jump to navigation

Panathinaikos’ fourth title rated as best of all May 8, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Basketball.
comments closed

Panathinaikos basketball team’s boss expresses hope for back-to-back Euroleague wins

Panathinaikos’s tight victory over CSKA Moscow in the Euroleague final for a fourth title was hailed as their best by Greek media yesterday.

The Greeks beat the 2006 European champions 93-91 in a thrilling final on Sunday, despite a spirited counterattack by the Russians halfway through the game. Panathinaikos have won all four of their European titles in 11 years, three of which were under current coach Zelimir Obradovic, who took over in 1999.

Thousands of fans poured into a central Athens square, honking their car horns, lighting flares and chanting the team’s anthem until early in the morning.

Six of Panathinaikos’s players scored double-digit points compared to four of CSKA, as Panathinaikos showed versatility in attack. “Every year is better than the last and we hope we also succeed next year in Madrid,” club President Pavlos Giannakopoulos told reporters.

Panathinaikos have already won the domestic cup and ere expected to easily win the championship with playoffs due to start later this week.

Historic Greek music label subject of takeover May 8, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Greek.
comments closed

Loss of independence at Lyra, home to wealth of important Greek music, raises concerns
Celebrated Greek composer Manos Hadjidakis released landmark works at Lyra

lyralabel.jpg  An album by Melina Mercouri.

Local music industry insiders were well aware of the problems faced by the Greek label Lyra, home to a wealth of landmark releases, as well as the efforts made by its head, Panos Maravelias, to keep the country’s oldest and largest independent label afloat. Lyra’s emergence was tied to an artistic boom in Greek music thanks to the label’s inspired yet often risky releases. Despite those efforts, Lyra had been swimming in the red for quite some time. The news of the label’s acquisition by Costas Yiannikos, the owner of Legend, a record label that is a member of the Modern Times Group of Companies, has prompted further unrest in an already alarmed local music industry.

The concern over this change has less to do with the fact that it signals the end of an era and more to do with the heightened uncertainty that it has sparked about the industry’s future.

Over the years, Lyra amassed an extraordinary catalog of releases, many of them pioneering, such Mikis Theodorakis’s “Epitaphios,” works by Manos Hadjidakis and Nana Mouskouri, Dionysis Savvopoulos’s “Ballos,” Nikos Xydakis’s “Ekdikisi tis Gyftias,” and Lena Platonos’s “Sabotage.” Lyra’s change of ownership raises various concerns, including the label’s induction into a vast group of firms linked with Yiannikos and the artistic repercussions this could generate for the previously independent label.

Yiannikos, who is active in publishing, runs several Athenian theaters and holds a large stake in the private TV channel Alter, has, more recently, gained control of works by major high-caliber artists, such as Theodorakis, Stavros Xarhakos, Maria Farandouri and Thanos Mikroutsikos. Their work stands to gain exposure through the entrepreneur’s media, even if it occurs alongside trashy pop shows.

Critics of Lyra’s takeover expect an avalanche of compilations which would confine listeners to just glimpses of works. Cultural imperialism, regardless of the capabilities of the entrepreneur behind his or her widespread holdings, is a concern.

Quite a few local acts have already experienced the highly fabricated adventures of vertical integration at the local record label Heaven, which is run by the TV station Antenna and host to a number of reality shows with music at their core.

Amid the changing scene, some industry officials remain less concerned. They contend that Lyra’s acquisition by a local player is a far better outcome than what a takeover by a multinational with less understanding of local music would have been.

Lyra, which was founded in 1964 by Alekos Patsifas and Kyriakos Maravelias, offered young and creative artists an outlet for expression that was missing. From the beginning, the label invested in musical innovation. The label heads were surrounded by members of the local intelligentsia who assisted Lyra in its artistic decisions. This led to album releases of poetry recitals by artists such as Costas Varnalis, Odysseas Elytis, Giorgos Seferis and Andreas Embeirikos.

Patsifas knew how to sense and pick enlightened individuals as associates for the Lyra label. One of these was Tassos Falireas, who contributed greatly to the label. Highlighting Lyra’s all-around artistic excellence, which included inspired artwork for album covers by prominent artists, various rival firms made attempts to imitate it.

Lyra’s woes began to surface in the 1980,s when the stature of vocalists began to overshadow that of songwriters in Greek music. Generous offers by rival labels prompted artist transfers to competitor firms.

Patsifas’s death in 1981 and that of Maravelias a decade later came as major strikes to Lyra’s foundations. The changing musical tastes that ensued in the local music market, or pop and trash-pop’s complete domination, delivered the final blow to this historic Greek label’s independence.

Direct flights from Athens to Philadelphia, US May 8, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in News Flights.
comments closed

US Airways is starting direct flights from Athens to Philadelphia on May 26 until October 6, departing every day at 11.20 a.m. from Athens and at 4 p.m. from Philadelphia, company officials announced yesterday.

“This is a bold step. It creates a whole new market for tourism in Greece and opens the doors to business between the two countries,” said US Ambassador in Athens Charles Ries, welcoming the new service.

US Airways is the latest in a string of companies offering direct flights between the USA and Greece, as the country is growing more and more popular with Americans: “Athens has been the quickest city to build up bookings, ahead of Brussels and Zurich, where we will also fly,” said the airline’s Managing Director for international sales, Eric Mathieu.

