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Sir Stelios to give away fortune February 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy.
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EasyJet founder Greek-Cypriot Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou is to give away the bulk of his US$1.5 billion fortune to charity.

The Greek tycoon, who earlier this week launched his easyHotel brand in Dubai, makes the revelation in an interview to be published in Arabian Business this Sunday.

Haji-Ioannou tells the magazine: “I turned 40 last week and now I am thinking about charity and giving it all back.”

He adds: “Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have set the benchmark, though I am a lot younger then them, so for me it will be more of a journey to get there. I haven’t thought yet whether it will be in one big bang or slowly.”

The tycoon is estimated by the Sunday Times to be worth at least US$1.5 billion, having made the bulk of his fortune through low cost airline easyJet. Since then, he has expanded the ‘easy’ brand into at least 15 other ventures, including car rentals, cruise ships, cinemas and even pizzas.

It is believed that a number of charities and causes have already been selected for sizeable donations, including educational funds, a new fund to promote disabled entrepreneurs and several environmental causes.

“I have already given away my art collection to charity, and I suppose a lot of the money will go towards improving the environment. Because I started easyJet many people have asked me what it feels like to be helping destroy the planet. So I suppose this is a good way to answer that,” he says.

Related Links > http://www.easyjet.com


Sparta and the Battle of Thermopylae February 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life.
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Frank Miller’s graphic novel, 300, comes to theaters on March 9, putting the climactic battle between the ancient Persians and the Spartans on the big screen. In Greece, the film will premiere on March 8.

The film promises to be a heavily stylized visual bacchanalia to be sure, but, in its subject matter and its timing, it promises to convey a message both about our understanding of the ancient past and our understanding of current events. With regard to the ancient history, it gets a significant element completely wrong.

In one of the trailers for the film, the Spartan King Leonidas is seen worrying over his duty as King. How, exactly, should he face the threat to Greece posed by the overwhelming military superiority of the mighty Persian Empire? “What must a King do to save his world,” a despondent Leonidas asks of his wife, the beautiful Gorgo played by British actress Lena Headley. She responds with the certainty and poise that was supposedly characteristic of all Spartan women. “Instead,” she says gravely, “ask yourself, ‘what should a free man do?’”

300 is not the first to posit that the Spartans at Thermopylae were fighting for their freedom against the invading hosts of an oriental despot. That has often been the way in which Thermopylae has been portrayed. But for all its noble heroism, Thermopylae was not about freedom, for the Spartans were not free, not as we understand freedom today.

They were themselves invaders. They came, the Swiss historian Jacob Burckhardt said in his book History of Greek Culture, “during the great migration around 1100 B.C. and pressed into the valley of the Eurotas….” When they arrived, they subjugated the Achaeans already living there, though this subjugation was mild at first. But then came the “reforms” attributed to the great and probably mythical lawmaker Lycurgus. The subjugated peoples were divided into the perioeci and the helots. The former were allowed to own poor plots of land while the latter were fully enslaved to the Spartans proper.

But even the Spartans themselves were not free. They were held in thrall by a state that practiced an early form of eugenics, that removed children from families at a young age to rear them in the ancient Spartan equivalent of military training academies, and that practiced sundry other tyrannies. Its practices made Sparta a pariah. “Sparta,” says Burckhardt, “was abominably hated.”

The degree of control the state exercised over the individual in ancient Sparta would be the envy of any modern dictator. “The child,” said Burckhardt, …was to belong to the caste rather than to a particular couple. The communal education … began early and accompanied the Spartiate throughout his whole life. Each age level controlled and watched over the next one below it; at no time were the people without anyone ruling over them. Exercising and hardening their bodies, engaging in calisthenics and athletic contests, and stealing crops filled the period of youth. It would scarcely be possible not to see that all this was deliberately brutalizing. Before the altar of Artemis Orthia, a divinity inspiring madness and murder … bloody floggings were carried out, an exception in all Greece and a veritable school in ferocity….

That ferocity paid dividends in the form the crypteia, a practice in which Spartan youths, thus trained in brutality, were turned loose on the unfortunate helots at night, going out and killing as many as was necessary to keep their population under control. It was a thoroughly execrable practice that, disturbingly, finds something of its modern analog in today’s so-called “sport killings” of the homeless by dissolute teens. All in all Sparta was not exactly a lovely place for an Ancient Greek, say from Athens, to visit on a holiday. “It was not hard to keep foreigners away,” Burckhardt noted, “none went there unless forced to, and then left as soon as they could.”

This is not to take anything away from the stupefying bravery of the Spartans at Thermopylae. True, there they held the pass, an advantageous position from which they could, in their limited numbers, fight effectively against the unprecedented horde brought to the battle by Xerxes, the Persian King of Kings. For two days they held off the invading horde, succumbing only when betrayed. There is no denying the heroism of the Spartan stand at Thermopylae.

