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Saturday, 29 April 2017

Corfu, May 11 -15, 2017, A Weekend of Cricket and Culture

A WEEKEND OF CRICKET AND CULTURE to celebrate Hellenic-British friendship over the past 200 years

Thursday 11th to Monday 15th May 2017

The weekend will include two matches with Corfu cricket teams and cultural events including British and Greek writers.

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Demystifying Chinese reign marks, Christie's Magazine

Demystifying Chinese reign marks — everything you need to know to get started - Specialist Kate Hunt, Head of Sale for Chinese Works of Art at Christie’s South Kensington, offers an extensive guide to reign marks, what they reveal about emperors and dynasties, and how to tell fakes from ‘apocryphal’ marks

Baron Neuberger of Abbotsbury, Bridport Town Hall Talk - "A Court Supreme"

An excellent talk by Lord Neuberger, current President of the Supreme Court, at Bridport Town Hall last night, on the independence of the judiciary, the accessibility and openness of the courts, the broadcasting of cases,  the separation of powers, devolution, power and diversity issues, the process for the appointment of judges, and the constitutional crisis concerning the triggering of the Article 50 Brexit clause.

Lord Neuberger dealt with the changes in 2009 from the Law Lords to the Supreme Court, the European Convention on Human Rights (and two key cases when, under UK law, there was "No Right to Privacy", until, under the Human Rights Act, it was judged that there can be infringements of the rights to privacy - eg the Naomi Campbell photograph publication case, when the Law Lords overturned an Appeal Court ruling).

Lord Neuberger answered many questions with wisdom, charm, humour and clarity ("There are no inappropriate questions, only inappropriate answers").

An important event for Bridport and the Bridport Area Development Trust, in support of the restoration of the Literary and Scientific Institute (thanks to Lord Neuberger, and to Charles Palmer, who introduced the event).

I was lucky that I booked early and secured a ticket for this timely, sell-out talk.

Dorset Echo article

View News article

Update, August, 2017, BBC - UK judges need clarity after Brexit - Lord Neuberger

Brexit: 27 EU Leaders United, or 'Lined Up'; Guidelines Adopted Unanimously

From Kathimerini - Ενωμένοι οι 27 ηγέτες της Ε.Ε. στη Σύνοδο για το Brexit

From RTE - EU27 'need to remain united' in Brexit talks - Tusk

From The Guardian - EU leaders to insist UK pays its Brexit bills as precursor to trade talks

From Sky News - Germany: 'No free lunch for UK' after Brexit negotiations conclude

From The Telegraph - Yanis Varoufakis: 'My Brexit advice to Theresa May is to avoid negotiating at all costs' - "The EU will exploit Britain's political divisions, playing off regions and parties against one another".

Related: Varoufakis, Excerpt (in Greek) from his new book, The Press Project

PM Theresa May: "Our opponents are already seeking to disrupt those negotiations – at the same time as 27 other European countries line up to oppose us.”

From ABC, Brexit deal will be dealt with 'firmly', European Union leaders warn Theresa May

An EU summit shows unity in the face of Brexit, The Economist
Special meeting of the European Council (Art. 50) (29 April 2017) - GUIDELINES FOLLOWING THE UNITED KINGDOM'S NOTIFICATION UNDER ARTICLE 50

Donald Tusk‏ Verified account @eucopresident
Guidelines adopted unanimously. EU27 firm and fair political mandate for the #Brexit talks is ready. #EUCO

European Council (Art. 50) guidelines for Brexit negotiations

29/04/2017 13:50
Press release
European Council (Art. 50) guidelines following the United Kingdom's notification under Article 50 TEU

On 29 March 2017, the European Council received the notification by the United Kingdom of its intention to withdraw from the European Union and Euratom. This allows for the opening of negotiations as foreseen by the Treaty.

European integration has brought peace and prosperity to Europe and allowed for an unprecedented level and scope of cooperation on matters of common interest in a rapidly changing world. Therefore, the Union's overall objective in these negotiations will be to preserve its interests, those of its citizens, its businesses and its Member States.

