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

Monday, December 9, 2013

EU hopes Greece will soon meet bailout conditions

BRUSSELS--Senior European officials said Monday they hope Greece soon would meet the conditions for the country to receive by year's end the final 1 billion-euro ($1.4 billion) disbursement from the previous review of its bailout program.


Dijsselbloem: We See Progress in Greece

“Greece has achieved a lot and we look forward to the completing the evaluation,” said the Greek Minister of Finance, Giannis Stournaras, outside the meeting with the Eurogroup, in Brussels. The Greek Minister of Finance also said he expects ...


Chobani Introduces Chobani Simply 100™ Greek Yogurt: The First and Only 100-Calorie Greek Yogurt Made With Only ...

NEW BERLIN, N.Y., Dec. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Chobani, maker of America's No. 1–selling Greek Yogurt brand, is poised to revolutionize the dairy aisle again with the launch of Chobani Simply 100™ Greek Yogurt, the first and only 100-calorie authentic strained Greek Yogurt made with only natural ingredients. Available in six flavors — Blueberry, Strawberry, Pineapple, Peach, Black Cherry and ...


Greece Nudged to Push Economic Overhaul, Wins Schaeuble Praise

European governments prodded Greece to scale back the state-owned defense industry and plug holes in its 2014 budget, while indicating that aid will keep flowing to the recession-wracked country.


Greece seeks financial freedom

Greece seeks financial freedomThe AgeGreece is hopeful of being able to raise funds on international markets as early as next year after passing its budget for 2014. 10/12/13. ANC leaders pay tribute to Mandela (Video Thumbnail). Up next... ANC leaders pay tribute to Mandela. Play now ...


Greek yogurt to be part of Kyrene menu next year

Kyrene School District is one of several area districts participating in a program introducing protein-packed Greek yogurt to school lunches. The United States Department of Agriculture has launched a new pilot program, which will add Greek yogurt to ...


Greece urged to respect free expression while strengthening anti-racism bill

Greek law provides that racist motivation may only be addressed in the sentencing ... Violations of the law would be punishable by jail sentences ranging from three months to three years, and fines ranging from €5,000-20,000 (US$ 6,700-27,000).


Foreign institutes in the great school of Hellas

In September, the Greek state laid off seven Nemea museum staff as part of an ongoing effort to streamline its civil service. The decision sparked a backlash from national and international archaeologists alike.


Japonica head says his company will support a Greek bond issue

KathimeriniJaponica head says his company will support a Greek bond issueKathimeriniPaul Kazarian, the head of investment firm Japonica Partners, has told Kathimerini he intends to support a new Greek bond issue, but only under certain conditions. The firm's chairman and chief executive was in Athens last week for a series of meetings ...


Greek deflation at record and could threaten future recovery from recession

Greek deflation at record and could threaten future recovery from recessioneuronewsInitially they were welcomed by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund as a way to make companies more competitive abroad and protect Greek consumers whose incomes have been sharply squeezed. But now they are a potential ...


Greece to Restore Electricity to Poor Disconnected Households

KathimeriniGreece to Restore Electricity to Poor Disconnected HouseholdsBloombergElectricity will be reconnected to poor families in Greece that can't pay their bills after at least four deaths in the past 10 days caused by people using candles and makeshift heating devices. Power will be restored to “vulnerable social groups” to ...Minister pledges free electricity for low income households on smog-filled daysKathimeriniall 3 news articles »


Greece has lost more than one-fifth of its pre-crisis economy

Greece has lost more than one-fifth of its pre-crisis economyQuartzAnd while you can argue that Greece's pace of growth in the mid-2000s was never sustainable, you can't ignore the dire implications of such a collapse for the Greek people. Household disposable income in the country is down by more than 22% over the ...


Greek silver tetradrachm realizes $653515 in auction

Greek silver tetradrachm realizes 3515 in auctionCoin WorldA rare Greek silver tetradrachm of Syracuse once part of the famed Nelson Bunker Hunt Collection realized 590,000 Swiss francs (about $653,515 U.S.) during Nomos Ag's sale No. 8 on Oct. 22. The coin had an estimate of 75,000 Swiss francs (about ...


Amendment to CSL policy grants appellate jurisdiction over Greek life

This past February, the Committee on Student Life (CSL) repealed a provision preventing it from hearing appeals cases from Greek life organizations, re-establishing the CSL’s jurisdiction over the Greek life community. Previously, all other ...


