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Prince William toughened in Cyprus November 26, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus News.
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Prince William toughened in Cyprus to become a British army officer 

Britain’s Prince William, along with 220 other Sandhurst Royal Military Academy cadets, is being toughened in Cyprus before earning his pips as an officer, British army officials said yesterday.

William, 24, like his younger brother Prince Harry before him, is taking part in field exercise ‘Winter Victory’, the final test in soldiering cadets must endure before passing out from the prestigious academy.

The second in line to the throne is expected to pass with flying colours and become a second lieutenant in the Household Cavalry after his final parade at Sandhurst next month. Harry successfully completed the exact same course in March, so he has a slight advantage over his elder sibling in the British army pecking order.

The 12-day Cyprus exercise is a testing examination of stamina, endurance and being able to make the right decisions under fire.

“This is tough and unforgiving terrain and we are keeping them very busy and under pressure, both physically and mentally,” Lieutenant Colonel Ronnie McCourt said. “This is almost identical to the exercise his brother did and William is taking part along with the rest of the cadets, there is no special treatment,” he added.

Cadets are burning up to 5,000 calories a day, sleeping three to four hours a day on average, undertaking 11-km marches carrying a 18-kilo backpack and living out of tents.
Furthermore, William has only field rations to look forward to and rudimentary washing facilities on hand. The prince must also endure mock beach assaults, night exercises, helicopter airlifts and dodge explosions.

The army is keen to underline that the prince is being treated like an “ordinary grunt”. “I think it’s true to say he’s finding it taxing along with everyone else. I make sure all cadets are treated the same and there are no concessions,” said McCourt. “It is very sapping stuff. We are making sure they are up to the army, which is a very busy one at the moment.”

He is doing the course within the British sovereign base area encompassing Episkopi garrison and the Royal Air Force base at Akrotiri on The Republic of Cyprus’  southern coast near Limassol.

The son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana has been in Cyprus for several days and his training schedule and departure are being kept secret for “security reasons”, although the British army confirmed William was already half-way through the test. The exercise is the culmination of a year’s training and successful candidates will be commissioned as officers in the British army on December 15 at Sandhurst.


Cyprus capital removes last landmines November 26, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied.
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With a plume of black smoke and a loud bang, Cyprus’s capital city Nicosia was officially declared landmine free last week after more than three decades.

The United Nations Mine Action Centre (MAC) disposed of the last two anti-personnel mines in a field abutting a crumbling civilian airport, shut down in a 1974 military Turkish invasion which tore Cyprus apart.

“The greater Nicosia area is now landmine free, but our overall objective is to have a mine-free Cyprus,” said Mick Raine, programme manager of MAC on the eastern Mediterranean island.

MAC, funded by the European Union, is involved in clearing mines from the buffer zone, a 180 kilometre corridor of land crossing Cyprus east to west, dividing its Greek and Turkish Cypriot populations. It is patrolled by United Nations peacekeepers.

The Greek Cypriot and Turkish military laid mines in the aftermath of the Turkish invasion in July 1974 prompted by a brief Greek-inspired coup. Since then, Nicosia, the capital city of The Republic of Cyprus, has been divided in two. Today, and for the last 32 years, Nicosia is the last divided city in Europe. The Republic of Cyprus is a European Union full member since May 2004.

The stalemate left by division is a key obstacle in Turkey’s ambitions to join the European Union, where the internationally-recognised Republic of Cyprus and Greek Cypriots  represent the country.

Cyprus ace for England trial November 26, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Football.
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Cyprus international striker Yannis Okkas is determined to impress Blackburn boss Mark Hughes when he heads to England for a trial next month.

Okkas, 29, is out of contract with Greek giants Olympiakos at the end of the season and is hoping to secure a move to the Premiership. That may come as soon as the January transfer window if Hughes likes what he sees and Rovers can come to an agreement with the player’s Athens employers.

Okkas, who has won over 60 caps for his country, said: “The interest and the invitation of Blackburn is a great honour for me. They are one of the best English clubs with a great history. Many big players have played for this club in the past. I hope everything is going to be OK and I can become a Rovers player. Of course, everything depends on my current club, Olympiakos. I will go next month to England for the trial. If the two clubs agree terms, then I will play for Rovers. To play in the Premier League is a big dream and a great honour for me. This is the best league in the world at the moment and every player wants to have the chance to play there,” he added to Sky Sports.

