Sep
21

Opinion I want to change the way society sees exoffenders so I

first_img Share87 Tweet Email7 Short URL We saw them for what they were: scared kids who acted out and hurt others, and often themselves too. Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article 16,537 Views Opinion: I want to change the way society sees ex-offenders so I organised a TEDx Talk in Mountjoy Ex prisoners took to the stage to deliver talks to an audience of prisoners, senior policymakers, politicians, activists, education-providers, and employers, writes Nikki Gallagher. By Nikki Gallagher In 2015 I became the Communications Director at SOLAS, the Further Education and Training Authority. SOLAS is a progressive public body, where we’re encouraged to be innovative and explore creative approaches to tackling issues.My job is to promote an appreciation of further education and training as a great post-secondary option.  This is how I discovered TED.The first TEDx (independently organised TED talks) event I managed was all about re-imagining Further Education and Training. It was a great success and I got the TEDx bug.At an event for TEDx organisers in London 18 months ago, I was fascinated to hear about a TEDx event that was held in a prison in Leicester. It tapped back into my experiences with the Ombudsman for Children’s Office, and St. Patrick’s Institution. I decided at that moment that I would help facilitate the first TEDx Talk in an Irish Prison. Back in Ireland, I approached the Dóchas Centre – and subsequently the Irish Prison Service – with trepidation: I assumed we would be met with a conservative response. I was completely wrong.  The Irish Prison Service and Mountjoy Prison welcomed the idea with open arms.  We agreed that the event would be held in the chapel in Mountjoy with its amazing acoustics and stunning stained-glass window.  The theme was re-integration: ‘Beyond Walls, from Custody to Community’. SOLAS, through Education and Training Boards, helps fund prison education in Ireland, offering over 700 courses annually. Education is important, but without the prospect of meaningful employment on release – it’s hard to see how ex-offenders can successfully transition back into society. We wanted our TEDx talk to challenge prevailing attitudes and spark a conversation about what society can do to support offenders beyond the prison walls. I GREW UP in a family where my parents instilled social justice values in me and my siblings. Of course, they never used that term – I’m not sure they’d even understand what it means today.But it’s not surprising that my sister now manages an advocacy service for people with disabilities, my brother is a probation officer, and I have spent much of my career promoting human rights and trying to positively influence public policy and laws.  Saturday 6 Apr 2019, 7:30 AM I knew we needed to find a way to communicate their stories and vulnerability to policymakers, legislators and the wider public. In addition to a policy report, we produced a DVD using drawings by the boys themselves and got actors to narrate their actual words.The impact was unprecedented: the then Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, changed the law to allow the Ombudsman for Children investigate complaints from the boys in St. Pat’s, and newly detained boys were sent to Oberstown Children Detention Campus. Eventually, St. Pat’s as an institution was shut down. 42 Comments https://jrnl.ie/4578964 Apr 6th 2019, 7:31 AM Nikki Gallagher The speakers were handpicked and included an ex-offender, a probation officer, the Mountjoy Governor and Dublin GAA star Philly McMahon. We were thrilled when the inspiring Norah Casey agreed to be our MC.After weeks of working with speaking coaches, and hours of practices and rewrites, the eight speakers were ready to stand on the famous TED red dot and present to a packed chapel.Each of the 100-odd guests was handpicked too.Prisoners, senior policymakers, politicians, activists, education-providers and employers sat shoulder to shoulder in rows of wooden pews.Hairs stood on end as the SOLAS workplace choir joined the Mountjoy choir on stage at the half-time interval.As the poignant chorus of ‘The Auld Triangle’ reverberated around the chapel, it was hard not to become emotional: at that moment, we all felt the incredible privilege of witnessing a ground-breaking event; and something shifted in the room.We suddenly saw the humanity, not just the crimes of the prisoners on stage, singing in harmony with the SOLAS staff choir.When it was the turn of ex-offender Wayne Harte to speak, he delivered some hard-hitting messages for all of us.For the first time that evening, people became uncomfortable in their seats as this bright, high academic achiever told us that – despite his impressive list of qualifications, work and life experience – he struggled to get even a job interview because of his criminal past.Phones weren’t allowed in the prison, but we trended on Twitter later that night anyway. That was the first hint of the impact we think this very special event has had.I have spent the days since Tuesday talking to many employers and policymakers about the changes we would like to see as well as exploring the next steps.I am extremely grateful to the Irish Prison Service and the Governors of Dóchas and Mountjoy for humouring a woman who wanted to talk to them about an idea she heard in London.Nikki Gallagher is Director of Communications and Secretariat at SOLAS where she is responsible for governance, public affairs and communications. Prior to this, she spent over a decade at the Ombudsman for Children’s Office promoting children’s rights and welfare. She is the Chair of BeLonGTo, Ireland’s largest LGBTI+ youth organisation. She also played a key role in the Together for Yes campaign. My interest in prisoners’ rights was sparked both by my brother’s career and my own experiences eight years ago, when, as the Communications Manager at the Ombudsman for Children’s Office, I worked on a ground-breaking project with a group of teenage boys incarcerated in St. Patrick’s Institution.  In Ireland, anyone under 18 years of age is legally considered a child. These 16 and 17-year-old children were incarcerated in an adult prison and denied access to the complaints process of the Children’s Ombudsman.However, the Ombudsman for Children’s Office was established under a very powerful piece of legislation that obliged the Office to ask children and young people their views on issues that mattered to them. Emily Logan, the first Ombudsman for Children was incredibly progressive and tenacious in the promotion of children’s rights and welfare.Because of both these things, we were able to negotiate with St. Patrick’s Institution and the Irish Prison Service to specifically talk to the boys about their experience of being in St. Pat’s. What we heard was really profound.The boys told us, with humour and honesty, what daily life was like for them; their hopes; their dreams and, most poignantly, their fears.last_img read more

