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

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

U-turn expected on Greece's salary cuts for security services (press release)U-turn expected on Greece's salary cuts for security servicesFinancial TimesGreece's highest legal body is expected to demand a reversal of salary cuts for the country's security services imposed as part of a second €172bn international bailout in a move that could derail this year's budget and lead to similar claims by other ...Samaras: Greece heading toward an exit from bailout (press release)Greece: The improving economy supports a government already in combative ...The Corner EconomicGreece to reach key budget target for 2013Vallejo Times-HeraldGreek Reporter -MNI Newsall 12 news articles »


Presidency: Ties binding Egypt, Greece to witness boom

Greek ReporterPresidency: Ties binding Egypt, Greece to witness boomEgypt SIS (press release)They also underlined the importance of pushing forward cooperation within the framework of the Union for the Mediterranean, deepening strategic relations between Egypt and the European Union whose current session is presided over by Greece. President ...Mansour in Greece as part of first EU tripDaily News EgyptEgypt's President Adly Mansour Visits AthensGreek ReporterEgypt/Greece : promoting mutual investmentsMedafrica Timesall 21 news articles »


Athenians’ Society Cuts Vasilopita

The Athenians’ Society invited the entire community to join them for a dinner and cutting of the Vasilopita at Stamatis restaurant on January 12, and from the way the back room of the popular Astoria eatery was jammed, Greek-Americans in New York have learned from experience that the society’s events are not to be missed. […]

The post Athenians’ Society Cuts Vasilopita appeared first on The National Herald.


Amnesty Blasts Blasphemy Conviction

Amnesty International has expressed “serious concern” over the conviction of a Greek blogger who was  given a 10-month suspended sentence for creating a social networking page that mocked a prominent Greek Orthodox monk. The human rights group’s Greek office called the conviction last week a “blow to freedom of expression.” Philippos Loizos is free pending […]

The post Amnesty Blasts Blasphemy Conviction appeared first on The National Herald.


Of Justice and Dimitri Kontominas

It was with surprise and sadness that friends and acquaintances of noted Greek businessman Dimitri Kontominas and media owner are watching from New York what is happening around him in Athens. They certainly do not underestimate the seriousness of the charges that have resulted in a warrant for his arrest linked to the growing scandal […]

The post Of Justice and Dimitri Kontominas appeared first on The National Herald.


Samaras Says First Bailout Wrong

ATHENS – With the anti-austerity major opposition party Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) taking a big lead in recent polls, Prime Minister and New Democracy Conservative leader Antonis Samaras is trying to distance himself from the big pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and public worker firings he’s continued to impose on the orders […]

The post Samaras Says First Bailout Wrong appeared first on The National Herald.


November 17th Leader Speaks Out

Alexandros Giotopoulos, the leader of the November 17th terrorist organization, spoke out following yesterday’s reappearance of Christodoulos Xeros. In a letter sent to the newspaper Eleutherotypia, Giotopoulos has raised questions regarding the circumstances surrounding his arrest as well as Xeros’ escape. In the letter, Giotopoulos describes a “ghost” fingerprint found in his partner’s home in […]


Amnesty Blasts Monk Mocker Conviction

The conviction and 10-month suspended sentence for a Greek blogger who mocked a respected monk should cause “serious concern,” the human rights group Amnesty International said, expressing its reservations over the prosecution of the man for creating a parody Facebook page. The group’s Greek office called the conviction last week a “blow to freedom of […]


Greece’s Inspector General says 7,000 Suspensions is an Outrageous Number

  Despite that the competent Greek Ministers anticipated the suspension of thousands of unfaithful civil servants, the General Inspector of Public Administration, Leandros Rakintzis, speaking on the Special Permanent Committee on Institutions and Transparency of the Greek Parliament, dismissed this scenario. He also doubted that there are 7,000 unfaithful civil servants and said that the […]


Swiss Prosecutors to Interrogate Tsochatzopoulos

The Greek prosecutors leading the investigation into the defense contract bribery scandal seem to have run down new evidence that will shed even more light on their investigation. Prosecutors Gavriil Mallis and Yiannis Stavropoulos have managed to get access to foreign bank accounts and bank statements of the people accused of being involved in the […]


George Soros Opens Solidarity Center in Greece

The Guardian featured an article today about George Soros and the opening of his “Solidarity Center” in Thessaloniki, Greece, the first of many he plans to open in order to help Greeks who were hit the worst by the economic crisis. According to the article Aliki Mouriki, a sociologist of the Greek National Center for […]