The United Kingdom's decision to leave the Union creates significant uncertainties that have the potential to cause disruption, in particular in the United Kingdom but also, to a lesser extent, in other Member States. Citizens who have built their lives on the basis of rights flowing from the British membership of the EU face the prospect of losing those rights. Businesses and other stakeholders will lose the predictability and certainty that come with EU law. It will also have an impact on public authorities. With this in mind, we must proceed according to a phased approach giving priority to an orderly withdrawal. National authorities, businesses and other stakeholders should take all necessary steps to prepare for the consequences of the United Kingdom's withdrawal.

Throughout these negotiations the Union will maintain its unity and act as one with the aim of reaching a result that is fair and equitable for all Member States and in the interest of its citizens. It will be constructive and strive to find an agreement. This is in the best interest of both sides. The Union will work hard to achieve that outcome, but it will prepare itself to be able to handle the situation also if the negotiations were to fail.

These guidelines define the framework for negotiations under Article 50 TEU and set out the overall positions and principles that the Union will pursue throughout the negotiation. In this context, the European Council welcomes the resolution of the European Parliament of 5 April 2017. The European Council will remain permanently seized of the matter, and will update these guidelines in the course of the negotiations as necessary. Negotiating directives will be adjusted accordingly. 
I. Core principles

1. The European Council will continue to base itself on the principles set out in the statement of Heads of State or Government and of the Presidents of the European Council and the European Commission on 29 June 2016. It reiterates its wish to have the United Kingdom as a close partner in the future. It further reiterates that any agreement with the United Kingdom will have to be based on a balance of rights and obligations, and ensure a level playing field. Preserving the integrity of the Single Market excludes participation based on a sector-by-sector approach. A non-member of the Union, that does not live up to the same obligations as a member, cannot have the same rights and enjoy the same benefits as a member. In this context, the European Council welcomes the recognition by the British Government that the four freedoms of the Single Market are indivisible and that there can be no "cherry picking". The Union will preserve its autonomy as regards its decision-making as well as the role of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

2. Negotiations under Article 50 TEU will be conducted in transparency and as a single package. In accordance with the principle that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, individual items cannot be settled separately. The Union will approach the negotiations with unified positions, and will engage with the United Kingdom exclusively through the channels set out in these guidelines and in the negotiating directives. So as not to undercut the position of the Union, there will be no separate negotiations between individual Member States and the United Kingdom on matters pertaining to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union.

3. The core principles set out above should apply equally to the negotiations on an orderly withdrawal, to any preliminary and preparatory discussions on the framework for a future relationship, and to any form of transitional arrangements.
II. A phased approach to negotiations

4. On the date of withdrawal, the Treaties will cease to apply to the United Kingdom, to those of its overseas countries and territories currently associated to the Union, and to territories for whose external relations the United Kingdom is responsible. The main purpose of the negotiations will be to ensure the United Kingdom's orderly withdrawal so as to reduce uncertainty and, to the extent possible, minimise disruption caused by this abrupt change.

To that effect, the first phase of negotiations will aim to:
provide as much clarity and legal certainty as possible to citizens, businesses, stakeholders and international partners on the immediate effects of the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the Union;
settle the disentanglement of the United Kingdom from the Union and from all the rights and obligations the United Kingdom derives from commitments undertaken as Member State.

The European Council will monitor progress closely and determine when sufficient progress has been achieved to allow negotiations to proceed to the next phase.

5. While an agreement on a future relationship between the Union and the United Kingdom as such can only be finalised and concluded once the United Kingdom has become a third country, Article 50 TEU requires to take account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union in the arrangements for withdrawal. To this end, an overall understanding on the framework for the future relationship should be identified during a second phase of the negotiations under Article 50 TEU. We stand ready to engage in preliminary and preparatory discussions to this end in the context of negotiations under Article 50 TEU, as soon as the European Council decides that sufficient progress has been made in the first phase towards reaching a satisfactory agreement on the arrangements for an orderly withdrawal.

6. To the extent necessary and legally possible, the negotiations may also seek to determine transitional arrangements which are in the interest of the Union and, as appropriate, to provide for bridges towards the foreseeable framework for the future relationship in the light of the progress made. Any such transitional arrangements must be clearly defined, limited in time, and subject to effective enforcement mechanisms. Should a time-limited prolongation of Union acquis be considered, this would require existing Union regulatory, budgetary, supervisory, judiciary and enforcement instruments and structures to apply.

