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

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Golden Dawn supporters protest in Greek capital

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — More than 1,000 Golden Dawn supporters have demonstrated in central Athens against the prosecution of the leader of their Nazi-inspired party and its legislators.


Police keep pro- and anti-Golden Dawn marches apart in Athens

ATHENS, Greece - More than 1,000 Golden Dawn supporters have demonstrated in central Athens against the prosecution of the leader of their Nazi-inspired party and its legislators.


Neo-Nazis attendance causes row in Greece

Athens - A political row erupted in Greece on Saturday following a provincial governor's decision to invite the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party to an annual parade honouring resistance to fascism. Thessaloniki's governor, Apostolos Tzitzikostas, insists he is ...


Human rights lawyer: Roma at risk of having children removed

BUDAPEST, Hungary, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Roma parents are at risk of having their children seized after a Greek Roma family's non-biological daughter was taken from them, a human rights activist said.


Greek neo-Nazis and leftists clash

Greek leftists and members of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn have faced off in protests in Athens.


Rihanna Instagrams Her Twerking Talent In Greece (PHOTOS)

Starpulse.comRihanna Instagrams Her Twerking Talent In Greece (PHOTOS)Huffington Post CanadaThe 25-year-old singer, who is currently on her "Diamonds" world tour, stripped down (as she often does) to show off her sexy moves and her rockin' bod during a stop in Greece. The star posted a series of photos of herself posing poolside on her ...Rihanna Shows Off Bikini Body in GreeceThe BoomBoxRihanna Sunbathes In Greece & Posts Sexy Bikini Photos OnlineStarpulse.comRihanna Bares Bikini Body in GreeceRap-Up.comInternational Business Times -Beauty World News -Entertainmentwiseall 34 news articles »


Little Maria's Roma family wants her back

Gurkovo (Bulgaria) (AFP) - The Bulgarian Roma family of Maria, wrongly thought to be an abducted western European child when she was found in Greece last week, wants her back but fears social services will keep her.


Interview: Author Goes Deep in New Book on Greek Sponge Diving

Parker, now 85, has since retired from diving, and has authored 20,000 Jobs Under the Sea – A History of Diving and Underwater Engineering in 1997, as well as the recently released book, 20,000 Divers Under the Sea – A History of the ...


Greek neo-Nazis, leftists face off in Athens protest

Athens (AFP) - Greek leftists and members of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn faced off in Athens on Saturday over a protest organised against the indictment of several Golden Dawn members in a government crackdown.


Samaras and Merkel- Brief Meeting at EU Summit

It seems that the German opinion for the Greek economic program hasn’t changed, or at least that’s the impression the German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave after her a recent meeting in Brussels. After the EU Summit, Angela Merkel was asked if she had discussed lightening the measures of the new program for Greece, during her […]


Maria case brings new lead in Ben Needham disappearance

The person who filmed the video was prompted to hand it in to police last week after the case of Maria, the blonde girl found in a Roma camp in Farsala, central Greece, invited comparisons with that of missing Ben, who disappeared on a family ...


Britain vs. Greece for All the Marbles

Some fights for antiquities never get old. Here is selected background on one of the most intriguing of those disputes. The Parthenon Marbles (a.k.a. the Elgin Marbles) are part of a stunning 160-meter marble frieze of a religious procession that adorned the top of the ancient citadel?s grandest structure, the Parthenon. The temple was built at the height of Athens? glory between 447 and 432 BC in honor of the city?s patron goddess, Athena. Britain?s envoy, Lord Elgin, pried them off the building in the early 1800?s while Greece was still an unwilling part of the Ottoman Empire. Facing bankruptcy, he eventually sold the artworks to the British Museum, where they have been displayed ever since. In 1989, Melina Mercouri, Greece?s culture minister, led the effort for the return of the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum. Mercouri initiated an international architectural competition for a new museum.