Greek Parents Tried for Giving Birth at Home

An unusual kind of trial took place in the First Misdemeanor Court of Thessaloniki, Greece. It was probably the first time that so many defendants were being tried simultaneously in this court. Seventy-two parents were being tried for choosing to give birth naturally, at home as well as six obstetricians-gynecologists and one midwife, who witnessed […]


New Greek App ‘Clean Thess’

Every day, the citizens of Thessaloniki, Greece, encounter ruined fountains, slogans painted on the walls of public buildings, broken water pipes and streets full of garbage. This is the scenery with which the citizens of Thessaloniki have become accustomed. Many of them protest as a way to express their frustration, but they do not know […]


Human Rights Watch Slams Greece

Human Rights Watch used harsh language towards Greece and the EU in its annual report that was published on Tuesday January 21, 2014. “European Union (EU) leaders in 2013 acknowledged problems of rising intolerance and persistent human rights violations across the EU, but failed to take concerted action,” wrote the 667-page report. “Respect for human […]


Samaras Blasts PASOK For Bailout

In an indirect slap at his coalition partner, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, Prime Minister and New Democracy Conservative chief Antonis Samaras said a first bailout of $152 billion that the Socialists got from international lenders in 2010 that came with attached austerity measures was a colossal mistake that hurt workers, pensioners and the poor. Samaras, […]


Greece is in an Economic Paradox

At Ioannis Maikantis' central Athens barber shop, a trim costs just 4.5 euros ($6) and business is brisk, among signs that the recession gripping Greece for the last six years is finally showing up in high street prices. "It's about time that prices went ...


Greece prevents Syrian govt. plane from refueling

Greece has reportedly prevented a plane carrying the Syrian government's delegation to international talks in Switzerland from refueling at Athens airport. "The delegation's plane landed at Athens international airport and was prevented from refueling ...


Charting Greek Yogurt's Amazing Rise

ABC News (blog)Charting Greek Yogurt's Amazing RiseABC News (blog)The explosion of Greek yogurt in the dairy aisle that we've all come to know and love wasn't always so. In fact, Greek yogurt only took over a major part of the yogurt market in 2009. So how did it get there? Read on to find out the five major steps in ...General Mills, late to the Greek yogurt craze, now making a big pushBuffalo NewsChobani still #1 in Greek yogurt despite being “outspent dramatically" by ...FoodNavigator-USA.comYoplait Calls Out Chobani by Name in Greek Yogurt Taste Test CampaignAdAge.combrandchannel.comall 20 news articles »


If greek life did not exist

If greek life did not existDuke ChronicleAlthough criticisms of the greek system abound, it is rare to see members of the greek community discuss these issues publicly. At Dartmouth, Duke and elsewhere, greek culture can become thoroughly entwined with members' personal identities, and ...Five Greek Councilors Protest RushValley Newsall 2 news articles »


Refueling row delays Syrian peace envoys' plane in Greece

Al-ArabiyaRefueling row delays Syrian peace envoys' plane in GreeceReutersSyrian state television issued a terse statement saying the plane had been grounded in Greece for four hours and that the delay could cause Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem to miss his meeting with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.Plane of Syrian delegation delayed in GreeceAl-ArabiyaSyrian peace talks delegation delayed in GreeceIrish TimesGeneva II: Syrian government delayed after Greece firm refuses to refuel 41 news articles »


Concerns over transparency, coverage and quality at Greece's new public broadcaster

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have expressed their deep concern about the Greek government's "unacceptable" plans for the new public broadcaster NERIT, stating that the move will mean the ...


Syrian peace talks delegation delayed in Greece

Syrian state television said a plane carrying Syria’s delegation to international peace talks in Switzerland today was “prevented from refuelling” after it landed at Athens airport. The lengthy delay might force the cancellation of a planned meeting ...


Some Ohio State Greek houses to adjust alcohol policies for 2016

OSU - The LanternSome Ohio State Greek houses to adjust alcohol policies for 2016OSU - The LanternWhen the Ohio State on-campus living requirement takes effect for second-year students Fall Semester 2016, Greek houses will not be allowed to have alcohol in common areas and will be required to provide at least one desk per bedroom or dayroom.


