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Let the fun begin > a taste of Carnival February 25, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Cyprus, Music Life Greek.
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Carnival > a taste of the real thing with Tierra Latina

Sometimes glittery, usually hideously tacky and always outrageous – there’s nothing quite like the craziness of carnival costumes. Carnival is all about spectacle. And there’s little doubt that the greatest spectacle of them all can be found in the cities of Latin America, where carnival festivities go on for days and streets fill with a party vibe like no other.

If the recent carnival excesses from Rio to Trinidad shown on TV here made you desperate to experience carnival as it should be, then we have great news for you. You’ll soon have the chance to be part of all that fun as a Latin dance and music extravaganza is about to hit our shores.

With talented artists from Cuba, Colombia and Brazil arriving at the start of March to give a show like no other, you can also enjoy performances by special guest, Nancy Murillo, all under the direction of the Argentinean Ricardo Cuellar. The Tierra Latina show will be touring Larnaca, Limassol and Nicosia, with performances at Antidote Theatre in Larnaca, Rialto Theatre in Limassol, and the Strovolos Municipal Theatre in Nicosia.

As the Latin spirit arrives in Cyprus, we asked Ricardo who lives in Cyprus how he came up with the idea for the Tierra Latina show. “Since the moment I first arrived on the island I was happy to see that a large part of the Cypriot community embraced Latin American dance and music,” he says. “I’m really glad to see the work and effort of various dance schools and companies that put on regular shows, and somehow feel that Tierra Latina is my gift to the community, thanking them for their passionate support of Latin American culture.”

Go along to the performance and you’ll get to watch a variety of dances and acts which represent all different Latin American rhythms, from mambo and salsa to Brazilian samba, Argentine tango and Colombian cumbia. The limelight will then shine on Nancy Murillo, a vibrant Colombian singer now living in France, who has brought folkloric rhythms like the cumbia, salsa and porro to Europe. “Murillo is a wonderful artist renowned in Europe for her great voice, artistic talent and for promoting Latin culture through her music to the world,” says Ricardo.

As she travels from country to country, Murillo has gained fame and respect for her talent and passion for music on stages in France, Morrocco, Holland, Germany and Greece. “Through her captivating performances on stage and powerful voice I felt her passion was contageous – a feeling I’m hoping to convey to the audience of Tierra Latina,” Ricardo adds.

You may not be leaving on a jet plane for an exotic destination this month, but you can experience the passionate spirit of a Brazilian carnival practically at your doorstep very soon. Let the fun begin!

Tierra Latina > A music and dance extrabaganza with performers from Colombia, Cuba and Brazil
March 2: Antidote Theatre, Larnaca. Tel 24 822677
March 3: Rialto Theatre, Limassol. Tel 25 343800
March 5: Strovolos Municipal Theatre, Nicosia. Tel 22 313010
8pm. €25. General info: Tel 22 444612

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Solar power sector looks set to shine February 25, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Energy, Technology.
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Solar power sector looks set to shine despite financing difficulties from credit crunch > Demand from institutional investors for large-scale renewable portfolios remains strong, now reaching into new markets, such as Greece. 

Solar power will be a bright investment prospect, as the appetite for green energy grows, even though the global credit crisis is making banks more wary of providing financing. In the short term, the sector will also have to contend with a shortage of silicon, a key ingredient for solar cells that turn sunlight into electricity, and possible changes in political support as elections take place.

“This year will be a very volatile one,” said Sven Hansen, chief investment officer at clean technology investor Good Energies, which has about 7 billion Swiss francs ($6.38 billion) under management. “The industry will see fantastic growth, but it will be a bumpy ride in terms of how financial markets value photovoltaic companies.”

The number of new large-scale solar energy plants has been growing rapidly particularly in sun-drenched countries like Spain and Italy, but also in Germany and the United States, where regulatory conditions offer incentives and stable returns for investors. Conditions could change because of a presidential election in the United States and general elections in Spain in March. “Whether there are support programs in place has a strong impact on markets’ development,” Hansen said.

Growth is still expected to be strong, driven by increased interest from institutional investors, such as pension funds and insurers, which are seeking alternative stable and long-term opportunities. Experts also expect the silicon shortage to ease next year as silicon makers hike up capacity and production.

