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Music > Mama Mia! the gods from Olympus are back, help! May 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life.
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Greece enlists Ancient Gods for Eurovision!

It was reported that Greeks were stunned and foreigners laughed after watching the rehearsal for the semi-final of the Eurovision contest.

Zeus (father of all Gods) the Greek God will be jumping on stage and singing “Volare”, Aphrodite (Goddess of love) will sing “Diva”, Poseidon (the Sea God) will perform “L’ amour est bleu” and bouncy dancers in glittery costumes will act as the other Gods.

According to Fokas Evangelinos (the choreographer), he wanted to show Greek culture while adding a twist of humour to the event. This was met by criticism from the media which thought it was a “tasteless” bad use of the Greek culture.

Gods of Olympus! Please help us and deliver us from evil!

read whole article at > uk.news.yahoo.com

Music > Feel the rhythm (but how do I?) May 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life.
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Eurovision fever > Feel the Rhythm

The Eurovision Song contest final will take place on Saturday 20th May and will be hosted by popular Greek singer Sakis Rouvas and Maria Menounos a Greek- American actress and television presenter.

The countries that won a place from the semi final to participate in the final are: Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ireland, Finland, FYR Macedonia, Lithuania, Russia, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine.

They will be competing with the four major countries which compete every year in the Eurovision song contest: France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom as well as the ten countries with the best songs from last year, namely Greece (which won last year’s competiton), Croatia, Denmark, Israel, Latvia, Malta, Moldova, Norway, Romania and Switzerland.

The Eurovision final promises to be a spectacular event and watched by thousands within Europe as well as around the world, eager to hear all the entries and of course the winning song.

Music > Let’s talk just about the music May 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life.
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It’s not always just about the music in the Eurovision song competition > Trend watchers note that event reflects continent’s ethno-religious sympathies and rivalries

Cyprus’s Annette Artani, Greece and Cyprus have given each other the maximum 12 points on eight occasions.

Touted by its organizers as an event that truly unites Europe, the Eurovision song contest has regularly reflected the ethno-religious sympathies and rivalries typical of the continent.

And while performers from 23 countries geared up for yesterday’s semifinal at the Athens Olympic Stadium’s indoor basketball arena, Eurovision observers noted that their songs may not be the sole factor deciding the contest.

“(Bloc voting) has been a feature of the contest for as long as it has been around,” says Keith Mills, the webmaster of a Eurovision fan site who has been writing a weblog on the event for the past three years.

“The obvious ones are the Scandi-bloc — Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland — and the ex-USSR satellites — the Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia,” he adds.

Eurovision voting trends have attracted sufficient attention for a number of university research papers to be written on them in recent years.

One such paper by the University of Twente in the Netherlands in 2006 found evidence of geographical and religious factors influencing the final result.

It also documented that countries with a substantial Turkish immigrant population — such as Germany — tend to favor Turkish songs.

“Regardless of song quality, there is a pattern,” says Omer Suleman, a physics doctoral student at the University of Oxford, which released a paper to coincide with the contest 50 years anniversary in 2005.

“Some of these blocs cancel one another out, but the effect is that if there’s a good song from one of them, it does have a huge advantage at the outset,” says Mills.

Asked for a copy of country-to-country voting data to confirm these claims, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) — the association that owns the rights to the Eurovision — was unable to provide scoreboards prior to 2004. “We do not keep such an archive online, it would be huge,” an EBU official said.

Nevertheless, information gathered unofficially by Eurovision fans, and posted online, gives credence to the bloc theory. Greece and Cyprus, for example, have given each other the maximum 12 points on eight occasions, including the last four years. According to the same data, Cyprus had never awarded points to Turkey before 2003, and Turkey’s total contribution to Cyprus has so far been a single point in 2004.

Svante Stockselius, Eurovision’s executive supervisor and the EBU’s top representative in Athens, says regional culture and language ties can explain the voting trends.

“Yes, we see that Balkan countries, Scandinavian countries tend to vote for each other, and I think no matter what song Greece enters, they would receive (maximum) 12 points from Cyprus,” he said.

“But I think there’s a lot of explanation as to why this happens… it can be a matter of sharing a cultural background, we know for instance that drums are quite popular in the countries of the former Yugoslavia. Often it could be maybe the same language, understood by people in a neighboring country, or the artist might be well-known there,” he added. “I think all those elements together are the reason why people vote the way they do.” Stockselius concedes that behind-the-scenes politics have played a part in past Eurovision contests, which were decided by national jury votes.

But he insists that with the advent of SMS messaging and phone-in votes, registered by TV viewers on a central database, “you cannot convince an entire population to pick up their phones and vote in a certain way.” On the night of the final on Saturday, viewers are allowed to vote for more than one song.

