Les membres du Congrès des États-Unis demandent instamment Tillerson de prendre position forte sur les menaces turques contre Chypre ZEE

FILE PHOTO - AMÉRICANO. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks on issues related to visas and travel after U.S. President Donald Trump signed a new travel ban order in Washington, États-Unis, Mars 6, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

Thirty-six members of the US House of Representatives encouraged US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to continue the active engagement by the State Department in the Eastern Mediterranean, including against Turkish threats concerning the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

In a letter, the Representatives urged Tillerson to maintain a strong stance against rhetoric and provocations that threaten the spirit of cooperation and progress that has emerged in the region in recent years.
En Juillet 13 energy giant Total is scheduled to begin exploratory drilling off Cyprus.

“We are writing to encourage continued active engagement by the State Department in the Eastern Mediterranean, and in particular to urge a strong stance against rhetoric and provocations that threaten the spirit of cooperation and progress that has emerged in the region in recent years,” the letter said.

“The burgeoning ties between Cyprus, Greece and Israel should be of particular importance to the United States. Beyond sharing democratic values, the three countries are increasingly collaborating in energy, counterterrorism, and tourism — fields that can contribute to European energy independence, promote economic stability in southern Europe and the Middle East, and help counter regional extremism and terrorism,” they added.

Israel’s partnerships with Greece and Cyprus, il dit, ensure the security of Israel’s Mediterranean border. “Israel’s strategic depth has always been a challenge, even more so now while the region is experiencing deteriorating security. Greece and Cyprus allow the Israeli Air Force to conduct exercises over their territory. The three countries exchange intelligence and have conducted search and rescue missions together. Greece and Cyprus are only the second and third countries, after the US, with which Israel has signed a ‘status of forces agreement.’”.

Futhermore, they note that cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean has the power to create partnerships where there was once conflict.

“Energy collaboration has facilitated and furthered important regional conversations. Consistent high-level contacts and trilateral summits involve other regional stakeholders including the EU, Italie, Egypt and Lebanon, providing opportunities for diplomatic engagement between these nations — engagement that otherwise might not occur,"Il dit.

“Further, these new energy sources promise to allow key US allies and partners to decrease their energy dependence on suppliers like Russia and Iran”.

It is vital, ils ont dit, “that the State Department continue active engagement in the region — not just for the benefit of the US and Israel — but because the cooperation facilitated by natural gas finds is not without challenges. Turquie, which stands to benefit greatly from energy exploration, repeatedly violates Greece’s air and sea territory and has issued numerous threats against the continued exploration in and exploitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Republic of Cyprus. Cyprus’ EEZ is safeguarded under international law and has been consistently supported by the United States government. There is also a long-standing dispute over which nation controls a maritime area off the coast of the Israel-Lebanon border”.

“With so much progress and potential at stake, we urge you to publicly reaffirm the commitment of the United States to support energy exploration and exploitation in the Eastern Mediterranean in a manner consistent with long-standing US policy. Plus loin, we look forward to the ongoing engagement of the State Department in facilitating and supporting diplomatic, military and economic cooperation among allies in the region,” they concluded.

This letter is the latest product of the partnership between the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC) and the American Jewish Committee (AJC). HALC and AJC worked with the Congressional Hellenic Israel Alliance (CHIA) caucus and its two chairmen – Gus Bilirakis and Ted Deutch – launched the letter in time for the back to back conferences of the AJC and PSEKA.

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The Guardian: Grèce pour recevoir 30 million de touristes!

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Greece is expected to receive almost 10 times its population in holidaymakers for 2017, according to Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura, who addressed the Panhellenic Exporters’ Association last week. British media outlet “The Guardian” focused on the boom in tourism, which is the debt-stricken country’s life jacket in the years of the economic crisis.

From the Guardian:

Auteur: Helena Smith, twitter: @HelenaSmithGDN

Up high, above the hills of Arcadia, historic Dimitsana is on a roll. Its hotels are brimming, its cafes are full, and its footpaths and monasteries lure busloads of tourists decanted daily from other parts of the Peloponnese.
Either side of the main road that splits the mountain village – in a world far removed from talk of emergency bailout funds, international stewardship and gruelling austerity – Greeks are hard at work, running boutique guesthouses, eateries and bars in the stone mansions that line Dimitsana’s cobbled streets.
“Business is very good,” says Labis Baxevanos, the village’s deputy mayor, who owns a patisserie along the strip. “So good that a lot of younger couples have come to work here since the country’s economic crisis began.”
Debt-stricken Greece is braced for a record-breaking 30m holidaymakers this year, almost three times its population. Addressing the Panhellenic Exporters Association last week, the tourism minister Elena Kountoura said that between January and May there had been a noticeable increase in arrivals, revenues and occupancy rates with summer bookings in some areas rising by as much as 70%. Travel receipts grew by 2.4% or €23m (£20m).
After eight years of grinding austerity, the influx is a tangible gift, on a par with the €8.5bn financial lifeline thrown Greece earlier this month to once again avert default.
Dimitsana – once famous for the gunpowder mills that produced the firepower in the nation’s 1821 war of independence against Ottoman rule – is emblematic of the entrepreneurial spirit taking root as a result of the boom. “Tourism is our lifejacket,” says Theonimfi Koraki, who opened a boutique hotel in the village last summer. “The aim now is diversity and drawing out the season all year round. Here in Arcadia the creation of the 75km-long Menalon [marche] trail has been hugely successful for example with foreign tourists. It has greatly helped the development of the region.”
With the exception of shipping, tourism is Greece’s biggest foreign earner, the mainstay of an economy that has otherwise contracted by 27% depuis la fin 2009 when the country’s debt crisis began.
The industry accounted for eight out of 10 new jobs in 2016, vital for a nation hit by crippling levels of unemployment. Bank of Greece figures show around 23.5 million tourists visited in 2015, generating €14.2bn of revenues, ou 24% of gross domestic product. L'année dernière,, the country’s tourism confederation, SEVEN, announced arrivals of 27.5 million, an all-time high.

more at: theguardian.com

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Le profil des touristes grecs à l'étranger; Une enquête PayPal

According to the latest Travel Report prepared by PayPal and analytical agency GfK – Greek tourists appreciate attractive prices and unique natural and cultural heritage of the Central Eastern European (CEE) région.

Au cours des trois dernières années, the most popular Greeks’ destination in CEE was Bulgaria, visited by 44% of Greek respondents. Selon l'enquête, Cyprus and Czech Republic were the second and the third the most often visited countries by our compatriots, 41% et 15% respectivement.

The preferences regarding destinations go hand in hand with the type of holidays taken by tourists. The biggest groups of Greek travelers visiting Central and Eastern Europe in the last 3 years went for leisure (70%) et la culture (30%). Other popular types of trips among Greek citizens were family and friends visit (chosen by 15%), business travel (14%) and shopping tours (13%). Seulement 9% travelled for events (festivals, concerts, performances etc.)

Most of Greeks prefer to visit Central and Eastern Europe in spring and spend there less than one week. For such trips, 35% of Greeks spend 250-500 euros et 34% passer 501-1,000 d'euros.


The most popular occasion for traveling to CEE are annual vacations, followed by national holidays and weekends.

Most of the expenditures for vacations in Central and Eastern Europe are covered by cash (62%), followed by credit cards (54%) and PayPal (14%). Cependant, a role of online payments is significant – only 28% of Greek tourists say that they prefer to pay during planning trip offline

According to the same survey, Greeks seem to be proud of their country and its tourist value. Ninety-nine percent of them would recommend visiting Greece to foreign tourists while only 1% of respondents would not do this.

In Greeks’ opinion, the most attractive venues for foreign tourists in Greece are the Greek islands, indicated by 70% of respondents. Acropole, Thessaloniki and Delphi pointed by 60%, 50% et 40% of Greeks, respectivement.

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Tasos Kokkinidis

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Astypalaia: Un papillon au milieu de la mer Egée

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Located exactly where the Dodecanese meet the Cyclades, the island of Astypalaia boasts a centuries-old history, whitewashed villages and sun-drenched beaches. Embark on a fascinating trip where the deep blue of the sea meets the bright white colours of beautiful island houses…

Astypalaia, the westernmost island of the Group, is naturally separated into Mesa Nisi [the inner island] (western part) et Exo Nisi [the outer island] (eastern part) by a thin strip of land less than 100 m. wide.

The island was named after Astypalaia, the daughter of Phoenix and Perimede. In the old days the island was also called Ichthyoessa due to its abundant fishing grounds. It was first inhabited in prehistoric times. En 1204 it came under the Venetian rule enforced by the Guerini family until 1537 with the exception of a brief period in time (1269-1310) when the Byzantine Empire took over again. En 1537 the Turks occupied the island. As is the case with the other Dodecanese islands, Astypalaia remained under Turkish rule until 1912; it was then conquered by the Italians, la Colombie, and the Germans until it was finally integrated in Greece in 1948. There are ferries to Piraeus and Kalymnos and flights to Athens and Rhodes Airports.