Greece’s renewable energy goes with the wind November 26, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Energy.
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Once upon a time, the sun and the wind used to be worshipped as gods, largely a reflection of their importance to people’s lives in ancient societies. With the ascent of renewable energy sources (RES), this importance seems to be re-emerging, albeit in a completely different setting.

Despite being well endowed with both elements, Greece is late in catching up with developments in the field, ranking only 13th in among 20 countries in the Country Attractiveness Indices report by business consultants and auditors firm Ernst & Young, published last August, which evaluates infrastructure in the RES sector in general.

Germany, for instance, ranks fifth in the solar energy index, with Greece taking the ninth spot. As regards wind energy, Spain ranks first, the US second, India third and Greece trails in 13th.

Environmentalist Stelios Psomas said that Greece could cover its energy needs by tapping such inexhaustible energy sources. In a hypothetical scenario, if the island of Crete was turned into an exclusive wind park it could meet the entire electric power requirements of the original 15 European Union member states for two years. Of course, no one is prepared to cover Crete with giant wind turbines, but with proper and realistic planning, it could meet an estimated 25-30 percent of Greece’s electricity requirements.

Today, only 2 percent of the country’s power production comes from the tapping of wind power. Installed wind power capacity totals 573 megawatts, against Germany’s 18,428 MW. According to obligations arising from the Kyoto Protocol, Greece has to produce 20.1 percent of its energy requirements from RES by 2010, and this means that 3,000 MW of capacity must be installed in the next three years. The grand design, according to the RES law passed last summer, is for the country to produce 29 percent of its power from RES by 2020.

The country is equally lagging in solar energy, despite the relatively extensive use of solar heaters. While the total capacity of installed photovoltaic systems in Germany is 1,200 MW, the respective figure in Greece last year was just 5 MW.

It has been calculated that the average annual solar radiation in this country is 1,759 kilowatt-hour (kWh) per square meter. Thus, for a photovoltaic system with nominal capacity of 3 kilowatt-peak (kWp), which occupies about 30 square meters, the annual production capacity would be 4,500 kWh, enough to meet the needs of the average household. It also corresponds to a saving of 4.5 tons of carbon dioxide.

It is widely recognized that the installation of wind turbines poses aesthetic problems and expecting a scenic Greek island, for instance, to be turned into an exclusive wind park would be like seeking to have one’s cake and eating too. A case in point is the Cycladic island of Serifos, the northern part of which a private company has plans to turn into a vast wind park. The plan envisages the installation of 87 turbines, 100 meters high and totaling 260 MW in capacity.

“This wind park would be spread over a huge area of the island, as the specific wind turbines must be 50 meters apart, which would require a total length of about 45 kilometers,” said Kriton Arsenis, head of the Aegean program of the Hellenic Society for the Protection of the Environment and Cultural Heritage. He points out that the noise pollution would be huge, besides an incalculable cost to the tourism industry, the main source of income for the island, due to the disfigurement of the landscape. On the other hand, the Municipality of Serifos would have an income of about 2 million euros from the operation of the wind park.

“We all agree that the greenhouse effect is the most serious threat facing the planet and we ought to invest in RES. However, misplaced projects and huge wind parks are not the solution,” says Arsenis. “The Aegean is a ship traveling for centuries. It would be a pity to denigrate it within a generation.”

Photography exhibition at the Goulandris November 26, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece, Culture History Mythology.
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An exhibition on Greek flora since antiquity, “Flora Mythologica”, opened yesterday at the Goulandris Natural History Museum’s Gaia Center in Kifissia, Athens.

The exhibition has been organized by Helmut Baumann, under the auspices of the Swiss Archaeology School of Greece. For years Swiss botanists have been studying Greece’s collection of some 6,000 species of flora, the richest collection in Europe.

For the ancient Greeks, nature was filled with divine beings closely connected with the mountains, trees, rivers and flowers. Healing herbs and their properties were the work of the gods, as were the scent of flowers and the richness of the fruits of the vine and the bow. Baumann, who has been an amateur photographer and student of Greece’s natural world for over 40 years, has taken a fresh look at Greek flora, linking botany with archaeology and mythology.

