Daily Archives: May 25, 2015

Where is the Work and Holiday visa?

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MP warns of window closing for roll-out of 462 visa program

On the anniversary of the signing of the Work and Holiday visa agreement between Australia and Greece, the long-awaited program is stuck in limbo – waiting for the Greek and Australian governments to complete “necessary domestic processes”.

One year after Greece’s former Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni put pen to paper with the then Minister for Immigration, Scott Morrison, the implementation of the agreement seemingly lies dormant – the result of bureaucratic indifference to the program that will allow 500 young Greeks and Australians a year to live and work in each other’s country.

Confirmation of the lack of progress on the sub class 462 visa between the two countries was obtained this week by Neos Kosmos, after the newspaper requested an update of the situation from the Australian government.

A spokesperson for the Department of Immigration said that the visa arrangement would “come into operation once both Australia and Greece have completed the necessary domestic processes, so Work and Holiday visa grants to each other’s citizens can start”.

“Subject to the required procedures being in place in both countries, the arrangement is expected to commence during 2015.”

The Department of Immigration’s comments are thought to refer to the problem lying squarely on the Greek government’s side.

Asked to comment on the situation, Greece’s ambassador to Australia Mr Haris Dafaranos said: “The process of ratification by the Greek parliament is still continuing. We have asked Athens to expedite the relevant process during the coming months as a priority.”

Meanwhile the reaction of Greek Australian community leaders to the latest hold-up can only be described as one of frustration – if not exasperation.

Bill Papastergiadis, president of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne, who played a central role in persuading the Australian government to adopt the visa program, said that the situation was “deeply disappointing”.

“There are significant efforts being undertaken by organisations in Australia of Greek background, to provide assistance to Greeks wishing to migrate to this country.

“Many of these have been assisting humanitarian efforts in Greece for those affected by the economic crisis,” said Mr Papastergiadis.

“It’s sad that this effort is not being respected, in that the Greek government fails to ratify this agreement.”

Lobbying for the agreement in Canberra over the past four years has involved a number of Greek Australian MPs, with Labor’s Maria Vamvakinou being one of the most active.

Ms Vamvakinou told Neos Kosmos that while the Greek parliament’s legislative agenda might not see the ratifying of the visa program as a priority, she believes other factors may be impacting the situation.

“They may be concerned about the reciprocal nature of the agreement, that is, that the equivalent working rights have to also be given to Australians visiting Greece.

“The hold-up might be because of these concerns given the high levels of unemployment in Greece. Unfortunately, none of this will ever be stated publicly, so the whole issue will remain in a state of passivity, caught up perhaps in the ongoing challenges facing the Greek state.”

The Member for Calwell added that the Australian government was increasingly engaged in examining the impact of working holiday visa arrangements, amidst concerns over their impact on local employment.

“A lot of effort has gone into this campaign – to finalise the working holiday visa arrangements between Greece and Australia – and I fear that the window of opportunity may be closing.”

Ms Vamvakinou said she will raise the matter with Greek parliamentarians on a visit to Athens in July. Neos Kosmos understands a representative from the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne will also meet with the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad to encourage movement on the program.

source:Neos Kosmos

2,000 Aussie babies born thanks to Greece

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Mary Coustas with baby Jamie.

Greek Australian Dr Kostas Pantos is leading the way to make Greece an IVF hub and has helped thousands of Australians conceive despite the odds, including Mary Coustas.

While Greece is famous for its beaches and archaeological sites, there’s another form of tourism that is booming: medical tourism.

Greece is becoming an internationally recognised hub for IVF treatments, and leading the charge is Greek Australian doctor Kostas Pantos.

Since opening his Athens Genesis clinic in 2004, Dr Pantos has helped thousands of couples conceive, and he says more than 2,000 of those babies have been born to Australian families.

His clinic has seen a huge jump in applications from Australia and around the world thanks to word of mouth and ideal conditions in Greece.

