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More than 200 years after their removal by Lord Elgin, the Elgin Marbles remain a contentious issue, symbolizing perceived injustice among the majority of Greeks. The British claim of ownership is widely rejected, and the sculptures, often referred to as the Parthenon Sculptures, are seen as stolen treasures, taken through imperial theft.

In central Athens, a consensus prevails among the people, regardless of age, asserting that the Parthenon and its sculptures rightfully belong to Greece. The argument that the British Museum ensures better preservation is dismissed, with anecdotes about issues like a leaking roof at the museum cited as evidence to the contrary.

At the foot of the Acropolis, a dedicated museum has been waiting for 14 years to showcase the missing marbles upon their return. While countries like Italy have expressed willingness to return Greek antiquities, the British government has not followed suit, maintaining a contentious stance on the issue.

The cancellation of a meeting between UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has strained diplomatic relations. Cabinet minister Adonis Georgiadis, expressing a sense of offense, underscores the bipartisan unity in Greece, asserting that the return of the marbles is not merely a political stance but a matter of national and cultural significance.

Foreign Minister Giorgos Gerapetritis reinforces the claim, emphasizing the historical, just, and ecumenical cultural value attached to the sculptures. Despite the strained relations, there is a hope for a resolution, with Georgiadis expressing the wish for the British Museum to find a “reasonable way out” of a predicament seen as a “disgrace” by many Greeks.

Among the late-night shoppers in Athens, skepticism towards the British Museum’s motivations is evident, with some attributing the reluctance to financial concerns. The sentiment among Athenians is that the return of the marbles would not only make Greeks happy but also foster goodwill globally, promoting fairness and reasonability.

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Greece’s shipping minister, Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, has resigned due to controversial remarks he made on television in the wake of a passenger’s death, allegedly pushed off a ferry by crew members.

Varvitsiotis expressed that his statements, which appeared to support the ferry’s crew in the incident, were “misinterpreted.”

Criminal charges have been filed against the ship’s captain and three crew members regarding the incident at the port of Piraeus in Athens, which has sparked outrage in Greece.

A video on social media depicted the 36-year-old passenger, Antonis Kargiotis, attempting to board the Blue Horizon ferry as it was departing from Athens to Crete. Crew members on the loading ramp seemed to physically prevent him from boarding, and he was subsequently pushed into the sea. The ferry continued its voyage as scheduled but returned to port as instructed by authorities, where Kargiotis’ body was recovered.

Varvitsiotis faced severe criticism for his remarks, with Greek newspaper Ekathimerini describing them as “entirely misguided and deeply regrettable.”

In a statement on social media, Varvitsiotis expressed shock over Kargiotis’ death and claimed that his comments had been “misinterpreted,” emphasizing that he did not equate the victim with the perpetrators and expressing his discomfort with the backlash he received.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis expressed disgust and horror over the incident, attributing it to a combination of irresponsibility, cynicism, contempt, and indifference. He pledged that the state would fulfill its duty.

The ferry’s captain and three crew members faced a prosecutor on September 6, the day following the passenger’s death. The captain is charged with felony dangerous interference with maritime traffic, while the crew member accused of pushing the passenger faces charges of manslaughter with potential malice. Two other crew members are being prosecuted for complicity in manslaughter.

Attica Group, the owner of the Blue Horizon ferry line, issued a statement expressing devastation over the tragic incident and pledging cooperation with the authorities.

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An Austrian couple celebrating their honeymoon in Greece has gone missing as heavy rains caused devastating floods, prompting a search operation by emergency services. The torrential downpour led to entire villages in central Greece being submerged, leaving residents stranded on their rooftops. Storm Daniel, affecting Greece, Turkey, and Bulgaria this week, has claimed the lives of over a dozen people.

The newlyweds, who had recently tied the knot upon arriving for their vacation, sought refuge in a bungalow they had rented in Potistika, near Mount Pelion, as the relentless rain battered central Greece. Unfortunately, the flash floods carried their rented house into the sea. The property’s owner, Samaras Thanakis, recounted advising the couple and other guests to seek higher ground, but the dire situation made decisions challenging.