Skopje Not Macedonia, But Feta is Greek

FYROM a.k.a. Macedonia, coffee a.k.a. Turkish coffee, halva a.k.a. Turkish halva, olive oil a.k.a. Italian extra virgin olive oil, the Mediterranean Diet, now involving countries such as Lebanon, Spain and Italy, the Thessaloniki 'koulouri' a.k.a. Turkish bagel, feta cheese a.k.a. white cheese and strained yogurt... only some of the political issues or products that have come to be associated with peoples or places other than Greece. Greeks, on the other hand, claim these as their own. And of course there are historical references and sources other than Wikipedia ('the free encyclopedia... that anyone can edit'), which attempt to verify in some way the truer origins of the above. The issue of origin is however irrelevant and will forever be subject to debate. What is relevant is the fact that Greece and Greeks feel deprived of their historic entitlements, whether this be the geography of FYROM or the basics of baklava.


Middle class nightmare! Price of olives soars by 50 PER CENT as bad weather in Greece leads to shortage of the crop

Farmers have reported that crop yields are down by up to 80 per cent, meaning that anyone wanting to enjoy them in the UK will have to pay more.


Taxpayers in despair

The ease with which Greek politicians slap new taxes on top of old ones is almost impressive, especially given their intense reluctance to adopt cost-saving measures such as closing down parts of the public sector that serve no real purpose. After three y... ...



The sexy singer graces the December issue of British GQ , channeling the Greek mythological character Medusa, who is generally described as having a hideous female face with living venomous snakes in place of hair. And while RiRi's mug is far from..


BC-SOC--Greek Standings, SOC

by  Associated Press BC-SOC--Greek Standings, SOC Associated Press - 26 October 2013 10:02-04:00 BC-SOC--Greek Standings Greek Football Standings

Greek League

GP W D L GF GA Pts Olympiakos 8 7 1 0 24 2 22 PAOK Thessaloniki 8 6 1 1 15 6 19 Atromitos 9 5 2 2 15 7 17 Ergotelis 8 3 5 0 10 5 14 Xanthi 9 4 1 4 12 14 13 Panthrakikos 8 3 4 1 10 8 13 Panathinaikos 8 3 2 3 9 10 11 Panetolikos 8 2 4 2 6 5 10 Asteras 8 2 4 2 12 11 10 PAS Giannina 8 3 1 4 8 9 10 Kalloni 8 3 0 5 7 11 9 Panionios 8 2 3 3 8 10 9 Aris 8 2 2 4 5 10 8 Levadiakos 8 2 2 4 7 17 8 Apollon Smyrni 8 2 1 5 10 16 7 OFI Crete 8 0 6 2 4 7 6 Platanias 8 0 5 3 7 13 5 Veria 8 1 2 5 6 14 5 Saturday, Oct. 26

Xanthi 0, Atromitos 2

Asteras vs. Levadiakos, 1415 GMT

Ergotelis vs. Panathinaikos, 1630 GMT

Sunday, Oct. 27

Aris vs. Platanias, 1300 GMT

Panionios vs. Apollon Smyrni, 1515 GMT

Panthrakikos vs. PAOK Thessaloniki, 1515 GMT

Veria vs. PAS Giannina, 1515 GMT

Olympiakos vs. OFI Crete, 1730 GMT

Monday, Oct. 28

Panetolikos vs. Kalloni, 1730 GMT

Saturday, Nov. 2

PAS Giannina vs. Platanias, 1300 GMT

PAOK Thessaloniki vs. Ergotelis, 1515 GMT

Panathinaikos vs. Olympiakos, 1730 GMT

Sunday, Nov. 3

Kalloni vs. Panionios in Thessalonika, 1200 GMT

Apollon Smyrni vs. Veria, 1415 GMT

Levadiakos vs. Xanthi, 1415 GMT

Panthrakikos vs. Asteras, 1415 GMT

OFI Crete vs. Aris, 1630 GMT

Monday, Nov. 4

Atromitos vs. Panetolikos, 1630 GMT

News Topics: Soccer, Men's soccer, Sports, Men's sports

People, Places and Companies: Thessaloniki, Crete, Greece, Western Europe, Europe

