Greek Police Clash with Migrants on Lesvos

Police on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos used tear gas to disperse a march by asylum seekers and migrants from the infamous Moria camp and stop them from reaching the capital of Mytilini on Monday.
Police clashed with some 1,000 protesters, who were trying to break through a cordon set up on the main road leading from Moria to Mytilini. Many protesters were marching along with their entire families.
Some of the protesters also set fires in an area close to the Public Power Corporation (PPC) power plant, while another group managed to reach the town and occupied the central road going to the harbor, setting up tents in front of Mytilini’s municipal theater.
The march, which started at around 10:30 AM on Monday, was organized to protest the appalling living conditions at the state-run camp, which is housing many times the population that it was built to accommodate.

The refugees and migrants are also angry at the slow pace of processing, which is keeping them trapped at the camp far beyond the time they had hoped to be housed there.

Posted by Στο Νησί on Monday, February 3, 2020

Later on Monday, Greece’s Immigration Minister Notis Mitarachi claimed that there is a possibility these demonstrations to have been provoked by others.
”The Greek authorities step protection measures and investigate possible incitement of such reactions,” Mitarachi said on Monday afternoon.
”Some may be upset, but let’s understand it: The policy has changed,” Mitarachi noted emphatically, referring to his government’s stance on the issue.
The minister also noted that ”Abusive behavior does not comply with the asylum procedure,” sending a message to those who violate public order.

Unique Greek Olive Oil News Site Ceases Operations


One of the very few English-language websites focused on Greek olive oil news has recently been forced to cease providing up-to-date information about new developments in Greece’s olive oil industry due to insufficient funding.

The website Greek Liquid Gold: Authentic Extra Virgin Olive Oil reached consumers in a number of countries, especially the USA.

”Approximately one hundred and fifty articles from the unofficially-nonprofit website had been republished in the past by news outlets in the USA, Australia, Canada, Greece, Spain, and other countries,” claims Lisa Radinovsky, the founder of the site.

The website had a broad audience for news and information about the high quality and health benefits of Greece’s extra virgin olive oil, along with stories, recipes, photos, and agrotourism and food tourism suggestions from the country.

North American Olive Oil Association executive director Joseph R. Profaci had stated in the past that “Greek Liquid Gold is one of my few go-to sources for accurate news and information about olive oil.”

Greece produces the third-largest quantity of olive oil in the entire world, with a larger percentage of extra virgin oil than anywhere else.

Work on this non-profit website, which did not itself sell olive oil, was funded mainly by Greek olive oil companies’ advertisements on the site, supplemented by contributions from a few import companies outside Greece.

”While the website’s work was appreciated, the great challenges and low-profit margin in the Greek olive oil business meant sponsors’ contributions tended to be limited,” Radinovsky said.

After a one-and-a-half month long effort to increase financial support returned insufficient funding, Radinovsky decided that this one-person project was unsustainable and she was unable to continue offering her extensive volunteer work for the industry.

”Fundraising efforts stole too much writing time, and a lack of funds for visits to olive oil producers and events in various parts of Greece limited the scope of coverage,” she claimed.

Radinovsky says that she deeply regrets that her years of work on behalf of the Greek olive oil industry have ended, especially since she believes that no one else is currently attempting to cover news from the entire Greek olive oil sector in English on a regular basis.

Greek Rebetiko Meets American Blues at New York University


A ground-breaking new course began on January 30 at New York University (NYU) exploring the historical origins of Greek Rebetiko and American Blues — and focusing on how the two musical genres intertwine in so many different ways.

The academic course, titled “Songs of the Underdog: American Blues Meets Greek Rebetiko,” is being offered for the spring 2020 semester under the auspices of the Consulate General of Greece in New York City.

Composer and performer Pericles Kanaris, who provides instruction for the course, says that one of the things that makes his class so interesting is the fact that none of his students are of Greek descent. “The students were from different nationalities and diverse backgrounds, which makes the course very exciting.”

