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Kyrenia Bishop protests Turkish conversion of historic church October 17, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied, Religion & Faith.
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Bishop of Kyrenia Pavlos has strongly protested Turkish actions to convert the historic church of St. Luke in the occupied north, into a ballroom.

“The Turkish occupying forces by their continuing unacceptable treatment of religious and cultural heritage in the occupied part of Cyprus have exceeded all boundaries of shamelessness”, he said.

In a letter sent to Ambassadors stationed in Nicosia, the five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council, the General Secretaries of the Council of Europe, UNESCO and the European Commission’s representative in Nicosia, the Bishop of Kyrenia called upon the recipients of the letter to do their utmost so that their governments or institutions take practical steps to safeguard human rights in Cyprus as well as the island’s religious heritage.

“These actions by the Turkish occupation forces will undoubtedly convince even doubting Thomases of the Turkish systematic practice of obliterating every trace of the rich religious and cultural heritage of our island in flagrant violation of the 1954 Treaty on the Protection of Cultural Heritage, international law and the relevant UN resolutions”, he concludes.

More than 133 churches, chapels and monasteries located in the occupied north of the Republic of Cyprus have been desecrated, 78 churches have been converted into mosques, 28 are used as military depots and hospitals, and 13 are used as stockyards. Their ecclesiastical items, including more than 15,000 icons, have been illegally removed and their location remains unknown.

According to the Cypriot Department of Antiquities, the most significant and priceless of these icons have already been auctioned off and sold by art dealers abroad.


Baghdatis undaunted by a tough draw October 17, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Tennis Squash.
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Marcos Baghdatis received a bye in the opening round of the Mutua Madrilena Masters in Madrid and in the second round will face the winner of the match between Russian Marat Safin and Jose Acasuso of Argentina.

Philios Christodoulou, the president of the Cyprus Tennis Federation, believes Baghdatis will perform at his best in Madrid: “Marcos should have no problem against Safin or Acasuso. Safin is not in a good form at the moment and although Acasuso is playing well at present it should not matter much for Marcos who will be his second round opponent.”

The ninth seeded Cypriot has been handed a though draw in Madrid as he could meet American James Blake already in the third round and possibly Argentinean David Nalbandian in the quarter-finals, two of his direct competitors for the Tennis Masters Cup in Shangai.

Baghdatis should then face Blake who is in top form, recently winning tournaments in Bangkok and Stockholm. However, Blake almost secured his place in Shangai and we know that when Marcos plays at his best anything is possible” added Christodoulou.

Blake is currently sixth in the race for Shangai with 410 points, while Nalbandian is eighth with 382 points. Baghdatis collected 371 points and lays in the ninth place.

A title at Mutua Madrilena Masters in Madrid or at BNP Paribas Masters in Paris, where Baghdatis is scheduled to play next, is worth 100 points while a title at one of the eleven other remaining events is worth between 35 and 50 points; meaning in theory that a really busy player could perhaps earn 300 more points by the end of the year.

Archaeologists find huge stash of Bronze Age anchors October 17, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.
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Cyprus’ reputation as an archeological gold mine has been given another boost, with an important underwater Bronze Age discovery.

A team of maritime archeologists from the UK has uncovered 120 stone anchors off the coast of Paphos. The anchors, some of which date back to the Bronze Age (2500-1125BC), are the second largest collection in the eastern Mediterranean.

The fact that so many anchors have been found at the same site suggests that the area may have once been an important port, serving the maritime traders on the busy trade routes to and from the east. There have also been suggestions that the port may have been used to transport pilgrims to and from Palaipaphos and the Sanctuary of Aphrodite, from all around the Mediterranean world.

The peaceful conditions that prevailed during the late Bronze Age allowed trade in the eastern Mediterranean to flourish, and Cyprus, with its ideal geographical location, became a trade hub, linking east and west.

The exact chronology of the anchors has not yet been determined, but the archaeologists are fairly sure that some date back to the Bronze Age.

The team has been working to survey the area with the aim of creating the first digital archive of an underwater site in Cyprus. The information from the survey is currently being processed at Cambridge University, and will soon be available for analysis.

There are plans to conduct further investigation of the site next year, when the team hopes to throw more light on this fascinating part of Cyprus’s rich history.

