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

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Greek National Intelligence Anticipates Hit on IMF Rep

Greek ReporterGreek National Intelligence Anticipates Hit on IMF RepGreek ReporterAccording to Kathimerini's report, the Greek National Intelligence Security (EYP) anticipated an attack on the International Monetary Fund's representative in Athens, Bob Traa. An anti-regime group had targeted Bob Traa's residence in Filothei.


Greek Authorities Arrest Pakistanis for Holding Syrians Captive

Greek ReporterGreek Authorities Arrest Pakistanis for Holding Syrians CaptiveGreek ReporterOn Sunday, December 15, the Greek authorities arrested four Pakistanis that are members of a criminal organisation. According to the Greek Police, the organisation is specialised on seizing immigrants, smuggling them and keeping them captive until a ...Greek police arrest migrant smugglers, free imprisoned SyriansThe Daily Starall 4 news articles »


Greek Cyprus: no resumption of reunification talks

Greek Cypriot administration says Turkish Cypriots and the Turkish government have scuttled chances of restarting talks to reunify the ethnically-split country. Administration spokesman Christos Stylianides on Saturday blamed Turkish Cypriots for "extreme ...


Greece's former king goes home after 46-year exile

The GuardianGreece's former king goes home after 46-year exileThe Guardian"He and Anne-Marie have decided to move here permanently," said a member of Greece's small circle of royalists, referring to Constantine's Danish-born wife. "His son Prince Nikolaos and his wife Princess Tatiana made the same move a few months back.".Constantine II and Anne-Marie of Greecehellomagazine.comGreek royals Constantine II and Anne-Marie leave London and return to GreeceNagaland Postall 3 news articles »


Leftists Tab Tsipras For EC Head

MADRID – Greece’s major opposition party Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras was the runaway choice of the European Left Party to be its nominee for European Commission President, a post he has virtually no chance of winning Still, Tsipras – who critics said would lead Greece out of the Eurozone and […]

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Greece Told: Don’t Ease Up

ATHENS – Even as Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is trying to wean Greece off international loans and austerity measures, the head of the German central bank said the Premier can’t let up on tough reforms, many of which are still being delayed amid criticism the government is dragging its feet. Germany is providing much of […]

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IMF Envoy Was Anarchist Target

ATHENS – The International Monetary Fund’s former representative in Greece, Bob Traa of The Netherlands, barely escaped an attack by a mob of anarchists discovered just in time by the country’s intelligence service (EYP) reports said. Traa was the IMF’s man in Athens until departing in September, replaced by American Wes McGrew, whose father was […]

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Three Greeks Bring Love to Vietnam

ATHENS – Three Greek volunteers for Action Aid returned from Vietnam with enough photos of what they had seen there to put together an exhibit at the Michael Kakoyannis Foundation, depicting the mission of good will. Give and Take Love, Hope, Light Smile is the work of Maro Verli, Manolis Samarakis and Panos Sinanidis who […]

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Atromitos Knocks Off Panathinaikos 2-1

ATHENS – Walter Iglesias’ two second-half goals in the space of five minutes on assists from fellow Argentine Javier Umbides led Atromitos to a 2-1 away win over Panathinaikos in the Greek league. The hosts opened the scoring through Marcus Berg in the first half. The win kept Atromitos in third place, four points ahead […]

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Samaras Seeks Greek Debt Relief

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said he will insist that the country’s international lenders allow a debt cut if a primary surplus ... although Samaras said a recovery is in sight beginning next year and that Greece can begin to wean ...


Athens Mosque Exposes Greece Divisions

ATHENS – Plans to build a mosque in Athens to fulfil the religious needs of a growing Muslim community is sparking tension in Greece and revealing deep divisions in the debts-ridden country. "It's very important for us that the mosque is built,” Shabaz ...


Greek Muslims Forced to Go Underground

"Who could come here and pray five times a day?” asked Naim Elghandour ... an estimated 200,000 Muslims in the Greek capital. Tens of thousands of Muslim immigrants perform prayers in private homes and have had to travel hundreds of kilometers to ...


