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Greek language to be taught at Hungarian Military University

Budapest
Greece as the foundation of Western culture and Aristotle as the father and forerunner of European philosophy and science, as well as the educator to Alexander the Great, were belauded by the Hungarian under-secretary of state, Ms. gnes Vadai in her speech at the inauguration of the Greek language school at the National Defence University in Budapest. At this school, the classrooms of which bear the name Aristotle, beginning in January Hungarian officers will study, and after a two-year course in the Greek language will be able to attend retraining courses at the respective military schools in Greece, within the framework of the bilateral Greek-Hungarian military cooperation. As was stressed by Ms. Vadai at the inauguration ceremony, the establishment of the school is the result of the cooperation between the Hungarian and Greek defence ministries, the Greek-Hungarian Higher Military Committee and the Language Institute of the National Defence University of Budapest. The Hungarian under-secretary of state expressed the hope that the Greek-Hungarian cooperation will be continued on a long-term basis and that the new School, besides the familiarization with the Greek language, will provide Hungarian students with an opportunity to access Greek history and culture. From his side, the head of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff delegation and Head of the International Relations Department, brigadier Andreas Vlanos, mentioned that Greece and Hungary are maintaining exemplary relations on a general level, and especially between National Defence Ministries, which shall be kept up in the future. Thereafter the Greek orthodox vicar Jzsef Kalota blessed the newly opened classrooms, conveying also the benediction of Michael, the Metropolite of Austria and Exarch of Hungary and Central Europe, regarding the Schools work. The inauguration was attended, amongst others, by Jnos Szab, the Dean of the National Defence University, and Major General Istvn Juhsz, Head of Operations and Training Department of the Hungarian MoD, as well as from the Greek side, the Envoy of the Hellenic Republic in Budapest Ioannis Stamatekos, the Defence Attach at the Embassy of the Hellenic Republic, Colonel Alexandros Desypris, and the leadership of Greek community associations and institutes in Hungary.

Restoration of Greek historic graves in Hungary

Budapest
The glorious history of Hellenism in Hungary and the centuries-old Greek-orthodox presence in this country, were revived in the memory of those attending the ceremony at Fiumei cemetery in Budapest, on the occasion of unveiling a special commemorative plaque about the restoration of eighteen historic Greek graves. These are graves of the 18th and 19th century, belonging to Greek merchants, founders of the historic Orthodox Hungarian Church Community of Budapest founded by the Greeks, in 1792, which was forcibly repealed in 1952 and was re-established two years ago. The restoration of the graves took place on the initiative of the Macedonian Intercultural Association, with the financial aid of the Greek foreign affairs ministry and various sponsors. The unveiling of the commemorative plaque was carried out by the Greek envoy in Budapest, Ioannis Stamatekos and Michael, the Greek-orthodox Metropolite of Austria and Exarch of Hungary and Central Europe, who earlier celebrated a trisagio (Sanctus) in memory of the Greeks buried there. Vasilios Stamatopoulos, secretary general of the Macedonian Intercultural Society and Metropolite Michael spoke about the restoration and history of the Greek graves of the 18th and 19th century. The ceremony was attended, amongst others, by Mr. Spyros Agardi, president of the Self-Government of the Greek minority of Budapest, Mr. Dimitris Ladas, the president of the Macedonian Intercultural Association, Mr. Ioannis Papastoitsis, representative of the mayor of the city of Giannitsa and of the Greek-German Friendship Association, as well as by delegations of Greek Self-Government and Greek communities in Hungary. The unveiling of the commemorative plaque about the restoration of the Greek graves is also connected to the great exhibition "Greek Heritage in Hungary - Greek orthodox Diaspora in Hungary during the 17-19th century in the famous Budapest History Museum, which operated under the auspices of His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Mr. Bartholomew and which after many months, ended recently. The exhibition presented the uphill journey of the Greeks who started from the region of Macedonia and tried to bring out their historic presence in Buddha, Pest and other cities and regions of Hungary, as well as their contribution to the arts and letters, as well as to culture, trade and politics. The exhibition with hundreds of historic exhibits, mostly sacred artefacts that were presented for the first time to the public, was organized by the Orthodox Hungarian Church Community of Budapest founded by the Greeks. The Cultural Award and Acknowledgement Diploma will be awarded to the Community for its exceptional contribution to the preservation and dissemination of the cultural and religious heritage of the Greek National Minority in Hungary.

International award for best film goes to students of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki
A valuable commodity - a bottle of water - is kept in a suitcase, which is claimed by many. Its transport is causing a series of killings of those who bear it, before reaching its final receiver. This idea comprises the plot of a one minute film by two students at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, which has won the award for the best film at the international competition for the environment One minute to save the world that was held in London. They are cinematography department students Stelios Alexandrakis and Menelaos Pamboukidis, who participated with the film World War III. The film was selected among 210 other films from countries and regions that have been affected by environmental disasters. Water shortage will cause conflict and fighting between peoples in the future. The bottle of water in the film is used with a pinch of irony, in order to accentuate its value, while people of different nations are involved in the killings, which shows the dimension of the problem said Stelios Alexandrakis.

"The beautiful Greeks of Vancouver"

Vancouver
Small, touching human stories make up the course of the Greek community in Vancouver, one of the most historic communities in Canada, which was founded in 1927. In our meetings with Greek immigrants in the model Community Centre after Sunday service at the magnificent church of St. George in Kitsilano, stories of yesterday are causing an emotional impact and are blending into dozens of questions from our immigrant friends, as they wish to have firsthand news from the old country. The older ones are confessing to us that originally they planned to stay only for a while, as every Greek immigrant leaving from his country believed, and that they did not expect to grow old there in the end. Yet, this beautiful place became their second home, while their children and grandchildren, for whom they arranged to receive a good education, are fully integrated in the local community. Greece, again, is always on everybodys lips and in their hearts, even those of foreigners who are married to our fellow countrypeople. Out of 100 marriages 70 are mixed ones, we are being told by father Demetrios, who is serving for 35 years now at the St. George church, one of the three Greek churches in Vancouver. Maybe that is why part of the service is held in English. The figs that are offered to us by the 83-year old Georgios Salatelas from Mytilene, sweeten us up, together with the words of a bevy of Greek women, which monopolizes our attention. Ellie and Garyfallia from Thessaloniki, Christina from Crete and other ladies are talking to us about their first difficult years, which fortunately have passed, as well as about their anxiety for their children and grandchildren whom they wanted to walk on "Greek paths". Besides, this is an issue that worries all Diaspora Greeks, who managed to raise worthy progeny, tells us Mr. Tsakoumis, ex president of the Community. His father and grandfather, from Nafpaktos, both merchants by profession, went for the first time in 1898 to Vancouver. He himself is one of the most prominent pioneers of the community, having worked for 30 years with the Archbishop Iakovos of blessed memory, while his wife Frosso was the first to teach Greek at the end of the 1950s. We are no different than other Greeks. We too are carrying all good and bad things from home with us Mr. Tsakoumis told the ANA-MPA magazine Hellenic Diaspora. But we have taken care for our children to retain their Hellenism and our religion, which is a key factor, he says. A new face at the helm of the Community, only 35 years old and a lawyer by profession, has taken five years ago the reigns of the Greek community of Vancouver. Although born in Canada with roots in Sofiko of Corinthia, Panagiotis Kletas has an excellent command of the Greek language, as do all our young Greek immigrants whom we have met, for that. An invaluable associate is his life partner Victoria, who has newly arrived from Greece. Mr. Kletas talks to us about the Community with dedication and respect for all those who have worked arduously, in order to make it the connecting link of all Greek immigrants. "Greece is always here, exactly like the first Greeks who have laid the foundations of our Community in 1927, built it. Besides, the programs that we are organizing are prepared to this end says Mr. Kletas. "In the evening hours, except on Sundays, classes of Greek school are held, from elementary to high school, where eight Greek immigrant teachers are teaching Greek, history and geography of Greece to about 200 children. We are proud about the Greek-language day nursery that is operating during the last years within the facilities of our Community", he adds. Very popular are also the Greek folk dance classes, a talent hotbed for the three folk dance groups (children, juvenile and grownups), as well as the sports programs. Suffice it to say that in the larger Vancouver area there are 10 Greek football (soccer) teams. Also very successful are cooking, sculpting and painting classes. The Community has also his own webpage. In the facilities of the Community, all events organized by national-local associations are held, which, however, are gradually declining. Very strong is the Charity, which, amongst other things, offers every year 10,000 Euros to the local Disability Foundation. For 32 years now the Community organizes every October a Greek Festival, a subject that concerns all of us. Young and old are offering their services voluntarily, to prepare exquisite Greek dishes, which can be tasted for one week by more than 200,000 visitors.

