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Ioannina celebrates 94th liberation anniversary February 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Greece, Greece News.
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President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday night attended an event in Ioannina, northwestern Greece, marking the 94th anniversary of the liberation of Ioannina from the Ottoman rule.

“Today’s anniversary is a day of memory and reflection. It reminds us that those who forget are forgotten. We attribute honor to the national gains of the past so as to have a creative present and a hopeful future” President Papoulias said in his address.

Three days of events for the 94th anniversary of the liberation of the City of Ioannina, northwestern Greece, from the Ottoman Turks were launched on Tuesday afternoon, attended by President Papoulias and National Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis.

The Municipality of Ioannina hosted a formal dinner on Tuesday evening in honor of the President, who delivered a commemorative speech following an address by the City Mayor.

The President attended a morning service at the Agios Athanasios Cathedral on Wednesday before visiting the 8th Army Division Headquarters, which is due to be followed by a wreath-laying ceremony at the Bizani Fighters Monument.

A formal dinner at the Army Officers’ Club will be given in honor of the President after the completion of a military and student parade.

President Papoulias is also scheduled to inaugurate the “Balkan Wars 1912-13” and “Epirotes in Venice, 16th and 19th century” exhibitions at the Kostas Frontzos Folkloric Art Museum, while he will also visit the “Alexander the Great” exhibition at the Municipal Library.

evzonegreets.jpg  An Evzone, wearing the traditional honor guard uniform, salutes President Karolos Papoulias during a ceremony yesterday outside Ioannina Cathedral, in northwestern Greece. Papoulias, visiting his hometown to mark the 94th anniversary of Ioannina’s liberation from Turkish occupation, stressed the importance of Greek youngsters learning about their country’s history. ‘Knowledge of history is necessary for national self-knowledge and for our nation to plan for its future,’ Papoulias said.

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In pictures > Flour festival in Greece February 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Mainland, Greek Culture.
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In pictures > Flour festival in Greece

Hundreds of people have taken part in a huge flour fight in the village of Galaxidi in Greece. The huge festival takes place annualy on Clean Monday, which this year was on 19 February, during the Carnival celebrations, and it marks the start of 40 days of Lent until Easter. 

Around 1,500kg of flour is used in the battle. It gets its bright colours from the food colouring which is added to it! Clouds of coloured flour fill the sky while those not taking part in the traditional festival watch from a safe distance! But cleaning up the sticky mess afterwards is a different matter, officials say it takes weeks to wash the coloured powder off the streets and buildings.

See the pictures > In pictures > Flour festival in Greece

Cyprus CyTA launches 97 prefix February 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Telecoms.
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CYTAMOBILE-VODAFONE has announced the launch of new 97 prefixes for mobile telephony ahead of the 99 series running out.

The new numbering applies both for the pay-monthly and pay-as-you-go plans. New soeasy connection packs with the 97 prefix are already in the market.

According to CyTA, the action comes “within our framework of complying with the numbering orders published by the Commissioner of Electronic Communications and Postal Regulation.”

For further information contact the CyTA call centre on 132, or visit any of the CyTA shops throughout Cyprus.

Tired Baghdatis falls to Simon in Marseille final February 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Tennis Squash.
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Marcos Baghdatis failed to capture his second consecutive and third career title, losing to the unseeded Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-4, 7-6(3) in the final of the Open 13 in Marseille at the weekend.

“Gilles played a great match today. He was just the better player,” admitted Baghdatis.

Several three-set encounters in the lead up to Sunday’s final in addition to his long run in Croatia took its toll on the 21-year-olds game as it lacked the spark and inventiveness normally on display.

“I have been tired for a few days now and I was missing that important kick during today’s match. It has been a great week for me anyway, the Marseille crowd was supporting me a lot and I had fun on the court,” Baghdatis said after the match.

Simon won his first career title without dropping a set. He claimed the opener on his third set point after the seventh seeded Cypriot failed to deliver a quality drop shot.

In the second set the Frenchman broke Baghdatis’ serve in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead and then went ahead 5-2. However, Baghdatis demonstrated the fighting qualities that have become evident in the last two weeks to force a tiebreak. But a number of unforced errors proved costly and handed Simon the win.

Simon was delighted with his first career title: “This is the most beautiful day of my tennis career so far. It’s great to win in France, with my family and a lot of friends in the stands.”

“Today I wanted to play every point since I knew that Marcos was a bit tired. It’s unbelievable to win my first title without even losing a set. The crowd helped me a lot, I don’t know how the match would have ended if we played somewhere else.”

Baghdatis holds an ATP-best winning record in the current season with 14 match wins, despite his career-best nine-match winning streak being broken. The 21-year old Cypriot will next take part in the Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open scheduled to start next week Monday.

Revamping the Greek capital February 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece.
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falironolympic.jpg  The Olympic tae kwon do installation at Faliron is destined to be transformed into a major conference venue.

Athens and its real estate market stand to gain considerably from city space revamping, the creation of green spaces and the upgrade of entire areas, an event held by the company Prodexpo in association with the British Embassy in Athens heard yesterday.

