Daily Archives: December 2, 2015

Sydney cafe owners caught unawares by government announcement


Deanne and Spiro Coucouvinis. Photo: Twitter/@smh.

Small business to be acquiesced as part of Sydney Metro line construction.

Sydney locals Deanne and Spiro Coucouvinis have been told by officials their CBD business forms part of a demolition plan to make way for the construction of train stations along the proposed $10 billion Sydney Metro project.
Their cafe – Bar Bellino – is in a building on the corner of Elizabeth and Hunter Streets in the city, which is one of 19 in the area that will make way for the rail upgrade.
The Coucouvinis were approached during rush hour last week by two customers who turned out to be government representatives to inform them of their ill-fate.
Spiro told The Sydney Morning Herald the couple had no intention of selling their business, which they have run since 2003, and are now pessimistic about their outlook, believing the forced acquisition will not be reasonably assessed, whilst Deanne stressed they will face financial hardship as a result of the announcement.
“They’re taking away our livelihood. They can pay us the value of the business, but what about my income? How do I bring in money to pay my loans to keep myself living?” Deanne said.
“Nothing is going to happen for another 12 months but, during that time, our customer base is going to start to erode.”
Authorities stated they did everything to avoid forced buy-outs, with the buildings set to be destroyed over the next 24 months.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

Cretan beekeeper becomes internet sensation


His raw style has modelling agencies vying for to sign him

A Greek beekeeper is the new face in demand by television and modelling agencies across the globe, after his photograph went viral.

The Cretan heartthrob, Stathis Stivaktakis, was photographed while taking part in a farmer’s protest at Syntagma Square in the centre of Athens, where he was taking a stand against a planned tax increase.

Dubbed ‘the sexy Cretan’, the 25-year-old with dark hair and blue eyes, has not only been a hit amongst locals, his face capturing global attention thanks to the BBC and Reuters.

In all the excitement, Stivaktakis was asked to make an appearance on Crete TV, where he made it clear he was not interested in the spotlight, and said that his love for the island was too great to ever leave.

“I don’t want to be judged for my looks, but for my mind and soul,” he said.


Since then however, it appears the young Cretan has had a slight change of heart, agreeing to be photographed for Cyprus edition of Down Town magazine (pictured above).

source:Neos Kosmos


Australia:First Ford Mustang shipment arrives in Melbourne


GET set for a return to horsepower…the new Ford Mustang has arrived.

The first customer cars landed in the country today, arriving at Melbourne’s Appleton Dock. Three more ships carrying customer cars are expected within days.

Ford and its dealers across Australia have been inundated with inquiries and demand for the all-new Mustang Fastback and Convertible, with the order bank for one of the world’s most recognisable cars now sitting about 4000 vehicles with more than 80% paid deposits. These orders account for the first full year of vehicles to be sold in Australia through 2016.

“We are simply overwhelmed and humbled by the reception to Mustang thus far, which is probably our closest equivalent to the Beatles first trip to Australia,” Ford President and CEO, Graeme Whickman said.

“The Mustang also punctuates a landmark year for Ford where we launched a huge number of new vehicles – including the Australian-designed and developed Everest SUV and Ranger – while investing more locally than any other automaker with more than $300 million in R&D alone.”

The right-hand drive Ford Mustangs will come in Fastback or Convertible guise, feature a 2.3-litre, four-cylinder EcoBoost or 5.0-litre V8 engine, and start at $44,990 for a six-speed manual Fastback four-potter.

The range will top out at $63,990 for the GT 5.0 V8 Convertible with six-speed automatic.

After Mustang pricing was confirmed early this year, Ford saw a spike in interest and deposits, with more than 20,000 people putting their hands up to be kept informed about the new car.

And for those who already put their money down, that have saved some coin. From yesterday there was a $1000 price increase on the 2.3 Litre EcoBoost and a $2500 price increase on the 5.0-litre V8.

“Our Mustang story has been one of the core vehicles in all our activities this year as a halo for the brand. We put a Mustang Convertible on top of one of the key buildings in Circular Quay in Sydney next to the Sydney Opera House for New Year’s eve celebrations and the images of that car went around the world,” Whickman said.