Plane of Syrian delegation delayed in Greece of Syrian delegation delayed in GreeceAl-ArabiyaGreece's Foreign Ministry spokesman also confirmed that the plane had been temporarily detained but had now been cleared for take-off, although Greek air traffic controllers said the plane was still in Athens. Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman ...Syrian peace talks delegation delayed in GreeceIrish TimesRefuelling row delays Syrian peace envoys' plane in GreeceThe West AustralianGeneva II: Syrian government delayed after Greece firm refuses to refuel 28 news articles »


Geneva II: Syrian government delayed after Greece firm refuses to refuel plane II: Syrian government delayed after Greece firm refuses to refuel Syrian government delegation heading to peace talks in Switzerland was delayed in Athens on Tuesday when a Greek firm refused to refuel their plane, citing an EU trade embargo, the head of Greece's Civil Aviation Workers Union said. Syrian state ...Plane of Syrian delegation delayed in GreeceAl-ArabiyaSyrian peace talks delegation delayed in GreeceIrish TimesGreece says plane carrying Syrian delegation cleared for take-offReutersall 22 news articles »


Europe's Values in Retreat: With Cyprus and Greece Still Languishing Under the Troika's Heel

This is really a protest in retrospect -- my early resolution, too, for the New Year. Because the punishing new reality on the banking system in Cyprus, stubbornly imposed by the European Union in March last year, lives on unchallenged. Perhaps in time reaching even beyond. Sharing the blame, of course, were successive governments that had been amassing for years an unserviceable sovereign debt in Cyprus -- hardly with Aphrodite's blessing either. Both policies were bad mistakes. Where, I wonder, is a European stabilization programme to help revive the agonizing south? Indeed, one with "multiple pilot projects" as was once advocated by the President of the European Commission, Mr José Manuel Barroso? Tapping into the entrepreneurial heritage and business acumen, in this instance of the worst hit Greek and Cypriot people? Designed to change collectively the commercial landscape unleashing the power of fresh confidence and hope to stimulate growth? It is just nowhere -- or maybe is it wasting away lost somewhere in the labyrinth of Brussels' bureaucracy? This lack of innovative initiative has driven the people of Europe to accept living -- emotionally drained -- under a continuing economic crisis certainly not of their own making. But also the entire continent to fall well behind, stalling over six whole years of relentless spending cuts, while progress has been impressively shifting eastward led by India and China. Immersed instead in "grand plans" for manipulative (often immoral) financial engineering, that merely reshape mountains of existing debt, Europe's leadership remains eerily at ease with the misery and despair it has spread this way to millions of people. Today, the eurozone can count nearly 30 million Europeans having lost their jobs as a matter of "standard policy" blindly committed to continuing austerity. Precipitous falls in salaries, cuts in pensions and higher taxation have practically decimated aggregate demand in the EU. Cyprus and Greece, of course, epitomize this imposed march backwards. And even Moneyval and Deloitte this time were uncharacteristically involved. The European Council's auditors sent to Cyprus as part of last March's €10 billion bailout deal hadn't found anything wrong in their four previous evaluations since 1998. In their last check-up in 2011, they had in fact reported, "Cyprus did better to fight money-laundering than half the governments in the eurozone". So, what so suddenly was the fuss about? Other than unduly resenting conspicuous Russian wealth typically converging to a nearby prospering beautiful island? Or perhaps equally spitefully overreacting as the rest of us in Europe continued to struggle to make ends meet? Be this as it may, it was only ex post facto and rather late in the day in May that these same auditors curiously discovered "systemic deficiencies" in an already existing anti-money laundering enforcement regime they had previously so admired.* * * Ever since, facile accusations of illegality continued to surface openly maligning a fully competitive banking system in Cyprus. But without specific, detailed or conclusive evidence. All along there had been no diligent investigation, no formal identification of illegal transactions and no documented or independent verification of actual sums allegedly "laundered". This insidious compulsion even led to the panicky, though perhaps timely in retrospect, sale of the country's gold reserves. By late March 2013, however, something unrivalled in contemporary European affairs occurred. Government-sponsored larceny in Cyprus was hurriedly promoted to official policy. By the European Commission, the ECB and, mostly in a fractious partnership, with the International Monetary Fund --the trio of lenders known as the Troika. Transcending previous mistakes, this was the ultimate error of the three institutions "rescuing" Cyprus. Fantasizing from a position of say-so authority that they were entitled to confiscate private property in a tiny island in the Mediterranean by