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Christie’s opens its doors to the Greek public October 16, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Auctions, Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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Two rare blue diamonds were displayed at Christie’s in New York last week.

British auctioneer Christie’s opens its doors to the Greek public this week with an exhibition showcasing high-quality jewelry, watches and paintings tomorrow and Thursday.

Divided into three sections, the rare items are scheduled to go on display at the Eugenides Foundation before taking part in auctions around the world. The show demonstrates the landmark auction house’s developing interest in the Greek market. Christie’s is the first of the leading international auction houses presenting high-caliber impressionist and modern artworks due to participate in future international art auctions in this country.

Coming to Athens is a collection of high-quality jewelry and watches estimated at $20 million. The pieces are part of collections going on sale at Christie’s sales in Geneva, Dubai and Paris.

Visitors will also see works by Georges Braque, Edgar Degas, Fernand Leger, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Auguste Renoir and Theophile Steinlen. Going on sale in Paris on December 3, the collection’s value is estimated at more than 5 million euros. Also displayed in Athens are four Greek landscapes by 19th century artist Edward Lear, stemming from the Giorgio Marsan and Umberta Nasi private collection. Estimated at 300,000 pounds sterling, the works will go under the hammer in London on December 12 and 13.

The Eugenides Foundation is situated at 387 Syngrou Avenue, Faliron, Athens. For more information call 210 9469600 or visit > www.christies.com

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IAAF ruling needed on Thanou October 16, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Athletics.
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The doping admission by five-time Olympic medalist Marion Jones is good for sport because it shows that drug cheats eventually get caught, IOC President Jacques Rogge told France’s Le Monde newspaper.

Jones recently admitted using performance-enhancing drugs and returned the three gold medals and two bronzes she won at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Greece’s Katerina Thanou, who finished second behind Jones in the 100, stands to move up to the gold medal, even though she was suspended for two years after missing doping tests before the 2004 Athens Olympics. “For Katerina Thanou, we will… wait for the advice of the IAAF and we will examine the case of each athlete individually. There have been lots of indignant comments.”

Basketball is a different game across the Atlantic October 16, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Basketball.
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Panathinaikos had trouble adjusting to NBA rules on US tour

panathinaikos_basketball.jpg  Dimitris Diamantidis (center) of Panathinaikos splits the San Antonio Spurs’ defense during last Saturday’s exhibition game in San Antonio, Texas. The reigning Greek and European Champion begins the new season this Saturday as host to AGO Rethymnos in Greece’s A1 league.

Panathinaikos, the reigning European and Greek basketball Champion, ended its short two-match pre-season tour of the USA with a 113-91 defeat against the current NBA title holder San Antonio Spurs, a slight improvement from the Athens club’s 107-70 loss against the Houston Rockets a couple of nights earlier.

The Greek team’s two-game expedition against NBA competition once again highlighted the differences between basketball regulations in the USA and Europe.

Caught off guard by the NBA regulations, which applied to the two games played by Panathinakios, the Greek club’s coach Zelimir Obradovic’s temper erupted on numerous occasions throughout his team’s opening encounter in Houston.

With every illegal-defense whistle, Obradovic, widely regarded as the most successful coach in European basketball with six Euroleague titles to his credit, three of them with Panathinaikos, seemed like he was on the verge of a fit as the reminders of the rules kept coming in.

The game’s officials had to repeatedly remind Obradovic that a zone-defense system was not permitted by NBA regulations. The seething Obradovic was handed two technical fouls and an ejection late in the game. Security was called into the arena to offer a stronger suggestion that he had to go.

Panathinaikos’s difficulty in adapting to the NBA’s regulations is a problem also confronted by the US team at the World Championships, where international regulations, set by FIBA, the governing body, apply.

In its second game, Panathinaikos appeared a more settled side despite its 22-point loss to the San Antonio Spurs. The Greek team enjoyed periods of impressive play at various stages of the game. Playing a little over 20 minutes, Tim Duncan scored 20 points to lead the hosts, who were up by as much as 29 points at one stage in the exhibition game.

Panathiniakos’s Sarunas Jasikevicius, who signed for the Greek team in a record deal, for local standards, last summer, co-led the Greek team with Mike Batiste. They scored 18 points apiece. Sani Becirovic scored 13 points and Milos Vujanic followed with 12.

