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38th Book Festival at Zappeion

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) The 38th book festival opened its doors September, 11 at Zappeion.

With “Greening the Future” as its main motto – an idea of the Danish Ambassador in Athens, Tom Norring, – this year’s festival is expected to raise people’s awareness about climate change.  Everyday at Zappeio there will be book presentations, film screenings and meetings with authors, as well as a “green” concert on September 17 with the Danish band Grand Avenue and the Greek group Maraveyas Illegal.   The festival, which is organized by the League of Publishers (SEKB) with the City of Athens Cultural Organization and the Athens Publishers’ Association (SEBA), runs until September 27.  Kathimerini Daily: Greening the future is the main theme of the 38th Book Festival

Greece: Energy Matters

» Greece-Bulgaria-Romania agree on gas pipeline project

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  An agreement has been signed by the Greek gas company DEPA and Italian Edison with Bulgarian Energy Holding for the construction of a pipeline that would allow Bulgaria to import 1 billion cubic meters of natural gas from the Caspian Sea region, through the ITGI (Interconnector Turkey-Greece-Italy) pipeline. The 160-km long pipeline, called Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB), will extend from Komotini, northern Greece to Stara Zagora, Bulgaria. Its construction is estimated to cost €120 million with €45 million provided by the EU.  Greece and Romania agreed yesterday during a meeting in Bucharest, between Romanian Economy Minister Adriean Videanu and Greek Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, to promote and coordinate gas connections between Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece.  “We want to treat the Greek-Bulgarian, Bulgarian-Romanian and Romanian-Hungarian pipelines as a single whole, as a single pipeline. Especially since all three separate pipelines are financed by the European Union,” Hatzidakis said adding that this project would enhance cooperation between the four countries and strengthen their geostrategic position.  Meanwhile, DESFA, Greece’s Natural Gas National System Manager, and Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) signed yesterday a memorandum of understanding aimed at allowing the transportation of natural gas from Greece to Bulgaria from the Revithousa LNG terminal. Kathimerini daily: Greece – Bulgaria pipeline to raise security, lower gas prices

Better Late Than Never

Nisyros(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Kathimerini daily hosts a news item on the story of a British woman who received a postcard from the Greek island of Nisyros, 22 years after her niece had mailed the postcard, during a trip to the Dodecanese. “Wendy Bosworth said she was astounded when the postcard, slightly scuffed and enclosed in a sealed bag, dropped onto her doormat earlier this week.  The postcard said how the island was not affected by tourism and how the sea was beautiful and the people were very friendly, said the retired bookkeeper. She added that her niece, now a government official working in Uganda, had been amazed on hearing the news. She said, I wondered why you never said thank you, Bosworth quipped.”

European Elections

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) The 27 countries in the European Union will elect the 736 members of the European Parliament this weekend for a 5-year term. More than 375 million people are eligible to vote in the 27 EU member states. Voting is by secret ballot, and results cannot be released by any country until voting ends in all member states. Since the last election in 2004, Romania and Bulgaria have joined the EU. Kathimerini daily: A quick guide to the European polls
 
Greek Expats 

According to figures available by the Greek consulate authorities, a total of 24,644 voters have registered to vote in Germany, 4,700 in Cyprus, 2,123 in Belgium, 673 France, 325 in Luxembourg, 518 in Sweden, 450 in Britain, 163 in the Netherlands and a few hundred in the rest EU countries. Roughly 500,000 Greek expatriates live across the EU.
See also Greek News Agenda: Special Issue- European Elections 2009

Greece: Encouraging Business Investment

untitled(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   A €2 billion government plan aimed at subsidizing guarantees and offering reduced interest rates to businesses suffering due to the credit squeeze was approved yesterday (June 3) by the European Union antitrust regulators.  The scheme relates to state guarantees for investment and working capital loans contracted by companies through the end of December 2010, with the maximum duration of the guarantees capped at five years. The European Commission assured that this state aid does not distort competition in the European Union of 27 Member States, while stressing that a significant reduction in the cost of loans could be an effective way of encouraging business investment and economic recovery. Similar schemes drawn by other European countries have also been approved by the European Union. Kathimerini daily: Companies to get 2-bln-euro boost

British Foreign Minister on official visit to Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)     British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, currently on official visit to Greece, held talks on Tuesday (26.5)  with Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and leader of the opposition George Papandreou.  In statements after their meeting, Bakoyannis and Miliband said that the discussion covered a wide range of subjects, including the Cyprus issue, Turkey’s and the Western Balkans’ European perspective, as well as developments in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and climate change. Miliband stressed the need for a solution to the Cyprus issue “by Cypriots and for Cypriots” adding that achieving the desired solution would require courage and flexibility. He also praised Greece’s stance over the past 10 years with respect to European Union enlargement to Turkey and the western Balkans, describing it as “strong, clear and brave.” Kathimerini daily: British FM backs pact ‘by Cypriots

