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

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Germany preparing new Greek aid package

Germany preparing new Greek aid package - SpiegelReuters UKBERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's finance ministry is preparing the ground for a third aid package for Greece before European elections in May, Der Spiegel weekly and its website reported on Saturday, citing a five-page ministry 'position paper'. The ...and more »


From dream trip to nightmare at sea

When a young writer and her fiance hitched a ride on a yacht with a charming couple and their young daughter, they thought they were in paradise. But then things turned sinister and they found themselves trapped on the open sea

When I was 18, something happened on a yacht in the Mediterranean that has always haunted me. It could only have happened when it did, in those days of no telephones, no contact, of huge distances, of isolation, an ease with the lack of communication that my children will never know. We had one thing that my children will never have: personal freedom. Without the invention of social networks, I used to write meticulously in my diary. So I know exactly when I lost the last of my innocence, because I have it in writing. It happened quite suddenly; during a single sentence, it was snatched out of me.

My fiance, Tom, and I were madly in love, and had been since I was 14. He was a brilliant sailor and our sole aim in life was to buy a Scandinavian yacht and sail it around the world. Or maybe that was his aim, but it made no difference – we were so close, we were almost the same person.

At 17, he and I had hitched around France, encountering the usual travelling weirdnesses along the way: getting mugged, sleeping in public toilets, getting stuck on roadsides, running out of money and nicking food, but the following January we left on a proper adventure. We took a coach to Greece, then made our way to Kos, where we hitched a ride on a fishing boat over to a little town in southern Turkey. I described in detail in my diary another English couple on the boat. They were in their late 30s, perhaps early 40s and had an angelic-looking two-year-old daughter. By the heavy bags of shopping they carried and their general bohemian demeanour, it was fair to presume that they lived out here. They barely made eye contact, seemingly content in their own happy unit. There was something romantic about them. I remember thinking that one day Tom and I would be like that with our own children.

Our plan was to stay in Turkey for a little while and earn enough money to keep hitching eastwards. We were very ignorant. All I knew about Turkey came from Midnight Express and Turkish Delight, neither of which seemed like great advertisements for going there. We put our tent up in a field and soon found ourselves work in a boatyard, scraping the bottom of a yacht belonging to a wild-haired, bong-smoking New Zealander who went by the name of Kiwi Pete. We worked hard for him and managed to save the equivalent of a couple of hundred quid.

One day we bumped into the English couple from the fishing boat. They were much friendlier this time, and to our surprise invited us on board their yacht for drinks. They brought out the raki and we sat around the galley table. One drink turned into many; in fact, we sat there all night, laughing and chatting. They were called Michael and Anne, and had spent the last few years living in this boat. They were attractive in their own way, slim, fair and tanned, hippy-looking. He was bearded, with piercing blue eyes that he used to great effect. Their daughter was almost cartoonishly sweet; her fringe roamed wonkily across her forehead. Michael was the boss – that was obvious; he liked to tell a story or two, and his wife laughed as if she hadn't heard them before. Her face spoke of a troubled life, but when she smiled, it transformed. There was something very charismatic about him. As we got more and more drunk, I remember feeling that perhaps I was revealing too much about myself, but I couldn't help it; it was the way he was probing me, telling me it was all right to bring things out into the open, there was nothing to hide in life. He kept grilling me until eventually, loaded with raki, I began to cry, properly cry – great guffawing sobs. I hardly ever cried, let alone in front of a stranger, but Michael had touched a nerve from my past. And he kept pushing. I remember that he took great pleasure in comforting me, and it was no surprise to discover that he had once been an interrogator in the police.

Michael seemed utterly enchanted by Tom and my relationship, almost excited by us, telling us how rare and precious it was to see such pure love, so young. I suppose we were flattered and maybe a little smitten by the pair of them. I'd never come across adults who spoke and behaved like this, who held such disdain for the conventionalities of society, who had lived such rich and fascinating lives.

We ended up not making it back to our tent, crashing out in the galley, and in the morning Michael presented us with an offer: did we want to go on a trip around the bay with them? We were not ones to stare long into the mouths of gift horses. We mumbled something about the inconvenience of two extra passengers and he said it was no problem – little Susie could sleep in the forecabin with them. We mentioned the fact that we had only a couple of hundred quid – he said that money was no object: he was on a generous pension from the police force after having been retired after "an incident". Tom and I were full of the spirit of adventure and the invincibility of youth, so we said yes. We went to gather our few possessions and returned to the boat. We then lent him our hard-earned cash to buy provisions (his pension didn't come through until the end of the month), we filled the boat up with diesel (ditto) and left the harbour on the next stage of our adventure.

