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ISSUE 150

Greece This Month – MARCH 2013 9

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Greece this month In this issue:  Revamping A then s  Greek economy to return to growth rates in 2 014  Greek biomedical engineer rec eives to p award  Love made in Greece

EMBASSSY OF GREECE Press & Communications Office 1A Holland Park, London W11 3TP Tel.: 020 77273071, Fax: 02077278960 pressoffice@greekembassy.org.uk

Revamping Athens

new tramline (and possible future metro extensions) that will make it easier for suburbanites to reach downtown. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras underlined the symbolic nature of the plan to revamp downtown Athens. He further noted that the revamping of Panepistimiou Street, the development at Faliro Bay and Hellenikon, where a large metropolitan park will be also created, constitute the triangle of this rebirth. The Re-Think project is slated for completion by the end of 2015

A new city center unveils A Dutch architectural firm, Okra, is the winner of an international competition to revamp the city centre of Athens. Launched by the Onassis Foundation. Seventy-one architects and firms participated in the competition that was part of an initiative dubbed ReThink Athens, which called for designs to completely overhaul the heart of the Greek capital, a plan centered on the pedestrianization of the Panepistimiou

Street, along with a revamp of the two squares - Omonia and Syntagma located at its two ends. It will turn three major squares – one of them currently run-down and sketchy – into green islands linked by a long, largely pedestrian boulevard. Many trees will reduce the heat island effect of a district that blazes in summer, fed partly by storm water retention tanks. Road vehicles will be re-routed to discourage cross-town traffic, with travelers redirected onto a

Coming up next spring is a new Museum of Contemporary Art, housed in a gutted and revamped city center brewery, while a museum of underwater antiquities is also planned, part of a broader project in the Athens harbor district of Piraeus called the Cultural Coast. Located in the shell of a former silo, the museum is designed to encourage visitors catching ferries to the islands to stay a little longer, and to bring strollers and diners back to the city’s busy wharves.

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Greece this month – MARCH 2013

Issue 150

Greek economy to return to growth rates in 2014 The Greek economy is expected to shrink by 4.4 pct this year, after shrinking by 6.4 pct in 2012, while a recovery is projected for 2014 (0.6 pct), the European Commission said.

In its winter forecasts, the EU's executive said that the Eurozone economy will shrink by 0.3 pct this year and will return to an 1.4 pct growth rate in 2014. In its autumn forecasts, the Commission was predicting a 4.2 pct recession in 2013 followed by a growth rate of 0.6 pct in 2014 for Greece, while for the Eurozone it was forecasting a 0.1 pct growth rate this year. The unemployment rate is projected to jump to 27 pct this year (up from a 24 pct projection in autumn), easing to 25.7 pct in 2014.

For the EU-27, the European Commission forecasts a 0.1 pct growth rate this year (0.4 pct in its autumn forecasts) and an 1.6 pct growth rate in 014 (1.6 pct in its autumn asts).The budget deficit is expected to fall to 4.6 pct of GDP this year, from 6.6 pct in 2012 and to 3.5 pct in 2014, while the country's public debt is expected to rise to 175.6 pct of GDP this year from 161.6 pct in 2012, and to remain stable at 175.2 pct in 2014.

In its report, the European Commission stressed that Greece is emerging from a tumultuous 2012 with renewed commitment and action within a strengthened economic adjustment programme that enjoys strong backing from its international lenders. After the conclusion of a six-month review of the programme and the release of over 50 bn euros in December 2012, there have been some tentative signs of improvement. Banks have seen a reversal of deposit outflows and Greek market interest rates have been reduced significantly.

Philip Morris signs major agreement on Greek tobacco

Philip Morris tobacco company signed an agreement to buy 50 pct of the Greek production of the oriental tobacco type. The signing at government headquarters in Maximos Mansion was also attended by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. Agriculture Minister Athanassios Tsatavris said the agreement was a stamp of trust in Greece by the company, adding that quality products are the best passport for Greek exports. Tobacco in particular was a high-revenue sector involving thousands of employees in cultivation and processing.

Greek exports rise to record 24.5 bln euros in 2012 The value of Greek exports surpassed 24 billion euros in 2012, a record year for the Greek economy, although a strengthened euro currency exchange rate against the US dollar undermined Greek exports to the European Union, the Panhellenic Federation of Exporters said. In its statement, however, the Federation stressed that the European Commission recently predicted that Greek exports will rise by 2.7 pct in 2013. Christina Sakellaridi, president of the Federation, said in the statement, “The engine of the Greek economy, export-going business activity, managed to move forward rapidly in the last three years, offering spectacular results with clear positive effect on the economy such as capital inflows, higher taxes and contributions, maintaining or creating new job positions amid a devastating recession. But the industry is meeting additional hurdles in its way. A recession in Europe and increased euro exchange rate against the US dollar are limiting its dynamism and the recovery possibilities of the Greek economy. It is imperative to take urgent action to support exporters in fundamental ways, otherwise new forecasts for an even deeper recession in Greece this year could be revised downwards.” The Federation, in an analysis of Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) figures on trade transactions, said that the value of exports – excluding oils - fell to 1.295 billion euros in December, from 1.524 billion euros in December 2011, for a decline of 15 pct – the worst performance for a December in the last three years. Overall, the value of exports – excluding oils - rose to 17.004 billion euros last year, from 16.183 billion euros in 2011, an increase of 4.1 pct, while with oils included the value of exports totaled 24.5 billion euros in 2012, accounting for 12.3 pct of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Exports to EU states fell 1.7 pct last year, while exports to third countries jumped 17.8 pct, with the EU absorbing 60.85 pct of Greek exports and third countries the remaining at 39.15 pct. The report underlined that any further appreciation of the euro would further hit Greek products’ competitiveness to third countries this year. The Federation also said that exports to third countries fell 20.6 pct in December, while exports to the EU fell by 11 pct in the same month.

