Meeting of the Greek PM with Greek American businessmen

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Greek American businessmen had a meeting with the Prime Minister of Greece, Mr. Papandreou, in the «Le Parker Meridien» hotel of Manhattan.

In the meeting seven officials of the The New York City Workforce Investment Board participated.

The Prime Minister told about the big effort of the Greek government to change the investment environment in Greece, creating encouraging perspectives for development.

Harris Pampoukis, the Secretary of State said that this meeting was very important for the establishment of an Investment Board. The Vice Minister of Finance, Filippos Sahinidis, the Greek ambassador in Washington, Dimitris Dollis and the General Consul of Greece in New York, Agni Balta were also present.

A tribute to the Greek classical cinema in New York

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A musical theater, a tribute to the old Greek classical cinema entitled “san palio cinema” (like in the old cinema) is presented in New York by the theatrical group “Ichneftes”.
The theater performance that will take place in the Archdiocesan Hellenic Cultural Center, includes extracts and the best scenes of movies such as: H Hartopechtra, H Theia apo to Chicago, Kalpiki Lira and many others. The show will also feature well-known songs composed by Manos Hadjidakis (Never on Sunday), Mikis Theodorakis (Zorba the Greek) Stavros Xarhakos and traditional dances (syrtaki, hasapiko).

The musical theatre San Palio Cinema is directed by Martha Tompoulidou.
The actors are: Olympia Diomi, Yannis Kallianiotis, Nick Karras, Anthoula Katsimatidou, Theodora Lukas, Kleanthis Bakalis, Aggelos Niakas, Diodoros Pagoudis, Manos Pantelidis, Alkis Sarantinos, Rodoula Siamilis, Stefanos Stefanou, George Tzezairlidis, Martha Tombolidou.
Stella Papatheodorou, Alkis Sarantinos, Rodoula Siamili, Alexandra Skendrou sings and Areti Yovannou plays the piano.

Greek Sculptor Philolaos Tloupas Passes in Paris

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World renowned sculptor Philolaos Tloupas died last Saturday at the age of 87 in Paris.  He is one of the greatest Greek artists abroad. His funeral will take place tomorrow morning at Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris.  On Saturday his ashes will be scattered at his estate in San Remi lymph Sevrez, according to the site: kosmolarisa.gr.

San Remi lymph Sevrez is where his house and studio exist. Philolaos had created a sculpture-house inside the woods.  According to his words, his house was his finest piece of art.

Philolaos was honored in 1984 with the Medal of Fine Arts from the Architecture Academy of France.  In 2005 the French government honored him for his work and proclaimed him as “Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters”.

He was married to French artist Marina and they have two children, Isabel and George Toulpas.

Philolaos was born in Larisa in 1923.  His brother was the distinguished Takis Toulpas. Since his childhood, Philolaos was experimenting with materials next to his father who was a carpenter and his grandfather who was a brazier. He started working on his ideas at his father’s carpentry shop. This was the foundation of his art.

In 1944 he entered the School Of Fine Arts in Athens.  He studied next to sculptor Michael Tompros and Athanasios Apartis; both student of the famous French sculptor Bourntel.

In 1950 he gained a scholarship to study in France.  He studied at the School Of Fine Arts in Paris and at the atelier of the great artist Marcel Zimon.  Between the years 1951-1967 he taught sculpture at the School of Clair in the area of San Remi lymph Sevrez, Paris.

Philolaos very soon showed his interest in large scale projects and started working with great architects.  He created artistic interventions in open areas, gaining recognition and numerous awards. The stainless steel and treated-washed, played a major role at his projects. He also used wood and marble.

The water reservoirs of Valans (1963) are considered to be one of the greatest moments of his career. This was an impressive work created under the collaboration with architect Andre Gkomis.  His acquaintance with Andre Gkomis in 1959 and their first collaboration lead to the famous fountain sculpture at the local school. In 1992 together with Francois Pierre, he created a park with sculptures in the suburbs of Paris.

Philolaos left his mark from Larisa and Volos to Toulouse and Versailles. The last 50 years he made several exhibitions in France and Greece, among other nations. His work still exists in private and public collections. In Greece and abroad, he created sculptures at the beach of Volos, the Memorial of Resistance and Alkazar in Larisa.