Letter: Young Greece musicians connect with community

Letter: Young Greece musicians connect with communityRochester Democrat and ChronicleOn Dec. 6, five Greece elementary string orchestras combined to perform a holiday concert at the Mall at Greece Ridge. There were approximately 110 string students who participated in this fantastic event. It was a chance to come together and meet ...and more »


Is EU-member Greece truly secular?

I was taken aback when I heard Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç imply that his government is considering converting the Hagia Sophia museum into a mosque. Hagia Sophia was built in the sixth century as a Greek Orthodox cathedral and served as ...


Greek police arrest migrant smugglers, free imprisoned Syrians

The Daily StarGreek police arrest migrant smugglers, free imprisoned SyriansThe Daily StarATHENS: Greek authorities arrested four Pakistani nationals accused of smuggling migrants and freed eight Syrians held captive in a house near Athens, police said Sunday. "The four arrested Pakistanis are members of a criminal organisation specialising ...and more »


Decision to further reduce Greek debt must be made in spring

Sky News AustraliaDecision to further reduce Greek debt must be made in springgulfnews.comAthens: Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras urged the Eurozone to confirm early next year it would again write-down part of his country's huge debt, in a Sunday interview to liberal daily Kathimerini. “We insist that a decision for another reduction ...Samaras Seeks Greek Debt ReliefGreek ReporterRemembering Weimar in GreeceJerusalem PostSamaras aims for debt relief in April but not national elections in MayKathimeriniall 7 news articles »


Sky Zone indoor trampoline park opens in Greece

Sky Zone indoor trampoline park opens in GreeceRochester Democrat and ChronicleSky Zone, a national company, is all about trampolines, and franchisees Dale and Rhonda See have opened the Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park at 155 Bellwood Drive in Greece. There are bouncing places everywhere in the Sky Zone. The walls are ...and more »


He kept Greek tradition alive, singing and building (Life Stories: Angelos ...

He kept Greek tradition alive, singing and building (Life Stories: Angelos ...The Birmingham News - al.comDuring that same time, nearly every Greek restaurant built in Birmingham was built by Petelos - from Niki's West to Bright Star and the Fish Market - and he also oversaw the construction of the Colonial Chapel at American Village in Montevallo. "He was ...


Greece seeks decision on further debt cuts

the indebted country has predicted a slight primary surplus - not including debt servicing costs - for 2014. A tough 2014 budget approved last week by the parliament foresees a 0.6 per cent GDP growth. But Greece is still negotiating with its troika of EU ...


Financial offenders must be named if bank reforms are going to work

The shocking tale of Lloyds' mis-selling culture ended with a deserved £28m fine. But not one person was singled out for blame. As Iceland shows, that's got to change

Spare a thought for Chris Willford. The former finance director of Bradford & Bingley was last week stung with a £30,000 fine for his actions during the banking crisis. The City regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), found that for three days in May 2008 he failed to do his job properly because he did not tell the board of the cash-strapped bank that its finances were deteriorating.

At the time, the bank was in the midst of a rescue cash call that eventually failed. Four months later it was part-nationalised and partially taken over by the UK arm of the Spanish bank Santander. It was an oversight for which he is rightly being penalised. So why the sympathy?

Well, Willford is one of only a handful of bankers to be punished for their actions during the financial crisis. None of the bosses of the banks bailed out during that time – B&B included – has faced any charges from City watchdogs.

Admittedly Fred Goodwin – stripped of his knighthood – will not expect the City regulator to authorise him to take a job in finance again. Andy Hornby, the former boss of HBOS, has gone into bookmaking – via a chemist – rather than seek out another career in banking.

But will this quench the public appetite for the buck to stop at the top of failed organisations? Probably not.

While the clamour for bankers to be sent to jail may appear undignified, look at the situation in Iceland. The former chairman and chief executive of the collapsed bank Kaupthing were last week given a five-year jail sentence.

Both Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson, the former chief executive, and his chairman Sigurdur Einarsson are expected to appeal against their convictions for fraud and market manipulation.

But still, Iceland is unique in punishing its most senior bankers in such a public way and securing convictions. It may be that the crimes were easier to understand – in Kaupthing's case it related to a loan the bank gave to a Qatari sheikh to buy 5% of its own shares – but still it helps to sate the demand for top bankers to take the blame when things go wrong.

