offer a unique opportunity to be in touch with nature as well as with the local cuisine which is simple and tasty. In the mountains, it is possible to discover local species of plants and animals, some of them unique to the island

Explore the Beaches

Elafonisi beach Crete
Elafonisi (Southern Crete).

The prefecture of Chania is the area that hosts some of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Falassana on the west side is well known for its privileged location for water sports and unique sunsets. On the south, world-famous Elafonisi, with its crystal waters and pink sand, enchants thousands of visitors every year. For the more adventurous type, the peninsula of Gramvousa and the unique landscape of Balos beach are worth the trip over the dirt path.

Discover the History of the City

The Old Venetian Harbor of Chania.

A city that has been continuously inhabited for over 7,000 years certainly has a few things to offer those interested in history.

Home to different rulers and occupiers, Chania displays every style of architecture. The Venetian harbor combines with the various minarets still standing in town and the many Byzantine churches of the city.

Certainly, there is no shortage of monuments and buildings telling the legends of the Venice of the East, as it used to be called. A walking tour of the city that combines traditions and gastronomy can be the perfect opportunity for a different way to explore Chania.

Indulge in the Local Gastronomy

Greek salad with rusks
Greek salad with rusks (Courtesy: Gabi Ancarola).

The Cretan diet has been long recognized as one of the healthiest in the world and there is no better place to try it than on the island. Main ingredients include the traditional Mediterranean products, such as olive oil, vegetables and Greek yogurt but also include wild greens, local varieties of cheese and delicious cuts of meat, such as goat or sheep. Everything is cooked in a no-frills way but with a judicious use of herbs and spices — the base of the unique Cretan flavors.

Shop Till You Drop

Central Market of Chania (Courtesy of The Tiny Book).

A visit to the Municipal Market, or Dimotiki Agora, is the best excuse to take back some of the traditions of the island.

Considered to be an architectural gem and one the most important public markets in the region, the Municipal Market gives visitors the opportunity to shop for local produce of excellent quality. Olives, honey, spices, herbs and cheese are some of the Cretan tastes that tourists usually choose to return with.

Taste Cretan Wines

Oinotika Chania 2018
(Courtesy of Wines of Crete).

Different wineries can be visited all over the island, and some of them are located in the Prefecture. Either venture yourself in a self-made journey of discovery or rely on the wise suggestions of the only local wine tour run by a sommelier. In both cases be certain that you will enjoy some of the best wines currently being produced in Greece.

Test your Skills in Extreme Sports

Bungee jumping in Aradena (Courtesy of Andy Humpries).

Have you ever jumped from a bridge? If this is something that entices your curiosity, Crete is one of the places where to feel some extreme adrenaline. Every summer, Aradena — in the region of Sfakia — turns into the gathering point for bungee lovers who dare to jump into the gap of the gorge from a bridge standing at 138 meters height. If the idea is too much for you, try a hike in the area — the unique landscape will amaze you equally and offer unforgettable experiences.

Learn About the Local Olive Oil

The popularity of superfoods is growing at a fast pace. This is simply because these mostly natural food is packed with high levels of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals while they also provide countless benefits that help live a longer and healthier life.
Olive Oil, liquid gold of Crete.

About 27 kilometers (17 miles) from the city of Chania, it is possible to visit one of the oldest living olive trees in the world. It is located in the village of Ano Vouves and it is still producing olives that result in an excellent quality extra virgin oil. In the area, there is also a museum and an old olive-oil factory, both of them open to the public and teaching visitors all the secrets of the history of this local treasure.

Sail the Cretan Sea

Sailing Crete (Courtesy of A Pinch of Soul and Style)

Home to three beautiful peninsulas — Gramvousa, Rodopos and Akrotiri — sailing the shores of northern Crete can turn into a surprise for many. Either you go for a version of extreme luxury yachting or decide on a more modest sailing trip, cruising the Cretan seas will allow you to dive in some of the bluest waters of the Mediterranean, or even trying your fishing skills.

Enjoy Some of the Local Festivals

Music in Chania (Courtesy of The Tiny Book).

Almost every week of the year, there is a festival to enjoy in the villages of Crete. A culture that pretty much revolves around eating, drinking and music is nothing but a guarantee of fun and joy made of local dances and songs. Whether it is Easter, the 1st of May or the Day of the Virgin (Aug. 15), every town in Chania allows tourists to experience the Cretan traditions at their best.

