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French crew fined filming occupied Cyprus ghost town November 9, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied.
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A French TV crew was arrested and fined for filming the ghost town of Ammochostos (Famagusta or Varosha) in northern Turkish military controlled and occupied Cyprus, rights groups said on Monday, just days before the European Union is expected to criticise Turkey over its Cyprus policy.

Two journalists working for German-French public channel ARTE were arrested on Sunday for allegedly violating the military restricted area by filming the Greek Cypriot holiday resort now under Turkish military occupation and control.

“We strongly condemn the arrests of journalists who are just doing their job,” European Federation of Journalists Chairman Arne Konig said in a statement. “We repeat our calls for Turkish and Turkish Cypriots to respect basic principles of press freedom.”

Cyprus was partitioned in a Turkish military invasion in 1974 and since then the northern part of The Republic of Cyprus remains under occupation. Numerous peace efforts have foundered, with the latest bid in a U.N. drafted reunification plan failing on Greek Cypriot rejection in a 2004 referendum.

The two French journalists were released on Monday after each of them were fined 1,000 lira (363 pounds) by an illegal Turkish Cypriot military court, said the Turkish Cypriot rights group Basin-Sen, which also paid the fines.

The EU executive is to issue a progress report on Wednesday criticising a slowdown in reforms in the year since Turkey began EU membership talks and noting Ankara’s failure to meet a requirement to open its ports to shipping from Cyprus.

The Republic of Cyprus, which is internationally recognized, is a full country member of the European Union since May 2002. However, its capital city, Nicosia, remains the only divided city, for the last 32 years, in Europe.

Diplomats say the negative findings could prompt EU leaders to suspend, at least partially, accession negotiations with Turkey when they hold a summit on enlargement in mid-December.


Athens visual identity revealed November 9, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Basketball.
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2007 UEFA Champions League final in Athens, Greece  UEFA has unveiled the new visual identity created for the 2007 UEFA Champions League final in Athens at a special ceremony in the Greek capital. (Photo Credits: uefa.com)

City Hall ceremony
The event design to be used around the UEFA Champions League final at Athens’s Olympic Stadium on 23 May was revealed at the Ceremonies Hall within the City Hall in Kotzia Square. The UEFA Champions League final has, in recent years, been given an identity of its own with a unique logo, a design concept and an overall theme. The objective is to help promote the final and enhance the prestige of one of the world’s biggest sporting events.

Specific design
The initial idea that inspired the creation of a new identity for each final was to develop a specific design with a distinctive flavour of the host city. The UEFA Champions League Athens final identity represents the latest stage in promoting a distinct design associated with the host city, while ensuring sponsors are provided with full artwork toolkits.

Variety of perspectives
The sponsor toolkit comprises themed trophy and stadium marks, the visual identity in the original blue colourway, and bespoke colourways in keeping with each sponsor’s individual corporate colours. A variety of artwork perspectives are also provided in the sponsor artwork toolkit to support the sponsors in leveraging their sponsorship campaigns in a manner that provides maximum effect.

Capital treat in store for Zagorakis November 9, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Football.
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Former Greece captain Theodoros Zagorakis said he was “honoured” to be chosen as the ambassador for the 2007 UEFA Champions League final in Athens, on the day the new visual identity and logo for the event were unveiled at a ceremony in the Greek capital.

Massive honour
“I cannot find words to describe my joy and honour at being chosen as the ambassador for the 2007 final,” said Zagorakis. “Athens and Greece have proved in the past that we have the ability to organise such prestigious events with great success, so I’m sure this will happen again next May.” Zagorakis, who won 119 caps for Greece and led the team to glory at UEFA EURO 2004™, was one of many distinguished sporting personalities present as the design for the final on 23 May 2007 was revealed at the Ceremonies Hall within the Athens City Hall in Kotzia Square.

Ancient inspiration
The PAOK FC midfielder was impressed with the designs, which were inspired by the patterns of ancient Greek labyrinths and the colours of his country’s flag – blue and white. “The logo designs are spectacular and I’m sure we will see a fantastic game here on 23 May,” he said. The UEFA Champions League final has, in recent years, been given an identity of its own with a unique logo, a design concept and an overall theme, with the objective being to help promote the event and enhance the prestige of one of the world’s biggest sporting occasions.

Difficult call
FC Barcelona defeated Arsenal FC 2-1 in a thrilling match in Paris to win the 2006 UEFA Champions League, and when asked if he thought these two sides could reach the final again next May, Zagorakis told uefa.com: “It is a UEFA Champions League final so it could produce some surprises, but it’s difficult to say who will reach the final,” he said. “It is a very big tournament which is fantastically organised by UEFA and the one thing I’m sure of is that the two teams who end up in Athens will be the two best teams.”

