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Court rejects Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch status June 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Politics, Religion & Faith.
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A Turkish court on Tuesday ruled that the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch is not the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, and is only the head of the local Greek Orthodox community. The court’s decision, however, has no impact on his status outside Turkey. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I is the internationally recognized spiritual leader of the world’s 300 million Orthodox.

A court Tuesday backed Turkey’s long-held position that the Constantinopole, today’s Istanbul, based Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch is only the head of the city’s tiny Greek Orthodox community and not the spiritual leader of the world’s 300 million Orthodox Christians.

The decision has no influence on the status of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I outside Turkey, where he is regarded as the so-called “first among equals” of the Orthodox leaders. But it bolsters Turkey’s strong resistance to acknowledge a wider role for Bartholomew and his ancient Christian enclave.

Turkey has strongly objected to giving concessions to the Patriarchate, fearing it could open the doors to similar claims by other minority groups including Kurdish rebels fighting for greater autonomy. Officials in mostly Muslim Turkey also have been suspicious of the Patriarchate’s close cultural and religious ties to longtime rival Greece.

The court said Turkey could not give “special status” to any minority group. The ruling came as part of an appeals proceeding that upheld Bartholomew’s acquittal in a dispute with a Bulgarian priest.

“The Patriarchate, which was allowed to remain on Turkish soil, is subject to Turkish laws,” the appeals court ruled. “There is no legal basis for the claims that the Patriarchate is Ecumenical.”

Among Orthodox Christians, Bartholomew’s position holds great historical weight. The Ecumenical Patriarchate dates from the Byzantine Empire, which collapsed when Ottoman forces conquered Constantinople, now Istanbul,  in 1453.

But he holds no direct sway over the more than a dozen autonomous Orthodox churches in Europe and the Holy Land. Bartholomew’s flock includes Istanbul’s 3,000 remaining Greek Orthodox and several other congregations scattered around the globe, including the United States.

Turkey maintains tight controls, including rules requiring that Patriarchs must be Turkish citizens. This sharply limits the potential pool of candidates to one day succeed Bartholomew. The Patriarchate, backed by the Greece and other Orthodox nations, also has pressed Turkey to allow the reopening of a seminary that was forced to close more than two decades ago.

In Athens, the Greek Foreign Ministry said the court decision would not change the Christians’ perception of the Ecumenical Patriarch. “The ecumenical dimension of the Patriarchate of Constantinople is based on international treaties, the sacred regulations of Orthodoxy, on history and Church tradition,” Ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said.

“But, above all, recognition of the Ecumenical Patriarch as a spiritual leader is, and has been for centuries, deeply rooted in the conscience of hundreds of millions of Christians, Orthodox or not, worldwide.”

This is the Turkey which respects civil and religious rights! This is the Turkey that is eager to join the European Union! This is the Turkey that discriminates the whole world!

This is the Turkey that still occupies one third of the land of a sovereign country, a country member of the European Union, which is none other than the Republic of Cyprus. This is the Turkey that has invaded Cyprus in July 1974 and today is military controlling and occupying the northern area of the Republic of Cyprus!

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Multiple grave located in Agia June 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied.
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The remains of 13 people, believed to be Greek Cypriot soldiers, were found during excavations in Turkish Cypriot village Agia over the weekend.

The Investigative Committee for the Missing Persons believe the soldiers were killed in the Palekithro village during the 1974 Turkish military invasion in the Republic of Cyprus. More excavations are expected to take place next week in two other multiple graves found in the Palekithro area.

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The village, which adjoins Tympou village, has been at the centre of excavations in the occupied areas over the past two weeks. The other two graves, along with another outside the village, are hoped to offer some insight into the fate of the some 1,468 Greek Cypriots now listed as after the invasion.

