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PPC to invest in renewable energy November 7, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Energy.
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The Public Power Corporation, Greece’s biggest electricity company, plans to build a total 950 megawatts of renewable energy units by 2014.

The company’s PPC Renewables unit will invest 1.95 billion euros ($2.8 billion) over that period, it said in a regulatory filing yesterday. PPC will contribute 330 million euros of the total investment between 2008 and 2011, the statement said. The government expects energy companies to invest more than 4.5 billion euros in the country by 2010 as a result of measures to make it less dependent on oil. Greece has no nuclear power and produces almost no oil or natural gas.

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UK stands behind Athens on FYROM November 7, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Politics, Religion & Faith.
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Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Milliband yesterday appeared to support Greek concerns on the Macedonia name dispute, as a European Commission report called on Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to make fresh efforts to reach a compromise.

“We understand Greece’s sensitivities on the name issue and it is very important that a solution is found that respects Greek concerns,” Milliband said following talks with his Greek counterpart Dora Bakoyannis in London. Referring to the possibility of Athens vetoing FYROM’s bid to join NATO if the name dispute remains unresolved, Milliband said Greece would be justified in exercising its rights as a member of the alliance.

Bakoyannis expressed satisfaction on Milliband’s stance and his assertion that Britain supported a July 2006 agreement between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots, which Ankara has failed to honor.

In Athens, Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said the EC’s report on candidate Turkey “made satisfactory references to all issues of particular interest to Greece,” including the rights of Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios and Turkish air-space violations in the Aegean.

The EC also issued a critical report on FYROM, saying it had failed to push reforms and curb corruption. It also called for a more constructive approach to resolving the name dispute.

Proastiakos suburban train routes November 7, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Transport Air Sea Land.
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The Proastiakos suburban railway will reduce a few scheduled itineraries tomorrow and Friday between Piraeus and Kiato due to construction work.

Commuters can call 1110 for further information.

‘De Chirico and Greece’ is now in New York City November 7, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Greece, Hellenic Light Americas.
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Exhibition of works previously shown in Athens

Giorgio de Chirico’s ‘Archaeologists,’ 1968. Along with another 35 paintings and sculptures, the work is currently on display at the Onassis Cultural Center in New York City, situated at the Olympic Tower on Fifth Avenue. The exhibition is scheduled to travel to Rome next spring.

Summing up his beliefs on the creative process, Giorgio de Chirico used to say that “art is nothing more than a fatal net that captures strange moments as if they’re mysterious butterflies that escape from the innocence and routine ways of common people.” The powerful and mystical atmosphere conveyed by his work permeated the Onassis Cultural Center in New York, where an exhibition titled “Giorgio de Chirico and Greece: Voyage through Memory” opened last week. Featuring 35 metaphysical paintings and sculptures by the Italian artist that went on show in Athens at the Athinaida Cultural Center last spring, this latest exhibition runs through January 6, 2008.

The exhibition, at the Olympic Tower on Fifth Avenue in downtown New York, portrays de Chirico’s close association with ancient Greece. After all, the strong Mediterranean light, mythology and Greek nature were a part of the Italian painter and sculptor’s childhood in Volos, Greece, where the artist was born in 1888 and raised.

As highlighted by de Chirico himself in autobiographical writings, he spent the first years of his life in the Land of Classicism, where his childhood adventures included playing on the beaches from which Jason and the Argonauts, in Greek mythology, embarked on their quest for the Golden Fleece.

Co-organized by the Onassis Cultural Center, the Athinaida Complex, and the Giorgio and Isa de Chirico Foundation in Rome, and curated by Takis Mavrotas, the exhibition focuses on the period between 1951 and 1978. The paintings and sculptures culled for the exhibition stem from a period of heightened maturity for the artist, when de Chirico distanced himself from the Surrealists to adopt a neoclassical, neo-romantic style. Works from this period include “View of Athens” (1970), “The Poet and the Painter” (1975), “Harmony of Loneliness” (1976), “Archaeologists” (1968) and “Prodigal Son” (1973). These works are based on mystery and dreams.

This exhibition, which sheds light on Hellenism’s universal aesthetics, is not only aimed at the considerable Greek-American community, which supports such initiatives without fail, as was made clear at the opening of “Giorgio de Chirico and Greece: Voyage through Memory.” The Onassis Cultural Center’s major objective is to continue increasing its impact on the American public as a whole.

The Onassis Cultural Center is located in the Olympic Tower, 645 Fifth Avenue, with entrances on 51 and 52 Streets. Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Admission is free.