Replenishing Lake Karla in Central Greece

KARLA.aspx(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  An elaborate project to replenish Lake Karla in central Greece, which was drained in the 1960s, is set to be completed next March, when it will be used to irrigate the agriculture-dependent area.   Some 135 million cubic metres of water will be transferred from a reservoir containing flood runoff waters, reserves considered more than adequate for the irrigation of the Thessaly Plain. Already some 20 million cubic metres of water has been moved to the lake site.   According to local residents, birds have started returning to the lake. Conservationists hope that the refilling of Lake Karla will restrain widespread illegal boring for water by farmers.    Kathimerini dailyRestored Lake Karla to irrigate Thessaly Plain

Greek Islands Wind Parks

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Greece’s Public Power Corporation’s (PPC) subsidiary PPC renewables announced on Wednesday that it will invest €60 million in nine wind parks, producing 35.1 megawatts of power. The islands of Crete and Samos will each get two wind parks, while Paros, Lesvos, Rhodes, Sifnos and Lemnos will get one each. The projects are scheduled for completion in the next 24 months. Kathimerini daily: Greener power for PPC plants; Centre for Renewable Energy: Wind Energy 

A Farewell to Greece / Αποχαιρετισμός στην Ελλάδα

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   In a letter published in Sunday “Kathimerini,” on December 28, 2008, Simon Gass, until recently British Ambassador to Athens, bids a warm farewell to Greece (pdf in Greek). 
“Write if you can on your last shell
the day the place the name
and fling it into the sea so that it sinks”
“Santorini -The naked child”- Giorgos Seferis 
In a few days, my wife and I are leaving Greece after eight blissful years in your country; first during the 80’s and the second time these past years. Greece has been good to us. […] 
Greece and its people exercise an intense influence on foreigners. British writer Lawrence Durrell wrote: “Other countries can make you discover customs, traditions or landscapes. Greece offers you something harsher: self-discovery.”  In Greece, us northern Europeans, leave behind some of our cold-blooded nature and reservation and become more extroverted, seeking the company of other people. […] 
We don’t think Greece has given us permission to leave the country indefinitely. When we do return, it will not be just for the peoples or the landscape, but because Greece is a country which we admire for many different things. 
“May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbours seen for the first time”
“Ithaca”- Constantine P. Cavafy  
Still, it won’t be Greece[…] 
Thank you, Greece.                 

Vatican Lends to Greece Parthenon Fragment

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The Vatican has given a fragment of the Parthenon’s frieze to Greece on a one-year loan, fulfilling a request by late Archbishop Christodoulos to Pope Benedict XVI, and it is on display at the New Acropolis Museum in Athens. “This gesture sets an example for others to follow and finally restore the unity of the Parthenon Marbles,” Culture Minister Michalis Liapis said. The Vatican fragment follows the repatriation of the “Palermo fragment”, another piece of the Parthenon marbles which had been kept at the Museum of Palermo in Italy and which was returned to the Hellenic Republic on the occasion of the Italian president’s official visit to Greece in September. Kathimerini daily: Vatican lends museum Parthenon fragment; Greek News Agenda: Italian President in Athens International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures: www.parthenoninternational.org; Secretariat General of Information: World Media on Greece – Acropolis and the Parthenon Marbles

In Greece the Award for Europe’s Best Designed Newspaper

13-06-2008(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Athens Plus – the 48-page weekly newspaper in English published by Kathimerini and the International Herald Tribune – has won the award for Europe’s Best Designed Newspaper, in the category of weekly newspapers, at this year’s European Newspaper Award.  A total of 236 newspapers from 27 countries participated in the 10th European Newspaper Award, which aims at fostering an exchange of information about the concept and design of newspapers across Europe. The ten-member international jury was made up of journalists, scientists and designers from nine countries. Other prize winners include Sweden’s Svenska Dagbladet, (category: national newspaper) Spain’s Diari de Balears, (local newspaper), Switzerland’s Basler Zeitung, (regional newspaper). Kathimerini daily: Athens Plus wins award; Athens Plus: Past issues; Secretariat General of Information: About Greece-Mass Media

Greece / Thessaloniki: International Tourism Exhibition

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Thessaloniki is about to host the 24th Philoxenia Tourism Exhibition (October 30-November 2), organised by Helexpo. This year’s event is expected to host 820 exhibitors (seventeen more than in 2007), 120 of which are coming from abroad. The organisers maintain that the event aspires to address trends and prospects in the global tourist market amidst the global economic crisis. Kathimerini daily: Thessaloniki tourism fair getting ready; Secretariat General of Information: About Brand Greece- Tourism/ Hotel & Resort Infrastructure & Conference/ City- break Tourism  

Athens Plus: New weekly English-Language Newspaper

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The English edition of Kathimerini Daily offers a new weekly English-language newspaper – Athens Plus (www.athensplus.gr).  The paper, now in its 19th edition, is published by International Herald Tribune and Kathimerini SA aims to provide “the most comprehensive and up-to-date guide to what is happening in Athens as well as across the whole country.” “From island beaches to mainland peaks, from festivals and museums to the stock exchange, from boardrooms to soccer brawls, from book fairs to Parliament, our journalists are keen to share this knowledge with you,” the editor stated.