Stournaras attends Eurogroup hoping 1-bln tranche can still be secured this month

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras is due to attend Monday’s Eurogroup meeting with the hope that Greece can still convince the troika it has met enough bailout commitments to receive its next bailout tranche of 1 billion euros before the end of the month... ...


New rules on home foreclosures even without troika approval, says minister

Greece will pass legislation lifting a ban on home foreclosures even if it fails to reach an agreement with the troika on the content of the new law, Deputy Development Minister Thanasis Skordas said on Monday. Speaking to Skai radio, Skordas said that ev... ...


Greek recession slowed again in Q3 as economy shrank by 3 pct

Greece's gross domestic product(GDP) shrank 3.0 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2013, unchanged from a previous flash estimate published in November, the country's statistics service ELSTAT said on Monday. The decline, based on seasonally una... ...


Greece sees highest deflation on record in November as consumer prices fall 2.9 pct

Greece posted in November its highest deflation since monthly records began in 1960, as consumer prices fell 2.9 percent on an annual basis, data from the statistics service showed on Monday. The EU-harmonised deflation accelerated to -2.9 percent from -1... ...


Najib says warned of Greece’s folly, not bankruptcy risk

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 9 — Excess spending without raising tax revenue could send Malaysia down Greece’s path, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today when clarifying previous remarks on the country’s need for the Goods and Services Tax (GST).


HMS Gala Raises Scholarship Funds

NEW YORK – “Celebrating ‘Service to Community’ was the theme of the Annual Scholarship Gala of the Hellenic Medical Society of New York that marked the Society’s 77th anniversary at Manhattan’s Palace Hotel on December 7. The guests were welcomed by the Gala committee Chairs, Dr. Eleni Andreopoulou and her sister  Panagiota Andreopoulou, and Dr. […]

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The Greek Night Chill Kills

It’s getting cold in Greece as winter approaches, not the bone-freezing deep frost of a January night wind that blows in off Boston Harbor, but cold enough so that politicians are keeping their hands in their own pockets and people who can’t afford oil because of big tax hikes on fuel are burning wood, plastic, […]

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Greek Mortgage Ban Battle Set

ATHENS – Having passed a disputed and contentious 2014 budget that has a big hole in it, Greek lawmakers now will take up the tougher test for the government over whether to lift a moratorium against foreclosures when it expires on Dec. 31 as demanded by its international lenders who want to let banks confiscate […]

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BC-AP--Europe News Digest, AP

by  Associated Press BC-AP--Europe News Digest, AP Associated Press - 9 December 2013 07:29-05:00



KIEV, Ukraine — Ukraine's president agrees to talks with three former presidents in an effort to defuse the crisis triggered by his decision to turn his back on a treaty with the EU. Meanwhile, dozens of riot police in full gear positioned themselves outside the Kiev city administration on Monday, the deadline a court has set for the protesters occupying the building to leave. By Jim Heintz and Yuras Karmanau. Developing. SENT: 130 words.


ANKARA, Turkey — After dominating Turkish politics for a decade, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is entering election season on uncertain footing — without the support of key groups that had powered his previous electoral wins and facing divisions within his own party. Erdogan, whom critics accuse of cutting an increasingly autocratic figure, faces municipal elections in March that are largely seen as a vote of confidence in his Islamic-based government. A poor result could weaken Erdogan just as he seeks to shift into the presidency in an August vote while still maintaining enough influence in his party to choose his successor as prime minister in parliamentary elections expected next year. By Suzan Fraser. SENT: 760 words, photo.


LONDON — Eight major technology companies have joined forces to call for tighter controls on government surveillance, issuing an open letter Monday to President Barack Obama arguing for reforms in the way the U.S. snoops on people. The companies, which include Google, Facebook and Twitter, said that while they sympathize with national security concerns, recent revelations make it clear that laws should be carefully tailored to balance them against individual rights. By Danica Kirka. SENT: 450 words.


PARIS — A French auction house has ignored an urgent request by the U.S. Embassy to delay a sale of dozens of sacred Hopi masks. EVE auctioneers say Monday's sale of 32 artifacts, which the Hopis say represent their ancestors' spirits, will go ahead despite a plea from the Embassy on Saturday that the sale be delayed to give the concerned tribes time to travel and identify the artifacts. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 450 words by 1300 GMT.


