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

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Letters: Di Canio and the indignities suffered by Sunderland fans

As a football fan I've put up with a lot in my relatively short life: the pandering of my sport to big business, the simultaneous breakdown of the ties between football clubs and the communities they once represented and that feeling of being powerless to ever effect real change. As a Sunderland fan I've also put up with a lot: the constant threat of relegation, the disappointment at the ending of hopeful cup runs, countless losses to Newcastle, Steve Bruce and that feeling of being powerless to ever effect real change.

I have now stopped being able to just put up with what is happening at my football club. The appointment of Paolo di Canio is one that, despite me trying so hard to stomach, still makes me angry and disappointed (Report, 1 April). Throughout the bad times, I have always been able to fall back on the idea that my club is more than just the 11 men on the pitch. It represents my city – a city which has been left with little else to be proud of in recent decades. Di Canio's appointment doesn't just misrepresent my city, but is completely at odds with its history. The city has a proud working-class tradition and its electoral record shows plainly that it has a proud history of socialism. Our own version of the Red Flag is sung at matches. There is a proud history of trade unionism across the region, demonstrated no more staunchly than during the miners' strike of the 80s.

The idea that all this matters to Di Canio or to our billionaire US owner Ellis Short is laughable – but it matters to me and others. I know many Sunderland fans who will not be attending a match while Di Canio is in charge. Paying to see games while a fascist in charge of my club makes me sick to my stomach.
Matthew Woolston

• Matthew Goodwin argues that Sunderland should not have appointed Paolo di Canio because of his political beliefs (Comment, 2 April). If we believe in freedom of speech, then surely people must be free to make comments such as "I am a fascist", even if the majority strongly disagree with their views. In repudiating a minority's right to freedom of speech, we would ourselves be guilty of a form of fascism. Where would a natural extension of this take us? My history teacher in secondary school never wasted an opportunity to inform us he was a communist; yet it did not alter the fact that he was a good teacher.

Di Canio's suitability for a job in football management should be decided by his managerial ability, not by whether or not his political views happen to coincide with those of the well-intentioned majority.
Mark Russell
Blackburn, Lancashire

• You report in (2 April) that the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party is looking to spread from Greece to other states by opening offices in Germany and Australia. I wonder if they've considered Sunderland?
Colin Burke

• As lifelong Guardian reader and Sunderland supporter, I can't say I'm enamoured of the appointment of an Italian fascist as a manager. But at least he may make the training run on time.
Ian Henderson
Nottingham © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Graham Ovenden lived in rambling rural idyll with a dark side

Artist portrayed Cornwall home as Eden where children could live as nature intended, but abuse of girls has now emerged

Barley Splatt, Graham Ovenden's estate on the edge of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall, was an extraordinary place to be in the 1970s and 80s. The house was eccentric: a neo-gothic creation built out of Cornish granite complete with turrets and slit windows; the 22 acres of grounds – featuring lovely beech woods and a tumbling stream – were stunning. Ovenden and his wife, Annie, entertained artists, writers and musicians.

Children were encouraged to run free – and naked, in warm weather. They were also asked to pose for Ovenden: sometimes clothed, sometimes in the Victorian outfits the artist kept in dressing-up boxes, but often nude.

When he gave evidence at Truro crown court, Ovenden portrayed the house as a new Eden – a place where children could live as nature intended, unbound by the constraints of a modern world suspicious of nakedness in children. But, it has become clear, there was a darker side to Barley Splatt.

Ovenden was accused by four former girl models, now adults, of abusing them between 1972 and 1985. They told how he would blindfold them and force them to take part in a "tasting game" that ended up in tricking them into taking part in oral abuse. On Tuesday, Ovenden was convicted of six charges of indecency with a child, and one of indecent assault. He was acquitted of five charges of indecent assault, three of them on the direction of the judge.

Ovenden's right to produce candid images of children, often unclothed, has long been defended by fellow artists, and the interest the Metropolitan police has had in him for decades has been criticised. The artist himself continues to insist he has been set up by the authorities, but the jury clearly believed the testimony of some of the women who described abuse at Barley Splatt.

