Saturday, December 28, 2019

Tom Hanks Was Always Greek, This Week it Just Became Official


By Philip Chrysopoulos -Dec 28, 2019
Greek Reporter

“I feel 110 percent Greek,” Tom Hanks told Greek Reporter ten years ago. Well, it was time to become a Greek citizen too, and that happened on Friday when President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos signed the official papers marking the honorary naturalization of the famous American actor and philhellene.

So now, we no longer need to call Hanks a philhellene, but plain Hellene. “I am more Greek than a Greek is because I had the good sense to marry a Greek…It’s joyful being married to a Greek…it’s fantastic!” he had said about his Greek-American wife Rita Wilson during that interview.

But what exactly does being a Greek mean? What is it that makes an international star feel so passionately about being married to a Greek woman and be so proud of feeling Greek himself?

The first thing all Greeks feel so proud about is that they live – or their roots are – on land that is the cradle of Western Civilization. A rather small piece of land in the Mediterranean where Philosophy, Medicine, Theater, Democracy, Pedagogy, Mathematics, Philanthropy, Freedom, the Olympic Games, and other sciences, arts, and noble notions were born.

Greece’s influence in the world is everywhere. Six thousand Greek words are used internationally, even in non-Latin based languages. Greek cuisine is popular all over the world with olive oil becoming a staple in millions of households and Greek yogurt enjoying mass popularity.

More importantly, though, the idea that man is the center of all things comes from the golden age of Ancient Greece. Greeks invented their gods out of their own human nature; their traits, whims, nobleness, ambitions, even their own weaknesses. They were the first to create statues that depicted ordinary men, women, and children, instead of deities, animals or pagan symbols.

After the liberation from the Ottomans, Greeks embraced Christian Orthodoxy from Byzantium. Greek Orthodoxy and the notion of the strong, devoted family stemming from it was the glue that kept modern Greeks together.

Today Greeks are among the most passionate people in the world. They laugh with their hearts, they weep desperately, they love a good time, they can be hard-working or languid according to the situation, they are hospitable, hard-headed when it comes to their political beliefs or soccer team, they live for today, they are expressive and loudmouthed and, above all, they are lively people.

Tom Hanks is essentially Greek because he is embracing many of these qualities, both in his personal life and prolific work in movies and documentaries. He became Greek Orthodox before he married Rita Wilson. They are married for 31 years and, unlike most Hollywood couples, not once have they found themselves close to a divorce.

The Hanks-Wilson family is as tight as the couple themselves and they are supportive of each other, like a true Greek family.

The actor himself has not once acted like the typical arrogant Hollywood star with several weddings, extramarital affairs, and extravagant whims. He has always been low-key in his career, while his work in directing and producing movies shows clearly that he is not in it just for the money.

Tom Hanks’ “Greekness” does not lie exclusively in the Greek-themed films he produced (Mamma Mia!, My Life in Ruins, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2). It is evident in his philanthropy work in crisis-stricken Greece, especially in the Mati fire tragedy that left more than 100 Greeks dead. And when it comes to showing his solidarity to the Greek people, his charity acts always away from the publicity lens.

It is also evident in the summer-house he owns on Antiparos Island, where he spends time every single summer, and in the villa he recently acquired on Patmos.

Finally, what makes Tom Hanks a true Greek is the passion with which he approaches almost all his production projects. From the magnificent Pacific mini series to the documentary The Assassination of President Kennedy and the related Parkland movie; and from Ithaca to Charlie Wilson’s War, in the past twelve years alone, he shows that he takes film-making very seriously, and with great artistic success.

Like a Greek.

Over 6.1 mln foreigners visit Albania in first 11 months


Source: Xinhua| 2019-12-27

TIRANA, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) -- Over 6.1 million foreign citizens visited Albania in the first 11 months this year, showed the data published on Thursday by the National Institute of Statistics (INSTAT).

According to INSTAT data, from January to November, a total of 6,117,330 foreign citizens visited the country, increasing by 8.3 percent year-on-year.

During the period, the country with the highest inflows of citizens in Albania is Switzerland.

