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Greek Photo-Art Travels to New York

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Myrto Papadopoulos and Sirio Magnabosco – winners of the Cedefop/Thessaloniki Photomuseum awards for 2007 and 2008- are representing the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography at the New York Photo Festival which takes place in Brooklyn N.Y., from May 13 to 17.

World Press Photos 2009 at Athens Airport

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Travellers and visitors will have the opportunity to visit the World Press Photo 2009 at the Eleftherios Venizelos Athens International Airport from May 7 to 29. 
The World Press Photo exhibition is an annual event, travelling to over 80 cities worldwide, showcasing the winning images of the World Press Photo Contest.

Greece in Eurovision 2009

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Greek pop singer Sakis Rouvas and “This is our night” is Greece’s entry for the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest, which will be held in Moscow in May. The lyrics for the song are written by the Greek Australian musical composers and songwriters Craig Porteils (born Craig Portelis) and Cameron Giles-Webb. Sakis Rouvas (37) represented Greece in 2004 with “Shake It” and won third. The singer has been active in the Greek and Cypriot music business since 1991, and over this period has launched over a dozen of successful albums, selling an estimated two million copies. The night the song was selected at a live show hosted by the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT), viewers from 66 countries tuned in for the webcast of the Greek show. See also You Tube: Sakis Rouvas- This Is Our Night LIVE performance     Greek reporter: Greek-Australians write Greece’s Eurovision Song (18.02.09) 

“History Lost” at the European Parliament

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The multimedia exhibition on the illicit antiquities trade and the impact of antiquities’ theft on culture, entitled “History Lost,” was held from February 9 – 13 at the European Parliament’s Yehudi Menuhin Hall in Brussels. “History Lost” was organized by the Foundation for Hellenic Culture with the support of the Chairwoman of the Committee on Culture and Education of the European Parliament, Katerina Batzeli.  The exhibition has already been presented in Nicosia, Athens, Trieste, Lisbon and Dublin.

Carnival Celebrations in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Greece’s Carnival season known as “Apokries” is a period of eating, drinking, dancing and masquerading. Traditionally, it begins ten weeks before Greek Orthodox Easter and culminates on the weekend before “Clean Monday,” (Ash Monday) the first day of Lent. This year, the carnival season lasts from February 8 until March 2. The roots of Carnival celebrations and customs can be traced back to ancient Greece and are linked to the worship of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and festivity. In fact, Carnival is closely related to the cultural heritage of each region and every year many traditional customs are being revived in different parts of the country. The Patras Carnival is the most popular in Greece, ranking among the top carnival celebrations in the world. The Carnival of Xanthi (Thrace) and Skyros include more traditional events (Skyros – Carnival) . In Corfu and Rethymno (Crete), the celebrations have absorbed a slightly Venetian flavour from the periods that the islands were under the control of Venice. In Galaxidi, Carnival events culminate on the first Monday of Lent with a parade of floats, transformed into a battlefield, as the “warriors” merciless pelt each other with ample quantities of variously coloured flour.   Agrotravel.gr – Information Gate to Greek Rural Tourism: Carnival Events Around Greece  Athens Plus (February 13): “Fokida: Come and Join the Carnival (13.02.09, p.42) 

Exploring Greece: Pieria

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The Pieria prefecture, southwest of Thessaloniki in Macedonia, is the epitome of the Hellenic landscape – a perfect combination of mountain and sea, hosting not only the country’s highest summit, Mytikas (2,917 meters), on legendary Mount of Gods Olympus (or Olympos), but also its longest stretch of beach. The area – besides its irresistible allure for mountain lovers- presents considerable archaeological interest, and is therefore suitable for breaks and vacations throughout the year. The castle of Platamonas in the south and the sprawling archaeological site of the ancient Macedonian town, Dion, carry great historical appeal. The prefecture’s capital, Katerini, is one of Greece’s newest towns. Established at the end of 19th century by repatriated Greeks from the area of the Monastery of St Catherine on Mount Sinai in Egypt, Katerini is today a modern urban centre with exceptional quality of life. Athens Plus (January 23): Pieria, in the shadow of the Gods  (23.01.2009, p.42)  

