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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Luanda Angola most expensive city in the world

1. Luanda, Angola
2. Tokyo
3. N'Djamena, Chad
4. Moscow
5. Geneva
6. Osaka, Japan
7. Zurich
8. Singapore
9. Hong Kong
10. Sao Paolo, Brazil
11. Nagoya, Japan
12. Rio de Janeiro
12. Libreville, Gabon
14. Sydney, Australia
15. Oslo, Norway
16. Bern, Switzerland
17. Copenhagen
18. London
19. Seoul
20. Beijing
Canadian cities: 59. Toronto
65. Vancouver
79. Montreal
96. Calgary
114. Ottawa

Luanda Angola at night

Toronto has surpassed Vancouver as the most expensive place to live in Canada, according to an annual report released on Tuesday, with Calgary listed as the 96th most expensive.

Cost-of-living research firm Mercer released its global survey of 214 cities this morning, revealing the most expensive places to live for 2011. Overall, the Canadian cities are becoming more expensive, mostly due to the strength of the Canadian dollar.

The report said Toronto pulled ahead of Vancouver this year due to high rental costs.

Overall, African, Asian and European cities dominated the rankings, occupying all but one spot in the top 10. Mercer analysts say that, while gas prices pushed prices higher in North America, that growth was outpaced by what was seen in the previously mentioned three continents.

Luanda, Angola and N'Djamena, Chad were ranked first and third respectively. Mercer said expats' accommodation and food costs drove the high placement of many African cities.

Beyond Africa, Mercer said Australia saw some of the sharpest jumps in cost of living in the last year, with Sydney surging 10 places to 14th, Melbourne to 21st from 33rd, and Perth jumping a staggering 30 spots to rank 30th.

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Greek diaspora bond issue aimed at wealthy high achievers

The Greek diaspora bond issue will be aimed at wealthy high achievers – among them, Jennifer Aniston, whose father was born in Crete. 
Newly invigorated by the European Union's decision to ease the terms of its gargantuan bailout, debt-stricken Greece has begun wooing its wealthy community overseas in the hope that it will rally around the homeland.
Athens hopes that a winning mix of nostalgia for the old country and the whiff of a good deal will entice ethnic Greeks abroad to buy diasporabonds. The socialist government recently filed a shelf-registration with US regulators to proceed with the issue, in what officials called a prelude to the country re-entering capital markets.
"When the Israelis went through a similar crisis they found a new weapon through diaspora bonds," the deputy foreign minister, Dimitris Dollis, told the Guardian. "After talks with the Jewish lobby in the US, and leadership in Israel, we decided to issue them too."
Originally announced in New York by Greece's US-born prime minister George Papandreou, himself a product of the diaspora, the programme foresees Athens raising up to $3bn (£1.9bn) from the bonds in a series of quarterly sales. Officials say they are aiming for a yield of below 5% with likely maturities of between three and 10 years.
Since being bailed out by the EU and IMF to the tune of ¤110bn after it came close to bankruptcy last May, Greece has been unable to sell bonds with a maturity longer than six months. Its credit rating, sharply downgraded by Moody's this month, now lies deep in junk territory.
An estimated 11 million people of Greek descent live abroad – the same as the entire population of Greece. With many wealthy high achievers among their number – from the Hollywood star Jennifer Aniston, whose father was born in Crete, to the UK's Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, founder of easyJet, and property tycoons the Candy brothers – they represent a source of funding to be tapped.

Australia embraces Greek Economic Crisis

The Greek economic crisis has led to a sharp increase in the number of highly skilled and educated Greek nationals seeking opportunities outside Greece. The main destinations of choice for Greeks include the UK, US and other European nations. There has also been a significant rise in the number of Greeks seeking to work and study in Australia.
The purpose of this report is to outline the ways in which Greek nationals can make a valuable contribution to the economic and social fabric of Australian society and to suggest practical reforms to the Australian immigration process to facilitate the entry of Greek visa applicants to Australia.
At present, the main avenues through which Greeks are seeking entry to Australia are the permanent and temporary visa programs, including the business skills program, skilled migration program, student visa program and family migration program.
A significant proportion of Greeks are skilled, highly educated and largely fluent in English. They are attractive candidates for Australian migration.
People of Greek descent have unquestionably integrated well into the Australian community and assisted in the social and economic development of Australia. The 2006 Australian Census records 109,980 Greece-born migrants, and 365,145 people of Greek ancestry living in Australia (based on country of birth of parents). Some estimates suggest the Greek community in Australia could be as large as 600,000. The Greek population is concentrated in Melbourne (41 per cent) and Sydney (30 per cent). Melbourne, Sister City to Thessaloniki, has been described as the third largest 'Greek city' in the world and is an important overseas centre of Hellenism.
Australia has embraced Greek people and Greek culture and this has benefitted Australian society socially, culturally and economically. In short, Greeks 'fit into' the Australian community and contribute to its prosperity.
Despite this, Greek Nationals are facing significant challenges in applying for entry to Australia under the existing visa streams.
By introducing and implementing a number of key changes to the Australian visa application and processing system, Greeks will be able to more easily and effectively enter Australia to meet skills shortages and make a positive impact to the economic and social landscape in this country. We understand that Australia's migration legislation, policies and procedures are non-discriminatory in nature and we are not seeking any special or preferential treatment for Greek visa applicants. Rather, we are suggesting some small scale practical reforms to the current system to allow Greeks to more easily apply for the visas for which they are eligible.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Married man runs over his girlfriend with his wife's car - New York Post

