13:04:2009 - 09:04 EEST
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    Seventy students and ten teachers from Athens College High School conducted a trip to Marseille where they examined Greek roots in Marseilles, the "Greekness" of contemporary Marseilles, the Mediterranean and its environmental problems, common data of Mediterranean ports and cities etc.
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    Greek-Cypriot singer-songwriter, Alkinoos Ioannidis will give a concert for the omogeneia on Sunday May 17th at 8.30 pm in Luxembourg at the Niederanven Cultural Center.
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    The modern and archaeological industrial heritage of Lavrion will be presented this year by the Greek branches of ICOMOS and TICCIH in an event celebrating World Day of Monuments, in cooperation with TEE and the National Metsovio Polytechnic Institute. Event sbeing on April 11th.
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    Among the five award recipients of the 2009 Florida Folk Heritage Award is master sponge boat builder George Saroukos of Tarpon Springs.
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    Thessaloniki Prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis received Metropolitan Demetrios of Irinoupolis and Seychelles Islands at his office with whom he discussed issues concerning the Orthodox Mission and the urgent need for support.




Expatriate vote bill in Parliament
Συντάχθηκε απο τον/την Μπάμπης Παπαδάκης   
A roll-call vote on a bill for introducing absentee voting for eligible Greek voters residing abroad will be held in Parliament on Tuesday, on the first reading (in-principle vote) of the bill, aiming to achieve a two-thirds majority of the 300-member legislature, as required by the Constitution.
The bill on the "Exercise of the electoral right in general parliamentary elections by Greek voters residing abroad" was debated for the second day on Thursday in the parliament plenary.
 Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, addressing the House on Thursday evening, said that the arrangement was a "national duty" and warned that "it cannot be embroiled in the vortex of any petty party expediencies".
 "The arrogant view that either things will be done as PASOK (main opposition party) wants them to be done or they will not be done at all has no room in national issues," Karamanlis warned, adding that "this blackmail concerns not the government but ecumenical Hellenism, it concerns the Greeks throughout the world who wish to and are at Greece's side".
"It is our obligation to take, now, the first big step so that time will not be lost and in order to give the administration the ability to make use of the experience that will be acquired for the best possible preparation of the additional arrangements," he said.
Now was not the time for pretexts, the premier continued, noting that the opposition had every reason to rise to the occasion, while the main opposition party had today its last opportunity to display a democratic mentality in essence".
PASOK parliamentary spokesman Evangelos Venizelos called the bill an "unconstitutional legislative ruse by ND, which is attempting to render the national strength of the Greeks abroad into a "party audience".
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) MP Spyros Halvatzis said that the bill would bring in one million voters, adding that "people who for decades have lived away from Greece and who have no relationship to and knowledge of the Greek reality will be formulating the electoral result".
Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA parliamentary alliance) parliamentary group leader Alekos Alavanos called on the government to withdraw the bill: "Don't put yourself through a defeat in parliament due to lack of a reinforced (two-thirds) majority, and launch a new proecess based on the proposals by the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE), in order to find a solution".
Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis said the question was whether "we will be the Parliament of the Hellenes or the Hellenic Parliament" and proposed that a referendum be held on June 7 (in tandem with the European Parliament elections in Greece) in order to "clear up the ridiculous intentions to shelve the vote of the Greeks abroard".

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