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

Monday, September 30, 2013

From Golden Dawn to new dawn: Will government crackdown on far-right party mark a fresh start for Greece?

“On a day like this, it’s nice to die pleasantly and standing upright in public view. My name is Pavlos Fyssas from Pireaus, [I’m] Greek with all that entails – not just a flag.” These were the prophetic lyrics of 34-year-old musician Pavlos Fyssas in a hip-hop song he wrote less than a year before being stabbed to death on the streets of his neighbourhood by a middle-aged sympathiser of Greece’s extreme-right party, the Golden Dawn.


The Met: Live On HD Premiere

The award-winning program The Met: Live in HD has been warmly received by the Greek audience in the previous years, surpassing all expectations and proving that the Greek art lovers appreciate one of the most sophisticated forms of art and expression, opera. The audience’s interest for The Met: Live in HD was such that the […]


China Magnet for Greek Shipping Magnates

According to the Wall Street Journal, Greek shipowners, are more and more moving their financing and ship orders to China, given the cheap credit and lower shipyard costs there. As stated in the article, Greek shippers operate 16% of the world’s fleet of dry-bulk and container vessels, and about a quarter of all oil tankers. […]


Matsias Refused to Play for Rybolovlev

Acclaimed Greek clarinet player Vangelis Matsias refused Russian typhoon, Dmitry Rybolovlev’s proposal to play on the Greek island of Skorpios, which the businessman bought from the estate of the late Greek shipping giant Aristotle Onassis.. According to “” Matsias was asked by Rybolovlev’s staff to participate in a special Greek night feast but declined the […]


European Lawmakers Visit Greek Islands

The challenges, problems and development prospects of the small Greek islands in a period of financial crisis, were the main issue of the visit paid by a group from the European Parliament in the South Aegean. The region, because of its geographical specificity is in need of the Structural Funds’ support, in order to achieve […]


Greek NGOs condemn contentious forest bill

Greece’s biggest environmental organizations on Monday said they would not be participating in the Environment Ministry’s public consultation for a new bill that seeks to relax restrictions on construction on public and private forestland, even those area... ...


First Ever Direct Flight From Turkey to Cyprus, in My Lifetime

Two weeks ago I visited Trabzon, a northern coastal city along the Black Sea shore, with Turkey's European Union (EU) Minister Egemen Bağış, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin and British Ambassador to Ankara David Reddaway for a joint regional EU project. During the dinner time, the streets were deserted and downtown was extraordinarily quiet. Only a football match could be able to lock people indoor in such a beautiful autumn evening in Trabzon. There's nothing more important than a Trabzonspor match here. Yes, it was a football match and not an ordinary one though. The professional Turkish football club, Trabzonspor, dubbed The Black Sea Storm, was playing against Greek Cypriot team Apollon Limassol for the Europa League. What makes this match extraordinary was not the game itself. It was the way the Trabzonspor squad went to Greek Cypriot city Larnaca. They materialized the first ever direct flight from Turkey to Greek Cyprus since 1974, the year the island was divided after Turkish intervention and also the year I was born. I asked Egemen Bağış, Turkey's EU Minister, about this first direct flight. He told me a personal anecdote: "I was planning to turn back to Istanbul from Stockholm with Turkish Airlines' scheduled flight. Swedish Foreign Minister, a close friend of mine, Carl Bildt was going to Greek Cyprus then and he invited me to his private jet. He was planning to stop in Istanbul on the way to Nicosia. It was my birthday and he was so kind to organize a mini party on the plane with a birthday cake. Anyway, we landed Istanbul. Everything was alright. But minutes later the pilot came and notified that they can't get the permission to Nicosia. They had to fly first to Athens and then to Nicosia." Carl Bildt Couldn't Make It but Trabzon Did Bildt's private jet couldn't make it but Trabzonspor squad realized the first direct flight from Turkey to Greek Cyprus. The flight actually was carried out by the Greek charter airline company Astra and the permission was taken so as the plane to stopover on the island of Rhodes before it lands in Larnaca. This obligatory stop at Rhodes is due to diplomatic problems as old as me between the two countries. There are currently no direct flights from Turkey to Greek Cyprus, which is not officially recognized by Turkey. However, according to Greek Reporter, after the plane had taken off from Trabzon, the pilot announced that the route had been changed and they will fly directly to Larnaca. The pilot, while the plane was in the air, contacted the Cypriot authorities and after the positive response, he proceeded to landing in Larnaca. So what? A plane which took off from Turkey has landed to Greek Cypriot soil and what happened? For 39 years, throughout all my life, the Cyprus problem was there and no country was keen to take required steps to unite the island, except for the 2004 Annan Plan which was approved by 65 percent of Turkish Cypriots and rejected by 76 percent of Greek Cypriots. Anyway, it doesn't matter how the plan was botched; today the island is still divided and segregated and isolated and poor and dependent and fragile. Turkish Foreign Ministry quickly stated that "the direct flight to Larnaca from Trabzon was not at all a sign of any change in Turkey's policy regarding its position concerning Greek Cyprus. The incident would not lead to a new de facto situation either." I can see this remark was released automatically with a serious state reflex. But it doesn't change the fact that the island is divided. And the statement ignores the chance that Turkey and Greece and Cyprus are all missing to overcome their nonsense problems. For instance, Turkey's flag carrying official Turkish Airlines flies to more than 200 countries and recently realized a nonstop 16 hours flight from St. Petersburg to Buenos Aires, a distance more than 8 thousand miles but it can't make a direct fly to Greek Cyprus from Turkey, which is just 70 miles away from the closest point and takes only 15 minutes. Opportunity Cost a Divided Cyprus I again asked Bağış what if Apollon wants to come to Turkey with a direct fly just like Trabzonspor did. He told me that there's no problem if Apollon wants to. "They are more than welcomed," he said. "As soon as Greek Cyprus lifts its ban for the international airline companies to fly Ercan in Northern Cyprus, we are ready to open all our ports and airports to Greek Cyprus. Direct fly doesn't mean an official recognition." Correctly, today many countries don't recognize Taiwan but they all trade with it. Planes and ships come and go to Taiwan. It became one of the world's most important trade hubs and among the most prosperous countries. Cyprus also has a strategic location in the Mediterranean both as trade and tourist destination but it suffers poverty. The northern part of Cyprus is fully dependent to Turkey like a chronic patient bound to dialysis machine and southern part is bankrupt. The opportunity cost of a divided Cyprus is best understood when it is compared with Taiwan. Turkey and Greece and Cypriots have to make a decision and either continue their nonsense political dissidence or immediately start the negotiations to give way to a united Cyprus. Divided Cyprus, sharing only the sewage system, needs to be reconstructed on the basis of rational policies. As it was said in Lonely Planet, "Cypriots, whether Greek or Turkish, are proud of their nation and feel a strong sense of national identity. The division of their island in 1974 is viewed by many as a temporary setback, and Cypriots look to the day when Cyprus will be a united island once again."