Alarm bells rang almost immediately. It was a windy day and Tom had put up the sails as Michael motored out to sea. Shortly, Tom suggested putting a reef in and I remember the puzzled look on Michael's face as he stood in the gangway. "What's a reef?" he asked. And it soon became apparent that they had never sailed the boat before. So we agreed to crew the boat in return for our keep, glad to pay our way. We sailed out into the choppy open sea. Michael was jittery, nervous about being too far from shore; it transpired that he couldn't swim, either, so instead we crept along the increasingly deserted coastline. A routine became established: we'd get up late and have a leisurely breakfast, Tom would sail the boat, we'd anchor in some empty natural harbour for the evening, then play cards, drink wine and talk about life, love and the universe until we crashed out. It began as a fascinating time. Michael was one of the most challenging and unusual people I had met: he constantly questioned the status quo and was curious about everything. Anne was harder to fathom. She seemed alternately in awe of him and scared of him; she would get drunk and often was to be found staring blankly ahead with a look so haunted that I worried for her. There was one night when, during a card game, I realised she'd left the table. I went on deck to look for her. I found her out in the chill wind, motionless, hanging upside down by her feet over the rails at the bow, her head in the icy water, comatosely drunk. I shouted down and Tom and I hauled her back in and tried to warm her up. We were confused as to why her husband found the whole thing so amusing. Susie slept through our noise-making and would awake fresh-faced in the morning, raring to go. She was a perfectly happy, good-natured child. She never said a word and I don't remember her ever crying.

It was on the fourth day when the sun began to shine that Michael suggested we should all be naked. "Only in nakedness can we reveal our true identities," he said. And with that they stripped off. I wasn't comfortable with it. He kept encouraging me to take off my clothes. I tried to be a bit "hippy" and took off my top, but would find his eyes lingering on me and began to feel uncomfortable. But it was obvious that there was nowhere to go, just barren, mountainous wilderness.

'Nothing's ever right for him,' I wrote in my diary. 'It's too windy, too cold or too sunny.' What the hell was he doing living on a boat?

And the wind was dwindling, the water getting stiller. Michael was in no hurry to go anywhere – this was how they lived their life, slow and leisurely, no rush, no contact with anyone; no friends had come to visit them, no family got in touch. They were just the three of them in the world. It was a surprise to hear that they knew Kiwi Pete and even more surprising to hear them speaking badly of him – he'd always seemed like a good person to us, although we knew he had a shady past. Michael used to get in rages sometimes. "Nothing's ever right for him," I wrote in my diary. "It's too windy, too cold or too sunny." What the hell was he doing living on a boat?

When he was like that, we would stay out of his way as much as was possible within 32ft with a maximum width of 6ft. Anne would drop hints about their lives back in Britain, and it wasn't difficult to piece together the fact that they were running away from something. But there was nothing unusual about that: most people who lived at sea were running away from something or other.

Then, one night, we were playing cards as usual, getting on well, drinking wine, discussing their life, when Michael looked up and said, in the most casual of tones, "We always include Susie in our love-making, we wouldn't dream of leaving her out." I laughed. I thought he was joking. He looked at me deadpan, those blue eyes reaching into mine. "I'm serious, Clara," he said. "We have always included her, right from the beginning. And when she reaches the age of seven and wants penetration, I shall be the first to give it to her."

I stared back at him. He wasn't joking. I felt a chill creep through me as he carried on talking in the same tone about the Golden Age and civilisations where incest was the perfectly natural way of things; it was just a question of what was presently fashionable in society. He said that "victim" and "abuse" were just society's way of controlling us, telling us what to think, how to behave. I wanted him to stop, to shut up. I looked at Tom, whose jaw was hanging open. I looked at Anne. She kept nodding nervously and saying to me, "I used to think like you, I used to think it was wrong, but he showed me, he'll explain…"

I stared at Michael in total confusion, trying to maintain my bearings when it felt like the world was turning upside down. And then I looked to Anne – she was part of it. At least she had the grace to look ashamed. Susie was two years old, lying asleep next door in their bed. This had been going on under our noses. I felt sick, but I couldn't even get up. Michael was still talking. This man was proud of his actions. He had been grooming us to partake in his warped little self-contained world.

I couldn't bear to be anywhere near him, he repulsed me. Everything he said disgusted me, his dreadful catchphrases: "Let me tell you a little story…" "I've been there…" "I see things I'm not meant to see…" "I know what you're thinking…" Everything was spoilt now. It was all bullshit.

In the days that followed, we were pretty silent. We whispered long into the night, making plans to kidnap Susie. In the daytime, we tried to keep her away from him as much as possible, as if we could protect her. I'd try to snatch moments with Anne, telling her she had to escape. She was quiet and sullen. I couldn't sleep. Tom and I spent the time scanning the horizon for signs of life, for a place to get off. But there was no escape. We were trapped, there was no wind, and there was no civilisation. We were going nowhere.