taxing at will the savings of ordinary depositors there (forgetting, incidentally, that the level of saving in any economy is a pivotal driving force ensuring sustainable investment and thus growth). Aggressively denouncing in addition the island's entire banking sector as having "grown too large" and become "one of the world's leading money-laundering havens." A host of capital movement restrictions were rushed in as a result severely victimizing banks in Cyprus -- which basically only temporarily lacked liquidity that could have been easily forthcoming had the ECB chosen (as it might have) to be more accommodating as lender of last resort. They were all mostly suspect and onerous bank constraints that without exception run counter to the EU's treaty guarantee of capital freely flowing across borders. To this day, the Cyprus imbroglio remains in a state of flux -- overloaded, as it is, with a profusion of punitive criticisms casually based on unresearched generalities. Which naturally does matter. But, significantly, what matters more here is that a new principle -- however perverse -- has by now become firmly established: that in the desperate struggle to keep the €/EU afloat anything goes. Including hazardous morality (tantamount to brazen lawlessness) that has been openly introduced in Cyprus and has left practically eviscerated the island's until recently vibrant economy. By any account this is a bad precedent. One not to be glossed over or, indeed, recklessly trivialized being in turn ignored as past history. Keeping alive anything so immoral, and likely to spread with the next opportunity, could seriously compromise our lives in Europe as a free market economy. However, lack of confidence in Europe has been even more endemically aggravated by the prevailing "consensus" that we do not help or show genuine solidarity with our "troubled" fellow member states unless their citizens first are made to feel pain en masse -- to learn not to misbehave again. Hence, too, what has emerged as a near-permanent slump and stagnation in the eurozone that has established a sorry state of "benign" depression as the new normal for the European economy. Greece in particular wholly reflects this social and economic evil, as Professor Dusan Sidjanski of the University of Geneva lucidly points out, The Federalist Debate, Papers on Federation, XXVI, Number 2, July 2013 New Series, pp. 16-20. Adding that "due to the intense interdependence resulting from European integration and contrary to the view of certain experts and politicians in the North, even a small country like Greece, cannot be quarantined or -- even less -- expelled from the monetary union. And if deprived of an act of European solidarity and further subjected to harsh austerity measures, this small European country can set off a chain of crisis spreading from one country to another, threatening to break the euro apart." But any "acts of solidarity", already overdue, from Brussels aiming at this stage to extend a helping hand to Greece and Cyprus can only come in terms of its own trio of lenders absorbing themselves a realistic percentage of the sovereign debt of two of the smallest member states of the EU -- only worth about 2% of the eurozone's GNP -- and which, of course, might eventually amount to a mere pittance in the pockets of those in the business of bailouts.* * * The fundamental question thus remains loud and clear, Why shouldn't Europe's executive Troika have long ago rolled up its sleeves and worked hard on what the President of the European Commission had once promised? Wouldn't a healthier and more efficient development have followed, both in Cyprus and in Greece before it, relying not on sterile financial engineering and economic repression. But rather helping to revive entrepreneurial activity creating more jobs with series of practical, profitable, carefully selected and effectively promoted major projects in sufficient numbers? Based on plenty of natural resources, an intelligent population, a pretty good infrastructure and a stunningly beautiful environment in these countries both optimally located geopolitically? Above all, too, not financed restrictively within the EU itself -- but rather worldwide. Even in the aftermath of the deleterious effect EU policies had so far, this kind of bold initiative could still today effectively deliver the missing link: focusing more realistically on traditional industries such as tourism and shipping in both countries and further developing new energy industries to exploit rich natural gas reserves that lie just offshore. With Greece (albeit largely academically) at the helm of Europe for the next six months, perhaps we can look forward to a rare opportunity for lessons to be learned all around. Particularly as we are nowadays about to reach in Europe the "ideal" environment for demonstrating once and for all that disciplinarian Germany and its ephemeral allies in the eurozone have gone too far.Nicos E. Devletoglou, Emeritus Professor of Economics, University of Athens, is author of the books Academia in Anarchy: An Economic Diagnosis (Basic Books) written jointly with Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics James Buchanan; and Consumer Behaviour: An Experiment in Analytical Economics (Harper and Row).


