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

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Bombing Attack on ND Party Official’s Office in Athens

Gas canisters placed during the night damaged the office of lawyer and New Democracy Political Committee member Failos Kranidiotis early on Sunday morning in central Athens, Greece. The explosion, shortly after 1:00 a.m., damaged the entrance of the office on 12 Skoufou Street in the Plaka district. Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou condemned the bombing and said “all democratic forces must raise a wall against the adherents of violence and terrorism.” New Democracy party also strongly condemned the attack, warning that “whoever tries to use violence to terrorist their political adversaries and create impressions of insecurity need to understand they will not succeed.” (source: ana-mpa)


Venizelos Talks with Ukraine’s Interim Government

Relations between Ukraine and Russia are key to more than the immediate region and must be resolved with self-restraint, calmness, dialogue and within international law and conventional agreements, government Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos said on Sunday, after a meeting in Kiev with President of Ukrainian Parliament and acting President Oleksandr Turchynov and Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia. The Greek official was paying an emergency visit on Sunday as chairman of the EU’s Council of General Affairs, during Greece’s EU Presidency. Venizelos expressed his satisfaction that the interim Ukrainian government has pledged to continue the process of Ukraine’s membership in the European Union by signing the EU’s Association Agreement. Prior to flying to Kiev, Venizelos had met on the same day with the Greek community in Mariupol to assure them of Greece’s support and protection, an issue he brought up with Ukraine’s interim government, which pledged its support. Stressing the acute economic crisis Ukraine is facing, the Greek Foreign minister said that, as he came from a country with comparable experience and relevant know-how, he proposed an international convention to examine how the country could be financially supported, as the intervention of the International Monetary Fund would not be enough. “Greece, as president of the European Union’s Council, wants to contribute to the best degree possible to normalization of the situation in UKraine,” Venizelos said before his meetings in Kiev. KKE leader: Greece must stay out of Ukraine The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) “follows with great concern developments in Ukraine and wants to note especially now that there must be no involvement by Greece in the USA-EU plans for Ukraine, absolutely no participation in this dangerous game of competition with Russia.” In a written statement, KKE Secretary General Dimitris Koutsoumbas said that “it becomes once again obvious what the reactionary role is of the EU and NATO, which are intervening in Ukraine’s domestic issues, even to support neo-Nazi parties in order to serve their geopolitical schemes.” “The Greek people must be on alert. Capitalist crisis and imperialist wars are linked closely, and the populace has nothing to gain from Greece’s participation in these schemes,” he warned. (source: ana-mpa)


Panathinaikos beats Olympiakos 3-0

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Panathinaikos ended Olympiakos' 27-match unbeaten league run on Sunday with a 3-0 away victory that was interrupted by home fans who threw flares and other objects onto the pitch.


If Kiriakou is Muzzled, Friends Will Make Noise

NEW YORK – John Kiriakou, who was sentenced to 30 months in Federal Correctional Institution in Loretto in Western Pennsylvania for violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, is learning that although prisoners in America do not lose the right to free speech, it comes with a price. His Letters from Loretto, which contain his thoughts on various […]

The post If Kiriakou is Muzzled, Friends Will Make Noise appeared first on The National Herald.


Former EU commissioner lobbies Brussels for Education for All

by  Federico Grandesso

Anna Diamantopoulou, a former European commissioner, returned to Brussels last week to address the European Economic and Social Committee. In her new role as head of DIKTIO - Network to Reform Greece and Europe, she presented a citizens initiative titled “Education for All”.

In an exclusive interview with New Europe, Diamantopoulou, who had also served as education minister under Greece’s former socialist Pasok government, spoke about the new education initiative. She also explained why austerity measures should be scrapped and spoke about the rising tide of anti-Europeanism in Europe.

“I’m in Brussels to present a new citizen initiative,” she told New Europe. “With the new treaty of Lisbon, EU citizens have the right to change a law or to propose a new policy to the EU Commission with their signature. We are trying to collect 1,000,000 signatures to propose that in each country we will exclude the budget of education from the deficit of the country.

“We won’t exclude the total budget but only a part of it,” she added. “This part will be the difference between a country and the average of the eurozone, for example, if the education budget in the eurozone is 5% and in Italy it is 4%, we exclude only the 1%.”

According to Diamantopoulou, who knows first hand the effects of budget cuts, the idea behind the Education for All initiative is to convert the budget on education in all EU countries. 

“Because as a consequence of the crisis we have greatly underinvested in many countries,” she said. “We will try to carry out this initiative in all countries and we have at the moment a huge and diverse network supporting the proposal.”

Diamantopoulou, who has also presented this proposal to many groups of the European Parliament, said a large number of MEPs support it. She has also discussed the initiative with Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education.

“I know that Mrs Vassiliou finds this proposal very good,” said Diamantopoulou. “When I served as the education minister for two years in Greece, I had also put it to the EU Council and there were seven ministers supporting it. But of course, I think it’s better to include the citizens in this decision making process.”


‘Austerity is a kind of religion’

Asked about the austerity measures being implemented across Europe, Diamantopoulou said there is still no alternative. 