According to INSTAT, in November alone, the number of foreign citizens visiting Albania reached 268,176, increasing by 8.7 percent compared to the same month last year.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Questions Over Rama’s Plan To Sell Albanian Citizenship Tabled In Dutch Parliament

Questions Over Rama’s Plan To Sell Albanian Citizenship Tabled In Dutch Parliament
From: Exit 
Questions Over Rama’s Plan To Sell Albanian Citizenship Tabled In Dutch Parliament
Dutch politician Pieter Omtzigt has tabled a series of questions in the country’s parliament relating to Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama’s intention to sell Albanian citizenship to wealthy investors. One of the ten questions asks whether the Prime Minister of the Netherlands will consider using the “emergency braking procedure” to suspend visa-free travel for Albanians in the EU.

Addressed to the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister, the question submitted today raise a number of concerns about how the scheme will allow rich people from outside the EU to travel in the Schengen Area.

Referring to Exits exclusive report that detailed Rama’s announcement to commence the scheme at a Henley and Partners Global Citizenship Conference in London in October, Omtzigt calls on the PM to provide answers to the 10 questions within three weeks.

The questions tabled are:

Have you read the two articled “Rama to Sell Off Albanian Citizenship in “Fantastically Corrupt” Cash-For-Passports Scheme” and “London ballroom hosts showcase event for “golden passports”?
Is it true that at a Henley & Partners event in London, Albanian Prime Minister Rama has announced that Albania will sell its passports?
Is it true that in addition to an Albanian passport, one gets a “tax holiday” or tax exemption of ten years and a VAT rate of 6% instead of 20%? What do you think of that?
Can an EU candidate country promise special income tax and VAT rates to people who buy a passport?
How do you rate Albania’s decision to sell passports in view of the fact that Albanian citizens can travel visa-free through Europe?
Does Albania’s decision to sell passports affect national security? If you cannot provide a clear answer, would you like to contact GISS and have them issue advice?
Do you remember the wish of the Dutch parliament to stop visa-free travel through Europe for Albanians in accordance with the motion by member Van Toorenburg et al. 3 on the suspension of visa liberalization for Albania via the emergency brake procedure?
Is it true that the European Commission has assessed that the formal criteria of Regulation 2018/1806 have not been met 4 ? If so, how is the Netherlands now committed to suspending visa-free travel for Albanians?
Are you willing to urge the European Union again to use the emergency braking procedure?
Are you prepared to consult with the European Commission on the fact that the Prime Ministers of two candidate countries (Albania and Montenegro) have indicated that they are going to sell passports because this has consequences for the integrity of the European Union? If so, when will you do this and can you inform the House about this in January?
EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova and the EU Delegation in Tirana have told Exit they do not advise Rama implements the scheme as it could impact Albania’s accession hopes. In a video of Rama’s speech at the event, seen by Exit, he states that he knows the EU will not look favourably on the implementation of the scheme yet he will do it anyway.

‘Mini-Schengen’ risks driving a wedge between Albania and Kosovo


December 23, 2019

Emerging Europe
An initiative to create a ‘Mini-Schengen’ zone in the Western Balkans is driving an increasingly large wedge between Albania and Kosovo.

The idea was first mooted in October when the leaders of Albania, North Macedonia and Serbia agreed to explore the possibility of creating a passport and duty-free zone that would allow the free movement of people, goods, services and capital between participating countries and invited Bosnia, Kosovo, and Montenegro to join them.

Since then, two further meetings have been held. The latest was in Tirana, Albania, on December 21, attended by Montenegrin president Milo Đukanović, Serbian president Aleksandar Vučić, Albania’s prime minister Edi Rama and the prime minister of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev.

After the summit, Mr Vučić said important decisions had been made to promote trade between the four countries.

“We discussed how to improve trade, facilitate the flow of goods, services and capital, and make important decisions. This is of great importance for the entire region,” said Mr Vučić at a joint conference.

Mr Rama added that the European Commission is ready back the Mini-Schengen zone and will allocate 1.2 billion euros next year to  implement it.

“These are not loans but grants,” said Mr Rama.

Kosovo has so far refused to join the initiative, which its outgoing prime minister, Ramush Haradinaj, has claimed is a trick designed to facilitate the removal of the high tariffs Kosovo placed on Serbian and Bosnian goods last year in retaliation for their continued refusal to recognise the country’s independence.

“We don’t need a Mini-Schengen with Serbia as the capital,” he said. “This is all done to revoke the tariff, a bypass to revoke the tariff.”

This provoked a harsh response from the Albanian PM, who called Mr Haradinaj a “liar”.

“Mr Haradinaj is a liar who has lied again; he lies due to ignorance or on purpose, I haven’t been able to find this out and I don’t plan to, but the truth is he is a liar,” said Mr Rama.