Sep
21

Greek economys first slide in 16 years

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram The Greek economy contracted in the second quarter for the first time since 1993 as the global recession hit consumption, investments and exports, data showed last week.Experts said the tourism sector will play a key role in determining the economy’s performance for 2009, describing third-quarter figures on gross domestic product as crucial.The overall economy declined by 0.2 percent in the second quarter in comparison to the same period a year ago, after a 0.3 percent expansion in the first quarter, according to figures released by the Greek National Statistical Service.“Economic activity contracted on an annual basis for the first time in the last 16 years, the result of stagnant private consumption and an ongoing slump in private investment and lower income from export services,” National Bank economist Nikos Magginas said.The economy declined 0.3 percent in the second quarter after a 1.2 percent growth in growth in the first three months of the year. The growth in the second quarter reflects a fall in imports and the government’s financial stimulus package, according to experts.The Greek economy has enjoyed a 16 year economic boom but it now faces the risk of protracted slow growth if the government fails to adopt structural reforms to boost competitiveness and correct its fiscal imbalances, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund have said.Economists point to the need for a new export-oriented growth model for Greece to prosper after the consumption driven growth of the last decade.last_img read more

Sep
21

An industry moving faster than the eye can see

first_imgEmmanuel Calligeros was hired for his first job, straight out of university, because he could speak Greek. Fitting contact lenses is like fitting running shoes, you can’t just walk into a sports store and tell them your size. It’s a speciality area.Today the optometrist owns the independent optometry boutique, where his career first began, in Sydney’s Newtown and has witnessed great changes in the area. “In 1980 my boss gave me this job straight out of uni because I spoke Greek and he wanted a young Greek optometrist to attract Greeks in the area,” he tells. “Ironically from the day I started working the Greeks started to leave and it became more of a trendy, gay, arty, crowd.” Calligeros says over time he has changed the 50 year old practice’s image to suit the emerging demographic. “We’ve got boutique eyewear and more exclusive products. We don’t feel threatened by Specsavers and OPSM. The more of that bottom end that starts to proliferate the more upmarket we go and our business has gone from strength to strength because of that,” he says. “My clientele isn’t the type that would even bother going to OPSM. They’re more attracted to our unique brand, some of which we import directly from Europe,” he says. Calligeros, who runs the practice with his wife Connie, travels to Milan, Paris, Tokyo, New York and Vegas for industry fairs, trying to get to at least one of the major fairs every year. In addition to running his business, Calligeros specialises in contact lenses, which he taught at university from 1984 up until a few years ago. “I was first approached by the university to teach since I sort of had a reputation in the field for liking contact lenses at a time when not many optometrists were good at them,” he says. “I was wearing contact lenses since high school, mostly for sport, and that was always an interest of mine,” he says. “Fitting contact lenses is like fitting running shoes, you can’t just walk into a sports store and tell them your size. It’s a speciality area.” The contact lense industry is currently trying to reinvent itself, as internet shopping has hit the business hard, Calligeros says. “Contact lenses are a commodity so you don’t need an optometrist to know what you’re wearing. You can go online and you can buy them from Canada, it’s a lot cheaper to do that, now with our exchange rate, some of the best deals are from America,” he says. Calligeros is not worried though. “The more I specialise in the trickier contacts, the less I’m affected by the Internet. You need to reinvent yourself. People always comment that I’ve got the latest equipment and frames, but I can’t stand still, I have to keep reinventing myself so I’m always ahead of the market, or at the top of the market,” he says. In a world where technology moves faster than the eye can see, a question Calligeros is often asked is: can computers damage your eyes? “The truth is that they’d don’t,” he says. “What computers do is highlight problems, so if you’ve got a mild focusing problem and you sit in front of a computer for eight hours then that problem will become obvious to you.” People have much higher vision demands today, Calligeros says. “Now you’ve got older people who use computers, they’re not happy to have just reading glasses, they need computer glasses and TV glasses,” he says. Even the introduction of 3D movies is bringing in extra work. “If you’ve got a lazy eye you don’t see 3D. This is probably the dawn of a new era where 3D will start to highlight problems, people who need a prescription will find you can’t just wear the 3D glasses, you’ll have to put them on top of glasses. Eventually we’ll probably be making prescription 3D glasses,” he says. “There’s always something happening in optics.” Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Sep
21

Greek Festival to hit Sydney

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram The 29th annual Greek Festival of Sydney will launch with a two day long celebration at Darling Harbour on the 26th and 27th of March. Bring your family, bring your appetites and bring your dancing shoes for two days of music, fine food and Greek festivities. Entry is free of charge for all. On this weekend the foreshores of Darling Harbour will come alive to the sounds of fabulous Greek music, the aromas of sumptuous Greek food, dazzling displays of Greek dancing, and many surprises for the children.This is the perfect way to celebrate the vibrant multiculturalism of Sydney and to explore the beauty of Greek culture. From 3 pm Saturday the Festival will feature international performers, the best local contemporary youth music acts and Greek dancing groups, children’s activities, musical performances, mouth watering Greek delicacies and special guests. From 10 am Sunday, the Greek Orthodox Community of New South Wales will celebrate Greek Independence Day with a traditional parade through Darling Harbour from Pyrmont Bridge to Tumbalong Park, followed by a full day of traditional and contemporary Greek entertainment. The highlights for the day, apart from the food, coffee, family atmosphere and friendly crowds, are the live music by a long line-up of local and international quality acts. The Darling Harbour celebration will kick off the three month long Greek Festival of Sydney with over 20 events scheduled on this year’s program, showcasing the depth and diversity of the Greek Culture in Australia. For more information into the program and to book tickets to selected events, please visit www.greekfestivalofsydney.com.aulast_img read more

