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

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Prehistoric People Liked To Drink Alcohol And Do Drugs, But Probably For Religious Reasons

A new study adds to a growing body of evidence that some ancient cultures may have used mind-altering substances for religious and ritualistic practices, rather than as a form of recreation. "Psychoactive substances in prehistoric Europe are mainly found in tombs and ceremonial places," Elisa Guerra-Doce of the Universidad de Valladolid in Spain told The Huffington Post. "Therefore I think that their consumption is strongly connected to ritual usages in order to alter the usual state of consciousness or even to achieve a trance state." "The opium poppy offers a good example," she continued. "The association of opium poppies [with] female deities in the Eastern Mediterranean during the Late Bronze Age strongly supports the ritual character of this species." Guerra-Doce is the author of a study published in a recent issue of the Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory that analyzes drug and alcohol use "in prehistoric Eurasia." Among other discoveries, bits of opium poppy have been found in the teeth of a male adult at a Neolithic site in Spain, and charred cannabis seeds were found in bowls at an archaeological site in Romania, the study says. Guerra-Doce also noted that traces of ephedra, ergot and some varieties of nightshade, all of which can be rendered to produce types of recreational substances, have been found at archaeological sites throughout Europe. And while researchers have uncovered no direct evidence of hallucinogenic mushrooms, their ritual use appears to be depicted in "abstract designs" found in the Italian Alps. "Prehistoric societies probably used many other psychoactive plants, but we lack direct evidence," Guerra-Doce said. Many of the various substances were uncovered in tombs of high-status individuals or in restricted ceremonial locations, which suggests that the substances were only accessible to a privileged class, according to Guerra-Doce. However, many psychoactive plants, such as cannabis or psilocybin mushrooms, grow in the wild, making them difficult to control. So how did early humans manage to keep the substances from being used outside of sacred rites? "I think that a taboo might have been imposed on their use, as indicated by the common names of some of these plants, which point to harmful effects, to evil spirits, in order to scare anyone from using them," Guerra-Doce said. One of the earliest documented examples suggestive of mind-altering substance use by early hominids was found at Shanidar IV, a Neanderthal burial site from roughly 60,000 B.C. in what is now northern Iraq. At the site, which Science magazine describes as a "flower burial," researchers found evidence of a number of plants known for their medicinal use, suggesting that the grave may have been the final resting place of an ancient shaman. However, not everyone subscribes to this theory: other scientists have argued that these plants could have been introduced to the cave by animals at a later time. As for alcohol use in early European societies, analysis of residues found in various artifacts suggests that people thousands of years ago were consuming mead, grogs, fruit wines and beer made of wheat and barley, often in ceremonial contexts, according to Guerra-Doce's report. "In some cases, the capacity of the vessels indicates that the quantity of alcohol was high," Guerra-Doce told HuffPost. "One of the most impressive examples comes from the Hallstatt princely wagon burial of a 40-year-old male, dated to around 530 B.C., at Hochdorf, near Stuttgart, where an enormous bronze cauldron imported from Greece was deposited in the grave chamber containing 350 liters of mead." The earliest alcoholic drink to have been chemically documented was found in neolithic China and dates back about 9,000 years. Using molecular archeology, Dr. Patrick McGovern, scientific director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Project for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia, found pottery jars that once contained a mixed fermented beverage of rice, honey and wild grapes or hawthorn tree fruit. "Some animals -- and many primates among them -- intentionally consume over-ripe fruits in search for their mood-altering properties due to the ethanol content," said Guerra-Doce. "It seems that mammals deliberately seek mind-altering substances."