A married man driving his wife’s car mowed down a female friend and then left her bleeding in the street as he sped off — only to wind up critically injured in a crackup five hours later, authorities said.
Ricky Pena, 28, of The Bronx, struck the 23-year-old woman with the 2006 Honda Pilot SUV at 3:12 a.m. yesterday on West 46th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues, then sped away, police said.
The woman works at the nearby El Tequilazo bar, sources said. Authorities described the woman as Pena’s girlfriend.
Later, at 8:13 a.m., Pena crashed the Honda, which is registered in his wife’s name on the Harlem River Drive near 174th Street, police said.
He was rushed to Harlem Hospital, where he was in serious condition.
The hit-and-run victim was taken to Bellevue in stable condition with a gash on her forehead.
Detectives are still trying to piece together if the woman was intentionally run over by Pena, if he mistakenly hit her after she jumped in front of his vehicle, or even if she was actually clinging to the Honda as he tried to drive away and was thrown from the SUV.

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Orthodox church to Help Greece Through Economic Crisis

Orthodox Church to Help Greece Through Economic Crisis
By Agence France-Presse, MSN

Greece's Orthodox Church is in talks with the government about releasing some of its wealth to help the country through its massive debt crisis, the government and church officials said Wednesday.

The Church was ready to contribute to help the country, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said after a meeting with the head of the Church, Archbishop Ieronymos.

The minister said he was "very optimistic on cooperation prospects with the church over practical measures that could alleviate the plight of those who need help the most."Archbishop Ieronymos described the talks as "very constructive" and vowed "the church would continue to fight for the people in these crucial times."

According to a source in the church, the talks focused on an inventory of a large part of the church's real estate assets which cannot be used due to legal obstacles. The church is the country's second-largest land owner after the state.

The assets could be brought into a fund jointly managed by the church and the state, the source said on condition of anonymity.

The state would lift legal restrictions and the profits would be poured back into the church's charities and social services.

The Orthodox Church in Greece is part of the state and plays an active role in lay affairs. It commands much political clout in a country where some 90 percent of the population are baptised into the Orthodox faith, and in the past has used its power to hold off state efforts to increase taxes on its considerable wealth.

The church has come under intense criticism, particularly from the left, since the Greek crisis erupted. They have focussed on what they say is the lack of accounting transparency, the tax breaks it enjoys and the fact that priests' salaries are paid by the state.

Greece is expected to carry out an inventory of public real estate as part of an austerity package drawn up by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

If the Buddha Dated Notes from a book by Charlotte Kasl

Am I being guided by Spirit or my rigid ego?
Loving Kindness for yourself and others

© Reflects a warm open heart: grounded in knowing we are the same
© Becoming critical affords the moment to back off and reflect so that
you don’t have two people removed from their heart.
© Creating distance from someone else creates distance from oneself
© When I see someone back up in fear: they are backing up from me
and themselves.
© When we are driven to change in any way how someone is doing
what they are doing to keep themselves apart from us or themselves
it is a sign that we are not accepting of ourselves.
© Apologizing, not groveling is an intimate practice.
© No matter how different someone is from us, they have gone through
many of the same experiences we have, just differently; uniquely
their way as uniquely as we did our way.
© Love relationships thrive when both partners support, trust, and yield
to the other partner’s path. Adaptability, devotion, and unconditional
support given in equal measure to each other bring the essence of
© Feelings of subordination lead to fears of being left and compromised
integrity; a lack of challenges that lead to arrested growth and
boredom, misplaced parenting, continual effort to fix someone and
childlike dependency