International Court of Justice Ruling on Distomo Case

In an announcement, issued on February 3, concerning an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling upholding Germany’s position, that it enjoys state immunity from being sued in foreign courts by victims of Nazi atrocities during World War II, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that the Greek government will study this Judgement closely, in the light of its firm and longstanding position that the matter of German compensations remains open.
The judgement affects the case of the south-central Greek village of Distomo, where Nazi troops killed 214 civilians on June 10, 1944, one of the numerous instances of WWII atrocities in occupied Greece. The court case concerned the confiscation of German property on Italian soil for reparations to be paid to victims of Distomo.

  • MPs Raise War Reparations Issue

Meanwhile, in Athens, 28 MPs from PASOK, New Democracy (ND), Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) as well as independent deputies tabled a motion in Parliament requesting a discussion on issues concerning the so-called German occupation loan from Greece during WWII, as well as the issue of war reparations to victims of Nazi atrocities and stolen treasures from the country.
In a letter addressed to the presidents of competent parliamentary committees, the MPs called on Parliament to adopt a clear stance on this “crucial national issue.”
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

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Last Voyage for Theo Angelopoulos

Angelopoulos can be counted

as one of the few filmmakers
in cinema’s first hundred years
 who compel us to redefine
what we feel cinema is and can be.”
Andrew Horton

World-acclaimed film director, and ambassador of Greek cinema abroad, Theo Angelopoulos died on the 24th January, after being hit by a motorcycle, while filming in Drapetsona, near Pireaus. Winner of several international film awards, Angelopoulos had started shooting his latest film, The Other Sea, earlier this month. His untimely death hit headlines around the globe.
Angelopoulos was born in Athens in 1935. He studied Law at Athens University, and at the beginning of the ‘60s he moved to France where he followed courses in ethnography and studied film at the Institute of Advanced Cinematographic Studies in Paris. Upon returning to Greece, he initially worked as a film critic and in 1970 he completed his first feature film Anaparastassi (Reconstruction).
His next three films make up a trilogy on the history of contemporary Greece: Meres tou ’36 (Days of ’36, 1972), O Thiassos (Travelling Players, 1975) and Oi Kynighoi (The Hunters, 1977), followeed by Megalexandros in 1980.
With these films some of the thematic and stylistic constants of Angelopoulos’ cinema were established – the weight of history, a clinical examination of power, a Brechtian theatricality, wherein the individual has no importance with respect to the group, a rejection of conventional narration in favour of an intentionally broken one, in which stationary cameras and sequence-length shots create an alternative sense of time.
Taxidi sta Kithira (Voyage to Cythera), in 1984, won the Cannes Festival International Critics’ Award for best screenplay, followed by O Melissokomos (The Beekeeper), in 1986, starring Marcello Mastroianni. With Topio stin Omichli (Landscape in the Mist) in 1988 he won the Silver Lion at the Venice Mostra. 
His filmography in the 90s included To meteoro vima tou pelargou (The Suspended Step of the Stork, 1991), followed by To vlemma toy Odyssea (Ulysses’ Gaze, 1995), starring Harvey Keitel – which won the Grand Jury Prize and the International Critics’ Prize at Cannes Festival. 
Then in 1998, he won the Cannes Palme D’Or prize for Mia eoniotita kai mia mera (Eternity and a Day) with Bruno Ganz. In 2003, he began another trilogy with To livadi pou dakryzi (The Wheeping Meadow) followed by H skoni tou chronou (Dust of Time, 2009). The film The Other Sea that he was currently shooting was to complete the trilogy.
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Greek Companies prospering in Poland (Warsaw Business Journal)

Greece has made the headlines for all the wrong reasons in 2011, with the country being hit by political turmoil as it struggles under the effects of the economic crisis. However, for many Greek companies based inPoland, this year has been business as usual.
There are currently about 40 companies with Greek capital active in the Polish market, according to figures from the Embassy of Greece in Warsaw.
Greek-owned companies have invested more than €1.4 billion and created a total of 11,000 jobs in Poland, the country’s ambassador to Poland, Gabriel Coptsidis, said in a statement earlier this year.
Mellon Group, a company headquartered in Athens specializing in IT services and sales for financial institutions, telecommunications firms and companies in the retail sector, established itself in the Polish market almost six years ago. A growing Polish client base, which includes lenders such as PKO Bank Polski, Polbank EFG, and mBank, helped Mellon Poland make it in to the top 100 companies of Europe’s 500 fastest growing companies in 2010. Europe’s 500, which makes the ranking, is an association of fast growing owner-managed companies in Europe.
“This year is better than the previous one, and we have not been affected,” said Grigorios Kotoulas, General Manager, Mellon Poland. “However, we see in the market that there is a slowdown, but not a recession. We are making plans accordingly but none that … will affect our forecast for2012”, he added.
For Lefteris Maroulis, general director of sports betting firm Totolotek (owned by Greek company Intralot), business has been going well inPoland. Totolotek is a company which has been organizing sports betting in Poland since 1992 and operates close to 400 locations in the country.
(Warsaw Business Journal, 20/12/2011)

