Australian family reclaims Guinness world record with more than 500,000 Christmas lights

Source:  he Associated Press

Australian family reclaims Guinness world record with more than 500,000 Christmas lights

People look at The Richards home illuminated with miniature lights in Canberra, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. The Australian family has reclaimed their Guinness World Record by stringing up more than half a million Christmas lights around their suburban home. Guinness World Records official Chris Sheedy confirmed Monday, Nov. 25, that the Richards family set the record for Christmas lights on a residential property with 502,165 twinkling bulbs. (AP Photo/AAPIMAGE, Alan Porritt)

CANBERRA, Australia – An Australian family has reclaimed their Guinness World Record by stringing up more than half a million Christmas lights around their suburban home.

Guinness World Records official Chris Sheedy confirmed Monday that the Richards family of Canberra set the record for Christmas lights on a residential property with 502,165 twinkling bulbs.

The family first entered the famous record book in 2001 with 331,038 multi-colored lights. But they were trumped last year by a family in LaGrangeville, New York, who illuminated their home with 346,283 lights.

The Richards home with its lights on more than 50 kilometres (31 miles) of wire in suburban Forrest will be open to the public from the weekend to raise money for charity.

David Richards — husband of Janean and father of Aidan, 13, Caitlin, 10, and Madelyn, 6 — said most of his neighbours supported the display. But some hadn’t spoken to him since the last record was set.

“I have always loved Christmas. Having the Christmas lights with the community coming in and sharing it is a time when you get to know people you probably should know better, I guess,” he said.

He said while he bought the lights, a local power company would donate the estimated 2,500 Australian dollars ($2,300) in electricity that would illuminate them for the next month.

He had vowed he had retired from Christmas lights competition after his 2011 record. While Richards won’t rule out a defence of his latest record, he said he would need a generator to get any more electricity for his home.

1950s, 60s and 70s before them, Cypriot youth are being forced to leave the island in search of work

Looking to Europe for work

Source Constantinos Psilides

Looking to Europe for work

LIKE THEIR relatives in the 1950s, 60s and 70s before them, Cypriot youth are being forced to leave the island in search of work.

In the European Union as a whole, unemployment for the under 25s averages out at 23 per cent. In Cyprus it is nearly double that. Around 44 per cent of under-25-year-olds are looking for work.

But unlike their predecessors who emigrated as far away as Australia and South Africa, young Cypriots are turning for help in the only direction currently available to them, the European Union.

Among a whole raft of measures the EU has announced to help young adults find work was a locally organised two-day job fair in Nicosia called Youth on the Move. Jointly organised by the European Employment Services (EURES) Cyprus and the European Commission Representative Office, the fair focused on job opportunities and living conditions in various EU countries.

The fair, which ended on Saturday, was attended by hundreds of young adults who had travelled from as far away as Paphos.

Looking for work: Valentina

Looking for work: Valentina

“I’ve been unemployed for a year. I came here to ask for jobs in Cyprus but mostly for opportunities in other countries,” said Valentina, 27, a mathematician from Paphos.

“When I started studying mathematics there weren’t a lot of us. Now the list for appointments in the public sector as a teacher is really long and we don’t have much chance for employment in the private sector due to the financial crisis,” the young scientist said, adding that if the opportunity arose she would most probably leave the island.

Looking for work: Chryso

Looking for work: Chryso

Chryso, 24, a graduate from Derynia is in her second year of unemployment. “I was just told that there job vacancies in my field of studies in Finland and Holland. I have a degree in psychology so as you can guess there are no job opportunities in Cyprus,” she said.

She said she was prepared to move abroad even though it would be hard to leave her family behind.

“Families in Cyprus are closer than families abroad. We have stronger bonds,” she said. “Leaving the country will take some thinking. But what can we do? If I get a job offer I’ll probably leave,” the 24-year-old said.

Andria, 23, was mostly interested in getting a job in Finland. “If I get a job there I’m leaving the next day,” said Andria, who is currently a part-time employee in a job unrelated to her studies.

“I studied business administration and I enquired about jobs related to my field. I wouldn’t mind being employed in another field though. What matters is employment and that things are better in other countries,” the 23-year old said.

While specific job opportunities were available at the fair, a major focus was on the practicalities and hurdles of living in another country.

Top of the list is the need to learn another language.

Chryso, who found job vacancies in her field of psychology in Finland and Holland, accepted this was a problem, but preferred to focus on the fact that job opportunities existed at all.

For 16-year-old Nikoletta, the issue of language appeared to be just a minor obstacle.

“I’m likely going to live abroad. Job opportunities and the job market is far bigger than Cyprus,” said the teenager from Paphos, expressing the preference for countries like Bulgaria. “There, the only requirement needed is knowing the language,” she added blithely.

She was among the many lyceum students were bussed in for the Friday session by the ministry of education which was a co-sponsor of the event.

Nikoletta’s friend Niki said she would jump at the chance of leaving Cyprus.

“I’ll do it in a heartbeat,” the sixteen-year old said. “I think I’ll have more luck there, a better chance to find employment, have better experiences and see new things.”

Twelve countries were represented in the job fair.

“I hope more people come and ask me for a job. We have them there!” said Niek Iversen the Netherlands representative, almost apologising for the fact that most vacancies were in engineering.

“It’s still a job,” he added, expressing his satisfaction that many people had come to his stand and asked about life in the Netherlands.

