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EP Committee to report on state of Turkish occupied churches September 14, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied.
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The European Parliament’s Committee of Education and Culture unanimously decided today to write a report on the state of the churches in the Turkish occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus.

The Committee took this decision today by unanimously adopting an amendment submitted by Cypriot MEP Panayiotis Demetriou (EPP).

Demetriou suggested that the 2007 EU budget allocates funds in order to carry out an investigation into the situation of the occupied churches of Cyprus.

The funding should be allocated from the European programme ”Culture 2007”.

The report will aim at recording and describing the current state of the churches and giving an estimation of the reparation cost, while special provisions will be included for those churches that are facing an immediate danger of collapsing.

According to Demetriou, the ultimate purpose should be to ask for EU funding in order to restore the churches and repair the damages.

He also told the Committee that the EU should take action to protect the churches in occupied Cyprus, since the government of the Republic of Cyprus has no control over the areas, occupied by the Turkish army since 1974.

The adopted amendment is expected to be approved at the European Parliament’s plenary session in October.

Four-hundred-and-seven MEPs signed in July a written declaration prepared by Demetriou and Italian MEP Iles Braghetto, condemning the pillage of Greek Orthodox churches and monasteries and the removal of their ecclesiastical items.

The declaration called on the Commission and the Council to take the necessary actions to ensure respect for the Treaty and the protection and restoration of the affected churches to their original Greek Orthodox status.

It also called on the Commission and the Council to examine this matter under the relevant chapters of the negotiations with Turkey.

More than 133 churches, chapels and monasteries that are located in the northern part of Cyprus controlled by the Turkish army since 1974 have been desecrated, 78 churches have been converted into mosques, 28 are used as military depots and hospitals, and 13 are used as stockyards.

Their ecclesiastical items, including more than 15,000 icons, have been illegally removed and their location remains unknown.

According to the Cypriot Department of Antiquities, the most significant and priceless of these icons have already been auctioned off and sold by art dealers abroad.

Magnificent Marcos lifts Cyprus September 14, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Tennis Squash.
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Apart from a tricky stage at the World Rally Championships (WRC) and a modest football league, Cyprus has been off the international sporting map – until now. Cyprian sports fans are delighted to have a new sports hero, Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis.

The 21-year-old became the first Cyproit in the Open era to crack top 10 on the rankings and is also the first one to reach a Grand Slam final.

Despite a second round exit at the recent US Open, where he lost to Andre Agassi, his ground-breaking success has spurred a huge interest of the sport back home.

“I am overjoyed to see tennis is getting more popular on my motherland,” said the Cyproit from Limassol.

Before Baghdatis, there is no Cyproit player ever make the top 200 on the tour since the sport was officially introduced to its Panhellenic (National) Games in 1926.

After two years lingering outside top 50 since turned pro in 2003, the Cyproit enjoyed a miraculous rise this season, rising from world No 60 to the current No 8. He hit the headlines when he beat top players Andy Roddick, David Nalbandian and Ivan Ljubicic to reach the final Down Under and carried on the flow with a semi-final show at the Wimbledon Open.

The entertaining star “lifted a whole island with his racket” and received the Highest Distinction Award from the Cyprus Tennis Federation (CTF) after his dream run in Australia.

“I love my country and every time I win a big match, I feel I stay closer to my fans and Cyprus. It’s so great,” he said.

Football and motor racing have long been popular in the island country. People rush to the stadium watching the games of their national football champions Apollo and enjoyed the dramatic driving from WRC sensation Sebastien Loeb alongside the muddy track.

By contrast, tennis is a sport out of people’s sights. There is only six tennis schools and an estimated 5,000 people playing tennis around country.

The CTF started in 2000 and formulated a medium-term five-year strategic plan, sending its promising players to overseas academies for training and competitions. Baghdatis is one of the beneficiaries.

He trained at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in Paris on an Olympic Solidarity Youth Development Programme Scholarship and soon paid it back to his home country tenfold.

The then 18-year-old Baghdatis captured Australian Open junior title and runner-up at US Open junior in 2003 and also had the honour of being the No 1 junior with nine junior titles under his belt at the end of that season. He soon developed himself as one of the hottest sports stars in Cyprus even before joining the pro tour.

