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Events in Athens not to be missed March 7, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece.
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Carnival 2008 > Saturday – March 10 > The City of Athens has organized various activities, including live music shows (Latin, jazz, soul and Greek), children’s activities, stilt-walking, kite-flying, juggling and more to celebrate this year’s Carnival season. At various venues, such as Thiseion, the streets of Plaka, Zappeion Hall and Philopappou Hill. For information > www.cityofathens.gr

Hellenikon Olympic Complex, Former Airport, Hellenikon, Athens > Saturday > 2nd March Metal Day > Metal music festival, with live shows by Nightwish, Annihilator, Nevermore and many others. For information > www.mmdfestival.gr

Trianon Filmcenter, 21 Kodringtonos & Patission Street, Athens, tel 210 8222702 > Tonight > Under Alkis Baltas, the Orchestra of Colors will perform works by Purcell, Britten and Handel, before the screening of the film “Dangerous Liaisons”. At 8.30 p.m.

Benaki Museum, Pireos Street Annex, 138 Pireos & Andronikou Street, Gazi, Athens, tel 210 3453338 > Tomorrow > Conducted by Haris Iliadis, the Athens State Orchestra will perform works by Carl Maria von Weber, Tielman Susato, Carl Orff and others, with trumpet player Ioannis Karabetsos. 8.30 p.m. Admission is 10 euros.

Benaki Museum of Islamic Art, 22 Aghion Asomaton Street, Kerameikos, Athens, tel 210 3251311 > Exhibition of artworks that interact with the museum’s permanent exhibits and are also combined with Michalis Andronikos`s music, by Irini Gonou. To Sunday.

Hellenic American Union, 22 Massalias Street, Kolonaki, Athens, tel 210 3680000 > “Life is a Movie: John Cassavetes & Friends: Exhibition with more than 100 photographs as well as movie posters, part of a tribute to filmmaker John Cassavetes. To Saturday.

Jewish Museum, 39 Nikis Street, Syntagma, Athens, tel 210 3225582 > “Peenemuende”: Exhibition of photographs and videos from the Peenemunde Army Research Center, which was a major rocket test center between 1936 and 1945, by Franka Hoernschemeyer. To March 31.

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Greece still one of Europe’s foremost tourist destinations March 7, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism.
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Greece enters the new tourism season as one of the most popular destinations in the world’s biggest markets, Tourism Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos told a press conference here yesterday.

Speaking on the sidelines of a major tourism exhibition which is taking place in Germany, Spiliotopoulos said Greece is the second most popular destination among 80 according to data compiled by the International Federation of Tour Operators. In the German market alone, a survey by tour operator TUI shows Greece to be the most attractive country worldwide, while another joint survey by the European Cruise Council, Euroyards and Medcruise & Europe ranked the country third in the list of the most popular cruise destinations in Europe, behind Italy and Spain.

The course of Greek tourism, said the Minister, is linked to culture and sports, as well as to environmental awareness. There is also emphasis on developing so-called green tourism, with pilot actions at tourism destinations across the country in association with local authorities.

Efforts in this context also include the formulation of a pioneering program of tourism development aimed at protecting the environment, through the creation of eco-camping grounds and eco-marinas, and a series of innovative actions such as special routes, kiosks and observation towers.

Spiliotopoulos said camping sites at Skotina, Asprovalta, Paliouri and Phanari in Northern Greece will be upgraded with more environmentally friendly facilities, while an ecological marina will also be created at Paliouri in Halkidiki.

The upgrading of regional airports continues meanwhile, in cooperation with the Transport Ministry and the assistance of the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE). “In a few years’ time,” Spiliotopoulos said, “we will have an ultramodern airport at Kastelli in Crete.” Most international airports in the country are being upgraded, while the airports of Araxos, Nea Anchialos and Kalamata are now also receiving international flights for the April-October period each year.

The Ministry has funds available from the European Union totaling 564 million, which will be used to upgrade the quality of the country’s tourism product.

Cyprus peace would carry hefty dividend March 7, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Cyprus News, Cyprus Occupied.
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Cyprus’ economy would gain at least 1.8 billion euros ($2.75 billion) on an annual basis if there were a reunification deal on the ethnically partitioned island, economists said yesterday.

