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CSKA Moscow to meet Panathinaikos Athens May 4, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Basketball.
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Defending champion CSKA Moscow will play Panathinaikos in the championship game of the Euroleague Final Four on Sunday.

CSKA used a 14-0 run late in the early semifinal Friday to beat first-timer Unicaja Malaga 62-50 in the lowest-scoring Final Four game in a decade and Panathinaikos defeated Tau Ceramica 67-53 in the second game.

“I think we won the game because we played excellent defence,” CSKA coach Ettore Messina said. “Mentally, this has been a tremendous accomplishment.”

CSKA will try to win consecutive titles for the first time in the club’s history. It’s in a record-breaking fifth straight Final Four, and has won titles in 1961, ’63, ’69 and ’71. Centre David Andersen began CSKA’s late rally with a short jumper and added two more to have six points in the run. Trajan Langdon, an American guard who led CSKA with 13 points, added a key three-point play and a three-pointer.

Andersen finished with 12 points and nine rebounds, and Theodoros Papaloukas added 11 points and five steals. Carlos Cabezas led Unicaja with 13, but did not score after getting cut in the face on the layup that tied the game at 41. He was the only Unicaja player in double figures. Panathinaikos is seeking its fourth title.

Wildly cheered by 18,000 fans in Athens Olympic Hall, Panathinaikos went on an 8-0 run late in the first quarter, taking an 18-9 lead and never looking back. Three-pointers by Milos Vujanic, Sani Becirovic and Ramunas Siskauskas helped Panathinaikos open a 35-21 halftime lead.

Tau got as close as six several times in the final quarter, but Vujanic sank three-pointer to make it 61-51 and secure the game with 1:41 left. Becirovic and Batiste led Panathinaikos with 15 points each and Batiste added 12 rebounds. Serkan Erdogan led Tau with 11 points.

CSKA Moscow into Euro finals May 4, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Basketball.
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European basketball champions CSKA Moscow will get a shot at defending their title in Sunday’s Euroleague finals after edging out Spain’s Unicaja Malaga 62-50 in Athens on Friday May 4th.

The Russians were made to sweat for most of their semi-final against underdogs Unicaja, who had never played in a Euroleague final before and lacked their injured top scorer and rebounder, center Daniel Santiago.

The two teams went into the fourth quarter evenly matched at 44 points, but CSKA stole away with dogged defence in the closing minutes, building an 11-point lead that they clung onto to the end.

“We missed good shots, well-created shots by players by normally make them,” said Unicaja coach Sergio Scariolo.

“I think we won the game because we played excellent defence,” said CSKA coach Ettore Messina, congratulating the Spanish side for “the aggression, the toughness, the heart they put into the game”.

Taunting reporters who were expecting an upset against the unfancied Spaniards, Messina added, “no upsets this year, you will get one next year.” American guard Trajan Langdon led the Russians with 13 points and Australian center David Andersen added 12 points and nine rebounds. Spanish guard Carlos Cabezas was the top Unicaja scorer with 13 points.

A huge basketball in Athens May 4, 2007

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athens_euroleague.jpg  A copy of an ancient statue of a runner is seen in front of a huge basketball yesterday in central Athens ahead of the Euroleague basketball Final Four tournament that starts in the capital today and will run through Sunday.

Police have stepped up security measures in the city this weekend with some 5,000 officers deployed for the games. Moscow plays Unicaja Malaga of Spain today, while Greek champion Panathinaikos meets Tau Ceramica, another Spanish team.

Panathinaikos aims for fourth at Final Four tournament in Athens May 4, 2007

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Athens club hopes to build on past Euroleague glory at Final Four tournament in Athens

Panathinaikos goes into the Euroleague’s Final Four tournament, beginning tonight in Athens at the Olympic Indoor Stadium, as the overwhelming favorite, with a fourth European crown in front of a fiery home crowd as the objective. The Athens club, which last won the trophy in 2002, will largely depend on a core of homegrown experienced players who form the backbone of the national team, the losing finalists in last year’s world championship.

The ease with which Panathinaikos qualified for the Final Four while maintaining an almost perfect record in the domestic league and winning the Greek Cup speaks volumes about their wealth of players and options from the bench. But coach Zeljko Obradovic has urged caution ahead of his team’s semifinal clash against Tau Ceramica today.

“Every team that goes into the Final Four has the same possibilities. That’s my experience, and I’m saying it after 10 Final Fours,” said Obradovic, who has won Europe’s top title a record five times as a coach. “There are no favorites. All four want to win, first the semifinal and after, if they make it, the final,” he told the Euroleague’s official website. Tau, who swept past Panathinaikos to reach last year’s Final Four, are hungry for the top prize after losing the 2005 final.

With the Euroleague’s all-time top scorer Luis Scola and single-season assists record-holder Pablo Prigioni in good shape, Tau’s third coach this season Bozidar Maljkovic, who led Panathinaikos to their first crown in 1996, knows his team’s chances are as good as they can ever be. With a 20-2 win-loss record in this season’s Euroleague, the Spaniards have shown they have what it takes to win.

Also today, last year’s champions CSKA Moscow, playing a record fifth consecutive Final Four, take on newcomers Unicaja Malaga of Spain for a place in Sunday’s final. Leading the domestic league and having won the Russian Cup, CSKA are eager to cap another successful season with the top accolades.

Unicaja, arguably the weakest of the four teams, have suffered a series of injury blows in the past few months, denting their chances of success but not their spirits. Their injury list includes starting center Daniel Santiago, out of the tournament due to a detached retina, and Marko Tusek, who has a sprained ankle.