Now a white-bearded 70-year-old, Ovenden had an idyllic childhood in Hampshire. He grew up in a Fabian household, and the poet John Betjeman was a family friend. After school, Ovenden studied at the Royal College of Art and befriended the pop artist Sir Peter Blake, best known for creating the album cover of the Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Barley Splatt, to where Ovenden and Annie, also a talented artist, moved in the early 70s from west London with their two children, became a meeting place for the Brotherhood of Ruralists, a movement founded by the Ovendens, Blake and others as a reaction to the idea that art needs a social message.

In court, Ovenden claimed Barley Splatt had later been "stolen" from him by his estranged wife and son. He told the court he was "penniless".

Ovenden has said his main interest is in English landscapes. But what he became famous – and then notorious – for were his studies of girls. He created a series based on Nabokov's character Lolita, and had worked with Blake on a project around Lewis Carroll's Alice books. He was successful; his work can still be seen on Tate Online and has hung in some of the most famous galleries in Europe, the US, the far east and South America.

Ovenden argued in court that he had a "moral obligation" to show children in what he called a "state of grace". The idea of pictures of naked children being obscene was "abhorrent".

The jury was told that Ovenden was a man of good character, with no convictions, cautions or reprimands. But the subject matter of his art meant he was no stranger to the authorities.

In 1991, US customs seized images connected to Ovenden's collection of pictures of children called States of Grace. A legal battle over whether the images depicted sexually explicit conduct culminated in one of Ovenden's models testifying that she had modelled for the artist since the age of four and he had never acted in a sexual way to her.

But in 1993, police from the Met's obscene publications squad and Devon and Cornwall police arrived at Barley Splatt and took dozens of boxes of photographs as well as videos and books.

Models, their parents and artists spoke up for Ovenden. David Hockney wrote to the president of the Royal Academy: "The idea that children naked are not beautiful seems to me hideous."

Ovenden said at the time: "I have just been through the equivalent of being marked out as a 17th-century witch."

Ovenden's daughter, Emily, a singer, told the Guardian then that her earliest memories were of being photographed by her father. "We were always an open household and as young children would often run round naked … These pictures were just never anything to do with sex."

No prosecution took place, but the police were back in the mid-2000s, again seizing images and material. In 2009 Ovenden appeared in Truro crown court accused of making indecent images of children that had been found in a cache on his computer. The case was a stop-start affair, and in 2010 was thrown out by a judge. Ovenden claimed the police were "transfixed by childhood sexuality".

But police had not just been investigating him over the images: by 1993, officers were speaking to possible complainants. Ten years after that, four women claimed the artist had abused them when they posed for him as girls.

Parts of Ovenden's evidence in court sounded more like an art lecture than testimony in a child sex abuse case. He quoted from William Blake and Henry James. He told the jury that the ancient Greeks and Romans did not have a problem with nakedness – it was a Judeo-Christian hangup from the 17th century.

But some jury members visibly recoiled when they were shown two explicit images of child sexual abuse that were found by police on Ovenden's computer. He accepted he had created the images – composites of pictures from pornographic magazines and his own drawings – and said they were made for a project called Through a Glass Darkly that dealt with the corruption of the "state of grace".

Ovenden said he found the images "utterly vile", but they were the product not of a deviant mind but one seeking to confront evil in a "clear-eyed" way. © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Beware Greek Organizations Bearing Insurance Coverage

Above the Law

Beware Greek Organizations Bearing Insurance Coverage
Above the Law
For those who've never interacted with the Greek system (or seen any college movie ever), college fraternities are merely chapters of larger, entirely corporatized non-profit entities that license their Greek names to local chapters. These national ...
Students kick off Greek WeekIowa State Daily
UCF lifts suspension of Greek lifeOrlando Business Journal (blog)
UCF reinstates Greek Life; 3 chapters still suspendedWKMG Orlando
WFTV Orlando -WDBO Radio -Daily O'Collegian
all 12 news articles »


Let's Do it! Greece

Let's Do it! Greece
Greek Reporter
Last year, Greece hosted this campaign for the first time, thanks to the initiative taken by the Hellenic Solid Waste Management Association (HSWMA) and the environmental association of Attica, Time for Action. Its aim was to, within a day, conduct ...