Based on information located by Politis newspaper, the majority of the remains found belonged to Greek Cypriot soldiers who fought in the area during the Turkish invasion. More specifically, the paper says the men belonged to Infantry Fleet 226, which was at the time based in Larnaca. A total of 49 men were declared missing from the specific fleet since August 14, 1974, the second phase of the invasion, when the Mia Milia fron line was broken and the Turkish army entered the area in a line between Nicosia and Famagusta.

The second mass grave, which was also brought to light by Politis after receiving a witness report by Palekithro resident Achilleas Constantinou, was located under a eucalyptus tree just outside the village, where excavation proceedings will begin in the specific area next week.

In another recent publication, the paper told the story of Myrofora Loizou, the mother of young Christakis Georgiou who was a primary school pupil when he went missing during the Turkish invasion. Loizou told the paper how the eucalyptus tree was planted by Christakis and his father Giorgos.

The last anyone heard of Christakis, he had been taken hostage with other Greek Cypriots and held captive in a church in Voni village. The paper also claims that the young boy had been executed in a nearby field along with seven other of his compatriots, but says this information was not confirmed.

Related Links > http://www.kypros.org/Cyprus_Problem/missing.html

http://www.missing-cy.org/home.html

Former Greece’s captain Theo Zagorakis takes over PAOK June 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Football.
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Former Greece’s captain Theo Zagorakis has been named chairman of PAOK to lead efforts to rescue the financially troubled club.

The 35-year-old midfielder, who captained Greece to victory at the European Championships in 2004, heads a five-member provisional governing board for the Thessaloniki club. The board was approved Tuesday by a court that gave the club six months to settle debts and unpaid taxes worth an estimated 30 million euros.

The first division club is in negotiations with the Finance Ministry and is hoping to reduce its debt by about half.

“PAOK has reached a critical point. New management alone will not solve the problems, the government must help too,” Zagorakis said. “What we need is a lot of hard work, and not a lot of talk . . . Returning PAOK to financial health is the main goal of the new management.”

Zagorakis’ initiative follows a similar effort by former Greece teammate Demis Nikolaidis, who took over management of AEK Athens in 2004 and rescued the club from the brink of financial collapse.

A former Leicester City and Bologna player, Zagorakis returned to Greece in 2005 to rejoin PAOK. He retired from the national team last October and officially ended his playing career at PAOK earlier this month.

The Ecofilms’ provocative messages in Rhodes June 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Festivals, Movies Life Greek.
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Food for thought from filmmakers who tackle the gritty issues facing people and planet

There was a bittersweet sense about many of the works shown at the Ecofilms Festival that ended Sunday on Rhodes.

Inevitably, films about depleted resources, environmental devastation, the hazards of development and conflict loom large in a festival that focuses on the environment and the people who inhabit it. Yet the feeling was not one of impending doom. Countering the somber messages of a grim future in a ravaged world were the extraordinary resilience and creativity of ordinary people who are determined to make a difference.

War and its collateral damage was a common theme. In «My Country, My Country,» American director and cinematographer Laura Poitras portrays the reality of life for Iraqis under occupation through the story of Dr Riyadh, who continues his work as a physician while standing as a Sunni candidate in the elections. Poitras, who filmed alone over an eight-month period, is now on a terrorist watch-list in the USA for her efforts. Fellow-American James Longley also looks at Iraq from within, with portraits of a boy of 11 working as a mechanic, the seething public emotions of Shia Muslims in Sadr City and the Kurds and their hopes for the future.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a backdrop to three of the most striking films at the festival. «The Color of Olives» by Mexican director Carolina Rivas follows a family of Palestinians who refused to move from their land to make way for the separation wall, which was then built around them. They have to wait, sometimes for hours, sometimes for days, for Israeli soldiers to open the gate that gives access to their farmland. The patience and dignity of the encircled family and the director’s insistence on showing rather than telling give this low-key film remarkable impact.

