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Top coastal property for park, sports venues December 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece.
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Moschato Municipality wants to use top coastal property for park, sports venues > Olympic Properties hands over 24 hectares of Faliron Bay with hope that city council fulfills plan

The stretch of Faliron Bay’s coastline between the mouths of the Kifissos and Ilissos rivers is to be handed over to the Municipality of Moschato, barring any hitches. The move is one of the solutions suggested by Olympic Properties SA for the development of that section of the city’s waterfront.

If all goes according to plan, the municipality will acquire ownership and the obligation to create an ecological park over 55-60 percent of the area, in addition to sporting venues over the rest, in accordance with the bill on the post-Olympic use of the area.

The 24 hectares of open space between the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Neo Faliron and the Beach Volleyball Stadium to the east was included in the 2004 Olympic Games plan but unfortunately two things went wrong.

In the upheaval prior to the Games, the initial plan for flood control canals, a link between the coastline and neighboring residential districts separated by Poseidonos Avenue, which was supposed to be moved, was postponed until after the Games. Meanwhile, the promise of an ecological park was interpreted as the planting of a few trees but without actually caring for them. As a result, the trees withered a few months later.

The only thing the state actually did was to clarify the area’s future. The law on the post-Olympic development of properties provides for specific uses for this particularly property, an ecological park and low-impact sports venues. The Special Plan for the Integrated Development of Olympic Poles (ESOAP) limits building construction to a total 2,500 square meters of surface area and a maximum height of 8.5 meters.

Early this year Olympic Properties began negotiations with the Municipality of Moschato, suggesting, on June 29, three alternatives for funding:

* Self-funding the construction of installations by granting the sporting venues to the private sector by means of a competition;

* Granting the area and its development to the Municipality of Moschato; or

* Developing the area with state funds, directed by the General Secretariat for Sports.

The issue was postponed until after the recent local elections, and on November 28 Moschato’s new municipal council decided to request that the second suggestion be adopted. So it asked for ownership of the 24 hectares, undertaking to assume responsibility for its development.

“We want to reconstruct the area ourselves, remaining true to the spirit of what has been decided,” said Deputy Mayor Andreas Evthymiou, who is in charge of the undertaking. “There will be an ecological park and sports facilities, although the latter will be over a smaller area than that envisioned by the General Secretariat for Sports. We want fewer football fields, and the track and field arena, which is to be built also for the use of Piraeus athletic associations, will be for 500 spectators and not 3,000, with the grandstands lower than 8.5 meters,” he explained.

Evthymiou added that no decision had yet been made as to how the project will be funded. “We are considering its inclusion in the 4th Community Support Framework (CSF IV) through the Piraeus Prefecture, or else granting sporting venues to the private sector on the condition that access to the area is not restricted. We hope the projects will be completed by the existing municipal authority,” he said.

Olympic Properties was not very happy with the decision to go with the second alternative, since it had already secured an investment of 8 million euro from the public investments program via the General Secretariat for Sports. It is also concerned at the way the Moschato council has phrased its decision to undertake the project. In a letter to the municipality on December 13, Olympic Properties, while accepting the council’s decision, asks it to promise to carry out everything already scheduled, without changes.

Once the procedures have been clarified, all that remains is for Moschato to show that not all municipal councils waste funds and leave projects half-finished, only to be abandoned eventually. Some municipalities can create attractive, functional green spaces and sports arenas for their residents.


African Fest at Gagarin December 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece.
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The festival will also feature two dance groups and a buffet.
Christmas will be all about Africa at the capital’s Gagarin 205 club as it stages the Afro Fest on December 25.

Artists such as African China, one of the most popular reggae bands to emerge from Africa in present times, as well as Nigerian star Lady Erosion, Big Matata from Kenya and Makosa from Congo are some of the acts who will represent the rich traditions and developments of African music.

African China is clearly one of the stars of the festival. Born Chinagorom Onuoha, the Nigerian musician became involved in music and dance as a fan of Michael Jackson, emulating the pop star from a young age, before becoming influenced by the reggae greats. His lyrics cry out against violence, political instability and corruption. Another highlight is Lady Erosion, a singer who began her career beside Sir Victor Uwaifo, with whom she recorded the hit album “Giodogiodo,” blending the veteran’s songs with the young singer’s modern outlook on African music.

The delights of the Afro Fest do not end there: There will also be two dance groups from Nigeria performing traditional numbers, as well as a buffet dinner. For information and reservations, tel 210 8547600.

Festive Fares in Greece December 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Culture, Transport Air Sea Land.
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Cabbies to charge an extra euro

Taxi drivers will be charging an extra euro on the flag fee as of Monday 18th December for the festive period. The additional charge will be valid until January 7 and will push up the minimum fare to 3.50 euros (from 2.50 euros).

Cyprus Mayoral polls > results December 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Politics.
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A left-wing candidate was elected as Nicosia’s first female Mayor, according to final results yesterday.

