Benfica ties Panathinaikos in Toronto

In a so-called friendly that turned nasty at times in the first half, Portuguese league winners Benfica played Greek champs Panathinaikos to a 0-0 draw Sunday at BMO Field in Toronto.
Benfica’s David Luiz was sent off after collecting his second yellow card in first-half injury time as the game threatened to get out of hand.
After some shoving and punching ended the half, Benfica’s Nuno Gomes said the teams got together for a little chat at the intermission.
“We spoke altogether here at halftime,” said Gomes, who played 77 times for Portugal, scoring 29 goals. “In the second half you saw there was no problems. Things can happen like that in football sometimes. We talked and discussed the things and everything was OK.”
Panathinaikos midfielder Sebastian Leto was the most dangerous player in the first half and was the target of some hard fouls, one of which resulted Luiz’s first yellow card.
“There were some incidents but it was good at the end,” Leto said through a Spanish interpreter. “It was just because both teams wanted to win the game, so it was two incidents that happened just like that but at the end it was OK.”

Gomes blamed the officiating in the first half for some of the problems.
“I think maybe the referee in some decisions wasn’t fair for both teams,” he said. “It was a little bit confused at the end of the first half but nothing special I guess.”
The fisticuffs capped a half that included several hard fouls by both sides and some rough stuff after the whistle. Matters escalated when Benfica’s Sidnei was shown a yellow card in the 44th minute. Panathinaikos’s Elini Dimoutsos picked up a yellow of his own in the 45th before Luiz was then sent off for his second yellow.

Leto nearly put Panathinaikos on the board in the 29th minute but his point-blank shot was saved by Benfica goalkeeper Jose Moreira. Two minutes later, Benfica came close when Alan Kardec’s shot rolled just wide of the open corner.
Moreira had to come out of the penalty area in the 36th minute to clear a ball before Ante Rukavina could latch on to a long pass that would have given him a breakaway.

Despite being a man down in the second half, Benfica nearly scored with a free kick from Cesar Peixoto that almost carried Mario Galinovic into the net. But the Panathinaikos ‘keeper, who replaced Orestis Karnezis after the break, reached high to save the shot before regaining his balance.
Panathinaikos, coming off its first Greek league title in six years, had an excellent scoring chance in the 66th minute but Rukavina’s header clanged off the crossbar.
“It wasn’t a great match, but you know both teams are at the end of the season but the most important thing for us is to deal with the Portuguese fans that live here,” Gomes said. “So I think they are happy to see us here. In the second half with one man out we tried to do our best and the result was fair at the end of the game.”
(source: cbc)

Man accused of Crete death says he’s innocent

Daniella Walker is pictured with fellow family members who are organising a fundraising event at the Dock and Iron pub, in Delph Road, Brierley Hill
KEY witnesses backing the claims of a Midland man accused of killing his girlfriend in Crete could be heard in court tomorrow, the Birmingham Mail can reveal.
Patrick Walker, the father of Brierley Hill murder suspect Luke Walker, said a second preliminary hearing on the Greek island was due to take place with around four witnesses attesting to his son’s innocence.
He also said British Embassy staff had organised a meeting tomorrow with the Greek coroner. Their post-mortem evidence indicated that violent blows caused the internal injuries that killed Walker’s 21-year-old girlfriend, Chelsea Hyndman.
That evidence was presented at a closed court hearing, in Heraklion, the island’s largest city court on the Greek island, on Thursday, when Walker was charged with murder.
Miss Hyndman, who shared a flat with barman Walker in the resort of Malia, died on Monday last week. She had been admitted to hospital the previous day suffering from abdominal pain.
Walker claims Miss Hyndman’s injuries were caused by a fall that was seen by a number of witnesses. But they were not allowed to give evidence at the initial hearing. Walker was not given the chance to enter a formal plea either and he was denied bail. No trial date was set.

However, it is hoped witnesses will be giving evidence tomorrow and Patrick Walker said he may also be involved.
“There’s going to be a hearing and witnesses will be allowed to speak – I really don’t know how it’s come about,” he said. It adds new hope to the possibility that Walker could be released on bail with the results of a second post-mortem, this time by a pathologist in the UK, expected soon. Patrick Walker said he expected these results to cast doubt on claims Miss Hyndman’s injuries were the result of violence.
More than 2,700 people have signed up to a campaign on Facebook professing Walker’s innocence. Patrick Walker said his son was “happy” about the effort, but remained in a “fragile” mental state behind bars.

