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Greek political dynasty regains power: Mitsoatkis and the return of a dynasty

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Four years after their election to government, Greece’s ruling Syriza party faces a thumping defeat at a general election, paving the way for the return of one of the country’s most well-established political dynasties.

Exhausted by austerity, Greeks are to elect as their new prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the scion of a powerful political family and the son of a former prime minister.

Greece’s center-right opposition New Democracy party won the country’s snap general election on Sunday. With most districts counted, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras admitted defeat to his rival, Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

New Democracy has 39.85% of the vote thus far, with Tsipras’ leftist Syriza party in second place with 31.53%. Current projections give New Democracy an outright majority, as the winner receives 50 extra seats in parliament.

The prime minister-elect told his cheering supporters he had been given a strong mandate for change. “The country proudly raises its head again,” he told the crowd in the capital Athens, saying he would be a prime minister for all because Greeks were “too few to stay divided”.

“I feel the spirit of my parents protecting me,” he said.

For Greece’s new slick prime minister-elect, talk of his family is not just a personal issue.

He is a scion of one of the country’s most powerful political dynasties: his father, Konstantinos, was prime minister was prime minister in the early 1990s and his sister, Dora Bakoyannis, was mayor of Athens when the city hosted the Olympics in 2004, before becoming Greek foreign minister.

Together with the socialist Papandreou and the conservative Karamanlis families, the Mitsotakis family has dominated Greek politics for years.

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Skiathos island authorities charging up to EUR1.000 fine for taking rare beach pebbles

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Tourists could be fined up to 1.000 euros for taking pebbles as souvenirs from a Greek beach.

Lalaria Beach on the island of Skiathos, accessible only by boat, is extremely popular with holidaymakers, who have been known to fill their pockets with unique pebbles as free souvenirs.

But officials on the Greek island are worried that too many of the stones have been taken leading to a dramatic change in the landscape of the shoreline in the past 10 years.

And now the port authorities have introduced fines of between EUR400 and EUR1.000 for people who take pebbles without permission.

Signs have been placed around the Lalaria beach telling tourists: ‘Take pictures, not pebbles.’ Posters have also been given to boat operators and fishermen in the area so the message can be spread across Greece.

In cooperation with the port authorities, the Cultural Association of Skiathos launched a campaign entitled:  “Take a Picture, not a Pebble – Save Lalaria Beach!”

“The alteration of the landscape has been noticeable in the last ten years and is up to a certain degree irreversible,” the cultural association says on its website. The protection of the beach is necessary to maintain at least the present condition without further deterioration, the association said.

The beach in the north-east of Skiathos is accessible only by boat.

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Panagiotopoulos: Honoring Prespa accord will bring better future

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Greek Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos said on Wednesday the mutual respect for the Prespa Agreement without concessions would yield positive result and contribute to a better future.

Earlier in the day, Panagiotopoulos told the Economist Conference in Athens that he does not challenge the intent of the agreement. We are all aware of the concept of good faith, the purpose of the agreement is to strengthen the stability in the region and geopolitical foundations.

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Greek Foreign Minister meets U.S. State Secretary

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Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias will meet with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington July 17. The two will discuss topics of bilateral, regional and international interest.

During his two-day stay in Washington, Dendias will meet with White House national security advisor John Bolton, Senator Bob Menendez, and will participate in ministerial meeting on religious freedom.

Secretary Pompeo will host the second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, in Washington on July 16-18. The Ministerial will reaffirm international commitments to promote religious freedom for all and focus on concrete outcomes that produce durable, positive change. A broad range of stakeholders, including senior government representatives, international organization representatives, religious leaders, and civil society activists will convene to discuss challenges, identify concrete ways to combat religious persecution and discrimination, and ensure greater respect for freedom of religion or belief.

This year’s Ministerial seeks to further conversations from last year’s event and recent regional conferences. Representatives of up to 1000 civil society and religious community from every corner of the world are exected to participate.

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