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A prestigious Greek project for Planar July 9, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece.
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A prestigious leisure complex in Athens has combined the qualities of the Pilkington portfolio to produce a visually stunning and practical venue. 

The Kontelis development, named Starcity, which comprises cinemas, a bowling alley, billiards hall and restaurants, doesn’t look out of place in its amazing location, overlooking the Acropolis and the ancient wonders of the historic city.

Usually multiplex cinemas are blind buildings. Given the location, with the amazing view of the Acropolis, the architectural goal of Stathis Tryfonopoulos at Diarchon SA, the renowned Greek architectural firm, was to be different: transparent, so as to invite all people to see the heart of the building.

The building’s glass façade has been designed to be its trademark, so Pilkington together with its local representative, Uniglass Ltd, worked closely with Diarchon SA and construction specialists Terna SA to ensure the full benefits of Pilkington Planar were realised in the build.

Pilkington Planar was specified because of its high visual appeal. In total, 630 metres square of the glass system were specified for the liftshaft, canopy and the roof garden’s infill panels.

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


Ex-deportee back with ‘Medea’ July 9, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Stage & Theater.
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Seven years ago, aged 19 and in his second year of art school in Tirana, Mikel Kalemi attempted a clandestine entry into Greece from Albania after walking days to get to the border.

Greek patrol officers could not help but laugh at the young Albanian when, during his 24 hours in custody, he contended that his adventure’s sole purpose was to attend ancient Greek drama productions. Kalemi was deported, and, after three days of rest in his homeland, managed to finally get to Athens via Corfu.

Kalemi has now made a legal return as a stage director to present Euripides’ “Medea” in Albanian, with Greek supertitles, with the Atelier 31 theater group. Following shows in Athens and Grevena, the production makes a third stop tonight in Thessaloniki, at the 1st Southeast Europe Drama Festival. A performance is also scheduled for Kavala on Wednesday.

Prior to “Medea,” Kalemi had introduced ancient Greek drama to Albanian audiences with “Antigone.” Just days ago, Kalemi was a awarded a best director prize in Albania for his production of “Medea.”

“Because of the dictatorship, there really isn’t a theatrical tradition in Albania. The ban did not allow us to build a real circuit in Albania,” said Kalemi. “The two tragedies made an overwhelming impact on audiences. Of course, they were aware of both ancient stories, but the themes they deal with are more relevant for Albanian society today than at any time before,” continued the stage director, in fluent Greek.

Kalemi’s “Medea” combines classical and contemporary drama elements. His story is set out of time and place because “the same passion and the same hatred exists everywhere, always.”

Tonight at Dasous Theater, Thessaloniki. Wednesday at Philippon Theater, Kavala.

Aegean Festival in Syros island blossoms July 9, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Festivals.
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Artistic director Peter Tiboris praises Syros event > The Festival of the Aegean’s artistic director, acclaimed conductor Peter Tiboris, will lead the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic in the opening concert.

Rising above the role of a typical summer tourist destination, the town of Ermoupolis on Syros is emerging as a cultural capital, with a history dating back to the founding of modern Greece.

This is the third year the Festival of the Aegean is being held on the Cycladic island, but this year’s event boasts a longer run and more varied and international productions than ever before.

Peter Tiboris, general director and artistic director of the Aegean Festival, remarked at a press conference yesterday that the “festival has grown from being a child to a young adult.” A third-generation Greek American, the acclaimed conductor and head of MidAmerica Productions also admitted that Syros is “an extraordinary place,” having become in a few years’ time his “second musical home.” He admitted from the outset that “the basic premise of the festival is high artistic merit” rather than a showcase of a particular musical genre. A narrow musical focus is certainly not the case with the Aegean Festival, as its performances range from opera to rebetika.

The festival begins on Wednesday with works by Verdi and Beethoven performed by the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic and soprano Irini Tsirakidis. Following on Thursday, Friday and Sunday are three performances of Pietro Mascagni’s opera “Zanetto,” never before performed in Greece. The director of the production, Carol Costello, spoke of the unusual, “conversational” tone of Mascagni’s work and praised the advantages of having “a multicultural crew of world-class singers” producing “an exciting combination of energies, particularly in such a beautiful place as Syros.” On Saturday, Vienna comes to Syros with works by Strauss, Lehar, Stolz and Kalman. Recitals for voice and piano follow on July 17.