Fileas Art Hotel in Chania Lives up to its Descrption

Fileas Art Hotel , the new addition of Aria Hotels (www.ariahotels.gr), is situated in the Old Town of Chania and truly lives up to its name, combining art, architectural tradition and Outstanding quality in service and accommodation.
Th
is unique boutique hotel is housed in a three-story traditional building on Protou Frangiskou Street. It is fully renovated to provide all comforts and the friendly staff guarantee that guests will enjoy the traditional warm hospitality that Crete and Cretan people are famous for.
The hotel features six modern double rooms with special decoration and artwork
s, which combined with all modern amenities, guarantee a comfortable and enjoyable stay in the historic city.
Fileas Art Hotel is located only a few minutes away from the Old
Port of Chania and is therefore ideally suited for touring the city’s landmarks, monuments and hot spots.
In addition, the Old Port location offers plenty of entertainment and gastronomy options, including the Alcanea Café & Wine Bar, located on the ground floor of
Aria’s sister property, the Alcanea Boutique Hotel.
Fileas Art Hotel (
Email: [email protected]) is the seventh the propertyf Aria Hotels in Crete. The company has several hotels and villas, all in exceptional destinations: Athens, Crete, Cyclades, Epirus and Peloponnese, all chosen to appeal to the discerning traveler looking for a secret hideaway in Greece.

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Greece decides on F-16 warplane upgrade just on time for Apostolakis’ visit to U.S.

Athens.- (GreekNewsOnline, AFP, Sputnik)

Greece on Saturday announced an upgrade for part of its US-made F-16 warplane fleet, a programme pending over the past six months owing to cost concerns.

An emergency meeting by the government council of foreign affairs and defense chaired by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras approved the decision, the PM’s office said.

“The council unanimously approved the implementation of the 85-plane upgrade programme,” Tsipras’ office said.

It added that the decision was based on “preliminary approval” by the US of a “revised Greek proposal taking into account the country’s fiscal obligations over the coming years.”

Defense Minister Panos Kammenos said the planes would be upgraded to F-16 Viper level. The F-16V variant includes an active electronically scanned array radar, a new mission computer and electronic warfare suite, automated ground collision avoidance system, and various cockpit improvements. The F-16V first flew in October 2015.

The decision was made on time for the scheduled official visit to the United States of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Greece, Admiral Apostolakis, on the invitation of his U.S. counterpart General ‎Joseph Dunford. Admiral Apostolakis will be in Washington on May 1st and besides high level talks at the Pentagon he will hold meetings with prominent member of the U.S. Congress.

US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt welcomed Government Council of Defence and Foreign Affairs (KYSEA) unanimous approval for the upgrading of the Greek fleet of F-16 fighters jets in a tweet on Saturday.

A very big day for our @HAFspokesman and @Hellenic_MOD allies as the Greece F-16 upgrade moves ahead – building on Prime Minister @tsipras_eu visit to the White House last October. Congratulations Minister @PanosKammenos and team, Pyatt posted on his twitter account.

New Democracy’s shadow defense minister Vasilis Kikilias said the main opposition was always in favor of an F-16 upgrade and will wait for the details of the deal with the United States before commenting further.

According to the Greek Defense Ministry, the deal will cost Athens about 1.1 billion euros ($1.3 billion), including 10-15 percent discount granted by the United States. Three of the 85 jets earmarked for modernisation will be upgraded in the United States while the rest will be refurbished in Greece, a Greek defence ministry source said, adding that the cost would be about 1.2 billion euros.

The first modernized jet will be delivered to Greece in two years, while the whole bunch will be upgraded by 2028.

The upgrade will include up to 125 APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radars, 123 Modular Mission Computers (MMCs), 123 LINK-16 Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio Systems (MIDS-JTRS).

Ta Nea daily on Saturday said the programme runs to 2028, with annual payments until 2021 set at a maximum of 120 million euros owing to Greece’s bailout obligations.

Tsipras has said the planes, some of them dating from 1989, risked being rendered inoperable without the upgrade.

The upgrade deal was first announced in October during a Tsipras visit to Washington, but the government came under immediate criticism over the price tag. The U.S. State Department at the time estimated the cost to upgrade around 120 Greek F-16s at more than $2.4 billion for a 10-year programme.

Greece spends two percent of its budget on defense, one of only five NATO members to meet this alliance target.

Greek fighter planes see extensive action in the Aegean Sea.

They are regularly scrambled to intercept Turkish jets entering what Athens considers Greek airspace over the Aegean, occasionally engaging in mock dogfights.

The move comes amid increased tension with NATO ally Turkey.

In a barrage of recent statements, Ankara officials have disputed Greek sovereignty of a number of islets close to Turkey’s Aegean shores.

Athens officials have attributed such talk to Turkey’s upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in June.

On April 9, Greek soldiers fired warning shots at a Turkish helicopter after it approached the small island of Ro, which marks their border in the Aegean Sea. Days later, the pilot of a Greek air force jet was killed when his Mirage 2000-5 jet crashed in the Aegean as it returned from an earlier interception of a Turkish jet that had violated Greek air space.

Last week, deputy defense minister Fotis Kouvelis confirmed that Greece is to lease two French FREMM frigates for its navy. The lease is for five years, and the vessels are expected to be inducted into the Greek Navy by August.

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