Enlightenment is the only weapon that can help promote the national issue, the leaders of Cypriot diaspora have said.

Noting the success of 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), the overseas Cypriots told a press conference that their efforts will continue especially after the collapse of the latest talks for a Cyprus settlement at Crans Montana.

Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian and Overseas Affairs, Fotis Fotiou, said this year’s conference was upgraded with new events and greater participation.

He thanked POMAK, PSEKA and NEPOMAK for their work, especially Antonia Michalides, chairwoman of NEPOMAK, noting that the new generation should be supported to maintain affiliation with their roots.

Fotiou praised the overseas Cypriots for their continued willingness to help in finding a solution for the Cyprus problem, adding ”we are at a crucial phase and overseas Cypriots are giving us lessons of unity. We will continue the struggle to end the occupation and this is the message conveyed by this conference”, he added.

The commissioner also said that special emphasis should be given for the diaspora to forge more cooperation agreements with the diaspora of other countries that have a key role. He praised cooperation with the Jewish and Armenian diaspora as they are powerful at decision-making centres.

We have also involved Greece in this, he said and referred to the successful example in the US where the Cypriot, Greek and Jewish diaspora work at all levels, especially the political level as it is a way to promote common interests.

Regarding the missing persons issue, Fotiou said it was tabled by many delegates and they discussed ways to promote and enlighten on the issue at decision taking centres so that Turkey is persuaded and pressured into providing information on the missing persons. ”It is a shame for the international community 43 years on, to still have two-thirds of our missing unaccounted for”, he added.

Regarding the number of overseas Cypriots, he said a first estimation is 500-600 thousand.

On the enlightenment funds, Fotiou said that it is imperative to increase them.

POMAK President Andreas Papaevripidis said that they are examining options, noting that prominent business leaders should make a fund solely for enlightenment.

He also said that the aim is to maintain the Cypriot diaspora because it will always need to support its homeland.

PSEKA president Philip Christopher thanked Fotiou for upgrading the Overseas Cypriots’ conference.
Enlightenment is the only weapon we have, he said, adding neither the Cypriot nor Greek governments have yet appreciated that big funds are needed and that 2 million euros is not enough when Turkey spends 100 million at universities and think tanks.

Noting the effort will continue, Christopher called on Cypriot millionaires to “put their hands in their pockets and help”. Successful Jewish businesses put a two-to three percent of their earnings to support Israel, he added.

On her part, NEPOMAK leader Antonia Michaelides Antoniou said the conference was highly successful especially for the youth, as 40 came from all over the world.

“They came here with a limited understanding of what the conference was going to be about and have left feeling inspired to join our organisation and understand about their roots, history and promote the Cyprus problem and the missing persons issue in their own respective nations.

Regarding the new US administration, Christopher said that the American foreign policy was always pro-Turkish. However, he believes that there will be a change and overseas Cypriots in the US will work with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who knows the Cyprus problem. At the same time, the new US administration has pledged that it will not allow any problem in Cyprus’ EEZ.

He also said that the diaspora in the US are already working on the President’s forthcoming trip to the US, adding “our attack should be enlightenment, we need everyone to know that the collapse of the talks was due to Turkey and the Cyprus issue is an issue of invasion and occupation.

Regarding the Brexit, Papaevripidis said that surely it will directly or indirectly affect the overseas Cypriots planning about Cyprus, however, so far, there have not been great repercussions.

Cyprus has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion. The latest round of UN-led negotiations in early July this year ended inconclusively and parties to the peace talks are going through a period of recollection.

Article written by Cyprus News Agency, London Greek Radio

Updated August 27th, 2017

The small village of Anafonitria in the northwest part of the island of Zakynthos is being evacuated as the raging wildfire has been threatening houses and human lives. Already some houses have been burned down.

The fire broke out short before 12 noon Saturday in a forest and low vegetation area between Anafiotissa and Volimes. It soon went out of control due to the strong blowing winds.

Firefighters and volunteers are battling against the fire, while aerial means are expected to drop water over the houses to protect them from being burned.

However, the fire is horrific and the flames reach up to ten meters, while the atmosphere is ‘suffocating’, local media report.

According to latest information (2:30 pm local time), the blaze has already reached and burned several shops in the fringes of the village, while those whose houses are not in immediate danger are packing their things to save whatever they can.

The blaze was just 100 meters away from the village houses – or closer.

Traffic police is calling on motorists to avoid driving on the road beyond Katastari in direction of Orthonies, anafonitira and Navagio (Shipwreck).