Rescue efforts, hindered by collapsed bridges and damaged roads in the region, are ongoing, with the Greek fire brigade actively searching for the missing couple. Some areas in Greece received an astounding 800mm of rain, equivalent to a year’s worth of precipitation in just a few days. The Karditsa plain turned into a vast expanse of water, submerging villages near Palamas.

Palamas’ mayor, Giorgos Sakellariou, made a desperate plea for assistance on Greek television, highlighting the dire conditions and immediate danger residents faced. The extreme weather also affected Athens, the island of Skiathos, where numerous tourists remain stranded, as well as coastal regions around Volos and Pelion. In response to the escalating crisis, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis canceled a major government event scheduled for the weekend.

Storm Daniel’s impact has been felt across the region, with Greece, Turkey, and Bulgaria collectively witnessing a death toll of over a dozen people, including at least four in Greece. Climate scientists have emphasized that global warming contributes to increased summer evaporation, leading to more intense storms.

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The European Union’s highest court has rejected a case against the European border agency Frontex, which was brought by a Syrian refugee family forcibly sent from Greece to Turkey in 2016. The family’s lawyers argued that Frontex should be held responsible for the deportation of refugees without the opportunity to apply for asylum, which is considered illegal under international law.

However, the European Court of Justice dismissed their challenge, stating that Frontex lacks the authority to assess the merits of return decisions or asylum applications, and therefore cannot be held liable for any harm caused.

The Syrian family, consisting of a husband, wife, and four young children, arrived in Greece in 2016 as part of the European migrant crisis. They registered their intention to seek international protection on the Greek island of Leros but were subsequently transported to the island of Kos. After just eleven days in Greece, the family alleges that they were flown to Turkey by Frontex and Greek authorities without being given the opportunity to apply for asylum or receiving an expulsion decision. The family claimed that they were misled into believing they were being taken to Athens when they boarded the plane. During the flight, the parents were reportedly separated from their children, who were between one and six years old at the time, and they were not allowed to communicate with anyone during the journey.

The family was released in Turkey but lacked access to housing, water, or sanitation. They later fled to northern Iraq. In 2021, they brought their case to the European Court of Justice, supported by human rights lawyers and the Dutch Council for Refugees.

Following the court’s ruling, the family expressed their disappointment, emphasizing that Frontex should be held accountable for their unjust treatment. Their lawyers indicated that they intended to appeal the decision.

Legal experts argued that individuals should not be deported to another country without a proper assessment of their need for asylum, which they claim did not occur in this case.

The Dutch Council for Refugees and the law firm representing the family stated that the ruling raised questions about how Frontex should ensure respect for fundamental rights in its activities, as mandated by its role.

Frontex responded by requiring EU member states to confirm that individuals were given the opportunity to seek international protection and that their applications were processed in accordance with EU laws.

The European Parliament had previously noted that human rights organizations, media, and civil society groups regularly reported cases of pushbacks or collective expulsions at the EU’s borders, often involving excessive force by EU member state authorities. Frontex had faced accusations of failing to protect individuals in these situations.

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Wildfires in Greece have tragically led to the loss of 20 lives and are still raging out of control near Athens and the Evros region close to the Turkish border. Among those killed, 18 are believed to be refugees and migrants who had recently crossed the border and sought refuge in forests north of Alexandroupolis. Greece has expressed deep condolences for the deaths occurring in the Dadia forest near the Turkish border. The fires have been ongoing for five days and have extended along the coast and near the city. Efforts to contain the fires are being hampered by strong winds and scorching temperatures of up to 40°C (104°F).

The victims’ bodies were discovered near a shack close to the village of Avantas, north of Alexandroupolis, by the fire service. The fire service and local authorities had issued evacuation warnings through emergency services. The victims are believed to have recently crossed the border from Turkey along the River Evros, which is a common route for migrants and refugees attempting to enter the European Union. The risk of wildfires adds to the many dangers migrants and refugees face in their journey, including violence, arrest, and drowning in the Mediterranean.