7. The two year timeframe set out in Article 50 TEU ends on 29 March 2019.
III. Agreement on arrangements for an orderly withdrawal

8. The right for every EU citizen, and of his or her family members, to live, to work or to study in any EU Member State is a fundamental aspect of the European Union. Along with other rights provided under EU law, it has shaped the lives and choices of millions of people. Agreeing reciprocal guarantees to safeguard the status and rights derived from EU law at the date of withdrawal of EU and UK citizens, and their families, affected by the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the Union will be the first priority for the negotiations. Such guarantees must be effective, enforceable, non-discriminatory and comprehensive, including the right to acquire permanent residence after a continuous period of five years of legal residence. Citizens should be able to exercise their rights through smooth and simple administrative procedures.

9. Also, the United Kingdom leaving the Union will impact EU businesses trading with and operating in the United Kingdom and UK businesses trading with and operating in the Union. Similarly, it may affect those who have entered into contracts and business arrangements or take part in EU-funded programmes based on the assumption of continued British EU membership. Negotiations should seek to prevent a legal vacuum once the Treaties cease to apply to the United Kingdom and, to the extent possible, address uncertainties.

10. A single financial settlement - including issues resulting from the MFF as well as those related to the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Development Fund (EDF) and the European Central Bank (ECB) - should ensure that the Union and the United Kingdom both respect the obligations resulting from the whole period of the UK membership in the Union. The settlement should cover all commitments as well as liabilities, including contingent liabilities.

11. The Union has consistently supported the goal of peace and reconciliation enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts, and continuing to support and protect the achievements, benefits and commitments of the Peace Process will remain of paramount importance. In view of the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland, flexible and imaginative solutions will be required, including with the aim of avoiding a hard border, while respecting the integrity of the Union legal order. In this context, the Union should also recognise existing bilateral agreements and arrangements between the United Kingdom and Ireland which are compatible with EU law.

12. The Union should agree with the United Kingdom on arrangements as regards the Sovereign Base Areas of the United Kingdom in Cyprus and recognise in that respect bilateral agreements and arrangements between the Republic of Cyprus and the United Kingdom which are compatible with EU law, in particular as regards safeguarding rights and interests of those EU citizens resident or working in the Sovereign Base Areas.

13. Following the withdrawal, the United Kingdom will no longer be covered by agreements concluded by the Union or by Member States acting on its behalf or by the Union and its Member States acting jointly. The Union will continue to have its rights and obligations in relation to international agreements. In this respect, the European Council expects the United Kingdom to honour its share of all international commitments contracted in the context of its EU membership. In such instances, a constructive dialogue with the United Kingdom on a possible common approach towards third country partners, international organisations and conventions concerned should be engaged.

14. The withdrawal agreement would also need to address potential issues arising from the withdrawal in other areas of cooperation, including judicial cooperation, law enforcement and security.

15. While the future location of the seats of EU agencies and facilities located in the United Kingdom is a matter for the 27 Member States to settle rapidly, arrangements should be found to facilitate their transfer.

16. Arrangements ensuring legal certainty and equal treatment should be found for all court procedures pending before the Court of Justice of the European Union upon the date of withdrawal that involve the United Kingdom or natural or legal persons in the United Kingdom. The Court of Justice of the European Union should remain competent to adjudicate in these procedures. Similarly, arrangements should be found for administrative procedures pending before the European Commission and Union agencies upon the date of the withdrawal that involve the United Kingdom or natural or legal persons in the United Kingdom. In addition, arrangements should be foreseen for the possibility of administrative or court proceedings to be initiated post-exit for facts that have occurred before the withdrawal date.

17. The withdrawal agreement should include appropriate dispute settlement and enforcement mechanisms regarding the application and interpretation of the withdrawal agreement, as well as duly circumscribed institutional arrangements allowing for the adoption of measures necessary to deal with situations not foreseen in the withdrawal agreement. This should be done bearing in mind the Union's interest to effectively protect its autonomy and its legal order, including the role of the Court of Justice of the European Union.
IV. Preliminary and preparatory discussions on a framework for the Union - United Kingdom future relationship

18. The European Council welcomes and shares the United Kingdom's desire to establish a close partnership between the Union and the United Kingdom after its departure. While a relationship between the Union and a non Member State cannot offer the same benefits as Union membership, strong and constructive ties will remain in both sides' interest and should encompass more than just trade.