Anafonitria and Volimes are just 2 km away from the coast, above the famous tourist attraction of Zalynthos shipwreck.

Around 3 p.m., two new fire fronts broke out in the area of Ano Volimes. The new fronts are reportedly 5km away from the fire in Anafonitria.

For the time being, strong winds hinder water dropping helicopters from operating, Athens newsagency reports.

Currently, there are ten fire trucks operating in the area with 25 firefighters.

+++ According to latest information by state ERT TV (3:45 pm), there is no official order for evacuation of Anafonitria, however, Fire Brigades, Civil Protection and local authorities are stand by to implement such a plan. Many people have already left the village. Several houses have burned down. A barn and many animals have been reportedly swallowed by the fire. ERT reporter said that volunteers and local residents are assisting the firefighters in an effort to prevent that more houses are being burned.

UPDATE 1 07:00 pm

The blaze continues its devastating path, has burned down thousands of acres for forest land, at least three houses and an unknown number of shops in Anafonitria village.

Two restaurants outside the Monastery of the same name have been burned and the outside wall of the monastery.

Although there is no official order for evacuation, authorities have made vehicles available for anyone who wants to abandon the area and be transferred to safety.

One fire front is moving to the direction of Navagio (Shipwreck), two others in directions of Maries and Orthonies.

UPDATE 2 10:50 pm

Also in the evening, the fire continues with the same intensity as earlier on Saturday.

More fire truck and more firefighters have been deployed to Zakynthos from other regions.

An extra ferry boat charter is to transport 20 fire trucks and army machinery that will open fire roads. The ferry is expected to arrive after midnight.

The forces are expected to be enhanced with 7 trucks in the morning and two water dropping helicopters.

Aerial means do not fly after dusk.

Earlier Saturday, in a big operation, the fire brigades managed to open the way for 25 private vehicles with some 100 passengers at Porto Vromi. It was mostly tourists who left their cars at the port and went for a visit to the shipwreck by boats. when they return they saw that the blaze was reaching the area.

Mayor of Zakynthos, Pavlos Kolokotsas, speaks of arson. “It is impossible to not think of an arson plan when three fires break out at the same time,” he told private ANT1 TV.

With three fire fronts in Anafonitria, Volimes and  Porto Vromi the night is expected to be very difficult for everyone on the island.

The fire front in Maries.

UPDATE 3 – 01:30 pm August 27

Firefighters were operating all night to limit the fire fronts.

The situation was better on Sunday due to the intervention of water dropping aircraft and helicopters.

Another factor is that the intensity of the winds has temporarily lowered down.

Efforts to extinguish the fire continue without a break.

Wildfires have been raging all summer on the island of Zakynthos and other regions in Greece.

The mayor of Zakynthos said that 30 fires broke out on the island in the month of August and more than 70 since the beginning of summer.

52 wildfires occurred in the last 24 hours across the country.  Strong north winds, the ‘meltemia’, and temperature over 30 degrees have the Greek Civil Protection issuing risk warnings for wildfires.

Authorities arrested a 54-year-old man a responsible for the wildfire in Kaki Vigla, Salamina, on Friday. He is to be charged for causing a fire out of negligence as he was performing outdoor works using a wheel that sparked the fire.

Article written by Keep Talking Greece

Overseas Cypriots, participating in the 19th World Conference of the World Federation of Overseas Cypriots (POMAK) and the International Coordinating Committee – Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA), in Nicosia, have called on the Turkish Cypriots, whether in Cyprus or abroad, to work with the Greek Cypriots to end the Turkish occupation and reunify the country.

In a message, overseas Greek Cypriots, who have gathered here, call on the Turkish Cypriots to contribute to maintaining and strengthening the positive climate that has been created and note that in a reunified Cyprus all legitimate residents will be able to enjoy the wealth of hydrocarbons in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone.

”We reminisce older times and the good relationship between the two communities, in conditions of freedom, democracy, and mutual respect, and we look forward to the moment of reunification,” overseas Cypriots say.

They add that, ”despite the tragic occurrences and despite the continuing occupation by Turkish troops, we believe that the reserves of mutual understanding are enough to form the foundation of a solution that will secure a reunified, independent, federal Cyprus, without occupation troops and settlers, demilitarised, sovereign, with a single citizenship and international identity, based on UN principles and resolutions, the high level agreements, international law, and the acquis communautaire, where human rights will be guaranteed for all its legitimate inhabitants.”

”We believe that the right solution of the Cyprus problem – with the Republic of Cyprus in the EU – gives a new dimension to our common homeland with huge benefits for both communities, safeguarding at the same time the safety and progress of all of us. We must jointly strive so that we can enjoy the benefits our accession to the European family offers us,” they say.

