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Ecosystems in trouble July 16, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Mainland, Nature.
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Environmentalists say Greece must move quickly to protect its rivers

Already troubled ecosystems in northern Greece may be headed for a downward spiral if the government does not take steps to protect nature’s sensitive balances in areas such as the Axios River, environmental experts said.

Environmentalists, scientists and professors say that, with the right policies, the government can help transform the region into ecological havens that can attract environmentally conscious tourists.

In central Macedonia, the heavy pollution is creating problems on top of existing water shortages. (more…)


Movies > A wave of nostalgia July 16, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life.
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A wave of nostalgia, coupled with a return to black-and-white, links the 60s with ’06

Garbo, who plays the haughty Queen who sacrifices her throne for love, reminds us of devotion in the era of free love. There must be something behind the wave of nostalgia, the return to the fine, classic films that are being screened this summer.

In Rouben Mamoulian’s “Queen Christina” Greta Garbo showed her mettle as a great star and successfully demanded to play opposite John Gilbert rather than the young Laurence Olivier, giving him an opportunity to act in the talkies.

Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1962 movie “L’Eclisse” with Monica Vitti and Alain Delon as a couple who fall madly in love in 1960s Rome and get caught up in the toils of loneliness, is the third in his trilogy, after “L’Avventura” in 1960 and “La Notte” in 1961. He followed that with “Blowup” in 1966.

Fashion > Chara Lebessi a rising star July 16, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Fashion & Style.
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Chara Lebessi, a young designer whose personality is reflected in her creations, showed her collection in Belgrade.

Anyone who wants to establish their career in Greece has to first gain recognition abroad, and then come back to win fame, money and glory.

That was the case with Dimitris Mitropoulos, Maria Callas and Jean Desses.

And to a lesser extent, it is true of the young designers such as Sophia Kokosalaki.

Kokosalaki came from London, where she had made her name, to do the costumes for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

They were a great success, and Dimitris Papaioannou was right to choose her.

In the same field is Chara Lebessi, who studied computers and public relations, and then switched over to fashion design, first in Athens and then in London at Central Saint Martin’s.

In March 2001, while she was still a student, Lebessi won the first panhellenic competition for the design of a wedding dress, coming in first among 170 young Greek designers.

She participated in Trash Art, presenting a dress made of seaweed in 2002 and one made of broken glass in 2003.

In August 2002 her collection was bought by the London Designers store on Fulham Road, a connection she has kept up.

Since then she has presented her autumn-winter collections in Athens. She is a member of the Hellenic Fashion Designers Association and presents her work at Fashion Week in Athens.

On July 5 she presented her summer collection in Belgrade to raise funds for Princess Aikaterini’s charity for orphans.

The program was sponsored by the National Bank of Greece and Hellenic Petroleum, which are both active in the growing Serbian market.

Greek Ambassador to Serbia Christos Panagopoulos opened the garden of the ambassador’s residence for the fashion show.

The fashion event raised funds for 80 children orphaned by the war in Yugoslavia. The children live at the Drinka Pavlovic foundation, under the auspices of Princess Aikaterini.

Youthfulness, femininity, daring, geometric shapes, expensive fabrics – mainly silk – lots of black and white, and imagination are the keynotes of Lebessi’s styles.

The young, attractive designer, dressed in red and white, was applauded by the models and the personalities who attended the fundraiser, including soprano Jadranka Jovanovic of the Serbian National Opera and La Scala, and artist Cile Marinkovic.

Powell to race at Vardinoyannia meet in Greece July 16, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Athletics.
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Jamaican sprint ace Asafa Powell, joint holder of the men’s 100-metre world record, has agreed to compete at the Vardinoyannia 2006 in Rethymno, Crete next week Friday.

Powell has raced undefeated so far this year and his wins include his world record equalling run (9.77 seconds) at the Norwich Union Grand Prix in Gateshead, England on June 11.

The big 23-year-old, who also won at yesterday’s Rome Golden League meet, is also booked to compete at the IAAF’s Stockholm DN Galan Super Grand Prix on July 25.

