Welcome, 77 artists, 40 different points of Attica welcomes you by singing Erotokritos an epic romance written at 1713 by Vitsentzos Kornaros

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Recipe for Greek salad with roast chicken

Recipe for Greek salad with roast chicken
3, medium tomatoes, cut into 1-inch wedges. 4, leaves red leaf lettuce, cored and torn up. ½, cup pitted Kalamata olives. 4, ounces Greek feta, cut into cubes. 1, tablespoon chopped fresh oregano. 2, cooked chicken breast halves, removed from the bone, ...


Recipe for Greek-style roast chicken and potatoes with lemon

Recipe for Greek-style roast chicken and potatoes with lemon
Recipe for Greek-style roast chicken and potatoes with lemon. E-mail |; Print |; Reprints |. Text Size: –; +. E-mail. E-mail this article. To: Invalid E-mail address. Add a personal message:(80 character limit). Your E-mail: Invalid E-mail address ...


Greece aid talks break down after Athens rejects further cuts

EU, ECB and IMF introduced 'unreasonable' 11th-hour demands that were not part of deal Athens signed up for, claim officials

Greece's relations with its international creditors were close to rock bottom on Tuesday when its "troika" of lenders walked out of talks crucial to unlocking €31.5bn of aid for the debt-choked country.

The unexpected collapse of talks before Thursday's EU summit followed the refusal by the fragile coalition of the prime minister, Antonis Samaras, to endorse further labour reforms and wage cuts – moves that officials believe would be the tipping point for a society brought to the brink by more than two years of belt-tightening.

Tensions were heightened on Tuesday by the overriding sense that the EU and International Monetary Fund – which along with the European Central Bank form the troika keeping the country afloat – were putting "unreasonable" demands on the table "at the eleventh hour".

Officials claimed the conditions were not part of the deal when Athens signed up to its second €130bn bailout agreement in March. Many rejected the latest demands arguing they would reduce labour conditions "to those of the Middle Ages".

"The troika demands feed recession and galloping recession," said Fotis Kouvellis, leader of the small Democratic Left party as he left talks on Tuesday night with Samaras and his other coalition partner Evangelos Venizelos. "They exceed the endurance of Greek society."

With public coffers set to run dry next month, the government needs agreement over a mammoth €13.5bn package of budget cuts and long-overdue structural reforms, otherwise Greece stands to lose a €31.5bn tranche of aid.

But with the country also mired in unprecedented recession, officials are digging in their heels over the need not to push the austerity-weary nation too far.

"We must conclude the measures but not haphazardly and not at any cost," Venizelos, the socialist Pasok party leader, told reporters after the discussions.

The former finance minister accused the troika "of playing with fire and endangering Greece and the EU".Instead of wishing to conclude the marathon negotiations lenders appeared bent on deliberately stalling the talks, he said.

"I asked the prime minister to make very clear the economic and social conditions of Greece at [Thursday's] summit to explain why these demands cannot be met."

It will now be left to Samaras to explain the latest setback when he attends the EU summit, his first since assuming power in June. The conservative leader, who faces mounting opposition from unions and Greece's increasingly vociferous "anti-bailout" front, had wanted to have the negotiations wrapped up when he flew to Brussels.

"You have to ask why they are doing this. Do they want to push Greece into a corner, do they want the government to fall, do they want to see the country default on its debt?" asked commentator Yiannis Pretenderis on Mega TV's news programme. "It makes no sense at all. These questions have to be asked both in and outside Greece."

In a clear bid to win goodwill ahead of the summit, the government announced on Tuesday that it planned to lease a string of state assets including the country's biggest oil refiner and two largest ports as part of efforts to pay down debt and meet the conditions of its international bailout. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Romney and Obama need to show they care for America's caregivers | Nancy Folbre and Janet Gornick

Democrats and Republicans both talk a great game on family values, but when it comes to pro-family policies, they offer little

In Tuesday's presidential debate, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama will claim they have opposing visions for America's future. But for all the differences they will put forward, both presidential campaigns have something in common: they are long on pro-family rhetoric, but short on pro-family policies. If the campaigns are serious about getting more women voters in their corner, it's time to step it up.

Case in point: neither Romney nor Obama has offered a single policy idea on the campaign trail that would ease the burden of working families who are juggling demanding work schedules with care for children and elderly parents. And neither the presidential nor vice-presidential debates even mentioned the economic stresses that women, in particular, are facing today.

Instead, in August, both party conventions shone the spotlight on candidates' wives, who made emotional appeals about family life. Ann Romney spoke of "the working moms who love their jobs but would like to work just a little less to spend more time with the kids." Michelle Obama recalled her husband's mother turning to her own parents for help in raising her children.

