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 - John Catsimatidis is affable, proudly unpolished, and really rich. Forbes lists his net worth at around $3 billion dollars. His self-financed campaign has all the trappings of a quixotic, longshot bid for mayor - except he's got many friends in the political establishment. At forum after forum, John Catsimatidis points to his own immigrant success story and appeals to patriotism, even to questions about things like congestion pricing. “God bless them if they want to drive. That’s what America is all about!” he declared at a Park Slope forum this month.In interviews, Catsimatidis’ down-to-earth style can sound more stream of consciousness than the rehearsed talking points of a candidate for office. Like when he suggested to Brian Lehrer that, “There’s global warming all over the solar system, among the other planets too.” Lehrer followed up, to ask if that was relevant, and Catsimatidis held his ground. “You asked me for the scientific answer, I gave you the scientific answer.”
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.
With oddsmakers predicting the runaway winner of the 2013 Eurovision contest long before it finished at this year’s event in Malmo, Sweden – with Denmark’s Emmelie de Forest winning for a pop ballad called Only Teardrops –the fusion of rebetiko with electronic ska got Greece a strong sixth place among the 26 performers. The catchy Alcohol Is Free, a kind of ode to ouzo and forgetting one’s troubles during a crushing economic crisis, got strong critical praise, but may have been too unique for a contest which goes heavily for pop schmaltz. One of Greece’s best-known electronic groups, Koza Mostra from Thessaloniki, teamed with legendary rebetika singer and performer Agathon Iakovidis, had the crowd jumping along with the kilt-clad musicians who hopped around with guitars and horns while Agathon stood stock still and played the baglamas, a smaller version of a bouzouki, beaming through his trademark mustache.
ATHENS—In a society where family ties traditionally play a prominent role, Greece’s deep economic crisis apparently offers a few Greek mothers a reason to be happy. While financial hardship may have forced many to seek their fortune abroad, it has also obliged an increasing number of young people to return to the family nest, where they are fed and provided for by parents often more than happy to have their children back. The old jibes that used to taunt grown adults—and men in particular—who still relied on their mom’s cooking are starting to lose their edge, as it becomes more acceptable to return home. “I think most young people today don’t choose to live on their own… and it is very nice for us parents to have our children close by. Even if some of them move out, they return to the family for financial reasons,” Matoula Dovinou, a 38-year-old mother from Athens, told Agence-France-Presse (AFP).
ATHENS(AP) — Greece's deep, six-year recession is likely to end in 2014, but growth will be weak and unemployment will remain above 20 percent for another three years, the country's international debt inspectors said. The European Commission issued the gloomy predictions in a 237-page assessment of Greece's bailout agreement, as the country formally received its latest emergency loan payout, worth 4.2 billion euros ($5.4 billion). The report cited progress by Greece's year-old coalition government in reforming the economy and public finances, but warned against complacency. "The implementation of wide-ranging structural reforms remains the prerequisite for stabilizing the economy and laying the foundations for economic growth ... further efforts are needed."
TORONTO - On an early morning bike ride this week I saw a grumpy-looking older man walk out of his house, reach into his pocket, pull out an empty pack of cigarettes and toss it out onto the street. The extra endorphins that were flowing through my body at that moment helped quickly replace my initial anger with a whole bunch of reflection. That grumpy-looking man’s act felt so uncomfortably familiar. It reminded me of all the disillusionment I used to feel as a dreamy teenager growing up in a very selfish, immature, unbalanced and fundamentally undemocratic society. It reminded me of why I chose to leave Greece and move to Canada 30 years ago.
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.
NEW YORK - At around 4 on a Saturday morning, a time when most of the gay bars in New York have closed and locked their doors, a steady stream of young and middle-aged men, almost all shirtless and some stripped down to their boxer briefs, have found their way down a dark stairwell and into a maze of basement rooms, where the decor can best be described as fallout-shelter chic. They have come to Paddles, an after-hours sex club in Chelsea, not yet ready to end their evening. They prowl the long cinder-block hallway, exchanging knowing glances. A husky, bearded man in his 40s lounges on a corrugated black rubber bench, admiring a chorus line of smooth-chested 20-somethings, their flesh glowing under a pink neon sign and black lights. A man in a metal-studded black leather chest harness strides toward a back room, the hookup room, where a circle of men, skin glistening with sweat, hover around a swing, watching. Then, in walks a skinny man in a black baseball cap, with soulful eyes and a nose that juts forward like the prow of a ship. He stops at a folding table set up between two video screens showing continuous reels of gay pornography.
