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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-08-10

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] The Lord of the Rings Symphony concert enchants sell-out audience at Herod Atticus Theatre
  • [02] Authorities brace for more floodwaters in Evros
  • [03] Steps to eliminate problems in coastal shipping
  • [04] 2004 Olympics costs placed at 13 billion euros
  • [05] Surprise resumption of road blockades by Pella peach growers

  • [01] The Lord of the Rings Symphony concert enchants sell-out audience at Herod Atticus Theatre

    A sell-out audience was enchanted by a performance of Howard Shore's The Lord of the Rings Symphony, comprising the music from the award-winning blockbuster movie trilogy based on the monumental three-tome work by J.R.R. Tolkien, staged Tuesday night in Athens at the ancient Herod Atticus outdoor theatre at the foot of the Acropolis.

    Shore's symphonic work in 6 parts for orchestra, choir and soloist featured more than 200 performers on stage, including the Norwegian pop star Sissel as the vocal soloist and renowned maestro Markus Huber conducting the State Symphony Orchestra of Greece.

    The symphonic adventure, as Shore himself calls it, is based on selections from his multi Oscar and Grammy winning 12-hour soundtracks for Peter Jacksons' three films, and takes the audience through the story of the Lord of the Rings in a narrative way, using an adult choir and a children's choir that were required to learn thelanguages invented by Tolkien in the books, as well as solo instrumentalists and vocalists.

    The multi-media concert also featured storyboard stills from the popular movie trilogy, and incorporated illustrations from the centenary edition of Tolkien's book trilogy projected above the orchestra.

    In an earlier interview, Shore said that he took particular pride in the fact that performances of The Lord of the Rings Symphony around the world have been given not by a single touring orchestra but almost entirely by local performers, thus inspiring community interest in the symphony orchestra.

    [02] Authorities brace for more floodwaters in Evros

    The water level on the Evros River in extreme northeast Greece on Wednesday again neared the 5.7-metre emergency mark, as authorities said the flow of water from neighboring Bulgaria increased overnight.

    Floodwaters interrupted rail service in the region a day earlier, the result of torrential rains in neighboring Bulgaria over the past week.

    The Evros River, which separates the land borders of Greece and Turkey in the Thrace province, flows north to south, beginning in Bulgaria and emptying into the Aegean. It is called the Maritsa River in Bulgaria.

    At last count, some 450 hectares of crops had been covered by flood waters, mostly in the Dikaia district of Evros prefecture.

    The water level had dropped off to the 4.2-metre mark on Monday only to rise to 5.27 metres on Wednesday.

    [03] Steps to eliminate problems in coastal shipping

    Merchant marine minister Manolis Kefaloyannis on Wednesday briefed prime minister Costas Karamanlis on recent problems in coastal shipping, which have caused lengthy delays in coastal shipping services.

    Kefaloyannis told reporters after the meeting that the State has taken all measures required for the safety of the passengers and their smooth return from their holidays.

    He noted that hefty fines have already been imposed on specific coastal shipping companies, and warned that they are judged by their comportment and the passengers' satisfaction on their return trips.

    Kefaloyannis stressed, however, that many companies had satisfactorily carried some 2.5 million passengers to and from their holiday destinations while, referring to those of the delays to ship routes caused by weather conditions, he commented "we cannot take God to task".

    Ministry sources said that the ministry was preparing to impose new fines on companies that "do not inform their passengers of delays, thus causing them inconvenience, and which do not apologise, in action, to their customers".

    The ministry has also taken steps for the coming days, particularly in view of the upcoming three-day religious and banking holiday weekend of the August 15 feast of Assumption of the Virgin, so that no need would arise for extraordinary routes with ships with a large proportion of vacancies.

    Further, the ministry was mulling, for next year's summer season, to issue an international call for tenders for the leasing of a ship that would be used in an auxiliary capacity, being on stand-by for routing wherever the need arose.

    Regarding the remote islands, contracts for periods of 5-12 years would be signed for ships -- with selection criteria including the age of the ship, its speed, and the background of the ship and the owner company -- in order to attract younger ships, which could also be financed under a loan from the Investments Bank contracted by the merchant marine ministry, which may also be used for the upgrading of port facilities.

    A competition will also be issued in the immediate future for the hiring of an international consultant to undertake advancement of the project.

    [04] 2004 Olympics costs placed at 13 billion euros

    Alternate Culture Minister Fani Palli Petralia estimated total costs for the staging of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games to be around 13 billion in comments she made during a radio interview on Tuesday.

    Additionally, she said that a frugal budget for maintenance of the venues stood at around 100 million.

    Petralia said that the ministry is waiting for local authorities to submit proposals regarding certain venues for which no interest has been expressed.

    In response, the press office of the main opposition PASOK party called on the government to provide a detailed break-down of costs. It also accused the government of "managing to devalue so much and such important achievements of the Greek people in a short period of time."

    [05] Surprise resumption of road blockades by Pella peach growers

    Peach growers from the prefecture of Pella, northern Greece, on Wednesday morning resumed blockades along the Thessaloniki-Edessa national highway without warning, after ending the blockades Tuesday night.

    Peach producers from the prefecture of Pella, northern Greece, late Tuesday night ended the blockade of the roads in the crossroads of Mavrovounio and Melissia and in the intersections of the old Thessaloniki-Edessa national road with the regional Skydra road, which were set up to push for higher crop prices, after agreement that deputy agricultural development and foods minister Alexandros Kontos will meet with a delegation of the Farmers' Cooperatives Union of Skydra-Edessa on Wednesday evening.

    The producers are asking for the price of 0.23 euros per kilo for peaches, against 0.19 euros offered by private industries.

    However, in a surprise move on Wednesday morning, the peach growers resumed the roadblocks on the same points without any advance warning.

    The road blocks are causing traffic problems, and traffic police are detouring drivers to optional routes.

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