Yet, neither mentioned the value of public support for the services that millions of families need, but cannot afford: high-quality, out-of-home care for young children, after-school programs for older children and long-term care services for family members coping with disability, or with the frailties that come with aging. Neither mentioned the need for laws that would enable millions of workers to reconcile the responsibilities of working for pay and caregiving at home: paid parental leave, paid sick leave, tax credits that could help support family care, or anti-discrimination protections for working women and men with caregiving responsibilities at home. Neither mentioned the many paid care workers who earn inadequate wages and lack their own workplace rights and benefits.

Women voters respond to messages about economic security, experts say. And with Romney beginning to close in on Obama's lead among women, the competition to secure their support is getting fierce. It's a perfect opening for serious policy proposals around caregiving, work-life balance and family policy.

In principle, differences between Democrats and Republicans are stark. The 2012 Democratic party platform emphasizes the importance of walking the walk when it comes to family values – and underscores the value of caregiving at home, as well as in the marketplace. The platform calls for passing the Healthy Families Act, which would provide paid sick leave, and broadening the Family and Medical Leave Act to grant more unpaid leave for caregiving. By contrast, the Republican party platform calls for cuts in public spending and fails to specify any particular tax cuts aimed at helping parents or other caregivers.

But in practice, these political differences have been rendered almost irrelevant by a stalemate over deficit reduction.

One way to break that stalemate is to make a stronger case for caring about care. Much of the money and time devoted to young children and adults who need long-term assistance represents a family necessity. As a result, cuts in programs aimed to help families may reduce public debt, but they increase private debt. In many cases, short-run savings come at the cost of lower long-run productivity.

Further complicating the picture, the quality of care that Americans are able to provide their families varies dramatically depending on household income. The affluent enjoy more workplace flexibility and are able to purchase high-quality childcare and elder care services, while low-income families often linger on waiting lists or rely on public programs such as Medicaid. Middle-income families frequently face the most limited options because they lack the resources to buy private care, yet earn too much to qualify for public programs.

And while both parties have repeatedly reminded us of America's exceptionalism, when it comes to care, our country is exceptional for all the wrong reasons. Out of 20 high-income countries:

• Only the US has no national policy of paid maternity leave in the wake of birth or adoption. As a result, millions of American women are forced choose between returning to paid work before it is feasible, or taking a leave and absorbing an income loss when they need that income most.

• Only the US has no national policy giving workers a right to paid sick days. As a result, many employees routinely go to work when they or their children are ill.

• The US invests the smallest share of public spending in early childhood education and care, constraining parents' employment options and leaving countless children with inadequate childcare.

• Only the US has no national policy guaranteeing workers a minimum number of paid days off each year, resulting in our nation having among the longest annual employment hours in the world.

Those skeptical of European examples point to the debt crisis in Greece and Spain. But most of the countries in northern and western Europe that provide generous support for caregiving are doing as well, or better, than the US in economic terms. Countries like Denmark, Sweden and Norway all have much lower debt-to-GDP ratios than the US does.

Our country needs a national care policy that would help support families wherever they live, and whatever their income. Americans nationwide are standing up and demanding an audience from political leaders and policy-makers. And the Caring Economy Campaign has crafted a set of questions for the presidential candidates that directly asks them what policies they propose to help support both paid and unpaid care.

We need to ask the candidates again and again until we get clear answers. If we don't, we will never know how much they really care. And many women's votes will remain up for grabs. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


The best features from 20 years of G2

Why did we believe Princess Diana, and how would it feel to be under fire in Baghdad, with only the dying for company? Would a burkini be a hit in Oxford – and how did Hilary Mantel rate Kate Moss's perfume? Find out in memorable pieces from the past 20 years of the Guardian's daily features section

Beatrix Campbell on Princess Diana: 23 November 1995

If Princess Diana's words seem "extremely paranoid" – Nicholas Soames' verdict – then let's remember what Diana said about the Establishment for which he spoke. She is their enemy. We believed her because what she revealed was how they made her mad, and how they represent her mutiny as madness. Never before on British television has an aristocratic woman been so eloquent about pain as protest. The reason we believed her was that behind her are thousands of women sent to the tower, to the asylum, to the attic, to solitary confinement. The drama of self-destruction unmasks the impossibility of protest. The Establishment has been locking up women for centuries. It's what they do.

The confidence that they'll go quietly is confirmed by the bumbling megalomania of Charles' marriage. He thought he could love another while scouring the shires of England for a seemly virgin, a girl who would give him sons and secure his mission as a man who wanted to be king. He found an uneducated young woman who, these days, could only come from either the poor or the rich – the only classes for whom gender is destiny.

The monarchy, lest we forget, is the most atavistic monument to patriarchy. The aristocracy disinherit their girls and demand that they deliver boys. Diana is no revolutionary. But never before has a woman in her position articulated mass pain. She has mobilised an army of supporters, and the palace has been forced to show some respect for the impact of her words.

