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Return the Parthenon Marbles back to Greece April 17, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Vote For Return Greek Marbles.
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Is there the merest hint of movement in the world’s most intractable restitution drama? That is, the issue of the Elgin or, if you prefer, Parthenon Marbles, which has flared up at intervals since Lord Elgin stolen or if you prefer, removed them from the Acropolis at Athens in the 19th century.

Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, appeared to open the door to compromise in an interview with Bloomberg News, but only by a fraction of an inch. In principle, would he and the trustees consider a request from Athens to borrow the marbles?

“There is no reason why any object in the BM, if it is fit to travel, shouldn’t spend three months, six months somewhere else” he said. “So, in principle, absolutely yes. The difficulty at the moment which would stand in the way of that is that the Greek government has formally, and recently, refused to acknowledge that the trustees are the owners of the objects. Therefore, in law the trustees could not possibly lend them.”

In addition, he said, “the Greek government has never asked for a loan of the material from the British Museum. The issue has always been about the permanent removal of all the Parthenon material in the BM collection to Athens.”

Might that be the basis for some sort of compromise? Ownership, of course, is at the heart of the dispute. That question was raised as long ago as 1816, when Elgin sold the sculptures to the British government. His right of possession depends on interpretation of a letter of permission from an official of the Ottoman Empire, then ruling Greece. The original document and the Ottoman regime both disappeared many years ago, and possession counts for a lot in law.

According to a legal opinion quoted by the historian William St. Clair in his book, “Lord Elgin and the Marbles” (1998), Elgin’s actions were “probably technically legal at the time,” though threats and bribery may have played a part. Any attempt by the Greek government “to try to recover the marbles in an international court would probably fail.”

It would be politically impossible for any Greek government to give way on this point because the marbles have become a symbol of Hellenic National identity. Professor Anthony Snodgrass, chair of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles, said: “This offer is a theoretical one in every sense. Mr. MacGregor knows that no Greek government could ever make a formal concession that the BM has legal ownership.”

On the other hand, the British Museum understandably fears that if it gave way in this case, it, and other major museums, would receive an avalanche of demands from around the world for the return of items acquired by fair, and less than fair, means in the colonial era.

So, stalemate? Maybe not. There was considerable speculation about a possible loan to coincide with the Athens Olympics in 2004. That came to nothing, partly because of the postponement of the opening of the new Acropolis Museum, which is now behind schedule after a log-jam of legal disputes about home demolitions, completion of archaeological digs and cost over-runs.

That gleaming institution is set for completion this summer and inauguration in the autumn. Meanwhile, the British Museum is becoming more and more enthusiastic about temporary exhibitions. A blockbuster, the Terracotta Army, opens in September. Brand new, much larger exhibition galleries are scheduled for 2012.

There is scope for a spectacular and, from the scholarly point of view, exciting exhibition about the Parthenon sculptures. It is often assumed that all of them are in London. Actually, Elgin only extracted about half from the temple.

Most or the rest are still in Athens, with a couple of panels in the Louvre and fragments scattered all over the place. In some cases, fragments of the same figure are on opposite side of Europe. The celebrated frieze is split in two.

If you could put it all back together, you’d have the blockbuster to end all blockbusters. Setting the question of ownership aside, that’s a prospect to entice any museum director.

Perhaps we should admit that the dispute about ownership is unresolvable. In the diplomatic world, the only way forward in such difficult cases is to find a formula that each side can accept. Is there one here? “The very most that might be negotiable,” Snodgrass said, “would be an agreement by the Greek government that the marbles were legally acquired from Lord Elgin by Parliament, for the Museum.”

Is that enough? The reward for an agreement, especially for the art-loving public of the world, would be enormous.


Wireless devices shake up quake architecture April 17, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece.
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Wireless sensors are being used to help create building designs that can stiffen themselves against the stress of earthquakes or even detect damage and repair it, according to two research projects underway in the U.S. and Europe.

In the U.S., wireless sensors have been successfully tested as part of a mechanism that strengthens the structural integrity of large buildings exposed to earthquakes. And an ambitious project is underway in Europe to build a “self-healing” house that can detect damage and repair it.

