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Vodafone ordered to halt roaming income September 26, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied, Telecoms.
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Cyprus court case forces Vodafone to halt Telsim roaming income

A decision by a Cypriot judge to block the roaming income of Telsim, the Turkish telecom that was recently acquired by Vodafone has forced the British multinational from transferring such roaming income generated in Europe to Turkey, raising a barrage of protest among Turkish circles, the Financial Mirror reports.

A Cyprus court granted an interim order request filed by a Cyprus based company, Rosamara Ltd., against Telsim Mobil demanding full payment on over USD 738 mln in bearer promissory notes that were issued by Telsim in 2003. The law firm of Michael Michaelides, representing the interests of Rosamara Trading Ltd. managed to win court approval, ordering Telsim from transferring, leasing or mortgaging its assets. The interim order also orders Telsim from collecting or demanding payment of any sums of money up to USD738 mln generated from SMS, international, GPRS, voice mail and Roaming revenues from up to 20 telecom companies operating in the EU including most Vodafone subsidiaries.

The Anadolu News Agency reported that Vodafone Germany did not transfer the roaming income of Telsim to Turkey because of the pending court order secured by Cyprus based Rosamara.

In response to a written request by Vodafone Germany, the law firm of Michael Michaelides told Vodafone that it would be in contempt of court if they transferred the income of Telsim generated abroad to Turkey. The court order was issued in Cyprus on April 28, 2006.

The bearer notes matured earlier this year and are secured by the assets and roaming income of Telsim, Turkey’s second largest cell phone operator. Telsim’s operations were taken over by Turkey’s state deposit insurance fund (SDIF) in 2004, after the bonds were issued and entered on the corporate books. Several months ago the SDIF conducted a public auction of Telsim’s assets and received bids from telecom groups located in Europe, the Middle East and Russia. The winning bid of USD 4.5 bln was submitted by British telecom giant Vodafone.


Northern scenic villageheaves a sigh of relief September 26, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece.
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Ministry of Culture lists near-abandoned Polykerasos as a historical site

polykerasos.jpg  A traditional stone building in the village

Life is returning to a lovely little village on the outskirts of Kastoria in northern Greece. Just last August, Polykerasos, a settlement that until recently had a mere 17 permanent residents (it had over 600 before 1949), has been listed as a historical site by the Ministry of Culture – “for its architectural, folkloric and overall historical significance.”

This initiative puts Polykerasos back on the map, and with great expectations as well, as it lies just 3 kilometers from the Vitsio ski resort and 13 kilometers from the traditional settlement of Nymphaio. It was the Municipality of Vitsio (to which Polykerasos belongs) that applied to the ministry for the village to be granted listed status as a way of protecting its beautiful assets in light of the widespread construction taking place in the entire region. The municipality’s application received the support of the development company of Kastoria SA, which recognized the village’s scope for development, as well as from the Ephorate of Modern Monuments of Central Macedonia, which conducted a scientific study in support of the application. The study that was handed in to the Ministry of Culture was drawn up by architect Roxani Trypsiani.

Polykerasos and its 50 residences finds itself at a turning point today, as there is renewed desire for its resettlement, reconstruction and development. New buildings are being added to the old stone, two-story homes without balconies and with tiled roofs, most of which were built in the early 20th century, more or less around the central Church of Aghios Nikolas (built in 1844).

Like many Western Macedonia villages, Polykerasos used to be a lively community which played a central role in the area up until the civil war. The village was destroyed once in 1904 during the Macedonian struggle and again in 1946. Only the second time was different because a majority of residents left – many becoming immigrants – leaving few behind to rebuild the community.

The village got its name from its lush greenery – Polykerasos means “with many cherries.” Vast cherry, among other, orchards, sloping valleys and rivers give the village an almost alpine feel. Located at an altitude of 1,360 meters, it enjoys a crisp, clean climate that makes it ideal for development in tourism, agriculture, architecture, winter sports and other pursuits.

However, one issue that remains open and concerns numerous villages like Polykerasos, is that of construction. The Ephorate of Modern Monuments has for years been pushing for a presidential decree on the rules and terms of construction in such historical areas so that the ephorate does not have to operate as a town-planning commission. Under the current legislation, all applications for the reconstruction of old residences are handed over to the local ephorate.

The ephorates, which control huge areas, claim that this role of town planner takes too much time away from their usual duties and this, in turn, leads to delays in the processing of applications. In Northern Greece, only the village of Varosi has so far come under a special law – and the results have been very promising indeed. Nevertheless, Polykerasos is turning over a new leaf, reflecting the power that small villages can have in claiming a more promising future.

Yiannis Mitarakis gets overdue retrospective at the Benaki Museum September 26, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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“Landscape”, 1950, oil on canvas, will be among the exhibits
Yiannis Mitarakis belongs to a category of artists whose work, though noteworthy, remains largely unknown. Born in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1897, Mitarakis grew up on the Greek island of Chios. He subsequently studied in Paris, where he immersed himself in the city’s cultural life. A series of financial difficulties, however, forced him to return to Greece.

