jump to navigation

Ecofilms Festival on the island of Rhodes June 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Festivals, Movies Life Greek.
comments closed

The Ecofilms Festival starting June 19 on Rhodes promises the thought-provoking fare its fans have come to expect. Packed into the six days till June 24 are around 100 films from 39 countries, an exhibition of photos, a workshop on the documentary film market and a cinema and visual arts conference on work in progress.

The official opening on Tuesday evening encapsulates Ecofilms’ signature themes and approach. First comes a tribute to Antonis Pahos, the veteran photographer and cinematographer from Rhodes who donated his archives to the festival, which is restoring and digitizing them. The opening film, “Knowledge is the Beginning”, Germany, directed by Paul Smaczny, about an inspirational Israeli and Arab youth orchestra, is followed by “The Color of Olives”, Mexico, about a Palestinian family that lives behind the West Bank wall.

“Natura Naturans” an exhibition by local photographer Smara Ayacatsica, opening Wednesday, celebrates the earth, sky and sea of Rhodes in sensuous color. On Thursday Jan Rofekamp, President and CEO of Films Transit International Inc, will lead a workshop on the documentary marketplace, focusing on issues such as production, sales, international film festival strategy and the future of documentaries.

There is also a three-film tribute to Philhellene French filmmaker Jean-Daniel Pollet, and two films from the Mediterranean Film Institute: “Nowhere in Africa” by Caroline Link, winner of the 2003 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, and “Akamas” by Cypriot Panikos Chrysanthou.

The films in the competition section are vying for best feature film, best medium-length film, best short film, the Medwet Ramsar Award for films on water and wetlands and best Greek film.

Presenting the program to the press on Monday, the festival’s artistic director Lucia Rikaki acknowledged the generous support Ecofilms receives from local government, but noted that cutbacks have necessitated some belt-tightening. Apart from the Greek Film Center’s awards of 3,000 and 2,000 euros respectively for the best Greek feature and short in all categories, the other awards this year will not come with a cash prize.

Related Links > http://www.ecofilms.gr

Athens aspiring to an image true to its name June 13, 2007

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

Athens is targeting the creation of a new tourist identity to highlight its unique character as a safe destination and consolidating its international visibility, said the city’s Mayor, Nikitas Kaklamanis, yesterday at the opening of the annual European Cities Marketing conference.

The event, held at the indoor Tae Kwon Do Olympic Stadium in Faliron, runs in parallel with the international City Break Expo 2007, which is strictly for professionals, and targets the promotion of business deals and strategic agreements. About 200 Greek and foreign tour operators are participating this year.

Tourism Development Minister Fanni Palli-Petralia said the planned conversion of the stadium into the city’s metropolitan convention center is estimated to boost overnight stays at Athens hotels by about 280,000 annually and create additional revenues of some 85 million euros. The Ministry and the city’s Municipal authorities are working together to make Athens an independent top tourism destination, the Minister said.

The exhibition ends today while the conference is to run through Saturday. Separately, the Athens-Attica Hoteliers Association (EXA-A) said the tourism promotion of the region is facing serious delays. «No promotion program for Athens and Attica is being implemented; no public agency is coordinating the industry in the area, while Olympic Properties has yet to decide on the operator who will assume the management of the city’s convention center, even though five months have passed since the tender was held,» EXA-A said.

According to data supplied by JBR Hellas-Howarth, Athens hotels showed a 3.1 percent rise in capacity utilization in April, to 62 percent. London had 76.3 percent, Amsterdam 74.8 percent and Paris 69 percent.

Coke lab raid a first for Greek police June 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Police & Crime.
comments closed

A narcotics laboratory producing large quantities of cocaine was discovered at Anavyssos, southeast of Athens, yesterday in what police believe is the first drug operation of its type in Greece, with links to the Colombian drug cartel.

Five people were arrested when police uncovered the fully equipped laboratory and seized a total of 26 kilos of cocaine. Police said it is the first narcotics lab in Greece which produced cocaine from the beginning rather than just packaging or adulterating the drug. An unknown chemical substance was being used at the lab as a main ingredient, which authorities believe was smuggled into the country by container.

Two Venezuelan nationals arrested are believed to be behind the local operation which had been set up by a Colombian drug cartel. One of the Venezuelan suspects told police that the head of the Colombian cartel had sent him to run the operation in Greece. The other suspects arrested were two Albanian nationals and a British man.

UPDATE > 14 June 2007

New methods for drug cartels > Colombian drug cartels are switching tactics, preferring to produce cocaine closer to the area in which they plan to sell the narcotic rather than smuggling and risking its confiscation, police said yesterday.

The statement came after the discovery on Tuesday at Anavyssos, southeast of Athens, of a narcotics laboratory that produced cocaine rather than simply packaging the drug.

