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Know Thyself > February 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Culture History Mythology.
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The Greeks had an inscription over the Temple of Apollo at Delphi that read “know thyself”.

It was attributed to Socrates and considered by Plato to be one of the world’s fundamental pieces of wisdom.

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Israel’s Arkia to start flights to Cyprus February 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in News Flights.
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Israeli airline Arkia has announced that it will begin operations to Cyprus.

From March 1, two flights per week will be offered, increasing to four per week from mid-April. The Cyprus Tourist Organisation yesterday said that following negotiations this news is an important development in the issue of flights between Cyprus and Israel.

At the end of January, Israeli national carrier El Al said it was discontinuing flights to Cyprus. Thrice-weekly flights to Larnaca will be cancelled from March 1, it said in a statement. “The flights to Larnaca do not meet the criteria of our business plan, and suffer from high security expenses, as well as limitations on cooperation due to the high standards involved with the security sensitivities,” El Al said in Jerusalem.

In addition to the heavy security costs, charges were also increasing at Larnaca since the operation of the airport changed hands. After the withdrawal, the CTO raised concerns over the impact it would have on the tourism sector.

“Israel is a very important market for Cyprus,” they said. “Last year, 34,00 Israeli tourists visited the island with a significant increase forecast for 2007.”

Arkia Israeli Airlines is based in Tel Aviv and is Israel’s second largest airline operating domestic services and charters to western Europe and the Mediterranean.

Brits say no to occupied north direct flights February 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied, News Flights.
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Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat has confirmed that Britain has officially rejected his request for direct flights between Britain and the Turkish military occupied north area of Cyprus.

Britain informed the so-called and self-proclaimed Cyprus Turkish Airlines it is was not legally possible to launch direct flights to the occupied Tymbou (Ercan) airport. Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side maintained there was no legal obstacle to such flights when the application was made to the UK authority late last year. Talat told Kibris newspaper that the so-called and illegal ‘TRNC’ had launched a new legal process with the aid of a mediation office in the UK that specialised in such issues.

UPDATE > 28 February 2007

Britain > Republic of Cyprus designates airports on the island

The Republic of Cyprus has a complete and exclusive sovereignty over the entire island of Cyprus and alone has the right to designate an airport for the purposes of the Chicago Convention, said a letter by the British Department for Transport to the so-called and illegal Turkish Cypriot airlines.

A spokesman of the Department confirmed that a letter was sent to the airline to give them a final answer to their application that the British government allows direct flights between the UK and the illegal airport at Tympou (Ertzian), in the areas of the Republic of Cyprus occupied since the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974.

The reply given to the legal counselors of the illegal Turkish Cypriot company on February 20 said the Republic of Cyprus has made no such designation in respect of the illegal airport.

“The Republic of Cyprus has a complete and exclusive sovereignty over the entire island and alone has the right to designate an airport for the purposes of the Chicago Convention. The Republic of Cyprus has made no such designation in respect of Ertzian,” the letter stressed.

International Conference on Typography and Graphic Communication February 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Shows & Conferences.
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In June 2007 the University of Macedonia Press, with the support of the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication at the University of Reading (UK) and the Association Typographique Internationale (ATypI), in collaboration with alterVision, and with the co-operation of Redfish and the Thessaloniki Design Museum, will be hosting the 3rd International Conference on Typography and Graphic Communication with the general theme From Verbal to Graphic.

The Conference is part of a programme that has been on the cards since the end of the eighties, aiming to develop education and research in typography, as well as advance typographic practice in Greece.

This effort has exceeded the modest boundaries of Greece, culminating in the two international conferences of 2002 and 2004, which put Thessaloniki on the worldwide typographic map.

The Conference is now established worldwide as a major event in the field of typographic design and production, communication, and publishing.

As a headline event characterised by the high level of organisation, the quality of presentations, workshops, and exhibitions, the Conference is a focal point for professionals in design and visual communication that attracts interest on an international scale to Thessaloniki, making the city the capital of typography during the proceeedings.

Related Links > http://ictvc.org/3/125/

Movie review > 300 by Frank Miller February 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life.
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In the mid-1980s DC turned to a writer-illustrator from rival Marvel Comics in order to revive its flat-lining Batman franchise. Frank Miller, who had worked thanklessly on numerous cheesy storylines for Daredevil, took that opportunity and crafted a Batman who was part hero, part vigilante, with a flamboyant streak of cruelty that scared the daylights out of his opponents.

More importantly, it celebrated this character who didn’t mind bending morality as long as the end result was to his satisfaction. The result was The Dark Knight Returns and it captivated the imagination of readers and energized Batman creatively and DC financially. It was hailed as a seminal event in comic book history.

Years later, Miller returned to pen a sequel DK2 in which he drove his point home by staging the battering of flagship hero Superman by an aging Batman and his super hero friends. All of this became part of comic book folklore and Miller’s subsequent works became bestselling events. Some of them, like Ronin and Sin City, were made into movies.

What marks Miller’s work is that each panel he illustrates can pack shards of passion, cruelty, tragedy, bravery, and triumph, basic human wreckage. His drawings capture emotion by coding it into how his characters carry themselves, how they present their silhouettes, and above all, the look in their eyes. Beyond conveying essential emotion, the drawings are coarse, the lack of detail providing a singular point of focus.