Socratous calls for investigation

Former Labor staffer Costas Socratous (photo) has called for a formal investigation into his allegations that he was engaged in branch-stacking on behalf of MPs Theo Theophanous and Telmo Languiller.
He also claims that Mr Theophanous and Mr Languiller have been running a smear campaign against him since mid-2009, calling into question his mental stability. Mr Socratous turned whistleblower last week when he alleged that Theo Theophanous masterminded extensive branch stacking in the ALP’s Albion and East Ardeer branches.
Mr Socratous told, “I was given money to pay for memberships and renewals of people that I know. I would approach them to become members and tell them not to worry about memberships, that they would be fixed by another way.” Mr Socratous said that he had been “targeted” by Mr Theophanous and Mr Languiller since being sacked last year.

“I have been pressured by these people,” said Mr Socratous said. “They have been harassing me in the media and everywhere.”

“I warned them that I would be coming out if they keep on harassing me.”
“They did not want to hear me, that is why we are where we are now,” he said.
“At the beginning I asked for an apology from Theo and Telmo and instead they sent me a letter telling me that under parliamentary order not me, nor anyone that represented me could speak to the media to offend them,” said Mr Socratous.

“On the other hand they let Theo loose making speeches humiliating me in parliament.”
One of the accusations made under parliamentary privilege was that Mr Socratous has a gambling habit, an accusation that Mr Socratous has denied.
In response to accusations that he is being groomed by the Liberal Opposition Mr Socratous said, “I went to the Liberals just for one thing, to make sure that they pressure them [the State Government] to call for an investigation.”
He alleged that in 2004 and 2005 when he and Telmo Languiller faced an ALP tribunal on claims of branch-stacking, that the ALP, “covered everything up and I don’t want this to happen again.” “The party covered everything up. After that I never made any new members, I just renewed existing members” said Mr Socratous.

Mr Theophanous has denied the allegations that he was the mastermind of the branch-stacking operation. He confirmed to Neos Kosmos that he was responsible for the distribution of funds to assist ALP members get re-elected, but denied any involvement in branch-stacking. “I was never in the position to know how the money was used.”
“If the money allocated to Mr Languiller’s seat of Derrimut was used improperly then its Mr Socratous’ responsibility,” Mr Theophanous told.
Mr Theophanous said that his lawyers have written to Mr Socratous, warning he will sue for defamation unless Mr Socratous unconditionally withdraws the branch-stacking allegations.
Mr Socratous says neither he nor his lawyers have received any such letter. “My lawyer has not received anything, but I am not worried because I know what I am saying and I have the facts,” said Mr Socratous.
It has been reported that Mr Languiller had gone to the police making allegations against Mr Socratous.

Speaking to Neos Kosmos from outside Sunshine police station, Mr Socratous said his own inquiries to police had revealed no such allegations.
Mr Socratous has also denied allegations by Mr Languiller that he sought compensation for stress.
(source: neos kosmos)

NUGAS donates to Fronditha

NUGAS Victoria put forward a generous $2000 donation to not-for-profit organisation, Agapi Care last Wednesday at the GOCMV in Melbourne.
The donation, which was accepted by Agapi Care Deputy Manager Mr Andreas Haralampidis and Executive Director Mrs Vicki Papadopoulos will go towards Agapi Care’s new development in the Clayton area.
“It is a primary aim of the NUGAS Victoria committee to contribute to an organisation in an area of need,” said NUGAS Victoria Administrative Co-ordinator Kerry Matthews.
“It is through events such as the NUGAS Annual Ball and other events throughout the year, with our affiliate University clubs, that we Greek Australian Students are able to give something back to the Greek Community and make a difference.”

Agapi Care is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to represent the interest of Greek Australians with a disability, as they have the same rights as other members of the community to access services which would enable them to live a fulfilling life in the community.
Currently Agapi Care provides a variety of services to people with disabilities at the respite care facilities in Preston and Oakleigh.
Funded solely by the Department of Humanitarian Services, Agapi Care depends on donations such as the annual Agapi Care radiothon, the people of the public and various other organisations.
(source: neos kosmos)

Greek importers expect price increases due to the Greek crisis

Archie Tsoukras with his daughter Vicky
Australian shoppers can expect a hit to their hip pocket if the Greek economy continues to flounder, say leading importers of Greek-made products.
“Demand depends on price today, and Australia is a funny market, they go for price,” says Archie Tsoukras, owner of Tirnavos Food, Wine and Spirits.
His company supplies some of the biggest retailers in Australia, including Coles and Woolworths. He explains that as the value of the Australian dollar against the euro drops, the cost of importing products goes up. This price rise is then passed on to the retailer and subsequently the shopper.
“Some importers lock in rates, and I did, so for the next three months I’ll probably be alright, it won’t have any impact on me, but after that if the euro goes further down then we will have to increase the price,” he says, which could discourage market interest in Greek-made products.
It is also feared that supplies of Greek products could dry up altogether, if the Greek financial crisis gets any worse. Despite being largely privatised in Greece, the maritime industry is heavily unionised, which could see it shut down if strikes protesting the implementation of strict austerity measures spread to the docks.
This could see the cutting of supply lines out of Greece and the cessation of Greek products, including oils, cheeses and wines, hitting Australian shores.