Greek lawyer among worlds top 20

London
He has handled dozens of cases of great athletes before the courts, by knocking out their opponents. As a lawyer he is engaging in competitive sports, raising the standards as he moves on, while as an academic he is defending the value of specialization in a special legal field, that is, Sports Law. Before even turning 40, the Greek Lawyer and Lecturer of Sports Law at the University of Buckingham, Gregory Ioannidis, was voted by the prestigious British journal Sports Business International as one of the 20 top lawyers in the planet, who specialize in sports law. It is a very important acknowledgment because it is a very well known and respectable journal. It is also important to note that there are many important names on the same list, such as Marc Grey (IAAF Lawyer in the Case for Kenteris-Thanou) said Gregory Ioannidis. With PhD studies on the criminalisation of doping in sports and the application of penalties to doping offences, Gregory Ioannides, who is living and working permanently in Great Britain, he found himself at the focus of public interest, a few years ago, when he was asked to handle the case of Greek Olympic champions Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou, which he was able to bring to a definite closure, by successfully negotiating a settlement with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). He was only 19 years old when he went to Great Britain for the first time to study law, which he was very fond of. He completed his studies in law science in Manchester and subsequently earned an additional degree in business management, at Southampton. He discovered sports law and his interest for it a little later, within the frame of his postgraduate studies and in the following he further deepened his knowledge on this specific subject by earning a respective PhD. Besides, he is an advocate of specialization, holding in general that there is a need for greater specialization, not only in the area of sports law, but in every representation on any matter, be it athletic or criminal. He returned for a short time to Greece in order to complete his legal traineeship (rem. He is a member of the Thessaloniki bar association), but eventually the many opportunities that arose in England, as well as significant perspectives for research that this country is offering, made him decode to return and set up his life there. Besides the Olympic champions Kenteris and Thanou, Gregory Ioannides in his ten-year career has represented famous athletes, within as well as outside the sports boundaries, like the footballer (soccer player) Rio Ferdinand. We are asking him if he would consider returning to Greece and engaging here in Sports Law, a field that is not especially developed in our country. As he says, people that engage in analyzing the theory of this specific topic can be counted on the fingers of one hand. "If then conditions are right I could return. Besides I work for a legal firm (rem. the firm of Christodoulos Vassiliades), which is based in Cyprus and has branches throughout Europe. Our branch for Greek athletes is in Athens. I am dealing with Greece very often, but I do not see a permanent return at the moment", he tells us. Gregory Ioannides is one of the most brilliant scientific minds of our country, who are excelling abroad and the most important thing is that, despite his young age, he has already managed to win the respect of his colleagues and a broad recognisability abroad.

Houses made of stones, earth, straw, sand and water

Larisa
What is required to build a house? Goodwill, stones for the foundation, earth, straw, sand and water for the walls, s well as for the furniture: built benches, beds, couches and anything else that can be built. This is a detailed description of natural building, a type of house building that doesnt use industrial materials, does not require transports and doesnt have any environmental impact. The special English term for natural building is cob building, cob meaning lump or ball, and is used extensively abroad, especially in England and Africa. In Greece this venture was undertook by chance by Kostas Kontomanos, economist and his friend Stelios Gagaras, policeman, from Larisa. At some time in 2004, when looking for clay in an area that was intended for farming, we discovered on the internet some Americans that built houses out of clay. Wed read books, travel as far as England, where something similar was done, and began building a small house out of earth, water and stones in Larisa. And thats what weve done. We wanted to share our experience through the Internet and thats why weve set up a respective website. The interest was huge", says Mr. Kontomanos. Young people from the Netherlands, England and Britain visited Greece in order to volunteer in the building of a house. Such houses were built in Larisa, Samothrace and Lesbos. Lately the first construction phase of a small building was concluded in the Municipality of Meliboia in Larisa. The Municipalitys tourist information center is going to be housed there soon. "People want us to teach them the technique. So, someone can volunteer in the construction of a house with us or attend some workshops and attempt in the following to build his own house with the help of his friends, says Mr. Kontomanos. Five people are able to built a large house of about 100 square meters, within a time period of four to five months. It is indicative of the interest that has been expressed, that the website www.cob.gr has more than four thousand visitors a month, a number that is especially high for a website with specialized information. The next venture of the two friends will be the construction of a new village, completely built out of earth, clay, water and sand at the roots of Kisavos Mountain. The whole project bears the name The adventure of life and its purpose is to spend as few as possible natural and financial resources for its construction, to be operated with the lowest possible environmental impact, to ensure sustainable development and to send out a clear ecological message to all directions, namely that of the proper management of natural resources.

A medical examiner with Greek roots contends that Rosa Luxemburgs remains are not in her grave

Berlin
A Berlin medical examiner with Greek roots has made a statement that raised eyebrows even beyond the German border. According to a story of the Deutsche Welle (DW) website, it is the awardee criminologist Michael Tsokos, who claims that the corpse of the murdered revolutionist Rosa Luxemburg is not in her grave in Berlin, where thousands of people are laying red carnations every year. According to Mr. Tsokos, who is the head the Institute of Forensic Medicine and Criminology at the University Hospital Charit, Rosa Luxemburgs corpse is located in the basement of the Berlin Medical History Museum, at Humboldt University. As he said, the most valid argument for this case is the autopsy report of 1919. Talking to DW, Mr. Tsokos stressed particularly that: After her identification I came to the conclusion that the medical examiners of that time hadnt examined Rosa Luxemburgs corpse, but that of another woman. Since birth Luxemburg had a problem with her hip, making her limp, since her feet had different lengths. None of these anatomical particularities was found by the medical examiners. Neither the shot in the head by a member of a para-military group, by which he had been arrested and tortured. He added that all these data, as well as many more regarding Rosa Luxemburg, are concerning the corpse that is located since 90 years in the Humboldt Universitys medical museums basement. Prompted by certain rumors that were circulating, Michael Tsokos started to investigate the case two and a half years ago. He had just been appointed - only 39 years old at that time as head of Institute of Forensic Medicine and Criminology at the Humboldt.

He has received an award for services rendered.

Professor Michael Tsokos is considered a luminary in his field. During the 15 years of his work as a medical examiner, he has conducted himself about 10,000 autopsies, has been present in another 14,000, as well as 35,000 cases of corpse identifications. Up to date his most difficult mission was at the end of 2004 in Thailand, two days after the Tsunami. For this contribution and for his cooperation with the media, he was then awarded, together with the whole team of medical examiners team with the Bambi, the most important annual media award in Germany, but that wasnt his only mission abroad. On request of the Den Hague International Criminal Court of Justice for ex-Yougoslavia, he participated in the identification of the dead bodies from mass graves in Bosnia - Herzegovina and Kosovo. As is mentioned, this insistence, that is, to find the reasons of a death and the identity of the dead, may be related to his personal history. Michael Tsokos was born 42 years ago in Kiel, Northern Germany. His mother is a German physician and his father a Greek merchant marine officer.