MOSCOW — President Vladimir Putin has appointed a controversial news anchor known for his ultraconservative views to head a newly restructured state news agency. A decree published on the Kremlin's website on Monday announced the appointment of Dmitry Kiselyov to be head of Russia Today, which will replace RIA Novosti in a major structural overhaul of the company. SENT: 130 words.


REIMS, France — For Champagne to become the tipple it is today — popped at weddings, quaffed in casinos, sprayed by racing drivers and smashed against ships — a few men had to die. Not just any old men. Young ones married to clever young women. By Thomas Adamson. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.



BRUSSELS — Finance ministers from the 17 eurozone countries try to agree on setting up a fund to pay for bank rescues in Europe. They will also discuss whether Greece needs to do more spending cuts. By John-Thor Dahlberg

130 words by 1400 GMT, 400 words by end of meeting


BERLIN — Germany's trade surplus narrowed and industrial production lost further momentum in October, according to reports Monday that raise concern over the strength of Europe's largest economy.

130 words out, 330 words by 1230 GMT


AMSTERDAM — Europe's top regulator has warned Nokia not to try to become a "patent troll" after the Finnish company sold most of its cellphone-making business to Microsoft Corp. this year but retained its patent portfolio. Joaquin Almunia said in a speech in Paris on Monday he had approved the $7.2 billion sale as not presenting problems on Microsoft's side, but there is a danger Nokia will now attempt to "extract higher returns" from its patent portfolio. "In other words...behave like a patent troll, or to use a more polite phrase, a patent assertion entity." SENT: 130 worlds. UPCOMING: 250 words by 1330 GMT.


AMSTERDAM — Europe's top regulator says he has asked Google not to discriminate against companies that don't want it to use their content in Google's specialized search results, such as price comparison for plane tickets or reviews of restaurants. Joaquin Almunia said during a speech in Paris Monday that the Internet search giant currently "creates a link" between sites that cooperate with the practice known as "scraping" and how the sites appear on Google's general search results. SENT: 130 words.

News Topics: General news, Embassies, Executive changes, Mobile phone manufacturing, Patents, Government surveillance, International relations, Government and politics, Corporate management, Corporate news, Business, Personnel, Mobile telecommunications equipment manufacturing, Telecommunications equipment manufacturing, Telecommunications, Industries, Consumer electronics manufacturing, Consumer product manufacturing, Consumer products and services, Intellectual property, Political issues

People, Places and Companies: Google, Inc., Microsoft Corporation, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, Joaquin Almunia, France, Kiev, Europe, Turkey, Ukraine, Paris, Russia, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Middle East

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


Chobani to Debut at Super Bowl in Major Ad Push

Chobani says it will air its first Super Bowl ad this February, a move intended to make the Greek yogurt company more of a household name. The debut on advertising's biggest stage comes as Greek yogurt continues to surge in popularity.


Greek deflation accelerates to new record as prices fall by 2.9%

But on the other hand.....there is also concern that Japan posted a surprise current account deficit in October for the ... That left Germany with a trade surplus of €16.8bn for the month, less than the €18.0bn economists had expected.


Greek deflation hits record in November, at -2.9 percent

Greek deflation hits record in November, at -2.9 percentReuters UKA combination of deep recession, wage cuts and substantial spare capacity in the economy have pulled prices down, prompting internal devaluation that could render the Greek economy more competitive. Price dynamics are seen keeping Greece's inflation ...and more »


Solving the Greek Debt Crisis With Honey and Skincare Products

Solving the Greek Debt Crisis With Honey and Skincare ProductsNational JournalThis store has been open for three weeks, the first of its kind. Owners and employees of Apivita passionately proselytize their belief that the crisis that left the Greek economy in shambles is not one of simple economics, but a crisis of conscience ...


Heart belonging to suicide Marine was 'stolen by Greek doctors in illegal autopsy who then sent his family someone else's organ when they complained'

The family of a U.S. Marine who committed suicide inside a U.S. Embassy in Greece claims their son was buried without a heart after the Greek government performed an illegal autopsy but did not return the body with the organ. U.S. Marine Sgt ...