Sep
21

Press Freedom in Greece plummets

first_imgFreedom of information is “repeatedly and blatantly flouted” in Greece, pushing the country into 99th place out of 180 countries in this year’s World Press Freedom Index.The remarkable fall in press freedom, which represents an astonishing drop of 80 places since 2002, is a “dizzying fall for the world’s oldest democracy”, said Reporters Without Borders, which authored the report. Although closely challenged by Greece, Bulgaria – in 100th place – retains the status of lowest ranked European Union country after a trying year marked by five months of major protests and political tension.“Suffering from the effects of the economic crisis and a surge in populism, Greece (99th) fell 14 places” on last year, the report, published on Wednesday, said.The report said that apart from economic difficulties – it refers to the rising unemployment among journalists – “the Greek media have a bad reputation that is the result of years of clientelism”. Referring to the shutdown by the New Democracy-Pasok government of the country’s national broadcaster ERT in June, the report described this as “a turning point in Greece’s media history”, one that also represented “an unprecedented decision in a European Union country”.Published by Reporters Without Borders, the World Press Freedom Index 2014 highlights major declines in media freedom in such varied countries as the United States, Central African Republic and Guatemala and, on the other hand, marked improvements in Ecuador, Bolivia and South Africa.The same trio of Finland, Netherlands and Norway heads the index again, while Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea continue to be the biggest information black holes, again occupying the last three positions.“The World Press Freedom Index is a reference tool that is based on seven criteria: the level of abuses, the extent of pluralism, media independence, the environment and self-censorship, the legislative framework, transparency and infrastructure,” said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire.Source: enetenglish Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Sep
21

Coast guard intensifies Aegean crackdown

first_imgThe Hellenic Coast Guard is intensifying its crackdown on people-smuggling rackets in the Aegean ahead of what is expected to be a difficult summer when it is feared that large numbers of would-be migrants will attempt the crossing from neighboring Turkey.Following a three-day investigation, coast guard sources said on Tuesday that they had traced three suspected smugglers who are believed to have organized the transfer last Friday of a group of migrants from Turkey to Rhodes, in the Dodecanese. The attempted crossing was thwarted by Greek coast guard officers who subsequently launched a search for the smugglers.Officers intercepted 13 migrants off the coast of Chios on Tuesday after stopping two boatloads of immigrants off Samos and Kos last week. Those came at the end of a busy month with 51 cases of attempted people-smuggling recorded by the coast guard in April. In 31 of these cases, the smuggling vessels were spotted while still in Turkish waters and in several instances the migrants were rescued by Greek authorities before being handed over to their Turkish counterparts.The Greek coast guard wants to foster a closer cooperation with its Turkish equivalent, which is often accused of failing to honor a bilateral repatriation treaty with Greece.Expecting a larger influx of migrants from Syria and other strife-torn countries in the coming months, authorities on Lesvos are planning to open a second reception center.Source: Kathimerini Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Sep
21

Into the thick of Ebola

first_imgAs the world anxiously awaits news of the spread of the Ebola virus, one Greek Australian man is heading into the thick of it. When the UN turns up in a crisis zone, that says something to the people suffering there, that the world hasn’t forgotten them, that it stand by them and will do what it can to end that suffering – Ari GaitanisUN spokesperson Ari Gaitanis arrived in West Africa this week to see through the first ever UN emergency health mission. The UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response has witnessed 8,376 cases and 4,024 deaths from Ebola based on information provided by the Ministries of Health of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.Ari has been dispatched from his post as the UN deputy director and spokesperson for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and been sent on a rapid deployment to West Africa.He’s says the outbreak is “unprecedented” and implores the international community to step up and “meet this challenge head on”.“There are concerns that the steps implemented by the international community are not nearly enough to halt the advance of the fatal disease,” he tells Neos Kosmos.“With every day that passes, the number of sick people increases – the virus’ spread is either stopped now or we face an entirely unprecedented situation.”For the suffering people of Africa, the spread of Ebola has been shouldered by them alone for a long time. They’ve witnessed the international response remain reactionary, with coverage of the topic making it onto people’s screens only after the threat of the virus reaches their shores. For Ari, he feels the UN’s response will finally give the frightened people of Africa the sense that the international world is listening to their calls for help.“When the UN turns up in a crisis zone, that says something to the people suffering there, that the world hasn’t forgotten them, that it stand by them and will do what it can to end that suffering,” he says.The fight to contain the Ebola virus is not just about getting those sick safely contained and treated, but also getting people diagnosed as quickly as possible.That can be helped by creating more laboratories in the surrounding communities of the outbreak, helping those who start to feel sick a chance to immediately seek help.Ari says there’s a need for more funding to help the efforts.“There’s a need for an increase in the number of diagnostic laboratories, transport support, and funding to help with operation logistics which would help aid the UN response to this crisis,” he says.The virus has also created a new threat. The threat of social exclusion and fear, as many survivors, victims and their children are being spurned by their local communities. Ebola survivors, as medical professionals have frequently reiterated, are no longer capable of contracting the virus. The virus itself is not airborne, and only be transmitted through bodily fluids of an actively ill patient.The UN will also seek to address the stigma and discrimination facing Ebola survivors as such challenges undermines their recovery.The five aims of the UN response is to stop the outbreak, teat the infected, ensure essential services, preserve stability and prevent further outbreaks. For Ari, the trip brings with it new fears and troubles.At least two UN volunteers and staff members have died in the effort to help fight Ebola, with one volunteer losing their battle while seeking treatment in Germany this week.Ari says he can’t afford to be paralysed by fear, something he’s taken on board with him every time he’s been deployed.“It’s not something you’d want to over-think as you wouldn’t want to be paralysed by that,” he says. “You need to be professional, stay sharp and frosty with a clear mind in order to be able to do whatever it is that needs doing.”It’s not the first time he’s been deployed to Africa. Ari travelled to Somalia during the famine when Al Shabab still had say over large parts of the country in 2011 and was in Sudan during the peace process to end its civil war in 2005.For the past 20 months he’s been stationed in Kabul overseeing Afghanistan’s first democratic transition of power in the country’s history. He’s definitely no stranger to conflict. As the previous editor of the UN News Centre, the deputy spokesperson at the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, the public information officer for the UN Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials in Cambodia, Ari has travelled the world trying to uphold peace and make sure the world knows what’s going on. Born in Emerald in central Queensland and growing up in a Greek Australian family in Brisbane, it must be hard for his mother to deal with his dangerous roles. “My mother does worry, but at the same time, she’s also been a rock throughout my life and work,” he says.“When I’ve been deployed to hotspots, despite her worry and concern she’s been supportive all the way.”As a young boy, Ari was buoyed by the pursuit of truth and innately curious about the world. That pushed him into a career in journalism.From selling newspaper outside Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital and getting 3.5 cents for each newspaper sold, to eventually working for the ABC and moving around the world for his job, journalism fed his need to be a good storyteller and a campaigner for what’s right.“It’s one of the best ways to learn about people, society, life,” he says.“I think most journalists have inside them a strong sense of idealism, of speaking truth to power, of keeping people informed of important issues, of doing some good for society.“There’s this innate desire to help make the world a better place.”That made the switch to the UN a natural step, he says.His first job at the UN was working under the then Secretary General, Kofi Annan in New York. While he’s still based there, Ari has never stayed there for too long, always being transported to places in need.Entering warzones, countries ravaged by famine and disease, the job is never easy.In January this year, he saw four of his fellow UN employees die after a suicide bomb attack in Kabul. Seeing such atrocities, living in warzones and seeing the worst of bad and unfair leadership has given him a unique view on the world and the need for peace.“I’ve seen too much of what conflict can do to people and society to ever think it necessary for the greater good, for any greater good,” he says.“I really do believe that any differences or contentious issues between people can be resolved through a mix of reasonableness, goodwill and compromise.” Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Sep
21

