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Mikis Theodorakis honored, new work unveiled March 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Greek.
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French Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, on behalf of French President Jacques Chirac, bestowed on composer Mikis Theodorakis the Medal of the Legion of Honour, at an event held at the French Embassy in Athens on Monday.

The French Minister described Theodorakis as “our national composer, who,” he said, “personifies in the eyes of the world Greece’s long course of the post-war in the quest of its freedom and its dignity.” The French Minister also spoke about Theodorakis’ struggles against the junta in Greece, but also about France which stood at his side in all the major ordeals.

“We are celebrating tonight the strength of culture and the ‘weapons’ of culture: Culture as a strength, culture as a weapon. Because it’s through culture that you passed into history,” said the French Minister. He added, “it’s through culture that you cultivated your bond with France and expressed your faith for the future of a united and strong Europe. Culture for you was always a struggle against dictatorships, against the alienation of man, against conformity. Culture is a resistance, whose strength you symbolise. Your songs became hymns for all the lovers of freedom,” de Vabres said.

mikistheodorakis.jpg  ‘Odyssea’ unveiled by Theodorakis

The latest work by renowned Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis, entitled “Odyssea” (Odyssey) and based on the lyrics of poet Costas Kartelias, was unveiled in Athens on Tuesday.

The scores in the newly released CD expectedly revolved around the trials of mythical Trojan War hero Ulysses (Odysseus) during 10 years of wandering before finally returning to his Ithaca island Kingdom.

Noted Greek performer Maria Farantouri is the featured singer on the 82-year-old composer’s latest project.

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Americans out of water polo medal round with 6-3 loss to Germany March 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Aquatics.
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Germany beat the United States 6-3 today in a fight-marred men’s water polo game, ending the Americans’ chances of winning a medal at the world championships.

Germany outscored the Americans 4-2 in the opening quarter then relied on the goalkeeping of Alexander Tchigir to advance to the quarterfinals against 2004 Olympic champions Hungary.

In other second-round matches, Greece edged Romania 8-7, Russia defeated Canada 17-13 and Italy beat Australia 12-11 in overtime. The results left defending champions Serbia playing Greece in Wednesday’s quarterfinals, with Croatia playing Russia and Spain taking on Italy elsewhere in the final eight.

Italy got a last-second goal from Murizio Felugo, thrown from more than halfway across the pool, to beat Australia in the overtime period. The long-range shot surprised goaltender James Stanton, who let it slip through his fingers and into the goal. While the Italian team celebrated, Stanton slowly sunk underwater for what seemed like a minute, embarrassed by his costly error. If the shot had been blocked, the game would have gone to a penalty shootout.

Andreas Schlotterbeck was involved in a fight with U.S. player Jesse Smith during the third quarter. “Water polo is a tough sport,” Schlotterbeck said. “He hit me in the head but the referee saw it differently. He basically hit me right in the face … I had to get out of the water because I hurt my eye in the fight.”

German head coach Hagen Stamm said the physical game proved his team’s character. Shortly afterward, Schlotterbeck scored the only goal of the third quarter for a 6-2 lead. “The Americans tried to provoke us in the end by playing physical,” Stamm said. “Schlotterbeck gave the right answer. He let himself get hit and then scored the goal.”

The game was a playoff involving second- and third-place teams from the round-robin, in which the U.S. finished second in Group B with a 2-1 record. The Americans now are headed to the relegation round. Tchigir blocked 16 of 19 U.S. shots, including a 5-meter penalty attempt by leading American goal scorer Tony Azevedo.

“Our counterattack was horrible, we just couldn’t put it away and their goalie was amazing,” U.S. player Jeffrey Powers said. “I guess we had pretty good defense since they only scored six goals, but we just couldn’t get it in the cage.” Azevedo had nine shots on goal but failed to score. “From the beginning we worked our tactics,” Schlotterbeck said. “We tried to block Tony Azevedo so he could never have a chance to score. We were really, really motivated.”

Related Links > http://www.melbourne2007.com.au/?s=home

Euroleague Basketball and Nokia announce partnership March 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Basketball.
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Euroleague Basketball and Nokia are proud to announce a new partnership that will bring the Euroleague and the global telecommunications leader together at the Final Four this spring.

Nokia is the latest in a the family of world-class brands to take part in Euroleague Basketball’s signature event, the Final Four, which will be held from May 4 to 6 in Athens, Greece.

