Pictured: Camille Grammer’s injuries ‘revealed as she’s granted restraining order against Greek lover who beat her for an HOUR as she recovered from cancer surgery’

Source: dailymail.co.uk

Camille Grammer has been granted a restraining order against her former boyfriend after claiming she was attacked for up to an hour in a brutal hotel room assault.

The 45-year-old former Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills star made the abuses allegations on Twitter on Monday – but did not name the alleged perpetrator.

Now in the latest turn of events, Grammer – the ex-wife of Frasier star Kelsey Grammer – filed a declaration to a judge accusing her Greek boyfriend, Dimitri Charalambopoulos, 36, of pulling out clumps of her hair, leaving her battered and bruised, and fearing for her life.

In the documents filed with a California court, which she supported with photographs of her injuries, Grammer said she was left with bruising on her wrists, a large contusion on the side of her head and scrapes and abrasions to her face and arms.

Offering up evidence: Camille Grammer has supplied pictures of her injuries to a court in a declaration seeking a restraining order after claiming she was assaulted by her Greek boyfriend Dimitri Charalambopoulos

Offering up evidence: Camille Grammer has supplied pictures of her injuries to a court in a declaration seeking a restraining order after claiming she was assaulted by her Greek boyfriend Dimitri Charalambopoulos

Bruised: A judge at a California court granted the restraining order on Tuesday following the alleged incident, which happened almost two week ago in a Houston hotel room, days after she underwent cancer surgery
Bruised: A judge at a California court granted the restraining order on Tuesday following the alleged incident, which happened almost two week ago in a Houston hotel room, days after she underwent cancer surgery

Bruised: A judge at a California court granted the restraining order on Tuesday following the alleged incident, which happened almost two weeks ago in a Houston hotel room, days after she underwent cancer surgery

The incident happened almost two weeks ago at the luxury ZaZa hotel in Houston Texas, just days after the reality star underwent surgery for endometrial cancer.

It's over! Camille seen with Dimitri here at an event in Los Angeles last year last yearIt’s over! Camille seen with Dimitri here at an event in Los Angeles last year last year

Victor Senties, a spokesman for Huston Police Department, confirmed to MailOnline the assault was reported at around 3.30am on October 16.

He said Grammer was the alleged victim of an assault by a male. Investigations continue and no charges have been filed at this stage, said the spokesman.

In the meantime, Grammer filed a four-page declaration at the Superior Court Of California in Santa Monica on Tuesday, detailing her ordeal.

The pair began rowing after Charalambopoulos received a series of texts and a phone call from a woman, who ended up screaming at him down the phone, Grammer states in the court documents.

Charalambopoulos allegedly grabbed Grammer by the hair, twisting it around his hand, before knocking her head against the bed and headboard, with the declaration stating how he was ‘repeatedly slamming my head and face into the furniture and completely immobilizing me’.

Grammer also claimed that Charalambopoulos – who is a lawyer by profession and has also worked as a fitness instructor – ‘squeezed my nose between his finger and pushed upward forcefully, covering my mouth in an attempt to silence me to prevent me from breathing’.

The mother-of-two detailed how she feared for her life, begged him to stop and alleged the attack went on for between 40 minutes and an hour.

Exhibit: A smashed iPhone and clumps of hair, which Camille says her lover pulled out in clumps during the course of the alleged assaultExhibit: A smashed iPhone and pieces of hair, which Camille says her lover pulled out in clumps during the course of the alleged assault

Photographic evidence: She also said she was left with bruising on her wrists, a large contusion on the side of her head and scrapes and abrasions to her face and armsPhotographic evidence: She also said she was left with bruising on her wrists, a large contusion on the side of her head and scrapes and abrasions to her face and arms

 

Police investigation: A photograph of Camille's wrists in another photograph supplied as part of the declarationPolice investigation: A photograph of Camille’s wrists in another photograph supplied as part of the declaration

When she tried to call for help, he smashed her iPhone, it is alleged. Houston Police told MailOnline the pair ‘broke each other’s cell phones’ during the course of reported altercation.

As Charalambopoulos left the room he threatened to knock her out if she moved from the bed, the declaration states.

A judge has now granted a temporary restraining order, prohibiting Charalambopoulos from going within 100 yards of Grammer or her two children.

Meanwhile, according to RadarOnline, Camille has been recently spotted with various bodyguards.

A source told the site: ‘As soon as Camille returned from Houston, she hired the bodyguards.’

