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Study of seismic fault underway March 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Science.
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Greek scientists are participating in an international study aimed at monitoring the North Anatolian Fault, one of the world’s most active earthquake zones near Istanbul, so that they can forecast potentially catastrophic earthquakes.

The study, to be carried out by 50 scientists from all over the world, is to begin with the installation of several sensors in the seabed of the Sea of Marmara at different locations along the fault line. This will be done by a special underwater vessel which will drill several deep holes into the seabed into which the sensors will be inserted.

“These sensors will record various seismic parameters, such as seismicity, distortion of seabed layers and the expulsion of gases,” said Gerasimos Houliaras of the Athens Observatory’s Geodynamic Institute. “These physical parameters will give us useful information about the behavior of the fault,” Houliaras said.

The aim of the study is to clarify a series of questions that will allow scientists to understand how the fault operates. The study will try to determine which parts of the fault are subject to the most pressure, how the fault’s structural irregularities influence the incubation of an earthquake, how the fault develops at different depths of the seabed and whether there may be some larger fault at a greater depth. The data yielded by the study is to be analyzed at a laboratory which is to be set up on the Princes’ Islands, off Istanbul.

“Scientists around the world, particularly Turkish colleagues, are extremely concerned about the development of the fault,” said Houliaras. “What worries them most is that the seismic risks are greater at a point just 20 or 30 kilometers from Istanbul,” he said, adding that a 7 Richter quake would have “catastrophic repercussions” on Istanbul where there are many old, unstable buildings.

Greek scientists involved in the study are to focus on the section of the fault that crosses through Greek waters, beyond the Dardanelles Straits. There are already seismologists on Lemnos and in Rodopi and another one is to be assigned to Samothraki, which sits right on the fault line, Houliaras said.

Is this the Ancient, Immortal, Noble Greek Spirit? Team sports suspended March 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Sports & Games.
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Greece suspends team sports > Government takes measure to avoid further fan violence after death of supporter on Thursday

Certainly not! This is not the ancient, immortal and noble Greek sport spirit that our ancient ancestors heritaged to us. This is not what the ancient, immortal and noble Greek spirit is all about, nor it is the legacy of the ancient Olympic Games nor of the Olympic Truce. It’s nothing but violence and hate. It’s nothing but not sports. It’s a war. And wars bring only casualties.

If and when we want to be called humans let’s act like humans. Civilized humans. If this is the spirit of sports today in Greece, then we do not want them. If this is the spirit of sports, let it burn and be forever forgotten.

It’s time that the government should put a stop. Once and for all. Once and for good. Suspending games is not the solution. Suspending games, after such tragic incidents happen, is not the solution. The solution is to prevent them from happening. The solution is to safeguard human lives. If the state does not act and hit the problem in its roots, then we shall cry over new similar tragedies. And we do not want them. We prefer not to enjoy sports in Greece rather than to witness more future violence.

No official team sports will take place in Greece for the next 15 days, the government decided yesterday as a measure to prevent further violence between fans following the death of a supporter on Thursday during a fight involving some 500 hooligans.

The drastic move was announced after an emergency meeting between Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras, Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras, Sports Minister Giorgos Orfanos and government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos. It was also agreed that the three ministers would set up a committee to ensure that a harsher law introduced last year to combat fan violence is enforced fully.

“Sports-related violence is something that affects the whole of society,” said Roussopoulos. “The relevant sports authorities, with the state at their side, have to move decisively to eradicate this distressing phenomenon.”

The government is hoping that the two-week postponement of sports matches will reduce the opportunity for trouble between fans to flare up. Olympiakos and Panthinaikos, the two teams whose fans fought on Thursday, were due to meet in a men’s volleyball match on Saturday night. Both clubs issued statements yesterday condemning the violence and calling for authorities to take extra measures to prevent more clashes.

The temporary ban on team sports means that there will be no games this weekend. There were no games due to take place next weekend because of the Easter holiday. Police hope, however, that these two weeks will give them time to round up more troublemakers.

Officers conducted raids yesterday on 11 supporters’ clubs in Attica and seized dozens of weapons including knives, flare guns and baseball bats. Of the 18 people detained in Paeania on Thursday, 13 suspects were arrested after being accused of taking part in the violent clashes. Officers said that two of those arrested are employees of Olympiakos. The other suspects include the son of a woman police officer, a seaman, three students, a prefectural employee, a plumber and the employee of a private company.

Police named the 25-year-old man who died on Thursday as Michalis Filopoulos, a gardener who was also the head of the Panathinaikos supporters’ club in Kolonos, near central Athens. Doctors initially suggested that Filopoulos had been hit by a car as hundreds of fighting fans spilt onto Lavriou Avenue but an autopsy revealed that the 25-year-old had been seriously beaten and stabbed.