Seventeen age-long trees on small church roof

Kalamata
They are standing there constantly over the last two hundred and fifty years. They excite the visitors admiration, as well as discussions among scientists, who are not able to explain easily, how seventeen whole age-long trees can be supported by the roof of a small church of the 10th century. This intriguing sight can be found by the visitor of the small church of Aghia Theodora that is located at the border of the Messenia and Arcadia prefectures. This is an international religious monument and at the same time a wonder of nature, says Mr. Giorgos Diagoupis, mayor of Andania. Local legend reports that in Byzantine times Saint Theodora found her death in this area, when every family of the village had to allocate one man for its army, and if this was not possible, they had to pay money, so a mercenary could be hired instead. The required money exceeded the means of Theodoras family, and her father unable to participate in the army, so the 17-year-old Theodora decided to pass for a man and to participate in the villages army. Soon after, a girl form the village got pregnant and the locals considered that the young soldier, whom Theodora impersonated, had dishonoured the girl. Shortly before her execution and as she lay dying, the Saint asked the Lord to make her body a temple, her hair the forest and her blood their water. In this area the small church was built at the end of the 10th century, while in the church's foundation a river has its source, which flows into the Messenian Gulf at Kalamata. According to the mayor, the miracle happened for all those who didnt believe in St. Theodoras faith, who after he death was proven to be a woman. From time to time many have tried to explain how these big trees, aged two hundred to two hundred and fifty years are supported by the churchs roof, says Mr. Diagoupis and adds that inside the church, in a room barely measuring three by three meters, there is nowhere a single sign of a root. On the other side there is the opinion that some trees are able to survive even on minimal soil. Trees, like cypresses and pines are able to develop and survive even when their roots are able to find but very small quantities of soil, simply by absorbing humidity from the atmosphere at night, says Mr. Anastasios Nastis. Professor at the School of Forestry and Natural Environment at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. The St. Theodora phenomenon is not the only one of this kind in Greece. At the Panagia of Samarina in Grevena the roof of the concha of the sanctum accommodates a giant pine. In this case as well, no sign of the trees roots can be found within the church. Whichever the explanation, the two churches are attracting hundreds of visitors each year, who are eager to photograph them. In these places religious faith, scientific curiosity, tourist sight-seeing and human interest are meeting and coexisting.

Fire detecting and extinguishing robot built by young student

Thessaloniki
Hello. My name is Thales. My purpose is to suppress fires in my area of responsibility. Its not a fire fighter, introducing himself to an audience with the above words, but a robot that was built by Andreas Dimopoulos, a student at the Computer Technicians Department of a private IEK in Thessaloniki. Thales operates as a mobile alarm and fire-extinguishing unit. Two plexiglas arms are utilized as upper extremities, while the robot is moving on wheels. Being equipped with special sensors, the robot detects fires, informs the owner on his cell phone accordingly and extinguishes the fire with the extinguisher that it is carrying... on its back. It is operated by remote control, but can also move without an operator. Thales is a useful tool, not only in cases of fire, but also in cases of housebreaking. Through its sensors it detects intruders in houses and reacts as an alarm system, informing the owners in cases of breakings. Actually, the robot is equipped with a camera, through which the owner can see whats happening in the premises. I had the first idea on building the robot when I worked at a specialized shop with fire-extinguishing equipment, and I realized how much people are concerned with fires, explains Andreas Demopoulos. It took him about a year to research his subject and to create Thales. His foremost concern was to build a usable and flexible robot, intended for household use. He considers that if it was to go into mass production, it would cost private buyers not more than 400 Euro! After that, the student created another two variants of Thales, one for the rescue of people who are trapped indoors, and one for cases of fire in industries. With a few additional improvements the robot will be able to detect malfunctions in household appliances, in order to prevent short-circuits, explains Manoles Nikolaides, the professor who supervised the work. As he says, he has urged the student to register the construction as an industrial design, in order to be able to exploit it commercially in the future.

Dont throw it away, make it a gift

Thessaloniki
Closets chock- full with clothes, childrens toys that are scattered around, old books and CDs stacked on shelfs, as well as many unused objects usually are causing headaches to most people. And everybody, when they dont need it anymore, is looking for a way to get rid of them. Now, theres a solution! The internet bazaar... Through the web page xariseto.gr to the end of recycling and mutual help, all those interested can donate things that they dont need anymore, as well as seek for other things that are useful to them. Thus, as the operators of xariseto are stressing, nothing must be thrown to the garbage. Everyday, dozens of citizens are donating or seeking for various objects through this web page, the use of which is free. Specifically, anything from teddy bears, Flokati long haired hand made blankets, car seat covers and small icons to abdominal muscles training devices, foldable beds and golf clubs are given away, while most of those seeking are interested in computer monitors, wheelchairs, child car seats, defective washing machines, to bouzoukis, aquaria and comic books. The whole idea of the internet bazaar started out from the ecological concerns of four friends from Thessaloniki. The web page was stared one year ago and there are already more than 3,500 registered members. Peoples response was higher than what we expected. We started out cautiously with this idea, but things went better than wed hoped. In order to bring the idea to life very little money and a substantial amount o personal time were necessary, said Georgia Demoude, a member of the web community xariseto.gr. One of the most special ads, as Georgia mentioned, was milk that was given out by a member. About a year ago someone went to Syntagma Square, where stock breeders had a rally, and in protest against prices, were giving out milk. He took a fair amount o bottles and through an ad gave them out for free.

Production of fertilizer from vegetable waste

Thessaloniki
Four times more nutritious than manure for the plants is the fertilizer that is produced by composting, an entirely natural process, during which vegetable waste, like fruit skins, vegetables, greens, dry leaves and branches are converted into fertilizer within a time period of 8 months. The municipality of Stavroupoli, within the frame of its environmental policy for the reduction of the waste volume, since November 2008 is carrying out a program for the recycling of vegetable waste, handing out composting containers to residents of the municipality. Up until now 50 composting containers have been handed out to municipal citizens, who wanted to participate voluntarily in this process and 6 containers to schools of the municipality. The program is carried out in cooperation with Myrto Pyrovetsi, associate professor of Ecology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and Georgios Daoutopoulos, professor of Agricultural Science at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. According to Maria Papanikolaou of the Stavroupoli Municipalitys the Environmental Office, any municipal citizen who can spare a square meter of garden area and is interested in getting a composting container for free, should fill out the respective application at the Environmental Office. We already have another 20 applications for containers. The only thing that we ask for is for them to possess one square meter of soil and of course to reside within our municipalitys borders, said Ms. Papanikolaou. The composting process is supervised by the competent professors with on-site visits at the 56 points where the containers have been installed. Everybody is excited with the process and they cannot wait for the moment when their fertilizer will be ready, to use it, said Ms. Papanikolaou. In statements to the Stavroupoli Municipality magazine regarding the composting results, the retired couple Spyros and Sophia Tilsizoglou noted that they are now seeing a big difference in the amount of garbage that they are disposing of in the waste containers and are calling on all municipal citizens to participate in composting. From her side Professor Nike Datsogianni said that many municipal co-citizens want to participate in the plant material recycling program, but do not dispose of even 1 m2 of soil, while students of the 4th Junior High School of Stavroupoli that are participating in the composting program said that they are eager to produce their own fertilizer and use it in their schools garden and flower pots.

Greek expatriate got his diploma at age 78 and is writing books ever since !

by S.Ch.

Melbourne
He finished high school in 1951 at the age of 27, as "home-schooled", and was admitted successfully to the "Panteion" University, at which he was not able to commence studies due to financial problems. The same problems forced him to immigrate to Australia in 1955. Nothing, however, was able to stop his thirst for knowledge and thus in 2002, at the age of 78 he got his diploma in literature. Ever since the Greek expatriate Nikos Bournazos, who today is 84 years old, is engaged in writing books. His first book was published in 2003 under the title "Dancing Alone". In it Mr. Bournazos commits to paper everything that he has experienced and witnessed through events that were shaped by others and others where he played a leading part. And he has many experiences to report from! He was born at Chrysanthio of Aegialeia, where he finished elementary school and remained in his village, in order to work and support his six younger siblings. During the years of the German occupation he participated in the National Resistance. After his immigration to Australia he engaged also in Greek immigrant organizations, in which he held responsible positions, among them the Melbourne Greek Community. In 2007 he wrote the book "If the Dead had a Voice" in order to honour the heroes of the National Resistance and of the civil war in East Aegialeia. And recently he published his third book "West Corinthia Occupation, Resistance, Civil War" a sequel of the second one, because, as he says "memories die together with the burnt dreams of the dead. Writings remain in order to bear witness to the heroes and martyrs throughout the ages".