No more plastic bags in Alonnisos

first_imgStarting this week, Alonnisos is abolishing the use of plastic bags. The ambitious project is backed by the entire island, which in the last few years has made major leaps forward on issues concerning environmental protection. If it succeeds, the Greek island will become the country’s first area to implement such a pivotal change in daily consumption habits.Protected by the European Union’s Natura program and located in the heart of the National Marine Park of the Northern Sporades, Alonnisos hopes to earn the title of the country’s “greenest” island.“People here have had environmental concerns for a number of years, regardless of laws and prohibitions,” said Alonnisos Mayor Petros Vafinis. “There is an eco conscience, which the older generation might have referred to in another way, but essentially, it exists.”Vafinis sounded enthusiastic with regard to the island’s recent environmental achievements. “When we started the recycling program in 2012, I did not expect people, especially older citizens, to participate in the effort. Grandmothers are now first in line at the recycling bins. I’m very pleased with the progress made.”And now the island has declared war on plastic bags.“Last year I took part in a conference about recycling on islands. The issue of plastic bags was raised by some scientists and what I heard had an effect on me. It’s a material which takes 400 to 500 years to disappear and is very damaging to both land and sea. We discussed it at the municipal council and decided to go ahead with the idea, with the help of two nongovernment organizations, the Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal (MOm) and the Mediterranean SOS Network.”Two meetings with the island’s entrepreneurs followed. “We decided to begin the abolition of plastic bags on December 1. Professionals have stopped ordering new shipments and, as a replacement, started putting orders for tissue paper bags and multiple-use plastic ones which they will charge for. Eighty percent of clothes stores are already using paper bags instead. Even outlets selling souvenirs agreed to place orders for paper bags, despite the added expense,” added Vafinis. “The Mediterranean SOS Network and MOm will donate 2,000 tissue paper bags and distribute fliers in order to raise awareness and inform all of the island’s residents. A campaign targeting visitors will get under way in the summer.”“Alonnisos is a small island with tremendous environmental value and a very positive stance when it comes to environmentally friendly practices,” noted Natalia Roumelioti, coastal zone management projects coordinator at the Mediterranean SOS Network. The organization is taking part in Debag, a campaign aimed at raising awareness with regard to limiting the use of plastic bags around sea areas, which began in early September with European Union funding. “Reducing the use of plastic bags is important for the environment, it’s easy and, as of recently, an obligation following new EU legislation. This might sound somewhat ambitious, but I think Alonissos will succeed.”EU directive“I’m very optimistic,” Vafinis added. “Though we don’t expect plastic bags to completely disappear by December 31, we hope to succeed by the end of next year,” he added.In May last year, the European Parliament ratified a directive limiting the use of “thin” plastic bags (of the supermarket variety) based on a specific timetable. Member-states are called upon to limit consumption to 90 bags per person per year by the end of 2019 and to 40 bags by 2025 – it is estimated that about 242 plastic bags are used per person every year in Greece. Alternatively, EU countries are called upon to ensure that there will be a charge introduced for plastic bags by the end of 2018.Source: Kathimerini Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Sep
21

