NEW YORK - The contenders for New York City Mayor can be a predictable, cautious lot, sticking to familiar scripts at candidate forums that take place night after night. Then there is billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis, a Republican who has developed a habit of suggesting new, often off-beat policy proposals in response to questions. Some are made up on the spot. Sometimes they leave the audience puzzled, booing or laughing. Others get a better reception. Mr. Catsimatidis has suggested that police ride tricycles to improve their mobility (his campaign later clarified to say he meant three-wheeled vehicles). He wants the city to consider allowing casinos in hotels and would like to launch a program to give free pet food to people who adopt homeless animals. He would like a police officer in each of the city's public housing projects.
ATHENS - Greece Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said the sale of gambling monopoly OPAP shows that Greece is serious about making reforms as a condition of rescue aid. The deal, which will give Czech-Greek consortium Emma Delta a 33 percent stake in the gambling monopoly, will bring in 712 million euros, about $915.48 million. "It is important as a signal to the international community and markets that the privatization program is moving (forward,)" Aggelos Tsakanikas, Research Director for the Athens-based Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE,) told Southeast European Times. He noted, however, that, "It is also a privatization that did not have a political cost, as it involves lotteries and betting industry … there was no huge foreign interest in this."
The election last year of 18 members of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party to the Greek Parliament has caused an increase in anti-Semitism in the country, the U.S. State Department said in a report on international religious freedom. The party's popularity is continuing the soar the more it is criticized for its stance, which is also anti-immigrant, anti-Gay, nationalist and ultra-religious, although it had pagan leanings. It has risen as high as 13-14 percent in some recent polls and now is the third biggest party in the country, surpassing the once dominant PASOK Socialists who have fallen to as low as 5 percent for supporting austerity measures that Golden Dawn opposes. The report identifies Golden Dawn as “a political party openly espousing anti-Semitism and racism and linked to violent attacks against individuals perceived to be immigrants, were elected to Parliament.”
MOORE, Okla. (AP) — Spotlights bore down on massive piles of shredded cinder block, insulation and metal as crews worked through the night lifting bricks and parts of collapsed walls where a monstrous tornado barreled through the Oklahoma City suburbs, demolishing an elementary school and reducing homes to piles of splintered wood. At least 51 people were killed, including at least 20 children, and those numbers were expected to climb, officials said. The storm stripped leaves off trees and left scores of blocks in Moore barren and dark. Rescuers walked through neighborhoods where the powerful twister flattened home after home, to listen for any voices calling out from the rubble. A helicopter buzzed above, shining lights on crews below.As Monday turned into Tuesday, the town of Moore, a community of 41,000 people 10 miles south of the city, braced for another long, harrowing day. "As long as we are here ... we are going to hold out hope that we will find survivors," said Trooper Betsy Randolph, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
High up in the Peloponnese, above the town of Kalavryta, Giorgos Dimopoulos reads through the names chiselled into a stone monument. At one, he stops. “Dimitrios Dimopoulos. My father.” He pauses to catch his breath before continuing through the list of 498 men. At this spot on 13 December 1943, one of the worst crimes of World War II took place: the massacre of the town’s entire male population over the age of 12. The atrocity was a reprisal for the killing of German soldiers. Almost everything in Kalavryta was burnt down, except for the school, where the women and children were held. Seventy years on, it is one of the many war crimes for which Greece is seeking compensation from Germany.is seeking compensation from Germany. Giorgos Dimopoulos as a child with his father Dimitrios who was a victim of the Kalavryta massacre. Today, the school building has become a museum, exhibits of pocket watches and identity cards found on the victims stand in glass cases.
ATHENS – Outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Greece Daniel Bennett Smith and philanthropist Isabella Arvaniti, who has built shelters for needy children and is known for her charitable works, received this year’s Hellenic Heritage Achievement awards from the American Hellenic Institute before a packed audience in the capital city. This year’s event was characterized by optimism for Greece in contrast to the last two years as the country continues to undergo a crushing economic crisis and would stay in the Eurozone. Smith is set to be transferred after spending three years in Greece as the country was suffering a crushing economic crisis and oversaw assistance for Greeks as well. Arvaniti arranged for the renovation of a building complex and fully equipped it to offer hospital to 50 children for the Smile of the Child agency which works to help abused children and combat exploitation and work in the campaign to find children who go missing.
NEW YORK – The Pontian Genocide is one of the most painful moments in Hellenic history, yet for most of the past 100 years knowledge of the catastrophe has been locked up in the hearts of its victims and in dark archives, sealed away both by governments motivated by expediency and parents wishing to spare their children. Events such as the commemoration held under the auspices of the Consulate General of Greece and organized by numerous Pontian organizations in Manhattan on May 17 have a dual purpose: to draw away the veil of ignorance and to honor the memory of its victims.
