Saturday, March 26, 2011

2011 Greek Independence Day Parade on New York’s Fifth Avenue Dedicated to “Visit Greece”

The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York Announces Annual Parade Details to be held on Sunday, March 27, 2011.
Τhe Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York is proud to announce the details surrounding the annual and highly anticipated 2011 Greek Independence Day Parade. This year marks the 73rd year that the Greek Independence Day Parade will take place on New York’s famed Fifth Avenue, starting at 64th and continuing to 79th Streets on Sunday, March 27, 2011 beginning at 2:00 p.m.
This year’s parade, the largest Greek parade in the country, is dedicated to the theme “Visit Greece” and will be televised live on WWOR TV Channel 9 and anchored by Greek Americans Ernie Anastos, Nicole Petallides, and Nick Gregory.
Parade Grand Marshals for 2011 are:
The Congressional Hellenic Caucus, represented by the Caucus Chairs, Congress Members Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL);
Mr. Demetris Kastanas, founder and President of NGTV (National Greek Television), the only “Greek-speaking,” 24 hour Television Network, outside of Greek borders;
Dr. William Tenet, noted heart surgeon and brother of George Tenet.
The parade Co-Chairman and well-regarded businessmen, Mr. Philip Christopher, and Parade Chairman Emeritus, John Catsimatidis, are proud to welcome members of the Elite Presidential Guard of Greece, the iconic ceremonial unit whose unique traditional uniform includes a kilt-like fustanella. The Evzones, known for their proven valour, have become a popular image especially among visitors. They will lead the parade, which has been a New York City tradition since 1951.
Following the announcement, the President of the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York, Mr. Elias Tsekerides, noted, “We are thrilled to be joined this year by Aglaia Baltas and Koula Sofianou, Consul Generals of Greece and Cyprus, as well as Congressional, State and local officials and all our visiting dignitaries from Greece and Cyprus to celebrate the 190th Anniversary of Greek Independence, Greek culture and history, and the contributions of the Greeks and Greek Americans to society.”
The parade will include over 50 floats and bands from across the Tri-State Area. There will be a number of events that are open to the public including:
15th Annual Greek and American Flag Raising at 1:00 p.m., Bowling Greek Park on Friday, March 25;
Annual Greek Youth Dance Exhibition, hosted at the Cretan Association, 32-33 31st Street in Astoria, New York, on Saturday, March 26, at 12:30 p.m.
More than 100,000 participants and spectators are expected to attend the parade, commemorating the 190th anniversary of Greece’s independence after 400 years of Turkish Ottoman rule on March 25, 1821.
The parade will be televised live to millions of households nationwide for 2 hours by host station WWOR-TV My9, and will allow viewers in over 3 million households in the Metro NY area the opportunity to experience the history and culture of Greece.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

World Security Network reporting from Berlin in Germany, March 21, 2011


"What about Gaddafi and his family clan? The international community will have to bite in the sour apple offering him an exit in half-dignity."
Military efforts are now directed against Col. Gaddafi by 11 states including the U.S., France, Great Britain as well as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates under UN Resolution 1973 which was a sensation, as it made possible all measures necessary for the protection of the civilian population.

China and Russia abstained out of consideration for the decision of the Arab League – and their oil interests. The government in Tripoli has changed course and become nervous, now that it is under attack by the most powerful coalition on earth. It cannot win.

The UN resolution was a remarkable success for France and a disgrace for German Foreign Minister Westerwelle, who chose not to vote with the USA, the UK, France and Lebanon for a no-fly zone, and instead chose to abstain. Thereby, Germany has become isolated after torpedoing a good idea of joint EU foreign policy, and is even applauded by Col. Gaddafi. Beirut and Tehran supported the no-fly zone but not Berlin – here, the strategies seems to have turned upside down.

What should the USA, the EU and progressive forces do now in the next phase of the conflict ? What does an action plan for Libya 2011 look like?

