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Revamped Art Athina exhibition opens May 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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art_athina.jpg  Works by Apostolos Georgiou are on display at the 13th Art Athina.

Ambitious objectives have been set for this year’s Art Athina, an international fair which opened at the Helexpo Center in Athens yesterday with a new team at its helm. The event’s organizers hope that the new-look fair, being held for the 13th time and set to run until Sunday, will establish itself as an emblematic post-Olympics offering that will serve to highlight artistic activity in the wider region.

The organizers also hope that the increased interest being shown by high-caliber galleries abroad, as well as stricter selection criteria of participating galleries, will lead to an overall upgrade of Art Athina.

New initiatives include a scheme titled «Basic Plan» under which galleries will be singled out each year and given the opportunity to present their own parallel project. This time round, the opportunity has been given to the Athens-based gallery The Breeder, which, in turn, has proposed a project titled «Contemporary Club». It will feature 10 prominent international galleries that have participated in some of the world’s most significant art fairs.

Also new on the agenda is «Open Plan» through which individual artists will present their work through exhibitions instead of the fair’s pavilions. Participating artists, proposed by their galleries, either as emerging, mid-career or established trendsetters, are given the opportunity to create a unique one-size show or project, some with oversize pieces and installations.

Art Athina’s organizers have also planned a parallel project with the objective of maximizing both public and specialized interest. Activity here will include a project by the artistic team Guerrilla Girls titled «Art Scene-Art Seen» designed to offer the viewer an interactive role.

Russia is honored nation at this year’s Art Athina. Curated by Victor Misiano, an exhibition titled «On Geekdom» will offer visitors a taste of Russia’s contemporary art scene, while leading Russian galleries will be on show in a separate wing.

Art Athina’s artistic director is Christos Savvidis, while the event is also counting on the participation of leading Greek and foreign curators, including Cecilia Canziani, Junko Li, Nadia Argyropoulou, Katerina Zacharopoulou and Artemis Potamianou.

Art Athina at the Helexpo Center, 39 Kifissias Avenue, Maroussi, tel 210 6168888.

Related Links > http://www.art-athina.com


Greeks top list of EU corpulent May 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Health & Fitness.
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Greeks are the most obese people in the EU, with one in three men and 25 percent of woman considered to be overweight, according to data presented by the EU Commission yesterday.

Poor diets based on fatty and sweet ingredients combined with the lack of physical exercise account for six of the seven top factors leading to bad health, according to EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou. “Now the biggest problem of obesity is in the southern member states who have abandoned the Mediterranean diet and go for the same kind of nutrition of fast food as elsewhere,” he said.

In second place on the obesity lists come men from Malta and women from Cyprus.

The Commission said that it was considering tightening food advertising and nutrition labeling rules if companies failed to improve consumer awareness about unhealthy foods. Kyprianou said that he wanted to “encourage” food companies to provide consumers with full information about the health risks associated with their products.

Zoning change in Plaka, Athens, being mulled May 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece.
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Expansion in Plaka irks residents

Residents of the bustling Plaka district in central Athens expressed concern yesterday at suggestions that the government intends to change zoning laws to allow more bars and restaurants to open in the neighborhood.

A law passed in 1982 places strict limits on the type of establishments that can operate in the area, which lies at the foot of the Acropolis.

However, Public Works and Environment Minister Giorgos Souflias indicated yesterday that he is aware of concern about possible changes to these regulations, which were designed to ensure that the character of Plaka is retained. “Plaka is a subject that we are looking at,” Souflias said. “There have been some requests by store owners and businessmen in the area that we will try to deal with.”

The 1982 presidential decree specifies the streets where restaurants and cafes can operate. It also limits them to the ground floor of any building in Plaka and decrees that the other floors should be designated as homes.

Sources said that a committee was formed three months ago at the Public Works Ministry to examine the possibility of changing zoning regulations in Plaka. The head of the Plaka Residents’ Association, Dora Paraskevopoulos, accused the government at a press conference yesterday of intending to change the law to allow bars and restaurants to expand onto other floors of buildings in the neighborhood.

Paraskevopoulos also suggested that the Culture Ministry, which is estimated to own more than 15 percent of the buildings in Plaka, is considering the idea of allowing some of the properties to be used as cafes or shops.

