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Al Gore to give a lecture in Athens about global warming May 25, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Environment, Movies Life Greek.
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Former US Vice President Al Gore is expected to give a lecture in Athens next month

Usually it’s the other way round. First you make it big in Hollywood, then you go into politics and head east. This, however, is not the case with Al Gore. For the former Vice President and leading man in the 2007 Academy Award-winning documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” politics paved the way for something greater, the race to save the planet.

Following the controversial US presidential elections of 2000, which included a month of ballot recounts and dispute that ultimately ended in a George W. Bush victory, Gore has reinvented himself as a fervent supporter of major ecological issues.

The former Vice President is expected in Athens on June 13 to give a lecture at the Athens Concert Hall. Part of the Megaron Plus series, Gore’s visit is also part of a current world tour. Organized by the Athens Concert Hall in collaboration with Ecoweek 2007, he is scheduled to talk on the subject of “An Inconvenient Truth.”

The Megaron lecture, which will be accompanied by screenings of the documentary in Athens, Thessaloniki, Corfu and Aegina, is supported by a group of sponsors that includes the Bodosakis Foundation, the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, the A.G. Leventis Foundation and the Titan Cement Company. A not-for-profit organization, Ecoweek was founded by Ilias Messinas in 2005.

Directed by David Gugenheim and produced by Laurie David, Lawrence Bender and Scott Z. Burns, the documentary focuses on one man’s crusade against global warming, by uncovering some myths and misconceptions. At the heart of the film lies Gore, accessible and passionate, talking on the subject of “planetary emergency.” For Gore, global warming is no longer part of the political agenda, but the greatest moral issue facing the international community.

The film also traces the life of the man: Gore’s college ideals, which included the environment, becoming a young senator faced with a life-altering family tragedy, all the way to turning into what he himself refers to as “the former next president of the United States.”

“An Inconvenient Truth” is based on Gore’s book of the same title. In the book, the 45th Vice President of the United States offers compelling evidence, through a scientific and a visual approach.

Having fallen out of love with politics, Gore maintains that his planetary ambitions are solely ecological, far removed from Washington’s power games. Politics, however, cannot go away altogether. In his recently published book, “The Assault of Reason,” Gore offers his own account and perspective of the post 9/11 years, accusing President Bush of being “out of touch with reality.” For many Americans, Gore is turning into a highly attractive candidate for future elections. For the time being though, he is happy struggling as a citizen of the world.

Athens Concert Hall, 1 Kokkali Street and Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, Athens, tel 210 7282333. For more information on “An Inconvenient Truth” screenings, visit > www.ecoweek.gr 

Athens Prize for Literature awarded to French writer May 25, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Books Life Greek.
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Writer and journalist Pierre Assouline came to Athens to recieve his literature award

French writer and journalist Pierre Assouline owes his start in journalism to Greek filmmaker Costa-Gavras. What’s more, as a photojournalist, the first story he ever covered was an event by Mikis Theodorakis.

Assouline was in Athens earlier this month to receive the Athens Prize for Literature, awarded to him in the foreign literature category of the event organized by (de)kata magazine for his novel “Lutetia” translated into Greek as “Hotel Lutetia” by Spyros Pantelakis and published by Polis.

All of Assouline’s professional activities have to do with reading and writing, whether he is writing critiques for Le Monde and Nouvel Observateur, writing his own novels or even communicating with his readers on his blogs.

An affable character with a concise view of things, he spoke to journalists a few hours before the award ceremony. “The future of information and journalism lies in the Internet,” said Assouline. “And the future has already begun,” he added, defending his profound involvement with his blogs, saying that he reads every comment that is posted but seldom has the time to answer all of them.

Assouline believes that blogs hold the key to the printed media’s future, but he also admits that there is a kind of violence to be seen online that does not exist in daily life. “There is a group of people at Le Monde whose job it is to read all the incoming comments and block all those that contain racist, anti-Semitic or pedophiliac content. I also work in the same way. I allow all comments to be published except for these three categories or those that are about people’s personal lives.”

As to whether he considers himself more a critic, a journalist or an artist, his answer was clear: “I am a journalist. Critique is a part of journalism and the perfect example is the blog, where you have the critique, information and thought process of a journalist.”

On the subject of his new novel, the Lutetia is a landmark hotel in Paris which the writer selected as the springboard for describing the political and social life of the French capital during World War II. “I am interested in the war years because they condense all that is good and bad about people,” he says.

Every time he writes a new book he chooses a new location at which to do it and isolates himself until he’s done. Currently he is writing a new book in the National Library of Paris and in the library of a convent in Normandy. “The location is very important to me. It has a music of its own,” says Assouline, once more impressing his audience with his combination or romanticism and pragmatism.

British pensioner rides in cab to Greece May 25, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism, Transport Air Sea Land.
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A retired British teacher in her 90s traveled more than 3,000 kilometers by cab to reach the northern Greek city of Naoussa and visit the site where Alexander the Great was taught by Aristotle.

Escorted by her private nurse, Kathleen Searles visited the site at Isvoria, near Naoussa, where she went on a 30-minute tour before hopping back into the taxi and setting off for Britain, according to the Athens News Agency.

She said that it had always been her dream to see the place where the famous Greek philosopher tutored the heir to the Macedonian throne and other nobles in 342 BC.