In early morning, when disheveled revelers stumble home after another all-night bacchanal, the Archeological Museum of Thessaloniki is open. It opens at 8 a.m., as it does every day between April and October (except Mondays, when it opens at 1: 30 p.m.) Astonishingly, it remains open each day until 8 p.m. That means operating the museum 12 hours a day for six days a week, as well as for six and a half hours on the seventh. That's a lot of time for an institution to serve the public, particularly in a country that is broke. On a recent Sunday morning, there were more curators than visitors. But the collection, which is overseen by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, is staggering. From prehistoric Macedonia to Alexander the Great and beyond, it groans with antiquities. The Greeks take pride in their past and present it here, in the country's second-largest city, with style and care. Given the financial crisis, you would have expected them to close this museum, or cut its hours.
GLEN COVE, N.Y. - The photographs of proud Greek Jewish families in the early 1900’s and the richly decorated artifacts from centuries past on display at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County reflect a vibrant community. But images from the 1940’s, of sobbing people on their way to Nazi death camps and of postwar commemorations of the murdered, document a darker era. Portraits of Our Past: The Sephardic Communities of Greece and the Holocaust, on view through Aug. 15, is an exhibition about a little-known sector of the Holocaust that Beth Lilach, Senior Director of Education and Community Affairs, said she had long wanted to bring to the center. “When most people think of the Holocaust, they think about Germany, Poland, Auschwitz, the camps,” she said. In Greece, however, 87 percent of the Jewish population perished, she said. That represented about 67,000 people, a relatively small share of the six million Jews killed throughout Europe during the Holocaust.
ATHENS, May 21 (Reuters) - Gazprom is squeezing Athens for better terms to buy DEPA, Greece’s sole retail gas distributor, a Greek official said, as the Russian gas export monopoly leverages its strength position as the only major player in the running. Binding bids are due to be submitted on May 29 for DEPA, which posted a net profit of 106 million euros ($136.33 million) last year. Gazprom last year made a non-binding bid of 900 million euros ($1.2 billion). Gazprom is already DEPA’s main supplier, providing about 60 percent of its gas last year. It cut its supply prices by about 7 percent in 2011, but Greek energy players say prices are high compared with what Gazprom charges in other parts of Europe with more competition.
As anyone who’s been in Greece just a little while knows – and anywhere enough Greeks live for them to open a restaurant – there’s nothing like what Americans call a “gyro,” that delicious meal-in-a-hand, pita bread stuffed with lamb or pork or chicken and onions, tomatoes, spices, and tzatziki, the yogurt-cucumbers-garlic spread. They can be had for anywhere from $1-$2.50 and are a favorite of Greeks and tourists alike. One is usually plenty for anybody and two is enough to make you lose your appetite until the next day because you’re so stuffed. So how did Joey Chestnut (C) wolf down 22 ½ of the ½-lb. gyros in one sitting? Make that standing. The world’s number one ranked competitive eater and winner of the Coney Island hot dog eating championship (a world record 68) took his voracious appetite to Houston’s Greekfest and the Sixth Annual Niko Niko World Eating Championship on May 19. The event was held at St. Basil’s The Great Greek Orthodox Church where Chestnut, 29, a 6-foot, 218-lb. resident of San Jose, Calif., wowed the crowd with his prodigious skill.
John Catsimatidis (L) accepts the Liberal Party endorsement for New York City Mayor on May 7, 2013. He’s running as a Republican but has ties to the Democrats too, contributing to both parties and winning many friends in the establishment.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, (L) shows the way to Greece’s Prime Minister Antonis Samaras after receiving the guard of honor at a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, May 16, 2013. China is eyeing more Greek investments.
Sunny days aren't here again yet in Greece as even more international aid pouring in and hopes for signs of recovery on the horizon haven't lifted widespread gloom.
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, head of the largest bank in the United States, testifies on June 13, 2012, before the Senate Banking Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. Dimon, chairman and CEO of the biggest U.S. bank, faces a key test this week: His shareholders are voting on whether to let him keep both jobs.
There was a dispute about who wanted how many security agents at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya that came under a ferocious militia attack on Sept. 11, 2012 that killed four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
Archbishop Ieronymos of Greece (L) was welcomed by Archbishop Demetrios upon arrival in Boston, during his visit, the first in 50 years of a head prelate of the Church of Greece, and as Greece is undergoing a crushing economic crisis.
“I am stubborn. I am still afraid of entropy. An organization that does not evolve is condemned to die.” - Angelos Delivorrias, director of Athens' Benaki Museum.