Speaking to Greek Reporter, Kanaris tells us that “It is a great honor for Greece — for our culture, history and identity — that a university like NYU commissioned this course to teach students who have no idea of ​​what Rebetiko is.”

“These students will eventually gain a better insight into Greek history and culture, which can can only be good for the relations of our country with the rest of the world.”

New York University professor Pericles Kanaris

The Athens-born Kanaris earned a master’s degree in Mass Communication from Boston University and a B.A. in Media Studies from the University of Kent at Canterbury, England, where he wrote extensively on the potential of music as a medium of communication. He also studied music composition under scholarship at Berklee College of music, with a major on Film Scoring.

The composer explains that he created the course in such a way that it was not mandatory for anyone taking the class to know how to read music, saying “It is open to students from other disciplines. From art, to humanities and social sciences. And this is reflected in the composition of the class.”

“There are students studying music and many others who are studying literature, music business and psychoanalysis. This gives me great joy because it will help us all to have as wide an angle as we can to make the comparison between Rebetiko and Blues,” he adds.

The American Blues genre, created by African slaves and their descendants around the southern plantations of the United States, is compared and contrasted with Greek Rebetiko, born during the time when huge numbers of refugees settled in the harbor cities of Greece in the wake of the Asia Minor Catastrophe of 1922.

Despite their distinct differences in ethnic and musical origin, Rebetiko later became known to its fans worldwide as “The Greek Blues,” because both genres reflect the harsher realities of the underdogs who created them.

A comparative analysis of the two genres through the lens of multiple disciplines will reveal striking similarities and differences in the ways these songs were conceived and received, says Kanaris.

“This approach allows the subject to be studied from different perspectives. Students will be able to compare blues and rebetiko through history, social anthropology, sociology and philosophy. This I believe will help them to have a more comprehensive picture of this comparison,” he adds.

The initiative for the course belongs to Konstantinos Koutras, the Consul General of Greece in New York.

“He had the vision to create a platform that would bring together American and Greek culture. We agreed that one great way to do this is to illuminate the comparison of the two genres in the context of an academic course,” says Kanaris.

The professor then drafted a proposal which “was enthusiastically endorsed by Katherine Fleming, the provost of NYU, and a great philhellene,” according to Kanaris.

First day of class. New beginnings at New York University teaching “Songs of the Underdog”, a course on Greek Rebetiko…

Posted by Pericles Kanaris Music on Thursday, January 30, 2020

Greek music has been a great source of passion and inspiration since the beginning of Kanaris’ career. In October of 2014 he released his debut album “Aoratos,” seven original songs in which the verses of acclaimed Greek poet Manos Eleftheriou were set to music.

A distinguished list of prominent Greek vocalists including Vasilis Papakonstantinou, Kostas Makedonas, Rita Antonopoulou and Lamprini Karakosta.

The album, which premiered at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in New York, sold out the historic Pallas theater in Athens, garnering great reviews from the Greek and international press. The international version of the New York Times called Kanaris’ album “a Greek Identity with Global Sounds.”

For the composer, leading an academic course at such a prestigious institution as New York University is an honor, but at the same time a new challenge.

“I feel great responsibility on my shoulders because I understand that I will not only teach, but I will also learn. I think it’s important to have a sense of humility to carry out my teaching duties at such a high level that would honor the course and NYU.”

EU to Force Apple to Adopt a Universal Phone Charger

EU lawmakers last week overwhelmingly called for rules to establish a common charger for all mobile devices, effectively forcing Apple to ditch its Lightning cable.

In a resolution Thursday, the European Parliament voted 582 to 40 in favor of introducing a “common charger for mobile radio equipment.”

The proposed legislation doesn’t explicitly target Apple but while most recent smartphones feature a USB-C charging port, Apple has a proprietary connector called the Lightning port. Anyone who loses the charger for a newer iPhone must buy a compatible cable.

