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A sunny debut in 2007 will soon turn blustery December 28, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece News, Greek Culture.
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The first day of 2007 is expected to be sunny but the weather will soon turn windy and temperatures could drop as low as minus 6 Celsius (21.2 Fahrenheit) in some parts of Greece, meteorologists said.

Weather experts said that winds are likely to reach speeds of between 6 and 7 Beaufort over the weekend but are not expected to affect ferry routes for travelers on their way to the islands.

The temperature fell to -10C (14F) in parts of northern Greece yesterday, including the cities of Florina, Serres and Drama.

Snowfall on Mount Parnitha, northwest of Athens, made area roads dangerously slippery and icy and slowed traffic.

Police have instructed drivers traveling through mountainous areas early in the day to be especially vigilant because of icy conditions.


Digital library with smart cards December 28, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Books Life Greek, Technology.
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An electronic reading room in the K.T. Dimaras Science and Technology Library at the National Research Foundation offers digital access to the public.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of its establishment in December, the National Documentation Center (EKT) has expanded the number of work stations available to the public from 25 to 100, and is initiating the use of smart cards.

The digital library started in 1997 as part of the National Digital Research and Technology System project, funded by funds from the Third and Fourth Community Support Frameworks. EKT has paid for rights and collaboration to secure for its readers a strong collection, which includes:

* More than 12,000 journals from around the world in all disciplines, which can be searched by topic and read in full;

* 3,000 digital books and series covering a wide range of scientific fields;

* 54 international databases, electronic dictionaries and encyclopedias, searchable by topic, with citation indices;

* 27 Greek databases on science and technology;

* Digitized Greek collections (National Archive of Doctoral Dissertations, publications of the Athens Academy, documents on Greek history and culture);

* Special collections (digitized bibliographies, studies, conference papers) in sociology and information science; and

* Selected Internet sources related to science and technology.

The library also has hard copies of more than 300 current journals as well as hundreds of reference volumes. 

Visionary Greek’s artistic bent December 28, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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Museum of Natural History showing the paintings and sculptures of its founder, Angelos Goulandris
Angelos Goulandris’s works are geometric and simple, yet imaginative and full of energy, reflecting his multifaceted personality. ‘All his artistic creations are a reflection of his very particular and charismatic character,’ said museum director Petros Zambelis, a friend and colleague of 40 years.

Angelos Goulandris had a feeling about what would the future would bring.

Ever since 1964, when the benefactor founded the Museum of Natural History in Kifissia, he had predicted that the greatest problem of the 21st century would be the management of the earth’s resources and environment and that these issues would top the agenda of countries’ bilateral relations. An activist and visionary, Goulandris cared for his surroundings and for the environment and poured all of his energy into creating a small ark for nature that would educate the generations to come.

Now, 10 years after his death, the time has come to get to know a different aspect of his character. In his public life Goulandris was, according to his wife, Niki, who continues his work to this day with unwavering commitment, a true activist. In his private life he showed a deep interest for the fine arts and tried his hand at them as well. Several of his paintings, drawings and sculptures, which are currently on display at the museum, reveal that Goulandris was both a receiver of the sensitive messages being sent by nature as well as a champion of harmony and beauty. We recently visited the exhibition and were shown around by museum director Petros Zambelis, a colleague who had worked closely with Goulandris for some 40 years.

“He never thought of himself as an artist,” said Zambelis. “In what little free time he had he liked to express himself through the arts; through painting, sculpting, etching and so on. He was self-taught. He had a perfectly organized studio where he would spend many nights making things.”

His works are geometric and simple, yet imaginative and full of energy, reflecting his multifaceted personality. “All his artistic creations are a reflection of his very particular and charismatic character,” said Zambelis. “He was a man with a sweet temper, honest, dynamic and persistent. Even though in his public life he carried a great weight of responsibility on his shoulders and a great concern for the future of the world, in his art he expressed his joy and childlike qualities. When he learned that he was ill he asked doctors if they could prolong his life for another three years so he could finish certain projects. And that’s how it happened. He fulfilled his responsibilities and then he died.”

Niki Goulandri was also present on the tour of the exhibition and agreed to say a few words about her late husband. “He never wanted to present himself as an artist,” she said. “He had held two very successful exhibitions in America and another in Athens. He received excellent reviews. But this was never his ambition. He wanted an outlet for his needs, his feelings, something where he could express himself creatively. He often said that since he frequently could not understand people and come to terms with their contradictions, he would turn to art and its materials. That is where he found harmony and symmetry.”