Antonis Kafouros, EURES Cyprus manager

Antonis Kafouros, EURES Cyprus manager

The man in charge for the event, Antonis Kafouros the EURES manager in Cyprus explained that providing guidance was a major part of the event.

“What we are aiming for here is to give them the necessary information to start looking for something else,” the EURES manager said recognising that moving to another country is hard. “We inform people on living conditions, about transportation and a variety of practical issues that may arise, such as taxation for example. People who decide to move to another country must be determined and most of all, properly informed.”

Other opportunities exist for those interested in starting off in the business world but lacking proper training and innovative ideas via the Erasmus Plus initiative which was passed by the European Parliament on Tuesday. The youth learning programme has set aside 14.5 billion euros over a seven year period to provide training and education opportunities. Each year Erasmus Plus will allow more than 400,000 students to go on internships abroad.

Cyprus representative Nadia Karayianni was at the jobs fair and explained just what the programme will offer.

“Let’s say a beautician is interested in opening up a beauty parlour but wants to be original and learn how to handle day-to-day problems. We can get her a job at a beauty parlour of another European country,” Karayianni explained, adding that the programme pays for transportation and living costs.

“It’s not a job. It’s a chance to learn from people who were at this job for years and know a thing or two” Karayianni said.

The Erasmus Plus programme is just part of a larger plan to fight youth unemployment. The EU has approved an eight billion euro plan for the next seven years to fight youth unemployment in the EU as part of its Youth Employment Initiative. The goal of the project is for any person under 25 to be able to secure a job or an internship position, four months after finishing studies or losing their job. Cyprus has been allocated 10 million euros.

Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou told the opening session of the jobs fair that with these funds the government intends to unveil two more initiatives to battle youth unemployment in 2014, though she did not specify what those initiatives would entail.

“Our goal is to utilise all forms of funding the EU has to offer regarding youth unemployement,” said the minister.

But in the meantime, there was a sense that the government, like the unemployed visiting the fair, accepted the reality of looking abroad for work.

“Our goal is to inform people on the chances of securing a job in another European country,” said the minister. “We want to give them whatever they need to succeed in that endeavour, if they choose that path.”

The EURES operates a portal to inform people on job vacancies in the EU, found at More about the Erasmus Plus initiative can be found at

Philia Kambitsis wins Medal of Honour for Outstanding Philanthropic and Volunteering Support in Australia

Source: TheAdvertiser

Philia Kambitsis has received a prestigious national medal within the Greek Orthodox Church for her tireless work volunteering a

Philia Kambitsis has received a prestigious national medal within the Greek Orthodox Church for her tireless work volunteering and helping the homeless for the past 60 years. Picture: Roger Wyman Source: News Corp Australia

CHARITY is literally a way of life for Philia Kambitsis.

When she met a homeless man, she gave him shelter in her own home – and he stayed for 32 years.

But that’s only one of Mrs Kambitsis’ countless selfless generosities over 60 years and her huge heart has been recognised in a community award.

The Blackwood woman was awarded the inaugural Medal of Honour for Outstanding Philanthropic and Volunteering Support in Australia, through the Holy Orthodox Metropolis of Australia and Oceania.

She said she was “honoured and humbled” to receive the award from the Australian Greek Orthodox community.

Mrs Kambitsis has organised many fundraising events and has recently celebrated the funding and building of a church for the elderly at the Ridleyton Greek Home for the Aged, but her will to help others extends far beyond the generosity of the average volunteer.

After meeting a homeless man on the street, he lived in her home for 32 years until the day he died.

“I gave him a room at the back of the house and a bathroom, I didn’t know him, he was just a stranger to me,” she said. “He was a man off the street, but he became part of the family.”

Mrs Kambitsis also bought a Centennial Park plot for the man and saw that he had the Anglican funeral service he had wanted.

She is proud of the Ridleyton church.

“We have this church which is for the benefit of 120 residents,” she said. “They have a service every week and they can have communion there. It’s a very necessary thing.

“It’s at the latest part of their lives. They have a church that they can go to and pray and prepare themselves for a life thereafter.”

Mrs Kambitsis has also recently helped a church minister find a home after he lost his job.

“He has a unit which I pay rent for,” she said.

“He was employed by the Greek Orthodox community and he helped me finish the church at the aged home. That’s how I met him.”

Mrs Kambitsis said she owed her kind nature to her mother and grandmother.

“It gave them pleasure to help others and I think I’ve had that streak through me,” she said. “I’m forever doing something for someone (because) there are lots of people that need help.”

She encouraged people to help others where they could.

“I like to know that young people give some thought to elderly people and act kindly towards them and give them consideration,” she said.

“I think its very important to help one another.”

Pop star singer Despina Vandi lashes out at colleague Notis Sfakianakis over comments supporting Golden Dawn

Best-selling Greek pop singer Despina Vandi has announced that she will be breaking off her collaboration with her colleague Notis Sfakianakis due to recent remarks made by the controversial artist in support of the neofascist Golden Dawn party.

In a message posted on her Facebook page on Friday, Vandi said an upcoming joint appearance in Athens was off “because the things that divide us are more than those that bring us together.”

“My parents were migrants,” said Vandi, causing a furor on social media.

In comments made on television on Thursday, Sfakianakis, who has in the past claimed that humans were created by aliens, praised Golden Dawn and the 1967-1974 military dictatorship, and called PASOK leader and government Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos a “pig.”