Furthermore, overseas Cypriots note that “it will be possible for all of us to enjoy the newly-discovered wealth of hydrocarbons in Cyprus’ exclusive economy zone, which belongs to all the legitimate residents of our homeland, in a reunified Cyprus.”

Overseas Cypriots call on the Turkish Cypriots, including those living abroad, ”to work and join forces to lift the Turkish occupation and reunify our homeland.”

They call on the Turkish Cypriots ”to contribute in your own way and support the continuation of the negotiating process in the framework of the UN parameters and the good offices mission of the UN Secretary General, so that progress can be achieved, differences can be overcome, and we can arrive at a viable and functional solution.”

Furthermore, they call on the Turkish Cypriots ”to contribute to maintaining and strengthening the positive climate that has been created, including the efforts for confidence-building measures, which will contribute to improving the daily lives of Cypriots and cultivate trust between the two communities.”

”We also believe that it is an important duty of ours to work collectively for the return of the town of Famagusta to its legitimate residents, as provided for in relevant UN resolutions, without pre requisites and reconditions, and for the adoption of other confidence-building measures which will give new impetus to the negotiations and will have a mutual benefit for both communities,” overseas Cypriots note. They add that ”dedication to UN decisions and resolutions, the implementation of international law and the acquis communautaire,

They add that “dedication to UN decisions and resolutions, the implementation of international law and the acquis communautaire, are guarantees for safeguarding the human rights and personal freedoms of us all.”

”We wish to live in a regime of security, through a solution which will exclude the creation of separate states or a confederation. This homeland is ours, all of us, and belongs to all Cypriots,” they concluded.

Article written by Cyprus News Agency, London Greek Radio

Acting President of the House of Representatives Adamos Adamou has said that the contribution of overseas Cypriots to the just cause of Cyprus has always been and continues to be very valuable.

Addressing the opening ceremony of 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), in Nicosia, Adamou said that their role is also important in promoting Cyprus as an attractive investment destination, thus contributing to Nicosia’s efforts to return to economic growth.

He stressed that overseas Cypriots continue to constitute valuable supporters of the just cause of Cyprus, noting that their contribution is extremely important, especially with regard to exerting more effective pressure on Turkey in order to cooperate in the efforts to reach a solution of the Cyprus problem.

Referring to Turkey, he said that it is clear that Ankara’s priority remains to upgrade or recognize the self-styled Turkish Cypriot regime, which was illegally declared in the northern Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus and is recognized only by Turkey.

In addition, he said that Turkey’s aim is to exploit Cyprus’ geostrategic position in order to achieve its goals in the region. He said that Ankara is acting in a methodical manner towards this goal, working at the same time for the de-recognition of the Republic of Cyprus, through continuously questioning Cyprus’ sovereign rights in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and using the interests of the Turkish Cypriot community as a pretext.

Adamou said that the Greek Cypriot side, acting on the basis of international law – the Convention of the Law of the Sea of 1982, – is proceeding in a decisive manner towards the promotion of its energy plans, bearing in mind the best interests of all Cypriots.

He also said that the Republic of Cyprus has laid the foundations for cooperation in the region with neighbouring countries, in order to achieve stability and security in the wider region, based on the catalytic role that natural gas can play.

Referring to the Cyprus talks that took place this summer in the Crans Montana resort in Switzerland, he said they resulted in a deadlock, noting that the Turkish side did not demonstrate good will, but rather remained focused on its intransigent stance thus leaving no room for a constructive dialogue to take place.

Adamou said that the Greek Cypriot side will continue to do its utmost to reach a viable, functional and just solution, based on international law, the UN resolutions and the European principles and values.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. The President and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Mustafa Akinci have been engaged in negotiations since May 2015. The latest round of UN-led peace talks in early July ended inconclusively and parties to the talks are in a period of recollection at present.

Article written by Cyprus News Agency, London Greek Radio

Are you dreaming of escaping the dreaded British Winter? With the awful summer, we’ve had so far, who could blame you?! Every year thousands of Britons flee for sunnier climes to avoid the dark, dreary days that descend upon us and with a particularly harsh winter predicted to hit the UK this year, it’s no surprise that number is set to grow.

Now, a new BBC One Series; Escape for the Winter is helping people make their dream winter getaway a reality. They want to hear from people who are thinking about or are already planning their trip.

The series will pair sun seekers up with a reputable property expert who will help them get to grips with the local area, as well as secure a property that fits their brief and budget.

