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Tribute to poet Odysseus Elytis

On November 2, 2011 Greece commemorates the 100th anniversary since the birth of poet laureate Odysseus Elytis. To mark the centenary of his birth, 2011 has been designated as Elytis Year by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Odysseus Elytis was born in Heraklion, Crete on November 2, 1911 and died in Athens on March 18, 1996.
A major poet in Greek language, Elytis is also one of the outstanding international figures of 20th-century poetry. Elytis’ poetry has marked, through an active presence of over forty years, a broad spectrum of subjects with a rarefied and passionate stylistic touch. The first collections of poetry (Orientations, 1939, and Sun the First, 1943) are joyous and radiant, celebrating the Greek landscape as an ideal world of sensual enjoyment and moral purity.
His experience of the war in 1940s marks a departure from the sunny atmosphere of his early youth and poetry, colouring his long poem Heroic and Elegiac Song for the Lost Second Lieutenant of Albania (1943). The attempt of Elytis to identify himself with the nation and speak for himself and also for his country reaches its peak with Axion Esti (‘Worthy It Is,’ 1959), his central and most ambitious work for which he was awarded the 1979 Nobel Prize for Literature.
His experience of the war in 1940s marks a departure from the sunny atmosphere of his early youth and poetry, colouring his long poem Heroic and Elegiac Song for the Lost Second Lieutenant of Albania (1943). The attempt of Elytis to identify himself with the nation and speak for himself and also for his country reaches its peak with Axion Esti (‘Worthy It Is,’ 1959), his central and most ambitious work for which he was awarded the 1979 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Centenary Celebrations
The Athens Concert Hall is paying tribute to Odysseus Elytis by holding a two-day (October 31 to November 1) international conference titled Odysseus Elytis: The 20th century in the poetry of Elytis. The poetry of Elytis in the 21st century, exploring new approaches in the interpretation of his work.
On November 2 and 3, there will be an event of original music by George Kouroupos under the title Odysseus Elytis’ This Small, this Great World!, with poetry and prose set to music, representing the main facets of the work of Odysseus Elytis: lyricism, a restless spirit of inquiry, courage, spirituality, sensation and true emotions. Continue reading

Prespes Lake Preservation Agreement

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) The prime ministers of Greece, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Albania, on November 27, sent a joint letter to the UN Secretary General, the European Union and the Danish prime minister regarding the environmental protection of the Prespes Lake region shared by all three countries.
After the tripartite informal meeting in a lake-side village on the Greek side, Greek premier George Papandreou told reporters that the three leaders agreed to sign an agreement – in early February 2010 – to enhance the environmental protection of the Prespes Lake region.
They also promised to promote bilateral and multilateral cooperation in water management and take measures to tackle pollution and soil erosion. 
Papandreou also discussed with his FYROM counterpart, Nikola Gruevski, investment projects, the possibility of abolishing visas for FYROM nationals, as well as the “name issue,” for which the Greek premier said that new impetus should be given to the ongoing talks for its resolution.
With his Albanian counterpart, Sali Berisha, the Greek premier discussed economic relations, and minority and immigration issues. 
UNESCO World Heritage: The area of the Prespes Lakes 
Greek News Agenda: Meeting @ Prespes

Alternate FM Wraps up Balkan Tour

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas wrapped up a tour of Western Balkans, on November 20. During three days, he visited Serbia, where he held talks with the Serbian FM, Vuk Jeremic and met also with president Boris Tadic, conveying the Greek government’s will to play a leading role in the Balkan region, by promoting the European accession of all Western Balkans countries.He then visited Montenegro (first photo) and Bosnia-Herzegovina where he held talks with both countries’ leaders, outlining the Greek initiative “Agenda 2014,” for the Western Balkans’ accession to the EU.After meeting Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Foreign Minister Sven Alkalaj, Droutsas said that Greece will be a partner and friend in this country’s course towards Europe.In Albania – the final leg of this tour- Droutsas discussed with the country’s leadership the “Agenda 2014,” as well as bilateral issues.