Here’s how to make sure you can keep watching SBS – or find our channels if you’ve lost them


Retune to watch SBS

Retune Information

  • SBS and other digital TV channels around the country are being moved to new frequencies as the final step in the move to digital-only TV. These changes will occur progressively in most areas of Australia between now and the end of December 2014.
  • There are different public retune dates for different areas and information can be found by visiting the Australian Government’s retune website and typing your address details into the “get retune information for your place” section.
  • What do I need to do? – If you are in an area where SBS or other channels are changing frequency, you will need to do a retune if you find you are missing TV channels after your retune date.
  • When do I retune? – You will need to retune your digital TV or receivers on or after your public retune date.
  • How do I retune? – Consult your user manual or for general instructions click here.
  • Missed your retune date? – If you are away during your retune date, don’t worry. You can retune your digital equipment when you return home.
  • Apartment and other shared antenna systems – If you receive TV in a building with a shared antenna like a hospital, motel, office or apartment block you should check with your building manager or body corporate for more information if you are having problems retuning.

If you own or manage a building with a Master Antenna TV system, click here for information.

How to do the Retune

The instructions below are for general retuning. Menu descriptions and labels may vary depending on your equipment.

Auto Tuning

Menu or Home button on remote control

Press OK

Settings or Setup

Press OK

Digital Setup

Press OK

Auto scan or Auto retune will appear,

Press OK

It will take few seconds to do the rescan. This will search for the channel and restore it in your Digital TV or receiver.

Press Exit

For detailed retuning instructions, see your equipment manual. For more assistance or information regarding retune, please contact the Digital Ready Information line on 1800 20 10 13, from 8am to midnight (AEDST), 7 days or visit the Australian Government’s retune website.

Information for owners or managers of Multi Dwelling Units (MDUs)

If you own or manage a multiple dwelling units (MDU) then you may need to have your distribution system and in some cases, possibly your antenna checked to ensure it can accommodate the frequency changes.

Contact your installer or system maintainer to determine if your system will require adjustment or possibly an upgrade. If you choose not to do anything then viewers in the MDU may lose some (or all) of their free to air channels on the retune date.

If you watch TV from the main site in Perth, both old and new frequencies of channels that are changing (including SBS) will transmitted for 1 month before the retune date and If you are watching TV from the main sites in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or the Gold Coast then both old and new frequencies of the channels that are changing (including SBS) will be transmitted for 3 months before the retune date so that people have time to have their systems checked and adjusted if necessary before the retune.

For all other areas, we recommend you have your distribution system and antenna checked in the lead up to the public retune date, so you can arrange for any adjustments or upgrades (if required) to occur at the appropriate time.

We suggest you discuss your options as soon as possible to ensure the availability of an installer as there may be increased demand in some areas for installers to check shared systems in the lead up to the retune.

After the frequency changes, the spectrum previously used for UHF television channels 52 to 69 may be used for other purposes. You should discuss with your installer and system maintainer anything you may need to do in order to avoid any interference and other potential problems.

Genocide denier ‘should not be silenced’

Source: and

Armenians lay flowers at the Genocide Memorial in Yerevan. Professor Justin McCarthy's views on the   genocide, in which more than one million people are believed to have died at the hands of the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923, have made him a controversial figure.Armenians lay flowers at the Genocide Memorial in Yerevan. Professor Justin McCarthy’s views on the genocide, in which more than one million people are believed to have died at the hands of the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923, have made him a controversial figure.

The Labor backbencher who booked a room in Parliament House for a visiting US historian who is accused of denying the Armenian genocide said the controversial academic does not deserve to be silenced.

Labor MP Laurie Ferguson booked a committee room on the request of a former constituent for a talk on Thursday afternoon by Justin McCarthy, a professor of history at the University of Louisville, Kentucky.

Professor McCarthy’s views on the so-called Armenian genocide, in which more than one million people are believed to have died at the hands of the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923, have made him a controversial figure.

Labor MP Laurie Ferguson  says he does not agree with all Professor McCarthy's views, but  he doesn't think ''closing him down would be justified''.

Labor MP Laurie Ferguson says he does not agree with all Professor McCarthy’s views, but he doesn’t think ”closing him down would be justified”. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Professor McCarthy is held by Armenians in similar low regard as Jews hold Holocaust denier David Irving.


In the lead-up to Thursday’s event, organised by the Australian Turkish Advocacy Alliance, the Armenian National Committee of Australia’s executive director, Vache H. Kahramanian, wrote to MPs and senators urging them not to attend the talk by the “noted genocide denier”.

“It is abhorrent that the Australian Parliament will be utilised as a venue for McCarthy to spread his denialist views,” Mr Kahramanian wrote.

Organisers of Professor McCarthy’s tour had booked venues for him to speak at the University of Melbourne and the Art Gallery of NSW, but both organisations cancelled the bookings after learning of his views.

Mr Ferguson said he did not agree with all Professor McCarthy’s views, but “he’s not a denier and I don’t think closing him down would be justified”.

“I don’t put him in the same category as David Irving or [Dutch right-wing politician] Geert Wilders. If I did, I certainly wouldn’t be sponsoring him.”

Mr Ferguson said he had been critical of Turkey’s human rights record over a long period of time.

“I’m not an apologist for the Turkish government,” he said.