Athens suburb Argyroupolis goes live with Wi-Fi network November 7, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet & Web, Telecoms.
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City Launching a Multipurpose Network for Municipal and Residential Access; Expected Payback in Under Three Years

The Athens suburb of Argyroupolis is now live with the first muni Wi-Fi network in Greece using Tropos Networks metro-scale wireless mesh system, offering affordable broadband Internet access services to its residents today with multiple voice, muni and public safety applications being planned for the future.

Simple Waves Innovations, a leading network integrator in Greece, designed and installed the city-wide Wi-Fi network along with Digital Sima, a leading networking and security company, using the Tropos Networks’ MetroMesh system.

“Residents complained to us about the high cost, poor quality, and, in some cases, lack of DSL services in their neighborhoods,” said Stefanos Paschalides, General Manager of DEADA, the city owned company that manages the network. “As a result, the city decided to fund and operate its own, fee-based Wi-Fi network with expansions in service and users planned.”

One of 49 local municipalities that are part of the greater Athens Area, the City of Argyroupolis has over 16,000 household and 40,000 residents. The network, which was started in January 2007 as a small pilot, now covers 50% of the 8.2 square kilometer suburb and is expected to cover 90% by the end of the year. DEADA charges from 50 to 200 euros a year depending on the connection speed or 1/6th the price of local DSL services. Entirely funded by the municipality, the fees have been set to cover the cost of the network which is expected to pay for itself in two and one-half years.

Over 200 residents are now using the network, with 1000 by year end. In two to three years, DEADA expects that there will be 2500 subscribers.

“Without the DEADA network, we were faced with a choice of a very expensive and poor quality DSL service or none at all,” said Minas Malakos, an Argyroupolis resident. “The whole family now uses the network to do research, homework and stay on top of community affairs. This was not possible before.”

In addition, the city intends to expand upon the networks’ offerings and user base with voice services for residents and municipal workers, intelligent traffic management (ITS), video surveillance for public safety, and, because of the recent fires in the nearby mountainous terrain, a “fire watch” surveillance system. As a by product of the network, DEADA is planning to feed advertisements for the city into the network.

“We have been working with DEADA to fulfill their vision of a multi-user network for the city that will, in the end, pay for itself,” said Stathis Morfonios, General Manager of Simple Wave Innovations. “We partnered with Tropos Networks to do this because they have deployed networks like these around the world and understand the project from both a business model and technology perspective. Theirs is the best, most reliable and manageable system for today’s residential services and to expand upon for future applications.”

“We are pleased to be working with DEADA and Simple Waves on behalf of the City of Argyroupolis,” said Bo Nilsson, the Managing Director of Europe Middle East and Africa for Tropos Networks. “Our field-proven MetroMesh architecture makes it easy to deploy and evolve their network to support concurrent data, voice, and video services and applications, enabling the city to become a viable service provider for the community.”

Related Links > www.simplewaves.com, www.tropos.com, www.digitalsima.gr

Lisa Gerrard, former Dead Can Dance vocalist, live in Athens November 7, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Greek, Music Life Live Gigs.
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Her dreamlike work communicates with a language from the heart > Lisa Gerrard, formerly of the otherworldly duo Dead Can Dance, in Athens for one show Friday > Gerrard, who had performed here with Dead Can Dance about a decade ago, returns as an acclaimed solo act.

Collaborating with Brendan Perry, Lisa Gerrard made up half of the duo Dead Can Dance, the arty goth-rock act that started releasing work in the mid-80s on the distinctive British 4AD label, home to a guild of ethereal and dark-sounding acts, among them the Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil, and Lisa Germano. The label’s airy roster also included hard-hitting yet innovative exceptions, such as The Birthday Party, The Pixies and Throwing Muses. Gerrard’s activity with Perry, her Dead Can Dance partner, lasted for a little over a decade, slightly overlapping with a solo career whose debut release, 1995’s “This Mirror Pool,” appeared a year before Dead Can Dance’s final album of new material, “Spiritchaser.” Since the end of Dead Can Dance, a project that started in Australia in the early 80s before Gerrard and Perry decided to relocate to the UK, Gerrard has released a steady flow of work, including major film scores, such as those for “The Gladiator,” “The Insider” and Whale Rider”, some of it on the 4AD label that helped establish her fame. The former Dead Can Dance vocalist, instrumentalist, and co-songwriter performs in Athens this Friday at the Pallas Theater, just under a year since her most recent album, “The Silver Tree,” her first full-length release as a solo artist since “The Mirror Pool”, 12 years ago. Tickets for Friday’s show have virtually sold out.

