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Celebrating today’s World Theater Day March 27, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Stage & Theater.
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Performance > Thessaloniki > Tonight

Celebrating today’s World Theater Day, the National Theater of Northern Greece will stage Anneli Xiroyianni’s play “Volume” at the Lazariston Monastery Small Theater tonight, directed by Christina Hadzivassileiou. Admission is free. Advance bookings are necessary.
Lazariston Monastery, 21 Kolokotroni Street, Thessaloniki, tel 2310 589102.

Theater Discussion > Athens > Tonight

The Ianos bookstore will host a discussion on theater today, on the occasion of World Theater Day, at 8 p.m. Participants will include academics Hara Bakonikola and Platon Mavromoustakos and others. There will also be a tribute to theater music, with live performances.
Ianos Bookstores, 24 Stadiou Street, Athens, tel 210 3217917.

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Dance seedlings flower on stage March 27, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Ballet Dance Opera.
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27-03-08_ndt.jpg  Dance magic. Jiri Kylian’s “Toss of a Dice”. Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon’s “Silent Screen”. The Nederlands Danse Theater at the Athens Concert Hall for performances on 27, 28, 29 and 30 March at 21:oo hours.

A dozen dancers gaze into space while their bodies stand motionless like Japanese symbols on stage. Susumu Shingu’s striking sculpture is suspended from the roof, conveying the feeling that we are facing the dancers of the future. That is choreographer Jiri Kylian’s «Toss of a Dice», but he has more surprises in store. The famous Nederlands Danse Theater is set to present a highly interesting program at the Athens Concert Hall until Sunday, starting tonight. The Dutch company, one of the world’s most acclaimed and popular dance ensembles, will perform choreographies by Kylian as well as by his younger colleagues Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon.

The Nederlands Danse Theater, especially its main section, NDT I, has visited Athens in the past. This week, local audiences will be able to enjoy its new face, meaning its new generation of dancers.

The program features two choreographies, one by Lightfoot and Leon and another by Kylian. Both premiered in the Hague in April 2005. Earlier in the season they had been forced to cancel a big tour in the Far East. To have an unpredictable, mid-season change is a nightmare for any artistic director; but on the other hand it can provide opportunities. So they decided to give their main choreographers an extended period of time, which in turn led to the program that it will be staged in Athens.

Lightfoot and Leon’s «Silent Screen» is inspired by silent cinema. Although there is no specific plot, the choreography is like a narrative. The music is by Philip Glass. As for Jiri Kylian, his work in general is inspired by Japanese culture. «Toss of a Dice» is no exception – here Kylian worked with Japanese artist Susumu Shingu, whose sculpture features prominently on the sets and has a direct influence on the stage and the dancers’ relationship with it.

Athens Concert Hall, 1 Kokkali Street and Vasilissis Sophias Avenue, Athens.

The avenues of Athens 80 years ago March 27, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Books Life Greek, Greece Athens.
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Travel guides to Greece, first published in 1930 by Eleftheroudakis, now reissued in a collector’s set.

27-03-08_travel_guides.jpg  Views of Athens change rapidly, as travel guides published since 2000 demonstrate.

I enjoy reading what people say about my city. Some visitors, like Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, like what he sees as the city’s “confusion,” while others, like American composer Jonathan Nossiter, who loved the old Zonar’s cafe, see it as a “treasury of aesthetic pleasures.”

Let’s go back to 1930: I’m looking at fresh reprints of the little travel guides that Eleftheroudakis published then. A collector’s set in a handsome box, it could furnish ample material for 10 dissertations.

Tourism had begun in the mid-19 century during the reign of King Otto. But given the lack of infrastructure, Athens remained an exotic destination until the 1960s. However, these guides are written in Greek. Travelers used to come from Alexandria and Istanbul, and other urban centers with Greek communities.

An image comes to mind, the sole aerial photograph in “Neoklassiki architektoniki stin Ellada” (Neoclassical Architecture in Greece), a volume published by Emporiki Bank in 1967. Taken in 1932, the photograph reveals harmony and European style in the tiled roofs of Panepistimiou, Stadiou and Academias streets. That’s the sight that greeted travelers who visited with this guide in hand.