Greeks protest in the street during one of 20 general strikes against austerity measures imposed by the government on the orders of international lenders. The demonstrations have failed to do anything to stave off more reforms that have worsened a deep recession and created a record 27 percent unemployment.
Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey
Panagiotis Iliopoulos, an MP for the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, gestures as he shouts insults at other lawmakers as he party colleagues surround him in support after he was ejected from the Greek Parliament on May 17 for verbal assaults.
Smoking in No Smoking areas is prevalent in Greece, as five smoking bans in 10 years have been ignored a sign some believe of the disregard for law that has helped create the country's economic crisis. Greeks routinely violate laws they don't like, park on sidewalks, run red lights, and often don't wear motorcycle helmets.
Demetre Daskalakis, a doctor and gay activist, at Paddles in Chelsea, preparing equipment to vaccinate gay men against a deadly new strain of bacterial meningitis.
Now that New York’s Liberal Party has endorsed John Catsimatidis for mayor, do you think he has a realistic chance of winning?View poll results
Ted Spyropoulos, Chairman of the SAE committee that lobbied to make it easier for young Greeks to come to the U.S. and work, with jobs drying up in Greece.
PORTLAND, Maine – Sen. Olympia Snowe describes a scene out of a Rockwell painting: with Washington crippled by a blizzard, President Barack Obama worked the week before Christmas with a fire roaring in the fireplace in the Oval Office. Outside the window, his daughters played in the snow with their dog. Inside, Snowe writes in a new book, she delivered sad news to the president, whom she described as gracious. The Maine Republican couldn't support Obama's health care overhaul because her ideas, solicited in more than a dozen calls and eight face-to-face meetings, were left out of the final bill. Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid wouldn't allow amendments. The bill passed on a straight party-line vote. In her book, the now-retired Snowe writes about her 34 years on Capitol Hill that she says went from a place where parties worked to forge compromise to today's obstructionist politics and partisanship.
St. Nicholas Church was overshadowed by the World Trade Center and destroyed along with it on Sept. 11, 2001, but now is going to finally be replaced with another.
Proponents of cremation in Greece have found that the Greek Orthodox Church is a formidable opponent and has blocked the practice for religious reasons.
Greek publisher Antonis Delatolas specialized in making fun of wrongdoing but has escaped prosecution on charges of doing the same and been let go scot-free.
The career of John A. Catsimatidis, the billionaire Republican, was catapulted by Gristedes, which he now calls a headache, but says he's still sticking by it.
Immigrant victims of the strawberry fields shooting in Manolada in western Greece at the hospital as police arrested three supervisors and the farm's owner.
Life is still hard in Greece for many who have had to resort to begging in the streets even though EU officials said they believe an economic recovery is within sight. Unless you have no money, no job, no prospects and no hope for the future.
Plato had many arguments against the dangers of unprotected democracy but it's still, as Churchill put it, "The worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried." And in Greece today, it needs nurturing as much as ever.
A better at one of the many OPAP store locations in Greece, which runs the gambling monopoly that brings in a lot of money for the cash-starved country.
Doting Greek mothers are legendary. They love to keep their children, especially the boys, at home as long as they can, even as the offspring grow into adults. During the country's crushing economic crisis, this one followed her protesting son outside the Parliament to make sure he wouldn't catch cold, and now more adult children are returning home to the nest for free rent, home cooking and lots of mom's TLC.
NEW YORK – The 22nd Annual Hellenic Times Scholarship Gala packed the ballroom of Manhattan’s Marriot Marquis hotel, pumped everyone with ‘kefi’ and filled the guests with pride in the achievements and bright prospects of the record 36 scholarship recipients. The “party of the year” for the community in the New York Metropolitan area is the brainchild of John and Margo Catsimatidis and Nick Katsoris, and it has made possible the distribution of more than $2 million to more than 850 scholarship recipients through the years. HTSF continues its recent tradition of also providing scholarships to students at the community’s day schools, which were presented via video by actress Nia Vardalos.
Leaders of the Holy Mountain on Mt. Athos said they will bar politicians from attending functions of the site for the 100th anniversary of its incorporation into a state entity in October unless the government grants a tax exemption in perpetuity. They met recently in Athens with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras where they reportedly asked him to grant the site, one of the most famous in the country, a permanent tax-free status that even a future government couldn’t change. In an attempt to reduce tension, Samaras sent a government tax official, Takis Baltakos, was sent to meet the Mt. Athos officials while attending functions for the fare of St. George at the Xenophon Monastery.
Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki (L) sits down for an interview with The National Herald's Constantine Sirigos Eleni Kalogeras. They spoke of Greece and her life.
The signs of spring are abundant in Greece, even in austerity-weary Athens where the smells of flowers bring a little hope to people buried under austerity measures.
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