Canada’s Governor General to visit Greece

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Canada’s Governor General Michaelle Jean will travel to Slovenia and Croatia this month to celebrate their integration into NATO, and to Greece for an Olympic torch ceremony, her office said Wednesday. Jean is to make an official visit to Slovenia from October 21 to 22, to Croatia thereafter until October 27, and finally to Greece from October 29 to 31.
In Slovenia, she is to “recognize that country’s efforts towards democratization and to celebrate its integration into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union,” said a statement.
During her state visit to Croatia, Jean will commend the country’s recent membership in NATO, “as well as the proactive and exemplary role Croat officials are playing in promoting security in the region and elsewhere.”
In Greece, Jean is to attend a ceremony in which the Olympic flame will be passed to organizers of next year’s Winter Games in Vancouver.
(source: voice of greece)

Matthew Modine talks about his “OPA!” Experience and Greece

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We met Mathew Modine at Madam Tusseuds in Hollywood, right after the premiere of OPA!, his new movie that was filmed in Greece. The actor stars as Eric, an American archaeologist armed with high-tech equipment who’s come back to the Greek Island of Patmos to unearth St. John’s Cup.

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Costa-Gavras coming to Montreal’s Cinemania

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Greek born French director Costa-Gavras will be coming to the 15th Cinemania festival, organizers announced Thursday.
He will be conducting a master class, attending a screening of a new 35 mm print of his 1969 classic, Z, and unveiling a brand new film, Eden à l’ouest.
“It is a very great honour to welcome this legendary figure in French film,” festival founder Maidy Teitelbaum, said.

A Canadian First: A Cinema Master Class with Costa-Gavras:
Film-buffs are invited to dialogue with the director and discuss his creative process in an informal and approachable atmosphere. Topics covered will be Costa-Gavras’ script-writing and narrative techniques as well as his inspirational sources and the methods he uses to direct his favourite actors.

The Canadian Premiere of Costa-Gavras’ EDEN IS WEST (2009):
EDEN IS WEST was the closing film at the prestigious Berlin Festival (2009). Costa- Gavras unfolds a clandestine immigrant’s drama with the sensitivity and humour that only this great champion of human rights can bring to the screen. Lead actor, Riccardo Scarmacio, blows us away in the role of an ordinary guy in search of the promised land. It’s most evident that Costa-Gavras is exploring a subject close to his heart.

Starring: Riccardo Scamarcio, Juliane Koelhler, Ulrich Tukur, Eric Caravaca, Anny Duperey
BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL. Closing Film
COL-COA FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL (L.A.). Critics Award
Elias, a clandestine immigrant, is in search of a welcoming homeland. His wanderings between heaven and hell lead him to confront the Aegean and Mediterranean seas, from Italy on to France. He magically ends up in Paris, the Eden of all wanderers.

On the 40th Anniversary of his Masterpiece “Z” (1969) – A Special Re-Mastered 35mm Screening:
The first of Costa-Gavras’ great political dramas, the majestic “Z” bears witness against oppression and is a transcendent call to arms.

Starring: Yves Montand, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Irène Papas, Jacques Perrin
WINNER OF 2 OSCARS (1969): Best Foreign Film and Best Film Editing
WINNER OF 2 AWARDS AT THE CANNES FILM FESTIVAL (1969): Jury Prize and Best Actor Award – Jean-Louis Trintignant
When the military threatens Greek democracy in 1967, a progressive politician is assassinated. Even though the police ruled the death accidental, a magistrate carries out a thorough investigation.

Costa-Gavras: His struggle for social justice:
Costa-Gavras is internationally renowned for his political activism. He has won many awards worldwide, from Cannes to Hollywood. He is also currently President of the prestigious Cinématheque Française.

COSTA-GAVRAS: A selective filmography — Z, STATE OF SIEGE, L’AVEU, BETRAYED, MUSIC BOX, AMEN, LE COUPERET, EDEN IS WEST

“It’s a great honour to welcome Costa-Gavras, the giant of French cinema, to celebrate CINEMANIA’s 15th Anniversary. Forever engaged in the political arena and the quest for social justice, Costa-Gavras never ceases to educate and inform, and to make us reflect deeply on current issues.”
Maidy Teitelbaum, President and Founder, CINEMANIA

“What an enormous pleasure this is for our CINEMANIA audience! To be able to view a re-mastered copy of “Z” at the Imperial Cinema, presented in person by the creator himself, Costa-Gavras, is an incredible experience to be savoured by all cinephiles!”
Geneviève Royer, Managing Director, CINEMANIA

The 15th Anniversary of the French Film Festival, CINEMANIA, will take place from Thursday, the 5th of November, to Sunday, the15th of November, 2009, at the Imperial Cinema in Montreal. It’s a not-to-be-missed filmgoing event!

