Our very own UK Greeks/Cypriots celebrate August 15th or Dekapentavgoustos

Greek Orthodox Christians celebrate the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos or the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God on August 15th or Dekapentavgoustos each year.

It is a national and religious holiday (in Greece and Cyprus) including our very own UK Greek & Cypriot community, attending local Church services. That marks the ”falling asleep,” repose or kimisis of the Virgin Mary, mother of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Feast also commemorates the Assumption of the body of the Theotokos into heaven.

The Greek Orthodox believe the doctrine of the Assumption, which teaches that at the end of her life, Mary, the mother of Christ, was taken body and soul (i.e. both physically and spiritually) into heaven to live with her son Jesus Christ, forever.

(Pic) Thank you to Fr Joseph Paliouras from The 12 Apostles,
Greek Orthodox Church, Hertfordshire, 15th August 2017

Article written by London Greek Radio

Forty-three years ago to this day the Turkish military launched its second offensive against the Republic of Cyprus, in full violation of international law, including the UN Charter, despite the ceasefire that had been agreed.

The Turkish army launched the second phase of the invasion on August 14, 1974, occupying the best part of Mesaoria, Famagusta, Karpasia and Morphou

The Turkish army invaded Cyprus on July 20, 1974, and launched the second phase of the invasion on August 14 of the same year, occupying the best part of Mesaoria, Famagusta, Karpasia and Morphou.

The Turkish side continues to disregard calls by the international community relating to Cyprus and continues to hold the city of Famagusta hostage of its illegal military occupation. Dubbed a “ghost town”, Famagusta’s fenced off section – called Varosha – remains to this day deserted, abandoned to the elements.

Turkish troops invaded Cyprus on July 20, 1974, five days after the legal government of the late Archbishop Makarios III was toppled by a military coup, engineered by the military junta then ruling Greece. Two unproductive conferences in Geneva followed; the first between Britain, Greece and Turkey and the second with the additional attendance of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot representatives. Three weeks after the ceasefire of July 22, and despite the fact that talks were still being held and just as an agreement seemed about to be reached, the Turkish army mounted a second full-scale offensive. As a result, Turkey increased its hold to include the booming tourist resort of Famagusta in the east and the rich citrus-growing area of Morphou in the west.

All in all, almost 37% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus came under Turkish military occupation. Nearly one-third of the population, some 200,000 Greek Cypriots, were forcibly uprooted from their homes and properties, thousands were killed during the hostilities, over 1,000 persons were listed as missing while thousands of Greek Cypriots and Maronites remained enclaved.

Numerous UN resolutions have demanded respect to the independence, unity and territorial integrity of Cyprus, the return of the displaced to their homes, and the withdrawal of foreign troops from the island, but all resolutions have been ignored by Turkey.

The latest effort to reach a Cyprus settlement was concluded last month in the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana without result. Cyprus Since then, President Nicos Anastasiades repeatedly said that he is ready to return to the negotiating table if Turkey accepts the termination of guarantees and intervention rights and is ready to withdraw its troops from the island.

Article written by CNA

”The one I’ve been waiting for and finally won best gentlemen’s stylist 2017!”

Tas Anastasis Panteli had written on his Facebook Page, celebrating receiving a gold award from this year’s British Hair and Beauty Awards.

He couldn’t hold back his excitement at the award Greek Cypriot hairdresser Tas is the proprietor of Pure Hair and Beauty Enfield and has long participated in the English awards.

Tas registered for the Best Male Grooming Barber Grooming/Barber award back in March shortlisted by the judges down to the final five through reviews and industry achievements over the last year.

Tas speaking to London Greek Radio described the decision-making process of the judges in the Final:

”For the first Round judges look at all entered salons and look at salon/individuals reviews, Round 2 would consist of mystery clients whether it be a haircut or even stopping by salons for advice and judging the service they received during their experience.”

Tas Panteli receiving his gold award from this year’s British Hair and Beauty Awards

What would have been the criteria they scored the finalists?

”The judges have a pre defined criteria to score each finalist by, all judges score independently and don’t work in a group to score the finalist. This year the awards had 5 judges scoring the finals who would submit their score to be added up and the highest collective score would be awarded GOLD, Silver or Bronze. This year I did try to be different I included a variety of haircuts from young and trendy to old and stylish and I also used different hair types and race to show how diverse my style can be. I also included a lot about me and what I have done in the industry and to help others with my skills, I have spent time at the homeless shelter cutting hair for the homeless and I have also visited local collages to teach students different haircuts and share my knowledge of experience with them.”

Tas, what does winning the award mean to you?