According to Niki Goulandri, he would always start his work with one simple line and from that would grow the strong, lively compositions to be seen in the exhibition.

Our visit to the exhibition was made amid happy children’s voices as students filed through the halls of the Museum of Natural History. The highest goal of the museum has been achieved: Over 4 million people have visited the museum since it opened and its contribution to the education of the young is recognized internationally.

Forming the philosophical outlook of the institution > Angelos Goulandris (1921-1996), founder and president of the Museum of Natural History for 32 years, was the son of a well-known Andros family of shipowners. He was one of the first benefactors in Greece to predict the effects of man’s abuse of the environment and the first to take action.

In 1964 he founded the Museum of Natural History, whose object was to promote scientific research into the Greek environment and to hold a leading educational role.

The museum’s goal was to help Greeks understand the wealth of their country’s natural environment and its preservation as matter of personal interest. Goulandris’s role in the institution was not just that of benefactor; he gave it its direction and its philosophical outlook.

In 1979 Goulandris was awarded the Silver Medal of Natural Sciences by the Academy of Athens and in 1990 the Onassis Foundation bestowed upon him the international Man and Nature prize. He was also named an honorary doctor of Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University in 1988.

Related Links > http://www.gnhm.gr/

Classic play is Greece enlightening December 28, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Europe.
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It was all Greek for schoolgirls as they wowed audiences with their ensemble production.

Students at Portsmouth High School, UK, impressed in their production of The Thebans, the story of the doomed leading family of Thebes in Greek mythology.

With a cast of 30 senior students, the audience was at the heart of the action with the stage in the centre of the school hall and the chorus performing on and off stage.

The school’s head of drama, Rosemary Comrie, said: ‘Virtuoso performances and impressive ensemble sequences characterised our school production. The play draws on the ancient tradition of choral speaking and the modern techniques of physical theatre. ‘We believe it is important for pupils to have as many performance opportunities as possible and to be exposed to as many different texts.

‘It is not just performance opportunities, but regular visits allow pupils to experience live theatre. Many of the cast of Thebans will be taking part in a combined Art, Drama and Philosophy trip to Greece planned for next year.’

The Thebans encompasses the events of the Greek plays Oedipus the King, Phoenician Women, Seven Against Thebes and Antigone, and was originally written for a Scottish audience by Liz Lochhead, the playwright and poet.

The Glory of Greece > Exhibit shows how city states flourished December 28, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Americas.
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Statue commemorates Leonidas, the Spartan king who died with troops at Thermopylae. It was made from Parian marble between 480 and 470 B.C.

Statue commemorates Leonidas

Warned that the barrage of Persian arrows would hide the sun at Thermopylae, the Spartan hero Dienekes replied with cool bravado, “It will be pleasant to fight in the shade.”

Known for their terse, unflinching way of speaking, these consummate warriors from the Lakonia region of Greece were known as laconic, or sparing of words. The term also applies to their art.

“Athens-Sparta,” which opened earlier this month at the Onassis Cultural Center in Manhattan, presents 289 archaeological artifacts from the paramount city states of ancient Greece to illustrate their very different social and artistic legacies.

Athens lavishly encouraged artistic creativity, which became the fountainhead of Western civilization. Laconic, militarist Sparta spent sparingly on the arts, yet managed to produce its own notable works, as shown by the celebrated objects on display.

Mounted strikingly in the compact gallery in midtown, the survey encompasses some of the rarest relics ever to travel outside Greece, dating from 800 B.C. to about 350 B.C. Admission is free for the one-time show, on view through May 12.

Artifacts from centuries of conflicts include spear points and javelin tips from the 480 B.C. battlefield of Thermopylae, where 300 Spartans fought to the last man against Xerxes’ overwhelming forces; a large marble bust commemorating Leonidas, the Spartan king who died with his troops at Thermopylae; a marble relief of an Athenian trireme warship in action; and a bronze Assyrian helmet from the 490 B.C. Battle of Marathon, Athens’ war booty offering at the shrine to Zeus at Olympia.

