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A sixth edition set for Greek fashion week October 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Fashion & Style.
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No more a toddler, Greek Fashion Week is growing up, turning into an increasingly active youngster as the sixth edition of Diners Athens Collections InStyle opens its doors at Zappeion Hall next week, October 24 to 28.

Organized by the Hellenic Fashion Designers Association under the auspices of the City of Athens, the upcoming event brings together a wealth of local talent as well as a few foreign names. Opening a dense schedule featuring over 40 catwalk collections for spring/summer 2008 is a special guest: American of Greek origin menswear designer John Varvatos.

Besides generating local interest, the fashion week is once again attracting international buyers and media. Traveling to Athens are buyers from Italy, Norway, France, the Netherlands, Monaco, Belgium and Britain, while media interest is represented by various publications, television stations and websites based in France, Russia, Germany, Italy, Lebanon, Japan and the United States.

The following Hellenic Fashion Designers Association members are presenting their collections: Angelos Bratis, Andria, Aslanis, Chara Lebessi, Christos Costarellos, Christos Mailis, Costas Faliakos, Daphne Valente, Dimitris Dassios, Deux Hommes, Elina Lebessi, Erifilli, Fanny Voutsela, Filep Motwary, Frida Karadima, Katerina Alexandraki, Katerina Karoussos, Kathy Heyndels, Konstantinos, Lena Katsanidou, Makis Tselios, Maria Mastori, Mi-Ro, Nikos-Takis, Parthenis, Pavlos Kyriakides, Ramona Filip, Simeoni, Vassilios Kostetsos, Vassilis Zoulias, Vasso Consola, Victoria Kyriakides, Veloudakis, Vrettos Vrettakos, Yiannos Xenis, Yiorgos Eleftheriades and Loukia. Also showing are Spain’s Miriam Ponsa, Cypriot Afroditi Hera and Georgia’s Avtandil.

Complementing the shows are four exhibitions: sculptures by artist Nikos-Giorgos Papoutsidis; a photographic exhibition focusing on local designs by Takis Diamantopoulos; a photographic retrospective of the late Greek designer Billy Bo; and “You Wear It Well,” a traveling festival of short films curated by Diane Pernet and Dino Dinco.

With a small portion of the fashion week’s expenses covered by the Greek state through the Ministry of Development, the bulk of financing comes from sustained sponsor support. The sixth edition of Diners Athens Collections InStyle enjoys the active assistance of the following: official sponsor Diners Club of Citibank; communication sponsor InStyle magazine; sponsors: Smirnoff North, Schwarzkopf Professional, Smart. Supporting the event are Mac, Nestle Fitness, Vogue, Attica Hilton, Vang, Everest, Mega Security, Athens 9.84 Radio, Hepo and Elkede.

Entrance to the fashion shows is by invitation only, while parallel events, such as exhibitions, are open to the public.

For more information visit > www.hfda.gr

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An SOS from the Rex Theater October 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece, Stage & Theater.
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As rain and neglect do their worst > National Theater director on the acute problems of its venues

rex_theater.jpg  Rainwater has caused widespread damage to the interior of the Rex Theater. The building, which is listed for preservation, is in urgent need of care and repair.

‘The facade has crumbled, and the windows no longer fit… The necessary repairs were not done after the earthquakes, so now there are cracks so big you can see right through the wall,’ says Yiannis Houvardas, the new Director of the National Theater and its various venues.

The National Theater’s main building may be in the process of rebuilding and expansion, but that is not enough to solve its acute problems. Its diverse activities and offices are spread out among various other buildings, which also face serious problems. The most serious case is that of the historic Rex Theater on Panepistimiou Street, in central Athens, which is falling into ruin.

“We even have financial problems with the main building,” newly appointed National Theater Director Yiannis Houvardas said. “The price of the machinery to be installed in both theaters was estimated four years ago and the cost has risen much higher since then. Apart from that, no funds have been secured to refurbish the building or to employ the additional trained staff that are required. And we will come up against that new expense, for which there is no provision in the government funds, in a few months’ time when the building is ready.”

But that did not surprise him so much as the issue of the Rex: “This building urgently needs help, because it is in a bad state,” said Houvardas. “The facade has crumbled, and the windows no longer fit, so when it rains a lot of water gets in and it has spoiled practically everything. The necessary repairs were not done after the earthquakes, so now there are cracks so big you can see right through the wall. The floors are in a dire state. The building has aged and it urgently needs renovation, almost reconstruction.”

The situation is so serious that Houvardas had to intervene directly. “I have already started something using money from our budget, which doesn’t stretch to that, but something had to be done. At the same time, I am starting a campaign because we are talking about a very large sum, around 5 million euros, to find funds so the necessary work can be done. They could be spread out over three years, that is, the work could be done in the summer months so we can avoid closing our auditoriums in the Rex.”

Like the man of action and logic that he is, Houvardas added: “We have done a preliminary study of the work needed, which we assigned to architect and set designer Eva Manidaki. Now we must get funding for the main study, which will be costly of course. And we have completely renovated the entrance and the foyer of the children’s theater, the Paxinou Theater at the Rex, which needed a refit and revamp. If only we could do that to all of the Rex. At any rate people will notice some changes this year. But the structural and operational work will happen only once we have secured funds.”

Unfortunately, however, apart from the Rex, other buildings belonging to the National Theater face major problems. “The very old Drama School building, which is in the center of Athens, doesn’t even have air conditioning. And the technical workshops in Rouf, for sets and costumes and so on, are basically in a large shed, with many shortcomings that urgently need fixing. We are 50 years behind in that respect. The National Theater should have state-of-the-art technology in its workshops, so that its staff can work in good conditions.