Like North America, overwhelming early interest has been in the V8 GT models, with 86% of customers favouring the V8. However, once the initial order banks are filled, Ford expects the EcoBoost models to be popular with customers who value performance but have an eye on fuel efficiency.

A similar situation surrounds the Fastback and Convertible split. There has also been more initial demand for the Fastback over Convertible, with around 88 per cent of Australian customers opting for the Fastback.

Visually, the all-new Mustang is unmistakable in its clean-sheet design. It has kept its classic shape, with a long sculpted hood and short rear deck, but with contemporary changes.


Messi trumps Ronaldo at La Liga awards


Barcelona forward Lionel Messi was named La Liga’s best player and striker for the 2014/15 season at the LFP Gala Awards Ceremony in Barcelona on Monday.

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi was named La Liga’s best player and striker for the 2014/15 season at the LFP Gala Awards Ceremony in Barcelona on Monday.

It was sweet revenge for Messi as Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo won both awards last year. However, even though Ronaldo scored 48 goals and Messi 43, it was the Barcelona talisman who emerged on top this time around as his contributions led his side to La Liga and Copa del Rey glory.

“I’m proud to receive this award ahead of so many important players in La Liga,” Messi, who clinched the awards for the sixth time, told reporters.

“This award in particular I want to dedicate to my son Thiago [aged 3] even if he still doesn’t understand very well. Every time I leave the house he gets angry and asks me: ‘Papa, are you going again to score goals?’ This award is for him.”

However, while Messi was delighted to have been crowned La Liga’s best player and striker, he lauded Ronaldo for his stellar season, in which the Portugal international helped Madrid claim the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.

“I am happy to be once more among the three best, and to go to another gala,” Messi said. “Happy to be with Neymar. Luis Suarez also deserved to be among the three best, but that is to take nothing away from Cristiano Ronaldo, who also deserved it.”

Ronaldo did not walk away empty-handed as he won the Fans’ Five-Star Player award after he received the most votes by supporters on mahou.es after each matchday.

Meanwhile, Messi’s team-mates, Claudio Bravo and Neymar, were named best goalkeeper and best player from the Americas respectively.

Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos and James Rodriguez claimed the best defender and midfielder prize respectively, while Valencia midfielder Sofiane Feghouli was named the best African player of the 2014/15 season.


Brisbane schools in lockdown after reports of man with gun


A suspect at the centre of a two-hour manhunt was carrying a piece of metal shaped like a gun, police say.

But the man, described as being in his early 20s and fit, did not realise the full impact his run had made on the locals. Two schools and a daycare centre were locked down at Rochedale in Brisbane’s south.

Police received several calls from locals who saw the man running along Priestdale St just after 11am, with Inspector Daniel Bragg saying the man had covered a large amount of ground.

“I think he was running the whole time police were searching for him because he was out, travelling at quite a pace,” he said.

“I get the impression he wasn’t fully aware of the havoc that was wreaked as a consequence of his actions.”

He said the man was carrying a piece of metal fashioned to look like a gun.


Newcastle: Danny Cvetanoski pleads guilty to ongoing supply of ecstasy


YOUNG ecstasy dealer Danny Cvetanoski was so happy with business, he sidled up to a woman in a nightclub and boasted about how much he was making.

‘’I have so much money I can’t fit it in my wallet,’’ Cvetanoski told the girl.

His problem was the girl was an undercover cop, and he was being looked at as part of the massive Strike Force Rupas investigation.

Cvetanoski, 24, of Margaret Street, Mayfield East, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to the ongoing supply of ecstasy.

He has admitted selling a total of 105 ecstasy capsules during three deals with undercover police.

He also admitted to the King Street Hotel chat.

Cvetanoski: “I made $3000 last night. I owe em on tick, paid back $1900 so I made over $1000 last night.’’

Girl: “It changes…I get cash, a bit.

Cvetanoski: “I have so much money I can’t fit it in my wallet.’’

He was refused bail to appear in Newcastle District Court on December 20


Woman charged with murder of death of Marnielee Cave in Tathra


THE partner of a woman charged with the murder of a young woman found dumped under a bridge was also a prime suspect in her death before he killed himself.

