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Rising tennis star set to defect to Cyprus September 18, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Tennis Squash.
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Following our September 6, 2007 post > Andrew Thomas > the next new tennis star for Cyprus

A promising teenage tennis star has been caught in the crosshairs of two countries, with both Cyprus and Australia battling it out for his signature.

Seventeen-year-old Andrew Thomas is listed on the International Tennis Federation website as an Australian, but he played the junior boys’ singles tournament at the US Open in New York two weeks ago as a Cypriot, where he advanced to the final 16.
Thomas, who was born and raised in Sydney, is a former world under-14 champion and was to be offered a full-time scholarship worth $125,000 by the Australian Institute of Sport for coaching, accommodation and travel costs. His mother, Coral, was born in Cyprus and his father Tom’s grandparents are also from Cyprus.

Thomas has previously been a hitting partner for Cyprus’ greatest tennis export, 2006 Australian Open runner-up Marcos Baghdatis. The President of the Cyprus Tennis Federation, Philios Christodoulou said that Thomas, “first expressed his wish to represent Cyprus during Wimbledon this year and he met up with Baghdatis and his coach,” he said. “They then came to me saying that Andrew is a very talented young player.” According to Christodoulou, “Andrew was very keen to sign a contract straight away but we needed the approval of Tennis Australia, who were not keen on letting him go.”

According to The Australian newspaper, “while TA wishes Thomas well, behind the scenes there are serious doubts he has made the best choice.” Chief Executive Steve Wood said in a statement: “While we respect his decision, Tennis Australia is extremely disappointed Andrew Thomas chose to play for Cyprus in New York.”

Wood said Baghdatis and the Cyprus Tennis Federation had provided funding for Thomas’ US Open campaign since TA had turned down his request for a cash hand-out. “Cash hand-outs do not support the philosophy of our program, which is about resourcing environments and funding opportunities,” Wood said. “In Andrew’s instance those opportunities have included and, form permitting, would have continued to include, international tours and playing with representative teams.”

Christodoulou said that Thomas spent two weeks on the island in July with Baghdatis and also arranged to get a Cypriot passport. “His Australian sponsors have threatened to withdraw their support and pressure has also been put on his parents, by the Australians,” said Christodoulou, who added that the Cyprus Tennis Federation, “is willing to take over his expenses in order for him to participate in future tournaments.”

Despite Thomas, who is ranked 27 in the world under-18 category, representing Cyprus in New York, his future is still in limbo, and he has since returned to Sydney. “He doesn’t know what to do now and we don’t know whether we are going to lose him,” said Christodoulou. “It is the wish of the Cyprus Tennis Federation and the government for Andrew to represent Cyprus.”

Should he wish to continue representing Cyprus, Thomas will have to serve a period of residency in Cyprus before he is qualified to play Davis Cup or represent Cyprus at the Olympic Games. On his part, Thomas told Sydney radio station 2GB that playing Davis Cup for Cyprus was his aim.

“I’m seeing Marcos now in World Group two and looking to do even better in the next couple years,” he said. “I like the environment in Cyprus, as it’s a small community with nice people. I love it there, so I will probably head back there.” He added that Tennis Australia, “have not been supporting me as much in the last couple years, so I decided to play for Cyprus.”

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Mikis Theodorakis receives Flanders awards September 18, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life, Music Life, Music Life Greek.
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“Zorba The Greek” composer Mikis Theodorakis will receive Lifetime Achievement Awards at the Flanders Film Festival in Ghent next month.

Mikis Theodorakis has written more than 1,000 musical compositions, including symphonies, operas and scores for such films as “Ill Met by Moonlight,” “Serpico” and “Z.”

The Flanders International Film Festival, which runs October 9-20, will screen more than 200 films, with Kathleen Turner heading the international jury. It includes the Annual World Soundtrack Awards on the closing evening.

Athens condemns Gul visit to Cyprus’ occupied north September 18, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus News, Cyprus Occupied, Politics.
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A Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman on Tuesday termed new Turkish President Abdullah Gul’s visit to the Turkish military occupied northern area of the Republic of Cyprus as an “unproductive move against international legal order”, while calling on Turkey and Turkish Cypriot leadership to implement a July 8, 2006 agreement between Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.