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad in Baghdad: 14 September 2004

I decided to help the guy with the phone who was screaming. I ripped his T-shirt off and told him to squeeze it against the gash on his head. I tried to remember the first-aid training I had had in the past, but all I was doing was taking pictures.

I turned back to the man with the twisted knee. His head was on the curb, his eyes were open but he just kept making the faint sound. I started talking to him, saying, "Don't worry, you'll be OK." From behind him I looked at the middle of the street, where five injured men were still lying. Three were piled almost on top of each other; a boy wearing a white dishdasha lay a few metres away.

One of the three men piled together raised his head and looked around the empty streets with a look of astonishment on his face. He then looked at the boy in front of him, turned to the back and looked at the horizon again. Then he slowly started moving his head to the ground, rested his head on his arms and stretched his hands towards something that he could see. It was the guy who had been beating his chest earlier, trying to help his brother. He was just there dying in front of me. Time didn't exist. The streets were empty and silent and the men lay there dying together. He slid down to the ground, and after five minutes was flat on the street.

I moved, crouching, towards where they were. They were like sleeping men with their arms wrapped around each other in the middle of the empty street. I went to photograph the boy with the dishdasha. He's just sleeping, I kept telling myself. I didn't want to wake him. The man with the bent knee was unconscious now, his face flat on the curb. Some kids came and said, "He is dead." I screamed at them. "Don't say that! He is still alive! Don't scare him." I asked him if he was OK, but he didn't reply. I just ran selfishly away. I reached a building entrance when someone grabbed my arm and took me inside. "There's an injured man. Take pictures – show the world the American democracy," he said.

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Andrea Dworkin – Dear Bill and Hillary …: 29 January 1998

Monica Lewinsky is in a terrible, terrible mess. She's being threatened by a very mean special prosecutor who has unlimited powers. And he plays hard ball. She has my sympathy. Of everyone who is a player in this game, she is the one who is going to be destroyed by it.

We are talking about a man who, in a predatory way, is using women, particularly young women. In this case, a woman who was working as an intern, for no money, because of her devotion to the Democratic Party and to him. In an alcove next to the Oval Office, he simply unzips his pants and she sexually services him.

Bill Clinton's fixation on oral sex – non-reciprocal oral sex – consistently puts women in states of submission to him. It's the most fetishistic, heartless, cold sexual exchange that one could imagine. People are characterising this as a sexual scandal, but it's an abuse-of-power scandal. And it is a very hard thing for someone who is 20, 21, to find herself in the middle of all this, subpoenaed to talk about her sex life.

The second issue that concerns me is what Hillary Clinton is doing, which I think is appalling. She is covering up for a man who has a history of exploiting women. If there is one thing being a feminist has to mean it's that you don't do that. You don't use your intellect and your creativity to protect a man's exploitation of other women.

I have a modest proposal. It will probably bring the FBI to my door. But I think that Hillary should shoot Bill and then President Gore should pardon her.

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Ben Goldacre on Gillian McKeith: 12 February 2007

Call her the Awful Poo Lady, call her Dr Gillian McKeith PhD: she is an empire, a multimillionaire, a phenomenon, a prime-time TV celebrity, a bestselling author. She has her own range of foods and mysterious powders, she has pills to give you an erection, and her face is in every health food store in the country. Scottish Conservative politicians want her to advise the government. The Soil Association gave her a prize for educating the public. And yet, to anyone who knows the slightest bit about science, this woman is a bad joke.

She talks endlessly about chlorophyll, for example: how it's "high in oxygen" and will "oxygenate your blood" – but chlorophyll will only make oxygen in the presence of light. It's dark in your intestines, and even if you stuck a searchlight up your bum to prove a point, you probably wouldn't absorb much oxygen in there, because you don't have gills in your gut. In fact, neither do fish. In fact, forgive me, but I don't think you really want oxygen up there, because methane fart gas mixed with oxygen is a potentially explosive combination.

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Nancy Banks-Smith on EastEnders and biscuits: 25 June 2003

"She's pregnant!" cried Sharon, who had a sulky teenager in tow. The announcement caused smaller waves than one might expect. "Right," said Pauline, finding herself a great-grandmother. "I'll get the biscuits, shall I?"

In EastEnders (BBC1), any minor crisis – fire, pestilence, the sword – calls for a nice cup of tea. For the apocalypse, add biscuits.