Banks ready for SME proposals October 16, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy.
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Banks are bracing themselves for a flood of investment proposal submissions by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from today as part of the Third Community Support Framework.

Indications show that interest by SMEs in funding from the EU-sponsored fund will far exceed the approved budget of the 500 million euros to be allocated.

Today is the deadline for proposals from enterprises whose tax registration number ends in 0. The last deadline is on November 9, for companies with numbers ending in 9. However, companies in the regions of Western Greece and the Peloponnese have until December 10 to submit their proposals, regardless of their tax number.

Banks have been prepared for the electronic submission of applications through a common system installed at the Economy Ministry, but every application has to be accompanied by hard copies, including all essential documents. Traffic at banks is expected to culminate today, as applications will go far above the 10,000 figure originally expected and may reach as high as 50,000 proposals.

Entrepreneurs are expected to crowd banks since this is the biggest subsidy project for SMEs in the context of CSF III and following years when trading companies were excluded from such funds. Subsidies may range from 20,000 to 200,000 euros.

The role of banks in the whole process of the investment will be crucial, as apart from the admission and evaluation of proposals, they will provide consultancy services, follow the realization of the business plans and pay the subsidy to the entrepreneurs.

Increase in shipping firms in Greece October 16, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy.
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The number of shipping companies based and active in Greece has grown by 4.7 percent in 2007 compared with last year, reaching 725 from 693 in 2006, according to Petrofin Research SA.

This has put an end to the decline that started in 1998, when companies were closing one after another. Back then there were 926 companies in Greece, but they declined to just 690 in 2005 due to the lack of competitiveness at small shipping firms who usually manage older vessels.

“The Merchant Marine Ministry measures in 2006 aimed at increasing the competitiveness of the national register had a positive impact, stopping the flight of ships from the Greek flag, while their mass repatriation has also begun,” Hellenic Shipowners’ Union sources said. “This is why most of the 612 vessels ordered will raise the Greek flag.”

Small shipping companies, those owning up to eight vessels, are proving to be the backbone of the industry in Greece as they account for 82.3 percent of all Greek shipping companies based in this country. The Petrofin survey found that of the 725 shipping companies based in Greece, 307 (42.3 percent) own one or two ships. Another 165 companies (22.7 percent) manage three to four ships, while 126 companies (17.3 percent) own between five and eight ships. The 63 companies that own nine to 15 vessels account for 8.6 percent, while there are 35 firms (4.8 percent) with 16 to 24 ships and just 29 companies (4 percent) with 25 or more vessels.

Cyprus to get natural gas advice October 16, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Energy.
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Cyprus will appoint consultants by the end of the year to advise it on supply and source options for natural gas, its Energy Minister said yesterday.

Cyprus needs to wean itself off its reliance on heavy fuel oil firing its power grids emitting the carbon dioxide blamed for climate change. “The experts will be appointed by the beginning of 2008,” said Antonis Michaelides, the Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister.

The consultants would be tasked with drafting specifications for the construction of a land-based or offshore natural gas storage terminal. Michaelides said Cyprus was keeping its options open on the type of gas sought.

Solar energy represents 4.0 percent of the island’s energy balance. Eurostat data suggest the less than 1 million people in Cyprus produce between 10 and 20 percent more carbon dioxide than the average citizen of the EU.

Transport due to get more costly October 16, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Transport Air Sea Land.
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The cost of public transport is set to rise by up to about 10 percent early next year as the Transport Ministry seeks to combat the growing debt of the publicly owned companies that run the trains, buses and metro, sources said yesterday.

The previous rise in ticket prices was last year but recently appointed Transport Minister Costis Hatzidakis appears to have inherited a series of public transport firms that are continuing to lose money and he needs to bring in extra income.

The money owed by urban transport organizations is expected to reach almost 490 million euros by the end of the year. The Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) is the biggest debtor among public companies, also known as DEKOs, and will owe more than 1.1 billion euros by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, workers on the Athens-Piraeus Electric Railway (ISAP) are demanding more hirings. They argue that there has been a 20 percent rise in the frequency of trains on the line since 2004 but there are now 140 fewer employees than three years ago.