Για την προετοιμασία του άρθρου η δημοσιογράφος Veronika Joy συνεργάστηκε με το Γραφείο Τύπου και το Γραφείο Οικονομικών και Εμπορικών Υποθέσεων. Continue reading

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

Tourism: Strong Numbers (analysis)

A Global Tourism Destination

Greece is one of the top tourism destinations in the world. In fact Lonely Planet placed Greece among its top 10 destinations for 2010 and the Greek Islands were voted the best island destination in the world globally by Conde Nast readers in 2011.

The number of tourism visits over the last decade has shown a steady increase. From 14.2 million international visitors in 2004, more than 17 million people visited Greece in 2010, and it is expected that in a few years this number will reach 20 million, almost twice the country’s population.

The increasing number of tourists and the evolving profile of today’s traveler demand a host of new tourism offerings and infrastructure projects. In Greece, investors will find a wide spectrum of opportunities, a welcome environment for new investment, and some of the most beautiful locations in the world.

Tourism Industry Strengthened—Three Factors
In addition to the increased number of arrivals reported in 2011, the tourism industry as a whole strengthened in 2011, mainly due to a) the reduction of VAT for hotels, enhancing their competitiveness, b) simplified procedures for travel documents, particularly boosting Russian arrivals and c) partial lifting of restrictions for the cruise industry.

For more:
http://www.investingreece.gov.gr/default.asp?pid=127&nwslID=19&sec=8


Foreign Media and Greece`s Country Image in the Economic Crisis

On May 31, the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) together with the Association of Greek Press Attaches is hosting a conference on Foreign Media and Greece’s country image in the economic crisis.
The event will be held at the premises of the Secretariat General of Information in Athens. The conference will be addressed by the General Director of the Greek Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) Yannis Stournaras, the General Director of the Greek-German Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Martin Knapp, journalist Maria Houkli, French media correspondent, Alexia Kefalas and Bodossakis Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, George Tzogopoulos.
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Extended visiting hours for museums and archaeological sites

Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Yeroulanos announced new extended visiting hoursof a number of museums and archeological sites in Greece on May 18.
The ministry said that the list will be further enriched in the future weeks, depending on the availability of staff.
The list includes some of the most popular sites and museums in Greece such as the Acropolis of Athens – Archaeological Site, which will be open from 8.00-19.00, all year round; the Thessaloniki Museum of Byzantine Culture; the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki; the Archaeological Site of Philippi; the Archeological Museum and site of Mycenae; the Archeological Museum and site of Epidaurus; the Archaeological site of Mystras; the Archeological site and Museum of Afaia, Aegina; the Archeological Museum of Messenia; the Archeological site of Ancient Messene; the Catacombs on Milos island; the Herakleion Archeological Museum; the Archeological site of Knossos and the Spinalonga island on Crete.
The list also includes the Archaeological Museum of Drama; the Church of Panagia Kosmosoteira (Our Lady, Saviour of the World), in Ferres; the Grevena Archaeological Collection; the Museum of Asian Art, Corfu; the Archaeological Collection of Arta; the Byzantine Museum of Ioannina; the Ioannina Treasury; the Fortress of Ioannina; the Igoumenitsa Archaeological Museum; the Nekromanteion of Acheron; the Athanasakeion Archaeological Museum in Volos; the Archeological site of Nea Aghialos, Magnesia; the Byzantine Museum of Fthiotida at Ypati; the Monastery of Osios Loukas; the Corinth Archeological Museum.
Ministry of Culture & Tourism:  Brief Guides to Archaeological Museums in Greece Part I & Part II; YouTube: Culture in Greece [VIDEO] [Photo 3: The Nekromanteion of Acheron – Oracle of the Dead]
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)