Greek and Turkish Cypriots to renew peace talks

Talks set to resume early next week after previous round in mid-2012 failed


Cyprus president Nicos Anastasiades, right, and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, left, announced that they will renew peace talks early next week.

AP Photo/Petros Karadjias

Efforts to reunify the ethnically divided Mediterranean island of Cyprus are set to recommence next week after rival Greek and Turkish Cypriots agreed to a new round of talks.

In a brief statement issued Friday, the breakaway Turkish Cypriots said renewed talks became possible after both sides agreed on the text of a joint declaration outlining the main principles that will guide a future accord.

The statement said a first meeting between the leaders is planned for the beginning of next week.

Cyprus was divided in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece.

The most recent round of talks, which aimed at forging a federation between the Turkish Cypriot north and the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot south, ground to a halt in the middle of 2012.

The two sides have been haggling over the wording of the joint declaration for several months. In a departure from previous failed rounds of negotiations, the island’s Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades insisted that the declaration had to precede any resumption of talks in order to ensure both sides were on the same page.

The main point of contention had been on the sovereignty status of a reunified Cyprus, amid concerns among Greek Cypriots that Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu was seeking recognition for his community as a separate state that would act as a buffer against domination by the majority Greek Cypriots. But Greek Cypriots argued that would plant the seeds of permanent partition in case any new arrangement collapsed.

Anastasiades said the draft declaration “safeguards the important principles and basis for a solution.”

“The hardest part is yet to follow,” Anastasiades said after talks with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in Athens Friday. “The joint declaration doesn’t constitute the solution to the Cyprus problem, but sets the parameters along which the two communities must move.”

Debt-laden Cyprus agreed last year to a bailout with its euro partners and the International Monetary Fund. A peace deal could reap a huge financial dividend.

After months of stalemate, things began moving rapidly earlier this week following a visit to Cyprus by U.S. Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland.

On Friday, Anastasiades spoke to U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who according to Cypriot officials expressed “unwavering U.S. support for a just and lasting settlement.” They said Biden was encouraging “creative thinking” to boost the chances of success.

However, Anastasiades will face difficulties convincing everyone on his side, notably from the center-right Democratic Party. Its leader Nicholas Papadopoulos has already denounced the declaration as a bad deal that bodes ill for the course of negotiations and urged Anastasiades not to sign it. The Democratic Party is a partner in Anastasiades’ ruling coalition government.

The Associated Press

George Clooney Tells Britain to Return Greek Art Treasures


George Clooney Tells Britain Return Greek

BERLIN — George Clooney said the U.K. should return Greek art treasures in its possession, during a press conference for his film “The Monuments Men” at the Berlin Film Festival Saturday.

Asked by a Greek journalist whether Greece should claim its historic monuments back from Britain, he said: “I think you have a very good case to make about your artifacts. Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing if they were returned.

“I think that is a good idea. I think that would be a very fair and very nice thing. Yeah, I think it is the right thing to do.”

The possession by British museums of Greek artifacts — such as the Elgin Marbles, which were taken from the Acropolis in Athens — has long been a bone of contention between the two countries. The question fitted nicely with the theme of Clooney’s film, which follows the attempt by a squad of art experts to return stolen works of art to their rightful owners in post-war Germany.

The press conference had got off to a somber start when festival chief Dieter Kosslick announced that the reason that the press conference had started late was that a journalist had collapsed at the preceding press screening of Clooney’s film. He added that the journalist had been taken to hospital and was okay.

In the press conference, Clooney was also asked why he had expressed his support for the protesters in the Ukraine, through a message he posted on YouTube. He explained that the Klitschko brothers, who are among the leaders of the opposition movement in the Ukraine, were friends of his, dating back to his work on “Ocean’s Eleven,” in which Wladimir Klitschko had a role, but he said it went further than just friendship.

“I like them very much, but I was also aware of (Ukraine politician) Yulia Tymoshenko and the fact that Yulia hasn’t committed a crime, yet she has been placed in jail. And it seems like it gets lost in all the shuffles of news, and doesn’t get talked about, so I just wanted to show some support for that.

“I think the protesters are having a very difficult time, and I know that there are some hooligans on their side who are also making life difficult. So it is going to be a very long struggle, but I find it to be an important one to at least point out that the people are hoping for their own self determination.”

Politicians roll in for Melbourne’s Greek festival

Source: TheAge

haw080214.001.003.jpg  Melbourne Lonsdale  street Greek Festival Prime Minister Tony Abbott with greek dancers Picture Wayne HawkinsPrime Minister Tony Abbott with greek dancers at the Antipodes Festival on Lonsdale Street. Photo: Wayne Hawkins

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, and Premier Denis Napthine joined thousands of Greek Australians at the Lonsdale Street Festival on Saturday night.

The three, with State Opposition leader Daniel Andrews and Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, addressed the crowds enjoying the festivities on a very hot summer’s evening.

The Festival, Melbourne’s largest Greek-themed street party, is being held in Lonsdale Street on both Saturday and Sunday. The main attraction is Greek singer Kostas Makedonas – a star in his native country – who will perform some of his biggest hits alongside the Orchestra Emmetron and fellow Greek singer Eirini Toumpaki.

The Festival continues on Sunday between 1pm and 11pm between Russell and Swanston Street.

Ancient footprints 800,000 years old found in England; oldest outside Africa

Early steps...These fossilised human footprints, thought to be more than 800,000 years old, were discovered in silt on the be...