“At the moment Greece is a hot spot concerning in vitro fertilisation,” Dr Pantos tells Neos Kosmos.

“We’ve got couples coming here from 34 countries around the world, including from Australia.”

Greece is a unique stop for those seeking IVF treatments. It’s considerably cheaper for couples (the US is four times more expensive, and the UK is twice as costly), many of the clinics in Greece have high IVF success rates. Additionally, the law is on the couple’s side.

Unlike Australia, IVF donors are completely anonymous, meaning that couples don’t have to deal with the risk of the donor and the child reuniting. It’s something Dr Pantos says is important for couples who can’t conceive naturally.

“Many couples also come for donations, because in Australia you have known donors and the children and donors are able to find each other through a separate bank,” Dr Pantos says.

“In Greece it’s an unknown donor, and no one has the ability to find each other. This is by law, so this is very good, because they don’t come into contact with each other which means no complications.”

Amazingly, despite the Greek economic crisis, reproductive tourism hasn’t been affected at all, and in fact is seeing a huge rise in popularity.

“My clinic here was up 20 per cent this year and was up 30 per cent last year even though we have the financial crisis, which means people are coming no matter what,” Dr Pantos says.

On Monday, Dr Pantos travelled to London to host a conference, hoping to cultivate the industry more and add to Greece’s tourism trade.

With him travelled a former client and fan, Greek Australian Mary Coustas.

The much loved comedian and actress felt compelled to join Dr Pantos and tell her own success story to prospective couples.

Returning to Australia on Thursday, she says it was a privilege to help.

“I feel a lifelong debt to Dr Pantos, because he got me over the line,” she tells Neos Kosmos.

“I did 15 IVFs in Australia and I did eight with him in Athens, 23 all up.”

Suffering a miscarriage in between treatments, Mary Coustas was finally able to conceive and bring to term her miracle baby Jamie, now 18 months old.

It was her IVF connection to Greece that brought her back last year, to christen her daughter in Tinos.

At the christening was Dr Pantos, proud as can be.

He’s dealt with many cases like Coustas’, of couples with almost no hope to conceive and exhausted from failed attempts.

“There was a couple from Melbourne which had the most IVF attempts that I have ever seen, 44 failed attempts in the past,” Dr Pantos says.

“Now they have twins.”

In one case, Dr Pantos met an American woman that was told by four different IVF clinics in her country that it wasn’t possible for her to conceive.

She fell pregnant in Greece, and is organising another trip to try for a second child.

“Nothing good comes from giving up,” Mary Coustas says.

“Whatever it takes. Wherever it takes you.”

While Dr Pantos has been labelled a miracle worker, he stresses that there are cases where nothing can be done and says he is very honest about people’s chances.

He hopes that Greece can harness the potential of reproductive tourism and expects to be hosting more international events to muster up support.

In the next couple of months, he’s hoping to visit New York and speak to the Greek diaspora, before organising a trip back to Australia.

It is estimated that around 1,000 women travel to Greece to seek IVF treatments.

source:Neos Kosmos

The AFL has the fourth highest sporting attendance record in the world

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While soccer got the two spots in the top three, AFL wasn’t far behind.

The AFL has retained its standing as the fourth-best attended sporting competition in the world, despite the addition in recent years of two expansion teams in states which historically favour the rugby codes.

The average attendance for AFL home and away matches in 2014 was 32,436 – a figure bolstered by the huge crowds drawn to the refurbished Adelaide Oval to watch the Power and the Crows.

The two Adelaide sides and three of Melbourne’s most popular clubs – Collingwood, Essendon and Richmond – all attracted an average of more than 43,000 fans to their home games in 2014.

Ten of the 18 AFL clubs pulled bigger home crowds than NRL pacesetters Brisbane, whose average attendance at Suncorp Stadium was 33,354 last year.

In a global sense, the National Football League in the US remained far and away the pacesetter for crowds, with an average of 68,776 supporters on hand for every match of the home and away season, according to figures published by ICYMI Sports.

Football (soccer) claimed the next two spots on the table.