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Tsochatzopoulos' Conviction Landmark Case for Greece

ATHENS - The 20-year prison sentence issued to former Defence Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos by an Athens court is a clear sign that Greece is taking firm steps to end corruption, experts said. 'No matter how high ranking one might have been, officials can no longer feel safe when they break the law,' Antonis Klapsis, head of research for the Konstandinos Karamanlis Institute for Democracy in Athens, told Southeast European Times. Klapsis said the sentence is a clear sign the Greek government is genuinely determined to fight corruption. 'It was the first time in years that a former minister was prosecuted for receiving money under the table,' he said. The court convicted Tsochatzopoulos of money laundering - estimated at up to 1 billion euros - and masterminding a scheme to steal from defence contracts during his tenure from 1996 to 2001. He was also accused of accepting bribes to award the contracts but the bribery charges were past the statute of limitations for a former minister.


"Maria" Case Shows Human Trafficking in Greece

ATHENS - The chaotic state of Greece and its public institutions was once again thrust into the spotlight on Oct. 25 when police announced they had arrested a childless couple in Athens on suspicion of attempting to pass off an eight-month-old Roma girl as their own. The pair were seized as DNA tests proved that a Bulgarian couple are the biological parents of another little girl whose discovery in a Roma camp in central Greece has triggered fears of rampant child-trafficking in the crisis-plagued country. Announcing the results, Bulgaria's Interior Ministry said genetic profiling proved that Sasha Ruseva, a Roma woman, was the mother of the mystery girl known only as Maria.


Greek Roma couple to seek release after birth parents found: lawyer

Fair-skinned Maria was found living with a Greek Roma couple in a camp near the central town of Farsala Athens: A Greek Roma couple held for allegedly snatching a young blond girl known as Maria, will seek release from prison after the child’s biological ...


Greece teacher embraces a different philosophy

• Robinson has two children, Emmerson, 8, and Brennan, 6. She said her days are busy keeping them active in lacrosse and playing piano. • In her spare time, she enjoys playing softball, camping and enjoying time with friends. Click on this ...


Boutaris threatens to boycott Thessaloniki parade over GD invitation

Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris has threatened not to attend Monday’s military parade, marking Greece’s entry into the Second World War, after the head of the regional authority invited Golden Dawn MPs to join other dignitaries. “The stance taken by t... ...


German MEP Chatzimarkakis to create party in Greece for European elections

KathimeriniGerman MEP Chatzimarkakis to create party in Greece for European electionsKathimeriniGerman MEP Jorgo Chatzimarkakis has announced his intention to form a political party in Greece with the aim of it taking part in May's European elections. In an interview with Real News, the liberal Euro parliamentarian said he wanted his new movement ...


US: White House security official sacked over anonymous tweets

Global civil service roundup: right to strike threatened in Canada and fees banned in Nigerian recruitment process

US: White House security official sacked over anonymous tweets

A national security official Jofi Joseph has been fired after he was discovered as the face behind the Twitter account which criticised government figures of the Obama administration.

Joseph was a director of nuclear non-proliferation, and was helping to negotiate nuclear issues with Iran. He has been sending personal insults using the Twitter handle @NatSecWonk for more than two years.

In his Twitter biography, which has been taken down, Joseph described himself as a "keen observer of the foreign policy and national security scene" who "unapologetically says what everyone else only thinks".

In one tweet, he said: "'Has shitty staff.' #ObamaInThreeWords."

Canada: proposed bill would curtail state employees' right to strike

The federal government tabled a bill on 22 October that would give government the exclusive right to decide which services are considered 'essential'. If passed, this would limit civil servants' right to strike.

Treasury Board president Tony Clement defended the proposed legislation, saying that government needs power to modernise public services. He also said more disputes would be resolved through arbitration, which was "better for everybody."

