Daily Archives: November 23, 2015

SYRIZA:Part III of the same bad movie


Observing the SYRIZA-led government is like watching the third sequel of the same bad movie. The script is basically identical, with just a few minor changes.

A politician craves power. His ambition, fanned by party acolytes, makes him oblivious to concerns of political stability. He forces early elections without displaying any support for radical, albeit much-needed reforms. His lavish promises are not backed by any serious plan for the day after.

The power-hungry politician sharpens the tone of rhetoric and encourages people to take to the streets in protest. He demonizes his political rivals, portraying them as soft in negotiations, as corrupt and even as traitors. The politician finally wins the elections and moves into the Maximos Mansion.

In the beginning, he feels omnipotent. Coaxed by the country’s establishment, he forms the impression that he will be treated like a king for many years to come. However, as time goes by, reality sets in and he starts to see that his past promises were in fact untenable.

Faced with no other option, he begins to take back his pledges, one by one. His old supporters begin to desert him. Every crucial parliamentary vote deals a blow on his majority. The situation inside the Maximos bunker becomes uncomfortably reminiscent of tenures past. Similar to previous occupants, he and his people come under fire from every direction. Their tactics have backfired.

Under mounting pressure, he deems he is doing what needs to be done – it’s the others who fail to see that. Behind closed doors, he may even argue that the problem lies with the country, that it’s “ungovernable.”

The ephemeral allies start to slink away as they see that their demands, in exchange for their support, are not being fulfilled. The prime minister begins to see enemies in his ranks. He turns against vested interests that used to be on his side, accusing them of being corrupt.

All of a sudden, he realizes the need for consensus. But after all the fat that has been poured onto the flames in the meantime, no one really wants to hear talk about a national plan. His throne begins to creak beneath him; the majority is drifting away and panic sets in. This is where governments usually lose control.

The screenplay is unchanged. The only thing different is the characters and the level of irresponsibility and fanaticism. I am personally fed up of seeing the same movie again and again. The one thing that frustrates me more is all those people who saw part I and II, yet failed to make any sense of theM.


Draw is just the ticket for Bayern, Olympiacos


A draw suits both teams when Bayern München host Olympiacos on matchday five – they each have nine points in Group F and one more will send them into the last 16.

FC Bayern München host Olympiacos FC on UEFA Champions League matchday five with both teams knowing a draw will be enough for them to reach the last 16.

• Victory will ensure Bayern, who are unbeaten in their eight games against sides from Greece (W6 D2), win the group.

• Bayern prevailed 3-0 in Piraeus on 16 September, Thomas Müller scoring either side of a Mario Götze effort.

• To wrap up the group, Olympiacos must triumph by a margin that would give them the head-to-head advantage.

Previous meetings
• The teams met in the 1980/81 European Cup first round, the Bundesliga giants winning both legs (4-2 away, 3-0 home). Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge scored in both games.

Match background

• The German title holders followed up their result in Greece by scoring five without reply at home to GNK Dinamo Zagreb. They then dropped their first points in a 2-0 reverse at Arsenal FC before beating the same side 5-1 two weeks later.

• Last term, Bayern reached the UEFA Champions League semi-finals for the fourth time in a row, winning all six games – scoring 22 goals – in Munich. Josep Guardiola’s charges beat FC Shakhtar Donetsk 7-0 in the round of 16, FC Porto 6-1 in the quarter-finals and FC Barcelona 3-2 in the semi-final but bowed out having lost 3-0 away.

• The Greek side, in the group stage for the 17th time, won 3-2 at Arsenal on matchday two – their first victory in England at the 13th attempt.

• They then continued their good form by defeating Dinamo 1-0 at home and 2-1 away to join Bayern on nine points.

• Last season Olympiacos finished third in Group A, losing all three away games. They transferred to the UEFA Europa League and were defeated in the round of 32, succumbing 2-0 to FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk ahead of a 2-2 home draw.

• It is the fifth time in 14 seasons that Olympiacos have been drawn in the same UEFA Champions League section as a German club. They have lost on five of their six visits to Bundesliga opponents – their solitary success coming in 2007/08 when they won 3-1 at SV Werder Bremen. It was the only time in those six games that they managed to score.

• A 6-2 victory over Bayer 04 Leverkusen in 2002/03 is Olympiacos’ biggest UEFA Champions League win.
Coach and player links
• Olympiacos No1 Roberto saved Arturo Vidal’s added-time penalty in last season’s matchday three fixture against Juventus, who nevertheless won 3-2.