The Bundesliga was second with 43,500 and the English Premier League was third with 36,695.

The NFL and the Bundesliga operate predominantly on the one-team, one-town model.

In contrast, six of the 20 EPL teams in the 2013-14 were based in London, while half of the AFL’s 18 clubs are in Melbourne, with Geelong also just an hour away down the Princes Highway.

Expansion clubs Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney drew the smallest home crowds in the AFL last year.

Top crowd numbers in sport:

1. NFL
Average crowd of 68,776 in
2014-15
68,401 in 2013-14
2. Bundesliga
43,500 in 2103-14
41,914 in 2012-13
3. English Premier League
36,695 in 2013-14
35,931 in 2012-13
4. AFL
32,436 in 2014
32,163 in 2013
5. Major League Baseball
30,436 in 2014
30,514 in 2013

source:Neos Kosmos

Australia:Stylianos’ 40 years of service

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Archbishop Stylianos arrives at the official dinner at Le Montage in Sydney. [Photo courtesy of Nick Bourdaniotis from Nick Bourdo Photography]

More than 800 faithful from across Australia celebrated the milestone at an official dinner in Sydney.

The Greek Orthodox Community of Australia celebrated Archbishop Stylianos’ 40th anniversary as the head of the church, since he was enthroned by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The official representative of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Metropolitan Ambrosios of Korea, attended the dinner, reading out the Patriarch’s message to the more than 800-strong audience of Greek Orthodox faithful who filled Le Montage’s Sarah Grand Ballroom.
Leaders and representatives of every major Orthodox jurisdiction in Australia were also present, alongside many other dignitaries who gathered to honour Archbishop Stylianos.
Rev. Father Steven Scoutas and Nicholas Pappas, secretary of the Archdiocesan Council, were the MCs for the evening, conveying the action equally in Greek and English.
Greek Ambassador to Australia Haris Dafaranos, Federal MP Anthony Albanese and former minister in the New South Wales government, George Souris, gave speeches following a video showing the highlights of Archbishop Stylianos’ Australian service.
After Archbishop Stylianos’ thankyou speech, the celebration culminated with the internationally-acclaimed conductor, George Ellis, leading the Millennium Choir of the Archdiocese.

source:Neos Kosmos

Κυπριακό και Σούδα στην κορυφή της ατζέντας των ΗΠΑ

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H αρμόδια Υφυπουργός των Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών για θέματα Ευρωπαϊκής και Ευρασιατικής Πολιτικής, Βικτώρια Νούλαντ

Η Ελλάδα παίζει καθοριστικό ρόλο για τη διασφάλιση της ειρήνης
στην ΝΑ Μεσόγειο και τον καθορισμό των σχέσεων με τη Ρωσία.