A journey with our language…

first_imgHaving worked and served on committees in the area of languages for many years, I feel very privileged to come into contact with many ethnic groups and I am pleased to see that the sector is thriving. Every experience in this area is also a life lesson, as communities strive to pass on their language and culture to their next generation. In recent years community language schools have been proactive in meeting the challenges that have confronted them and have focussed on improving the quality of teaching and learning.By bringing communities together through our community Language Associations and Community Languages, Australia has assisted in coordinating the efforts of many. It is now normal practice to conduct annual state conferences of Ethnic Schools, which grow each year in numbers.Recently we launched “Love Of Language” website, and the concept of “Language Ambassadors”. We also introduced the Certificate IV in Community Language Teaching via several universities, which helps teachers to develop their skills. Across Australia, there are Ethnic school days, community language school annual dinners and awards nights, a combined effort to encourage a positive approach to embrace language learning.As for our Greek community, currently close to 12,500 students study the Greek language, proving that our beloved language has survived the test of time. Across Melbourne there are now more than thirty accredited community language schools offering Greek studies and the recent initiative “We speak Greek in March” has opened new horizons and a fresh enthusiasm for the learning of the language.Now, unlike the decades of’ the ’60’s,’70’s and ’80’s, where we pushed our children to attend Greek school, our students come enthusiastically! As a community we have worked hard over the years and have undertaken a strong political push to ensure our language grew and was recognized. At present it seems there is some complacency and it is important not to lose this drive and endeavour politically. The question now is, how do we plan to maintain this for the decades ahead, as our first generation grows smaller every day and the demography changes.We should aim to make Greek fashionable and “trendy”. The hope is it will become something popular, like a sport…. We should speak our language at home, at school, at work, when shopping,- wherever we meet another Greek speaker – Speak up! Community Languages Australia has ignited the spark for a national conversation in relation to National Languages Policy. We have encouraged the Andrews’ Governments to restate its commitment to languages. The Minister for Education, The Hon James Merlino, issued a strong supporting statement in December 2015.The scene is set. There is a call for us all to be responsible for speaking Greek, encouraging others to speak Greek.In Australia, the Commonwealth and State Governments support the teaching of languages, and partly contribute funds to support the teaching of Greek and other languages. The Greek Government also contributed and is continuously assisting where possible. I remember some years ago when the Greek Government reduced the number of teachers being sent to the Diaspora, this angered the late Kostas Nikolopoulos.With a well-written article he called upon the Greek National Centre to show “sensitivity and isomerism” after making comparisons with statistics and figures. It was found that Australia was disadvantaged. Since then, of course, much has changed, as the economic crisis of the country had to become the priority and the cuts were necessary!Again, whenever we talked about our language, the words of this worthy journalist:”…Yes, Tasso, it is our responsibility and indeed we must shoulder our responsibilities, are relevant and should be seriously considered!As a result of the crisis again, we have to acknowledge that we as a community, have been benefited as a big percentage of our Greek schools are able to employ teaching staff who came recently and naturally it’s enriching the language skills element in the classroom environment.Again, we need to appreciate the fact that, the Greek State continues to provide some teachers to certain schools and beyond this, provides teaching material, including printed books to the Greek schools around the world and we need to be grateful.We can and should shoulder the responsibility to support the educational practices: Lets us “adopt” in a sense a Greek project, for instance supporting a State school in promoting Greek. There are state schools that offer strong programs as well as our three Greek day schools.– Let us embrace them and assist them in increasing these programs. We need to become ambassadors of our heritage – The cultural space in which we live in.At the same time, we need to show our support to our after hours community language schools conducting classes during the week, or on Saturday. They are organized across Melbourne as is the Victoria School of Languages (VSL), which offers valuable programs, almost free. The Parish schools of the Archdiocese in recent years have grown immensely and offer quality programs. The Schools of the Greek Community of Melbourne have a tradition of over a century and in recent years have developed their educational programs to meet the needs of newcomers with special programs as the Independent Greek Schools equally offer great educational programs, providing diversity of choice to the parents.Yes, we have many philanthropic/cultural associations witch played an important role in the past but, as the years are changing the needs of our community are changing too, and it’s time to invest by contributing and supporting our Greek language and culture providers financially and continuously.We must all take responsibility. We need to be vigilant and alert, think and act positively!As an ending note, we need to remember that: Bilingual children have a greater chance of academic success and, learning Greek improves literacy, communication and problem-solving skills!The Greek language, apart from linguistic and cultural attributes, offers the possibility of obtaining higher marks in university entrance exams. Studying Greek enables the candidate to have an advantage in the entrance exam, by obtaining an extra 10% (bonus mark).Congratulations to all students who are studying our Greek language and we should recognize the efforts of parents, teachers and schools in this journey of embracing our language.The challenge lies before us. The building blocks and strong foundations have been laid. Let’s continue to build on these and promote our language and culture together. Let’s be proud of our Greek heritage.*Tassos I Douvartzides is Chairman of the Australian Federation of Ethnic Schools Associations Community Languages Australia Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Sep
20

La Réunion prête à devenir le laboratoire grandeur nature de la voiture

first_imgLa Réunion prête à devenir “le laboratoire grandeur nature” de la voiture électrique, “propre, silencieuse et durable”Île de la Réunion, France – En visite dans les îles françaises afin de leur présenter ses traditionnels vœux présidentiels, Nicolas Sarkozy a annoncé que l’île de la Réunion serait “la première utilisatrice de masse des véhicules électriques” produits par Renault. Dans ce but, 50 véhicules seront expérimentés l’année prochaine.En 2011, La Réunion deviendra “le laboratoire grandeur nature de la mobilité du XXIe siècle, propre, silencieuse et durable” a déclaré Nicolas Sarkozy après avoir annoncé la signature d’une lettre d’intention sur l’expérimentation de 50 véhicules électriques produits par Renault. Cette lettre a été signée par six partenaires dont Renault, EDF, Total et l’américain GE.”Dès 2011, les premiers véhicules électriques sortiront des chaînes de Renault” a précisé le chef de l’État. Grâce à l’emprunt national mais aussi à la mobilisation des centres commerciaux, des collectivités, des distributeurs d’électricité et de carburant, l’île “sera la première utilisatrice de masse de ces véhicules électriques” a-t-il assuré. Dans ce but, la construction d’une infrastructure de rechargement performante doit commencer au plus vite et Nicolas Sarkozy a indiqué avoir demandé à la secrétaire d’État chargée de l’Écologie Chantal Jouanno et au préfet Pierre-Henry Maccioni “de coordonner activement les efforts et l’appui des financements nationaux”.Les voitures électriques testées seront reliées à des infrastructures de charge “principalement alimentées par des énergies renouvelables” ont souligné les six signataires de la lettre d’intention dans un communiqué commun. Et EDF de souligner que “ce projet devra démontrer que le bilan global d’émission de CO2 des véhicules électriques à la Réunion est meilleur que celui des véhicules thermiques ou hybrides actuels”.Le 21 janvier 2010 à 10:22 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

Sep
20

Vers plus de sport dans les collèges et les lycées

first_imgVers plus de sport dans les collèges et les lycées ?France – Bonne nouvelle pour les lycéens et collégiens. Ils auront peut-être bientôt l’occasion de se défouler dans le cadre scolaire, et ce sans sanction. En effet, pour prévenir la violence à l’école ainsi que l’absentéisme, le ministre de l’Education nationale Luc Chatel propose de renforcer la pratique du sport dans les collèges et les lycées. Une expérimentation sera lancée dans 100 établissements scolaires à la rentrée prochaine. Ce programme proposera aux élèves de pratiquer du sport chaque après-midi. Les cours seraient alors seulement dispensés le matin, d’où une réorganisation totale des emplois du temps. Sur France Info, Luc Chatel a proposé une journée type : cours de 8h30 à 13h, pause déjeuner incluse, et activités physiques jusqu’à 16h30.Cette expérience sera mise en place dans les collèges et lycées possédant déjà le matériel nécessaire. Une à trois classes en bénéficieront dans chaque établissement volontaire. Ces cours d’éducation sportive seront donnés par les professeurs agréés, lesquels doivent consacrer au moins “trois heures par semaine aux associations sportives”.Actuellement, un élève sur quatre adhère à une association sportive, et Luc Chatel souhaite multiplier ce chiffre par deux. Le 25 mai 2010 à 14:46 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