Samaras Tells AJC Greek-Israeli Ties Tight

NEW YORK - Prime Minster Antonis Samaras told guests and members of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) at a breakfast meeting on Sept. 30 that relations are getting closer with Israel and the battered Greek economy is on the way to recovery. The event was hosted by Stan and Marion Bergman in their home, a high-rise apartment with spectacular vistas that impressed Samaras, whom Stan Bergman, the President of the AJC, called ?A visionary we are proud to call our friend.? Bergman set the tone for the meeting by quoting Winston Churchill on the commonalities between Greek and Jewish culture and their contributions to Western Civilization.


Greek PM pledges to eradicate neo-Nazi 'shame'

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Monday pledged to eradicate the "shame" of neo-Nazism as judicial authorities prepared sweeping criminal charges against members of the far-right Golden Dawn party. "We are dedicated in completely eradicating such a ...


Greek-Muslim Hands €8,000 to Police

An interesting story took place a few days ago in Xanthi, Greece, according to police officers. A Greek resident of Xanthi, who belongs to the Muslim minority, found 8,000 euros in a bag and took it to the police. The Greek-Muslim does not appear to be rich, as he is one of the Greeks who […]


Greek PM Samaras pledges to do ‘whatever it takes’ to eradicate far-right Golden Dawn party

ATHENS, Greece — Greece’s prime minister pledged Monday to do “whatever it takes” to eradicate the extreme right-wing Golden Dawn party, whose leadership was arrested over the weekend on charges of acting as a criminal organization after a fatal ...


US, Italian and Greek political woes hit FTSE 100, but builders buoyed by Help to Buy

Leading shares end month on a negative note as US government faces shutdown and Italy sees confidence vote

Markets ended the month on a downbeat note as political chaos in the US and Europe sent shares sharply lower.

As the deadline approached for a US government shutdown, with politicians looking unlikely to reach an agreement on the country's budget, investors headed for safety. Elsewhere the Italian government faced the prospect of a confidence vote on Wednesday after Silvio Berlusconi told his party to resign from the coalition, while in Greece the arrest of Golden Dawn members renewed political uncertainty in the struggling country.

On top of that an HSBC manufacturing survey for China came in at 50.2, up from 50.1 but lower than the initial reading of 51.2.

So the FTSE 100 finished at 6462.22, down 50.44 points but up around 50 points on the month. Michael Hewson, senior market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said:

Market sentiment today has been primarily driven by politics and will likely continue to do so until such time the political situations in both Italy and the US get resolved to everyone's satisfaction, with widespread losses across the board, with Italian markets leading the decliners today.It's not been a great way to end the month, but...equity markets across Europe have had a broadly positive September, and a very positive third quarter, so today's declines while fairly large, do need to be put in that wider context.

Housing companies built up some good gains, following the UK government's decision to bring forward the next stage of its Help to Buy programme, a £12bn mortgage guarantee scheme to boost the housing market, and mortgage approvals reaching a five year high.

Persimmon put on 25p to £10.86, making it the biggest riser in the leading index. Among the mid-caps, Barratt Developments was 6.5p better at 308.6p. Both were also helped by positive comments from JP Morgan Cazenove. The broker said:

The housebuilders underperformed the market by around 11% in the third quarter, impacted by worries over the scale of upside and longer-term sustainability of earnings, driven in turn by concerns over eventual interest rate increases, cost inflation and speculation that Help to Buy could be withdrawn; all of which are concerns that we believe to be misplaced. Despite taking what we view as a conservative stance on house price inflation, volume growth and cost inflation, our earnings per share estimates for 2014 and 2015 are around 25% ahead of Bloomberg consensus. We view the recent sell-off as a buying opportunity.