European Commission: Greeks Pay for Parties Debts

Greek ReporterEuropean Commission: Greeks Pay for Parties DebtsGreek ReporterThe European Commission confirmed that the Greek citizens are repaying the loans of the Greek parties but refuses to provide information on which parties have taken loans. The figures come from the answer of the EU Commissioner Joaquin Almunia to a ...and more »


Little to celebrate in town of Greece prayer ruling

Jewish Daily ForwardLittle to celebrate in town of Greece prayer rulingAlbany Times UnionFrankly, the 5-4 decision in Greece vs. Galloway dealt a legal blow to the authenticity of the spiritual practice of prayer. It's little more than a ruling on the legality of making social, political and governmental statements (not personal prayers ...America Doesn't See Its Religious MinoritiesJewish Daily ForwardSupreme Court still considering another big religious test caseConstitution Daily (blog)Municipalities reflect on Supreme Court decision allowing prayer at town meetingsThe Sentinelall 19 news articles »


Navy SEAL Commander Tells Students To Make Their Beds Every Morning In Incredible Commencement Speech

U.S. Navy admiral and University of Texas, Austin, alumnus William H. McRaven returned to his alma mater last week to give seniors 10 lessons from basic SEAL training when he spoke at the school's commencement.

McRaven, the commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command who organized the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, stressed the importance of making your bed every morning, taking on obstacles headfirst, and realizing that it's OK to be a "sugar cookie."

All of his lessons were supported by personal stories from McRaven's many years as a Navy SEAL.

"While these lessons were learned during my time in the military, I can assure you that it matters not whether you ever served a day in uniform," McRaven told students. "It matters not your gender, your ethnic or religious background, your orientation, or your social status."

We first saw this speech at the Military Times. Here's the video of the full speech with the transcript below:

Here are McRaven's 10 lessons from his years of experience as a Navy SEAL, via University of Texas, Austin:

I have been a Navy SEAL for 36 years. But it all began when I left UT for Basic SEAL training in Coronado, California.

Basic SEAL training is six months of long torturous runs in the soft sand, midnight swims in the cold water off San Diego, obstacles courses, unending calisthenics, days without sleep and always being cold, wet and miserable.

It is six months of being constantly harassed by professionally trained warriors who seek to find the weak of mind and body and eliminate them from ever becoming a Navy SEAL.

But, the training also seeks to find those students who can lead in an environment of constant stress, chaos, failure and hardships.

To me basic SEAL training was a life time of challenges crammed into six months.

So, here are the ten lesson's I learned from basic SEAL training that hopefully will be of value to you as you move forward in life.

Every morning in basic SEAL training, my instructors, who at the time were all Viet Nam veterans, would show up in my barracks room and the first thing they would inspect was your bed.

If you did it right, the corners would be square, the covers pulled tight, the pillow centered just under the headboard and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack—rack—that's Navy talk for bed.

It was a simple task—mundane at best. But every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection. It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle hardened SEALs—but the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over.

If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.

By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.

If you can't do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.

And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.

If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.

During SEAL training the students are broken down into boat crews. Each crew is seven students—three on each side of a small rubber boat and one coxswain to help guide the dingy.

Every day your boat crew forms up on the beach and is instructed to get through the surfzone and paddle several miles down the coast.

In the winter, the surf off San Diego can get to be 8 to 10 feet high and it is exceedingly difficult to paddle through the plunging surf unless everyone digs in.

Every paddle must be synchronized to the stroke count of the coxswain. Everyone must exert equal effort or the boat will turn against the wave and be unceremoniously tossed back on the beach.

For the boat to make it to its destination, everyone must paddle.

You can't change the world alone—you will need some help— and to truly get from your starting point to your destination takes friends, colleagues, the good will of strangers and a strong coxswain to guide them.

If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle.

Over a few weeks of difficult training my SEAL class which started with 150 men was down to just 35. There were now six boat crews of seven men each.

I was in the boat with the tall guys, but the best boat crew we had was made up of the little guys—the munchkin crew we called them—no one was over about 5-foot five.

The munchkin boat crew had one American Indian, one African American, one Polish America, one Greek American, one Italian American, and two tough kids from the mid-west.

They out paddled, out-ran, and out swam all the other boat crews.

The big men in the other boat crews would always make good natured fun of the tiny little flippers the munchkins put on their tiny little feetprior to every swim.

But somehow these little guys, from every corner of the Nation and the world, always had the last laugh— swimming faster than everyone and reaching the shore long before the rest of us.

SEAL training was a great equalizer. Nothing mattered but your will to succeed. Not your color, not your ethnic background, not your education and not your social status.

If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers.