Greece likely to delay banks' recapitalisation

Winnipeg Free Press

Greece likely to delay banks' recapitalisation
Business Spectator
Greece's central banker is forecasting that an eagerly-awaited recapitalisation of the country's crisis-hit leading banks could be delayed by a few weeks to May. "The recapitalisation will be over in a few weeks," Bank of Greece governor George ...
Greece to extend bank recapitalisation deadline - central bank chiefReuters UK
Bank of Greece: Lenders get more time to recapitalize, emergency levy to be ...Winnipeg Free Press
Greece may extend bank recap deadline to end-May: central bank chiefBusiness Times (subscription) (press release) -Shanghai Daily (subscription) -Reuters
all 18 news articles »


First franchise of Breathe Yoga to open in Greece

First franchise of Breathe Yoga to open in Greece
Rochester Business Journal
The Greece franchise is owned by Carin Laniak and Ryan Barry. Laniak is vice president of account services at Flower City Printing Inc. Barry previously was as assistant principal at Greece Odyssey Academy and will serve as onsite general manager for ...
breathe opens first franchise in GreeceNews 10NBC

all 2 news articles »


Greece's Alpha Bank seeks 12 pct market take-up in recapitalisation

Greece's Alpha Bank seeks 12 pct market take-up in recapitalisation
ATHENS, April 2 (Reuters) - Greece's third-largest lender Alpha Bank said on Tuesday it will seek to raise 12 percent of the 4.571 billion euro it needs to recapitalise from private investors to remain privately run. Greece's four major banks need 27.5 ...


Greek group Goodyís-Flocafe set to enter Libyan market


Greek group Goodyís-Flocafe set to enter Libyan market
ìIt serves to prove that the suffering Greek entrepreneurship doubtlessly possesses the capacity to successfully compete on an international level and make an impression,î Thanasis Papanikolaou, the groupís food catering managing director, stated.


'Big Fat Greek Wedding' star opens up about adopting her daughter: 'None of us ...

Daily Mail

'Big Fat Greek Wedding' star opens up about adopting her daughter: 'None of us ... (blog)
When Nia Vardalos, writer and star of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," reluctantly left her family on Sunday morning to fly to New York to promote her new book, "Instant Mom," she told her 7-year-old daughter she'd left an Easter basket. Her daughter Ilaria ...
My Big Fat Greek Wedding star Nia Vardolas recalls bringing adopted daughter ...Daily Mail
Nia Vardalos Heads Out on Book Signing Tour for 'Instant Mom'Greek Reporter

all 8 news articles »


Credit sector worries inflict losses on Greek bourse


Credit sector worries inflict losses on Greek bourse
Fears that the much anticipated merger between National Bank and Eurobank might not go ahead saw the Greek benchmark sustain fresh losses after the end of a four-day break on Tuesday. However, gains registered by blue chip heavyweights Coca-Cola ...


Greece: 234 MW of new PV capacity in February; renewable energy reform ...

pv magazine

Greece: 234 MW of new PV capacity in February; renewable energy reform ...
pv magazine
According to the latest figures, Greece added 234 MW of PV capacity in February. Meanwhile, a joint declaration of intent has been signed between Greece, Germany and the EU aimed at reforming the country's renewable energy industry.

and more »


Muslims pray at Greek mosque for first time in 90 years

A mosque in Thessaloniki, Greece, welcomed Muslim worshippers for the first time in 90 years on Saturday. The mosque was used a museum and then an exhibition hall.