“The Silver Tree” highlights why Gerrard has drawn the attention of film directors. The album’s content is loaded with ambient soundscapes topped with Gerrard’s outlandish vocals. Sung nearly as prayers or meditative mantras, Gerrard uses glimpses of various languages, including some English, to create a dreamlike sound.

Commenting on her mosaic of musical influences in her website’s biography, Gerrard cites the Greek, Turkish, and Irish melodies “oozing into the streets” of her predominantly immigrant neighborhood in Melbourne as being instrumental in her work. In a previous interview, Gerrard remarked that her hometown’s multicultural aspect made her feel, from early on, that “there is an ability to speak in a language that all can understand, that we don’t need to communicate in a language that is academically defined, that there is a language we can communicate in that is a language of the heart.”

During her early years, in the early 80s while still in her teens, Gerrard had begun experimenting with her voice, including at various outdoor locations such as busy streets and city road tunnels, where she would improvise accompanied by the roar of rush-hour traffic. Highlighting the degree of her career’s success, a little over a couple of decades on, Gerrard and Perry, on a Dead Can Dance reunion tour, performed sold-out shows at the 15,000-capacity Hollywood Bowl and 7,000-capacity Radio City Music Hall in New York. In an interview following these reunion shows, Gerrard noted that: “Brendan and I have no plans to work together again.”

Her work is deep and spiritual, but Gerrard, who like Perry, has a background performing with punk acts in the late 70s, tends to feel flabbergasted when asked to analyze. Several years ago, in an interview with Melbourne daily The Age after having won a Golden Globe for her soundtrack to “The Gladiator,” Gerrard, responding to a query from Ennio Morricone, who was intrigued by her work and wanted to know about the secrets behind her voice, said she told the famed film composer: “I can’t tell you anything. I’m not an academic. I’m not an intellectual. There is no intellectual answer to it. He wouldn’t believe me.”

Her own film scores in recent years, Gerrard believes, proved to be an influence on “Silver Tree,” her latest solo album. “It is through the marriage of music and picture that I have discovered the powerful suggestive nature of the work… that it is not necessary to spell out every detail, instead simply point the listener to that which is subtly suggested there, allowing the listener freedom to continue on their own inner journey,” said Gerrard.

In an interview with German magazine Sonic Seducer, Gerrard, asked to describe what music is to her, noted: “work that opens the pathway of the heart. It makes me feel and keeps me sensitive. It has helped me to maintain my faith in humanity. It brings me joy and sorrow in a way that they can be celebrated. It is an absolute that cannot innately be corrupted; it is a vessel of inner learning and a blessing from God.”

In the same interview, commenting on how her relatively recent motherhood had affected her and her work, Gerrard said that “apart from bringing a deeper dimension of love and discipline into my life, the children made me utilize effectively the time available to me to work, because you understand they must come first. I am a normal mother and they have no responsibility to the boundaries that I am trying to cross artistically.”

“Sanctuary: Lisa Gerrard,” a documentary on the artist’s remarkable career by English film producer and director Clive Collieron, was released late in 2006.

The story of Rachel Corrie November 7, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Stage & Theater.
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The story of Rachel Corrie plays in theaters around the world > Despina Sarafidou takes on the demanding role of political activist Rachel Corrie at Fournos Theater

Two women: the 23-year-old American political activist Rachel Corrie and a 30-year-old British journalist, The Guardian’s Katharine Viner. The former was murdered in the Gaza Strip in 2003, while attempting to save the house of a Palestinian from an Israeli bulldozer. The latter decided to become Rachel’s voice, given that the restless and brave young woman had left behind a series of diaries. Working together with Alan Rickman, they edited the material into “My Name is Rachel Corrie.” A demanding, one-woman show which became an unexpected success at London’s Royal Court Theater before triumphing in other countries, the play is currently on stage at the Fournos Theater, starring Despina Sarafidou.

“Initially her parents uploaded her Gaza Strip notes on the Internet. They wanted her voice to be heard. A year later, they authorized The Guardian to publish excerpts. When Rickman approached me, the material was familiar to me,” said Viner. “Israel bought these special kind of bulldozers from the USA. In a certain way, it was America who killed Rachel. In Israel she was considered a naive activist who lost her life because of her naivety.”

At the Fournos Theater, the play is directed by Thodoris Tsapakidis and produced by the Brokenchair Theater Company.

Fournos Theater, 168 Mavromichali Street, Athens, tel 210 6460748.