Some years ago, Maria Kotzamanis edited a wonderful album including Philolaos’ work while the director Kalliopi Legakis made a documentary under the title of “Philolaos and Marina”.  The documentary was presented at the 11th Documentary Festival in Thessaloniki.

In 2009 for the first time in Greece, a large retrospective exhibition with Philolao’s works was organized in the National Gallery in Athens.

Guest of Honor Theo Angelopoulos @ International Film Festival, Turkey

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Movie buffs in the southern Turkish city of Adana on Monday finally welcomed this year’s Altın Koza (Golden Boll) International Film Festival.  The festival was a belated inauguration for the fete’s 17th edition, which was originally to take place in June.
The event is organized annually by the Adana Metropolitan Municipality.  It takes place this year from Sept. 20-26th, due to last minute rescheduling by the festival’s organizers.  The organizers cite the Israeli attack in late May on a Gaza-bound Turkish vessel in an international aid convoy which resulted in the deaths of nine activists.
The festival will have its official opening tonight with the Turkish premiere of “La mujer sin piano” (Woman without Piano), directed by Javier Rebollo.

Ten recent Turkish films are running for prizes in the national feature competition in this year’s festival. Among them are such critical favorites as Semih Kaplanoğlu’s Berlinale-winning “Bal” (Honey), which was selected late last week as the Turkish entrant for next year’s foreign language Oscar race. Another title in the running is Onur Ünlü’s “Beş Şehir” (Five Cities), which premiered at last year’s Altın Portakal film festival in Antalya.  Another notable title is Levent Semerci’s box office-champ debut feature “Nefes: Vatan Sağolsun” (The Breath).

Among Adana’s guests from overseas is world renowned Greek filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos.  Angelopoulos is the guest of honor at this year’s festival.  A batch screening of Angelopoulos’ films including “The Beekeeper” (1986), “Landscape in the Mist” (1988), “The Suspended Step of the Stork” (1991), “Ulysses’ Gaze” (1995) and “Eternity and a Day” (1998) are offered in a special program dedicated to the 75 year old director.

Palestinian filmmakers Nasri Hajjaj and Liana Badr are also expected  to take part in a special program dedicated to films and documentaries that tackle Mideast issues.  Hajjaj’s newest documentary “As The Poet Said” and Badr’s 2006 documentary “The Gates Are Open. Sometimes!” are among eight films to be offered in the program.  The program is titled “Palestine: Longing for Peace.”  It will also feature a panel discussion titled “Making Movies in Palestine.”

National Council for Research & Technology Holds First Meeting

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Distinguished scientists are currently in Greece at the disposal of the Ministry of Education.  They are part of the newly established National Council for Research and Technology.  The Council had their first meeting  at the Ministry.  It was chaired by Stamatis Krimizis.
The NCRT operates as an independent advisory and consultative body to the Minister.  It is comprised of internationally renowned scientists with many years of experience and activity in research and technological development.
After the meeting Minister Anna Diamantopoulou stated: “The Greece of excellence is in need of the best. We need a National Greek team for Research with a strong presence on an international level…The Prime Minister has placed Research and Technology as the leading elements towards the change of the country’s development model, but also its important intervention on social cohesion issues. The new Research and Technology policy must be predominantly outward-oriented, to bring forces in Greece, but also to disseminate Greece’s forces around the world. In the field of Research, as a country, we have scientists and researchers around the world, who are part of the most distinguished. We selected the most important scientists, with international honors and worldwide acceptance, so as to support this national effort”.
Important to note is the near future amount of around 1 billion EU funds that will be allocated.  The Minister stated regarding that the funds not to be: “absorbed quickly, but appropriately”.
NCRT President Krimizis stated: “Research and Technology form the basic web in today’s society. For example 2/3 of GDP growth per year, in almost all advanced countries comes from Research and Technology. Hence, it is the basic field, which must be developed in Greece…The way in which the government, the minister and the prime minister have spoken on meritocracy and transparency is impressive, because that is the only way Research and Technology advance in general. We must give a good example and opportunities to young people, young children, who should take part in the creation of the future, not only as mere spectators in progress being made in the rest of the world.”.
The following are participating – without financial compensation – in the council, as noted by the minister:
– Stamatis Krimizis – President: Honorary Director of the Space Department of the Applied Physics Laboratory at John Hopkins University in the U.S., Chief researcher in various NASA space missions (Voyager 1 and 2, Cassini – Huygens etc.), member of many American associations and repeatedly awarded for his work, member of the Academy of Athens since 2004 (he is the director of the Department of Space Science Research), while since 2006 he is a representative of Greece at the council of the European Space Agency (ESA).
– George Chrousos – Vice-President: Professor and Director of the First Pediatric Clinic of the University of Athens Medical School. He has been a professor at U.S. Georgetown University for a long time.
Members: Constantinos Dafermos (professor at the Department of Applied Mathematics, Brown University U.S.), Ioannis Iliopoulos (honorary professor of Ecole Normale Superieure of Paris), Doros Theodorou (professor at the field of Science and Engineering of Materials of the NTUA School of Chemical Engineering), Amenteo Ontoni (Professor at the Department of Aeronautics, Austronautics of MIT University U.S.A.), Aristeides Patrinos (president of the American Biotechnology Company, Synthetic Genomics), George Pavlakis (director of the Human Retrovirus Department at the National Cancer Institute, U.S.A.), Artemis Simopoulou (founder and president of the non-profit National Centre for Genetics, Nutrition and Health, U.S.A.), Kevin Featherstone (professor at the London School of Economics and director of the Greek Observatory at LSE), Michalis Haliasos (Macroeconomics and Finance professor at Goethe University in Frankfurt).