This was one of the themes pursued by the parliamentary commission on banking standards and then taken up by the Treasury select committee, which has battled in recent weeks to convince a succession of former managers of the Co-operative Bank to take responsibility for its near-demise.

This week new rules requiring top bankers to be accountable for their actions are expected to become law. A new offence of reckless misconduct, for bankers who run their institutions into the ground, will also be introduced.

There are those who say the new law will be impossible to enforce. Even so, it may yet prove to be a deterrent to any banker whose management strategy is growth at any cost. Just think of the sales advisers at Lloyds Banking Group. One of them was so terrified about being demoted that he sold himself a financial product. He did not stop there. He sold one to his wife and his colleague to achieve sales targets. This culture was exposed last week when the bank was fined a record £28m.

The FCA shed light on a brutal six-tier salary structure at Lloyds in which advisers could automatically be demoted if they failed to reach sales targets. The bank paid bonuses even when it knew that the customers were being sold products they did not need.

It is a shocking affair. So, on whom did the FCA pin the blame? There's the problem. Not a single individual at Lloyds is named by the regulator. Instead the firm is fined for serious failings in its systems and controls. That cannot be right.

Eurozone festivities? Don't bank on them

December is a time for clearing the decks as well as decking the halls, so tThere is a satisfying completeness about Ireland's formal exit from its bailout package this weekend. More than five years into the crisis, and with fellow bailout victims Greece, Portugal and Cyprus still racked with economic hardship and political instability, Ireland is a welcome success story for the eurozone.

After ministers finally agreed the basics of a pan-European banking union last week, there is cause for hope that 2014 will be the calmest year since the onset of the credit crunch. Ireland certainly appears to think so, given its decision to jump free of the troika without the safety net of a precautionary credit line from the IMF.

But there's also reason to be cautious. On the agenda for the new year are a series of knotty financial and economic questions: how will debt-laden eurozone states cope with higher bond yields if Fed tapering pushes up borrowing costs? How will Greece's €4bn (£3.4bn) funding gap for next year be met – and what fresh agony will its population have to endure in exchange? Will Portugal's fragile coalition continue pushing through tough austerity measures without sparking a renewed political crisis? What happens if the ECB's "asset quality review" of the region's banks reveals black holes in their balance sheets that national governments will struggle to fill?

All these potential dramas will be played out against the background of a eurozone economy barely emerged from recession, where deflation appears a serious prospect and a rise in the value of the euro on the foreign exchanges is threatening the competitiveness of even mighty Germany.

It was these fears that prompted the ECB to deliver a surprise cut in interest rates last month, and led its president, Mario Draghi, to strike anything but a festive note, warning that – unlike the snow in the carol – economic recovery in the eurozone is "weak, fragile and uneven". Ireland's progress is cause for celebration, but doesn't mean the eurozone as a whole is destined for a happy new year.

Sometimes it pays to walk…

Some bosses of FTSE 100 companies cling on to their jobs even when it seems unlikely they can survive. Think Nick Buckles, former chief executive of accident-prone outsourcing company G4S, who did not quit until May, eight months after the Olympics staffing fiasco.

There are others who go only when pushed. Think Bob Diamond, the one-time boss of Barclays, who left only after the Bank of England eased him out in the wake of the Libor scandal.

Then there is Simon Lee, chief executive of insurance company RSA. A month ago, when the insurer uncovered a problem at its Irish unit, he had looked hopeful about keeping his role. The dividend, he thought at the time, would not be threatened. On Friday, however, when the hole deepened by another £130m and assurances could no longer be given about the dividend, Lee walked. A sensible decision.

Banking reformBankingFinancial sectorLloyds Banking GroupBradford & BingleyEuroRSA © 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


Samaras aims for debt relief in April but not national elections in May

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras aims to lead his government into May’s local and European Parliament elections with a decision from Greece’s lenders on further debt relief and with no intention of calling early national elections. In an interview with Sund... ...