Sep
20

Le savon noir un produit écologique et économique à redécouvrir

first_imgLe savon noir, un produit écologique et économique à redécouvrirFrance – Dans son ouvrage Comment faire des économies… avec l’écologie !, Jean-Marc Lorach propose divers produits et pratiques conciliant respect de l’environnement et économie. Zoom sur le savon noir, sans conséquence sur l’environnement contrairement à la plupart des lessives actuelles. Utilisé par nos grands-mères pour frotter le linge, le savon noir pourrait bientôt faire son retour en force. En plus d’être économique, il ne rejette aucune substance nocive pour l’environnement, contrairement aux détergents industriels et autres produits d’entretien vendus en grande surface.Le savon noir est biodégradable, il est fabriqué à partir d’huiles végétales de lin, d’olive et de colza notamment, ainsi que de potasse. Il a une teneur en acides gras naturels très élevée (38% en moyenne). Par contre, il ne faut pas le confondre avec l’autre type de savon noir, utilisé en cosmétique pour des gommages de la peau, souvent dans les hammams.Le savon noir dont nous parlons ici, bien que très polyvalent, ne peut pas être utilisé sur la peau. Il permet en revanche de prélaver le linge, voire de le laver en machine, il détache, dégraisse et protège les sols et les revêtements muraux, et peut s’employer sur toutes sortes de matériaux (marbre, carrelage, parquet, linoléum…) ainsi que sur les vitres et les plaques vitrocéramiques. Il a également la propriété de protéger les plantes de certains parasites comme les pucerons. Le 19 juin 2010 à 18:11 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

Sep
20

Luc Chatel présentera en janvier un plan sciences à lécole

first_imgLuc Chatel présentera en janvier un plan “sciences à l’école”Suite à la publication d’un classement de l’OCDE qui place le système éducatif français à une position très moyenne, le ministre de l’Education Luc Chatel a annoncé son intention de présenter dans les semaines à venir un plan concernant l’enseignement des sciences à l’école.Classée 27e en matière de culture scientifique, sur 65 pays, dont sont jugés les systèmes éducatifs, la France entend rattraper son retard grâce à un plan qui devrait être présenté en janvier par le ministère de l’Education. Comme l’a souligné Luc Chatel lors d’une conférence de presse, ce plan aura pour but de “faire en sorte que tout au long de leur scolarité, les élèves soient davantage inspirés par les sciences et aient plus de possibilités de s’engager dans ces filières”.À lire aussiRecyclage : attention votre poubelle vous observeInvité à commenter le classement de l’OCDE, qui place la France au 22e rang pour la culture mathématique et 21e pour la compréhension de l’écrit, le ministre estime que ces résultats, “sont stables, ils sont dans la moyenne des pays développés et de l’OCDE. Un prof dirait ‘Peut mieux faire’ et ajouterait ‘Mobilisation générale face à deux fléaux'”. Ces deux fléaux sont selon lui le nombre important d’élèves en difficulté qui est passé à 20% contre 15% en 2000, et “le déterminisme social”.Le ministère promet alors d’élargir l’accès à l’excellence pour offrir aux jeunes issus de tous milieux sociaux, la possibilité d’intégrer une élite jugée trop étroite. “Nous n’avons pas réussi ces dernières années à utiliser au maximum la massification du système éducatif qui doit permettre d’élargir cette élite. Ce phénomène est plus important que dans la moyenne des pays de l’OCDE et il s’est accentué”, a déploré Luc Chatel.Le 8 décembre 2010 à 16:06 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

Sep
20

Mongolie la capitale OulanBator étouffée par la pollution

first_imgMongolie : la capitale Oulan-Bator étouffée par la pollutionCapitale de la Mongolie, Oulan-Bator compte seulement un million d’habitants. Mais cette ville située à 1.350 mètres d’altitude est aujourd’hui l’une des plus polluées du monde. Une situation inquiétante, qualifiée de “catastrophique” par le président du pays, Tsakhia Elbegdorj.Selon la Banque mondiale, les niveaux de pollution relevés dans les zones urbaines de la Mongolie comptent parmi les plus élevés du monde. Une situation qui s’aggrave en hiver. La température peut en effet descendre jusqu’à -25°C entre décembre et mars, et les familles se chauffent pour la plupart au charbon. Interrogée par l’AFP, Narantuya, une chômeuse de 39 ans mère de sept enfants, ne comprend pas d’où vient ce brouillard qui ne quitte presque jamais la ville. “Je ne sais pas d’où cela vient mais je sais que cela affecte mes enfants. L’hiver, ils sont constamment malades avec des rhumes et de la toux. J’ai tout le temps peur que l’un d’entre eux tombe gravement malade”, raconte-t-elle.C’est dans les quartiers peuplés de yourtes que la pollution est la plus forte, ont noté des chercheurs de l’Université nationale de Mongolie. Mais si l’année dernière, est entrée en vigueur une législation visant à infliger des amendes aux industries les plus polluantes, et notamment les centrales thermiques et les mines de charbon, le texte trop lacunaire ne semble pas porter ses fruits. Toutefois, comme l’a indiqué à la même source Munkhbat Tsendeekhuu, employé du ministère de l’Environnement, le gouvernement a prévu de débloquer cette année 30 milliards de tugriks (17,7 millions d’euros), afin de financer le développement d’énergies propres.À lire aussiLa Méditerranée est officiellement la mer la plus polluée par le plastiqueMais cet argent, les experts craignent qu’il ne soit pas utilisé judicieusement, de façon à lutter contre les réelles sources de la pollution de l’air. “90% de la pollution de l’air provient des poêles dans les yourtes et moins de 10% des voitures et des centrales électriques”, souligne Lodoysamba Sereeter, chercheur de l’Université nationale de Mongolie. “Le gouvernement a dépensé sept milliards de tugriks de 2007 à 2009 pour produire des briquettes de charbon de presse. Hélas elles ne réduisent pas les émissions car les poêles des yourtes ne sont pas conçus pour les utiliser”, déplore-t-il.Alors que “pour l’instant la population ne semble pas convaincue qu’il y a un réel danger”, Onno van den Heuvel, du Programme des Nations unies pour le développement (Pnud), estime que les graves conséquences de cette pollution n’apparaîtront certainement pas avant plusieurs décennies. “Les plus graves problèmes sont devant nous. A long terme, nous verrons les impacts”, souligne-t-il.Le 13 février 2011 à 17:13 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