The victims are predominantly male, with two of them being minors. The bodies were found within a relatively small radius, and their identification is expected to be challenging, necessitating the involvement of their relatives. Some individuals had been attempting to follow a well-established path through the forest to avoid detection.

Tensions have arisen in the local communities as some residents blame migrants for causing the fires. However, there is no concrete evidence to suggest that migrants were responsible for starting the Dadia forest fire. A video showing a man “arresting” migrants and refugees and accusing them of arson provoked outrage in Greece, leading to the arrest of the man behind the video and others involved.

In response to the tragic events, the Supreme Court Prosecutor initiated inquiries into both the causes of the fires in the Evros region and incidents of alleged racist violence against migrants following the deaths in the Dadia forest.

As the fires continue to spread, evacuations have been conducted in various areas, including villages near Alexandroupolis and parts of the capital city, Athens. The situation remains challenging for firefighters, compounded by the evacuation of nursing homes and the destruction of homes in some areas.

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As wildfires continue to rage uncontrollably for a fourth consecutive day near Alexandroupolis in north-eastern Greece, a hospital in the area has been evacuated, with dozens of patients being relocated.

The flames encroached upon the university hospital grounds, prompting the evacuation of patients, including newborns and those in intensive care. The evacuation involved transporting patients to a ferry docked at a nearby port. The ferry was converted into a makeshift hospital ward where patients, some connected to oxygen tanks, were placed on mattresses.

Additional tents were set up along the shoreline. The city of Alexandroupolis, near Greece’s northeastern border with Turkey, is grappling with severe wildfires, exacerbated by strong winds and temperatures expected to reach 39°C (102°F). The fires have also affected other areas in Greece, such as Evia Island and Boeotia in central Greece, leading to village evacuations.

Tragically, at least one fatality has occurred due to the fires near Alexandroupolis. The hospital evacuation was hindered by the flames entering the hospital grounds, causing smoke and ash to envelop the area. The explosion of oxygen bottles added to the chaos. Throughout the night, the outskirts of Alexandroupolis were illuminated by a fiery red glow, and satellite imagery revealed extensive smoke cover over multiple Greek regions.

While some patients were transferred to other local hospitals, around 90 patients were relocated to the Adamantios Korais ferry, which was repurposed to care for newborns and intensive care cases. Additionally, residents from neighboring villages were advised to evacuate to Alexandroupolis for safety. Fires have also affected areas northwest of the city, including Rhodope and Kavala. In a different region, warehouses near Athens were engulfed in flames, accompanied by dark smoke clouds.

Firefighting efforts have been bolstered by assistance from France, Cyprus, and Romania. This situation is emblematic of the intensified wildfire risk currently faced by Greece and other European countries due to climate change, as extreme weather events become more frequent and intense.

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A deadly wave of Mediterranean wildfires has resulted in over 40 deaths and forced thousands to evacuate in Algeria, Italy, and Greece.

The situation remains dire as high temperatures and dry conditions persist, making firefighting efforts challenging. The island of Rhodes has declared a state of emergency, and other regions, including Corfu, Evia, Sicily, and Puglia, have also been severely affected.

Climate scientists warn that human-induced climate change played a significant role in the intensity of this month’s heatwave across Southern Europe, North America, and China. Italy faced contrasting extreme weather events, with deadly storms in the north and wildfires in the south.

Portugal, Croatia, and France also witnessed wildfires and took measures to combat them. The widespread impact of these fires has caused immense human and economic losses across the region.

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Greece is preparing for another intense heatwave this weekend, with meteorologists warning that temperatures could soar as high as 45C (113F). As a result, people have been advised to stay indoors, and popular tourist sites, including the historic Acropolis in Athens, will be closed during the peak heat hours over the next two days.