Revitalized by nostalgia, 80s pop sensations return October 17, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Live Gigs.
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Duran Duran back Sunday 22 October, live in Athens, for more after last year’s sold-out show

It was back in 1981 when five young musicians with fashion model looks and highly infectious pop tunes tailor-made to go with the style ignited sparks of hysteria on the international music scene.

Teenage girls could not get enough of Duran Duran’s sound and style, as, over the next five years or so, the English heartthrobs delivered one delicious number after another. The quintet’s musical appeal started to fade and, by the mid-80s, Duran Duran was no longer quite as big. In the years that followed, long breaks, permanent departures by band members and various lineup reshuffles barely kept the former pop music sensation’s flame alight.

But, somehow, with new releases trickling through every few years, to various degrees of success, Duran Duran’s fame remained lurking in a simmering background. Their extended absence from the forefront, fueled by the material’s lasting power, seems to have made fans, older and newer, grow fonder of this former pop music giant.

In Greece, the delight was more than highlighted by the band’s performance last year. Tickets for the show, originally booked for the 5,000-capacity Lycabettus Theater in Athens, sold out so swiftly that the production’s promoter ended up transferring the production to a far larger venue.

Now, about a year later, Duran Duran  are returning for a second show in the Greek capital, this time at the Olympic Fencing Center in Hellenikon, southern Athens, this Sunday 22 October night.

As was the case last year, the band is touring with its original lineup, which reformed in 2002 after 18 years. This latest tour has been wedged into a short break from the studio, where the quintet is recording a new album to follow 2004’s “Astronaut”. Though that the album did not generate rave reviews or produce any memorable hits, Duran Duran’s coinciding tour was a remarkable commercial success.

Back in their heyday, the excitement generated by these English pop idols went no further than the teenage-girl market, at least publicly. At the time, stylistic divisions in contemporary music were more rigidly imposed. No self-respecting fan of other, less pop-oriented sides dared cross over into this sugar-coated musical world. But, interestingly, things have now changed, presumably as a result of the more recent perception of dance-oriented music as a style worthy of respect. By the early 90s, not long after Duran Duran’s rise and fall, dance music was the key style in underground scenes, techno and house being obvious examples. Then, the conflicting sides all seemed to gradually merge and, for musicians, it was no longer shameful to use a big, catchy beat in music. Nowadays, it all boils down to Duran Duran having shed much of the shroud of disgrace that was once attached to the act’s fame.

Local DJ Petros Floorfiller is testament to this. A former wild boy into punk and other hard-hitting rock styles, he’ll be warming up the crowd on Sunday with a pre-show set made up of his more recent and smoother musical preferences. A couple of decades ago, or less, this is probably something the hard-working and eclectic Greek DJ could not have imagined himself doing.

Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ transports poet to Caribbean waters October 17, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Books Life Greek.
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Derek Walcott on ‘Omeros’ and poetic parallels

Poet, playwright and 1992 Nobel laureate in literature Derek Walcott met journalists during a news conference in Athens yesterday. Walcott will deliver a lecture tonight at the Athens Concert Hall and receive an honorary doctorate tomorrow from Athens University. 

“At some point while I was reading ‘The Odyssey’ where Odysseus has been shipwrecked and washed up on the rocks and is trying to save himself, I realized that this could be a Caribbean story,” poet Derek Walcott told the press at a luncheon yesterday in Athens.

The poet, playwright and 1992 Nobel laureate in literature is in town to deliver a lecture tonight for the Megaron Plus series at the Athens Concert Hall and receive an honorary doctorate from Athens University tomorrow. He was explaining, no doubt for the umpteenth time, what led him to write his epic poem “Omeros”.

“When I began to write ‘Omeros’ I said don’t do this, because it will lead to these sorts of questions,” he joked.

But the close parallels he observed between the civilizations of the Aegean and the Caribbean, with their stories of ships and fishermen, is a powerful theme threading through his work.

He loved the “freshness, gustiness, wind, sea, light, waves and action” that he found in Homer. “The one image that Homer has given to the world is that of a sail, a ship leaving and coming back,” he said.

