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

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Will kids go for Greek yogurt?

It’s got less fat and more protein than traditional yogurt, and many adults like the bitter taste. But how do yogurt makers get kids to bite?


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Greek Unions Hold Strike Against Austerity Policies


Truthdig

Greek Unions Hold Strike Against Austerity Policies
Truthdig
Working-class Greeks and other Europeans face a lifetime of paying off creditors as they lack some of the economic protections enjoyed by Americans. Greeks who are unable to pay their mortgages, for example, cannot declare bankruptcy and walk away ...


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UCF halts Greek life activities to address alcohol, hazing issues


WJXT Jacksonville

UCF halts Greek life activities to address alcohol, hazing issues
WFTV Orlando
“Chapter activities will resume when we are satisfied that our Greek culture reflects the values of the UCF Creed and, more importantly, that we can ensure compliance with laws and university regulations governing hazing and alcohol,” said Maribeth ...
UCF Halts All Greek Life Activities to Address Hazing, Alcohol IssuesKnightNews.com
UCF suspends all Greek life activitiesCentral Florida Future
UCF halts Greek life over alcohol, hazing issuesWJXT Jacksonville

all 5 news articles »

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Another austerity strike paralyses Greece


euronews

Another austerity strike paralyses Greece
euronews
Greece is in the grip of yet another national strike. Much of the country is at a standstill. The two biggest unions called the 24-hour stoppage to protest against existing austerity measures, and those to come. Thousands gathered before the parliament ...


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News Summary: Greece's workforce starts to crack


News Summary: Greece's workforce starts to crack
Huffington Post
NO-PAY DAYS: Not only are Greece's 1.35 million unemployed unable to make ends meet, but a growing number of those in work are struggling as more and more companies can no longer make regular salary payments. TAXING TIMES: As well finding it ...

and more »

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Greek tragedy? Papandreou to lecture Ivy Leaguers on leading in crisis


Greek tragedy? Papandreou to lecture Ivy Leaguers on leading in crisis
Fox News
George Papandreou, the former Socialist prime minister who was at the helm when Greece's economic ship smashed on the rocks of fiscal ruin, has landed a job at Columbia University teaching, of all things, how to govern financial crisis. The Ivy League ...


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Irish finance minister says eurozone risk factors receding

Michael Noonan says that 'things have settled down now in the eurozone and there is an expectation of stability continuing'

The Irish finance minister has claimed that outside investors are prepared to return to the eurozone, in a sign that a year of turmoil in the economic bloc may be coming to an end.

Speaking during a two-day visit to London, Michael Noonan said Ireland is more than halfway through exiting its European Union and International Monetary Fund-backed bailout and is confident it will beat its budget deficit target this year.

He said the €1.3bn (£1.1bn) sale this week of the state-rescued insurer Irish Life to Canadian life insurer Great West Lifeco was an illustration of how calm had been restored in the eurozone following last year's upheaval.

"The interesting thing is just 12 months ago, the same company was on the edge of closing a deal with the Irish government and problems began to become widespread in Europe and particularly situations in Greece became critical," Noonan said. "They backed off not because of anything to do with the Irish economy but because of the risk factor involved as they saw it in investing in anything to do with the eurozone and now, 12 months later, they are back.

"It also tells you something about the context of the Irish economy in Europe. Things have settled down now in the eurozone and there is an expectation of stability continuing and outside private investors are prepared to invest again."

He told an audience of Irish businesspeople he was absolutely confident Ireland could be weaned off EU and IMF support on schedule by the year's end.


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Greece hit by fresh anti-austerity strike





AFP










Greece was left paralysed by a nationwide strike on Wednesday organised by leading unions in protest against continued austerity in the crisis-hit country ahead of an audit by international creditors.





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Glenn C. Altschuler: Raising Keynes

Challenging but accessible, The Leaderless Economy: Why The World Economic System Fell Apart And How To Fix Itprovides a clear and compelling analysis of the roots of our global financial crisis and the lessons we can learn from it.

