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Weight woes grow as local cuisine dumped November 14, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Greece, Health & Fitness.
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Weight problems among Greek children have spread beyond city limits and hit youngsters in regional areas where the Mediterranean cuisine is gradually being abandoned, according to research made public yesterday.

The survey conducted by the Aristides Daskalopoulos Institute found that one in two children between the ages of 7 and 12 in rural areas are overweight. One in 10 of these children eat takeaway food at least five times a week, which normally includes a souvlaki, while only half include fruit and vegetables in their daily diet.

According to the survey, just 10 percent of children include traditional Mediterranean cuisine in their diet, while the corresponding figure in Spain stands at 46 percent. The survey questioned 1,300 children from all over Greece.

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A Cypriot miraculous church November 14, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Religion & Faith.
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Hundreds of Greek-Cypriot Orthodox believers flocked yesterday to a church where a cleric claims miracles have taken place after the relic of a saint went on public display.

The Church of Saint John Chrysostom, named after the Saint, has become a focal point for pilgrims seeking help for themselves or loved ones after two miracles were proclaimed there. The alleged miracles coincided with the arrival of the skull of John Chrysostom from Mount Athos in Greece. The Saint’s relic went on show at the church in a Nicosia suburb on Saturday and its healing powers were declared soon afterward.

Helicopter emergency drop November 14, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Transport Air Sea Land.
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Emergency food and medical aid flown to isolated Antikythera

Emergency food and medical supplies were transported by rescue helicopter to the small island of Antikythera, southern Greece, cut off from the mainland for 11 days because of a ferry workers dispute, authorities said yesterday.

The Merchant Marine Ministry said supplies were flown to Kythera and Antikythera by Super Puma helicopter. Striking workers from state-subsidized ferry services to the islands said they started their protest after not receiving their salaries for two months. Sources said a solution to the dispute was likely late yesterday after the owner of the shipping operator obtained the necessary funds to pay workers.

Greece’s first artplex? November 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life Greek.
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When the Attica cinema closed, long before its demolition last month, rumor had it that the next big thing was coming. An entrepreneur was looking seriously at turning the cinema on Amerikis Square into the first artplex in Greece.

The plan never came to fruition but the idea of a creating a multiplex that would show art films and other non-mainstream works interested many people.

One of them is Leonidas Papageorgiou, owner of the Trianon and Ilion Cinema, in what was once the flourishing cinema market on Patission Street. He himself never planned to do so, but he did give us a piece of information. “You can smell something in the air,” he said, “nothing more.”

Might Amerikis Square be the starting point? “I don’t think so,” said Papageorgiou. “You must put an artplex in the center of town, and Amerikis Square has not been the center of town for many years. Or in a less central area which has easy access, meaning a metro station.”

There are few plots available downtown. Gazi would meet Papageorgiou’s requirements. The new Film Library is being built on Iera Odos in the same neighborhood, and the people who visit Gazi and nearby Metaxourgeio are potential artplex customers. All that is needed now is an entrepreneur who is willing to take a risk, and a little luck.

Have Greek film multiplexes hit a ticket ceiling? November 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life Greek.
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Ten years since the first one opened in Athens

Who would have thought it? Just 10 years since the first cinema multiplex opened in Athens, the historic center in Maroussi has shut down. It is to be made into an office block.

The influx of multiplexes into the Greek market in 1997 signaled a dramatic change on the local scene. In Athens alone, there were 99 new cinema auditoriums; box office receipts more than doubled and brought a night out at the cinema back into fashion. Large towns without film houses suddenly acquired modern multiplexes and access to one of the basic expressions of popular culture.

A small market for the size of the population > The majority of cinemagoers prefer multiplexes, so the crisis affects individual movie houses. Multiplexes are often blamed but it is they that have doubled the number of tickets sold in recent years.

There are many reasons why the original Athenian Village cinema closed down. For instance, it was too close to its larger brother at The Mall. The vigorous development of multiplexes in a virgin market such as that of Greece seems to have come to the end of a stage. None of the three major companies that run multiplexes in Greece, Village Roadshow, Odeon, Ster Cinemas, wants to talk of market saturation but recent examples make it safe to conclude that, despite the addition of new cinema houses, ticket sales have remained worryingly stable.

This is not very good news for a market that is disproportionately small for the size of the population. On average, Greeks go to the cinema slightly more than once a year, compared with three times for the French and four for Americans.