The teachings of Aristotle, one of the leading philosophers of Greek antiquity, are believed to have strongly influenced Alexander, who resolved to spread ancient Greek culture throughout the vast empire he subsequently carved out in modern-day Turkey, Egypt, Persia and India.

AC Milan’s Ancelotti hails Athens win May 25, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Football.
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Milan coach says victory was club’s best performance ever; Liverpool look to rebuild

It was not the thrilling final the soccer world had hoped for, but AC Milan’s coach Carlo Ancelotti hailed his side’s Champions League win in Athens on Wednesday night as the team’s greatest achievement.

Ancelotti admitted that his team had been on the back foot for most of the game but the 47-year-old said that after starting the season with a points deduction in the Italian championship and being threatened with expulsion from the Champions League, few had expected Milan to lift the European Cup.

“It is the greatest victory we have had; few people believed it was possible,” he said after the game. “We have done something incredible.” Ancelotti admitted that his side had to work very hard at Athens’s Olympic Stadium to achieve Milan’s seventh European Cup win. “We expected a difficult game but not like this,” Ancelotti told journalists. “We didn’t have enough space to play our game.”

Milan had to hang on, as Liverpool dominated the first half but the Italians got the break just before halftime with an Andrea Pirlo free kick that deflected off Filippo Inzaghi. They also survived pressure in the second half before putting the game beyond Liverpool in the 83rd minute when Inzaghi broke the offside trap to score again.

“The other face of Milan has helped us to win the Champions League,” said Ancelotti. “We are a tough team.” AC Milan also won the European Cup in Athens 13 years ago and Ancelotti said that result had boosted his team’s morale. “The memory of 1994 helped us along,” said Ancelotti in reference to the 4-0 thrashing of Barcelona.

Meanwhile, Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez said he would strengthen his side in the wake of his team’s 2-1 defeat to Milan. Benitez said that Liverpool lacked quality in certain areas and would need to spend big over the summer. “We need to think about how to improve our team,” he said. “We need to take two steps at a time.”

Benitez said Liverpool were unlucky to lose after controlling play in the first half and pressuring Milan in the second period. “We deserved a little bit more,” said Benitez. “We were controlling the game in the first half and conceded a bad goal.”

The Liverpool manager also defended his decision not to make substitutions earlier in the game. “We needed to attack but with balance,” said Benitez. “If you lose the balance, they, Milan, will kill you.”

Probe into Champions League Final ticket problems May 25, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Football.
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Liverpool fans claim lockout

European soccer’s governing body, UEFA, and the British Embassy in Athens said yesterday that they would look into complaints that some Liverpool fans with tickets for Wednesday night’s Champions League Final at the Athens Olympic Stadium were not allowed into the ground.

Supporters from England claimed that police used tear gas to keep people back after some fans without tickets or with fake tickets stormed through security checks outside the stadium and fans with tickets were held back. It was not clear how many fans claim to have been affected.

The police denied using tear gas and Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras said the match had been policed successfully. UEFA blamed the Liverpool fans for causing the confusion.

«The behavior of the Liverpool fans is in the end responsible for the problems that took place before the game,» said UEFA spokes-man William Gaillard, who pointed out that AC Milan fans did not have similar problems. «More than three hours before the game, there were incidents at the Liverpool end with people trying to get in either with fake tickets or jumping over barriers. It is obvious that at one point the police felt overwhelmed and it is much to their credit that there were no dangerous incidents,» Gaillard said.

However, the British Embassy said that it would discuss the incidents with the Greek government. «Clearly there was some element of breakdown to the security plan where fake tickets appeared to be legitimate,» said British Ambassador Simon Gass. «That’s something for UEFA to deal with. The vast majority of fans with proper tickets got in but even if a small minority did not, that’s not satisfactory.»

Police detained 128 fans outside the ground with forged or no tickets. Only eight, including one Englishman and a Greek, were charged with misdemeanors yesterday.

Meanwhile, cleaning crews began clearing rubbish from around the stadium and central Athens yesterday morning. There were reports that up to 98 tons of beer cans had been collected for recycling.

Statue restitution May 25, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.
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The Culture Ministry will examine a demand by Albania for the return of two ancient marble statues stolen in 1997 that later turned up in Greece, Agence France-Presse reported yesterday.

The two statues represent siblings Artemis and Apollo and date from the second and third centuries BC respectively. They were stolen from archaeological sites in southern Albania and were found in the possession of a Greek and an Albanian when the pair were arrested in Greece in 1997.

Greek Genocide dispute May 25, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Politics.
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Athens irked by Ankara’s terse rejection of Pontic massacre

Athens yesterday reacted sternly to a statement by the Turkish ministry of foreign affairs refuting the historical truth of the genocide of the Pontic Greeks during World War One.

“History cannot be denied, it cannot be falsified,” Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said. However he added, “We are striving for the full normalization of Greek-Turkish ties for the sake of stability on a bilateral and regional level.”

Earlier yesterday, the Turkish government had issued a statement saying that “claims regarding an alleged Pontic genocide have no historical or scientific basis.” Ankara was responding to official events held on May 19 in Athens and Thessaloniki to commemorate the Pontic genocide. Diplomats attributed the terseness of Ankara’s statement to Turkey’s domestic strife.