Σύμφωνα με αξιωματούχο του αμερικανικού υπουργείου Εξωτερικών, η αρμόδια για την Ευρώπη υφυπουργός Βικτώρια Νούλαντ συζήτησε χθες ένα εύρος διμερών και περιφερειακών θεμάτων ασφάλειας με τον υπουργό Εθνικής Άμυνας, Πάνο Καμμένο. Όπως είπε, σε αυτά συμπεριλαμβάνεται η αντιμετώπιση της τρομοκρατίας και οι προσπάθειες του διεθνούς συνασπισμού για την καταπολέμηση του Ισλαμικού Κράτους. Σύμφωνα μάλιστα με τον κ. Καμμένο, στη συνάντηση συμφωνήθηκε κοινή δράση Ελλάδας-ΗΠΑ και ΝΑΤΟ για το θέμα και η σχετική προετοιμασία για τη σύνοδο του ΝΑΤΟ τον επόμενο μήνα.
Όπως πρόσθεσε ο Αμερικανός αξιωματούχος, στη συνάντηση «τονίσθηκε η ανάγκη σταθερότητας στην Ανατολική Μεσόγειο, ενώ χαιρέτισαν την επανέναρξη των προσπαθειών, υπό την αιγίδα των Ηνωμένων Εθνών, για την επανένωση της Κύπρου ως μία διζωνική, δικοινοτική ομοσπονδία». Μάλιστα, η κυρία Νούλαντ φέρεται να ρώτησε τον κ. Καμμένο αν συμφωνεί με τη θέση του υπουργού Εξωτερικών Νίκου Κοτζιά ότι προϋπόθεση για λύση στο Κυπριακό είναι η αποχώρηση των τουρκικών στρατευμάτων. Ο κ. Καμμένος απάντησε ότι αυτή είναι η θέση του συνόλου της ελληνικής κυβέρνησης, ενώ εμφανίσθηκε θετικός στο να αποσύρει και η Ελλάδα τα δικά της στρατεύματα αν το κάνει η Τουρκία.
Ψηλά στην ατζέντα της ελληνικής πλευράς ήταν η λίστα των αιτημάτων για στρατιωτική βοήθεια των ΗΠΑ προς την Ελλάδα, «σε σχέση με τα υφιστάμενα μέσα και όσα χρειάζεται για να ενισχύσει το ρόλο της στην ευρύτερη περιοχή της ΝΑ Μεσογείου», όπως δήλωσε ο υπουργός. Επίσης, η συνεργασία με το Ισραήλ, τη Βουλγαρία και τη Ρουμανία.
Σύμφωνα με τον εκπρόσωπο του Στέιτ Ντιπάρτμεντ, στη συνάντηση «τονίσθηκε η ανάγκη να διατηρηθεί η δυτική αλληλεγγύη και υποστήριξη προς την Ουκρανία». Η αμερικανίδα υφυπουργός, μάλιστα, εξέφρασε σύμφωνα με ελληνικές πηγές απορία για τις σχέσεις της χώρας με τη Ρωσία, για να λάβει τη διαβεβαίωση του κ. Καμμένου ότι η Ελλάδα δεν έχει αλλάξει πλευρά και ότι «είναι οι πύραυλοι S-300 που προστατεύουν την Σούδα».
Ο ίδιος όμως της τόνισε τη σημασία των οικονομικών σχέσεων με τη Ρωσία, ενώ ειδικά για το θέμα του αγωγού Turkish Stream, για τον οποίο έχουν εκφράσει επιφυλάξεις οι ΗΠΑ, σύμφωνα με πληροφορίες απάντησε ότι η Ελλάδα δεν μπορεί να τον αποκλείσει – αν και εκτίμησε ότι στα ενεργειακά θέματα υπάρχει ενδιαφέρον και από τις ΗΠΑ.
Σχετικά τέλος με την πρόταση δημιουργίας νατοϊκής αεροπορικής βάσης στην Κάρπαθο που παρουσίασε στην Ουάσιγκτον, η απάντηση που φαίνεται ότι έλαβε ήταν ότι δεν υπάρχουν κονδύλια για κάτι τέτοιο. Ωστόσο, ο κ. Καμμένος αντέτεινε ότι το αεροδρόμιο υπάρχει ήδη και αυτό που χρειάζεται μόνο είναι κτηριακές εγκαταστάσεις, στη δημιουργία των οποίων θα μπορούσε να συμμετέχει και η Ελλάδα με την πρώην ΜΟΜΑ. Όσο για το αν στην Κάρπαθο ή στη Σούδα προβλέπεται να επιχειρούν και μη επανδρωμένα αεροσκάφη, ελληνική πηγή σημείωνε ότι δεν υπάρχει αμερικανικό αίτημα για μη επανδρωμένα, αλλά αν υπάρξει η κυβέρνηση θα το εξετάσει.

Πηγή:Νέος Κόσμος

Νέο σκάνδαλο σείει την Καθολική Εκκλησία της Αυστραλίας

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Ο παιδεραστής, Robert Best

$1.5 εκ. για την υπεράσπιση παιδεραστή.