“My presence here underlines the importance we attribute to bilateral relations and to the European course of Albania,” he said after talks with his Albanian counterpart Ilir Meta.The minister also met with Tirana mayor Eddy Rama (second photo) and the Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania Anastasios.Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Op Ed by Alternate FM Mr. D. Droutsas (Politika, Korieri, Koha Yone, Pobjeda, Oslobodjenje) & Balkans Bilateral Relations

Greece-Albania Delineate Sea Zones

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) An agreement on the delineation of the Greek-Albanian continental shelf signed  in Tirana between the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Greece and Albania, within the framework of Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis’ official visit to Tirana. (April 27-28). The agreement of delimitation of the maritime space and continental shelf of the two countries is of special mutual significance for the bilateral relations and reflects Greece’s intention to conclude agreements on the delineation of its sea zones with all its neighbouring countries. Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Bilateral Relations with Albania; United Nations: Law on the Exclusive Economic Zone and the Continental Shelf

OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Dora Bakoyannis in Albania

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Our neighbourhood must be a priority,” the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Foreign Minister of Greece Dora Bakoyannis said during an official visit to Albania on Monday, as part of an ongoing a tour of western Balkan states. Albania plays a constructive regional role, but it must continue on the reform path and focus on improving election processes to achieve its Euro-Atlantic integration goals, Bakoyannis said during a brief visit to the country.  Regarding bilateral relations, the two sides signed an agreement for the operation of two military cemeteries on Albanian soil for Greek servicemen killed during the Greek-Italian war (1940-41) in WWII.  Furthermore, Greece will soon ratify the protocol for Albania’s entry into NATO, while it has already ratified the EU-Albania Association and Stability Agreement. OSCE Press Releases: OSCE Chairperson lauds Albania for progress, notes challenges ahead

October 28, Greece commemorates its Entry into World War II

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    The Athens Municipality’s Melina Mercouri Cultural Centre (in Greek) is hosting an exhibition tribute to the Greek resistance at the Albanian front (winter of 1940-41) during WWII. Having fought at the war front, painter and draughtsman Alexandros Alexandrakis (1913-1968) found time to document the harsh life of soldiers up on the Pindos mountains.
The exhibition comprising 149 works will run until November 16. Melina Mercouri Foundation: www.melinamercourifoundation.org.gr
                                                                 Tributes to WWII
On October 28, Greece commemorates its entry into World War II. On that day in 1940, Italy invaded Greece through Albania. Several exhibitions pay tribute to the Greek resistance, such as the one of the Tribute to the Greek Resistance, 1940-1944 that is on display until November 30 at the Memorial Leclerc – Museum Jean Moulin in Paris. Foundation of the Hellenic World: Greece and the Second World War (1940-1945)

Greece’s Relations with Serbia

Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis met her Serbian counterpart Vuk Jeremic in Athens on Thursday for talks ahead of the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly. As expected, issues topping the ministers’ agenda included the major challenges facing the Balkan region, such as the status of Kosovo and Serbia’s Euro-Atlantic course.  Outlining Greece’s positions with respect to Serbia, Bakoyannis said Athens was “proceeding with exceedingly cautious steps and would continue in this way.”  On Kosovo, in particular, she emphasised the need to improve the quality of daily life in the region, especially for minorities, and regardless of the governing regime. The European Union Rule of Law Mission – EULEX– was an important factor in this direction, she added.  Regarding Serbia’s relations with the European Union, the minister said Greece was playing a key role in speeding up the strengthening of EU-Serbia ties, while she expressed satisfaction with the cooperation between Belgrade and the International War Tribunal, noting that the latest developments opened the way for greater rapprochement with the EU. “The next step will be for Serbia to apply for accession to the EU,” she noted, adding that Belgrade would have Greece’s full support for this step.  Bakoyannis also referred to the very good bilateral relations between Greece and Serbia, especially in the area of developmental cooperation. She said Greece had so far disbursed €235 million from an overall budget of €550 million under the Hellenic Plan for the Economic Reconstruction of the Balkans, with priority given to completing Pan-European (roadway) Corridor X linking Thessaloniki with Belgrade and central Europe. Athens News Agency: Serbian FM in Athens; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Statements of FM Bakoyannis and her Serbian counterpart, Vuk Jeremic, following their meeting 

1020th Anniversary of the Baptism of Rus

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Celebrating the 1,020th anniversary of the conversion of Russia to Christianity, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia officiated at a joint service in Kiev yesterday. Present at the ceremony were Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos, Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania Anastasios and Kiev Metropolitan Vladimir. The two Patriarchs assisted a meeting marking the beginning of a new era in the relations of the Patriarchate of Moscow with the Mother Church, resolving past tensions. After the meeting, Smolensk Metropolitan Kyrill stated that it was “sincere and with God’s help all problems will be handled,” while Patriarch Alexy underlined that “dialogue is the base to handle all issues.” The Moscow Patriarch will participate in a synod of Orthodox Patriarchs organised by the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the Fanar, Istanbul, next October.