With this partnership, Nokia joins other household names such as Nestlé, L’Oreal and United Biscuit that have also participated in former editions of the Final Four, which in a short span of five editions has become one of the world’s most widely followed sporting events. The Final Four, to take place at the already sold-out, 18,000-seat OAKA Olympic Indoor Hall, will also be broadcast live to a worldwide audience in more than 130 countries.

Nokia Greece President Mr. S.J. Constantinides said: “With the Final Four taking place in Athens, we have seen an opportunity that we just couldn’t miss. For an elite brand like Nokia, it is a priority to be associated with global sporting events of great importance like the Euroleague Basketball Final Four. With the stature that the Final Four is gaining amongst sports fans everywhere, it makes perfect sense to have the Nokia and Euroleague Basketball brand side-by-side in Athens.”

Euroleague Basketball CEO, Jordi Bertomeu said: “We welcome this agreement with Nokia as a chance for Euroleague Basketball to join forces with another global partner who recognizes the value of Euroleague Basketball’s devoted customers from all corners of the world.”

Sharks shattered, China rules pool March 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Aquatics.
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Australia’s men’s water polo team has crashed out of world championship contention in devastating fashion with Italy’s Murizio Felugo scoring a speculative goal in the final seconds to win their quarter final clash 12-11 at Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre.

Australia held an 8-5 advantage at one stage but Italy rallied and it required a late intervention from Tim Neesham to ensure Italy did not win it in regulation time. In the first extra time period, John Cotterill scored the first goal, but with less than 30 seconds remaining, Italy found another equaliser though Fabio Bencivenga.

In the second period of extra time, it was Italy which scored the first goal, but Australia looked to have earned a reprieve when Neesham equalised with six seconds remaining on the clock. Felugo launched a speculative shot which completely deceived James Stanton in the Australian goal.

The Italian bench erupted into celebration as the ball rolled into the net, and Italy now faces Spain in a quarter final on Wednesday. Three other teams also made it through to the quarters, Germany, Greece and Russia.

Germany defeated the USA 6-3, and now plays traditional powerhouse Hungary in the quarter-finals, while Greece had a dramatic 8-7 win over Romania and is rewarded with a shot on world champion Serbia. Russia won an attacking affair against Canada 17-13 and now faces Croatia. Australia must now play classification matches for places 9th to 12th.

In the diving pool, China completed the most dominant performance by a single nation at a world championships by making it nine out of ten gold medals.

Liang Huo and Yue Lin were far too good for their rivals in the men’s 10m synchro platform event, scoring 489.48 points to defeat Dmitriy Dobroskok and Gleb Galperin of Russia with a total of 467.16, while American duo David Bouda and Tom Finchum finished with the bronze with a total of 463.56.

In the women’s 3m synchro springboard event, Guo Jingjing and Minxia Wu completed a clean sweep of the women’s events for their country, with a score of 355.90, winning by 37.35 points over the German pair of Ditte Kotzian and Heike Fischer and Briony Cole and Sharleen Stratton of Australia. Australia finished the diving programme with one silver and one bronze.

Related Links > http://www.melbourne2007.com.au/?s=home

PlayStation Store not available everywhere March 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Games & Gadgets.
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The first forum post on the official boards, from an irate Greek gamer, simply states: “Sorry for the off-topic here but i couldn`t find any more suitable forum. So the problem here in greece is that we have bought the playstation 3 60 euro more than most european country and to our surprize sony have made angry. After coming home and creating account to playstation network when we tryied to log on to the ps store to download grand turismo HD and buy tekken we were informed that the ps store is not available in our country Greece.Does anyone has the same problem?
I would like personally to thanks sony for: 1.Make us pay 60 euros more than other EU residents, 2.Ban us from Ps store”

The PlayStation Store is billed as “an integrated and streamlined online storefront which allows all PS3 users to browse and download available entertainment content”. However, Sony has confirmed that some PlayStation 3 owners will have to wait before they can get access to the store while other owners will not get access at all. The Store allows users to purchase full games as well as download demos and HD game videos.

Since the European launch last week, many PS3 owners have complained that they cannot access the Store at all. These users come from Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Slovenia.

Sony’s director of corporate communications had this to say: “There are more than 102 territories in the region, and each Store has to be made unique for each territory due to different currencies and languages,” he explained. “Stores will reach some territories in due course.”

The director did explain that some countries would not be able to access the store at all due to a myriad of factors including a lack of broadband penetration. “The PS Store may not be accessible in Azerbaijan, for example,” he explained.