Η Καθολική Εκκλησία, εμπλέκεται σε νέο σκάνδαλο, με την άρνησή της να αποβάλει από τους κόλπους της τον έγκλειστο παιδεραστή Robert Best ο οποίος το 2011 καταδικάστηκε σε 14 χρόνων και εννέα μηνών φυλάκισης, και την αποκάλυψη ότι διέθεσε για την υπεράσπισή του $1,5 εκ.
Το ποσό αυτό είναι περίπου το ήμισυ εκείνου που διέθεσαν οι Χριστιανοί Αδελφοί (Christian Brothers) προκειμένου να αποζημιώσουν τη σωρεία των θυμάτων σεξουαλικής κακοποίησης που διατάραξε την επισκοπή του Ballarat στη Δυτική Βικτώρια.
Ο κληρικός καταδικάστηκε για την κακοποίηση 11 αγοριών, ηλικίας οχτώ μέχρι έντεκα χρόνων τα περισσότερα, στο Ballarat, Box Hill και Geelong, μεταξύ 1966 και 1988.
Παρά τις εγκληματικές του πράξεις και το φοβερό στίγμα που δέχτηκε η Καθολική Εκκλησία εξαιτίας του, ο επίσκοπος των Χριστιανών Αδελφών της Ωκεανίας, Brother Peter Clinch, δήλωσε ότι «είναι πολύ πολύπλοκη και μακρόχρονη διαδικασία η αποβολή κάποιου από τους κόλπους των Χριστιανών Αδελφών».
Ο ίδιος δήλωσε στην Βασιλική Επιτροπή, ότι οι Χριστιανοί Αδελφοί πλήρωσαν $3εκ. περίπου σε 42 αποζημιώσεις που έδωσαν σε επιζώντα θύματα κακοποίησης στο Ballarat, $70.000 περίπου στον καθένα.
Για τον έγκλειστο ιερωμένο θα πει ότι γνωρίζει πολύ καλά τι έλαβε χώρα: «Γνωρίζω τα εγκλήματα, έχω ακούσει πόσο φοβερά ήταν. Όταν ο Best βγει από τη φυλακή, όποτε συμβεί αυτό, θα είναι γέρος πλέον. Τι κάνεις λοιπόν μ’ έναν άνθρωπο πάνω από 80 χρόνων;
Εν τω μεταξύ, ο αρχηγός της αξιωματικής αντιπολίτευσης, Bill Shorten, ζήτησε η πρώην κεφαλή της Καθολικής Εκκλησίας στην Αυστραλία και καρδινάλιος στο Βατικανό σήμερα, George Pell, να επιστρέψει στην Αυστραλία, προκειμένου να δώσει εκ νέου κατάθεση στη Βασιλική Επιτροπή που εξετάζει το τεράστιο σκάνδαλο της κακοποίησης παιδιών και ανήλικων από ιερείς και εκπαιδευτικούς της Καθολικής Εκκλησίας.
«Πιστεύω ότι ο George Pell οφείλει να βοηθήσει την Βασιλική Επιτροπή και αν αυτό συνεπάγεται την επιστροφή του στην Αυστραλία, θα πρέπει να το πράξει».Η έκκληση του κ. Shorten έγινε μετά την αποκάλυψη την περασμένη εβδομάδα, ότι ενώ ο καρδινάλιος γνώριζε τις εγκληματικές πράξεις των παιδεραστών, απέφυγε να λάβει τα δέοντα μέτρα.
Αξίζει εδώ να σημειωθεί ότι ότι ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος της Καθολικής Εκκλησίας στο Σίδνεϊ, Anthony Fisher, δήλωσε ότι τα θύματα θα πρέπει να έχουν κάθε δικαίωμα να μηνίσουν την εκκλησία, άσχετα με τον ισχυρισμό ότι η εκκλησία δεν είναι νομικό πρόσωπο.
«Πιστεύω ότι η έννοια της δικαιοσύνης θα πρέπει να εφαρμοστεί στο ακέραιο» τόνισε.