“Of course I had a lot of joy to promote tennis in my country,” said the Cyproit. “I’d say tennis is already one of the most popular sports at home. More kids love playing tennis than before.

“It is getting better and better. When I played some good matches, people will care about tennis and talk about it. That’s why I’m quite happy to see.”

Despite the changes he brought to his country, Baghdatis has yet to win an ATP single’s trophy, but turns out that he is not worried.

“This year I’ve played many good matches, beaten many good players, I know my efforts have paid off,” he said. “I have had good weeks and then some bad weeks, but when I have been playing well I feel that I can really challenge some of best guys and be a Grand Slam champion.”

Greek Commission on Polish format September 14, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Media Radio TV.
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ATM Grupa, the Polish production outfit that is a member of the Sparks Network, has licensed its Clueless format to Mega Channel in Greece, according to a Worldscreen com report.

The Greek broadcaster launches the show this month, with an option to do 200 episodes. The local version will be produced by Anosi S.A.

The original version has been a success for Polsat, which launched the show in an access-prime slot in April 2005. It is a game show with one single player in a battle against the host.

Greek users satisfied with information provided on Internet September 14, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet & Web.
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Most Greek Internet users expressed their satisfaction with the information provided on the Internet, according to a recent poll released on Wednesday.

According to an ALCO opinion poll appearing in the FANTOMAS magazine, 60.9 percent of the respondents, conducted by telephone on a sampling of 600 residents in Attica prefecture, said they were satisfied with the information provided on the Internet.

Meanwhile, 45.2 percent of the respondents said they were satisfied with the information provided in newspapers, while 42.8 percent were satisfied with information provided on the radio, 32. 5 percent with information provided on television news programs, 28.2 percent with information provided by sports newspapers, and 19.1 percent with information provided by magazines and periodicals.

2.9 Million in prize money at stake in Athens September 14, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Athletics.
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2.9 Million in Prize Money at stake in Athens – IAAF World Cup in Athletics

A total prize purse of $2,972,000 will be paid by the IAAF at this weekend’s 10th IAAF World Cup in Athletics, Athens, Greece (16 -17 September 2006)

(all amounts are in US$)

Places / Prize*
Individual events

1st  30,000
2nd 15,000
3rd  10,000
4th     7000
5th     5000
6th     3000
7th     2000
8th     1000

Relay events

1st  30,000
2nd 20,000
3rd  10,000
4th     8000
5th     6000
6th     5000
7th     4000
8th     3000
Any Athletes surpassing a World Record in the World Cup of Athletics will be awarded US $100,000.

All prize winners must undergo and clear the usual anti-doping procedures.

The performances of the host team Greece are not part of the prize money structure. For example, if a Greek athlete finishes fourth, then the athletes in the five places behind are rewarded with prize money as if they had finished fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth.

Related Links > http://www.athensworldcup2006.gr

Unique Greek feta September 14, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Greece.
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Cheesemakers savor European protections

Feta is found everywhere. In pies as a quick lunch, stuffed and baked in vegetables, fried as a side dish or, famously, cut in slabs and placed on top of a salad. Many a visiting expatriate Greek can tell a story of being weighed down on the journey home with a hefty tin of feta, a parting gift from old-country relatives.

Greece churns out an annual 88,000 tons of the crumbly national cheese and now is enjoying an unusual absence of competition. Makers of the white cheese from Denmark, France and Germany, which have a combined production larger than Greece’s, lost a battle at the European Court of Justice last October. It upheld legal protection for production of origin, labeling the cheese exclusively Greek within the European Union.

“It’s a fair decision,” British-trained food scientist Natassa Pagoni says. “Producers in other countries generally use cow’s milk and a totally different manufacturing process. The result is white but it’s a different cheese.”

Pagoni manages the family cheesemaking business in Erythres, a village about 45 miles north of Athens where most of the delicious food is made traditionally.