Clement said: "Look, I know some of the union bosses are upset and they're going to light their hair on fire and say how horrible this is. But I actually think having an excellent public service is in the interest of public servants as well as for Canadians."

Nigeria: fees banned in civil service recruitment process

On 23 October the House of Representatives directed the boards of the Nigerian Prisons Service, the Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Immigration Service to stop collecting application fees in their recruitment programmes.

The prisons service has been asked to stop the practice immediately, and refund payments to those who have already paid fees.

Public outcry has prompted investigations into allegations of racketeering in recruitment to the federal civil service and inappropriate selection of applicants.

Greece: number of civil servants with forged degrees exaggerated

Suggestions that large numbers of civil servants would lose their jobs because they were using forged degrees while working in the public sector were misleading, administrative reform minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told MPs on October 22.

The comments were made in August by alternate interior minister Leonidas Grigorakos, who suggested that up to one in 10 civil servants had fake degrees.

The minister said that about 2,100 civil servants had been checked following allegations they had broken the code of conduct. Of these, 223 have been fired and a further 960 suspended pending the outcome of their hearings.

South Africa: public servants banned from doing business with state

Civil servants will no longer be allowed to conduct business with the government, under recommendations put forward by South Africa's public service minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

He said he was worried about conflicting interests when people who are employed by the state also do business with government. He said the move would allow civil servants to concentrate on their jobs without benefiting from the state.

The minister also called for those found guilty of corruption to be blacklisted from working for any government department. Officials under investigation for fraud have been known to resign and join another department to avoid reprisal.

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Poor Reception from Greek Retailers for the Operation of Stores on Sunday

The development ministry’s announcement that a measure allowing small and medium-sized shops in Greece to open up to seven Sundays per year, to start on November 3 with the inauguration of the new law, met with a poor reception from the sector. Greek trade associations in every region must decide whether stores will take up […]


Why Little Maria is Blonde While Her Roma Parents Are Not

Little blonde mystery girl Maria is not an “abducted western baby” found in Greece but a Roma girl from Bulgaria that is possibly an albino. DNA tests proved that her biological parents are Roma from Bulgaria, Sasha Ruseva and Atana Rusev. They claimed that they left her in Greece with another Roma couple because they did […]


Is Missing Child Ben Needham in Cyprus?

The file of Ben Needham’s case has been reopened because of new evidence that shows a young man who resembles Ben to be in a Roma camp in Limassol, Cyprus, according to the newspaper Dimokratiki tis Rodou. A new witness that has not been named gave the evidence which included photos and video to an […]


USM Greek groups to help area schools

USM Greek groups to help area schoolsHattiesburg AmericanContest: Twenty-five Southern Miss' Greek organizations will compete to win a plaque and $500 to be given to the school of their choice. At least three groups have been assigned to each school. The winner of the challenge will be determined by how many ...and more »


Assmussen: Greece is Becoming “attractive” to Investors

During an interview with Italian newspaper “Il Sole 24,” Jorg Asmussen, member of European Central Bank (ECB), mentioned that Greece is becoming a more attractive place for private investors. According to ECB report “Doing Business 2013 ...


Massacre Memories: German Car Sales And The EZ Crisis In Greece – Analysis

In months of conflict, this transforms to losses of 0.1%, a marked change. By looking at German car sales at the prefecture level, we find that there is a pronounced contrast between two types of areas. Those affected by German massacres during World War ...


Greek firefighters train at South Kingstown's Class-A burn building facility

Greek firefighters train at South Kingstown's Class-A burn building facilityThe Providence JournalThe blaze is set by Ben Lonngren, a firefighter with the Narragansett Fire Department. Firefighters from the Union Fire Department in South Kingstown do training with a group of firefighters from Greece at the Union Fire Department's Training Facility ...


