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Local Elections Run-off

Following the second round of local elections yesterday, the ruling PASOK party won the majority of regional governorships (8 to 5).
In municipal elections and -despite a high abstention rate- there was a change of leadership in the three major cities.
In Athens, Giorgos Kaminis, the former Ombudsman, won the mayorship, with the support of Pasok, after defeating the incumbent New Democracy (ND) mayor, Nikitas Kaklamanis.
In Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, the independent Yiannis Boutaris, supported by Pasok, defeated ND-backed candidate Costas Gioulekas, while in Pireus, Vassilis Michaloliakos, supported by ND defeated Pasok candidate Yiannis Michas.
Commenting on the results, Prime Minister George Papandreou said that the citizens “rejected the sirens of destabilisation and gave the government a clear three years of work to enable it to continue the effort for the country’s salvation and recovery.”
The premier also called on all political parties to “assume responsibility” and work together with the aim of saving the country. Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras said that “the second round confirmed the political conclusions of the first Sunday” and gave the opportunity to his party to emerge “renewed, strong and responsible.”
For more information: Ministry of Interior, Decentralization and E-Government: Regional & Municipal Elections 2010 Results (in Greek); Kathimerini Daily: Pasok gets regional upper hand; YouTube: PM’s nationwide televised press statement (in Greek)


Αγώνες Special Olympics στην Πολωνία (18-24/9/2010)-Ελληνική συμμετοχή

Από τις 18 ως τις 24 Σεπτεμβρίου πραγματοποιήθηκαν στη Βαρσοβία οι Ευρωπαϊκοί Αγώνες Special Olympics, με την συμμετοχή 1.600 αθλητών από 57 χώρες της Ευρώπης και της Ευρασίας.
Στους αγώνες συμμετείχε και ελληνική αποστολή 86 αθλητών, δηλώνοντας με την παρουσία της – πέρα από το μήνυμα της αποδοχής της διαφορετικότητας και της ενθάρρυνσης της συμμετοχής ατόμων με διανοητική αναπηρία σε κοινωνικές και αθλητικές δραστηριότητες – την ενεργό προετοιμασία της Ελλάδας για τους επόμενους Παγκόσμιους Αγώνες Special Olympics (XIII Special Olympics World Summer Games) που θα πραγματοποιηθούν στην Αθήνα το καλοκαίρι του 2011.
Στην τελετή έναρξης των Αγώνων Special Olympics στις 18 Σεπτεμβρίου, παρευρέθηκε και ο έλληνας ευρωβουλευτής Γιώργος Σταυρακάκης, ο οποίος σημείωσε ότι η «Φλόγα της Ελπίδας» μετά την αφή της στην Αλεξανδρούπολη στις 5 Σεπτεμβρίου ταξίδεψε  σε οκτώ ευρωπαϊκές πόλεις για να φθάσει τελικά στη Βαρσοβία για την τελετή έναρξης των Αγώνων.
Ο κ. Σταυρακάκης υπογράμμισε την σημασία των Αγώνων Special Olympics ως το μεγαλύτερο αθλητικό γεγονός για άτομα με διανοητικές δυσκολίες, τονίζοντας την αναγκαιότητα στήριξης –και μέσω του Ευρωπαϊκού Κοινοβουλίου- των προσεχών Παγκόσμιων Αγώνων Special Olympics στην Αθήνα, που στόχο έχουν όχι μόνο να ενισχύσουν περαιτέρω τα ολυμπιακά ιδεώδη της άμιλλας και του εθελοντισμού, αλλά και να βοηθήσουν στην ένταξη στο κοινωνικό σύνολο περιθωριοποιημένων ανθρώπων, καθώς και στην κοινωνική συνοχή.