Walcott’s own work is steeped in images of the sea and of the lives and dreams that grow on it and around it. Some poems hark back overtly to Homer, as in “Archipelagoes” from “Map of the New World”:

At the end of this sentence, rain will begin. / At the rain’s edge, a sail. // Slowly the sail will lose sight of the islands; / into a mist will go the belief in harbors / of an entire race. // The ten-years war is finished. Helen’s hair a gray cloud. / Troy, a white ashpit / by the drizzling sea. // The drizzle tightens like the strings of a harp. / A man with clouded eyes picks up the rain / and plucks the first line of the Odyssey./

Elsewhere, as in this excerpt “Adios, Carenage” from “The Schooner Flight” the tale is still timeless but the scene and the language are redolent of the Caribbean:

In idle August, while the sea soft, / and leaves of brown islands stick to the rim / of this Caribbean, I blow out the light / by the dreamless face of Maria Concepcion / to ship as a seaman on the schooner ‘Flight,’ / Out in the yard turning gray in the dawn. / I stood like a stone and nothing else move / but the cold sea rippling like galvanize / and the nail holes of stars in the sky roof // till a wind start to interfere with the trees.

Walcott’s artful incorporation of the vernacular among the multiple registers in his verse was a challenge for his Greek translators. Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke and Stefanos Papadopoulos, who have done a marvelous job of translating his poems into Greek for Kastaniotis publishers. Anghelaki-Rooke and Papadopoulos worked on Walcott’s poems together for three months. They chose not to employ an equivalent for the Caribbean element, said Anghelaki-Rooke, because it would have been impossible to convey the flavor by means of some Greek dialect.

Choosing which poems to translate was a tough task, she said, with a strict limit on the size of the book. But one of the criteria, wisely, was to select poems that would work in Greek. One hopes that the next edition of the volume will get some more meticulous proofreading to weed out solecisms like dual spellings of the author’s and one translator’s names.

Asked about the burden of the poetic past, Walcott sympathized with Greek writers: “It must be tough to be a Greek poet, having to deal with the weight of all that stuff,” he said. “Any young Greek poet who lifts a pen is lifting a column.”

Modern Greek arrives at the Louvre October 17, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Europe.
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Thousands of visitors travel to the Louvre each year to admire its treasures, many just to see the famous Venus de Milo or the Winged Victory of Samothrace.

The Louvre is home to some of the most important masterpieces of ancient Greek art, which is probably why Alain Pasquier, director of the Louvre’s Department of Greek and Roman antiquities, felt that the explanatory material provided to the visitors of the Greek antiquities exhibition halls should also be displayed in Greek.

Together with the Greek-born archaeologist Alice Samara-Kauffmann, who used to work in the same department at the Louvre, Pasquier initiated the project of having all the explanatory material translated into modern Greek. The Ioannis F. Costopoulos Foundation and the Karelia Tobacco Company are the exclusive financial sponsors of this project whose completion will be celebrated today at the Louvre.

This is the first time that a museum outside Greece has made all the explanatory material concerning Greek antiquities available in Modern Greek. Pasquier felt that the lack of such material was an omission that should be corrected, especially since the Modern Greek language is the continuation of that, Homer’s language, in the words of Pasquier, spoken by the same civilization that created the Greek antiquities.

The explanatory material is written by museum specialists in Greek antiquities and provides detailed and lengthy historical and cultural information on each holding. Samara-Kauffmann translated most of the essays, while Alexandra Kardianou-Michelle and Epi Vandorou also worked on the project. Out of the roughly 300 explanatory leaflets that exist throughout the museum, 57 concern Greek antiquities. Their inclusion in Greek is an unusual gesture of cultural significance.

The colors of antiquity October 17, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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An exhibition on painted ancient statues will open early next year

The exhibition ‘Athens-Sparta: From the 8th to the 5th century BC’ is organized by the National Archaeological Museum and the Alexander Onassis Foundation.

An exhibition examining how colors were used on statues in antiquity will go on display at the National Archaeological Museum early next year, one of two being organized by director Nikolaos Kaltsas.

The sculptures and the material for the exhibit will come from Munich’s Glyptotek. The exhibition will show evidence of the lavish use of vivid red, green, blue and ocher on sculptures in antiquity.

Kaltsas wants to present the Munich sculptures with eight to 10 sculptures from the National Archaeological Museum on which traces of paint are visible.

The second exhibition is a major archaeological event jointly organized by the National Archaeological Museum and the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation in New York.

“Athens-Sparta: From the 8th to the 5th century BC” will open on December 6 under the aegis of the Greek Culture Ministry.

It comprises a considerable number of items, including finds from the plague tomb at Kerameikos in central Athens, which were uncovered during excavations for the metro.

The exhibits cover the period in which the cities of Athens and Sparta played leading roles.