Greece Sees 'Window Of Opportunity' To Settle Name Dispute With Macedonia

Leaders of Greece and Macedonia say they have been working hard to settle their decadeslong dispute over the name Macedonia. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says he sees a "window of opportunity" to resolve the issue, and on January 11 he called on the Greek Orthodox church to restrain its strong opposition to allowing the Balkan country to use the name, which is also claimed by a northern province in Greece. Tsipras told Greek state television ERT that he believes an agreement would benefit all the countries in the region. Greece's Foreign Minister Nikow Kotzias this week mentioned "New Macedonia" as a name Athens might accept for its northern neighbor and said that with 100 nations already recognizing the Balkan nation as Macedonia, Athens has little alternative but to compromise. Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has also given top priority to resolving the dispute, which has hampered Macedonia's bid to join the European Union and NATO. Kotzias and Macedonian Foreig..

Valletta is this year's European City of Culture. So what will a big award...

Since it began in 1985, nearly 60 cities have been awarded the title of European Capital of Culture. In 2018, two will share the title: Leeuwarden, in the Netherlands, and the Maltese capital of Valletta. The latter adds up to a big award for a small city in a small country. On any grounds, Valletta is tiny, with a population of less than 6,000. Malta itself is only 316km2, around 1/5th the size of London. The small size and relative accessibility of Valletta means that the impact of City of Culture aware on the country as a whole may be more significant than Liverpool gaining the title was on, say, Bournemouth. There are those who were born in Valletta but have moved out, those who have always lived there, those who work there but live elsewhere, and those who just visit. All of them seem to be feeling the ripple effect of Valletta 2018. And with 95 per cent of the total operating expenditure for exercise – approximately €46m – coming from the public sector, it’s crucial that Vall..

The historical myth of white supremacy

Bigoted protestors at the pro-confederate rally in Richmond, Va. last September openly espoused support for the concept of white supremacy. They were equally disparaging of Jews. In support of racial and religious equality, fair minded Americans opposed the violence and bigotry of the Richmond protestors. However, there was no assertion that the concept of white supremacy is historically invalid. Many of the early immigrants to America came from Western Europe: areas now known as Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium and Great Britain. In 100 B.C., the residents of that part of Europe were primitive, warlike tribes. Julius Caesar was sent from Rome as a consul and military general to suppress tribal invasions into Italy and to extend the influence of Rome, his written account of the battles, which ended in 51 B.C., is entitled “The Gallic Wars of Julius Caesar.” Roman society was highly evolved at that time. Romans were great engineers. They built roads which are still serviceable, bri..

The Zionist Cultural Revival

Israel is now mature enough to tolerate us as American Israelis or Russian Israelis or Ethiopian Israelis – no longer forced to jettison our previous identities – or any part "of our souls." Last week, Michael Oren, the deputy minister in charge of public diplomacy, read some of his short stories at Tmol Shilshom, the legendary Jerusalem café. Yes. That Michael Oren, the historian, diplomat and politician, is also a novelist and short-story writer. In 1962, president John Kennedy hailed 49 Nobel Prize winners as “the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.” In the future, Tmol Shilshom can salute any impressive audience as its most talented since Michael Oren performed alone. Beyond showcasing Oren’s Jeffersonesque virtuosity, the evening epitomizes the Zionist cultural revival we take for granted. Oren’s short stories sent the standing-room-on..

Liverpool to mark Capital of Culture 'milestone' with year of events

Liverpool is to celebrate a decade of "amazing success" since being European Capital of Culture with a year-long programme of "inspirational" events. In 2008, Gustav Klimt paintings, Sir Paul McCartney and a 50ft mechanical spider all appeared in what the city council called a "game-changing year". An Irish culture festival, a weekend of cardboard castles and other events are planned to mark the "milestone". Mayor Joe Anderson said there will be some "incredibly special moments". Liverpool City Council said the majority of Liverpool 2018's 40-plus events and festivals would be free and aimed at positioning "culture and creativity at the heart of all aspects of the city". The programme will include four "seasons", which will focus around the Terracotta Warriors exhibition at the World Museum, the centenaries of the end of World War One and women being given the right to vote, the summer's Fifa World Cup and the changing nature of Liverpool's jobs market. Alongside them, T..