We froze Michael out and he didn't like it. He was losing control. He knew he had lost us. His tantrums got worse. Anne became more and more cowering, wincing when he yelled at her. Susie was clearly confused as to why the atmosphere had changed. Four awful awkward days passed, but finally the wind came and we were able to get moving. The relief as the twinkling harbour lights appeared out of the darkness, the white mosque wailing us in. I kissed and hugged Susie goodbye, feeling so treacherous that I was leaving her and her mother in his hands. Michael refused to give us back our money. We didn't have a single penny and he knew it. He had chewed us up and spat us out. So we sat on a street kerb, gutted, wondering what the hell we were going to do. I felt truly broken.

I wanted revenge. We remembered someone Michael didn't like: Kiwi Pete. We hitched round the coast to the boatyard to see if he was still there, whether he knew what was going on. He was smoking some weed in the saloon of his boat with a huge German musician we'd met briefly before. They took us in and we told him everything, no detail spared, word for word what Michael had said and done. Pete went very pale and still. Then he lost it and flew into a rage. He told us that he was going to kill Michael.

Over the next few days, things really started to kick off. They were plotting how to "get rid of" him. They came up with several plans There was a moment when I realised that they were serious: Pete produced piano wire and lead weights to sink the boat.

I didn't want to spend the rest of my life knowing I had been responsible for the killing of a man. We dissuaded them. We put up a few signs in bars and pubs that Michael frequented, outing him as a paedophile – a feeble protest, really, but it felt like something.

Looking back, 28 years later, I wonder why I didn't scream and shout at Michael, or take his child away, or report him to the police. The truth is, it never even occurred to us to go to the police – in the 1980s, the police were avoided at all costs by people like us. Besides, Michael himself was a policeman. I think our behaviour was more about survival: we had been trapped and manipulated, and we just wanted to get away from him. I think how different things would be now, one little post on a social networking site, one click, one photograph, how much easier it would be to humiliate him. I have no idea what happened to them. I wonder where that little girl is now. She'd be 30. I've tried to track them down a couple of times to no avail. And, Susie, if by some small chance you are reading this and recognise yourself, I am truly sorry that we didn't do more for you. I only hope your mother got you away from him. I like to imagine that you and she somehow managed to save yourselves, and that perhaps you are still living at sea, seeking that elusive thing: personal freedom.

• Names and details have been changed. Clara Salaman's novel, The Boat, inspired by this time in her life, is published by Head of Zeus at £9.99. To order a copy for £8, including UK mainland p&p, call 0330 333 6846, or go to © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Another Earthquake Rattles Greece

As Greek engineers and officials were investigating the aftermath of a 6.0 magnitude earthquake that shook the Ionian islands of Kefalonia and Ithaca, another milder tremor, measuring 4.5, rattled central Greece the morning of Feb. 1, with its epicenter some 23 kilometers to the west of Atalanti, near Lamia. The Athens Geodynamic Institute said the quake took place at 10:14 a.m. and struck eight kilometers north of of the village of Elatia.

The post Another Earthquake Rattles Greece appeared first on The National Herald.


Greek Court Nixes College Benefit Tax

Greece's highest court has ordered college administrators and staff be repaid for taxes assessed on benefits they got for library work and attending conferences, a ruling that could open the door for challenges to austerity.

The post Greek Court Nixes College Benefit Tax appeared first on The National Herald.


Greece Presses TT Bank Prosecution

ATHENS – The Greek government said it continues to crack down on corruption by arresting financial officers, businessmen and their associates in the latest scandal involving a Greek bank that provided hundreds of millions of euros in unsecured loans. The government arrested 29 people after discovering that the failed state-owned Hellenic Postbank – also known […]

The post Greece Presses TT Bank Prosecution appeared first on The National Herald.


Greece Buys World Hoop Ticket

Despite erratic play that seemed to doom its chances, Greece has gotten one of the four wild cards granted by FIBA and will take part in the World Championship this year in Spain, which got the silver medal in the 2012 London Olympics, losing to the U.S. team dominated by NBA All-Stars. Basketball’s world governing […]

The post Greece Buys World Hoop Ticket appeared first on The National Herald.


Anastasiades Promises Cyprus Miracle

NICOSIA – With his country locked in a fiscal crisis and banks still under capital control, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said the difficulties will be overcome and the economy will recover sooner than expected. “Despite the difficulties which we are facing due to the ongoing economic recession, we can achieve a miracle,” said Anastasiades. He […]

The post Anastasiades Promises Cyprus Miracle appeared first on The National Herald.


