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Program to promote cycling February 9, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cycling.
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A group of eight non-government organizations have got together to launch a series of bike-riding trips in 13 cities across the country in a bid to get Greeks peddling.

Organizers said yesterday that they will run group rides every Saturday and Sunday for the rest of the year and offer participants the use of a bicycle, free of charge. The program will be held in Athens, Thessaloniki, Karditsa, Kifissia, Elefsina, Volos, Larissa and Hania, among other municipalities.

“The goal is to convince young people to leave their car parked at home and to learn to use a bike,” said Vasso Kollia, general secretary of Nea Genia, an Education Ministry department that runs programs aimed at young people. “If they start to use the bike, they will then love it. We have one view of the city from behind a steering wheel and a different one when riding a bike,” Kollia said.

Apart from Athens offering no bike paths, riders are also restricted by the hours they can carry a bike on public transport.

Bicycles are not allowed on the Kifissia-Piraeus electric railway during peak hours and forbidden from being taken onto the metro. They are, however, allowed only on the tram.

Karditsa in central Greece is the country’s leader in terms of the number of pushbikes commonly used. According to a study made by the National Technical University of Athens, locals use bicycles to get around the city 22 percent of the time. Eighty percent of bicycle owners in Karditsa claim to use the mode of transport every day.

Those interested in obtaining more information on the organized bike rides, which start this Sunday, can call 801 1191900.


Greece in Greece > Rochester, US February 9, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Taste World.
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Acropolis restaurant to reopen in Chili soon
The Manos family operated the Acropolis in Greece for decades, but closed its doors there in November to set up shop in Chili.

The Manos family has made Chili home for the past 32 years, so they figured it made sense to move their second home there, too. The family will open Acropolis Restaurant, 3240 Chili Ave., later this month at the Chili-Paul Village Plaza. Crews are putting the final interior touches on the 2,400-square-foot gold, rose and maroon-decor building.

The family-owned restaurant served its final meals in November in Greece, its location for the past 31 years. Profits began dropping eight years ago when large companies such as Kodak and Delphi laid employees off.

“Chili is growing and we have an opportunity to serve an area looking for more restaurants,” said John Manos, who said the family also looked at LeRoy, Penfield and Pittsford. Owner Theo Manos is known for working 364 days a year, taking Christmas Day off as his only vacation time. He said that won’t change. “We’re going to keep going out and giving people the best food and the best customer service that they can get,” said Manos, 59.

Theo Manos and his wife, Anna, started working at Acropolis as dishwashers and waiters and eventually took over the business in 1978.

Marisa Capuano of Canandaigua was willing to drive more than 35 miles each week just for a taste of Theo Manos’ scrambled eggs. She began eating at Acropolis in Greece a year ago and has been imagining the taste of those eggs since November.

“I will be there the first day they open because the food and customer service is excellent,” said Capuano. “The Manos family makes you feel like you’re part of their family, greeting you with a smile and a hello.”

Anna Manos stressed that Acropolis always had a family-friendly feeling, including when her son John started helping at the restaurant as a child. “He was too short to reach the faucet so we had to put a stool up there so he could reach it,” she said. “I’ve told my grandchildren that soon it will be time for them to work there.”

Acropolis will open Monday, February 26. Hours daily will be 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Cyprus jails Ukrainian captain for illegal entry to occupied north February 9, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied.
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A Cypriot court sentenced a Ukrainian captain to 45 days in jail on Wednesday for docking his cargo ship in a port under the illegal Turkish military control and occupation of Northern Cyprus.

Mykala Lykoson, 58, from Kiev of Ukraine, was arrested on Monday at southeastern port of Larnaca, after immigration officers found in the log that his Maltese-flagged ship had sailed into Famagusta on September 26, 2006 before departing 10 days later, the Cyprus News Agency reported.

The captain was accused of illegally entering the Republic of Cyprus, but he claimed that he was not aware of the Turkish occupation in northern Cyprus!

The cargo ship with 3,000 tons of corn from Romania has been barred from leaving Larnaca until a licensed captain can take over the helm.