Asked to comment on Tuesday’s illegal visit to the Turkish military occupied north area of Cyprus by Turkey’s new president, Foreign Ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said “the priority now is the substantial preparation for the resumption of a process within the United Nations’ framework, one that will retain guarantees of success towards finding a just, viable and workable solution to the Cyprus issue, which is primarily an issue of illegal military occupation.

“What is needed is speedy implementation of the July 8, 2006 Agreement, and not unproductive, as to their essence and symbolism, moves which are, on the one hand, in opposition to international legal order, as defined by UN Security Council resolutions relevant to the problem of Cyprus, and on the other, against the European commitment of EU hopeful Turkey for a normalisation of its relations with the Republic of Cyprus,” Koumoutsakos added.

During a July 8, 2006 meeting in the presence of then UN Undersecretary General for political affairs Ibrahim Gambari, Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos and T/C leader Talat agreed to begin a process of bicommunal discussions on issues affecting the day-to-day life of people on the island republic, and concurrently, substantive issues contributing to a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem.

Yiannis Parios croons for charity September 18, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Greek.
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Yiannis Parios will perform at the Herod Atticus Ancient Odeon tonight

Yiannis Parios, the popular Greek crooner with a steady, 35-year presence on the Greek music circuit, is appearing for the first time with his band at the stately Herod Atticus Theater in central Athens tonight.

The reason for his performance is to benefit charity, as he is singing for the Mazi Gia to Paidi (Together for the Child) association of 10 charities. Tickets are almost sold out for this performance, all proceeds of which will go to the cause.

Under the title «Recital of a Voice» Parios’s concert will feature classic ballads of the Greek repertory from the past 30 years. The artist will be accompanied by the Sofia Symphony Orchestra from Bulgaria, conducted by Alexandre Myrat.

The program will consist of songs penned by Manos Hadjidakis, Mikis Theodorakis, Manos Loizos and Thanos Mikroutsikos, as well as a few surprises by young composers, traditional ballads and island songs, as well as Parios’s own classic hits.

Tickets cost 160, 120, 60, 50 and 40 euros. For information call 210 7482690 and 210 3272000.

Tango Kinesis > dancing with love, mourning, sadness and passion September 18, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Ballet Dance Opera.
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A former dancer, Ana Maria Stekelman heads Tango Kinesis

Short stories written with embraces, kisses, slaps across the face, battles, sadness, passion, pain, mourning and love. Ana Maria Stekelman, is Tango Kinesis’s artistic director and choreographer and the “Nuevo Tango” director. Stekelman appears stern and composed. Here is a woman who, following a successful dance career, has dedicated herself to the study of tango and, in particular, its relationship to contemporary dance. After 10 years of research, Stekelman founded Tango Kinesis in the early 1990s.

Combining Argentinean passion, ballet and contemporary dance, this is “Nuevo Tango” a production created by Argentinean dance troupe Tango Kinesis. Following a performance at the Lycabettus Theater last night, the company’s dancers return to the stage tonight before heading to Thessaloniki for an appearance at the city’s Dassos Theater on Thursday.

Right after their return from Greece, they will appear at the Buenos Aires amusement park, celebrating 10 years of the Julio Bocca Foundation. They are also scheduled to travel to Mexico for a nine-city tour in October. In December, Tango Kinesis is invited to join Julio Bocca’s farewell production. As for next year, they are thinking of celebrating 15 years of the tango movement.

Lycabettus Theater, Lycabettus Hill, Athens, tel 210 7227209. Tickets are available at Metropolis music stores.

Greek music agenda starting to grow after sluggish August September 18, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Greek, Music Life Live Gigs.
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Fall to winter sees exciting lineup, starting with Patti Smith on Saturday

Veteran rocker Patti Smith will perform selections from her new album ‘Twelve’ as well as other hits at the capital’s open-air Lycabettus Theater on Saturday. The popular Brit-pop band Muse has been booked for October 4 at the Terra Vibe venue on the outskirts of Athens.

Following the Athenian concert circuit’s customary lack of activity during August, and the considerable number of concert cancellations earlier this month as a result of the overall devastation caused by the tragic wildfires around the country, the agenda for upcoming shows is now beginning to grow. Shows announced by local promoters for the coming days, weeks and months include performances by rock icon Patti Smith, the Brit-pop trio Muse, Gallon Drunk, Beasts of Bourbon, Television Personalities, Radio Birdman, Tuxedomoon, Electralane and Girls Against Boys.