Astypalaia_sokaki_290

1. Chora
Chora
is the island’s capital town and port. It is one of the most picturesque towns in the Aegean, perched on a rock that advances into the sea, forming two bays. On the top, you will see Chora’s castle towering over the town with the strikingly white domes of Evangelistria and Agios Georgios churches, visible over the walls. Around the castle lie Chora’s houses with whitewashed walls, blue doors and windows, and wooden balcony rails.

Town promenade

  • To the Venetian Guerini Castle (13th c). The small three-storey houses built in the castle’s outer grounds are of particular architectural interest since the outer walls of the houses form the castle wall and narrow windows were used as battlements. Within the castle there are two churches, painted in a pure white colour, with elaborate stone belfries: Panagia Evangelistria (1853), inside which you will see the founders’ inscription dated 1413 and the Guerini coats of arms; et Agios Georgios.
  • To the 18th-century Panagia Portaitissa church below the castle, one of the most beautiful churches in the Dodecanese with a woodcarved, gilded iconostasis. Right next to it there is an interesting Ecclesiastical Museum.
  • To Narkisseios Municipal Library, also housing the island’s archeological collection.
  • To the Archeological Museum in Pera Gialos where finds from the island are on display. Most of them date back to the prehistoric times when Astypalaia had prospered.
  • To the eight windmills located over Skala, at Chora. They belong to the xetrocharis category, a horizontal axis type with the roof turning according to the wind direction.
  • To Kylintra, bordering Chora on the south side. It is the site where a burial ground for infants was excavated – the only one known to have existed in the whole world. This place was considered as sacred ground since the Geometric Period and up to the Hellenistic times.
  • To Megali Panagia. Its courtyard features a remarkable pebbled floor.
  • To Panagia Flevariotissa, 6 km NW of Chora. Part of the church is built inside a cave. It has an interesting woodcarved iconostasis.
  • To the Monastery of Agios Ioannis o Makrys (12 km W). It is built in an impressive landscape between two forbidding slopes, overlooking the open sea and offering a spectacular sunset view.
  • To the castle of Ai-Giannis, opposite the monastery by the same name.

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Trips around Astypalaia

West (Inner Island)

2. Livadia
Livadia is a seaside village with few residents, built in a fertile valley. There are citrus fruit groves, vineyards and houses overflowing with flowers, creating a delightful setting next to a lovely beach. Distance from Chora: 2 km SW.

Must see

  • Negros cave, at Vatses (6 km SW). Access it by boat from Chora, or follow an organised tour.
  • Agios Vasileios hill and the ruins of an early-Christian basilica.

East (Outer Island)

3. Maltezana (Analipsi)
Maltezana is a seaside resort that attracts most of the island’s tourism. It has been named after the Maltese pirates who made their hideout on the island. This is where the French Admiral Bigot set his ship on fire in 1827 so that it may not be captured by the pirates. Distance from Chora: 9 km NE.

Must see

  • Talaras Baths and their Hellenistic period mosaics that are unique in the Hellenic world coloured in light blue and brick shades as well as an interesting composition that depicts the four seasons and the symbols of the zodiac.
  • The monument of the French Admiral Bigot who led the struggle against the pirates in the early 19th century.
  • The ruins of an early-Christian basilica (5th c.) with remarkable mosaics. Agia Varvara chapel was built over those ruins using the existing Ionian capitals as building material.
  • Analipsi church, the village’s oldest one.

Astypalaia_paralia_koutsomiti_510_374

4. Vathy

Vathy looks more like a lagoon due to its protected inlet (having an opening of about 50 m.). It comprises two small communities: Exo [outer] Vathy at the inlet entrance with a small wharf for mooring boats; and Mesa [inner] Vathy in the nook of the cove next to cropland, sparse tree vegetation and vineyards. Distance from Chora: 21 km NE.

Must see

  • Chameni Limni [lost lake], a lagoon in the NE side of Astypalaia.
  • The ruins of a Minoan settlement and tower situated at the entrance to the cove.
  • Drakos cave, where you will see impressive stalagmite and stalactite formations. Access the cave by boat or on foot
  • Panagia Poulariani church, on the way to Vathy. It is built on a rock formation which looks like the Virgin Mary holding the Baby Jesus.

