Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Jazeera: Istanbul 9 KD

e-mail from Jazeera airlines – sale on now!

Istanbul from KD 9!

Considered the gateway of Europe, Istanbul quintessentially eastern city, with glittering mosques and decorative splendor. The city has a rich history to explore, with beautiful wooden Byzantine architecture, fascinating museums, and the most glorious mosques. Sample the delicious mezze and kebobs, stroll around the markets and bazaars, enjoy a cup of apple tea and absorb the lively atmosphere.

The jewel of Turkey now has a special place in our website. Check out jazeeraairways.com/istanbul, and explore the most amazing photos, get hold of the latest accommodation, restaurants, currency, and weather information. Fly to Istanbul…even without leaving your house.

Flight schedule:

Kuwait – Istanbul Istanbul – Kuwait
Thursdays DEP: 07:55 / ARR: 11.30 DEP: 12.15 / ARR 15.45
Saturdays DEP: 18.15 / ARR: 21:50 DEP: 22.35 / ARR: 02.05
Mondays DEP: 18.15 / ARR: 21:50 DEP: 22.35 / ARR: 02.05

March 18, 2008 Posted by | Kuwait, Living Conditions, Tools, Travel, Turkey | 4 Comments

Jazeera to Istanbul

We have almost as much fun in Turkey as we have in Damascus, for all the same reasons. So this morning, when Jazeera announced a new route starting March 29, they got a big Wooo Hooooo from me!

NEW ROUTE! Kuwait Istanbul From March 29!

Considered the gateway to Europe, Istanbul is a quintessentially eastern city, with glittering mosques and decorative splendor. The city has a rich history to explore, with beautiful wooden Byzantine architecture, fascinating museums, and the most glorious mosques. Sample the delicious mezze and kebobs, stroll around the markets and bazaars, enjoy a cup of apple tea and absorb the lively atmosphere.

Flight schedule:

Kuwait – Istanbul Istanbul – Kuwait
Thursdays DEP: 07:55 / ARR: 11.30 DEP: 12.15 / ARR 15.45
Saturdays DEP: 18.15 / ARR: 21:50 DEP: 22.35 / ARR: 02.05
Mondays DEP: 18.15 / ARR: 21:50 DEP: 22.35 / ARR: 02.05

March 10, 2008 Posted by | Adventure, Travel, Turkey | | 12 Comments

Discovering the truth about St. Nicholas

There is a most wonderful website that is a perfect place to explore on this, the Feast of St. Nicholas. It is called The St. Nicholas Center and it has the stories, and all kinds of art work depicting the life and works of St. Nicholas of Bari.

No, the St. Nicholas that we all think of, the big roly-poly guy with eight tiny reindeer – he’s a modern creation. The real St. Nicholas is revered for his generousity, his love of giving, his loving protection of children, and his care for sailors and those at sea. He is believed to have lived in what was a part of Greece, and is now Turkey.

One of the things I love the best about this good man is that he did his good deeds in secret, not wanting any earthly reward. You can read more about him The Legends of St. Nicholas, HERE. In the last photo, he even looks Greek, or Turkish, or . . . Arab!

There are many many more images of St. Nicholas at the website above. What I love about them is that they are a far cry from that fat guy who thinks Christmas is all about getting what you want. St. Nicholas understands that the joy is in the GIVING.

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Have your own secret St. Nicholas celebration – do something nice for someone and DON’T TELL ANYONE! 😉 Happy, Happy St. Nicholas Day!

December 6, 2007 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Community, Cross Cultural, Holiday, Relationships, Spiritual, Turkey | , , | 3 Comments

The Olive Oil Scandal

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A good friend gave me a subscription several years ago to The New Yorker, and at the time I didn’t know how lucky I was. First, I loved the cartoons. A couple magazines later, I got pulled in by some of their excellent travel and political writing. Later, the fiction issues pulled me in and introduced me to authors I had never read before. In no time at all, I was totally addicted.

Now, when The New Yorker arrives, Adventure Man and I fight to see who gets to read it first! Often he wins; he skims it. He knows I will take too long getting through it.

It was the New Yorker magazine who informed me about the great olive oil scandal.