Greece Sees EAS Deal At Hand

Greece said it’s close to resolving one of the biggest stumbling blocks to get release of a delayed one billion euro ($1.37 billion) installment from international lenders, reforming the money-losing Hellenic Defence Systems (EAS) that critics said has been used as a dumping ground for political hires for generations. The Troika of the European Union-International […]

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Cyprus Says Unification Talks Over

LIMASSOL, Cyprus  – Cyprus’ government says breakaway Turkish Cypriots and the Turkish government have scuttled chances of restarting talks to reunify the ethnically-split country. Government spokesman Christos Stylianides on Dec. 14 blamed Turkish Cypriots for “extreme and intransigent” positions. He said President Nicos Anastasiades is unwilling to now enter into talks “for the sake of […]

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Oxford University Has Created A Beautiful High-Res Version Of The Gutenberg Bible You Can View Online

One of the most famous and important books in human history is now available for viewing online in high-resolution thanks to archivists at Oxford University and the Vatican Library.

The "Gutenberg Bible" was printed by Johan Gutenberg in the 15th Century and is thought to be the first book printed using moveable type — a major technological innovation. The book is also considered to be a beautiful example of Gutenberg's expert craftsmanship.

"Produced in 1454 or 1455, the few surviving copies of Gutenberg's Bible remain exemplars of the printer’s forethought and craftsmanship; the page dimensions, it is believed, were devised by Gutenberg to echo the golden ratio of Greek aesthetics," according to Open Culture.

Oxford's copy of the Gutenberg Bible is only one of seven remaining in the world.

The Oxford and Vatican partnership is financed by a £2 million award from the Polonsky Foundation. The foundation hopes to fully digitize the ancient texts in the Bodleian Libraries at Oxford and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican Library).

Look through the gorgeous Gutenberg Bible here »

Join the conversation about this story »



Greece a month away from bailout target

Greece is close to reaching a central target of its bailout agreements with international lenders.


Remembering Weimar in Greece

Admirable attempts by the European Jewish Congress and other Jewish organizations to combat anti-Semitism often seem as futile as trying to change the weather. ATHENS – “This is not the Weimar Republic, this is a united Europe,” Greek Prime Minister ...


Mother and son reunited for holidays after father kidnapped him to Greece

‘I like being back home with my mom and my little sister but sometimes I feel like I miss Greece,’ he told the Star. ‘I really do miss it because of my dad and my friends there. I love the school there. Life was pretty good there, kind of ...


Metro works in Greek city unearth 'Byzantine Pompeii'

Metro works in Greek city unearth 'Byzantine Pompeii'Business RecorderExtensive construction work on a new underground transit system in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki has unearthed a wealth of archaeological finds, leading some to hail the area as a Byzantine Pompeii - a reference to the ancient Roman city ...