Saturday, November 2

by  Associated Press Saturday, November 2 by The Associated Press, Associated Press - 25 October 2013 20:04-04:00

Today is Saturday, November 2, the 306th day of 2013. There are 59 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1483 - The Duke of Buckingham is executed after leading a failed rebellion against King Richard III of England, whom he helped to the throne four months earlier.

1687 - Ottoman ruler Mohammed IV is deposed in revolution in Constantinople and is succeeded by Suleiman III.

1783 - Gen. George Washington issues his "Farewell Address to the Army" near Princeton, New Jersey.

1841 - The Second Afghan War starts when Afghans massacre British army officers.

1917 - In the Balfour Declaration, the British government declares that it favors the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine.

1930 - Haile Selassie is crowned emperor of Ethiopia.

1947 - Howard Hughes pilots his huge wooden airplane, known as the Spruce Goose, on its only flight, which lasts about a minute over Long Beach Harbor in California.

1951 - Bolivia receives a US$1 million U.S. Export-Import Bank loan to expand production of tungsten to be sold to the U.S.

1956 - Gaza, Egypt falls to British in Suez War; Hungarian government renounces Warsaw Treaty and appeals to the United Nations against Soviet invasion.

1959 - Charles Van Doren admits to a U.S. House subcommittee that he had the questions and answers in advance for his appearances on the NBC-TV game show "Twenty-One."

1962 - U.S. President John F. Kennedy announces an end to the Cuban missile crisis, saying the Soviet Union is dismantling bases in Cuba.

1963 - South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem is assassinated by his own troops during a coup.

1964 - King Saud of Saudi Arabia is deposed, and Faisal is proclaimed king.

1967 - White mercenaries and black troops invade Congo from Portuguese Angola.

1972 - Former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter defeats Republican incumbent Gerald R. Ford, becoming the first U.S. president from the Deep South since the Civil War.

1978 - Two Soviet cosmonauts who established a new endurance record by staying in space 139 days and 15 hours land safely in Kazakhstan.

1983 - U.S. President Ronald Reagan signs a bill establishing a federal holiday on the third Monday of January in honor of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

1988 - Government imposes nationwide night curfew in Sri Lanka after attacks by radical Sinhalese leave at least 16 people dead. The group opposes an accord that would grant a measure of autonomy to Tamils if the guerrillas lay down their arms.

1990 - Militiamen in the Soviet republic of Moldavia shoot and kill six people and wound 30 during an ethnic clash.

1991 - Yugoslav army renews attacks on Croatia.

1992 - Basketball star Magic Johnson retires for a second time from the Los Angeles Lakers, just five weeks after the guard, who has HIV, announced he would return to the NBA.

1993 - Sarajevo shivers in frigid temperatures as Bosnian Serbs block United Nations engineering crews from repairing vital electrical lines.

1994 - A river of fire ignited by an oil tank explosion surges through a village in southern Egypt, killing more than 410 people.

1995 - Suicide attackers set off back-to-back car bombs near Israeli buses in the Gaza Strip, injuring 11 Israelis in apparent retaliation for the slaying of a radical.

1996 - A United States Air Force F-16 fighter plane fires a missile at an Iraqi radar site while in the "no-fly" zone over southern Iraq.

1998 - Chaos and looting erupts in Central America after Hurricane Mitch, which killed more than 7,000.

1999 - Prominent Zulu prince Cyril Zulu, the mayor-designate of Durban, South Africa is assassinated by an unknown gunmen.

2000 - One American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts move into Alpha, an international space station, for a four-month stay.

2001 - Northern Ireland's Catholic-Protestant government faces imminent suspension or collapse after two Protestant lawmakers refuse to support their leader, David Trimble's re-election bid as government leader.

2002 - U.S. President George W. Bush calls Saddam Hussein a "dangerous man" with links to terrorist networks, as U.N. Security Council members await a revised U.S. resolution to disarm Iraq.

2003 - The U.S. Episcopal diocese of New Hampshire installs as its bishop Reverend V. Gene Robinson, consecrating the first openly homosexual Anglican bishop and drawing censure from numerous provinces within the worldwide Anglican Communion.