“Leverage ratios are more difficult, but we will ride out the storm. The business is not shut,” said Peter van Egmond Rossbach, director of investment at Impax Asset Management. The firm provides finance for renewable energy projects around the world and has $2 billion under management. Thirty percent is invested in solar, 40 percent in wind and the rest in other renewable energy projects, it said. “It just means that (project financing) is getting more expensive and we have to bridge with equity,” he added.

Tighter liquidity on global financial markets resulting from a crisis in the US subprime mortgage market last year has made banks more risk-averse. As a result, conditions have become tougher, pushing up interest payments for loans and other financing costs, which reduces the cashflow and leads to higher purchase prices for investors.

“We notice it in the purchase prices,” said Barbara Flesche, head of equity sales at Epuron, a project developer, which is fully owned by German solar group Conergy. Epuron develops, finances, develops and operates large-scale renewable energy projects, bringing together investors, banks and equipment producers. It has completed deals worth about 800 million euro ($1.18 billion) since 1998, it said.

Banks were less willing to provide high gearing for such major projects, which dampened investor hopes of a higher return on equity, Flesche said. But she added, “The risk for purchase prices is not something that’s hurting us dramatically – so far.”

Flesche said demand from institutional investors for such large-scale renewable portfolios was still strong and was now also reaching into new markets, such as Greece or Italy. “It will become more difficult to get bank financing, but not impossible,” Epuron’s Flesche said.

The European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) expects the global market to be five times bigger than it was in 2007 within the next five years. It said it expected annual installations to reach a 10.9-gigawatt peak by 2012 globally, up from a peak of about 2.2 gigawatts in 2007, adding that annual growth rates of well above 25 percent could be expected.

The European Energy Council has forecast that by 2010 about 1.6 percent of total energy generation will derive from photovoltaic sources, which compares to a share of 0.01 percent in 2003. By 2010 the council expects about 19 percent of generation will derive from renewables, 15 percent from nuclear and 66 percent from fossil sources.

New ideas to boost Greek agritourism February 25, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism.
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Many agritourism facilities already offer horse riding as part of their packages to patrons. New ventures are planned to receive European Union investment subsidies.

A new category of accommodation is currently being prepared and is planned to be added to Greece’s tourism product under the «xenonas» (guest house) label. The newly designated facilities will offer full board services, and efforts will be made to differentiate it entirely from the customary «rooms to let» type of tourism business.

In addition, as part of efforts to upgrade the Greek tourism sector, plans are being made for the establishment of another new institution, the «agroktima» (farm), offering exactly what its title describes, a farm that can be visited by tourists.

The two measures are part of efforts to create the appropriate legislative framework for tourism in the countryside, envisaged to effectively boost entrepreneurship in the specific subsector, but also in view of preparing the National Strategic Reference Framework of investment subsidies under the European Union’s Fourth Community Support Framework.

Already, an increasing number of entrepreneurs are active in this specific area and are demanding solutions to a number of legislation snags currently obstructing their activities in terms of legal and organizational matters.

Some preliminary work on the issue has already been done by a special working team, set up for that purpose, comprising representatives from agritourism businesses, farmers, development firms, trade associations, the Greek National Tourism Organization and the Ministry of Tourism.

A relevant Ministerial decision, according to officials, should be amended to allow the smooth and unhindered operation of countryside tourism. Objectives include the incorporation of guest house and farm specifications into the revised joint Ministerial decision as a financing criterion for inclusion in the projects to be subsidized. The working team is also looking into legal and tax obstacles faced by businessmen or farmers planning to set up businesses in the respective areas.

Such issues include the possibility of the on-site use and sale of agricultural products, processed or not, produced by the farm owner, the proximity of guest houses with any animal shelters, as well as insurance aspects and registration of certain new types of jobs arising from such a new activity.

Shoppers to get own price lists February 25, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Shopping.
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Consumers will be able to go shopping next month armed with a price list for the 50 most commonly bought items, in a move aimed at helping shoppers better identify retailers who unfairly inflate their prices.

