Saturday, 28 May 2016

Some serious stuff - Putin, Aristotle, the French and the Refugees

Russian President Vladimir Putin is on a visit to Greece.  His presidential plane was escorted into Athens by 3 F-16 fighter jets of the Hellenic Airforce.  With him are Russian businessmen, the head of the Russian Orthodox church and 40 priests.  He will be having trade talks with the PM and tomorrow will visit the Russian Monastery on Mount Athos, Ag Oros or the Sacred mountain as it is called in Greek, where females are forbidden to tread.  This is the first European country he has visited since trade sanctions were imposed after Russia's annexing of the Crimea.  Greece wants Russian tourists and Russian investment.  2,500 policemen are on duty in Athens during the visit and anywhere Putin's car goes there will be a cyber blackout.

Aristotle -
Archeologists are certain they have discovered the 2,400 year old tomb of philosopher Aristotle.  He was one of ancient Greece's crowning philosophers.  The tomb has been uncovered at Stagira in central Macedonia (province of Greece, not neighbouring country).  Aristotle was born in Stagira and died further south in Halkida (near Athens).  'They' believe that his ashes were brought to his birthplace and a tomb built over them.  The domed tomb was built on a hilltop near the sea and has 360o views.  It was 10 metres tall and had marble floors.  Aristotle was born in 384BC and was a pupil of Plato.  He has been descibed as the 'first genuine scientist' .

A water taxi crossing the narrow passage from Galatas

The view from one of the waterfront cafeterias  

France -

The french people are rioting all over the country blockading refineries and nuclear power stations protesting against labour reforms.  One of their slogans is apparently (  facebook rumour but definitely hits home) 

'We are not Greeks, we will not lie down and take this sh**' or something very similar, in french of course.   

The greek people haven't rioted in quite a while.  I guess we are all  used to austerity after 6 years. Greece is an EU experiemnt gone wrong and  no protest, molotov bomb throwing or blockade has made any difference since 2010 and is not likely to do so.

I hope the French rioters get their message across.  There has been a suggestion the reforms may be 'modified'.  France is hosting the Euro 2016 Football championships next month.  A country in turmoil could cause a major embarrassment.  France still has a state of emergency in place since the Paris attacks by islamist militants.

Refugees -

The makeshift refugee camp at Idomeni on the border with Skopje was cleared by the police in the last week.  There were reported to have been 8,500 refugees remaining camped out there without any facilities.  Stories of a brothel in an old railway carriage and drugs told just some of the problem. Refugees had settled in with their own shops and 'tavernas'.  

The police moved thousands by bus to official camps around the country but many refused to leave, took their few possessions and walked to heaven knows where.  Some will probably try and return.  Police have cleared the area with bulldozers and opened the railway line through to the neighbouring country. This is Greece's main train freight line to the Balkans and has been closed by refugees camping on the tracks for months now.

No one from the press was allowed within 3ks of the area during the police operation.

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