The naked body of Marnielee Maree Cave, 26, from Bega, was found dead under the Mogareeka Bridge on the Tathra-Bermagui Road at Tathra about 8.15am on October 14.

A 52-year-old woman was arrested at 9.15 yesterday at a property in Bega and charged with murder and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Soon after her murder the woman’s partner, who was known to the victim, was questioned by police about his whereabouts when she disappeared.

A few days later on October 22 he was found dead in the garage of a property in Bega. At the time police said he was a person of interest in her murder.

His partner was refused bail and will appear before Batemans Bay Local Court today.

Marnielee was last seen on Monday October 12 at some local shops.

She had also taken her cat to the vet on that day and returned her home before going out again.

Her phone and a number of other possession are still missing.

Police said on October 22 they believed Marnielee may have been thrown off the bridge but were also exploring the possibility she was murdered on the banks of the Bega river.

The only thing on her body was her favourite butterfly pendant.

Police have not revealed the cause of death or if there was any signs of sexual assault.

The investigation took a turn at the end of October when a man police had questioned over Marnielee’s murder himself turned up dead.

The 50-year-old man is believed to have taken his own life after police identified him as a suspect in the murder inquiry.

“The deceased male had been questioned by police and was one of a number of people who were considered suspects in Ms Caves death,’’ a police source said at the time.


Being hungry and fussy has never been easier


Food blogger Helen Tzouganatos is educating the masses about going gluten free.

When Helen Tzouganatos was diagnosed with coeliac disease eight years ago, she admits the one thing she missed most was her mum’s spanakopita.
But it wasn’t long before the Sydney-based mum of three realised she wouldn’t have to forego her favourite dishes, setting out to master the skill of gluten-free cooking.
And with a passion for food, cooking and photography, and a background in marketing, Helen decided to take her interests and combine them in her blog Hungry and Fussy.
“I was constantly being asked for gluten-free cooking tips and restaurant recommendations, so I thought it (the blog) would be a great resource for the public,” Helen explains.
And thus far the response has been overwhelming, with the blog having received over 5,000 views in the first two months alone.
Aside from her website, Helen’s recipes have been picked up by a number of online publications including YUM Gluten Free magazine, and soon she will be a contributing editor on http://www.feedfeed.info – one of the most popular international food websites around the globe.
While she recalls that eating out was a struggle when she was first diagnosed, she admits that with more demand for gluten substitutes, the food scene has changed dramatically.
“Fast forward 10 years and many restaurants mark gluten-free items on their menu and the wait staff can confidently guide you through the gluten-free choices available to diners,” she says.
Thankfully for those who enjoy a Mediterranean diet, through her culinary journey Helen has discovered that going gluten-free doesn’t mean entirely overhauling your diet.
“Greek food lends itself perfectly to gluten-free cooking because we eat a lot of healthy grilled proteins, cheeses, fresh salads and vegetables. Potato and rice are also fine so there is no need to cut out baked potatoes or rizogalo!”
However, be prepared to see your weekly shopping expenses come up in price – but with good reason.
“Gluten-free breads and flours are generally a little more expensive, but quite often they are also of better quality,” Helen explains.
“It is cheaper to fill products with wheat starch and flavourings than to include more wholesome natural ingredients.”
The blogger’s love of cooking was born through an upbringing centred around the dinner table. Like most Greek migrant women, Helen’s mum is a great cook and showed her love through nurturing and cooking for those closest to her.
“She is a great cook. Certain aromas such as baked cinnamon and mastiha immediately transport me back to my childhood and mum’s kitchen table.
“I recall rushing home from school and raiding the koulouri (biscuit) jar on many occasions,” she says, which is where her “cookie addiction” and love of baking stem from.
“My favourite biscuits are my gluten-free Greek sesame rings (see recipe below). They are really crispy, light and not overly sweet, which makes them extremely moreish.”
But it’s not only individuals affected by gluten that are avoiding the protein. While Helen believes “you only really need to eliminate gluten from your diet if you have a gluten intolerance or coeliac disease,” she admits that there can be added benefits for all.
“The biggest benefit in forgoing gluten is that it forces you to eliminate a lot of processed starchy food out of your diet.
“You’d be surprised how many packaged foods contain gluten. Seasoning, sauces, stocks, chips, and lollies usually contain wheat starch. By eliminating packaged foods you cook from scratch and the result is much tastier, healthier food that is nutrient dense,” she explains.
So let us get this straight Helen: looking after three children, while also contributing and editing various online publications, and dedicating all your free time to researching and creating recipes, cooking and updating your blog? I think we’d all agree you deserve that extra (gluten-free) cookie.
Main substitutes for classic Greek dishes:
– Gluten-free pastry for all the pastry classics i.e tiropita, spanakopita, baklava.
– Replace normal flour with gluten-free flour in cakes, biscuits, karithopita and koulouria.
– Replace flour with grated potato in keftedes; finely grated potato creates a lighter, fluffier meatball.
– Use tapioca flour instead of normal flour to dust haloumi and calamari; tapioca creates a beautiful brown crisp crust.
– For pastitsio and moussaka replace normal flour with gluten-free flour in the béchamel, and use gluten-free penne pasta in the pastitsio.