Zoe Williams on abortion: 27 October 2006

I remember the first time I wrote about having had an abortion; it was in the mid-90s (the abortion, I mean. And the article, too). A survey had come out saying that one in four women had availed themselves of termination services; I was surprised by how low that figure was, but it also made me think: if 25% of women have had abortions, then surely every one of us, male and female, has a friend or partner or family member, someone very close anyhow, who has had an abortion. Seriously, unless you are very cloistered or you are incredibly judgmental and uptight and nobody ever tells you anything, you will have been aware of an abortion at very close quarters, even if it was not your own.

So why does nobody talk about it, I pondered then, and do again now. Why are there never any abortion jokes? Why is it unthinkable to discuss it without prefacing everything with "of course, it's terribly traumatic, no woman enters into this lightly"? I found it no more traumatic than any other operation I have ever had, no more psychologically scarring, way less painful than anything involving my teeth and considerably less annoying than anything I have had done on the NHS (whose "resources" in this area meant I had to go private, which is entirely against my principles, but did make it very convenient).

It is considered a given, an unarguable tenet of modern society, that you would feel ashamed of having a termination, that you would, in some cutesy, feminine, inarticulate way, feel "bad" about it. You are not allowed to talk about this operation unless it is to say how dirty it made you feel. We are all expected to have these moral objections and yet suffer the business anyway, in the name of pragmatism. Ethically, this is a far dodgier and more repugnant position than mine, which is that I am entirely pro-abortion because I do not consider it murder; if you do not consider this foetus human, then it becomes no more of an issue than getting a tumour removed. If I have any shame at all, it is because, when my health was at stake, I immediately opted out and went private, and I would have hoped before that happened that it would have taken more than an unwanted pregnancy.

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Ian McEwan watches 9/11 unfold: 12 September 2001

These were the kind of events that Hollywood has been imagining these past decades in the worst of its movies. But American reality always outstrips the imagination. And even the best minds, the best or darkest dreamers of disaster on a gigantic scale, from Tolstoy and Wells to Don DeLillo, could not have delivered us into the nightmare available on television news channels yesterday afternoon. For most of us, at a certain point, the day froze, the work and all other obligations were left behind, the screen became the only reality. We entered a dreamlike state. We had seen this before, with giant budgets and special effects, but so badly rehearsed. The colossal explosions, the fierce black and red clouds, the crowds running through the streets, the contradictory, confusing information, had only the feeblest resemblance to the tinny dramas of Skyscraper, Backdraft or Independence Day. Nothing could have prepared us.

Always, it seemed, it was what we could not see that was so frightening. We saw the skyscrapers, the tilting plane, the awful impact, the cumuli of dust engulfing the streets. But we were left to imagine for ourselves the human terror inside the airliner, down the corridors and elevator lobbies of the stricken buildings, or in the streets below as the towers collapsed on to rescue workers and morning crowds. Eyewitnesses told us of office workers jumping from awesome heights, but we did not see them. The screaming, the heroism and reasonable panic, the fumbling in semi-darkness for mobile phones - it was our safe distance from it all that was so horrifying. No blood, no screams. The Greeks, in their tragedies, wisely kept these worst of moments off stage, out of the scene. Hence the word: obscene. This was an obscenity. We were watching death on an unbelievable scale, but we saw no one die. The nightmare was in this gulf of imagining. The horror was in the distance.

James Meek on London's 7/7: 8 July 2005

It was only when you got to the shuttered gates of Angel tube station that the full sense of a capital in the grip of an emergency began to sink in. The Angel crossroads, leading to Clerkenwell, the City and King's Cross, was thick with pedestrians marching on unexpected journeys. It was the kind of weary crowd of clerks on foot that stimulated entrepreneurs into building the Underground railway, the world's first, 142 years ago. In the last century, in two great wars, the Underground protected the people of London from bombs. One ad for the tube in the first world war read: "It is bomb-proof down below. Underground for safety; plenty of bright trains, business as usual." In this century, in a war without clear aims, end or sides, it has become – as, for four years, we have more than half expected – a place where bombs go off.

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Sebastian Faulks visits the battlefields of the first world war: 15 September 1993

The old man sitting next to me on the bus took my hand as he explained how it felt to be wheeled on a general service wagon over rutted ground with the two parts of your shattered leg rubbing together. When we stopped and got off, he showed me where the fire trench had been; he pointed to the German line about 90 yards distant, still marked by the indestructible concrete pillboxes. It was on this exact spot, he said, that his best friend had been blown to pieces beside him. "I picked them all up – none of them was bigger than a leg of mutton – and dropped them into a sandbag. I dug a hole in the ground and dropped the bag in. I marked it with a cross but they never found it."