Before the event, Greens spokesman on multiculturalism Richard Di Natale said the event should not be held in parliament.

“Justin McCarthy is a rallying point for those who deny the Armenian genocide,” Senator Di Natale said.

“The Australian Parliament should not be providing Professor McCarthy with a platform because that just lends legitimacy those views.”

“To deny the fact that genocide occurred is to disrespect those people who lost their lives and to cause further pain for those who lost loved ones.”

Treasurer Joe Hockey, who is of Armenian descent, as well as Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Labor MP Michael Danby, have previously called for the Australian Parliament to formally recognise the Armenian genocide. The Australian Turkish Advocacy Alliance did not return a call requesting comment.

Australian politicians raise voice against genocide denier


Australian politicians raise voice against genocide denier

November 21, 2013 – 15:57 AMT

PanARMENIAN.Net – John Alexander, the Liberal Member for Bennelong, and Michelle Rowland, the Labor Member for Greenway, have both risen in Australia’s Federal Parliament to speak against visiting Armenian Genocide denier, Professor Justin McCarthy.

McCarthy, who is a well funded denier of the Armenian Genocide, earlier this week had two planned events in Sydney and Melbourne cancelled on the grounds of his unwelcome denialist views.

McCarthy spoke in a room at Parliament House on Thursday, Nov 21, at an event attended by reportedly only “two or three politicians” after the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC Australia) wrote to all Members of Parliament and Senators about McCarthy’s denialist views. Among the attending politicians were Laurie Ferguson and Mehmet Tillem, who had helped organize the event.

While this event took place, on the same day, MPs Alexander and Rowland made addresses in the national Parliament, unequivocally confirming the historical reality of the Armenian Genocide to a far greater audience of politicians, media and members of the public.

Alexander said: “… revisionist Justin McCarthy has used parliamentary facilities to promote his well-documented views questioning the systematic slaughter of Armenians, Assyrians and Pontian Greeks from 1915 to 1923.”

“The International Association of Genocide Scholars has discredited McCarthy’s work as selective and grossly distorting history. ANZAC soldiers verify the Genocide as an irrefutable historical fact through their eyewitness accounts. Denial of this Genocide is an attack on those who perished, those who survived, and their descendants.”

He added: “This institution should never again be used to express doubt over the scope of suffering experienced by the victims of a historical atrocity nor to justify these actions as merely part of a civil war.”

Rowland, adding her voice, said: “I can also understand the heightened frustration that many Australian-Armenians feel on this matter because of the venue at which this event is scheduled to take place.”

“My views on this are well known. I have joined in the past with members of parliament and community leaders from all sides of the political spectrum including the members for Berowra and Bennelong, and the New South Wales Liberal Minister Gladys Berejiklian, to recognize the Armenian Genocide…”

“Australian POWs recorded the marches, the massacres and the complete destruction of Armenian churches, villages and city quarters. ANZAC servicemen also rescued survivors across the Middle East. Today I acknowledge the tragic events of 1915 and affirm my commitment to never forget what happened to the Armenian people who were effectively eliminated from the homeland they had occupied for nearly 3,000 years.”

She added: “This week I noted a humanitarian plea to assist people in the Philippines who were the victims of natural disaster, and I want to end this speech by noting that Australia’s first major international humanitarian relief effort was in fact to help Armenian orphans from the genocide.”

ANC Australia extended their appreciation to Alexander and Rowland for bringing to light that Armenian Genocide denial, like Holocaust denial, is unacceptable.

Executive Director Vache Kahramanian said: “Mr Alexander and Ms Rowland are champions of human rights and champions of just recognition of the Armenian Genocide. We once again appreciate their support.”

Meanwhile, to ensure the support against Armenian Genocide denialism is truly bi-partisan, Greens spokesman on multiculturalism Richard Di Natale told the Sydney Morning Herald that the event should not have been held in Parliament.

“Justin McCarthy is a rallying point for those who deny the Armenian Genocide,” the Senator said. “The Australian Parliament should not be providing Professor McCarthy with a platform because that just lends legitimacy those views. To deny the fact that genocide occurred is to disrespect those people who lost their lives and to cause further pain for those who lost loved ones.”


Armenian Genocide History and Timeline

In April of 1915 tens of thousands of Armenian men were rounded up and shot. Hundreds of thousands of women, old men and children were deported south across the mountains to Cilicia and Syria. On April 15 the Armenians appealed to the German Ambassador in Constantinople for formal German protection. This was rejected by Berlin on the grounds that it would offend the Turkish Government. By April 19 more than 50,000 Armenians had been murdered in the Van province.

Within nine months, more than 600,000 Armenians were massacred. Of the deported during that same period, more than 400,000 perished of the brutalities and privations of the southward march into Mesopotamia. By September more than a million Armenians were the victims of what later became known as the Armenian Genocide! A further 200,000 were forcibly converted to Islam to give Armenia a new Turkish sense of identity and strip the Armenian people of their past as the first Christian state in the world.