“There is great, great interest in Greece, especially after the 2004 Olympics. We have had huge support from the Greek National Tourism Organization, which is spending a lot of money on advertising. Everywhere I go in the States, I see a very nice poster of Greece,” Mathieu added.

Hydroplanes changing the face of transport May 8, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Transport Air Sea Land.
comments closed

Airsea Lines will initially fly four 19-seat aircraft from Lavrion and Corfu to Greek islands.

The hydroplanes of Airsea Lines will start flying from Athens to the Aegean islands on May 15, considerably improving the quality of life of the inhabitants of those islands. The company’s hub will be in Lavrion, eastern Attica, where the first hydroplane airport will operate, with a second one planned for Faliron.

The first services will fly from Lavrion to the islands of Ios, Kalymnos, Myconos, Paros, Santorini and Kos. At the end of May the company said it will start its services in the Ionian Sea, linking Corfu with Paxoi, Ithaca, Lefkada, Patras, Cephalonia and the Italian city of Brindisi.

Airsea Lines says fares will not be high. The ticket from Lavrion to Ios will cost 90, to Tinos 60, to Paros, Myconos and Santorini 75 and to Kalymnos 120 euro.

From Corfu fares will be 75 euro for Cephalonia, 65 for Ithaca, 55 for Lefkada, 90 for Patras, 40 for Paxoi and 100 for Brindisi in Italy.

According to statements made by Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis in Parliament, the hydroplanes will also offer free tickets for comparatively unpopular islands such as Antikythera, Psara and Anafi, in the framework of the state’s social policy for the inhabitants of small islands.

Initially the company will operate four hydroplanes and two amphibious planes manufactured in Canada. They will be of the DHC-6 Twin Otter type, able to carry 19 passengers.

In order to meet its growth plan targets on time, Airsea Lines has already ordered 36 new aircraft of the same type from the Canadian company Viking. Delivery of these aircraft is expected to start at the end of 2008.

The purchase of the new aircraft and the construction of the necessary airports represents an investment of some 100 million euros. Airsea Lines officers said that a large part of that sum will be raised on the parallel market of the London Stock Exchange, where the firm’s Airsea Canada subsidiary will be listed this summer.

The incorporation of hydroplanes, via the activities of this company, in the country’s transport system is a first for the whole of Europe, propelling Greece to the forefront of the development of a new means of transport whose main features are safety, speed, Kalymnos will be just an hour’s flight away, and accessibility to islands and areas where land airports are not possible.

Related Links > http://www.airsealines.com

Yacht symposium and show on Poros May 8, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Shows & Conferences, Tourism.
comments closed

The Poros show confirmed that Greece has no shortage of luxury yachts, such as these seen in Monaco.

Yachts and professional recreation boats valued at above 500 million euros are gracing the 6th International Yachting Symposium that opened on Sunday and lasts until Thursday on the island of Poros.

Organized by the Hellenic Professional Yacht Owner Association (EPEST) and the Hellenic Yacht Brokers Association (HYBA), the symposium is being held along with the International Yachting Show on the Argo-Saronic island.

Antonis Stelliatos, the President of EPEST, stated that the maritime tourism sector has seen considerable growth in recent years. Yacht bookings have increased from several markets abroad, with those of America and Russia showing the greatest interest.

A study by survey company ICAP concluded that the sector will also show significant growth rates in the coming years. In the 2000-2005 period, the domestic yacht market grew by an average annual rate of 15.3 percent.

Polyester boats covered most of the market, 59.6 percent, followed by inflatable boats with 34.8 percent. Sailing boats made up 5.6 percent of the market. Current market trends and conditions show that polyester boats will record a 15 percent increase within 2007, as people are increasingly opting for this type of boat. The inflatable boat market will rise by 5 percent, while the sailing boat market should remain stable or move slightly higher.

Sector professionals suggest that consumers deciding to purchase a recreation boat for the first time are turning now to the smaller polyester vessels up to 7 meters long, as the cost of buying them is considerably less than that of dinghies of a similar size.

Another study by Hellastat found that the increasing interest in Greece as a tourism destination, the successful staging of the Olympic Games and constant advertising activity by tourism authorities, along with participation at international shows, have improved the prospects of local marina operators and the broader sea tourism sector.

Marina operators called 2006 a successful year, as sea tourism traffic has increased significantly. EPEST suggested that tickets sold for vessels with up to 49 passengers rose by 100-150 percent last year.

Greek penchant for lifestyle drugs is risky May 8, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Health & Fitness.
comments closed

Greeks are increasingly using “lifestyle drugs” to treat sexual impotence, smoking addiction, obesity and other problems, doctors said yesterday, adding that counterfeit versions of these medicines being sold over the Internet could pose a health risk.

Last year, Greeks spent 24.45 million euros on Viagra and other impotence therapies, a 9 percent increase on the amount spent in 2005. But consuming these drugs can be dangerous as they are often procured without a doctor’s prescription, frequently over the Internet, according to the President of the Association of Pharmaceutical Wholesale Companies, Evripidis Adamou.

“Many of these fake drugs are ineffective at best, dangerous at worst,” Adamou said ahead of his association’s annual conference on Friday. In the past five years, some 170 counterfeit versions of lifestyle drugs were found in the EU.