Artist’s Sculpture in Berlin

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“Boats,” an imposing installation of wooden boats symbolising immigration and its implications in modern societies, is a work by sculptor Kalliopi Lemos, which will be showcased before the Brandenburg Gate as of October 12, as part of the celebrations marking 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Together with the sculpture, the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts (Akademie der Kunste) will host a complementary photo exhibition on the Lemos trilogy.
This particular creation is part of the artist’s trilogy “Porthmia” (“channels”) and it was first displayed in 2006 at Eleusis and Istanbul. Later on, it was displayed at the Cultural Centre of the Onassis New York Public Benefit Foundation.
In her installations, she explores “existing between cultures, identities, and borders.” The cities chosen for all her exhibitions represent migrants on a typical route from East to West.
(source: voice of greece)

Greek Mob: The Greek "Outfit" Across America

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Aside from Philedelphia other Greek elements sprouted across the American plains. In, Boston four leaders emerged James Chalmas (loanshark), Louis Venios (strip club owner and mob frontman), William “Skinny” Kazonis and Arthur C. “Tash” Bratsos (loanshark). Bratsos was under the authority of mob associate Joseph Barboza, who himself was not Italian but Portugese.

Barboza was a loose cannon and was uncontrollable he had a bad reputation amongst “made men”. Since Bratsos was connected to Barboza he thought it best to take an extended leave of absence. But before he took off he decided to bail out his friend Barboza. Not the smartest idea. His springing Barboza did not sit well with the mob. This proved to be fatal, Bratsos was eliminated. Another Barboza associate was loanshark, James Chalamas, who was also a hired thug for the mob. He was offered $25 thousand to murder Barboza.

Chalmas declined the offer. Nevertheless, the local mob took Barboza out in front of Chalamas on February 11th, 1980. Chalamas soon relocated and was considered “retired”. The Anguilo brothers ran the Boston mob hierarchy for years, their private driver was William Kazonis. The Anguilo brothers held a high regard and trust for Kazonis. Kazonis was caught on an FBI bug shaking down a loanshark victim who was delaying payments. His partner in the shakedown was Joseph “Joe Porter” Patrizzi. Kazonis and Patrizzi served 8 years for the shakedown and garnered more respect from the hierarchy. Kazonis’ luck began to run out in 1987 when he served another 6 years for conspiring to impede on a grand jury investigation. Because Kazonis refused to cooperate his position on the mob ladder rose.

One unfortunate mob associate was Louis Venios who owned and operated one of the most exclusive adult clubs in the city (called Mouse Trap) with his co-owner and son-in-law Walter LaFreniere. They ended up in debt to the same people who protected them. Walter owed large amounts of gambling debts to the Anguilo brothers. Walter felt he could salvage his loses at a game of barboot (a Middle Eastern card game). But he did not succeed and had to borrow more money from the house. Venios tried to save his son-in-law by consolidating the funds from the club, but that was useless. Venios survived retribution from the Angulios but Walter, his fate was different. If it weren’t for the intervention of William Kazonis, Louie would have tasted the same fate.

Across the United States in sunny Los Angeles three Greeks controlled a piece of the mob puzzle. All three were associates of leading capo turned government witness, Jimmy “the Weasel” Frantianno. One of the most animated to be under Jimmy’s wing was Nick “the Greek” Simponis. Nick owned a gambling operation in Cabazon in the mid west. During his ownership a low level wise guy by the name of Delmont attempted to muscle in on Nick’s business. In turn Nick went to mob associate Jimmy Frantianno.
Delmont was disposed of for his expansionist ideas. Simponis a sharp card player would later develop a tight relationship with Las Vegas wild man Anthony “the Ant” Spilotro.

Simponis and Spilitro arranged shakedowns and casino schemes throughout Las Vegas . When it came down to casinos Jimmy F. was obsessed to have his own place. Nick was there to help Jimmy expand and introduce him to Greek entrepreneur Duke Countis. Duke was a wealthy bookmaking agent who held the key to Jimmy’s dream.
The proposed hotel/casino was to be named The Crystal Bay in Tahoe. It was to run about $2 million to start. But the deal stood still for Jimmy and Nick were unable to convince mob higher ups to invest. Duke backed out as well and maintained his position as a casino courier. Spilotro and Simponis soon ended up doing time. Nick was imprisoned in the late 1980’s and Spilitro ended up being assassinated in the cornfields of Indiana in 1986.

Another major associate of Jimmy F.’s was Nick “the Greek” Diacogiannis. Diacogiannis was a close friend and confidant of Jimmy’s while they served time in Folsom in the 60’s. Upon Nick’s release he became Jimmy’s bodyguard, for at this time Jimmy was rising fast and animosity was high. Jimmy along with Nick, headed up a trucking business that proved them to be good earners (a cornerstone of mafia importance).