National Marketing Manager of Flox Wines and Spirits, Loukas Papargiris, says lengthy delays could see contracts with large retailers compromised.
“The impact it will have here with the major liquor accounts like Dan Murphy’s and Woolworths stores is that if our product’s not on the shelves, they may in turn replace it with another product,” he says.
“We need the product here in order to maintain the product within the larger liquor accounts, that’s our main concern,” though he says the company has taken steps to minimise the damage.

“We tend to buy up large and we’ve already placed a few orders, so we’ve tried to pre-empt it.”
Both importers agree however, that if Greece is to stimulate international interest in its economy and thereby stave off a full-scale economic crash, it must proactively push exports harder.
“The only way to get out if this is to boost exports. And the only way to do it is to get off their arses and try to sell,” says Tsoukras.

Papargiris is taking it upon himself to promote Greek exports abroad, by becoming a buyer’s agent.
“I’m currently negotiating with a Greek company in Greece and they’re exporting through us to other countries because of the lack of Greek communication.”
He says that by providing a more professional Australian-based trade avenue with the rest of the world, Greek companies can ensure the value of their products does not drop on global markets.
“At present Greek companies are struggling pretty hard so they’re quite likely also to sell the product at any cost, which is something we try to avoid,” he says.
Keeping prices up stimulates economic growth by guaranteeing income for the producer, the exporter and the importer. An unfortunate consequence is a hit to the hip-pocket of shoppers.
(source: neos kosmos)

Best-Selling Author David Sedaris to Appear at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago


Best-selling author, playwright and commentator David Sedaris will return to Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre this June to perform new material from his forthcoming book, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary. A Q&A session and book/CD signing will follow the performance.

The Grammy-nominated humorist, writer and comedian, was born in New York in 1956 and raised in North Carolina. He is half Greek. His sister Amy is a well-known actress, comedienne and writer in her own right. They were raised Greek Orthodox, and his experiences growing up have been fodder for his work. Sedaris moved to Chicago in 1983, and earned a degree from the School of the Art Institute in 1987. In the early 1990s, while reading from his diary at a Chicago club, he was discovered by radio host Ira Glass.  He currently resides in France.

In 1994, Sedaris published his first book, Barrel Fever and began publishing essays in The New Yorker and Esquire magazines. His next book was a collection of essays, called Naked, which includes many tales from his childhood. One such story, called “Get Your Ya-Ya’s Out!” talks about his elderly and senile Greek grandmother, who came to live with his family.

The award-winning Sedaris was hailed by The New Yorker as one of the funniest writers in America. He’s been regarded for the “great skill with which he slices through cultural euphemisms and political correctness,” making him “a master of satire and one of the most observant writers addressing the human condition today.” He’s well-known for his books, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim and When You Are Engulfed in Flames.

As a playwright, he’s collaborated with his sister Amy on the several plays under the name “The Talent Family,” including Stump the Host (1993), Stitches (1994), The Little Frieda Mysteries (1997), and The Book of Liz (2002).

Sedaris will appear at the Steppenwolf Theatre. June 8-13. Visit

Greek tax office turns on footballers, lawyers

Greek authorities tracking down tax cheats have turned their attentions on high-earning footballers, lawyers and artists, an official said Sunday, as the country works to cut back a mountain of debt.
A special audit office within the finance ministry “is looking into the cases of artists, footballers, lawyers and night-club owners for tax offences,” the office’s secretary general Yannis Kapeleris said on radio.
Auditors are in particular looking at tax returns that declare lower incomes than would seem to match certain lifestyles, he said.
The Ethnos newspaper said at least three well-known singers, three football stars and four top advocates were being audited. The files of about 3,000 lawyers would also be examined, Kathimerini daily reported.

New York Event Promoted Greek Wines


“Nestor Imports” hosted an event on Wednesday 5/19 in Manhattan (photo) for the promotion of Greek wines. Representatives from wineries in Greece as well as the general director of Nestor Imports, Chuck Andrea, presented the Greek wines. American and Greek-American oenologists, liqueur store and restaurant owners, attended the three hour event and had the chance to taste Greek wines and get information about their production and bottling at the vineyard of Costas Lazarides, at the vineyards “Oenophoros”, and “Kourtakis” and other vineyards in Greece.