The following afternoon I was walking with him in one of the eerily beautiful cemeteries maintained by the War Graves Commission where the air of tranquillity given by the clean headstones and neat jars of flowers is threatened only by the terrible number of graves. Suddenly my veteran friend gave a start. He was staring at a headstone at our feet. It was marked with the name of the man he had buried: someone had found the emergency grave and buried him properly. "Oh I say," he said, reunited for the first time since 1915, "Oh I say …"

For some time I had had the impression that the terrible scale of the Great War was something that had not been properly understood by people of my generation. Now, as I stood with the yellowish mud crawling over my shoe, I saw that it was not only larger but much more recent than I had imagined. It was not "history", something that could be kept comfortably at bay: this man was old, but he was cogent and alive. This was the place: here we stood in the same clinging mud – he and the rest of us whose grandfathers had survived. This was his life, and to some tragic but inevitable extent it was ours too.

Sports writer Steve Bierley turns art critic: 18 June 2008

In sport you are always waiting: the great shot, the goal, the end. You are also distanced from the others who watch, the supporters. "Fans with typewriters," an English journalist once scathingly described Scottish football reporters when they were covering their national team. Sports writing demands, though often does not get, degrees of objectivity and balance. But how can you be objective about art? Sport has rarely spooked me. But Louise Bourgeois did, all the time.

Watch sport and you think about sport. Observe art and you discover yourself. Spirals, nests, lairs, refuges. Bourgeois leads you to dark places you are not sure you want to revisit. Sport is the toyshop; Bourgeois proffers no hint of a welcome. Even the "Je t'aime" embroidered on the pillow in one of her claustrophobic rooms seemed like a threat. Rooms inside cages; bones inside glass spheres.

Outside the gallery, on a looped video, Bourgeois speaks about her art as if she were giving a talk to the Llansilin Women's Institute. It should have carried a warning: This woman is deeply dangerous. I go back to the comfort of Roland Garros, though Bourgeois remained a haunting and disturbing presence. I'm still spooked.

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Julie Reid on growing up with blind parents: 1 August 2006

When I ask Mum how she managed to get to the shops with the three of us plus a guide dog, her explanation conjures up an extraordinary picture: "The dog was in front with my left hand and I was guiding the double pushchair with my right hand behind me, with Gavin walking along beside me." It was a quiet area, she adds. There were wide pavements and grass verges and the local shops were a short walk away. "We bought the house because it was near schools, shops and the park."

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Linda Grant on why fashion matters: 21 September 2004

To be alive to fashion and what it can offer us is to understand the importance of the present tense. The possibility that there are always new clothes is part of what keeps us alive.

My immigrant grandfather handed down to his children and theirs the key to our future happiness: "There's only one thing worse than being skint," he said, "and that's looking as if you're skint." He taught us to care about what we wore because he knew how much it mattered, that we were making our way in the world and the deception of appearances were one of your weapons when you had no fixed place in the class system. When my mother died we said in her death notice that she taught us to respect others, that chicken soup could cure almost anything, and that a good handbag makes the outfit. From my father I learned that only the rich could afford cheap shoes. Fashion does not belong to a coterie of the elite, it is not the sole possession of Trinny and Susannah and their draconian rules (however, on the whole, right they actually are), or to the people seated on the gilt chairs in the front row at London Fashion Week, or Paris or Milan. It is the life-long love affair of the individual with their own idea of themselves.

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Amelia Gentleman: life in an old people's home:
14 July 2009

One by one, six widows in their 80s and 90s arrive to sit together at the central table, rolling into the places they occupy every morning. Peggy Dunn drives herself in an electric wheelchair, a highly sought-after piece of equipment provided by the NHS wheelchair services to those deemed sufficiently mentally agile to be safe. Elsie Stone, 89, who has had both legs amputated, wheels herself in, slowly, her chair creaking as she makes her way across the room. ("Come on Speedy," Peggy says. "I can't. My arms hurt this morning," Elsie replies.) Lois Kettly and Violet Grove arrive and wait for someone to bring them breakfast. No one says anything.

Sometime after 7.30, Peggy, who has been here for eight years, breaks the silence to ask: "What shall we do today?" Her companions do not reply. "Let's do something different today," she persists. "Let's go on strike." On strike?" Elsie replies with a pale smile. "On strike from the monotony? It's the same every day. Every day."

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Manal Omar wears a burkini in Oxford: 20 April 2007

One Sunday last month I went for my afternoon swim at my local David Lloyd's fitness club wearing the Islamic-style swimsuit I have been wearing for years. The swimsuit has recently been celebrated by media outlets from Newsweek to National Geographic as an innovative way for Muslim women to become more active. As an American-Muslim woman, I have always been determined to be active without compromising my faith. I have been swimming in capital cities across the world from Rio de Janeiro to Washington DC to Kuala Lumpur, and now London. Although I get curious stares, I have never had any awkward moments when I head out for a swim.

That is, until I came to Oxford.