Sep
20

Facebook ouvre les portes de sa base de serveurs

first_imgFacebook ouvre les portes de sa base de serveursUne équipe d’ingénieurs a travaillé afin de concevoir un serveur et un datacenter plus économes en énergie. Le résultat a été rendu public.Si vous désirez pénétrer dans les mécanismes de Facebook, le site Open Compute Project est fait pour vous. Il est le résultat d’un travail de trois ingénieurs durant 2 ans, qui ont planché sur un serveur et un datacenter adaptés au besoin du site de pouvoir traiter les informations de ses 500 millions de membres en temps réel (photos, messages, discussions…), explique le site Zdnet.Le tout nouveau datacenter de Prineville (Oregon) consomme ainsi 38% moins d’énergie que les installations existantes de Facebook et a coûté 24% moins cher. Les ingénieurs du projet se sont notamment servis de cartes mères Intel Xeon 5500 et Intel Xeon 5600 et AMD Opteron 6100 Series. Surtout, l’ensemble des spécifications techniques des serveurs (cartes mères, alimentation, châssis, rack, armoire de batteries…) ainsi que celles du datacenter sont en open source sur le site Open Compute Project (lien non disponible). Facebook espère ainsi instaurer un “dialogue collaboratif” à partir de cela afin de continuer à progresser pour ce type de structure. Le 8 avril 2011 à 15:28 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

Sep
20

Chasse à la baleine les EtatsUnis menacent lIslande de sanctions

first_imgChasse à la baleine : les Etats-Unis menacent l’Islande de sanctionsLes Etats-Unis menacent l’Islande de sanctions commerciales si le pays ne cesse pas rapidement de pratiquer la chasse à la baleine. Le secrétaire au Commerce américain, Gary Locke, juge “inacceptable” le mépris de l’Islande vis-à-vis du moratoire international sur la chasse à la baleine commerciale.”Le mépris de l’Islande pour le moratoire mondial de la Commission baleinière internationale (CBI) sur la chasse à la baleine à des fins commerciales est inacceptable”, s’est insurgé le secrétaire au Commerce américain Gary Locke, dans un communiqué cité par Sciences et Avenir. Et de déplorer que le pays mette en danger une espèce menacée “par ses prises de baleines et l’exportation de chair de rorqual commun”, en plus de “saper les efforts mondiaux en vue de la protection des baleines”.À lire aussiQuand des Américains assistent à la naissance d’un bébé phoque sur une plageM. Locke réclame alors de l’Islande qu’elle renonce à cette pratique et se conforme au moratoire entré en vigueur en 1985. Le secrétaire au Commerce américain a dans ce but écrit à Barack Obama. Dans son courrier, il certifie au président américain que l’Islande “mène des campagnes de pêche qui diminuent l’efficacité d’un programme international de protection” des espèces marines. Une certification qui conformément à la loi américaine, permet au président “d’ordonner au Secrétaire au Trésor d’interdire l’importation aux Etats-Unis de tout produit en provenance d’Islande pour la période (qu’il jugera) appropriée” souligne M. Locke dans sa lettre.Ce dernier invite en outre le président à décider aussi de sanctions diplomatiques à l’égard de l’Islande. Comme l’indique l’agence RIA Novosti, Barack Obama dispose désormais de soixante jours pour étudier cette recommandation de son ministre.Le 24 juillet 2011 à 16:33 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Sep
20

Internet lamitié profétudiant bientôt bannie dans le Missouri

first_imgInternet: l’amitié prof-étudiant bientôt bannie dans le MissouriL’Etat du Missouri aux Etats-Unis a décidé d’interdire l’amitié entre professeur et étudiants sur le web. La nouvelle loi entrera en vigueur le 28 août prochain mais suscite déjà la controverse et pose également des questions sur les techniques employées pour vérifier les contacts des internautes.C’est une loi qui va déplaire à bon nombre de jeunes internautes américains vivant dans le Missouri. En effet, le Sénat a proposé dans cet Etat un projet de loi visant à proscrire les contacts entre professeurs et étudiants sur le web. Déja signé par le gouverneur Jay Nixon, celui-ci entrera en vigueur dès le 28 août prochain. Il ne reste donc plus beaucoup de temps aux professeurs et étudiants américains pour faire du ménage dans leurs contacts. Plus précisément, le projet de loi n°54 interdit formellement l’”amitié” virtuelle entre les deux parties. Dans le collimateur de cette loi, se trouve n’importe quel contact d’ordre privé via Internet et notamment sur le réseau social Facebook. Néanmoins, les professeurs pourront toujours créer des pages publiques accessibles à tous, explique 20minutes.fr. En clair, l’optique de ce projet est de permettre une redéfinition des barrières qui existent dans les relations entre étudiants et professeurs, dans le but notamment de prévenir toute dérive éventuelle comme les correspondances abusives, en particulier à caractère sexuel.  Un projet de loi très controverséÀ lire aussiVaricelle, perturbateurs endocriniens et Facebook, les actus sciences que vous devez connaître ce 13 juinToutefois, cette loi qui se veut protectrice envers les jeunes, suscite l’incompréhension du côté du corps enseignant. Randy Turner, professeur au Joplin School District dans le Missouri, écrit ainsi sur son blog : “Pour certains étudiants, cette mesure les empêcherait de se confier à un adulte de confiance qui pourrait être capable de les aider à surmonter un sérieux problème”. Il ajoute que pour ceux qui viennent de la ville de Joplin, ce lien a été particulièrement “positif” dans la mesure où il a été utile pour localiser certains étudiants après la violente tornade du 22 mai dernier, rapporte 20minutes.fr.  D’un point de vue plus technique, Charlie White, rédacteur sur Mashable pose la question suivante : “Est-ce que l’État aura l’autorisation d’accéder aux comptes Facebook, aux ordinateurs ou aux services Internet fournisseur de données dans le but de s’assurer de la présence d’amitiés entre professeurs et étudiants ?”. La mise en place de cette loi pose en effet la question des techniques employées pour vérifier si un professeur ne s’avère pas “ami” avec certains de ces étudiants. Le 2 août 2011 à 11:14 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Sep
20