But Nick was soon back in prison in 1966 for assault. This began the downfall of the trucking business he started with Jimmy. Nick was unable to be released on bail and needed “outside” help to get him out. Jimmy in turn went to then L.A. mob boss Jack Dragna for help. Hence, they sprung Nick from jail. Nick and Jimmy went back to business until Jimmy was arrested on a murder charge which became the beginning of the end. At this time he decided to turn states evidence. He became one of the highest-ranking mobsters to inform on the society at that time. He would go on to bring down most of the West Coast mafia along with Nick the Greek in the late 80’s.

Before Nick Simponis and Nick Diacogiannis there were two brothers in the swampy fields of Florida who ran the most lucrative bookie operation on the East Coast. They were, John and Chris Prokos, who were under the protection of Sam “Momo” Giancanna from Chicago . Their operation was bank rolled by mob associate Gil Beckley . The brothers also ran a café’ as a front for their office this was in the early 50’s when Florida was still an open market for the mob. Their operation soon came to a close in the early 80’s with the emergence of the Cuban mafia and the cocaine explosion. The Greek gangsters as powerful as they were always seemed to elude the public eye.

Hatzigiannis gives his all

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Greek pop sensation Michalis Hatzigiannis rocked Melbourne on Friday and Saturday night with his shows at the Palace Theatre on Bourke Street.
Hatzigiannis put on a slick, up-tempo three hour show each night, which entertained over 3500 people.
The all-ages show left the audience enthralled and asking for more.
Hatzigiannis is said to love performing in Melbourne and a source close to the performer said he is looking at touring Australia again next year.
The Greek star will finish off his 2009 Australian tour this coming weekend in Sydney with a massive show at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on Saturday.
(source: neos kosmos)

Stephen Lagakos, International Leader in Biostatistics and AIDS Research, Dies

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Stephen Lagakos, an international leader in biostatistics and AIDS research and professor of biostatistics at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), died in an auto collision on Monday, October 12, 2009 in Peterborough, N.H. He was 63 years old. His wife, Regina, and his mother, Helen, were also killed in the daytime accident, along with the driver of the other car.

“Our School community is deeply saddened by this unexpected and tragic loss of Professor Steve Lagakos,” said Julio Frenk, HSPH Dean and T & G Angelopoulos Professor of Public Health and International Development. “Having joined our faculty more than three decades ago, Steve was a prominent and respected professor, cherished by those who had the benefit of working with him and learning from him. His seminal contributions to the field of AIDS research helped provide crucial statistical foundations upon which we could better combat this terrible disease. The complexity of the analyses required to understand HIV/AIDS and its treatment presented enormous statistical challenges, which Steve pursued tirelessly.”

Added Harvey Fineberg, former Dean of HSPH and current president of the Institute of Medicine: “Steve Lagakos was a versatile and talented biostatistician, a gifted teacher, and deft administrator. Steve’s leadership in AIDS clinical trials and longitudinal studies helped convert data into action — to prevent HIV transmission, improve treatment, and save lives. At the Institute of Medicine, Steve chaired a technically demanding study on methods to use in biomedical AIDS prevention trials. Steve made complicated problems seem simple, and in this IOM effort, he demonstrated his ability to clarify differences, develop consensus, and express cogent conclusions and policy recommendations. Steve was a successful leader and a delightful personality with a knack for finding something of value in the views of others, much as he could extract value from numerical data in a clinical trial.”

Lagakos joined the HSPH faculty in 1978 as an assistant professor, several years before the emergence of the AIDS epidemic on which he would later focus. He founded the Statistical Data Analysis Center, now part of the Center for Biostatistics in AIDS Research (CBAR), to analyze AIDS information for government and academic research. CBAR has been responsible for the design, monitoring, and analysis of most of the federally funded clinical trials of HIV in the U.S.

Lagakos centered his efforts on several fronts in the fight against AIDS. He designed and analyzed research studies to investigate how and when HIV-infected women transmit the virus to their children — questions that have profound impacts on the type and lengths of treatment. In addition, he developed sophisticated methods to improve the accuracy of estimated HIV incidence rates. He also contributed to broadening access to antiretroviral drugs to people in developing countries.

“Steve educated several generations of biostatistics students, and his many postdoctoral fellows were devoted to him as a kind and compassionate teacher and mentor,” said David Hunter, Dean for Academic Affairs, in an email to the School community. “Steve was always generous with his time — both in statistical matters, and also as a citizen of Harvard, having served with good cheer and much wisdom on many committees and given sage advice to many.”