Nestor Imports general director noted that Greek wines are being distributed to 40 states across the US, and that New York comes first in sales, while Boston and Chicago follow.

Eurovision: Greek party; a success

On Saturday we heard Norway, Spain, France, Germany and UK for the first time. This year’s contest is for artists with great voices and Norwegian Didrik Solli-Tangen is one of them. He also has a new hair style – longer and a bit curly. It suits him and gives him a more matured look. 12 points to the stylist. I felt in love with a small Spanish “Algo Pequeñito”. Daniel Diges and his show were superb!
The German, French and UK entries are still a secret for me, as I haven’t heard them yet.
Most of the press and fans seem to be in Oslo by now. Each night there are several parties and it is impossible to join all of them. On Saturday Georgia celebrated their national holiday and hosted a party at the Opera House. The Polish party took place in another venue.

One of the most popular parties was arranged by the Greek Eurovision fan-club, OGAE Greece, at the Euro-café. UK’s Josh, Bulgarian Miro, the French Jessy Matador, Malta’s Thea and many other artists came by and enjoyed the OPA-feeling together with the press and the fans. Of course Giorgos Alkaios and his Friends performed their song. Antonios Karatzikos, the President of OGAE, was the host and the DJ. Thanks for playing so many of our favorite Greek songs! Around midnight the party continued at the Euro Club.

See the video recorded by JP of Yiorgos and Friends performing “OPA” joined in by Jessy Matador from France.

Eurovision is not only about happiness. I got very sad yesterday when I heard that the Swedish singer Anna-Lena Löfgren had died, at an age of 66 years. She participated in Melodifestivalen 1963 (Säg varför” ) and 1969 (“Jag vill tro”). For me she was very special as she is the first schlager singer I remember. I got her record “Lyckliga Gatan” when I was 4 years – my first record. Anna-Lena had more that 40 hits on the Swedish chart list between 1962-1995. She was suffering from polio since a child and considering that she had a fantastic career. We will all miss you Anna-Lena.

New film making for Cyprus in Turkey

Turkish Cypriot director Dervish Zaim’s (photo) new film-in-the-making, Shadows and Shapes, is set to be his most controversial yet.
Set in 1963, the year in which the Cyprus Republic dissolved into ethnic violence, it follows the growing pains of Rusa, an adolescent girl from the Karpasia village of Komi Kebir.
But Istanbul-based Zaim says that ethnic conflict is only one of the film’s themes.
“It’s mainly a story about growing up,” Zaim told the Sunday Mail. “The conflict is in the background; it’s not the main theme”.
Nevertheless, the film’s promoters describe it as “a story that takes place as the events of 1963 unfold”, with Rusa and her shadow puppeteer father Veli separated as they flee their burning village. “The pain, the friendships, and the surrounding war casts a light on Cyprus’ story,” the promoters say.
Zaim says he set the film in 1963 “because in the almost 50 years that have passed since then, no one has made a film about that era”.
“Those times are like a forgotten memory,” he says.
In his own community, however, the “Bloody Christmas of 1963” and its aftermath is anything but a forgotten memory.
But as Zaim says, the film is not only, or even primarily about that.
“I believe it holds a universal message,” Zaim says. “It’s a message of peace, of growing together, of tolerance. In this sense it is not just a film about Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots.”
Naturally, Zaim cannot avoid the fact that he is making a film about a period of time that is remembered very differently by his community and Greek Cypriots. Nevertheless he insists that “as much as possible” he has “tried to stay faithful to historical events”.
Perhaps as a way of clarifying that he is not out to make a film about bad Greeks and oppressed Turks, the cast includes both Greek and Turkish Cypriot actors. Popi Avraam, among several other Greek Cypriot actors, plays a leading role as one of Rusa’s neighbours.
Zaim also insists he “tried to be as objective as possible” about what took place during the period covered by the film.
“There are no blacks or whites. People are always grey. No one is purely good or bad,” Zaim says, adding that the characters in the film were “both fictitious and created from people I have met or heard about”.
Zaim adds Shadows and Shapes to a growing list of acclaimed low-budget films that includes Somersault in a Coffin, Waiting for Paradise, Dot and Mud. Zaim also worked with Panikos Chrysanthou in the making of the controversial but widely acclaimed Akamas, a film that, because of the sensitivity that surrounds it, still has not been shown on Cypriot TV either side of the Green Line. Zaim says he hopes to see Shadow and Shapes, which will be in Greek and Turkish, in cinemas next year.