Other lives are ruled by the wall in «Nine-Star Hotel,» by Israeli director Ido Haar, who managed to gain the trust of Palestinian men and youths living in hiding, in improvised shelters, and working illegally in Israel. We see them create a small community out of nothing, face pursuit and arrest together, and keep coming back because they have no alternative. Even the youngest among them are often the sole support of their families.

If there is any hope for change in that part of the world, it may start from initiatives like the one documented in «Knowledge is the Beginning,» by German director Paul Smaczny. Conductor Daniel Barenboim and the late Palestinian intellectual Edward Said shared a rare capacity for vision and realism. Their ambitious project, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra brings young Arab and Israeli musicians together to perform in the belief that having to work together will help break down prejudice. The film reflects the complexity of the process as the musicians confront their own feelings and learn to work together.

There was much more > The politics of oil in Basil Gelpke and Ray McCormack’s «A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash» (Switzerland) and Giorgos Avgeropoulos’s «Delta: Oil’s Dirty Business» (Greece), the environmental harm caused by gold mining in «Aletheia» (Turkey) by Petra Holzer and Ethem Ozguven.

The power of film and investigative journalism to make a difference is illustrated by «Killer Bargain» (Denmark) by Tom Heinemann. The director successfully confronts buyers in Scandinavia with evidence of the appalling working conditions of Indians who make the cheap clothes they buy.

The power of collective action is evident in «The Water Front» (US), where Liz Miller documents the feisty inhabitants of Highland Park, Michigan, who claim the right to affordable utilities as their water utility faces privatization. And Indian filmmaker Pradip Saha brings the power of humor to the gritty subject of «Faecal Attraction: Political Economy of Defecation.» The festival, in its seventh year, offered plenty of food for thought, not all of it palatable but provocative, as its followers from Greece and abroad expect.

Ecofilms is organized by the Cultural Organization of Rhodes and the Image and Environment company. The prize winners >

Feature-length films > The first prize went to «Surya: From Eloquence to Dawn» (Belgium, 2006), directed by Laurent van Lancker. The second prize went to «Forever» (The Netherlands, 2006) directed by Heddy Honigmann. The jury awarded a special mention to «My Country, My Country» (US, 2006), directed by Laura Poitras.

In the medium-length film category, the first prize was won by «Akhmeteli Street, Number 4» (Romania, Georgian Republic, 2006), directed by Artchil Khetagouri. «The Workhorse» (France, 2006), directed by Alain Marie, won second prize.

Short Films > «Identities» (Jordan/Denmark, 2006), directed by Sawsan Darwaza, won first prize and «Star Story» (Russia, 2004), directed by Alexey Pochivalov, won second prize, while «Spirals» (France 2006), directed by Marie Daniel, received a special mention.

The Greek film Center gave two awards for Greek films > Marianna Economou won the first prize and 3,000 euros for «My Place in the Dance» (2006), while Zoe Manta won second prize and 2,000 euros for «Dehiscence» (2006).

The Medwet/Ramsar award for films on water and wetlands went to «The Water Front» (US, 2007) by Liz Miller.

Two films shared the audience prize, chosen by the Cinema Club of Rhodes > «Knowledge is the Beginning» (Germany 2006), directed by Paul Smaczny, and «Surya.»

Music’s total devotion June 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Athens Festival, Music Life Classical.
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Eminent young Greek conductor, Theodoros Kourentzis, already a key figure in Russia, performs tomorrow and Thursday as part of the Athens Festival.

Theodoros Kourentzis left his modest Athenian neighborhood of Vyronas, where he was born and raised, at the age of 20, to further pursue his musical studies in St Petersburg.

Within a decade, his stature had risen rapidly amid a revived Russian circuit. The 35-year-old Greek conductor, who is already being hailed as a likely successor to great Russian artists, draws capacity audiences at his performances. An explosive personality, Kourentzis, who has begun accumulating prestigious awards, has made a huge impact on the Russian scene. His activity includes risque productions at the Novosibirsk opera, which the Greek conductor took to the forefront of public interest when he assumed the post of artistic director there three years ago.