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State turns its back on ethnic Greeks in southern Albania


Kathimerini

State turns its back on ethnic Greeks in southern Albania
Kathimerini
The Greek governmentís decision to end the provision of scant pensions to older members of the ethnic Greek minority in southern Albania, previously viewed as a way of maintaining the regionís historical Greek identity, has caused sadness and concern ...


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Thousands rally against austerity in Greece

Riot police in Athens fire tear gas at hooded youths hurling rocks and bottles during a demonstration.

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Greek yogurt popular with adults, will kids bite?


FoodNavigator-USA.com

Greek yogurt popular with adults, will kids bite?
Huffington Post
BOCA RATON, Fla. — Greek yogurt is taking over the dairy aisle, but will kids bite? The question is a critical one for General Mills, which is a dominant player in yogurt for kids, with about half the market. It's also important to Chobani, the leader ...
General Mills trying to gain ground in Greek yogurt marketFood Business News (registration)
BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) — Greek yogurt is taking over the dairy aisle, but will ...Salon
General Mills: Our Greek yogurt sales are significantly outpacing growth of ...FoodNavigator-USA.com

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Agricole aims for positive 2013 after historic loss

Credit Agricole Chief Executive Chifflet and Chairman Sander pose for photographers before the French bank's 2012 annual results presentation in MontrougePARIS (Reuters) - Credit Agricole on Wednesday posted its biggest full-year loss since it went public 11 years ago, hit by unexpected costs from exiting Greece, weaker revenues and hefty asset writedowns. Investors warmed to the French bank's promise of a turnaround in 2013 and a pledge to cut 650 million euros from costs by 2016 through savings on back-office technology, equipment and real-estate. But it will pay no dividend after posting a net 2012 loss of 6.5 billion euros ($8.7 billion), hit by a surprise 838 million euro tax demand linked to the sale of Greek unit Emporiki. ...



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Greece braces for 24-hour general strike


Greece braces for 24-hour general strike
Channel News Asia
ATHENS: Greece is braced for a 24-hour general strike called by the two main unions in protest against austerity measures, ahead of a scheduled audit by the country's international creditors. Doctors, lawyers and teachers are among several professions ...


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Photos: Anti-Austerity Protesters Demonstrate in Athens, Greece


Photos: Anti-Austerity Protesters Demonstrate in Athens, Greece
Denver Post
Riot police has blocked a street to prevent protestorsfrom gathering outside Greece's parliament during a protest on February 20, 2013 in Athens, Greece. Unions have launched general strike against austerity measures in Greece, amid predictions ...


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'Greece becoming third world country


'Greece becoming third world country - economically and democratically'
RT
As Greece struggles to pay back overwhelming amounts of bailout loans, journalist and documentary maker Aris Chatzistefanou says the country is facing an even bigger issue. “When you have huge debt like the one that Greece and other countries in the ...


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Man charged with swiping Dali

Exactly eight months after the "brazen" theft of a Salvador Dali painting from a Manhattan art gallery, a Greek national was indicted Tuesday on a grand larceny charge, according to the New York County District Attorney's Office.

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Credit Agricole tax hit over Greece adds to losses


euronews

Credit Agricole tax hit over Greece adds to losses
euronews
French bank Credit Agricole has posted a 6.5 billion euro full-year loss – the worst since it went public in 2001. One reason for that was the unexpected decision by French tax authorities to disallow a tax deduction Credit Agricole wanted to take ...
C Agricole 2012 loss at US$8.7b on writedowns, GreeceBusiness Times (subscription)

all 21 news articles »

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General Mills trying to gain ground in Greek yogurt market


FoodNavigator-USA.com

General Mills trying to gain ground in Greek yogurt market
Food Business News (registration)
BOCA RATON, FLA. — General Mills, Inc. got what may be described as a late start in the Greek yogurt category, but the company is looking to make up ground by putting some of its marketing muscle behind Yoplait Greek 100. “Six varieties of our Greek ...
General Mills: Our Greek yogurt sales are significantly outpacing growth of ...FoodNavigator-USA.com

all 24 news articles »

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Greece hit by new general strike as jobless rate soars, some 40000 protest in ...