The tournament features three coaches with 12 titles among them. Ettore Messina, CSKA Moscow’s Italian coach, is seeking his second straight and fourth title overall in Europe’s elite club competition, which starts today at the Athens Olympic Hall.

“I am wearing the same tie as last year,” Messina said. “We are very superstitious in Italy and Greece. But who knows? This could be my last day as champion of Europe.”

Obradovic of Panathinaikos has won five European titles with four different clubs. Boza Maljkovic, another Serb, is back at the Final Four after 11 years, this time with Tau Ceramica, and will be looking for his fifth title. The only coach without a Final Four championship is Unicaja’s Sergio Scariolo, another Italian. But he was the youngest coach to reach the Final Four at the age 30, 16 years ago, then at Scavolini Pesaro.

Study sees Greece’s tourism rise May 4, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism.
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The Council of State on Wednesday annulled a 2003 decision approving the environmental terms of a project to expand the facilities of the port of Naxos, where work is already in progress.

The growth of tourism in Greece is expected to break last year’s record and reach 6-7 percent, according to the Institute for Tourism Research and Forecast (ITEP). The estimate is actually a conservative one, said ITEP, compared with forecasts by tourism professionals, who are even more optimistic about the course of Greek tourism in 2007. This optimism is based on a variety of reasons:

* The upgrade of general infrastructure and the broader recognizability of Greece as a destination, thanks to the 2004 Olympic Games, and the satisfactory level of promotion and advertising globally.

* The effort to attract tourists from Eastern Europe is bearing fruit and will be the new pillar for the further growth of tourism, as well as the markets of Germany and the UK.

* Retaining accommodation prices at low levels, combined with stopping the decline of non-hotel services are improving the competitiveness of the Greek product.

* The considerable increase in traffic from the USA. Spending per night by American tourists is high, as is their nights per arrival rate.

ITEP also highlighted the increase in domestic tourism and in arrivals at business-connected accommodation. Tourism professionals gave a mixed reaction to the government’s proposal for a new tourism zoning plan that could attract major investment to the sector.

President of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels Gerasimos Fokas said that the new plan was made public without the least consultation with the bodies concerned. He added that a large part of the plan, if not most of it, concerns organizing the operation of the tourism sector and is not about organizing the land. It follows wrong definitions and divisions of “sectors” of tourism, as those mentioned do not correspond to the reality of the constantly evolving international tourism market, said Fokas.

On the other hand, the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE) noted that the plan could spectacularly expand the development prospects of Greek tourism. It praised the tackling of the issue of demolishing or withdrawing old tourism installations, as well as the controlled development proposals for sensitive areas. However SETE, too, called for consultation with the bodies directly involved in tourism.

Greek firms in best Euro workplaces May 4, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy.
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Four companies from Greece, including two that are purely Greek, earned distinction in the European competition “Best Workplaces Europe 2007,” organized by the Great Place to Work Institute Europe.

The four are Piscines Ideales, Microsoft Hellas, Xerox Hellas and Genesis Pharma. Piscines Ideales, the winner of the Greek competition for 2007, and Microsoft are among the competition’s top 10. Piscines Ideales scored two more hits, as it is among the top five companies with a staff of 50 to 250 people, and among the top three firms in the construction sector, always as far as its working environment is concerned.

The company is also a candidate for a special prize acknowledging respect to staff, while Microsoft Hellas is among the candidates for another prize concerning fairness in remuneration.

An old-school adventurer and lover of Greece May 4, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Greece, Arts Museums.
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Czech-born artist is presenting a collection of paintings at the Benaki Museum until May 20 

Philhellenism doubtlessly has changed drastically since the 19th century. From the romantic travelers who arrived under harsh conditions to see the glorious nature and ancient ruins up close, the country now welcomes thousands of tourists going through Athenian monuments in a single morning.

Nicholas Egon, who is currently presenting a collection of paintings at the Benaki Museum in Athens, is a lover of Greece in the old, traditional way. Born to Czech and Hungarian aristocrats in Czechoslovakia in 1921, he belongs to those who embraced Greece with real emotion. Since his first visit to Greece in the 1940s, Egon has done plenty for the country. Perhaps his greatest accomplishment is the development of the Runciman Lectures, which award prominent scientists in honor of the celebrated Byzantinologist. In short, his strong feelings for Greece went far beyond his paintings, turning into substantial support of Greek culture abroad.

Egon has led a sensational life. This might not come across when viewing his watercolors that depict sunsets, broken capitals, trees, wildflowers and some of his early portraits. In contrast with his tumultuous life, the artist’s Greek landscapes appear serene, uninfluenced by destructive human intervention.

The Czech aristocrat, who studied Greek mythology at an early age, left home at the age of 16 in order to live dangerously. In the beginning, he took odd jobs in the South of France before going on to London where he designed film posters for a living. He became the official war artist of the Czechoslovak army in 1940 and joined the British Royal Air Force in Basra in 1944.

In 1949, Egon came to Greece to execute a series of paintings, aiming to draw attention to the hardships of the country following World War II and the civil war. He met the Royal family, painted portraits of its members and followed the battles of Vitsi and Grammos as a special observer. When the artist returned to Britain, he sold the works with the proceeds going in aid of Greek refugees.

At the Benaki Museum, the watercolors reflect his passion for Greece, its nature and history. Married to the Chios-born Matti Xyla, Egon continues his passionate relationship with Greece through reading and painting.

“Nicholas Egon in Greece,” at the Benaki Museum, 1 Koumbari Street, Kolonaki, Athens, tel 210 3671000. The exhibition runs to May 20.

Related Links > http://www.benaki.gr/index-en.htm