Music gives way to theater on July 18 and 19 with an English-language production of “Romeo and Juliet,” presented with Greek supertitles. Shakespeare’s classic is performed by the Aquila Theatre Company, the permanent company-in-residence at the Center for Ancient Studies at New York University, known for its productions of classical drama, and directed by the troupe’s founder Peter Meineck. This is their first time performing in Greece, just a few days before they take part in the Edinburgh Festival.

Jazz is next on the agenda, with two important homegrown acts making an appearance: the Stratos Vougas Quartet on July 20 and Human Touch, with David Lynch, Yiotis Kiourtsoglou and Stavros Landsias, well known to the Greek public, playing on July 22. On July 21, however, jazz takes a break and rebetika, from Sweden no less, is performed in the central Miaouli Square. A repertoire of traditional Asia Minor songs and rebetika will be played by the Taximi band, made up of members of the Greek diaspora community in the Nordic country.

Ermoupolis’s Apollon Theater, where most of the events take place, has a rich artistic history of its own. Thought by many to be the most beautiful opera house in Greece, it was constructed in the 19th century and called “La Piccola Scala,” as it was built along the lines of Milan’s famed La Scala. The Apollon’s maiden performance was Verdi’s “Rigoletto.” It is only fitting then that this year’s festival is inaugurated with the overture to Verdi’s “La forza del destino,” paying tribute to the host island’s cultural legacy.

The festival runs from Wednesday to July 22. Tickets are on sale at Ianos Bookstore in Athens, tel 210 3217917 and the Apollon Theater on Syros tel 22810 85192 and 6932 483079. Tickets cost 15 euros; concession price tickets for students and children tickets cost 10 euros. Performances start at 9 p.m.

For more information, visit > www.festivaloftheaegean.com

To view related photos, please visit our Flickr Photo Albums.

Peter Stein prepares ‘Electra’ July 9, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Stage & Theater.
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Famed German director rehearsing for classic tragedy with Greek National Theater in Italy

Peter Stein, is currently at his San Pancrazio estate in Umbria, Italy, with Greek National Theater cast members Lia Tsolaki, Stefania Goulioti, Miltos Sotiriadis and Irene Kirmizaki. They are holding rehearsals for Sophocles’ ‘Electra.’

The production of “Electra” will be staged at the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus on August 10 and 11.

Karagounis returns back at Panathinaikos July 9, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Football.
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Greece’s midfielder Giorgos Karagounis has agreed to return to Panathinaikos after a four-year spell playing club-level soccer with Inter Milan and Benfica.

Local reports said the player, whose fearless play helped the Greek National Team to its astonishing Euro 2004 win in Portugal, was likely to sign a three-year deal yesterday and commence training with Panathinaikos today.

Karagounis, 30, battled in his first of two years at Benfica but cemented his place last season. Portuguese sports media reported that the Greek midfielder paid his way out of the remainder of his contract with Benfica for 100,000 euros. Also, at the demand of Benfica’s administration, Karagounis committed himself to not joining any other Portuguese team. It has been rumored that the player’s family had difficulties in adjusting to life in Lisbon.

Meanwhile, Nery Castillo of Greek champions Olympiakos, currently in Venezuela competing in the Copa America with Mexico, has reportedly agreed to a deal with Spanish club Valencia.

Reports said Valencia is offering 15 million euros for Castillo, whose contract with Olympiakos has yet to expire. Just days ago, the Piraeus club rejected another offer believed to have come from Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk. It was reportedly worth about 8 million euros.

Cypriot striker Yiannis Okkas, whose contract with Olympiakos was not renewed for the new season, is expected to undergo a trial at English Premiership club West Ham this week.

Greece’s Quidigal to distribute Skype’s software July 9, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Telecoms.
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Designed and manufactured by PC Service in Umbria, the software for connecting Skype to company PBXs, Skip2PBX, will now be exclusively distributed by Quidigal Ltd, the company that runs Greece’s major Skype-Store www.skypestore.gr.

Quidigal has made its name by establishing itself as a frontrunner among technology savvy companies seeking to implement the latest VoIP toys into serious applications in a business context.

As the company that is also behind VoIPDepot.co.uk in the United Kingdom, Quidigal adopted Skip2PBX after a strong of positive test results that peaked their interest in utilizing Skip2PBX in pre-built Skype PBX Gateways to integrate existing office systems with Skype’s dramatic money-saving tactics.

