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Annual Greek Festival Portland September 8, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora Festivals.
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September 29-October 1

55th annual Greek Festival Portland sports many ethnic parties, but the Greek Festival calls to the tummy so hard, it’s difficult not to answer.

Dolmathes, pastitsio, keftethes and desserts too numerous to mention. You can learn to make all this stuff at home, too, during the cooking demos. Storytelling, crafts and games for the kids.

10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sept. 29-30, noon-9 p.m. Oct. 1, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 3131 N.E. Glisan St. Details: www.goholytrinity.org.

Legal battles no substitute for political compromise September 8, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied.
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Not surprisingly, there has been a muted reaction to the London High Court’s verdict that a British court could not enforce a Cypriot court’s verdict ordering David and Linda Orams to bulldoze the house they illegally built on land belonging to Meletis Apostolides in occupied Lapithos, and pay him compensation for their unauthorised use of his property.

Seeking comfort, the media and the politicians pointed out that the High Court had not contested the fact that what the Orams had done was illegal; simply that it had ruled it did not have the jurisdiction to enforce the sentence because, under Cyprus’ EU accession treaty, the occupied areas were defined as being temporarily outside the reach of the EU’s acquis communautaire.

But there was no doubt who was celebrating. Linda Orams had a beaming smile as she left the High Court, and her lawyers lost no opportunity to point out that this would lift the threat looming over foreign property buyers in the occupied north.

The authorities in the north will without doubt play this for all it’s worth, though the case may yet return to haunt them. Apostolides’ legal team is already preparing its appeal, while, whoever wins that, the loser will undoubtedly take the case to the European court for a final verdict.

It is indeed paradoxical that the case should be lost on Protocol 10, introduced in the Accession Treaty to protect Cyprus from EU sanction for breaches of the acquis in territories under foreign military occupation, and this is the argument that is being prepared for the appeal. Deep irony indeed that under this interpretation of the Protocol, the EU is defining the north as beyond the legal pale, reinforcing its reputation as a haven for fugitives from justice.

Yet whatever the final outcome, this case has shown again the impossibility of tackling the Cyprus problem on a purely legal level. The Loizidou victory in the European Court of Human Rights was a reaffirmation of right and a certain irritant to Turkey, but it did not bring Mrs Loizidou any closer to her home. Indeed the Annan plan, had it been accepted, envisaged a suspension of all Greek Cypriot land recourses to the ECHR.

Likewise, if Apostolides is eventually successful, it will be a definite economic blow to the authorities in the north, not to mention to the hundreds of expats squatting Greek Cypriot land, but it will not bring him closer to the restitution he desires.

For that to happen there is no alternative to re-engaging in serious negotiation for a final settlement, whatever form that might take. Legal battles may score points in a war of attrition, but they bring us no closer to the essential political compromise that is the only forward.

Embassy clarifies rights of property owners in Cyprus September 8, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied.
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Persons who illegally occupy property in the occupied part of Cyprus and claim to be “new owners” are not owners but trespassers, and must be treated as such, the Cyprus embassy in Doha said in a statement yesterday.

The mission was responding to a report titled ‘Couple win landmark Cyprus property battle,’ published in Gulf Times yesterday.

It was about a British couple, David Orams and his wife Linda, represented by Prime Minister Tony Blair’s lawyer wife Cherie Booth, who won an order from the High Court in London on Wednesday to keep a villa they built in partitioned Cyprus.

“The judgment in the Orams Case has only one conclusion. Any person who buys or occupies property they do not own in the occupied part of Cyprus is acting unlawfully, is a trespasser and can be treated accordingly,” the embassy stated.

The mission pointed out that it has been widely reported in the international press that the court ruling was in favour of the couple who built a villa in the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus, belonging to Meletis Apostolides, a Greek Cypriot refugee.

The High Court said it could not enforce the ruling of the Nicosia District Court in November 2004 which had ordered the Orams to return the land and pay compensation to Apostolides for the loss of use of his property.

The plaintiff tried to enforce the court’s judgment against the defendants’ assets in the UK based on European Union Regulations.

“Some of these newspaper articles create the impression that this judgment constitutes an open license for foreigners to invest in the occupied part of Cyprus without legal consequences,” the embassy said while maintaining that this could not be further than the truth.

The mission was of the view that the Greek Cypriots remain the owners of their land in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus and those buying property not belonging to them are acting illegally.

The British Court in the same decision ruled that (1) the land in the so called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is “within the Republic of Cyprus”, (2) the Cyprus Courts have jurisdiction over all land situated in the Republic’s territory, (3) Greek Cypriot owners of property in the Turkish-occupied area remain owners of their land, (4) laws of the TRNC cannot deprive owners of the title to the land and (5) persons who purport to buy or occupy land belonging to displaced Greek Cypriot owners (the true title-holders) are trespassers and must be treated as trespassers.

The embassy remarked that the British Court, did not want to get involved in enforcing Cyprus court judgments against those who illegally occupy Greek Cypriot properties and claimed that enforcing such judgments was “an international judgment ill-suited to be resolved by private litigation” and indicated that the European Court of Human Rights with Turkey as the defendant, was the proper place.

“Apostolides has also obtained leave to appeal against the judgment at the English Court of Appeals and there is also the possibility of referring the case to the European Communities Court in Luxembourg,” the embassy said.