Greece has long list of bailout actions still pending

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Which Greek Regions Are Most Affected by Cancer

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Gambling watchdog's 'scary' link to Greek firm

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Ankara asks Greece to extradite two jailed suspects

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Lessons from Greece’s Fiasco

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Greek Court Overrules College Staff Benefit Tax

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Greece gets pass for basketball's World Championship

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Five Greek Scientist Among the Best in the World

Greek ReporterFive Greek Scientist Among the Best in the WorldGreek ReporterFive Greek scientists, two of whom work in Greek Universities and Institutes, while the other three work in the U.S. and Great Britain, are on the list of 400 best researchers of the last 15 years. Four of these Greek scientist work in the field of ...


Court deems tax on Greek university staff benefit unconstitutional

KathimeriniCourt deems tax on Greek university staff benefit unconstitutionalKathimeriniA few days after the leaking to the press of a court ruling deeming wage cuts to military and security services staff as unconstitutional, another decision by the country's highest administrative court decided that a tax on benefits given to university ...


Greece May Sell Last Telecom Stake to Deutsche Telekom

Greek ReporterGreece May Sell Last Telecom Stake to Deutsche TelekomWall Street JournalATHENS—Greece is considering a proposal by German telephone company Deutsche Telekom AG to buy the last 10% stake in its former telecom monopoly, something that would bring desperately needed cash into Greece's sputtering privitization program.Deutsche Telekom Is Said to Offer to Buy Greece's OTE Stake (3)BusinessweekDeutsche Telekom Said in Talks to Buy Greece 's OTE StakeGreek ReporterGreece: Deutsche Telekom to invest 1.2 bln in the next 4 yearsANSAmedall 15 news articles »


Miklós Jancsó obituary

Film director who used powerful symbolism to depict the fight for Hungarian socialism and independence

At the 1966 Cannes film festival, a movie whose title sounded like a western – but was actually Hungarian – caused a sensation and launched its director into the international cinematic scene, where he was to remain for a decade. The film of hypnotic beauty and daring technique was The Round-Up (Szegénylegények, literally translated as The Outlaws) and the director was Miklós Jancsó, who has died aged 92.

Jancsó's highly personal style had blossomed in this, his fifth feature. The Round-Up is set on a bleak Hungarian plain in 1868, when Austro‑Hungarian troops tried to break the unity of the Hungarian partisans by torture, interrogations and killings. There is little dialogue as horsemen drive the people to and fro, with power continually changing hands. Jancsó's ritualistic style manages to make the particular Hungarian situation into a universal parable of evil, ending with a cry of hope.

There are few directors so akin to a choreographer. His cinema does not conform to narrative or psychological conventions, but opens other areas that are usually found in the screen musical. His films are elaborate ballets, emblematically tracing the movements in the fight for Hungarian independence and socialism. In these ritual dances of life and death the Whites defeat the Reds, the Reds defeat the Whites. Tyranny is everywhere, and men and women, stripped of their clothes, are vulnerable and humiliated – nudes in a landscape. People survive in groups, often singing and dancing. 

Sometimes the groups split up and realign, moving in different directions. The camera weaves in and out like an invisible observer, sometimes dancing with the people, sometimes following them across the plains, tracking them down, shooting them. A tracking shot takes on new meaning in Jancsó's films.

Born in Vac, a small town north of Budapest, Jancsó was the son of refugees from Transylvania, which became part of Romania after the breakup of Austria-Hungary at the end of the first world war. He studied law, ethnography and art before entering the Film Academy in Budapest, graduating in 1950.

After four years of making newsreels he turned to documentaries, several concerned with art. In his debut feature, The Bells Have Gone to Rome (1958), he already showed his interest in war as a theatre for working out his ideas. The country scenes in Cantata (1963) appear to prefigure his later work.

In My Way Home (1965), a Hungarian youth, travelling across the Russian-occupied countryside near the end of the second world war, is arrested, interned, released, arrested again, and sent to tend a herd of cows together with a young Russian soldier – Jancsó served in the second world war and was briefly a prisoner of war. The two transcend barriers of language as well as nationality to become close friends. This stark and moving film, eloquently conveying the dislocation of an occupied country, treats the themes that would mark all his best work: man alienated from himself and others by the cruelty of war, the harshness of nature and the unreliability of allegiances.

After The Round-Up, Jancsó made The Red and the White (1967), the first Soviet-Hungarian co-production, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Russian revolution. It was set in central Russia in 1919, where Hungarian fighters in the Red Army are hunted by White Russian troops. Using the possibilities of the large screen, the director orchestrates an enthralling, sweeping, large-scale drama.

Silence and Cry (1968) told of a fugitive from the White terror (1919-20) of Admiral Miklós Horthy's regime, who is sheltered on a farm among peasants demoralised by the cruelty of the police. Photographed in a series of long sequences, with each cut representing a time lapse, the film depicts the cruelty, dehumanisation and claustrophobia that comes from oppression.