Television footage showed Filopoulos lying in the middle of the road with a bloodied face as Olympiakos fans swore at him and threatened to kill him, before locals intervened to protect the dying man.

Police believe the mass fight had been prearranged with the fans of the two clubs starting their journeys from various parts of Athens to meet in Paeania at around 3.30 p.m.

Greeks conquer Kraków March 30, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Europe.
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Greek spectacle rubs shoulders with contemporary theatre in Kraków’s annual theatre festival

‘Greek culture is as difficult as Greek language. Dealing with ancient theatre is a paradox, both experts and artists complicate it to illustrate the full complexity of it,’ laughs classics expert Krzysztof Kielecki. He’s co-organising a series of performances, discussions and lectures presented by European artists in this year’s ‘Re_visions Classics’ theatre festival. Based in one of Kraków’s two most famous theatres, the Old Theatre (Teatr Stary), the Re_visions Classics festival kicked off in January in Krakow and runs until June 2007. It follows on from last year’s ‘Re_visions Romanticism’ theme.

Alongside traditional offerings from Greek tragedians and dramatists such as Euripides’s Medea, there is a play adaptation of Friedrich Nietzsche’s book Thus Spake Zarathustra. The German philosopher played an unprecedented role in the contemporary discourse of Greek tragedy by discussing its role of in his essay The Birth of Tragedy. Experts from all over Europe such as Cambridge professor Simon Goldhill and Warsaw’s Teatr Dramatyczny’s former programme director Małgorzata Dziewulska come together to celebrate classical theatre references in modern European theatre.

With eternally long monologues and a supreme lack of action, Greek tragedies can be challenging to revitalise in contemporary theatre. German director Dimiter Gotscheff admits to having been discouraged. He is currently directing Aeschylus’s The Persians at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin, which is also being shown at the festival here. ‘I started to regret directing Persians,’ he says, of tackling the oldest-surviving play in history. ‘It had been three weeks already and I still hadn’t started relating to the piece.’

But Grzegorz Niziołek, literary director at the festival, lauds the earliest playwrights of Western literature who established those very structures which modern artists still use today. The texts were ‘born from different cultures, different ways of thinking about humans, different ways of experiencing fate,’ he says. By turns, it enriches and fascinates the contemporary scene. ‘European culture is thirsty for confrontation with the otherness of the classics. It sheds a strong light on humans, watching a character facing their catastrophe is far more extreme,’ he explains. The classics well described identity problems. By reworking them, we can observe ourselves anew.

The festival draws a parallel with contemporary theatre of cruelty. It’s showing the debut play of a British playwright who infamously committed suicide at 28. Maja Kleczewska’s directs Sarah Kane’s Blasted (1995), where civil war is raging outside a posh hotel room in Leeds, whilst two rapes take place in its stage interior. The setting is far removed from The Persians, who present the enemy fresh from defeating the Greeks. Both plays ask ‘what is the war?’ and put a human face on catastrophe. Gotscheff’s version of the latter presents the Persian protagonists as children. The act of war is reduced to being a game, making the reality of its mortal victims all the more poignant.

Kleczewska points out the fear of ‘being blasted’ that Kane presents has become an everyday experience of European and American citizens. Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison where both Iraqis and dissidents have been tortured is a perfect example of the ‘incomprehensible cruelty’ of Kane’s drama. Her adaptation of the five act play shows how the issues have ‘become the undeniable, a direct threat for our humanity.’

Pistachio baklava > Recipe March 30, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes.
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This recipe makes plenty, but keeps well in a Ziploc for a few days. It could be cut in half (using just under one box of dough).

2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup honey
2 1/8 of an inch slice of lemon
1 stick of cinnamon
3 whole cloves

2 pounds coarsely ground pistachios
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 pounds phyllo dough, about 32 sheets
1 1/4 pounds unsalted butter, melted

Combine all of the syrup ingredients in a 2-quart stainless saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Take the saucepan off the heat, remove the lemon and spices and allow the syrup to cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 375.

Place the pistachios and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Using the pulse method, process the mixture until it is coarsely ground. Take care to not over process the nuts because they will turn to paste. Remove the ground pistachios from the processor and place in a bowl and set aside.

In a saucepan, melt the butter slowly over a very low heat. Meanwhile, thoroughly combine the ground pistachios, cinnamon and cloves in a bowl. Take four sheets of phyllo dough and brush each sheet with melted butter, layering the sheets as you go. Once the four sheets are pressed together, sprinkle 1 cup of the nut mixture over the top sheet and roll, lengthwise, until you reach the end. Keep the roll as tight as possible without breaking. It should look like a long cylinder. Repeat with remaining sheets, 4 at a time.