Greece Forecasts First Round of Growth in Six Years

Greek lawmakers have built a daring prediction into their 2014 budget. They expect GDP to rise for the first time in six years, according to the BBC. Their projection was modest, a 0.6% uptick in 2014, but it beat the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s glum assessment, which predicts another year of painful contractions. Greece’s Prime Minister Antonis Samaras argued that the economy was poised for a turnaround. It had outperformed four out of five growth targets in 2013, he said. The one glaring shortfall was unemployment, which remained stuck at 27%. The projections come freighted with political consequences. Creditors like the IMF and the E.U. worry that if Greece runs a modest budget surplus, then they will be on the hook for more haircuts, as promised in a previous bailout agreement. [BBC]


EUROPEAN OPENING HEADLINES INCLUDING: A Greece deal before January 2014 is unrealistic

7.6%) CPI (Nov) Y/Y 3.0% vs. Exp. 3.1% (Prev ... Greece's Parliament early Sunday approved the 2014 budget, backing spending cuts that the government says would help it meet deficit targets but that have been criticized by its international creditors ...


Greek Banks Find Mortgage Ban Exploiters

Greek Banks Find Mortgage Ban ExploitersGreek ReporterAbout 30,000 homeowners, or 15 percent of the 200,000 protected under a moratorium on foreclosures during a crushing economic crisis, are taking advantage of the law not to pay their mortgages even though they can, a survey of loans by Greek banks has ...


Greece passes 2014 budget in tight vote

Fragile coalition maintains unity to push through fresh round of cuts but issues with fiscal gap remain as international bailout inspectors postpone visit to Athens


Greek soccer federation bans player over Nazi salute

A midfielder for AEK Athens was handed a lifetime ban from all national teams by Greece’s soccer federation EPO Sunday after he appeared to give a Nazi salute to supporters during a match. Giorgos Katidis, 20, a former captain of Greece’s under-19 team ...


Greece passes 2014 budget based on recovery prediction

ATHENS, Greece, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- The Greek Parliament Sunday passed a national budget for next year that the prime minister said was based on a modest economic recovery.


Greek pairings chosen with a new method

The greek community changed things up this year in the way they do Greek Week pairings. Instead of choosing pairings, there was a random drawing.


Independence gets a serving of family-style Greek cuisine

Independence gets a serving of family-style Greek cuisineCincinnati.comGus Soulas and his father, Angelo, are reviving their traditional family restaurant, featuring authentic Greek specialties along with a variety of other foods in the Independence Town Center. They hope to open in late January or early February. They ...and more »


No troika deal in December as Greece falls behind with bailout pledges [update]

No troika deal in December as Greece falls behind with bailout pledges [update]KathimeriniBrussels - The chiefs of the troika mission to Greece are due to return to Athens this coming week but the full technical teams will not be in the Greek capital, Kathimerini understands. Klaus Masuch of the European Central Bank, Matthias Mors of the ...


Kiev protesters topple Lenin statue as Ukrainians take to the streets

Occupiers of City Hall defy threat of police action as report of secret Ukraine deal with Putin is denied

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was knocked from his pedestal, smashed into pieces by mallet-wielding men and carried off in hundreds of small granite chunks in Kiev after hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians took to the streets in the latest display of anger at President Viktor Yanukovich's rejection of closer ties with Europe.

"This is the great Ukrainian revolution," screamed a man who had scrambled to the top of Lenin's former pedestal to plant Ukrainian and EU flags, as the crowd below shrieked approval, sang the Ukrainian national anthem and scrambled to gather souvenir chunks of the Bolshevik leader.

"Of course it would have been nice to have got rid of it in a more civilised way," said 36-year-old Mykola Boiko, clutching an apple-sized chunk of Lenin's body. "But he was a mass murderer. It's like having a monument to Hitler in your city. I'm glad he has gone."

Lenin's severed head reappeared after several hours at the pedestal, where protesters photographed it before a group of youths attacked it with hammers. "We are not against the Russian people, we are against Lenin and Putin," shouted one young protester before attacking the head with a huge mallet. The granite proved resistant although Lenin's facial features were damaged and one man pocketed an eyebrow. Shortly after, the head was rolled to a pickup truck and driven away.

Earlier, the opposition threatened to march on the presidential palace and seal Yanukovych inside if he did not sack his prime minister within 48 hours.

Hundreds of thousands of people crammed into Independence Square and nearby streets on Sunday, chanting "Ukraine is Europe!". They called on Yanukovych to resign in the biggest protest of a two-week movement to force the president to reverse a decision to halt European integration.

The protesters carried the yellow-and-blue flags of both Ukraine and the European Union. Although some protesters also waved flags of political parties, the majority of those on the streets were not supporters of particular groups.

One man wielded an effigy of the severed head of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi above a sign reading: "Vitya [Yanukovych], the game is over!"

