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Cyprus considers fines for entry through illegal ports October 11, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied.
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The government is considering imposing administrative fines on people who enter Cyprus illegally through points of entry in the occupied areas.

Despite legislation being in place, Cyprus has waved prosecutions of EU nationals entering in this manner since 2003 under the European Union’s Green Line Regulation on the movement of goods and people, which states EU citizens have the right of free movement within the EU.

The Director of the Civil Registry Registration Department, Anny Shakalli, said yesterday, “We don’t prosecute despite the fact that they have entered illegally because we don’t want to overburden the justice system.”

On Monday, Shakalli told the House Interior Committee that the Legal Services had drawn up a proposal for legislation that would allow for administrative fines to be imposed on people crossing the Green Line, having arrived through an illegal point of entry. This takes on political importance because EU citizens will also be subject to fines.

According to a Legal Services representative, Nicoletta Charalamidou, the Green Line regulation doesn’t concern the matter of EU citizens entering Cyprus from the north, but the ability of EU citizens to cross the Green Line freely. She added that the Republic could not restrict movement across the Green Line, but it is at the state’s discretion to be able to set fines if people enter from an illegal point. “What was made clear is that any EU state has the right to impose fines,” Charalamidou added.

It is likely to be many months before a decision is reached as to whether such fines will be implemented. A spokesman for the British High Commissioner said he was unable to comment until a decision had been made.


Drill hole begins Homeric quest October 11, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece, Culture History Mythology.
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I am Odysseus, Laertes’ son, world-famed
For stratagems: my name has reached the heavens.
Bright Ithaca is my home: it has a mountain,
Leaf-quivering Neriton, far visible.
Around are many islands, close to each other,
Doulichion and Same and wooded Zacynthos.
Ithaca itself lies low, furthest to sea
Towards dusk; the rest, apart, face dawn and sun.
Odyssey 9, 19-26 (trans. James Diggle)

A UK-led team is challenging cherished ideas on Greek mythology by proposing an alternative site for Ithaca.

The island was said to be the home of Odysseus, whose 10-year journey back from the Trojan War is chronicled in Homer’s epic poem the Odyssey.

Most people think the modern-day Ionian island of Ithaki is the location.

But geologists are this week sinking a borehole on nearby Kefalonia in an attempt to test whether its western peninsula of Paliki is the real site.

The scientists hope to find evidence that the peninsula once stood proud, separated from Kefalonia by a narrow, navigable marine channel. It is only within the last 2,500-3,000 years – and long after Homer’s time – that the channel has been filled in, the team contends.

“We can’t prove the story of the Odyssey is true, but we can test whether Homer got his geography right,” said Edinburgh University geologist Professor John Underhill, who is supervising the drilling operation.

Read the rest of the article and view related pictures > http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6034367.stm

Imagining a new cultural hub for central Athens October 11, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece.
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Imagining a new cultural hub for central Athens

NTUA professors team up with architects for design > According to the draft study by Athanassios Aravantinos and his team, part of the lower area, covering around 3,500 square meters, would be used to house cafes, galleries, bookshops, small venues for screenings, lectures, plays, and student and cultural societies.

A group of experts is urging local authorities to give Athens a cultural lift by making radical changes to the center of town, including lowering the level of Academias Street in that area.

«We absolutely need to not only boost culture but also give it expression in the contemporary center of town,» said Athanassios Aravantinos, an emeritus professor of town planning at National Technical University of Athens (NTUA).

Aravantinos drafted the study along with architect Dimitris Kontargyris and architect and town planner Constantinos Serraos, in cooperation with transport expert and NTUA professor Thanos Vlastos.

«We are talking about modern culture,» Aravantinos said. «With the culture of the past we are doing relatively well. But it is not enough for Greece to keep showing the Acropolis as a dominant element.»

Aravantinos believes that elements of the modern center should also be highlighted «to show that the cultural tradition continues.»

As he pointed out, in the geometrical center of Athens «we have the exceptional good fortune» to have these three buildings which are surrounded by significant listed buildings such as the Athens Municipality Cultural Center, the Catholic Cathedral, the Goethe Institute, the Odeon and the National Opera.