For those countries that have to wait, Sony has not announced how long you will be waiting.

Related Links > http://community.eu.playstation.com/showthread.php?t=69852

Engineers to help find Homer’s Ithaca March 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.
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A geological engineering company said Monday it has agreed to help in an archaeological project to find the island of Ithaca, homeland of Homer’s legendary hero Odysseus.

It has long been thought that the island of Ithaki in the Ionian Sea was the island Homer used as a setting for the epic poem “The Odyssey,” in which the King Odysseus makes a perilous 10-year journey home from the Trojan War.

But amateur British archaeologist Robert Bittlestone believes the Ithaca of Homer is no longer a separate island but became attached to the island of Kefallonia through rock displacement caused by earthquakes. The theory could explain inconsistencies between Ithaki and Homer’s description of Odysseus’ island.

“Because no one has ever been able to find Ithaca, people felt the Odyssey was like a Lord of the Rings story,” Bittlestone said in an interview. “This would say Ithaca was a real place, it doesn’t say Odysseus was a real person, that’s another jump.”

The Dutch-based engineering services company, Fugro Group, will use high-tech surveying equipment normally used in oil-and-gas exploration for the Ithaca project, due to start this summer and last about three years. The Greek Geological Society is also sponsoring the research.

“The technology will be very varied and that attracted Fugro to this,” said Steve Thompson director of airborne survey at Fugro. “It’s unusual to be faced with a problem where you can apply the broad range of services that we have.” “We’re all secretly hoping the thesis is true,” he added. “But we are approaching this is in a very scientific way.”

To test the theory, engineers and geologists will examine rock where Bittlestone believes a narrow sea channel once existed, possibly separating Kefallonia from a flat peninsula called Paliki. They hope to discover whether it is made of solid rock or debris, which would suggest Paliki was once an island.

Homer describes Ithaca as low-lying and “furthest to the sea” but Ithaki is mountainous and is not the outermost Ionian island. Paliki, on the other hand, is generally flat and could theoretically have been the outermost island. Kefallonia lies in a seismically active area, and was rattled Sunday by a magnitude 5.9 earthquake, followed by scores of aftershocks Monday.

Thompson said the company would sink sensors into bore holes, and likely follow up with sonar analysis of the seabed, as well as using material detectors that dangle from a helicopter and undersea sensors dragged through the water by ship. Bittlestone, a management consultant, said he came up with the theory while reading up for a Greek holiday in 2003 and gained support from two British academics who help attract archaeologists to excavate in Paliki.

The academics, James Diggle, a professor of Greek and Latin at Cambridge University, and John Underhill, an Edinburgh University professor of stratigraphy, co-authored a book with Bittlestone about his hypothesis, “Odysseus Unbound The Search for Homer’s Ithaca.”

Related Links > http://www.odysseus-unbound.org

Alexandros Kapelis > A Keyboard Odyssey March 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Americas.
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Alexandros Kapelis played a program at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater on Saturday night that explored the influence of Greek myth on the piano literature, but also included non-mythological works by Greek composers and a showcase for the Peruvian-Greek pianist himself.

The combination made a fine commemoration of the eve of Greece’s Independence for both the Greek Embassy, which sponsored the concert, and Saturday’s enthusiastically pro-Greece crowd.

The two Greek works had instant appeal. Yannis Konstantinidis’s “Eight Dances From the Greek Isles” set catchy melodies in ancient Hellenic modes, leavening blurry impressionist harmonies with insistent rhythms. Manos Hadjidakis’s “For a Little White Seashell” featured witty and sometimes rambunctious music, especially the “Conversation with Sergei Prokofiev” set to the rhythms of popular Greek dances. Kapelis dispatched both with elan and a welcome light touch.

In the realm of myth, Kapelis found the full measure of the tragic drama in Muzio Clementi’s Sonata in G Minor, Op. 50, No. 3, which depicts the abandonment of Dido, but didn’t quite have all of its vast bounty of notes under his fingers. But Kapelis threw himself forcefully into the wild raptures of Claude Debussy’s “The Joyous Island”, indirectly inspired by Aphrodite’s island, and expertly limned the classical poise of his “Dancers of Delphi.” Kapelis really shone, though, in the non-mythological “Etudes-Tableaux,” Op. 33, of Sergei Rachmaninov.

Three myth-oriented miniatures by Jean Philippe Rameau also received well-turned performances, including a scintillating chase from “Les Cyclopes.”