2004 - A filmmaker who was the great-grandnephew of Vincent van Gogh is slain in a daylight attack, and police arrest a Dutch-Moroccan man after wounding him in a shootout. Theo van Gogh made a movie criticizing the treatment of Muslim women.

2005 - Clashes between police and protesters in Ethiopia's capital erupt in gunfire and grenade explosions, with police killing at least 33 people during a second day of renewed demonstrations against disputed elections.

2006 - Iran test-fires dozens of missiles, including the Shahab-3 that can reach Israel, in military maneuvers that it says are aimed at putting a stop to the role of world powers in the Persian Gulf region.

2007 - Morocco recalls its ambassador from Spain after King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia announce plans to visit two Spanish enclaves in North Africa. Morocco's claim to them is a consistent sore spot in bilateral relations.

2008 - Hundreds of people march through Belarus' capital to remember the victims of Stalinist purges and call for an end to repression in a country that still has many of the trappings of the former Soviet Union.

2009 - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton moderates her praise for Israel's offer to restrain building settlements in Palestinian areas n the face of Arab criticism of the administration's recalibrated Mideast peace tack.

2010 — Britain and France strike a historic defense deal aimed at preserving military muscle in an age of austerity, pledging to deploy troops under a single command, share aircraft carriers and collaborate on once fiercely guarded nuclear programs.

2011 — Greece's prime minister goes to the French resort of Cannes to explain to his furious European colleagues why he is holding a surprise referendum on a bailout deal that took them all months to work out.

2012 __ A video that appears to show a unit of Syrian rebels kicking terrified, captured soldiers and then executing them with machine guns raises concerns about rebel brutality at a time when the United States is pushing to forge an opposition movement it can work with.

Today's Birthdays:

Marie Antoinette, wife of France's King Louis XVI (1755-1793); Luchino Visconti, Italian film director (1906-1976); Odysseus Elytis, pseud. of Odysseus Alepoudelis, Greek poet and Nobel laureate (1911-1996); Burt Lancaster, U.S. actor (1913-1994);David Schwimmer, U.S. actor (1966--); K.D. Lang, Canadian singer (1961--).

Thought for Today:

Vanity is as ill at ease under indifference, as tenderness is under the love which it cannot return — George Eliot, English author (1819-1880).

News Topics: General news, Rebellions and uprisings, War and unrest, Territorial disputes, Accidents and disasters, Space industry, Aerospace and defense industry, Industrial products and services, Industries, Business

People, Places and Companies: Charles Van Doren, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Martin Luther King Jr., Magic Johnson, David Trimble, George W. Bush, Saddam Hussein, Gene Robinson, Juan Carlos, Hillary Clinton, Burt Lancaster, David Schwimmer, K.D. Lang, George Eliot, Egypt, Morocco, Iraq, United States, Israel, Middle East, Soviet Union, Gaza Strip, North Africa, Africa, North America, Eastern Europe, Europe, Palestinian territories

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


‘Maria’ case shines light on Greek bureaucracy edging closer to collapse

The discovery of the girl, who has undergone a battery ... parlous state of birth registrations in Greece, Konstantinos Tzanakoulis, the mayor of Larissa, the provincial capital of the region where Maria was found, admitted it was “pure luck” the ...


Sasha Ruseva, Bulgarian woman, mother of mystery girl in Greece

Sasha Ruseva, Bulgarian woman, mother of mystery girl in GreeceChristian Science MonitorMaria has been placed in temporary care since last week after authorities raided a Roma settlement in central Greece and later discovered that girl was not the child of the couple she was living were not her parents. Costas Yannopoulos, director of the ...and more »


Mother of mysterious girl in Greece found in Bulgaria

DNA tests have confirmed that a 35-year-old Bulgarian Roma woman is the mother of a mysterious girl in Greece known as Maria, authorities said Friday. Genetic profile of Sasha Ruseva matched that of the girl, said Svetlozar Lazarov, an Interior Ministry ...