Truckers Association President Declares: "We Have Nothing Else to Loose Anymore"

Truck owners across Greece have met in Athens to protest once again, against the law bill concerning the opening of their closed profession.  The law was voted on today. The truckers are determined to continue and escalate their mobilizations. As the President of the Truckers Association Tzortzatos declared: “we have nothing else to lose anymore”.
The millions of protesters arrived in front of the Greek Parliament and demanded the withdrawal of the bill or at least some last minute changes. Minor scuffles occured when  police tried to push the marchers away and to prevent them from approaching the Parliament building.  The protesters also threw rocks and empty bottles at police.  Thankfully a few hours later the situation was contained.

Greek Olympic Medalists Continue to Avoid Doping Trial

Once again Greek athletes Katerina Thanou and Costas Kenteris have postponed their doping scandal trial. The two famous Olympic medalist Greek sprinters face misdemeanor charges.  Additionally they claim being in a motorcycle accident on the eve of the Athens 2004 Olympics. The medalists were both accused of staging this accident  to avoid doping tests.
After several trial delays, the two athletes will appear in the court of law as soon as possible.  Their statute of limitations of charges ends in 2012. Their doping scandal is known around the world and has severly affected their image as they continue to avoid the hearing.

PM G. Papandreou addresses Economic Club in New York

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Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, speaking Wednesday to powerful financiers and investors at the Economic Club in New York, presented the real picture of the state prevailing in Greece and the handling of its problems.
Papandreou stressed that the situation must be highlighted in its appropriate dimension and what precisely is taking place should be clarified, in contrast to disinformation that results frequently from certain economic analysts.

The prime minister said that six months ago all declared that they were certain that Greece would go bankrupt, adding that at present Greece is a different country, steadfastly adherred to longterm stability and growth, something that attracts the interest of investors and in this framework he invoked the recent response that the increase in the National Bank’s share capital found, as well as the decision by social security funds in Norway to invest in Greek bonds.
He stressed that the return of investors is due to the Greek government proving that it means what it says, it achieves the targets it sets, and exceeds expectations, and noted that in a few months time the most ambitious and extensive reforms programme in Greece’s modern history has been promoted.

The prime minister reassured that the deficit has already been reduced by 32 percent and “we shall achieve the target of 40 percent by the end of the year,” adding that state expenditures decreased by 8 percent and the first stage deficit by 60 percent.
He spoke of the utilisation of the comparative advantage of solar energy, shipping, tourism and biological cultivations.
“We did not fear the political cost and we turned the economic crisis into an opportunity,” he said, stressing that the latest opinion polls show increased support from public opinion compared to last April.