As I was getting ready to head home from my Sunday swim, I heard a loud voice from a man stating that he needed to speak to the manager about dress code. I picked up on it, but didn't really give it too much thought, until I heard him yelling about "that woman over there" who was wearing the "burkini", the gist of what he was saying seemingly being that it was inappropriate. What the hell is that? The burkini? I could feel a rising indignation at the man's audacity in singling me out in this way. Who had died and declared him the pool police? There were several lifeguards on duty who had seen me swimming there over the previous six months, and none had objected to the swimsuit. It's been nearly a year since I moved to Oxford, and frankly, I had had enough of the anti-Muslim rhetoric in British political life. Now that I was in the middle of it, I refused to stand on the sidelines.

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Benjamin Zephaniah on turning down an OBE: 27 November 2003

I woke up on the morning of 13 November wondering how the government could be overthrown and what could replace it, and then I noticed a letter from the prime minister's office. It said: "The prime minister has asked me to inform you, in strict confidence, that he has in mind, on the occasion of the forthcoming list of New Year's honours to submit your name to the Queen with a recommendation that Her Majesty may be graciously pleased to approve that you be appointed an officer of the Order of the British Empire."

Me? I thought, OBE me? Up yours, I thought. I get angry when I hear that word "empire"; it reminds me of slavery, it reminds of thousands of years of brutality, it reminds me of how my foremothers were raped and my forefathers brutalised. It is because of this concept of empire that my British education led me to believe that the history of black people started with slavery and that we were born slaves, and should therefore be grateful that we were given freedom by our caring white masters. It is because of this idea of empire that black people like myself don't even know our true names or our true historical culture. I am not one of those who are obsessed with their roots, and I'm certainly not suffering from a crisis of identity; my obsession is about the future and the political rights of all people. Benjamin Zephaniah OBE – no way Mr Blair, no way Mrs Queen. I am profoundly anti-empire.

There's something very strange about receiving a letter from Tony Blair's office asking me if I want to accept this award. In the past couple of months I've been on Blair's doorstep a few times. I have begged him to come out and meet me; I have been longing for a conversation with him, but he won't come out, and now here he is asking me to meet him at the palace! I was there with a million people on 15 February, and the last time I was there was just a couple of weeks ago. My cousin, Michael Powell, was arrested and taken to Thornhill Road police station in Birmingham where he died. Now, I know how he died. The whole of Birmingham knows how he died, but in order to get this article published and to be politically (or journalistically) correct, I have to say that he died in suspicious circumstances. The police will not give us any answers. We have not seen or heard anything of all the reports and investigations we were told were going to take place. Now, all that my family can do is join with all the other families who have lost members while in custody because no one in power is listening to us. Come on Mr Blair, I'll meet you anytime. Let's talk about your Home Office, let's talk about being tough on crime.

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Veronica Horwell in besieged Saravejo: 12 October 1992

On the sofa bed in the safest corner of the safest room in this unsafe flat are cuddled Zika and his wife Mina. Cradled between them, Vedrana, five, whose dirty blonde plait wriggles out of the blankets, and Zvjezdan.

The Chetniks – that's what the enemy are called here, never Serbs – have severed pipelines from reservoirs in the hills. Water used to dribble through taps some hours, some days, some places, and could be hoarded in the bath. Now 400,000 Sarajlije, Sarajevans, are waterless. We prowl, watching for a rare tanker hiding itself shyly from snipers, and run towards it. We have the floor-cleaning bucket and the screwtop containers that the supermarket used to sell full of salad dressing. Within minutes of a tanker's arrival, a queue of a hundred, and the driver calling armed police, because he cannot part with all his minimal supplies here. Tempers sharpen with uncertainty. "You bastard, YOU WAIT YOUR TURN."

The driver tries to reverse out. We don't let him, and we follow the spout with our pots even though his wheels threaten to roll over our feet. We're pushing each other now, my tub thrust in over yours, a scrum, we're spilling the stuff.

Those with no shove, thirst. They could walk two kilometres to a bend in the river, where a line waits all day either to scoop the sludge from the bed or to catch the gush from a punctured pipe across it. Vlado helps us, and other friends. He drives the Heap, with his usual alternation of creep and crash, across a bridge to the south old town. In behind the nonfunctioning brewery and the Catholic church. The end of this road, the top of this hill, are in enemy hands: we're thieving water from the Chetniks.

Such water. From a spring in a walled garden, it flows ceaselessly, sweet, cold. All day long the householders hose it into any pot proffered by anyone. Having no coffee or cakes, they instead let us drink water unstaunched. Potatoes have displaced courtyard flowers but up the walls are the soft, scented antique roses of Sarajevo. A bunch is cut to take back for Mina, who allows them a whole half-litre of their own water in a glass. Today we have plenty.

