jump to navigation

OPEP makes overture to the East, in Japan November 18, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece.
comments closed

The Organization for the Promotion of Greek Culture (OPEP) has made a dynamic start, building a bridge of cooperation and communication between Europe and Japan.

Using Greek culture and European Commission funding, OPEP has set up a project, “On the Modern and the Contemporary in European and Japanese Culture” a series of events that were part of the EU-Japan Year’s People to People Exchanges in 2005, and of the EU Culture program. The aim is for both societies to get acquainted and to see a new universal cultural synthesis, bringing East and West closer together.

The venue is the Umberto Agnelli Room at the Italian Cultural Institute in Tokyo, where the opening is to take place on November 21. There will be welcoming speeches and music. Fotini Darra will sing songs from Japan, Greece and other European countries. A reception will follow with traditional Greek delicacies on offer. Admission is free.

The cultural events include a conference on December 12, exhibitions of architecture and photography, and video screenings from December 18-22. “The meeting of two cultures in Tokyo will help strengthen relations between Europe and Japan. And it will enhance cultural dialogue between Greece and Japan, which OPEP supports,” said OPEP President Michalis Siopsis.

The events, which all explore the modern and the contemporary, will give Japanese visitors an opportunity to encounter European expressions of those concepts. OPEP has joined forces with the Greek Architecture Institute, the German Architekturbild and the Italian Change Performing Arts. All the artists represented in the program will participate in the conference. Kiyoshi Sey Takeyama, a professor of architecture at Kyoto University, whose work links Japan and Greece, is the keynote speaker. From Greece, the speakers are architecture professors Ilias Constantopoulos and Anastassios Kotsiopoulos, and art and technology professor Alexandros Psychoulis.

The European Architecture Photography Award exhibition, organized by Architekturbild, presents fine photographs of exceptional buildings in Europe. There will be screenings of videos by Psychoulis and Andreas Platis, and “Infusion” an experimental art-fashion video by Marcus Tomlinson and Vassilis Zidianakis. OPEP comes under the Greek Culture Ministry, and Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis will address the opening event: “These multilateral events cover a wide range of contemporary art and have rekindled discussion about the meaning of modernism. Greek and other European artists who meet the Japanese public will have an opportunity to transmit and receive new stimuli.”

Images of the world seen by Yiannis Psilakis November 18, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Greece, Books Life Greek.
comments closed

Yiannis Psilakis met the Kalash, the descendants of Alexander the Great in India. The Benaki Museum exhibition will bring together the late photographer’s images of his journeys around the world.

He traveled the world photographing people, journeying through jungles, rivers and swamps. He stayed with the Papuans, met the Kalash, the descendants of Alexander the Great in India, and was a founding member of the Association for the Orphans of Ethiopia.

Yiannis Psilakis returned to Greece and prepared an exhibition of his work. “It’s time to do it and bring out the book,” he told his mother, Titi. But fate intervened and he lost his life at the age of 39, on the Athens-Lamia highway. Now, nine months later, the exhibition and the book are on display at the Benaki Museum, just as he had planned. The exhibition, titled “The World is One” will open on Tuesday, November 21, at 8 p.m.

At the The Benaki Museum, 1 Koumbari Street, Kolonaki, Athens, tel 210 3671000.

Parnitha Protected November 18, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece.
comments closed

Court rejects ministry bid to allow construction on mountain

The Council of State has turned down government legislation which would allow further construction to take place on Mount Parnitha, northwest of Athens.

In a decision made public yesterday, Greece’s highest administrative court has banned the Church of Greece and the National Bank of Greece from building on land which it uses for children’s summer camps.

It has also rejected a bid by the Public Works and Environment Ministry to recognize the areas of Varibobi and Drosopigi as being residential districts.

Young athletes face risk of heart attack November 18, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Health & Fitness.
comments closed

Young athletes are three times more likely to have a sudden heart attack than their peers who are not active in sports, a senior cardiologist warned yesterday.

“Physical exercise is good for the heart but can have dramatic results if the necessary precautions are not taken,” the director of Aristotle University’s Sports Medicine Laboratory, Asterios Deliyiannis, told an international cardiology summit in Thessaloniki.

Deliyiannis said young athletes should undergo health tests, including electrocardiograms, to ensure they are fit for regular intensive exercise.

The laboratory at Aristotle University examines between 30 and 40 young athletes daily and only 1 percent of them reveal serious heart problems, he said.

One in three young athletes also suffer from an abnormal heart rhythm but this is rarely cause for concern, he added.

Sprider on line for portfolio growth November 18, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Fashion & Style.
comments closed

New stores are to be launched by Sprider, the Greek apparel and shoe company, in Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia and grow its domestic Greek portfolio.

Sprider will initially launch on the Serbian market before going on to open stores in the other two Balkan countries. The company aims to open a further four outlets in Greece by the end of the year, adding to the current chain of 39 locations.

Sprider expects a 20% growth in sales and profits in 2006 and in the long-term has its eye on a chain of 80 stores in Greece, comprising 60 megastores and 20 city stores.

Stelios wants to open first Cyprus easyHotel by 2007 November 18, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Hotels Cyprus.
comments closed

Cyprus hoteliers keen to ‘go orange’

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the serial Greek-Cypriot entrepreneur and easyGroup Chairman, has set his sights on opening his first low-cost easyHotel franchise property in Cyprus some time next year and is sending the company’s chief executive to sign up potential partners on Monday.

Three such hotels are presently operational in London and one in Switzerland’s Basel while the next opening will be in the Hungarian capital. Stelios hopes to develop a regional master franchise that will see 38 easyHotels popping up in India, the Middle East and North Africa over the next five years at a cost of USD 400 mln.