Greece’s national lottery OPAP to bid for Turkey’s national lottery Milli Piyango

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Plans to bid for Turkey’s national lottery Milli Piyango are expected to come forward this month by Greece’s national lottery OPAP, Europe’s biggest betting firm. OPAP’s CEO Christos Hadjiemmanuil has announced that the firm has expressed interest to expand to Southeast Europe’s biggest market and the privatization of Turkey’s lottery constitutes a significant opportunity to be seized. The CEO does not exclude an eventual take over of the Turkish lottery, however, for the time being OPAP will bid in the tender together with carefully chosen local partners from the Turkish business world. In this joint venture, OPAP will hold 50% of the stake while the remaining will be shared by the other partners. The Greek company will be running the operational side of the company by providing its technical know-how. Kathimerini daily: OPAP set to bid for Turk lottery

Greece at EU Summit

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Participating in yesterday’s European Union’s summit, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis stressed that force is no solution and pointed out EU’s important role in achieving a ceasefire and a peaceful settlement in the Caucasus region. Karamanlis expressed satisfaction over the six-point agreement reached on August 12 and agreed on the need for its full implementation. Once again, the Prime Minister clarified that respect for the territorial integrity of countries and for their national sovereignty is of paramount importance to the Greek foreign policy and greeted the prospect of enhanced European presence in the troubled area.  Regarding EU’s relations with Russia, Karamanlis announced that the Council has “agreed that Russia is an important partner for Europe” and that strong relations between Moscow and the EU must be maintained. In the future, Greece will continue to monitor the developments occurring in the region and to contribute to the cause offering humanitarian aid and protecting ethnic Greeks, if needed. Kathimerini daily: PM calls for Georgia peace settlement; Athens News Agency: PM Karamanlis says at EU summit force is no solution European Council: Extraordinary European Council meeting on the situation in Georgia; Greek News Agenda: Responding to the Caucasus crisis

Greek Museums Online

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  As Kathimerini daily reports, more and more Greek museums are grabbing the opportunity to get active on the Internet. Well-known museums as well as some of the smaller ones abroad offer digital exhibitions especially curated for the Internet, overflowing with plenty of detailed information. Examples include the National Museum of Contemporary Art (www.emst.gr )  blog, which is celebrating its first birthday (http://fixit-emst.blogspot.com); the Benaki Museum (www.benaki.gr) is fluent in Spanish; the Museum of Cycladic Art (www.cycladic.gr) has gone on Facebook and the National Gallery (www.nationalgallery.gr) has redesigned its website, with information now available in Greek, English, French and German.

Athens’ Facelift: A High-tech Tribute to Arts and Letters

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The outline of his plan for the new opera house and the new national library was recently presented by the Italian architect Renzo Piano to Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis. Commissioned by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre, the new complex worth €300 million will be located at the Faliron Delta site. Explaining his vision to the premier, Piano was proud to announce that the new opera house will be “a jewel” and emphasized the importance of quality over size. As for the new library, Piano promised to deliver a new-generation library which will be connected to the biggest and most famous ones in the world, such as Harvard and Cambridge. 2010 is the most probable date for the commencement of the construction and the project is due to 2015.  Kathimerini daily: Renzo Paino’s vision of high-tech ‘jewel’  

Tourism Up in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Tourism revenues showed unexpected growth in the first five months of the year, compared with the same period in 2007, according to data from the Bank of Greece (BoG). Travel spending by non-residents in Greece from January – May 2008 grew by 8.2% or €157 million, reaching €2.065 billion from €1.908 billion in the same period last year. In May alone, tourism revenues increased by 13.7%, or €131 million reaching €1.084 billion. This rise in growth in much higher than the increase in arrivals from abroad by air, which came to just 2.8% in the same period. This is attributed to increased tourism traffic from the emerging Eastern European markets, mainly Russia.  Kathimerini daily: January-May tourism revenues increase  Links and Map of Greece:  http://www.varlaam.freehost.pl/map/map.html

 

Greece: The Balkan Grid Connection

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Greece’s electric grid links with those for neighbouring countries are proving be a critical element in preventing power cuts and in the development of an integrated power market in Southeast Europe. In fact, the security of the country’s power supplies and the development of its market in the future will greatly depend on boosting the system’s capacity to be replenished by other grids. The grid management agency, Hellenic Transmission System Operator (DESMIE) is promoting a number of projects to this end, including a link with Turkey, a second connection with Bulgaria, upgrading the link with Italy and new links with other neighbouring grids.  The development of Balkan links north of Greece’s border – the section including Albania, FYROM, southern Serbia and Bulgaria – will be decisive for Greece’s power imports.  Kathimerini daily (Athens Plus, p.10): Greece hopes for stronger Balkan grid connections

Greece: Unemployment Rate Down

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Greece’s unemployment rate fell to 7.7% in April from 8.4% in the same month last year, boosted by an increase in the number of women joining the work force. According to the National Statistics Service, the number of jobless in April fell to 380,775 compared to 415,047 last year. Unemployment rates continue to be highest in the 15 to 24 age group and in Ionian island and southern Aegean regions. Kathimerini daily: Jobless rate drops to 7.7%