‘Security has been significantly increased at her home and Camille will keep the security detail in place for the foreseeable future. She isn’t taking any chances.’

Grammer and Charalambopoulos began dating in late 2011 and are now said to have split up, according to RadarOnline.

A source told the website: ‘Things between them had been bad for awhile,’ and that Camille called time on the relationship ‘because she was over his antics’.

Taking to Twitter on Monday, Grammer said she planned to press charges against a man – not named by her at the time – who ‘belonged behind bars,’ adding: ‘Info will come out today that is jaw dropping. And women can’t be silenced after being physically abused!’

‘Getting my strength back now that I am at home and wasn’t able to deal with talking about it after my cancer surgery or what had happen [sic],’ she added.

Grammer was inundated with questions from her fans, including whether she was hurt.

‘Yes,’ was all she replied.

Marked up: The photos show what look to be reddish bruising on her armsMarked up: The photos show what look to be reddish bruising on her arms

Court documents: Grammer details her ordeal in a four-page declaration to which she attached photographs of her injuriesCourt documents: Grammer details her ordeal in a four-page declaration to which she attached photographs of her injuries

 

Detail allegations: A portion of the four-page statement the TV personality's lawyer filed to the Superior Court Of California on TuesdayDetail allegations: A portion of the four-page statement the TV personality’s lawyer filed to the Superior Court Of California on Tuesday

 

In another tweet, she revealed the alleged abuse happened shortly after her cancer surgery.

‘Yes, it was horrible what had happened to me two days out of the hospital,’ adding, ‘I feared for my life.’

She also claimed to be pressing charges against the alleged perpetrator.

‘Yes, working with lawyers and the police. This man should be behind bars,’ she wrote.

Camille underwent what is known as a ‘radical’ hysterectomy after being diagnosed with early stage endometrial cancer.

Scene of incident: Police were called to the ZaZa hotel in Houston where Camille was allegedly attackedScene of incident: Police were called to the ZaZa hotel in Houston where Camille was allegedly attacked

 

Getting my strength back now that I am at home and wasn’t able to deal with talking about it after my cancer surgery or what had happen.

— Camille Grammer (@TheRealCamilleG) October 28, 2013

The reality star reportedly had a greater risk of contracting cancer due to genetic issues.

‘The surgery went well and she is expected to make a complete recovery following a significant recuperation period,’ her rep, Howard Bragman, told People magazine earlier this month.

Camille was famously married to actor Kelsey Grammer from 1997 until 2010,while their divorce was finalised in early 2011.

The couple welcomed two children – daughter Mason and son Jude – via surrogate, both of whom she retained primary physical custody.

In the past: Camille was famously married to actor Kelsey Grammer from 1997 until 2010,while their divorce was finalised in early 2011, pictured in NYC in 2010

In the past: Camille was famously married to actor Kelsey Grammer from 1997 until 2010,while their divorce was finalised in early 2011, pictured in NYC in 2010

Two Mt Druitt properties sells for more than $1 million

Source: DailyTelegraph

68 Wehlow St, Mt Druitt sold for $1,066,000 at auction by Laing + Simmons Mt Druitt.

68 Wehlow St, Mt Druitt sold for $1,066,000 at auction by Laing + Simmons Mt Druitt. Source: Supplied

MT Druitt’s property market is smashing the million dollar mark, with the suburb recording two residential sales of more than $1 million in less than a month.

Known as an entry-level suburb for families in Sydney, the recent sales are a sign that Mount Druitt is on the move as its big blocks attract interest because of their development potential.

On September 30, a property at 28 Paull St was sold for $1.1million and on Saturday, a home at 68 Wehlow St, Mt Druitt sold for $1,066,000 at auction by Laing + Simmons Mt Druitt.

The Wehlow St home is modest in size, between 50 and 60 years old and currently returning just $300 a week in rent, but 80 people turned up for the auction and nine registered buyers battled for the property.

The house is on 2024sq m of prime land a few hundred metres from the heart of Mt Druitt and close to a train station, hospital and a Westfield shopping centre.

Lang + Simmons sold another home on Wehlow St in July for $780,000, smashing the previous suburb record of $569,950, set in May.

Lang + Simmons sold this home on Wehlow St in July for $780,000. Source: Supplied

Selling agent Basel Nahas, licensee of Lang + Simmons Mt Druitt , said for the house to achieve more than $1 million was a sign of of confidence in the area.