”Austerity is still a kind of religion because, as far as the EU Council is concerned, there is no other way. There was a very deep international crisis, but regarding Greece the crisis was a catastrophe. The EU did a lot, but there was not a deep experience on how to face this crisis. Also, the structure and architecture of the euro was not the right one. There was an effort from many countries but we know now that this was too little and too late.”

According to Diamantopoulou, austerity measures have done little to solve the “huge problem” of recession in many EU countries, including her homeland. 

This is why she believes that the upcoming European Parliament elections will be crucial. “Citizens will be able to send a message that something needs to be changed,” she said. “This will be understood, not only by the anti-euro parties, but also by the other mainstream parties. There are some new ideas and proposals but till now we don’t have an alternative plan to overcome the European crisis.” 

Asked about the importance of growth, the former EU Commissioner said: “We didn’t do many things to support growth. Now the recession continues and we can’t see the changes needed. So when we speak about growth we have to have concrete proposals.”

According to Diamantopoulou, a change of policy and status for the European Central Bank is also necessary. “I support the idea to devalue the euro and for the EU banks to issue money,” she said.  “Another important point is that we need a real budget for the EU because 1% is very small. Then, it would also be necessary to have an EU package on public investments.” 

Asked to comment about the anti-European movements in the run up to the European Parliament elections, Diamantopoulou said she is concerned. “We will see many Beppe Grillos in the next European Parliament, but I don’t think they will go over the 18%,” she said. “On the other hand, it will sound an alarm for the main parties to start tabling more concrete proposals.


Flares and bottle-throwing as Olympiakos' unbeaten run ends in 3-0 defeat by Panathinaikos

by  Associated Press Panathinaikos beats Olympiakos 3-0 Associated Press - 2 March 2014 15:14-05:00

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Panathinaikos ended Olympiakos' 27-match unbeaten league run on Sunday with a 3-0 away victory that was interrupted by home fans who threw flares and other objects onto the pitch.

Panathinaikos coach Yiannis Anastasiou was hit in the face by a plastic bottle and very little football was played in the last 12 minutes due to the missile-throwing after Olympiakos was awarded a penalty.

Alejandro Dominguez missed the spotkick and the referee didn't make up for time lost.

In a separate incident, Olympiakos' Michael Olaitan was taken to hospital for checks after collapsing. He was conscious when taken off on a stretcher.

Marcus Berg, Danijel Pranjic and Mehdi Abeid scored for Panathinaikos.

Olympiakos has a 19-point lead over Atromitos, a 3-1 winner at Panetolikos, and PAOK, which drew 2-2 at Ergotelis.

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

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

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


Do not kill once more the halcyon days

by  Nicos A. Rolandis

It is a special talent which Cypriot politicians have been possessing over the past 60 years.  When a hope for springtime appears in the horizon, when the halcyon days, which Zeus has granted to mankind, are about to shine on the skies, some politicians know how to bring winter back again.  

Even in countries where a very difficult political and social system exists and religious fanaticism pervades the grassroots, realism has started emerging.  In a recent article of his, the new President of Iran Hassan Rouhani writes:

“When I campaigned to become President of Iran I promised to balance realism and the pursuit of the Islamic Republic’s ideals and won Iranian voters’ support by a large margin.  By virtue of the popular mandate that I received, I am committed to moderation and common sense, which is now guiding all my government’s policies”.

This is what islamist Rouhani says:  A balance between what is feasible  and what is desirable.  On the contrary here in Cyprus, whenever even a small possibility   appears to get rid of the suffocating feeling of the Turkish occupation which poisons our lives, some politicians try to think of one hundred reasons why this should not happen.  They try to think of one hundred reasons to “kill” what is feasible.  This has been the attitude for years and years.

I remember, when the Anglo American Canadian plan was proposed in 1978, and later, in 1983, when the “Indicators” were submitted by the United Nations my office was inundated with dozens of studies and comments of all sorts by “experts” from Greece and Cyprus, who were splitting hairs.  So, year after year, the occupation and the faits-accomplis were rooted deep into the ground, so deep that I personally have many doubts whether a reversal of the situation is possible.  As a result of the perennial inaction the occupied part of Cyprus has been turned into Asia Minor, Pontos, Constantinoupolis.

President Anastasiades signed recently a Joint Declaration, which, after 40 years of occupation, was very difficult to achieve.  It provides for a single legal international personality, a single sovereignty and a single united Cyprus citizenship.  It also provides that the union in whole or  in part of Cyprus with any other country, its partition or secession or unilateral change to the state of affairs, are prohibited.     

So, what is it that we fear?  How could our country be ever divided into two parts or united wholly or partly with, say, Turkey, as long as such actions are prohibited?

However, if things go wrong again, if the blunders and sins of the past reoccur, irrespective of what a “Joint Declaration” may provide, is there anything which may stop a strong and ruthless country like Turkey, from turning everything upside down as she did in 1974?  Who is going to prevent her in practical terms?  Besides, who stopped her in 1974?  Could a “correct” joint Declaration ever stop her?