Hilary Mantel on Kate Moss's perfume: 1 January 2009

Its name is reminiscent of what Guerlain long ago called L'Heure Bleue – that time of day, the cinq à sept, when cocktails are stirred and the discreet Frenchman would slip away to meet his mistress before going home to dîner en famille. Velvet Hour will do nicely for sex, but don't expect fidelity; ten thousand women smell like this. It's not really a twilight scent; you're more likely to spray it on before midnight, and lurch home at dawn in a dubious minicab with your shoes in your hand and panda eyes, so that its weary amber dry-down competes with the reek of spilled liquor. An initial sweetness of freesia gives ways to incense, and throughout the evening it hits you with blasts of blatant patchouli, so by 3am you want to crawl out of your skin to get away. It's genius, in its way – the persona it layers over your own, the story it tells. Such a sad little tale, though. A medieval theologian, had he possessed one of Kate's tacky-looking blue flasks, could have used it to explain sin – so warm for the first half hour, and afterwards so banal.

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Operation Clark County: 18 October 2004

G2 launched Operation Clark County to help readers have a say in the American election by writing to undecided voters in the crucial state of Ohio. In the first three days, more than 11,000 people requested addresses. Here is some of the reaction to the project that we received from the US:

Dear wonderful, loving friends from abroad,

We Ohioans are an ornery sort and don't take meddling well, even if it comes from people we admire and with their sincere goodwill. We are a fairly closed community overall. In my town of Springfield, I feel that there are some that consider people from the nearby cities of Columbus or Dayton, as "foreigners" – let alone someone from outside our country.

Springfield, Ohio

Right on! Just wanted to say thanks from California for your effort and concern. This IS a very important election ... Thank you so much for getting involved in our world.




Real Americans aren't interested in your pansy-ass, tea-sipping opinions. If you want to save the world, begin with your own worthless corner of it.

Texas, USA

G2 editor Ian Katz, responding to the torrent of invective his initiative had unleashed, concluded: "Somewhere along the line, the good-humoured spirit of the enterprise got lost in translation."

• What are the most memorable G2 features from the last 20 years? Tell us about your highlights in the thread below © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Greek junior gov't partner rejects labor reforms

Irish Independent

Greek junior gov't partner rejects labor reforms
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The head of a small center-left partner in Greece's governing coalition on Tuesday ruled out new reforms demanded by bailout creditors, which he said would "crush" labor rights in the debt-crippled country. The announcement by ...
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European car sales fall for 12th month

New car registrations in the EU down 10.8% on a year ago – with sales in Spain off 36.8% and Greece posting 48.5% slump

European car sales have fallen for the twelfth consecutive month and are heading for a double-digit decline this year, in the latest indication of the continent's economic struggles.

New car registrations in the European Union fell 10.8% in September compared with the same month last year, providing a darkening consumer backdrop to another day of mounting speculation that Spain is close to seeking a formal bailout. The eurozone's fourth largest economy was the second worst performer in figures published by the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association, posting a 36.8% slump in sales that was surpassed only by Greece, with a fall of 48.5%.

However, analysts said the main point of concern in the ACEA data was the confirmation of a slowdown in northern Europe, where the UK was the only bright spot with a sales increase of 8.2%. Elsewhere, even the continent's strongholds are struggling with Germany posting a decline of 10.9%, followed by a slump of more than a quarter in the Netherlands and 18% in France. Total new registrations in the EU were just under 1.1m, compared with 1.23m in the same period last year.

Neil King, automotive analyst at Euromonitor International, said weak consumer sentiment caused by the eurozone crisis appeared to be filtering into Germany. "With Germany turning negative, that is having a knock-on impact on the few resilient areas such as northern Europe and the premium brands."

Although mass-market brands bore the brunt of the declines, with Renault falling by more than 30% and Fiat tumbling by 15%, premium vehicles were also affected. According to the ACEA, Jaguar sales in the EU fell 10% year-on-year, Lexus declined by 13% and Mini fell by the same amount. Mercedes declined by 6.4% although other German premium brands fared better, with BMW rising by 10.5% and Audi managing growth of 1.4%.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said the UK's domestic industry was still far from its pre-boom heights and will not be immune from the eurozone's troubles. Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, said British consumers had benefited from a weak pound and European manufacturers targeting the more vibrant UK market with aggressive pricing. But that has had a negative impact on car retailers and manufacturers in the UK, he said. "It means that margins are very thin for vehicle manufacturers and their retail networks. It is not a situation that can continue that much longer," said Everitt. "It's a great time to be buying a car because there is a lot of good quality product being offered at exceptional values, but it makes it a tough environment to be working in."

The SMMT expects UK car sales to rise by around 4% this year to just under 2m. However, the ACEA estimates that Europe could be heading for a decline in car sales of between 8% and 10% in 2012, with the upper end of that estimate representing the continent's worst car sales performance in nearly two decades. In the year to date, EU car sales fell 7.6%.