He said Mt Druitt prices were increasing steadily and buyers could not rely on its affordability to continue.

“Prices are going through the roof. By the time you sell something, the next month when you try and use it as a comparable, it looks like it’s worth more,” he said. “Prices increase month by month.”

The median house price in Mount Druitt is $371,000 and in five years, values have increased by 21.6 per cent. In the greater Sydney metropolitan area, the suburb ranks in the bottom 15 per cent for median house prices.

A typical Mt Druitt street.

A typical Mt Druitt street with smaller, older homes on large blocks of land. Source: News Limited

Mr Nahas said the Wehlow St property attracted attention from long-term investors because of the large block, equivalent to about two standard blocks, and its location.

“It had development significance to it. It was massive – (Blacktown) council had a draft zone on it to eventually put units on it. The minimum is 3000sq m to build units so it’s an investment.”

Mr Nahas said the investor who bought the property would continue renting it, but may buy homes next door in the future to develop and realise the land’s full potential.

“It’s in a good spot in what will be a high capital growth area and position,” he said.

He said the vendor was extremely happy with the result.

Neighbour Mark Eattell lives in a townhouse opposite the property and was at the auction.

“I was surprised but then again it’s a large block so obviously it will be redeveloped,” he said.

Mr Eattell said he expected unit developments on the street in the future, similar to other parts of Mt Druitt.

Mark Eattell

Mark Eattell Source: Supplied

Neighbour Kelly Barton said while she doubted the old house was worth much, the buyer got good value based on the land size.

“If it was a smaller block I would have been shocked but for that block, when you divide it and look at the price I think it’s OK for what they (the buyer) got,” she said.

She said the area was popular and Wehlow St residents were prepared to sell to investors and developers if the price was right.

Lang + Simmons sold another home on the street in July for $780,000, smashing the previous suburb record of $569,950, set in May.

Mr Nahas said strong demand in Mt Druitt would eventually impact its affordability but for now houses and units were still the cheapest in Sydney although “too many buyers are buying so there is a shortage of properties.”

Units prices, which had averaged around $220,000-$230,000, had increased by about $60,000, he said, and prices were likely to rise again next year with no signs of stabilising.

“Mt Druitt is a good suburb… for it to have all its amenities with good rentals and vacancy rate and the M7 and M4 – it all plays a big role,” he said.

Eight of the scariest, haunted places in Australia

Source: News

 By day, the Monte Cristo homestead at Junee looks like any other grand manor.

By day, the Monte Cristo homestead at Junee looks like any other grand manor. Source: Supplied

By night, it's Australia's most haunted house. Spooky.

By night, it’s Australia’s most haunted house. Spooky. Source: Supplied

REGINALD Ryan and his wife Olive had just moved into a beautiful homestead in Junee, NSW, when they drove downtown for supplies one foggy night in 1963.

When they turned up their driveway on the return trip, a brilliant fierce light was streaming out of every door and window of the house.

They thought they were being burgled, but as they drove cautiously closer to the house, the lights suddenly switched off and the house was again lost in the ghostly fog and darkness.

The Ryans had no idea the Monte Cristo homestead was the country’s most haunted home. And it doesn’t seem to have fazed them – they still live there.

Reginald’s nephew and his wife once visited Monte Cristo and were looking for the loo late one night. A young woman dressed in white appeared before them, whispered “Don’t worry, it will be all right” and vanished.

Olive once found dead and mutilated cats in the kitchen. Visiting children inexplicably throw tantrums around the staircase, where a child once died. There are phantom footsteps, strange apparitions and haunting noises.

It’s little wonder the home’s ghost tours are booked out months in advance.

But Monte Cristo isn’t the only haunted place in the country, of course. Here are seven more of our spookiest.

 

STUDLEY PARK HOUSE, NSW

The eerie house at dusk.

The eerie house at dusk. Source: News Limited

On October 15, 1909, in the grounds of the then Camden Grammar School, 14-year-old Ray Blackstone drowned in the dam after failed rescue attempts by his school mates, ancestry.com.au tells us.

His body was placed in the cold, dark cellar of the school until his burial.

Three decades later, while living in the transformed school house, 13-year-old Noel William Gregory – son of Twentieth Century Fox sales manager Arthur Adolphus Gregory, died from appendicitis.

It’s believed that the spirits of both boys play together and remain in the house as a constant reminder of their tragic lives.

 

REDBANK RANGE TUNNEL, NSW

The disused tunnel is said to be haunted by a death that occurred in 1914.

