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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cyprus talks;K.Albanians;NATO-Russia missiles,Turkey,Iran:Israel"crimes";Anti-Aging Diet;"Separate but unequal(Christian)citizens"

Divided Cyprus' rival leaders are meeting with the U.N. secretary-general in New York this week to prevent faltering reunification talks from creaking to a halt. U.N. head Ban Ki-moon will sound out Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu Thursday on whether they can negotiate a way out of an impasse threatening to scuttle more than two years of negotiations. The island was split into a breakaway Turkish Cypriot north and an internationally recognized Greek Cypriot south in 1974 when Turkey invaded. The U.N. has invested much in these talks, which are touted as the best chance yet to settle a dispute hampering Turkey's EU entry bid and crippling EU-NATO co-operation. To read more about the history, development and possible solutions to the continued illegal occupation, please click here.

The Number of Kosovo Albanians who seek Albanian citizenship has increased after the EU lifted visa requirements for Albanian citizens, Priština-based media report. They point out that residents of Kosovo need to meet numerous criteria in order to get the Albanian citizenship. Albanian Ambassador to Kosovo Islam Lauka has stated that his country’s law allows foreigners to apply for Albanian citizenship but that it does not mean that everybody can get it because several criteria need to be met. “There are at least eight documents, i.e. criteria that need to be met. It is very important to provide a document which proves that a person has been living in Albania for five years straight and for citizens of Kosovo that period is three years,” the Albanian ambassador explained. “There are mitigating circumstances in those three years, if a person from Kosovo has been married to the Albanian citizen for at least a year, for which they need to have a document of the Albanian Interior ministry,” Lauka added. In some cases a distinguished person can get Albanian citizenship without any problems. All they need is a recommendation of the Albanian Academy of Sciences or some other important institution. Before they started to apply for Albanian citizenship, Kosovo Albanians had been in large numbers seeking citizenship of Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro since the EU lifted visa regime for these countries’ citizens last year.

The possible deployment of NATO missile defense systems in Turkey is solely aimed at defending Israeli interests, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday. "There are dubious intentions behind the story which raised concerns in regional and Islamic countries. We are not a threat to regional countries, and the countries in our region, except the Zionist regime, are not a threat to us," Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted by the ISNA news agency as saying. "The measure aims at supporting the Zionist regime and protecting it against its crimes," Mehmanparast said, adding "we hope that regional nations would prevent such measures." Iran has already expressed its concerns on the issue to Turkey, "our friend and neighboring country," the spokesman said. Turkish media reported last week that Ankara would agree to deploy NATO missiles on its territory only on Turkey's own terms. It said the system should be built by NATO, rather than the United States, that the shield should protect all the alliance's member states, and that Ankara would not allow NATO to turn Turkey into the alliance's frontline state, as it was during the Cold War. Earlier this month, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Turkey would not agree to host a missile shield that targeted Iran, Turkey's trade and political ally. "Mentioning one country, Iran... is wrong and will not happen. A particular country will not be targeted...We will definitely not accept that," Gul said in an interview with the BBC's Turkish service. Turkey is expected to announce its final decision on the missile defense shield during the NATO summit in Lisbon on November 18-19.

Iran began massive air defense military exercises Tuesday in an effort to boost its capability to defend the country's airspace, military officials said. It was the first day of a five-day nationwide military drill that included police and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, the Iranian Students News Agency reported. The first phase of the five-day exercises was scheduled to end Wednesday. Defense analysts believe the drills are mainly aimed at testing the latest anti-air missile systems and aircraft produced by Iran, Fars News Agency reported. Iran's defense minister recently announced plans for Tehran to produce long-range air defense missiles without any foreign assistance.

Eastern members of NATO will benefit from the alliance's partnership with Russia, Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a German newspaper. Russia-NATO cooperation is the best protection for alliance members, believes Rasmussen. He was also optimistic about anti-missile defense cooperation, which is expected to be a key issue at the NATO summit in Lisbon this week. Mikhail Troitsky from Moscow State Institute of International Relations, is positive about Russia and NATO’s joint projects, but says Moscow should not give up its other allies. “The level of mutual trust between Russia and NATO will increase significantly, should they have a joint missile defense project. Of course Russia need not compromise any of its existing blocs or relationships, such as its very amicable relationship with China,” Troitsky said.