Under protection guidelines, feta is made from ewe’s milk with not more than 30 percent goat’s milk added, and in designated regions, mostly on the mainland and the island of Mytilene. It is one of 20 Greek cheeses with a protected designation of origin. The milk is pasteurized, allowed to form a curd with the help of a culture, sliced with wire for texture, and then hardened in metal strainers before being matured in wooden barrels.

“Every step of the process is precise and well defined,” says Pagoni, showing a visitor around the factory, wearing a surgical mask and poking the cheese with various instruments to take measurements. “Otherwise it’s not proper feta.”

It would be hard to accuse the Pagoni feta factory of not doing things properly.

Churns of sheep’s milk arrive every morning from small farms around southern Greece. From there it’s tested for acidity and chemical levels and fed through the factory by a small army of employees in white coats, through large steel vats, baths and pumps, sometimes throwing up an eye-watering smell. But all the way through the curd is treated with near reverence.

After all, the factory is outside the city of Thebes, one of Greece’s most important ancient cities and birthplace of mythological hero Hercules.

Feta itself is steeped in Greece’s ancient past. Cheese made from goat’s and sheep’s milk is mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey. Polyphemus, the one-eyed giant, or Cyclops, is said to have discovered it accidentally while carrying milk in an animal’s stomach, which acted as a strainer.

That history makes the victory at the European court all the more important, says Manolis Anifantakis, Head of Greece’s National Dairy Committee. But he worries that standards will have to rise among many small producers for the court result to translate into better sales abroad and an appreciation of the product.

“This victory also means more responsibility,” Anifantakis says. “Farmers and cheesemakers need to make more of an effort to protect the quality, it’s a good product, but it could be better… Feta is part of our cultural heritage.”

American cookbook author and food historian Francine Segan considers it a perfect ingredient for a modern meal. “Its light saltiness pairs well with many savory dishes,” Segan says. “I love feta with eggs and use it to add flavor to healthy egg-white-only omelets. It adds a rich complexity to simple grilled vegetables, soups and salads. It is wonderful on pasta and rice,” she adds. “One of my favorite desserts is dates simmered in red wine topped with feta and a drizzle of honey.”

Altis, Greek extra virgin olive oil wins award September 14, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Greece.
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Altis, the only Greek extra virgin olive oil awarded with two stars by the Superior Taste Award, will be present at the SIAL Paris 2006

“Altis” comes from Greece and -last Spring- it was the only Greek extra virgin olive oil that was awarded with two stars, by the “Superior Taste Award” Contest, conducted in Brussels.

Greece is one of the three largest olive oil producing countries in the world. It is, however, the only one with a production of extra virgin olive oil that tops 70%.

Eventhough Greeks have the highest olive oil consumption worldwide -16 to 20 kilos per capita annually- they can still export large quantities. In fact, Greece is one of the largest exporters of extra virgin olive oil. Most exports are meant for other olive oil producing countries in the Mediterrranean, which use Greek olive oil in their blends, in order to improve the quality and taste of olive oils they standardize. So, it is possible that one has had the benefit of Greek olive oil, even if he has never bought a Greek brand.

In case somebody wants to be sure that he consumes a 100% Greek extra virgin olive oil, he has to try Altis, the leading brand in Greece. Altis olive oil, carries the name of the ancient olive plantation, from which the chaplet awarded to the Olympic games champions was cut. Altis extra virgin oilive oil derives from every year’s best harvest and is a top quality product, adding great taste to everyday salads and meals.

Suceeding in combining all nutritional benefits, the full taste and aroma of freshly picked olives along with an “essence” of the ancient philosophy, Altis is sold all over Greece, as well as in European countries, Australia and North America.

The people of Elais-Unilever S.A., who produce Altis, have a deep knowledge about olive oil, a product which they love and care for. They know how to distinguish good olive oil from very early on. They watch the olive pressing in the most important olive oil producing areas of the country and they only select the varieties that steadily give the Altis olive oil its rich taste profile.

Altis is also the brand name of the best olive selections in Greece, in four varieties: Kalamata, black, green and stuffed olives.

Elais-Unilever S.A. holds the most certifications from internationally recognized organizations, having secured the quality of its products with ISO 9001, ISO 14001, TPM, HACCP/ELOT 1416, OHSAS 18001.

Web: http://www.elais.gr