Stadium refit
Since hosting the 1994 UEFA Champions League final, which saw AC Milan beat Barcelona 4-0, the Athens Olympic stadium has had a dramatic facelift for the 2004 Olympic Games. The mayor of Athens, Theodoris Behrakis, said the city had a venue to be extremely proud of. “Athens welcomes the honour of hosting the UEFA Champions League final,” he said. “Our city has continued to improve since the 2004 Olympics and we have a wonderful stadium to showcase the final of the greatest club competition in Europe.”

‘Like no other’
Greece’s sports minister Georgios Orfanos said: “We are delighted because Athens will host the stars who light up European football. UEFA as an organisation and the Greek government will ensure the final will be a success.” Hellenic Football Federation president Vassilis Gagatsis added: “We want the final to be like no other in history, and for that reason we need the support of all the Greek people so we can prove to everyone that when we want something, we can achieve it.”

BMW goes Greek for X5 world launch November 9, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Racing & Motors.
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It’s supposed to be winter here in Greece; there’s snow on the highest mountain peaks and a suggestion of more to come in the chilly, pre-sunrise air even down here near the coast where BMW Germany has lined up a couple of dozen brand-new second-generation X5 “sports activity vehicles” for their world launch.

There two models on display and to drive that will succeed those that from 1995 to September 2007 sold more than 616 000 units, for now: a monstrous 4.8-litre V8 with all the performance bite of the brand’s racing heritage and a more docile but still very fast all-aluminium diesel. Both will be available from the plant in Spartanburg in the US in March, 2007 with, in reserve for now, a straight-six, magnesium/aluminium, three-litre petrol-engined unit capable of 200kW/315Nm.

The V8 promises 261kW/475Nm and the turbodiesel 173kW backed by a whopping 520Nm of torque that makes it a clear winner for ease of driving, comfort and, especially, fuel consumption on the demanding stretches of freeways, snaking country roads and mountain passes mapped out across the Attica peninsula by BMW to show off the cars.

Even if you can afford one of these astounding vehicles, which means the price of fuel probably isn’t something that takes up much of your suppertime chat, there’s no arguing with the greater tank range and cash savings of the diesel’s less than 10 litres/100km against the closer to 16 of the big V8, each according to their trip data computers over several hundred kilometres of driving.

Each, a first for the X5, has an electronically controlled six-speed, auto/manual sequential gearbox, no cables involved for sneaky thieves to cut to release the parking lock this time around, operated by a ridiculously simple shifter with a knob-top button to select “park”.


Business > “Greek Entrepreneur of the Year” Award November 9, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy.
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Neochimiki CEO Dr. Lavrentis Lavrentiadis elected as “Entrepreneur of the Year” in the First Ernst & Young “Greek Entrepreneur of the Year” Award

Dr. Lavrentis Lavrentiadis, 34, is the winner of the first Ernst & Young “Greek Entrepreneur of the Year” award. The Entrepreneur of the Year program has been established over twenty years ago by Ernst & Young, a globally present service provider in the area of auditing, risk-related services, tax, and transactions. In more than 40 countries worldwide, Ernst & Young presents its annual Entrepreneur of the Year® award to “the most successful and innovative entrepreneurial business leaders around the globe”, see http://www.ey.com.

“I am honoured by this prestigious award and would first like to thank Ernst & Young as hosts of this great competition and the jury for their decision. Of course, I am very proud to be the first winner of the Greek award, and I am much looking forward to participating in the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year summit 2007 in Monte Carlo. Last, but certainly not least, this is an excellent moment to also express my gratitude to all the people who support me in my dynamic entrepreneurial activities.” says award winner Dr. Lavrentis Lavrentiadis.

Dr. Lavrentis Lavrentiadis was elected to the Neochimiki L.V. Lavrentiadis S.A. Board of Management in 1990 as 18-year old, thereafter appointed in 1996 as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of this chemical distribution and chemical production company which is headquartered near Athens, Greece. Beside the stock-listed corporations Neochimiki L.V. Lavrentiadis S.A. and Lamda Detergents S.A., he is also an active entrepreneur in the human and animal health business, as well as in real estate.

Neochimiki L.V. Lavrentiadis S.A. as the “flagship operation” of his entrepreneurial activities has become one of the fastest growing businesses in Europe, with an average growth of 80% in turnover and profit in the past five years. This company alone is worth approximately EUR 480 m. in market capitalisation (http://www.neochimiki-lavrentiadis.gr). Neochimiki has probably the largest international shareholder structure of all Greek stock-listed companies and counts among its current shareholders investors from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, Great Britain, Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

Prior to his Neochimiki mandate, Dr. Lavrentis Lavrentiadis studied Economics (he holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance from the American College in Greece) and Marketing (he also holds a Doctor’s Degree in Marketing from Brandridge University, UK). He was born in March 1972 in Athens, where he now lives together with his wife and his new-born daughter.