Immigration Policy:Interview of Giorgos Tsarbopoulos

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) In an interview with a Greek daily (Ta Nea), Giorgos Tsarbopoulos, head of the Greek branch of United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) comments on the government’s decision to overhaul Greece’s migration policy.
Tsarbopoulos admits that the draft law on granting citizenship to immigrants is a positive initiative but needs to be supplemented.
He says that naturalisation should be the first step within a broader social integration policy. Similarly, asylum policy needs to be enhanced by a well organised hospitality and welfare safety net.
What is important about the new asylum policy is that it disassociates itself from the police and that a new independent body is created to address the issue.
UNHCR recognises that within the European Union, the Dublin II Regulation has placed a disproportionate burden on Greece and advises other EU countries not to send back asylum seekers when their reception is deemed precarious. 
Greek News Agenda: UN Refugees High Commissioner in Athens & A Joint Letter on Immigration; UNHCR: 2010 Regional Operations Profile – Greece

Γιώργος Σκαμπαρδώνης “Μεταξύ σφύρας και Αλιάκμονος”


Μεταξύ σφύρας και Αλιάκμονος

Ένα χρόνο μετά το μυθιστόρημα «Όλα βαίνουν καλώς εναντίον μας» για το Μάρκο Βαμβακάρη, ο Γιώργος Σκαμπαρδώνης επανέρχεται με μια συλλογή διηγημάτων, γραμμένων από το 2004 έως τα μέσα του 2009.
Στα διηγήματα αυτά κυριαρχούν κι επανέρχονται θέματα από το οικείο σύμπαν του συγγραφέα: τα άφεγγα μέρη, οι αναδιπλώσεις της μνήμης, οι υπόγειες κρύπτες. Το ανεπαλήθευτο, το παίγνιο, οι εμμονές: το νερό, η θάλασσα, η υπέρβαση της αντοχής, η απώλεια. Οι δύσκολες σχέσεις, η φθορά, η κρίσιμη στιγμή που φέρνει την αλλοίωση και σε ορίζει. Η μοναχικότητα, τα ζώα, ο φόβος, η πνιγμονή, ο ακρωτηριασμός, η πτήση, το αναπάντεχο. Η μεγάλη αναμονή, η ματαιότητα, η Ιστορία που διαβρώνει το τώρα. Η ειρωνεία του τυχαίου που μεταβάλλει τα πάντα. Τα μεγάλα κατορθώματα που γλυκαίνουν παλιές μαχαιριές. Το κενό, ως μουσική που πυκνώνει και παρηγορεί.
Σταθερά θέματα που φεύγουν, επανέρχονται μεταμφιεσμένα κι αντανακλούν σε 27 διηγήματα υφασμένα πάνω σε σταθερές, αόρατες γραμμές και σε ρευστά σχέδια, μεταξύ μιας ύπερθεν μοίρας και του σουρεαλισμού της πραγματικότητας, μεταξύ σφύρας και Αλιάκμονος.
Εκδόσεις Ellinika Grammata, συλλογή Σύγχρονη Ελληνική Πεζογραφία 



the writer G. Skambardonis


Giorgos Skambardonis “Metaxy sfyras kai Aliakmonos” 

One year after his last novel “Ola vainoun kalos enantion mas”, the writer and journalist Giorgos Scambardonis has recently published a book of narrations, written during the period 2004-2009.
Twenty-seven short stories (editions Ellinika Grammata), about some of the writer`s familiar themes, such as the water, the sea, difficult relationships, animals, fear, loneliness, vanity, loss, memory, the history that alterates the present, the irony of the unexpected that changes everything, the exceeding of endurance, the long waiting.
Constant subjects that come back in a different manner, linked with invisible lines, between a fate from above and the surrealism of real life. 

Grecki film na Warszawskim Festiwalu Filmowym / Ελληνική Ταινία στο Φεστιβάλ Κινηματογράφου της Βαρσοβίας




W ramach 25.Warszawskiego Festiwalu Filmowego odbędą się dwie
projekcje filmu w reżyserii Jorgosa Lanthimosa pt. “Kieł” (2009)
sobota- 10 października- godz. 14.00
poniedziałek- 12 października- godz. 16.30
(KINOTEKA, pl. Defilad 1, www.kinoteka.pl)
Więcej szczegółów na stronie internetowej festiwalu:

Το Σαββάτο 10/10/09 στις 14:00 και την Δευτερα 12/10/2009 στις 16:30 στο κινηματογράφο KINOTEKA (pl. Defilad 1, www.kinoteka.pl)  και στα πλαίσια του φεστιβαλ Κινηματογράφου της Βαρσοβίας θα προβληθεί η ταινία του Έλληνα σκηνοθέτη Γιώργου Λανθιμου “Κυνοδόντας”.
Ο “Κυνόδοντας”  πηρε το βραβειο καλυτερης ταινιας στο Φεστιβαλ Καννών στο τμήμα “Ενα Κάποιο Βλέμμα”. 