Several times a week, the instructors would line up the class and do a uniform inspection. It was exceptionally thorough.

Your hat had to be perfectly starched, your uniform immaculately pressed and your belt buckle shiny and void of any smudges.

But it seemed that no matter how much effort you put into starching your hat, or pressing your uniform or polishing your belt buckle— it just wasn't good enough.

The instructors would fine "something" wrong.

For failing the uniform inspection, the student had to run, fully clothed into the surfzone and then, wet from head to toe, roll around on the beach until every part of your body was covered with sand.

The effect was known as a "sugar cookie." You stayed in that uniform the rest of the day—cold, wet and sandy.

There were many a student who just couldn't accept the fact that all their effort was in vain. That no matter how hard they tried to get the uniform right—it was unappreciated.

Those students didn't make it through training.

Those students didn't understand the purpose of the drill. You were never going to succeed. You were never going to have a perfect uniform.

Sometimes no matter how well you prepare or how well you perform you still end up as a sugar cookie.

It's just the way life is sometimes.

If you want to change the world get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward.

Every day during training you were challenged with multiple physical events—long runs, long swims, obstacle courses, hours of calisthenics—something designed to test your mettle.

Every event had standards—times you had to meet. If you failed to meet those standards your name was posted on a list and at the end of the day those on the list were invited to—a "circus."

A circus was two hours of additional calisthenics—designed to wear you down, to break your spirit, to force you to quit.

No one wanted a circus.

A circus meant that for that day you didn't measure up. A circus meant more fatigue—and more fatigue meant that the following day would be more difficult—and more circuses were likely.

But at some time during SEAL training, everyone—everyone—made the circus list.

But an interesting thing happened to those who were constantly on the list. Overtime those students—who did two hours of extra calisthenics—got stronger and stronger.

The pain of the circuses built inner strength-built physical resiliency.

Life is filled with circuses.

You will fail. You will likely fail often. It will be painful. It will be discouraging. At times it will test you to your very core.

But if you want to change the world, don't be afraid of the circuses.

At least twice a week, the trainees were required to run the obstacle course. The obstacle course contained 25 obstacles including a 10-foot high wall, a 30-foot cargo net, and a barbed wire crawl to name a few.

But the most challenging obstacle was the slide for life. It had a three level 30 foot tower at one end and a one level tower at the other. In between was a 200-foot long rope.

You had to climb the three tiered tower and once at the top, you grabbed the rope, swung underneath the rope and pulled yourself hand over hand until you got to the other end.

The record for the obstacle course had stood for years when my class began training in 1977.

The record seemed unbeatable, until one day, a student decided to go down the slide for life—head first.

Instead of swinging his body underneath the rope and inching his way down, he bravely mounted the TOP of the rope and thrust himself forward.

It was a dangerous move—seemingly foolish, and fraught with risk. Failure could mean injury and being dropped from the training.

Without hesitation—the student slid down the rope—perilously fast, instead of several minutes, it only took him half that time and by the end of the course he had broken the record.

If you want to change the world sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head first.

During the land warfare phase of training, the students are flown out to San Clemente Island which lies off the coast of San Diego.

The waters off San Clemente are a breeding ground for the great white sharks. To pass SEAL training there are a series of long swims that must be completed. One—is the night swim.

Before the swim the instructors joyfully brief the trainees on all the species of sharks that inhabit the waters off San Clemente.

They assure you, however, that no student has ever been eaten by a shark—at least not recently.

But, you are also taught that if a shark begins to circle your position—stand your ground. Do not swim away. Do not act afraid.

And if the shark, hungry for a midnight snack, darts towards you—then summons up all your strength and punch him in the snout and he will turn and swim away.

There are a lot of sharks in the world. If you hope to complete the swim you will have to deal with them.

So, If you want to change the world, don't back down from the sharks.

As Navy SEALs one of our jobs is to conduct underwater attacks against enemy shipping. We practiced this technique extensively during basic training.

The ship attack mission is where a pair of SEAL divers is dropped off outside an enemy harbor and then swims well over two miles—underwater—using nothing but a depth gauge and a compass to get to their target.

During the entire swim, even well below the surface there is some light that comes through. It is comforting to know that there is open water above you.

