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Greece Demands Return of Parthenon Marbles from Britain

Ratcheting up fresh pressure, Greece has blasted the British Museum for exhibiting the Parthenon mar..

Ratcheting up fresh pressure, Greece has blasted the British Museum for exhibiting the Parthenon marbles, calling the collection “stolen” treasures and demanding the masterpieces be returned to Athens.

The call comes as Greece celebrates the 11th anniversary of the New Acropolis Museum, a four-story, state of the art edifice built to house the ancient treasures and weaken Britain’s claim that it is best able to look after the 2,500-year-old masterpieces.

“Since September 2003 when construction work for the Acropolis Museum began, Greece has systematically demanded the return of the sculptures on display in the British Museum because they are the product of theft,” the countrys culture minister Lina Mendoni said.

“The current Greek government – like any Greek government – is not going to stop claiming the stolen sculptures which the British Museum, contrary to any moral principle, continues to hold illegally,” she told the Athens daily Ta Nea.

Depicting figures of ancient Greek mythology, the 75-meter frieze and its 17 statues were sawed off the Parthenon temple and shipped to London by Lord Elgin in the early 19th century, during his tenure as Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire.

Bankrupted by the venture, the British aristocrat sold them to the British Museum in 1816, where they became a major attraction and began one of the worlds longest running cultural disputes.

Mendoni said “It is sad that one of the worlds largest and most important museums is still governed by outdated, colonialist views.”

While successive governments in Britain have opposed calls for the return of the sculptures to Greece, pressure has mounted in recent years with a bandwagon of celebrities and politicians joining the repatriation campaign.

Greeces center-right government is also stepping up efforts to win back the treasures as the country gears up for its bicentennial independence anniversary next year.

A municipal worker wearing a protective suit sprays disinfectant outside Acropolis museum as the Parthenon temple is seen in…

A municipal worker wearing a protective suit sprays disinfectant outside Acropolis museum as the Parthenon temple is seen in the background in Athens on March 24, 2020.

While 50 meters of the 115-block Parthenon frieze is displayed in Athens, eight other museums scattered across Europe house fragments of it, including the Louvre and the British Museum.

Last year, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis secured a key agreement from French President Macron to allow the Louvre to lend a small fragment of the Parthenon in light of those celebrations.

Macron has become the first Western leader to initiate a comprehensive review of colonial looting, repatriating significant collections to Africa – a move traditionally resisted by leading museums in the West, including the British Museum.

A similar loan request was made to the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson but it was quickly knocked down by the British Museum, saying any swap would require Athens to relinquish ownership claims to the prized treasures — a request Greece has emphatically refused.

“Without the supreme symbol of culture, the Parthenon, Western Civilization cannot exist, and this symbol deserves to be reunited with its expatriate sculptures,” Mendoni told a local broadcaster in May.

Government officials have refused to clarify whether Athens has followed up with any alternative proposal to the British Museum. Nor have they said whether Greece would resort to legal action against Britain in a bid to win back the marbles.

“In law, a thief is not allowed to keep his or her ill-gotten gains, no matter how long ago they were taken, or how much he or she may have improved them,” said Geoffrey Robertson, a leading human rights attorney whom the government in Athens recruited in 2014 to consider legal action.

“In the past, a lot of cultural property was wrongfully extracted from places that are now independent states. They want the loot sent back to where it was created and to the people for whom it has most meaning.”

In its pamphlets, the British Museum argues that its free-of-charge entrance attracts millions of visitors every year from around the work, making the ancient Greek masterpieces available to the public within the context of a wide swath of human civilization — a claim Greece insists is now defunct with its $200 million mammoth museum.

An austere building wedged within the chaotic sprawl of a crowded old neighborhood, the new Acropolis museum was initially scheduled to open in time for the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics.

But legal fights over the expropriation of some 25 buildings, as well as archaeological findings unearthed at the site, derailed the project by more than 5 years.

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Reaching the bottom of the barrel: Coronavirus pandemic batters European wine production

Issued on: 06/07/2020 – 09:46

It's an ancient beverage turned cultural icon, so cherished in ..