Piano Concert in Warsaw: “20th Century Greek Classical Music” / Koncert fortepianowy w Warszawie: “Grecka Muzyka Klasyczna XX Wieku” / Συναυλία Πιάνου στη Βαρσοβία: «Ελληνική Κλασική Μουσική 20ου Αιώνα»

DSC_7972On Wednesday May 27, composer and pianist Giorgos Kissas and his wife Dagny Baczynska-Kissas, also a pianist, performed pieces of Nikos Skalkotas, Giannis Papaioannou, Dimitris Mitropoulos, and Kissas own compositions, to the Greek-Polish audience at the Austrian Cultural Institute in Warsaw. Dagny Baczynska-Kissas graduated from the Frederic Chopin Music Academy, in Warsaw. Giorgos Kissas studied music in Greece and Poland.  The concert entitled “20th Century Greek Classical Music” was jointly organized by the Austrian Cultural Institute and the Press and Communication Office of Greece in Warsaw. The event concluded with a wine reception in the honor of the musicians.

Koncert fortepianowy : “Grecka Muzyka Klasyczna XX Wieku”

DSC_798527 MAJA 2009 Kompozytor i pianista Georgios Kissas wraz z małżonką, również pianistką Dagny Baczyńską – Kissas zaprezentowali w dniu 27 maja w sali Austriackiego Forum Kultury w Warszawie dzieła greckich kompozytorów Nikos’a Skalkotas’a, Yiannis’a Papaioannou, Dimitris’a Mitropoulou oraz kompozycje własne Georgios’a Kissas’a.  Dagny Baczyńska-Kissas  jest absolwentką Akademii Muzycznej im. F.Chopina w Warszawie, natomiast Georgios Kissas studiował muzykę klasyczną w Grecji oraz w Polsce.  Koncert „Grecka muzyka klasyczna XX wieku” został zorganizowany przez Austriackie Forum Kultury przy współpracy Biura Prasowego i Komunikacji Ambasady Grecji.  Po zakończeniu imprezy miał miejsce poczęstunek greckim i austriackim winem.

Συναυλία Πιάνου στη Βαρσοβία: «Ελληνική Κλασική Μουσική 20ου Αιώνα»

27 ΜΑΪΟΥ 2009 Ο συνθέτης και πιανίστας Γιώργος Κίσσας μαζί με την πιανίστρια σύζυγό του Dagny Baczyńska-Kissas παρουσίασαν στις 27 Μαίου στους χώρους του Αυστριακού Ινστιτούτου Πολιτισμού στη Βαρσοβία έργα των Νίκου Σκαλκώτα, Γιάννη Παπαϊωάννου, Δημήτρη Μητρόπουλου, αλλά και συνθέσεις του ίδιου του Γιώργου Κίσσα.  Η Dagny Baczyńska-Kissas είναι απόφοιτος της Μουσικής Ακαδημίας Φρειδερίκος Σοπέν της Βαρσοβίας, ενώ ο Γιώργος Κίσσας έχει σπουδάσει κλασική μουσική στην Ελλάδα και στην Πολωνία.  Η συναυλία «Ελληνική κλασική μουσική του 20ου αιώνα» οργανώθηκε από το Αυστριακό Ινστιτούτο Πολιτισμού σε συνεργασία με το Γραφείο Τύπου και Επικοινωνίας Βαρσοβίας. Μετά το τέλος της εκδήλωσης προσφέρθηκε ελληνικό και αυστριακό κρασί στους παρισταμένους.