But as you approach the ship, which is tied to a pier, the light begins to fade. The steel structure of the ship blocks the moonlight—it blocks the surrounding street lamps—it blocks all ambient light.

To be successful in your mission, you have to swim under the ship and find the keel—the centerline and the deepest part of the ship.

This is your objective. But the keel is also the darkest part of the ship—where you cannot see your hand in front of your face, where the noise from the ship's machinery is deafening and where it is easy to get disoriented and fail.

Every SEAL knows that under the keel, at the darkest moment of the mission—is the time when you must be calm, composed—when all your tactical skills, your physical power and all your inner strength must be brought to bear.

If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moment.

The ninth week of training is referred to as "Hell Week." It is six days of no sleep, constant physical and mental harassment and—one special day at the Mud Flats—the Mud Flats are area between San Diego and Tijuana where the water runs off and creates the Tijuana slue's—a swampy patch of terrain where the mud will engulf you.

It is on Wednesday of Hell Week that you paddle down to the mud flats and spend the next 15 hours trying to survive the freezing cold mud, the howling wind and the incessant pressure to quit from the instructors.

As the sun began to set that Wednesday evening, my training class, having committed some "egregious infraction of the rules" was ordered into the mud.

The mud consumed each man till there was nothing visible but our heads. The instructors told us we could leave the mud if only five men would quit—just five men and we could get out of the oppressive cold.

Looking around the mud flat it was apparent that some students were about to give up. It was still over eight hours till the sun came up—eight more hours of bone chilling cold.

The chattering teeth and shivering moans of the trainees were so loud it was hard to hear anything and then, one voice began to echo through the night—one voice raised in song.

The song was terribly out of tune, but sung with great enthusiasm.

One voice became two and two became three and before long everyone in the class was singing.

We knew that if one man could rise above the misery then others could as well.

The instructors threatened us with more time in the mud if we kept up the singing—but the singing persisted.

And somehow—the mud seemed a little warmer, the wind a little tamer and the dawn not so far away.

If I have learned anything in my time traveling the world, it is the power of hope. The power of one person—Washington, Lincoln, King, Mandela and even a young girl from Pakistan—Malala—one person can change the world by giving people hope.

So, if you want to change the world, start singing when you're up to your neck in mud.

Finally, in SEAL training there is a bell. A brass bell that hangs in the center of the compound for all the students to see.

All you have to do to quit—is ring the bell. Ring the bell and you no longer have to wake up at 5 o'clock. Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the freezing cold swims.

Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the runs, the obstacle course, the PT—and you no longer have to endure the hardships of training.

Just ring the bell.

If you want to change the world don't ever, ever ring the bell.

To the graduating class of 2014, you are moments away from graduating. Moments away from beginning your journey through life. Moments away starting to change the world—for the better.

It will not be easy.

But, YOU are the class of 2014—the class that can affect the lives of 800 million people in the next century.

Start each day with a task completed.

Find someone to help you through life.

Respect everyone.

Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often, but if take you take some risks, step up when the times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden and never, ever give up—if you do these things, then next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today and—what started here will indeed have changed the world—for the better.

Thank you very much. Hook 'em horns.

SEE ALSO: Indiana University Student Gave An Amazing Speech To 17,000 People About His Stutter

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Greek property prices continued to fall in the first quarter, even though the economic recession eased, as squeezed household incomes, record-high unemployment and tax increases still took a toll, data showed on Tuesday. Property accounts for a large chun... ...


Greek Cyber Crimes Unit stops suicide by tracing Facebook message

The Cyber Crimes Unit of the Greek Police revealed on Tuesday it provided information that helped avert a possible suicide. Officers said that they traced the whereabouts of a Facebook user in Greece after the person posted on the social networking site t... ...


The top 10 goddesses in art

Here are the most divine, potent and powerful women ever immortalised, from Klimt's Athena and Van Dyck's Fortune to the big-breasted mysteries of the Ice AgeThe top 10 monsters in artThe top 10 unforgettable faces in artThe top 10 sexiest artworks

The ancient Greek goddess of wisdom glares powerfully out of Klimt's visionary fin de siecle masterpiece that mingles ancient mythology and modern psychology. In Klimt's Vienna, artists, writers and not least the doctor of dreams Sigmund Freud were fascinated by the power of the unconscious and the magnetism of sexuality. Athena here is not so much a divinity of reason as a primitive archetype of female authority and strength.