Eleni Mavrou, 45, a member of the center-left coalition backing Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos, garnered 34.9 percent of votes in Sunday’s election.

Her rival Anna Marangou, an independent supported by opposition conservatives, chalked up 32.1 percent of the vote.

Incumbent Michalakis Zampelas came in third with 27.3 percent. The turnout for the elections was 86 percent.

WWII artillery found in school playground December 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece News.
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Army bomb experts removed a half-buried World War II era artillery shell found at a primary school in Thessaloniki yesterday, meters away from the children’s playground, authorities said.

The shell’s detonator had rusted and did not pose a danger, according to experts. School officials said that the artillery shell, which was 75 centimeters long, was likely dug up along with mounds of soil used for the construction of the school two years ago. The soil came from an abandoned military firing range.

The school was shut down after the discovery. Authorities will continue to search the area with metal detectors to check for other unexploded bombs. The school is in the Pieria district, 15 kilometers east of Thessaloniki.

And here is what Cyprus voted December 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Gay Life, Living.
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Cypriots top the list of EU citizens who think justice is too lenient, too much importance is placed on religion in society and spare time is more important than work.

But Cyprus hits close to the bottom of the lists when it comes to approving of homosexual marriage, adoption by homosexual couples and the contribution of immigrants to society. Very few Cypriots would also approve of the legalisation of cannabis.

In the latest Eurobarometer, 97 per cent of Cypriots think criminals need to be punished more severely because there is too much tolerance these days. The figure is 12 per cent higher than the EU average.

In a nominally strongly Orthodox country, it was also surprising that 81 per cent thought religion is too important in society, which is almost double the average. In Greece only 34 per cent thought so and in Catholic Ireland only 42 per cent believes so. The Finns and Estonians were least concerned with only one fifth believing religion was too important.

Despite Cypriots apparent problem with the extent of religious influence in society, 86 per cent opposed homosexual marriage and 90 per cent opposed adoption for homosexual couples. Views in Greece were similar but slightly more tolerant. The EU average for both was 56 per cent and 68 per cent per cent respectively.

On the other end of the scale the 82 per cent of Dutch people supported homosexual marriage and 69 per cent approved of adoption for homosexual couples. Sweden and Denmark also scored close to the Netherlands in the tolerance levels.

Cypriots also scored low on their attitudes to immigrants, although the 30 per cent who believed immigrants contribute a lot to the country, was higher than countries such as Malta and all almost all of the eastern European member states. However in Sweden eight out of ten people view immigrants in a favourable way.

When it comes to spare time vs work, Cypriots also top the list with 69 per cent thinking leisure time is more important than working. Less than 50 per cent of Europeans in general feel the same. In Germany less than a quarter would prefer leisure time than work. Up top with the Cypriots were Estonians, Greeks, Spanish, Hungarians and Maltese. On the other side of the EU average were the Poles, the French and the Dutch.

In the general poll on attitudes to the EU, less than half of Cypriots think membership of the EU is a good thing for the country compared to the average of 53 per cent. Ireland tops the list at 78 per cent. Oddly enough even less Finns and Austrians think membership is a good thing with only 39 per cent and 36 per cent respectively saying that it is.

Despite this the EU conjures up a positive image for 56 per cent of Cypriots compared to only 28 per cent in the UK and 34 per cent in Finland. Again most positive was Ireland with 73 per cent and Greece with 58 per cent. But on average only 46 per cent of Europeans see the EU in a positive light.

Less than half of Europeans in general trust the European Commission with the least amount being shown in the UK with only one quarter of people showing trust in the Commission. Germans, Austrians and the French also showed a low level of trust in the Commission but in Cyprus the trust level was 55 per cent.

Cyprus topped the list of countries supporting a common European defence policy, with 89 per cent saying they were for such a development, more than ten per cent of the EU average. The Irish were least in favour at only 52 per cent.

Cyprus also scored high with the view that the EU should have a common foreign policy towards other countries with 78 per cent of Cypriots being in favour, topped only by Slovenia and Greece with 80 per cent who held the same view. The EU average was 68 per cent. Least in favour of a common policy was the UK with 48 per cent.

Greeks favor EU expansion December 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Gay Life, Living.
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Greece is the keenest supporter of European Union enlargement among the original 15 EU member states, according to the results of a Eurobarometer survey released yesterday.

The Greeks, along with the Poles and the Slovenes, were found to be the biggest backers of further enlargement of the bloc, with 70 percent of respondents in favor. In Germany, Austria and Luxembourg support was at around 30 percent.

The same survey revealed that Greeks are also among the EU’s most reactionary citizens on the subject of gay marriage and the adoption of children by same-sex couples. Only 15 percent of Greeks polled supported gay marriages, as compared to an EU average of 44 percent.

Also, just 11 percent of Greeks polled backed adoptions by gay couples as compared to an EU average of 32 percent.