Author: Marina Mattili

Greece will next month repay ahead of schedule 5.3 billion euros ($5.8 billion) of loans owed to euro zone countries under its first bailout, and hopes to repeat the move in 2024, finance ministry officials told Reuters on Tuesday. The euro zone and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) together lent Greece more than 260 billion euros during its decade-long debt crisis which began in late 2009, in exchange for tough austerity measures. The country’s third bailout expired in 2018. “On Dec. 15, we will repay earlier than expected 5.3 billion euros to euro zone countries,” an official who spoke on…

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The recently signed Athens Declaration on Friendly Relations and Good-Neighborliness reflects the “firm political will” to deepen relations and confirm the friendship between Türkiye and Greece, said Greek Foreign Minister George Gerapetritis on Saturday. The Athens Declaration signed by the two countries on Dec. 7 is a substantial and highly symbolic text, Gerapetritis told daily Ta Nea in an interview, which was also posted on the Greek Foreign Ministry website. Gerapetritis added that Türkiye and Greece will continue further cooperation in political dialogue, a positive agenda and confidence-building measures. This cooperation will lead to the formation of a new roadmap for dialogue,…

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Brussels (4/11 – 25) It’s an old story, a broken record: war crimes in the Middle East, encouraged and stoked by outsiders with their own agenda. Israel, offended and humiliated by the 7 October attacks for which they had repeatedly been warned by Egypt. Hamas, encouraged and bankrolled by Israel initially, in its effort to undercut the appeal of Al-Fatah, has turned into Frankenstein’s Monster, breaching a border that was trumpeted as the most invincible in the world, with 24/7 surveillance, sensors to detect tunnels, full camera coverage and on and on – yet several thousand Hamas warriors parachuted in…

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Day visitors will need to pay five euros ($5.45) to enter the city centre between 8:30 am to 4:00 pm during the peak tourist season from April 25 to May 5. The fee will also apply for the rest of the weekends in May and June, as well as the first two weekends of July. Authorities have debated for years — without taking concrete action — over how best to regulate the millions of visitors to the famous watery city, who come anxious to see sights including St Mark’s Square, the Rialto Bridge and its countless picturesque canals. The ticketing…

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A free trade deal between the European Union and Australia has unravelled despite early optimism, with Canberra saying Monday it could take years until negotiations resume. Since 2018 the painstaking discussions have picked through everything from chemicals to cosmetics, but have repeatedly come unstuck over market access for Australian products such as beef and sheep meat. Australian agriculture minister Murray Watt said EU negotiators had refused to budge during the latest round of talks, held on the sidelines of a Group of Seven meeting in Japan. “Unfortunately we just didn’t get the movement on the EU side that was required,” he told national broadcaster ABC…

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German federal prosecutors announced a probe into Hamas on Tuesday on suspicion of kidnapping and murdering German citizens, as the mother of a German-Israeli woman believed abducted appealed for help. Prosecutors “have opened an investigation against unidentified members of the radical Palestinian Islamist organization Hamas,” a spokeswoman for the federal prosecutor’s office told AFP. The probe is over suspicions “of belonging to a foreign terrorist group, hostage-taking and murder,” she said. In a massive weekend onslaught, some 1,500 gunmen led by Palestinian terror group Hamas invaded Israel after breaching the Gaza Strip border fence and then rampaged murderously for hours…

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Russia’s richest man on war crimes, the fallout from sanctions — and how the invasion of Ukraine made him a ‘pariah’ in Dubai Like a visit to a Russian banya, going out for lunch in Dubai in midsummer requires traversing a whole gamut of temperatures. I stumble through the 43C heat, then plunge into the air-conditioned confines of 11 Woodfire, wiping the condensation from my glasses as I seek out the sanctioned oligarch Andrey Melnichenko. The Michelin-starred restaurant in the upscale suburb of Jumeirah is a rare excursion for Russia’s richest man. Seated at a corner table, Melnichenko is dressed…

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EU

Gas storage in the European Union has already reached 90% well ahead of a Nov. 1 deadline to reach the level, the European Commission said on Friday. The gas storage levels have reached 1,024 TWh, or 90.12% of storage capacity, equivalent to just over 93 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas, the Commission’s statement also said. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine triggered an energy crisis in Europe, the EU took measures to be better prepared for the winter, when energy demand peaks. They include a gas storage regulation that sets a binding EU target of filling storage facilities to…

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Orgies conjure in our imagination the world of Greek and Roman Antiquity, thanks to more or less titillating films portraying debauched emperors, or maybe specifically Fellini’s Satyricon. The term is also used today to signify all sorts of excess. For us, the orgy stands for the ultimate celebration of the pleasures of the flesh, in an ancient world free from moral constraint. But what were they like in reality? From orgia to orgies The word comes to us from the Greek orgia. This denotes rites practised in honour of gods such as Dionysus, whose cult celebrates the regeneration of nature. It concerns so-called…

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Berlin (21/08 – 50) A small community of bird enthusiasts in Astana have been setting ecological trends, advocating for ethical observation practices and environmental responsibility, and fostering camaraderie through shared sightings and insights. Ruslan Urazaliev, researcher and photographer, Kulyanda Tulebaeva, birdwatcher and photographer, and Vera Voronova, the executive director of the Association for Biodiversity Conservation of Kazakhstan (ASBK), shared their experiences supporting the city’s avian residents. Astana’s rough climate does not deter avian species, making it an unexpected winter haven for colorful birds like bullfinches, goldfinches, and snow buntings. As winter wanes, migratory birds stop in urban parks to recharge…

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