The disused tunnel is said to be haunted by a death that occurred in 1914. Source: News Limited

Emily Bollard entered a railway tunnel at Picton (no longer in use) and met the oncoming train. It didn’t end well.

Emily’s ghost is said to wander the tunnel.

 

NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE, ACT

The National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra. Fine by day, but would you wander around at night?

The National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra. Fine by day, but would you wander around at night? Source: Supplied

In its current incarnation, this grand art deco building in Canberra is a living archive of important images and sounds deemed worthy of preservation.

But until 1984, it operated as the Australian Institute of Anatomy, where notable body parts were kept and collected.

Some people believe the spectres of the dead haunt the hallways.

The downstairs corridor, which once housed hundreds of human skulls, is said to be a hive of poltergeist activity.

And a contractor claims to have been pinned against a wall in the basement by an unexplained presence.

 

BOGGO ROAD JAIL, QLD

The Boggo Road Jail, in Brisbane's inner-south, has a checkered history of violence.

The Boggo Road Jail, in Brisbane’s inner-south, has a checkered history of violence. Source: News Limited

It’s one the country’s most infamous prisons – known for tough inmates and even tougher wardens.

Boggo Rd was a place of execution until 1913, and held some of Australia’s most dangerous men and women including the Whiskey Au-Go-Go firebombers James Finch and Andrew Stuart, and the only woman hanged in Queensland, Ellen Thomson.

Given its long history of rooftop riots, executions and fatal overcrowding, Boggo understandably has a ghostly folklore surrounding it.

No longer running as a prison, the historic site is now open to ghost tours.

 

FREMANTLE ARTS CENTRE, WA

A bustling cultural hub today. A lunatic asylum in the past.

A bustling cultural hub today. A lunatic asylum in the past. Source: Flickr

Before this 150-year-old building was Fremantle’s home of live music and weekend crafternoons, it was the local insane asylum.

It’s believed to be one of the southern hemisphere’s most active haunted places.

Visitors have reported all the spooky hallmarks of a haunted house: cold spots, ghostly touches, apparitions, moving lights and generally strange feelings.

Ghost hunters investigated it recently and heard creepy voices saying creepy things like “Those are chains” and “It’s not cold”. CREEPY.

 

PORT ARTHUR, TAS

Ghost tours operate at Port Arthur.

Ghost tours operate at Port Arthur. Source: Supplied

Hundreds of men died during Port Arthur’s first decades as a convict settlement, and many people believe those lost souls have hung around.

Tour guides show interested rubber-neckers around the spooky historic town, convinced that the wall separating the worlds of the living and the dead is at its thinnest in Port Arthur.

Some of the local accommodation houses even have an “Unusual Occurrence Form” that guests can fill out when they’ve seen something ghostly.

Recurring visions include the Lady in Blue – apparently the weeping spectre of a young woman who died in childbirth.

More than 2000 apparitions have been lodged in the past two decades.

 

PRINCESS THEATRE, VIC

The grand old dame of Melbourne's theatre scene in 1908.

The grand old dame of Melbourne’s theatre scene in 1908. Source: Flickr

In March 1888, the baritone Frederick Federici was performing a scene from Faust when he had a sudden heart attack and died.

It’s said his phantom still haunts the opera, and for many years a seat was reserved for him in the third row of the dress circle. Touching. But creepy.

A big thank you to Steve and Rosa Prapas who organised and raised $14,000 to go to Bear Cottage, Manly

 

A BIG THANKS goes to Steve and Rosa Prapas together with their family and friends for their huge effort on the day.

A wonderful tea charity event was organised at St Nicholas Church at Marrickville on the Sunday 27th October, 2013 to raise much needed funds for Bear Cottage at Manly.

A lot of work was put into the planning and running of the event to raise money towards Bear Cottage, Manly.

Peoples’ generosity ensured that all raffles, money board games, auction items were sold in record time.

Steve and Rosa Prapas are extremely pleased to announce that $14,000 was raised for Bear Cottage in Manly which will directly go to the children of the cottage in an effort to make those beautiful smiles even bigger.

The huge donation to Bear Cottage would not have been possible without the generous donations from businesses and individuals that supported the event through cash or donation of prizes.

The day was a huge success with 220 supporters from the Marrickville Greek community and as well as non-greek residents of the area.

