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Poems on the Underground – Greek contemporary poetry

The Press Office of the Greek Embassy in Warsaw promotes the contemporary poetry of Greece and participates to   “Poems on the Underground” events (6-30 September 2010).
“Poems on the Underground” (Wiersze w Metrze) has been inspired by other similar projects  in many cities: Dublin, Paris, New York, Barcelona, Stockholm, Stuttgard and Moscow, organised for the first time in London in 1986.
Wiersze w Metrze promotes contemporary European poetry in public city spaces, through happenings, haiku competition, poetry city game and a performing poetry festival.
Many cultural institutes and embassies participate to the project, which takes place under the auspices of the the mayor of Warsaw, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz.
Greek contemporary poetry will be represented by two acclaimed poets, Kiki Dimoula and Nasos Vagenas.
Kiki Dimoula has recently been awarded the European Literature Prize for 2010. Her poetry has been translated into English, French, German, Swedish, Danish, Spanish and many other languages.
Dimoula’s poetry is haunted by the existential dissolution of the post-world era. Her central themes are hopelessness, insecurity, absence and oblivion. Using diverse subjects and twisting grammar in unconventional ways, she accentuates the power of the words through astonishment and surprise, but always manages to retain a sense of hope.
Nasos Vagenas, professor of Theory and Critique of Literature in the Department of Theatre Studies of the University of Athens, in 2005 was awarded with the State Poetry Prize for his poetic collection ‘Stefanos’.
His poetic work includes the books: ‘Field of Mars’, ‘Biography’, ‘Roxani’s Knees’, ‘Wandering of a non-traveller’, ‘The Fall of the Flying’, ‘Barbarous Odes’ , ‘The Fall of the Flying B’, ‘Dark Ballads and Other Poems’, ‘Stefanos’.
His poetry has been translated into English, German, Italian, Dutch, Romanian, Serbian.
Two poems of Kiki Dimoula and Nasos Vagenas have been translated in polish language for “Wiersze w Metrze” by the professors and students of the Department of Greek Studies of the University of Warsaw (Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies “Artes Liberales”).

Deficit down by 46%

According to the preliminary data available for the state budget implementation for the first six months of 2010, on a fiscal basis the deficit presented a 46% year-on-year decline against a targeted 39.5% in the government’s economic policy programme.
The fiscal result of the first six months of 2010 is due to both restriction of expenditures and revenue increases. Nevertheless, these do not yet fully reflect all fiscal measures included in the government’s programme for 2010.
Furthermore, ordinary budget expenditures declined by 12.8% year-on-year against a targeted 5.5% reduction and primary expenditures decreased by 12.7% against a targeted 5.4% annual decrease.
Hellenic Stability & Growth Newsletter: June 2010
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

PM George Papandreou`s profile in the New York Times

Suzanne Daley, a journalist for the New York Times, wrote an extensive profile of George Papandreou entitled Greek Leader Finds Balm for Deficit: Straight Talk
Published on June 15th, the piece describes how honesty about the state of the economy and transparency into government activities have become the most important tools in confronting the sovereign debt crisis- and the hallmarks of the Papandreou administration.

Ελένη Γλύκατζη-Αρβελέρ “Γιατί το Βυζάντιο”