The Development Ministry will put together the daily list in an attempt to better inform consumers as some 30 companies have hiked prices by up to 15 percent since the start of the year. The move is aimed at helping fight Greece’s rising inflation, which remains one of the highest in the eurozone, at just below 4 percent last month.

In the event of companies going overboard with their price hikes or fiddling with price data handed to the Development Ministry, the offenders will be put on a black list that will then be published, according to the Ministry.

In the next few weeks, the Ministry also plans to prepare a list of goods comparing prices available in Greece with those offered in other European cities.

Cyprus’ new communist President February 25, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus News, Politics.
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Christofias win sparks hope for reunification > Cyprus’ new communist President speaks with Turkish-Cypriot leader

Cyprus has the only communist leader in the European Union after Dimitris Christofias, the head of the island’s Communist Party (AKEL), pipped his right-wing opponent Ioannis Kassoulides in yesterday’s presidential elections on the island.

Christofias received some 30,000 votes more than Kassoulides, taking 53.36 percent of the popular vote, compared to his opponent’s 46.64 percent. Almost 470,000 of some 516,000 registered voters cast their ballots in yesterday’s second round.

Outgoing President Tassos Papadopoulos came third in the first round of voting and was eliminated from yesterday’s poll.

The election of Christofias and the removal from power of Papadopoulos has rekindled hopes that a reunification deal with Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus could be reached. It was revealed last night that Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat called Christofias to congratulate him on his victory and the two men agreed to meet as soon as possible.

“Talat congratulated Christofias and both of them agreed that they should meet,” a Talat aide told Agence France-Presse without mentioning a date for the potential meeting. A Christofias spokesman confirmed the conversation but also said that a date had not been set. However, Christofias made it clear that the reunification of Cyprus will be the top political goal during his presidency. “From tomorrow we unite our strengths. We shall work collectively and in unison to achieve reunification of our homeland,” said the 61-year-old after being confirmed as the winner.

Kassoulides congratulated his opponent and said he and his center-right party, DISY, would stand by Christofias in his negotiations for a peace deal on the island. “We did not win the big battle but our party is stronger and more battle-worthy,” Kassoulides told disappointed supporters.

Christofias was backed by a wide coalition of political parties, including Papadopoulos’s DIKO. In return, he promised the party’s members powerful government posts.

Greek design for anniversary coin February 25, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy.
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The design submitted by the Bank of Greece mint, the work of sculptor George Stamatopoulos, has been chosen for a commemorative two-euro coin to be issued by all Eurozone countries in 2009 to mark 10 years since the circulation of the euro. The winning design was announced by the European Commission on Monday and was chosen by EU citizens through an Internet vote.

25-02-08_coin.jpg  The anniversary coin will go into circulation in January 2009 and was chosen by voters among five finalist designs selected by the directors of European mints among 42 designs originally submitted. The winning design received 41,48 percent of the vote, in which more than 141,500 people took part.

According to a Commission announcement, the commemorative coin for the 10th anniversary since the creation of the euro symbolises the long history of trade, from pre-historic barter – evoked by the deliberately primitive design – to Economic and Monetary Union, while roughly 90 million copies of the coin will be minted.

Pink Floyd live in Nicosia, Cyprus February 25, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Live Gigs.
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Pink Floyd > Live in Concert > next May 2008 >

at the Nicosia’s International Airport > at the “Green Line” >

Nicosia is the last divided European Capital

more to follow soon, watch out this blog!

UPDATE >>> 10 March 2008

According to http://www.pinkfloydz.com/roger2008/main.htm here are some further news regarding the live appearance in Nicosia, Cyprus >

Cyprus – It’s thought this show was so close to being confirmed it wasn’t funny. However, Roger’s Manager has advised us directly that this show will not now go ahead. There’s still may be a flicker of hope that the promoters will be able to find a major sponser, but at the time of writing, this show is officially dead in the water.