Greek painter's work sold for the record price of 1,970,000 Euro

by L.Ts.

London
The work of the Greek painter Constantine Volanakis on the arrival of Georgios Karaiskakis with his fleet at Faliro for the liberation of Athens from the Turkish siege was sold at the "Greek Sale of Sotheby's" for the amount of 1,970,000 Euro, which is a record for a Greek painter's work. Up until now, the most expensive work of Greek painter had been the painting of Nikiforos Lytras named "Festival in Megara", which had been sold at another auction of Sotheby's for the price of 1,138,396 Euro. Volanakis' wonderful work "The Arrival of Karaiskakis at Faliro" was bought by a Greek international art collector, who preserves his incognito. The painting, however, as stated by Sotheby's spokesman Mr. Frangos, will remain in Greece. This work, which presents one of the most glorious moments of the revolution for the independence of the Greek nation and depicts the arrival of the Greek fleet at Faliro under the directives of Georgios Karaiskakis and the British Philhellenist Lord Cochrane to the preparations for the liberation of Athens. During these operations Georgios Karaiskakis suffered deadly wounds. Other important works that were sold at the same auction was a work of Theodoros Rallis on the subject of "Marionettes in the Harem" that was sold for 589,000 Euro, "The Neighbours (The Gossips)" by Nicholas Gyzis for 442,000 Euro, an untitled work by Yiannis Moralis for 229,000 Euro, Georgios Jakobides' "Grandpa's Favorite" for 221,000 Euro and another work of Constantine Volanakis with the subject of "Mending the Nets" for 221,000 Euro. The total sum brought in by the Greek sale was 7 million and 429 thousand Euro.

Writer Th. Callifatides receives Swedish Academy award

Stockholm
The Swedish Academy decided to bestow the 2008 "Singe Ekblad-Eldhs" Award to the writer Theodoros Callifatides. The award is accompanied by a money prize of about 12,500 Euro, according to a story of the Swedish paper "Folkbladet". Theodoros Callifatides was born in Molai, Laconia prefecture in 1938. A teacher's son from the Pontus, he came to Athens in 1946 and graduated at the Fifth Male High School. He studied acting at the Karolos Koun Academy and after finishing his military service he settled down in Sweden. He studied philosophy at the Stockholm University and later taught at the same school. For four years he was the director of the literary magazine "Bonniers Literara Magasin". He has published novels, poem collections, travel essays and theatre play scripts and screenplays, while he has also directed a film. He has received significant international awards for many of his works. Most of his novels have been translated into 13 languages.

Greek researcher designs "intelligent" system to avoid empty airline seats and passengers on waiting lists

Athens
As all over the world airports are facing ever increasing problems in capacity and servicing of airplanes, as well as of passengers, Dimitris Kanellopoulos, a Greek computer scientist at the Technological Educational Institute (TEI) of Patras has designed an "intelligent" system that could ensure as many seats as possible are filled on each flight and no one is left stranded at check-in. The relevant paper is described in the international computer applications magazine "International Journal of Computer Applications in Technology", while a respective article was published also in the "Science Daily" electronic service. According to Kanellopoulos, in recent years, the airline industry has fostered a dependency on computer systems for its operational and strategic management. The software tools, however, which are used to "match" passengers to available seats are often outmoded and ineffective. One of the main problems, as he points out, is that the software simply does not understand the requirements of the passengers who are buying tickets. Inspired by earlier work on an employer-employee "matching" system developed by researchers in Spain, Kanellopoulos designed an "intelligent" web portal that acts as a service provider for the airline industry. The portal will help customers to find airline seats that match their personal travelling preferences, based on keywords that are given by the customer. The customer will enter his special needs into the system, for example, if he would need access facilities for disabled persons, or whether he wishes to get to Paris for a meeting before 3 pm next Tuesday and doesn't care for luxuries during the flight. This information is going to be transferred to the database that has been created by airline companies containing all possible options regarding flight time, seats, food, etc., where the best possible "matching" takes place. Kanellopoulos' model will allow the "intelligent" web portal to "understand" the customer's requirements. In an extension of his work, the Greek researcher has extended the ontology of the "intelligent portal" to be also applicable to the booking of vacation packages (hotels, etc.).

The first puppet museum

Larissa
Fairy tales come true in the first and only Puppet Museum in Greece that has been set up in hall that was allocated by the municipality of Larissa in the old Pappas' Mill complex. It was created by Sophia Foutzopoulou, who is in charge of the municipal puppet theatre "Tiritomba", which for many years is entertaining the Children in Larissa and elsewhere. These are dolls that have won awards in international competitions and participated in performances of "Tiritomba", representing various periods, ages, art trends, as well as the revival of well-known fairy tales that have accompanied everyone's childhood. The museum is an open window to the international art of the puppet theatre. A place where one can see, listen, learn, and create himself not only puppets, but dreams as well, since beside the kids, adults also need fairy tales. There are more than 300 dolls in the museum and the number of visitors very high. At the same time workshops for children are held on the subject of how to build a doll and more than 400 children are participating. Furthermore, there is a woodcarving workshop, where the children are making puppets, and one for clay sculpting where they are "moulding" puppets and a third one for making puppets out of styrofoam. Finally, there is a workshop for... prospective little jugglers. The puppet theatre "Tiritomba" is located at 53, Georgiadou Street in Larissa. The Puppet Museum and the workshops are open for the public on weekends and for schools on workdays. Information at the phone number 2410251657. M.Ap.

Greek expatriate entrepreneur phenomenon

by S.Ch.

Melbourne
Almost daily the press and magazines concern themselves with the "phenomenon" of Napoleon Perdis, the Greek Australian expatriate who began on his own and poor and has built an empire that stretches around the world. Dozens of cosmetics shops under the firm ?apoleon Perdis are operated in Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Latin America, Canada, Europe, Asia and the Near East. According to the last issue of the financial magazine BRW he ranks at number 22 in the list of the young rich Australians under 40, with a wealth of $85 million. His goal as he confesses, is to become a billionaire. "You have to get a good education to make something of yourself. A doctor or a lawyer. That's what my father told me every day. He wanted me to follow a "respectable" profession. I didn't listen to him, but I also didnt regret it. I am living my dream, and it is beautiful and exciting", he says. Even as a kid Napoleon Perdis knew what he wanted from life. He wanted to engage with fashion. Today, at age 38, he has built a cosmetics empire stretching all over the world. He gave his name to his company: ?apoleon Perdis Cosmetics. A son of Greek immigrants, he started with great ambitions in Sidney his own cosmetics company in 1995. Now his products are sold in dozens of his own stores all over the world, as well as in hundreds of other stores. He has moved to Los Angeles, where he started three mega-stores with his cosmetics and he has aspirations this year for his products to be sold in 200 stores in the USA and Canada, after his collaboration with the US cosmetics giant "Sephora". Many female Hollywood stars are his customers. "Napoleon Perdis is a big name in Los Angeles reports the "The Sydney Morning Herald". He is very proud for being a sponsor (for the next three years) of the Emmy Awards, where he replaced international cosmetics giant Lancme, after closing a deal with the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. "As a main sponsor I walked on the red carpet at the ceremony that was held. They have two red carpets at ceremonies in Hollywood. One for the super-personalities and a secondary one. They put me on the first one", he says, and adds with pride: "Many stars, whose make up I did, like Sally Filed, Katherine Heigl and Debra Messing, kept me close".