19. The British government has indicated that it will not seek to remain in the Single Market, but would like to pursue an ambitious free trade agreement with the European Union. Based on the Union's interests, the European Council stands ready to initiate work towards an agreement on trade, to be finalised and concluded once the United Kingdom is no longer a Member State.

20. Any free trade agreement should be balanced, ambitious and wide-ranging. It cannot, however, amount to participation in the Single Market or parts thereof, as this would undermine its integrity and proper functioning. It must ensure a level playing field, notably in terms of competition and state aid, and in this regard encompass safeguards against unfair competitive advantages through, inter alia, tax, social, environmental and regulatory measures and practices.

21. Any future framework should safeguard financial stability in the Union and respect its regulatory and supervisory regime and standards and their application.

22. The EU stands ready to establish partnerships in areas unrelated to trade, in particular the fight against terrorism and international crime, as well as security, defence and foreign policy.

23. The future partnership must include appropriate enforcement and dispute settlement mechanisms that do not affect the Union's autonomy, in particular its decision-making procedures.

24. After the United Kingdom leaves the Union, no agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom may apply to the territory of Gibraltar without the agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom.
V. Principle of sincere cooperation

25. Until it leaves the Union, the United Kingdom remains a full Member of the European Union, subject to all rights and obligations set out in the Treaties and under EU law, including the principle of sincere cooperation.

26. The European Council recognises the need, in the international context, to take into account the specificities of the United Kingdom as a withdrawing Member State, provided it respects its obligations and remains loyal to the Union's interests while still a Member. Similarly the Union expects the United Kingdom to recognise the need of the 27 Member States to meet and discuss matters related to the situation after the withdrawal of the United Kingdom.

27. While the United Kingdom is still a member, all ongoing EU business must continue to proceed as smoothly as possible at 28. The European Council remains committed to drive forward with ambition the priorities the Union has set itself. Negotiations with the United Kingdom will be kept separate from ongoing Union business, and shall not interfere with its progress.
VI. Procedural arrangements for negotiations under Article 50

28. The European Council endorses the arrangements set out in the statement of 27 Heads of State or Government on 15 December 2016

EU Says It's Already Europe 1, Britain 0 as Brexit Reality Dawns, MSN/Bloomberg

EU Brexit guidelines: What's in the document, and what it really means, The Telegraph

EU threatens Theresa May on trade talks and its citizens' rights, The Guardian

From Frankfurter Allgemeine 

How average English height has changed over 2,000 years (Oxford Today)

The tall and the short of it: How average English height has changed over 2,000 years - The long-term ups and downs of height are a striking index of major shifts in wellbeing, new research shows.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Scotland: Scottish Poetry

I have been reading a lot of Scottish poetry over the last few days, some of the more familiar names like Muir, MacDiarmid, Duffy and Dunn, some less familiar to me. None of them "sham bards".

In this noisy, divided world, the poems (even MacDiarmid's, at times) offer a more subtle sense of identity than much of the aggressive political posturing on both sides of the Tweed.

Here's a poem entitled Scotland by Alastair Reid 


'What a day it is!'
cried I, like a sunstruck madman.
And what did she have to say for it? 
Her brow grew bleak, her ancestors raged in their graves
as she spoke with their ancient misery:
'We'll pay for it, we'll pay for it, we'll pay for it!'

From The Last Sark, Ellen Johnston, 1859.

"Our merchants an' mill masters they wad never want a meal.
Though a' the banks in Scotland wad for a twalmonth fail;
For some o' them hae far mair goud than ony ane can see —
What care some gentry if they're weel though a' the pair wad dee!"

Bang goes saxpence!

From a diplomatic Scottish poet:

An anonymous poem from 1501 (by "A Rhymer of Scotland", once thought to be William Dunbar), To the City of London

"London, thou art the flour of Cities all...
Gemme of all joy, jasper of jocunditie",

"Soveraign of cities, semeliest in sight,
Of high renoun, riches, and royaltie;
Of lordis, barons, and many goodly knyght;
Of most delectable lusty ladies bright..."