In Cyprus, some 30 property owners have already shown interest and just as many more are expected be there to hear what Lawrence Alexander, CEO of easyHotel.com will have to say at the presentation in Limassol.

“Ideally, the brand suits locations where there is demand through the year and is town centre, rather than resort location,” Alexander said. His presentation will be simple, just like the easyGroup concept. “I will be on my own. I will go through the background to easyHotel, its current status and development plans. In terms of opening, that depends if we can find a hotelier who believes the brand is right for him,” Alexander said.

“We are looking for hoteliers or property owners who have a hotel/property of at least 20-plus rooms who are prepared to invest to convert them to easyHotel standards. Typically these will be 1-star or 2-star properties in an urban or suburban location with potential demand outside of the standard tourist season.” “Standard beachside properties will not benefit greatly from the concept,” he said.

As regards the franchise fee, this is calculated on a percentage of rooms’ revenue. Alexander said that between hotels or hotel apartments, they “would look at either as a conversion opportunity.” As regards the basic room-rate, he said: “I cannot give you this information at present as I do not have a good enough knowledge yet of typical room rates in Cyprus.”

The standard contract would be for 20 years and each contract will be considered differently, while sales will be exclusively online, just as all the other easyGroup ventures. As regards the hotel’s facia, when Lawrence Alexander asked if this would include the group’s identifying orange in its colour scheme: “There are certain brand standards, which include a certain amount of orange,” he said.

At a press conference in Budapest on Monday, Stelios announced that easyHotel would be opening in the Hungarian capital during the Spring of 2007. Rooms will be available from 29 euros per night.

As with all easyHotel premises, easyHotel Budapest will be centrally located and will have 57 bedrooms with en-suite facilities. The rooms will be small but easyHotel Budapest will concentrate on providing great value accommodation and will not have food and beverage outlets on the site.

The easyHotel in London in Lexham Gardens W8, which is owned and operated by the easyGroup, has en-suite rooms which start at GBP 30 a night. These rooms are between 60 and 80 square feet in size and all are air conditioned with a double bed and ‘pay as you go’ television. Some of the rooms have windows and these rooms tend to sell at a GBP 10 premium over the windowless rooms.

In less than a year since launch, easyHotel has proved successful with very high occupancy rates. As a result the company has proved attractive to franchisees and recruited a CEO to take over the day to day running of the business from Stelios.

Lawrence Alexander took up his new challenge in July. He has over 25 years experience in senior management positions within the hotel industry including Ladbroke Hotels, Merit Hotels (part of ILG) and Penguin Hotels prior to joining Jarvis Hotels in 1990. As CEO he plans to establish a strong management team to guarantee the growth of the company leading to a stock market listing in the next 3 to 5 years. Stelios will remain as Chairman of easyHotel for the foreseeable future.

“I am delighted to welcome Lawrence on board,” said Stelios, the serial entrepreneur and easyGroup Chairman. “An experienced chief executive is just what easyHotel needs just now as the company is going to grow fast and globally. I am looking forward to overseeing this growth as well, but having Lawrence on board will give me time to help manage the other 14 easyGroup businesses which are also growing,” he continued.

Know your rights to privacy November 18, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet & Web.
comments closed

‘No one has the right to make use of your personal information unless they specifically ask you for permission’

Spam in the form of emails, SMS and faxes made up a whopping 60 per cent of the complaints made to the Data Protection Commissioner in 2005.

Although Commissioner Goula Frangou’s annual report dealt with what many would describe as far more serious matters, including new phone-tapping powers to police, its findings pointed to an alarming trend, where people’s personal information is sold, shared and processed with impunity. Frangou’s findings suggest that the spam scourge has well and truly arrived on our shores, even though Cypriots are still reluctant to report these infringements.

In total, 153 complaints were filed with Frangou’s office, of which 53 were processed and the remaining 100 are pending. The majority of complaints concerned receiving SMS messages on mobile phones, without the recipient knowing who the sender was. This unsolicited communication primarily came from private corporations or campaigning politicians.

A surge in this type of spam was recorded during May’s legislative elections, and there have even been reports of people getting SMS from bishoprics during the recent Church election campaign.

“The law is very clear on this,” Frangou said yesterday. “No one has the right to make use of your personal information unless they specifically ask you for permission.” But she conceded that investigating such complaints was complicated and took time.

The government has long transposed European Directive 95/46 on the protection of personal data into domestic law. The gist of the directive is that someone has to get permission from you before making use of your personal information, in any way. At least on paper, Cyprus has privacy laws that prohibit unsolicited communication, or the unauthorised processing of personal data. But the reality can be quite different.

Frustrated recipients of junk mail who want to do something about it have two options: you can either lodge a complaint with the Commissioner directly, or first ask the sender how they got your personal information.

Under the law, you have the right to ask the sender (in writing) to reveal his source of information. If the sender does not comply or answer within a month, you can then take recourse to the authorities.

The thing is, the person (or entity) being asked to reveal their sources has the right to ask for a £10 “processing fee”. The fee is refunded if their inquiry is not satisfied.

Other violations of privacy established by Frangou’s office: banks sharing a client’s data when someone applies for a loan; disclosure of stock exchange transactions by the Cabinet to the Inland Revenue Service, for purposes of taxation; and passing on information on members of an organisation to companies engaging in direct marketing.

In one case, Frangou fined a company and its subsidiary for sending people SMS messages that promoted upcoming discounts. The subsidiary was charged with gathering mobile phone numbers and sending SMSs on behalf of its mother company. While being investigated, the company went so far as to claim that the SMS were being sent from a database in the United States. That assertion was later dropped.

In another instance, a photographer was slapped with a £1,000 fine for publishing the pictures of a couple’s wedding day in a lifestyle magazine without their consent. Not only that, but the material had also wound up in a photo exhibition.