Escaped Greek Terrorist Vows to Fight Govt

Washington PostEscaped Greek Terrorist Vows to Fight GovtABC NewsA Greek fugitive who vanished on furlough from prison while serving six life sentences for being in a deadly terrorist organization has vowed a return to armed action. Christodoulos Xiros railed against the handling of Greece's financial crisis and ...Fugitive Greek extremist raises fears of a resurgence of political violenceeuronewsFugitive Greek terrorist vows to take up arms againLos Angeles Timesall 110 news articles »


Greek firm refuses to refuel Syrian peace envoys' plane

BEIRUT/ATHENS (Reuters) - A Syrian government delegation heading to peace talks in Switzerland was delayed in Athens on Tuesday when a Greek firm refused to refuel their plane, citing an EU trade embargo, the head of Greece's Civil Aviation Workers Union said. Syrian state television issued a terse statement saying the plane was grounded in Greece and that the delay could cause Syrian Foreign ...


Greece seeks lower bank capital target to help plug country's funding gap

Greece wants its international lenders to agree to a lower capital ratio for its big banks so there is money left over in its bank rescue fund to help to plug the country's funding gap, bankers said on Tuesday. Greece is in talks with the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank, the so-called "troika" of international lenders, to cut the amount of ...


General Mills, late to the Greek yogurt craze, now making a big push

FoodNavigator-USA.comGeneral Mills, late to the Greek yogurt craze, now making a big pushBuffalo NewsGeneral Mills made progress over the past year by reformulating its standard Greek yogurt and finding success with a new lower-calorie product called Yoplait Greek 100. Still, General Mills, one of the world's yogurt giants, has only a high single ...Chobani still #1 in Greek yogurt despite being “outspent dramatically" by ...FoodNavigator-USA.comYoplait Calls Out Chobani by Name in Greek Yogurt Taste Test CampaignAdAge.comThe Greek Yogurt Taste-Off is On: Yoplait Greek is Significantly Preferred ...Wall Street Journalall 17 news articles »


FM: Greece to do everything in its power to further progress and development of EU-Azerbaijan relations

Greece will do everything in its power to further the progress and development of EU-Azerbaijan relations, Greek Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Evangelos Venizelos told Trend on Jan. 21. Greece will preside over the Council of the European ...


Speak Greek

InCyprusSpeak GreekInCyprusSpeaking after the meeting, House Labour Committee chairman Andreas Fakontis said that one of the issues discussed was introducing knowledge of the Greek language as a necessary qualification in a number of professions. "We expect the government to, ...


Artist Saleem gets UNESCO Award of Greece

Artist Saleem gets UNESCO Award of GreeceThe Daily StarOlympic Medal winner Bangladeshi expatriate painter Khushid Alam Saleem recently received the Club for UNESCO Award of Greece for participating in the international exhibition of the Greek-International Council on Monument and Sites Building's Gallery ...


Greek Islands Menu

Any Greek Islands menu will have a portion of the most delightful, delectable, and novel dishes on the planet. Greek cooking is assorted and differed, yet is described by the utilization of certain parts, for example olive oil, olives, certain cheeses ...


Shoppers look, but do not buy

The first Sunday of the winter sales period, which was a working day for most retailers, witnessed increased traffic at stores but with turnover no higher than any other working day, according to the president of the National Confederation of Greek Commer... ...


State to benefit from seized assets

Money or assets frozen or confiscated by judicial authorities in connection with financial crimes and cases of state corruption will automatically go into state coffers, according to a bill that will soon be tabled in Parliament by the Greek government, K... ...


Politics weighs heavily on bourse mood

The unclear political landscape and delays concerning privatizations in the credit sector weighed heavily on the mood at the Greek bourse on Monday, imposing fresh losses on stocks while investors who chose not to be classified as sellers simply stayed aw... ...


Coast guard looking for 12 passengers of capsized migrant boat

Greek coast guard officials were on Monday night still searching for 12 immigrants – nine women and three children – who fell into the sea off the eastern Aegean island of Farmakonisi after their vessel capsized. According to authorities, the immigrant ve... ...


Three obstacles left on road to completion of lenders’ stress tests

The results of the credit sector’s stress tests conducted by the Bank of Greece and BlackRock Solutions are expected by the end of the month, provided negotiations with the country’s creditors on the issue are completed. The new law on the share capital i... ...


Reforms worth fighting for

The report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published in November and outlining proposals for the deregulation of the Greek market is a first-class opportunity for some serious reforms to be pushed through. The prime min... ...


Shaking foundations

We shouldn’t kid ourselves: The foundations of Greece are shaking. We are not talking about a few crooked beams in the ceiling, slates on the roof that have cracked or leaky pipes here and there. We are talking about the foundations of the entire structur... ...