"We do not want to be kept quiet by a policeman's truncheon," heavyweight boxer and opposition leader Vitali Klitschko told the crowd.

Since last Sunday, when protesters attempted to storm the presidential offices and riot police responded ruthlessly, there have been no violent clashes. The government has so far taken a hands-off approach to the protests but resisted concessions.

The prime minister, Mykola Azarov, survived a no-confidence vote in parliament on Tuesday and branded those on the square "Nazis and criminals", but after Sunday's violence increased the protest mood, police withdrew from the city centre. On Friday, however, police said that if two occupied buildings, including City Hall, were not vacated within five days, they would be cleared by force.

On Sunday, Eduard Leonov, an MP from the nationalist Svoboda party, was sitting at a desk inside City Hall marked "Committee for the self-government of Kiev", and described himself as the commander of the building.

He said protesters would not acquiesce to the police demands.

"First, it's an illegal order, as MPs have the right to hold meetings wherever they want. Second, it's an immoral order, as this is a humanitarian mission providing food and warmth to the protesters."

Hundreds of mattresses had been laid out on the floor in City Hall's main colonnaded room, and stalls handed out food, medicine and donated warm clothes.

"If the government decides to storm the building, then of course we will resist," said Leonov.

Across town, a low-key rally of pro-Yanukovych Ukrainians was guarded by hundreds of riot police. The crowd stood unenthused as pop music blared and a voice boomed from a loudspeaker that opposition forces were attempting to launch a coup d'etat. Many admitted they had been bussed into the capital from the Russian-speaking east of the country, and most did not look happy to be there.

Yanukovych has kept a low profile since the protests started, even flying to China for a three-day trip last week as the centre of Kiev remained under siege. He returned to Ukraine on Friday, stopping over in Russia to meet Vladimir Putin, with rumours circling in Kiev that the pair had agreed for Ukraine to join the Russian-led Customs Union. That sparked fury in Kiev but was denied by spokespeople for both presidents.

Russia and the west have traded allegations over which side is putting pressure on Ukraine. On Saturday, former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili told the crowd on Independence Square that Putin had performed a "raider attack on a whole sovereign country", attempting to steal Ukraine's fate from its own people.

Alexei Pushkov, the head of the Russian parliament's foreign affairs committee, struck back: "Saakashvili is kind of right. There is an attempted raid on Ukraine, not from Moscow but Brussels, grabbing it by the neck and dragging it to paradise," he tweeted. "The word 'paradise' should be in inverted commas, of course. For Bulgaria, Greece and even for Serbia which is just an EU candidate country, the promised 'paradise' turned to hopeless gloom."

Yanukovych has insisted he still wants integration with Europe, but could not sign the EU deal as it would have caused further damage to Ukraine's suffering economy.

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Slovenian and Greek troubles to dominate Europgroup talks

Slovenian and Greek troubles to dominate Europgroup talksIrish TimesEuro zone finance ministers meet today in Brussels amid mounting fears about the Slovenian economy, and continuing difficulties with the Greek bailout as the troika once again postponed a visit of its full review team to Athens. While significant ...


Why Americans Are So Angry

BELIEVE the polls, and Americans have decided that they live in Italy: hobbled by dishonest leaders and such endemic corruption that only fools would trust strangers.

Grim findings have been coming thick and fast. Most Americans no longer see President Barack Obama as honest. Half think that he “knowingly lied” to pass his Obamacare health law.

Fewer than one in five trust the government in Washington to do what is right all or most of the time.

Confidence in Congress has fallen to record lows: in America, as in Italy and Greece, just one in ten voters expresses trust or confidence in the national parliament. Frankly straining credulity, a mammoth, 107-country poll by Transparency International, a corruption monitor, this summer found Americans more likely than Italians to say that they feel that the police, business and the media are all “corrupt or extremely corrupt”.

Americans are also turning on one another. Since 1972 the Chicago-based General Social Survey (GSS) has been asking whether most people can be trusted, or whether “you can’t be too careful” in daily life. Four decades ago Americans were evenly split. Now almost two-thirds say others cannot be trusted, a record high. Recently the Associated Press sought to add context to the GSS data, asking Americans if they placed much trust in folk they met away from home, or in the workers who swiped their payment cards when out shopping. Most said no.

The press is full of headlines about an American crisis of trust. That is too hasty. Lexington spent years in Asia and Europe reporting from countries cursed by official corruption and low trust among strangers. America is not that sort of society.