Powell, who won the Commonwealth Games 100-metre gold medal in Australia in March, also posted fast-time wins this season at the Jamaica International, Prefontaine Classic, Bislett Games Golden League, and the Paris Golden League, where he logged sub-10-second times.

To Mykonos with Contiki July 16, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Islands Aegean, Hotels Greece.
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There are more than 1400 Greek islands, forming the Sporadic, Cycladic, Dodecanese, Ionian, North-Eastern Aegean and Saronic chains. Crete and Evia are large enough to stand alone.

Just 169 are inhabited, some since 7000 BC. During the early Cycladic period (3000-2000 BC), there were settlements on Keros, Syros, Naxos, Milos, Sifnos and Amorgos and during that time the famous marble figurines were sculpted.

The Cyclades are archetypal Greek islands, rugged outcrops of rock with sparkling white buildings, brightly painted balconies and churches with blue domes. Sandy beaches are lapped by aquamarine water and everything is bathed in strong sunlight.

Goats and sheep, pigs and cattle are raised on the mountainous islands. Naxos is fertile enough to produce crops. Many islanders fish, but tourism is the dominant source of income, particularly on Mykonos, Santorini and Ios, whose shores are spread with colourful umbrellas.

The Cyclades is the cluster of islands most accessible from Athens. Mykonos is at the top of the popularity pole. It takes 3.5 hours on a sea cat or six hours on a ferry. Mykonos has it all — postcard villages, traditional Greek culture, narrow cobbled streets, olive groves and tavernas, providing plenty of nightlife. In fact it is known as the playground island.

The latest Mykonos attraction is a Contiki resort, 10km from Mykonos Town.

Their philosophy is that you can’t have too much fun. Check it out if you are between 18 and 35 years of age.

They have a great range of rooms. Fifty-one sea-view rooms allow you to soak up views from your balcony and have triple, twin double and single options, all air-conditioned. Seventy nine garden-view rooms have balconies, verandahs or small courtyards, triple, twin, double and single options and are air conditioned.

There are 18 twin, double and single standard rooms, perfect if you just need somewhere for the occasional nap! If you are travelling solo, Contiki can hook you up in a twin or triple room, if you’d like to share.

There’s loads to do – swimming, sunbaking, relaxing in a jacuzzi, tennis, water polo, volleyball, surf skiing, meeting new friends in the lounge, sending e-mail home, shopping and enjoying a cool drink at the Sand Bar.

For an additional cost, there is scuba diving, windsurfing, water skiing, banana boating, wakeboarding, tubes and jet skiing, tropical massage, horse riding and mountain biking. There are also jeeps for hire to explore the island.

Brunch and dinner are included in the tariff and there is a micro-market where you can purchase poolside snacks and drinks.

Contiki Resort Mykonos
has special night packages including brunch, dinner, activities and transfers from Mykonos Port.

More information
For Mykonos Contiki bookings contact your local travel agent. Or check at Contiki Resort Mykonos >  www.contiki.com

My dear diary > Nicosia in August July 16, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Nicosia.
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August. Try to talk to anyone in Nicosia in August. Impossible. They’re all gone. It is as if the life stopped for a month – a dead end.

A few years ago I arrived in Cyprus on August 16. I wandered down Makarios Avenue on the very same evening trying to find a place to eat. Everything was closed. Finally I got somewhere near Eleftheria Square, my first encounter with the ‘Square of Freedom’. The only bar open was a little kebab place on the corner; the one to which the Russian girls go every evening. For the next few days I lived on lahmajouns and pepsi.

Years later, I still haven’t managed to master the Cypriot art of ‘August absence’. Everybody else has gone or is just about to go for at least a week. I am still here. Suddenly discovering that all the exhibitions have ended, concerts moved from PASYDY Auditorium to Ayia Napa stadium and my friends to Troodos, but I am still here. Trying to write exciting articles about nothing.

In my search for new topics I was recently walking around the Old Town. Again. First in the south and then in the north of the city. And as the month is all about endings I came across two ‘grand finales’. The first was an exhibition closing, the other was just the end of a wall story.

