Young man found dead

The body of Greek Australian Eric Birighitti has been discovered off Twilight Beach in Esperance. The 21-year-old soccer player was back in Australia on holiday from the US, where he was attending St Thomas Aquinas College on a scholarship. Mr Birighitti reportedly slipped on a rock and hit his head. He then fell into the water where he was thrown a life preserver, but the current proved too strong, sweeping him further out to sea. A search was launched by authorities, but Mr Birighitti’s body was not found until five days later. He was reportedly sighted by a family, who also spotted sharks nearby. The young man has been remembered as “a bundle of energy, always smiling, always positive”.

Man stabbed in Canberra

Jayscen Anthony Newby, 26, appeared before the ACT Magistrates Court on Monday on charges for the alleged murder of a 27-year-old Greek Australian man. Police said they responded to reports of a disturbance at the Silver Gums townhouse complex in Charnwood on Saturday at 1.30 am, where they found the man suffering from serious stab wounds. He died shortly after being taken to hospital. Later that day Mr Newby handed himself into the Canberra City Police Station. According to police they are working with a witness believed to have been in the house when the alleged incident took place. Mr Newby did not enter a plea or apply for bail, and will be remanded in custody to front court again on 10 March.

Prankster faces court

Michael Alexander Philippou has faced court following a stunt for his popular RackaRacka YouTube channel. A video shows Mr Philippou driving with Jackson Doherty while wearing a breathing apparatus. Pulling up to a bottle shop, they order beers and drink them while submerged. In creating the video the Greek Australian allegedly broke a number of laws, including driving in a reckless or dangerous manner, driving an unregistered vehicle and failing to wear a seat belt. The Adelaide prankster appeared before Christies Beach Magistrates Court on Wednesday surrounded by supporters and joked with them, at one point even pretending to get stuck in a doorway. Mr Philippou will face court again next month.

New Greek President

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis named Katerina Sakellaropoulou as the conservative New Democracy government’s candidate for the post of the President of the Hellenic Republic, the nation’s highest position, on Wednesday, however consensus will be needed for the bid to be successful. Ms Sakellaropoulou, a female judge who currently heads the Council of State, the country’s top administrative court said she was “greatly honoured” to have been nominated for President by Mr Mitsotakis in a televised address on the state-run broadcaster ERT on Wednesday evening (local time).”I accept the proposal and, if elected, I will devote all my efforts to serving this high duty, as set out by the constitution,” she said, adding that the choice to propose her for the country’s highest office “honours both justice and the modern Greek woman.”

Greek Google chief

Peggy Antonakou is the new General Director for Google for the Southeastern European region, a role based in Greece. She said that the “power of technology to change the world is a great inspiration and driving force” for her. She added that she was very pleased with the appointment that allows her to work with a strong team and contribute towards “improving the lives and future of billions of people across the globe.” The Athens-based role also helps upgrade Greece as a strategic hub in the wider region. Prior to assuming this position, Ms Antonakou had served as CEO of Microsoft in Greece, Cyprus & Malta from September 2012.

Embassy attacks

The Australian Consulate in Thessaloniki came under attack by members of the group known as Freedom Initiative just after 8 pm on Thursday night. According to sources from Greece, the offenders broke into an apartment on Fragkou Street where the consulate’s offices are located. they climbed to the consulate’s entrance on the seventh floor and threw paint and papers all over the walls. Papers left behind by the organisation indicated that the cause of the attack was the fight against capitalism and the protection of the planet, as the Morrison government continues to refute climate change arguments despite the disastrous bushfires plaguing Australia. The police arrived on the scene a few moments following the attack, however the assailants had already fled. Investigations to discover their whereabouts are ongoing. A few days earlier, members of the anarchist group known as Rubicon attacked the residence of Arthur Spyrou, the Australian Ambassador to Greece. They scattered flyers and wrote slogans on the walls of the residence located in the upmarket suburb of Psychico.

Saving wildlife

A Greek animal rights group has organised an Australia Bazaar to raise funds for animals affected by Australia’s ongoing bushfires. The Penny Marathon has organised the sale of items created by local craftspeople at the Barking Barber, a grooming parlour in Nea Smirni, Athens. The group came to prominence in 2012 when it launched the Penny Marathon, a 42km charity run and cycle ride from Marathon to Athens in the heat of July to raise awareness of the plight of Greece’s stray cats and dogs. The marathon, which has become an annual event is run in four countries, was named after Penny, a much-loved stray dog. “In addition to raising awareness of adoption and neutering programs and educating the public about acceptable behaviour towards companion animals, the Penny Marathon is a way to honour the work of volunteers who step up – where inhumane or apathetic systems fail – to save the lives of these animals,” explains a Penny Marathon statement. The group also raised funds for animals that were affected by the fires that raged in the Attica region around Athens in 2018.

Greek family

Actor and philhellene Tom Hanks was granted honorary Greek citizenship just last month by President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos. Now the offer has been extended to Hanks’ wife, Greek Bulgarian American actress and producer Rita Wilson and their two children, Chester and Truman. The offer is a way for the Greek government to recognise the help the family offered to victims in the aftermath of the wildfires that occurred in 2018 in Mati and other seaside towns, killing over 100 people.