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Farewell to Iakovos Kambanellis

Iakovos Kambanellis, one of the most prominent figures of post-war Greek literature, died yesterday at the age of 89.
Kambanellis was born on the island of Naxos and studied design in Athens. During the Nazi occupation of Greece in WW2 he became actively involved in the Resistance movement. He was arrested by the German occupying forces in 1943 and was sent to Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp, from which he was liberated by the Allied Forces in 1945.
His legendary Mauthausen novel, which describes his experience as a concentration camp survivor, was set to music by Mikis Theodorakis and became one of the most influential works in Greek culture.
He wrote more than twenty plays and twelve film scripts, including Stella by Michael Cacoyannis and The Dragon by Nikos Koundouros. In an announcement, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism expressed deep regret for Kambanellis’ passing, noting that the deceased defined the style of post-war Greek theatre, adding that his works were deeply loved by the Greek audience, as they soberly and truthfully depicted the reality of life in Greece, its difficulties and joys.
ERT Digital Archive: Iakovos Kambanellis – Part 1& Part 2 (in Greek) [VIDEO]
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)
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Farewell to a great philhellene

Jacqueline de Romilly, a distinguished French academic and great philhellene, died on December 18 at the age of 97. De Romilly was a classical scholar who specialised in the civilisation and language of ancient Greece, and had been the second woman to be elected member of the prestigious French Academy.
In 1995, the Greek state bestowed honorary Greek Citizenship upon De Romilly. In 2000, she was named ambassador of Hellenism, and became a foreign guest member of the Athens Academy. As a scholar, she was known for her works on ancient Greek literature, and thought, especially on the historian Thucydides and Pericles’ Classical Athens.
“The life and work of Jacqueline de Romilly are bathed in the light that comes from the sources of the highest civilisation – the Greek civilisation, the flame of which lived with her till her last breath” said French President Nicolas Sarkozy, while Prime Minister George Papandreou praised de Romilly for honouring Greek thought and for devoting herself to the promotion of Greek literature and arts.
You Tube: Jacqueline de Romilly – La Vigie Grecque
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Russia honours Polish director Andrzej Wajda

Polish film director Andrzej Wajda has been awarded an Order of Friendship by Russian president Dmitri Medvedev, the Kremlin informed Tuesday.
The Order of Friendship is one of the highest Russian distinctions.
Kremlin spokesmen said Wajda was granted the Order for his contributions to Russian-Polish cultural ties.
Wajda, 84, one of the founders of the so-called “Polish film school” in the 1950s and 60s, won world fame with his epic works Man of Marble and Man of Iron, in which he criticized Stalinism. Wajda has received numerous international awards for his films, including a lifework Oscar in 2000.
Earlier this year Wajda’s film Katyn about 1940 mass executions of Poles in Katyn Forest, west Russia, evoked broad reactions in Russia. Wajda said at the time that he had been personally involved in the film as his father had been among  the Katyn victims.
(PAP, 11/8/2010)

New era in Greek-Turkish relations

» High Level Cooperation

Premier George Papandreou and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan expressed their will to take important steps towards the improvement of Greek-Turkish relations, as the Turkish leader wrapped up an official visit to Athens on Saturday.
This was sealed with the opening session of the Greece-Turkey High Level Cooperation Council and the signing of 21 agreements.
George Papandreou met with the chiefs of Turkish media, while Erdogan with the chiefs of the Greek newspapers.
The Greek premier told Turkish journalists that Erdogan’s visit heralds a new era in Greek-Turkish relations, further adding that the two sides had better overcome their differences. He also touched on economic cooperation between Athens and Ankara.

» “We have an agreement”

Twenty-one cooperation agreements in fields as diverse as technology and tourism were signed during the Turkey-Greece High Level Cooperation Council.
Ministers signed agreements boosting trade, investments and shipping and the two countries will hereby extend their cooperation in projects concerning infrastructure works and transnational transport networks.
Relations between the two countries in the field of immigration will be governed by a bilateral agreement which provides for readmission of illegal immigrant flows to Turkey and cooperation in the fight against organized crime, trafficking and civil protection.
Both sides agreed to improve tourism cooperation, aiming at increasing their market share in countries with economic potential such as China, as well as raising global awareness on matters of cultural heritage protection.

Special attention was given to education and synergies concerning research. Environment protection and joint ventures in energy projects including renewable energy sources and the existing Turkey- Greece-Italy gas pipeline were also sealed with respective deals.
In terms of strengthening bilateral ties,  a Joint Political Declaration on the establishment of the High Level Cooperation Council as well as a Protocol on regular political consultations between the two countries’ foreign ministries were signed.

» Signing the Olympic Truce

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan concluded on Saturday his landmark visit to Athens by signing the Olympic Truce initiative.

At a brief ceremony in front of the imposing Panathenaic Stadium, Erdogan referred to the “great honour in signing my name in this book; to put my signature for a world of peace.”
Papandreou said that Turkey’s support for the idea sends out a clear message “by Turkey and Greece to the world,” adding that Greece will actively support Istanbul’s bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games.
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)