The Confrontation (1969), Jancsó's first film in colour, of which he makes dazzling symbolic use, is conceived in choreographic and folk-opera terms. In 1947, after the Communist party has come to power in Hungary (Jancsó himself had joined in 1946), a group of revolutionary students set out on a glorious summer's day to win over a nearby Catholic school to their cause, but they are manipulated by higher party officials. The film echoes the 1968 student movements in the west – the young women anachronistically wear miniskirts – with an understanding of the Hungarian context of which Jancsó was such a singular and invigorating observer.

Winter Sirocco (1969) is said to have only 13 shots, and no more than 30 shots are used in the entire Agnus Dei (1971) and Red Psalm (1972) to convey, almost exclusively in symbols, a pattern of tyranny and revolution. Jancsó won the best director award at Cannes for the latter.

The well-known Greek tragedy can just be discerned in Elektra (1974), one of Jancsó's most stylised narratives. There are comical scenes, such as Egisto perched on a gigantic ball, and the surprising and optimistic ending when a red helicopter called Revolution, flying from east to west, comes down from the sky to rescue the hero and heroine. At this time, some critics were beginning to complain that the style was becoming an affectation, the nudity arbitrary, and the subjects mere excuses for abstract patterns.

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Away from Hungary, and divorced from his second wife, the film director Márta Mészáros, Jancsó let his hair down, often obscuring his vision. Among the various films he made in Italy was the playful, often childishly shocking, Private Vices and Public Virtues (1976), where the nudity of most of the protagonists is essential in this representation of history in terms of an orgy. In fact, because of its soft-porn elements, this erotico-political version of the deaths of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria-Hungary and his lover Baroness Mary Vetsera at Mayerling gained a wider audience than his previous revolutionary pictures.

Hungarian Rhapsody (1979) marked Jancsó's return to his native land, but not to his earlier form. But, in the same year, he won a lifetime achievement award at Cannes. At the end of The Tyrant's Heart (1981), the set of the castle in which strange cavortings take place is raised to reveal horsemen riding over the Hungarian plain, reminding us of Jancsó's better days. Nevertheless, his oeuvre continued to influence a new generation of directors, particularly Béla Tarr.

Although lacking real impact, his career during this period was diverse, covering historical feature films, a documentary of a Hungarian rock group, a Faustian television series and much work in the theatre. With the fall of communism in 1989, Jancsó, still retaining his socialist beliefs, became a sceptical observer of post-communist society with Blue Danube Waltz (1992), a characteristically bleak look at Hungary's emerging political scene.

The Lord's Lantern in Budapest (1999) is a blackly humorous look at the post-1989 culture of violence, which begins with the line "If I were an animal, I wouldn't keep a man as a pet." The cryptic film also continued on from his previous work by employing two significant and long-standing collaborators, the novelist Gyula Hernádi, who wrote most of his screenplays, and Ferenc Grunwalsky as director of photography. Jancsó, in a small role, is dismissed as being a "has-been" by a pair of Shakespearean gravediggers, Kapa and Pepe. Dressed in pure white throughout the film, in which his death is depicted twice, Jancsó was bidding a premature farewell to the cinema, but also to death. This led to a few more locally popular Kapa and Pepe low-budget black comedies such as Last Supper at the Arabian Grey Horse (2001) and Wake Up, Mate, Don't You Sleep (2002).

Jancsó is survived by his third wife, Zsuzsa Csákány, and four children.

• Miklós Jancsó, film director, born 27 September 1921; died 31 January 2014

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Greeks Scream for Other People’s Pain

Recently we saw the amazing and shocking advertisements for Doctors without Borders, where the famous Spanish actor Javier Bardem was screaming for other people’s pain. Now a new ad has been released and all of Greece appears to be screaming. The new Doctors without Borders campaign chose ordinary, everyday people from all over the country to star in the new advertisement. They all scream together, because one cry cannot attract attention but all together maybe they can make a difference. In this new video created by Doctors Without Borders, everyday people join their voices to contribute in treating millions of patients not only in Greece, but also throughout the world.  


Public Sector Employee Permanency Needs to be Discussed

The Greek Minister of Administrative Reform and e-Governance, Kyriakos Mitsotakis responded to questions about whether Greece will be able to fulfill its commitments to the Troika, concerning the number of public sector employee suspensions and lay-offs. “We will fulfill every goal that we have set. I don’t believe there will be any major deviation from our original plan. This will allow us to change the course of the debate concerning administrative reform issues,” stressed the Minister. Furthermore, “As I have said many times in the past, administrative reform does not only concern suspensions and lay-offs. It is about simplifying procedures and facilitating citizens. Overall, it concerns the best function of the state in correlation with the best utilization of state human resources.” The Minister also referred to the issue of public sector employee permanency. “Civil servant permanency exists in many countries. According to the constitution no employee can be dismissed just because he or she is not performing well. They can only be dismissed for disciplinary issues or if their job no longer exists due to organizational restructuring,” he said. He concluded by saying that public sector employee permanency needs to be discussed during the next constitutional revision.