On Edinburgh, from The Prows O' Reekie, Lewis Spence

"O wad this braw hie-heapit toun
Sail aff like an enchanted ship,
Drift owre the warld's seas up and doun
And kiss wi' Venice lip to lip,
Or anchor into Naples Bay
A misty island far astray,
Or set her rock to Athens' wa',
Pillar to pillar, stane to stane,
The cruikit spell o' her backbane,
Yon shadow-mile o' spire and vane,
Wad ding them a'! Wad ding them a'!"

Fortune is fickle...15th century

The Testament of Cresseid

From Robert Henryson, The Complaint of Cresseid:

"Nocht is your fairnes bot ane faiding flour,
Nocht is your famous laud and hie honour
Bot wind inflat in uther mennis eiris,
Your roising reid to rotting sall retour;
Exempill mak of me in your memour
Quhilk of sic thingis wofull witnes beiris.
All welth in eird, away as wind it weiris;
Be war thairfoir, approchis neir your hour;
Fortoun is fikkill quhen scho beginnis and steiris."

See lines 461-469 (with notes) from the full poem

Seamus Heaney translation:

'Your beauty's nothing but a flower that fades,
Nothing your honoured name and famous praise
But mouthfuls of air in other people's ears.
The rot will fester in your cheek's red rose.
Remember and take cognisance: my woes
Bear witness to a world that's full of tears.
All wealth on earth is wind that flits and veers;
Beware therefore in time.
The hour draws close
And fate is fickle when she plies the shears.'

Maggie Lauder, The Tannahill Weavers

Maggie Lauder, Dick Gaughan

Lyric - traditional, probable contribution by Francis Sempill of Beltrees; 17th Century

From The Old Women, George Mackay Brown

"Those same old hags would weave unto their moans
An undersong of terrible holy joy".

The poet reading (YouTube)

A different reading, and commentary (Soundcloud)

A sample of another literary tradition - Sir Walter Scott

From Marmion, Sir Walter Scott, Canto IV, Stanzas X-XIII:


At length up that wild dale they wind,
  Where Crichtoun Castle crowns the bank;
For there the Lion's care assign'd                         
  A lodging meet for Marmion's rank.
That Castle rises on the steep
  Of the green vale of Tyne:
And far beneath, where slow they creep,
From pool to eddy, dark and deep,                         
Where alders moist, and willows weep,
  You hear her streams repine.
The towers in different ages rose;
Their various architecture shows
  The builders' various hands;                             
A mighty mass, that could oppose,
When deadliest hatred fired its foes,
  The vengeful Douglas bands.


Crichtoun! though now thy miry court
  But pens the lazy steer and sheep,                       
  Thy turrets rude, and totter'd Keep,
Have been the minstrel's loved resort.
Oft have I traced, within thy fort,
  Of mouldering shields the mystic sense,
  Scutcheons of honour, or pretence,                       
Quarter'd in old armorial sort,
  Remains of rude magnificence.
Nor wholly yet had time defaced
  Thy lordly gallery fair;
Nor yet the stony cord unbraced,                          
Whose twisted knots, with roses laced,
  Adorn thy ruin'd stair.
Still rises unimpair'd below,
The court-yard's graceful portico;
Above its cornice, row and row                            
  Of fair hewn facets richly show
    Their pointed diamond form,
  Though there but houseless cattle go,
    To shield them from the storm.
  And, shuddering, still may we explore,                   
    Where oft whilom were captives pent,
  The darkness of thy Massy More;
    Or, from thy grass-grown battlement,
May trace, in undulating line,
The sluggish mazes of the Tyne.                            


Another aspect Crichtoun show'd,
As through its portal Marmion rode;
But yet 'twas melancholy state
Received him at the outer gate;
For none were in the Castle then,                         
But women, boys, or aged men.
With eyes scarce dried, the sorrowing dame,
To welcome noble Marmion, came;
Her son, a stripling twelve years old,
Proffer'd the Baron's rein to hold;                        
For each man that could draw a sword
Had march'd that morning with their lord,
Earl Adam Hepburn,--he who died
On Flodden, by his sovereign's side.
Long may his Lady look in vain!                            
She ne'er shall see his gallant train,
Come sweeping back through Crichtoun-Dean.
'Twas a brave race, before the name
Of hated Bothwell stain'd their fame.


