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Athens Academy gets new President January 14, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece News.
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The new President of the Academy of Athens, Professor Emeritus of Byzantine Archaeology Panayiotis Vokotopoulos, from the School of Philosophy at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, will be taking on his new duties on Tuesday next week.

The induction ceremony for the new President and Vice-President Constantinos Drakratos, will take place at the Grand Hall of the Archaeological Society on 22 Panepistimiou Street.

Outgoing President Constantinos Stefanis will deliver a lecture at the ceremony on “The Work of the Academy’s Centers and Bureau in 2006,” before the new President steps up to speak on “The Academy of Athens and Byzantium.”

Panayiotis Vokotopoulos was born in Athens in 1930 and taught Byzantine Archaeology at the University of Thessaloniki from 1976 to 1987, before being transferred to the University of Athens to teach on the same subject, until 1997. He has served as a regular member of the Academy of Athens since 2000, as well as acting as a corresponding board member of the Serbian Academy of the Sciences and the Arts. He has written six books, 120 articles in scientific journals and 50 essays on excavations.

Dancing Shakespeare January 14, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece.
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The Zurich Opera House Ballet performs ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’
Shows will begin in the Athens Concert Hall’s Alexandra Trianti Hall on Saturday and will run through Tuesday, January 16.

One of Shakespeare’s more popular plays, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is being brought to the stage of the Athens Concert Hall by the Zurich Opera House Ballet. The production will open on Saturday and performances will end on Tuesday. The choreography is by acclaimed Swiss choreographer and the theater’s artistic director Spoerli, while the music bears the signatures of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Steve Reich and Philip Glass.

The highly ambitious production is a joint Swiss and Greek collaboration, with the participation of the Camerata Orchestra under the baton of James Tuggle, director Victor Ardittis and Greek actors.

The Zurich Opera House Ballet, Switzerland’s largest dance ensemble, now ranks as one of the world’s greatest ballets. Founded in the beginning of the 20th century, it has been managed, among others, by former New York Ballet ballerina Patricia Neary. But its rise to become one of the most renowned ballets worldwide started when Spoerli became artistic director in 1996.

Spoerli’s choreography brings out the basic structure of the play, which bears influences from ancient Greek mythology and English folk myths. The choreography creates a dreamy landscape where movement alternates with words and images to render the humor, the irony, the misunderstandings and the squabbles that are part of Shakespeare’s masterpiece.

Victor Ardittis has directed the theatrical part of the performance, which features Greek actors Akyllas Karazissis, Stavros Mermingis, Dimitris Piatas, Giorgos Symeonidis, Costas Koronaios and Haris Fleouras. The texts have been translated into Greek by Eleni Varopoulou. The Tympana percussion ensemble also participates.

The post-modern sets were designed by Hans Schavernoch and the costumes are by Keso Dekker. The shows are staged in the Alexandra Trianti Hall.

At the Athens Concert Hall, 1 Kokkali Street and Vassilissis Sofias Avenue, Athens, tel 210 7282333.

Telecoms and Internet set for significant shifts January 14, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Telecoms.
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The telecommunications and Internet sector is set to see new shifts this year, although it is hard to forecast any positive news in the information technology (IT) domain.

Just as alternative telecom providers are preparing for their latest round of competition with OTE Telecom, which is in search of a strategic investor, in IT they simply sit and wait for state projects. Their delay and the decline in the gross sales market, where many of the sectors’ major companies are involved, have forced some firms such as Info-Quest to turn to retailing in order to recover lost revenues.

However, even the technology products’ retail market is set for major shifts this year, as foreign chains like Germany’s Media Markt grow stronger in Greece, and Panos Germanos, former owner of Germanos SA, prepares his next move through the Public chain. The market is eagerly awaiting the fate of the Germanos chain, which is now controlled by CosmOTE.

Some of the major alternative telecom providers, Tellas, Vivodi and, most recently, FORTHnet, have just started offering services, that relieve their clients of OTE’s fixed charge. Later in the year, their investment will be in installing private infrastructure (optic fiber), increasing pressures on OTE. In more than 30 areas in the capital, alternative providers can reach consumers directly, offering unlimited free telephone calls along with broadband connection to the Internet (ADSL).

In the course of this year, the intentions of new investors in the telecoms market will become clear, such as Russia’s Sistema that has acquired a majority stake at Hellas On Line and Attica Telecommunications, and “ON” where former executives of Vodafone and OTE participate.