Objects from the domestic and religious life of both cities include intricately painted pottery and drinking vessels, metallic sculptures of athletes and votive figurines, coins and decorative pins. Other artifacts include gravestones carved from marble and busts and statues of Athena, the patron of Athens, and other Panhellenic gods. Greece’s greatest museums in Athens, Sparta, Marathon, Olympia and Rhodes loaned priceless objects for the show. A lavishly illustrated catalog includes essays by Greece’s top antiquities scholars. Among them are Nikolaos Kaltsas, director of the National Archaeological Museums, who curated the show.

Wallboards and labels on the artifacts trace a history of shifting alliances and hostilities rooted in radically different social organizations and cultural ideals in Athens and Sparta.

Sparta, militant and highly regimented, bred the best soldiers of the Hellenic world by making its residents subservient to the state. Humanist Athens produced the greatest philosophers and builders by encouraging freethinking among its citizens. Sparta thrived as an oligarchy, Athens as a democracy. Slavery was part of both societies. Athens’ artists and its sea-borne commerce dominated the Mediterranean region, generating wealth and underwriting intellectual achievements such as the Parthenon and theatrical tragedy. Spartan traders and craftsmen also brought prosperity to their society, although military preparedness was always uppermost and artistic creativity a lesser concern.

Mutually antagonistic for centuries, the two powers and their allies set aside enmities and formed a common front when Persian invaders on land and sea threatened to overrun Greece in the early fifth century.

In 490 B.C., 10,000 Athenian troops turned the tide at Marathon, routing twice as many Persians. When a larger force of Persians invaded again in 480 B.C., the Spartans galvanized Panhellenic resistance with their heroic, three-day stand at Thermopylae.

The Athenian naval victory at Salamis later in the year, and the Spartan-led battlefield triumph at Plataeae in 479 B.C. all but ended serious Persian designs on the Greek mainland.

But Hellenic animosities rooted in clashing ideals eventually led to the Peloponnesian War, 431 B.C. to 404 B.C., which ended in Sparta’s defeat of Athens. One of the clearest examples of their stark difference in world views is reflected in steles, or gravestones. The Spartan leader Lycurgus banned inscriptions of names on graves, except for “those who died in war” and women who died in childbirth.

In contrast, Athenian gravestones commissioned by the wealthy were artistically carved reliefs depicting the deceased, often based on works at the Parthenon or other great monuments. The expenses led to legislative efforts against such extravagant memorials, the exhibition notes.

If you go >
What: “Athens-Sparta,” exhibit of archeological artifacts from the ancient Greek city states.
Where: The Onassis Cultural Center, Olympic Tower, 645 Fifth Ave., New York City.
When: Through May 12. Hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Admission: Free. Information: Call 1-212-486-4448 or visit www.onassisusa.org

…a pineapple doughnut Of cooked Crudeness December 28, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece.
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HMN has been requested to post the following Press Release >

…a pineapple doughnut Of cooked Crudeness
with actions, 26-30 December, Fokionos Negri St. 42, Athens
Open from 4pm until late

In Kypseli, the most densely populated neighborhood of Athens, along the pedestrian avenue of Fokionos Negri, we are once again faced with urban development in the omnipresent form of a commercially operated “recreation park”. Nevertheless, what we need, contrary to the dominant model, is the creation of “other” spaces, alternative in that they do not deprive life and are conducive to different journeys of recreation, gatherings/wanderings.

The Reconstruction Community supports this undertaking with a series of actions and an art exhibition organized in the Kypseli market (aprox. 700m²), in the period 26-30 Dec. 06. The premises will be open daily from 4pm until late.

Exhibiting artists will colonize the succeeding cells that used to be shops and still have many traces of their previous use. The title “A pineapple doughnut” and subtitle “of Cooked Crudeness” have been interpreted in various ways, always in reference to the market as a transit phase for the often violent passage from a raw/primitive state to a cultural elaboration of materials and people.

Video Projections with thematic reference to the urban environment by the group Multitrab Productions (Athens Video Art Festival), Wednesday 27 Dec 2006.
3 excerpts from the play “Plastic props from Alice in the Wonderland” presented by the theatre association “SHEDÍA” (total duration: 17′), Thursday, 28 Dec. at 8pm.
Screening of the documentary “Summer rain” by the jouranlistic team “Exantas”, commentated by 20 artists, on Friday 29 Dec. 06.
Performance “human chess”, Saturday 30 Dec. 8pm
The program will close with a party on Saturday night.