The e-commerce division of Quidigal, a privately owned company with corporate offices in London, runs Skypestore.gr and VoIPDepot.co.uk. The company develops, markets and distributes a complete line of VoIP and Skype products from solutions for home users, small and medium businesses and enterprise markets.

Quidigal positions itself by building on years of broadband VoIP expertise and their world-class development and marketing teams that distribute the latest and most compelling products while also providing effective solutions at affordable prices.

SMBs also receive consulting services from Quidigal’s Business Services division. These services can range from VoIP and IT Solutions, to OSS applications, and application specific software development. This division’s quick growth has been attributed to a constant focus on customer needs, attention to user experience and an eye towards product innovation.

Skip2PBX was developed and marketed by PC Service, an Italian company with offices in Perguia, Terni and Pistoia. PC Service’s precise objective was to create a way for companies to safely integrate Skype with their office systems. Many CEOs had the need to forward or manage calls between long distance or international locations in a cost effective way and Skype presented the most attractive bottom line.

Such management and call forwarding proved to be complicated in the past by the requirements of maintaining close watch of company call records and other statistics, while also wanting a network-secure manner in which employees could communicate for free, but without the lures of unnecessary elements such as “Chat” or video features on company time.

Skype offers corporations a great alternative to traditional communication channels, especially those with distributed locations. However, it can also open the company and its network to unsecured areas of the information superhighway where hackers are waiting in the “wings” to grab proprietary data. Once these areas are secure, the company also has to ensure that it is not promoting wasteful activities on company time.

A solution like Skip2PBX responds to the demands of these companies, enabling for secure connections that eliminate unnecessary communication channels to facilitate and effective communication environment. As a result, and considering the benefits that Skype offers, especially its No Charge platform, the demand for solutions such as Skip2PBX will continue to grow.

Greek IT market’s retail boost July 9, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet & Web, Telecoms.
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Based on 2006 results announced by information technology companies, one can make two general observations, the first of which is related to the rise of the retail segment of the market. The dominant forces are now commercial businesses, in particular retail chains, as opposed to software firms and IT service companies which once held the reins of the domestic market in the 90s.

A second observation regards the significant growth of certain businesses enjoying an almost monopolistic status in the market. Intralot, for instance, now holds the third highest position in the Greek market, while First Data Hellas (formerly Delta Pliroforiki) has made it into the top 10. Both of these companies face hardly any competition in the market, with their profit margins standing at nearly 30 percent of turnover.

A further reversal could also be observed in the IT market in 2006, as for the first time in its history, Plaisio Computers reached the sector’s top position based on turnover. The firm’s strong growth helped its income skyrocket to over 300 million euros. In contrast, Info-Quest was relegated to second place after many years at the top, with its turnover dropping as much as 34 percent, mainly as a result of the sale of its subsidiary Q-Telecom.

The rise of retail chains specializing in IT products has expanded across the board. Multimedia and Microland Computers saw their market shares improve in 2006, in spite of lower profitability compared to competitor Plaisio. Media Markt, in its first year of operation in the country, posted income of 31 million euros, reinforcing an already obvious conclusion that major retail chains are on a faster growth trajectory than the market itself, by laying their hands on the shares of smaller IT product chains and single stores.

Wholesalers, or IT product distributors, are also showing signs of growth, with certain firms such as Octabit, Enet, Iason and Dionic gaining larger market shares in 2006. Such growth, however, is not so much related to the market’s growth as to the vacuum and opportunities left behind by the collapse of the once mighty firm of Pouliadis.

Mixed results were posted by multinational players, excluding First Data Hellas, which in 2006 saw its market share improve, with IBM announcing a drop in both income and profits. Hewlett-Packard Hellas also suffered significant losses, but the firm announced a major growth of activities not reflected in its results.

Data on the top 20 firms operating in the sector showed a considerable increase in income of 7 percent, while after-tax profits more than tripled. However, a number of extraordinary developments have clouded the picture somewhat. For instance, Info-Quest’s sale of Q-Telecom has had a severe impact on the firm’s income and profitability.

Regarding the sector’s 20 top companies, profits before tax, interest and amortization dropped by 2.5 percent, while it is estimated that the growth rate is less than 5 percent, near the limit of statistical error.