Among the other builders, Bellway added 53p to £13.15 and Taylor Wimpey climbed 3.4p to 100.4p.

Worries about a slowdown in China, as evidenced by the HSBC survey, helped send mining shares lower. Anglo American fell 22p to £15.18, Glencore Xstrata dropped 7.3p to 336.7p and Rio Tinto lost 44p to £30.23.

Aerospace and defence group were unsettled by the possible US government shutdown, with BAE Systems down 12.3p at 454.4p and GKN 10.1p lower at 342p.

But Shire rose 11p to £24.78, lifted by City hopes for its next range of products and cost saving announcements. Analysts at JP Morgan Cazenove raised their recommendation on the pharmaceutical group from neutral to overweight and their price target from £22.70 to £30.

Among the other risers G4S - currently providing security for the Conservative party conference - edged up 0.4p to 254.3p following weekend reports that an activist hedge fund, Cevian Capital, is pushing for the company to sell its cash solutions arm, which accounts for 25% of profits.

Elsewhere Unilever was down 17p at £24.40 as ING said it could be affected by any negative comments about emerging markets from a Nestle investor presentation. After the market closed Unilever reported signs of a slowdown. The Dove and Ben & Jerry's business said it was on track to meet its 2013 priorities but said emerging markets had seen weaker growth in the third quarter, partly due to currency weakening. Developed markets remained flat to down, meaning overall growth for the quarter would be 3% to 3.5%. In the second quarter it saw a 5% rise in underlying sales.

Reckitt Benckiser edged up 2p to £45.20 despite a sell not from Liberum. It said:

The debate on Reckitt shares is more on how to value Pharmaceuticals (21% of earnings in 2012) than on the core business. Taking reasonable 11 to 12 times EBITDA multiples for the core unit implies an enterprise value for Pharmaceuticals of £6bn to £8bn which could only be justified if Pharmaceuticals' earnings grew 50%-100% in 2014 – we find that unrealistic given current competitive dynamics and recent earnings trends.

Liberum was more positive on ITV, down 0.5p at 175.3p:

Press reports out that ITV has sold the old Granada TV studios in Manchester for £26.5m subject to redevelopment planning permission. Probably not included within analyst forecasts for cashflow (it is not in ours; we have 2013 net cash of £194m) so gives ITV more flexibility if it wants to return cash.

William Hill added 1p to 403p after signing a partnership agreement with gaming system specialist Net Entertainment to distribute its casino games over the UK bookmaker's network.

But rival Ladbrokes lost another 2.5p to 169.2p after falling 9% in the wake of Thursday's profit warning, which was mainly due to a shortfall in its digital division.

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Albanian police seize Greece-bound drugs

Albanian border police on Monday seized 200 kilos of cannabis during an operation carried out near the town of Korca. According to reports the drugs were discovered in two vehicles and were heading to the Greek market. The drivers of both cars managed to ... ...


Siemens shows interest in buying Greece's ROSCO

Greece's privatisations agency HRADF said three companies had submitted expressions of interest to buy a 100 percent stake in ROSCO, the Hellenic Company for Rolling Stock Maintenance. The other two potential bidders were French power and ...


Greek governing coalition rules out early elections

LONDON (ShareCast) - The Greek government has ruled out that it would hold new elections following the arrests of Golden Dawn founder Nikos Michaloliakos, five of its parliament deputies and another 12 party members, all accused of participating in a ...


Golden moment for Ron the Greek

It was hardly a surprise to see Bill Mott standing in the winner's circle after one of the major Grade 1 stakes on Super Saturday at Belmont Park. Mott was the youngest trainer to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, when the doors opened for him at the ...


Why Fascists Do Better in Austria Than in Greece

Both Strache and Michaloliakos are gifted political animals. The Austrian politician records professional-sounding hip-hop music and posts frequent updates on Facebook, where his page has more than 172,000 fans. The Greek ultra-nationalist is a ...


Wanted Greek MP arrested

The government crackdown on the anti-immigrant party marks the first time since 1974 that sitting members of a Greek parliament have been arrested. Golden Dawn has been on the defensive since the September 17 fatal stabbing of a Greek man blamed on a ...


Turkish PM unveils reforms after summer of protests

Some critics say Recep Tayyip Erdogan's proposals do not go far enough in driving Turkey's faltering democratisation

Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, unveiled the first big package of liberalising reforms in years on Monday, making overtures to the large Kurdish minority and proposing that headscarved women be allowed to sit in parliament and work as civil servants for the first time in the history of the Turkish republic.

The proposals, which have been repeatedly delayed due to their potentially incendiary impact, followed a summer of the largest and most persistent anti-government protests in Erdogan's 11 years in power.

At a press conference in Ankara, where journalists were not allowed to ask questions, Erdogan announced that the headscarf ban would be lifted for women in public offices except for those that require uniforms such as the military, police and the courts. The ban has long been one of Turkey's most contentious laws and many analysts see the reform as an important step towards more democratic rights.

The raft of reforms unveiled on Monday It was Erdogan's third package of reforms in more than a decade in office, and he promised more to come. "This is not the first package, and it will not be the last," he said.

The measures partly returned Erdogan to the reformist zeal of his early years in power, after months of being accused of being an intolerant authoritarian because of his draconian, violent response to weeks of street protests in June. However, critics said the proposals did not go nearly far enough in driving Turkey's faltering democratisation.