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Rosa Prapas

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Reverend Christodoulos Economou

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Penelope Tserpes talking about her experience at Bear Cottage

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Rosa Prapas watching slides of Rita’s experience at Bear Cottage

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Reverend Christodoulos Economou, Reverend Father Nicolaos Bozikis, Rita’s grandfather and mother and Narrelle Martin (Hospice nursing unit manager, Bear Cottage)

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People couldn’t get enough of buying tickets

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Rosa Prapas on a roll in starting the auction items

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Coffee and cake time

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What is bear cottage?

A little bit about Bear Cottage

Bear Cottage is the only children’s hospice in NSW, one of only two in Australia, and the only one in the world affiliated with a children’s hospital. It is a very special place that’s dedicated to caring for children with life-limiting conditions and their families.

Planning began for Bear Cottage almost 20 years ago, when Dr John Yu and Dr Michael Stevens from The Children’s Hospital at Westmead decided to enhance the hospital’s palliative care program.

Located on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, in Manly, Bear Cottage is like a home away from home – as far removed from a hospital environment as possible. Here staff do not wear uniforms, no medical procedures are carried out in the bedrooms, the children’s rooms are designed to like a normal bedroom, and we even have a family pet, Frankie, our adorable Labrador. That said, Bear Cottage is set up to provide excellence in paediatric medical care 24 hours a day, and our affiliation to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead means we have access to some of the best medical resources in the world.

The facility was established entirely through community support, at a cost of $10 million, and was officially opened on St Patrick’s Day, 17 March 2001,

Bear Cottage does not receive any recurrent government funding and so continues to rely on donated funds and community support to raise over $2.9 million required to operate each year.

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Who benefits from Bear Cottage?

Bear Cottage provides support, respite and end of life care for children with life-limiting illnesses and their families.

We care for children from across Australia, regardless of where they receive their primary care, although the majority of families that access the service are from NSW. The children who visit Bear Cottage will range from newborn infants to 18 years of age; however accommodation is also available for parents, as well as siblings, of the children staying.

When these families are told that their child’s life will be cut short, their everyday existence takes on a monumental change. As they embark on such a terrible journey, there are limited options available to help them get through each day, and answer the many questions that arise. Having Bear Cottage available to them for care and support enables these families to focus on the important things, such as spending quality time together and making every moment count.

Most families staying at Bear Cottage will come for respite; with the average length of stay is around one week to ten days. Families are generally able to visit Bear Cottage around 4 times a year for general respite, however for end of life care this can be open ended.

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The Facts and Figures

Estimates suggest there are well over 5000 children aged 0 – 19 years across Australia requiring palliative care. In the last year alone we have cared for well over 200 children with a life-limiting illness. There have been 16 children this year that have come to Bear Cottage for end-of-life care – where they can be surrounded by love and support, in a happy, safe environment, right until the end. And in the last 10 years we have supported around 600 families, both current and bereaved, as they go through their heart wrenching journey.

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Why is Bear Cottage special?

Whilst staying with us, our families can do as little or as much as they like. We have staff and volunteers on hand to do the cooking and cleaning, allowing families to forget about the stresses of everyday life, if just for a short time. We are fully medically assisted, so our nurses are available 24 hours a day to administer medications and support and guidance; and Frankie, our resident dog, is always around for a cuddle. We have full-time play and music therapists, and volunteers are there so mum and dad can spend time together or with their other children – often something that is forgotten when you’re caring for a terribly ill child.

Bear Cottage is there for every child, parent, or family who needs us, and they will never have to pay a cent. With one, and sometimes both parents, giving up work to care for their child, many of our families are simply not in a financial position to pay for anything that is not absolutely necessary.

By having Bear Cottage available to them at no charge means they can take a break and re-charge their batteries, safe in the knowledge that their child is being cared for by the best staff available. They can enjoy time with one another without having to worry about the housework and cooking. Most importantly though, they can spend quality time together and create special memories that will last long after their child has passed away.

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Goals for Bear Cottage – 2013

It currently costs more than $2.9 million a year to keep the doors open at Bear Cottage. With no recurrent government funding, we rely entirely on community support to raise these funds.

Our goal for 2013, as with every year, is to raise sufficient funding to keep Bear Cottage available for the very special kids and their families that rely on it. We also aim to give the children that visit Bear Cottage as many special memories as possible – because although we can’t add years to their lives we can add life to their years.