The figures come as car manufacturers grapple with a capacity glut that has saddled the likes of Fiat, Vauxhall and Peugeot with underused plants. Western European plants made just under 16m cars and vans in 2007 but this year that total is expected to be 12.5m, according to forecasts by IHS Automotive. Mark Fulthorpe, analyst at IHS Automotive, said Tuesday's numbers made it even more likely that there will be further factory closures. "All of the evidence points towards that being the most likely outcome of the situation that we have at the moment."

Fulthorpe added that manufacturers are beginning to cut back production "because the opportunity of a better tomorrow in terms of western European demand is just not evident".

GKN, the FTSE 100 company that makes driveshafts, also signalled a European slowdown on Tuesday when it warned of "more challenging European automotive and industrial markets", forcing analysts to reduce profit forecasts. The company said: "Macroeconomic conditions have deteriorated in recent weeks and some softening in order books is now evident, particularly regarding European automotive and industrial markets."

The continent-wide slowdown and car sales has triggered a wave of temporary factory closures. Last month the Vauxhall plants at Ellesmere Port and Luton stopped production for a week due to the "downturn in mainland Europe".

Vauxhall's move was replicated on the continent, with even bigger shutdowns in Italy where Fiat mothballed its Naples plant for a fortnight and Vauxhall's sister company Opel close its Russelsheim site for a total of 20 days this year. Despite the hiatus at Vauxhall, the SMMT expects the UK to produce up to 1.5m cars this year, compared with 1.34m in 2011, due to strong production numbers from premium producers including Mini and Jaguar Land Rover, as well as the Japanese manufacturers with established UK operations, Nissan, Toyota and Honda. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Greek TV's Censor of Gay Kiss Causes Furor


Greek TV's Censor of Gay Kiss Causes Furor
Greek Reporter
Greek state broadcaster NET has denied that it censored a gay kissing scene from the premier of the British-American hit television drama Downtown Abbey at the demand of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party and a religious leader, saying it was taken out ...
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'Downton Abbey' gay kiss edited out in Greece

Greek state television came under fire from the country's main opposition party and critics for editing out a gay kiss on Monday's primetime premiere of popular British period drama "Downton Abbey.Greek state television came under fire from the country's main opposition party and critics for editing out a gay kiss on Monday's primetime premiere of popular British period drama "Downton Abbey.


Greece, troika talks hit snag on labor reforms

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Let there be light in Greece

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Greece vs Slovakia Live Stream Online Free : Watch World cup Qualifying ...

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Greek wine: keep calm, drink up

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MARKET WATCH: Spain Bailout Chatter Lifts European Stocks

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Downton Abbey gay kiss cut by Greek state television

NET accused of succumbing to political and religious pressure, but channel says kiss was edited in line with parental guidelines

Greek state television has come under fire from the country's main opposition party and critics for editing out a gay kiss on the premiere of the British period drama Downton Abbey.

Greek people took to social networking sites including Twitter to complain about the NET channel's decision to axe a scene from episode one of the series showing a kiss between a visiting duke and Downton's unscrupulous footman Thomas. NET defended its move, citing parental guidance viewing rules.

"As incredible as it may seem for a democratic country in the 21st century, officials of the NET television channel censored the scene of a kiss between men from the TV drama Downton Abbey," the Syriza party said in a statement.

"This is of course an obvious case of censorship, an extreme act of homophobia and discrimination which unfortunately, after what has been happening recently, we cannot characterise as unprecedented."

The Syriza politician Dimitris Papadimoulis questioned in a tweet whether the omission was due to pressure from the far-right Golden (GD) Dawn party or religious authorities: "NET 'cut' a gay kiss on the premiere of a top TV series. Who decided this censorship? (Bishop) Seraphim of Piraeus and GD?"

Greek state television said the kiss was not censored but edited out to comply with rules on the time slot and parental consent label given to the show, which was aired at 10.05pm on Monday. An unedited version would be broadcast later on Tuesday night, it said.

"The love affair between the two men … was not censored," said Costas Spyropoulos, managing director of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation. "The kiss was not shown because of the time the programme was broadcast and the corresponding parental guidance warnings." © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Greek state television channel criticised for cutting Downton Abbey gay kiss

Greek state television came under fire from the country's main opposition party and critics for editing out a gay kiss on Monday's primetime premiere of popular British period drama Downton Abbey.


Greek state TV slammed for cutting Downton Abbey gay kiss

Greek state TV slammed for cutting Downton Abbey gay kiss
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek state television came under fire from the country's main opposition party and critics for editing out a gay kiss on Monday's primetime premiere of popular British period drama "Downton Abbey". Greeks took to social networking ...


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