Biofuel production from used frying oil !!!

Chania
Biofuel production from used frying oil with the help of solar energy was achieved by three postgraduate Polytechnical School of Crete students, within the scope of the ?incubator for ideas? programs. This refers to the independent biodiesel production unit "Daedalus" that recently received an award in a UNESCO contest and was also presented in Chania. Beside the fuel production from used cooking oil from restaurants, it is assessed that the stand-alone unit can contribute to low-budget and environmental-friendly electrification of remote small villages, especially in underdeveloped African regions, and has been already used on an experimental scale in Cameroon. ?The unit is able to utilize any kind of oil with acidity of up to 5%. With the help of solar energy the oil is warmed up in a tank of the system, and by mixing in a small amount of methanol it adopts many of the traits of the fuel, which is produced in good quantities. For 20 litres of oil we can have more than 19 litres of biodiesel? said Che Franklin, postgraduate student at the Department of Environmental Engineering of Crete Polytechnical School, at the presentation of the unit. He already has participated in fuel production at the remote community of Mango, Cameroon, utilizing the palm oil that is produced in that region. ?For Greece it works with all kinds of frying oil, which instead of being disposed in the environment or even into biological wastewater treatment plants, causing them to malfunction, can be used with all diesel engines manufactured after 1992. For older ones some minor changes are necessary? said Giannis Sarantopoulos, also a student at the Environmental Engineering Department. As he maintained, the fuel that is produced does not contain any sulphur or carbon black producing particles, thus contributing to the tackling of the greenhouse effect. "The unit was built wheeled, in order to be carried anywhere necessary". The originality of the unit consists in that it is operated with renewable energy sources and is independent, emphasized Vaios Bakirtzoglou from the Department of Electronics Engineering. ?If someone has it in his possession, simply by using the sun and frying oil he is able to make his own fuel?. ?In 10 hours this unit can produce 100 litres of biofuel. On a larger scale of course it can produce even more? explained Theocharis Tsoutsos, professor at the Crete Polytechnical School, and clarified that the unit is ideal for fuel production in remote communities, as well for contributing to the coverage of the energy needs of houses and businesses. A.N.

Istanbul - Capital of Argentinean tango in the Balkans

Istanbul
Argentinean tango is alive and kicking in Peran. Those who are associating Istanbul with tsifteteli and the lustful belly dance, better let go of this notion. Istanbul is the capital of tango in the Balkans and due to this it is popular destination for Greek men and women who are dancing the Argentinean tango. Men and women from both countries are embracing to sway and swirl on the dance floors, dancing the sensuous dance that was born in the dives of Buenos Aires. An area of cosmopolitan atmosphere and of decadence, with small alleys still bearing the signs of dissipated nobility, with dumps filled with prostitutes, transvestites and drug-addicts, Peran is fitting for the tango, since it is referring to the environment in which this dance was born. Almost in every alley of the pedestrian area in Peran there is a studio, where tango lessons are given and Milongas (tango evenings) are organized. Metin Yazir, who has a studio on Balo Street, 7th floor in Beyoglu (Peran) and his students Serkan Gokcesu and Ozhan Araz are tango dancers and teachers of worldwide fame, who are invited to give lessons in international festivals. Actually, Serkan and Ozhan, who are a couple as dancers, during the last years are coming every summer to Greece, to give lessons at an tango international that takes place in June in Euboea. Metin Yazir, who during weekends is organizing Milongas in his studio emphasizes in training more men, whom he earmarks to become teachers. He believes that in this way he contributes to tango tourism. ?In the field of tango male partners are always fewer than women. Many European women are coming to Turkey to dance the tango. By training male partners for tango we are giving foreign women who come here the opportunity to dance and leave our country content. That is, we are contributing in our way to tourism? says Metin Yazir, who every year organizes tango-tours, bringing to Istanbul tourists from various parts of the world, mainly from Germany and America. A.F.

Prefecture of Grevena achieves important distinction on European level

Grevena
An important distinction that will lead to an increase in visitability and a boost to the popularity of Grevena prefecture at any season of the year was achieved by the prefectural self-administration of the region, which was integrated into the community ?European Destinations of Excellence? (EDEN) program. The prefectural self-administration of Grevena stood out among nine municipalities, prefectures and regions that participated in this year?s competition under the topic ?Tourism and immaterial cultural heritage?. Conferring of the award to the prefectural self-administration of Grevena by the European Commission shall take place a the European Tourist Forum that will take place in the city of Bordeaux, France, this fall and amongst other things, promotion of the wider area via the net throughout the entire European Union is provided. ?This is an opportunity to show our home to the outside world?, Christos Folias, minister of development noted at the margin of an informative meeting with the prefect of Grevena, Dimosthenis Kouptsidis, and invited all institutions to invest in this distinction and recognition, in order, as he said, to ?win the bet that we have made and that concerns to put the measure every year a little higher, and to top it every year?.

Greek immigrant swaps football courts for Hollywood

Melbourne
He was lost to football and Panathinaikos and won by cinema and Hollywood! Costas Mandylor, the Greek-Australian actor and producer completes twenty years of a real presence in Hollywood, but his childhood dream was to be a football (i.e. soccer) player! He began impressively and in the mid-eighties was tested by Panathinaikos, but a serious injury put an end to his dreams to make himself a name as a football player. Bad luck turned out to be good for him! He engaged in cinema, went to Los Angeles and currently can present an endless list of appearances in cinema films and TV series. On his footsteps followed his brother Louis Mandylor, who is also presenting a long and impressive career in Hollywood. Apparently, they are chips off the old block, since their mother, Louisa Mandylaris, has engaged in acting, though she kept to theatrical shows of the Greek immigrant community in Melbourne. Their father, Yiannis, is a cab driver. The love of the Mandylaris brothers for cinema and football also provides the basic concept of a new film in which they are holding the leading parts, with the title ?The Ball is round? It is a comedy, where ex-ace of the French national team (and of Chelsea) Frank Leboeuf plays a part, and is directed by Mirwan Suwarso. Recently Costas Mandylor visited Melbourne, the city where he was born and that he loves; during his express trip he spoke quickly about his new film, saying that is a hilarious comedy about a team that wins against all odds. ?We will be playing regular football? he says, adding that he as well as his brother Louis (Elias) played football in Australia and Greece as well. Greeks know Luis Mandylor also from his participation in the film ?My Big Fat Greek Wedding?. On the whole he has played in at least 15 films and several TV series. Costas Mandylor shot dozens of movies and countless TV series. Last year he starred in the films ?Saw IV? and ?Beowulf?. He says ?When the third sequel of the film ?Saw? was shot, the director invited me to come to the shooting and have fun. I went, by chance I had a small appearance in the film and got the leading part in the fourth sequel of the popular thriller?. S.H.

George Miller, who is inspired by his Greek descent, receives award

Melbourne
The "Global Achievement Award" was granted to Greek immigrant director and film producer George Miller (Giorgos Miliotis) during the Australian Film Institute?s awards ceremony. George Miller was honoured for the international success of his last film Happy Feet, which earlier had brought him the Oscar for best animated feature. The film tells the story of a tap dancing and would-be singer penguin. It was produced in the Fox studios in Sidney. The voices of more than 500 actors were used, among them those of Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Robin Williams, and others. The film earned more than 600 million (Australian) dollars and is justly considered a major commercial and artistic success. During the award ceremony Miller attacked George Howard?s past Australian government, saying that it had ?politicized culture?. ?We shouldn?t have war in culture" he said and added: "The past government tried to strangle the universities, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and culture in general. But now there are sunnier and wiser days ahead". In subsequent statements Miller referred also to his Greek descent, saying that it inspires him. "There aren?t better storytellers than Greeks. We are all a big storyteller family. We have the ability of telling amazing stories, spanning from Homer to our days. This cultural heritage is helping me? he said. He added also that he has recently returned from Greece, where he spent ?a wonderful time? and especially in Kythera, from where he descends and still has many relatives. "I am impressed by the fact that Greece, a country with such a small population, which doesn?t speak English at that, has such an impressive film output? he said, and added: "In Australia there are many competent Greeks in the film business. Directors, actors, technicians. But the market is small, so we are forced to work abroad, mainly in the USA". He revealed that his next film, The Justice League, which will be shot in America, is going to refer to some ?superheroes?, who, as he noticed, are based on the ancient Greek gods and ?I believe that my Greek descent will help me to render it as best as possible". It should be noted that Miller is also the creator of the film Babe (1995) that was awarded the Oscar for best special effects, while he has been an Oscar nominee for the script of the film Lorenzo?s Oil in 992.