Wireless sensors are commonly associated with radio frequency identification, or RFID, tags used to track inventory and send simple signals short distances. But advances in technology are making sensors smaller and more powerful.

Earthquake engineer Shirley Dyke at Washington University in St. Louis tested wireless sensors about 2.5 square centimetres in size in a lab simulation as part of a response mechanism to earthquakes.

The wireless sensors are attached to the sides of buildings to monitor the force of sway when an earthquake or similar shaking occurs. The sensors then send messages to controls called magneto-rheological (or MR) dampers within the building’s structure that can stiffen and lend added support when a quake is detected. The MR dampers are filled with a fluid that includes suspended iron particles. When an electric current is sent through the fluid the iron particles align in response, adding structural support.

Dyke said that while a few structures in Asia are using MR-dampers, none control them wirelessly. She said in a release Tuesday that the use of wireless sensors will make systems designed to limit structural damage more affordable. “This wireless is where structural control technology is going,” said Dyke. “It will be much easier putting wireless sensors into a building compared with taking walls out and installing wires and cables.”

Researchers at the University of Leeds are also attempting to earthquake-proof a building using wireless technology, but in a decidedly different way.

The $21.4 million European Union-funded project announced earlier this month aims to design a “self-healing” villa on a Greek mountainside that will fill its own cracks after receiving signals from wireless sensors. The self-healing walls will contain a special nano-polymer particle that turns into liquid when squeezed under pressure, flow to the weakened areas and harden to form a solid structure. The polymer will be released in response to RFID tags and other wireless sensors designed to monitor everything from vibrations, temperature, humidity and gas levels. The project is expected to be completed by December 2010.

Google’s AdSense adds Greek April 17, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet & Web.
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AdSense announced that have expanded their product offerings for two long-awaited languages: Greek and Romanian.

Starting today, Greek and Romanian publishers can monetize their content by displaying targeted AdSense for content ads on their pages. As an added bonus, Romanian publishers can now implement AdSense for search as well. If you’re ready to get started with these languages, just log in to your AdSense account and follow the wizard located under the AdSense Setup tab.

You can also contact the Greek team at adsense-el@google.com and the Romanian team at adsense-ro@google.com with additional questions.

Cyprus Arts and Music Festival planned for June April 17, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Festivals.
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The Cyprus Arts and Music Festival planned for June will feature Baha’i musicians, actors, visual artists and speakers at a venue on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

The Cyprus Arts and Music Festival, which will include a film festival, will be held from Saturday June 23 to Friday June 29, 2007 in Limassol, at Miramare Beach Hotel on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea (http://www.miramare.com.cy).

“The festival is a multidimensional cultural event focusing on the performing and graphic arts, music, films, literature and drama,” said Khosrow Afkhampour, program director for the event. “It aims to provide a platform for the proclamation of Baha’i ideas through artistic expression.”

Performers will include violinist Bijan Khadem-Missagh, actress Beverly Evans, pianists Nancy Lee Harper and Alfredo Matera, and singers Ahdieh Bahiee and Ranzie Mensah, among others. Ariana Economous, artistic director of a modern dance company on Cyprus, will perform a solo act.

Suheil Bushrui will present a session on the literary study of the Baha’i writings. Other literary topics will include the poetry of Rumi and the work of Kahlil Gibran, author of “The Prophet” who in 1912 met with ‘Abdu’l-Baha, at that time the head of the Baha’i Faith.

The festival will also feature arts workshops, planned in collaboration with the Baha’i Academy for Arts in the United Kingdom. Sarah Clive, Rob Weinberg, Aidan Mathews, and Shirin Maanian will be among the participants.

The film festival, planned in collaboration with the Harmony Film Festival in Australia, will feature works produced or directed by Baha’i filmmakers from around the globe.

For the complete festival program and information about registration and accommodations, go to www.cyprusbahaiartsfestival.com on the Web.