The reforms aim at keeping on track the year-old peace process between the government and Kurdish rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' party (PKK), to bring to an end to one of the world's longest-running ethnic conflicts, costing up to 40,000 lives over 30 years. Erdogan suggested lowering the election threshold for a political party to enter parliament from 10% to 5% of the national vote, which would finally make it possible for pro-Kurdish and other small parties to qualify.

He proposed relaxing the rules for state funding for political parties, enabling the Peace and Democracy party (BDP), the main Kurdish party, to receive cash. Further reforms include the abolition of the nationalist student pledge in primary and middle schools that forces pupils of all ethnicities to proclaim themselves "honest, hard-working Turks".

Erdogan said the government would allow mother-tongue education in private schools. Kurds, who are estimated to form 20% of the country's population, have long been demanding the right to be educated in their own language. Original Kurdish village names will be restored and a ban on the letters q, w and x – used in Kurdish but not in Turkish – will be lifted.

Analysts welcomed the government's proposals as important to Turkey's liberalisation. "I see [the reforms] as a very positive step in the right direction", said the journalist and commentator Oral Calislar. "Of course it does contain shortcomings, but especially the abolition of the nationalist school pledge and the reform of the election threshold will have a very positive impact on the peace process with Kurds."

The co-chair of the pro-Kurdish BDP, Gülten Kisanak, said the package failed to meet their expectations. "Was this really a package worth waiting for? Kurds wished for the Kurdish problem to be solved, Alevis [Turkey's largest religious minority] wished for freedom of religion, and other discriminated groups in Turkey wished for more participatory governance. They've fought for that for years. We say very clearly that this package does not meet any of these expectations. It is not a package that responds to Turkey's need for democratisation."

Vahap Coskun, an assistant professor at the Dicle University in Diyarbakir, the predominantly Kurdish city in the south-east, said the failure to change arbitrary anti-terrorism laws, which criminalise mainly Kurdish politicians and journalists was a major flaw: "In order to bring the peace process forward, these unjust terror trials need to be resolved," he said.

Many criticised Erdogan's failure to address other sensitive minority rights issues. Kurdish language education in state schools remains impossible and the prime minister barely made any concessions to greater religious and cultural rights for the large Alevi minority. He also failed to restore a Greek Orthodox monastery near Istanbul to its church owners.

"The package is completely cosmetic," said Koray Caliskan, a political scientist at Istanbul's Bosporus University. "[Erdogan] gave more freedom to three letters than he did to 10 million Kurds in Turkey. What about more local autonomy that Kurds have been waiting for?"

Caliskan also complained that mother-tongue education would only be available in non-state schools: "Offering this only to children of the rich is not a step towards more equality in Turkey, but towards greater inequality." He said the lack of any reforms concerning Alevi rights was another disappointment. "Alevis were not mentioned at all. This package is empty."

The government has said it is working on a separate package for Alevi rights. Coskun said Monday's proposals should be met with optimism: "I think that the importance of these reforms should not be understated. Now it is time to pressure the government, both in parliament and in civil society, to continue and move forward with Turkey's democratisation."

TurkeyRecep Tayyip ErdoganKurdsReligionHuman rightsConstanze © 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


Greek prime minister says his government’s aim is to eradicate extreme-right Golden Dawn party

NEW YORK — Greece’s prime minister says his government is aiming to completely eradicate the extreme-right Golden Dawn party, whose neo-Nazi leaders have been arrested. Antonis Samaras said Monday the judicial system is now in charge and ...


Greek PM: Government Aims to Eradicate Golden Dawn

Greece's prime minister says his government is aiming to completely eradicate the extreme-right Golden Dawn party, whose neo-Nazi leaders have been arrested. Antonis Samaras said Monday the judicial system is now in charge and "will take care of ...


Singapore Airlines to Temporarily Resume Flights to Athens

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has planned to resume flights to Greek capital Athens on a temporary basis between June and October next year, targeting at the expected demand during the summer travel peak, the SIA said on Monday. The airlines said it took “the difficult decision” to suspend year-round services to Athens in October last year […]


New Five-day Strike at Universities

The administrative employees of Greek universities are entering the fourth week of mobilizations with a new five-day strike, while university professors announced a strike for October 1 and 2. The deans, in the press release they gave, stressed that they have taken care of freshmen enrollments with an extension of the enrollment period that will […]


Eurozone crisis: can the centre hold?

The patient may appear to be on the mend. But with chill winds blowing in from the European periphery, the euro is far from safe

A little more than a year ago, in the summer of 2012, the eurozone, faced with growing fears of a Greek exit and unsustainably high borrowing costs for Italy and Spain, appeared to be on the brink of collapse. Today, the risk that the monetary union could disintegrate has diminished significantly – but the factors that led to it remain largely unaddressed.

Several developments helped to restore calm. The European Central Bank (ECB) president, Mario Draghi, vowed to do "whatever it takes" to save the euro, and quickly institutionalised that pledge by establishing the ECB's "outright monetary transactions" programme to buy distressed eurozone members' sovereign bonds. The European stability mechanism (ESM) was created, with €500bn (£419bn) at its disposal to rescue eurozone banks and their home governments. Some progress has been made on a European banking union. And Germany has come to understand that the eurozone is as much a political project as an economic one.