There are other procedures, which Apostolides can use for the execution of the decision taken by the Cypriot court. There is a pending appeal to the English Court of Appeal on the technical points about EU enforcement procedures.

“But the matter will finally be decided in Luxembourg after reference by the Court of Appeal,” the mission added. 

Greek Cypriots remain owners of property in north September 8, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied.
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The Cypriot government said Wednesday that Greek Cypriots remain the owners of their land in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus and that those buying property not belonging to them are acting illegally.

Government spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardis made the remarks in a written statement in response to a ruling earlier in the day by the High Court in Britain in favor of a British couple regarding a piece of land in north Cyprus belonging to a Greek Cypriot.

The High Court said it could not enforce the ruling of an Nicosia District Court in November 2004 which had ordered Robert and Linda Orams to return the land, in the Turkish occupied part of the island, on which the couple had built a house.

The land belongs to Meletis Apostolides, a Greek Cypriot refugee from Lapithos. The Cypriot court had also ordered the Orams to pay compensation to Apostolides for the loss of use of his property.

Pashiardis pointed out that the British court was reluctant to become involved in the procedure to execute the decision of the Cypriot court against those who illegally possess Greek Cypriot properties.

Pashiardis said that Apostolides has secured a right to appeal the decision at the British Court of Appeals, noting there is also the possibility of referring the case to the European Communities Court in Luxembourg.

“Meanwhile, there are other procedures which Mr. Apostolides can use for the execution of the decision taken by the Cypriot court,” the spokesman said.

“Persons who illegally take ownership and claim to be the ‘new owners’ are not owners but violate other peoples’ property and should be treated accordingly. They are committing the offense of violating other peoples’ property,” the spokesman stressed.

Cyprus has been divided along the ethnic line since 1974 when Turkey militarily intervened and occupied the north of Cyprus following a coup by a group of Greek officers.

The partition uprooted 165,000 Greek Cypriots and 60,000 Turkish Cypriots. Each side unilaterally redistributed properties. Many British holidaymakers took advantage of cut-price properties but are now facing legal challenges.

Greeks celebrate culture, food September 8, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora Festivals.
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Orthodox church holds 31st annual food festival

For the majority of visitors, it was all about the food, the aromas of which wafted across Washington Street tempting passersby.

The 31st annual Greek Festival began Thursday with an assortment of Greek delights served to a crowd at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church.

Among the many items served are classic Greek gyro sandwiches, shish kebabs, wines and pastries. Several of the longtime female church members manned the zaharoplastion, or Greek pastry booth, churning out fresh Loukoumades, puffs of dough, deep-fried and bathed in honey.

Sample menu items:

Lamb dinner:$10.
Moussaka: $6.
Greek salad:$2.50.
Dolmathes: $2 for three.
Gyro: $5.
Baklava: $2.

What:31st Annual Greek Festival.

When: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., today and Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Where:Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 247 Washington St., Norwich.

What:Lunch and dinners, wine and beverages, Greek pastries and takeout orders available for all items. Religious books, artifacts, jewelry, raffle and a children’s Moonwalk.

Hellenic Dancers will perform at 7:30 tonight, 1:30 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

Greek Salad Beans September 8, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes.
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DRESSING:

2 cloves garlic, halved
1 to 2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp dried leaf oregano
1/2 tsp or more sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

SALAD:

1/2 lb (225 g) each: green beans, wax beans, trimmed
6 oz (170 g) grape tomatoes (about 1-1/4 cups)
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
12 to 18 kalamata olives to taste (about 1/2 to 1 cup), pitted, halved
1/4 lb (120 g) feta cheese

For dressing, put garlic, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper in blender. Blend until garlic is puréed. With machine running, drizzle in oil. Taste; add some or all of remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice if desired.

Adjust salt. (Makes about 2/3 cup.)

For salad, steam beans in steamer insert over boiling water on medium heat until just tender, 7 to 10 minutes.

Rinse with cold water until no longer hot.

Drain well.

Put beans in large serving bowl. Add tomatoes, onion and olives. Toss with dressing. (You will have some left over.) Crumble cheese over top.
Serve at room temperature.

Makes 6 servings.

Greek households spend more money on holidays September 8, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism.
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Greek households are spending more for their holidays, the National Statistics Service said in a report on Friday, the Athens News Agency reports.

The report said that spending on vacations and holiday travels of at least three overnight stays accounted for 2.7 pct of total household budget. The statistics service said 49.6 percent of Greek households have spent money for their holidays, while 18.3 percent of Greek households said they owned a holiday home in 2005, up from 14.5 pct in 1999.

The biggest part of holiday homes was found in the regions of Attica (20 pct), Cyclades (10.3 pct), Chalkidiki (6.3 pct), Korinthia (4.3 pct) and Thessaloniki (3.8 pct). A total of 34.1 pct of Greek households spent their holidays at their relatives or friends holiday homes, the report said.

Greeks preferred their holiday homes for their vacations (25.3 pct), hotels (22.7 pct), rented rooms (14.3 pct), camp (2.2 pct) and rent home (0.7 pct).

Central Macedonia (15 pct), southern Aegean (13.7 pct) and Attica (13 pct) were the main destination for vacations, while Attica (13 pct), Cyclades (10.4 pct), Chalkidiki (8.3 pct), Magnesia (4.2 pct) and Evia (3.8 pct) were the main regions both for vacations and holidays.