“It is urgent and it is a matter of dignity for the National Theater to deal with these issues,” he said. “I have already started a campaign to the state and various public and private bodies to see what we can collect to solve these problems. It is a second full-time job, but I can’t compromise on this. Besides, I think the state put me here to see things for myself and do something about them. There’s no point hiding our heads in the sand. We’ll do what we can with the existing infrastructure, but solutions are needed now, like those the state had the courage to do concerning the vision of late National Theater director Nikos Kourkoulos for the theater’s main building.”

Coach Otto Rehhagel hails historic night October 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Football.
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Composure and stability in Istanbul gave Greece an early Euro 2008 qualification

Greece’s 1-0 win against Turkey in Istanbul on Wednesday night, which sent the European Soccer Champions straight to next summer’s Euro 2008 finals with two rounds of qualifying play remaining, was the National Team’s first victory in the neighboring country in 55 years.

Besides Austria and Switzerland, which both qualified automatically as co-hosts of the Euro 2008 finals, Greece, which now boasts an 8-1-1 record at the top of Group C, is one of four teams now already through. The others are Romania from Group G and the Czech Republic and Germany, both from Group B.

Going into Wednesday’s encounter with most of the work done for a finals berth and two, theoretically, less challenging games, against Malta at home and Hungary away, scheduled for the qualifying campaign’s remainder, Greece was not desperate for victory, let alone a draw. But coach Otto Rehhagel’s men settled quickly despite the frenzied atmosphere generated by the home crowd at Istanbul’s sold-out 25,000-capacity Ali Sami Yen stadium. The Greek team’s composure from early on came as solid proof of Rehhagel’s demand for victory and direct qualification with two games to go. Considering Greece’s number of squandered scoring opportunities throughout the game, the win could have been far greater.

“We wanted revenge for the first game and a place in the finals from now. We played with hearts and minds, went for the game and succeeded in reaching our objective,” said Rehhagel, referring to Greece’s 4-1 home defeat against Turkey last March. “I liked the way our defense line functioned, but we need to improve with our finishing in attack,” he added.

The defeat sunk Turkey to third place, two points behind Norway, a 2-0 winner at Bosnia-Herzegovina later on Wednesday night. In the next round of play, scheduled for November 17, Turkey travels to Norway knowing that defeat would end its qualification hopes. On that night, Greece hosts Malta in what promises to be more a celebration than a competitive soccer match. Victory, however, would assure the Greek team Group C’s top spot.

Turkey’s coach Fatih Terim acknowledged Greece’s superiority in Wednesday’s game. “Congratulations to Greece for the victory and qualification. They were better and deservedly won the match,” said Terim. “We made a mistake when Greece scored by not playing the offside trap well. But Greece had other opportunities to score more goals.”

Greece’s winning goal, which came in the 79th minute, was the first for Yiannis Amanatidis with the National Team. A rising force in the Greek team, Amanatidis, who is captain of Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany’s Bundesliga, noted that “the entire team, not just myself, played a very good game.”

Energy savings by Greenpeace October 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Energy.
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Greenpeace Hellas yesterday said in a statement the government is in possession of a comprehensive study with specific proposals for energy saving in buildings, particularly public ones, which it can use to draft a national energy performance program.

The statement was in response to reports that the European Commission is taking Athens to the European Court for failing to submit such a program by the June 30, 2007 deadline.

Vivartia may have broken Greek competition rules October 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy.
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Greece’s biggest food group Vivartia may have broken competition rules, the country’s competition watchdog said yesterday, adding it would examine whether the company should face a fine.

Government investigators accused Vivartia of possibly violating laws by setting frozen vegetable retail prices and abusing its dominant position in the market, and suggested it should face a fine, the watchdog committee said in a statement. The committee said the investigators’ accusations were not binding and it would start examining the case early next year.

Infotech signs agreement with Deutsche Bank October 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Energy.
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Greece’s listed IT systems support firm Alfa Grissin Infotech said yesterday it had signed an agreement with Deutsche Bank for the joint development of wind and photovoltaic parks in Greece, Bulgaria and Poland.

Truckers cause jams in Athens October 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Transport Air Sea Land.
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Protesting truck drivers parked some 50 large fuel-transport vehicles along a highway north of Athens yesterday and caused long traffic jams in many parts of the capital as they demanded that the government drop plans to liberalize the haulage sector.

The fuel trucks were parked along the Athens-Lamia highway in Metamorphosis, seriously hampering traffic in both directions on the National road. This also had a knock-on effect on the Attiki Odos, as cars were stuck in line to get onto the National road. This also caused traffic to back up at the junction to the Athens-Corinth highway, where another 25 fuel tankers were also parked.

The city’s fragile traffic system was stretched even further by student protests in the center, delaying many drivers by more than an hour.

The truckers want the Transport Ministry to withdraw plans to allocate more permits to drivers in the heavily regulated sector. They claim it would have a negative impact on the environment and traffic.

The law must be enforced > Owners of public utility trucks blockaded the National highway with their enormous vehicles, causing traffic congestion and chaos in the entire area. At the same time, a student protest march, which could easily have been confined to one lane of the road, closed off the capital city’s center for hours yesterday.

These two events brought the nightmare back to Athens. Millions of people are stripped of their constitutional right to free movement because a handful of unionists feel that the only way to make their point is to hassle their fellow citizens.

However, stopping or parking on highways is strictly prohibited by the traffic code and protests in downtown Athens should abide by a modicum of rules. But when union chiefs and student leaders display zero social sensibility, it is up to the state machine to show zero tolerance to infringements of law.

The state must enforce the laws it has itself enacted. The right to protest may be sacred, but the right of citizens to move around freely and enjoy a higher standard of everyday life is sacrosanct.