I love olive oil. I only use other oils in baked goods, where the olive oil might give an odd taste, we use olive oil almost exclusively. Or so I thought.

In the August 13 Issue of the New Yorker, Tom Meuller starts like this:

On August 10, 1991, a rusty tanker called the Mazal I docked at the industrial port of Ordu, in Turkey, and pumped twenty-two hundred tons of hazelnut oil into its hold. The ship then embarked on a meandering voyage through the Mediterranean and the North Sea. By September 21st, when the Mazal II reached Barletta, a port in Puglia, in southern Italy, its cargo had become, on the ship’s official documents, Greek olive oil. It slipped through customs, possibly with the connivance of an official, was piped into tanker trucks, and was delivered to the refinery of Riolio, an Italian olive-oil produce based in Barletta. There it was sold—in some instances blended with real olive oil—to Riolio customers

Between August and November of 1991, the Mazal II and another tanker, the Katerina T., delivered nearly ten thousand tons of Turkish hazelnut oil and Argentinean sunflower-seed oil to Riolio, all identified as Greek olive oil.

Riolio’s owner, Domenico Ribatti, grew rich from the bogus oil, assembling substantial real-estate holdings, including a former department store in Bari. He bribed two officials, one with cash, the other with cartons of olive oil, and made trips to Rome, where he stayed at the Grand Hotel, and met with other unscrupulous olive-oil producers from Italy and abroad. As one of Italy’s leading importers of olive oil, Ribatti’s company was a member of ASSITOL, the country’s powerful olive-oil trade association, and Ribatti had enough clout in Rome to ask a favor—preferential treatment of an associate’s nephew, who was seeking admission to a military officers’ school—of a high-ranking official at the Finance Ministry, a fellow-pugliese.

However, by early 1992 Ribatti and his associates were under investigation by the Guardia di Finanza, the Finance Ministry’s military-police force. One officer, wearing a miniature video camera on his tie, posed as a waiter at a lunch hosted by Ribatti at the Grand Hotel. Others, eavesdropping on telephone calls among Riolio executives, heard the rustle of bribe money being counted out. During the next two years, the Guardia di Finanza team, working closely with agents of the European Union’s anti-fraud office, pieced together the details of Ribatti’s crime, identifying Swiss bank accounts and Caribbean shell companies that Ribatti had used to buy the ersatz olive oil.

The investigators discovered that seed and hazelnut oil had reached Riolio’s refinery by tanker truck and by train, as well as by ship, and they found stocks of hazelnut oil waiting in Rotterdam for delivery to Riolio and other olive-oil companies.
The investigators also discovered where Ribatti’s adulterated oil had gone: to some of the largest producers of Italian olive oil, among them Nestlé, Unilever, Bertolli, and Oleifici Fasanesi, who sold it to consumers as olive oil, and collected about twelve million dollars in E.U. subsidies intended to support the olive-oil industry. (These companies claimed that they had been swindled by Ribatti, and prosecutors were unable to prove complicity on their part.)

You can read this entire fascinating article here: Tom Meuller: Slippery BusinessGive yourself plenty of time. It is an article well worth reading.

There is another good reference here: The Great Olive Oil Scandal from PalestinianOliveOil.org
Investigators have gathered evidence indicating that the biggest olive oil brands in Italy — Bertolli, Sasso, and Cirio — have for years been systematically diluting their extra-virgin olive oil with cheap, highly-refined hazelnut oil imported from Turkey. [1]

A 1996 study by the FDA found that 96 percent of the olive oils they tested, while being labeled 100 percent olive oil, had been diluted with other oils. A study in Italy found that only 40 percent of the olive oil brands labeled “extra-virgin” actually met those standards. Italy produces 400,000 tons of olive oil for domestic consumption, but 750,000 tons are sold. The difference is made up with highly refined nut and seed oils. [2]

EVEN THE BIGGEST OF THEM WILL MISLEAD THE PUBLIC…

“In 1998, the New York law firm Rabin and Peckel, LLP, took on the olive oil labeling misnomer and filed a class action suit in the New York Supreme Court against Unilever, the English-Dutch manufacturer of Bertolli olive oil. The firm argued that Bertolli’s labels, which read “Imported from Italy,” did not meet full disclosure laws because, even though the oil had passed through Italian ports, most of it had originated in Tunisia, Turkey, Spain or Greece. “Bertolli olive oil is imported from Italy, but contains no measurable quantity of Italian oil,” according to court documents.”

