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UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Dalaras January 27, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Greek.
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With his unique voice and the spirit of generosity that has marked his successful 35-year career, Giorgos Dalaras was named UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador for Refugees at an official ceremony in Athens on October 5, 2006.

He has helped refugees since 2001, when he helped to organize a big concert for the first World Refugees Day at the ancient stadium at Delphi, as well as two concerts later that year at the Herod Atticus Theater.

This week Dalaras takes up his official duties as goodwill ambassador. He will perform at two concerts, January 29-30, at the Athens Concert Hall, singing works by Argentinean composer Ariel Ramirez, Misa Criolla and Navida Nuestra. The concerts are being held under the auspices of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and all proceeds will go to programs for child refugees in Africa.

Related Links > www.unhcr.org

www.dalaras.gr

Christie’s makes a fortune from sale of Greek Royal objects January 27, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Auctions.
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A long-gone atmosphere and era. A meal outdoors at Tatoi in April 1899, during a visit by the Princess of Wales (l), next to Constantine, his aunt Alexandra and uncle George.

A long-gone atmosphere and era, Tatoi in April 1899  Heirlooms once owned by the former Greek Royal Family sold for 9.3 million pounds (14.2 million euros), Christie’s said at the end of the two-day auction, Associated Press reported.

The sale took place despite protests from Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis, who urged the auction house at the last minute not to sell the artifacts, saying that they may have been illegally exported. The most expensive items in the auction was a pair of massive Victorian pilgrim flasks, which sold for 878,000 euros.

The auction at Christie’s turned out to be much ado about nothing. Greek Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis telephoned Christie’s 24 hours before the two-day auction started on January 24 to warn against the sale of objects “of historic and archaeological value as relics belonging to the Greek people,” as there had been two robberies at the villa and the catalog mentioned no provenance for the objects.

Far from averting the sale, however, he drew attention to the event and make prices far overshoot initial estimates. In the end, Christie’s made more than 14 million euros from the 882 objects that changed hands.

The collectors, ship owners and entrepreneurs who bid for objects with the Royal insignia weren’t put off by the Greek government’s intention of reclaiming any items that did not appear on the lists officially handed over by former King Constantine II of the Hellenes to the National Gallery as well as a copy to the European Court of Human Rights. On the basis of those lists, the household items and valuable furniture and silver of Tatoi, the summer Royal Palace, was loaded into containers and left Greece in 1991 by permission of the Greek government of Constantinos Mitsotakis, in which Voulgarakis was deputy culture minister for sport.

Speaking on television, Voulgarakis said: “I personally requested all the objects be bought and kept in Greece as historic relics but I was not heeded.”

The auction attracted crowds of antique dealers, royalists and people who can afford to buy the saucers, egg cups, statuettes and vases that adorned the Tatoi villa in the 19th century. Then the Royal summer residence, it received frequent visits from Kings and Princes from Britain, Denmark and Germany.

The last-minute mobilization did not dissuade anyone; Christie’s went about its business as if nothing was amiss and made a fortune. British Museum officials were probably amused to see the outcome of an auction of objects that didn’t belong to the people of Greece, who, in truth, didn’t want them either.

The general view here is that the objects could have stayed at Tatoi, to stock a Museum there, and the former Royal Family to have been compensated. The public expects the ministry to focus on getting back the Parthenon Marbles, now that the new Acropolis Museum is nearing completion.

The Faberge eggs and plates with the Royal insignia are for antique dealers and collectors; they are not historical relics because that era has gone, never to return.

Related Links >
http://www.formerkingofgreece.org

http://www.christies.com/home_page/home_page.asp

Cyprus tourism plans January 27, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Cyprus, Tourism.
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Two casinos, three modern marinas, 10 golf courses and the encouragement of investors through incentives for the development of agritourism are Cyprus’s moves for the attraction of more quality tourism.

At the same time, a program called “Hotel Amnesty” aims to put an end to the legal issues pending at several hotel units on the island. Minister for Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment Fotis Fotiou explains that this program has a double objective, to sort out the situation with hoteliers that have broken the law and to impose the strict application of the legislation on new units.