Renovated Athens Eye Clinic Inaugurated

The renovated building housing the Athens Eye Clinic was inaugurated on Friday by the Greek minister of health Adonis Georgiadis. The building, which is located on the corner of Panepistimiou and Sina Streets in the center of Athens, Greece, was heavily damaged by the 1999 magnitude six earthquake, and has been undergoing restoration for the past 14 years. “I think that everyone looking at this building realizes that here we have something important. In a country where everyone is used to blaming the National Health System and constantly talking about its failures, we realize that here we have a success story,” said the minister. Georgiadis pointed out that the new organizational structure for the Greek ophthalmology center will provide patients with some of the best eye care to be found anywhere in Europe. The center caters for around 200 patients a day. The building of the Athens Eye Clinic was constructed in 1948 and was designed by Danish architect Hans Christian Hansen. Later, the architect Lyssandros Kaftatzoglou carried out some revisions, such as the entrance of the building which was previously covered by a two-column arcade. The building, which is a rare example of the Romantic Byzantine style, has been declared a “work of art” by ministerial decree. With its unique architecture, wonderful roof paintings and museum-like interior, the clinic is considered one of the most significant architectural gems of Greece, one of a trio in this part of the city center, along with the National Library and the Athens University and Academy of Athens.  


Filippidi’s Extradition Expected Next Week

All relevant documentation on Angelos Filippidis has been handed over to the Turkish prosecutor in Istanbul, thus giving the green light for the extradition of the Greek businessman who is wanted for his involvement in the Hellenic Postbank loan scandal. The hearing for the former CEO of Hellenic Postbank will probably be scheduled for Monday. Filippidis could then be returned to Greece within 48 hours. Until then, the once powerful executive of the Hellenic Postbank will remain in a Turkish prison, while preparing his response to the charges brought against him. Filippidis was arrested two weeks ago by Turkish authorities in a hotel in Istanbul, according to an international arrest warrant issued by Greek judicial officials. His extradition, although raising some concerns due to delays, is expected to proceed smoothly.


ECFR: Greek Foreign Policy is “lazy”

A survey conducted by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) assessed the performance of EU countries in terms of foreign policy during 2013. Greece has been characterized as a “slacker” in foreign policy mainly due to its limited development assistance abroad and due to the criticism received from the European Commission for signing  a bilateral agreement on energy with Russia. France and the UK are at the top of the list while Germany has fallen from first to third place, failing in four of the key parameters assessed in the survey. Greece was rated the worst performer in the energy sector because of the agreement with Russia, in development and humanitarian assistance and in assisting Syrian refugees. Moreover, Greece is not considered a “leader” in any category and in the same survey in 2012 Greece also failed in five categories. The European Union performed well in its relations with the U.S. concerning the issue of Iran and trade, in its enlargement to include the Western Balkans, and in disarmament and the arms trade. Conversely, the EU rated poorly in terms of its response to the Syrian issue, in its relations with the U.S. for breaches of personal data and the protection of human rights and in the rule of law in Turkey and its relations with Turkey on the Cyprus question. Cyprus, despite being “lazy” in its relations with Turkey and in development assistance, is considered a “leader” in its assistance of Syrian refugees.  


Secret Troika Meeting Over Greek Bailouts

BRUSSELS – In a private meeting that excluded Greece’s Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, officials from the country’s international lenders reportedly discussed how to push the government to forge ahead with delayed reforms and find a way to fill a growing gap in the 2014 budget. The talks were at odds with assessments by Stournaras and […]

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HALC and AJC Mark Holocaust

NEW YORK – The Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC) and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) hosted a commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Manhattan on January 27. The event featured a screening of the documentary Kissing to the Children and a presentation about the conflicted feelings of European Jews who escaped the Holocaust by television […]

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The Nautical Museum of Crete

Housed within the entrance of the Venetian “Firka” fortress in Chania, the Nautical Museum of Crete was established in 1973. Its permanent exhibition of 2,500 items includes nautical equipment, maps, photographs, and various relics pulled out of the sea dating from the Copper Age, to modern times. Relics of the Greek naval tradition, intricate models […]

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Greece Police: Overall crime drops, violent crimes rise

by Evan White Greece, N.Y. -- The numbers appear to be encouraging. âTwo years in a row, weâve consistently driven the crime rate down,â said Todd Baxter, Greece Chief of Police. A summary of 2013 crime statistics compiled by Greece Police shows a reduction in crimes of 10 percent compared to 2012. ...