The exhibition was at the Power House. It was called Accidental Meetings and finished the day before I arrived. Quite a few months ago I went to its opening. It was a posh occasion with all the ‘great and famous’ saying an accidental hello to each other. Hundreds of them! It wasn’t really time for viewing.

This time I walked down the deserted (of course) hall to see the best works of art that both sides of the island have to offer. Some of them were very good, while others were absolutely pointless. Because, as usual, art is not just about an artist but also about what he or she takes from a place they live in. And a good one will always find something valuable out there while a bad one will be stuck with emptiness.

I spent a long time in front of two videos, both about women. The first was by Helen Black and showed an interview with an old Greek Cypriot – ugly, fat and seemingly dead. She was talking about her life. How her mother was beaten up by her father, how she was beaten up by her husband, how all the nice, simple things she wanted from life had never happened.

“I believe,” the woman says, smoking her cigarette and coughing, “all a woman wants from life is to have her bills paid, her electricity paid, her food paid, her shoes and clothes paid. Nothing else. And I had nothing of it.”

It was just a video and just a face but now every time I see a woman like that in the street (and there are thousands of them) I will think of all these times her husband hit her.

The second video was an interview with Turkish Cypriot artist Serap Kanay by the Power House’s director Yiannis Toumazis about her work. Serap describes herself as ‘black Cypriot Turkish speaking’ and her latest project is all about her identity. At the exhibition it is represented by just a line of family photographs – Cypriot men and women during their weddings and family meetings. The only difference with any other family pictures is that Kanay’s family is black. They are Africans and they came, or rather were brought, to Cyprus a long time ago. There are about two to three thousand black Cypriots on the island and most of them live in the north. Toumazis’ interview is very good and he asks really sensitive questions. One of them is how Kanay places herself and her community in the Cyprus problem.

“The island is divided,” Toumazis says. “It is all about the differences between Greeks and Turks. And in a way you are neither. You are black. Where does it leave you?”

And Serap answers that this is actually one of the problems.
“As you already have this division in place there is no space for any subdivisions,” she says. “It is bad timing. There is no space in Cyprus for yet another identity.”

In the next room, Greek Cypriot artist Andreas Savva hung a big cross made of ten-euro notes.

The second ending that I saw was in the north, just around the corner from the Buyuk Khan. A private owner of the Koumardjilar Khan (The Gamblers’ Inn) decided to restore it to “its former glory”. For those who don’t know the Gamblers’ Inn, it is one of the most important Ottoman buildings in Cyprus. It was built in the 17th century by the family of Dervish Pasha and is beautiful. Now, almost half of it is gone as “the western wall wasn’t really original” and as such will be replaced by a “more original one” i.e. done now.

Now, I am not an expert but couldn’t this western, 19th-century wall be left in peace?

Fashion > Give me a break… July 16, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Fashion & Style.
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If Protaras is not big enough for you to pose in, try Mykonos.

My travel agenda so far this summer has been pretty eventful. Having just come back from a socialite wedding in Mykonos and a wet, hot and humid London where I combined my work with a charity concert (I’m afraid I was also at the Live Aid concert 20 years ago, ahem!), Frida Kahlo at the Tate Modern and lots of food and wine with old friends… just my idea of relaxing. 

Mykonos was as usual a clubbing season, so I was surprised to spot quite a few the Nicosia nouveu riche, strutting their oh ‘so-obvious-that-it-took-me-all-winter-to-get-rid-of-my-cellulite’ bums on the impeccably crystal clear waters of one of the island’s exclusive beaches. The label-loving women of our capital do not stop at the delight of posing in Protaras (Navsika beach, being the place to show their Victoria Secrets’ mono-kinis if they cannot hit the Greek Islands) or the high-street cafés.