Economic benefits would come mainly from new business opportunities with Turkey, tourism revenue and construction, the survey sponsored by the Norway-based Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) said. “Translated into household income, the annual dividend per family comes to approximately 5,500 euros per year,” PRIO said in a news release yesterday. That represents 20 percent of the average income of Greek Cypriots, and 40 percent of Turkish Cypriots, it added.

Cyprus, an island of around 1 million people, was partitioned in a Turkish invasion in 1974. Greek Cypriots, who represent the island in the European Union, have no direct trade or diplomatic links with the Turkish-led statelet in the island’s Turkish occupied and military controlled north.

The southern areas of Cyprus controlled by the Greek-Cypriot government joined the eurozone on January 1, 2008. The northern part, a Turkish-Cypriot breakaway state recognized only by the government in Ankara, stayed out.

Economic disparities between the two sides are huge. Gross domestic product in the south was 15.5 billion in 2007, and approximately 2 billion in the north in 2006, according to the latest data available.

Economists from both sides of the divide based their projections on a seven-year game plan should a settlement be reached in 2009, and using Greco-Turkish trade relations, which have flourished in the past decade, as their reference point.

Greek and Turkish-Cypriot community leaders are expected to meet in the last fortnight of March to discuss how to resume peace talks. Reunification efforts collapsed in 2004 when Greek Cypriots rejected a UN settlement blueprint accepted by Turkish Cypriots.

PRIO is financed by the Norwegian Research Council, the United Nations and the World Bank.

Greek MIG buys Croatian tourism group March 7, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Tourism.
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Greek buyout firm Marfin Investment Group said it is taking a controlling stake in Croatian tourism group Sunce as part of its expansion plans.

MIG will pay 155 million euros ($237 million) for a 75 percent stake in Sunce, which operates 11 hotels along the Adriatic coast, has a majority stake in a local airport and owns 860,000 square meters of development land. “The Sunce acquisition is further testament to MIG’s regional reach and ability to source significantly value-accretive transactions for its shareholders,” MIG Executive Vice Chairman Andreas Vgenopoulos said in a statement.

Greece’s Vivartia to buy Nonni’s American biscuit firm March 7, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Food Greece.
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Vivartia, Greece’s largest food group, said yesterday it has signed a deal to buy US biscuit and snack-producer Nonni’s for $320 million as part of its expansion plans.

Vivartia, which is present in 30 countries, said it has agreed to buy 100 percent of Nonni’s from US private equity firm Wind Point Partners and Nonni’s board members in a deal expected to be completed by April 1. “The technical know-how offered by the company in combination with its broadened network and commercial potential make Nonni’s a suitable platform to expand in the USA,” Vivartia CEO Spyros Theodoropoulos said in a bourse filing.

Nonni’s offers six production units in the USA and reported 2007 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of $32 million on sales of $187 million, Vivartia added.

Olympiakos’ European run ends at Chelsea March 7, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Football.
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Olympiakos coach Takis Lemonis hopes Piraeus club will build on season’s progress > Olympiakos may have tumbled out of the Champions League’s Round of 16 after being thrashed 3-0 by star-studded Chelsea in London on Wednesday night, but the Piraeus team can consider its campaign in Europe this season a major improvement on previous efforts.

In comments following the encounter at Stamford Bridge, Olympiakos coach Takis Lemonis stressed the need to keep building on this season’s progress.

On its way to the Round of 16, Olympiakos picked up an impressive 11 points from its six Group C games with wins against Werder Bremen both at home and away, Lazio in Rome, and two draws at home, against the Italian team and Real Madrid. There was just one defeat, 4-2, at Real Madrid.

Following years of mostly poor Champions League outings, the Piraeus team did earn some respect in Europe this season, but it remains distinctly below the level of the continent’s best.

Olympiakos was unable to keep up with the flow and panache of Chelsea’s game. An early Michael Ballack header in the fifth minute put Chelsea ahead – following a scoreless draw at the Karaiskaki Stadium. Olympiakos had fallen behind in all three of its group-stage away games and went on to win two of those, but there was no reaction from the Greek club on Wednesday night.

The visitors never settled into the game and were never able to establish serious ball possession. By the 25th minute, Chelsea had already taken a major step toward reaching the quarterfinals with a second goal from Frank Lampard. He tapped the ball in after goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis, who played a fine game on his Greek record-breaking 53rd Champions League appearance, was unable to hold on to a powerful drive from Ballack. Chelsea sealed its place in the next round three minutes into the second half when Salomon Kalou made it 3-0 from a Lampard corner.