For additional information please visit > http://www.reconstruction.gr/en/news_dtls.php/1

Following is the Greek text >

«… ο ανανάς ο λουκουμάς»
Μαγειρεμένες ωμότητες με δράσεις, 26-30 Δεκεμβρίου 2006
Δημοτική Αγορά Κυψέλης, Φωκίωνος Νέγρη 42
Ώρες λειτουργίας από 4.00 μ.μ. μέχρι αργά το βράδυ

Πάνω στον άξονα της Φωκίωνος Νέγρη, στην Κυψέλη, αναπτύσσεται κατά κύριο λόγο ένα “πάρκο αναψυχής” με μονοδιάστατο εμπορευματοποιημένο χαρακτήρα. Σε αντιπαράθεση με αυτή την κυρίαρχη λογική που επικρατεί γενικά σήμερα, επιβάλλεται να δημιουργηθούν “άλλοι” τόποι που δεν απογυμνώνουν τη ζωή και μπορούν να προτείνουν διαφορετικές διαδρομές αναψυχής, συνάντησης ή περιπλάνησης.

Βιντεο-προβολές με θεματική την πόλη από την ομάδα Multitrab Productions (Athens Video Art Festival), Τετάρτη 27/12.

Παρουσίαση 3 αποσπάσματων από το έργο “Πλαστικά Αποκούμπια από την Αλίκη των θαυμάτων” από τον Θεατρικό Όμιλο Σχεδία (συνολικής διάρκειας 17′), Πέμπτη, 28/12, 8.00 μ.μ. 

Προβολή ντοκουμέντου “Καλοκαιρινή βροχή” από τη δημοσιογραφική ομάδα του “Εξάντα” με εικαστικό σχολιασμό από 20 καλλιτέχνες, Παρασκευή 29/12.
Performance “ανθρώπινο σκάκι”, Σάββατο 30/12, 8.00 μ.μ.
Ένα ζωντανό σκάκι από λευκούς και μαύρους παίκτες-πιόνια θα αναπτύσσεται στο χώρο – σημειολογική παραπομπή στην έννοια της πολιτικής σκακιέρας, στα παιχνίδια εξουσίας, αντιπαράθεσης και διακρίσεων. Η παρτίδα θα κατευθύνεται από δύο διακεκριμένους σκακιστές, τον Σπύρο Ιλαντζή και την Μαρία Σαράφογλου. Ταυτόχρονη παρέμβαση της Αιμιλίας Παπαφιλίππου με το έργο “σκακιστικό συνεχές”.

Ανοιχτές συζητήσεις
– “Συλλογικότητες: Δομή-Εμπειρία-Προοπτικές”, Τρίτη 26/12, 8.00 μ.μ
 – Συζήτηση για το Παλαιστινιακό, Παρασκευή 29/12, 8.00 μ.μ.

Οι δράσεις θα κλείσουν το Σάββατο το βράδυ με party.

Δείτε ενημερωτικά το κείμενο της Ελένης Πορτάλιου για την ιστορία του κτηρίου της δημοτικής αγοράς στο http://www.reconstruction.gr/actions_dtls.php/2 και το θεωρητικό κείμενο του Μάνου Κορνελάκη “Μαγειρεμένες Ωμότητες” http://www.reconstruction.gr/actions_dtls.php/1.

Διοργάνωση: Κοινότητα Ανοικοδόμησης / Reconstruction Community

Illegal airport contributes to division of Cyprus December 28, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied.
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Cypriot Foreign Minister George Lillikas said that whoever “intents to promote the function of the illegal airport at the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus, contributes in a practical manner to the division of Cyprus”.

Lillikas noted that “whoever has such intentions, should make serious thoughts regarding the consequences of such an action, not only for Cyprus, but also for their bilateral relations with the Republic of Cyprus”.

Lillikas was commenting on information that members of the British Civil Aviation are making efforts to open the illegal airport at the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus for international flights.

“There have been some movements on the part of the British authorities, towards European institutions and international organizations for the collection of information regarding the matter”, he said.

After noting that the international community is well aware of the fact that the airport in the occupied areas is illegal, since it violates the international law, and the rules of international organizations and Eurocontrol, he said that he hoped that there would be ”no official governmental effort on the part of Great Britain, or any other country to legalize the illegal airport”.

Cyprus, an EU member state, is divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied one third of its territory.

In 1983 the Turkish occupied part proclaimed the establishment of an illegal state. UN Security Council resolutions 541 and 550 called all states not to recognise the self-styled regime and not to facilitate it in any way.