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Greece: privatisation fund offers assurances on beach leases

(ANSAmed) - ATHENS, MAY 20 - The Greek state privatization fund is taking a step back from the planned privatisation of some of the country's most pristine and prized beaches after a strong local protests and a nationwide uproar, as daily Eleftherotypia ...


FBI’s George Venizelos Speaks to BC Hellenic Alumni Network in New York

NEW YORK – The Boston College Hellenic Alumni Network, in cooperation with the school’s Law Enforcement Alumni Network hosted a reception featuring George Venizelos, the FBI’s  Assistant Director in Charge – New York Field Office, last week at the Trattoria Il Mulino restaurant in Manhattan. Drake Behrakis, who is an alumni and trustee of Boston […]

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Panos Koutras's 'Xenia' gets critics' attention at Cannes

Panos Koutras, the earliest representative of Greece's new generation of convention-smashing socially-minded directors, earned critical acclaim at Cannes after his fourth feature, "Xenia," was screened in the Un Certain Regard section of the prestigious i... ...


IndySportsDay: Pacers' 'Greek god' David West too much for LeBron

IndySportsDay: Pacers' 'Greek god' David West too much for LeBronIndianapolis Star (blog)The Heat ask enough of LeBron all over the court, all over the game, to not tack on the added responsible of defending a Greek god. Said LeBron after Monday's practice: "I'm a perimeter guy," he said. "I could do a lot of things, but I've made my money ...and more »


Road to Brasil: Greece

After the success obtained in Portugal 10 years ago exact, now the Greek national team in the Portuguese colony tries a new success, exploiting the strange alchemy that has with the Earth The journey to Brazil 2014, continues in European soil and does ...


Panathinaikos-Olympiakos Hoop Finals

For the ninth consecutive year, Panathinaikos and Olympiakos will face each other in the Greek basketball league final tourney after blowing away semi-final contenders.

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Professor Leonidas Arniotis: an Impresario of the Greek Diaspora

The history of Greek promoters and entertainers who traveled the globe from the 1870s well into 1900s has yet to be even surveyed ,let alone studied. We must quickly make the distinction between promoters and performers who appeared exclusively before Greek audiences and those who engaged any and all who sought public entertainment. Obviously, an […]

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Turkish-Cypriot TV Channel Offers Greek Language Courses

Greek ReporterTurkish-Cypriot TV Channel Offers Greek Language CoursesGreek ReporterThis is the first Turkish attempt of learning the Greek language through a television program and is expected to improve the Turkish- Cypriot relationship. The program will also be supported and promoted by several non-governmental organizations ...


Bomb scare in Greek Cyprus ahead of visit by US's Biden

A bomb alert prompted an evacuation at Larnaca airport but was found to be a false alarm as Vice President Biden is set to be highest-ranking US statesman to visit in half a century. A Greek Cyprus airport was evacuated on Tuesday after a bomb alert ahead ...


Greece needs heroic performances in Brazil

You don't have to be a die-hard football fan to that a watertight defence has been the secret behind Greece's rise to prominence in recent years. However, with the 2014 World Cup around the corner, Fernando Santos is yet to complete the puzzle of his back ...


Europe's far-right softens image for elections

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — There were no intimidating guards at the door, or angry chants of "Blood, Honor, Golden Dawn," as there have been in the past.


Ten Reasons to Buy a Vacation Home in Greece

Greek ReporterTen Reasons to Buy a Vacation Home in GreeceGreek ReporterGreek-Islands-Kefalonia As more and more foreigners are targeting the Greek real estate market for the purpose of investing and securing their own place in Greece, international real estate agency Algean Property covers the top ten reasons why ...


Samaras, Tsipras Ready Elections Stand

Battle lines are being drawn for the May 25 second round of Greek local elections, and for the European Parliament, mostly pitting New Democracy vs. SYRIZA.