• Alberto Botía made his Spanish Liga debut under Guardiola in Barcelona’s 1-1 away draw against RC Deportivo La Coruña in 2008/09.

• Robert Lewandowski scored in Borussia Dortmund’s 3-1 loss at Olympiacos in the 2011/12 group stage.

• Lewandowski struck in Poland’s 1-1 draw with Giannis Maniatis’ Greece in the opening match of UEFA EURO 2012 in Warsaw. Kostas Fortounis came off the bench for the last 22 minutes.

• In the same tournament, Philipp Lahm scored Germany’s first in a 4-2 quarter-final elimination of Maniatis’ Greece. Manuel Neuer, Holger Badstuber and Jérôme Boateng all started and Müller and Götze came off the bench.

• David Alaba scored in Austria’s 4-1 win against substitute Jimmy Durmaz’s Sweden in a UEFA EURO 2016 qualifier in Solna on 8 September.

• In the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League, Esteban Cambiasso’s FC Internazionale Milano first beat Guardiola’s Barcelona in the semi-finals and then Bayern in the decider.

• Former Argentina midfielder Cambiasso’s missed penalty in the 2006 FIFA World Cup quarter-final shoot-out against Lahm’s Germany proved decisive after a 1-1 draw in Berlin.

• Fortounis (1. FC Kaiserslautern, 2011–14), Omar Elabdellaoui (TSV Eintracht Braunschweig, 2013–14) and Stefanos Kapino (1. FSV Mainz 05, 2014/15) have played in Germany.

• Have played together:
Botía & Thiago Alcântara (FC Barcelona B, 2008–09)
Manuel da Costa & Medhi Benatia (Morocco).

Match facts

• Bayern have dropped only two points in the Bundesliga this season. Their record ten-match winning start to the campaign ended when they drew 0-0 at Eintracht Frankfurt on 30 October.

• Javi Martínez’s goal in the 3-1 victory at FC Schalke 04 on Saturday was his first since the UEFA Super Cup against Chelsea FC on 30 August 2013.

• Guardiola’s team have scored five goals in a game on five occasions this term, most recently against Arsenal on 4 November.

• The Bavarians have managed at least four goals in each of their last six home fixtures.

• Douglas Costa scored the opener and made the other two in Brazil’s 3-0 FIFA World Cup qualifying triumph over Peru on 17 November.

• Lewandowski scored twice as Poland defeated Iceland 4-2 on 13 November. Arjen Robben registered a double in the Netherlands’ 3-2 win in Wales.

• Kingsley Coman made his senior France debut against Germany the same evening and also came off the bench during Les Bleus’ 2-0 loss to England four days later.

• Lewandowski has found the net 27 times in 24 outings for club and country this term. Müller has scored 22 in 24.

• Holger Badstuber (out since 21 April, thigh) made his comeback as a substitute in the 4-0 defeat of VfB Stuttgart on 7 November.

• Thiago Alcántara sustained a knee injury during Spain’s 2-0 success against England on 13 November and is expected to be sidelined for three to four weeks.

• Götze was ruled out for ten to 12 weeks after rupturing a tendon in his groin during Germany’s UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying loss to the Republic of Ireland on 8 October.

• Franck Ribéry (11 March, ankle) is yet to play this term, while Juan Bernat (thigh) has been unavailable since late October. Sebastian Rode (late September, thigh) was an unused substitute on Saturday.

• Cambiasso and Elabdellaoui are a booking away from a ban.

• The derby against Panathinaikos FC on Saturday was abandoned before kick-off because of crowd disturbances.

• Olympiacos are the only team in the Greek Super League with a 100% record having won all ten matches. They are one win away from matching the all-time best for consecutive victories at the beginning of a season, set by the club’s 1966/67 vintage.

• The 3-0 matchday one reverse against Bayern is the Piraeus outfit’s only defeat in their last 23 fixtures in all competitions.

• Botía strained his right hamstring on matchday four and is doubtful for the game in Munich.

• Alejandro Domínguez has not played since suffering a right hamstring injury in a Greek Cup group stage match against Platanias FC on 28 October.

• Maniatis (11 March, right knee) and Andreas Bouchalakis (26 August, left quadriceps) are still out.

• Felipe Pardo – Olympiacos’s match winner against Dinamo last time out – made his debut for Colombia in their FIFA World Cup qualifying draw with Chile on 12 November.

• Alfred Finnbogason scored in Iceland’s friendly losses to Poland (2-4) and Slovakia (1-3) on 13 and 17 November respectively.