Declaration of the Municipality of Grevena to ?Mushroom City?

Grevena
Grevena is now officially the mushroom ?capital? of Greece, since by resolution of the local city council the western Macedonian city attains a new identity and is proclaimed to the city of these unique wild, self-seeded products. This initiative of the city administration is the culmination of a series of activities with the participation of the Mushroom Friends Club of Western Macedonia, representatives of authorities, as well as of the local population. From now on the mushroom will be the emblem-symbol of the city of Grevena and will decorate a park, squares and junctions. Furthermore it will comprise a theme for the fraternization with other Greek and foreign cities, which can look back to a long-standing tradition regarding the knowledge and picking of mushrooms. At the foothills of the Pindos mountain range, the paths of Valia Calda, as well as in the dense oak forests of the region, mainly at the borders of the Grevena prefecture with the Voios province of Kozani more than one thousand wild mushroom species are growing, most of which represent a major nutritional and folklore element for the region?s inhabitants. As the mayor of Grevena, Mr. Giorgos Noutsos said, the objective of the local authorities is the diverse exploitation of the mushroom on all levels and ?beside being an element of our natural environment it shall be transformed to an emblem and landmark of the wealth of our culture, civilization, education, economy and therefore of the development of our city?. The product's exploitation will be supported by the Grevena municipality with a series of activities that are going to be realized immediately. Among other things a mushroom house-museum is going to be founded, with a standardization and identification lab of the product, as well as parallel activities, such as mycology seminars and exhibitions. In addition, all who are dealing with mushrooms (restaurant owners, mountaineers, naturalists, and others) will receive systematic training, and tasting and mycology festivals will be organized.

An Airbus as a birthday present

New Delhi
India?s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, who engages in the petroleum and steel construction business, presented his wife with a luxury Airbus with entertainment cabins, a skybar and exceedingly ornate baths. 50-year old Ambani, the owner of the largest private company in India, Reliance Industries Ltd, bought his wife Neeta a 50 million dollar Airbus airplane for her 44th birthday. The airplane boasts an office, a room for electronic games, music systems, satellite TV and wireless communications. It further comprises a master bedroom, a spacious bath with a range of ornate shower units, as well as a bar with suitable lighting. With his business activities ranging from petroleum to biotech and constructions, Ambani is known for his inclination toward consumption and tastelessness. In Bombay, India?s economic capital, he is building a mansion worth one billion dollar, which is considered to be one of the most expensive in the world. The building comprises 27 storeys for Ambani's six-member family. It has a heliport, a gym and six storeys that are serving as an automobile parking area, as well as a domestic staff of 600 employees. This residence has given rise to criticism, describing it as a tasteless building in a country where hundreds of millions of people are living in absolute poverty.

Formation of the SAE Central and South America Youth Network

Sao Paulo
Forty five young men and women of Greek origin from Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, Uruguay, Peru, Panama and Chile attended the Founding Assembly meeting of the SAE (World Council of Hellenes Abroad) Central and South America Region Youth Network held in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The meeting launched the young immigrants? new, dynamic and meaningful presence and action, and laid the foundations for the construction of a strong and stable bridge, linking the old with the new generation. The propagation of the Greek language and culture, the participation of the young immigrants in community affairs and the restitution of the Parthenon Marbles, were only a few of the issues discussed by the delegates with the preservation of the Greek identity being a reference point. Following democratic procedures, the Network Coordinating Council members elected are: Mariana Meidani Ripoli (Brazil) Coordinator, Adamantio Nicolas Kontos (Argentina) Member, Maria Papatsoris Karaiskos (Panama) Member, Jesus Abraham Leon Mavrides (Mexico) Member, and Ana Elizabeth Dimu Belonakis (Uruguay) Member. The flawless organizing and the assistance offered by the SAE Central and South America Region Coordinating Council headed by Regional Coordinator Nikiforos Nikolaidis contributed to the meeting?s success. The President of the Hellenic Community of Sao Paulo, Stavros Kyriopoulos, and the board members also did their best toward this end. The meeting attended His Eminence, Archbishop Tarasios of South America, Ioannis Kyparissidis, General Director of the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad, Greece?s Ambassador to Brazil Antonios Nikolaidis, Greece?s General Consul to Sao Paulo, Efstathios Paizis-Paradelis and local Greek community representatives. Deputy SAE President and Canada Regional Coordinator Costas Menegakis saluted proceedings on behalf of the SAE board, congratulating Regional Coordinator Nikolaidis on the perfect organization of the event, while praising participants for the constructive dialogue they engaged in. This SAE Network is the first to be established based on the new SAE Enabling Law that provides for the institution of Youth Networks in all seven SAE Regions by the end of 2008.

Award goes to Greek doctor for the ?Most Meritorious Deed of the Year?

Belgrade
The Greek heart surgeon and Director of the Cardio-Surgery Department at the University Hospital of Geneva, Mr. Afksentios Kalangos was awarded a prize by the Serbian TV station Studio B for the most gentle deed of the year; he performed surgery on a five-year old girl from Serbia, covering all costs by himself. The operation related to the transplantation of a heart valve to the five-year old girl. The Greek doctor thanked his associates, saying that ?there is no personal glory in group work?. In an interview to the newspaper ?Politika? Dr. Kalangos referred - amongst other things ? to the fraternal relations between Greece and Serbia, his scientific and charity work worldwide, as well as to the close relations that he maintains to the Yugoslavian ex-princes couple through common charity goals.

Greek researcher among the scientists involved in the 2007 TOP 10 scientific discoveries for Time magazine

Leipzig
Two years of researching a very interesting scientific topic resulted for an international team of geologists, archaeologists, biologists and anthropologists in a special distinction by the TIME Magazine, which declared their discovery one of the TOP 10 scientific discoveries of 2007. The research of the scientists from S. Africa, England and Germany that was published in the reputable scientific magazine ?Science? proves with irrefutable evidence that modern man has his roots in Africa. One of the main members of the research group is Katerina Harvati, who is a permanent researcher at the internationally acclaimed Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig and adjunct Associate Professor at the City University of New York. ?We are very happy and excited by the result and of course with the TIME Magazine?s distinction, which we didn?t expect?, says Ms. Harvati from Leipzig, where she is living with her family and working permanently since 2004. The selection of the 37 year-old Greek by the head of the scientific team, Professor Fred Grine of New York, who asked her to undertake the morphological analysis of the Hofmeyr skull, was not coincidental, since many researches and publications on the subject of Evolutionary Anthropology can be ascribed to her. Her participation in the international team of scientists was for her also a fascinating travel through time, thousands of years back in the evolutionary history of the human species. It was a great challenge, since all attempts in dating the Hofmeyr skull that was discovered in the 1950?s near the town of the same name, had been fruitless. As Ms. Harvati mentions, there a two basic theories about the origin of modern man. According to the first one (Single Origin) modern man emerged in Africa 100-200,000 years ago, from where he fanned out to the rest of the world, about 40 thousand years ago. The second theory (Multiregional ???lution) says that the human species has evolved in many different geographic regions (in and outside of Africa and in various time periods) from older forms, as for example the Neanderthal in Europe. ?The established theory is the first one, but up until now there haven?t been findings from the period of Homo sapiens? migration out of Africa?, says Ms. Harvati. ?Our find is proving for the first time that modern man evolved in Africa, confirming the established theory (Single Origin). To a certain extent the ?ofmeyr skull is the piece that was missing from the puzzle and comes to confirm the Single Origin theory?. D.R.