Issued on: 06/07/2020 – 09:46

It's an ancient beverage turned cultural icon, so cherished in France that the legendary Victor Hugo once provocatively wrote: “God made only water – but man made wine”. Aside from being a staple at many family dinner tables, wine is also a massive European industry – and one thats going through its own coronavirus-induced crisis. This in a sector that was already battling against 25% tariffs imposed by Donald Trump in 2019 that have seen exports slump.


Up to one third of French vineyards are believed to be in potential danger – in a sector that employs around 700,000 people in France alone.

FRANCE 24 has been investigating how winemakers have been coping – as some say they might end up forced to give up altogether.

Vincent Bouzereau, winemaker: "I think were going to have to pick up the pieces. We are all going to pay. I always say to my children, 'we can always tear up a vine, and put sheep out to graze, and then we can eat the sheep'.”

"We are farmers – thats where we began, as farmers."

Aubert Lefas, winemaker and secretary-general of the Bourgogne winemakers confederation warns that small family vineyards will go under as they do not have the resources to pay for wages and outgoings.

"If their land is valuable, theyll be sold to big international groRead More – Source

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Child sex abuse warning as coronavirus school closures continue

Issued on: 06/07/2020 – 09:33

Child sex abuse offenders are “taking advantage” of the coronavirus ..

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Child sex abuse offenders are "taking advantage" of the coronavirus pandemic to make and share more abusive material online. That warning from Catherine De Bolle, head of European law enforcement agency Europol. In an interview with FRANCE 24, she explains that with millions of children at home, many are going unsupervised, using outdated and poorly secured software which leaves them at greater risk from exploitation.


"You have to be aware, when your child goes on the internet, the child has access to the world – but also the world has access to your child. You have to be aware of this, and you have to protect your child in this situation."

Catherine De Bolle says that organised criminals have exploited the pandemic in other areas too, with a "huge impact" on cyber crime; with counterfeit and sub-standard goods, and property crime also singled out.

The Europol Executive Director also cautions for the coming months of economic crisis in Europe, saying that the end of the pandemic will not be the end of pandemic-related crime.

"We are convinced that criminal organisations will try to make profit out of the pandemic, long after the pandemic. They will make use of the economic downturn, they will make use of economic sectors in difficulty, like tourism,Read More – Source

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Brexit talks resume in London after Brussels round leaves serious divergences

Issued on: 06/07/2020 – 05:24

Britain's separation talks with the European Union resume Monda..

Issued on: 06/07/2020 – 05:24

Britain's separation talks with the European Union resume Monday with few signs of compromise on a new trade agreement and time running out to avoid a messy split.


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London will host EU negotiator Michel Barnier after a round of face-to-face talks ended a day early last week in Brussels because of deep divides in the sides' approach.

Barnier said after ending the negotiations last Thursday that "serious divergences remain".

His UK counterpart David Frost said there were "significant differences" that meant the sides were still searching for basic "principles underlying an agreement".

And German Chancellor Angela Merkel said upon taking over help of the EU's rotating presidency Wednesday that both her country and the 27-nation bloc "should prepare for the case that an agreement is not reached".

Britain followed through on the results of a 2016 EU membership referendum and officially pulled out of the bloc in January after nearly half a century.

But a standstill transition period that ends on December 31 allows the UK to effectively function as if it were still a member.

London and Brussels are supposed to agree on new trade terms in the meantime that prevent ties from reverting to the minimum standards – and accompanying high tariffs and quotas – of the World Trade Organisation.

British businesses fear that possibility and want Prime Minister Boris Johnson to give them guidance as soon as possible about whether a trade deal is feasible or not.

This would give them a chance to trigger costly contingency planning aimed at disrupting trade and business activity as little as possible.

But EU officials feel much less pressure to strike a quick agreement and are suggesting that one could still be done by late October.

Litany of disputes

Brussels has shrugged off Johnson's repeated threats to walk away and accept very distant relations with the bloc that complicated trade Read More – Source

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