Marias parents found but Roma girls future unclear

By Veselin Toshikov & Nicholas Paphitis The mystery is solved -- but the future of the young girl known only as Maria is still uncertain.DNA tests have confirmed that a Bulgarian Roma couple living in an impoverished village with their nine other children are the biological parents of the girl found in Greece with another Roma couple, authorities said Friday.Genetic profiles of Sasha Ruseva, ...


DNA testing identifies mother of mystery gypsy girl "Maria"

Police and the media originally assumed that a child found living in Greece with gypsies was kidnapped and intended to be sold


Greece girl Maria's mum on run after being told she cannot have her back despite DNA match

Philip, 10, was seen playing in the street and shouting: “Where is mama?” along with red-headed Minka, 14. Police came looking for the pair early in the morning followed by social services only to be met with a padlocked door on the white-walled one ...


Greek Movie Fridays: “Loafing and Camouflage: Sirens in the Aegean”– Watch it on !

The second film for our Greek movie Fridays, is the Greek comedy of Nikos Perakis Loafing and Camouflage: Sirens in Aegean. A film that brings us back to funny moments from the army times in a unique and compelling way! The Greek leading film distributor and producer, Odeon S.A., and Greek Reporter have teamed up […]


Greek FinMin 500 million euros in savings to come from social security funds

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said in comments published on Friday that the government would seek an additional 500 million euros in budget cuts for next year from the country's social security funds.In comments published in Ta Nea newspaper, Stournaras repeated that Greece wouldimpose no additional across-the-board fiscal cuts but said that additional savings would be required. He put ...


Greek Cypriot leader seeks more EU aid

The cost of bailing out Greek Cypriot Administration has exceeded estimations. Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades asked for more money from Brussels ahead of a key meeting by Eurozone finance ministers.European Union finance ministers adopted a 10 billion Euro bailout package for the Greek Cypriot Administration. According to the EU sources, the Greek Cypriot leader asked the Bloc to provide ...


Homemade Greek pastries from Huntsville's Greek Orthodox Church keep Thanksgiving international

Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church. This year’s Greek Bake Sale will be held at the church’s parish hall at Holy Cross-Sts. Constantine and Helen Green Orthodox Church, 3021 University Drive in Huntsville, on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013 ...


Greece May Be In Economic Shambles, But Young Entrepreneurs Are Finding Success

“Setting up in the States seemed a good solution, but it was even more interesting to recruit ... “The service works particularly well in countries that have a security or quality problem, because the client can now choose their taxi from a trustworthy ...


Mystery of Maria solved but her future is still uncertain

DNA tests prove a Bulgarian Roma couple are the biological parents of mystery girl Maria, found in Greece last week    


Why People Are Worried About A Puerto Rican Default

A heavily indebted island weighs on America’s municipal-bond market

ALTHOUGH investors are now less jittery about a possible default by the American Treasury, they are rightly still nervous about a drama unfolding in the market for state and local debt. Since May, yields on bonds issued by Puerto Rico, a self-governing American territory, have shot up to between 8% and 10%, despite their (barely) investment-grade rating and tax-exempt interest.

Puerto Rico carries outsized importance in America’s almost $4 trillion municipal-debt market, which includes bonds issued by states and other local authorities as well as by cities. The island’s current debt, between $52 billion and $70 billion (depending on how it is measured), is the third-largest behind California’s and New York’s, despite a far smaller and poorer population. In America’s 50 states the average ratio of state debt to personal income is 3.4%. Moody’s, a ratings agency, puts Puerto Rico’s tax-supported debt at an eye-watering 89% (see chart).

Puerto Rico’s debt has long been a staple of American municipal-bond funds because of its high yields and its exemption from federal and local taxes--of particular appeal to investors in high-tax states. That let Puerto Rico keep borrowing despite its shaky economic and financial condition, until Detroit’s bankruptcy in July alerted investors to the threat of default by other governments in similar penury.