In the motion for the resolution, the European Parliament called on the European Commission (the EU’s executive branch) to either adopt or introduce stronger rules requiring a single charging method for mobile devices by July. The EU has been trying to introduce a standardized charger for more than a decade.

The proposed legislation forms part of the EU’s broader drive to reduce “e-waste” – the waste generated by redundant, non-recyclable electronic devices.

The EU’s argument is that using different charging methods across devices drives up e-waste. It estimates that the total e-waste generated in 2016 was 12.3 million metric tonnes, equivalent to 16.6 kg on average per inhabitant.

Earlier in January, Apple hit out at the EU’s efforts to introduce a standardized charging method arguing that the move would produce an “unprecedented volume of electronic waste” and stifle innovation..

The tech giant argued that customers who use the “hundreds of millions of [its] active devices and accessories” would be “greatly inconvenienced.”

Nations Which Owe their Name to the Greek Language

It is estimated that at least 5,000 words — and most likely many more — used in almost all languages spoken today across the world stem from the Greek language. Perhaps a bit more surprisingly, some of the very names of the world’s countries are derived from Greek words.
Argentina: The name of the second largest country in South America comes from the Latin “argentum,” which in turn has its roots in ancient Greek word Άργυρος (Argyros). When the Spaniards first arrived in today’s Argentina, they expected to find gold. Instead, they found that all the indigenous people used silver for their silverware and jewelry. It didn’t take long for them to realize that the mountains in the area were full of deposits of the precious metal.
Azerbaijan: This name comes from the ancient Greek name “Atropatis.” Atropatis was actually a Persian nobleman who founded the city of Atropatini after the death of Alexander the Great. Although the territories he occupied mostly belong to Iran today, the ancient city itself is considered to belong to Azerbaijan’s cultural heritage.
Egypt: The ancient philosopher Strabo argued that Egypt (Αίγυπτος) was a composite word. Specifically, it derives from the word Αγαίον (Aegean) and Υπτίως (yptios) meaning below, or “the country below the Aegean Sea.”
Ethiopia: From the ancient Greek Αιθίωψ, this is a composite name originating from the verb αίθω (aitho, or “burn”) and the word όψις (opsis, “face”) meaning burnt face, describing what they believed to be the sunburned skin of the North African country’s inhabitants.
Georgia: Most probably, this country was named after the martyr St. George. Nevertheless, the actual origin of the name itself is from the word Γεωργία, which means agriculture and farming.
Eritrea: Ethiopia’s neighboring country was named Ερυθραία after the Red Sea (Ερυθρά Θάλασσα).
Indonesia: Both Indonesia, as well as all the island archipelagos ending in “nesia” (Polynesia, Micronesia, etc.), have borrowed the ending of their names from the ancient Greek word Νήσος (Nesos) which means “island.”
Malta: Greeks are known to have inhabited this tiny Mediterranean island as early as 700 BC. They gave it the name “Mελίτη῾῾ (Μeliti), from the Greek meli, or honey, which is thought to be because of the well-known honey produced on the island far back into antiquity. Up until the Byzantine years,  Malta was referred to by the nickname “The land of honey” in many texts.
Monaco: In ancient times, the port of Monaco was inextricably linked to the worship of the mythical hero Hercules and it was often referred to as “Hercules Monoikos.” In fact, at that time there was a small temple dedicated to Hercules, which was not customary for only a semi-god, which was therefore called Monoikos, or “single house.”
This amazing theory is also confirmed by the fact that even today, the name for Monaco’s main port is “Port Hercules.”
Scotland: Although it is not widely accepted, one theory posits that the name of Scotland came from the ancient Greek word Σκότος (skotos), meaning “darkness.”
It is said that Minoan and Mycenaean merchants who reached the coast of Britain, as far north as present-day Scotland, were impressed by the lack of light in the area, describing it as Skotia, or “the land of darkness.”
The Philippines: When Spanish explorer Rui Lopez de Villalobos arrived by ship on the  large Pacific archipelago, he decided to name two of its major islands in honor of his monarch, King Philip II (1537-1598). Over the years, the name “The Philippines” has been used for all the islands belonging to the archipelago.
Of course, the name Philippos itself is an ancient Greek one, meaning “lover of horses.” Philippos II was the father of Alexander the Great.
Then there is the entire continent which derives its very name from Greece. According to Greek mythology, Ευρώπη, Europe, was the daughter of Phoenician King Agenoras and Queen Telephassa. Europe was a beautiful maiden with soft, white skin and Zeus naturally fell in love with her.