Moreover, the eurozone recession is over (though five periphery economies continue to shrink, and recovery remains very fragile). Some structural reform has been implemented and a lot of fiscal adjustment has occurred. Internal devaluation (a fall in unit labour costs to restore competitiveness) has occurred to some extent – in Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Ireland, but not in Italy or France – improving external balances. And, even if such adjustment is not occurring as fast as Germany and other core eurozone countries would like, they remain willing to provide financing, and governments committed to adjustment are still in power.

But beneath the surface calm of lower spreads and lower tail risks, the eurozone's fundamental problems remain unresolved. For starters, potential growth is still too low in most of the periphery, given ageing populations and low productivity growth, while actual growth – even once the periphery exits the recession, in 2014 – will remain below 1% for the next few years, implying that unemployment rates will remain very high.

Meanwhile, levels of private and public debt. domestic and foreign, are still too high, and continue to rise as a share of GDP, owing to slow or negative output growth. This means that the issue of medium-term sustainability remains unresolved.

At the same time, the loss of competitiveness has been only partly reversed, with most of the improvement in external balances being cyclical rather than structural. The severe recession in the periphery has caused imports there to collapse, but lower unit labour costs have boosted exports insufficiently. The euro is still too strong, severely limiting the improvement in competitiveness that is needed to boost net exports in the face of weak domestic demand.

Finally, while the fiscal drag on growth is now lower, it is still a drag. And its effects are amplified in the periphery by a continuing credit crunch, as undercapitalised banks deleverage by selling assets and shrinking their loan portfolios.

The larger problem, of course, is that progress toward banking, fiscal, economic and political union, all of which are essential to the eurozone's long-term viability, has been too slow. Indeed, there has been no progress whatsoever on the latter three, while progress on the banking union has been limited. Germany is resisting the risk-sharing elements of such a union, such as common deposit insurance, a common fund to wind up insolvent banks, and direct equity recapitalisation of banks by the ESM.

Germany fears risk-sharing would become risk-shifting, and that any form of fiscal union would likewise turn into a "transfer union", with the rich core permanently subsidising the poorer periphery.

At the same time, the entire regulatory process for the financial sector is pro-cyclical. The new Basel III capital-adequacy ratios, the ECB's upcoming asset-quality review and stress tests, and even the European Union's competition rules (which force banks to contract credit if they receive state aid) all imply that banks will have to focus on raising capital at the expense of providing the financing needed for economic growth.

Moreover the ECB, in contrast to the Bank of England, is unwilling to be creative in pursuing policies that would ameliorate the credit crunch. Unlike the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan, it is not engaging in quantitative easing; and its "forward guidance" that it will keep interest rates low is not very credible. On the contrary, interest rates remain too high and the euro too strong to jump-start faster economic growth in the eurozone.

Meanwhile, austerity fatigue is rising in the eurozone periphery. The Italian government is on the verge of collapsing; the Greek government is under intense strain as it seeks further budget cuts; and the Portuguese and Spanish governments are having a hard time achieving even the looser fiscal targets set by their creditors, while political pressures mount.

And bailout fatigue is emerging in the eurozone's core. In Germany, the next coalition government looks set to include the Social Democrats, who are pushing for a bail-in of the banks' private creditors, which would only exacerbate balkanisation of the eurozone's banking system; and populist parties throughout the core are pushing against bailouts for banks and governments alike.

So far, the grand bargain between the core and the periphery has held up: the periphery continues austerity and reform while the core remains patient and provides financing. But the eurozone's political strains may soon reach a breaking point, with populist anti-austerity parties in the periphery and populist anti-euro and anti-bailout parties in the core possibly gaining the upper hand in next year's European parliament elections.

If that happens, a renewed bout of financial turbulence would weaken the eurozone's fragile economic recovery. The calm that has prevailed in eurozone financial markets for most of the past year would turn out to be only a temporary respite between storms.

• Nouriel Roubini is Chairman of Roubini Global Economics, and professor of economics at the Stern School of Business, New York University.

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2013

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Uncontrolled immigration is fuelling Greece's violent street politics. The EU needs to sit up and take notice

There is a world of difference between the educated Eastern Europeans that have come to Britain in recent years, for example, and the kind that traipse across the border to Greece, many of whom are from Afghanistan, Iraq and war-torn parts of ...


Turkey Reform Proposals Include Changes On Use Of Kurdish Language And Islamic Headscarves