By the time the next summit on creating the Mini-Schengen zone is held, in Belgrade in February, it is likely that the hardline Mr Haradinaj – who resigned earlier this year following his indictment by the war crimes tribunal in The Hague – will be gone. Kosovo is currently in the process of forming a new government following elections in October, with Albin Kurti, a former student leader who led non-violent demonstrations against Serbia at Prishtina University in the 1990s and later spent two years in prison on spurious charges of ‘jeopardising Yugoslavia’s territorial integrity’, widely expected to be the country’s next prime minister.

Mr Kurti recently hinted that he would take a different approach to negotiations with Serbia, saying that negotiations with Serbia should not be centered on territory but on the rights of citizens and the needs of communities.

However, Mr Kurti –  who previously supported the creation of a Greater Albania including both Albania and Kosovo – has downplayed the Mini-Schengen initiative by suggesting that Tirana should first concentrate on a deal with Prishtina.

Albania, Serbia, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Bosnia – as well as Moldova – are already part of the Central European Free Trade Area (CEFTA), which aims to facilitate the movement of goods and free trade between these countries until they join the European Union.

Τα Τίρανα συνεχίζουν την κατοχή της Χιμάρας, με τη σιωπή της Αθήνας ...

Image result for himara protest

Στην Αθήνα, υπάρχουν φωνές, πως όχι μόνο ο Ράμα, αλά και ο Μπάσα και Μετά, θα συμφωνήσων ότι ζητάη τελικά για τα 12 μιλλια σύνορα, αλά,,,, δεν ειπαρχει κανένας δρόμος, που τα Τίρανα "του Ερτογάν" θα αποφασίζουν .......... 

Δεν υπάρχει καμία δικαιολογία για το πώς η Αθήνα πωλεί το τελευταίο φρούριο του Ελληνισμού στη Βόρεια Ήπειρο, τη Χιμάρα, σιωπηλά, πάνω σε νόμους περί ιδιοκτησίας που υπηρετούν μουσουλμάνους ολιγάρχες στην Αλβανία, στρατηγικά προοριζόμενο να οδηγήσει τους Έλληνες της Χειμάρας όξω  επικράτειά τους.

Ενώ βρίσκονται στη Χειμαριώτικη γη, χτίζουν, έχουν με τους παραστρατιωτικούς και την κρατική αστυνομία, δημιουργώντας τρομοκρατία, χρησιμοποιώντας το κράτος της Αλβανίας, τα γραφεία του, εναντίον του ελληνικού λαού της Χειμάρας.

Και βεβαίως η Αθήνα σιωπά (επειδή έχει προβλήματα με την Τουρκία και δεν θέλει να οικοδομήσει τεταμένες σχέσεις με τα Τίρανα και ως εκ τούτου θυσιάζει τη Χιμάρα), μια σιωπή που υποδηλώνει ότι υπάρχει ένα όριο, υπάρχει υπομονή, και η νεολαία της Χειμάρας , θα βρουν τον δικό τους τρόπο, καθώς έχουν υπερασπιστεί την επικράτειά τους για εκατοντάδες χρόνια, καθώς η Himara κινδυνεύει να αφομοιωθεί, και αυτό είναι απαράδεκτο, από τα Τίρανα ή την Αθήνα.

Lufta e çmendur për pronësinë e ‘ Folie Marine ’

Përfshirja e qeverisë përmes dhënies së statusit ‘investitor strategjik’ kompanisë që zotëron një nga resortet më luksoze të rivierës shqiptare e ka rënduar përplasjen mes palëve që pretendojnë pronësinë mbi tokën, duke zhytur në kaos kadastrën e Vlorës.

Reporter, Birn

«Η πρόσβαση στο κανάλι του Οτράντο, γοητεύει τους Έλληνες με την επέκταση στα 12 μίλια»


Δεκέμβριος 25, 2019. Echedoros


Η πρώην υπουργός Εξωτερικών της Ελλάδας Ντόρα Μπακογιάννη ήταν η πιο πρόσφατη φωνή  στην Αθήνα που ζητούσε από την Αλβανία την επέκταση των ελληνικών χωρικών υδάτων στα 12 μίλια στο Ιόνιο Πέλαγος, γράφουν τα αλβανικά ΜΜΕ.