Another program is under way, providing incentives for the withdrawal from the market of old hotel units, which have a new life as offices or flats. Of a total of 120,000 beds, some 20,000 will be withdrawn from the Cyprus hotel market through this program.

Until that process is finished, the government is following a policy of containing the market as far as new hotel investments are concerned. Permits for the construction of new units are issued with very strict criteria, without subsidy, only in specific areas and only if they are luxury hotels.

More emphasis is being given to developing agrotourism accommodation via financial incentives, as, along with golf courses and casinos, this is seen as a key attraction for tourists outside the peak season. Already 70 agrotourism lodgings have been built in the last few years, while in the 2007-2013 period some 100 million euros will be allocated for such developments.

Nicosia has formed a special agency within the Cypriot Tourism Organization (CTO) which does all the paperwork for investors who want to place their capital in Cypriot tourism. This way, says Phivi Katsouri, the General Director of CTO, all permits required are issued within three months unless there is a problem. In Greece until recently it took up to 10 years for tourism investments to secure the essential licenses.

With 2.4 million arrivals per year, Cyprus will spend for its tourism promotion 35-40 million euros, almost the same amount of money as Greece with 15 million tourists annually. Arrivals in Cyprus dropped by 2.8 percent last year due to the war in Lebanon, but revenues increased by 2.4 percent, reaching 1 billion Cyprus pounds (1.75 billion euros). From Greece, 130,000 tourists visited Cyprus last year.

Greece will lag behind all rival Mediterranean destinations in golf development after the completion of Cyprus’s five-year program for new golf courses. Katsouri notes that the island already has three modern courses and is preparing another 10. Although Cyprus has a water problem, the development of courses has not stopped. The government has set strict terms, forcing investors to secure water from desalination or the recycling of city sewage.

Once the courses are complete, Cyprus will aim to attract 6 million European golfers seeking courses and mild temperatures during the winter. Tourism accommodation is also to be built, with each house costing today up to 875,000 euros.

Within 2007, the process will be completed for the proclamation of tenders allowing for the first two casinos in Cyprus, probably in the triangle of Nicosia, Limassol and Larnaca. The plan is for one big casino with other supplementary investments, such as a conference center, and one smaller casino. Major players in the Greek market, Club Hotel Casino Loutraki and Hyatt, have already expressed their interest.

The catalyst for casinos in Cyprus has been the operation of 23 casinos in the Turkish-occupied north of the island, where Greek Cypriots spend an estimated 65-70 euros million every year, not to mention properties lost due to debts at Turkish Cypriot casinos.

The Limassol marina will soon be modernized and expanded to add another 1,000 mooring slots. Procedures are also ongoing for modern marinas in Larnaca and Paphos. Finally, the operation of an autonomous conference center for 2,000 people has been announced along with the creation of exhibition spaces in Limassol.

Ballets scheduled through July January 27, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Ballet Dance Opera.
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The second program of the season to be performed February 14-17 and 20-25 at the Acropole Theater is a triple bill.

MacMillan’s “Solitaire,” “L’apres-midi d’un faune”, choreography by Yiannis Mandafounis and “Les Sylphides”, choreography by Constantinos Rigos.

A third program in April and May focuses on “American Dream,” three one-act shows depicting the US as imagined by Greek children translated into movement by leading Greek choreographers including Zoe Dimitriou, Constantinos Rigos and Fotis Nikolaou to music by Malcolm Arnold.

Dance workshops scheduled for early July will bring choreographers from all over the world to speak about their approaches to dance, with dancers of the Greek National Ballet and others. “I think we should make a habit of them. People like to know how the process happens, and it’s different with every choreographer,” explained Seymour.

Audiences will have an opportunity to see this wonderful artist herself in the final program of the season, “An Evening with Lynn Seymour” on July 8.

Russians warm to Greek furs January 27, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Fashion & Style.
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Despite the mild weather so far this winter, the country’s fur trade is growing strongly, with a large number of Russians flying into the country to obtain pieces of clothing made of pelts.