Still, while it is worth remembering the incredible heroism of Leonidas and his men, it is necessary also to keep in mind what was really at stake. In 300, when an enraged Leonidas confronts an astonished and alarmed Persian emissary, he shouts, “You threaten my people with slavery….” The slavery Leonidas feared was not the individual slavery of a Greek citizen to a Persian master, but the subjugation of the Spartan city-state under a Persian yoke.

What freedom the Spartans fought for at Thermopylae was not personal freedom but the freedom of their polis, collectively, from barbarian domination. In fact, it was not freedom the Spartans fought for, but independence, and Thermopylae was but one battle among several in the Greek war of independence from the Persian Empire.

Postgraduate Symposium on Ancient Drama > Call for papers February 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Shows & Conferences.
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We are happy to announce that the Seventh Annual Postgraduate Symposium is being organised by the Department of Drama and Theatre, Royal Holloway, University of London and the Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama, University of Oxford. This two-day event will take place this year on Monday, 25th June at the Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, Oxford (Please note the new location: 66 St Giles, OX1 3LU) and Tuesday, 26th June at Royal Holloway, Egham (Noh Studio).

The Annual Postgraduate Symposium focuses on the reception of Greek and Roman drama, emphasizing the vivid afterlife of the dramatic texts through the revisitings of ancient tragedy and comedy by academics, playwrights and practitioners. In previous years, speakers from a number of countries have given papers on miscellaneous aspects of the reception of Greek and Roman drama. Abstracts of the papers given at the previous Postgraduate Symposia are accessible online at:

This year’s Symposium will focus on the performing of identities in revisitings of ancient Greek and Roman plays throughout the centuries – from antiquity to the present day. Papers discussing political, ethnic, gender or personal identities in literary, theatrical and cinematographic adaptations are welcome.

It is hoped that Peter Brown, Edith Hall, Lorna Hardwick, Fiona Macintosh, Pantelis Michelakis, Scott Scullion, Oliver Taplin and David Wiles will be present. Please note that the schedule for the Oxford day will allow participants and audience members to attend the lecture by the playwright and lecturer Erin B. Mee, organized by the Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama at 5.15pm on the 25th of June.

Postgraduates from across the globe who are working on revivals of Greek drama are welcome to participate. The Symposium is open to speakers from different disciplines, including researchers in the fields of classics, modern languages and literatures or theatre studies. Practitioners are welcome to contribute their personal experience of working on ancient drama. Papers can also be followed by demonstrations, and there are different theatrical spaces available both at Royal Holloway and in the new Classics Centre in Oxford for such purposes.

Those who wish to offer either a short paper or a performance on ‘Performing Identities’ are invited to send an abstract of up to 400 words outlining the proposed subject of their discussion to postgradsymp@classics.ox.ac.uk BY FRIDAY, 16TH OF MARCH 2007 AT THE LATEST. (PLEASE INCLUDE DETAILS OF YOUR CURRENT COURSE OF STUDY, SUPERVISOR AND ACADEMIC INSTITUTION). Those who submit abstracts will be notified of acceptance or rejection by Monday, 30th of March.

There will be no registration fee, but participants will have to seek their own funding to cover travel and accommodation expenses. Undergraduates are very welcome to attend.


New English-Greek dictionary users may download for free February 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Learn To Speak Greek.
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Cleverlearn Ltd., a leading global provider of online English learning solutions, is pleased to announce the release of the new version of Clicktionary! Clicktionary is a leading dictionary and translation software produced and powered by Cleverlearn.

Clicktionary’s latest version is equipped with a smarter technology that gives you faster translation result in just one click and comes with a new English-Greek dictionary and an improved English-French dictionary.

With these new offerings, Clicktionary users across the globe will now have access to the most reliable and up-to-date definitions and translations on their PC screens with better and faster results. The new Clicktionary’s enhanced text-capture technology makes it compatible with and able to support more programs while users are surfing, reading and writing emails, chatting and working with various applications.

The new English-Greek dictionary, which Clicktionary users may download for free, contains in-depth coverage of all the latest vocabulary from all areas of life today, plus information on aspects of life and culture in the Greek – and English-speaking worlds. Clicktionary’s newly improved free English-French dictionary now contains an expanded collection of 26,298 word entries ranging from basic grammar words and tenses to specialized terms from a variety of subject areas like Medicine, Religion, Computers and Technology, Business, and more. The latest Clicktionary version can now be downloaded for free at www.clicktionary.com.

Clicktionary also supports other languages such as French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Thai, Traditional Chinese, and Vietnamese.

Premium dictionaries from one of the world’s leading reference publishers, Oxford University Press (OUP), are also available through Clicktionary. These are: Oxford Dictionary of English, Oxford-Duden German Dictionary (English-German), Oxford Spanish Dictionary (English-Spanish), Oxford-Hachette French Dictionary (English-French), Concise Oxford-Paravia Italian Dictionary (English-Italian), Oxford Starter Japanese Dictionary (English-Japanese), Oxford Russian Dictionary (English-Russian) and Oxford Portuguese Minidictionary (English-Portuguese).

