The following message was just sent to my email from the White House. "The President spoke with Prime Minister Tsipras today to congratulate him on his recent election victory. The President noted that the United States, as a longstanding friend and ally, looks forward to working closely with the new Greek government to help Greece return to a path of long-term prosperity. The two leaders also reviewed close cooperation between Greece and the United States on issues of European security and counterterrorism."
I know Greece is not the most important item on Obama's list, but I would not rule out that it is pretty high up on the list. There is much turmoil and speculation in Greece. The ANA-MPA reported today: Commenting on the upcoming extraordinary Council of EU Foreign ministers in Brussels on Thursday, which will discuss a new set of sanctions against Russia, Newly appointed Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said some EU partners violated EU rules and tried to present us a fait accompli before the new government was even sworn-in. "We made that clear from the beginning, it will not be accepted, he said."Anyone who thinks that Greece will resign from its sovereignty and its active contribution to European policy because of its debt is mistaken," he added.
This new Greek government seems to be coming out swinging hard, but remains to be seen is whether it will hit anything.
CHICAGO—Thodos Dance Chicago's 23rd Anniversary Winter Concert, titled this year Chicago Inspired, promises a rich tapestry of dance ranging from rarely performed works by Chicago native and Broadway legend Bob Fosse to cutting edge present day creations with a vibrant Windy City edge. Immediately following the performance, Thodos Dance will host a Chicago Inspired post-show VIP gala on the enclosed stage of the beautiful Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.
Thodos Dance's Chicago Inspired concert is Saturday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the Harris Theatre for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph St., Chicago. Concert tickets (only) are $15-$65; 40% off for students and seniors. Purchase tickets at the Harris by calling (312) 334-7777 or visiting harristheaterchicago.org.
Tickets to the company's Chicago Inspired performance and post-show gala are $275 or $500. In addition, gala guests will be treated to VIP seating at the concert, and cocktails and hors d'oeuvres during intermission in the Donor Room with a performance by the Thodos Dance Chicago Youth Ensemble.
After the performance, at approximately 9:30 p.m. gala guests will be spirited pied-piper style to the Harris back stage to enjoy signature cocktails in the Green Room. Then guests will be escorted on a festive, Chicago Inspired decorated elevator to the glass enclosed stage of the Pritzker Pavilion.
With incredible night views of Millennium Park and the Art Institute as an appropriate backdrop, the post-concert gala will continue the company's celebration of Chicago as its inspiration for creativity and community. Thodos' supporters will enjoy a fabulous Chicago Inspired menu, open bar, savory passed hors d'oeuvres, coffee and dessert stations.
Don't forget your dancing shoes, because the enclosed Pritzker stage will have a night club feel when some of Chicago's finest young dance professionals join their guests on the Pritzker stage to dance the night away to live music.
Purchase gala tickets at thodosdancechicago.org or call (312) 266-6255.
It's official! Greece's anti-austerity Syriza party and its leader Alexis Tsipras have won the election. Tsipras, who is set to turn the tables on the oligarchs and elite that have ruled Greece, is Greece's youngest premier in the last 150 years.
Smiling before he cast his ballot I can only imagine the adrenaline running through his veins—not to mention all those who voted for him. Tsipras told the crowd: “Today the Greek people has written history, Hope has written history ... Greece is turning a page. Greece is leaving the austerity of catastrophe and fear … there are no losers and winners."
We don't know tomorrow or tomorrow's outcome from this election. But, today I celebrate Greece—for its hope and for the future.
The 24th Annual Leadership 100 Conference will take place February 12-15, 2015 at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes in Orlando, Florida. The conference will include the traditional Bible Study and Lecture by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, along with outstanding speakers. Two forums will feature Leadership 100 members: Michael Psaros, Co-Founder and Co-Managing Partner of KPS Capital Partners, LP, and Dr. Eleni Andreopoulou, a member of the faculty of the Weill Cornell Medical College/New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.
The Opening Forum will present Constantine M. Triantafilou, Executive Director and CEO of International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), a recipient of Leadership 100 grants, who will describe the ongoing work of the organization's charitable outreach in America and around the world.
At the Grand Banquet on Saturday evening, special tribute will be paid to the internationally renowned Greek academician, artist and designer, Ilias I. Lalaounis, who passed away in December of 2013, with the presentation to him posthumously of the Archbishop lakovos Leadership 100 Award for Excellence, to be accepted by his wife, Lila. The Award will also be presented to other worthy recipients.
In addition to the Welcome Reception and Glendi, the program will include a special event, a "Symphony at Sunset" with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by the renowned Maestro Peter Tiboris, also a member of Leadership 100, and featuring his wife, Eilana Lappalainen, the celebrated dramatic soprano.
"The Annual Conference will offer an outstanding program and welcome many new members and acknowledge the members who have fulfilled their commitments," according to George S. Tsandikos, Leadership 100 Chairman.
Following from the ANA-MPA is a close look at the thoughts of Democratic Socialists Movement leader and former Prime Minister George Papandreou. A different view on the crisis and those years leading up to it. Here is the full release from the ANA-MPA.
In an interview to ANA-MPA on Saturday Papandreou referred to everything and everyone and shed light to a number of questions and speculations regarding his actions and policy when he was prime minister to a Greek media after three years of silence.