”Winning the award for me was a great recognition of the passion I have for my industry and profession, goes to show you don’t have to be a massive west end salon to be recognised! But it has taken a long time but I enter every year and make it to the finals of the English hair and beauty award, but don’t win! But now we pick up the British award so goes to show if you stay focused on what you want it eventually comes to you.”

If you were ever offered it, would you ‘say Yes!’ to being rewarded your own hairdressing reality programme on television…

”I think a reality TV show in a hair salon would be hilarious especially if they focus on all the customers coming in and out, I can tell you some really funny stories and I’ve also had some cringe worth conversations with clients over their private life’s but would all make good viewing.”

And a ‘fun’ question, which famous Greek or Cypriot singer/celebrity would you like to cut their hair?

”So many of our singers I’d love to get in the salon chair both male and female some because they are great singers and others because I would love to sort their hair out! But the main one would be Paschalis Terzis as he’s one of my favourite singers plus his eyebrows always look like they need a trim!”

Here at London Greek Radio would like to congratulate Tas, on receiving his award and may he long continue to prove he is a ‘cut above the others’.

Article written by Tony Neophytou

Arleta, the iconic singer songwriter of the New Wave Movement of the 1960’s ‘Neo Kyma’ has died at the age of 72. She passed away in the intensive care unit of an Athens hospital where she had been receiving treatment after suffering a severe stroke.

Arleta was born in Athens in 1945. Her real name was Ariadne Nicoleta Tsapra. She studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts. She published her first album of her own creation (A Hat with Songs) in 1960. She is well-known for the songs ‘Mia Fora Thimame’, ‘Serenata’, ‘To Leei Kai To Tragoudi’, ‘Ta Mikra Paidia’, ‘Ta Isiha Vradia’, ‘Bar To Navagio’, and ‘Tsai Giasemiou’.

Amid the early 1960’s launching her music career, she had collaborated with famous Greek composers like Mikis Theodorakis, Giannis Spanos, and Manos Hatzidakis.

Her songs have been performed on the alternative Greek music scene ‘Bouat’ in Athens.

Article written by London Greek Radio

The 19th World Conference of the World Federation of Overseas Cypriots (POMAK), the International Coordinating Committee – Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) and the World Conference of Young Overseas Cypriots (NEPOMAK) is taking place in Nicosia, between August 21-24.

Τhe President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades will open the conference in the evening of August 21

According to a relevant announcement, distributed by PIO, the President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades will open the conference on the evening of August 21.

Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian Issues and Overseas Affairs Fotis Fotiou, House President Demetris Syllouris, Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus and Greece’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, in charge of issues of Greeks abroad, Terence Quick will also address the conference.

Heads of POMAK Andreas Papaevripides, PSEKA Philip Christopher, and NEPOMAK Antonia Savvides will also speak during the event.

It is added that the Central Council of Overseas Cypriots will be received by President Anastasiades, at the Presidential Palace. Moreover, members will be briefed by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Energy and Finance, as well as by the Presidential Commissioner on issues of their competence.

Leaders or representatives of political parties will address the Conference’s second day, while Overseas Cypriots will also meet with other governmental and non-governmental authorities.

A press conference is scheduled on Thursday, August 24, at the Filoxenia Conference Center.

Article written by

The process for a Cyprus settlement which ended in Crans-Montana can be resurrected but this will not happen by the UN but through an agreement by the sides, UNSG`s Special Adviser on Cyprus said on Thursday after a farewell meeting he had with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades.

UNSG`s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide sitting between Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative to Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar

Asked if the UN believe that  the negotiating process which ended in Crans-Montana is dead or can be extended, Eide said that the process that led in Crans-Montana ended in Crans-Montana, and that was what the SG said but that doesn`t mean that it cannot be resurrected.

“What I am saying and I think the leaders agree with – I am not speaking on their behalf but it is my sense that it is a shared understanding – that it will not be resurrected by the UN. The resurrection will have to happen from here in harmony and through agreement by the sides. and if they agree the SG is there,” he noted.

Asked if it is difficult now to have a new process or a new attempt, Eide said that “you should not give up hope. On the other hand, I cannot with confidence say that I think it is just around the corner. We are here to help. We will always be available and the SG has said that he remains available if the sides want it.”

“We are not planning an initiative. I think that`s natural. We had Crans-Montana. We believe that we did what we would to facilitate this process but if there is a shared, joint request by the sides and by the guarantors, the UN of course – it is part of its mandate – would be available to help. But the decision has to be made here,” he noted, adding that the international community now needs to be convinced that there is a real intent to try again.

He said that if ever a new chance comes along in the future, it would be good to preserve as much as possible the Guterres framework which is the outcome of months of preparation. “If we were able to answer those six questions at the same time, simultaneously, I think we would have a strategic deal. But I don`t think you should give up with the idea,” he said.