Eurozone jobless rate hits record high of 12%

Official Eurostat unemployment figures pile pressure on Brussels to implement policies that generate growth and jobs

The eurozone jobless rate soared to a record 12% in February, piling pressure on Brussels to deploy policies to generate growth and employment.

Figures from the European statistics office Eurostat showed that the overall unemployment rate in the 17-member currency union has risen steeply since February last year, when the rate was 10.9%.

Across the EU as a whole, there are now 26.3m people out of work, pushing the jobless rate to 10.9%, up from 10.2% in the same month last year.

The UK, which had until recently succeeded in cutting unemployment, joined a list of 19 EU member states that suffered a rise in February. Only eight countries experienced a fall in unemployment.

The European commission has put forward plans to boost training and apprenticeships for young unemployed people, but has come under increasing criticism for acting too slowly.

Analysts have also argued that austerity policies imposed by Brussels and the European Central Bank (ECB) to bring government budget deficits below 3% have harmed growth and proved counterproductive.

Despite operating against a backdrop of rising unemployment and falling inflation, the ECB president, Mario Draghi, has so far resisted easing monetary policy in a similar vein to the Bank of England and US Federal Reserve, which have pumped vast sums into their respective economies under the policy of quantitative easing (QE).

The ECB meets on Thursday to consider cutting interest rates to boost growth, but it is expected to maintain the current 0.75% base rate and reject pleas to adopt QE.

Andrea Broughton, principal research fellow at the Institute for Employment Studies, said Brussels risked creating a lost generation of young people who have left school of college only to join the dole queue.

She said: "Youth unemployment remains the EU's biggest employment-related headache, and shows no signs of abating, with an average rate for the under-25s of 23.5% in the 27 EU member states. In Greece, the youth unemployment rate is nearing 60% – a rate of 58.4% was recorded in December 2012. In Spain, the youth unemployment figure is 55.7%."

Brussels launched a youth guarantee earlier this year that urged member states to ensure all young people receive an offer of work, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within four months of leaving formal education or becoming unemployed.

Broughton, however, said that while the initiaitve was supported by EU funds, it was unlikely to have a major impact on the overall figures.

"The EU is aware that urgent action is required to avoid the creation of a lost generation of young people who have been denied access to work. While this is a laudable initiative, based on concrete EU funding, it is unlikely to make any significant inroads into the youth unemployment figures for some time," she said.

The country with the lowest unemployment was Austria, according to Eurostat, with an unemployment rate of 4.8%. Germany's rate was 5.4% and Luxembourg's 5.5%. In sharp contrast, unemployment in Greece stands at 26.2%, Spain 26.3%, and Portugal 17.5%. © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Greece Jobless Figure: Youth Employment At 58%

Bayoubuzz (subscription)

Greece Jobless Figure: Youth Employment At 58%
Sky News
Youth unemployment has nearly hit 60% in Greece, new figures on EU unemployment have revealed. According to statistical agency Eurostat's latest available figures, the jobless rate for young Greeks hit 58.4% in December. The figure is expected to ...
Euro-area unemployment at 12%, Greece, Spain 26%MarketWatch
Eurozone unemployment at record 12 percentYahoo! News (blog)
Spain, Greece, suffer as Eurozone unemployment hits recordBayoubuzz (subscription)
FinFacts Ireland -EnetEnglish
all 67 news articles »


Euro area unemployment at record 12 percent

Spain and Greece have mass unemployment and many other countries are seeing their numbers swell to uncomfortably high levels as governments across the region enact tough austerity measures to get a handle on their debts.

"[...] unacceptably high levels of unemployment are a tragedy for Europe and a signal of how serious a crisis some eurozone countries are now in," said EU Employment Commissioner Laszlo Andor.

The worry in the markets is that the chaos surrounding the country's bailout has reignited concerns over the euro and may have further dented confidence across the eurozone — a backdrop that's hardly conducive to job creation, economic recovery and stability across the eurozone.

[...] while markets have improved, the eurozone economy sunk back into recession as many governments in the region enacted big spending cuts and tax increases.