An active structuring of North African policy is decisive, not merely running behind events or holding things at a distance and doing nothing. “We have to shape and not only adapt to reality", repeated my mentor and Pentagon strategist Dr. Fritz Kraemer again and again. That is not a lesson for the French President or his brilliant intellectual master-mind Bernard-Henri Lévy but rather the German Foreign Minister.

Here are several ideas for an action plan for Libya 2011:

1. A no-fly zone and air-strikes are two of many necessary ideas and actions that should be developed and implemented in a “Master Plan Libya 2011" to assemble a larger picture of progress. We need a new double strategy of power and reconciliation, hard and soft factors of peacemaking including a new democratic fundament and economic growth.

2. EU Member States should follow France’s lead and now recognize the the Interim Transitional National Council of Libya in Benghazi diplomatically, but only under the condition that they clearly and irrevocably recognize the UN Charta, namely the protection of human rights, religious freedom and freedom of the press in an official declaration. Where is this declaration? Who will demand it? Neither France nor any other EU state can afford - as in 1979 with the naive support of the Iranian revolution - to support the birth of another dictatorship out of the ruin of a fading dictator. Have a look into the website and founding declaration of the Interim Transitional National Council of Libya which does not name political ideas or the UN Charta and human rights.

3. The rebels’ leaders should form a parliamentary assembly. The benchmark for this should be the free “Eesti Komitee” of my friend Tunne Kelam from 1990 in which, in a counter-parliament to the Supreme Soviet of Estonia, the smallest republic of the USSR, the boundaries were set for real reform and the Estonian democracy. Kelam now sits in the European Parliament and on the advisory board of our World Security Network Foundation. At that time I led his International Advisory Board. The EU should support this committee. As many signatures as possible should be gathered for an independent Libya. In Estonia more than 700.000 Estonians signed out of a population of only 1.4 million.

4. The EU should create a “EU-Libya Future Fund” with an initial amount of Euro 100 million. Libya, a rich country, should contribute one billion Euro. A development plan must create jobs and prosperity for all through a social market economy.

5. The billions of dollars in frozen assets must flow into transparent development funds. Until now all Libyan deposits have been concealed and are untraceable.

Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann in the Old City of Tripoli in Libya: "An active structuring of North African policy is decisive, not merely running behind events or holding things at a distance and doing nothing."
6. A constitutional convention should establish a free democratic order, oriented towards Europe and the UN Charta and the protection of human rights and dignity.

7. A “Libyan Truth and Reconciliation Commission” should be created following the example of South Africa, which should investigate all incidents of the past and bring together opponents around one table. Reconciliation with Gaddafi supporters must also be included in the political manifesto in order to avoid a civil war. Most medium level current civil servants must, for the time being, remain in their posts in order to avoid chaos like in Iraq. All contracts with foreign businesses must remain in force.

8. American special aircrafts should transmit radio programs for a free Libya as was done in Iraq and Afghanistan.

9. The UN should invite Libyan representatives to permanent negotiations with various working groups.

10. As with Egypt, it is critical that the generals and security forces are drawn to the side of the reformers – this led to the transition in the USSR, GDR and eastern European nations. Different tribes should be integrated into the peace process.

11. And what about Gaddafi and his family clan? The international community will have to bite in the sour apple offering him an exit in half-dignity.

Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi has also gone too far. Within a matter of days he ruined his reputation as a potential modern successor, in spite of the fact that he is consulted along each step by his New York PR agency. The days of self-aggrandizing rulers are over.

Libya has billions of dollars in oil and gas income. However, one sees very little when it comes to investment in the country.

It seems that over decades someone must have hidden away many billions of dollars.

If Gaddafi and his family reveal all of their wealth leaving it to the state, they should be permitted to retain an “allowance” of USD 100 to 300 million.

Now the Libyan people must be very careful that other persons do not claim the rest of the national wealth for themselves. Libya should immediately create a transparent state fund model like that realized by Singapore as a best practice example.

Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann
President and Founder
World Security Network Foundation

Monday, March 21, 2011

Greece: 'balanced' position on Libya

(ANA-MPA) -- Greece is not taking part in operations of a military nature in Libya, but is providing facilitations of a supportive nature in line with the country's obligations deriving from the relevant UN Security Council resolution, Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas said on Monday during an interview on a private television station.