The Olympics in the Korean Crisis

The winter Olympics in South Korea next month is a golden opportunity for bringing the deadly Korean confrontation between America and North Korea to an end. Indeed, this Olympic celebration could formally end the Korean War and enable the two Korean states to become one country. The Olympic games in ancient Greece were more than athletic competition. In concert with other Pan-Hellenic athletic and cultural celebrations, the great athletic and cultural festival at Olympia was definitely a golden opportunity for the Greeks to know each other better. They competed naked for the love of Zeus. They run, jumped, threw the javelin and discus, boxed, and wrestled. They competed in the pentathlon, pankration (a fierce boxing and wrestling game), and chariot races. To avoid corruption, athletes were reminded that only the speed of their feet and the strength of their bodies would bring victory, not money. In his dialogue, “Anacharsis,” the second century writer Lucian, gives us a sense of the ..

British cities can't become “European Capital of Culture”

The annual award of the "European Capital of Culture" designation puts the spotlight on a European city whose cultural assets have been overlooked. The award is run by the European Commission, the European Union's executive arm, and that body has decided that since the United Kingdom is heading out of the EU, it will no longer qualify for inclusion. Five British cities were in the running for the title for 2023. The fact that they can no longer take part has caused anger and dismay in Britain. “Hang on! We are still part of Europe. We’re leaving the European Union because of this decision on Brexit, but we’re still part of Europe,” said Ann Limb, head of the tourist body for Milton Keynes, a large, new town situated 45 miles northwest of London. “We will continue to have relationships with Europe. We think in a European way. We have every right to be considered for this award,” Limb said. Like the other cities seeking the title (Leeds, Nottingham, Dundee and Belfast, which is ma..

Greece limits power of sharia law for its Muslim minority

The Greek parliament yesterday (9 January) made the practice of Islamic sharia law in family disputes optional for the country’s Muslim minority, changing a century-old legacy. Greece’s leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras immediately called the vote an “historic step” as it “extended equality before the law to all Greeks.” The legislation will allow Muslim litigants to opt for a Greek court to resolve family disputes rather than appealing to Islamic jurists known as muftis. For family law matters, Greek Muslims generally seek recourse to muftis for things like divorce, child custody and inheritance. Rights groups say it is a system that frequently discriminates against women. Paradox of history The issue has its origins in the period after World War I, and treaties between Greece and Turkey that followed the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Greece allows #sharia law for muslim minorities. They will be able to get married, divorced, inherit etc. according to islam. And Greece in EU, ho..

Meet Talos, the Killer Robot From Ancient Greek Mythology

If you were to go looking for the world's first mechanical humanoid, you'd have to go all the back to ancient Greek mythology. His name? Talos, the man of bronze. Talos, as Joe McCormick and I discuss on this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, emerged from the tales of Jason and his Argonauts – a band of heroes that in some ways stands as a proto-superhero team. When our heroes reached the island of Crete, they encountered a bronze automaton created in the likeness of a man. There, the great protector stalked the shores, hurling rocks at unidentified sea vessels and embracing any enemy brave enough to land in an immolating red-hot bear hug. The origin of Talos varies. Some accounts describe him as the last survivor of an ancient race of bronze men, but the more popular versions attribute his creation to Hephaestus, god of the forge. Later tellings even cast him as the work of Daedalus, the mythic inventor of the Minoan maze and the wings of Icarus. Wherever he came from, his..

Cultural Arguments and Immigration – Some Issues

* Note to the reader: The term “anti-immigration” to define a specific stance should not be conflated with people who are for border security. “Anti-immigration” should be understood as being both anti-immigration and pro-border security while a pro-border security stance is simply wanting to have greater control over the borders while not necessarily being anti-immigrant. Where we wereDonald Trump began his campaign in 2015 with a promise of a greater America: more jobs, economic prosperity, and a reduction in immigration. The last point, of course, brought him the most attention. Trump was called every name in the book. The words fascist and racist were used almost exclusively by reactionary college students to describe the candidate while others, more academically inclined, preferred terms like “right-wing populist” or “right-Hegelian candidate.” There begs the question: why was the President labeled with such strong words? Even at this point in our political climate, such intense a..

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