It is more than clear that the future of Cyprus will depend much more on the wisdom and correct judgment of her people, than on anything else.

In addition there are recently two questions which hover in the air and have to be addressed:  

1. Has Turkey made even one concession thus far, to justify a new negotiation?

It is a fact that the Turks are very hard negotiators.  UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim had told me 35 years ago, that he considered the Turks as the most difficult negotiators, after the South Africans and the Israelis.

In the case of Cyprus however, there has been some giving away by our side and also by the Turkish side, compared to the initial stands of the 1950s/1960s.  In those years we were after union with Greece (enosis), whilst the Turkish Cypriots were fighting for partition (taksim).  Through the High Level Agreements of 1977 and 1979 and in the years that followed, a golden mean, a compromise was struck, the bizonal, bicommunal federation, with political equality as described in the Security Council Resolutions.  

In addition there is something else we must have in mind in connection with the above question.  We may have given away in the past a little more than what the Turks have.  However is it the Turks or ourselves who have lost a war in 1974, which was the direct consequence of the Greek coup d’ etat?  Is it the turks or ourselves who have lost their land, their homes, their churches?  Is it the Turks or ourselves who are threatened by a mighty army of 40,000 soldiers, covered  by air and navy forces, which we cannot confront in an effective manner if the worst comes to the worst?  So, in whose interest would a solution work?    Which side has a good reason to negotiate?  Is it our side or the Turkish Cypriot side?

2. The existing process of talks has not yielded any results.  So, we must look for something else.

Of course nobody says in a clear language what this “something else” might be.  Is it war?  Is it partition?  Is it an endless inaction, which has already solidified the status of occupation?  Is it a campaign to enlighten the world community?  (quite ludicrous,  50 years after 1963).

However, let us see how correct is this allegation that the process of talks has not resulted in anything at all:

In an article of mine of the 30th January 2008, I set forth 15 Plans which were proposed to us from the year 1948 (Consultative Assembly) until the year 2002 (Annan Plan) for a solution to our problem.  We rejected almost all of them.  So, which are the ineffective processes to which we refer?  Are they the ones we have been rejecting during the past 60 years?  Which are getting worse and worse as time goes by, because the faits-accomplis are gradually solidified?

I believe that the most important initiative we had after the invasion, was the Anglo-American-Canadian Plan of November 1978.  I handled the Plan throughout from the very beginning to the end.  The Plan was supported by three important countries, which could exercise a lot of influence on Turkey.  The U.S. President Jimmy Carter received us in the White House in October 1978, a month before the Plan was handed over.  The Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, the Deputy and the Assistant Secretaries Warren Christopher and Matthew Nimetz were all directly involved.  The Plan in real terms provided for the conversion of the 1960 unitary state into a federal state.  The residents of Varosha would go back to their homes when the talks would commence and would stay there irrespective of the outcome of the talks.  The above Plan, despite the efforts of some of us to get it through, was rejected by our side.  We also rejected all other initiatives which ensued.  And nowadays we complain that the dialogue process  is ineffective!

President Anastasiades has an extremely difficult task ahead.  The Americans support his efforts , 36 years after their 1978 Plan.  At that time Nimetz had told us that Ankara was contacted and the response was positive.  Back in 1978 there were neither settlers, nor huge Turkish investments, nor Greek Cypriot properties occupied.  Time had not killed the potential for a solution.

I personally wish the President the best of success.  I do not know what will follow.  Forty years of occupation cannot be easily written off.  So the task will be anything from difficult to impossible.  This is something which was never realised by the supporters of negation and of the long term struggle, who have in reality destroyed this country.  

Let us give another chance to the halcyon days, even if their appearance in the skies seems unlikely.


UK urged to close gender pay gap and improve participation rates

OECD survey shows UK's overall participation in labour market puts it 18th out of 27 nations for gender equality

The UK continues to lag behind many comparable major economies for the scope and fairness of women's employment, new research has shown.

According to a survey of 27 OECD member nations, the UK's overall record on women's participation in the labour market puts it 18th out of 27 nations. The latest index measured gender pay gap, women's participation rate, unemployment rates and proportion of women in full-time, rather than part-time, employment.

While the UK has made progress in equalising earnings between men and women and getting more women into the workplace, the slow pace of change has seen it outstripped by other countries since 2000. The difference in pay has diminished from 26% in 2000 to 18% in 2012 in the UK – slightly worse than the OECD average differential of 16%.

The PwC Women in Work index ranks the UK far behind the Nordic countries, with Norway still leading the way, followed by Denmark and Sweden.

Yong Jing Teow, an economist at PwC, said: "It is encouraging that the UK is making gradual headway on closing the gender pay gap, but there is still a long way to go before we catch up with other countries and fully close this wage gap.

"It is disappointing that UK women's pace of progress in the labour market has been relatively poor since 2000. If we want to see a meaningful change to women's economic empowerment in the UK, we will have to speed up the rate of change, otherwise we risk falling further behind other high-income economies."

While the proportion of women in the UK who work is above the OECD average, the percentage holding full-time jobs was lower than in all but two other countries.