2009 Dedicated to the Poet Yiannis Ritsos

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Yiannis Ritsos -together with Kostis Palamas, Giorgos Seferis, and Odysseus Elytis have marked contemporary Greek poetry- and has been among the country’s most widely translated poets. A prolific writer – many of his poems, like Epitaphios and Romiosyni were set to music by renowned composer Mikis Theodorakis. 
Born on May 1st, 1909 in Monemvasia, Lakonia, to landowners, Yiannis Ritsos was often persecuted for his left-wing politics. That combined with the tribulations of his personal and family life (death of his mother and elder brother, his father’s commitment to a mental institution, his own struggle with tuberculosis since 1926) inspired his poetry and led him to receive many distinctions in Greece and abroad. He was awarded the Lenin Prize for Peace in 1977 and the 1956 State Poetry Award for his work “Moonlight Sonata” and was also nominated for the Nobel Prize in literature in 1968. He died on November 11, 1990.

♦ Marking the Centenary of the Poet’s Birth

In order to bolster research and disseminate the work of Greek authors and bring them closer to the general public, the Ministry of Culture and the National Book Centre of Greece (EKEBI) launched, some years ago, the initiative of commemorating one literary figure every year. This year, to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Yiannis Ritsos the two institutions have planned a series of commemorative events such as the publication of a special volume dedicated to the life and work of the poet, the creation of a special website with extensive information on the poet, the preparation of a mobile exhibition which will travel around Greece and abroad, as well as the release of 12 commemorative telephone cards in collaboration with Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE). Also, since March 21, EKEBI has released a series of small-size posters on the Athens tram and metro.

Monemvasia to Honour Poet

A much-anticipated exhibition to take place at the medieval fortress of Monemvasia this summer will mark one of the artist’s lesser known talents. “Ritsos the Artist” will be inaugurated by the French ambassador in Greece, Christophe Farnaud, on July 4 at the restored Agios Nikolaos Church, once the elementary school where Ritsos studied. Apart from some personal items, the show will mainly consist of watercolours, ceramics, and reed roots painted by Ritsos. Running through to August 4, the Ritsos exhibit is one of many events put together by the Monemvasia municipality and the show’s artistic director, composer Pigi Likoudi, to mark the centenary of Ritsos’ birth. [Programme of events in Monemvasia (in Greek)

Greek Screening at Cannes

(GREEEK NEWS AGENDA)   The Cannes Film Festival opens its gates for its 62nd edition from May 13 to 24. Greece will be represented by Giorgos Lanthimos’ film titled “Dogtooth” in the “Un Certain Regard” section.  The film tells the story of a mysterious family living in a house outside the city, where the children have no contact with the outside world. Thirty-six-year-old director Giorgos Lanthimos has so far filmed three movies and one of them – “Kinetta” – was selected for 2005 Berlin Festival’s Forum, the Toronto International Film Festival and was nominated for the Thessaloniki International Film Festival’s “Golden Alexander” (2005).  Greek Film Centre: Festival de Cannes- Dogtooth

A Farewell to Greece / Αποχαιρετισμός στην Ελλάδα

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   In a letter published in Sunday “Kathimerini,” on December 28, 2008, Simon Gass, until recently British Ambassador to Athens, bids a warm farewell to Greece (pdf in Greek). 
“Write if you can on your last shell
the day the place the name
and fling it into the sea so that it sinks”
“Santorini -The naked child”- Giorgos Seferis 
In a few days, my wife and I are leaving Greece after eight blissful years in your country; first during the 80’s and the second time these past years. Greece has been good to us. […] 
Greece and its people exercise an intense influence on foreigners. British writer Lawrence Durrell wrote: “Other countries can make you discover customs, traditions or landscapes. Greece offers you something harsher: self-discovery.”  In Greece, us northern Europeans, leave behind some of our cold-blooded nature and reservation and become more extroverted, seeking the company of other people. […] 
We don’t think Greece has given us permission to leave the country indefinitely. When we do return, it will not be just for the peoples or the landscape, but because Greece is a country which we admire for many different things. 
“May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbours seen for the first time”
“Ithaca”- Constantine P. Cavafy  
Still, it won’t be Greece[…] 
Thank you, Greece.                 