They probably would have dropped in at the Eleftheroudakis bookstore on the corner of Stadiou and Karageorgi Servias streets. Had it not been demolished in 1962, it would have appeared in new guidebooks as a remnant of glorious old urban Europe.

Was it a beautiful city then? Some parts must have been, but the atmosphere in 1930 was unique. Athens not only boasted antiquities and clear air, but also the first sparks of modernism, which Henry Miller noted in “The Colossus of Maroussi.”

As Kevin Andrews pointed out in his perceptive work “Athens” (1967), the harder the city tries to look modern, the more primitive it looks in its essential truth. It’s all relative, of course – the periodical Diaplasi ton Paidon referred on March 18, 1906, to “mediocre neighborhood houses,” which we later idealized – and a guide book is simply a tool.

Related Links > http://www.books.gr

The Cavo Sidero resort in Crete development March 27, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Infrastructure, Hotels Greece, Tourism.
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Tourism investment of Cavo Sidero in Crete proceeds with planning of first holiday villages

27-03-08_cavo_sidero1.jpg  The development of Cavo Sidero in eastern Crete, one of the biggest investment projects in Greek tourism, has entered the final stretch following 14 years of bureaucratic and other obstacles.

Minoan Group’s Chairman and CEO Christopher Egleton confirmed yesterday the progress achieved and announced that the architectural firms of Alexandros Tombazis and Baldrich & Tobal have begun planning for the first village in the project, to be called “Grandes Bay.”

27-03-08_cavo_sidero2.jpg  The group has spent 40 million euros on the drafting of the business plan, while the total investment will amount to some 1.2 billion. It involves the creation of 7,000 beds in six tourist villages that will cover less than 1 percent of the overall 25 square kilometers. The project will create an estimated 3,500 jobs.

The company’s main stakeholders are Henderson Global Investors, the founder and CEO of Aberdeen Asset Management, Martin Gilbert, the President of American Express Global Network Services, Peter Godfrey, and Board Member of the Royal Bank of Scotland Colin Buchan, along with several British constructors.

Separately, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc announced yesterday the signing of a long-term cooperation agreement with TEMES SA for the operation of two new luxury resort hotels in Messinia, southwestern Peloponnese: The “Romanos Navarino Dunes Resort – The Luxury Collection” and the “Westin Navarino Dunes Resort.” They are located some 30 minutes from Kalamata airport.

The Panhellenic Federation of Hoteliers (POX) has expressed its concern about the impacts on Greek tourism this and next season from the prevailing global economic uncertainty. The Federation referred in a statement to the considerable losses in world markets since the start of the year, along with oil price hikes and the euro’s appreciation against the dollar, which are negative factors for the country’s tourism.

POX calls for immediate measures to improve the competitiveness of tourism that is expected to absorb most of the impact of the euro’s appreciation. It is also calling for more intensive promotion of Greece, particularly in the emerging markets of Eastern Europe, and a fair solution to the issue of the operating framework for accommodation facilities.

Related Links > http://www.minoangroup.com/index.htm

Nicosia’s Ledra Street buffer zone is demined March 27, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus News, Cyprus Occupied, Politics.
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UN crews clear unexploded ordnance around Ledra Street before it opens > UN mine engineers sweeping the buffer zone for unexploded ordnance to allow crews to shore up crumbling buildings ahead of a crossing point opening at Ledra Street in Nicosia, yesterday.

27-03-08_un_crews.jpg  United Nations demining experts swept the buffer zone dividing Nicosia for discarded explosives yesterday as part of efforts to open a crossing in Europe’s last divided capital.

UN spokesman Jose Diaz said demining teams completed a search for unexploded devices or booby traps that could have been left over from the 1974 Turkish invasion, which divided the island along ethnic lines. The sweep of the 70-meter (230-foot) stretch of no man’s land was necessary before work could begin to shore up dilapidated buildings on either side of the pedestrian thoroughfare.

«A six-person mine action team carried out the search with support from UNFICYP (United Nations Force in Cyprus), during which no dangerous items were found,» a UN statement said. The clearance, shoring up and other preparations were expected to last 10 days or more, Diaz said.

Barbed wire first divided Ledra Street, a busy shopping street in the Cypriot capital’s medieval core, in the early 1960s amid fighting between the island’s Turkish-Cypriot and Greek-Cypriot communities. The leaders of the Greek and Cypriot communities agreed Friday to open a crossing at Ledra Street as a sign of good will before resuming talks on reunifying the island.