The one-day event focused on the plans for the twin revamping at Votanikos and on Alexandras Avenue, the unification of the former horse-racing track with the Faliron coastal area, as well as the new situation in the local property market stemming from the use of Olympics installations.

Athens Deputy Mayor Chronis Akritidis said the twin revamping will be a complex project due to the involvement of many parties, but also that this is one of the most important development efforts ever for the City of Athens. It will bring multiple benefits to Athens both in financial and in social terms.

“The City of Athens increases its real estate by securing important properties with sports and commercial uses, while upgrading a run-down area in the heart of the capital with modern uses and infrastructures,” said Akritidis. “The Votanikos plan doesn’t end with the Panathinaikos sports ground,” said Theodoros Skylakakis, the head of Double Revamping SA, a joint venture by the City of Athens and National Bank of Greece. “The cost of the sports ground, the multipurpose municipal building, the underground parking and the 120,000-square-meter park is estimated at euro 146 million,” he said, with the total investment expected to reach euro 246 million.

Referring to the revamping of the seafront and the works at the former horse-racing track, Kallithea Mayor Constantinos Askounis stressed that his municipality is reclaiming a seaside area with sports and cultural uses and many more green spaces. At the former racing track, the new National Opera House and the National Digital Library will be constructed, along with the creation of a park and public spaces to total euro 450 million. The Olympic tae kwon do installation at Faliron Bay will be turned into a conference venue, while the beach volleyball installation will become a cultural venue. There is also a provision for the creation of an ecological park of 120,000 sq.m.

Cyprus zoo boosts local vulture stocks February 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Limassol.
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Efforts are underway on the island to boost the local vulture stocks, as their numbers are dangerously dwindling.

Limassol Mayor Andreas Christou handed over a vulture egg to Forestry Department officials, saying that the Municipality “attaches great significance to this effort”.

This was the fourth time the town’s council has provided the Forestry Department with vulture eggs from Limassol Zoo to breed the species, which is under the threat of extinction.

He said these birds are in danger from poisoned food and material which people leave to control vermin.

“Such practicse result in the extermination of a very useful and important bird for our island, the vulture, and for this reason we appeal to all Cypriots, farmers, shepherds and everybody else not to use poison”, the Mayor added.

Forestry Department official Haris Nicolaou said that the egg will be taken to Paphos for the incubation period which is about ten days. After three months, the newborn vulture will be returned to its parents to become accustomed to its environment and then it will be released into the wild when it is one year old.

“The vulture is a species on the verge of extinction and if no drastic action is taken by the state or by environmental organizations, we will only be able to see vultures in photographs”, he added.

Limassol Zoo vet Lambros Lambrou said that in 20 days another egg is expected by the mother vulture which will be incubated this time by the parents.

Oil majors show interest in offshore plans of Cyprus February 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Oil Crisis.
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Russian, Chinese and US oil firms are among those showing interest in exploring the eastern Mediterranean where there are “very good indications” of oil and gas, the Cypriot Energy Minister said yesterday.

Cyprus launched an international licensing round for offshore exploration of oil and gas last week in spite of opposition from Turkey, its northern neighbor, which has warned the move could stoke tensions in the region. Cypriot Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Antonis Michaelides rejected Turkey’s opposition. Nicosia would not back down, he said.

“We are doing nothing more or less than exercising our sovereign rights,” Michaelides told Reuters in an interview.

Cyprus, now heavily reliant on fuel imports, which represent 16 percent of its annual import bill, plans to open 11 blocks lying south and southwest of the island for exploitation. It is the first time it has undertaken such an endeavor. Cyprus almost immediately faced the ire of Turkey, which supports a breakaway Turkish-Cypriot state in the island’s north.

In a process which runs until July 16, companies can purchase seismic and two-dimensional templates of the Mediterranean seabed, covering about 70,000 square kilometers. Oil majors have shown an interest, and some have purchased the dossier, but it remains to be seen if the interest will manifest itself in an exploration bid, Michaelides said.

“No one is in a position right now to talk about exact quantities of either oil or natural gas,  the two-dimensional and seismic data show there is a good, very good indication of satisfactory quantities of hydrocarbons in the Cypriot economic zone,” said Michaelides.

At a presentation in Nicosia last week, Norwegian and French consultants contracted by the Cypriot government said their data suggested the probability of finding untapped hydrocarbons trapped at depths of up to 3,000 meters, particularly natural gas, was high.

Cyprus will be offering three types of licenses: a one-year prospecting license, an exploration license valid for three years with the possibility of two renewals of two years each time, and an exploitation license, granted for an initial period of 25 years. It can be renewed once for up to 10 years.

It has already presented its plans at road shows in London and Houston, Texas. A presentation was also planned in Russia in March, Michaelides said. “From information I have, some of the big companies have already bought the dossier,” he said, adding that interest was shown from companies based in the United States, Russia, India, China, Germany, France and Norway.

“Whether this interest will turn into an active submission of an application for exploration remains to be seen.”