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Greece: Khora Community Centre offers Refugees Hope in Athen’s Exarchia

One of the most distinctive attributes of this community is its free restaurant system which draws refugees to it


Greece, November 3, 2016: The mass exodus of people from the middle eastern countries such as Syria Somalia and Iraq to Europe has the European Union (EU) leaders in a state of panic. With millions of refugees seeking shelter in Europe, each country is trying to fend for itself and many in response have closed their respective land borders restricting migration.

EU has also brokered the EU-Turkey refugee deal in an attempt to curb the growing number of refugees. In this depressing turn of events, the Khora community is trying to improve the standard of living of the refugees.

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Khora community is run by volunteers from different backgrounds ranging from International development to building and teaching in Exarchia, Athens. It is an anarchic place and has such a history of feuds with the government that even the police avoid wandering into the place.

The Khora is run in a five-story building with amenities ranging from dentists to human rights lawyers. It is a legally run organisation that provides a safe haven for the refugees, at least for a short while. Ali shokri, a christian individual who fled Iran due to religious persecution says”Most people want to come here as they need everything from food to education”.

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One of the most distinctive attributes of this community is its free restaurant system which draws refugees to it. A Syrian cook named Hasan Mansur works here and even tries to make staple Syrian and Lebanese food for the refugees .It is also undergoing some work to provide an improved centre.

Another volunteer Lisa Bernte was found saying”The reality is that the borders are closed and politics is not going to change all over Europe. The people are stuck here for a very, very long time”. Additionally, with the legal procedure of migration in Europe painstakingly slow, there does not seem to be any respite for the refugees in the near future. So the community is also trying to prepare the refugees for a long haul by teaching them Greek. Moreover, the closing of the Macedonian border depicts a bleak picture.

People were also found taking self-defense weekly with every age group pitching in, not surprising with the firebombing of near shelter housing refugees.

– by Gulshan kumar Alok of NewsGram. Twitter: @Alokgulshan


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EU Says Little Progress Made in Brexit Talks With Britain

Brexit talks
British Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, David Davis left, and European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier participate in a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels. voa

he European Union’s Brexit negotiator said Thursday that that little progress was made with the U.K. in a fifth round of talks on the country’s departure from the EU in 2019 and that he cannot yet recommend broadening negotiations to include trade.

Michel Barnier said that despite the “constructive spirit” shown in this week’s negotiations in Brussels, “we haven’t made any great steps forward.” On the question of how much Britain has to pay to settle its financial commitments, he said: “We have reached a state of deadlock, which is disturbing.”

Barnier said he would not be able to recommend to EU leaders meeting next week that “sufficient progress” has been made to broaden the talks to future EU-British relations like trade.

The leaders meet in Brussels on Oct. 19-20, and it had been hoped they would agree to widen the talks.

The EU says this can only happen when there has been progress on the issues of the financial settlement, the rights of citizens affected by Brexit and the status of the Northern Ireland-Ireland border.

But Britain says these issues are closely intertwined with their future relations like trade and must be discussed together.

“I hope the member states will see the progress we have made and take a step forward” next week, British Brexit envoy David Davis told reporters.

“We would like them to give Michel the means to broaden the negotiations. It’s up to them whether they do it. Clearly I think it’s in the interests of the United Kingdom and the European Union that they do,” Davis said.

Barnier said the two sides would work to achieve “sufficient progress” in time for a subsequent meeting of EU leaders in December.

Britain must leave the EU on March 29, 2019, but the negotiations must be completed within about a year to leave time for EU states’ national parliaments to ratify the Brexit agreement.(VOA)


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