All funding makes an incredible difference to Bear Cottage and the children that come here. It allows us to continue providing vital services such as:

  • paying for daily medication for patients
  • funding important kid and parent camps
  • providing a play therapist for the children
  • ensuring that vital equipment is available for treatment and care
  • help fund families to stay at Bear Cottage for respite and end of life care
  • help pay for a specialised paediatric palliative care doctor

For many people, Bear Cottage is perceived as a sad place. But for those families who visit here, the staff who work here and the volunteers and community who support us, it is an incredibly special and happy place, where lasting memories are created.

Source: Bear Cottage
http://www.bearcottage.chw.edu.au/

Bear Cottage - An initiative of The Children's Hospital at Westmead

Underwater Marmaray tunnel linking Europe and Asia via Istanbul opens

Source: News

Turkish President Abdullah Gul (3rd R), Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (4th R), Somalian President Hasan Sheikh Mahmud (2nd R) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) listen to the train driver at the Uskudar Marmaray station.

TURKEY has opened world’s first underwater tunnel connecting two continents, fulfilling an Ottoman sultan’s dream 150 years ago in a three-billion-euro mega project.

The Marmaray tunnel runs under the Bosporus, the strait that connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara and divides Istanbul between Asia and Europe. The tunnel is 13.6km long, including an underwater stretch of 1.4km.

It is among a number of large infrastructure projects under the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that have helped boost the economy but also have provoked a backlash of public protest.

“I wish from God that the Marmaray that we are inaugurating will be a benefit to our Istanbul, to our country, to all of humanity,” Mr Erdogan said at the opening ceremony.

Officials hope that with up to 1.5 million passengers a day, the tunnel will ease some of Istanbul’s chronic traffic, particularly over the two bridges linking the two sides of the city. A more distant dream is that the tunnel may become part of a new train route for rail travel between Western Europe and China.

The underwater portion of the tunnel wasn’t dug, but was dropped in sections to the sea bottom – the immersed-tube method used around the world.

Turkish officials say that at more than 55m deep, it is the world’s deepest railway tunnel of its type.

Turkey is for the first time connecting its European and Asian sides with a railway tunnel, completing a plan initially proposed by an Ottoman sultan about 150 years ago.

Started in 2005 and scheduled to be completed in four years, the project was delayed by important archaeological finds, including a 4th century Byzantine port, as builders began digging under the city.

Rejecting any fears that the tunnel could be vulnerable to earthquakes in a region of high seismic activity, Turkish Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim said that it is designed to withstand a massive 9.0 magnitude quake. He calls it “the safest place in Istanbul.”

The tube sections are joined by flexible joints that can withstand shocks.

Ottoman Sultan Abdulmejid is said to have proposed the idea of a tunnel under the Bosporus about a century and a half ago. One of his successors, Abdulhamid, had architects submit proposals in 1891, but the plans were not carried out.

The tunnel is just one of Mr Erdogan’s large-scale plans. They include a separate tunnel being built under the Bosporus for passenger cars, a third bridge over the strait, the world’s biggest airport, and a massive canal that would bypass the Bosporus.

The projects have provoked charges that the government is plunging ahead with city-changing plans without sufficient public consultation. The concern fueled protests that swept Turkey in June.

Officials hope the tunnel will eventually carry 1.5 million passengers a day, easing some of Istanbul’s chronic traffic problems.

Tuesday’s ceremony on the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic was attended by Mr Erdogan and other officials, including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose country was heavily involved in the construction and financing of the railway tunnel project.

Japan’s Seikan tunnel linking the Japanese islands of Honshu and Hokkaido is the world’s deepest, getting 140 metres below the seabed and 240m below sea level. The Channel Tunnel linking Britain and France is as much as 75m below sea level.

EARLIER:

The inauguration of the ambitious scheme – dubbed “the project of the century” by the government – coincides with the 90th anniversary of the founding of modern Turkey.

The idea was first floated by Ottoman sultan Abdoul Medjid in 1860 but technical equipment at the time was not good enough to take the project further.

However the desire to build an undersea tunnel grew stronger in the 1980s and studies also showed that such a tunnel would be feasible and cost-effective.

Mr Erdogan, a former mayor of Istanbul, revived the plan in 2004 as one of his mega projects for the bustling city of 16 million people – which also include a third airport, a third bridge across the Bosphorus and a canal parallel to the international waterway to ease traffic.

His ambitions were one cause for the massive anti-government protests that swept the country in June, with local residents complaining the premier’s urban development plans were forcing people from their homes and destroying green space.