And here two days did Marmion rest,                        
  With every rite that honour claims,
Attended as the King's own guest;--
  Such the command of Royal James,
Who marshall'd then his land's array,
Upon the Borough-moor that lay.                            
Perchance he would not foeman's eye
Upon his gathering host should pry,
Till full prepared was every band
To march against the English land.
Here while they dwelt, did Lindesay's wit                  
Oft cheer the Baron's moodier fit;
And, in his turn, he knew to prize
Lord Marmion's powerful mind, and wise,--
Train'd in the lore of Rome and Greece,
And policies of war and peace.                             


It chanced, as fell the second night,
  That on the battlements they walk'd,
And, by the slowly fading light,
  Of varying topics talk'd;
And, unaware, the Herald-bard                              
Said, Marmion might his toil have spared,
  In travelling so far;
For that a messenger from heaven
In vain to James had counsel given
  Against the English war:                                 
And, closer question'd, thus he told
A tale, which chronicles of old

In Scottish story have enroll'd...

J.M.W. Turner, Crichton Castle

Below: Two woodcuts by G.W. Lennox Paterson, 
for the Bicentenary edition of "Poetical Works of Robert Burns" (1958):

Lang may yer lum reek

(‘Long may your chimney smoke’, "A healthy, long life!')

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Ella's Portrait Photograph

Photo of Jim,  by Ella

Ella, granddaughter-photographer:

At the Diner (Mattia Diner, near Sparkford, Somerset)

Great music, good fun!

A shame it wasn't there when I was going to school, just a mile away,
when most of that music was being made, around 1954-1958

Edwin Muir, The Refugees Born for a Land Unknown

A reminder of a great poet and a powerful poem.

From The Baffler

Two excerpts:

“I have fled through land and sea, blank land and sea,

Because my house is besieged by murderers

And I was wrecked in the ocean, crushed and swept,

Spilling salt angry tears on the salt waves,

My life waste water drawn down through a hole,

Yet lived...

Since then I remember nothing,

But this room in a place where no doors open.

I think the world died many years ago.”

A lithograph by Edward Bawden

Greece: Reform Measures - Legislation Without Implementation?

From Greek Reporter- PM Tsipras: Greece Ready to Legislate Reforms Depending on Debt Relief:

“We will obviously legislate (the measures) in order to secure a deal on debt relief,” Tsipras stated, saying that he wanted a solution to Greece’s debt burden by May’s end. “They won’t be implemented… unless we get a solution on debt",

Tsipras-Mitsotakis Battle it out in Greek Parliament Over Controversial Bill, Greek Reporter

Update May 2, 2017:

Pledging more austerity, Greece cuts deal with lenders, eKathimerini/Reuters

Bermuda: The Premier's Speech in Philadelphia

From Bermuda Legal - The Bermuda Government at RIMS, Philadelphia: Bermuda Shorts on display

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Monday, 24 April 2017

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Dorset, NHS: Response to changes

From BBC News - Rally over changes to Dorset's NHS services

"NHS Dorset CCG said information gathered during a public consultation between December and February was being used to produce a report, expected shortly".

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Ancient Civilizations Forum: Greece, China, Bolivia, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Mexico, Peru

Soft Power - A Geostrategic Hub?

From Amna - Aim of Ancient Civilizations Forum is to turn it into an institution, says FM

From Protothema - "Kotzias expressed his belief that Greece is a geostrategic and cultural hub"

South Africa Today/ Sputnik, Moscow - "Greece Hopes to Exercise Soft Power by Hosting Ancient Civilizations Forum"

From Keep Talking Greece - Greece to gain soft power through the Ancient Civilizations Forum

From Greek Reporter

"Kotzias expressed his belief that Greece is a geostrategic and cultural hub where the civilizations of Africa, Asia and Europe meet, adding that the forum is part of the ministry’s multi-dimensional policy of soft power being followed which concerns utilizing intellectual, traditional, historical and cultural issues".

China’s FM Predicts Tenfold Rise of Chinese Tourists in Greece in the Medium Term - Greek Reporter

See also, posting, the Chinese Community of Greece

Greece and China Inaugurate Year of Cooperation in Athens, Greek Reporter

UK: The State of the Nation - Trying to Understand Britain

An opinion piece and controversial view from The Economist's new Bagehot columnist, "To understand Britain today, look to the 17th century".