2/21/1914 A Turkish boycott of Armenian businesses is declared by the Ittihadists. Dr. Nazim travels throughout the provinces to implement the boycott.
2/26/1914 The police spy David notifies Reshad Bey, Chief of the Political Section of the Constantinople Police Department that he is providing the names, biographies, pictures, and speeches about reform, as well as other data, of two thousand leading Armenians.
3/2/1914 Parliamentary elections held in Turkey with only candidates approved by the CUP winning seats.
3/14/1914 The Ittihadist Mustafa Abdulhalik Renda, the vice-governor of Seghert, is appointed governor-general of Bitlis Province.
7/28/1914 Negotiations are started between the Turkish and German Imperial governments.
8/1/1914 Germany declares war on Russia. Beginning of World War I.
8/2/1914 A secret treaty of alliance is signed between Turkey and Germany virtually placing the Turkish armed forces under German command.
8/3/1914 The Turkish government sends sealed envelopes containing a general mobilization order to district and village councils, with the strict instructions that they were not to be opened until further notice. A fortnight later, with the approval of the Ittihad Committee, instructions are issued to open the envelopes.
8/8/1914 Censorship of all telegraphic communication is announced by the government.
8/18/1914 Looting is reported in Sivas, Diyarbekir, and other provinces, under the guise of collecting war contributions. Stores owned by Armenian and Greek merchants are vandalized.
8/18/1914 1,080 shops owned by Armenians are burned in the city of Diyarbekir.
8/22/1914 The male population between the ages of 20 and 45 is conscripted by the Turkish armed forces.
8/28/1914 Turkish troops are garrisoned in Armenian schools and churches in Sivas Province. In the city of Sivas, 56,000 soldiers of the 10th Army Corps are quartered in and around the Christian districts.
9/8/1914 The Turkish government abrogates the Capitulations (the commercial and judicial rights of the Europeans in the Ottoman Empire).
9/11/1914 The Armenian National Assembly, composed of civil and religious representatives, meets in Constantinople and advises Armenians in the provinces to remain calm in the face of provocation.
9/27/1914 The Dardanelles Straits are closed to foreign shipping.
9/27/1914 News reaches Constantinople about the demand made by the government of the Armenian population in Zeitun to turn in its weapons, including all types of knives.
9/30/1914 The government distributes arms to the Muslim residents of the town of Keghi in Erzerum Province on the excuse that the Armenians there were unreliable.
10/1/1914 All foreign postal services in Turkey are closed on government order.
10/1/1914 Nazaret Chavush, the most notable Armenian leader in Zeitun, is murdered on the order of Haidar Pasha, governor of Marash.
10/7/1914 News reaches Constantinople of looting under the guise of war contributions in Shabin-Karahisar.
10/10/1914 News that ‘the war contribution’ looting of Armenians was continuing in Diyarbekir Province.
10/10/1914 In Zeitun, all the Armenian notables are called to a meeting. About three score attend and are immediately arrested.
10/13/1914 News of requisitions imposed on Armenian businesses as ‘war contributions’ reaches Constantinople from every province.
10/13/1914 News reaches Constantinople of starvation and the spread of disease in Sivas Province because of the desperate conditions created by the ‘war contributions’ campaign conducted against the Armenians.
10/17/1914 Bands of chetes begin looting, violating women and children, and large-scale murdering in Erzerum Province
10/17/1914 Leaders of the Armenian nationalist Dashnak party organization in Erzerum are arrested.
10/22/1914 Enver authorizes the combined German-Turkish navy to carry out a stealth attack on Russia without declaration of war.
10/29/1914 Hostilities are opened between Turkey and Russia with the shelling of the Russian Black Sea coast by Ottoman naval vessels under German command.
11/2/1914 Russia formally declares war against the Ottoman Empire.
11/9/1914 News from the interior of Turkey reaches the Armenian community of Constantinople that persecutions already exceed earlier actions against the Armenians.
11/9/1914 A Proclamation of Jihad, directed against England, France, and Russia, is issued in Constantinople legitimating the formation of the chete organizations.
11/13/1914 Unfounded accusations are launched against the Armenians that they had revolted and were preparing to join the Russian forces.
11/14/1914 The village of Otsni in Erzerum Province is attacked at night by chete forces. The local Armenian priest and many other Armenians are killed. Every house is looted. The first attacks by chete forces on the Armenian villages of Erzerum are reported.
11/18/1914 The Jihad Proclamation is read in all the provinces of the Ottoman Empire.
11/19/1914 Mass executions of Armenian soldiers in the Turkish army takes place in various public squares for the purpose of terrorizing the Armenians, while with voluntary contributions, Armenians were building several hospitals for the use of the Turkish army through the Red Crescent Society.
11/20/1914 Orders are issued from Constantinople instructing the provincial administrators to oust all Armenian functionaries in the service of the Ottoman government.
11/21/1914 In Mush, Ittihadist agents distribute arms to the Turkish population after arousing them with false stories of Armenian outrages.
11/23/1914 Previously undisturbed Armenian schools and churches in Sivas Province, together with many private residences, are requisitioned by the Turkish army for use as barracks. The carts, horses, and other travel equipment of the Armenian villagers in the provinces are confiscated.
11/26/1914 Robbery and looting on a large scale is reported in Van Province.
11/26/1914 The War Ministry distributes explosives, rifles, and other equipment to the irregular forces of the Special Organization (Teshkilati Mahsusa).
11/26/1914 Enver’s uncle, Halil Pasha, the military governor of Constantinople, begins organizing Special Organization units in Constantinople by enrolling criminals released from prison.
11/29/1914 Halil Pasha instructs the governor of Izmid (Izmit) to identify leaders for Special Organization units and to release criminals from prisons to join these bands.
11/29/1914 The vice-governor of Izmid (Izmit) arms the Special Organization with weapons supplied by the War Ministry.
11/29/1914 Chete forces consisting of intentionally released convicts are armed by the government in Van Province. In the region of Van requisitions take the form of open robbery and looting.
11/30/1914 Having completed his job organizing the Special Organization in Artvin, Behaeddin Shakir is instructed to move on to Trebizond.
11/30/1914 The central command of the Special Organization sends instruction for supplying the chete bands with money, vehicles, and others equipment.
12/1/1914 The beginning of a series of isolated murders to terrorize the Armenian population.
12/1/1914 Reports reach Constantinople that raids by irregular chete forces on the Armenian villages of Erzerum Province are continuing.
12/2/1914 Turks loot the properties of subjects of Allied nations.
12/3/1914 The Ittihad Inspector of Balikesir sends a message to Dr. Nazim of the central committee of the Special Organization via Midhat Shukri, the Central Secretary of Ittihad, that the Interior Ministry and the Ittihad Committee, in accordance with issued orders, are busy organizing the irregular chete bands.
12/5/1914 Reports continue reaching Constantinople that chete raids on the Armenian villages of Erzerum Province are continuing.
12/6/1914 Armenians are put to use as porters of army supplies in Erzerum, Trebizond, and Sivas Provinces under the worst of cold winter conditions for the purpose of letting them die of overwork and illness.