The Greek god Zeus disguised as a bull, abducting the goddess Europa

Transforming himself into a bull with golden horns, he enticed Europe to ride on his back and carried her thus to the island of Crete, where they then secreted themselves away to enjoy their love.
In addition, even our globe’s North Pole and South Pole were named after the Greek word Πόλος (Polos), originating from the high, cylindrical crown the Greek goddesses Rhea, Cybele and Hera were described as wearing. The word came to mean an axis or pivot, from which we get the modern word pole.
Finally, the name Atlantic Ocean was first used during the era of Herodotus in ancient Greece, approximately 450 BC. In Greek this means the “sea of Atlas.” Atlas was the Greek god of both navigation and astronomy. The earliest writings which mention the Atlantic Ocean are attributed to the Greek philosopher Plato.

Zoe Kazan Featured in Suspenseful Trailer for ‘The Plot Against America’

Zoe Kazan Plot Against America
Zoe Kazan in “The Plot Against America”/HBO

The first trailer for the new HBO series, “The Plot Against America”, has been released and features Zoe Kazan in one of the lead roles.

The show is based on a novel by Philip Roth that imagines an alternative version of US history. In the book’s world, aviator Charles Lindbergh becomes an anti-Semitic President leading his country towards fascism.

In addition to Zoe Kazan, the show features a stellar cast including Winona Ryder and John Turturro.

The story is told through the point of view of a Jewish working-class family in New Jersey. Kazan plays Elizabeth “Bess” Levin, a mother trying to protect her family against the tide of fascism gripping the nation, and making plans for a possible escape.

The series is co-created by David Simon, who was also the creator of the award-winning series “The Wire”. “The Plot Against America” will premiere on March 16 on HBO. You can watch the full trailer for the show below.

Changes Britons in Greece and Greek Citizens in the UK Will See After Brexit

The Greek Embassy in the UK issued a statement on Saturday, informing the public about the immediate and long term changes the departure of the UK from the EU will bring to their lives.
”We continue our efforts to manage the new reality as closely as possible by keeping up with developments, new data and strengthening the administrative mechanism to tackle issues of individuals and businesses,” the statement said.
Greek citizens in the United Kingdom
Greek citizens who live in the UK must apply for a ”pre-settled” or ”settled” status, as the rest of the EU citizens living in the country have to do. This can be done through the EU Settlement Scheme, which allows European citizens who live in the UK to continue to reside, study, work, and use the services of the British National Health Service, as well as be entitled to social security as they did until now.
All EU citizens and their family members have the right to apply electronically to obtain permanent or temporary resident status.
Students, employees and job seekers can stay in the UK after December 31, 2020, and they have the right to apply for permanent resident status after 5 consecutive years of residence.
EU students will continue to be treated equally with British students, with equal enrollment rights, as well as being eligible to apply for student loans on the same terms as British students. Any privilege adjustments will apply to all students.
British citizens who live in Greece
Legislation called “4652/2020” regulates matters relating to access to work, social security and medical and hospital coverage, recognition of professional and academic qualifications and the use of driving licenses issued by the United Kingdom, as well as the ability to remain, to study and work in the country as before.
In brief, all British citizens who came to Greece before Brexit, will be able to enjoy the same rights as all other EU citizens according to this legislation.
Greek Businesses in the United Kingdom
Businesses, however, will have to prepare for the changes that will gradually come into force from 2021.
Products that were freely imported, will be subject to the customs procedures after December 31, 2020.
Customs authorities may require guarantees for potential or existing customs debt.
Duties will apply to goods entering the EU from the United Kingdom, as well as prohibitions or restrictions that will be imposed on certain goods entering the EU from the United Kingdom, which may require import or export licenses.
Exports to the United Kingdom will be exempt from VAT.
The rules for VAT filing and payment will also change.
Exporting goods to the United Kingdom will require an export declaration. Products subject to excise duty and moving to the United Kingdom may require an electronic document (e-AD) as well.
For goods entering the ports of the United Kingdom, the UK authorities may need specific prior notification of the cargo in order to avoid any delay.

