Category Archives: Greece

‘I wanted to channel the anger’: Europe's fearless political playwrights

They’ve stormed the Reichstag, turned terrorism into absurd comedy and asked their audiences for answers. Meet five theatre-makers grappling with crises across the continent.

By Daniel Boffey, Constanze Letsch, Philip Oltermann, Helena Smith and Kit Gillet

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Source: gad

Cyprus voters focus on which president could reunite island

Sunday’s final vote pits incumbent Conservative against leftist-backed academic

Greek Cypriots go to the polls this weekend in a tight presidential election that pits the incumbent conservative, Nicos Anastasiades, against a leftist-backed academic, Stavros Malas.

Insults have intensified in the week after an inconclusive first round, and the race has boiled down to a contest over who is better equipped to reunite Cyprus and oversee an economy recovering slowly from near-collapse.

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Source: gad

Subversive Greeks stub out cigarette habit in record numbers

As tobacco use plummets, figures reveal dramatic attitude shift from EU’s worst offender

No campaign could do it. No health warning could do it. And, for a very long time, no change in the price of a pack could do it.

But as they learn to survive on less, Greeks have earned themselves the unusual distinction of abandoning cigarettes in record numbers. In a rare feelgood story from the crisis-plagued country, experts who had previously blamed the nation’s tobacco epidemic for the critical state of its health system are in ebullient mood. “I am 100% sure we have solved the problem,” said Panagiotis Behrakis, who heads the Joint Action force on tobacco control in Europe. “It is now just a matter of time.”

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Source: gad

Refugees can achieve so much if they’re not caged in isolated camps | David Patrikarakos

Rooms were lying empty at the City Plaza hotel in Athens. Now it’s an autonomous hive where refugees are empowered

In May 2016, after the EU-Turkey agreement designed to close off mass immigration to Europe, a group of 120 migrants accompanied by volunteers stormed the well-known City Plaza hotel in Athens. The hotel was vacant, its owners having gone bankrupt. Hundreds of rooms were lying empty while refugees suffered in camps far from the city.

The refugees set up shop there, and – despite government threats to cut off the water and electricity – have remained ever since. The hotel is a cacophony of noise. The sounds of small children shrieking waft through the reception area. Staccato bursts of Arabic, Urdu, Persian and English fill the room. The walls are adorned with posters. A blue sign with “City Plaza” written downwards on either sign flanks a message: Solidarity, together, resistance, unity, giving, getting, life, equality. The words written underneath each other their first letters highlighted in pink spell out “struggle”.

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Source: gad

Greece braced for strikes over planned move to limit industrial action

Unions promise walkouts as MPs prepare to vote on measures attached to 2015 bailout

Greece is braced for industrial action as its MPs prepare to vote on implementing some of the most politically sensitive measures attached to its 2015 bailout.

On Monday, MPs will be called to endorse a “multi-bill” of emergency reforms that includes contentious legislation to limit industrial action. Unionists have reacted with a barrage of strikes, with more work stoppages and walkouts promised.

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Source: gad

New year, new rules: what changes around the world from 1 January

British rail fares will rise again this year and Californians will be able to buy marijuana legally for recreational purposes

Saudis and Emiratis will pay more tax, the Swiss will pay less, Brits will start taking more expensive train journeys and China will stop taking in the world’s rubbish.

These are some of the changes that will take effect as the world ticks over into a new year.

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Source: gad

2,300 years on, the spirit of warrior hero hovers over Macedonia peace bid

After decades of feuding over ownership of Alexander the Great, rival leaders opt for fresh start

Diners at a fish taverna in Thessaloniki on Saturday night could have been forgiven for thinking they had seen the spirit of Alexander the Great hovering over their tables. The warrior king’s cultural pedigree and historical reach were certainly on the minds of those present.

This was no ordinary meal – either for Yiannis Boutaris, Thessaloniki’s mayor or his guest Zoran Zaev, prime minister of the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia. The two were sending a signal: that old enmities belonged to the past, along with the nationalist rhetoric that for more than a quarter of a century has kept Greece and its northern neighbour at loggerheads.

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Source: gad