Greek Farmers Preparing for New Showdown With Government

Starting Tuesday, Greek farmers have planned a new round of protests in towns and villages all over Greece. Amongst their basic demands towards Greek lawmakers is the annulment of mandatory accounting ledgers for small and medium sized farming ...


Samaras: Greece heading toward an exit from bailout programmes (press release)Samaras: Greece heading toward an exit from bailout (press release)Greece is heading toward recovery and an exit from bailout programmes, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said in Athens on Monday. Speaking at an event organised by the Greek-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Samaras appeared confident ...


Greece plans to waive visas for diplomats

KUWAIT: Two agreements are to be signed between Kuwait and Greece during the upcoming visit of a Greek government official to Kuwait on Jan 26-27. According to Dr Theodoros Theodorou, ambassador of Greece to Kuwait, Greece will sign an agreement with ...


George Soros funds 'solidarity centres' to help Greeks hit by economic crisis

George Soros has extended his financial support for Greece by establishing the first in a series of "solidarity centres" for those worst-hit by the country's economic crisis ... has become a failed state," said Aliki Mouriki, a sociologist ...


Archbishop Iakovos, in His Own Words, During the Historic March with Martin Luther King

On March, 15, 1965, Archbishop Iakovos joined Martin Luther King, Jr. in an historic civil rights march. Prior to the march, a memorial service was held for Rev. James Reeb, a white Unitarian minister who had been beaten to death by the Ku Klux Klan a few days earlier, for his commitment to improving housing in […]

The post Archbishop Iakovos, in His Own Words, During the Historic March with Martin Luther King appeared first on The National Herald.


Greece Won’t Send Troops to Central African Republic

The Greek Foreign Minister, Evangelos Venizelos, made it crystal clear to his European partners that “Greek soldiers will not participate in any army operation that will take place in the territories of the Central African Republic”. The Member-States of the EU are expected to decide at today’s Foreign Affairs Council (FAC), the activation of the […]


BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

by  Associated Press BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS Associated Press - 21 January 2014 01:59-05:00



SEATTLE — The family of an American missionary held more than a year in North Korea was heartbroken and encouraged by a brief news conference in which Kenneth Bae, wearing a gray cap and inmate's uniform with the number 103 on his chest, apologized and said he had committed anti-government acts. "My brother is not a number to me, or to the rest of his family," his sister Terri Chung said in a statement. "He is a kind and loving husband, father, son and brother — and needs to be home immediately." By Doug Esser. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.


JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesian police arrest two suspected Islamist extremists who they allege were poised to launch a bomb attack on officers. The arrests late Monday in the east Javanese city of Surabaya, highlight the continued threat posed by extremists in Indonesia despite a sustained crackdown by authorities. SENT: 200 words.


TOKYO — The surprise entry of a former prime minister-turned-potter in the Tokyo governor's race, backed by another former prime minister, hugely popular Junichiro Koizumi, could turn the election into a virtual national referendum on the future of nuclear power in post-Fukushima Japan. Morihiro Hosokawa and Koizumi are both known for their anti-nuclear views. The outcome could affect a national energy policy that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's pro-nuclear government is trying to finalize. By Mari Yamaguchi. UPCOMING: 600 words by 0800GMT, photos.


BEIJING— Trials this week against members of nascent citizens groups aimed at holding public officials to account and advocating for the underpriviledged underline new leader Xi Jinping's fervent campaign to suppress any challenge to China's one-party rule. The cases reflect the Xi administration's determination to nip the buds of any social forces that might gain momentum outside the Communist Party even if their goals overlap with the party's stated drive to root out corruption and restore its connection with ordinary folks. By Didi Tang. UPCOMING: 700 words by 0800GMT, photos.


NEW DELHI — For a decade, Arvind Kejriwal has led protests and sit-ins. He has held hunger strikes and rallies. Now he is the top official of the Indian capital, an activist suddenly elevated into power. And barely 10 days into his rule, he has launched yet another protest, this time against the central government over control of the city's police force. Kejriwal, whose party saw its fortunes lifted with New Delhi's December elections on a wave of populist promises and anti-government rhetoric, is now looking toward upcoming national elections as he tries to parlay his humble beginnings onto a national stage. By Nirmala George and Tim Sullivan. UPCOMING: 800 words by 1000GMT, photos, video.


JAKARTA, Indonesia — An Indonesian court sentences an Islamist militant to seven and half years in prison for masterminding a plot to attack the Myanmar Embassy in the Indonesian capital. Judge Haryono, who presided over the trial Tuesday at the South Jakarta District Court, said the defendant, Sigit Indrajit, was guilty of violating the anti-terror law. SENT: 130 words.