There is a limit of 20 calls from the same number, but the rule will not uniformly apply to all the 38 countries registered to vote due to “technical reasons,” Stockselius told a news conference yesterday.

Movies > Yay! Da Vinci set free May 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life Greek, Religion & Faith.
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Court gives all clear to ‘Da Vinci’

A court in Athens yesterday threw out complaints from Greek Orthodox groups against “The Da Vinci Code” film and said that the movie, which is expected to break box office records in Greece, could be shown at some 200 movie theaters.

The judge disagreed with religious hardliners’ argument that the film was blasphemous, noting that neither the Catholic or Orthodox Churches had asked for the movie to be banned.

Members of some of the groups which had brought the action said they would protest in front of movie theaters.

The film is based on the best-selling Dan Brown novel of the same name, which explores the idea that Jesus Christ has living descendants. The Church of Greece has voiced its objection to the book, saying that it was “untrue” and “insulting” but has stopped short of saying the film should be banned.

However, Greek censors have given the film a “17” rating, meaning that children under that age will not be allowed to see the film as it was deemed to be too confusing for them.

Music > Run away train May 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life.
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24-HOUR TRAINS > Electric railway to run through the night while Eurovision is in Athens

The Athens-Piraeus electric railway (ISAP) will be running 24 hours a day for the next two days to provide service for passengers traveling to and from events connected with the Eurovision song contest at the Olympic complex, officials said yesterday. Services will be reduced between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. when trains will run every 15 minutes.

Cyprus wins first European prize for poster competition May 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Cyprus.
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But then today I was quite happy to learn that Cyprus won the first European prize for poster competition!

Cyprus has won first prize in a competition for the best European poster on children’s rights in the EU, in the 10 – 14 year age group, the Cyprus News Agency reported.

Around 2,237 teams from all over Europe participated at the competition.

A ceremony took place in Brussels on Thursday, where the European Commission Vice President Franco Frattini presented a certificate to each participating team.

The best posters will be displayed on the websites of the Commission’s Representations in the various EU countries and on the Europa server www.europa.eu. They will also be used in future European children’s rights promotion campaigns.

The Commission will develop a strategy for promoting and protecting children’s rights in all of its policies, both internal and external, as from June 2006.

In the 10 – 14 age group, the first prize was given to the Cypriot team, the second to the Lithuanian and the third to the Maltese. In the 15 – 18 age group, Slovakia won the first prize, Denmark the second and Italy the third.

Presenting the certificates to the participants, Commissioner Frattini expressed his impression by the interests shown in the subject and said “it is to all these young people who have given substantive shape to their ideas on children’s rights and to their expectations regarding them that I extend my thanks and my congratulations.” 

Cyprus is doing great, even if not qualified for the Eurovision song festival’s finals! Go Cyprus, go!

Music > Cyprus fails to qualify for Eurovision May 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life.
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Last night I wrote “strawberries – take a break”. I was in a need to “sweeten” my “bitterness” for Cyprus failing to qualify for Eurovision.

But then I said, politics. Yes, politics and politics it’s all about the issue and will explain why. Just read on an you will understand.

Cypriots and Greeks all over the world, were disappointed on Thursday night that Cyprus failed to qualify for the Eurovision Song Contest final which will take place in Athens on Saturday.

In a tele-voting procedure, the semi-final for the 51st Eurovision Song Contest saw Cyprus voted out.

Cyprus’ entry was “Why Angels Cry”, performed by Annete Artani, who was in fact not Cypriot at all but a US citizen born of parents from Greece.

For Cypriots, the Eurovision Song Contest has a political dimension. Cypriots tend to give Greece the top 12 points and expect the same in return (but do not always get it), while Turkey is normally expected to give nothing to either Greece or Cyprus but sometimes does.

The ten countries of the semifinal that qualified on Thursday for Saturday’s final are: Russia, FYR Macedonia, Bosnia –Herzegovina, Lithuania, Ukraine, Ireland, Sweden, Turkey and Armenia.

And on top of that, CyBC (Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation) was accused for discrimination over Turkish Cypriot candidate!

The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC) yesterday refuted allegations it had acted unfairly when it pulled a Turkish Cypriot parliamentary candidate’s interview from its daily show, BIZ, at the last minute.

Nese Yiasin, a candidate for the United Democrats, was pulled from the Turkish Cypriot programme ‘Us’ after CyBC bosses decided her appearance would come across as preferential treatment.

Read the whole article at > http://www.cyprus-mail.com/news/main.php?id=25940&cat_id=1