In genuinely low-trust societies, suspicion blights lives and hobbles economies. In China, even successful urbanites distrust business and government, worrying constantly about the food they buy and the air they breathe. Yet those same successful Chinese have little confidence in the poor. Chinese friends used to urge Lexington never to play Good Samaritan at an accident scene, insisting that anyone rich who stopped to help would be blamed for the victim’s injuries and pursued for compensation.

It is true that America faces grave problems. Congress has had an unproductive year: shutting down the federal government was a notable low point. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) confessed to subjecting Tea Party and other political groups to special scrutiny, enraging conservatives. But to put such antics in perspective, this year Italy’s richest media tycoon and its ex-prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, was convicted of tax fraud, of paying an underage prostitute and abuse of power.

In genuinely low-trust countries, tax evasion comes naturally: when those at the top cheat, only dupes follow the rules. But America shows few signs of surging tax evasion. The most recent IRS “tax gap” estimates found no significant decline in the proportion of taxes paid voluntarily and on time.

Nor are Americans at soaring risk of being ripped off in daily life. The latest survey of consumer fraud by the Federal Trade Commission found a fall in the prevalence of scams. Payment-card fraud is rising, but only in proportion with overall card use, says FICO, a fraud-management firm: crooked shop staff affect “percents of a percent” of transactions.

None of this justifies complacency. Americans are dangerously angry. But when they voice Italian levels of distrust for authorities, or sweepingly accuse fellow-citizens of being crooks, they are not describing reality. Here is a theory: Americans are instead revealing how deeply they are divided. Dig into headlines about “half of all Americans” thinking this or that, and large partisan or demographic divides lurk.

Take that poll finding that half of voters think Mr Obama lied to pass his health plan. Look more closely, and eight in ten Republicans think he fibbed, but fewer than one in four Democrats. As for headline GSS numbers about overall trust between Americans, they conceal a big race gap: for decades around 80% of black Americans have consistently said that most people cannot be trusted. The bulk of the recent decline involves whites becoming less trusting, says Tom Smith, the survey’s director.

Explaining that decline is a complex business, but over the same period society has become more impersonal and more economically unequal. Robert Putnam of Harvard University, a pioneer in the study of “social capital”, argues that Americans’ trust in one another has been declining steadily since the “golden” aftermath of the second world war, when civic activity and a sense of community among neighbours were at a peak.

Trust in institutions has risen and fallen over that same post-war period in line with external events, plunging after the Watergate scandal, for instance, and during recessions. Yet something new seems to be happening. Anti-government cynicism is feeding on gulfs in society.

Conservatives think Democrats buy votes with welfare

Consider the crisis around Obamacare. Forget fussing about its useless website: websites can be fixed. The president’s headache is that voters see his plan as welfare for the poor rather than a better way of delivering medical care.

That is exposing ugly divisions. Most starkly, a majority of whites think the law will make life worse for them, a National Journal poll found, while most non-whites believe it will help people like them. That in turn tallies with a big change over the previous 15 years: a collapse in support among conservatives for government safety nets.

This is America’s real problem with trust. The country faces a crisis of mutual resentment, masquerading as a general collapse in national morale. Sharply-delineated voter blocs are alarmingly willing to believe that rival groups are up to no good or taking more than their fair share. Polls describing America as a hell-hole of corruption are not to be taken literally. They are a warning. America is not a low-trust society. But it risks becoming one.

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Center-Left Olive Tree Movement Set

ATHENS – With the decline of the once-dominant PASOK Socialist party into irrelevance, a new center-left political movement called Elia (Olive Tree) which brings together 58 personalities from the worlds of politics, academia and the arts is to be launched officially in Athens on Dec. 9 even though its leaders are already squabbling over what […]

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Olympiakos Beats Asteras 2-0

ATHENS – Late goals by Alejandro Dominguez and Michael Olaitan helped defending champion Olympiakos to a 2-0 victory over visiting Asteras in the Greek league on Dec. 7. Asteras played for a draw and frustrated Olympiakos’ efforts until the 74th minute, when Vladimir Weiss was brought down in Asteras’ area. Dominguez converted the penalty. In […]

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Greece 200-1 Shot in World Cup

If you’re a betting man and missed your chance to score a fortune by not picking Buster Douglas at 42-1 to beat Mike Tyson for the World Heavyweight Championship, you could get rich betting on Greece to win the World Cup in soccer – what the world outside of the U.S. calls football – in […]

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Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Thailand's opposition walkout, Greece's ...

Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Thailand's opposition walkout, Greece's ...QuartzGreece expects to return to growth next year, according to its budget that was passed by lawmakers on Saturday—although the OECD expects the Greek economy to contract for a seventh consecutive year in 2014. Greece's international creditors haven't yet ...


The Greek paradox

The Greek paradoxFrontier PostTHE problem with Greece is that it's full of Greeks.” This is an expression that is often batted around in Greece, and is the panacea that is reached for all the country's ills, from the expanding waistlines of the country's youth to the nation's ...


Cuba the Day After: Chimeras, Transitions and Stages

The article that I published in Issue 19 of the journal Voices

"Every frustration is the daughter of an excess of expectations," a friend repeated to me when the forecasts of beautiful tints that I invent every now and then fell short. The last decades of my life -- like that of so many Cubans -- have been a kind of unfulfilled forecasts, scenarios that never materialize, and archived hopes. A sequence of cabals, rites of divination and staring at the moon, that collide head-on with the stubborn reality. We are a people of frustrated Nostradamuses, of soothsayers who won't win at life, of prophets who weave predictions together, without getting any of them right.

In our national history the nineties held the greatest concentration of failed prognostications. I remember imagining people in the street, the shouts of freedom, the pressures of need and social misery exploding in a peaceful revolt that would change everything. I was a teenager and we were a beardless society... we still are. So the mirage of before and after, of an event that would again split the calendar of the nation, of our going to bed one night thinking of political change and before the sun set again it would be done. Like all immature people, we believed in magicians. In those who will come with a wand or banner or dais, to resolve everything. And then it happened. Although it didn't seem anything like what I had imagined. We had the Maleconazo in August of 1994, but what brought people to the streets wasn't an attempt to transform the country from within, but rather to bypass the insularity and escape to another place. There was no flag waving, no shouts of "Viva Free Cuba!" Rather doors were torn off to make rafts with a long delayed goodbye on our north coast. My wise friend repeated it... "I told you, you're disappointed because you always expect too much." Two decades have passed, our society never matured but some stubborn gray hairs started to appear on my head. I now know that between desire and events most of the time there is a divorce, an uncomprehending widow. I became pragmatic, but not cynical. Everything I learned about reality -- paraphrasing a good poet -- was not everything there was in reality. When I woke up thinking "this system already died," then its capacity to be the "living dead" for 54 years bit me. So now I've stopped believing in the solutions accompanied by smiles and hugs in the street. Hard times are coming. The transition will be difficult and there won't even be a day to celebrate it. Most likely there will be joy and singing. We have been late to everything, even change. The images of the Berlin Wall falling to pieces were only possible once. For us, and here I venture another prophecy, there will be a gray transformation, without snapshots to record it.A day after the Castros... if after the Castros there is a day. One day we will look back and realize that the Castro regime fell or simply ceased to exist, taking with it the best years of my mother, my best years, the best years of my son. But perhaps it's just as well, not having another January first, no photos of Greek-profiled gentlemen with pigeons perched on their shoulders. Perhaps a change that goes through the waters of apathy is better than another carnivorous revolution that devours us all. Afterwards, afterwards there won't be much time for festivities. The bubble of false statistics will pop and we'll be struck by the country we actually have. We'll realize that the infant mortality rate isn't what we've been told all these years, that we aren't the "most cultured people in the world" and that the nation's coffers are empty... empty... empty. We will hear a chorus of "with Raul Castro everything was better." We will have to start to change the name of the Stockholm Syndrome and relocate it to this tropical geography. Responsibility will come, a concept few are prepared for. Taking over our own lives and putting "Daddy State" in its rightful place, without protectionism but also without authoritarianism. Democracy is profoundly boring, so we'll get bored. That permanent fear that we listen to, that panic that a neighbor or friend could be an informer for State Security, will no longer exist. Then we will see if we dare to say out loud what we are thinking, or if we prefer that the politicians of tomorrow can comfortably manage our silence. The first free elections will find us arriving early at the polling stations, talking and smiling. But by the third or fourth time the turnout at the polls will be around half the population. Being a citizen is a full-time job and, as you already know, we are not used to efficient and constant work, nor to tenacity. So eventually we'll again delegate our responsibility to some "sweet talking" populist who promises us paradise on earth and assures us that in the dilemma between "security and freedom" he will be charged with enforcing the first. We will fall into his trap, because we are an immature people, a beardless people. The scars will take a long time to fade, but the new wounds