Mr Erdogan’s critics accuse him of bringing forward the inauguration of the Bosphorus tunnel in time for municipal elections in March 2014.

The project will not be fully operational immediately and construction is expected to continue for several more years.

Construction of the tunnel started in 2004 and had been scheduled to take four years but was delayed after a series of major archaeological discoveries.

Some 40,000 objects were excavated from the site, notably a cemetery of some 30 Byzantine ships, which is the largest known medieval fleet.

But these unexpected finds eventually frustrated Mr Erdogan, who complained two years ago that artefacts were trumping his plans to transform Istanbul’s cityscape.

“First (they said) there was archaeological stuff, then it was clay pots, then this, then that. Is any of this stuff more important than people?”

Transport is a major problem in Istanbul, and each day two million people cross the Bosphorus via two usually jammed bridges.

“While creating a transportation axis between the east and west points of the city, I believe it will soothe the problem… with 150,000 passenger capacity per hour,” said Istanbul’s mayor Kadir Topbas.

Adelaide voted one of the world’s best cities for 2014

Source: News

THIS time, the winner ISN’T Sydney.

Or Melbourne.

Instead, it’s Adelaide that has scored a mention in Lonely Planet’s list of the world’s best cities to visit in 2014.

Joining the likes of Paris and Shanghai on the list, Adelaide, which attracts just 332,000 visitors a year, has been deemed an emerging hotspot due to its secret beaches, arts and wine scene.

“Having always lived in the shadow of its gregarious eastern-seaboard cousins,” the Lonely Planet review said, “the ‘City of Churches’ has been quietly loosening its pious shackles and embracing its liberal foundations.

“The year 2014 beckons big changes for the city’s heart, with the completion of the multi-million-dollar refurbishment of the Adelaide Oval, which will link central Adelaide with the Oval and its beautiful surrounding parklands, and historic North Adelaide further on.”

“Adelaide is effortlessly chic – and like a perfectly cellared red, it’s ready to be uncorked and sampled.”

South Australian Tourism Minister, Leon Bignell, said Adelaide has undergone a huge transformation in recent years, making it a ‘more appealing destination’.

Last year, it was Hobart that made the Lonely Planet list due to its ‘natural beauty, arts and foodie scene’.

HAVE YOUR SAY: Should Adelaide be at the top of tourists’ bucket lists? Tell us below.

The top 10 cities are:

1. Paris, France

2. Trinidad, Cuba

3. Cape Town, South Africa

4. Riga, Latvia

5. Zurich, Switzerland

6. Shanghai, China

7. Vancouver, Canada

8. Chicago, US

9. Adelaide, Australia

10. Auckland, New Zealand

 

Aussie city voted one of world's best for 2014

Visit the ‘City of Churches’ in 2014. Picture: Thinkstock Source: ThinkStock

American’s Death Still A Greek Mystery, 65 Years Later

Source: npr

CBS correspondent George Polk and his wife, Rea, in 1948, shortly before his murder on May 8 of that year in Greece.

CBS correspondent George Polk and his wife, Rea, in 1948, shortly before his murder on May 8 of that year in Greece.

Megaloeconomou/AP

George Polk may have been born to make history. He was descended from the American president who led the conquest of Texas and much of the Southwest. But for George Polk, Texas was too small, says his brother William.

In the 1930s, “Texas was a little backwater at the time, and very few people even knew where other countries were — what the names were, what the languages were that were spoken,” William Polk says. “And he had a tremendous sense of curiosity.”

"The Greek Civil War was a kind of precursor to the American involvement in Vietnam," says William Polk, younger brother of George Polk.

“The Greek Civil War was a kind of precursor to the American involvement in Vietnam,” says William Polk, younger brother of George Polk.

Milbry Polk

So George Polk became a journalist, reporting from China, Japan and France. During World War II, he served as a fighter pilot in the Pacific and was badly wounded. After the war, he watched the trial of Nazi war criminals in Nuremberg, Germany.

“He had the remarkable experience of sitting just a few feet away from Hermann Goering and the various other leading Nazis,” William Polk says, whereas during the war, “he had been in a foxhole in Guadalcanal, where a Japanese soldier tried to kill him with a knife.”

George Polk was determined that the world not fall back into the grip of fascism, his brother says. And that’s one reason he was attracted to Greece, his base for broadcasting as the CBS radio correspondent for the Middle East.