Early steps…These fossilised human footprints, thought to be more than 800,000 years old, were discovered in silt on the beach at Happisburgh on the Norfolk coast of England. Picture: AP/British Museum Source: AP

FOOTPRINTS left by ancient humans 800,000 years ago have been found in Britain, the earliest evidence of such markings outside Africa, scientists say.

Researchers discovered the footprints, which were left by both adults and children, in ancient estuary mud at Happisburgh in Norfolk, eastern England.

The only older footprints found so far are at Laetoli in Tanzania, at about 3.5 million years old, and at Ileret and Koobi Fora in Kenya at about 1.5 million years, they added.

“This is an extraordinarily rare discovery,” said Nick Ashton of the British Museum, who led the research team, which also involved the National History Museum and Queen Mary University London.

The discovery came at an archaeological site that has yielded several previous discoveries of stone tools and fossil bones, including mammoth remains.

The researchers found the prints at low tide when waves washed away much of the beach sand to expose the silt below.

“At first we weren’t sure what we were seeing but as we removed any remaining beach sand and sponged off the seawater, it was clear that the hollows resembled prints, perhaps human footprints, and that we needed to record the surface as quickly as possible before the sea eroded it away,” Ashton said.

The group of early humans that left the footprints appeared to have consisted of at least one male and several smaller people believed to be females and youngsters, the researchers said.

“They are clearly a family group rather than a hunting party,” said Ashton.

The footprints were dated at 800,000 years old partly on the basis of the site’s geological position beneath glacial deposits, but also because the fossils there come from now-extinct types of mammoth and horse and early forms of vole that were alive at that time.

A team from the British Museum, the Natural History Museum and the University of London uncovered imprints from up to five individuals in ancient estuary mud at Happisburgh on the country’s east coast.

British Museum scientist Nick Ashton says the prints are “a tangible link to our earliest human relatives.”

The scientists say the humans who left the footprints may have been related to Homo antecessor, or “pioneer man,” whose fossilised remains have been found in Spain and who died out 800,000 years ago.

The find was announced Friday, and published in the journal PLOS ONE.

SeaOrbiter is the world’s first non-stop research vessel hoping to find Atlantis


Oceanographic research right ahead! The SeaOrbiter is a multipurpose super vessel designed to search the world's...

Oceanographic research right ahead! The SeaOrbiter is a multipurpose super vessel designed to search the world’s oceans for new life forms and lost civilisations. Source: SeaOrbiter Source: Supplied

THE world’s oceans are big, dark and full of mystery. How to unlock the secrets of the deep? With the SeaOrbiter – a gigantic, solar-powered, floating aquatic observation vessel that will scour the seas non-stop for new life and sunken civilisations.

It might look like something out of a James Cameron dream but this 190ft tall floating behemoth is taking to open water as the world’s first non-stop exploration vessel, complete with submarine drones, underwater living quarters and space training simulator.

Oceanographer Jacques Rougerie is the mastermind behind the SeaOrbiter – a creation he’s been designing for over a decade – and secured the final 30 per cent of the A$53 million build cost from crowdfunding site KissKissBankBank.

Constantly roaming the oceans and with over half of the 190ft ship under the water’s surface the SeaOrbiter offers an alternative exploration proposition to current research projects. Missions have been mapped out when it sets sail to get an in-depth look at seabeds, search for lost civilisations, find mythical deep sea creatures and find new life forms.

With 90 per cent of the world’s oceans still unexplored it’s estimated that there are millions more species not yet recorded or observed and Rougerie aims to scan the planet’s abysses to find them.


A plan of the SeaOrbiter. Sun lounge deck nowhere to be found. Source: SeaOrbiter

A plan of the SeaOrbiter. Sun lounge deck nowhere to be found. Source: SeaOrbiter Source: Supplied

So if you’re going to discover new forms of life, why not do it in style. This mega craft looks to blow all other research vessels out the water being decked out in some high-tech tech kit including being built from Sealium – a recyclable aluminium designed for marine environments – and powered through a ‘solar skin’ which will let it sail in silence.

On-board there’s a hive of high-tech devices from which large numbers of subsea exploration devices leave daily like sub-aquatic bees to gather data and return at the end of each trip.

With ten accommodation levels there is room for 22 permanent inhabitants, including four above the water for sea bird and surface observation and six decks below the water that will let residents continuously peek out into the big blue. Pressurised hyperbaric quarters are also found below, which are intended to save deep sea divers the bother of having to go through the decompression process.

Work will begin later this year and when fully operational it will spend its time scanning the Mediterranean. There are plans to eventually have a fleet of floating SeaOrbiters. Watch out Nessie!


Aquanauts and robotic submarines will be able to freely go to and from the vessel as part of uninterrupted research. Source: ...

Aquanauts and robotic submarines will be able to freely go to and from the vessel as part of uninterrupted research. Source: SeaOrbiter Source: Supplied

SeaOrbiter specs:

• Solar powered and can roam the seas in silence

• Wind turbine for extra power

• 190ft high (100ft below water)

• On-board laboratory

• Ten accommodation levels (four above, six below water level) for 22 permanent residents

• Hyperbaric laboratory to carry out unrestricted dives at depths of between 10m and 100m without the inconvenience of decompression stops. Aquanauts stay in a pressurised chamber which keeps them at the same pressure as the surrounding underwater environment. They can then stay on extended dives among the marine creatures, especially during the night, a critical period when unknown animals rise to the surface from the deep.

• Remote-operated underwater vehicle which can film and take samples up to 1000m

• Has an autonomous drone submarine that will plunge to 6000m

• Has an on-board space simulator thanks that mimics the conditions in space so astronauts can train for future expeditions including preparations for Mars

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