Nowadays releasing work on a far more regular basis following a dry recording spell between the late 70s and mid-90s, broken by just one album, 1996’s “Gone Again”, the rebel-minded and poetic Patti Smith returns after a recent performance for a night at the Lycabettus Theater on Saturday.

In her most recent effort, Smith put out “Twelve”, an album of cover songs, last April. The selections include numbers by rock legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Bob Dylan and the Doors, a radically reworked version of grunge-era Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and an 80s pop hit, “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” by Tears For Fears, which stands as the release’s most surprising selection. Highlighting the veteran’s refound vigor for recording and performing, “Twelve” is Smith’s fifth studio album in just over a decade.

The popular Brit-pop band Muse, whose current popularity led to a recent sold-out show at the new-look Wembley Stadium in London, have been booked for October 4 at the Terra Vibe venue on the outskirts of Athens, 37 kilometers north of the city center.

In what should be one of the more eventful concert evenings this fall season, a triple-treat featuring the indie rock bands Gallon Drunk from the UK, Beasts of Bourbon from Australia and Thessaloniki act Dread Astaire, has been lined up for October 12 at Gagarin in Athens. Gallon Drunk, fronted by James Johnston, an explosive frontman who has occasionally worked with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, have played several shows here over the past decade or so. As for the Beasts of Bourbon, the performance will be their first in Greece. Frontman Tex Perkins has worked with a number of raw-sounding Sydney bands since the early 80s, and, later on, enjoyed major commercial success in Australia with the far smoother-sounding Cruel Sea, a domestic chart-topper in the early 90s with a fresh blues-reggae-calypso style. Beasts of Bourbon guitarist Charlie Owen has perfomed here on numerous occasions alongside Sydney blues-jazz-rock musician Louis Tillett.

The British indie-pop cult act Television Personalities are expected October 20 at Gagarin in Athens.

Another Australian band, the legendary garage-rock act Radio Birdman whose long history dates back to the mid-70s, returns for a second show in two years at the An Club in Exarchia, Athens, on October 27.

American experimental band Tuxedomoon, celebrating their 30th year of activity this year, have been booked for two shows, at the Ydrogeios Club in Thessaloniki on November 2 and the Gagarin in Athens the following night.

Other forthcoming shows include the Devastations on November 2 at the Gagarin Club in Athens, and the British all-girl quartet Electralane on November 11 at the same venue.

Car sales zoom forward in the year’s first half September 18, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Transport Air Sea Land.
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The new cars market posted a rebound of 4.5 percent annually in the first half of the year after two years of decline, according to a report by business research company ICAP.

It adds that the already strong competition among car importers shows signs it is increasing further due to the decline of the market in 2006 and changes to the sale and distribution of vehicles with the new European Union regulation.

The local market showed steady growth in the 1998-2000 period with a yearly rise of 26.1 percent. From 2001 to 2003, the market shrank at an annual rate of 4 percent, but in 2004 it posted a 13.6 percent rise year-on-year. This was mainly attributed to the preparation for and the hosting of the Olympic Games that year. The next year saw a decline of 6.6 percent and a further one of 0.4 percent came in 2006.

Acquiring a car has always been one of the high priorities of Greek consumers, as this commodity not only covers practical needs but is also a means for showing off, adds the ICAP report. It notes that price is the most important factor in choosing a car, along with reliability, technical features and the image of each brand.

Within this context, car companies in Greece have embarked on a race of offers in order to attract more consumers. This strengthening of competition following the end of exclusive car importing and repair works in consumers’ favor. Authorized networks place emphasis on the improvement of the services offered, both in sales and in support, along with the continued training of the staff, new installations and equipment. Such shifts in company policy require significant investment for them to adjust to the new situation with the end of exclusive imports and repairs. The new framework allows independent car repair shops to have access to the know-how and the equipment of car brands, which increases competition further and limits profit margins for companies, again to the benefit of consumers.

The report suggests that there are 45 companies operating in the sector, but they greatly differ in their finances and sales network size. Certain companies in the industry represent more than one car brand from abroad, some of which belong to the same group.