Hier soir un gros météore a traversé le ciel français et nous

first_imgHier soir, un gros météore a traversé le ciel français et nous l’avons vu !Vendredi soir aux alentours de 21H, un mystérieux objet a traversé le ciel illuminant la nuit d’une forte lumière. Depuis, de nombreux témoins se sont précipités sur le net pour raconter ce qu’ils ont vu, parmi lesquels… Maxisciences qui a eu la chance d’assister au phénomène. “J’étais dans mon jardin vers 21H05 et j’ai d’abord vu une simple étoile filante ; un point lumineux assez classique, qui s’est ensuite transformée en une boule plus grosse et brillante avec une traînée assez longue. Je m’attendais à ce que cette “étoile filante” disparaisse au milieu du ciel comme on peut en voir souvent, mais vraisemblablement il y avait plus de matière à venir brûler dans l’atmosphère !”. Ceci est l’un des témoignages publiés sur le forum de Futura Sciences où depuis hier soir de plus en plus de personnes viennent décrire ce qu’elles ont vu. À lire aussiSpaceX : un satellite d’Elon Musk manque d’entrer en collision avec un satellite de l’ESAEn effet, hier soir vers 21H00, une boule de feu a traversé le ciel et a surpris de nombreux habitants, notamment de région parisienne, qui se sont mis à scruter la nuit particulièrement étoilée pour voir passer le phénomène. De multiples témoins dont fait partie Maxisciences qui a totalement par hasard pu assister au passage du mystérieux objet. Dans la région du Mans, à environ 21h04, une sorte d’étoile particulièrement brillante est apparue dans le ciel. Mais l’objet semblait trop gros pour être une simple étoile et se déplaçait à grande vitesse. Très rapidement, l’objet s’est ainsi rapproché de plus en plus puis une trainée a surgi, transformant le phénomène en une véritable boule de feu orangée. Alors que l’engin poursuivait sa course, la “flamme” s’est faite de plus en plus grosse et celui-ci s’est soudainement séparé en plusieurs fragments qui se sont isolés avant de disparaitre définitivement. Un spectacle véritablement extraordinaire qui n’a pas été si rare ces derniers mois, notamment avec la météorite observée en Bretagne. Pour l’heure, si les descriptions se multiplient, on ignore encore tout du mystérieux objet : s’agissait-il de la combustion d’une grosse météorite ou était-ce déjà un morceau du satellite ROSAT qui doit retomber ce week-end ? Le recroisement des témoignages et l’étude des photographies potentielles devraient permettre d’en savoir plus dans les jours prochains. Le 22 octobre 2011 à 14:38 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Sep
20

Tim Cook touche le jackpot

first_imgTim Cook touche le jackpotApple a offert 376 millions de dollars (295 millions d’euros) en stock options, à Tim Cook, PDG d’Apple. C’est ce qui est inscrit dans un document transmis par Apple à la Security and Exchange Commission. Un million d’actions Apple de récompense pour avoir rempli les objectifs de l’entreprise pour 2011. C’est la valeur estimée à la fin de la séance du 24 août 2011, date à laquelle il a remplacé Steve Jobs à la tête de la firme de Cupertino. Tim Cook a touché le gros lot, puisque cela représente la plus importante attribution d’actions outre-Atlantique depuis 2000, selon le site le Journal du Net. À l’époque, c’est déjà Steve Jobs qui avait reçu 600 millions de dollars d’actions (470 millions d’euros), soit l’équivalent de 4 millions d’actions. Mais, grande différence, ces trois dernières années, Steve Jobs acceptait de recevoir un salaire symbolique d’un euro par an. Contrairement à Tim Cook qui s’est vu octroyé 900.000 dollars (700.000 euros) en 2011. Et, selon Zdnet.fr, le comité des rémunérations d’Apple devrait faire passer son salaire à 1,4 millions de dollars (1,1 millions d’euros) en 2012. Ce n’est pas la première fois que Tim Cook reçoit un “petit” supplément pour bons et loyaux services. En 2009, en tant que PDG par intérim, durant l’absence de Steve Jobs, il s’était vu accorder un bonus de 5 millions de dollars (3,9 millions d’euros) ainsi que 75.000 actions Apple. Le 11 janvier 2012 à 09:06 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Sep
20

HP Open WebOS 10 lancé en septembre 2012

first_imgHP : Open WebOS 1.0 lancé en septembre 2012WebOS deviendra une plate-forme open source en septembre 2012. Le système d’exploitation d’HP deviendra alors Open WebOS 1.0.HP a révélé, mercredi 25 janvier, que le système d’exploitation mobile WebOS deviendrait une plate-forme open source en septembre prochain. Ce processus débutera d’abord par la sortie de la version open source d’Enyo 1.0, le framework des applications webOS. Ensuite, une version partielle d’Enyo 2.0 sera tout de même lancée pour permettre aux développeurs d’évaluer les fonctionnalités que celle-ci offrira, affirme le site ZDNet.WebOS deviendra donc Open WebOS 1.0 au mois de septembre 2012. Une version bêta d’Open WebOS sera disponible en août prochain. WebOS adoptera par ailleurs le noyau Linux en mars. De son côté, Enyo 2.0, livré sous licence Apache 2.0, verra le passage du framework V8 JavaScript au JavaScriptCore. Cette opération offrira la possibilité de concevoir des applications pour WebOS, mais surtout pour les systèmes d’exploitation, très prisés sur smartphones, Android et iOS ainsi que pour Internet Explorer et Firefox. La version 2.2 d’Enyo verra ensuite le jour en juillet 2012. Le 29 janvier 2012 à 09:45 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more