A sticking point appears to have been overcome after the Turkish army agreed to keep patrolling soldiers out of sight of the crossing point, officials close to the discussions said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. The Greek Cypriot National Guard will also pull its soldiers back.

The new Cyprus’ President of the internationally recognized Greek-Cypriot Republic of Cyprus, currently in the south of the island, Dimitris Christofias, and the leader of the breakaway Turkish-Cypriots currently in the Turkish occupied and military controlled north area of Cyprus, recognized only by Turkey, Mehmet Ali Talat, also agreed Friday to reach a reunification deal «as soon as possible.» Aides to Christofias and Talat agreed yesterday to quickly set up 13 groups of experts to bridge the gaps between the two sides on issues such as security, territory, crime and health. The groups will have until June to make as much progress as possible before Christofias and Talat begin face-to-face negotiations.

A UN statement said both sides agreed to set up additional groups if necessary «to ensure that their respective leaders may be able to negotiate as effectively as possible on the full spectrum of issues to be discussed.»

However, Turkish troops will stay in the occupied northern areas of Cyprus until a «just and lasting peace» has been achieved on the divided island, Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat said yesterday. The Turkish forces in the breakaway north have been deployed «in line with international agreements,» Talat said.

«They will continue to conduct their mission until a just and lasting peace has been achieved.» Talat was speaking at a meeting with visiting Turkish army chief, General Yasar Buyukanit, just days after he and newly elected Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias agreed to relaunch peace negotiations stalled since 2004.

Talat said the influential Turkish military, often accused of advocating a hardline position on the Cyprus conflict, «supports us on the issues we are working on, together with the Turkish government.» Buyukanit said: «The Turkish soldiers are here for the security of the Turkish Cypriots. They have ensured their security and will continue to do so.» Turkey, the only country to recognize the government in the occupied north, maintains more than 40,000 troops there.

Panathinaikos wins Greek Basketball Cup March 27, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Basketball.
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Athens club, an 81-79 winner over Olympiakos, eyeing fourth straight league-and-cup double

27-03-08_panathinaikos.jpg  Panathinaikos forward Mike Batiste (left) and Olympiakos’s Panayiotis Vassilopoulos battle under the net in last night’s tense cup final.

Panathinaikos held on for an 81-79 win over Olympiakos in the basketball cup final last night, a triumph that kept the Athens basketball club on track for a fourth consecutive league-and-cup double.

The victory over archrival Olympiakos, the third in as many encounters between the two clubs this season, came as consolation for Panathinaikos following last week’s shock exit from the Euroleague’s Round of 16 after the Greek club was crowned European Champion a season earlier. Olympiakos has not won a title in any competition since 2002.

Strict security measures were implemented for last night’s cup final, with a total of just 1,700 fans of both clubs seated well apart in the 10,000-capacity Hellenikon Stadium in southern Athens. Olympiakos never led in the game, which started tightly with emphasis on defensive play, but the Piraeus team clawed its way back to temporarily level late in the game. The defending champions gradually built momentum for a commanding 63-50 lead at the start of the fourth quarter with a three-point shot from power forward Costas Tsatsaris, a valuable return from injury who was voted the final’s MVP. But Olympiakos then gradually narrowed the gap to trail by five points, 67-62, with five minutes remaining. Center Yiannis Bourousis leveled, 78-78, with 14.9 seconds left on the clock. Panathinaikos playmaker Sarunas Jasikevicius, fouled with 12 seconds to go, was on target with both his free throws to put Panathinaikos ahead 80-78. With 5.7 seconds left, Lynn Greer netted one of two free throws for an 80-79 deficit, which his team failed to overcome in the last few seconds of play.

Athens International Airport gains rise March 27, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Transport Air Sea Land.
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Athens International Airport, Greece’s busiest, said pretax profit surged 33 percent last year as its terminals handled record traffic.

Pretax profit rose to 125.7 million euros from 94.6 million euros a year earlier, the company said in a faxed statement today.

Passenger numbers rose 10 percent to 16.5 million travelers as airlines added flights and more people took vacations in Greece.

The airport, majority-owned by the Greek state and managed by German construction company Hochtief AG, may sell shares to the public under a government asset-disposal plan.