12/14/1914 The Turkish Cabinet charges Enver with command of the offensive on the Caucasian front and assigns Talaat the position of Acting Minister of War while retaining his position as Minister of the Interior.
12/22/1914 An attack by the Ottoman Third Army corps opens the Battle of Sarikamish on the Caucasian Front.
12/23/1914 Foreign missionaries abandon the interior of Turkey as crosses on missions are broken by the Turks and replaced by crescents.
12/31/1914 Sahag Odabashian, the newly appointed Prelate of Erzinjan, while traveling from Constantinople via Sivas to Erzinjan, where he was to be installed in office, is slain in the village of Kanli-Tash, near Shabin-Karahisar, by six chetes organized by Ahmed Muammer, the governor-general of Sivas Province.
1/1/1915 The Ittihad representative of Bursa reports to the Ittihad Central Committee that local criminals and bandits have been registered in the Special Organization.
1/1/1915 Nuri, the vice-governor of Gavar District in Van Province, receives orders from the military governor to kill the Armenian soldiers in the Turkish Army who were stationed in his district.
1/5/1915 The Turkish government publicly charges that Armenian bakers in the army bakeries of Sivas were poisoning the bread of the Turkish forces. The bakers are cruelly beaten, despite the fact that a group of doctors prove the charge to be false by examining the bread and even eating it. As this marks an attempt on the part of the government to incite massacre, the government does not rescind the charge.
1/8/1915 Turkish and Kurdish chetes (Halil Pasha’s “First Corps”) attack Armenian and Assyrian villages in northwest Persia. They remain around the city of Tavriz (Tabriz) and the city of Urmia from January 8 until January 29, 1915. From Urmia alone, more than 18,000 Armenians, together with many Assyrians and even Persian Muslims, flee to the Caucasus.
1/12/1915 Ahmed Muammer, the governor-general of Sivas Province, orders the destruction of Tavra-Koy and other strategically located villages around the city of Sivas in order to make future defense impossible for the Armenians. Inside the city of Sivas strategically-located buildings were requisitioned.
1/16/1915 The last actions of the Battle of Sarikamish are reported. The Turkish army is totally defeated and almost destroyed with a loss of 70,000 men out of 85,000.
1/19/1915 Enver arrives in Sivas by automobile from Erzerum after his calamitous defeat at Sarikamish. He instructs the Army to accept only his orders and none hereafter from the German commanders and to draft at once all those deferred in the 20 to 40 age group, along with all males between the ages of 18 and 20 and 45 to 52.
1/22/1915 Enver arrives in Constantinople by automobile from Sivas. After his arrival, he makes a speech congratulating the Armenians for admirably doing their duty on the Caucasian Front and elsewhere. Enver seeks to lull the Armenians of Constantinople who had not yet experienced the general persecutions in the provinces because of the presence of a large European community in the city.
1/23/1915 Enver, now actively Minister of War again, issues a general order to shoot all persons resisting his orders.
2/2/1915 Talaat advises German Ambassador Count Hans von Wangenheim that the war is the only propitious moment to conclude the Armenian Question.
2/10/1915 S. Pasdermadjian, the Second Director of the Ottoman Bank, is murdered in the presence of German Major-General Posseldt, who reported that no investigation was carried or was any attempt made by the Turkish authorities to apprehend the guilty parties.
2/10/1915 Enver’s brother-in-law, Hafiz Hakki, dies of typhus and is replaced by Mahmud Kamil as Commander of the Third Army (Erzerum).
2/14/1915 Tahir Jevdet, the governor-general of Van Province, is reported saying that the government must begin finishing the Armenians in Van at once.
2/16/1915 The vice-governor of Mush orders 70 gendarmes to attack the village of Koms and to kill the Armenian Dashnak leader Rupen and all persons with him. Rupen and his companions resist and eventually escape to the Caucasus.
2/19/1915 Talaat, Osman Bedri, and other Ittihadist leaders decide in a meeting that should Allied naval ships force the Dardanelles, the Turks would burn Constantinople, blow up the Hagia Sophia, and slaughter the Christian inhabitants. Kerosene is distributed to all police stations in Constantinople for ready use in such an eventuality.
2/21/1915 An attack by chetes on the village of Purk near Shabin-Karahisar results in looting, murder, rape.
2/26/1915 Vramian, an Armenian parliamentary deputy from Van, writes Talaat advising him to remove the large number of chetes in Van Province.
2/27/1915 In Sivas Province a general attack is reported on many Armenian villages accompanied by raping, looting, and an increasingly larger number of killings.
2/27/1915 In the village of Chomaklu in Kayseri Province and in other places, the government demands all weapons from the Armenians.
3/1/1915 In Marash, the Armenians in the Turkish Army are deprived of their uniforms and arms.
3/3/1915 A dispatch from the Ittihad Central Committee is released announcing the decision to exterminate the Armenians.
3/3/1915 Armenian soldiers in the Erzerum army area are deprived of their uniforms and arms.
3/3/1915 The British decide to attack the Dardanelles.
3/5/1915 In Van Province, regular gendarmes and chetes are reported attacking many villages inhabited by Armenians and Assyrians.
3/7/1915 A search for weapons is conducted in Iskenderun (Alexandretta) and a mass arrest of Armenians carried out.
3/9/1915 Chetes and regular Army units attack Zeitun. Six Turkish gendarmes are killed by individuals resisting the attack.
3/12/1915 Massacres and robberies are carried in Alashkert District as part of a general campaign led by the chetes forces against the Armenian villages of the district.
3/12/1915 Mass arrests of Armenians are carried out in Dortyol and a public announcement is made that those arrested would be sent to work on road construction near Aleppo. They are never heard of again.
3/12/1915 Enver leaves for Berlin to see Kaiser Wilhelm II.
3/13/1915 A traveling commission of parliamentary deputies tours all the cities of Anatolia. The commission includes Dr. Fazil Berki, parliamentary deputy from Chankri, Ubedulla, parliamentary deputy from Smyrna, and Behaeddin Shakir, member of the Central Committee of the Ittihad Party. They address the Turkish population in the mosques describing the Armenians as internal enemies which must destroyed.
3/13/1915 In Sivas Province the population in all the Armenian villages is disarmed.
3/14/1915 Sahag, the Catholicos of Cilicia, advises the Armenians of Zeitun not to resist under any conditions.
3/16/1915 Russian forces advance between Urmia and Tavriz.
3/18/1915 An Allied attack on the Dardanelles begins.
3/18/1915 In Zeitun, the Turkish forces arrest many of the remaining Armenian notables and intellectuals whom they torture and finally kill.
3/19/1915 Six Armenian soldiers from the town of Gurun are publicly hanged in Sivas to frighten the Armenian population.
3/19/1915 Greek recruits are massacred near Smyrna.
3/20/1915 Omer Naji, a circulating Ittihad propagandist, travels to Aleppo, Adana and nearby towns to arouse the Muslims.
3/24/1915 Chetes and gendarmes attack Armenians in the towns of Bayburt (Papert) and Terchan in Erzerum Province, and in Bitlis.
3/26/1915 Sahag, Catholicos of Cilicia, renews his instruction to the Armenians of Zeitun not to resist.
3/26/1915 Thirty more Armenian community leaders are arrested in Zeitun.
3/28/1915 The Armenian Dashnak leader, Murad, resists arrest in Sivas and flees to the mountains, and after many daring escapes reaches the Caucasus.
3/28/1915 Hamid, the governor-general of Diyarbekir Province, is removed for opposing the order of massacre, and is replaced by Dr. Reshid.

