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Charities for Greek Fire Victims August 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece News.
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Odyssey Magazine, an English-language magazine covering Greece, Greeks, and Greek-Americans, has assembled a list of charities assisting with the aftermath of the fires in Greece.

More Charities:
The Greek Orthodox Diocese of America has also established a fire fund.The Greek Red Cross is also taking donations of money and goods for fire victims. This site is in Greek only.

The Bank of Greece has seeded a special fund with 5 million Euros; others can contribute directly to this account.


Munich pledges aid for ancient Olympia August 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece News.
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Munich Mayor Christian Ude on Friday sent a letter to Greek President Karolos Papoulias announcing that his historic Municipality wishes to undertake an initiative to contribute to the restoration of the Kronion Hill above Ancient Olympia, which was ravaged in recent wildfires.

Ude said Munich’s initiative would begin with a donation of 100,000 euros for restoration of the renowned wooded hill once dedicated to the mythical god Cronus, while local residents and companies would also be contributing to the effort.

Munich is home to one of the largest ethnic Greek communities in Europe, outside Greece, while the city has important historical ties with modern Greece.

The initiative will be presented to Papoulias by Sigrid Skarapelis-Sperk, President of the Association of Greek German Companies, during an Association event scheduled for September 5 at the Presidential mansion.

Finally, the Athens city council on Friday accepted Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis’ proposal to “adopt” the Municipality of Ancient Olympia. Cooperation between the two Municipalities has already begun with the delivery of food and basic necessities.

Are ancient ruins flammable? August 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece News.
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What happens when there’s a wildfire in Greece

Firefighters in Greece narrowly saved the ruins of Olympia from the wildfires that spread across the nation over last weekend. The blaze torched the edges of the stadium, but officials say the archaeological treasure survived. Can ancient ruins catch on fire?

No, but they can crumble from the heat. Greek ruins made of limestone or marble aren’t going to burst into flames, but they can undergo physical and chemical changes when subjected to the heat of burning vegetation nearby. The outside layers of an ancient building heat up faster than the inside, causing the surface to crack and fall off in dinner plate-sized chunks. At about 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, the rocks begin to release carbon dioxide. (Trees ignite at about 660 degrees, and wildfires can reach 1,800 degrees.) Since CO2 helps hold limestone and marble together, sustained heat can weaken the material until it’s reduced to powder.

fire_rages_ancient_olympia.jpg  Olympia sits in the middle of a dense pine forest, which provides plenty of kindling for a fire. (Some ruins have wooden scaffolding to support ancient walls; these can also be set ablaze.) To protect the site from fire during the dry Greek summers, engineers had installed 50-foot metal fire towers in the hills to the north.

Earlier buildings from the archaic period, those constructed in the 7th and 6th century B.C., were made with wooden columns and roofs. These frequently burned down and had to be rebuilt; none survive today. For instance, an arsonist destroyed the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, which was called one of the seven ancient wonders of the world and took more than 100 years to erect.

Greece isn’t the only place where flames threaten ancient structures. Peru’s Machu Picchu regularly endures fires set by small farmers clearing land; in 1997, a fire reached the lowest terraces of the site. And in 2000, a 12,000-acre fire endangered the archaeological sites of the Pueblo Indians at Colorado’s Mesa Verde. But that fire turned out to be a blessing; the blaze stripped away enough vegetation to reveal 1,400 new structures.

Correction: The original version of this article described Greece as an “island nation.” Though it does contain a large number of islands, the country is part of the mainland of southeastern Europe.

Source and Copyright > Slate

Ancient Olympia saved at last moment August 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece News.
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The winged statue of victory stands in front of smoke from fires in the village of ancient Olympia near the birthplace of the Olympic Games, in southwestern Greece on last Sunday.

A massive effort by firefighters, assisted by water-dropping aircraft and firetrucks, succeeded in keeping a raging blaze away from the 2,800-year-old site, the holiest sanctuary in ancient Greece.


Olympia ready for lighting of 2008 Olympic flame

The holy ceremony for lighting the flame for 2008 Olympic Games will definitely be held in Olympia next year, Georgios Koumoutsakos, spokesman for Greece’s Foreign Ministry, said. He said a fire that ravaged southern Greece had licked Ancient Olympia in the western province of Peloponnese. However, with help from fire brigade and locals, the Olympia archaeological site and museum were saved from any damage. The museum and site have reopened to public since Tuesday.

Revered as the holiest sanctuary in ancient Greece, Olympia in Peloponnese hosted the ancient Olympic Games fore more than a thousand years after they started in 776 B.C. Olympia first witnessed the holy ceremony for lighting the flame for the modern Olympics for the 1936 Berlin Games. Since then the ceremony for each subsequent quadrennial games and torch relay is held there.

Australia offers Greece assistance August 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece News.
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Australia has offered to send specialist fire and aviation experts to Greece to help deal with the forest fire emergency there, Prime Minister John Howard said.

More than 60 people have been killed since devastating fires broke out in Greece 6 days ago. Mr Howard said four Australian experts could be sent to Greece.

“The Australian expertise being offered includes two bushfire management officers (a high-level incident controller and a senior operations officer), a bushfire investigation officer, a forest fire behaviour expert and an aviation management expert,” he said in a statement.

“Australian officials will work closely with Greek authorities to ensure Australia provides the most appropriate and useful support possible. The thoughts of the Australian Government and all Australians remain with the people of Greece at this difficult time.”

The Australian government had previously announced it would donate $3 million to assist the firefighting and recovery operation in Greece.

Comfortable win in Eurobasket final friendly August 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Basketball.
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European Champion Greece defeated Italy 73-52 in Rome yesterday in its final warm-up game ahead of the upcoming Eurobasket tournament in Spain.

Playing before an estimated 12,000 Italian fans, the Greek team began convincingly for a 13-0 lead by the 8th minute of play. The home team was never able to recover. Greece led 17-5 at quarter time, 39-18 at half time, and 56-38 before winning by a comfortable 21-point margin.

“We were effective when we were focused. There were moments when we slackened,” said coach Panayiotis Yiannakis. “We’re on the right track ahead of the tournament.”

Eurobasket begins on September 3.

Racine’s ‘Andromache’ at the Herod Atticus Theater August 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Stage & Theater.
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Racine’s ‘Andromache,’ being staged at the Herod Atticus Theater on Saturday, is directed by Dimitris Mavrikios.

The story is set in the first weeks after the Trojan War. Andromache, the widow of Hector, is in Epirus with her son Astyanax, as a slave of Pyros, the son of Achilles. Orestes arrives intending to take away the young Astyanax on behalf of the Greeks, who fear that the youth will seek revenge for the events in Troy. The story unfolds with a series of tragic developments, murders, and paranoia, in a classic French fashion, as told by Jean Racine. The French dramatist’s version of “Andromache,” will be staged on Saturday at the Herod Atticus Theater.

Written in 1687, the work established Racine as one of his period’s leading writers.

“The objective of this performance is not the revival of French classicism,” noted its director, Dimitris Mavrikios, “but to honor, along with Racine, the patriarch of European theater. In serving its basic objective, the performance takes from Euripides freely, as is the case in Racine’s work.”

Stage and costume design is by Eleni Manolopoulou; music by Nikos Kypourgos; lights by Vassilis Papaconstantinou. The production’s cast features Lydia Fotopoulou, Nikos Karathanos, Christos Loulis, Maria Kehayoglou, Dimitris Daskas, Eugenia Apostolou, Tatiana Papamoschou, and, in the children’s roles, Christos Thalassinos, Iason Santixis and Constantinos-Fragiskos Psyllakis.