The research indicated Europe's economic crisis had particularly set back the advance of women in the workplace, with pay disparities and female unemployment rates increasing in Portugal, Spain and Greece in 2012, the most recent full year's data, the most recent year for which figures are available.

Last week a separate European commission report calculated the pay gap between men and women at 16.4% across the EU, with the UK still one of the worst offenders despite having slightly narrowed its disparity to 19%.

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The Great Hellenikon Park Sell-Out

The most valuable piece of real estate in the world is New York’s Central Park – precisely because it is a park in the heart of the capital of the world and would be worth an uncountable amount of money to developers who will never get their hands on the 840-acre treasure. The most valuable piece of real estate in Greece is the 1482-acre former Hellenikon International Airport site on Athens’ coast, sitting up snug against the sea along a series of pricy neighborhoods. It’s been abandoned since 2001 when the new Athens International Airport opened north of the city and is treated like most of the open space in Greece: ignored and neglected, although not as bad off as some former 2004 Olympic Games sites that are overrun with weeds and rubbish. Frederick Law Olmstead, who, along with Calvert Vaux won the award to design Central Park in 1857, knew what it was worth to the city and its people. He said it was “of great importance as the first real park made in this country – a democratic development of the highest significance.” Here’s the difference between how New York and Athens treat the invaluable worth of land: Central Park is a serene place for picnics, walking, running, bicycling, family outings, an oasis against the skyscrapers on it edges and wonderfully eccentric juxtaposition of greenery against architecture. Where New York saw a place for perpetual beauty, Athens sees the airport as an opportunity to make a quick buck during a crushing economic crisis. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is selling off Hellenikon for development: it was supposed to be the biggest urban park in Europe but coming soon will be another vast sea of concrete and the land will be lost forever. You’d think such a valuable piece of land would draw an army of bidders: Greece got just one, the Lambda Development company from Greece that unlawfully built the garish Athens Mall but somehow, despite violating the Constitution, wasn’t barred from competing. Here’s where it gets curiouser: an Israeli company, Elbin Cochit, wanted to bid but backed out because it hinted the fix was in and that the country’s privatization agency, HRADF, set up a process murkier than a politician’s heart and that the draft contract terms were clouded. The site is seven kilometers from the city’s center along prime seaside frontage and late last year a Metro station opened, making it even more attractive for investors and the greedy rich. The plans call now for more buildings and fewer trees and less grass or green space, prompting outcries from environmentalists and mayors of several municipalities, but the government doesn’t care and is willing to lose Athens’ Central Park forever for money. If Greece had Samaras instead of Pericles, there’d be no Acropolis or Parthenon today, just more buildings. The previous government of former Premier George Papandreou, who used to head the PASOK Anti-Socialists, was willing to sell it outright and would have put McDonald’s golden arches atop the Parthenon if some politicians and business people could have sold the naming rights and pocketed the money. So now Greece has to consider that Hellenikon, which could have been an oasis of greenery and serenity next to the sea, will instead be filled with Athens’ identity: concrete buildings, even gussied-up to look like to the rich people and business types who will use them. Don’t count on Lambda Development to do the right thing if it gets the award. It said its project included creating residential, recreation, sporting and cultural facilities, which would include 495 acres of park. This is the same company that was required to build a 20-acre park next to the Athens Mall but that’s still a bus parking lot, and there’s no money to be made in planting trees. The company, which said it planned a seven billion euro ($9.66 billion) investment, has partners, the Abu Dhabi-based company Al Maabar, China’s Fosun Group as well as unnamed European funds. Just what you want in a public tender: secret investors. Lamda Chief Executive Odysseas Athanasiou, who still has to hope HRADF’s governing board accepts the only bid instead of trying to find competitors, said it was “a very important day for the company and for Greece, as some of the world’s biggest investment funds have decided to invest in our country, putting their confidence in Greece’s prospects into practice.” So in a few years, when Greeks go to the beach on Athens’ coast – much of it unlawfully occupied by businesses who stole public land or paid someone off to get it and force people to pay to use a public beach – won’t have the luxury of a park there either because it will another landscape of cement with a few trees mixed it to give it a hint of legitimacy. SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, proving even a monkey can hit a dart board once in a while, said that Hellenikon is being sold off to enrich a few people and HRADF was “a clique deciding on the future of public wealth without transparency, without Parliamentary supervision and control, as if it were property they inherited from their grandfathers.” He said that SYRIZA viewed Hellinikon – which successive Greek governments had for years promised and failed to transform into a metropolitan park and greenspace – as “a landmark of the struggles of city movements to defend public spaces.” He pointed to a plan drawn up by the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) as a “well-supported and budgeted proposal” that would avert the desecration of the site. The government’s answer was typical and so transparent. Without mentioning the words water, pond, tree, flowers, grass, fountains, or walkway, spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said, “Once again, Tsipras is attempting to undermine the country’s exit from the crisis, threatening investors and showing no interest in the creation of thousands of jobs. We shall not allow Elliniko to become his party’s landfill.” That job already belongs to Samaras.


