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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-05-10

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Shadow puppeteer Spatharis passes away
  • [02] Alavanos: Parliament should not close
  • [03] Greek Press Review

  • [01] Shadow puppeteer Spatharis passes away

    One of the best-known and highly regarded masters of traditional Greek shadow theatre, Eugenios Spatharis, passed away at an advanced age on Saturday night. The man who for decades devoted his life to keeping alive the legacy of "Karagiozis" and the entire shadow puppet tradition in Greece had been in KAT hospital in critical condition for some days, after a bad fall that would finally prove fatal.

    His funeral will take place next Wednesday in the Maroussi cemetery, with a service beginning at 16:00 in the afternoon in the local cathedral. On the say day, from 10:00 in the morning until 15:00 in the evening, his body will be on display in the Spathario Shadow Theatre Museum in the municipality of Maroussi.

    Spatharis was born in Kifissia in January of 1924, the son of original shadow puppeteer Sotiris Spatharis, and became involved with painting and the making of shadow puppets after completing his studies. He began to perform himself during the German occupation of Athens during WWII, putting on shows in theatres, embassies, the Gennadion library and other venues. He continued to be involved in shadow theatre throughout his life, giving countless performances in Greece and abroad and participating in international festivals and conference on the genre.

    He put on several plays based on the hero "Karagiozis" - including some using real actors instead of shadow puppets with Greek theatre companies - as well as recording and releasing about 15 Karagiozis plays as vinyl records. After 1980, his performances were also broadcast on television.

    Spatharis was a member of the Chamber of Artists of Greece and the UNESCO International Theatre Institute, while he has carried out several international tours. He also took part in several painting exhibitions in Athens, Zurich, Paris and New York.

    He was awarded the Rome Prize in 1962, the Toscanini medal in 1978 and several other awards, while in 2007 the Greek culture ministry awarded him the title of 'Grand Master' in recognition of his great contribution to his art.

    In 1991 he established the Spathario Shadow Theatre Museum in the municipality of Maroussi, northeast Athens, which has been open since 1996 and seeks to promote the Greek shadow theatre traditions.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photograph showing Spatharis at work, during a 2003 Christmas show with a younger shadow puppeteer in Athens.

    [02] Alavanos: Parliament should not close

    The head of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group Alekos Alavanos stressed in an interview appearing in the newspaper "Real News" on Sunday that Parliament was not a courtroom and that MPs were not judges. During a joint meeting of SYRIZA MPs and secretariat on Saturday night, meanwhile, he strongly criticised the government's decision to end the current session of Parliament early for the June 7 European Parliament elections.

    "We are not a Parliament. We have become a court and one that actually covers up for everyone," he said in the interview, repeating SYRIZA's proposal that all cases referred to Parliament by justice be immediately sent back after a process that was basically a formality.

    During statements on Saturday, Alavanos stressed that Parliament should be open at a time when Greece was in the midst of a period of crisis.

    "It is not possible for Parliament to stay closed from May until October when we are going through a period of great crisis, living in conditions of an emergency situation," he underlined, while he also stressed the need for a new budget given that the present budget had failed.

    SYRIZA's head also accused the premier of screening members of his party from the law and pointed out that the political life of the country had for years now centred around scandals without anyone actually being indicted over anything. Alavanos urged friends and members of SYRIZA to be on "constant alert", support the institutions and send their own message in the European Parliament elections.

    [03] Greek Press Review

    The Sunday editions of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The decision to break up Parliament early, the increasingly acrimonious political climate, the results of opinion polls and the rise of stocks on the bourse dominated the headlines on Sunday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Ballot box thriller as the opposition cultivates climate of dual elections after Friday's surprise move".

    APOGEVMATINI: "A 3 percent starting point for a change of climate. Nationwide opinion poll by Pulse in view of EuroParliament elections".

    AVGI: "Now they are also politically bankrupt" [refers to government's decision to break up the current Parliament early].

    AVRIANI: "George [main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou] losing the game. The brave resignation of Christos Verelis a catalyst for developments in PASOK".

    CHORA: "Siemens and Man the nightmare of Simitis group. Background: the violent clash within PASOK".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "He bought time...on credit with a 'receipt' from Aristotelis Pavlidis and the closing of Parliament as the 'delivery slip' ".

    ELETHEROS TYPOS: "A volcano. Scandals, opinion polls, the economy. Down the final stretch for the elections with polarisation at its peak. War tactics by the team of [Prime Minister Costas] Karamanlis and George Papandreou".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Political scene on fire. Closure of Parliament in order to avoid scandals a boomerang for the government".

    EPOCHI: "Closed due to scandals. New Democracy and PASOK trade accusations".

    ETHNOS: "Legal....coup aiming to make scandals statute-barred".

    KATHIMERINI: "Parties the 'hostages' of scandals. Surprise at the premature end of Parliament's work - tough encounter with the opposition".

    LOGOS: "Scandal-mongering generates polarisation. ND and PASOK take up battle positions in view of EuroParliament polls".

    NIKI: "New Democracy's facade has fallen. G. Papandreou: closure of Parliament an institutional deviation".

    PARON: "The sack of Aeolus has opened. Verelis' strange resignation brings reversals".

    PROTO THEMA (weekly): "ND launders better. While PASOK was floundering over Verelis, they shut Parliament in the dead of night and covered up all the scams".

    REALNEWS: "Closed due to scandals. Storm of reactions over Parliament 'lockout'."

    RIZOSPASTIS: "KKE: Call to alarm for the battle of the EuroParliament elections."

    VIMA: "Conflict without limits. Summer duel between Karamanlis-Papandreou. Polarisation and a closed Parliament on the way to the EuroParliament elections".

    VRADYNI: "Free houses to 2,692 eligible applicants. 1,600 homes ready to deliver, 1,092 being tendered". [article on new homes built by the Worker Housing Association].

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