Cyprus has been divided since July 1974 when Turkey militarily intervened and occupied the north area of the Republic of Cyprus.

The internationally-recognized Republic of Cyprus has opposed direct traffic links and trade by foreign countries with the Turkish-Cypriot illegaly and occupied dominated north, which is only recognized by Turkey.

Foreigners can first enter the government-controlled south and then visit the north through the UN buffer zone. Visitors who come into the north via Turkey are forbidden to go into the south and face jail if they dare.

A focus on urban Crete February 9, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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At the Historical Museum of Crete, the exhibit focuses on the end of the 19th century to the interwar period.

An exhibition titled «Urban Life» currently on show at the Historical Museum of Crete in Iraklion, 27 S. Venizelou Street, focuses on urban life between the end of the 19th century and the interwar period. During this time span, Crete went from being an autonomous state to a part of Greece.

The urban lifestyle on the island is revived in four rooms that typify the period’s domestic setup. Moreover, three detailed films provide the visitor with deeper knowledge of the era’s conditions.

The exhibition was organized by the Society of Cretan Historical Studies, which has also scheduled a related conference for March 30 and 31 at the museum. Titled «Crete: Urban Life (1898-1940)» it will include the participation of Greek and Turkish academics.

The city of Iraklion and its social life were greatly influenced by the island’s periods of autonomy and eventual union with Greece. The city’s urban community absorbed European ideas and trends, while political developments increasingly distanced Iraklion from its Ottoman past. In less than half a century, the ethnic and religious differences of the city’s citizens led to social discrimination.

Also incorporated into the exhibition, free of charge, is an educational program titled «Life In the City Back Then» which caters to the final three primary school grades and all high school levels.

Related Links > http://www.historical-museum.gr/en/

Young Dutch auteurs pursue a fine tradition February 9, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life Greek.
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The Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, March 16-25, will focus on Dutch productions, including seven premieres.

Following in the footsteps of significant Dutch documentary filmmakers who created a school of thought with exceptional work produced during the interwar period, a newer wave of colleagues from the Netherlands are being recognized for their efforts throughout the world. The success of the Amsterdam Documentary Festival, which ranks as one of the world’s most important events in its field and is highly supportive of domestic talent, is no coincidence.

Modern Dutch documentaries will be the focus at this year’s 9th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, scheduled for March 16 to 25. A total of seven productions will premiere at the festival in northern Greece.

Subjects covered by the participating works include: the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris; the adventures of a Dutch banker in Venezuela; an examination of Iran’s ancient city Bam following the devastation of a powerful earthquake late in 2003; and the story of a boxer-turned-Buddhist monk who dedicates himself to caring for underprivileged children in Thailand’s Golden Triangle region, formerly an opium-growing region and nowadays a popular tourist destination.

Heddy Honigmann’s “Forever” focuses on the mystical beauty offered by the silence at Paris’s Pere Lachaise cemetery, where the bodies of legends such as Fryderyk Chopin, Oscar Wilde, Marcel Proust, Maria Callas, Edith Piaf and Jim Morrison were laid to rest.

Harrie Timmerman’s “Stalin’s Children” travels to a psychiatric clinic in Surami, Georgia, the former Soviet Union state where time seems to have stood still.

“Jungle Rudy” by Rob Smits follows the adventures of Rudolf Truffino, the son of a wealthy banker in The Hague, who shunned a predetermined future set by his family, abandoned his country, and moved to the jungle in Venezuela.

Ina van Beek visits a home for the elderly in Amsterdam for her documentary.

Kees van der Geest’s “Shit and Chicks” travels to a remote African savanna in northwestern Ghana, where a peace-loving farmer has adopted a traditional method to feed his children.

National Opera Ballet sees a new era bloom this year February 9, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Ballet Dance Opera.
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‘Les Sylphides’ at the Acropol Theater

A new era begins at the Greek National Ballet Opera on February 14 as a triple bill featuring works by Kenneth MacMillan, Yiannis Mandafounis and Constantinos Rigos magnifies the company’s opening production for this year.