Opportunities for Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Secretary General of Information Panos Livadas  visited the USA (Chicago, Atlanta, Washington) last  week (February 2-6). During his visit, Livadas holded a series of meetings with government officials, representatives of Greek diaspora organizations and the media. In Chicago, the Secretary General  met with the state of Illinois Finance minister, Alexi Giannoulias and the city’s mayor, Richard Daley. In Atlanta, Livadas spoke at the Southern Center for International Studies, on “New Opportunities in Southeastern Europe – The Role of Greecewhile in Washington he will give a lecture at the Woodrow Wilson Center on “Global crisis: Greek resilience in turbulent times.”

The Marble Road to the Acropolis

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The remains of an ancient road – used to transport marbles for the construction of the monuments on the Acropolis from Mount Penteli – was unearthed during excavations in the northern Athenian suburb of Halandri. The existence of the special road was known for some time but this is the first physical evidence of its actual course, which coincides with what Manolis Korres, professor of Architecture at the National Technical University of Athens had already depicted in a set of vivid drawings in his book “From Pentelikon to the Parthenon.” More information: Smithsonian Magazine – Unlocking Mysteries of the Parthenon Other Works by Korres: “The Stones of the Parthenon,” “From the Quarry to the Parthenon” 

Treasures from Medieval Halkis

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    A unique collection of Venetian medieval jewelry from Halkis is going to be presented for the first time before a scientific audience, on January 27 at the Gennadius Library of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. The collection – the largest part of which belongs to the British Museum since the 19th century and smaller one to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford – is to be presented at a lecture titled “A medieval jewelry treasure from Halkis in context.”  The presentation of the collection as well as its further study and publication will contribute to a better understanding and re-creation of life in the cosmopolitan Venetian fortress town of Halkis before its capture by the Ottomans in 1470.

Greek Innovation Plan Gains Laurels

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   During a special ceremony of the Hellenic Parliament on January 20, the Speaker of Parliament Dimitrios Sioufas bestowed honours to Antonios Platanios – winner of the 2008 Microsoft Innovation Days (Greece)- for his pioneer project on home energy saving. The sixteen-year old high school student won first place in 2008 Imagine Cup Finals of Microsoft Innovation Days, an annual event attended by academics and entrepreneurs who exchange views on Greece’s competitiveness and ability to promote entrepreneurship at both an individual and corporate level.   Platanios’ project “Protasis” focuses on the environment and aims at reducing power consumption. With this project application for ‘the future home,’ Antonios Platanios represented Greece at the world Finals of 2008 Imagine Cup competition in Paris.  Imagine Cup 2009: Registration  Special Secretariat for Digital Planning: A strategic agreement with Microsoft; Microsoft: Innovation Centre Greece

Migration Front Line

GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos has penned an article titled: “The migration front line,” in the daily “Guardian” (21.1.2009) on the issue of migration. Pavlopoulos acknowledges the problem of illegal immigration for both Greece and Europe, especially in these times of economic stress, as well as the necessity for co-ordinated action. Pavlopoulos mentions the specific measures the state has taken in order to cope with the increasing number of illegal immigrants entering Greece, i.e. the establishment of reception centres complying with UN specifications, the adherence of Greek legislation with the Geneva convention and other international treaties regarding asylum seekers and the “rational planning” of immigration policy. Furthermore, the minister stresses the need for closer collaboration with the European Union, focusing on the implementation of the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum. This entails the operation of Frontex, the right of immigrants to be treated on a case-by-case basis under international law, upgrading of living standards, and other requirements. Finally, Pavlopoulos refers to the selection of Athens as the venue for the Global Forum on Migration and Development, in November 2009.