For info on Cyprus visit the official site of Cyprus Tourism > http://www.visitcyprus.org.cy

Know thyself April 17, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Culture History Mythology.
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Inscribed upon the temple to Apollo at Delphi in classical Greece was the inscription “Gnothi se auton” which means “Know thyself.”

This phrase has a magnetic power, the admonition strikes at the heart of an inner turmoil undetected until now, stirring the spirited faculty of our soul to embark on a quest for understanding. But before we are able to do that, first we must understand and learn our own inner and external self.

Euroleague Basketball announces Devotion Mobile services April 17, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Basketball, Telecoms.
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Following a strategy of bringing the best action closer to its fans, Euroleague Basketball announces the launch of Devotion Mobile, the official Euroleague Basketball mobile service, for the 2007 Final Four in Athens from May 4 to 6.

This service will bring fans who feel DEVOTION for Euroleague Basketball exclusive Final Four information sent directly to their mobile phones. The service is available in 68 countries and will include news highlights, reports, results and background information, as well as an additional service where the best Euroleague Basketball pictures are sent to the subscriber’s mobile unit.

In Greece, Devotion Mobile will be offered through Euroleague Basketball’s official partner, Cosmote. 

Related Links >


Epidaurus festival aims high April 17, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Festivals.
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Annual ancient drama event to continue tradition while injecting modern elements > Fiona Shaw is set to appear in Samuel Beckett’s ’Happy Days.’

The Festival of Ancient Drama in Epidaurus hopes to achieve two separate goals this year: On the one hand, organizers want to continue the 50-year tradition, while on the other, they also wish to renew the festival through a combination of ancient drama and modern takes on it, as seen in works by Samuel Beckett, for instance.

It is also hoped that this year’s performances, four Greek productions, a Cypriot one and two distinguished productions from Germany and Britain, will turn the ancient theater into an international meeting point.

This summer’s event will open with a repetition of Lefteris Vogiatzis’s take on Sophocles’ “Antigone” on June 29 and 30, which also marked the successful ending of last year’s festival. Those who missed out on the opportunity to see it last year will be able to do so now, although no two performances by Vogiatzis are ever identical. Luigi Cherubini’s “Medea” will follow on July 14, bringing to a climax the tribute to Maria Callas on the 30-year anniversary of her death. Acclaimed Italian soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci will play the part of Medea.

On July 20 and 21, the Greek National Theater will stage Racine’s “Andromache” directed by Dimitris Mavrikios and starring Lydia Fotopoulou in the title role, Nikos Karathanos as Pyrrus, Maria Kechagioglou as Hermione and Christos Loulis as Orestes. On July 27-28, the National Theater of Northern Greece will present Aristophanes’ comedy “Lysistrata” starring Renia Louizidou, and on August 3 and 4 the Cyprus Theater Organization will stage Euripides’ “Iphigenia in Taurus.”

A week later, another National Theater production will hit the stage, namely Sophocles’ “Electra” directed by Peter Stein. The main roles will be played by Stefania Goulioti (Electra), Kora Karvouni (Chrysothemis), Apostolis Totsikas (Orestes), Karyofyllia Karabeti (Clytemnestra), Yiannis Fertis (Paedagogus), Lazaros Georgakopoulos (Aegisthus) and Miltos Sotiriadis (Pylades).

Two major foreign productions are set to follow: On August 17-18, the Frankfurt Schauspiel Theater Organization will stage Aeschylus’ trilogy “The Oresteia” directed by Karin Neuheuser. Neuheuser’s approach is based on contemporary references and indirect memories from her country’s past. One of Europe’s oldest theater organizations, the Schauspiel first opened in 1782 as Frankfurt’s National Theater. Today it is well known for its modern interpretations of classical works as well as the promotion of young playwrights.

Finally, on August 24-25, theater lovers will be able to see Samuel Beckett’s “Happy Days” by the British National Theater, directed by Deborah Warner and starring Fiona Shaw as Winnie. The production has received an enthusiastic response from British critics, both regarding Warner’s direction, considered one of Europe’s top directors, and Shaw’s interpretation.