Eide said that this was his last meeting in this format with Anastasiades. He noted that they had a good, friendly conversation about their shared experience in this process.

He said he has mixed feelings about leaving Cyprus. “I think we achieved a lot in this process and I think that Mr. Anastasiades and Mr. Akinci with our help and with all the international support and the support from people here in Cyprus managed to bring this process further than any pair of leaders before them,” Eide noted.

At the same time, he added, “we cannot hide the fact that we did not succeed in solving the problem. I would rather leave after having assisted the leaders in actually achieving a settlement that could be implemented.”

He noted that these are large and complicated issues and that what`s left of this phase is a better understanding of where an agreement could be found, if ever there will be a new attempt and if somebody would try again, I hope that the achievements that have been achieved over these past years, particularly the past 27 months which is the time that the Anastasiades-Akinci talks started in May 2015 till Crans-Montana and the conclusion of the Conference on Cyprus.

“We want to record all these and we will make sure in the report that I will submit – I will work with the SG and then he will submit it to be more formal to the SC. We will take down all that we can say of course respecting the boundaries of the sides. We will try to record all that was achieved and also where we think we could have been going so that the work has not been lost,” the diplomat said.

Eide refrained from responding to a question about the Turkish stance during the last dinner in Crans-Montana, noting that things have been said about that and he does not think it would contribute to anything to continue that now.

He said that his focus now is to finalise his job here with the reports to the SC, noting that they will make a public report and their own internal lesson learned.

Asked about his message for the Cypriots, he said that Cyprus is a great country with a rich culture and with the benefit of having the potential of being a united country with several rich cultures coinciding.

He expressed the conviction that Cyprus would be better off united. “I think you would be stronger together, I think you will be richer together, economically but also culturally, you will be safer together,” he noted.

He stressed that it is up to the Cypriots, who “need  to take their faith in their own hands. We cannot do it for them. We are not asked to do it for them. We are asked to be here and be helpful as facilitators but at the end of the day it is up to the Cypriots and the leaders of course like Mr. Anastasiades and Mr. Akinci”, noting also the role of the society.

If people want change, they need to stand up for change, he stressed, noting that this is not the only legitimate view and that it is not illegitimate to think that things are better as they are, but he disagrees with this.

He said that he has been strengthened in his conviction that a united federal Cyprus is the best option for all the people in Cyprus.

Referring to his cooperation with the leaders, the negotiators and their negotiating teams, Eide said that the fact that they sometimes disagree on certain issues is normal, because you cannot expect an envoy to be constantly in full agreement with both sides if they are in disagreement with each other.

“Overall we have developed a high degree of respect for each other. I think I have learned to understand at least some of the particular sensitivities that comes with being a Cypriot, Turkish Cypriot or Greek Cypriot, and things that might easy from the outside are less easy when you see it from the inside. And I say that with empathy and understanding”, he noted.

Eide also said that when Cypriots discuss the future it is relatively easy to discuss future arrangements, when they discuss the present it becomes a little bit more difficult and when they try to agree on the past it is absolutely impossible.

He brought as an example the settlement of property issues, “where you have strong personal memories of loss on both sides” and the past comes back into the present .

He also said that everyone should be critical of their own efforts and that “one thing we could collectively collect upon, that means the UN and the sides and everybody involved, is that maybe this process was too secretive”.

Eide said that given that it took quite some time, maybe it would be better with hindsight to have some more transparency and some more sharing of what was actually happening.

The fact that even though a lot of progress was made, they were unable to say what that progress was made people, understandably, suspicious, he explained. It also made it easier for those people who have the conviction that there should not be a solution to tear it apart and take it down, he added.

Eide said that you either have a short, quick and effective secret process or you have a long and more transparent process.

The Norwegian diplomat said that some more involvement by the broader society would have been helpful, noting that civil society came on the stage relatively late. He noted that he knows many-many people on the economic side, business leaders, trade union leaders who were determined to help for a settlement but who didn`t want to raise their voice.

Eide noted that more work could have been done to prepare the people for the reality that a solution will not be absolutely perfect from either side. “A solution entails an element of compromise. You have to accommodate and meet each other,” he said.

Asked if it was a mistake that the security issue was left to be discussed at the end of the process, Eide noted that they were engaging with it for years in a brainstorming format and in a shuttling format.

He said that there was a concept available for a fundamental change in the 1960 system, a fundamental change in the system of guarantees, an end of the right of intervention, a massive reduction of troops but also that would entail a security structure which with some foreign involvement, UN, EU and others, that would be helpful in alleviating the fears of both communities.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.  The latest round of the UN-backed Cyprus talks in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, ended inconclusively. The peace talks under the auspices of the UN aim at reuniting the island under a federal roof.