During the past year, Kourentzis has co-directed “Territoria,” a Moscow-based international festival that was introduced by the Putin administration. The Greek artist has also gained attention through Musica Aeterna, an orchestra of soloists which he founded and directs.

The act is currently preparing to perform in Greece for the first time. Musica Aeterna are scheduled for two concerts, as part of the Athens Festival’s agenda, beginning with an evening at the Athens Concert Hall tomorrow. The performance will feature Yuri Basmet on viola. A second show is scheduled for Thursday at Pireos 260 venue, where Musica Aeterna will perform classical and contemporary works which, as presented by Kourentzis and his orchestra, have become major successes in Russia.

High-profile friendly in Athens June 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Basketball.
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As European Champion, Greek basketball team meets continent’s all-star squad Saturday

Greece coach Panayiotis Yiannakis has called up a top-strength side for Saturday’s friendly. Despite its informal nature, the Eurostar game, at the OAKA stadium, is drawing fans.

Preparing to defend its European title at the Eurobasket finals in Madrid this coming September, the Greek men’s team is scheduled to play a friendly game in Athens on Saturday against an all-star European team that is expected to feature some of the continent’s leading players.

Pitting the reigning European champion against a European all-star team, the Eurostar game, as FIBA Europe had dubbed the showdown, was last staged in 1999. FIBA Europe, the sport’s governing body for the continent, plans to stage the Eurostar game every two years.

Tickets for the friendly, at the 17,000-capacity OAKA Olympic Sports Complex Stadium in Athens, have sold surprisingly well so far. According to game officials, some 4,000 tickets have been purchased by fans. The game’s attendance figure, organizers predicted, would reach about 10,000.

Greece coach Panayiotis Yiannakis has selected all his team’s stars for the occasion.  The European all-star team, whose squad will include Dejan Bodiroga, Predrag Stojakovic, Felipe Reyes and Ibrahim Kutluay, will be coached by Panathinaikos’s Zelimir Obradovic, who recently completed a perfect season with the Athens club, both domestically and in Europe.

Vodafone to offer new fixed-cellular service June 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Telecoms.
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Vodafone to compete directly with OTE > Vodafone is next week starting the promotion of a joint telephony service for both cellular and fixed telephony.

This technology, which will effectively replace fixed telephony with cellular, will allow subscribers to use their telephone as a fixed line within their “home zone” and as cellular outside that zone. The new service will be able to support more than one handset and therefore cater for the whole family.

The fixed-cellular service, which will try to gain part of OTE’s market share, has already been successfully applied in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. Vodafone says that in Germany it attracted 2.13 million subscribers to the “Vodafone Zuhause” package in the first 13 months of its introduction, January 2006 – February 2007, increasing outgoing calls from its network by 54 percent. This meant that outgoing calls per household amounted to 696 minutes per month, against just 453 minutes before the new service was introduced. It also increased the average revenue per household by 9 euros per month to reach 101.

Vodafone will most likely present its new service on July 2, after more than a year’s preparation. It expects to break down the boundaries between fixed and cellular telephony in Greece too, while providing a very competitive alternative to fixed telephony providers, and particularly OTE, which controls over 75 percent of fixed telephony use. At present, OTE handles about 16 billion minutes per year, against Vodafone’s 8 billion minutes approximately.

The rates for the new service will ensure that charging within the home zone is at fixed-line rates, while calls outside it will be charged at cell phone rates. Vodafone will also cooperate with Hellas On Line for the provision of other services, which are expected to increase the number of subscribers considerably. The fixed telephony company will use Fixed Cellular Terminals, which enable fixed calls to cell phones to be switched into cell calls to cell phones.

Vodafone intends to introduce a number of packages which will meet all the needs of an entire family, including prepaid phone calls, multiple handsets and even combined packages for fixed and cellular telephony.