ANKARA, Turkey -- Turkey's prime minister on Monday announced a long-awaited package of proposals aimed at democratic reform, including lifting some restrictions on the use of the Kurdish language and on wearing Islamic headscarves. The reforms are seen as key to the political prospects of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has faced down a flurry of protests by Turks weary of what they consider his heavy-handed rule. Erdogan and his party face a series of elections over the next two years, but it is unclear if the reforms will go far enough to appease his critics, energize his conservative base and help restore momentum to peace negotiations with a Kurdish minority that has been seeking more autonomy. Erdogan called the reforms a historic step in solidifying Turkey's democracy. "Turkey is progressing in an irrevocable way on the path of democratization," he said. The unveiling of the package has been delayed a number of times as talks with Kurdish leaders stalled. Kurdish rebels said this month they were suspending their pullout from Turkey into bases in northern Iraq, arguing Erdogan's government had not made good on promises to enact reforms to improve Kurdish rights. The reforms had been kept under wraps until Erdogan announced them before reporters in Ankara. They stopped short of some expectations. Erdogan had been expected, for instance, to announce the reopening of the Halki Greek Orthodox seminary in Istanbul, which was closed by Turkish authorities more than 40 years ago. The school, located on an island in the Sea of Marmara, trained generations of Christian Greek Orthodox patriarchs until its closure in 1971. While the failure to address the shuttered seminary is unlikely to have domestic political repercussions, it is a sensitive issue in Europe and in the United States. President Barack Obama, U.S. lawmakers and the European Union, which is pressing Turkey to improve religious rights, have called on the Turkish government to allow the seminary to reopen. Kurdish groups had also demanded that Erdogan go further on liberalizing restrictions on the use of their language, so that Kurdish children would have the right to education in their mother tongue. Kurds see current restrictions as one of the key tools of cultural repression in Turkey, and the issue has been a source of tension that has fueled more than 30 years of violent conflict. Kurds make up 20 percent of Turkey's nearly 75 million citizens. Erdogan's proposal would allow private schools to have some classes in Kurdish. The reforms would also allow the letters q, w and x, which are part of the Kurdish alphabet but not the Turkish one, to be used in official documents. The seemingly narrow grammatical law had become a nationalist issue on both sides, forcing Kurds, for instance, to spell their traditional spring festival of "Newroz" the Turkish way: "Nevroz." The restrictions have been used to prosecute activists and journalists. The proposals would also loosen restrictions on political activities in languages other than Turkish. Following the announcement, Gultan Kisanak, co-chairwoman of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, expressed disappointment and said it was aimed more at political concerns than expanding democracy. "This is not a democracy package, it is an AKP election package," she said, referring to the abbreviation of Erdogan's Justice and Development Party. The proposals include another step toward lifting of restrictions on the wearing of Islamic-style headscarves in this majority Muslim republic that was founded under strict secular principals. The move would allow women civil servants to wear the head coverings. Erdogan said the restrictions would remain for court judges, prosecutors and military and security personnel. Erdogan acknowledged the package would not meet all expectations, but he called the reforms more comprehensive than any previous steps in the history of the republic. Some of the reforms would still need parliamentary approval, but with a strong majority, Erdogan's party can pass them without opposition support. Despite the omission of the Greek seminary, Peter Stano, a spokesman for EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule, said that the commission welcomed the announced reforms, which it is still studying. Erdogan has been the driving force behind other reforms essential to push Turkey's bid for EU entry. Though the latest reforms are aimed largely at domestic political concerns, they address issues that the EU has criticized Turkey on.


Greek government seeks to cut Golden Dawn funding

Greece's government has submitted legislation to Parliament aimed at cutting state funding to the extreme right-wing Golden Dawn party following a series of arrests of its members. Supporters of extreme-right Golden Dawn party shout slogans ...


‘Greek is the one who embraces the Greek…

in other words it consists of the New Generation of Greek Citizens. As a collective we started a campaign to collect signatures and inform the world about the issues migrant origin children face in Greece today. Legally and socially invisible, these ...


Greek Revival in South Carolina

This home on an island community was built in the last decade, but boasts many of the architectural hallmarks of antebellum design.


Greece Golden Dawn weakened but not defeated

acted against the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn group, the government of Antonis Samaras surprised everyone with its speed and determination. The head-on confrontation was a long time coming; ...


Ex-Golden Dawn members reveal neo-Nazi party's 'criminal acts'

Athens (AFP) - Greece's Golden Dawn neo-Nazi party regularly organised "assault militias" in which dozens of members would ride the streets on motorbikes, hitting immigrants with a stick, according to a government report and testimonies cited in the Greek press on Monday.


Literary author Alexander Maksik tests boundaries between fact and fiction

by  Associated Press Literary author tests rules of fact and fiction by HILLEL ITALIE, Associated Press - 30 September 2013 10:20-04:00

NEW YORK (AP) — Alexander Maksik, a 40-year-old literary novelist, has learned a great deal about life and art and the unexpected ways they can meet.

A graduate of the University of Iowa's celebrated creative writing school, he is a widely praised author whose books include "You Deserve Nothing," about an American teacher in Paris fired for having an affair with a student, and a new release, "A Marker to Measure Drift," about a homeless Liberian woman on a Greek island.

But in an otherwise exemplary career, there is one catch: "You Deserve Nothing" was based on real events, about Maksik and his student, and has become the subject of ongoing debate. Several one-star reviews appeared on, from commenters alleging that they were former students at the American School of Paris who were disgusted by the book. Some reviewers who liked "You Deserve Nothing" were unsettled when they learned of the similarities, first revealed on the website Jezebel, between the author and his character.

"At the first hint that the affair — between a 17-year-old girl and a 33-year-old man — was real, I felt my stomach twist," wrote Brian Hurley of "What had been a racy, convention-defying romance in the novel suddenly felt like a craven, embarrassing scandal."

Maksik has been reluctant to discuss the controversy, but spoke at length about it during a recent interview with The Associated Press. Drinking tea at a cafe on Manhattan's Upper West Side, Maksik is as regretful about his private behavior as he is forceful about his right to use it for his novel, one he thinks should be liked or dismissed based on the quality of the book itself.

"I was in bad shape, and this thing had happened and I wondered how I allowed it to happen, how I had made all these decisions," says Maksik, whose graying hair is offset by his youthful, open expression.