CANBERRA, Australia — The parents of an Australian journalist held in a Cairo prison have called on Egyptian authorities to release him, saying accusations against him as preposterous. Al-Jazeera English says Australian correspondent Peter Greste, Egyptian-Canadian acting bureau chief Mohammed Fahmy and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed were only doing their jobs before they were taken into custody last month accused of broadcasting false news that harmed national security. SENT: 120 words.


PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Police in Cambodia detained 11 activists Tuesday who were trying to hand over a petition to foreign embassies urging them to help free two dozen anti-government protesters arrested during a brutal crackdown this month. Chan Saveth, an official from local human rights group Adhoc, said the activists were trying to deliver the petition to four embassies, including those of the United States and France. SENT: 200 words, photos.


HANOI, Vietnam — Vietnam has confirmed its first human death from bird flu in nine months. To Duc Sinh, director of Preventive Medicine Center in southern Binh Phuoc province, said Tuesday that a 52-year-old man died of the H5N1 strain of bird flu on Jan. 18 on the way to a hospital in southern hub of Ho Chi Minh City. SENT, 150 words.



GENEVA — A last-minute U.N. invitation for Iran to join this week's Syria peace talks throws the long-awaited Geneva conference into doubt, forcing U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon to rescind his offer after the opposition threatened to boycott. With the invitation withdrawn, the main Western-backed Syrian opposition group says it will attend the talks, which it says should aim to establish a transitional government with full executive powers "in which killers and criminals do not participate." By Zeina Karam and Ryan Lucas. SENT: 1,000 words, photos. UPCOMING: 950 words with new approach by 4 p.m.

— SYRIA-TIMELINE — A look at key events in Syria since the beginning of the revolt against Bashar Assad. SENT: 640 words, photo.


TEHRAN, Iran — Iran unplugs banks of centrifuges involved in its most sensitive uranium enrichment work, prompting the U.S. and the EU to partially lift economic sanctions and putting into effect a landmark deal aimed at easing concerns over Iran's nuclear program. The steps start a six-month clock for Tehran and the world powers to negotiate a final accord. By Ali Akbar Dareini and John-Thor Dahlburg. SENT: 890 words, photos.

— IRAN-NUCLEAR-GLANCE — A look at the six-month nuclear deal with world powers that Iran has begun implementing. SENT: 280 words, photo.


ATLANTA (AP) — Hundreds of people filled Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta remember and reflect on the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., one of many events across the nation to honor the slain civil rights leader. By Phillip Lucas. SENT: 920 words, photos, video.


WASHINGTON — Should Edward Snowden ever return to the U.S., he would face criminal charges for leaking information about National Security Agency surveillance programs. But legal experts say a trial could expose more classified information as his lawyers try to build a case in an open court that the operations he exposed were illegal. A jury trial could be awkward for the Obama administration if the jurors believe Snowden is a whistle-blower who exposed government overreach. By Kimberly Dozier. SENT, photos.


WASHINGTON — A woman whose childhood rapes by her uncle were captured on camera and widely traded on the Internet wants the Supreme Court to make it easier for victims of child pornography to collect money from people who view the brutal images on their computers. The case being argued at the Supreme Court on Wednesday involves a Texas man who pleaded guilty to having images of children engaged in sex acts on his computer. By Mark Sherman. SENT: 890 words.


SOCHI, Russia — A shining new $635 million highway on the outskirts of Sochi stands next to a crumbling apartment block with a red "SOS!" banner on its roof. The residents have lived for years with no running water or sewage system. Construction for the 2014 Winter Games has made their lives more miserable: The new highway has cut them off from the city center. The slum is one of the many facets of a hidden dark side in the host city of next month's Winter Olympics, which stands side-by-side with the glittering new construction projects that President Vladimir Putin is touting as a symbol of Russia's transformation from a dysfunctional Soviet leviathan to a successful, modern society. By Nataliya Vasilyeva. SENT: 1,270 words, photos.


BAGHDAD — A top Iraqi official warns that militants controlling Fallujah are so well-armed that they could occupy the country's capital, a frank and bleak assessment of the challenge posed in routing the insurgents as a new wave of deadly bomb attacks erupts in the country's heartland. By Sameer N. Yacoub and Adam Schreck. SENT: 980 words, photos.