In his interview referring to his meeting with former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn in the summer of 2009 and the allegations that it was then that he decided Greece's accession to the IMF and not in the spring of 2010 called them nonsense." No decision has been taken before or after the elections in any discussion with Strauss-Kahn. We both agreed that Greece took the right steps but without EU's support the markets will not calm. But I was worried", said Papandreou, "because I saw that Europe underestimated the Greek problem, they said 'it’s your problem, you created it you must solve it'. I discussed all possible scenarios to protect my country. Neither the IMF was the solution because the money was not enough to cover Greece's needs. Based on these discussions I started a diplomatic marathon to persuade the Europeans to support us. There was no accession into the IMF but into the European Support Mechanism which I, with the support of Strauss-Kahn and other European leaders, persuaded EU to set from zero at a record time".
Asked who finally brought the IMF in Greece, German Chancellor Merkel or himself, George Papandreou said "It is widely known that many countries and particularly Germany demanded IMF's participation into the programme, they have said either the IMF will participate or we will not participate at all. You can see even now, that we are at the final phase before our exit from the adjustment programme, some EU partners' insistence to IMF's involvement. It sounds strange but IMF was hesitant. I do not believe that the Fund wanted to get involved into the eurozone, many non-EU country members of the board as Brazil expressed their opposition. I had asked for a purely European mechanism. I had proposed the establishment of a European Monetary Fund.
You are charged by your former party PASOK and its leadership that you are responsible for the rapid fall of its popularity because you did not ask the programme to be approved by parliament's vast majority and did not proceed with a referendum or elections before the signing of the memorandum asked ANA-MPA reporter Vassilis Mourtis. "I asked for consensus" said Papandreou "I did not take into account the political cost. We undertook the whole burden. I do not apologise for that. Those that should apologise are those that did not help and who have huge part of the responsibility for the Greek crisis. New Democracy's leadership had taken a final decision not to vote the programme and I remind that ND threw out its deputies that voted it. They should apologise today for their stance and their refusal to assist a government that did its patriotic duty.
On charges that he handed over the authority to Antonis Samaras in June 2011, Papandreou said "I did not hand over the leadership. I saw what was happening in PASOK. Some deputies were against the government’s efforts not for ideological or political but for personal reasons. They simply did not want me to be prime minister or finance minister. I also saw what was happening in the Greek society and the manipulation of the people's rage. When I left the protesting people disappeared from the squares. I have called Antonis Samaras and asked him to rise to the occasion by accepting a coalition government with a specific framework of progressive reforms to tidy up the public sector with specific timetables, against corruption and a new growth model. He did not react negatively. On the contrary. Unfortunately, later I was informed that there were leaks in ND saying that I have resigned. That's what Samaras' associates had understood. Shame, a unique opportunity was lost then.
Asked on what happened at the EU informal Summit in Cannes, a few days after the agreement in October 2011 with Greece's EU partners and speculations that the order for his overthrow was given after Cannes, Papandreou opined "In October's EU Summit we reached a historic agreement for Greece. An additional 120 billion euros loan with better pay off conditions and a huge debt write off. In Greece, those who did not call me a traitor rejected the agreement. I knew that it would not be voted in parliament and even if it was, it would be impossible to be implemented in such conditions of ‘civil war' in society. There was a long time that I was thinking the referendum. I wanted to have the time and the permission by law to call it before the first memorandum. I had made known my intention to European leaders as well as to Chancellor Merkel a few months ago. Yes, there was turmoil over the referendum, but if the government collapsed and went to election there wouldn’t be a turmoil? In Cannes I had an argument with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, - none of the exaggerations written- he could not understand that the referendum was and is the only democratic way to implement successfully the Brussels' agreement if the citizens' approved it. The referendum was a proposal for the Greek people to decide, without middlemen, good or bad protectors. Sarkozy wanted the question to be 'yes' or 'no' to the euro currency. I resisted. Obviously, the decision for a referendum would affect our position in the eurozone and that was the reason I believed and believe that the Greeks would have said YES to the agreement. But the dilemma could only be the agreement package not our participation in the eurozone. The truth is that suddenly the main opposition's stance towards the agreement changed and during the vote of confidence debate in parliament, a number of PASOK deputies demanded my resignation in order to vote. I had already been overthrown. Everything else is history. And another thing. I was charged that with my proposal for a referendum I set indirectly into doubt Greece's position in the eurozone. Do you remember those who charged me which direct and clear dilemma used as their campaign slogan in the national elections? Euro or Drachma. Hypocrisy?
CAIRO (AP) —A military spokesman for Libya's internationally recognized government says its fighter jets bombed a Greek-owned tanker ship because it had no prior clearance to enter an eastern port and acted ``suspicious.''
Spokesman Ahmed al-Mesmari said the jets struck the tanker twice Monday in Darna before his government was informed that it was commissioned by the local power station. Greek officials said the bombing killed two crew members and wounded two onboard the Liberian-flagged Araevo.
Al-Mesmari told The Associated Press: "We regret the loss of lives.''
Darna is a base for Islamic extremists who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.
Libya, torn between rival governments, has been beset by militia violence since its 2011 civil war and the death of dictator Moammar Gadhafi.