If you would like to find out more, contact the casting team at Friel Kean Films on 0141 331 0318 or email: escapeforthewinter@frielkeanfilms.com.

BBC Series ‘Escape for the Winter’ are currently casting for Greeks & Cypriots for winter getaway format

Article written by London Greek Radio

Two sisters are hoping to find their biological father – more than 50 years after he disappeared.

Charlotte and Natalie Innes are looking for a man they only know as ”Andreas”, who lived with his family on Bourne estate, in Holborn, in the 1960s. Their mother, Pauline Innes, suffered a breakdown and put her two children into care after Andreas was forced to return to his Cyprus homeland for national service.

Natalie, who had just been born at the time, said she had been told that when her father returned from Cyprus he was told he was no longer welcome – and was never seen again.

”I think she was just absolutely heartbroken that he had to leave,” she said of her mother. ”There probably would have been some help for her had it been now. They probably would have given her some anti-depressants or something – but in the mid-1960s there was nothing like that. ”She had to put us two into care. We were living in a children’s home close to Bourne estate.”

Natalie, 53, said that after three years the two girls were taken out of care by their mother when her mental health improved. She settled down with another man, who for most of their lives they thought was their father. ”We were always one big family but we did always look quite a lot different to the other four children,” said Natalie. ”We have dark eyes, darker skin.”

She discovered what her real father looked like only after her adoptive father showed her a photo found in her mother’s belongings after her death.

Natalie said: ”When I was in my 20s I just thought: ‘What’s the point in knowing anything about him. Your father is the man that brings you up.’ ”I also didn’t want to upset his family. He would have started a new life and it could be upsetting for his family if two women appeared out of nowhere saying they were his daughters. It could be tough on his children. But it’s been so long now… Then the other day, my grandchildren were doing the family tree. It was wrong, of course, because they had us down as coming from the same father. So we told them what had happened. It really got us thinking that we should make an effort to find him now.”

She added: ”It’s quite likely he’s still in London. He would be 70 or 80 now. I think I’d just like to sit there, across from him and listen to him speak. I would just like to ask him for his side of things, to find out what happened.”

Article written by Tom Foot, Camden New Journal

Hundreds of tributes have been paid to 18-year-old British Cypriot George Zographou after he died in hospital after contracting meningitis.

A Bristol student who died after contracting meningitis was a star student and had done well in his A levels.

Bristol teen George Zographou dies after contracting meningitis and falling ill while at Boardmasters Festival

George Zographou – better known as Zoggy to his close friends – died on Wednesday, August 16, after falling ill at the Boardmasters Festival in Newquay last Saturday.

The pupil at St Brendan’s Sixth Form College had been due to collect his A level results on Thursday with his close friends and family.

But tragedy struck on the weekend and he fell into a coma and was brought to Royal Cornwall Hospital.

He died around 1.40pm on Wednesday. Instead of huge celebrations, there was a sombre mood at St Brendan’s today as his close friends collected their results.

Instead of huge celebrations, there was a sombre mood at St Brendan’s today as his close friends collected their results.

Michael Jaffrain, principal of the college, said his staff had been left in tears at the news and called it a day of ”great achievement and sadness”.

He added: ”George would have done really well in his A level results, and he had done really well in his GCSEs.

”We briefed the staff first thing in the morning about the situation and we had extra members of staff on hand to provide support to the pupils.

”There were also three members of Public Health England in a room in case there were any questions from parents, pupils and staff who were trying to understand what happened.

”Many of hi Mr Jaffrain paid tribute to the talented young man, who was also a brilliant striker for local teams in Bristol.

”He was very academic – popular and clever – and in terms of his studies he was very interactive in class.

”We had teachers in tears today when they heard about it. We rang the teachers that taught him over the last few years to update them about the situation.

”It’s terrible.

”He was a popular pupil among his peers and teachers, and really nice and just a really good boy.

”George would have done well today.”His friends signed a book of condolences.”

His friends signed a book of condolences.”

They wrote: ”Very sad news.

”On the eve of A Level results day, we are very sad to hear the shocking news of the death of a former student.

”George Zographou was a much admired student, a talented sportsman and academic and a good friend to many. He left Colston’s after achieving a great set of GCSE grades and then attended St Brendan’s.

He left Colston’s after achieving a great set of GCSE grades and then attended St Brendan’s.

”He was taken ill earlier this week with meningitis and passed away today.

”Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”

Here at London Greek Radio, our thoughts are with George’s family at this time.

Article written by London Greek Radio

Actress Zoe Laskari, best known for her stellar performances in Greek films of the late 1960s, has died at the age of 72.