Lagakos was chair of the HSPH Department of Biostatistics from 1999 to 2006, during which time the department investigated infectious diseases, psychiatric statistics, environmental statistics and statistical genetics. Observed current Chair Victor De Gruttola in an email to HSPH community members: “Steve Lagakos played a central leadership role in our department, in the School, and among the international community of quantitative biomedical researchers. His loss and that of his wife Regina and mother Helen is a terrible one for all of us. Steve’s qualities of commitment, passion, intellectual brilliance, and personal generosity had a direct personal impact on our lives; and his contributions to biostatistics and to AIDS research were fundamental.”

Lagakos had served on the Scientific Advisory Committee of the American Foundation for AIDS Research and as a participant in a World Health Organization (WHO) consultation on neuropsychiatric aspects of HIV infection. From 1982 to 1987, he was co director of WHO’s Collaborating Center for Cancer Biostatistics Evaluation Cancer Biostatistics Evaluation. He worked on several committees and panels of the National Academy of Sciences. He also served as statistical consultant to the New England Journal of Medicine for more than a decade.

He was a member of the Institute of Medicine, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Statistical Association.

He was awarded an honorary doctorate from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in 2006. He received the Spiegelman Gold Medal Award from the American Public Health Association in 1983, and a citation for outstanding teaching from HSPH in the years 1985 to 1988.

Lagakos earned a B.S. from Carnegie Mellon University and a Ph.D. from George Washington University.

Information about services will be made available. HSPH convened a gathering today, October 13, to remember Lagakos. The School extends its heartfelt condolences to the surviving members of Lagakos’s family.
For further information contact:
Christina Roache
Office of Communications
croache@hsph.harvard.edu
(617) 432-6052

(Press Releases from Harvard)

SOS from Lerounis

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Abducted Greek volunteer Athanassios Lerounis has made a dramatic appeal to Pakistan’s government to arrange his release and safe return to Greece, in a hand-written letter dated October 2, according to reports in local newspapers.
Lerounis, a Greek volunteer working with the Kalash tribe near the Pakistani border, was abducted by masked Taliban on September 8, during an attack on his home in a local village.
The hand-written note in English bears his signature and says that his life is in danger unless Pakistani authorities accept the terms set by his abductors for his release – namely a ransom of 20,000 dollars and the release of three Taliban leaders held in Pakistan.
According to the local “Chitral Times”, a delegation of local Muslim leaders from the Mumuret Valley has twice visited the region of Nuristan in neighbouring Afghanistan, where Lerounis is being held hostage, in order to negotiate the Greek volunteer’s release but has so far returned empty handed.
During the last visit, it brought back three letters written by Lerounis: one to Pakistan’s government, one to the Greek ambassador in the country and one to the non-governmental organisation “Greek Volunteers” that he worked for until he was kidnapped.
A third attempt to meet the kidnappers in being arranged but it is unknown when this will take place.
In his letters to the ambassador and the NGO, Lerounis said that he was in good health, at least at the time they were written, and that he was being held by the Taliban who had informed him of their terms for his release.
He also noted his work as a volunteer among the Kalash since 1995, saying that he had participated in projects benefiting poor Pakistanis and that the Pakistani Embassy in Athens was well acquainted with the activities of the Greek Volunteers in Pakistan.
(source: ana-mpa)

Adelaide Glendi a roaring success

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The Greek Glendi Festival in Adelaide was held for the first time in October, after three decades of being held in March to commemorate Greece’s Independence Day.
The move to hold the event on the weekend of October 3-4 was made to distinguish the festival from the “mad month of March”, which sees a multitude of festivals and events.
Despite the date change, the Glendi, held at the Wayville Showground still managed to attract more than 10,000 people.
“The highlight was John Katevas’s (from Greece) performance, and George Kapiniaris was also good,” said festival director, John Chefalachis. “We were also entertained by local dance groups performances, including two dance groups from Melbourne; Pontiaki Estia and Manassis.”
Children enjoyed table wrestling, indoor soccer, and author Bea Julian’s reading of her new picture story book, The Fountain Cat, which was inspired by her time spent on the beautiful island of Rhodes.
Greek cuisine (Kouzina) was the theme for the Glendi School’s Program, which saw children use art and clay to create lifelike Greek dishes.
The real cooking was left to the experts, including a cooking demonstration by chefs from the popular Greek restaurant, Greek on Halifax.
(source: neos kosmos)

Uncle and nephew tragically drown on bay

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Victim of drowning, George Emmanuel and a bevy of his grand children.

Two Greek fishermen tragically drowned on Friday night whilst fishing in Port Phillip Bay near Frankston.

The bodies of 41 year old Paul Katelas and his 71 year old uncle George Emmanuel were found on Saturday after an extensive air and sea search on the bay.

Cranbourne resident and father of three, Paul Katelas, was due to celebrate his daughter’s first birthday on Saturday.

George Emmanuel was well-known in the Greek community as he had served as President of the Lassanis Club of Kozani.
(source: neos kosmos)