New Greek Prisons for Dangerous Inmates

Tougher detention conditions, separate prisons and specially designed cells, as well as no furloughs, are just some of the changes proposed for dangerous inmates held in Greek prisons, that are included in the new bill brought to parliament by the Greek Ministry of Justice. The bill makes provision for a new kind of prison, called “Type C,” which will house inmates convicted of serious offenses, like those prosecuted under the anti-terrorism law. The new type of prison, the first of which is expected to open in Domokos, Central Greece, will also accommodate those involved in criminal organizations and those who have taken part in organized rioting during their incarceration. The detention regime will be particularly strict, following standards enforced in other EU countries and the United States. Detainees of “Type C” prisons won’t be able to be considered for any furloughs, while prisoners’ transports will be handled exclusively by the Greek Police. Hence, police forces will assume a more enhanced role, guarding the facilities from the outside, and new tasks also foresee a police presence within the prison wards. The Justice Ministry bill also introduces a new classification system for prisons in Greece. “Type A” prisons will hold those convicted for debts and generally all those serving prison sentences of up to five years, while “Type B” holding facilities will incarcerate those convicted of middle-range criminal offenses, like felonies punishable by imprisonment but not meriting a life tariff. Finally, “Type C” prisons will house prisoners classified as high risk by the appropriate prosecutor. Inmates of “Type A” prisons will be granted furloughs without any particular requirements, while inmates of “Type B” prisons will also get furloughs, but after careful consideration and according to strict criteria.


Warren Buffett: 'Investing Advice For You--And My Wife' (And Other Quotes Of ...

New York TimesWarren Buffett: 'Investing Advice For You--And My Wife' (And Other Quotes Of ...ForbesWhile Russia's actions in the Ukraine are dominating the headlines over the weekend, Warren Buffett's Annual Shareholder Letter was also released, with its usual mix of good news, hard-headed business and investing advice to readers, and broad ...Greenberg: Buffett Tells Investors to Get Real About EBITDATheStreet.comWhy it doesn't matter that Buffett failed to beat his bogeyQuartzHottest Links: Berkshire Hathaway, Ukraine, Einhorn Goes GreekValueWalkHouston Chronicle -Financial Times -Motley Foolall 391 news articles »


Greek Doctor Arrested for Inciting Hatred and Pro-Nazi Beliefs

A 57-year-old neurologist from Thessaloniki, northern Greece, has been arrested for inciting racial hatred, weapons possession and pro-Nazi beliefs. The doctor, whose name remains unknown, is an acknowledged Golden Dawn member and a passionate Nazi supporter. The Greek police searched his office after being informed that he had put up a plaque outside his office with the message “Jews Not Welcome” in German. Moreover, in a raid at the doctor’s house, police found 3 daggers, two of them engraved with Nazi symbols, 12 knives, 64 pills without the necessary prescription, a Nazi flag, two photos of Adolf Hitler and printed material about Golden Dawn, Hitler and Nazism. According to the police, the doctor has been charged with racial discrimination, the possession of weapons and addictive substances and he will be led before the Prosecutor of Thessaloniki.


Venizelos Checks Greeks in Ukraine

Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos went to embattled Ukraine on March 2, to meet the Greek community amid reports they had been targeted.

The post Venizelos Checks Greeks in Ukraine appeared first on The National Herald.


Exploring Wines of the Naoussa Region

If you’re familiar with Naoussa, you’ve probably heard of it in the same breath as Xinomavro, the region’s shining grape varietal. Naoussa lies within Macedonia, one of the oldest wine producing regions of Greece, along the Aegean Sea. Mount Vermion stands tall in Macedonia, and the slopes of the mountain contain Naoussa, one of the […]

The post Exploring Wines of the Naoussa Region appeared first on The National Herald.


On Location, Oscars Edition: This is Why Greece is Such a Perfect Location for ...

Condé Nast TravelerOn Location, Oscars Edition: This is Why Greece is Such a Perfect Location for ...Condé Nast TravelerWhat started from one conversation-filled evening together in Vienna in 1995's Before Sunrise, to a day together in Paris in 2004's Before Sunset, culminated to a summer vacation in Greece when the two became an official couple with twin girls in ...