Γιατί το Βυζάντιο

Το «Γιατί το Βυζάντιο», το καινούργιο βιβλίο της Ελένης Γλύκατζη-Αρβελέρ, γραμμένο απευθείας στα ελληνικά, αποτελεί ένα απόσταγμα σχεδόν βιωματικό, από την πολύχρονη διδασκαλία της διαπρεπούς βυζαντινολόγου στη Σορβόννη. Απευθύνεται στο ευρύ κοινό και ειδικά σε εκείνους που τους απασχολεί το ζήτημα της ελληνικής ιστορικής συνέχειας.
«Το πόνημα αυτό», αναφέρει η ίδια, «απευθύνεται σε όσους από τους Νεοέλληνες ταλανίζονται με το πρόβλημα της ελληνικής ιστορικής συνέχειας και στους ξένους (κυρίως τους Δυτικοευρωπαίους και τους Αμερικανούς βλαστούς τους) που αρκούνται στην επιλεκτική γνώση του παρελθόντος τους, άσχετα από κάθε ιστορική πραγματικότητα και με μόνο μέλημα τη δικαίωση μιας σύγχρονης πολιτικής προσέγγισης, που υπαγορεύουν συμφέροντα και ενδιαφέροντα, ξένα συχνά από την ιστορία και το αντικείμενό της».
Η συγγραφέας επιχειρεί να αποσαφηνίσει το Βυζάντιο δια του Βυζαντίου, με πολλαπλές αναφορές σε κείμενα – κλειδιά (Τριακονταετηρικός του Ευσεβίου, Κοσμογραφία του Κοσμά Ινδικοπλεύστη, Τακτικά του Λέοντος ΣΤ’ τυο Σοφού, Βίος Ιακώβου του Νεοφωτίστου, Σχόλια του Τζέτζη, Επαναγωγή κ.ά.), τα οποία, κατά τη γνώμη της, εκφράζουν συνοπτικά τα χαρακτηριστικά της βυζαντινής ψυχοσύνθεσης ή σημαδεύουν παραστατικά τομές και στροφές της ιστορίας του Βυζαντίου.
Ο στόχος της Ελένης Γλύκατζη-Αρβελέρ είναι ο εξής, όπως τον διατυπώνει στον Πρόλογό της: «Να βάλω, κατά το δυνατόν, έστω εκ του πλαγίου και λάθρα σχεδόν, το Βυζάντιο στη θέση που τα επιτεύγματά του μας υπαγορεύουν: να πω συνοπτικά, εννοώ, αυτά που το αναδεικνύουν ως την πρώτη ευρωπαϊκή αυτοκρατορία και που εξηγούν, όχι μόνο το πολιτιστικό μεγαλείο του (και αυτό ανεπαρκώς ακόμη γνωστό), αλλά και την ασυνήθη για παγκόσμια δύναμη (όπως ήταν κάποτε το Βυζάντιο) μακροβιότητά του».
Η επιλογή των θεμάτων που αναπτύσσονται σχετίζεται κυρίως με φαινόμενα μακράς διαρκείας και μπορούν να ερμηνεύσουν το «Γιατί» της βυζαντινής πολιτικής εμβέλειας (εξ ου και ο τίτλος «Γιατί το Βυζάντιο»).
Αναλύονται οι σχέσεις της πολιτείας με την εκκλησία (αυτοκράτορα και πατριάρχη), του κέντρου με την περιφέρεια (Κωνσταντινούπολης και επαρχιών), του Βυζαντίου με τους πολυποίκιλους γείτονές του, φίλους, συμμάχους ή εχθρούς. Οι συνοριακές συρρικνώσεις, οι δογματικές διαμάχες, οι στρατιωτικοπολιτικές αντιπαλότητες και οι άνισες κοινωνικές διαβαθμίσεις που ρύθμιζαν την καθεστηκυία τάξη εξηγούν τη δυσκολία της βυζαντινής κοινωνίας αλλά και της πολιτικής να ανταποκριθεί στις απαιτήσεις των καιρών. Η πτώση της αυτοκρατορίας πρώτα στα χέρια των Σταυροφόρων (1204) και τελικά στους Οθωμανούς (1453) προλογίζουν την χαλεπότητα της μετέπειτα εποχής που θεμέλιό της ωστόσο μένει η πολύχρονη βυζαντινή εμπειρία: θρησκευτική, ιδεολογική και βιωματική. Απόηχός της ως τις μέρες μας μπορεί να θεωρηθεί η αμφίσημη σχέση των Νεοελλήνων με τη Δύση και με την Ανατολή, πρόβλημα της νεοελληνικής ταυτότητας.
Εκδόσεις: Ελληνικά Γράμματα

EU backs up Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) The European Union yesterday, in a joint statement by the Heads of State or Government, agreed to take determined and coordinated action to safeguard financial stability in the euro area, and expressed full support for the efforts of the Greek government and their commitment to do whatever is necessary to get the country’s public finances in order.
European commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said that the statement was intended to end speculation that Greece would require a bailout package, while adding that “the Greek government believe they do not need financial support.”
Addressing a press conference at the end of the informal summit in Brussels and referring to this agreement to assist Greece, Prime Minister George Papandreou said:

“our partners assessed and ascertained our will to change, we convinced them, following our great efforts, and it is necessary for us to continue. We will succeed.”
Greece is aiming to reduce its deficit by 4 % of GDP this year, largely through cuts in public spending and an increase in taxes. However, Papandreou said that he would not hesitate to adopt more measures if it becomes necessary.
Council of the European Union: Agreement to support Greece; Kathimerini daily: EU offers help but no specific money pledge