Our bodies are made up of what we put into it; in other words, what we eat and drink. You eat harmful foods, and you can be sure it will show up somewhere in your body. It is no wonder then that people who live in Mediterranean countries like Greece, South of Italy, Cyprus, etc. are said to be the healthiest in the world, look more youthful, and have the lowest incidence of age-related disorders. Aging is a function of the inflammation and oxidation of cells taking place in our bodies; and the most visible indication of aging is the formation of wrinkles. The presence of free radicals in our bodies, which is a result of toxins and excessive oxidation, occurs when we follow improper diets; like those rich in cholesterol, processed foods, red meat, etc. or when we take up harmful habits like smoking. Antioxidants present in fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts help combat these free radicals. By containing them, these antioxidants reduce the occurrence of wrinkles; promote healthier looking skin and a youthful appearance. A proper diet, coupled with drinking plenty of water will make the skin more elastic, giving it a tauter and younger looking appearance. The Mediterranean Anti Aging diet – which is nothing but a term that refers to the food habits followed by people in these countries is responsible for their youthful appearance and healthy bodies. The diet mostly consists of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nuts, legumes, foods high in omega-3 fats like fish; olive oil and moderate quantities of red meat. Most of the ingredients are freshly consumed and are largely unprocessed. They keep the body satiated for longer, preventing the need to eat frequent, unhealthy meals and snacks. Olive oil, a central part of the Mediterranean diet contains antioxidant vitamins like vitamin E, and is a monounsaturated fat that promotes a host of health benefits. It has shown wonderful results in its ability to reduce risk of heart disease and cholesterol. It is also anti-inflammatory, which is another factor that delays age, and contains enzymes that help remove carcinogens from the body. Although not all of us have the option of living in a Mediterranean country we can make the most of what we find around us. Reaching out for locally produced fresh fruits and vegetables, switching to healthy oils like canola or olive oil, reducing our intake of unhealthy fats like lard or butter, giving up unhealthy habits, eating whole grains and nuts, adequate intake of water, proper exercise and having enjoyable mealtimes can go a long way in keeping us youthful for longer, and prevent the formation of those dreaded wrinkles.

Almost 1200 years of Christian civilisation in what is now known as Turkey came to an end with the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453. The much lauded millet system which followed, by which the religious communities were allowed to rule themselves, was in fact a system of ‘separate but unequal’. Sharia law prevailed, and the status of the Christian or Jewish dhimmi (“protected people”) was inferior both legally and in everyday life. The Christian presence in Turkey was effectively terminated with the First World War. Both the Greek and Armenian populations were depleted through massacres and deportation as well as the 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey. The Greek inhabitants of Istanbul and two Greek islands, totalling 200,000, were exempt from this exchange, but restrictions imposed by the Turkish government in 1932 on their commercial activities, a punitive wealth tax imposed on non-Muslims in 1942 and the Istanbul pogrom in 1955, have reduced the Greek population of Turkey today to between three and four thousand. The Lausanne Treaty (1923), which provides the legal basis for the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, guarantees religious freedom for non-Muslim minorities and, furthermore,”an equal right to establish, manage and control at their own expense, any charitable, religious and social institutions, any schools and other establishments for instruction and education”. Nevertheless, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, the spiritual head of 300 million Orthodox Christians round the world, feels beleaguered and, as he put it in an interview with CBS, sometimes crucified. Turkey has refused to recognise his ecumenical status and the legal personality of the Patriarchate, which makes it difficult to administer its own property. However, the European Court of Human Rights has in a ruling determined that the orphanage on the island of Büyükada (Prinkipos), which was confiscated by the Turkish state, should be returned to its legal owner, the Patriarchate... Although the Copenhagen criteria for EU membership include respect for and protection of minorities, which Turkey defines on a religious and not an ethnic basis, the gestures Turkey has hitherto made are more of a token nature. In a study conducted by Istanbul’s Bahcesehir University last year, half the Turks polled said that they didn’t want Christian neighbours, and it must be admitted Christians are not popular in Turkey. Witness the three Christians who had their throats slit in Malatya three years ago, Father Andrea Santoro who was murdered in Trabzon (where Hrant Dink’s killer also came from) and Bishop Luigi Padovese, who was murdered in Iskenderun in June. And according to the indictment in the ongoing Ergenekon case, Turkish Special Operations planned to terrorize and attack the non-Muslim population in order to incriminate the AKP government... When it concerns Cyprus, where Christianity was already established in 45 AD, Turkish practice falls short of Professor Davutoglu’s ideal. As has been well documented, for example, in the 2009 report by the Helsinki Commission, Christian churches and monasteries in the occupied areas in the north have been devastated, vandalized and looted, not only with the cooperation of the Turkish army but also, on occasion, with the connivance of the UN authorities. Over 500 churches, chapels and monasteries have been confiscated and put under the control of Evkaf, the Moslem religious trust. Their former congregations and priests have been reduced to the role of supplicants and, subject to the whim of the Turkish authorities, are on occasion allowed to worship at their holy shrines.