Obama Plan for Cyprus – Vanishing Cyprus

The reunification talks on the Cyprus issue are on again! This time, there seems to be a new political development and a general consensus that a political solution may be near. It is possible that a “deal in principle” has already been drafted behind the scenes but no one is talking; not yet, anyway! The new turn of events can be attributed directly to America’s involvement: for the first time ever the Pentagon is backing the talks openly! In fact, US President Barack Obama publicly welcomed the joint declaration and in so doing gave the talks momentum. The US support changed the entire political climate; one may call this initiative the “Obama Plan”. It is also important to remember that in politics nothing is done without a reason and for nothing; there is always a price to pay! Most governments embraced the talks with enthusiasm but the general public is somewhat suspicious and not so convinced – not after last year’s Anastasiades-Troika mnimonio agreement that has shattered their lives and brought them misery! The government’s credibility has suffered badly and it’s now in serious question! People simply no longer trust politicians or the government; they have been betrayed by both too many times! It is also blatantly obvious that the Annan Plan has come back to haunt them again; this time on the sly and by the back door! A plan that was overwhelmingly rejected in a referendum by the nation! US Foreign Secretary Hillary Clinton was quite outspoken on this matter and commented: “The Annan Plan was extremely unfair for the Greek-Cypriots. The USA used improper pressure for its acceptance. This shall not be repeated.” It takes a brave and a wise person to admit one’s own error of judgment but she is also a politician; the Annan Plan is back! It seems that the President of Cyprus has decided – or succumbed to pressure by IMF EU/Troika and others – that the timing is perfect to settle the Cyprus issue; not tomorrow but this year! The Anastasiades-Eroglu joint statement calls for the Republic of Cyprus to be dissolved and be replaced by a New Cyprus based on a Bi-zonal, Bi-communal Federation (BBF) – a political system that does not exist elsewhere in the world. In fact the wording is designed to mislead and is full of political deceptions that can be unleashed at a later date – see full text. If the talks produce an agreement, constitutionally, it will create a new country with racial undertones reminiscent of apartheid in South Africa. It will certainly not be comparable to a Federation as prescribed in the United Nations Charter but rather a loose pseudo-confederation of sorts. There are also concerns that Mr. Eroglu (Ankara’s mouthpiece) already shows no respect for the terms of the agreement that he signed and cunningly keeps on repeating in public that: “each morning the sun rises over two peoples and two separate countries”. Where is the co-operation of unity in that? An esteemed Supreme Court Judge, George Pikkis, stated in a public interview that the joint statement provides (among others) for: “two citizenships based on ethnicity; two self-governing component states not answerable to the Federal government; each component state will have no jurisdiction over the other; the Federal government will not have powers over the two new states; the electorate will not be allowed to exercise their democratic right and vote for a candidate in federal elections – only the “appointed representatives” will share that privilege; the Republic of Cyprus is nowhere mentioned within the statement; there is also no mention of the removal of the Turkish troops or the Turkish settlers; no mention of the return of all refugees (both Greek/Turkish Cypriots) back to their ancestral homes; under a typical Federation system, citizens enjoy one single citizenship and one vote but not in this case.” In fact, a Federation is founded upon a mutual covenant of two independent states to unite under a federal political system. The self-governing status of the component states are typically constitutionally entrenched and may not be altered by a unilateral decision of either party – a marriage without a divorce! One does not invade with military troops an independent sovereign nation – like Turkey did against Cyprus – occupy a sector of it’s territory and then “negotiate” to form a pseudo federation as a reward for its military invasion. The questions many citizens ask are: why such an urgency to reach a deal this year especially when the country is near bankruptcy? Answers are hard to come by, but in reality, a new geopolitical game is in process across the eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus is smack in the middle of it! Events of such a magnitude do not spring out of thin air but are well planned and well hidden deep within the echelons of power. It has come to be, that outsiders are now controlling the fate of Cyprus and the little island with its natural gas deposits has become the cherry on the cake! Due to the rapid political changes in the region, Ankara is beginning to feel isolated through no longer being the pampered child of western powers! Incensed Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out with “the Eastern Mediterranean will see Turkish battleships frequently” – a pompous warning with total disregard of international laws. Ankara is also now threatening to start drilling for gas off the southern coast of Cyprus and within Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). If that materializes it will trigger energy-related tension in the area, which will also involve Israel to protect its Leviathan and Tamar Gas Fields. The USA will certainly act to protect the Texas Noble Energy drilling platform and others will follow suit. As bad as the joint statement appears, it also offers a sliver of hope that through dialogue there is a small chance to reunify the island. Citizens will ultimately have their say at the polls! Under the terms of a referendum they will choose either to adopt or reject the agreement! However, if the referendum is worded to confuse so the government can swing the vote in its favor, the outcome could plague Cyprus for generations to come. Such attempts cannot be excluded – especially when it involves important constitutional changes; politics are a dirty business! It is therefore imperative that Greek/Turkish Cypriots are well informed to make well-informed decisions and make the right changes that will transform the nation forever. The proposed referendum should be based on social equality, on a single citizenship and without a hint of discrimination or racial undertones; a good comparison of that is Canada and Switzerland! The vote should certainly not be divided into two ethnic “citizenships” as proposed, or two communities, but be based on one single “Cypriot Vote” for either “yes” or “no” to avoid political blame games afterwards – as the Annan Plan did by blaming the “Greek side” for voting against the proposal. Actually, the only way forward to a long lasting solution is to introduce the same political system enjoyed by all other democratic nations: one-man–one-vote; a single citizenship; one nation based on rule of law; justice that guarantees religion, culture and ethnic diversity with equal opportunities on the basis of merit and not nepotism. Certainly not the rule of man! Cyprus is in desperate need of a revolution; but not just any revolution – a Revolution of the Mind! Official Anastasiades/Eroglu Joint statement –Full Text Signed 11th February 2014. 1. The status quo is unacceptable and its prolongation will have negative consequences for the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. The leaders affirmed that a settlement would have a positive impact on the entire region, while first and foremost benefiting Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, respecting democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedom as well as each other’s distinct identity and integrity and ensuring their common future is a united Cyprus within the European Union. 2. The leaders expressed their determination to resume structured negotiations in a result-oriented manner. All unresolved core issues will be on the table and will be discussed interdependently. The leaders will aim to reach a settlement as soon as possible and hold separate simultaneous referendum thereafter. 3. The settlement will be based on a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality as set out in the relevant Security Council Resolutions and the High Level Agreements. The united Cyprus, as a member of the United Nations and of the European Union, shall have a single, international legal personality and a single sovereignty which is defined as the sovereignty which is enjoyed by all member States of the United Nations, under the UN Charter and which emanates equally from Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. There will be a single united Cyprus citizenship, regulated by federal law. All citizens of the United Cyprus shall also be citizens of either the Greek-Cypriot constituent state or the Turkish-Cypriot constituent state. This status shall be internal and shall complement and not substitute in any way the united Cyprus citizenship. The powers of the federal government and like matters that are clearly incidental to its specific powers, will be assigned by the constitution. The Federal constitution will also provide for the residual powers to be exercised by the constituent states. The constituent states will exercise fully and irrevocably all their powers free from encroachment by the federal government. The federal laws will not encroach upon constituent state laws within the constituent states’ area of competence and the constituent states’ laws will not encroach upon the federal laws within the federal government’s competences. Any dispute in respect thereof will be adjudicated finally by the Federal Supreme Court. Neither side may claim authority of jurisdiction over the other. 4. The united Cyprus federation shall result from the settlement following the settlement’s approval by separate simultaneous referendum. The federal constitution shall prescribe that the united Cyprus federation shall be composed of two constituent states of equal status. The bi-zonal, bi-communal nature of the federation and the principles upon which the EU is founded will be safeguarded and respected throughout the island. The Federal constitution shall be the supreme law of the land and will be binding on all the federation’s authorities and on the constituent states. Union in whole or in part with any other country or any form of partition or secession or any other unilateral change to the state of affairs will be prohibited. 5. The negotiations are based on the principle that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. 6. The appointed representatives are fully empowered to discuss any issue at any time and should enjoy parallel access to all stakeholders and interested parties in the process, as needed. The leaders of the two communities will meet as often as needed. They retain the ultimate decision-making power. Only an agreement freely reached by the leaders may be put to separate simultaneous referendum. Any kind of arbitration is excluded. 7. The sides will seek to create a positive atmosphere to ensure the talks succeed. They commit to avoid blame games or other negative public comments on the negotiations. They also commit to efforts to implement confidence-building measures that will provide dynamic impetus to the prospect for a united Cyprus.


