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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 5 August 2017
6 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 5 AUGUST 2017 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Tourist season a stress test for Greek ports Greek island ports are struggling to cope with traffic as the tourist season reaches its peak. Years of insufficient investment in infrastructure has resulted to ports unable to accommodate the number of passengers coming through, much to the frustration of the authorities, the passengers, and coastal shippers. The problem became more acute this year with the increase in tourist arriv- als and the growing competition between ferry companies. This has resulted in major delays at ports such as Paros, Karpathos, Naxos, Santorini, and Rafina when two or three big ships arrive to dock at almost the same time. According to industry officials, 90 per cent of the Greek ports are facing these problems with no solution in the foreseeable future, due to lack of funding. Greek economic sentiment indicator on the rise The European Commission’s Greek economic sentiment index reached its highest level since February 2015, rising to 98.2 points in July, up from 94 points in June. According to the Athens-based Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research which conducts the monthly survey, this result is proof of a gradual return to economic optimism by companies and consumers, after the conclusion of the second review of the Greek bailout programme. The indicator is a composite economy assessment tool, measuring confidence in various sectors of the economy - from services, construction and retail, to the industrial sector and the ever-important consumer confidence. The sector mostly responsible for the index rise is construction, which has picked up due to the commissioning of public works. The delivery of the latest bailout loan tranche also added to the result, along with praise from the country's creditors who publicly stated that the adjustment programme remains on target. Former Greek Statistic Bureau head found guilty of breach of faith The former head of the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) was found guilty of breach of faith by an appeals court in Athens, in what is seen as the latest chapter of a legal saga tht has gone on for a few years. Andreas Georgiou, who was appointed to the post of Chief of Greece's official statistics agency in 2010, was accused of intentionally inflating the 2009 deficit figures, so as to justify the country's referral to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which in turn engineered the bailout programme which took effect in May 2010. He stepped down from his position in 2015, when the left wing Syriza party came to power. The court's verdict was based on the fact that he did not brief ELSTAT's board of directors on the transfer of data - in November 2010 - concerning the ballooning state deficit of 2009. The case has drawn international attention, as many see his legal persecution as a ‘witch hunt’. The court gave Georgiou the maximum sentence of two years for the misdemeanor, but acquitted him of other misdemeanor charges i.e. not convening ELSTAT's board in a timely manner, and of retaining a position with the IMF in tandem with presiding over the country's statistical service. The Former ELSTAT head still faces another legal battle over a charge of felony perjury, a case that has found its way to Greece's supreme court after a high court prosecutor last month quashed another appellate council's acquittal of the charge. Ancient DNA reveals living Greeks are descendants of Mycenaeans International study findings settles scholars’ question of whether modern Greeks are descendants of the ancients The long-running debate among scholars as to whether Greeks descended from the Mycenaeans is closer to being put to bed once and for all. A recently conducted international study into ancient DNA from 19 human remains suggests that today's living Greeks are in fact descendants of the Mycenaeans with a small proportion of DNA found to be from later migrations to Greece. Published in the advanced online edition of science journal Nature on Wednesday the study saw researchers analyse tooth DNA from the remains of ancient individuals who could be definitively identified as Minoans of Crete, Mycenaeans of mainland Greece, and people who lived in southwestern Anatolia. An international team of researchers and archaeologists from the University of Washington, the Harvard Medical School and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, together with archaeologists and other collaborators in Greece and Turkey, gathered data from the region led by University of Washington professor of genome sciences and medicine, George Stamatoyannopoulos. They compared 1.2 million let- A fresco of a Mycenaean woman from 1400-1200 BCE. PHOTO: THE STREAM OF TIME ters of genetic code across the genomes with those of 334 other ancient people from around the world and 30 modern Greeks to study how they were potentially related to one another. The closest match was be- tween the ancient Mycenaeans from mainland Greece and the Aegean and the Minoans from Crete, from who modern Greeks descended. While the Minoans and Mycenaeans spoke and wrote different languages, both groups carried genes for brown hair and brown eyes, their similarities in appearance documented by artists on frescoes and pottery. It was discovered that each group had gotten three-quarters of its DNA from early farmers who lived in Greece and southwestern Anatolia (now part of modern day Turkey), and that they had also inherited DNA from eastern Caucasus, near modern-day Iran. Researchers say this indicates an early migration of people from the east after the early farmers settled there before the Mycenaeans split from the Minoans. One difference was found in the Mycenaeans' DNA, of which 4-16 per cent came from eastern Europe or northern Eurasia, which is one of the three ancestral populations of present-day Europeans also found in modern Greeks. "Minoans, Mycenaeans, and modern Greeks also had some ancestry related to the ancient people of the Caucasus, Armenia, and Iran. This finding suggests that some migration occurred in the Aegean and southwestern Anatolia from further east after the time of the earliest farmers," said coleader of the study, Iosif Lazaridis, population geneticist from Harvard University. Meanwhile, the continuity discovered between the Mycenaeans and living people of Greece suggests that major components of Greeks ancestry were in fact already in place by the Bronze Age following the migration of the earliest farmers from Anatolia. The study's findings are particularly exciting given that they have opened up the next chapter in the genetic history of western Eurasia - the Bronze Age Mediterranean, showing that it is possible to retrieve ancient DNA from the eastern Mediterranean. While the study has not provided answers to all questions, it has dispelled the theory that modern Greeks did not descend from the Mycenaeans and other ancient Greek populations. University brings ancient Greek artefacts to life using 3D printing Students at New Zealand’s Victoria University in Wellington are getting closer to ancient Greek artefacts than they anticipated thanks to 3D printing technology. Senior lecturer at the School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies Dr Diana Burton said that she wanted students to have an interactive experience with objects housed in the Classics Museum without the risk of damaging them. "In Greek art, pretty much everything is functional - they don't really have art for art's sake," Dr Burton said. "In order for students to really get to grips with the way the use of an object has informed its design and decoration, they need to be able to use it and handle it in the ways the ancients did. 3D printing objects is a safe way to facilitate this." The process has entailed taking digital scans of the items and then having them printed by Shapeways in the US, currently the largest online 3D printing service provider in the world. The first item on the list was a kylix - a vessel used by the ancient Greeks to play drinking games. "We have a collection of ancient pottery in the mu- seum and one of the shapes is a shallow bowl with a stem and handles," Dr Burton said. "The ancient Greeks used it in a drinking game where they held the handle and flicked the dregs of the wine at a target. So we filled them with water and had the students engage with the object in the way it was designed by the Greeks." Meanwhile the technology has also given students the chance to see their own ancient designs come to life. They drew black figure illustrations using a template for storage jugs, known as amphorae, which were digitally scanned and mapped. "The students had to illustrate the amphora with an appropriate Greek myth," said the senior lecturer. "It needed to fit into their personal story and social content, the same way the Greeks did with their decorations." Having already scanned close to 30 ancient artefacts, Dr Burton is hoping to create an online 3D gallery of the university's Classics Museum to make their collections available to a wider audience and allow viewers to interact with objects and see how the design functions firsthand.
29 July 2017
12 August 2017