BOR, South Sudan — Bor is a ghost town. Every shop is looted and empty. Bodies lie on the ground, and English-language graffiti curses the ethnic group of President Salva Kiir, a sign of the ethnic tensions here. South Sudan's military retook Bor from rebels over the weekend, as more cities fall back under government control like dominoes. By Ilya Gridneff. SENT: 800 words, photos.


VATICAN CITY— For just one day, the kitchen of the Vatican hotel where Pope Francis lives went kosher, with a rabbi overseeing the scrupulous cleaning of countertops, boiling of utensils and heating of the oven necessary to render it fit for cooking under Jewish dietary laws. The occasion? A four-course luncheon Francis hosted last week for a dozen Argentine rabbis. It was another sign of his close friendship with Jews, despite some recent concern in Israel that he's giving the Jewish state short-shrift on his upcoming trip to the Holy Land. By Nicole Winfield. SENT: 790 words, photos.


HARTFORD, Connecticut — Worried about the groom getting cold feet? There's an insurance policy for that. With the cost of the average American wedding reaching about $26,000, insurers have been selling a growing number of policies to protect against losses from extreme weather, illness and, in one firm's case, even a sudden change of heart. By Mike Melia. SENT: 510 words, photo.



BEVERLY HILLS, California — Kenneth Branagh's role as a director began with the story of a valiant king. Leading the 1989 film version of "Henry V" both in front of and behind the camera, Branagh went on to make five more Shakespeare adaptations. Turning plays into movies became his thing. That was until his agent suggested he direct the 2011 blockbuster "Thor." Moving from royalty to mythology, the hammer-wielding god was Branagh's first foray into Hollywood's big-budget domain. The success of "Thor" led to Branagh directing "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit." By Film Writer Jessica Herndon. SENT: 700 words, photos.


— EUROPE-COMET CHASER — A comet-chasing space probe that has been in hibernation for almost three years has woken up and sent its first signal back to Earth. SENT: 600 words, photos.

— DEEP FREEZE — Another arctic freeze moves into US, bringing subzero temps to Dakotas and expanding eastward. SENT: 300 words, photo.

— GREECE-TERRORISM — A Greek fugitive who vanished on furlough from prison while serving six life sentences for left-wing bombings and shootings has vowed a return to armed action. SENT: 700 words, photos.


YOUR QUERIES: The editor in charge at the AP Asia-Pacific Desk in Bangkok is Scott McDonald. Questions and story requests are welcome. The news desk can be reached at (66) 2632-6911 or by email at

The Asia Photo Desk can be reached at (81-3) 6215-8941 or by fax at (81-3) 3574-8850.

Between 1600 GMT and 0000 GMT, please refer queries to the North America Desk in New York at (1) 212-621-1650.

News Topics: General news, Embassies, Protests and demonstrations, Municipal governments, Arrests, Flu, Bird flu, Government and politics, Crime, Counterterrorism, Bombings, Government surveillance, War and unrest, Classified information, Supreme courts, Peace process, International relations, Political and civil unrest, Local governments, Law and order, Infectious diseases, Diseases and conditions, Health, Terrorism, National security, Military and defense, Political issues, National courts, National governments, Courts, Judiciary, Diplomacy

People, Places and Companies: Junichiro Koizumi, Shinzo Abe, Xi Jinping, Ho Chi Minh, Ban Ki-Moon, Bashar Assad, Martin Luther King Jr., Edward Snowden, Kimberly Dozier, Vladimir Putin, Pope Francis, Kenneth Branagh, Indonesia, New Delhi, South Sudan, Syria, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, United States, Jakarta, Southeast Asia, Egypt, Middle East, Geneva, East Asia, Australia, Iran, Vatican City, Russia, Asia, India, South Asia, North Africa, Africa, North America, Java, Switzerland, Western Europe, Europe, Oceania, Eastern Europe

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Immigrant Trafficking in Northern Greece

Two Pakistani men aged 29 and 34 were arrested on Saturday in Alexandroupoli in Thrace, northern Greece, during an operation by the Greek police. They were charged with committing a felony, being members of a criminal gang and participating in illegally transporting immigrants into the country. Charges were also filed against two more Pakistani men […]


Crete, an Independent State?

 The Irish airline, Ryanair, with its new commercial spot, is reviving theories on the independence of Crete. How so? Ryanair, on a video showing the changes prepared by the airline for 2014, presents various destinations such as Nice, Lisbon, Berlin etc. One of these destinations is the Greek island, Crete, depicted with the flag of […]