In his ambitious graphic novel, 300, Miller takes us through the essential events of the Battle of Thermopylae. The battle itself was short but the campaign on either side was a lengthy one, resulting in the later repulsion of the Persian forces at the battle of Salamis. This tale is often presented by Western historians as a triumph of democracy over slavery won in the face of overwhelming odds and treachery. It’s not difficult to extrapolate a whole bunch of racist undertones in this.

There are a few problems with this concept. The Greeks themselves in those days were enthusiastic practitioners of slavery, rapine and other forms of barbarism. They had monarchies as well. They had a harsh culture, especially in Sparta, where babies not worthy of becoming soldiers were killed at birth, thrown into the Keadas. Persian culture was fairly diverse and rich, although no one is suggesting that it was superior or less bloody and cruel in any way to that existing in Greece and its neighboring states.

Sure, the map of civilization in the western world would have looked very different if Xerxes had expanded his empire by consuming the states of Greece. And the beginning of the slow decline of the vast Persian Empire can be synchronized back in time to their unsuccessful attempt to subjugate Greece. The significance of Thermopylae can be grasped easily but as we all know, the winners get to write history. Or as in this case, the losers get to lionize their own because of better PR.

300 starts with the Spartans, led by their proud and violent king Leonidas already a living legend in his country, leading his men up to the pass of Thermopylae. As the group marches, Miller sketches out the events leading up to the present in flashbacks. This opening sequence maps out a tone of heroism amidst impending doom that runs through the rest of the book.

Miller stylizes his key characters, most notably Ephialtes, depicting him as a horribly disfigured hunchback. He also presents Xerxes I as a lean, hairless, ebony king layered in gold chains. As far as Ephialtes goes, Miller’s depiction is conjecture at best and with Xerxes, it’s downright inaccurate. Events are also jiggered quite a bit in a way that will test your patience if you hold history dear. All of this is quite deliberate, an edgy and admirable artistic license that allows Miller to cover vast storytelling ground in such a shortened format.

Heroic profiles and silhouettes are used to depict the pride of the Spartans. Stories abound of how Spartans bred their men to be the ultimate warriors and their women to be mothers and wives to these men. When Leonidas heads out to the battle from which he will not return, his queen evokes an oft-used phrase in Sparta, “Come back with your shield or on it”, implying that you either returned victorious or as a corpse. These themes of ancient masculinity also course through the book.

When depicting the devastating force of the battle itself, Miller’s drawings take on a haunting and unkempt look. They are forceful in their effectiveness. 300 is worth reading if you are a fan of comics or history on either the western or eastern side of the world. It is also being made into a very striking motion picture by Warner Brothers, to be released on March 8 in Athens, Greece, and March 9 in the USA this year.

Long history of Corfu isle honored with a Museum February 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Museums.
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Old leprosy hospital, concentration camp renovated

corfuchapel.jpg  The chapel of Aghios Dimitrios is one of the few buildings on the islet of Lazaretto, off Corfu.

A Museum of Medical History and National Reconciliation is to be built on the historic islet of Lazaretto, Corfu. The old leprosy hospital, which has been listed for preservation, is set for restoration and the surrounding area will be refurbished and made fully accessible to the public, according to a Corfu Municipality architectural study that has the approval of Deputy Environment Minister Stavros Kaloyiannis.

The 7-hectare islet, formerly known as Aghios Dimitrios, sits off the northeast coast of Corfu, about 2 nautical miles from the town. In the early 16th century, when Corfu was under Venetian rule, a monastery was established on the islet. Later that century, the island was renamed Lazaretto, after the leprosarium that was set up there. Similar establishments survive on Ithaca and Zakynthos.

In 1798, when the French ruled Corfu, the Russo-Turkish fleet took over the islet and ran it as a military hospital. In 1814, during the British occupation, the leprosarium was renovated and went into operation again.

After the Ionian Islands were united with Greece in 1864, the leprosarium only operated when needed. During the Greek civil war, 1946-1949, it became a concentration camp for political prisoners, a large number of whom were executed, 112 executions have been confirmed.

In 1992, the islet was declared a historic site, and in 2003 Greek Tourism Properties SA announced a tender for the revamping of the islet, but there was no result. The islet belongs to the state and has been handed over to the Municipality of Corfu for 20 years to promote it culturally.

The remains of the leprosarium include a two-story travelers’ lodge, the Church of Aghios Dimitrios and scattered remnants of buildings, little towers, cisterns and the old cemetery. A relic of the more recent past is the wall against which prisoners were executed during the civil war.

According to the study, “the main building of the leprosarium will be used as an exhibition and public reception area, while the rest of the Museum’s operations will be concentrate in an annex to be built at the rear of the listed building.”

Greece > who’s going to Helsinki? February 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Greek.
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A musical party is being held by Greek state radio and television company ERT on Wednesday, February 28, in the Athinon Arena club, where the song of one of three candidates will be chosen to represent Greece in the 52nd Eurovision Song Contest.

The event is by invitation only. The singers Dantis, Sarbel and Tamta are the candidates, one of whom will take his or her song to Helsinki in May. The Finnish entry won last year’s Eurovision contest, which was held last May in Athens.