Ο Σίλβα ζήτησε από τους παίκτες του να μη φοβηθούν τη Μπάγερν


O Mάρκο Σίλβα μιλώνστας στο κανάλι της UEFA τόνισε ότι ο Ολυμπιακός δεν πρέπει να φοβηθεί τη Μπάγερν αντίθετα να απολαύσει μία τόσο μοναδική αναμέτρηση.

Παράλληλα ο προπονητής των «ερυθρολεύκων» τόνισε για το ματς της Τρίτης στο Μόναχο ότι η ομάδα του θα παλέψει έως το τέλος σε έναν από τους δυκολότερους ομίλους της διοργάνωσης.

«Θα τους πω να χαρούν το παιχνίδι κόντρα σε έναν μεγάλο αντίπαλο, να απολαύσουν την ατμόσφαιρα και να μη φοβηθούν. Γιατί αν παίξουμε φοβισμένα, σίγουρα θα χάσουμε. Η Μπάγερν είναι ξεκάθαρο φαβορί, αλλά κι εμείς δεν πάμε σε κανένα παιχνίδι για να χάσουμε.

»Μέχρι στιγμής τα πράγματα μας πάνε καλά, ωστόσο ακόμα δεν έχουμε κερδίσει τίποτα. Είμαστε στη μάχη και θέλουμε να παλέψουμε ως το τέλος σε έναν από τους δυσκολότερους ομίλους» είπε ο 37χρονος προπονητής.


IS uses and abuses Islam


Maria Vamvakinou MP PHOTO: SBS.

Member for Calwell Maria Vamvakinou responds to the Paris attacks and warns against tarring all Muslims with the same brush

Terrorist attacks carried out by members of extremist group IS in Paris and Beirut last week have refuelled concerning sentiments of Islamophobia across Australia.
Former One Nation leader Pauline Hanson came under fire after appearing on the Nine Network’s Weekend Today program, declaring that Australia should close its borders to incoming Muslim refugees who could be “ISIS plants”.
She went on to address Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, claiming that Australians didn’t want more Muslim refugees Down Under.
But according to Labor MP Maria Vamvakinou, such public statements are precisely what should be avoided, and says the language public figures employ is crucial.
“It’s important that people in public don’t say inflammatory things that might further reaffirm in the minds of some people that they’re not wanted,” said the member for Calwell, whose electorate has the largest Muslim population in Victoria.
Following the news of the attacks in Paris, and the 136 deaths of innocent civilians, the sentiment across the Muslim community has been one of outrage and condemnation.
“These atrocities are committed in the name of Islam, and being a community that has a very high number of people of Muslim faith, it’s their own faith that’s always brought into question by these acts of terror.”
it’s their own faith that’s always brought into question by these acts of terror.”
Instead, the MP emphasises the need for Australians to try and understand the “narrative” behind the events, which is what she believes the Grand Mufti of Australia, Ibrahim Abu Mohammed was trying to communicate in his recent statement following the attacks.
Otherwise there’s the concern that an entire community could be “tarred with the same brush”, which has seen a number of attacks committed against innocent Muslims, particularly women wearing the hijab.
It is this kind of behaviour that, Ms Vamvakinou says can lead people to feel isolated, namely young vulnerable people who are in the process of forming their identity.
With ISIS using social media as a key tool in its recruitment and radicalisation process, the level of interaction can often times prove to be a challenge for communities and families to monitor.
Which is why she advocates de-radicalisation programs, having proven to be effective in both Germany and Sweden.
“The only way it’s going to be tackled is when you’ve got a good picture of what’s being said, what are people feeling, and where the difficulties.
“I think we’re very able to respond to them in this country. We have the infrastructure and we have the know how to do that,” said Ms Vamvakinou.
Mr Turnbull appears to be on a similar page. After meeting with President Barack Obama and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, the PM communicated that he is opposed to foreign invasion, and instead is pushing for compromise and pragmatism.
Despite France’s decision to launch a series of airstrikes on the ISIL-held Syrian city of Raqqa on Monday, Mr Turnbull says a political solution is required, rather than a military invasion, which he believes would be counter-productive.
On Monday night, Independent Senator Nick Xenophon expressed a similar sentiment on Q&A.
“We must acknowledge that … what happened in Iraq was a bloody mess. What we have been doing to date has not been working – we’ve actually seemed to have strengthened ISIS and strengthened the terrorists,” he said.
But for the Calwell representative, the only way to come to a proper solution is through “understanding”.
“Prevention is very important, so that’s what we need to do. When you know what you’re up against and you know what’s being said, then people and communities can respond to it,” she said.
“We’re a multicultural society, we’ve dealt with diversity for decades. We need to give the community an understanding that what happened in Paris, or what’s happened in the name of Islam, doesn’t mean that every person who is a Muslim thinks in the same way.”
Meanwhile, the man alleged to have been behind the Paris attacks, 27-year-old Abdelhamid Abaaoud, has been shot dead during a police raid in a flat in Saint-Denis.