Greek FM Bakoyannis meets Palestinian Official

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis met on Friday in Athens with the Palestinian Authority Minister for Foreign Affairs Riad Al-Malki for talks focusing on developments in Gaza regarding Israel’s military operations. During a joint press conference afterwards, Bakoyannis underlined the need to open the crossing points to Gaza so that humanitarian aid can reach those in need. Both ministers acknowledged that achieving reconciliation and unity among Palestinians is the prerequisite for addressing the Palestinian issue, which lies at the heart of the Middle East problem.  The two sides also signed a memorandum for political consultation and renewed the two-year Executive Educational Programme, reaffirming the ties between the two peoples and the desire to develop bilateral cooperation. In related news, Bakoyannis travelled yesterday to Brussels to attend a working dinner of EU foreign ministers on the Middle East with the participation of the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, and the Palestinian Authority, focusing on the situation in the Gaza Strip and the EU’s contribution to the peace process. Today (January 26) Bakoyannis is expected to give a speech at the European Policy Centre entitled “The World in 2009: a year for Europe?”

An African Chameleon in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   A very beautiful reptile with vivacious patterns, the African chameleon lives in a very special part of Europe: right on a narrow strip of land formed on Yalova beach in the prefecture of Messenia. A project studying the chameleon and how it can best be protected is underway. The campaign is designed to raise awareness amongst the locals about the rareness of the reptile and its importance for the preservation of the region’s biodiversity. Find out more: www.agrotravel.gr; Bird watching and Nature Wandering in Greece:  www.ornithologiki.gr

Greece: Monitoring the Economy

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The newly-established Inter-ministerial Committee on Economic Policy, headed by Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, held its first meeting on Friday (9.1.2009). The Committee reviewed the international economic situation and discussed in detail the impact of the global financial crisis on Greece. Speaking to reporters after the two-hour meeting, newly appointed Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou (in the centre) explained that the committee was set up to render the coordination more effective in order to handle the crisis in the best possible way and constantly monitor the economy so as to adjust policies as required. The committee will periodically examine public finances and will focus on measures to ensure flexibility in adjusting either to what the European Commission calls for or meeting the needs of the local economy.  Kathimerini daily – New minister to scrutinise state of the economy; Greek News Agenda: Inter-ministerial Economic Policy Committee Convenes 

Greece: New Government, New Beginning

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis addressed his new Cabinet following a swearing-in ceremony, emphasising that the economy and public order would top his government’s agenda. In a public speech after the first meeting of his Cabinet, Karamanlis said that tough times lie ahead for the country. “There are no easy solutions; we have an uphill struggle ahead of us as 2009 is going to be a difficult year. The global economic storm is unprecedented in post-war years,” stressing that “we are determined to succeed.” The premier outlined five priorities: boosting liquidity in the economy, protecting jobs, supporting the poor, continuing reforms that will help growth and ensuring that EU funds are used to help employment and growth in rural areas. The government is creating a new beginning, with a step towards renewal and continuity. “We don’t care about impressions, but about substantive results,” the premier said, adding that both the experience of the old and the dynamism of new members would be put to good use. The goal is to provide efficiency, stability, certainty and security to the citizens. Kathimerini daily: PM sets out priorities for new ministers & Karamanlis reshuffle a mixed bag; Greek News Agenda: Cabinet Reshuffled 

Inter-ministerial Economic Policy Committee Convenes

Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis decided on Thursday to set up an Inter-ministerial Economic Policy Committee which will be responsible for systematic monitoring and coordination of the government’s policy in the sectors of the economy, finance and development. The committee will be headed by the premier himself and participating members include Finance and Economy Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou, Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis and Environment, Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias. The committee – which meets today for the first time – convenes at the Prime Minister’s Office and the Bank of Greece’s governor will be present. Relevant ministers will also be invited to the committee’s sessions in accordance with the issues being examined in future meetings. 