Greece hit by new general strike as jobless rate soars, some 40000 protest in ...
Washington Post
ATHENS, Greece — Tens of thousands of anti-austerity demonstrators took to the streets of Athens on Wednesday as unions staged a general strike to protest government spending cuts and tax hikes, which some predict will push unemployment to an ...


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The six things wrong with Italy – and how to solve them

A stagnating economy, corruption, organised crime, political apathy, misogyny, youth unemployment … The person elected to run Italy next weekend will have a formidable to-do list. We have drawn up a list of the six most pressing things wrong with the country. But we need your help. In the comments section tell us if you agree with the list and add your own suggestions. We will collate the best answers in a blogpost on Thursday

1 The economy

With the effects of austerity taking their toll and fears building about long-term capacity for growth, it is little wonder that Italy's economic situation has taken centre stage in the election campaign.

The country is now in its longest recession in 20 years, the economy having contracted for the last six consecutive quarters and languished in more than a decade of almost nonexistent growth. Unemployment is at more than 11%; for under-25s, it is more than 36%. Italy has the second highest ratio of sovereign debt to GDP in the EU.

It could have been worse. In autumn 2011, when Mario Monti took over after years of successive governments largely ignoring the problem, there were fears that the EU's fourth largest economy might fall into the abyss and drag the rest of the eurozone with it. The technocrat government avoided that disaster scenario and has done much to restore the markets' faith in Italy. Late last year, before the spectre of a Silvio Berlusconi comeback unsettled matters, 10-year bond yields were at a two-year low. It has implemented reforms – including of the pension system and labour market – that are viewed as a crucial part of long-term recovery and could, according to the IMF, lead to a 6% increase in GDP if properly implemented.

But economists say much more needs to be done to effect the kind of deep and lasting change needed to get Italy growing again. They focus on Italy's lack of competitiveness; its untapped labour market resources – women and young people; a thorough reform of product markets and of crucial institutions such as the justice and education systems. Only once these have been properly tackled, they say, will Italy be in a position to capitalise on its strengths, which include a strong manufacturing base, successful exporters, relatively low budget deficit and relatively high domestic savings. The big fear, however, is that the election will not usher in a strong, responsible government, but yet more political instability, which Italy can ill afford.

2 Women

Two years after hundreds of thousands of Italian women took to the streets to protest against Berlusconi's bunga bunga politics, they still have a fight on their hands. Held back by ingrained cultural attitudes, inadequate public services and political under-representation, they may have better educational qualifications than their male counterparts but they are significantly less likely to be in paid work.

Italy's female employment rate is, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 46.5% - better only than Greece, Mexico and Turkey among advanced economies, and 12 percentage points below the EU average. (The disparity is far more acute in the south than in the north, where childcare provision is better and traditional attitudes less dominant.)

"It's a country in which women are still very connected to a traditional vision of their role. Care work is work principally done by women. So we find ourselves in a situation where women aren't getting work," said Maddalena Vianello, a leading feminist activist. "If they get it, statistics show that they are more precarious, worse paid and in professional positions which, let's say, are inferior in relation to their level of education."

The fact that the country's women are a hugely under-utilised resource is starting to gain some traction in political discourse, but the jury is out on whether the next government will translate the rhetoric into action.

One step towards keeping the issue on the agenda would be, of course, a big increase in the number of women in positions of political power. (There is a low base: at the moment, for instance, not one of the country's 50 biggest towns and cities has a female mayor.) According to an analysis of candidate lists published last week, the centre left has responded better to public demand for greater equality, with women making up 39% of the Democratic party's candidates for the lower house of parliament.

3 The justice system

Slow-moving, hugely bloated and sometimes alarmingly politicised, Italy's justice system needs fixing. In a critical report last year, the Council of Europe's top official for human rights, Nils Muiznieks, said Italy could "ill-afford" such an inefficient system, which is estimated to waste the equivalent of 1% of GDP. "The complexity and magnitude of the problem is such that Italy needs nothing short of a holistic rethinking of its judicial and procedural system, as well as a shift in judicial culture," he wrote of the country's "excessive" court proceedings.