"And it was a very upsetting time for me. I was humiliated. I was ashamed and angry at myself and angry in general. And this was the only thing I thought I could do," he says. "It was an effort to make sense of what had happened, and an effort to turn this horrible experience into some version of art."

Maksik is in privileged company when it comes to turning private experience into literary material. Truman Capote alienated high society friends when he transcribed their intimate conversations into his novel "Answered Prayers." Poet Robert Lowell quoted from the letters of his ex-wife, Elizabeth Hardwick, in his collection "The Dolphin." John Cheever drew upon embarrassing family moments for his short stories.

Maksik began working on the book soon after he lost his job in 2006. He wanted to tell a story of moral failure.

"I had times that I felt, 'You can't do this.' Then I would say, 'Worry about that when you finish the novel,'" he says, adding that while the book's plot is based on fact, the characters differ greatly.

"Clearly there are parallels, clearly there are similarities. But I was never such a talented teacher. I was never so charismatic. I never had legions of fans."

Maksik says he and his former student remained in touch while he was working on the novel, and she knew he was writing it. According to Maksik, she ceased communication after "You Deserve Nothing" came out. (The woman's identity has not been made public.)

He was unsure if the novel would ever be published, but through author friends his manuscript was read by literary agent Eric Simonoff, whose clients include Jhumpa Lahiri and Jonathan Lethem.

Simonoff said he initially struggled to find a publisher, with some editors put off by the subject matter and others worried the book would not appeal to women. "You Deserve Nothing" was eventually acquired by Europa Editions. Aware that the story was autobiographical, publisher Kent Carroll brought in an attorney.

"We identified a whole series of things — names of people, names of streets in Paris, descriptions of buildings — that we thought might be close to real people, real places — and we had all of those changed," Carroll said.

The son of educators, Maksik was born in Los Angeles in 1973 and grew up in a home filled with books. When he was a teenager, the family moved to Ketchum, Idaho, the final home of Ernest Hemingway, whose Paris memoir "A Moveable Feast" helped inspire him to live overseas.

Even before Paris, classrooms had been the settings for some troubling experiences. In 2002, Maksik was forced out from an Orthodox Jewish middle school in Los Angeles. Maksik had angered parents and administrators by teaching work that included an Arab perspective, including Naomi Shihab Nye's young adult novel "Habibi."

"I was quite young and arrogant," he says. "I think I was right. But I didn't handle it well."

Carroll said "You Deserve Nothing" sold 20-25,000 copies, a high enough number that Maksik attracted strong interest among publishers for his second novel. His editor now at Knopf, Jordan Pavlin, said she competed "fiercly" for "A Marker," which she remembered reading in "one great gulp."

"And when I finished I literally put my head down on the desk and wept. It was truly one of the most powerful reading experiences I ever had."

Now living in Manhattan and supporting himself through his writing, Maksik considers "A Marker" a far more mature and compassionate work than "You Deserve Nothing" — one that risks not being too close to life, but too far from it. In it, he imagines the life of an African woman, Jacqueline, who has fled civil war.

Maksik is working on a new novel, and says his ideal path would be to make each book better than the one before, leaving "You Deserve Nothing" as simply the opening of a great literary career.

But he may not be done with the story: Maksik hopes to reach an agreement soon for film rights to "You Deserve Nothing."

"I'm not concerned," Maksik said. "My interest is the same as it was when I wrote the novel: that it be of the highest quality and evaluated on its merits."

News Topics: Arts and entertainment, Books and literature, Book publishing, Literary fiction, Fiction, Entertainment, Publishing, Media and entertainment industry, Industries, Business

People, Places and Companies: Truman Capote, Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Hardwick, John Cheever, Jhumpa Lahiri, Jonathan Lethem, Ernest Hemingway, Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States, North America

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. This article is published under the terms of the News Licensing Group, LLC. privacy policy, in addition to the terms of use and privacy policy for this website.


Greece clamps down on far-right group

The HinduGreece clamps down on far-right groupThe HinduAt the time of his death, Greek rapper and anti-fascist activist Pavlos Fyssas was little known beyond the country's underground hip-hop scene. But overnight he has become a household name and an unlikely symbol of social tension and racism in Greece.Greece plans new anti-racism law amid Golden Dawn crackdownReuters UKGreece Cracks Down on Far-Right Party, Six Lawmakers ArrestedThe Epoch TimesGreece Moves To End Golden Dawn FundingGreek ReporterPresseurop (English) -MNI Newsall 25 news articles »


Italian business, unions warn political turmoil risks troika

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Upstate New York: Greek Yogurt, Feta Capital

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?Blood and Honour?: The Family Behind Golden Dawn

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TAXIDI: Monemvasia's Unvarnished Beauty

For my summer sojourn my wife and I took our four daughters to Greece. We try to make a trip every year, visiting different parts of the country so that the girls can get a sense of the distinctive regions that make Greece such an integral part of our heritage and one of the most popular destinations on the planet. Our first stop was Kinsterna Hotel and Spa in the Peloponnese, which is the ideal base for exploring the olive, citrus and peach groves of Monemvasia while taking in views of the awe-inspiring Aegean Sea. The area has a rugged, salt-of-the earth beauty that's a refreshing escape from the high-gloss sheen of Hollywood.