Nearby islands

From Maltezana cove take an excursion boat and visit Diaporia, Ligno, Chondro, Kounoupoi and Koutsomyri islands (SE) as well as Agia Kyriaki island and its beautiful beach (S). Farther away, to the NE of Astypalaia, visit Fokionisia; then Panormos and Katsagreli to the NW; Pontikousa and Ofidousa to the E; and finally Syrna, Katsikoulia, Tria Nisia, Meso, Stefania, and Zafora isles to the SE.

Astypalaia_view_510_338

Événements

  • Panagia [Virgin Mary] Flevariotissa feast, the winter reunion event for Astypalaians on February 1st.
  • The island’s biggest celebration takes place at Panagia Portaitissa church on Panagia’s feast (August 15th) and lasts for three days (August 14th-16th). On August 16th, the municipal authority and the Cultural Organisation arrange special sports contests called “Koukania”.
  • Religious procession taking place in Chora, on September 4th with the icon of Panagia Portaitissa as well as the holy relics of Osios Antimos placed at the head.
  • Agios Panteleimon feast on July 27th; and Sotiras Christos feast (Christ Saviour) on August 6th.
  • Astypalaia Festival, involving many concerts, from June to October.
  • Panagia Poulariani feast on September 8th.
  • Panagia tou Thoma feast, at Vathy, on September 8th.

Activités

  • Swimming at the beaches: Agios Konstantinos, Vatses, Plakes, Kaminakia, Agios Giannis, Panormos, Pachia Ammos, Pera Gialos and Livadia.
  • Boat excursions for swimming in secluded beaches in the nearby Koutsomyti and Syrna isles.
  • Caving.
  • Climbing to “Ftera” terrain that involves 20 climbing routes.
  • Mountaineering.
  • Mountain biking.
  • Hiking.
  • Spear fishing.
  • Scuba diving.
  • Camping at Chora.

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Les investisseurs d'abord à tirer profit du programme Visa d'or de la Grèce chinois

The Golden Visa program is one of the most inventive projects created by Greece’s Ministry of Economy to lure foreign investors in order to help the country’s economy recover from the slump.

The Golden Visa program is offering five-year residency rights to the investor and his immediate family in return for real estate acquisitions or for strategic investments exceeding 250,000 d'euros. The residency permit is also renewable if the investment remains in Greece. The residence permit does not foresee a right to employment and citizenship can only be granted after seven years of residency.

The program seems to be successful so far. According to ministry data citing real estate permits from the time the program went into effect until January 31, 2017, de l' 1,573 licenses granted, 664 were to buyers from China, 348 from Russia, 77 from Egypt, 73 from Lebanon and 67 from Ukraine.

Of the total 3,809 residence permits granted to investors and family members, 1,580 were given to Chinese individuals, 787 to Russians, 211 to Iraqis, 203 to Lebanese and 179 to Egyptians.

Chinese Investments in Greece

The concession of Greece’s biggest port and one of the largest in Europe, the Piraeus Port Authority, to China’s Cosco has been the biggest Chinese investment in the Mediterranean country. The deal for 67% stake of the Piraeus port was signed in July 2016, with the Chinese shipping giant promising investments of 500 million euros to “turn Piraeus into the biggest transport center in the Mediterranean.”

Chinese group Fosun International has made its way into Greece since 2014, after signing an agreement with the Latsis Group to participate in the transformation of former Athens airport at Elliniko into the biggest real estate project in Europe.

Fosun is aiming at the tourist sector as well. One of the plans Fosun has is to use its membership in the Thomas Cook Group to begin building vacation packages specifically for the vast Chinese market. According to Fosun, Greece is a very safe travel destination for visitors.

Récemment, Fosun has made a substantial bid for Greece’s biggest insurance company, Ethniki Asfalistiki (National Insurance). Cependant, the Greek-American Calamos-EXIN consortium managed to acquire Greece’s emblematic insurance company.

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Philip Chrysopoulos

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productions de télévision étrangères en Grèce pour promouvoir le tourisme grec

Article

A series of productions from Russia, France, Belgium have started filming in Greece and continue all the way until the end of May, with the support of the National Tourist Organization of Greece (EOT), in accordance with its strategic communication planning. The plan is to promote Greece and especially the lesser known, but still beautiful places of the country, as a 365 days destination.

Plus spécifiquement:

une) The “Live-Planet” from Russia will promote the Ionian islands of Corfu, Kefalonia and Zakinthos.

b) The Belgium “BBDM” (Belges du Bout du Monde) on behalf of the RTBF will visit Athens, Agistri, Tyros, Leonidio, Monemvasia and Nafplio.