Cultural ties with Georgia

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) The Institute of Classical, Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies of the Tbilisi State University has undertaken the initiative to compile the first Modern Greek-Georgian Dictionary, containing 50,000 words. The project was funded by the Kostas and Eleni Ourani Foundation

The Greek element has been present in Georgia since antiquity. The first trips had commercial purpose and within years, the first cultural enclaves were established.
The two early Georgian kingdoms of late antiquity were known to ancient Greeks as Iberia in the east and Colchis in the West.
The Western part was strongly influenced by Greek culture – as evidenced in Greek mythology and the story of Jason seeking the Golden Fleece in Colchis – and the eastern part by the Persians.
Greeks in Georgia established ties with the Byzantine Empire, building on a common religious background.
Until recently (1989), the Greek community in Georgia counted some 100,000 residents, but nowadays the population totals between 15,000- 20,000. 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Greeks in Georgia; Photo: “The Argonauts”, a publication by the Institute of Classical, Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies of the Tbilisi State University.

High Quality Bathing Waters in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The European Commission’s latest report regarding the quality of bathing water during the 2008 season puts Greece in one of the top spots for cleanest bathing waters.  The parameters taken into account for the assessment – according to the mandatory quality standards of the updated 2006 Bathing Water Directive of the European Union – are the amount of microbiological, physical and chemical elements.  After monitoring several bathing water samples, the results of the report confirmed that Greece’s coastal bathing waters and freshwater in lakes meet all the standards set by the EU. The countries with the best scores in bathing water quality are: Cyprus (98.2%), Greece (97.7%), France (96.3%), and Malta (94.3%). European Environment Agency: State of Bathing Water

Greek State Scholarships to Foreign Nationals

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The State Scholarships Foundation grants two types of scholarships for the academic year 2009-2010.   The first is for postgraduate or postdoctoral studies in Greece: seventy (70)  cholarships will be granted to nationals from the Balkan and Eastern European countries, Asia, Africa and Latin America; forty (40) scholarships to nationals from the EU member states, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, U.S.A., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. The second type: sixty (60) scholarships are offered to foreigners or foreign nationals of Greek descent from countries worldwide in order to attend courses and seminars of the Modern Greek Language and Culture.  The application deadline is May 29, 2009.   See also: Greek News Agenda, 6.12.2007: Special Issue – Studying in Greece 

Greek Prime Minister: “There are no Easy Solutions to the Crisis”

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis on Tuesday reiterated his unwavering devotion to the duty mandated by the international financial crisis, warning that there were no easy solutions or recipes. Addressing a meeting of his party’s parliamentary group, the premier said that uncertainty and intense worry over the explosion in unemployment, as well as a fear of recession, prevail throughout Europe. He added that the repercussions inevitably affect Greece as well. “Greece is not outside or beyond the world,” he said, adding that the times beckon a responsible position. “We can convert the international financial crisis into a national opportunity. I am here, and I will fight with all my strength. The Greek people, with unity and unanimity, can win the challenges at this international conjuncture,” the prime minister stressed. On the Vatopedi Monastery-State land transactions affair, the premier said: “I assume our share of the responsibility.” He further added “I underestimated the issue, I did not see its dimensions early on, I did not have the full picture,” Karamanlis conceded, stressing that “the mistake is mine, and I am not passing it on to anyone.”  Athens News Agency: PM Karamanlis: There are no easy solutions 

Olympic Carrier Relaunched

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    Marking a new era for Greece’s national air carrier, Transport Minister Kostas Hatzidakis announced that the European Union has given its approval for the relaunching of Olympic Airlines. “The state-owned company will be privatised” said the minister, explaining that the company at its present status will be liquidated and some of the company’s assets will be transferred to a new private company, which will keep the name and the logo of its predecessor.  Greek News Agenda: Flying the Wings of Change; Ministry of Transport & Communications: www.yme.gr  Secretariat General of Information: About Brand Greece-Privatisation Policy and the Greek Economy

Greece’s Television and Radio Frequency Charts

On July 24 2008, Greek Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos and Transport and Communications Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, held a press confrence for the presentation of the frequency chart for digital television tranmission and the frequency chart for analoque radio broadcasting in Greece. The digital broadcast trial period will be launched on November 1, 2008 with digital integration completed by 2015 at the latest, Roussopoulos said, adding that the EU is urging members to adopt digital technology by 2012. The digital frequencies chart is a serious attempt to put the broadcast sector in order, Roussopouloos said, stressing that consultations will be held with all interested parties before any joint ministerial decisions are issued setting the necessary preconditions.  Read the transcript of the press conference in english   Continue reading