FOTOGRAFIA: The Hands of Justice

Running amok for 15 months with a rampage of violence against immigrants, leftists, communists, gays, atheists and other of its declared enemies, Greece's neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, which threatened to walk out of the Parliament and create new elections, was brought to heel with a spate of arrests. Its leader, Nikolaos ?Fuhrer? Michaloliakos, his number two man ? an apt designation ? Christos Pappas, and party spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris, who wants to be Mayor of Athens, found themselves in handcuffs doing the perp walk from police headquarters to the prosecutor's office, yelling insults all the way. The three are Members of Parliament, among six of the party's lawmakers in a group of 18 who were taken into custody on charges of operating a criminal gang. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who had been soft in them in an apparent attempt to woo away some of its voters as the Nazis were rising in power, finally got tough after one of its members was charged with stabbing to death a 34-year-old anti-fascist, but critics said he was more worried about new elections and cutting off their power base. Whatever the reason, Greeks who don't like the party were treated to the sight of many of its members wearing the bracelets behind their backs while being taken to court. Now we'll see if there's justice too or just a sideshow.


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Height of Dutch state guarantees increase tenfold since 2008


Height of Dutch state guarantees increase tenfold since 2008  2013-09-30 13:13:13  

     THE HAGUE, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- The height of the Dutch state guarantees has increased a tenfold since 2008, according to a report published by the Dutch Court of Audits on Monday.

     By the end of 2012 the Netherlands has soared up to 201 billion euros (271 billion U.S. dollars), the report states. The loan guarantees are destined to Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Spain and are provided by the European financial institutions.

     Thanks to these guarantees institutions such as the European Central Bank, the IMF and the European Stability Mechanism were able to lend more money to these countries.

     According to the Dutch Court of Audits, it is not clear how risky the issue of these guarantees could be. The Dutch auditors think Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem should provide more clarity about potential risks.

     The Court of Audits also wants the minister to give an opinion on the creditworthiness of the institutions to which the Netherlands issues the guarantees. But according to Dijsselbloem this may negatively affect the creditworthiness of the institutions.  Enditem


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Shire climbs on new drug prospects and cost savings

Pharmaceutical group lifted by buy note on drug pipeline, cuts and possible acquisitions

Shire is among the risers in a down market, lifted by City hopes for its next range of products and cost saving announcements.

Analysts at JP Morgan Cazenove raised their recommendation on the pharmaceutical group from neutral to overweight and its price target from £22.70 to £30. They said:

Upcoming phase III newsflow could drive significant upgrades. In the first quarter of 2014 Shire will report headline data for three phase III studies, Vyvanse Depression ($1bn potential), Vyvanse Binge Eating ($0.3bn potential) and Lifitegrast for Dry Eye ($0.5bn potential). Together these three products could contribute around $2bn in annual sales, 40% of the current topline. We believe consensus reflects only around $1bn. Cost savings announcement could offer further upside, with an update likely at third quarter 2013 results. Based on our call with the chief executive, the third quarter could see Shire discuss the potential for further selling, general and administrative savings, driven by simplification of the business and highlight the slack within R&D for 2014 and beyond, as the late-stage pipeline completes development, giving fuel for in-licensing.Acquisitions likely to be a third driver of upgrades, funded by net cash position. Shire is already net cash, we forecast a $3bn or so net cash position by the end of 2014, giving significant firepower to expand the late stage pipeline. Shire's increased Vyvanse promotion hasn't yet led to acceleration in prescriptions, however on our chief executive call Shire expressed confidence they could beat our $285m third quarter Vyvanse forecast. Following recent share-price weakness, the lack of a rebound appears appreciated.

Shire is currently up 20p at £24.87, while the FTSE 100 is down 45.63 points at 6467.03 on growing US, Italian and Greek political worries.

Among the other risers G4S - currently providing security for the Conservative party conference - has edged up 0.1p to 254p following weekend reports that an activist hedge fund, Cevian Capital, is pushing for the company to sell its cash solutions arm, which accounts for 25% of profits.

But Unilever is down 14p at £24.43 after ING said it could be affected by any negative comments about emerging markets from a Nestle investor presentation. The bank's analyst Marco Gulpers said:

In our view Nestle might update on volumes being impacted in emerging markets as consumers are being impacted by inflationary pressures (like in India where food inflation is up 18.8% since July) but also we could hear more about cost inflation spiralling related to weakening emerging market currencies trends. With Unilever seen as the emerging market play any negatives from Nestle will be seen as a negative read-across to Unilever at current valuation levels.

Elsewhere Reckitt Benckiser has edged up 1p to £45.19 despite a sell not from Liberum. It said:

The debate on Reckitt shares is more on how to value Pharmaceuticals (21% of earnings in 2012) than on the core business. Taking reasonable 11 to 12 times EBITDA multiples for the core unit implies an enterprise value for Pharmaceuticals of £6bn to £8bn which could only be justified if Pharmaceuticals' earnings grew 50%-100% in 2014 – we find that unrealistic given current competitive dynamics and recent earnings trends.

Liberum was more positive on ITV, down 1.4p at 174.4p:

Press reports out that ITV has sold the old Granada TV studios in Manchester for £26.5m subject to redevelopment planning permission. Probably not included within analyst forecasts for cashflow (it is not in ours; we have 2013 net cash of £194m) so gives ITV more flexibility if it wants to return cash. ShireG4SUnileverReckitt BenckiserITVNick © 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


Greek retail sales slump shows no sign of slowing in July

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Golden Dawn Sweep Gives Greek Brief Boost

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