This heatwave could potentially become Greece’s hottest July weekend in the past 50 years, according to a prominent meteorologist. At the same time, firefighters are still battling numerous wildfires across the country, and emergency officials are cautioning about a high risk of new blazes.

Several regions, such as Western Attica, Laconia, and Rhodes, have been severely impacted by the ongoing fires. In response to the crisis, Greece’s EU partners have offered assistance, with firefighting planes from France and Italy, as well as over 200 firefighters from Poland, Slovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria. Even neighboring Turkey is providing aircraft to help combat the fires.

The heatwave has struck at a particularly busy time for Greece’s tourism industry. The Hellenic National Meteorological Service (HNMS) predicts that central and eastern parts of the country could see temperatures reach up to 44C on Saturday, with an even hotter Sunday potentially hitting 45C in central Greece. Meteorologists are warning that Athens might experience temperatures above 40C for an extended period until the end of July.

Officials are concerned that this could be the most severe heatwave since 1987 when hundreds of deaths were attributed to extreme weather conditions. Several people have already lost their homes to the wildfires, with entire villages being consumed by the blazes.

Climate change is exacerbating the risk of hot and dry weather, which fuels wildfires. With temperatures already having risen by approximately 1.1C since the start of the industrial era, urgent action to reduce carbon emissions is needed to prevent further temperature increases.

Spain and Italy have also experienced intense heat this week in the Mediterranean region, while parts of the United States are also witnessing record-breaking temperatures.

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A heatwave in Europe has led to red alerts for extreme heat in most of Italy’s major cities. The high temperatures, expected to peak on Wednesday, have put 23 cities on high alert.

The heatwave is affecting millions of people in the northern hemisphere and is accompanied by wildfires in Greece and the Swiss Alps. The heatwave is caused by a high-pressure system bringing warmer air from the tropics, while a jet stream remains stuck over central Europe.

The extreme heat is forecasted to continue through Wednesday in southern Europe, with temperatures exceeding 40°C (104°F). Italy’s health ministry has activated “heat codes” in emergency rooms to handle the increase in heat-related illnesses.

There has been a 20% rise in patients admitted with symptoms such as dehydration, exhaustion, and heat stroke. Record-breaking temperatures of 41.8°C (107.2°F) were recorded in Rome. Red alerts are also in place in Spain, Greece, and parts of the Balkans. The heatwave is expected to continue into August, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Other parts of the world, including the US and China, are also experiencing extreme heatwaves. Climate change is cited as a significant factor in the increasing frequency and intensity of heatwaves.

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A summer camp in Greece has been forced to evacuate over a thousand children due to raging wildfires that have erupted in the country. As Greece endures a scorching Mediterranean heatwave, two separate blazes are spreading rapidly.

In the town of Loutraki, situated west of Athens, flames advanced towards the camp, prompting the evacuation of 1,200 children. In another incident, a man suspected of starting a fire in Kouvaras, southeast of the capital, was arrested by the police. Emergency service crews have assisted numerous individuals in evacuating their homes in the affected areas.

Several animals, including horses housed in stables, were also evacuated. The Greek government has stated that affected homeowners are eligible for temporary accommodation in local hotels and will be compensated later. Despite the efforts of hundreds of firefighters contending with strong winds, the fires continue to spread.

The situation has led to transportation disruptions, with sections of the Athens-Corinth national highway closed by the police and some train services affected. While it is suspected that at least one fire was intentionally started, scientists emphasize that such extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and intense due to global warming.

The intense regional heatwave shows no signs of abating, according to weather reports, and the risk of further fires remains high, as warned by the Greek meteorological service. Thick smoke, damaged houses, and cars were depicted on Greek television, reflecting the destruction caused by the wildfires. Greece has experienced temperatures surpassing 40°C (104°F) in recent days, leading to precautions such as the temporary closure of the Acropolis.

Neighboring countries like Italy and Spain are also facing unusually high temperatures, and further heat records are expected to be broken in the coming days throughout the region.

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