Cut the roll into two-inch pieces, and dip each piece into the melted butter and place on a baking sheet. Place into the oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and with a pair of tongs remove each piece from the pan, dip in the syrup, and place on a cake rack to drain. If the syrup begins to thicken, it can be reheated slightly. Serve in cup cake cups on a platter. Makes 64 pieces.

The Greek Baklava March 30, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Greece.
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Like many other food products in Greece, Baklava also originates from the old part of the Greek Empire: Asia Minor, the west coast of Turkey.

greek_baklava.jpg  Baklava consists of several thin layers of filo pastry, which are brushed with butter or oil. In between the layers you find the delicate taste of crushed nuts.

Baklava is extremely sweet, some people might say even too sweet, and can be eaten on its own or served with a small scoop of raisin or pistacchio ice cream. Every pastry shop and grandmother has a special way to serve it.

The sweetness comes from the syrup that is a typical part of many Greek sweets, made of hot water and tons of sugar. After being baked in the oven, baklava gets a good thick layer of this syrup on top. Sometimes the sugary taste of this syrup is given some extra finesse by a dash of lemon juice or rose water.

Greek people love to eat baklava after a meal with a tiny cup of original Greek coffee. It can also be found in the small bundles that are handed out to the wedding guests after the ceremony. The good thing about baklava is that your guests usually cannot eat more that one piece: the high sugar content provides a long-lasting toothache!

But baklava is still irresistible and can be found in several places around the world. The small ethnic food shops sell fresh baklava, with a box of the delicacy costing around €7-10. All the Greek shops and restaurants also serve baklava. Or you can impress your friends by preparing your own baklava from ready-made filo pastry.

Donovan draws a crowd at Greek Embassy March 30, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora.
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The guest of honor at the Greek Embassy Wednesday night was none other than a folk-singing Scotsman.


Donovan Leitch, known more often by only his first name, burst onto the hippie scene some 40 years ago. Now, he passes his time with art and poetry as well.

Connie Mourtoupala, a spokeswoman for the Embassy, explained that the consular staff noticed an exhibit Donovan showed last year at Georgetown’s Govinda Gallery, a collection of prints he calls “Sappho-graphs”, highly processed, black-and-white photos of his wife, daughter and granddaughter, which often evoke art from ancient Greece. She also said that the folkie spent a lot of time traveling the Greek islands in the ’60s and ’70s and filmed many of his experiences.

Those films played on a loop Wednesday before the crowd of about 200, which included several representatives from other embassies and a handful of Scottish expats. Of course, Donovan also brought his guitar, and regaled the crowd with a half-hour of music, including his songs “Hurdy Gurdy Man,” “Jennifer Juniper” and “Mellow Yellow.”

Before he left, the troubadour scrawled a poem on a Sappho-graph and presented it as a gift to Greek Ambassador Alexandros Mallias.

“It was probably the most enthusiasm we’ve had here for any event,” Mourtoupala said.

The Embassy is showing the exhibit for the next two weeks.

Sam’s Place March 30, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Taste World.
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The scene | Sam’s Place, 116 U.S. 17 S., North Myrtle Beach 249-7800

The taste | Sam’s Place is the spot for you if you enjoy seasoned food served in a laid-back atmosphere that has a family-friendly environment. Sam Georgakopoulos, the owner who is Greek, meshes distinctive Grecian flavors together with American flair. The menu items aren’t fancy, but they certainly are tasty. The chicken gyro is delicious, although it may be a tad on the salty side for the salt-sensitive. It is served up with Georgakopoulos’ homemade cucumber sauce. Patrons said the French toast is one of their breakfast favorites. Other popular items include his three-egg omelets, 20 different varieties, including a unique omelet you create yourself, eggs Florentine and fresh biscuits. Georgakopoulos shares cooking duties with Ellis Livingston during breakfast hours, and that is one of the eatery’s busiest times. However, no matter what hour you go, you can find something on the menu to your liking, including tuna salad, a diet-conscious grilled chicken dinner and Greek classics such as moussaka, spanakopita and pastichio. Hot entrees are served after 4 p.m. and include chicken Parmesan, grilled pork chops, chicken kebabs, an 8-ounce ribeye steak and spaghetti and meatballs.

To drink | Coffee, tea, iced tea and soft drinks come with free refills, with the coffee and tea costing $1.25 and the latter costing $1.40 and $1.70. Hot cocoa is $1.25, while sweet milk and chocolate milk are both $1.20 or $1.50.

The price | Prices range from 75 cents for a side of tomatoes to $11.95 for Greek Island shrimp, which are served over noodles.

Hours | 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 6 a.m.-4 pm. Sunday.