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Patriarch Visits Dachau WWII Camp

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has become the second church leader to visit a Nazi concentration camp, stopping on May 19 to look at Dachau, where 32,000 people were murdered.

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Greek Shipowners Fight Crew Tax

Greek shipowners, who pay virtually no taxes, now say they will fight government plans to tax foreign seamen working on Greek-flagged ships.

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Greek Re-entry (or Grentry) Not The Game Changer Many Think It Is

The pace of the fall in Greek bond yields has been little short of astonishing, and Nixon is surely right, market participants now believe that the country isn’t about to collapse into chaos (although we’ll have to wait and see just how far this belief ...


Europe heads to the polls

by  Andy Carling

There are two figures to look out for; turnout and the results.

The European elections coincide with some local and regional elections, which may help increase turnout. In 2009, the turnout of 43% (which includes several states with compulsory voting) was considered to be dangerously low.

It is being predicted that turnout this time may fall to around 38%, a figure that cause deep concern if not outright despair. 44% or above would be met with jubilation.

The first indication of the numbers of voters will be around 9pm CET on 22 May, when figures for the Netherlands should be released. The European Parliament will release turnout figures at 9pm on 25 May.

The election results are expected to be announced from 10pm CET on 25 May. However by 8pm there should be the start of exit polls, including Germany, France and Greece. There will be an estimate of the composition of the new parliament released 10pm.


22 May - European Parliament (EP) election begins with the UK and Netherlands voting first. There are some local council elections in UK

23 May – EP election continues with Ireland and Czech Republic voting

24 May – EP Czechs end voting. Latvia, Malta , Slovakia and French Overseas Territories vote

25 May – EP Most countries vote today. Belgium also voting in regional and local elections

Ukraine, Columbia and Lithuania hold Presidential elections

27 May – European Council meets to discuss the Commission presidency and other positions. Afterwards the political groups of the European Parliament meet.

2 June – Political groups meet again, new MEPs arrive in Brussels

26 – 27 June Member states nominate candidates for Commission president

August – Member states nominate Commissioners

September – European Parliament hold hearings with nominated Commissioners

October – European Parliament vote on approving Commissioners

November – If approved, new commission takes office. Member states nominate European Council President and new High Representative for External Action Service.

December – New Council president and High Representative take office


Bloomberg: Agriculture Could Dig Greece Get Out of Recession

 Bloomberg mentioned Tuesday in an article that the agricultural sector in Greece could help the country out of recession, while referring to several successful Greek agriculture exporters. “Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is calling on manufacturers of traditional foods and beverages, from fish-roe producers to honey makers, to play a bigger role in transforming the country into an export economy,” the Bloomberg article notes, while underlining the recent fall of 0.2 percent in Greek export numbers and the call by the Greek PM, who underlined the ability of thousands of small and medium-sized businesses to expand on a global scale. Bloomberg mentions that Greek exports of agricultural products including food, beverages and vegetable oils rose 3.5 percent in 2013, and account for around 17 percent of the total value of Greek exports, although the country’s economy has been shrinking during the past four years The article also features several Greek food producers, who started businesses by either only focusing on foreign markets or by using exports to compensate for the losses incurred in the domestic market. One of the companies is Papadimitriou CC SA, which is exporting balsamic vinegar and mustard. “All our products are developed with a primary focus on our foreign markets’ needs,” CEO Christos Papadimitriou told Bloomberg. At the same time, founder of Carpo Hellas, Kostas Kontopoulos, managed within a crisis-struck Greece to step forward and sell luxury foods, including dried fruit and nuts, sourced from independent suppliers. His products sell in Milan, London, Paris and the East. Thessaloniki-based company Ergon has also achieved something similar, Bloomberg reports. In 2013, the company opened a combined grocery and restaurant store in London, and is planning its expansion to Brussels, focusing on products with protected designation of origin or geographical indication, including honey, fish and olives from independent producers.


