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Maersk Shipping eyes Piraeus Port stake October 25, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy.
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Officials of Maersk shipping company yesterday expressed interest in acquiring a stake in Piraeus’s commercial port terminal, in line with a government announcement earlier this week.

However, they denied exploratory talks with other companies with a view to a joint venture for the container terminal. Maersk has a 16 percent global market share in container transport with 500 vessels.

Greece summons British ambassador to complain over Britain-Turkey agreement October 25, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied.
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Greece summoned Britain’s Ambassador in Athens to the Foreign Ministry Thursday to complain over part of an agreement signed between Britain and Turkey concerning the northern area of the Republic of Cyprus.

The strategic partnership agreement, announced Tuesday during a visit to London by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, included a reference to northern Turkish-occupied and military controlled Cyprus as the “TRNC,” which stands for the self-proclaimed and so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The breakaway state in the north of the divided island is recognized only by Ankara.

British Ambassador Simon Gass was summoned over the agreement, in which Britain also pledges to work toward “ending isolation of the Turkish Cypriots” in the Cyprus’ Turkish occupied north.

“It is unwise to take such actions at such a crucial time, before the resumption of talks aiming to find a solution” to the division of Cyprus, a Foreign Ministry official said. The complaint was both about the wording referring to the north and the “whole spirit of the strategic partnership,” the official said.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded following a failed coup by supporters of uniting the island with Greece. The island remains split between an internationally recognized Republic in the Greek Cypriot south and the breakaway state in the Turkish Cypriot north. Talks to resolve the division have been stalled since 2004, when Greek Cypriots rejected a U.N.-backed plan in a referendum.

The Cypriot government in the south slammed the agreement between London and Ankara. “Great Britain is siding with the policies of Turkey on the Cyprus issue … with such actions the prospect of reaching a settlement based on U.N. Security Council resolutions becomes even more difficult,” government spokesman Vassilis Palmas said Wednesday.

Britain’s High Commissioner in Cyprus, Peter Millet, insisted London’s policy toward northern Cyprus was unchanged. “Our policy on the non-recognition of the so-called ‘TRNC’ is unchanged,” he said in a statement Wednesday. “We do not and will not recognize a separate entity in the northern part of Cyprus. Nor does anything in the document reflect an attempt to upgrade the status of the north or promote partition.”

Cyprus ire at UK pact with Turkey October 25, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied.
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Athens and Nicosia yesterday complained to London about a cooperation pact signed by the British and Turkish prime ministers which refers to the Turkish-occupied and military controlled north area of the Republic of Cyprus as the so-called “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.”

Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Marcoullis complained to Britain’s High Commissioner to Cyprus Peter Millet. Millet said the document, which foresees closer economic cooperation between Britain and the Turkish-occupied, military controlled north area of the Republic of Cyprus, “contained nothing new.” “Britain’s policy of non-recognition… remains unchanged,” he said.

But Nicosia spokesman Vassilis Palmas said the document “is imbued by the logic of consolidating the division of Cyprus.” “Britain appears to go along with Turkey’s policy on the Cyprus problem,” Palmas added.

Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis called for “clarifications and corrections.” “On such a significant issue, clarified so precisely by international law… there is no room for oversights and misconceptions, particularly from such an experienced and professional Ministry,” she said.

The agreement, signed by Gordon Brown and Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday, foresees financial support for the Turkish Cypriots and the development of trade ties between Britain and the Turkish military controlled and occupied north area of the Republic of Cyprus.

Erdogan is to meet with Greek Premier Costas Karamanlis in Thrace in mid-November to inaugurate a Greek-Turkish natural gas pipeline.

Ancient Olympia restoration approved October 25, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.
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The Culture Ministry’s Central Archaeological Council (KAS) yesterday approved a study for the regeneration of the area around Ancient Olympia which was ravaged by fire in August, but sources said it will take some 20 years before the site is fully restored.