A Gruesome Discovery

In the late 1940s, Greece was the front line of the Cold War. Communist guerrillas were fighting a right-wing government in a bloody civil war. More than 158,000 people died, and more than a million were displaced. Polk suspected Greek officials were, at the very least, stealing aid money from the United States.

“He found that what the Greek government at that time was doing, and what it was like, was not the kind of government he fought to save during World War II,” William Polk recalls.

The Greek government was so unhappy with George’s reports that they asked CBS to reassign him (CBS refused). He got death threats and was constantly followed. Undaunted, he traveled to the port of Thessaloniki in the embattled north. A few days later, a fisherman found his body floating in Salonica Bay.

He was blindfolded, hands and feet bound, with a bullet wound in the back of the head. George Polk was 34 years old and had been married to Rea Kokkonis, whom he’d met in Greece, for just seven months.

A Show Trial

The Greek government blamed his murder on the communist rebels. In a trial the following year, two were convicted in absentia. A third man, a journalist named Gregory Staktopoulos, confessed to involvement. But William Polk wasn’t buying it.

"The Greek justice system failed miserably in the Polk case," says retired prosecutor Athanasios Kafiris.

“The Greek justice system failed miserably in the Polk case,” says retired prosecutor Athanasios Kafiris.

Joanna Kakissis/NPR

“The trial was a joke,” he says. “The defense attorneys never raised any of the issues they could have raised. They never called witnesses they could have called. It was like a Soviet show trial.”

William Polk was then just 19 and had dropped out of Harvard to find out what really happened to his older brother. He wondered whether a secret organization called X may have been involved. Then he started getting death threats, too. And he received no help from Americans, who supported the Greek regime.

“The American government at that time said, OK, it’s corrupt, OK, it’s deceitful … but it’s our group,” he says. “We can’t deal with the communists.”

The U.S. government seemed content with the verdict. And the man accused of involvement in the Polk murder, Staktopoulos, went to jail for more than a decade, until he was pardoned. But until his death in 1998, he never stopped professing his innocence. Staktopoulos also wrote a memoir that alarmed writer and Princeton University professor Edmund Keeley.

“He described in detail how he’d been mistreated, how he’d been beaten, how he’d been held in police headquarters in Salonica under terrible circumstances,” Keeley says. “He was forced to make a number of confessions, and the confessions changed as [the authorities] found new evidence that did not corroborate what they’d made him confess before, so he had to confess again. It was clear he had been railroaded into confessing things that he hadn’t done.”

Searching For Exoneration

Keeley wrote the definitive book on the Polk murder and investigation, , published in 1990. Several more books on the case, in both Greek and English, have come out since then.

The latest is by a retired prosecutor named . He’d first heard about Polk when he was a sixth-grader in a rural school in the Peloponnese.

“All we knew about the story then was that communists had killed an American journalist,” says Kafiris, who now lives in Athens.

As the case faded away, ignored by a succession of Greek governments, Kafiris never questioned this narrative — until 2002, while serving as a prosecutor on the Greek Supreme Court. The widow of Staktopoulos asked Kafiris to help her exonerate her husband. It was the family’s fourth appeal.

It did not take long for Kafiris to conclude that Staktopoulos — and the other two men convicted for Polk’s murder — were scapegoats. But the Supreme Court, once again, rejected the appeal. He resigned from his post as prosecutor in protest.

Kafiris, now 75, is trying again. He’s enlisted the help of another prosecutor as well as his publisher, Angelos Sideratos, who’s trying to make a documentary about the still-unsolved Polk case.

Kafiris says Greece must right this wrong and face its past. The social turmoil in Greece today is not just a product of the deep economic depression, he says. It has its origins in a bloody civil war that pitted families and friends against each other.

“What’s happening in our country today is directly related to the civil war,” he says. “The rise of neo-Nazis like Golden Dawn, for example, that’s a result of deep hate that still exists after so many years.”

William Polk is now 84 years old and a of the Middle East. He agrees that overturning the verdicts in his brother’s murder case could be cathartic for Greece. But he doesn’t expect it will help him find out what happened to his brother.

“The documentation has now all been destroyed, illegally I should say. It was supposed to be in the national archives, but it has been ‘lost,’ ” he says.

William Polk says that would have galled his brother, who believed that “the message is the really important thing. If the public doesn’t receive the message, it cannot be responsible as a citizen. And therefore democracy and freedom simply will wither away.”

George Polk is buried in Athens. Shortly after his murder, the George Polk Awards, honoring brave journalism that lays bare the truth, were named in his honor.