Mykonos’ beaches were dotted with paparazzi type shots (they wished) of women and their partners (male and female, gay and lesbian or straight) going way over-board with their over-the-top ensembles, which would have been more suited to a Beyoncé music video than to hanging out in the sun. I discovered in one week that most Greek girls, whether Greek from Greece or Greek from Cyprus, suffer from an acute case of styling fever. When a girl can’t settle for a bikini and shades, but has to accessorise with a shark-tooth pendant and an ankle bracelet and belly-button jewellery and a slash-front mini kaftan, armfuls of bracelets and more necklaces and a cowboy hat to top the whole look – then that’s when you know you are dealing with an obsessive disorder known in the fashion industry as ‘fashionorexia’. As from now, that is…

Fashionorexics are women who shop obsessively, style obsessively and are constantly adapting and updating their look. They can easily miss a party because they can’t quite choose between five pairs of shoes. Typically, sufferers are insecure about their fashion credentials as well as being perfectionists (they think). They know they aren’t going to set any trends a la Kate Moss, but they are damn well going to get them down, detail for detail, as soon as they hit the catwalk. (I spotted one girl in a nightclub that didn’t just wear Dolce and Gabbana, she wore look no. 14 from the summer show, right down to the hoop earrings and nail polish). Fashionorexics won’t make do with flip-flops from the corner shop; they have to have Havianas (and yes we do have them here too). They can’t settle for one cowboy hat, but have to have all four because the hatbands are different. And, because every time they step out in the world they believe that their look is being judged, right down to the toe ring, their self-esteem is directly linked to the response they get to an outfit. In the celebrity world a clear example is Victoria Beckham, who definitely suffers with an extreme case.

It is possible, having said that, to have a mild form of fashionorexia without really knowing it. You might find yourself in the next few weeks (the fact that the sales are on does not help matters any less) bulk-buying Jesus sandals in all colours (why?), or rushing out and investing in a sequin capelet for rock-concert situations because it’s what Kate Moss wore to the Isle of Wight festival.

We civilians don’t get the quick-change photo opportunities, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have the same impulse to keep working on the perfect outfit for every situation – including the ones we’ll never experience. So come on girls, stop reading and trying to copy all the celebrities and their fashion mistakes. When you next flick through the pages of Vogue, stop daydreaming that you will look like a model if you wear what she wears, and try and develop your own style… that way you won’t get people like me writing columns about how bad you look. I people watch even I’m not on this island…

Talking of Posers…

If you still insist on trying to look like a supermodel, here’s how to step off a plane looking like Elle Macpherson (well maybe)…

Five minutes and five products are all you need to arrive with supermodel-style glamour.

5 minutes to landing: Freshen up your hot ‘n’ bothered body with multi-purpose St Ives Energising Cleansing Wipes (available at Alpha Mega) – an instant plane grime zapper. Then slip on a fresh T-shirt and feel heaps better.

4 minutes to landing: Bring your dehydrated, sallow face back to life with a blob of Darphin Instant Lumiere brightening cream (available at all good pharmacies). It moisturises, gives a glow and immediately calms down stress-induced blotchiness.

3 minutes to landing: Rub Stila Color Push-up in Pink Flash, onto eyelids and the apples of your cheeks. The subtle flesh-pink shade will make you look healthy, not haggard after zero sleep. (Only available on the net for the moment, try www.theskinstore.com)

2 minutes to landing: Blitz crow’s feet with everyone-who’s-in-the-know favourite concealer, YSL Touché Éclat in two shades (available at all Beauty Line stores). Instantly gets rid of dark circles and brightens your eyes. Apply sparingly if you are dark or olive skinned or you will look silly, trust me!

1 minute to landing: Well travelled style queens think about getting off the plane before getting on it. How? By drenching their hair with leave-in conditioner and putting it in a bun then, last minute, taking out the hair clip to release soft, glossy waves. Try TIGI Ego Boost leave-in conditioner (available at any Tony and Guy salon). And just before landing, spritz hair and face with Evian Moisture Mist, to look refreshed (Alpha Mega again).

On landing: Perch the baby charmingly on one hip, drape cashmere wrap casually over shoulder, don dark glasses…and, deep breath, smile for the paparazzi…Yeah right!

Happy landing! Carefull though, don’t break an ankle 🙂