Greek Translators Awarded by European Institutes

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)     Effecting closer contact between Greek and foreign literature, the European Translation Centre (EKEMEL), in collaboration with cultural institutes in Athens representing Great Britain (British Council), France (French Institute), Germany (Goethe Institute), Italy (Cultural Institute) Spain (Cervantes Institute) award Greek literature translators every year for their work on classic and contemporary foreign literature. On December 3rd, EKEMEL hosts a literature session in honour of the translators awarded at the Italian Institute in Athens. The award for best translation from English to Greek was attributed to Serafim Veletzas for the book “13 Objects” by Howard Barker. The award for best translation from French was received by Titika Dimitroulia for Viktor Serge’s “L’affaire Tulaev” (“The Case of Comrade Tulayev“).  The award for the translation from German went to Giorgos Depastas for Jelinek Elfriede (2004 Nobel Laureate in Literature) “Gier” (Greed), Nikos Pratsinis received the award in the Spanish category for Ferlosio’s (Cervantes Prize 2004) “Alfanhuí” and finally, in the Italian category, the award for best translation was bestowed on Panayiotis Skondras for Malaparte’s “Kaputt.”

Greek President at the International Association of Hydrogeologists

ceb3ceb9cf89cf81ceb3cebfcf83-cf83cf84cebfcf85cf81cebdceb1cf81ceb1cf83(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    Geology professor at Athens University Giorgos Stournaras has been appointed president of the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH). IAH is an international organisation for researches and professionals working in the field of groundwater resource planning, management and protection. Founded in 1956, the association now numbers more than 3,500 members in more than 135 countries. Giorgos Stournaras is a professor at the Faculty of Geology & Geoenvironment at Athens University and President of the Hellenic Committee of Hydrogeology.

Greek PM: Growth Secured

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Attending the extraordinary summit of Euro zone leaders yesterday in Paris, called by EU’s French presidency, Karamanlis hailed the EU leaders’ decision to give full support over a coordinated response to the economic slowdown. Speaking to the press, Karamanlis reaffirmed Greece’s immediate response to the financial turmoil which managed to “exhibit reflexes that were much better than many other countries around the world.” Moreover, Karamanlis appeared reassuring, noting that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) continues to foresee growth in Greece at 2%, when zero growth is projected for the rest of the Euro zone countries. At the World Bank Group and IMF’s annual meeting, Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis is expected to address the organisation’s plenary session. Alogoskoufis has already met during the weekend with World Bank officials as well as senior executives of international financial institutions. Athens News Agency: FinMin in Washington & PM satisfied with Eurozone summit European Commission: Economic & Monetary Union & Stability and Growth Pact; International Monetary Fund: IMF Welcomes Euro Zone Plan to Combat Crisis & World Economic Outlook, (October 2008); Ministry of Economy and Finance: The Greek Economy at a Glance (October 2008); Greek News Agenda: Bank of Greece: Banking System Safe

Greek Finance Minister at IMF: Restoring Trust

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Thanks to its relatively solid banking system, Greece is ‘insulated’ enough against the clogged financial system that has been inflicting the global economy; however, the necessity to fortify financial policy and cohere with fiscal principles is urgent. The remarks belong to Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis speaking to the press in Washington on the occasion of his address at the International Monetary Fund annual meeting’s plenary session. Alogoskoufis noted that IMF has projected a prolonged crisis which will last through 2009. The conclusions drawn at IMF coincide with the ones of G7 and Ecofin and call for action to assure liquidity, remove toxic assets from banks’ balance-sheets, consolidate capitals and provide guarantees to rebuild credit trust. As for Greece’s stance on the matter, the minister reiterated that bank deposits are now guaranteed by law and that the comparatively high growth rates and the ongoing decrease in unemployment signal a lighter disturbance by the latest financial turbulence. Ministry of Economy and Finance: Speech by Giorgos Alogoskoufis & The Greek economy at a glance (October 2008); Greek News Agenda: PM: Growth Secured & Special Issue-The Greek Economy  International Monetary Fund: IMF Welcomes Euro Zone Plan to Combat Crisis & World Economic Outlook, (October 2008)