Bronze medal for Greek student at the 1st International Astronomy Olympics

Thessaloniki
The bronze medal at the 1st International Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympics that took place in Thailand went to a 2nd grade student at the 1st Lyceum of Karditsa, Giorgos Moulantzikos, as member of the Greek team of 5 students from various schools of our country. The Greek delegation was headed by the Giannis Seiradakis, a physics department professor at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and Loukas Zacheilas, lecturer at the University of Thessaly. The other members of the Greek delegation (winners among 255 candidates at the Panhellenic competition) were Giorgos Giataganas from Pharsala, Orestis Antonopoulos form Athens, Stefanos Mavros from Thessaloniki and Konstantina Anastasopoulou from Patra, who also achieved good positions. Orestis Antonopoulos achieved the 10th position at the Olympic Friendship Awards, an award that has been instituted under the Greek delegation?s initiative and refers to the friendship that developed among the participants at the ancient Greek Olympic Games. The Olympics took place in three phases of extensive duration and high difficulty (observations, data analysis and theory). A total of 21 countries have participated; seven from Europe, twelve from Asia and two from South America. It?s holding was decided during the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) that was held last August in Prague, under the initiative of Mr. Seiradakis. The travel costs were covered by the Ministry of Education, while the expenses on-site by the organizing country. The next International Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympics are going to take place in the Indonesian city of Bandung in August 2008.

Hellenistic Studies Centre at the Library of Alexandria

Athens
A Hellenistic Studies Centre that will be housed in the Library of Alexandria (Bibliotheca Alexandrina), which is scheduled to open in September 2008, is aspiring to attract high-level students and professors from all over the world. The initiative belongs to ?Alexander S. Onassis? Public Benefit Foundation and the Vardinoyannis Foundation co-funding the endeavour. The Centre will be managed by a seven-member board of directors headed by the director of the Library of Alexandria. The ambitious plan to establish a Centre for Hellenistic Studies in the Library of Alexandria was announced in a press conference by UNESCO goodwill ambassador Ms. Marianna Vardinoyannis, Onassis Foundation President Anthony Papadimitriou and Library of Alexandria Director Dr. Ismail Serageldin. The Alexandria Centre for Hellenistic Studies will comprise postgraduate level academic departments for the study of History, Philosophy, Literature and Fine Arts for international students. All courses will be conducted in English and the diplomas conferred will be certified by the University of Alexandria with which the Library of Alexandria is affiliated. ?It is our ambition for the Centre for Hellenistic Studies to evolve into a Centre of Excellence where the best students and professors will assemble? said Antonis Papadimitriou, stressing the importance of ?a reciprocal cooperation of the two major Greek institutions, the Onassis and the Vadinoyiannis foundations, where each one of them shall offer not only material means but also the immaterial support that will be necessary. The history and philosophy study halls will be named ?Pavlos I. Vardinoyiannis? in honour of Vardi?s brother, who was the founder of the Hellenic-Arabic Association? said Marianna Vardinoyannis, expressing at the same time her thanks to the chairman of the board, Suzan Mubarrak, ?the soul of the Library of Alexandria?, as she addressed her and who ?was the first one to embrace this idea and to include it into the grand vision of the Library?. Our goal is "to disseminate all this knowledge and the high diachronic values that are mediated by the Library of Alexandria throughout the whole world. To prepare a new generation of scholars? said among other things the Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, who in answer to a journalist?s question regarding rumours about censorship of the books has denied them and pointed out that there is the ?Lighthouse of Hope? program that is dedicated to forbidden books literature and that they are completely accessible.

The Greek side of former chancellor Vranitzky.

Vienna
On the occasion of his 70th birthday, which is celebrated with a series of various events, the former chancellor of Austria Franz Vranitzky emphasizes his special liking for Greece and especially for Crete, where he stays ?unfortunately only four months a year?, as he puts it characteristically in an interview with ?News?, the Austrian weekly magazine with the highest circulation. The former chancellor would like to stay much longer in Ierapetra, where for some years now he has a house built by himself, and he and his wife are enjoying very much the beauty of Crete, where they have spent almost always their holidays since their youth. As Mr. Vranitzky mentions, the two of them have built friendships with their Greek neighbours in Crete and have ?surrendered? to the healthy Cretan cuisine, while he himself is engaged in reading during their stay there. The former chancellor for the first time refers to private aspects of his life during the decades of his career. A significant part is taken up by references to his family that has always kept a low profile and especially his 45 years of marriage with his wife for whom he donated a kidney in 2005. In the course of the celebrations for Mr. Vranitzky?s 70th birthday a special publication in his honour was presented, where 35 personalities from Austria and abroad are writing under the title "A Great European ? Fellow Travellers about Franz Vranitzky?. Franz Vranitzky had been chancellor of Austria from June 1986 to January 1997, and has completed tenure of more than ten years within the more than thirty years of continuous leadership at the country?s governance by the social democrats (1970-1999). Franz Vranitzky?s name is identified with Austria?s accession to the European Union on 1.1.1995, as well as with the preceding, long lasting negotiations that succeeded during the Greek presidency of the EU in the first half of 1994. A passionate antifascist, Mr. Vranitzky has linked his name with the outright condemnation of the fascist tendencies that are arising during the last years. Furthermore, he is known for his denial to cooperate in any way with the then arising extreme right, whose way he tried to ?block?. D.D.

The ?beast? is hunted down

by Yiannis Eftychides

Thessaloniki
Even though belatedly (and probably symbolically) the Austrian government proscribed Nazi criminals, amongst them the so-called ?butcher of Thessaloniki?, Alois Brunner. He was a close associate of the notorious arch-Nazi Adolf Eichmann and in 1942 he went on his order to Thessaloniki to carry out in our country as well the ?Final Solution? plan that laid down the mass extermination of Jews throughout Europe. Brunner sent to the crematoria 50,000 Jews of Thessaloniki, most of whom met their death in the concentration camp of Auschwitz. In 1987, and on the occasion of an anniversary of the extinction of the joint-capital city?s Jews, the undersigned carried out an extensive research about this case and Brunner. He disclosed - based on information from the Greek persecuting authorities - that Brunner was alive (at least at that time) and staying in Damascus under the alias ?Georg Fischer?. The explanation that was given regarding the cover granted by the Assad regime to the war criminal, was that this was solely due to anti-Israeli motives, since he was wanted by the Mossad and there existed the danger that he would be picked up by them and brought to Israel to be trialled, exactly as had been the case with his mentor, Eichmann. The latter had been located by the Mossad in South America, was abducted by them, brought to Israel, trialled and executed. Similar information on the whereabouts of Brunner had been collected by the Germans; prosecutor Walter of Frankfurt had been in Thessaloniki to meet Greek colleagues. Brunner was never found and of course did not answer for his actions. According to information, he has died years ago. Should he, however, be alive, today he would be 95 years old.