The monthly purchasing managers' index for the manufacturing sector — a gauge of business activity published by financial information company Markit — fell to a 3-month low.

"While in some respects it is reassuring to see that the events in Cyprus did not cause an immediate impact on business activity, with the final survey results even coming in slightly higher than the flash estimate, the concern is that the latest chapter in the region's crisis will have hit demand further in April," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.


Greek neo-Nazi group tries to recruit in USA

BBC News

Greek neo-Nazi group tries to recruit in USA
A rep for the party (which uses a swastika-like logo) says it has decided to create cells "wherever there are Greeks." It intends to set up offices in Germany, Australia, Canada, and the U.S. to seek recruits among a Greek diaspora estimated to number ...
Ban sought on far-right Greek partyThe Age
Greek Neo-Nazis Plan US ExpansionNewser
Greece's neo-Nazi Golden Dawn goes global with political ambitionsThe Guardian
BBC News -Neos Kosmos
all 9 news articles »


Turkish Cypriots: Solidarity tinged with relief

People are seen on the Venice Wall that surrounds the old city, gathering during a Cyprus Aid concert in capital Nicosia, Monday, April 1, 2013. Thousands of people attended a charity concert in Nicosia on Monday designed to help the needy at a time of 15 percent unemployment. Some 50 Greek and Cypriot artists were to perform at theevent at the moat beneath the medieval walls surrounding the old part of the capital. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Barbed wire-topped walls stretch across the narrow, twisted streets of Nicosia's walled medieval city, where abandoned buildings extend across a no-man's land. On the other side, Turkish Cypriots have been watching with fascination — and consternation — as the economy of their long prosperous southern neighbors implodes.


Turkish Cypriots: Solidarity tinged with relief

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Barbed wire-topped walls stretch across the narrow, twisted streets of Nicosia's walled medieval city, where abandoned buildings extend across a no-man's land.

To be sure, the north has long languished as an economic backwater, while the Greek Cypriots in the south enjoyed a post-invasion financial boom that many dubbed an 'economic miracle' and led to decades of sustained growth, eventually allowing them to clinch coveted EU membership.

For Greek Cypriots, being part of the euro club now seems in many ways a shackle — because of the harsh conditions imposed on staying inside, and the even more frightening consequences of leaving.

To the south of the dividing line, the Greek Cypriot economy recovered fast from the invasion, eventually turning its part of the island into an off-shore banking hub that grew to dwarf the island's gross domestic product by eight times — something economists had long warned was unsustainable.

European officials rushed to patch together some kind of rescue, but insisted that ordinary Greek Cypriot savers had to contribute, too.

A new last-minute bailout agreement sparing ordinary savers averted disaster — but for Greek Cypriots, the economic pain is probably just beginning.

Turkey suffered a deep financial crisis in 2001 that forced the country to overhaul its banking system by restructuring and recapitalizing failed banks.


New Greek Woes: Under-25 Jobless Tops 58%

Business Today

New Greek Woes: Under-25 Jobless Tops 58%
Sky News
Newly released jobless figures for Europe show a general worsening, with nearly three out of every five Greek youths out of work. 2:03pm UK, Tuesday 02 April 2013. Greek flags fly in front of the parliament building during a rally in central Athens ...
Unemployment across the eurozone at 12 per cent as survey indicates recession ...570 News
Eurozone unemployment hits record high of 12%The Guardian
More Signs of Weakness in Euro-Zone EconomyWall Street Journal
Deutsche Welle
all 61 news articles »


Neanderthal Fossils Found In Greek Cave Suggest Ancient Humans Crossed ...

Neanderthal Fossils Found In Greek Cave Suggest Ancient Humans Crossed ...
Huffington Post
A trove of Neanderthal fossils including bones of children and adults, discovered in a cave in Greece hints the area may have been a key crossroad for ancient humans, researchers say. The timing of the fossils suggests Neanderthals and humans may have ...
Neanderthal fossils disocvered in cave shed light on Greek

all 3 news articles »