Industry sources said that every day about five chartered flights arrive in Thessaloniki from Russia loaded with fur shoppers.

“The environment, social and economic conditions have contributed to the continual interest shown by Russians in the Greek fur market,” Thanassis Venetis, managing director of the Hellenic Fur Center said.

Ex-Soviet Union countries absorb 80 percent of Greece’s fur production, which reaches 350,000 items per year. Just under 50 percent of Greek-Russian commercial ties stem from the fur business.

Iceland and Greece to cooperate on archaeology January 27, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.
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Icelandic and Greek archaeologists recently reached a framework agreement on cooperation in research at the University in Athens.

“This agreement confirms that all the preparations we have worked on for many years are delivering results,” Adolf Fridriksson, director of the Icelandic Archaeology Institute, said.  “The agreement will make it easier for us to team up with experienced scientists from other countries, individuals who have the technical equipment and specialized knowledge that we lack,” Fridriksson explained.

Fridriksson said archaeology in Iceland has undergone a great number of improvements during the last ten years and now has a high standard of quality. Greek archaeologists are especially interested in working with their Icelandic colleagues on mapping ancient remains, he said.

For the last few years Iceland and Greece have cooperated on a research on the comparison of the influence of volcanic activity on the cultural development of the two countries. “We would like to continue to cooperate on finding new evidence of how the culture in Greece developed in the volcanic mountain areas,” Fridriksson said.

Fridriksson said he is also interested in cooperating on a comparison of ancient remains of parliament that have been unearthed in the two countries, which has never been done before.

It’s not all Greek to MC students January 27, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Testimonials.
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In early January, two dozen members of the Monmouth College community spent a week in a warm climate, surrounded by English-speaking people. They weren’t living the tourist life in Florida or southern California, though. Rather, they were on official school business in what may become a new vacation hotspot – Greece.

“I was amazed at how many people in Greece spoke English,” said Andrea Dorscheid, a sophomore from Janseville, Wis. “All the signs and restaurant menus were translated as well. I felt like the Greek people changed their whole way of life for tourists like me, for better or worse.”

Monmouth College faculty members Cheryl Meeker and Tom Sienkewicz led 22 students in an immersion learning course in Greece from Jan. 8-15. The group visited the Acropolis, the Athenian Agora and the National Museum in Athens, as well as ancient Corinth, Mycenae, Delphi and the temple of Aphaia on the island of Aegina.

Upon their return to campus, the students completed academic assignments related to the trip and will receive academic credit in either art or classics for their work.

“This was my fifth trip to Greece, the third with students, and this country never fails to surprise me,” said Sienkewicz. “This time I was struck by the weather. I had never been to Greece in the wintertime before and was pleased to see how pleasant the temperature was. There were actually people swimming in the Aegean. This trip was so successful that I am hoping that a January trip to Greece becomes a tradition at Monmouth College.”

Meeker said that beautiful scenery, artifacts, wonderful students and “kitschy grittiness” of Athens combined to equal “a perfect trip … Art 200 or Rubble 101, as I lovingly call the art history class taught in spring semester every year, will never be the same for me.”

Many of the students shared in the wonder of the trip, with some calling the experience one of the best weeks of their lives.

“I had been studying Greece for a long time and really wanted to go there,” said Richard Harrod, a junior from Annapolis, Md. “The country is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The ancient ruins were incredible and really helped give a good impression of their greatness in antiquity. My favorite was the temple to Aphea. Overall, it was possibly the best trip I’ve ever been on.”

“Day after day, I got the opportunity to understand what it really means to view a sight that is ‘breathtaking,’ said Anna Damos, a sophomore from North Henderson. “The food was amazing, the Greeks were wonderful, the people I traveled with were amazing and the memories I made in that one week will stay with me forever.”

“I found the trip to Greece incredibly educational and fun,” said Sally Hayes, a freshman from Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. “Athens was a great place to see such a connection of times, where the old world is completely embraced by the modern world. It is a country literally littered with pieces of columns and marble blocks everywhere you look that were once buildings occupied by great Greeks.”

Source >It’s not all Greek The Monmouth Daily Review Atlas, IL.