Festivals in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Cosmopolis Festival: The International Cosmopolis Festival (July 16-20) takes place in the city of Kavala, with ethnic music and dance groups from Albania, Spain, Malaysia, Russia, Serbia, Nepal, Puerto Rico, Tajikistan and Greece. In addition to the concerts and dance performances, visitors may also participate in several workshops, watch films from the participating countries, as well as taste their ethnic dishes.
Festival of the Aegean : On the island of Syros, the fourth annual Festival of the Aegean is taking place from July 9 to 19, presenting classical operas and musical concerts. Famous artists from over the world perform in the island’s Municipal Theatre called “La Piccola Scala.” Continue reading

The Greek Language, Ancient & Modern

 (GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The Greek Language is one of the earliest attested Indo-European languages, spoken today by approximately 12 million people in Greece, Cyprus, Albania, Bulgaria, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Italy, Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Egypt, Jordan and in emigrant communities around the world, including Australia, United States, Canada, Germany and elsewhere. Continue reading

The Greek Economy: Pointers

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)     According to the 2007/2008 UN Human Development report, Greece ranks 24th out of 177 countries (Greece – Data; Greece – Fact sheet).  Greece belongs to the OECD family of developed nations, enjoys economic stability consolidated by membership of the European Union/Eurozone and its growth rate is above EU average.  Greece has a brand new modern infrastructure network and services, well-developed human resources (highly productive, well-trained and educated workforce, and one of the lowest labour costs in the EU) and is an important centre of business, research and cultural activity. Greece   can serve as a bridge for communication with the less favoured regions of the world. She is in a position to play a leading role in southeast Europe and the eastern Mediterranean, showing the way to their economic and social reconstruction. Continue reading

Turkey Unveiled in the Greek Bridge Magazine

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The Bridge magazine (www.bridge-mag.com) reports on European integration, Southeast Europe and the East Mediterranean.  The current issue now online (Issue 7), titled “Turkey Unveiled” presents an overall image of Turkey touching upon its political, economic and cultural aspects. Contributions include Conservatism Globalism vs Defensive Nationalism (Ziya Önis, Koç University), From Domestic Crisis  to Regional Challenge (Ioannis N. Grigoriadis, University of Athens), Out of the box: Turkish media going global (Esra Arsan, Bilgi University), Performance and prospects of Turkish economy (Inan Demir, Finansbank).  Continue reading

The Name Issue of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on NATO’s Agenda

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  “Nobody likes vetoes,” but “the intransigence and nationalism on behalf of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), which is interwoven with the name issue, does not allow us to take the same positive stance as in the case of Croatia and Albania,”  Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis stated, addressing the informal meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in Brussels, yesterday. The meeting agenda focused mainly on the enlargement of the Alliance and in particular, on the candidateship of Croatia, Albania and FYROM, paving the way for the NATO Bucharest Summit, on April 2-3. Placing emphasis on the importance of unanimity, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer made clear that “NATO’s door is open” but “there’s an ally, Greece and a non-ally; FYROM….NATO works by consensus.” Bakoyannis was prompt to announce that “there is still time for an applicable solution,” therefore, Greece will “continue to work to this end in a constructive spirit,” and within the framework of the UN Special Mediator Matthew Nimetz’s efforts. Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Statements of FM Dora Bakoyannis following the informal meeting of NATO Foreign Minister; Greece and NATO;  Athens News Agency: Greece Refuses FYROM’s NATO Accession Bid; NATO: Main topics discussed at the informal meeting

Greece returns stolen artcrafts

(ATHENS NEWS AGENCY-MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY)  Greece returned to Albania two ancient statues which were stolen from the neighbouring country 17 years ago and smuggled into Greece. The first statue is a representation of goddess Artemis, dated second century BC, and the second one of Apollo, from the second century AD. Minister of Culture Mihalis Liapis stated that “the statues were finally returned to their rightful owners”. Continue reading