Showdown Sunday: Samaras, Tsipras Set Elections Battle Plans

Battle lines are being drawn for the Sunday, May 25 second round of Greek local elections, and for the European Parliament, which will mostly pit Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ New Democracy Conservatives against the major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA). After mixed results in the first round on May 18, with SYRIZA doing well in Athens and the populus Attica region, and New Democracy faring better in smaller cities and towns around the country, candidates who didn’t get a majority will square off for municipal offices, while votes will also choose Greece’s representatives in Brussels. With a lot at stake – including whether SYRIZA can win big enough to undermine the coalition government of New Democracy and its partner, the fast-fading PASOK Socialists – strategies are being set and some unlikely alliances being made – the New Democracy Mayor of Piraeus is asking for Leftist votes after finishing second in the first round and complaining of death threats. New Democracy is backing incumbent Athens Mayor George Kaminis – an Independent who is being supported by PASOK, the Democratic Left (DIMAR), the ecologists and leftist forces who are the ideological enemies of the Conservatives. New Democracy is trying to prevent SYRIZA’s young candidate, Gavriil Sakellaridis, who finished second, from beating Kaminis, with politics again creating odd bed fellows. Samaras’ hand-picked New Democracy candidate, Aris Spiliotopoulos, finished third, just ahead of the neo-Nazi candidate Ilias Kasidiaris. Spiliotopoulos was undercut when another New Democracy lawmaker and the previous mayor of Athens, Nikitas Kaklamanis, angry he wasn’t the party’s pick, ran anyway, siphoning off critical votes and splitting the party. New Democracy is also backing incumbent Attica Governor Yiannis Sgouros, a Socialist, against SYRIZA’s Rena Dourou, after the Conservatives were knocked out of that battle too and threw their weight behind their coalition partner’s candidate. But even that plan was said to have run into trouble with reported bickering between the Conservatives and the incumbents they are backing. New Democracy, trailing in the European Parliament ballot which SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said would be a referendum on the crushing austerity measures the government has imposed on orders of international lenders, is also believed to be banking on the help of the center-left against SYRIZA candidates in key regions such as the Peloponnese and the Ionian islands. PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos has even backed New Democracy candidates, praising the Conservatives skupport for Kaminis and Sgouros, which he said was a reaction to “the political offensive of Tsipras and SYRIZA.” PASOK has tied itself to the center-left political alliance Elia (Olive Tree) in a desperate bid to keep from disappearing. Samaras has also reportedly pleaded with former Premier and previous Conservative leader Costas Karamanlis, who has been almost invisible since being defeated by PASOK in 2009, to come out and show support for the party, although it was unclear whether he would. Samaras is also reportedly leaning toward asking one of his lawmaker, former Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyiannis – who he defeated for the party leadership in a bitter battle, leading her to leave only to return – to take a role in the campaign. She has largely been ignored since coming back to the party although her family is one of the country’s political dynasties. ND and PASOK officials were also said to be discussing possible cross-party alliances on a local level to boost candidates supported by both ND and the PASOK-backed Olive Tree alliance. SYRIZA, looking for a knock-out blow in the European elections, is also looking for alliances and reaching out to other groups opposed to the big pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and worker firings Samaras and PASOK put on Greeks to to get two bailouts of 240 billion euros ($330.7 billion) from the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB). SYRIZA’s overture, the newspaper Kathimerini said, even includes reaching out to voters for the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party which it is ideological enemy and political rival. The extremists’ leaders and 18 lawmakers have been arrested or jailed on charges of running a criminal gang but remain a political force in the country. New Democracy, which gets taxpayer monies to campaign, poured it into TV ads praising itself for what the party said was a looming recovery from an economic crisis the Conservatives and Socialists created with decades of wild overspending and rampant patronage. The uplifting ads, with burnished sunlight replacing gloomy clouds, also include those focusingt on promising sectors such as tourism and agriculture as well as potential investments, and saying it is the party of stability, despite ongoing record joblessness and poverty. SYRIZA wants voters to repudiate the government and austerity with the slogan: “On the 25th we vote, on the 26th they go.”