The Northern Territory named among world’s best tourist destinations


 Aerial view of waterfall at Kakadu, Northern Territory. Picture: Supplied

Aerial view of waterfall at Kakadu, Northern Territory. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

RED earth, blue skies and the golden eyes of watchful crocodiles in the flower-tangled waterways of Kakadu National Park have won the Northern Territory the only Australian mention on a list of the best tourist destinations in the world, according to National Geographic.

The NT is listed in its 2014 top 20 Best of the World.

“This is fantastic news for the Territory,” Tourism Minister Matt Conlan said.

“It means now the whole world knows the Territory is the place to visit if you want an unforgettable holiday like no other.” The list says that apart from the NT’s undeniable physical beauty, the people make the place come alive.

National Geographic Traveller Magazine claims to be the most widely read travel magazine in the world, with 7.6 million readers, and it is published in 12 languages in 21 countries.

The Best of the World list reflects what is authentic, culturally rich, sustainable and superlative in the world of travel.

The top 20 destinations for 2014 (in alphabetical order):

• Alentejo, Portugal

• Arbil, Iraq

• Bolaven Plateau, Laos

• Cacao Trail, Ecuador

• Cape Verde

• Cathar country, France

• Cordoba, Argentina

• Derawan Islands, Indonesia (readers’ choice)

• Guyana

• John Muir Trail, Scotland

• Liechtenstein

• Nahanni National Park, Canada

• New Orleans, Louisiana

• Northern Territory, Australia

• Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda

• Puglia, Italy

• Ranthambore National Park, India

• Riga, Latvia

• Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

• Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

• Sochi, Russia

It's a spectacular place. Picture:...

It’s a spectacular place. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

Aussie destination named among wor...