Athens: Revamped Monastiraki Square

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Athens residents as well as tourists can finally enjoy in full the newly refurbished Monastiraki square, at the heart of classical Athens. The square – at the foothill of the Acropolis, an intersection between the capital’s ancient heritage and its modern shopping centre which is always extremely popular with tourists – has undergone a thorough facelift that allows visitors to view, among other things, the bed of the ancient Eridanos (or Iridanos) River, while walking over a glass cover. Attiko Metro: Archaeological Excavations per Station

Decoding the Heavens by the Antikythera mechanism

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    antikythera-mechanismJo Marchant, Decoding The Heavens, William Heinemann 2008. Humanity’s need for purpose seems universal.  Regardless of our belief system, perhaps the beginning of winter is the best time to contemplate meaning and purpose.  How affirming and humbling to realize we are still so similar to others from the past.  The Antikythera mechanism (www.antikythera-mechanism.gr), calculated the motions of the sun, moon and planets and predicted eclipses using intricate gear mechanisms created over 2000 years ago.  Now scientists are reconstructing the device and finding that ancient Greek technology was far more advanced than previously thought.  “Historians have often scoffed at the Greeks for wasting their technology on toys rather than doing anything useful with it. If they had the steam engine, why not use it to do work?” But these devices may have been “a way to get closer to the true meaning of things. To what better use could technology be put?” The size of a shoebox, the Antikythera mechanism – a mysterious bronze device scooped out of a Roman-era shipwreck at the dawn of the 20th century, off the island of Antikythera (www.antikythira.gr), has baffled scientists for years and proved to be a  calculator used by the Ancient Greeks more than 2,000 years ago. New Scientist (12.12.2008): Archimedes and the 2000-year-old computer; Ancient computer recreated; Nature science journal (31.7.2008): Streaming video: Antikythera

Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Valinakis at Olive Group

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)     yannis-valinakisDeputy Foreign Minister Yannis Valinakis on Tuesday underlined the need for more effective EU policies in the Mediterranean region, pointing out that it was equally important to bring a Mediterranean dimension into European integration. Attending the 6th Informal Meeting of the EU Mediterranean countries “Olive Group” that took place in Taormina, Sicily (15-16.12), the minister stated that the meeting focused on migration issues in the western Balkans and EU enlargement. He underlined there should be a “Mediterranean neighbourhood” to face the problems together and join forces to create opportunities that “will protect us during a crisis and at the same time produce long-term benefits.” The Olive group consists of Italy, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Slovenia. Greek News Agenda: The Olive Group; Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus: 5th Informal Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Mediterranean EU Member-States, Concluding Remarks 

Last Goodbye to the Leading Historian Angeliki E. Laiou

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Angeliki E. Laiou, History Professor at Harvard University, died of cancer on Thursday, December 11, in Boston. Laiou, one of the world’s leading historians of Byzantine civilization, was born in Athens in 1941. In 1981 she joined Harvard University as Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Byzantine History and in 1985 she became the first woman to serve as chairman of a Department there. Her authorship includes fourteen monographs and edited books and countless articles on diverse aspects of Byzantine history – diplomatic and political history, economic history, family and the position of women in Byzantine society. Angeliki Laiou served as Deputy Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic and was also Member of Parliament in Greece between 2000 and 2002. In 1998, she was elected a permanent member of the Academy of Athens, the highest honor and achievement for academics of Greek nationality. At the time, she was only the second woman to be bestowed this honor since the Academy’s founding in 1926. Harvard University History Department – Obituary; The Times: Professor Angeliki Laiou: expert on women in the Byzantine empire 

Hijacking Democracy in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   An article by Secretary General of Information Panp-leivadas-1os Livadas titled “Hijacking Democracy” appears in Huffingtonpost.com (16.12.2008), where he addresses the recent incidents of violence that occurred in parallel with demonstrations in Athens and other cities in Greece, and what lies behind the unrest.