Daily Archives: January 9, 2016

Vanessa Redgrave visits refugee centre in Athens


The actress and activist praised Greeks for their response, which is a lesson in humanity.

Greece has been attracting high-profile visitors for the last few months, as it has become the entry point for thousands of refugees arriving from war-torn Syria.

Artists, actors, celebrities, business leaders and activists travel to the refugee centres to show their support for the volunteers and the NGOs that assist those in need, bringing international media attention to the refugee crisis.

Latest among them is Oscar-winning British actress Vanessa Redgrave, who flew to Athens, seeking to get a first hand account of the refugee crisis that has captivated the world.

On Tuesday she visited the refugee camp in Elaionas, in the Athens region, escorted by the mayor of Athens, Giorgos Kaminis, the Minister of Immigration, Giorgos Mouzalas and actress Mimi Denissi (who is currently presenting a play that she wrote about the Great Fire of Smyrna and the violent deportation of the Greek Population, which Redgrave saw the previous night).

At the media conference that followed, the 78-year-old actress urged the world to help debt-stricken Greece to provide shelter to hundreds of thousands of refugees who are in search of a better life in Europe and the west.

“Greece can’t solve this problem and yet Greece has given us the most important lesson of all, the lesson of humanity”, she said, thanking personally “all those helping the refugees from all over the world”.

A life-long advocate of human rights, Redgrave has been a vocal political activist since the ’60s and ’70s, when she was a member of the Workers Revolutionary Party; in the last decade she has campaigned against the Iraq War and the ‘War on Terror’.

The International Organization for Migration released statistics for 2015. In a statement, it said that 3,771 refugees died while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe last year and 1,004,356 in total arrived by sea – a fivefold increase from 2014 when 219,000 people made the sea journey.

Of these totals, about 850,000 people entered Greece last year, mainly via the frontier islands of Lesvos, Chios, Kalymnos, Samos, Leros, Tilos and others along the Turkish coasts.

source:neos kosmos

Nick Kyrgios powers Australia Green into Hopman Cup final with win over France


Perth: Australia Green are into the Hopman Cup final after saving a match point to beat France in a thrilling mixed doubles encounter.

Needing to win the tie to reach Saturday’s final against Ukraine, Australia Green secured a 2-1 result with a 6-4 2-6 11-9 (match tiebreak) win in the mixed doubles.

Kyrgios and Daria Gavrilova will now take on Ukrainian duo Alexandr Dolgopolov and Elina Svitolina in the decider.

Australia’s only Hopman Cup title came back in 1999, when Mark Philippoussis and Jelena Dokic took out the crown, beating Swedish pair Jonas Bjorkman and Asa Carlsson in the final.

The last time Australia reached the final was in 2003, when Lleyton Hewitt and Alicia Molik were defeated 3-0 by Serena Williams and James Blake.

Kyrgios said it would be special if he and Gavrilova could reach the final and end Australia’s 17-year title drought at the mixed-teams event.

“It’s an event that’s been held for a long, long time – before I was even born,” Kyrgios said.

“It’s pretty special. Especially me and Dasha – we grew up together in juniors. Hopefully we can bring it home.”

Australia Green were down a match point in the mixed doubles match tiebreak.

But a deft volley at the net from Gavrilova saved Australia’s skin, before Kyrgios sealed the win with some net magic of his own.

“I was feeling the heat there,” Kyrgios said of the match point moment.

Earlier in the night, Kyrgios continued his hot singles form with a 6-4 6-4 demolition of Kenny De Schepper in 56 minutes.

But Australia Green’s finals hopes were dented after Gavrilova lost 6-4 7-6 (9-7) to Caroline Garcia.

Gavrilova put up a good fight for most of her singles match, but two double faults during the second-set tiebreak proved costly.

However, after a few nervous moments, Kyrgios and Gavrilova came good in the mixed doubles match tiebreak, holding their nerve when it mattered most.

The result meant Australia Green, and not Andy Murray’s Great Britain, reached the final.

Kyrgios is unbeaten in his three singles matches at the Hopman Cup, with the most impressive display a straight-sets demolition of world No. 2 Andy Murray on Wednesday night.

After completing his Hopman Cup duties, Kyrgios will compete in the Fast4 Tennis event in Sydney on Monday, before heading to Melbourne for the Kooyong Classic.

“I have played three quality matches and put in a lot of training,” Kyrgios said.

“But there is still a long way to go and I’ve still got to do a lot more things to prepare for the Australian Open.”

Maitland passenger trains and coal rail services resuming through Hexham


THE first trains have resumed services through Sandgate after damage caused by the Tuesday and Wednesday storm was repaired.

Australian Rail Track Corporation spokesperson Bas Bolyn said the first non-coal freight train had gone through the line, as had the first coal train.

Passengers services would be up and running for the Thursday afternoon peak.

The ARTC operates the Hunter Valley rail network on lease from the NSW government.

Mr Bolyn said water-damaged signalling equipment between Sandgate and Warabrook had been repaired.

He said there had still been “sporadic flooding across the network and at the Port of Newcastle” on Thursday morning, and coal trains would be “phased” back into service.

Rail commuters are urged to check http://www.sydneytrains.info and http://www.nswtrainlink.info for the status and arrangements of passenger services.

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