«It is a compact cultural core which also borders on Klafthmonos Square and, through it, with the commercial triangle and the historic center,» he said. «But the area needs upgrading in terms of town planning and public transport.»

The most significant intervention proposed in the study is to lower the level of Academias Street. Years ago, while he was mayor of Athens, Antonis Tritsis made a similar suggestion.

The authors of the plan have taken into account another vital factor: «That in any case, in a few years’ time the entire area will be excavated for the fourth subway line [which will run through Galatsi, downtown Athens, Pangrati, Zografou and Maroussi],» said Aravantinos.

«That line will connect with Line 2 where Panepistimio Station is now located. One can imagine the upheaval that the works will cause. Why not take advantage of the opportunity to radically reshape the surface?» he asked.

As Aravantinos sees it, the lowering of Kifissias Avenue in Psychico involved one fundamental error: «We didn’t gain any public space; the surface was immediately converted into a traffic junction.»

Lowering Academias Street will produce a new square that links the University with the Athens Municipality Cultural Center. The plan also proposes banning traffic between the University and the Library in order to to unite the forecourts of all three buildings.

Special attention has been placed on shaping the open space that will emerge from the changes. The idea is to excavate a lower level in the area bounded by the rear of the three neoclassical buildings, and by Ippocratous, Academias and Sina streets (16,000 square meters).

A part of that lower area, covering around 3,500 square meters, would be used to house cafes, galleries, bookshops, small venues for screenings, lectures, plays, and student and cultural societies.

Under the plan, not all of the lower level would be covered. The plan envisages two atria, situated behind the Academy and the Library. They are designed in such a way so they would provide ample light and ventilation to the surrounding area as well as extra space for cultural activities.

Institute showcases years of history in Greek schools October 11, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Museums, Education.
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Professor’s collection anchors Education Museum in Veria

An Education Museum has quietly opened in the northern Greek town of Veria.

The Museum, which started operating at the beginning of this school year, has a broad and impressive collection of exhibits, which center around Greek education and its history since the Ottoman occupation, through the difficult years of the 20th century, and to the present day.

Teaching methods, documents on educational reforms and hundreds of school textbooks have been collected over decades by Christos Tsokalakis, professor emeritus at Thessaloniki University’s primary education department, and his colleagues.

Tsokalakis was inspired to begin his collection after protocols were issued by the 1967-74 military junta ordering the incineration of books. Instead, the professor and his associates saved the material.

For some years, Tsokalakis looked for a sponsor for the Museum. He asked the Mayor of Thessaloniki and previous Ministers for Culture and Macedonia-Thrace, but received no response. Then Veria Mayor Christos Skoubopoulos showed interest. Within two years he had provided a site for the Museum: a former Marines’ Training Center on a pine-covered hill on the City’s outskirts.

Displays on the Museum’s walls include a range of items, school uniforms and bags, maps, photographs of long-gone teachers, parchments, inkwells, old-fashioned slates, computers, even stuffed birds. One exhibit of school textbooks traces the changeover from the formal “katharevousa” language to the demotic.

“There are books by writers linked to the language debate that divided the country until 1976,” said Tsokalakis.

Exhibits on prominent figures in the development of Greek education system are also displayed, such as Manolis Triantafyllidis, Alexandros Delmouzos, Miltos Koundaras and Evangelos Papanoutsos. One display is devoted to the books “The Little Eagles” and “Free Greece” written during the resistance by teacher Michalis Papamavros. Books published under the Metaxas dictatorship (1936-1940) stand opposite readers for ethnic Greek children in Albania living under the Enver Hoxha regime.

A reconstruction of a mid-20th century classroom in one of the halls with wooden desks shows just how much things have changed.

Praising life’s beauty in war and peace October 11, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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Show on work of photographer Voula Papaioannou

Ironically, times of war have enriched the history of photography by producing some of the most compelling images in its history. But they have also inspired photographers to use their art, not only toward aesthetic ends but for a vital social function.

The images of human pain and hope in the face of tragedy that the great Greek photographer Voula Papaioannou captured during World War II in Greece are among the most moving documentations of war in the history of photography.

But besides their aesthetic value and their significance for documenting history, these images played a humanitarian role at the very time they were produced by sensitizing international humanitarian organizations to send food and financial support to Greece.