The study, discussed yesterday by KAS officials, foresees the reconstruction of the site, the planting of tens of thousands of plants, including certain new “fire-resistant” varieties, and the implementation of additional measures to avert another fire. A total of 30,000 trees and shrubs, compared to some 100,000 that had existed on the site before the fires, are to be planted over the next three years.

The first stage of regeneration is to involve structural work and some planting. The Hill of Cronus, which bore the brunt of the damage wreaked by August’s blaze, is to be reinforced using thick wooden planks from old railway tracks. The hill is also to be planted with seeds and covered with a protective natural fiber that disintegrates after a few years. Culture Minister Michalis Liapis has pledged that work on the hill will be completed in time for the lighting of the Olympic Torch for the Beijing Games next March.

Some 2 million euros has been invested in these materials. Another 2 million euros will be spent on creating a new forest with 26 different types of trees and shrubs, including oaks, holly, laurels and olive trees.

The area around the monument to Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the Modern Olympic Games whose heart is buried near the site, is also to be spruced up with grass paths and new plants.

The National Agricultural Research Foundation has recommended the use of wide-leafed “fire-resistant” plants and the removal from the site of eucalyptus trees, which are highly flammable.

Firefighting equipment on the site, water canons and hoses, is to be boosted as the previous system “was not adequate,” according to KAS. The size of the water canons is to be increased and a zone some 40 meters south of the site may be deforested as an additional fire precaution.

Maria Callas Auction October 25, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Auctions.
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Greece eyes items going under the hammer in Milan next month

Greece is thinking of bidding for various personal belongings of opera diva Maria Callas that are to be auctioned off next month, according to reports yesterday.

Sotheby’s is due to put letters, dresses and other items that belonged to Callas up for sale in Milan on December 12 after the items were released by the estate of her late husband Giovanni Battista Meneghini. «The sale of these items interests us hugely» Britain’s Guardian newspaper quoted Culture Ministry official Panayiotis Kakoliris as saying. «Right now, we are looking into how we can raise the funds to both buy and bring them back here.»

Greece featured country on Cultural days of the European Central Bank October 25, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Europe.
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Greece is the country featured on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the Cultural Days of the European Central Bank (ECB), opened today and held until 13 November 2007.

The event is organised in co-operation with the Bank of Greece under the patronage of Mr Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank, and Nicholas C. Garganas, Governor of the Bank of Greece.

The programme brings a synthesis of Greece’s antique and contemporary culture to the City of Frankfurt, and includes concerts, dance performances, theatre, films, readings, photography exhibition and special events aimed at children. Some highlights from the programme include > 

  • Grand opening concert “Axion Esti”, oratorio by Mikis Theodorakis, Orchestra of Contemporary Music of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation and Choir, narrated by Christian Nickel.
  • Musical theatre by Stamatis Kraounakis and the musical theatre group Speira Speira with Kostas Makedonas.
  • Ancient Greek drama “Prometheus Bound” performed by the National Theatre of Greece.
  • Closing concert performed by the Orchestra of Colours and Maria Farantouri.

The aim of the Cultural Days of the ECB is to give the residents of Frankfurt, the Rhine-Main region and international guests the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the cultural traditions of countries of the European Union, reflecting the cultural diversity at the European Central Bank.

The complete programme is available on the ECB’s website > www.ecb.europa.eu/culturaldays

Coke comes to Olympic site’s aid October 25, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.
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The Coca-Cola Company has made a donation to help restore an important site in ancient sports history, Ancient Olympia.

The Atlanta-based beverage company on Wednesday reported a $2 million donation to the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) to restore its site in Ancient Olympia, the cradle of the Olympic Games and the ultimate symbol of Greek and international cultural and sports heritage. The site was severely damaged by recent forest fires last August that scorched the grounds of the Peloponnese in Greece over the summer.

Coca-Cola is the longest-running supporter of the Olympic Games, since 1928, and its $2 million donation will help restore the forest area around the Pierre de Coubertin monument, among other sites. This donation is in addition to fire relief efforts announced earlier by the Coca-Cola Foundation in conjunction with Coca-Cola Hellas and Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, the world’s second largest Coca-Cola bottler.