Yiannis Michail of the Hellenic Society for the Protection of the Environment and the Cultural Heritage proposed that these properties be made available as homes as long as tenants agree to be responsible for maintaining the buildings. Residents are confident that any changes to the current zoning regulations in Plaka will eventually by rejected by the Council of State, Greece’s highest administrative court.

Southern extension of metro is on track May 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Transport Air Sea Land.
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Following the opening of a new metro extension to the west side of Athens on Saturday, Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias pledged yesterday that residents in the city’s southeastern suburbs would have access to new stations by the end of 2009.

Souflias was visiting the site in the seafront area of Hellenikon where digging began earlier this year with the aim of boring a 5.5-kilometer tunnel to Aghios Dimitrios, currently the last stop on Line 2.

The Minister said that project is on course to be completed by the end of 2009, when four new stations, Hellenikon, Argyroupolis, Alimos and Ilioupolis, will open.

Souflias said that the tunnel-boring machine had dug the first 400 meters of the extension and would complete its work in 15 months. An extension to Line 3, from Monastiraki to Aegaleo, opened on last Saturday.

A cry out against onslaught of malls in Athens May 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece, Business & Economy.
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The Athens Traders’ Association (ESA) and the Property Owners’ Association of Greece yesterday expressed at a joint press briefing their strong concern about the «unchecked» development of large malls in the Athens area.

«The new emerging reality is leading thousands of small enterprises to closure and the abandonment of thousands of leased and privately used shops on non-commercial streets,» officials said. «The operation of such large commercial concerns will deliver a crushing blow to small shops, causing the loss of commercial and realty values invested in over generations and leading entire municipalities and neighborhoods to decline.»

Marfin buys Cyprus Hilton May 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hotels Cyprus.
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Marfin Investment Group (MIG) said on yesterday it had completed the acquisition of a 64.3 percent holding in the Cyprus Hilton Hotel for 58.5 million euros.

MIG said its subsidiary, MIG Leisure Ltd, was paying 30.47 euros per share in the Cyprus Tourism Development Company which operates the Cyprus Hilton, located in the capital Nicosia. MIG acquired the bulk of the Cyprus Tourism Development shares from Louis Group, the island’s largest leisure group.

Thessaloniki housing market set to boom May 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece.
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Realtors forecast a building boom for the city

A major construction wave is expected in Thessaloniki in the coming years, as the city’s Estate Agents’ Association expects new houses to increase by up to 200,000 in the next six to eight years.

“The Thessaloniki property market is particularly dynamic,” said the Association’s President, Nikos Manomenidis, noting that interest is moving from the housing market to investment properties with good returns. He added that the market is anticipating the reactivation of loans to overseas Greeks resettling in the country, while loans to Roma have already been reactivated. “These are 15,000 loans in a market with an annual rate of 25,000 house transactions,” said Manomenidis.

Bulgarians and Romanians are showing particular interest, he stressed, as after their countries’ entry to the European Union they want to acquire a holiday home or invest in tourism properties.

These developments are forecast for the Thessaloniki property market just as it is trying to settle following the changes in property taxation in January 2006. Rushed purchases that would normally have taken place in the 2006-2007 period created a surplus of about 30 percent, amounting to 10,000-15,000 houses. “The market is now being restructured. Buyers do not have to acquire a house at its foundation stage,” said Manomenidis.

Average rates per square meter range from 1,560 euros in Evosmos and Ilioupolis to 2,660 euros in the city center, with Kalamaria at 2,650 euros per square meter and Triandria at 2,515 euros per square meter among the most expensive areas of Thessaloniki.

As the agents’ association wants to combat the market’s anarchy and lack of transparency, it has adopted the Multiple Listing System for properties (MLS) for the first time in Europe. This will weaken the hold of illegal agencies, which currently account for more than 50 percent of agent activity, while limiting additional commissions on top of property prices. For the MLS requires the submission of real property data, the actual sale price, and is constantly monitored.

“The system sets some rules and therefore rationalizes the real estate market,” said Manomenidis, adding that it safeguards consumers as it gives them the chance to choose an accredited agent and be served by a “one-stop shop,” since properties recorded will be accessible by all agencies associated with the network. There are now 260 estate agencies participating in the MLS, which will become fully operational from September.