Source: The Australian, news.com.au

Greek Australian candidate for ABC top job



Sky News CEO Angelos Frangopoulos in the running for ABC managing director role

Amid talk of finding a replacement for ABC managing director Mark Scott, a number of names have been circulating, including Sky News Australia CEO Angelos Frangopoulos.

According to reports, the ABC board are keen to name a replacement as soon as possible, with short-listed candidates expected to be interviewed in the next fortnight.

Among those in the running are former News Corp Australia chief executive Kim Williams and SBS managing director Michael Ebeid.
Other external candidates, along with Mr Frangopoulos, are Australian Communications and Media Authority chairman Chris Chapman and media entrepreneur Deanne Weir.

Four ABC staff members are also expected to vie for the job, including digital network director Angela Clark, head of television Richard Finlayson, chief operating officer David Pendleton, and director of corporate strategy David Anderson.

Neos Kosmos got in touch with Mr Frangopoulos regarding the speculation of his candidacy. Choosing not to give much away, he said “I am very committed to my role at Sky News, which continues to be a very exciting business to be part of”.

Having pursued his tertiary studies in journalism, Mr Frangopoulos worked as a reporter and producer with the Nine Network and British Sky Broadcasting.

He was appointed CEO of Sky News Australia in 2000, and sits on a number of boards, including the Walkey Foundation for Journalism.
Though Mr Frangopoulos boasts an impressive CV, it has been noted that Sky News is a much smaller organisation compared to that of the ABC, which could influence decision makers.

But whoever takes out the top job can be assured of one thing; they will be handsomely rewarded for their hard work.

While Mr Scott was noted to have been paid a total of $823,613 in 2013-2014, Fairfax Media have revealed the successful candidate could see a 40 per cent pay increase to $1.2 million.

The successful candidate is expected to be finalised by the end of the year.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

Hunter grows in popularity as international destination


Australian and international business visitors to the Hunter grew 20 per cent in the past financial year on the back of the region’s growing reputation has a business conference destination.

Destination NSW figures also show the number of nights spent by domestic and international business travellers in the Hunter region in the year ending June 2015 was 59 per cent up on the figure for the previous year.

Business travellers account for 23 per cent of all New Zealand visitors to NSW in the past financial year.
A delegation of Hunter representatives attended the Pacific Area Incentives and Conferences Expo in Auckland on November 18 to further showcase the appeal of Newcastle, Port Stephens and the Hunter Valley.

The visit was the first international event for Altogether Perfect-a Hunter-based marketing campaign-with three representatives meeting New Zealand organisers of off-shore conferences and reward trips for high-performing staff.
Destination Port Stephens, Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association and Noah’s on the Beach were among the groups that attended the meetings.

Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association marketing executive Rebecca Morley said the latest business visitation figures for the Hunter were extremely encouraging and reflected the region’s expanded product and enhanced appeal to the business and incentives markets and also the increased use of expanded Newcastle Airport which offers direct flights interstate.

“Together, Newcastle –Australia’s seventh largest city, the famous Hunter valley and beautiful Port Stephens offer an unmatched and complementary mix of city, country and coast experiences to the business and reward trip market and that destination package is proving a winner for the region as a whole,” Ms Morley said.
“Our trip to Auckland proved very successful in raising awareness of our product further.”

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Tourism Australia’s NZ Manager, Jenny Aitken she was excited to see Altogether Perfect make its maiden appearance at the Pacific Area Incentives and Conferences Expo.
“PAICE is NZ’s largest event targeting incentive and conference organisers who attend to research products and be inspired by destinations,” Ms Aitken said. “Access is always a key and we would welcome direct services into Newcastle Airport as this would further open up the region’s opportunities for inbound business travel from New Zealand.


Man in court after baby allegedly beaten and burnt


A young man put his partner’s 10-month-old son under a hot shower, did not turn on the cold water, then went to charge his phone and have a cigarette, a court has heard.

The baby is in an induced coma in The Children’s Hospital at Westmead after suffering burns to 40 per cent of his body, police say.