He also stressed that the east Mediterranean country is observing a "balanced" position, something also echoed by Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos in a newspaper interview published on Monday.

"There are UN Security Council resolutions. The aim of these resolutions is for there to be an end to the violence in Libya, for the violence aimed at the Libyan people themselves to be stopped," Droutsas added.

Edi Rama candidates for the fourth time in the Municipality of Tirana

Opposition leader Edi Rama has decided today to ask for the fourth time the votes of the capital to run the largest municipality in the country. Few moments ago is gathered the Socialist Party Parliamentary Group who will discuss the nomination of Rama in the elections of 8 May. Today Rama will meet with his allies about the opposition coalition agreement.

It is known that it would be 26 smaller parties that will cooperate with the SP in this election. The local elections of this year have taken a political character, because of this the SP leader has decided to candidate for the municipality which he runs from 2000.

In surveys conducted by the SP turns out that Rama is the candidate that gives more security to the opposition. Some names that were discussed are, former Prime Minister Pandeli Majko, deputy Blendi Klosi, Erion Veliaj and other figures. At the end of the meeting is expected to have a communication to the media.

Albanian President: Kosovo and Albania together in the EU

President of Albania, Bamir Topi stated that Kosovo and Albania together will be part of the European Union in the near future and that together with his Kosovo counterpart expressed willingness to establish a common work agenda.

In a joint press conference with Kosovo President Behgjet Pacolli, Topi stressed that both countries together will make it possible to create a new reputation and so Kosovo will be recognized by more states.

On his part, Kosovo President, Behgjet Pacolli stressed that his visit comes at a moment when Kosovo emerged from a difficult institutional vacuum.
Pacolli said that by cooperating, both states will be stronger, and stressed that should start the economic cooperation in order to set up a common market.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Muslim Community of Albania: We oppose self-declaration of ethnicity and religion

Startling statement, after the Albanian nationalists are seeking to block the population census process, the Albanian Muslim Community, joins in a line against the interest of Albania to the European Union.

Albanian Muslim Community has called today a meeting of the General Council, which is discussed regarding the construction of a new mosque in Tirana, and the census population, based on ethnic and religious groups.

Discussion for the population, where General Council decided that a census on ethnic and religious grounds, not serve, integrity and social and political stability in Albania.

Albanian Muslim Community has called on the competent authorities in the census form to remove points of self-declaration of ethnicity and religion.

The issue of disclosure of religion has sparked quite the debate among political representatives, who have opposed this initiative.

Startling statement, after the Albanian nationalists are seeking to block the population census process, the Albanian Muslim Community, joins in a line against the interest of Albania to the European Union.

Nationalist Games by Berisha, a similar protest, was realized in 2004 by government Fatos Nano

Protests against Bollano, the police turn on the road protesters

Chairman of protest from Dukati, close cousin of the General Secretary of the Ministry of Defense of Albania

Police stopped the protest of the inhabitants of the villages of Vlora and Dukati, who were heading toward Himara to protest against the mayor of this city, Vasil Bolanos, after the latter's statements that the villages of Vlora are Greek consciousness, made public on the website of this institution.

According to the Albanian media, the convoy of protesters was stopped by police near Vlora, Llogara. Together with employees was himself director of the Vlora police, who gave as reasons the fact that the road in front of protesters in Himara Orikum is long and it is impossible to follow the rally by police forces.

Meanwhile, organizers of the protest said that the protest is intended to punish statements of "Bollano" and counties that support, and fails to address Himara residents, whom they consider brothers.

The nationalist Games of government, implicates particularly the PM Berisha. A similar protest, was realized in 2004 by government Fatos Nano, who called as protesters, contingents by organized crime and persons sentenced in absentia.

According to sources, President of protest from Dukati, is close cousin of the Secretary General of the Ministry of Defence of Albania, Edwin Kulluri, a fact that seriously implicates the Berisha government in this scandal with ethnic dimensions.