America won control of Puerto Rico in the Spanish-American war of 1898. Its people have American citizenship and receive American government pensions, but pay no federal tax on their local income.

The economy has big structural problems. Participation in the labour force, at 41%, is some 20 percentage points below America’s. The island has the federal minimum wage, even though local productivity and incomes are far lower than in the rest of America, creating a strong disincentive to hire. Inflated benefit payments, for disability for instance, discourage work. Moody’s Analytics reckons the territory’s bloated public sector accounts for 20% of employment, compared with 3.7% for the average state (though it provides some services that the federal government would on the mainland). Growth and investment are hampered by bureaucracy, stunted infrastructure and crime.

Shrinking, sinking

Puerto Rico has been in recession virtually since 2006, when a federal tax break for corporate income expired, prompting many businesses to leave. As Puerto Ricans with prospects emigrate, the remaining population has aged and shrunk. The government has run budget deficits (prohibited for states) for the past decade, averaging 2.5% of GDP from 2009 to 2012. Its pension fund is only 7% funded, which is abysmal even by the standards of other American states and territories.

The current administration has sought to shore up its finances by increasing taxes by $1.1 billion (about 1% of GDP) and raising the retirement age for government employees, as well as the share of their salaries they contribute to their pensions. It has promised to wipe out its budget deficit, projected at $820m this fiscal year, by 2016.

Such austerity could further hobble growth, making it harder to shrink debt ratios. Luis Fortuño, the previous governor, lost his job last year partly because of public anger at the cuts he oversaw. Like Greece in the euro zone, Puerto Rico has no control over monetary policy (the preserve of the Federal Reserve), and so cannot mitigate a fiscal tightening with lower interest rates or a cheaper currency.

Investors meanwhile are so wary, after years of missed deficit targets, tardy financial reports and accounts opaquer than those of other states, that Puerto Rico has had to cut back on new bond issues. It is filling the gap with more short–term bank loans; but they come at punitive rates of interest and must be rolled over more often.

Investors are now openly debating whether Puerto Rico will default. Its constitution requires that its general-obligation bonds ($10.6 billion of the total) get first claim on tax revenues. Other bonds are backed by dedicated revenue such as sales tax and power bills and by a law authorising the government to pay interest ahead of other claims. "Honouring debts is not only a constitutional but also a moral obligation," Alejandro Padilla, the governor, told investors earlier this month.

Yet politically it may be tough to gratify bondholders if police, doctors and teachers go unpaid. The federal government cannot be counted on for a bail-out: fiscal hawks in Congress would almost certainly balk at the expense and the precedent.

Should Puerto Rico seek to restructure its debts, it would be entering uncharted legal terrain. Unlike a city it cannot declare bankruptcy. It does not enjoy the same sovereignty the constitution grants the states; should it try to renege on its debts, Congress might intervene. Years of litigation would follow.

Puerto Rico’s problems have not yet had much effect beyond its shores. Its debt is held mainly by mutual funds and individuals, although in recent months many have sold to distressed-debt specialists. Some brokers have stopped selling its bonds to their clients. Borrowing costs have risen for a few highly indebted states such as Illinois, but the majority have no trouble selling bonds, says Chris Mier of Loop Capital Markets, which specialises in municipal debt. Happily, state finances are much healthier today than in 2010. But complacency would not be wise. No state has defaulted since 1933. A default by Puerto Rico could come as a wake-up call.

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DNA confirms Bulgarian Roma couple as Maria's parents

Sofia (AFP) - DNA tests confirmed Friday a Bulgarian Roma couple living in dire poverty as the biological parents of Maria, a mystery blonde girl discovered last week in a Greek Roma camp.


DNA test confirms that Bulgarian woman IS the natural mother of blonde haired Maria

Mother-of-ten Sasha Ruseva (pictured), 35, claims she did not sell Maria, now four, but was forced to leave her daughter with a friend in Greece.