Πηγή:Νέος Κόσμος

Aυστραλία:Λαθρομετανάστες ή πρόσφυγες;

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Περισσότεροι από 430 μετανάστες από την Μιανμάρ και το Μπανγκλαντές απέπλευσαν στις ακτές της Ινδονησίας. (Φωτό: AAP/NEWZULU/DODI KURNIAWAN)

Η κυβέρνηση της Ινδονησίας προσφέρει επιχειρήματα στην Αυστραλία για την άρνηση υποδοχής μεταναστών από την Ν.Α. Ασία.

Επτά χιλιάδες άνθρωποι είναι παγιδευμένοι αυτήν την στιγμή στη μέση της θάλασσας, στο πλαίσιο της μεταναστευτικής κρίσης της Νοτιοανατολικής Ασίας, της μεγαλύτερης που έχει ξεσπάσει τα τελευταία χρόνια, δημιουργώντας εμπλοκή στις σχέσεις της Αυστραλίας, της Ινδονησίας, των Φιλιππίνων και της Μιανμάρ.
Στην Σύνοδο των Υπουργών Εξωτερικών που έλαβε χώρα το Σαββατοκύριακο στην Σεούλ, αξιωματούχοι από την Ινδονησία ενημέρωσαν την Υπουργό Εξωτερικών Julie Bishop, ότι μόνο ένα 30-40% αυτών των ανθρώπων είναι πρόσφυγες της μουσουλμανικής μειονότητας Ροχίνγκια, θεωρώντας ότι το μεγαλύτερο ποσοστό εκείνων που διεκδικούν άσυλο είναι οικονομιοί μετανάστες χωρίς έγγραφα από το Μπανγκλαντές, οι οποίοι ταξιδεύουν στην Μαλαισία σε αναζήτηση εργασίας.
Η πληροφορία αυτή έρχεται να προσφέρει ανακούφιση στην κυβέρνηση Abbott, η οποία επιμένει στην σκληρή της στάση απέναντι στους πρόσφυγες και τους οικονομικούς μετανάστες, αρνούμενη να επιτρέψει την είσοδο των Ροχίνγκια στο αυστραλιανό έδαφος. “Όποια υπόνοια ότι υπάρχει κάποιο είδος προγράμματος εγκατάστασης στην Αυστραλία ανθρώπων που επιβαίνουν σ’ αυτά τα πλοία, απλώς ενθαρρύνει το δουλεμπόριο” δήλωσε ο πρωθυπουργός, τονίζοντας ότι δεν θα προβεί σε καμία δήλωση ή πράξη που θα ενθαρρύνει αυτήν τη συμπεριφορά. Από την μεριά του, ο Υπουργός Μετανάστευσης, Peter Dutton, απάντησε στην κριτική για απραξία της Αυστραλίας απέναντι στους χιλιάδες ανθρώπους που βρίσκονται αυτήν την στιγμή εν πλω, ταξιδεύοντας χωρίς νερό και φαγητό για περισσότερες από 40 ημέρες, λέγοντας ότι η Αυστραλία έχει συνεισφέρει συνολικά $170 εκατομμύρια δολάρια στον Διεθνή Οργανισμό Μετανάστευσης, 40 από τα οποία μόνο την φετινή χρονιά.
“Έχοντας προσφέρει το πιο γενναιόδωρο ανθρωπιστικό πρόγραμμα του κόσμου, δεν μπορούμε να υποκρινόμαστε ότι είμαστε σε θέση να υποδεχτούμε τα εκατομμύρια των ανθρώπων που ξεριζώνονται ανά τον κόσμο” δήλωσε. Περισσότεροι από τρεις χιλιάδες πρόσφυγες από την περιοχή έχουν ήδη καταφύγει στην Ινδονησία, την Μαλαισία και την Ταϊλάνδη.

Πηγή:Νέος Κόσμος

‘Once in a blue moon’: Albino sparrow spotted in Melbourne

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Bob Winters said lack of camouflage makes the albino sparrow an easy prey. The rare bird was spotted at Sanctuary Lakes near Melbourne on Monday.