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Greek biomedical engineer receives top award at age 25 Eleni Antoniadou is 25 years old and is already the co-founder of a company, Transplants without Donors, where she is also chief of scientific research. She spends half the year in Chicago and the other half in Silicon Valley, working on three separate projects, while also volunteering her time for humanitarian aid missions in Latin America.

“If you don’t chase your dreams, you will never get a hold of them,” Antoniadou said from the University of Illinois, where she teaches bioengineering. “This distinction was a major surprise.” Even though the FDM Everywoman in Technology Awards are normally granted to British citizens, it is not the first time that the Thessaloniki-born Antoniadou has beaten the odds. “A few years ago, when I first talked about creating artificial tissue and neurons, people were shocked at the suggestion, believing it to be the stuff of science fiction,” she said.

This accomplished young scientist was voted Woman of the Year for 2013 at the annual British-based FDM Everywoman in Technology Awards, which took place in London on March 19, organized by the FDM Group, which specializes in recruitment and hands out the award annually to promote excellence among female scientists.

The New Astronomic Adventures of Aristarchos, the Telescope

Antoniadou began her studies at the IT and Biomedical Applications Department of the University of Central Greece in Lamia. Following her graduation in Greece, she headed to Britain, where her academic career really took off. Meanwhile, in 2012, Antoniadou was selected from among 1,200 students to do a course at the NASA Ames Academy for Space Exploration, landing a job at the Center for Nanotechnology and Mars Exploration at Silicon Valley.

An important astronomy breakthrough shedding light into an ancient stellar system was reached at the Mt. Helmos Observatory, using Aristarchos, the National Astronomy Institute’s telescope. Institute researcher, Panagiotis Boumis and University of Manchester researcher, John Meaburn, discovered that the mysterious KjPn8 stellar system is in fact a double star system, located in an exotic nebula. Using a special camera placed on the 2.3 m. diameter telescope, the duo managed to penetrate further into the nebula and its expansion, collecting for the first time evidence proving their double star system theory. Aristarchos is the largest telescope in Southeastern Europe

Summer arrives early in London - instinct of water, paintings by Greek artist Maria Filopoulou What is left if you remove the word 'crisis' next to Greece? Obviously all that which is preserved, the timeless charm: the beauty of the landscape, calmness of the sea and the power of the water relaxes the body and releases the mind from all worries. Sharp images, which remain in the "arsenal" of mind for every hard winter. Swimmers dive in the seas, on a pool of waterfalls, lie in the sun, enjoying every moment. Sunsets, underwater caves, beaches bathed by the Aegean light compose her own "geography". “I paint without fear of colour, with momentum and strength. My work can be distinguished by characteristic curvature and distortions appearing as if seen by a wide angled lens. My subjects include seascapes, greenhouses, interiors and staircases”, says Maria. The swimmers are in complete freedom, bodies which have lost their gravity, nude to give a greater sense of freedom. The strong light and the reflection of the water on the nude bodies, the bubbles and the sand on the bottom of the sea transform the scene into a dream world.

Belgravia Gallery, 45 Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4JL Exhibition dates: 15th April – 17th May

Maria Filopoulou: Born in Athens in 1964. She studied painting in Paris at Ecole Superieure des Beaux-Arts under Leonardo Cremonini, during the period 1984-1988.continued with postgraduate studies at the same school, with a scholarship of the French Government, during the period 19881989 lithography under Abraham Hadad. Her works are to be found in the Athens National Gallery ,in the Greek Parliament and in private museums and collections in Greece and abroad. She has been exhibiting constantly since 1988. She has had 17 private exhibitions in Athens, Thessaloniki, Paris, London, New York. One of which is the “Retrospective” (2009) works from the last 20 years .She also exhibited her work in over 100 group exhibitions in Greece, France, Monaco, Belgium, London, Rome, Istanbul, Berlin, Frankfurt , Melbourne, Beijing, Florida and New York.