The upcoming production is also the opening act of Lynn Seymour as artistic director of Greece’s sole state dance company. The world-renowned ballerina was appointed by Stefanos Lazaridis, the Greek National Opera’s artistic director, to revamp the ballet company. The occasion also marks the inauguration of the Acropol Theater as the company’s permanent stage home.

All part of the 20th century, the works point to a new air brought to the company by Seymour. Kenneth MacMillan (1929-1992), an emblematic figure of British dance, was at the helm of the Royal Ballet for eight years. His “Solitaire” is based on two suites of the English Dances by Malcolm Arnold. According to Seymour, the work refers to the kind of solitude experienced by children as they enter adulthood.

“L’apres-midi d’un faune”, Afternoon of a Faun, premiered at the Chatelet Theater in Paris in 1912, with music by Claude Debussy and choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky, who also took on the lead role. For Yiannis Mandafounis, who undertook the current choreography in Athens, the aim was to avoid all forms of superfluous movement, highlighting the need for simple and natural expression. At the center of Mandafounis’s work lies the notion of personal experience, which the dancers are asked to share with the audience.

The life of the dancers and the relationship people have with their bodies is the subject of “Les Sylphides,” with music composed by Chopin. At the Acropol, Rigos’s choreography is based on the notion of the body as a temple and the efforts that need to be made in order to keep it in good shape as we all race against time.

Acropol Theater, 9-11 Ippocratous Street, Athens. Opens February 14 with additional performances on February 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25. For more information, log on to www.nationalopera.gr 

Exhibition on land-mine terror February 9, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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Images by Australian artist John Rodsted are on display at the Syntagma metro station, Athens 

Young children mutilated by land mines are among the most shocking images in ‘Halfway: Bosnia a Decade After,’ an exhibition being held at the Syntagma metro station on the occasion of the 10th anniversary since the signing of the Ottawa Mine Ban Convention.

Long after they have ended, wars continue to have devastating effects on the lives of innocent people. It is estimated that around 20,000 people worldwide are victimized each year by land mines, war’s “open wounds”, which can remain active for decades.

The signing of the Ottawa Convention, the mine ban treaty, in 1997 has played a crucial role in decreasing the number of land-mine victims and banning anti-personnel mines. Since then, 153 countries have signed and ratified the convention.

Organized on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the signing of the convention, “Halfway Bosnia a Decade After,” which is the title of a photography exhibition on the subject of land-mine victims in Bosnia, sensitizes the public to what is a crucial political and humanitarian matter. The photographs are the work of Australian photojournalist John Rodsted, official photographer to the International Campaign to Ban Land Mines and part of the team that won the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize, and are on display at the Syntagma metro station. The exhibition is organized by the Australian Embassy in Athens, Australia is the president of this year’s Mine Ban Convention meeting, in collaboration with the Canadian and the Norwegian Embassies and Hellenic Aid. The photographs were taken as part of the Norwegian People’s Aid project in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

It is a disturbing and heart-wrenching exhibition that documents in a realistic way the effects of land mines on people’s lives. The portraits of disabled people, many of them children, are devastating. Lengthy captions tell about the real, dramatic stories of the victims depicted.

Bosnia is held to be one of the most severely affected countries with more than 670,000 active land mines on its territory. The removal of land mines is estimated to require decades to complete. Angola, Cambodia, Sudan and Mozambique are among the 50 other countries which are still suffering the devastating effects of land mines.

Rodsted has traveled to most of those troubled areas and documented the plight. His work has been exhibited in the United Nations in Geneva, the Royal Photographic Society and the Capital Building in Washington, DC.

The exhibition will be open through next Wednesday. On that same day, a public discussion on the issue of the mine ban will be held at the Hotel Grande Bretagne, at 7 p.m. The event is organized by the three embassies along with the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy. Craig Maclachlan, deputy permanent representative for disarmament and deputy to the president of the Mine Ban Convention, as well as Per Neegard, director of Mine Action Norwegian People’s Aid, a non-governmental organization, will visit Athens to participate in the discussion.

Info: www.norway.gr, www.athens.gc.ca, www.ausaid.gov.au