A pure white sparrow- Albino was spotted at Sanctuary Lakes near Melbourne on Monday. A birdwatching expert and environmentalist, Bob Winters photographed the rare animal after his friend alerted him of the sparrow’s presence.

“It’s a very nervous animal, understandably, so I had to try for quite a few days to get some photos,” said Winters, adding that pure white sparrows have been seen globally only “once in a blue moon”. Australian media said there had been a handful of confirmed sightings of the bird across the world, including one reported in Britain in 2010.

Winters judged the bird as six or seven months old which in itself was an achievement, considering its lack of camouflage and disabilities that come with genetic mutation.

“This bird has got so many disadvantages. They usually get kicked out of the nest because they’re different and it has fragile feathers that make it quite difficult to fly,” he said. “Probably no one wants to breed with it, and it’s easy pickings for a bird of prey.”

Albinism is a recessive characteristic which only shows up when a bird inherits the albino gene from both parents. It affects all the pigments, with albino birds showing no colour whatsoever. They also have pale pink or reddish eyes, legs and a pale bill.

source:hindustantimes.com

Spain enters a new political era

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As expected, in the wake of the economic crisis and high-profile corruption scandals which have tarnished the reputation of the traditional political parties in Spain, the country has now entered a new political era.

Anti-austerity parties, linked to the Podemos movement on the far left, which is barely one year old, have the prestige of holding power in Barcelona, and could form a coalition to rule in the Spanish capital.

Across the country the ruling Popular Party (PP) of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has been punished.

The PP will hold onto the fact that they still have the highest share of the vote of any single party.

But they have lost absolute majorities in regional parliaments across the country, including in traditional heartlands like Valencia, where the party has been badly damaged by corruption.

Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, casts his vote at a polling station in Aravaca, Madrid, Spain, 24 May 2015
Mr Rajoy’s party gained the most votes but lost absolute majorities in regional parliaments across the country

Barcelona in itself is an incredible story. The new mayor will be Ada Colau, a woman who made her name by campaigning for people who could not pay their mortgages, and who faced eviction after Spain’s construction bubble burst.

The main left-wing pro-independence Catalan nationalist party suffered at her expense, suggesting many people in Barcelona care more about social policy than Catalan nationalist ambitions.

What is also eye-catching is that significant support nationwide has shifted from the PP to parties on the left, even though the PP has taken Spain’s economy from the height of the financial crisis in 2012 through to a period of impressive growth.

Spain’s economy is expected to grow faster this year than any other economy in the Eurozone.

Ada Colau in Madrid, May 2015
The new Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, is a former activist who campaigned to stop forced evictions

That could be because the social impact of the recovery is still not being felt by enough of the people who suffered the impact of the economic crisis, and the affects of the PP’s policies of austerity.

Unemployment is still a massive 24%.

But you also have to take into account the deep level of dissatisfaction in Spain across the political spectrum with the traditional parties, and in particular the PP, who many now, rightly or wrongly, associate with corruption and the political cronyism of the past.

source:bbc.com

EPL:Hull City drop and Liverpool smashed for 6

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Hull City has been relegated from the Premier League after drawing 0-0 at home to Manchester United on a final day marked by high scores and high-profile departures.

Hull, a beaten FA Cup finalist last season, needed to defeat United to stand any chance of staying up, but its failure to do so left it three points adrift of safety.

“It is one of those awful experiences,” said Hull manager Steve Bruce, the former United captain, whose club had spent two seasons in the top flight.

“It is not a time for excuses. You have to take your medicine and come back as strongly as you can.”

Hull made an enterprising start as Paul McShane and Dame N’Doye saw goals ruled out for offside, while United’s stand-in goalkeeper Victor Valdes saved brilliantly from Ahmed Elmohamady.

The visitors, missing injured goalkeeper David de Gea and on-loan striker Radamel Falcao, lost Angel di Maria to injury and saw substitute Marouane Fellaini sent off for an ugly foul on McShane in the second half.