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GREECE this month – MARCH 2013

Love, Made in Greece A plethora of films have been made in Greece. We couldn’t possibly list them all here. However, we have selected a few that enjoyed international acclaim and were filmed on location in various regions and islands of Greece including Hydra, Kefalonia, Skiathos, Skopelos and Pelion. These films have become “classics” and epitomize the Greek spirit via romance, passion, defiance, tragedy, forbidden love, guilty pleasures, and all else in between. Greece has been a favourite movie location for decades. The international success of films such as “Zorba the Greek”, “Never on Sunday”, “Stella”, “Ilya Darling” and “Boy on a Dolphin” had the participation of all-star casts and directors and went on to receive Academy Award nominations. They continue to be favourites amongst cinephiles and are part of the annual Greek Film Festival at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. Greece provided the perfect setting for the touching film “Big Blue” filmed on the island of Amorgos. Corfu and Meteora had “major parts” in two James Bond sequels, and the sea and sun of Greece also starred in the numerous current day hits, romantic comedies and musicals that include “Lara Croft Tomb Raider”, “The Bourne Identity”, “Mediterraneo” and others. Films that gained high billing and box office attendance. In addition to foreign movies, Greek cinema holds a special place with global audiences highlighted by the golden age of cinema during the 50s and 60s, with elements of film noir that remain timeless.Thanks to cinema, the colours and sounds of Greece continue to be shared by everyone.

Issue 150

Never on Sunday (1960) Director: Jules Dassin. Country: Greece and the USA. Filming location: Athens and Piraeus. Cast: Melina Mercouri, Jules Dassin, George Foundas, Titos Vandis, Despo Diamantidou Ìlya is a prostitute who lives life to the fullest in the seaport section of Piraeus in Greece. Homer is an American tourist, a classics scholar who loves all things Greek. They meet and he falls in love with her, subsequenttly attempting to steer her onto a path of morality, but instead is taught a lesson on the joys of life by Ìlya …

Phaedra (1962) Director: Jules Dassin. Country: Greece and the USA. Filming location: Hydra, Athens and Piraeus. Cast: Melina Mercouri, Antony Perkins, Raf Vallone In recreating the ancient Greek myth of Phaedra, the second wife of a shipping magnate falls in love with her husband’s son from his first marriage. Their love is doomed from the very beginning, but they are unable to deny their feelings…

The Other Side of Midnight (1977)Director: Charles Jarrett. Country: USA. Filming location: Greece. Cast: MarieFrance Pisier, John Beck, Susan Sarandon, Raf Vallone A beautiful French woman falls in love with a dashing American pilot. She expects him to marry him, but instead he abandons her. She later becomes a successful actress and maneuvers to have him hired as the private pilot of her wealthy Greek lover, only to rekindle their passion…

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Mediterraneo (1991)

Mamma Mia (2008)

Director: Gabriele Salvatore. Country: Italy. Filming location: Kastelorizo. Cast: Diego Abatantuono, Claudio Bigagli, Giuseppe Cederna, Vanna Barba

Director: Phylinda Lloyd. Country: USA, UK and Germany. Filming location: Skiathos, Skopelos and Pelion. Cast: Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgaard

During WWII, an Italian ship leaves a handful of soldiers on a little Greek island. Things change when their ship is destroyed by the enemy and they cannot leave. When the locals understand that these Italians are harmless, they come out of hiding and start enjoying their peaceful, ordinary lives. Soon, the Italian soldiers begin to realise that being left behind is not such a bad thing after all…

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001) Director: John Madden. Country: UK, France an the USA. Filming location: Kefalonia. Cast: Nicolas Cage, Penelope Cruz, John Hurt, Christian Bale

A young woman is about to be married. Raised by her single mother on a Greek island, she has never known her father. After reading passages from her mother’s diary, she discovers three possible candidates. Since she doesn’t know which of these men her dad is, she invites all three to her wedding without telling her mother…

My Life in Ruins (2009) Director: Donald Petrie. Country: USA and Spain. Filming location: Athens, Delphi and Ancient Olympia. Cast: Nia Vardalos, Alexis Georgoulis, Richard Dreyfuss

During WWII, Italian Captain Antonio Corelli is put in command of a garrison that occupies the Greek island of Kefalonia (Cephalonia) . Initially, the local villagers resent these uninvited guests, but soon the Italians’ charms and passion for life wear away any differences of nationality and circumstance. After local beauty Pelagia’s fisherman fiancé departs to fight with the Greek army, she falls in love with Corelli…

A Greek-American tour guide leads an assorted group of misfit tourists throughout Greece. In a hysterical clash of personalities and cultures, everything seems to go wrong. Until one day, a very special tourist shows her how to have fun and take a good look at the last person she’d ever expect to find love with: her quiet and sexy Greek tour bus driver…

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The new film by Marcus Markou: Starring Georges Corraface was released in 12 UK cinemas on the 5th April (including 4 London Cinemas: Cineworld Wood Screen, Cineworld Enfield, Cineworld Wandsworth) with a great success. The film won the Michael Cacoyiannis Audience Award 53rd Thessaloniki International Film Festival in November. It also received a historic screening at the EU Parliament in the same month.

Do not miss it out!

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GREECE - March 2013  

"GREECE This Month" is a newsletter presenting the latest news about Greece. It is published by the Press & Communications Office of the Emb...

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