Museum dedicated to Alfred Nobel in Athens November 9, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Museums.
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Three-floor construction set to open next year in Halandri

The Greek capital hardly springs immediately to mind as the home for a shrine to the 19th century Swedish industrialist and dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel. But letters from Victor Hugo, Russian oil field maps and explosives factory share certificates will be among the items going on display next year in Athens in the Museum dedicated to Nobel, the Museum’s founder announced on Tuesday.

Greek historian Giorgos Marcou’s family donated the funds for the project, including purchasing documents and other materials from all five continents, hauling them to Greece, and conceiving and building the facility to house them.

Marcou’s interest was piqued in the late 1970s in Italy when his research revealed that two of Nobel’s friends shared the surname Marcou. His family even donated the land for the Museum, which he said was full of “mosquitos and lettuce” before the groundbreaking in the northern suburb of Halandri.

Nobel, who was born in Stockholm in 1833 and died in San Remo, Italy, in 1896, professed a lifelong interest in ancient Greece. His explosives and engineering systems were employed in digging the Corinth Canal in the late 19th century, and he named his invention of dynamite after the Greek word dynamis, meaning power.

Still, the Greek connection is far from obvious and, to some, controversial. Marcou admitted that many Greeks initially opposed a Greek siting, but such sentiments were overridden by his zealous pursuit of a near-lifelong dream backed up by a dedicated family fortune.

The Museum of the Hellenic Nobel Collection will present more than 3,500 artifacts related to the famous Swede.

These include letters, photographs, drawings, patents and other documents and objects culled from over 200 private collections in some 62 countries. The three-floor facility will include permanent and rotating exhibitions, a reading library, an amphitheater, archives and other facilities.

By 1998, Greek stewardship of the long-scattered Nobel Collection was secure. “We tried to save them from ruin,” Marcou told a news conference. Marcou said the collection is “of great international, scientific, educational and cultural value” which also sheds light on its complex subject, who made his fortune in arms, explosives, oil exploration and production of synthetic rubber and silk, but was also a noted recluse and internationalist who endowed the Nobel Prizes through his 1895 will, partly as a way to ensure he would be remembered as something other than a weapons manufacturer. The facility also aims to provide “answers and clarifications of historical events which are often misinterpreted… We confirmed a lot of rumors because we had evidence,” Marcou added.

The famous prizes, now worth over 1 million or $1.4 million, are awarded each fall for advances in chemistry, physics, medicine or physiology, literature, economics and peace. The Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo, Norway, and the others in Stockholm, Sweden, at ceremonies each December.

Two Greeks, poets Giorgos Seferis and Odysseas Elytis, have been Nobel Laureates, both for Literature. 

Greece, Athens Nobel Museum  In this digital graphic provided by the Hellenic Nobel Museum  showing the completed facade of the Nobel museum, which is now under construction, in the suburb of Halandri, in northern Athens. (Credits: AP Photo/Hellenic Nobel Museum)

Few Greeks do business online November 9, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet & Web.
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One in five Greeks with access to the Internet has used electronic state services to take care of official paperwork, according to research results released yesterday, but Greece remains well behind its technologically more advanced EU peers.

According to research by the National Statistics Service (NSS), in the first quarter of the year 19 percent of Greeks who had online access dealt with the state over the Internet.

The survey, which questioned 4,896 households across Greece, showed that technologically savvy Greeks mostly use the electronic services of the tax office and the state manpower organization, OAED.

Just over half of taxpayers aged 30-44 did business with the tax office online, while 60 percent of job seekers aged between 25-34 said they had accessed OAED electronically.

“The percentage of those who are interested in using the Internet in the future reaches 35.3 percent. Most of them are aged between 20 and 34, are secondary school graduates and salary earners,” NSS said.

According to the statistics service, 28.9 percent of Greeks were online in the first quarter of the year. The figure is well behind other EU members especially as far as broadband technology is concerned.

According to industry officials, 5.7 percent of all telephone lines in Greece offer broadband, which is faster Internet service.

The figure remains well behind other countries such as Finland and Spain, where broadband penetration rates are at 40 and 24.5 percent respectively.

“With the exception of certain applications… the electronic services offered online by the government are at initial stages,” NSS added.

NSS officials believe that the percentage of people who have access to the Internet but demur from doing business on the Web remains high.

One of the main reasons people avoid the Internet is that they prefer to deal with public services in person.

One in three also cited concern about the security of personal data being sent electronically while 15 percent said that they were simply ignorant when it came to using electronic services.