But Bruce was unable to engineer a first managerial win over his old employers as Hull sank into the Championship and Louis van Gaal’s United finished the campaign in fourth place.

Newcastle United was the only other team at risk of relegation, but it secured its top-flight status with a 2-0 victory at home to West Ham United.

Jonas Gutierrez, who returned to action last month after a 17-month battle with testicular cancer, was Newcastle’s saviour, teeing up Moussa Sissoko for a 54th-minute header and scoring with a deflected effort.

“Every player deserves credit,” said Newcastle manager John Carver. “We have not had a good season, but I am going to enjoy this moment.”

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley, criticised by fans for a perceived lack of investment, had vowed prior to the game not to leave until the club win a trophy or qualify for the Champions League.

West Ham, meanwhile, announced after the match that manager Sam Allardyce’s contract will not be renewed and he will leave the club with immediate effect.

Gerrard’s farewell sees Liverpool crumble, Lampard and Drogba depart

Gerrard skulks off after woeful Liverpool farewell

Photo: Woeful farewell … Steven Gerrard scored but couldn’t prevent Liverpool’s humiliating 6-1 loss to Stoke. (Getty Images: Dave Thompson)

 Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard scored in vain on a wretched 710th and final appearance for the club as Brendan Rodgers’ side capitulated in a humiliating 6-1 defeat at Stoke City.

With Raheem Sterling benched over his contract stand-off, Liverpool conceded five first-half goals, with Mame Biram Diouf scoring twice and Jonathan Walters, Charlie Adam and Steven Nzonzi also on target.

Gerrard replied in the second half, to give the visiting fans one last goal before his departure for the Los Angeles Galaxy, but ex-Liverpool striker Peter Crouch restored Stoke’s five-goal cushion late on.

Liverpool’s sixth-place finish nevertheless takes it into the Europa League, alongside Tottenham Hotspur, which won 1-0 at Everton courtesy of Harry Kane’s 21st goal of the league campaign and 31st in all competitions.

But Rodgers conceded that his position was now under scrutiny, saying: “I have always said if the owners want me to go, I will go. But I still feel I have a lot to offer here.”

Gerrard’s former England team-mate Frank Lampard also found the net in his final game before leaving England for the United States, but he scored in a winning cause as runner-up Manchester City beat Southampton 2-0.

The 36-year-old midfielder, who is due to join New York City, converted a cross from James Milner in the first half at the Etihad Stadium, with Golden Boot-winner Sergio Aguero scoring his 26th goal of the campaign late on.

Drogba chaired off ground as Blues lift trophy

City’s win condemned Southampton to seventh place, which will yield a Europa League spot only if Arsenal beats Aston Villa in the FA Cup final.

Another departing Premier League stalwart, Didier Drogba, was carried off the pitch by his team-mates after injuring himself in the early stages of Chelsea’s 3-1 win at home to Sunderland.

At that point, the champions trailed to a 26th-minute Steven Fletcher header, but after Diego Costa, Drogba’s replacement, equalised with a penalty, Loic Remy scored twice in the second half.

Chelsea was presented with the Premier League trophy after the game.

Walcott hat-trick gives Wenger FA Cup selection headache

Arsenal rubber-stamped third place, and automatic Champions League qualification, by demolishing West Bromwich Albion 4-1 as Theo Walcott staked a claim for a cup final starting place with a first-half hat-trick.

Jack Wilshere was also on target, with Gareth McAuley replying for West Brom.

Villa will go into the cup final on the back of a defeat after a first-half Danny Ings header saw it beaten 1-0 at relegated Burnley.

Leicester City celebrated its stunning escape from relegation with a 5-1 romp at home to relegated Queens Park Rangers, with new England call-up Jamie Vardy opening the scoring.

In the day’s other game, Crystal Palace beat Swansea City 1-0 courtesy of a 57th-minute goal by Marouane Chamakh.

source:abc.com.au