TIM is set for listing in the Athens Stock Exchange this year, following its failed attempt at its sale, while a key factor for the market will be whether the government finds a strategic investor for OTE, with experts being pessimistic about it.

The year will see fresh cuts in ADSL connection tariffs, with the speed of broadband Internet rising ever higher. Alternative providers are aware that without a rise in ADSL speed, the combined supply of telecom services, television, Internet and telephone, also known as “triple-play”, is impossible, according to the model followed by most European groups.

The government has named 2007 “The Year of Digital Convergence” with certain electronic services promised finally reaching citizens.

Pay-parking to be extended January 14, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Transport Air Sea Land.
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The recently introduced pay-parking system in central Athens will be expanded into adjoining areas while adjustments will be made to spaces allocated to local residents to better meet demand, Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis said.

The measure will be extended as current indications show that it has helped to improve traffic conditions, Kaklamanis said.

In coming months, the pay-parking system will expand by some 5,500 parking spots and will include Ambelokipi and the area around the US Embassy. Official data shows that kiosks sell on a daily basis some 12,000 parking cards, each costing 1 euro, while the number of fines issued each day has begun to fall. Policing of the measure was strict from when it was introduced in November.

“I am not hinting that there will be any restriction of policing, as we all understand that only with policing can the parking system work,” Kaklamanis added.

New online database shows listed buildings January 14, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece.
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A government database containing details of more than 10,000 listed buildings and traditional hamlets across the country can now be accessed by the public online following a decision by the Hellenic Data Protection Authority, the Environment and Public Works Ministry said yesterday.

The database catalogs 9,567 listed buildings and 824 traditional hamlets, each with a brief history and photographs, according to Deputy Minister Stavros Kaloyiannis. Site visitors can search http://estia.minenv.gr for buildings by region or street name.

“This database is proof of our intention to showcase our cultural heritage,” Kaloyiannis said. “Now every citizen can quickly and easily discover how, when and why… a particular building was listed,” he said.

According to the database, the greatest concentration of listed buildings, 2,868, is in the municipality of Athens.

The public’s morality. (fullstop) January 14, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Culture History Mythology, Gay Life.
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How much respect can we have for Plato and Aristotle when they both lived in slave-based economies and were not critical of them? This huge flaw in moral judgment should jump out at us, but it doesn’t. Why?

With this in mind, I start to think about what evil, awful things are going on right now that everyone else tells me are OK. I also wonder about what things thought despicable in our day and age are really morally okay in my mind, and I’m just too scared to say so. I encourage readers to do the same.

The first thing I think of, as far as moral repugnance, is pedophilia and other sexual acts outside our time’s norm. This makes sense; one function of morality is that it protects the gene pool, so sexual acts are naturally considered an easy place to find wrongdoing.

Why are all these things wrong, though? Pedophilia was popular in ancient Greece. To take it way far, in Plato’s “Symposium” a bunch of philosophers all agreed love between a man and a boy was way more noble than the base love between man and woman, which was only there to make kids.

The funny thing is that the taboo of such acts is what makes them so undesirable. None of us want to be molested, but the guilt and shame that stem from it could only be from the unspeakable evil attributed to some sex in our society. There’s also really nothing wrong with cannibalism, I mean, it’s not like they’re alive.

On the flip side, as far as terrible things we’re doing that are passed off as OK, I think our treatment of animals is a valid concern. This is an interesting place from which to find philosophical ideas emerge. I don’t believe there’s any “switch” that makes any animal self-aware or conscious. It is a gradual thing. So, I don’t see a huge gap between ourselves and the rest of the animal kingdom. At the end of the day, we are just monkeys with symbols and fancy tools. Thus, couldn’t farm animals be a form of slavery?

As far as equality of opportunity is concerned, we are a long way off. Our society’s great disparity in income, levels of safety and education may be seen in the future as taking away substantial parts of people’s humanity.

These are only a few ideas I’ve come up with, but in the time I’ve thought about them, I’ve realized the times do determine morality. The public’s morality.

Regardless of who stands morally correct on such matters, however, questioning them is intrinsically good and important.

As it has been throughout time, the burden to morally “think outside the box” rests upon the individual.

Aeschylus > Did you know? January 14, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Culture History Mythology.
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Aeschylus, a playwrighter in ancient Greece, wrote > 

“In war, truth is the first casualty”