The artist died in 1963, before the establishment of the National Gallery and belongs to a group of artists who are slowly emerging from obscurity, even though their contribution to the development of contemporary Greek art remains undisputed.

This is the kind of artistic gap that an exhibition at the New Wing of the Benaki Museum on Pireos Street attempts to bridge. The majority of the 85 works on display (mostly oil paintings and sketches) are now part of the Benaki Museum’s permanent collection, after being generously donated by the artist’s son, Pavlos Mitarakis.

At the Benaki, the retrospective exhibition traces the artist’s steps from his first years in Paris years until his final artistic period, during which Mitarakis turned toward abstraction.

Benaki Museum, 138 Pireos and Andronikou Street, tel 210 3453111. The exhibition runs to November 5.

Greece celebrates World Tourism Day September 26, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism.
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Entrance to the ancient Acropolis, major archaeological sites and museums will be free Wednesday to mark World Tourism Day, the Culture Ministry announced.

The Ministry will also open a 15-meter (50-foot) high spherical video display, the tourism planetarium, at the ancient marble Panathenian stadium, in Athens, where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896.

World Tourism Day has been celebrated every September 27 since 1980. It was established by the World Tourism Organization, now a specialized agency of the United Nations.

Greece has prioritized the tourism sector, a vital industry which accounts for around 18 percent of gross domestic product, since the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. Officials expect an increase of 8-9 percent this year, to more than 14 million visitors.

Rehhagel recalls two strikers September 26, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Football.
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Samaras, Gekas rejoin Greece squad for Euro qualifiers; Bajevic closer to Panathinaikos

Greece coach Otto Rehhagel recalled strikers Giorgos Samaras and Fanis Gekas to the national squad yesterday ahead of two upcoming Euro 2008 qualifiers, on October 7 in Athens against Norway and in Bosnia four days later.

The two strikers were both dropped for Greece’s opening qualifier, a 1-0 win in Moldova early this month, and were among 11 foreign-based players selected by Rehhagel. The German coach is expected to reveal his full squad later in the week.

In recent weeks, both Samaras and Gekas – who played in Greece’s last friendly game ahead of official Euro 2008 qualifying action, a 4-0 away defeat against England – have enjoyed a good start to their club seasons.

Samaras scored twice to help Manchester City beat West Ham over the weekend. Gekas has scored once in his first three matches for his new club, VfL Bochum in Germany.

In club-level soccer, Dusan Bajevic, who ranks as the most successful coach in Greek soccer, with strings of league and cup titles at AEK, Olympiakos and PAOK over the past 15 years, appeared closer to joining Panathinaikos yesterday.

The Athens club, without a coach after sacking Swede Hans Backe early in the season when Panathinaikos was confined to a 1-1 home draw by Ukranian club Zaporizhya in a first-round, first-leg UEFA Cup match, has reportedly agreed on all terms with Bajevic. But Panathinaikos still needs to reach a deal with the Belgrade club. Panathinaikos, reports said, is willing to offer between 300,000 and 400,000 euros, while Red Star Belgrade has set a price of 1 million euros. Despite the discrepancy in price, it is widely believed that a deal will be reached. The 58-year-old Bajevic, it was reported, has already begun making plans for his new team.

The Belgrade club, reports said, has already decided on Bajevic’s successor, Ratomir Dujkovic, the man who led Ghana to the Final 16 at last summer’s World Cup finals.

In another coaching development yesterday, Xanthi’s Yiannnis Matzourakis resigned after a disappointing start in the season, both domestically and in Europe, in the UEFA Cup qualifier. Xanthi, which lost its first-round, first-leg UEFA Cup encounter at home to Dinamo Bucharest with a 4-3 score, lies third from bottom in Greece’s Super League with two points from three games.

Greek-run club in Oz wins state title September 26, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Football.
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South Melbourne, one of Australia’s oldest and most popular soccer clubs run by ethnic Greeks, won its eighth Victorian state soccer title over the weekend with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Altona Magic.

Youngster Yiannis De Nittis headed in South Melbourne’s solitary goal in the 63rd minute for the win and title triumph.

A former force in Australia’s national league, the country’s premier club-level soccer competition, South Melbourne was recently demoted to the state league after failing to meet certain financial criteria.

A Celebration of Greece! September 26, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora Festivals.
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October 6-8

A Celebration of Greece! Castro Valley, Presented by the Resurrection Greek Orthodox Church of Castro Valley.

5 p.m.-midnight Friday, 11 a.m.-midnight Saturday and noon-8 p.m. Sunday.

Enjoy Greek food, live Greek music and Greek dancing. Featuring cooking demonstrations, raffles, Greek dance lessons and cultural displays.

Centennial Hall, 22292 Foothill Blvd., Hayward. Admission is $5, children younger than 12 free. Free covered parking. 510-581-8950.