European Commission ‘Unfreezes’ Erasmus+ Youth Programme for Greece

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 billion euros. For Greece, 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, in particular, 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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Flying Ships Among Thessaloniki Residents’ ‘Dreams’ for the City’s Public Transport

Thessaloniki residents don’t hesitate to dream big and have developed a sense of humor when it comes to their city’s public transport, based on their responses to a crowdsourcing platform (http://thess.ciptec.eu) asking them share their ideas for improving their daily commute. The platform forms part of a campaign called “Bus and Thess…share your idea for more innovative public transport in Thessaloniki” and has so far attracted 540 users who have submitted 131 ideas, Thessaloniki University Polytechnic School Prof. Aristotelis Naniopoulos told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) on Thursday.

These range from the purely fantastical to the downright practical while some smack of science fiction, such as the idea of replacing terrestrial transport with “flying ships” that pick up their passengers from elevated stations. More down to earth suggestions include night-time transport services, ticket machines that give change or express buses to carry commuters from the city center to areas outside the city. Others are more whimsical, such as buses with free WiFi that play jazz and classical music, boat taxis in the bay or an app that lets passengers inform a bus driver they are running to catch a bus so that he or she might wait for them.

The initiative is finanaced by the EU research project Collective Innovation for Public Transport in European Cities (CIPTEC) and aims to improve city transport systems, making public transport more attractive and thus indirectly reducing traffic congestion and improving the urban environment for all, using ideas that come from all.

Naniopoulos, who coordinates the CIPTEC project, said that the site had 3,500 visitors and that 924 registered users had rated one or more of the ideas listed within. “Participation is quite satisfactory, as was determined at a meeting of the partners in the program in Brussels,” he noted. CIPTEC currently involves the collaboration of 12 entities in seven European countries.

“There are some truly interesting ideas. We prefer those that have a relatively low cost and are relatively simple to implement,” he said, urging the public to continue submitting proposals until the end of March, when the campaign ends. All the ideas will then be assessed and the best will win prizes accompanied by gifts, such as a tablet and free travel cards among others.
(source: ana-mpa)

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A. Makris

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Day Trip from Athens: The Beautiful Coastal Town of Porto Rafti

When you’re in Athens you have the chance to experience the hustle and bustle of the city, the Acropolis, museums and ancient ruins scattered throughout the city. Tourists tend to hop on a boat to get away from the city and escape to the relaxing islands where they can enjoy sea and sun. But what if you didn’t need to travel that far to escape the chaotic city pace of life? Porto Rafti is a beautiful coastal town that is just a short ride out of Athens. Let’s take a look at what this hidden gem has to offer.

Located just 35 kilometers southeast of Athens located in the Municipality of Markopoulo, the small coastal town of Porto Rafti rests on the Aegean Sea and is filled with attractions from beaches to vineyards that are sure to wow its visitors.

There are beautiful beaches — some more isolated than others. If you want to grab a coffee and some sweets at one of the many coffee shops and bakeries, then go off to explore or find a quiet beach, you will find it quite easy to do so. Or if you would rather go to a private beach and rent a lounge chair, there are plenty to choose from in Porto Rafti. One beach in particular, Avlaki, a blue flag beach, has made this small town become known as a seaside resort.

The town itself is filled with summer homes of Athenians, so don’t expect to find tourists lining the beaches or walking around. Think of Porto Rafti as more of your chance to experience a Greek holiday as the Greeks do!

Also there are nearby archaeological sites that you won’t want to miss such as the Historic site of Vravrona, which is located at the border of Municipality of Markopoulo.

One place you definitely don’t want to miss in Porto Rafti is the Kastro — the cafeteria that is essentially a castle, perched high up on the hillside over-looking the town and sea.

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Kerry Kolasa-Sikiaridi

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Greece’s Vedema Luxury Resort Awarded Most Romantic Resort in Europe

Vedema, a Luxury Collection Resort, was awarded most romantic resort in the Europe in Love travel Awards held in Venice.

It is the first Greek resort awarded the title.

Located on the western side of the island of Santorini, it is encircled by a traditional stone wall and surrounding vineyards that overlook the village and Aegean sea.

Source: ANA-MPA

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Kerry Kolasa-Sikiaridi

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Greece to Issue New IDs Under Security and Counter-Terrorism Deal with US

Greece will be issuing new IDs in compliance with an agreement on security and terrorism that it signed with the US.

According to the agreement, the new Greek identity cards must be updated from the earlier 2009 model. The new versions will be more secure biometric cards.

There is a planned evaluation of the agreement’s stipulations in February the Citizens’ Protection Ministry recently announced, according to sources. The agreement covers more than just the Greek ID cards that create a higher level of security and counter-terrorism, it also details the exchange of intelligence between the two countries — something of high importance to Greece as it is flooded with migrants that could pose a terror risk.

Failure to create the new IDs in a timely manner could lead to a suspension in the visa-free travel to the US that Greeks currently enjoy.

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Kerry Kolasa-Sikiaridi

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Greeks Bought Mainly Food and Clothes Over Christmas Holidays

Food and clothes were the main items purchased by Greeks over the Christmas holidays, a poll by the marketing laboratory (MARLAB) of the University of Macedonia revealed on Sunday, with 85 percent of respondents saying they shopped during the holidays.
According to the data, 15 percent of participants said they didn’t buy anything, citing as main reasons a lack of money (43 pct), lack of time (23 pct), lack of need (20 pct) and crowded in stores (7 pct).