While all hope of a quarterfinal spot for Olympiakos was lost in London, a tribunal in Athens awarded the Piraeus team three points from a domestic league game it had lost against struggling Apollon Kalamaria. Olympiakos filed an appeal, arguing that its opponent had illegally fielded new Austrian signing Roman Wallner, who had already represented two other clubs this season. Besides losing the three points, Apollon was punished with the deduction of an additional point. But the club, which sunk deeper into the league’s three-team relegation zone, declared it will appeal at an international sports tribunal. Olympiakos moved up to second, a point behind Panathinaikos, with seven rounds of play remaining.

In other news, the Super League’s disciplinary committee handed PAOK midfielder Sergio Conceicao a one-match suspension and an 80-euro fine for a scuffle with Nikopolidis, Olympiakos’s goalkeeper, in the tunnel following a recent game in Thessaloniki. The Portuguese player was due to appear before the panel last week but encountered problems with a flight to Athens from Thessaloniki. Nikopolidis, who received the exact same punishment, has already served his suspension.

Meanwhile at AEK, currently third in the domestic league, club boss Demis Nikolaidis told reporters that no move for a new coach would be made until the end of the season.

Thessaloniki Documentary Festival kicks off tonight March 7, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Movies Life, Movies Life Greek.
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The annual Thessaloniki Documentary Festival opens tonight by honoring celebrated Greek-Cypriot director Michael Cacoyannis, famous for his screen adaptations of ancient dramas. In total, 158 movies will be shown during the increasingly popular 10-day festival that will also host numerous tributes, special guests and side events.

Fact-finding films in Thessaloniki > Some 158 documentaries, tributes and special guests at annual event, as also-rans stage own show

Lydia Carras’s ‘My Life and Times: Michael Cacoyannis’ is to premiere at Thessaloniki’s Documentary Festival tonight.

The Thessaloniki Documentary Festival (TDF) kicks off today with an opening-night screening of Lydia Carras’s “My Life and Times: Michael Cacoyannis”, a profile of the Greek Cypriot Oscar-nominated director based on rare footage from rehearsals and interviews, at the Olympion Theater.

The 10-day cinematic extravaganza will showcase a rich variety of movies made by Greek and foreign filmmakers that address burning global issues, such as migration, poverty and human rights. The 158 movies included are competing for two public choice and two FIPRESCI awards, with prizes ranging from 2,000 to 4,000 euros.

A record 35,600 people last year flocked to the festival theaters, which include the central Olympion and Pavlos Zannas cinemas and the red-brick seaside complex. The festival ends next Sunday.

The 10th TDF events have been partly marred by a rift between the festival organizers and the dozens of local filmmakers who have been left out of this year’s selections. Greek directors have attacked the criteria used to judge and pick the documentaries as well as the TDF’s 30 percent quota for local productions. A parallel festival screening a number of the films that did not qualify for the official event is running at the Phillip cinema in Athens until March 12.

TDF artistic director Dimitris Eipides has rebuffed criticism that he has snubbed homemade productions, claiming there should be no favorable treatment of Greek movies to the expense of international submissions.

The TDF will host a tribute to the award-winning filmmaking team of Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, creators of the heartrending documentary “Brother’s Keeper” which was first released in 1992, drawing warm reviews. Critical acclaim continued with their 1996 “Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills” and “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster” (2004), a behind-the-scenes music documentary about the inner workings of the famous heavy-metal band that follows the group all the way to the psychiatrist’s couch. Berlinger and Sinofsky are scheduled to hold a master class in Thessaloniki. As is another special guest, Arto Halonen, the Finnish director who is also the founder and first festival director of DocPoint – the Helsinki Documentary Film Festival.

A special feature on fascism and the modern-day manifestations of fascism, prompted by the 70th anniversary of the events of Kristallnacht – when the Nazis unleashed a wave of pogroms against Germany’s Jews – features 15 movies, including “Children in Exile” by Chicago filmmaker Chris Swider, “Finding Tiger Kim” by Korean director Ku Bon-Hwan, and “Under the Hood: A Voyage into the World of Torture” by Montreal-based Patricio Henriquez.