BEIJING - With his five-day trip paying immediate dividends in deals, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said China should use his country as an entryway to invest in Europe, pledging to give the “red carpet treatment” to foreign investors as Greece recovers from its economic crisis. Speaking in Beijing, Samaras said Greece is beginning to recover from a crushing economic crisis worsened by austerity measures imposed on the orders of international lenders but that incoming loans and reforms have stopped talking of the country being forced out of the Eurozone. He said Greece is “anchored to the Eurozone,” and believes in a “new era” of cooperation. Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Jiang Yaoping said China will expand investment in the port of Piraeus, where its company Cosco has a large presence and will invest in infrastructure in the European Union.
Alexandros Mallias is in a better position than almost anyone to understand the many tightropes that Greek diplomats have had to walk in dealing with tension and crises in foreign affairs, particularly in the Balkans, and he notes them in his book published by Infognomon, entitled The Other Crisis: An Ambassador’s Account Following a 35-year career with the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, during which he served his country with distinction and dedication, he was awarded the title Ambassador of Greece He gained an unprecedented experience on Balkan issues from his service in several posts in the Ministry as well as Greece’s diplomatic missions in several Balkan countries, FYROM, Albania, Croatia and Bulgaria and unique experience from his tenure in the US as the Greek Ambassador in Washington D.C. from 2005-2009.
HUNGER STRIKES OUT – In scenes reminiscent of WWII in Greece, when there was widespread starvation and deaths from hunger, occasional free food giveaways are leading to a rush for the goods, with people jostling each other to make sure they get theirs. Here, people reach out for fresh produce distributed by Greek street fruit and vegetable market vendors during a protest in Athens on May 15 as the union of the Greek farmers markets went on strike. Protesters set up stands and started distributing vegetables to a fast growing crowd. The market vendors are the latest professional group in Greece to protest a sweeping market liberalization drive demanded by rescue creditors, and timed their protest to draft legislation due to be voted in Parliament to implement the new guidelines. This protest, as have all others in Greece over the past three years against austerity measures being imposed by the government on the orders of international lenders, failed to move lawmakers who went ahead and implemented more hard reforms. Life is good inside the Parliament, where MP’s enjoy free food and liquor during some sessions, as they debate legislation that has left many hungry, none of them rich. Who remembers the song Hunger Strike? “I don't mind stealing bread from the mouths of decadence. But I can't feed on the powerless when my cup's already overfilled.”
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.
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.
Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey
“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.
Greece's wealthy are prospering during a crushing economic crisis as the government goes after workers, pensioners and the poor with pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions. While reforms have been made, the elite escape sacrifice.
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.
Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party Member of Parliament Panayiotis Iliopoulos screaming after being expelled for engaging in personal attacks on other MP's on May 17.
The Greek government is paying for four police guards and travel costs for former deputy prime minister Theodoros Pangalos, a PASOK Socialist, even though he is retired and no longer holds any position in the government or has any duties.
Once-popular Greek singer Tokis Voskopoulos isn't singing the blues though because the country's highest court earlier this year waived his $10,000 fine for not paying $7.07 million in taxes and suspended his jail sentence. He got off scot-free.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
The campaign of billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis to get the Republican nomination in the New York City Mayor's race got a big boost with the endorsement of the Liberal Party, which picked him over a number of other GOP hopefuls.
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.
The Tick Tock Diner in Clifton, N.J., is run by a large Greek family and the site of a bizarre murder-and-money plot like a Greek tragedy, law enforcement officials said.
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.
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.
Greek-Irish model Georgia Salpa strikes the kind of pose that her many fans like, and which has ranked her among the world's beauties, and a virtual reality TV star.
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.
As I Lay Dying’s Tim Lambesis, (Third from left) was arrested for allegedly hiring a hit man to kill his wife, surprising the many fans of the Christian Heavy Metal band.
A Greek cancer patient without health insurance or a job at a hospital where doctors offer care for those who can't pay and as the government insists on cash from patients without coverage. The numbers are growing under austerity.
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