Here are some of Helen’s favourite and most delicious recipes:

Spanakopita is a traditional Greek savoury pie filled with spinach and cheese. The plain cheese version is called tyropita and is equally delicious. Helen’s mum is known as the ‘queen of spanakopita’, a deserving title given the perfect unison of golden hand rolled pastry and melt in your mouth cheese filling. This is a recreation of that pita with a gluten-free pastry, probably the most challenging baking technique for a gluten free chef. The trick to achieving a crispy gluten-free pastry is to roll out the dough as thinly as possible without breaking it between two sheets of baking paper. If you are pushed for time you can use a store bought gluten-free pastry, but just remember to roll it a little thinner. Makes 12 pieces.

Gluten-free Spanakopita



Savoury pastry:

200g gluten free flour, plus extra for dusting

1/2 tsp xantham gum

1 tsp salt

100g cold butter, chopped

1 egg

80mL cold milk

Cheese & spinach filling:

300g ricotta

200g Dodoni fetta

source:Neos Kosmos

Join AHEPA Youth in a night of jazz, food and wine


A fundraiser that will take you behind the scenes of the Hellenic Museum.

A Night at the Museum, a fundraiser to ensure Greek history and culture is embedded in the mind of all Australian students, will take place at the Hellenic Museum on Saturday 5 December.

Organised by AHEPA Youth, the event itself will enable guests to immerse themselves in the treasures of Greek history and raise money for the Hellenic Museum’s all important education program.

The Hellenic Museum’s bilingual education program covers both primary and secondary school education, with the secondary education program sectioned off by subject and year level. The education guide works hand-in-hand with a curator-led guided tour of the collection.

All ticket holders to the AHEPA Youth fundraiser will have the opportunity to view the award-winning Benaki exhibition ‘Gods, Myths and Mortals: Greek Treasures Across the Millennia’, right here in Melbourne, as well as bring in the festive season with a scrumptious feast provided by the Sweet Greek’s Kathy Tsaples to the sounds of a soulful jazz outfit.

“Through art and culture, the education program of a museum is fundamental in educating students about the world they live in,” says the Hellenic Museum’s Penni Pappas.

“Even more so, the exhibition ‘Gods, Myths and Mortals’ challenges students to recognise the past, engage with the present in order to understand their future.”

The museum, as a not-for-profit arts institution, relies on the funds raised from these organisations as well as the generosity of sponsors and individual benefactors.

“Already we have three very exciting exhibitions in store for next year, and with the ongoing cultural collaboration between our museum and the Benaki Museum, we need strong foundations in place to enable us to create inclusive education programs that will suit all Australian students,” says Ms Pappas.
“We are very grateful to organisations such as AHEPA Youth, who understand the importance of education and place as much value on this as the museum does,” she continues.

The Hellenic Museum’s Education Initiative encompasses so many of AHEPA’s pillars that its executive committee members were instantly drawn to support it.

“Supporting education and preserving our cultural heritage, while giving back to the community, is our civic responsibility as young Hellenes in Australia,” AHEPA Youth’s Anthea Tsaousi tells Neos Kosmos, stressing how effective this innovative approach is to engage future generations in history learning.