This double role in the work of Voula Papaioannou comes through in a wonderful and large presentation of her work held at the Pireos Street annex of the Benaki Museum. Conceived by the Photographic Archives Department of the Benaki Museum, which owns Papaioannou’s archives, the exhibition is being held on the occasion of the 13th Month of Photography, the established annual event that is organized by the Hellenic Center of Photography and includes photographic exhibition throughout Athens. A voluminous publication on Papaioannou’s work has been published on the occasion by Agra publications in collaboration with the Photographic Archives of the Benaki Museum.

The chronological structure of the exhibition follows the work of Papaioannou from the beginning of her photographic career in the mid-1930s through the early 1960s. All along, it tells the story of modern Greece and captures some of the most dramatic moments in its modern history.

The first photographs that Papaioannou took were of Greek antiquities and the Greek landscape. They often combine the two to suggest a cultural continuum from the past to the present and promote an “archetypal,” “eternal” image of Greece in which the past, art and nature exist in one uninterrupted whole. In the vein of the photographs of Nelly’s or Herbert List, these early images reflect the cultural policy of the Metaxas regime and its concerted effort to promote the country as a tourist and cultural destination.

The idealized images of antiquities and the Greek landscape share nothing with the human-oriented war photography of the later period for which Papaioannou became known. Yet the life and sense of movement that the photographer brings into ancient sculptures (she was commissioned to photograph the holdings of the National Archaeological Museum) are an early expression of her talent in capturing human expression and emotions.

The declaration of war in 1940 marks a turning point in Papaioannou’s work. The photographs she took document the lives of the civilians or of the wounded soldiers that returned home. They show men mobilized for war, civilians waiting in line for mess or wounded soldiers offered aid by the Red Cross. With the help of her friend Amalia Lykourezou, who worked for the Near East Foundation, Papaioannou secretly sent many of those images to international humanitarian organizations, asking that help be given to Greeks.

Some of those images are excruciating. The series of portraits that show the starved faces of children, men and women show cruelty in all its blatant, inhuman force. They are almost too harsh to face.

The images from the 1944 liberation retrace the course of history on a more hopeful path. In the images of that period, there is hope and celebration but also the irreparable, traumatic vestiges of war. The mass graves in Kaisariani, where relatives have arrived to identify members of their family, is one of the most macabre scenes and an allusion to the Dekemvriana, the month-long bloody civil war between the leftists and the right-wing government.

Right after the war, Papaioannou became director of the photographic department of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. She also worked for the American Mission for Aid in Greece and the Economic Cooperation Administration. From that post, she traveled throughout Greece photographing the repercussions of war with the purpose of gathering international aid. Her images show the slow, painful recuperation of a poor nation. Many of them feature children, one of Papaioannou’s favorite subjects, which is here treated as a sign of hope for a better future.

By the 1950s, there is no trace of postwar pain. Papaioannou began to work for the Greek National Tourism Organization and together with the Swiss Guilde de Livre publishing house, produced albums on the photographs she took of the Greek landscape and islands. The images of Greek antiquities, the brightness that natural light has in Greece and the soothing quality of the Mediterranean landscape remind one of the photographs that Papaioannnou took in the 1930s. Yet the presence of man and his ties to nature are far more evident in this later body of work. The ode-like quality and deep respect to human existence that was so prevalent in her photographs from the war period has found its way in those photographs of postwar Greece. They serve as an epilogue to the work of an artist who, in times of both war and peace, praised the beauty of life and defended its value.

“The Photographer Voula Papaioannou, 1898-1990” from the Photographic Archives of the Benaki Museum, at the Pireos annex of the Benaki (138 Pireos street, 210 3453111) to December 3. Open Wed, Thur, Sun 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Fri, Sat 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., Sun 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. For additional information visit > www.benaki.gr 

Film Panorama back in town October 11, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life Greek.
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Featuring many tributes, the event will kick off tonight with Oliver Stone’s ‘World Trade Center’

Maria Nafpliotou stars in Nikos Panayiotopoulos’s ‘Dying in Athens.’

The 19th Panorama of European Cinema, organized every autumn by Eleftherotypia newspaper, will kick off tonight with Oliver Stone’s much-awaited “World Trade Center” (10 p.m. at the Ideal cinema) and will continue tomorrow with Nikos Panayiotopoulos’s much-discussed “Dying in Athens” at 9.15 p.m. at the Trianon cinema.