Paula Severino, the justice minister under Mario Monti, attempted to improve the situation by pushing through reforms and cuts she estimated would make savings of €80m and improve efficiency. But she warned that, just as Rome wasn't built in a day, a system that was the product of 150 years of mismanagement and waste was not going to be put right in the short term of a technocratic government.

Italy is one of the most litigious countries in Europe, with more than 2.8m cases brought in 2011 alone, and has by far the most lawyers of any EU country – around 240,000. But the system simply cannot cope. Last year Severino said there were backlogs of 5.5m civil and 3.4m criminal cases waiting to be heard, with the former taking an average of seven to eight years to complete and the latter five. The system is clogged up with a vast number of appeals – Italy's top appeals court reviews more than 80,000 of them a year – and, in 2011, €84m was paid out by the state in compensation for miscarriages of justice and legal delays, along with €46m for people wrongly jailed.

A shockingly high proportion of inmates in Italy's overcrowded prisons are awaiting trial. Meanwhile, others remain free pending appeals against lower court convictions. Berlusconi, for instance, was convicted of tax fraud last year. He is appealing against the verdict and is campaigning for a fourth election victory. Often, by the time defendants have completed the two appeals to which they are entitled, the statute of limitations has expired and the slate is wiped clean.

4 Organised crime and corruption

If there is one industry in Italy that has not suffered from the economic crisis, it is organised crime. It is a sector that booms year in, year out. With three significant mafia organisations – the 'Ndrangheta, the Camorra and the Sicilian mafia – the country remains a hub of organised illicit activity, even if the nature of that activity is changing with the times.

Long gone are the days when the scourge was confined to the south; mafiosi now operate throughout the country and beyond. The 'Ndrangheta, for instance, has its roots in Calabria but dominates the European cocaine trade and the huge contracts being put out for tender at Milan's Expo 2015 are under particular scrutiny for signs of mafia involvement.

Long gone too is the image of the gun-toting Godfather-esque gangster: the mafia, while remaining strong in areas such as drug trafficking and prostitution, have also moved into industries such as transport and public health.

During the recession, organised crime groups took advantage of ordinary Italians' plight, offering loans to individuals or businesses with extortionate rates of interest, thus making a whole new group of people beholden to them. According to a report last year by anti-crime group SOS Impresa, the people acting effectively as loan sharks are likely to be apparently respectable professionals. "This is extortion with a clean face," it said.

Estimates of how much this shadow economy is worth vary wildly. Last year, a government-funded report put the figure at €10.5bn, or 0.7% of GDP, while a study by Bocconi University in Milan claimed it was more like 10.9%. Whatever the sum, the problems are clear.

Just as pernicious is the corruption that bleeds the state of billions of euros every year. Twenty years after the Tangentopoli bribery scandal brought an end to Italy's postwar political order or so-called First Republic, the stench of corruption still lingers. Only last week, a series of arrests and graft allegations prompted Monti to compare the situation to that of the early 1990s. "The return of Tangentopoli," declared La Repubblica in a front-page headline, running an editorial entitled Sins of the Elite.

According to an estimate by the state auditor, corruption siphons off €60bn a year from Italy's public coffers – a sum it has denounced as an "immoral and hidden tax paid with money stolen from citizens' pockets". In recent years a series of scandals involving high-profile figures – often politicians – have infuriated people struggling in the recession. Questioned by Transparency International (TI) last year, 65% of people thought corruption had got worse over the past three years and 64% thought the government had been ineffective in attempts to stop it.

In a bid to curb that disillusionment and crack down on graft, Monti's government passed a watered-down anti-corruption law in the autumn increasing jail sentences and banning those convicted (definitively) of corruption from running for public office. It was hailed as a modest step forward but, according to TI, which ranked Italy 72nd of 174 countries in its corruption perceptions index last year, more needs to be done. "This is a first step. Sometimes it's easy to have the law approved but now Italy needs to implement it," said its regional spokeswoman, Valentina Rigamonti. "One of the issues with Italy is we have a very complex legislation; we have huge numbers of laws but most of them are only on paper and there is no implementation. This can give space for corruption." TI also wants to see more protection for whistleblowers and an independent anti-corruption body, she said.