How to Destroy an Entire Country

From a recent 188-page report by the World Health Organization come these ghastly and appalling factoids:Suicide rates rose 40 percent in the first six months of 2011 alone.Murder has doubled.9,100 doctors in Greece, roughly one out of every seven, have been laid off. Joining those doctors in joblessness are 27.6 percent of the entire Greek labor force. By comparison, in the depths of the Great Depression, unemployment in the United States peaked at a lower percentage than that. Among Greek young adults under 25 years old, unemployment reached an abominable 64.9 percent in May. (Yet the unemployment rate in Greece was as low as 7 percent as recently as 2008.) I'm sure that my Tea Party friends will blame universal healthcare, paid sick leave and "generous" unemployment benefits for this catastrophe. "If we simply stopped helping people, then they wouldn't need our help," they would say. You can see where that "logic" leads. The dead need no help whatsoever, except possibly burial. Sort of like this: "The Republican healthcare plan: Don't Get Sick. And if you do get sick, Die Quickly."] Maybe you think that I'm kidding about what my Tea Party friends would do. I'm not. A few years ago here in Florida, we had a children's health insurance program called KidCare, with a waiting list of over 100,000. The Tea Party Republicans didn't like that. So they eliminated the waiting list. But back to Greece. A lot of people blame Greek government debt for the current suffering. According to the Central Intelligence Agency, that most authoritative of all conceivable sources, Greek government debt stands at 160 percent of GDP, which seems like a lot. But Japanese government debt stands at 215 percent of GDP, and the unemployment rate in Japan is only 4 percent. Moreover, Spain's unemployment rate is virtually as high as Greece's, but Spain's government debt stands at only 85 percent of GDP. That's less debt than Singapore's, and Singapore's unemployment rate is 1.8 percent. So we cannot properly attribute the catastrophe in Greece to labor protection, nor can we attribute it to government borrowing. What is the cause, then? The World Health Organization has the answer: austerity. "Austerity" is a bloodless term for gross economic mismanagement, animated by heartlessness. That robotic cut-cut-cut mentality that deprives us of jobs, of public services, of safety, of health, of infrastructure, of help for the needy, and -- ultimately -- of our economic equilibrium and the ability to survive. The mentality that ushers in, and welcomes, a vicious war of all against all. Austerity is destroying an entire country, right before our eyes. Or, as the World Health Organization put it: "These adverse trends in Greece pose a warning to other countries undergoing significant fiscal austerity, including Spain, Ireland and Italy. It also suggests that ways need to be found for cash-strapped governments to consolidate finances without undermining much-needed investments in health." In America, we have a rich and powerful lobby that has the same prescription for every economic malady: austerity. Cut-cut-cut. Cut Social Security and Medicare. Cut teacher and police and firefighter jobs. Cut health care. Cut pay and cut pensions. It all boils down to that one ugly word: austerity. And austerity always brings disarray, disaster, decay and death. People often ask me my position on various issues. Well, I'm for certain things, and I'm against others. But on one issue, I'm very consistent. I'm against pain and suffering. Especially avoidable pain and suffering. And therefore, I'm against austerity. It begins with seemingly innocuous budget cuts. It then leads inexorably to the destruction of countless lives. Why am I telling you about Greece? In 1935, Sinclair Lewis wrote a book called It Can't Happen Here. But it can. And it's up to us to prevent it. Courage, Rep. Alan Grayson"The horror! The horror!" -- The last words of Col. Kurtz in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness (1899).


Greek yogurt startup headed to Canastota

Greek yogurt startup headed to CanastotaUtica Observer DispatchThere's a Greek yogurt and feta-cheese company coming to Canastota — and it won't have to go far to find the milk for its products. As part of the recently announced Regional Economic Development Council awards, Ariston Dairy Products LLC received ...Business to Boom in CanastotaMadison County Courierall 3 news articles »


DIMAR, PASOK Lifeboat Shootout

With their parties bordering on extinction, the leaders of the PASOK Socialists and the Democratic Left (DIMAR) face challenges from members upset they aren’t embracing a new center-left movement, The 58 Initiative, that wants Greece’s disparate left to form a united front for the May, 2014 European Parliament elections. PASOK chief Evangelos Venizelos, who set […]


Golden Dawn Protests Against Mosque in Athens Greece

Supporters and members of the Greek Neo-Nazi party, Golden Dawn, attended a marching protest against the construction of a Mosque in central Athens. Thirteen years after the project was announced by the Greek government, an architect for the construction of the Mosque has finally been chosen. Five previous attempts to find an architect were halted due […]


Remembering 70 Years Since the Holocaust in Kalavryta

An event in remembrance of 70 years since the holocaust, took place on Saturday morning in Kalavryta, Greece. A memorial service for the victims was held in the metropolitan cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in the presence of Ieronymos, Archbishop of Athens and Greece. A procession leading to the place of sacrifice followed, […]


Greece Close to Troika EAS Deal

One of the biggest obstacles to closing a deal on uncompleted reforms and trigger the release of a one billion euro ($1.37 billion) installment from international lenders – whether to shut down or privatize Greece’s money-bleeding defense contractor – is close to being resolved. The Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB […]


Greek Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Against Greek Church and Metropolitans

  A new video has gone public, showing Golden Dawn’s first in charge, Nikos Michaloliakos, commenting on some Metropolitans of the Greek Orthodox Church in particular. This video was among those that were seized by anti-terrorism officers, from the personal computers that were in the homes of the Golden Dawn’s chief, as well as of […]