He also had wounds to his skull, face and jaw, Penrith Local Court heard on Monday.

The 23-year-old man, who has been in a relationship with the infant’s mother for up to five months, has been charged with recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm.

The man appeared in court and kept his eyes lowered while the details of his alleged crime were discussed.

He applied for bail, but it was refused by magistrate Gary Wilson.

The court heard the baby was at the home in Castlereagh Street, Penrith, with the man at the time he was injured on Sunday.

The baby vomited, prompting the man to put him in the shower.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, turned on the hot water, but not the cold, and left the baby there, the court was told.

The court heard that, when the man returned to the shower, the baby’s skin was peeling off.

The magistrate said the injuries involved were “severe … by way of burns to a very large percentage of his body together with unspecified head injuries resulting in severe bruising to his skull, face and jaw”.

“The burn injuries are described as being horrific,” he said.

Mr Wilson said police claimed the man showed concern only for his own welfare – whether he would be jailed and be released on bail – when he was arrested, but had no concern for the baby’s condition.

The man, who the court heard had previous convictions for violence, also has full-time custody of a three-year-old son from a previous relationship.

The charges have been referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The matter is expected to return to court on December 14.


Bayern Munich: Alaba in doubt for Olympiacos clash


David Alaba is in doubt to face Olympiacos in the Champions League on Tuesday, Bayern Munich have confirmed.

The Austria international took a blow to his ankle during a 3-1 win away to Schalke on Saturday and could be forced to sit out the meeting with the Greek champions at the Allianz Arena.

“The use of David Alaba is a question mark,” Bayern announced via their official website.

“The left-back had to be substituted in the 83rd minute of the 3-1 win over Schalke on Saturday after a foul.
“He withdrew with an injury to his left ankle that was looked over by team doctor Volker Braun on Sunday. Whether Alaba can play against the Greek champions will depend on the healing process over the next few days.”


Eight charged after Reclaim Australia rallies turn violent


Eight people have been charged after protests between anti-Islam Reclaim Australia and pro-diversity left-wing groups around Australia.

Eight people, including six in Victoria, have been charged following rival anti-Islam and pro-diversity protests around Australia.

Anti-Islam rallies organised by the right-wing Reclaim Australia group in the capitals on Sunday were opposed by left-wing groups, who held their own protests at the same locations.

The largest rallies were in Melbourne, where Reclaim Australia and locals protested about the planned construction of a mosque.

Six people were arrested – one for animal cruelty accused of punching a police horse, two for riotous behaviour and three for weapons offences.

Capsicum spray was used as scuffles broke out between the rival mobs, which each numbered about 500 people.

In Brisbane, a 64-year-old man was charged with public nuisance after he allegedly jumped a barricade in a rowdy but non-violent protest in Brisbane’s CBD.

In Adelaide, a 48-year-old man was charged with affray in the rallies at Adelaide Festival Plaza.

All eight are expected to face court at a later date.

Protests were rowdy but largely peaceful in Sydney, Perth, Canberra and Hobart.

Victoria Police acting Commander Alan Byrnes said three people were injured but the protest was largely peaceful.

“It’s always a bit disappointing to see people turn up with masks,” he said.

“You wonder what their motives are for doing that, but we think all in all it was fairly peaceful.”

About 250 Reclaim Australia supporters abandoned their Brisbane CBD anti-Islam protest as pro-diversity groups chanted “na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye” across metal dividing barriers with up to 30 police stationed in-between.

Reclaim speakers were drowned out by about 350 counter-protesters with chants including “Nazi scum off our streets” and “Muslims are welcome, racists are not”.

Reclaim blasted Cold Chisel’s Khe Sanh across the barriers in response, but were drowned out again when the counter-rally hit back with a louder rendition of John Farnham’s You’re The Voice.

In Sydney, crowds aligned with the Refugee Action Coalition pushed police along Macquarie Street from Martin Place, knocking batons from police belts before officers forced them back.

About 250 people, including parents with children on their shoulders, chanted pro-diversity slogans.

At the other end of Martin Place, Reclaim Australia protesters held two minutes’ silence – broken by calls of “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie” – for victims of terrorism worldwide.

Crowds aligned with the Refugee Action Coalition pushed police along Macquarie St from Martin Place, knocking batons from police belts before officers forced them back.

About 250 people, including parents with young children on their shoulders, chanted pro-diversity and pro-demonstration slogans.

“Next time we are going to make sure we have the numbers to demonstrate no matter what police say,” one man called over a loudspeaker.