US Embassy to Support ''2020 STEM STARS GREECE'' Educational Competition

The American Embassy in Athens announced recently that it will support the ”STEM STARS GREECE” educational competition that will take place in Athens this year.
The US Embassy, in partnership with SciCo, said that the ”100mentorsnetwork” will be joining STEM STARS GREECE, adding their skills-building expertise ”to this initiative and that we have therefore extended the deadline for Greek students to apply for this prestigious program.”
In December, the Embassy announced the launch of the STEM STARS GREECE competition ”with the aim of supporting, highlighting, and rewarding 14 to 18-year-old students with a special inclination towards science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM).”
It is noted that the winners of the competition will receive special prizes, including the opportunity to represent Greece at the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the largest international science competition, which will be held in Anaheim, California from May 10-15 of 2020.
Participation in the competition is free.
Students who attend public or private schools in Greece and are between 14 and 18 years old (High School 3rd Grade – Lyceum 3rd Grade) on the date of the competition are eligible to participate.
”The grand finale will take place at the Athens Science Festival, which will be held April 1-5, 2020 in Technopolis, Athens, and will announce the first two participants/teams to win a place at the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). The awards ceremony will take place in front of the festival audience,” the Embassy noted in its announcement.
The competition is held under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs of Greece.

Is Omonoia Square Returning to Its Old, Charming Past?



The construction works continue. Credit: AMNA

The historic Omonoia Square in Athens is almost ready, after months of intense work to reshape the face of the Greek capital’s most central spot.
Once an aesthetic gem for the Athenians, Omonoia Square (which means the square of the concord) became synonymous with the downgrade of Athens’ downtown area.
Years of neglect and controversial reconstructions had made this square the epitome of wrong decisions and abandonment.
Criminals along with persistent dirt and lawlessness created an atmosphere in the 2000s and the 2010s that did not allow this central Athenian spot to flourish.
This is what the authorities who redevelop the square want to bring to an end.
Under the slogan ”Omonoia, like then,” the Greek authorities involved in the face-lift of the square hope that the result will bring the old, beautiful memories of Omonoia back to life.
Omonoia square in the 1960s

A massive fountain will be constructed at the heart of the square, similar to the one that was there in the 1960s.
Its diameter will be thirty meters and it will include 13 jets and 188 bundles of water.
A smart technology system will be attached to it so that when winds are strong, the water will go at a lower height to protect the passers-by.
The construction work began in October and the square is expected to be ready by the end of February.

Related: How Athens’ Historic Omonoia Square Has Changed Over the Decades

Unseasonably Warm Weather to Be Followed by Freezing Cold in Greece


Unseasonally warm air masses that began to cover large parts of Europe began affecting Greece on Saturday.
This weather system has brought unseasonably warm weather for the time of year in all of Greece.
According to the National Observatory of Athens weather service ”Meteo”, this “warm invasion” is expected to continue into next week, as even hotter air masses approach the Mediterranean Sea.
Temperatures are seen rising as much as 13 degrees Celcius above normal for the time of year, peaking on Monday and Tuesday when maximum temperatures are seen exceeding 20°C in many parts of the country.
Similar weather conditions are seen in many parts of Southern, Central and Eastern Europe.

There will be a gradual but significant drop in temperatures starting on Wednesday, though, with the initial forecast showing freezing temperatures across large parts of the country.