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Greece: Energy Matters

» Cool Your Home For Less

Energy 1(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The Greek government announced yesterday a measure to subsidise households with the cost of replacing air-conditioning units. The Development Ministry said it would offer up to €500 or 30% of the retail price, for every old appliance returned. The aim of the programme is to save energy during the peak summer period, helping both the environment and the economy. The ministry considers that between 50,000 and 60,000 appliances will be replaced in the six-month period set to begin next week. It is estimated that there will be a reduction of 20,000 tonnes in gas emissions, and that some 20 gigawatt hours (GWh) of energy will be saved by the measure, said Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis. The total cost of the nationwide programme amounts to €15 million. A special website, www.allazoklima.gr (in Greek), will be posted on June 5.  Kathimerini daily: Cooling your home just got cheaper

» Paint The Town… White!

white-house1Intrigued by the idea that people in the Aegean islands use the colour white to paint their houses, the world’s most influential scientists have come up with a practical solution to save the world from global warming. Using white in painting the urban landscape (roofs, pavements, etc.), sunlight is reflected, thus ensuring a drop in temperature, because, making a reflective building reduces the amount of solar heat it absorbs. Buildings remain cool and the use of air conditioning – which contributes to the deterioration of the environment – is averted or at least limited. The numbers speak for themselves. Urban infrastructure corresponds to 2.4% of the earth’s surface. It is further estimated that the white colour on the surface of 100 of the world’s largest cities could cut up to 44 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. Temperatures in cities could drop by 2 C. 

Steven Chu, the Nobel prize-winning physicist appointed by President Obama as Energy Secretary, backs the idea fully. “Now, you smile, but […] if you take all the buildings and make their roofs white […] it’s the equivalent of reducing carbon emissions due to all the cars on the road for 11 years,” he said.   Lawrence Berkley Nat. Lab: Heat island effect & “Cool World” Plan

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The Historic Continuation of Athens

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    The urban network of the city of Athens is still based on the ancient one. The axes of main streets are the same or follow those of ancient roads. Though the most impressive fact is the continuity in use of the urban area. And this is what is called historic sequel and the continuation of Athenian landscape.  The National Foundation of Research recently organised a series of twelve tutorials which focus on the Archaeology of Athens. Twelve scholars presented the most crucial aspects of the history of Athenian urban and suburban space from pre-historic times to modern ones. Some of the texts have translated into English. National Foundation of Research: Archaeology of the City of Athens

Green Buses in Athens

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Athens is set to acquire one of the most modern public transport bus fleets in Europe, according to an announcement made earlier this week by Transport Minister Kostas Hatzidakis.  Unveiling details of a major upgrade in the fleet of buses operated by the Athens Urban Transport Organisation (OASA), he said the new buses are set to meet stricter environmental specifications and generate much lower levels of atmospheric emissions. The total fleet of buses will be 614, and their delivery is expected to be completed by the first half of 2009. Secretariat General of Information: About Brand Greece- Greek Environmental Strategic Policies

Reading Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Julian Evans: An aesthetic of fatality (Times Literary Supplement  25.7.2008)
The Boundless Garden. Selected short stories, Volume One. By Alexandros Papadiamandis. Edited by Denise Harvey & Lambros Kamperidis, Athens: Harvey and Co. 
“The saint of modern Greek storytelling Alexandros Papadiamandis (1851- 1911) has rarely been published in English.  This is not a simple matter for a writer many Greeks believe to be the saint of modern Greek storytelling, its Dickens or its Chekhov.
The Boundless Garden, the first of a new three-volume English edition of Papadiamandis’s stories, was initiated by Philip Sherrard in the early 1990s and was continued by his widow, Denise Harvey. It constitutes a memorial tribute to Sherrard’s lifelong efforts to restore poetry and spirituality to what he felt to be the aridity of modern existence.
The Skiathos-born Papadiamandis, wedded to rural island Greece, simultaneously pantheistic and Orthodox, widely versed in the European literary tradition, explored themes of emigration, displacement and exile, paganism and the power of evil, urban solitude, the shattering of a homogeneous past by the momentum of modernity. These things, Sherrard believed, required the restorative synthesis of poetry to make their hardship and loss bearable…”

Hellenic Railways

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   By 2014, the national railway network will have undergone major infrastructural changes, Hatzidakis announced at a joint press conference with the European Commissioner for Regional Policy Danuta Hubner, on September 9 in Athens. Electrical railway tracks as well as environmentalally-friendly urban transport and the tram line’s extension will be some of the suggested projects to be implemented through the National Strategic Reference Framework (2007-2013), worth €20 billion.