BoG Governor Talks About Success of Greek Reforms

Governor of the Bank of Greece Giorgos Provopoulos argued in a Wall Street Journal article Monday that the implemented reforms in Greece have produced results, while underlining that the biggest challenges for the country are complacency and reform fatigue. In the article, the BoG governor suggests recent success stories coming out of Greece shouldn’t distract from the effort that is still ahead for the country, while arguing that further structural changes and reforms, as well as rearrangements in the business sector, are in order. The changes, however, will be easier to implement in an economy that is recovering, Provopoulos added. Provopoulos further mentioned that the turmoil hitting the Greek economy helped the Greek people realize that the future of the country is associated with staying in the eurozone and not by returning to the drachma, as expected by many. “According to the doomsayers, attempts to bring down the budget deficit and restore competitiveness would lead to painful and politically unacceptable consequences, while a collapse of the banking system was inevitable. Recently, however, the sirens of doom have been silenced,” Provopoulos wrote. Referring to the developments in Greece’s banking system, the governor of the country’s central bank underlined that the adjustments undertaken there are unique on a global level. “Non-viable banks that were unable to raise sufficient private capital were wound down. Throughout the Greek crisis, and, subsequently, the Cypriot crisis, all deposits in Greece were fully protected. Today, the banking sector comprises four well-capitalized, viable pillar banks and a few smaller ones,” Provopoulos wrote.


Startup Pirates to Gather in Athens, June 21-28

Startup Pirates, the week-long program that enables aspiring entrepreneurs to get inside the startup world and learn how to develop a business idea comes for the first time in Greece at The Cube Athens, June 21-28. Spreading the culture of entrepreneurship the event gathers experienced mentors and talented entrepreneurs to work together in new business ideas. The organizers promise that “you’ll receive the right tools and frameworks, food and drink, an amazing goody bag full of useful startup tools and… together with our amazing mentors, we’ll guide you in the first steps of the process of creating a startup and get you well on you way to success!” The list of entrepreneurs and mentors includes some of the best Greek business minds, check out the list here. Student’s ticket is 50 € otherwise 100 € for a whole week. The event is limited to 30 participants who will be selected from all the applications. To ensure you’re one of the lucky 30 you must prove yourself a true Pirate! The event’s main activities include: Workshops You will attend workshops about the “Survival Toolbox for Entrepreneurs”. There are certain subjects the organizers consider critical, so with the help of successful and experienced entrepreneurs, you will have access to high quality sessions that will enrich your business ideas. Ask the mentors Talented and experienced mentors will guide you on the difficult path to achieve a sustainable business idea and a successful business model. Entrepreneur Talk We all like to learn from other people’s experiences. Entrepreneurs with different backgrounds, different stories and different mindsets will show participants how difficult and exciting the life of an entrepreneur can be. Other Activities It’s important to have relaxing and focus stimulation moments after hours and hours working on an idea. So, get ready for Yoga and other similar activities. As a Pirate you are expected to pitch your ideas, work in a team, explore creativity, participate in hands-on workshops and so much more. Watch the video below and visit to learn more and apply!


Greek Election Abstentions 38.4%

Apparently turned off by politics, bickering, and crushing austerity measures, four-in-10 Greek voters stayed away from the first round of local elections.

The post Greek Election Abstentions 38.4% appeared first on The National Herald.


Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios visits Dachau on last day of Germany visit

Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios, the spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox Church, on Monday became the second church leader to visit a Nazi concentration camp and hold a prayer for the millions of people who perished in World War II after Pope Benedi... ...


Voter abstention in first round reaches 38.4 pct nationwide; 50 pct in Athens

Voter abstention in the first round of elections for Greek local authorities on Sunday reached 38.4 percent of the electoral body, figures published on Monday have shown. The highest percentage of voters who decided not to turn out for the vote was on the... ...


Greek Elections Turnoff: Voters Stay Home

Suppose they gave an election and nobody came? That’s almost what it was like in the first round of Greek municipal elections on May 18 when voters, apparently turned off by politics, bickering, blame games, finger pointing and crushing austerity ...


Dour Greece used to playing the underdog

gulfnews.comDour Greece used to playing the underdoggulfnews.comDubai: Euro 2004 champions Greece have successfully carved out a niche for themselves at major tournaments in recent years, playing the role of stubborn yet respected opponents. The southern Europeans had only ever qualified for one World Cup (1994) ...