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The X Factor Greece Final, which aired on July 20th on Skai Greek Television, produced this year’s series winner; he is Cypriot singer Panagiotis Koufogiannis. He landed a recording contract with FeelGood Records and he drove away on the night, with keys to a brand new car. Well, that’s an extra perk, you won’t ever likely see on the UK’s X Factor…

The host, pop legend Sakis Rouvas announced the result, which coincidentally turned out to be an all ‘Cypriot’ Top 2 finalists line-up, between fellow Cypriots Panagiotis and the second-placed Soula Evaggelou; trailing third were the group Deevibes.

The judges comprised famous Greek singers Tamta, Giorgos Papadopoulos and Bambis Stokas – but Panagiotis had the winning coach, in the shape, of none other than acclaimed Greek artist Giorgos Mazonakis. He managed to beat his coach rivals upon making his debut as a mentor on the X Factor programme.

Born to Cypriot parents in Strovolos, our victor underwent his music studies at the well-known, prestigious, favourite to many Cypriot artists and locals musicians, the Berklee College of Music in the States.

The 28-year-old first competed at the Cypriot Eurovision heat stages in 2015, finishing as the runner up to John Karayiannis. He would one day like to fly the Cypriot flag at the Eurovision Song Contest. We guess then, achieving a very famous X Factor victory will certainly, be a very good thing for his chances…

Here at London Greek Radio, we would like to congratulate Panagiotis on being crowned the X Factor champion and wish him all the very best for the future.

You can watch his X Factor performance here, with Panagiotis giving us a cover rendition of ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ by The Weeknd:

Article written by Tony Neophytou

One of the most popular and feel good films of this decade is marking its 10 year anniversary next July. Filled with songs, sun, sea and a whole lot of mystery, Mamma Mia stole our hearts back in 2008 with its sensitive storyline and glorious Greek coastline. We found ourselves singing and dancing to the legendary ABBA hits, while watching the characters run along the sandy beaches of Skopelos.  The ending definitely left the whole world shouting “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” a sequel, and although it has taken them ten years to do it, fans of the film are ecstatic that a follow up is its way.

But for the people of Skopelos however, it is a bitter sweet moment. For financial reasons, film makers have decided to shoot in Croatia, on the Dalmatian island of Vis, leaving the beautiful scenery of Skopelos behind. Islanders are devastated by the move as not only did the movie make £460 million, but there was an immediate increase in tourists to islands across the Aegean Sea; this simply wasn’t a coincidence. The film was definitely what captivated hearts worldwide and convinced holiday makers to discover these immaculate islands for themselves.

The reason behind the film’s upheaval is that production measures differ greatly in Greece as opposed to Croatia. For one, permits are not required in order to film in Croatia, and here, subsidies are offered to the film’s production team. Furthermore, due to legislation passed in 2011, foreign productions are excluded from tax return policies, so this upheaval is one to ensure film makers are not breaking the bank and it seems Croatia is to be the cheaper alternative.

Regardless of where the sequel is set, I have faith that it’ll recapture our love for this monumental  film, and the director, Ol Parker will not dare to disappoint. However, I guess time will tell, and come July 2018 we will all see if the sequel lives up to the original, and if not,  it’ll stand true that it really is the Greeks that do things best.

Article written by Steph Antoniou

The UK Government has repeated its position that it is ready to accept any possible agreement between the remaining parties involved on the Cyprus security and guarantees issue.

A Foreign office spokesman said that “on security and guarantees, we always made clear that we are open to whatever arrangements the two sides and the other Guarantor Powers could agree on in order to meet the security needs of a reunited Cyprus.”

The position is outlined in a letter, dated 26 July, to member of the UK Cypriot community, Doros Partasides, a distinguished photographer and active member of the community who along with other UK Cypriot refugees from the occupied part of Cyprus had asked the Minister for Europe Sir Alan Duncan for the UK Government’s support at the Conference for Cyprus that took place last month in Crans Montana, Switzerland.

The member of the Cyprus desk at the Foreign Office signing the letter states: “It is disappointing that the Conference on Cyprus at Crans Montana ended without agreement. The Government continues to work for a just and lasting settlement in Cyprus that will benefit all Cypriots. We are encouraging all parties to reflect on the outcome and consider next steps.

“On security and guarantees, we always made clear that we are open to whatever arrangements the two sides and the other Guarantor Powers could agree on in order to meet the security needs of a reunited Cyprus”.

UN-peace talks at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana took place between June 28-July 6 but failed to reach any fruitful results.

The talks, under the auspices of the UN, aim at reuniting Cyprus, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion, under a federal roof.

Article written by CNA