Despite its American opening, the Panorama still focuses on European cinema and this year is enriched by a tribute to Harold Pinter. Apart from the movies, the tribute will also include an exhibition with published and photographic material, which will trace Pinter’s 50-year career in theater, cinema and literature, at the Pireos Street annex of the Benaki Museum. A discussion on Pinter’s politics will also take place, with the participation of Eleftherotypia editor Seraphim Fyntanidis, writer Petros Tatsopoulos and Athens University professor Constantinos Tsoukalas. Tonight’s opening will feature pre-recorded messages about Pinter by actors Meryl Streep (who had starred in “The French Lieutenant’s Woman”) and Kenneth Branagh, as well as a short message by the writer himself, who due to serious health problems is unable to attend the event.

In an introduction to his new film, which will mark the panorama’s official opening tomorrow, Nikos Panayiotopoulos made a reference to Frederic Rossif’s film about the Spanish Civil War, “Mourir a Madrid” (To Die in Madrid). “The difference is that Rossif’s leading character dies gloriously in search of utopia, while my character just dies in 2006 Athens, without knowing what he is after,” Panayiotopoulos said.

This year’s two great tributes, to subversive and futuristic cinema, are a great opportunity for local audiences to watch films rarely screened in Greece.

The event’s European focus does not exclude artists whose work shares common features with European cinema; there will also be a tribute to American filmmaker Sam Peckinpah. Actress Harriet Andersson, who has worked with Ingmar Bergman, will be honored, as well as Greek actress Zoe Laskari.

The competition section, which exclusively consists of new European productions that have not been bought by Greek distributors, will include Belgian filmmaker Lucas Belvaux’s “La raison du plus faible” from the competition section of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, as well as Marco Bellocchio’s award-winning Italian film “Il Regista di matrimoni”. The avant-premieres section will feature the latest productions by Ken Loach and Woody Allen, among others.

The Panorama will also honor Alexis Bistikas, on the occasion of the 11th anniversary of his death, with the screening of “The Clearing”. The film, which also marked Derek Jarman’s last appearance on the big screen, is a Royal College of Art production, with which Bistikas got his MA. “We are honoring a very promising filmmaker, who showed us signs of his talent but didn’t have enough time to give all he had to give,” said critic Ninos Fenek Mikelidis.

Thessaloniki’s photo museum shows promising October 11, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece.
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Over the next three years, the museum expects to receive 650,000 euros in state funds
The Thessaloniki Museum of Photography is gradually expanding while keeping its finances sound and servicing its debt, said artistic director Vangelis Ioakimidis, who presented the Museum’s latest balance sheet at a news conference on Monday.

State funding from the Culture Ministry for 2006, slated at 250,000 euros, is slightly less than the amounts received in previous years, according to information provided by museum officials. Additional revenues, from book sales and admission tickets, were reported at 60,000 euros.

Over the next three-year period, the museum expects to receive 650,000 euros in state funds, a sum already endorsed by the Culture Ministry and the National Economy and Finance Ministry. With these funds, the museum expects to upgrade its premises and finance events.

Its administration plans to spend 200,000 of the 650,000 euros on improving existing infrastructure. At present, exhibitions, the permanent collection, storage space, offices, and other units are all crammed into 1,000 square meters of total floor space. A further 400,000 euros will be used to finance events.

The Photosynkyria show, now in its 18th year, will be held every two years, for financial and logistical reasons. The next festival will be held next year, between April and May, with “Time” as its theme.

Other plans include thematic events featuring Greek photographers of the diaspora; the four elements of nature and man; dialogue between Greek and foreign artists; major foreign photographers; and the relationship between photography and other art forms. Joint shows with foreign institutions are also on the agenda.

Recently appointed at the museum’s administrative helm, Thanassis Panoris has been in charge since June. Selected by the general secretary, Christos Zachopoulos, the museum’s new chief is a former high school teacher with limited organizational experience. In his first official meeting with the press on Monday, the optimistic-sounding Panoris noted that he will ultimately be judged by his prospective work at the museum, not his previous work experience.