The photographs are displayed in eight separate sections according to their reference to myths, medicine, art and the daily lives of the ancient Greeks. For example, the evergreen pine (Pinus halepensis) was the favorite tree of Rhea, the mother of the gods. The Greek fir tree (Abies cephalonica), found at altitudes of over 800 meters, was dedicated to Pan, the god of shepherds. The catalog and guide has 148 photographs and a presentation by Mark Manion, with a Greek translation by Sophia Kaempf-Dimitriadou.

The exhibition, open from 9 a.m. till 2.30 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. – 2.30 p.m. Sundays, lasts until February 25, 2007. For further details call 210 8015870.

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

“Athens-Sparta” showcase opens in New York November 26, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Americas.
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A Parian marble bust known as ‘Leonidas,’ dating from 480-470 BC, found at the Acropolis in Sparta, from the Sparta Archaeological Museum, is to be exhibited among other artifacts
At a press conference this week on the exhibition “Athens-Sparta: From the 8th to the 5th Centuries BC,” which opens in New York on December 5, the Onassis Foundation’s President Antonis Papadimitriou told the journalists, “Churchill once said that reading the Peloponnesian Wars told one all there was to know about the secrets of warfare.”

The Onassis Cultural Center, a subsidiary of the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, is to host the exhibition of 289 artifacts from the two ancient cities that are being shown abroad for the first time.

Athens and Sparta were often at war, but the exhibition shows that even at times of great rivalry, civilization did not stop developing, according to Nikos Kaltsas, director of the National Archaeological Museum of Greece.

The exhibition, to which admission is free, will last until May 12, 2007.

The cover of the 300-page catalog shows a warrior, his head bent in thought, a detail from a piece of Athenian pottery in the Archaeological Museum. One wonders what the New Yorkers will make of the bust titled “Leonidas”, the warrior who fell with his 300 men fighting against the Persians at Thermopylae, exhibited along with arrowheads and spearheads from the legendary battle. “The exhibition is of historic, cultural and artistic interest that closes a cycle of events marking the foundation’s 30th anniversary, the 30th anniversary of the death of Aristotle Onassis and the 100th anniversary of his birth,” Papadimitriou said.

The many valuable artifacts have been brought to New York so that visitors can see the differences between the two Greek city-states at the philosophical and sociopolitical level, whose effects on cultural and human behavior have lasted until this the present.

Related Links > http://www.onassisusa.org

Greek mosaic artist exhibits in Dubai November 26, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Asia.
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Pelagia Angelopoulou, one of the world’s most exciting contemporary mosaicists today launched her first exhibition in the Middle East. Entitled: ‘The Myth of Gold & the Power of Stones’ the exhibition is being held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Dubai until December 3rd 2006.

Angelopoulou, who essentially developed and invented a new visual art in her use and methodology, characterizes her mosaic work as ‘contemporary.’ This may seem to contradict the fact that the art of mosaics was born in the fifth century BC and was developed until the 14th century AD.

“After five centuries of silence, a rebirth took place at the end of the 19th century and a third revival of the art of mosaic is currently in progress. The medium has attained a far wider geographical spread than ever before with a greater range of styles, techniques and subject matter,” said Angelopoulou. “The art has split into two clearly discernible streams: the traditional and the experimental with a whole gamut of variations in between.”

“Technology, which constantly creates new idioms in aesthetics and new materials, is the primary driver behind contemporary mosaic art. This has given the otherwise ‘rigid’ art form a freer means of expression and the imagination of the individual artist can run freely and choose from innumerable possibilities,” she continued.

Angelopoulou was born in Athens, Greece and studied painting, history of art and mosaics at the University of Fine Arts in Athens. After graduation with honors, she traveled extensively throughout Greece and Italy studying mosaics of ancient Roman and Byzantine periods as well as contemporary art. During this period, she participated in several group exhibitions and at the same time executed many private commissions. She was also a Professor of Mosaic at the University of Fine Arts in Athens from 1984 to 1993.

In 1991, she held a series of solo exhibitions in the Japanese Museums of Tokyo, Osaka and Utsunomiya. Her work has been exhibited in the monumental Romanesque church of St. Pantaleon in Koln, Germany, the Vorres Museum in Greece, as well as many private collections in the USA, Japan, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and of course her country of origin, Greece.