Related Links > www.cleverlearn.com

Seaplane base eyed for Thessaloniki February 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Transport Air Sea Land.
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A seaplane base will be constructed in the Thessaloniki port area, while a proposal will be forwarded to the ministries of merchant marine and transport recommending the launching of a seaplane route to and from Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city and historically the most significant metropolis in the Macedonia geographical region.

The decision was reached during a meeting that Thessaloniki Prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis had on Monday with Thessaloniki Port Authority S.A. officials and Air Thalassa airline company representatives.

Overseas experience worthwhile February 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Testimonials.
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The following are abstracts from an artilce written by Matt Boog, Vanguard Staff Writer, on February 26, 2007

The thing I remember most about that day is how jerky the donkey ride was. Hanging on to the animal’s scratchy hide for dear life, I rode along a narrow path, halfway up the side of a cliff. Far below, the Aegean Sea crashed on the shore. That’s when it hit me… my study abroad in Greece was far from normal.

When I began my three-month adventure in Athens, Greece, I quickly realized what it meant to live in a different culture. I experienced the dizzying effects of dealing with a whole new set of social rules. I learned to live without the comforts and securities I was accustomed to at home. And very interestingly, I learned how it felt to be a minority. Growing up as a white, middle-class male, this experience proved to be very enlightening.

But the benefits of study abroad don’t end with your personal enrichment. Employers appreciate an applicant that can demonstrate an understanding of other cultures. A former co-worker told me just the other day that her international experience was a large factor in securing her new internship.

Study abroad also offers you a chance to study in a truly unique study environment. I can attest to this from personal experience. There is no better way to learn Greek than from a native speaker in their native country. Your entire day becomes an exercise in the language. And few things are more awesome than hearing a lecture on Greek history while standing on the spot where history took place.

Remember King Agamemnon from the “Iliad?” I visited his castle and stood in his bathroom. Or remember when Oedipus Rex traveled to the Oracle at Delphi? I retraced his steps and visited the same spot.

Don’t let the opportunity to gain a global perspective pass you by – find out what study abroad can offer you.

If you’re interested, I kept a blog of what my study abroad experience offered me: http://ahastudyabroad.org/programs/greece/athens/student-blog

Read this article here > Overseas experience worthwhile

Athens Concert Hall celebrates ancient heroine February 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece.
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‘Electra Cycle’ includes theater, opera and cinema

Sophocles and Euripides’ tragic heroine, Electra, takes center stage at the Athens Concert Hall this month and next, through a series of events including theater, opera and cinema.

The «Electra Cycle» kicks off with Richard Strauss’s renowned one-act opera, based on a libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. A contemporary musical interpretation of a timeless myth of a woman, the opera goes on stage at the Alexandra Trianti Hall on Thursday, Sunday and March 7 and 10 with Greek supertitles. 

Few tickets are still available for the upcoming production, which, according to the Athens Concert Hall’s head Christos Lambrakis, «is the most difficult work of the operatic repertoire.»

The opera is directed by Michael Hampe, who also created the set design together with Martin Rupprecht, the latter designed the production’s costumes too. Hans Toelstede is in charge of lighting, with choreography by Petros Gallias.

According to Hampe, Athens is not a place to «show off». «You have to respect the 3,000-year-old history,» he said at a recent press conference. He noted that it is a difficult score featuring «subconscious links at every step,» a «rich, dramatic language,» as well as a «libretto which one finds hard to grasp, not to mention translate for the stage.»

Celebrated Agnes Baltsa is Clytemnestra, a role she interprets for the first time in Greece. «We are just about to give birth,» noted Baltsa at the press conference. «I am a small person tortured by fear and as a Greek, the emotional stress is even greater.»

At the Athens Concert Hall Nadine Secunde takes the role of Electra, while Chrysothemis will be interpreted by Danish soprano Inga Nielsen. The Athens State Orchestra (KOA) will be conducted by Swedish maestro Johan Arnell.

«Arnell is undertaking the historical responsibility of leading the KOA in a work the orchestra is facing for the very first time,» noted Lambrakis. «I believe that these performances will become landmark KOA performances in order for the orchestra to be recognized as an equal of fellow European symphonic ensembles.» Arnell added that «the orchestra is performing miracles in a short period of time.»

The «Electra Cycle» kicks off tomorrow with a lecture by Costas Georgousopoulos on «Electras, the Adventures of a Figure». The lecture will be simultaneously translated into English. The tribute continues with a screening of Michael Cacoyannis’s «Electra» on Saturday and the staging of Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s «Electra». Directed by Thomas Moschopoulos, the production is scheduled for April 20-25 and is dedicated to critic, journalist, and translator Marios Ploritis, who passed away recently.

At the Athens Concert Hall, 1 Kokkali Street and Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, Athens, tel 210 7282333. For more information, log on to www.megaron.gr.