Cyprus Latest We know that many Greek & Turkish Roger Waters fans are desperate to get information about Roger’s possible appearance in Cyprus on 9 May, so we sent our bloodhounds sniffing and here’s what they have come up with. First, Roger will NOT be performing at the Pantheon Art Cinema in Nicosia (as reported by CY Live). It appears this theatre only holds 600 people! We do know that Roger’s tour manager (Andrew Zweck) was in Cyprus at the end of January scouting for possible locations. It seems that Roger is very keen to play in the last divided city in Europe, and Nicosia’s ancient walls (in the buffer zone) was the obvious spot, but sadly that location has too many security problems that could not not be overcome. We know that Andrew Zweck then checked out the GSP stadium [ http://www.gsp.org.cy/GSP%20English.html ] in Nicosia (capacity about 22,000) and that he has approved that. However, the promoters are still seeking sponsors, and the future of this show depends on suitable sponsors being found. So at the time of writing, the best we can offer is that the show is planned, but will only go ahead if suitable sponsors are found. As soon as we get more news, you know where to find it.

Roger In Cyprus A date we can’t officially confirm, but we can tell you that CY Live [ http://www.cylive.co.uk/info.php?id=3 ] have Roger listed as playing the Pantheon Art Cinema in Nicosia – Cyprus on 9 May. More news when we get it.

Dazed & Confused – Pink Floyd In Cyprus Seems the media in Greece & Turkey are getting themselves somewhat confused! There’s been a flurry of stories over the last few weeks about the possibility of Pink Floyd playing there, but on closer examination it seems it’s actually Roger Waters that these stories are referring to. (Ok, we know a lot of you think Roger Waters IS Pink Floyd, but cut us some slack here please!) Now the Cyprus Mail have come out with the following screaming headline ‘Pink Floyd to play the Nicosia wall?’ The story goes on to say that the concert will take place at the Nicosia buffer zone on May 9. Before you email us, we know nothing at all about Roger performing in Greece or Turkey, but you can be assured if we do find out anything, it will appear here in a flash.

http://www.pinkfloydz.com/roger2008/main.htm

It seems, that our sources have been misleading us and we apologise for it. We strongly suggest that you also monitor the news, by visiting the above mentioned link.

Pink Floyd to play the Nicosia wall?

Teenagers are already taking out their black logo t-shirts, while adults of all ages swoon with delight as word goes round that the creative genius of Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, and his band are likely to be arriving in Cyprus this May for a concert like no other.

When rumours started circulating a few days back that they would be giving a concert on the island, no one really believed that these musical legends could possibly have reason to visit. The Pantheon Art Cinema in Nicosia then announced screenings of the cult classic, Pink Floyd: The Wall, and the rumours became rife.

Although no definite confirmation can be made, it is now looking more than likely that the group will be arriving to give a concert in the Nicosia buffer zone on May 9. As one of the most successful rock bands of all time, the London boys achieved worldwide success in the 1970s with the progressive psychedelic rock of The Dark Side of the Moon, followed by the albums Wish You Were Here, Animals and The Wall.

The organisers of the upcoming event are trying to make sure that details are finalised before they make any official statements. They do, however, confirm that negotiations are currently underway, and that the band should hopefully be playing on the Green Line in a show similar to the one given in Berlin in 1990, less than a year after the destruction of the Berlin Wall. Played to a live audience of 250,000 and a television audience of 500 million in 52 countries across the globe, the show took on historic proportions.

Concerts in Cyprus can sometimes be very risky business and the organisers are keen to make sure that everything is done right before tickets go on sale. When you’re dealing with such a big name as Pink Floyd, the promoters can be sure that thousands will show up, but they also have to be certain that the band is happy with the choice of venue and whole concept of the show.

If such a performance does take place, the one thing we can be sure of is that the ongoing division of the island will most certainly be in the limelight as foreign media will be covering the special event.

Crowds can expect an extravagant show like no other. Renowned for their lavish stage shows, the rock legends will be combining their performance with video footage playing in the background. All Pink Floyd hits will be played as well as all the songs from The Dark Side of the Moon, complemented with 3D effects and laser lights.

For such a small island, Cyprus really hasn’t done badly when it comes to concerts in the past few years. Crowds went mad over Elton John tickets a few years back, Sting drew in plenty of fans a couple of summers ago, and the Bryan Adams gig last June was heaving with overly excitable crowds, while 50 Cent was another surprise concert that had young fans of hip hop and R&B delighted in July.

With fingers tightly crossed, it seems that things are about to get even better with a show not many would ever have imagined experiencing in the capital.