Cracked Flood Plains, Kakadu. Picture: Northern Pictures Source: Supplied

Temple of the Skulls is first found dedicated to Mexican god of death, Mictlantecuhtli


Temple of the Skulls

The Temple of the Skulls, under excavation in the Tehuacan, Puebla, archaeological site of Mexico. Picture: Instituto Nacional de Antropologa e Historia Source: Supplied

One of the ceramic figurines found in the Temple of Skulls. Photo INAH. Source: Supplied

THE skulls should have been a dead giveaway. A recently uncovered temple in Mexico is the first found dedicated to the ancient god of death Mictlantecuhtli

Aptly named Temple of the Skulls, it was the presence of two niches containing human heads that gave archaeologists the first clue the new discovery from the 14th Century AD was something special.

Set into the west and north walls, each niche also held four femurs stuccoed to the walls around the skulls.

Temple of the Skulls

One of the ceramic figurines found in the Temple of Skulls. Photo INAH. Source: Supplied

But it was the red paint that was a giveaway: The position around the mouth resembled images of the god Mictlantecuhtli as found in one of the Codex Borgia  one of the few remaining texts to survive from the pre-Columbus Central American civilisation.

Temple of the Skulls

One of the skulls set among femur bones in the walls of the Temple of the Skulls, under excavation in the Tehuacan, Puebla, archaeological site of Mexico. Picture: Instituto Nacional de Antropologa e Historia Source: Supplied

Two ceramic heads and an effigy of the god itself were found on top of the temple mound  along with more than 300 bones. These were the remains of human sacrifices.

The archaeological dig at the Tehuacan, Puebla, site continues. Only 10 per cent of the 116ha city has been uncovered so far.

Temple of the Skulls

Archaeologist Ramon Lopez Valenzuela, in the Temple of Skulls. Photo INAH. Source: Supplied

The city was conquered by the Aztecs in 1456, after which the population moved into the surrounding hills and lowlands.

Meanwhile, a monumental stone sculpture to the goddess Citlalicue – a creator goddess whose name means skirt of the stars – also has been uncovered at the foot of another nearby temple, the Templo Mayor.

Temple of the Skulls

One of the skulls set among femur bones in the walls of the Temple of the Skulls, under excavation in the Tehuacan, Puebla, archaeological site of Mexico. Picture: Instituto Nacional de Antropologa e Historia Source: Supplied


Page 56 of the Codex Borgia is one of the very few depictions of the ancient Central-Mexican god of death, Mictlantecuhtli. Source: Supplied

Vatican unveils bone fragments said to belong to first pope St Peter


St Peter's bones

Italian archbishop Rino Fisichella holds a box purportedly containing the ashes of St Peter before a ceremony of Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King at St Peter’s square. Source: AFP

THE Vatican has publicly unveiled a handful of bone fragments purportedly belonging to St Peter, reviving the scientific debate and tantalising mystery over whether the relics found in a shoe box truly belong to the first pope.

The nine pieces of bone sat nestled like rings in a jewel box inside a bronze display case on the side of the altar during a Mass commemorating the end of the Vatican’s yearlong celebration of the Christian faith. It was the first time they had ever been exhibited in public.

Pope Francis prayed before the fragments at the start of Sunday’s service and then clutched the case in his arms for several minutes after his homily.

No pope has ever definitively declared the fragments to belong to the Apostle Peter, but Pope Paul VI in 1968 said fragments found in the necropolis under St Peter’s Basilica were “identified in a way that we can consider convincing”.

Some archaeologists dispute the finding.

But last week, a top Vatican official, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, said it almost doesn’t matter if archaeologists one day definitively determine that the bones aren’t Peter’s, saying Christians have prayed at Peter’s tomb for two millennia and will continue to, regardless.

“It’s not as if pilgrims who go to the altar (of Peter’s tomb) think that in that moment in which they profess their faith that below them are the relics of Peter, or of another or another still,” he told reporters. “They go there to profess the faith.”


Pope Francis blesses what are said to be some of the remains of St Peter during a ceremony at the Vatican.

The relics were discovered during excavations begun under St Peter’s Basilica in the years following the 1939 death of Pope Pius XI, who had asked to be buried in the grottoes where dozens of popes are buried, according to the 2012 book by veteran Vatican correspondent Bruno Bartoloni, “The Ears of the Vatican.”

During the excavations, archaeologists discovered a funerary monument with a casket built in honor of Peter and an engraving in Greek that read “Petros eni”, or “Peter is here”.

The scholar of Greek antiquities, Margherita Guarducci, who had deciphered the engraving continued to investigate and learned that one of the basilica workers had been given the remains found inside the casket and stored them in a shoe box kept in a cupboard. She reported her findings to Paul VI who later proclaimed that there was a “convincing” argument that the bones belonged to Peter.

Top Vatican Jesuits and other archaeologists strongly denied the claim, but had little recourse.

“No Pope had ever permitted an exhaustive study, partly because a 1000-year-old curse attested by secret and apocalyptic documents, threatened anyone who disturbed the peace of Peter’s tomb with the worst possible misfortune,” Bartoloni wrote.

The Vatican newspaper, l’Osservatore Romano, published excerpts of the book last year, giving his account a degree of official sanction.

In 1971, Paul VI was given an urn containing the relics, which were kept inside the private papal chapel inside the Apostolic Palace and exhibited for the pope’s private veneration each June 29, for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul. Sunday marked the first time they were shown in public.

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