It is thought to be the first illegal drug lab of its kind in the EU, according to local authorities. A cartel is believed to have shipped the cocaine’s ingredients to Greece, substances that often are not directly targeted by authorities, for production in the lab. Police found in the possession of the five people arrested on Tuesday 26 kilos of cocaine. One of the two Venezuelan nationals arrested is believed to have come to Athens three months ago to set up the lab.

New visa database system for EU June 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus News, Greece News, Tourism.
comments closed

The European Union approved yesterday a European visa data system which will store biometric information such as fingerprints and photos of the 70 million visa holders who pass through EU borders.

The agreement reached by EU Justice and Interior Ministers will set up a common database which can be assessed by all 15 nations, including Greece, participating in the so-called Schengen borderless travel area.

EU Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Franco Frattini said that EU nations “are to make the visa information system operational by spring 2009” in what will be the world’s largest database of its kind.

One country will be able to know if someone had already been granted or denied a visa in another, and whether the person had overstayed their time in the bloc. The data will be stored for five years and police will be able to consult the database on a case-by-case basis. However, non-EU nations such as the United States, a key anti-terror partner for the EU, will not have access to the system, officials said. The plan, however, has triggered data privacy concerns.

EU Interior Ministers were unable to set out the regulatory framework that would set out common EU rules on data protection in police matters. The Ministers agreed to meet in Luxembourg by the end of the year on the matter.

All of Greek history is a treasure > Lessons to be taught June 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece, Arts Museums.
comments closed

Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis announced plans yesterday to turn the sprawling former Royal estate into an ecological and historical park. No time frame was given as to when the park area might be ready but Voulgarakis added that ‘realistically the palace could be visited in five years.’ The Ministry will set up an office to oversee the maintenance of 1,300 art and other historical objects found on the Royal estate.

We often talk about history in Greece, but rarely respect it. Sometimes we ignore it, but mostly we are politically embarrassed by it. One victim of this malaise was the former Royal summer residence at Tatoi, a place where many events occurred that were significant in shaping Greece. The dilapidated buildings and rotting art pointed to a country unable to come to terms with its past, to face it and move on. This is why it is very important that a drive has begun to restore all those items once used by the Royal Family.

The planned Museum at Tatoi will become a lasting lesson in history. Not only will it help shed light on a large chunk of Greek history, but it will also give pointers about how we should manage our history. It will remind us that our entire history is precious and not just those parts which serve specific political objectives.

Related Reading > Former summer Royal Palace to be turned into Museum.

Recycling for old appliances June 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Environment.
comments closed

A factory in Athens that recycles used household electrical goods was inaugurated yesterday, even though it started working 16 months ago, as officials urged residents to hand over used refrigerators and televisions to their Municipality rather than to scrap merchants.

It is estimated that 600,000 fridges, 400,000 computers, 300,000 TVs and 100,000 mobile phones are thrown out by Athenians each year but few of these electrical goods, some 170,000 tons in total, end up being recycled, as they are usually picked up by some of the 30,000 scrap merchants thought to be active in the city.

An indication of what a small number of the household goods end up being reused is that during its 16 months of operation, the recycling factory, officially opened by Public Works and Environment Minister Giorgos Souflias, has processed 80,000 fridges, 250,000 computers, 100,000 TVs and 10,000 cellphones. The used appliances are picked up by municipal trucks and taken to the recycling center. This is a service all Municipalities are obliged to offer but few residents seem to know about.

“The scrap merchants provide a service but it is the wrong way to dispose of these items as toxic substances, such as CFCs, end up in the environment,” Spyros Efthymiou, the head of Anakyklosis Syskevon that recycles the goods, said. “We buy the appliances from the scrap dealers but hope that all residents will soon become aware and give the used goods directly to their Municipality for recycling,” added Efthymiou.

Under European Union regulations, by 2009 local authorities throughout Greece have to provide this service. Brussels wants Greece to recycle 44,000 tons of electrical appliances each year. Last year, Greece recycled just 11.5 tons.

Greek PM pledges Al Gore book on the environment June 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Environment.
comments closed

DVD on environment to be available in every school

Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis pledged on Wednesday to provide every school in Greece with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore’s book and DVD, “An Inconvenient Truth”.

Gore’s best-selling 2006 book on the environment spawned a film of the same name, directed by Davis Guggenheim, which became one of the highest-grossing documentaries and won the 2007 Academy Award for Documentary Feature.

“We are in need of well-informed citizens who will take the time and effort to push policy forward” said Karamanlis. “The younger generation is the best pressure group on governments to take action now”. “This is a planetary emergency” Gore said. “There is nothing in our history or our experience as a species that equips us to realize exactly what the magnitude of this crisis is”.

Gore, U.S. vice president under Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001 and an ardent campaigner for greater global awareness of what he calls the climate crisis, was in Greece Wednesday to deliver a lecture and a slide presentation documenting the impact of human activity on global warming.

Greece ratified the Kyoto Protocol on climate change in May 2002, and claims to have met its European Union greenhouse emission targets, which limit the country to a rise in carbon emissions of no more than 25 percent from 1990 levels.