Curezone lists manufacturers of adulterated olive oil and marketers of the same oil. It is disgusting. We pay high prices for junk-olive oil. From Curezone.com/forums

The Guilty

Below is a list of known adulterated brands and dishonest distributors with links to information about their cases.

Adulterated brands of extra virgin olive oil
with country of origin

Andy’s Pure Olive Oil (Italy)
Bertolli (Italy)
Castel Tiziano (Italy)
Cirio (Italy)
Cornelia (Italy)
Italico (Italy)
Ligaro (Italy)
Olivio (Greece)
Petrou Bros. Olive Oil (California)
Primi (Italy)
Regale (Italy)
Ricetta Antica (Italy)
Rubino (Italy)
San Paolo (Italy)
Sasso (Italy)
Terra Mia (Italy)

Distributors caught selling adulterated olive oil

Altapac Trading
AMT Fine Foods
Bella International Food Brokers
Cher-Mor Foods International
D&G Foods
Deluca Brothers International
Gestion Trorico Inc.
Itaical Trading
Kalamata Foods
Les Ailments MIA Food Distributing
Lonath International
Mario Sardo Sales, Inc.
Petrou Foods, Inc.
Rubino USA Inc.
Siena Foods Ltd.
Vernon Foods

So who do we trust? How do we know that we are getting a quality, unadulterated product? This is fraud in an international scale!

October 25, 2007 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Bureaucracy, Cooking, Crime, Cross Cultural, Customer Service, Diet / Weight Loss, Health Issues, Italy, Lies, Shopping, Technical Issue, Turkey | , , , , | 29 Comments

Bekir L. Yildirim Weighs In

This is another comment on the issue of Turkey Blocks WordPress. I really like it when, no matter which side the commenter weighs in on, their comments are to the point, well reasoned, and well presented. See for yourself:

Knowing a bit from the first hand experience with the Turkish judicial system and the bureaucracy , I blamed primarily the system in this ostensibly minor event turning into a saga. It appears now that there is enough blame to go around including possibly the WP which I held blameless so far (see for ex. “WordPress banned in Turkey: a case of throwing the baby with the bath-water“).

Perusing through some of the comments on the matter it appears that some of the commenters have an ax to grind with Adnan Oktar (a.k.a. Harun Yahya) . They make his an issue of creationism versus evolutionism, which it should not be. The position Matt seems to be taking is that it is a free exchange of information in the internet , as parti of fundamental right of free speech.

This is certainly a view held by many including myself in principle. However the matter gets a bit thorny when you get into the limits, boundaries of the exercise of such right. That is why we have caseloads before the courts dealing with issues such as slander, defamation, libel, trademarks, copyrights and so on, -some of which are involved in this case. I am not going to attempt to sort out all the legal and moral issues and heir ramifications in this case. All I am trying o do is to invite all concerned to differentiate between personal dislike for a person, or opposition to his views on certain matters and justice.

I understand the predicament Matt and WP finds themselves in. They see the issue as an undemocratic justice system and an individual with strong arming the system to demand immunity from criticism. They are taking a stand on the side of the free speech. I urge them however to go beyond that reflexive behavior and engage in a bit deeper analysis of what Edip Yuksel is doing , and whether he is going over the bounds vis-a-vis the free speech. He has made a name for himself for attacking various religious persons, institutions and values sacred to others. I do not contest his right to be wrong , but I am also cognizant of the fact that WP does render judgement on suitability of the content of the blogs. The method Edip Yuksel is employing , specifically targeting another individual, and inviting others to abuse the blogging system with multiple blogs directed at the same purpose should also be questioned. WP cannot judge the veracity of all accusations in millions of pages of content, however it can place certain limits such as selection of blog names etc, as it does in the terms of service it is offering. Edip Yuksel and others should also be mindful of the fact that they have the right to free speech but exercising it on WP is a privilege.

August 22, 2007 Posted by | Blogging, Bureaucracy, Crime, Cross Cultural, Free Speech, Turkey, Uncategorized, WordPress | 5 Comments