5 Politics

Italy has had more national elections and more governments than any other big European power since the second world war. Only one government has lasted the full five-year term since 1945. In this election, the number of different possible outcomes and permutations is daunting even for the most dedicated student of Italian politics. Apathy and disenchantment are rife. "I've developed a sort of sickness from politics," said first-time voter Gianmarco Caprio. "Here in Italy we get so much of it – on TV, or just when you hear people talk in a bar that one can reach the point of saturation. I've had enough of politics, and of the same politicians that dare to come out and still make the same old populistic claims." One outcome, by no means to be ruled out, would neatly encapsulate the vapidity of Italian politics: if the centre-right wins the lower house but no one controls the senate, the most likely upshot would be ... further elections. And political and economic mayhem.

6 The north/south divide

In 1861, the year of Italy's birth, unification pioneer Massimo d'Azeglio declared: "We have made Italy; now we must make Italians." To what extent this task been accomplished remains, more than 150 years later, unclear. The disparity between wealthy north and poorer south is one of the country's most impervious and worrying problems.

According to the Bank of Italy, GDP per person is more than 40% lower in the south than in the centre and north – a situation that has endured for the past 30 years and has only worsened with the current recession. Unemployment, while on the rise throughout, has become particularly acute in the Mezzogiorno, the southern regions, particularly among young people and women.

In his valedictory New Year's Eve speech, President Giorgio Napolitano repeatedly drew attention to the issue, speaking of the urgent need to invest in the south which, he said, was home to 70% of all children in Italy living in relative poverty. Italy, he stressed, needed a vision of economic growth for "the whole country".

Unfortunately this kind of political message has more often been drowned out in recent years by others that seek to further entrench the differences rather than erase them. All three of Berlusconi's governments depended on the support of the Northern League, whose raison d'être is greater federalism. Once again, in this election, he is running in an alliance with the League, which objected to celebrations on Italy's 150th anniversary in 2011 because – in its eyes – there was nothing to celebrate. (There were also noises of dissent in the south.)

Amid the country's ambivalent marking of unification, Svimez, an association that charts the economy of the south, said that around 580,000 people – many of them young – had left the Mezzogiorno in the previous decade, driven away from their homeland by lack of prospects. Last week Adriano Giannola, chairman of the Svimez, called for "big ideas" from the next government. "Whoever wins the election and goes on to govern the country must not think solely about the spending review and [economic] rigour," he said. "It is clear these are important, but for the south what is needed above all are strategies."

• This article was launched in error and has been relaunched with an amended URL.


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Greek police fire tear gas at anti-austerity protesters


Greek police fire tear gas at anti-austerity protesters
Reuters
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police fired tear gas to dispurse demonstrators in Athens on Wednesday as thousands of striking workers marched to parliament to protest austerity measures. Reuters reporters saw riot police fire a few rounds of teargas during ...


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Greeks strike, march in protest against austerity

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Tens of thousands of anti-austerity demonstrators took to the streets of Athens on Wednesday as unions staged a general strike to protest government spending cuts and tax hikes, which some predict will push unemployment to an alarming 30 percent.

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Greeks strike, march in protest against austerity





ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Tens of thousands of anti-austerity demonstrators took to the streets of Athens on Wednesday as unions staged a general strike to protest government spending cuts and tax hikes, which some predict will push unemployment to an alarming 30 percent.

Limited clashes broke out when hooded youths threw fire bombs and stones at riot police, who responded with tear gas.

Unions are pressing for the renewal of binding collective labor contracts, instead of individual deals that allow employers greater leverage in defining salary levels.

State schools and tax offices closed down, public hospitals functioned on emergency staff, court cases were stalled as lawyers walked off the job, and even neighborhood street fruit and vegetable markets were cancelled.

Unions are also angry at a government decision to scrap collective wage agreements across the public sector as part of an overhaul of state pay scales that will usher in further salary cuts.


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