In the meantime in April there is filming going on in:

- Athènes, Euboea, Péloponnèse, Thessaloniki and Chalkidiki by Russia24.

- Athens by the “Silence, ça pousse!” of France 5, to present the city break tourism of the capital of Greece.

These activities were encouraged and promoted by EOT in order to improve the contact of the tourist agencies with what the Greek tourist product can offer and to promote specific characteristics of those lesser known places.

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67 Les étudiants Aboard autobus qui a pris feu près de Patras envoyés à l'Hôtel à Rio

Sixty-seven students who were aboard a tourist bus that caught fire in the port city of Patras on Thursday evening found accommodation in a hotel in Rio.

Earlier reports said one person was rushed to hospital. The fire broke out at 6:30 p.m. while the bus was traveling along the Patras bypass near the exit to Ovrya. Fire brigade forces and ambulances were sent to the scene to put out the fire and offer assistance.

Source: ANA-MPA

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Kerry Kolasa-Sikiaridi

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initiatives grecques pour promouvoir le tourisme de santé et les investissements du Canada & États-Unis

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The Department of Medical Tourism of the Institute of Scientific Research of the Panhellenic Medical Association has started a series of coordinated efforts to promote health tourism abroad.
The aim is to strengthen Greece’s role in the global health tourism market which amounts to 40 milliard de dollars.

For that reason, a conference will be held on March 28-29 in Montreal with the participation of prominent members of the scientific and business community of Greece and the Greek community in Canada.

The event is co-organized by the Athens Medical Association, the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece and the Greek Community of Montreal, which has about 80,000 Grecs.

The areas of IVF, ophthalmology, dermatology, dentistry, have great potential with multiple benefits for the economy.

Également, the head of the Commercial and Industrial Chamber of Athens (EVEA) and the Hellenic Union of Chambers, Konstantinos Michalos, invited Greek-American businesspeople to invest in Greece in this crucial time for the country, during his visit to New York and Washington to participate in the official White House celebrations for Greek Independence Day.

Michalos told Greek-Americans Greece offers great investments opportunities in sectors such as tourism, énergie, industrie, nourriture, education and health and noted the reforms which have started to be implemented which, if continued and completed, will greatly facilitate business activity.

Source: ANA-MPA

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EasyJet Vol pour Larnaca forcé d'atterrir en Turquie à Athènes Avant Détourner

An Easyjet aircraft with 184 souls on board encountered difficult times in the air as well as on the ground on Friday evening. The plane traveling from Gatwick to Larnaca ran into bad weather and the crew was forced to make a landing at the airport of Dalaman in Turkey.

The plane managed “to first land for a few minutes” on the ground at Dalaman, and then it had to divert to Athens before completing the flight to Paphos, where passengers were transferred to Larnaca by bus, conformément à Cyprus Mail Online. The reason being for the fiasco is that Turkey does not recognize Cyprus and authorities would not give permission for the plane to fly directly from Dalaman, Turkey to Cyprus.

Également, Sigmalive said that passengers onboard claimed that the aircraft was not granted permission to land at the Turkish airport by the authorities because of “an issue was raised as to the religious and political beliefs of the passengers.”

Following the incident, former Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou Markoulli tweeted that the event should be reported to the United Nations, the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

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Kerry Kolasa-Sikiaridi

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Programme jeunesse Erasmus + Commission européenne débloque »pour la Grèce

The European Commission on Thursday gave a green light for the resumption of financing and the signing of contracts for the Erasmus+ youth programme in Greece, the education ministry announced. The programme for Greece had been frozen since 2014, when it was temporarily suspended over fears that the Greek service supervising the allocation of the funds did not meet the required management standards.

The Erasmus+ programme, which went into effect on January 1, 2014, will last until 2020 and has a total budget of 14.7 milliards d'euros. Pour la Grèce, for the year 2017, the total budget for subsidizing the plans and activities of more than 4,500 young people and dozens of youth organizations is expected to exceed 4.5 million euros.

After the Commission’s positive assessment of the Foundation for Youth and Life-long Learning, which has been appointed as the National Unit for Greece, the country “has regained its credibility and can once again use Community funds to implement the programme,” an education ministry announcement said.

The aim of Erasmus+ is to finance education, training, youth and sports actions that aim to improve the skills and modernize education and training systems for young people. The youth section of the programme, en particulier, allows young people to travel abroad and take part in exchange programmes, use European voluntary work and take part in European seminars and inter-state meetings.
(Source: ana-mpa)

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A. Makris

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