Friday, 21 April 2017

Bruce Langhorne - "Farewell to the Tambourine Man" (Amanda Petrusich) and other Obituaries

Obituary by Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker biography

The Guardian Obituary

The Independent Obituary

Los Angeles Times Obituary

Bruce Langhorne played unforgettable guitar on albums such as Bob Dylan's "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan"and "Bringing It All Back Home", and on Joan Baez's "Farewell Angelina".

Bob solo, live version:

Mr. Tambourine Man (Live at the Newport Folk Festival. 1964)

Copyright Law, Complicated Issues

From BBC Radio 4, BBC iPlayer - Leading copyright lawyer and author Richard Taylor asks whether copyright is an analogue law in the digital age.

Programme Information:

"Everywhere we look, there are examples of copyright - from the music playing in stores to the images on billboards and the trainers we wear. And that is just in the real world. On the internet, users downloading music or posting images can infringe copyright on a daily basis without ever being aware.

Richard Taylor examines the problems with copyright law, revealing the cracks in the current system which can stifle artistic creation, manipulate our view of history and even put hurdles in the way of scientific development. He acknowledges the importance of copyright in recognising and rewarding authorship but questions at what point it becomes more about financial greed and control, with increasing ownership in the hands of big music labels, film companies and publishers.

US judge Alex Kozinski says, "Overprotecting intellectual property is as harmful as under protecting it. Nothing since we tamed fire is genuinely new, culture like technology, grows by accretion, each new creator building on the works of those who came before."

Rows over copyright are not new. In 1842, Charles Dickens, at the height of his fame, embarked on a lengthy tour of America, not to promote his books but to stop US publishers ripping him off. Dickens failed - and took his revenge in the American passages in Martin Chuzzlewit.

Dickens would be delighted at the growing enforcement of copyright law. In the early 1970s Terry Gilliam borrowed hundreds of images and paintings for his famous Monty Python animations, yet in 1995 he discovered times had changed when making the film 12 Monkeys. A court stopped distribution of the film, concluding that Gilliam had based a set design on a copyrighted drawing. Gilliam also had to pay for a background appearance of Andy Warhol's Xerox of Da Vinci's Last Supper.

In today's digital age, ownership is more complicated and subject to different legislation in different countries. In France for example a photograph of the Eiffel tower lit up at night would infringe the copyright of the light show creators, even though a photo taken during the day is permissible because the architect has long since died.

More obvious are copyright infringements in music, art and written works. A recent US case sent shock waves through the music industry when a jury concluded parts of Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke were copied from Marvin Gaye's 1977 hit Got to Give It Up and ordered $7.4m be paid to Gaye's children. Forensic musicologist Peter Oxendale testified in the case and is on record as condemning the judgement as mad. The uncertainty around music copyright judgements has led to a mushrooming of his case load. He now gets hundreds of enquiries from music labels and singer song writers wanting him to check for possible copyright infringement before tracks are released.

The film industry also spends millions to pick their way through the copyright minefield. In the recent film Selma however the King Estate refused permission to use the speeches of Martin Luther King. The film's director was therefore forced to re-write his words.

In the programme, Richard interviews copyright experts, hunts down representative cases and talks to campaigners like Julia Reda MEP who wants better copyright laws and clarity".

Presenter: Richard Taylor
Producer: Sara Parker
A TBI Media production for BBC Radio 4.

Athens, Greece: 21 April 1967

50 Years Ago:

"Ελλάς Ελλήνων Χριστιανών"


Translation by Nikos Stangos

The Letter, Mikis Theodorakis

Update: With Kathimerini newspaper this Sunday -

From "The Nifi" blog of Linda Fagioli-Katsiotas:

"I've asked several Greeks what they thought of the dictatorship in Greece and their ideas of Panagoulis. Well, without a doubt, he was a hero. None would back down from that and perhaps they're all a little annoyed at me for questioning it. Those I've asked happened to be from the poorest areas of Greece. Yet, alongside that diehard love of Panagoulis is also the fact that it was during the dictatorship which he'd tried to topple, that roads, electric lines, water pipes and other infrastructure improvements were made to those forgotten villages in Epirus. And they all acknowledge that...But among the Greeks I questioned, there seemed to be no disconnect between Panagoulis, the hero, and the modernized infrastructure".