When humans hold conferences?the planet is laughing?

by Tonia Maniatea

Athens
It?s better to think than to hold conferences. In moments like these, one cannot abstain from mentioning for the nth time the saying of an undoubtedly historical personality of contemporary Greece. It must be nearly thirty years now since Constantine Karamanlis ascertained the?inclination of the Greeks to spend their grey matter in favour of dialogue and not of action. Since then, he has been vindicated by history numerous times. Only, as has been proven, meetings and conferences are not exclusive attributes of the Greeks. It seems that they are a trait of civilized societies. It can not be explained how it happens that every time danger is imminent, the leaders of countries all over the world are conferring and making decisions, which are never put into practice? Again we are grumbling as always, like the thinking and worrying citizens that we are, because we are not granted the luxury to lay our opinion on the table, though we have also responsibilities and rights and mainly have to bear the consequences arising from the decisions of the powers that be. The new conference of the national leaders regarding the climate is the foothold for our current concern. There?s information saying that it was held in New York and participants appeared determined to enter into an agreement regarding the climate change, which shall replace the Kyoto Protocol. Do you remember the Kyoto Protocol that called upon 36 industrial countries to reduce - at least by 5% up until 2012 - the gas emissions that are causing the Greenhouse Effect? Well, most of the developed countries that had engaged to this have violated the treaty. And first of all, Greece. Let?s take things from the beginning. The outcome of the first conference regarding the climate in 1992 (even as early as then there had been alarming signs) was the Rio Treaty, aiming to stabilize the greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at levels that would be not threatening to the climate. The Kyoto Protocol was signed in 1997 and designed as a legal tool for monitoring the control to the emissions of dangerous gases. In order to be ratified it would have to pass by the parliaments of the countries, which were responsible to a smaller or larger part. The USA of course denied any responsibility, even though they were to a large part responsible for burdening of the atmosphere. From the beginning they declared that they will not enter into the Treaty. Greece, together with the rest of Europe, ratified the protocol in 2002. The flexible mechanisms provided by the Treaty, allowed for Greece to function in counterbalancing fashion, thus increasing - instead of decreasing ? its pollution by 25% up to 2010. With the difference that up until 2000 our country had increased its pollution by 23.4% (according to official data from the National Observatory in Athens) and the forecast was that up until 2010, pollution would increase by 35,8%! But the other countries ?fought? also for this, to the degree that they were allowed to by industrial magnates and their own financial interests. Results have not been very encouraging. The greenhouse nightmare has not been intercepted. This year?s fiery summer in the South European countries and mainly in Greece, where also lives have been lost, has turned the alarm bells into fair-sized ones?

Karditsa is pioneering in the bicycle use on a nation-wide scale.

Karditsa
The city of Karditsa is pioneering on a national scale regarding the use of the bicycle by the local population, as according to a study of the National Metsovio Polytechnic 30% of the daily traffic in the centre of the city is effected via bicycle. Furthermore, it has the largest network of bicycle lanes in Greece, which has grown constantly during the last years, and is financed amongst others by the third Community support framework. The massive use of the bicycle in Karditsa (that can only be compared with northern European cities), is not without problems, since as can be expected often there is a conflict of uses between pedestrians, cyclists and cars in the streets of the city. Given that Karditsa does not differ in terms of structure and traffic volume from any other modern Greek city, the construction of bicycle lanes in its centre was a bold solution that eventually has differentiated the city?s profile, as well as the traffic conditions prevailing in it. The new fifth grade elementary school reader illustrates aptly the conditions in the city, mentioning: THE EXPERIMENT OF KARDITSA: "A whole city is using the bicycle". In Karditsa, then, the ?experiment? has started, the new conditions are beginning to take shape and to be discussed on a nationwide level by elected officials and citizens who wish to integrate the bicycle into the city's everyday life.

Film?s Greek billionaire.

Melbourne
The Australian Financial Review Magazine dedicated its cover and additionally eleven colour pages to the film director, producer and scriptwriter of Greek descent George Miller (Miliotis) with the title "Film's $1 billion man". According to the magazine Miller?s last film "Happy Feet" is expected to earn one billion dollars in total, and is already the most successful Australian film of all time, beating also the film ?Crocodile Dundee? that had ranked first up until now. The article stresses that it?s not only the financial success of Miller?s films that makes him stand out. It is the fact that while he is living far away from Hollywood, he has brought out many of its stars. Mel Gibson, Nicole Kidman and Michelle Pfeiffer are some of the stars that rose to prominence with films of the Greek immigrant director. The multi-page article of the Australian magazine refers to all of Miller?s productions, as well as to collaborations that he has done from time to time. Directors Greg Smith and Phillip Noyce, the actor Nicole Kidman, the investor Graham Burke, Lynda Obst and other associates are talking about him. Miller himself stresses the fact that he has managed to remain independent even when working in Hollywood and that his creative independence is extremely important to him, and that?s why he has chosen to live and work in Australia. As important landmarks for his artistic development he refers to a lecture held by ?uckminster Fuller about synergy that he attended at the university and Joseph Campbell's views regarding the hero?s personal journey that have guided him in his films. He also makes proposals to enhance the Australian governments? interest toward the film industry, so that Australian talented actors and directors will stop immigrating to Hollywood. He talks about his future plans, amongst them a fourth Mad Max film and the importance that has to be rendered to the help of technology during the creation and production of films. He also refers to his first visit to his father's place of origin, the Greek island Kythera, in 1989, where after discovering the similarities of the landscape to those in Queensland, he realized why his father adapted so well to his new homeland in Australia. Finally, the journalist emphasizes his significant contribution for the acknowledgement of many Australian creators and is citing his associates? words comparing him with George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, for his influence of Australian cinematography. Miller himself stresses at every opportunity that although he has a degree in medicine he is working in the film sector, and successfully at that, because of his Greek descent. "Greeks", he said, "are the best story-tellers in the world. And film is story-telling on the big screen. So I think that my Greek descent has helped me to tell some good film stories".

Biofuels from..wood.

Larissa
The first unit for the production of biofuel from wood is operating for some months now, a few kilometres outside Larissa, in the Sykourio area. In a time where the use of alternative fuels with ecological characteristics, which are more environmentally friendly, is one of the priorities as regards the protection of the environment, the use of biofuels by businesses and homes represents a solution that is 30 to 40% cheaper than oil, but also 100% more expensive than Pet coke. For the time being this special biofuel is produced form wood, and it is called "pellet?, while its production from thistle plants is also examined. In Greece there is at the present face zero interest. Businesses prefer to use the ?cheap? Pet coke, and the product is distributed in the Italian market. Pellet, as those who know are saying, does not pollute the atmosphere whatsoever, because it is extracted from plants that have bound carbon dioxide that is equal or more than the quantity that is going to be emitted into the atmosphere during its combustion, in contrast with oil whose use contributes to the continuous addition of carbon to the atmosphere. With the proper treatment biofuel can be produced from any kind of plant residue.

Air connection between Athens and Beijing.

Athens
On November 28th the flights of Air China are commencing that will connect Athens with Beijing via Dubai. The Chinese airline will carry out flights every Monday and Thursday, and if there is enough traffic, the intermediate stop in Dubai is going to be cancelled. The flight is going to depart from Athens at 9.30 a.m. and the flight from Beijing at 8.40 p.m. The direct air connection between Athens and Beijing has been one of the permanent requests of the Greek-Chinese Chamber, since its foundation in 1995. It should be noted that a few months ago the then transport minister, during his visit in China, signed the respective memoranda of understanding for the air connection between the two countries. Greek tourism is undertaking efforts to render Greece the first touristic destination for 22 million Chinese tourists that are visiting the European Union every year and are spending an average of 300-350 Euros per head daily. According to estimations, with the proper touristic strategy, beginning in 2008, our country could welcome at least 300,000 Chinese tourists. At the same time in the education sector the Greek universities, private colleges and technical schools aim in attracting thousands of Chinese students to our country for studies, which is going to secure incomings exceeding 1.5 billion Euro per year and build strong bonds between the two peoples.

Income of farmers is continuously shrinking.

Athens
The income of farmers got worse within one year. From July 2006 to July 2007 the farmers? income decreased, as the production cost of the farmers increased by 4.7%, while at the same their income rose by only 1.5%. According Statistical Service data, the inflow price index of the agriculture and stock farming sector, that is, what farmers are paying for the production of their products, has increased this July by 4.7% as compared to last year?s same month, while the outflow price index, that is, their incomings registered an increase of 1.5% within the same comparison. An important role in the formation of this picture played the increase by 10.8% of the farmers? payments for animal foodstuffs and by 6.3% for equipment and installations maintenance. In the increase of the outflow price index the largest loss appeared in vegetables (27.1%) and in olive oil that registered a 20% drop.

Translated by Christos Tonios

 
 
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