“Demand remains stable, stable at low levels,” explained Odeon Cineplex’s Manager Makis Diamantopoulos. “The market is moving upward, but very slowly, and it concerns mainly Athens, to a lesser extent Thessaloniki, and even less towns in the provinces.”

This is no reason not to celebrate their 10th birthday. Haris Antonopoulos, President and Managing Director of the Village Roadshow group, talked of expectations that have been met: “We have every reason to feel justified. When Village came into the Greek market, ticket sales were at 6-7 million; since then they have doubled to 14 million.”

Yet the market seems to be stuck at 13-14 million tickets and one reason is the lack of many lucrative blockbusters. Antonopoulos wants his company to turn to producing Greek films, at a time when local productions in other European countries bring in 30-40 percent of box office receipts. In Greece, the percentage is far lower, at 5-10 percent.

But stagnation in the Greek market does not mean stagnation when it comes to investment. In Athens, which has supposedly reached saturation point, the market will continue to grow. Village will definitely be at a mall being built on Vouliagmenis Avenue next to the Aghios Dimitrios metro station, and there will be multiplexes in large new malls in Galatsi and Votanikos, next to the planned Panathenaikos stadium. There is also room for development in the southern suburbs, which so far only have the Village complex in Faliron.

Both large and small players in the multiplex market face an insidious rival: the Internet. Being able to download movies from the Internet, often well before their release date at the cinema, would seem to affect all movie houses. Does the fact that viewers aged 12-24, the prime customers of cinemas, multiplexes and others, are more familiar with the Internet make matters worse?

“It depends on how you see ‘going to the cinema,’” commented Diamantopoulos. “If you restrict it to the strictly functional dimension, yes, the Internet is directly competitive. But we don’t go to the cinema just to see a film. There’s a whole social context to it. There’s the before and after, sharing the experience, a whole process is involved in going to the cinema.” He is optimistic.

He thinks there’s a bit of a slump but that it will be absorbed and the market will reach a balance. He cites the example of America: “In the United States, there has been a distinct fall in cinema attendance in recent years, but that was mainly due to very well-organized cable and pay TV. Now that those new products have been absorbed, the public is returning to movies.” And Antonopoulos noted a Greek characteristic: “Regardless of age, Greeks don’t like staying at home.”

An artist and his city > Bruce Davidson’s photos of New York November 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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A photograph from the “Subway” collection, is currently exhibited at the Hellenic American Union.

Continuity and change. These are two virtues that define the work of 74-year-old photographer Bruce Davidson. A tribute to the celebrated American artist and senior Magnum photographer is currently taking place at the Hellenic American Union, featuring a selection of 80 photographs.

Since the early 1950s, Davidson has been capturing subjects of his own choice. While his prime focus has always been on the human factor, he has veered away from a straightforward, emotional and humanitarian approach. Looking at his work, viewers can sense that the photographer develops his own relationship with his subjects, essentially becoming part of the story, not just an outside observer.

Choosing among the numerous and major periods of his work, and in agreement with the photographer himself, the exhibition’s curators Platon Rivellis and Elisavet Plessa selected the following three projects: “Brooklyn Gang”, a collection of photographs from the late 1950s to the early 1960s; “Subway”, a series of images shot in the mid-1980s; and “Central Park”, a project that kicked off halfway through the 1990s.

All three themes focus on the city of New York, the photographer’s home. In the first part of the exhibition, the camera follows a group of friends living in working-class Brooklyn. In the second part, Davidson takes a look at life on the city’s subway, while the last collection of works takes visitors on a tour of New York’s Central Park.

Hellenic American Union, 22 Massalias Street, Kolonaki, Athens, tel 210 3680000. Nearest metro station “Panepistimio”.

Greece offers new experience for the creative class in tourism November 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism.
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Tourism Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos yesterday inaugurated the Greek National Tourism Organization’s pavilion in London’s World Trade Market.

He said Greece is targeting in particular the so-called creative class, that is the 10 percent of tourists who seek new, genuine experiences, and aims to become established among the top destinations worldwide. This year’s promotion campaign is titled ‘Greece, the New Experience.’

Separately, the Panhellenic Hoteliers’ Association said it is promoting the conversion of hundreds of small hotels into luxury boutique units.

Related Links > www.visitgreece.gr