According to reports, Laskari was found dead at her home in the coastal resort of Porto Rafti, east of Athens, on Friday 18th August.

The cause of her death has not been released.

Crowned a beauty queen in 1959 at the age of just 15, she made her debut appearance in Greek cinema two years later in Katiforo (Downhill), a film by the prolific Greek producer Filopimin Finos.

Some of her later movies were Stefania (1966) and Oi Thalassies Oi Hadres (The Blue Beads) (1967). Other Laskari film hits included Nomos 4000 (Law 4000), Merikoi To Protimoun Kryo (Some Like It Cold), Koritsia Gia Filima (Girls Made For Kissing), Dakrya Gia Tin Ilektra (Tears For Electra), Mia Kyria Sta Bouzoukia (A Lady At The Greek Bouzoukia) and Marijuana Stop.

Her stage work included famous plays like Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? the ancient Greek tragedy The Trojan Women by Euripides and Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park. Laskari’s first television appearance was her leading role in the TV series Romaios Kai Loulieta in 1976.

In 1985, at the age of 41, she became the first major movie star to take her clothes off for a legendary Playboy (Greek edition) shooting. She was reportedly paid an obscene amount of money for her appearance on the magazine’s cover.

Laskari, whose real name was Zoe Kouroukli, is survived by her two daughters, Martha Koutoumanou and Maria-Eleni Lykourezou, and her husband, the prominent lawyer Alexandros Lykourezos.

Here at London Greek Radio would like to extend our condolences to her friends and family.

Article written by London Greek Radio

GREECE edged out Great Britain in tight EuroBasket warm-up…

Our own UK Greeks/Cypriots fan-base whipping up an electrifying atmosphere…

In front of nearly 5,000 fans representing both teams, Greece pulled out a nail biter of a win with Britain showing a worldwide audience just what they can do, in an 84-88 defeat.

GB trailed 84-83 with 24 seconds remaining and stole the ball, but missed a shot and a free throw, with Greece’s four free throws sealing the game.

Dan Clark had 23 points to lead GB’s scoring, with Gabe Olaseni and Luke Nelson adding 20 and 13 points respectively.

The defeat is GB’s fifth in their warm-up games for next month’s EuroBasket finals.

On a four-game losing streak after a 72-68 behind-closed-doors loss on Friday to their visitors, GB looked eager to make a mark early but had to come from behind to share the first quarter 22-22.

Greece were missing four regulars, including NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo and two other starters, but their wealth of talent – almost the entire squad plays in the continent’s top league, the Euroleague – meant they were still tough opponents for head coach Joe Prunty’s team.

That showed in the second quarter as centre George Papagiannis, fed by classy point guard Kostas Sloukas, ignited a 10-0 run for a 32-25 lead before Gabe Olaseni and newcomer Luke Nelson brought GB back to lead briefly, 40-39 on Nelson’s assured three-pointer.

Down by two points at the break, GB slipped further behind before a storming 14-1 run, inspired by veteran Kieron Achara, brought GB a 65-59 lead at the end of the third quarter.

The return of Sloukas and increased defensive intensity gave the visitors an 11-0 start to the final quarter.

GB set up the chance of an unlikely win with a run of five unanswered point in the last two minutes, but Nelson’s drive and shot missed, and when Andrew Lawrence missed a free throw with six seconds remaining, Greece escaped to another win over their hosts.

Article written by London Greek Radio

A Greek woman was among those injured in yesterday’s vehicle attack in the Spanish city of Barcelona that left 13 people dead and dozens injured.

“She is in the city’s hospital in a critical condition”, a close relative told Greek private tv station SKAI.

The injured woman “was planning to leave Barcelona the next day.” (Photo-EPA)

The relative added that the unfortunate woman “was planning to leave Barcelona the next day.”

All Cypriot tourists who are in Barcelona on organized trips via travel agencies in Cyprus, are accounted for and are all in good health, the Head of the Cypriot Travel Agencies has informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to the country’s News Agency.

The Embassy of Cyprus in Madrid has contacted all Cypriots who reside permanently in Barcelona and so far there has been no information about any of them being among the victims.

The President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades has condemned the “heinous terrorist act” in Barcelona.

‘Condemning in the strongest terms the heinous terrorist act in #Barcelona. My sincere condolences to the government & people of #Spain’ he wrote in his personal account on twitter.

Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos expressed his disgust at the “barbarous terrorist attack” in a message of condolences to Spanish King Felipe VI and the Spanish people.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras expressed “solidarity with the Spanish people and sympathy with the families of the victims.”

Article written by LGR