«Η Ελλάδα πρέπει να αξιοποιήσει τις ευκαιρίες που παρουσιάζονται σήμερα. Νομίζω ότι με την Αλβανία μπορεί να δοθεί ένα σαφές μήνυμα. Η πολιτική μας δείχνει αδυναμίες σε αυτές τις στιγμές. Πρέπει να ληφθούν συγκεκριμένες ενέργειες. Να επεκταθούν τα 12 μίλια με την Αλβανία, 12 μίλια χωρίς καθυστέρηση. Ο χρόνος δεν είναι προς όφελός μας », είπε.

Ο ίδιος ο Μητσοτάκης, ο οποίος είναι ο μικρότερος αδελφός της,  από τη στιγμή που ανέλαβε καθήκοντα πρωθυπουργού, μίλησε για το  ίδιο θέμα, ωστόσο,  κατά την περίοδο που βρισκόταν στην αντιπολίτευση είχε εναντιωθεί στην κυβέρνηση του Αλέξη Τσίπρα, που επέμεινε στην επιλογή της Ελλάδας να επεκτείνει 12 μίλια στη θάλασσα του Ιονίου.

Η Μπακογιάννη δεν είναι η μόνη που το προτείνει. Για την επέκταση των ελληνικών χωρικών υδάτων στα 12 μίλια, είχε αναφερθεί,  επίσης, ο πρώην υπουργός Εξωτερικών της Ελλάδας, Νίκος Κοτζιάς, κατά τις συνομιλίες με τον Αλβανό ομόλογό του, Ντιτμίρ Μπουσάτι, και ο τελευταίος απέρριψε πρόταση του πρώην επικεφαλής της ελληνικής διπλωματίας.

«Ήμασταν έτοιμοι να επεκτείνουμε τα εθνικά μας ύδατα σε 12 μίλια από τους Οθωνούς μέχρι  τα Αντικύθηρα. Η χώρα μας θα επέκτεινε τα 12 μίλια, εκτός από τα στενά, όπου θα πηγαίναμε με την αρχή της μεσαίας γραμμής ", δήλωσε μετά την παραίτησή του ο υπουργός Εξωτερικών της Ελλάδας.

Αλλά τι κρύβεται πίσω από την απόφαση της Ελλάδας να επεκτείνει τα χωρικά ύδατα της στα 12 ναυτικά μίλια, έχοντας ως σημείο εκκίνησης το νησί των Οθωνών; 

Είναι πιθανό να υπάρχει ένα σύνθετο ενδιαφέρον για τον ενεργειακό τομέα. Η επέκταση όχι μόνο θα έδινε στην Αθήνα μια τεράστια περιοχή που πιστεύεται ότι είναι πλούσια σε πετρέλαιο και φυσικό αέριο στο Ιόνιο Πέλαγος, αλλά θα παρείχε και πρόσβαση στο κανάλι του Otranto.

Εκεί έχει σχεδιαστεί η διέλευση του «Ποσειδώνα», της τελευταίας επέκτασης του αγωγού «Ίστ Μεντ»/ East/Mediterranean

Η Ελλάδα ασκεί ισχυρές πιέσεις για την ολοκλήρωση αυτού του αγωγού, που ξεκινά από το Ισραήλ και καταλήγει στην Ιταλία μέσω της Μεσογείου,  και προβλέπεται να ολοκληρωθεί το συντομότερο δυνατό.

 Σύμφωνα με τα ελληνικά μέσα ενημέρωσης, το θέμα έχει συζητηθεί σε πρόσφατη τηλεφωνική συνδιάλεξη μεταξύ του Πρωθυπουργού της Ελλάδας Κυριάκου Μητσοτάκη και του Ισραηλινού Πρωθυπουργού Μπέντζαμιν Νετανιάχου.

 Η επέκταση  των 6 μιλίων των χωρικών υδάτων της Ελλάδας,  εμποδίζει σήμερα στο να  αποκτήσει πρόσβαση στο κανάλι του Otranto, το οποίο σήμερα διαχωρίζει τα ύδατα μεταξύ Αλβανίας και Ιταλίας και συνεπώς αφήνει περιθώρια δικαιωμάτων στον αγωγό East Med.

Η ίδια η Αλβανία, έχει τα 12 μίλια ως επέκταση στα χωρικά της ύδατα, σύμφωνα με απόφαση της δεκαετίας του ’70, μια απόφαση που δεν αμφισβητήθηκε από άλλη χώρα, διότι θεωρήθηκε σύμφωνη με τους διεθνείς νόμους για επέκταση των χωρικών υδάτων, όπως σημειώνουν τα αλβανικά μέσα ενημέρωσης.,, κλπ