In terms of money spent, 76 percent of those polled said they spent up to 200 euros, 20 percent said they spent from 201-500 euros and the remaining 4 percent spent more than 501 euros ahead of Christmas. For New Year’s Day, 73 percent said they would buy presents but the vast majority (92 percent) said they’d spent less than 200 euros

Asked what category of goods or services they chose to spend money on, the poll concluded that shoppers mainly chose food and clothing items. Specifically, 54 percent of respondents said they spent 15-30 pct of their money on food, while 40 percent spent 30-60 pct of their money on clothes and shoes. Another 13 percent said they used 30 percent of their money on technology products and another 16 percent spent 30 percent on jewelry and accessories. Eleven percent of participants spent 30 percent on toys and 3 percent spent 30 percent on furniture. Only 5 percent spent 30 percent of their money for books.
Another 24 percent of the sample said they traveled over the holidays, with 90 percent visiting regions of Greece and 10 percent going abroad. The average duration of the trip was seven days. For accommodation, 54 percent chose a family house, 14 percent preferred being hosted by friends and 24 percent booked a hotel.

MARLAB’s poll was conducted through social media in the period between December 27 and December 30. It was based on 195 people of whom 27 percent were men and 73 percent were women. Divided by age, 57 percent of respondents said they were 18-24 years old, 26 percent were 25-35 years old, 13 percent were 36-50 years old and the remaining 4 percent were older than 51.

In terms of employment, 51 percent of those surveyed were university students, 11 percent said they were unemployed, 18.4 percent worked in the private sector, 5 percent in the public sector, 10.6 percent were self-employed, 2 percent were business owners and 2 percent pensioners.
(source: ana-mpa)

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A. Makris

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Traffic on Section of Parnitha Mountain Stopped Due to Snowfall

Traffic on mountainous Parnitha Avenue was interrupted at the section where the cable car leads to the Casino Mont Parnes due to heavy snowfall, traffic police said on Wednesday. Greece is experiencing a cold spell which will affect Athens and continue through the New Year, according to the national weather service.

Ferry services from the country’s main ports – Piraeus, Rafina and Lavrio – have so far continued uninterrupted but the coast guard has urged travelers to contact local port authorities before setting out on their trip for possible changes in schedules. The only services suspended are Kyllini-Kefallonia, Igoumenitsa-Lefkimi and routes from Volos to the Sporades islands.
(source: ana-mpa)

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A. Makris

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PM Tsipras to Depart for Cuba on Monday Evening

tsipras-maksimouGreek Prime Minister will travel to Cuba on Monday to attend a memorial service in honor of Fidel Castro.
The event, that will be attended by global leaders, will take place at Plaza de la Revolucion.
Tsipras’ meetings with EU Commissioner Pierre Moscovici and Benoit Coeuré, Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank, will not change, government sources said.
The prime minister will be back on Thursday morning.
(source: ana-mpa)

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A. Makris

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Made in Greece: Three Different Approaches to Conceptual Jewelry

choremi

Architects create wearable Greek monuments

It is possible to wear a Greek monuments thanks to two architects Eleni Kouineli and Stefanos Papadatos, who combined their passion for architecture with handcraft to create a series of jewelry inspired by the floor plans of famous monuments, museums and other landmarks from around the world. Their CROQUIS collection was spurred by their love of architecture, design, history, travel and culture.

Now, others like them, can wear their favorite buildings as small ornaments that are created with architectural precision. CROQUIS are made by using classic molding, 3D printing or laser cut, depending on the complexity of the architectural plan. They are available in multiple sizes for earrings, necklaces or brooches. Best yet, the change of the scale does not alter the proportions or the geometries of the floor plans; on the contrary it makes them better understood.

croq

Tatiana’s Evil Eye, a fad that’s caught fire

Even those who haven’t heard the name of Tatiana Choremi are bound to know her iconic “mati” (evil eye) diamond-shaped colorful threads that are a huge hit. The simple idea was created in May 2010 as something that her toddler could wear, but since then it has become a fad, copied by almost everyone. Choremi says: “A design,a simple idea,can arise exactly at that precious instant, when you are aware of the present moment;when you listen quietly to your higher inner shelf, that has something to say.”

choremi

The Marble Jewelry Concept

Marble isn’t an easy material to work in construction, let alone in jewelry design. Xenia Nefeli Vlahou, however, believes that it is the best material with which to capture the timeless beauty of Greece with all its contrasts and with allusions to its ancient civilization. The creative jeweler studied fashion design in Italy. Her Marmarometry series features highly original geometrical designs. Necklaces, earrings and other items are created using Greek marble along with a harmonious balance of metal.

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Mary Harris

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Cyprus Solution the Most Significant Reform for the Decades to Come, Says President

anastasiadesThe solution to the Cyprus problem will be the biggest step or the most significant reform to the country’s economic growth for the coming decades, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Tuesday, addressing the 12th Cyprus Summit entitled “Europe in peril, Cyprus in play” organized in Nicosia, by The Economist.

In his speech, the President referred to the negotiations to take place next week in Mont Pelerin, Switzerland, under the UN-aegis which will focus on the issue of territory but also on other outstanding matters interdependently.

He expressed his hope that all parties will travel to Switzerland having the determination and good will to seize the moment and with the assistance of the UN to achieve results on the territorial aspect of the Cyprus issue that will allow the Cypriot people to reach a solution within 2016.
(source: CNA)

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