“Students will have the opportunity to learn about some of the most fascinating historical periods by actually seeing the artefacts that encapsulate the true essence of that era up close.”

Students from all over Melbourne, regional Victoria and interstate have visited the collection as part of a comprehensive and curator-led school tour since the exhibition was launched a year ago.

Teachers are encouraged to engage the students through questions and activities before, and then after the guided tour through the comprehensive education guide developed in conjunction with the Benaki Museum’s education department.

School tours include an introductory talk, a guided tour of the exhibition and a workshop if requested. The tour – which takes up to an hour and is capped at a maximum of 20 students – can be conducted in both English and Greek. The museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10.00 am-4.00 pm. The tours cost $8 per student, with free entry for accompanying teachers.

All proceeds from the fundraiser will assist the museum in the development of new education guides for upcoming collections.

To book a school tour, contact the Hellenic Museum on (03) 8615 9016 or email info@hellenic.org.au

A Night at the Museum will take place on Saturday 5 December at the Hellenic Museum, 280 William Street, Melbourne. Tickets are $55 for students and $65 for adults and can be purchased via http://www.ahepayouth.org/fundraising

source:Neos Kosmos

No more plastic bags: Alonnisos gets pioneering


Starting today, Alonnisos is abolishing the use of plastic bags. The ambitious project is backed by the entire island, which in the last few years has made major leaps forward on issues concerning environmental protection.

If it succeeds, the Greek island will become the country’s first area to implement such a pivotal change in daily consumption habits.

Protected by the European Union’s Natura program and located in the heart of the National Marine Park of the Northern Sporades, Alonnisos hopes to earn the title of the country’s “greenest” island.

“People here have had environmental concerns for a number of years, regardless of laws and prohibitions,” said Alonnisos Mayor Petros Vafinis. “There is an eco conscience, which the older generation might have referred to in another way, but essentially, it exists.”

Vafinis sounded enthusiastic with regard to the island’s recent environmental achievements. “When we started the recycling program in 2012, I did not expect people, especially older citizens, to participate in the effort. Grandmothers are now first in line at the recycling bins. I’m very pleased with the progress made.”

And now the island has declared war on plastic bags.

“Last year I took part in a conference about recycling on islands. The issue of plastic bags was raised by some scientists and what I heard had an effect on me. It’s a material which takes 400 to 500 years to disappear and is very damaging to both land and sea. We discussed it at the municipal council and decided to go ahead with the idea, with the help of two nongovernment organizations, the Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal (MOm) and the Mediterranean SOS Network.”

Two meetings with the island’s entrepreneurs followed. “We decided to begin the abolition of plastic bags on December 1. Professionals have stopped ordering new shipments and, as a replacement, started putting orders for tissue paper bags and multiple-use plastic ones which they will charge for. Eighty percent of clothes stores are already using paper bags instead. Even outlets selling souvenirs agreed to place orders for paper bags, despite the added expense,” added Vafinis. “The Mediterranean SOS Network and MOm will donate 2,000 tissue paper bags and distribute fliers in order to raise awareness and inform all of the island’s residents. A campaign targeting visitors will get under way in the summer.”

“Alonnisos is a small island with tremendous environmental value and a very positive stance when it comes to environmentally friendly practices,” noted Natalia Roumelioti, coastal zone management projects coordinator at the Mediterranean SOS Network. The organization is taking part in Debag, a campaign aimed at raising awareness with regard to limiting the use of plastic bags around sea areas, which began in early September with European Union funding. “Reducing the use of plastic bags is important for the environment, it’s easy and, as of recently, an obligation following new EU legislation. This might sound somewhat ambitious, but I think Alonissos will succeed.”

EU directive

“I’m very optimistic,” Vafinis added. “Though we don’t expect plastic bags to completely disappear by December 31, we hope to succeed by the end of next year,” he added.

In May last year, the European Parliament ratified a directive limiting the use of “thin” plastic bags (of the supermarket variety) based on a specific timetable. Member-states are called upon to limit consumption to 90 bags per person per year by the end of 2019 and to 40 bags by 2025 – it is estimated that about 242 plastic bags are used per person every year in Greece. Alternatively, EU countries are called upon to ensure that there will be a charge introduced for plastic bags by the end of 2018.