Energy Cyprus Peace Hope Hinge

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said the best chance to end decades of division with occupying Turks on the island is oil and gas.

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Greek Deputy Crimean President Gets Death Threats

The Deputy President of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Greek-Ukrainian Olga Kovitidi, is said to have been receiving threats on her life in the past days of turmoil as Russian forces moved into the region in response to the overthrow of ...


Longer Hours For Greece’s Top Sites

With a second straight record-breaking tourism season expected, Greece will have longer opening hours for its top 33 attractions.

The post Longer Hours For Greece’s Top Sites appeared first on The National Herald.


Migrant Citizenship Applications Pile Up

More than 100,000 children born in Greece to immigrant parents are taking advantage of a delay in changing the laws to apply for citizenship.

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Nothing Strong or Friendly About Cypriot-British Ties

To the Editor: I read with deep annoyance the disturbing caption of your January 18 issue front-page photograph, that “Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and British Prime Minister David Cameron reaffirmed the strong bonds of friendship and partnership between Cyprus and the UK, during a meeting at 10 Downing Street in London, Wednesday, January 15.” As […]

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Thanks to Greece’s Monuments Man, George Clooney

Hollywood actor-director-activist George Clooney has rightfully said that the Parthenon Marbles don't belong in the British Museum but in Greece.

The post Thanks to Greece’s Monuments Man, George Clooney appeared first on The National Herald.


Samaras Moves To Appease Troika But SYRIZA Looms

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, anxious to avoid political and social unrest ahead of critical municipal and European Parliament elections in May, has assured international lenders that most reforms, including worker firings, are on track.

The post Samaras Moves To Appease Troika But SYRIZA Looms appeared first on The National Herald.


Sotirios Kyrgiakos (left) with Dirk Kuyt and Raul Meireles playing for Premier ...