OPAP Has Significant Upside As The Greek Economy Stabilizes [Global X Funds]

OPAP Has Significant Upside As The Greek Economy Stabilizes [Global X Funds]Seeking AlphaOn top of that, the court issued a subsequent ruling that stated that neither the Greek government or OPAP have any obligation to open up the gaming market to competitors. Even better for the company, it also concluded that such a liberalization would ...


Most World Cup teams pick training camps near Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro

by  Associated Press World Cup teams pick camps near Sao Paulo and Rio Associated Press - 31 January 2014 19:32-05:00

SAO PAULO (AP) — Most of the 32 nations coming to the World Cup in Brazil have picked training bases near Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, with only a few venturing into the much hotter northeast or the colder south.

With games played in 12 cities across the continent-sized country, the majority of nations decided to stay near the major centers in the southeast, simplifying travel plans.

FIFA said Friday that 15 teams will be in Sao Paulo state, including France, Mexico and the United States. Four will be in Rio — Brazil, England, Italy and the Netherlands.

Germany will stay in the northeastern state of Bahia, while defending champion Spain picked a site in the southern city of Curitiba.

Argentina, Chile and Uruguay will be near Belo Horizonte in southeastern Minas Gerais state.


Team camps:

Algeria: Sorocaba

Australia: Vitoria

Argentina: Vespasiano

Belgium: Mogi das Cruzes

Bosnia-Herzegovina: Guaruja

Brazil: Teresopolis

Cameroon: Vitoria

Chile: Belo Horizonte

Ivory Coast: Aguas de Lindoia

Colombia: Cotia

Costa Rica: Santos

Croatia: Mata de Sao Joao

Ecuador: Viamao

England: Rio de Janeiro

France: Ribeirao Preto

Germany: Santa Cruz Cabralia

Ghana: Maceio

Greece: Aracaju

Honduras: Porto Feliz

Italy: Mangaratiba

Iran: Guarulhos

Japan: Itu

South Korea: Foz do Iguacu

Mexico: Santos

Netherlands: Rio de Janeiro

Nigeria: Campinas

Portugal: Campinas

Russia: Itu

Spain: Curitiba

Switzerland: Porto Seguro

Uruguay: Sete Lagoas

United States: Sao Paulo

News Topics: Sports, 2014 FIFA World Cup, FIFA World Cup, International soccer, Men's soccer, Soccer, Events, Men's sports

People, Places and Companies: Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, West Africa, South America, Latin America and Caribbean, Africa

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


Ask Joan: your travel queries answered

Crete has some great gorge walking including the famous and quite difficult Samaria Gorge. You will find plenty of hill-walking here. See The Sproadic Islands of north east Greece, Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos are very pretty and good ...


Most Expensive Transfer in Greek Football History Finally Sealed

“Fulham Football Club is delighted to announce the signing of Greek international Konstantinos Mitroglou, on a four-and-a-half year deal for an undisclosed sum, which will see the player at Craven Cottage until the summer of 2018.” These ...


A Stronger Civic Alliance for New Europe

There are certainly many plausible reasons to conceive of the current situation in the EU as the critical juncture, at which failures of the past come to the surface and, in the meantime, very few things seem to point to a much better perspective. Many people across the member states arguably think that the economic crisis and the booming unemployment are the inevitable by-products of the way the EU institutions used to pursue essential policy tasks ascribed to them. To give an example, at the dawn of the new millennium the Lisbon strategy for employment set the target of 'more and better jobs' for European citizens yet, the rate of unemployment is rising not only in states severely hit by the crisis but almost every single state. For all their shortcomings and failures the EU institutions should be held accountable in accordance with competences transferred to them. Certainly, significant part of the responsibilities for the crisis still remains with both individual governments as much as with intergovernmental EU bodies. Having said that, one should not overlook the political situation emerging across Europe, with a view to the forthcoming European Parliament elections in May 2014. It seems that the crisis has being exploited by those opposing the very idea of European integration. This kind of opposition does not stem from those citizens who are critical of certain aspects of EU policies. Instead, it is the EU fundamentals that are being challenged and, in particular, the many historical achievements in the field of political cooperation, peace, prosperity, human rights and democracy across Europe. Indeed, some political groups attempt at pushing forward an agenda that aims at the disintegration of the EU and subsequently the return to an old regime of states and peoples separated by irreversible borders, strong discriminatory stereotypes and mutual mistrust. It is no surprise that many of the EU-phobic groups diffuse their ideas in countries which are not the most severely hit by the crisis. They are trying to subvert citizens who question the current EU situation into citizens, who oppose and reject the EU fundamentals. We should not let people succumb to the Charybdis of nationalism and populism. We have to stay vigilant against this kind of political thinking and forge a strong alliance of EU-philes who, in spite of their different visions and ideological tenets, they remain fully committed to the common purpose of growth, welfare and democracy within a Europe that brings together states and peoples. As a matter of fact, this is possibly the first time that European Parliament elections will be held in a political context of awareness about commonly felt across Europe concerns, about how to safeguard levels of growth we have achieved and thought as given in the past decades. At the time voters will cast their votes, they will be essentially informed about what is at state in the EU, what options different political parties offer. Hence, voters can make their own judgments and, therefore, can make a difference. The balance of seats in the next European Parliament will be decisive for approving the members of the new European Commission. Moreover, as the EU legislature has attained significant co-legislative powers, the quality of representation really matters. The consequences will be very negative, if the Parliament becomes an arena for voicing the most ethnocentric if not extremist, perceptions. Furthermore, the coming elections should be seen as a turning point for reversing all those policy shortcomings that increased rates of public debt and fiscal imbalances, undermined competitiveness, led to job-cuts and the vicious circle of recession and austerity. This is not going to be an easy task but we need a strong mandate in order to seek the best solutions supported by a stable consensus. I ask European citizens to bring forward their own concerns about how the EU may become even more efficient, to resume its place at the global stage and, thereby, to secure prosperity for the generations to come. Furthermore, governments should work harder to avert all the consequences of unemployment and recession by virtue of their individual powers as much as within the European Council. The Greek Presidency that kicks off in January 2014 may well facilitate a considerable policy shift within the EU by which decision-makers will become more prone to providing efficient solutions that will reverse any even more negative scenarios and in the meantime act as catalysts for sustainable growth.