are rapidly appearing. This combination between high level professional and low level ethics will be a bitter pill for us to swallow. It wouldn't surprise me if we become an emporium of drug manufacturing and trafficking. This would be another of the many legacies left to us by the Castro regime: a predatory people, where the word "values" is uncomfortable... and unnecessary. Lurching to the fiercest consumption also seems inevitable. Years of rationing, shortages and pitiful goods with outdated labels, will make people hungrily throw themselves at the market. Time will pass before we see environmental movements, natural food movements, or we are called to moderation and to not be wasteful. The appetites to have, to buy, to show off, will skyrocket and will also be a part of the sequels left to us by a system that preaches austerity while the higher ups exercise hedonism. We will see them mutate, like chameleons swearing "I never said such thing." We will watch them exchange ideology for economics, their Manual of Marxism for a Guide to Business, their olive-green uniforms for suits and ties. They will speak of necessary reconciliation, of forgetting, and remind us that "we are all one people." They will go from acts of repudiation to amnesia, from spying to continuing to spy because once an informer, always an informer. Every person who was once critical of the government will be, for these "converts" of tomorrow, deeply uncomfortable. Because to look at them will be a reminder that they did nothing to change things, that, from cowardice and opportunism, they kept their mouths shut. So among their objectives will be to bury what was once the Cuban dissidence. They will use it and set it aside. We will hear stories of people beaten and incarcerated being told by the forgotten old men of social security; like today we see Olympic boxers begging on the street. The medals of the past will be offensive to the cynics of the future... there will be no space for heroism, because it's uncomfortable. The dates celebrated in the textbooks will change. Many statues will be removed and in their place they will erect some whose names we will have to learn and at whose bases we will have to leave flowers on their anniversaries. One epoch will be replaced, another will be established. With all those who will then say they were opponents and helped "to overturn the Castro regime" we could, right now, establish a civic force of millions of individuals. There will be a competition to see who is more responsible for the change and has more medals to hang on their lapels.Bad predictions, good preparation Tired of throwing flowers at the future and imagining its luminosity, I have come to believe that the more we paint it in dark tones the more energy we can put into changing it. The time to think about tomorrow is now because the Castro regime has died but still walks, breathes, tightens its fist. The Castro regime has died because its life cycle expired some time ago, its cycle of illusion was brief, its cycle of participation never existed. The Castro regime has died and we must begin to plan for the day after its funeral. I look forward to reading proposals and platforms that address the dilemmas that will confront us one hour after the coffin of this so-called revolution rests under the earth. Where are the programs for that moment? Are we prepared for this gray change, without heroes or falling walls, but that will inevitably come to pass? Do we know how we are going to face the new problems that will arise, the problems that will appear on all sides which are here now, but muted and distorted? If we prepare ourselves for the worst case scenario, it will be a sign of maturity that will help us overcome it. The civic network will play a key role in any case. Only by strengthening this civic structure can we stop ourselves from falling into the arms of the next political hypnotist or into networks of chaos and violence. We are not looking for presidents -- they are already here -- we are looking for citizens. Let's forget the river of people celebrating in the streets and the Ministry of the Interior opening its archive to find out who was and wasn't an informant. Most likely, it won't be like that. The enthusiasm for public demonstrations is exhausted and the most revealing documents will no longer exist, they will have burnt them or taken them. We have come late to the transition. But that doesn't mean it will go badly for us, that we will regret taking it on. We can, this at least we can, start from scratch in so many things. Drinking in the experiences and disasters of others; realizing that we have the chance to sow the seeds of democracy in world where so many try to straighten a trunk that was born crooked. If our change turns out badly, we will have half the planet pointing at us and asking, "Is that what they wanted for Cuba? Is that the change they yearned for?" With no apologies, we have a responsibility not only to our nation, but to the better part of humanity that believes it can still transition successfully from an authoritarian to a participative system.Realization is the daughter of a difficult challenge I know what my skeptical friend will say when reading this article. He will chuckle and say, "Even when you're pessimistic you're still a dreamer." But he will also recognize that I am no longer that teenager who hoped to one day wake up to cries of joy in the street, to join the crowd and head to the statue of José Martí in Central Park. I know it won't be like that. But it can be much better.Yoani's English Language blog is here, and her posts also appear in here, along with those of over 100 independent voices writing from the Island. 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