Papandreou further said he is determined to secure that the sacrifices of the Greek people will not be in vain and expressed certainty that the shortterm costs and the pain will be offset by longterm benefits.
He informed investors that the crisis was not the beginning of the end but a new beginning and reiterated that the public sector will utilise the real estate that it possesses which is worth 270 billion euros, an amount that corresponds to almost the entire public debt, as well as the deregulation of the energy market, while at the same time Greece offers prospects for aeolian energy that are unique in Europe. He also said that the sector of high technology also provides considerable opportunities.

Papandreou underlined Greece’s geographical position which is surrounded by developing markets, while stressing that the country’s importance has been recognised by China as well that has turned the port of Piraeus into a point of entry of its exports to Europe.
Lastly, the prime minister stressed that there shall be no bankruptcy and appeared convinced that soon Greece will return to high growth rates as was the case until 2008.
(source: ana-mpa)

Contacts of the President of the Republic of Cyprus in New York

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The President of the Republic Mr Demetris Christofias spoke yesterday at the High-Level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals. The three day meeting concludes today with the adoption by the Heads of States and Governments of a Political Declamation, which provides for an action plan to speed up and strengthen the efforts for the achievement of the Millennium Goals. The President was accompanied at the meeting by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Markos Kyprianou, the Government Spokesman Mr Stefanos Stefanou, the Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Minas Hadjimichael and the Director of the Diplomatic Office of the President, Ambassador Leonidas Pantelides.

Afterwards, President Christofias had a meeting with the United Nations Secretary General Mr Ban Ki-moon, with whom he discussed the course of the bicommunal dialogue, and then with the President of Serbia Mr Boris Tadic.

At noon, President Christofias attended a lunch hosted by the American Jewish Committee with the participation of the Executive Director of the Committee Mr David Harris, other leading members of the Committee and leaders of the Cyprus community of America.

Yesterday afternoon, President Christofias had a meeting with the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mr Mahmoud Abbas.

Speaking to the press about his contacts President Christofias said: “After the meeting with the Secretary General, I had a working lunch with the American Jewish Committee. I was given the opportunity, before many guests, to analyse in depth the Cyprus problem and of course our vision in relation to the wider Middle East, Cyprus, Palestine and the state of Israel.

It was a very good discussion, I must say, with a high-level of interest on behalf of the Committee members, who have promised that we will continue these contacts. They have agreed with me and the position I have expressed that surely the Palestinians have every right to have their state and Israel to have its own state within conditions of peaceful cooperation and good-neighbourly relations. I consider this a positive element.

This is perhaps the first time that the American Jewish Committee gets involved with such interest in the Cyprus problem. And they have pledged to continue and try to help us resolve the problem in the most just way possible. This is, in any case, agreeable and a positive element.

I had a meeting just now with a good old friend of both me personally and of Cyprus, the President of the Palestinian Authority Mr Abbas. We have shared our views and our worries as regards the course of the Cyprus problem and as regards the commencement of negotiations in an effort to resolve the Palestinian problem. The big problem for Palestinians is the non-extension of the moratorium on settlement construction by the Israelis. Naturally, we consider that the moratorium must be extended in order for President Abbas to have a greater capability to negotiate. Otherwise he will be in a very difficult position.

We have reaffirmed the relations of friendship and solidarity between the two peoples and between us, of course, and I have promised President Abbas that I will visit the Palestinian territories the soonest possible”.

26 Billion € from Nat'l Strategic Reference Framework in Bureaucratic Gridlock

As the Greek economy sinks into a recession from the weight of a necessary but violent deficit reduction program, many enterprises are suffering due to the lack of liquidity.  Currently a proud 26 billion Euros from the National Strategic Reference Framework is blocked in a bureaucractric lock. After a total of three years since the beginning of the project, only 2,2 billion euros have been absorbed, which is less than 9%. There are also environmental, digital convergence, educational and administrative reform programs that have absorbed less than 3%.
While the public sector appears unable to take advantage of community resources in order to stimulate economic activity, the private sector is left with less and less ability to avoid the recession and the inability to get a loan. According to a ICAP survey concerning 30,000 pubic limited companies and limited liability companies, 4,500 have the least ability to offer credit lines.  Over a period of one year the rate of inconsistent enterprises rose from 4,32% to 7,5%.  The seizures of assets increased to 382 million Euros during the first half of this year.