Crime rates in Greece drop 10%

13WHAM-TVCrime rates in Greece drop 10%Rochester Democrat and ChronicleThe decrease was split about evenly between reduced "Part I" and "Part II" crimes, according to statistics released Friday by the Greece Police Department. Chief Todd Baxter attributed the drop in crime to heightened police visibility and more ...Crime stats reflect a safer Greece in 201313WHAM-TVGreece Police release crime report for 2013News 10NBCall 3 news articles »


Healthy family recipe: Piled High Greek Dip (blog)Healthy family recipe: Piled High Greek (blog)Use low-fat/fat-free products like sour cream, greek yogurt, and cream cheese to cut out some of the fat. Puree beans for the base of your dip for added protein and fiber. Use veggies in place of chips, crackers and bread to cut calories. Try carrot ...Tips for Healthier Super Bowl SnacksNY1all 9 news articles »


Greece's Mediterranean Hideaway

Men's JournalGreece's Mediterranean HideawayMen's JournalAs hordes of tourists pass through Athens on their way to another well-traveled Greek isle, a nearly empty cove of towering volcanic rock cliffs and diamond-clear waters, surrounded by crumbling ancient ruins, is just a three-hour drive west. It's ...


Top Officials Held Private Meeting on Greece Bailout

The GuardianTop Officials Held Private Meeting on Greece BailoutWall Street JournalBRUSSELS—Top officials peeled away from colleagues after a gathering of euro-zone finance ministers in Brussels on Monday evening for a private meeting to discuss mounting concerns over Greece's bailout. Greek Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras, ...Greece bailout: MEPs land in Athens to investigate effect of troika's loansThe GuardianEconomic recovery in doubt as Greece takes EU helmFinancial MirrorTroika made mistakes but was necessary for Greece, says MEP heading -Neos Kosmosall 73 news articles »


Fulham announces Mitroglou transfer

Fulham FC confirmed on Friday the signing of Greece striker Costas Mitroglou from Olympiakos for the next four-and-a-half years. Although the Premier League club did not reveal the cost of the transfer, reports converge to the sum of 15.2 million euros to... ...


Late buying spree brings monthly gains on Athens Exchange

A last-gasp effort by the benchmark index to stay afloat for the first month of the year paid off on Friday, as a late buying spree on the Greek bourse resulted in gains for most stocks, reversing earlier losses, and a 1.22 percent rise on a monthly basis... ...


Greece condemns attack on Greek Orthodox cathedral in Lebanon

Greece condemned on Friday a hand grenade attack on the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Saint George in Tripoli, Lebanon, in which two people were injured. “The Greek government expresses its support for the victims of the attack and deplores any act of viole... ...


US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland expected Athens

Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos will meet with US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland in Athens on Monday, Washington has announced. Nuland will be accompanying Secretary of State John Kerry on a visit to Germany but will then head off... ...


German, French and eurozone officials discuss program; Athens plays down talks

Greek Finance Ministry sources played down on Friday the significance of revelations about a meeting this week between German, French and European Union officials to discuss concerns about the course of Greece’s bailout. The Wall Street Journal reported o... ...


WSJ: Secret Meeting Held on Greece

According to a publication by the U.S. newspaper Wall Street Journal, Greece’s creditors seem to be deeply concerned about the rhythm in which the Greek structural reforms are being put through by the government. The Greek finance minister ...