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from Photographers' Blog:

Athens’ Ghost Airport

Athens, Greece

By Yorgos Karahalis

It's been over a decade since Athens’ Hellenikon airport closed down after around 60 years of duty as the only airport serving the Greek capital.

 Olympic Airways airplanes are seen at the premises of the former Athens International airport of Hellenikon June 16, 2014. REUTERS/Yorgos Karahalis

In 2001, just three years before Athens hosted the Olympic Games, Hellenikon was abandoned in favour of the glitzy new Eleftherios Venizelos airport, constructed to the east of the city. 

What has happened to Hellenikon since then?

Well, the glory days of the airport are long gone.

A station for the airport's limousine service is seen outside the east terminal of the former Athens International Airport of Hellenikon June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Yorgos Karahalis

Nothing has been done with the property aside from using part of the land to construct a few secondary sports facilities for use during the 2004 Olympics. In turn, these too now stand abandoned.  

The former airport is now surrounded by a wire fence and weeds have taken over wherever they can. One terminal was burnt out by a fire and now sits in ruins – nobody cleaned it up after the incident. 

from MacroScope:

Hollande’s search for an elusive winning formula

After a local election drubbing, French President Francois Hollande duly sacked his prime minister last night and tempered his economic reform drive, vowing to focus more on growth and “social justice”. A fuller cabinet reshuffle is expected today.

Interior minister Manuel Valls, anything but a left-wing firebrand whose appointment could stir unrest on the left of the ruling Socialist party, takes the premiership with a mandate to pursue cuts in labour charges for business but also tax cuts to boost consumer spending and employment.

from Photographers' Blog:

The search for a mosque in Athens

Athens, Greece

By Yorgos Karahalis

Some say that to come in contact with “God” is a spiritual matter that has nothing to do with the particular spot or place where such contact takes place. Well, if it were that simple then there would be no need to build churches or mosques.

In the Greek capital Athens, where almost half the country’s 11 million people live, there is a 500,000-strong Muslim community, mostly immigrants from Asia, Africa and eastern Europe. Many of those are faithful and want to express their faith by praying in an appropriate place. Well, there is no such place - there isn't a single “official” mosque in the wider area of the Greek capital.

from Full Focus:

Down and out in Athens

Athens based photographer Yannis Behrakis spent several weeks documenting the unemployed and homeless in Greece as the economic downturn starts to impact the homeless numbers. Read Yannis' personal account here.

from Photographers' Blog:

A dramatic rescue outside my window

Athens, Greece

By John Kolesidis

Today I woke up to the deafening sound of thunder. The rain was pouring hard.

I made myself a cup of coffee and watched the rain out the window flood the surrounding streets. I was at a loss as to how I would get to the office without getting soaked, so I decided to stay put until things calmed down a bit. When I finished my coffee, I looked out the window again, and things had taken a dramatic turn.

GALLERY: SAVED FROM A FLOOD

A bit further down the street I could see an immobilized car getting swollen by the flood. Then I heard some muffled voices. I put on my galoshes and raincoat, took my cameras, and tried to get there. I walked through a small park, but that led me behind barbed wire which I couldn't get over. I saw a woman trying to hold on to her car door, while the water was at waist level. I called out to her not to be scared, urging her to hold on to the door until I could get closer.

from Photographers' Blog:

Greece’s new army of the homeless

By Yiorgos Karahalis

Ragged clothes, small piles of belongings and a bleak future, Greece’s new army of homeless have swelled in numbers since the debt crisis hit the country.

As part of ideas to highlight the story that has dominated headlines for the past two years, I wanted to illustrate the emerging problem of homelessness in a country which has seen a rise in the number of homeless by 20-25 percent in the last two years alone - a staggering rise in a country where adult children live with their parents, in some cases until the day they get married, and pensions traditionally go to support young families.

from FaithWorld:

Athens debt crisis taxes cosy ties between state and Greek Orthodox Church

(Greek orthodox priests hold a Greek flag in a protest in front of the parliament house during a rally in Athens, February 6, 2011/John Kolesidis )

The Greek Orthodox Church owns more land than anyone except the state, employs thousands on the public payroll, has a stake in the nation's biggest bank, but campaigners say its tax payments are derisory. The Church vehemently denies accusations it is one of Greece's biggest tax dodgers and says it is playing a vital social, economic and spiritual role in this time of hardship.

from Your View:

March to Commemorate 1973 Revolt.

Thousands march in Thessaloniki to commemorate the 1973 student revolt in Greece, November 17, 2010. Your View/Alexandros Michailidis

from FaithWorld:

Mob in Athens abuses Muslims as they celebrate Eid

athens 1 (Photo: Muslim immigrants pray during Eid al-Adha celebrations in front of Athens university November 16, 2010/Yannis Behrakis)

Dozens of far-right activists and local residents threw eggs and taunted hundreds of Muslim immigrants as they gathered to pray in a central square for Eid al-Adha surrounded by a protective cordon of riot police.

Greece, which has become the main immigrant gateway to the European Union, has a growing Muslim community and tensions between locals and incomers have run high in some Athens areas such as Attiki square, the scene of Tuesday's incident.

from Global News Journal:

Rating agencies warned to watch their step

Credit rating agencies cannot win.

They were blamed for carelessness before the crisis, handing out over-generous ratings on the packets of mortgage-backed securities that subsequently unravelled, sending the global economy into a spin and leading to Lehman Brothers collapse. Now they are being criticised again, this time for being too cautious, by dishing out rating downgrades to countries in Europe being sucked into Greece's debt crisis.

Standard & Poor's recently downgraded Spain's rating one notch to AA, warning that the outlook was bleak for the euro zone's fourth biggest economy. Struggling Greece has also been marked down -- to junk status -- and now hovers close to Pakistan and Venezuela in the credit stakes. Portugal is another country to be singled out for downgrades from the leading ratings companies.

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