Sydney Morning HeraldSotirios Kyrgiakos (left) with Dirk Kuyt and Raul Meireles playing for Premier ...Sydney Morning HeraldFormer Greek international Sotirios Kyrgiakos has agreed to a two-game guest stint with NSW Premier League side Sydney Olympic. The 34-year old will make his debut for the ex-NSL champions against Blacktown Spartans on March 23 and is hoping to ...NSW Premier League side Sydney Olympic signs former Liverpool defender ...The Daily Telegraphall 2 news articles »


Soccer-Greek championship results and standings

March 1 (Infostrada Sports) - Results and standings from the Greek championship matches on Saturday Saturday, March 1Aris Salonika 0 OFI Crete 0 Veria 1 Apollon Smyrni 1 Xanthi 4 Levadiakos 1 Standings P W D L F A Pts 1 Olympiakos Piraeus 26 24 2 0 78 9 74 -------------------------2 PAOK Salonika 26 17 3 6 52 25 54 3 Atromitos Athinon 26 15 7 4 40 18 52 4 Panathinaikos 26 14 5 7 39 22 47 5 ...


Greek Companies Affected by Crisis in Ukraine

in apartment buildings and shops, as well as in a large office building and a cultural center in Mariupol, which was donated to the Greek community of the city, while two apartment blocks in Kiev and Odessa are still under construction.


Golden Dawn Doctor in Hate Crime

Police in northern Greece say a 57-year-old doctor and Golden Dawn member was charged with inciting racial hatred and weapons possession.

The post Golden Dawn Doctor in Hate Crime appeared first on The National Herald.


Greek Revival style still apparent in Ravenna

While most people looking at this house would agree that it has a dignity and grandeur on the street because of its proportions, its large windows and its columned porch, not many think about how unlikely it was that an ancient Greek temple would have ...


Greek Cinema Travels to Brussels

A tribute to the Greek cinema will be held in Brussels in the next four months to honor the Greek Presidency. Both renowned and new Greek directors will present their movies and will hold discussions with the audience at the Royal Belgian Film ...


Greek olives facing economic squeeze

Greek olives facing economic squeezeDenver PostSIMIZA, Greece — In the olive groves around Ancient Olympia, sanctuary of the Greek gods, the trees were once considered sacred, and in many ways they still are. Carefully pruned and pampered, they are described by farmers with a reverence that could ...


Greece Athena wins Class AA title

Greece Athena wins Class AA titleRochester Democrat and ChronicleGreece Athena made it through the Section V regular and postseason undefeated against Rochester-area teams when it kept No. 2 seed Fairport at bay Saturday, 72-60 in the Class AA championship game at Blue Cross Arena at the Rochester Community ...


Greek doctor arrested for inciting anti-Jewish hatred, weapons possession

THESSALONIKI, Greece - Police in northern Greece say a 57-year-old neurologist has been arrested for inciting racial hatred and weapons possession.


Holidays in Greece: Five-star luxury without the guilt on a stress-busting ...

Daily MailHolidays in Greece: Five-star luxury without the guilt on a stress-busting ...Daily MailArriving at our villa in Crete was a special experience. Greeted by big smiles, hot towels and a glass of champagne, my eldest son and his girlfriend, fresh from three years of slumming it at university, could not believe their luck. Our youngest was ...


Greek doctor arrested for inciting hatred

Greek doctor arrested for inciting hatredYahoo NewsGolden Dawn, a formerly marginal Nazi-inspired party, entered Greek parliament at the last election in 2012 on an anti-immigrant platform. About 95 percent of Thessaloniki's almost 50,000-strong Jewish community at the start of the German World War II ...and more »


Feature: Greece's legendary winery looks to future to China

Feature: Greece's legendary winery looks to future to ChinaXinhuaPATRAS, Greece, March 1 (Xinhua) -- On a green hill at the outskirts of the city port of Patras at Peloponnese peninsula, some 200 km west of Athens, are the headquarters of Achaia Clauss, a legendary winery in Greece with a history going back to the ...and more »


Greek Fest in Fort Myers

This is the weekend to chow down on Greek food during the annual Greek Fest in Fort Myers. The event started on Friday and runs until Sunday at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church near Edison State College on Cypress Lake Drive. Admission for the event ...


Immigrants Awaiting New Law on Greek Citizenship

The bill of the Greek Ministry of Interior on the new immigration code, which features many changes and improvements, passed on Friday with a majority in the competent committee of the Greek parliament, having the support of New Democracy and PASOK MP’s. SYRIZA reserved its remarks on the new bill for the plenary session, while DIMAR and the representative of the Independent Democratic MP’s supported the bill in principle. Independent Greeks, Golden Dawn and the Greek Communist Party member voted against the bill. Deputy Interior Minister Leonidas Grigorakos pledged that, until it is passed by the plenary session, he would accept any new proposals on improvements to the bill. He also mentioned that the new bill on citizenship has already been  drawn up and will soon be submitted to parliament. The bill will provide solutions, he said, for thousands of immigrants – particularly children. “More than 100,000 children born in Greece to immigrant parents have applied for Greek citizenship,” Grigorakos told parliament, adding, “This is a very large number. We understand the problems but we have to first deal with the current matter concerning the immigration code. Then, we will hold extensive talks on the citizenship bill, which will be brought to parliament in a couple of days.” “We are ready, and it has to be made clear, that children who grew up and live in Greece should not be blackmailed over the issue of citizenship.” In answer to the persistent demand of the opposition to find an immediate solution to this problem the deputy minister added “they should be able to obtain citizenship when they wish it, through a legal process.”