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Greece’s Chief of Staff calls on NATO over canceled exercise March 2, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Politics.
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Greece’s Chief of Staff called on NATO to take “corrective action” after the alliance canceled a scheduled military exercise in the Aegean Sea following objections by Turkey.

Admiral Panagiotis Chinofotis said in an interview published Thursday that NATO “has no jurisdiction” on matters concerning international treaties and agreements, which Turkey cited to block the air exercise near the Greek island of Aghios Efstratios. “I firmly believe that NATO must take the necessary corrective action as soon as possible,” Chinofotis added.

The small drill, involving Greek fighter jets and a NATO electronic warfare plane, was scheduled for earlier this week.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said Greece’s permanent representative at NATO would meet the alliance’s Secretary-General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, to discuss the matter.

Koumoutsakos rejected as “totally baseless” Turkish arguments that, under international treaties, Aghios Efstratios is in a demilitarized zone.

Uneasy NATO allies Greece and Turkey have come to the brink of war three times in the past 32 years over war-divided Cyprus and disputed Aegean boundaries.


The e-Trikala project > City of Trikala coops with Ericsson March 2, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet & Web.
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Ericsson recently won a contract to provide telecommunications infrastructure for a major project in the central Greek city of Trikala. The company will be playing a major role in establishing the first ‘digital’ city in Greece, dubbed e-trikala.

More specifically, Ericsson will be serve as the primary integrator for a turnkey fiber infrastructure designed to bring broadband services to Trikala’s residents. Through 2008, Ericsson will be providing switching and WiFi systems, along with a metropolitan area fiber optic network and related services, consulting, deployment, systems integration and customer support.

Under the agreement, Ericsson will be the only supplier of telecommunication infrastructure services and equipment for the project. In addition to citizen services, the fiber optic network will be used to connect Tikala’s government offices and agencies, educational institutions, and recreational facilities.

Access to broadband services will be enabled through connections with National Network of Public Administration and the broader Internet. Students, municipal employees, and general citizenry are just a few of those who stand to benefit from the network. Additionally, services enabled by the network will serve local businesses, Trikala’s emergency response system, and urban telework centers.

Michalis Tamilos, Trikala’s Mayor, expressed positive sentiments that Ericsson’s solutions will help the city and its citizens gain access to advanced technologies.

“We are confident that with their proven systems integration expertise and solutions, as well as their commitment, Ericsson can help us deliver high-quality services to Trikala’s citizens and lead our city into a new era,” Tamilos said in a statement. “This project can secure enormous economic prospects and growth for our city.”

Spyros Nikolaou, CEO at Ericsson Greece, added: “Broadband services are recognized as one of the most critical components of development and improvement of citizens’ quality of life. This project will significantly change the everyday life of Trikala’s citizens and we are proud that Ericsson, as the market leader, through its leading technology, end-to-end solutions and competent people, is part of this momentous development.”

The e-trikala project is being funded by the Greek Information Society Framework Program. The first phase was completed during 2006.

Greeks are no strangers to high technology March 2, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Technology.
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A significant number of small and innovative Greek firms thriving in local information technology sector

Listed information technology companies may have little to show in terms of progress, and the management of funds for IT development may be flawed, but there is a new generation of Greek technology companies created in the last few years that are proving to be pioneers in developing solutions for the global market.

These enterprises have been set up by young engineers, most of whom abandoned high-level positions in multinational companies and universities abroad. Some of them already have offices in London, in Silicon Valley in the US, in India and even in Yokohama, Japan. Some of them are subsidiaries of international groups founded by Greeks in the US and are now at the forefront of the global technological market.

These 15-20 companies may not have remarkable revenues but they have developed innovative solutions that secure them cooperation with the strongest brands in the world, which is why more than 80 percent of their turnover today comes from abroad. What all these firms have in common is that their founders have graduated from the University of Patras or the National Technical University of Athens and continued their studies abroad. One of them is Vassilis Makios, who is now the director of the new Innovation Center in Microelectronics.

The center was recently inaugurated in Athens in the context of the Hellenic Technology Clusters Initiative, partially funded by the EU-sponsored Third Community Support Framework. It hosts about 10 small enterprises specializing in semiconductors, i.e. the core of IT, telecommunications and consumer electronics products.

Jorge Sanchez-Papaspiliou and Nikos Vogiatzis, two 35-year-olds who also abandoned their positions abroad, have undertaken the operation of the center, under Makios. They say they returned to Greece because they had “had enough of hearing Greeks abroad say there is no hope for technology in this country.”

Makios, Sanchez and Vogiatzis suggest that the companies hosted by the center have total revenues of 30 million euro today, but show rapid rates of growth, so that many of them expect revenues to increase tenfold in the next five years.

These companies are not there just to absorb subsidies without ever developing any products. They are “real companies, with real people creating real products,” says Yiannis Tsoukalas, general secretary for research and technology at the Development Ministry. Many of them still require capital injections, though, as well as more know-how in order to proceed further. The center now intends to cooperate with private equity firms to secure funding for newly founded enterprises seeking capital. Center officials reveal they are locked in negotiations and hope they will soon reach an agreement.

Makios, Sanchez-Papaspiliou and Vogiatzis add there is interest by other companies to participate in the center, too.

Campaign > Vote for the return of Parthenon Marbles March 2, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Vote For Return Greek Marbles.
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If you are interested in the restitution of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece and would like to help, there are several different ways in which you can get involved with the campaign. We shall be extremely grateful to all of you who can help.


Should the UK return the so-called “Elgin marbles” to Greece?



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Leigh Fermor receives Greece’s highest honour March 2, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Books Life, Greece News, Tourism.
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Leigh Fermor usually avoids the spotlight these days, to concentrate on his work, but this week made an exception as Greece, his adopted home, awarded him its highest honour, Commander of the Order of the Phoenix.

Leigh Fermor, widely acknowledged as Britain’s greatest living travel writer, was unexpectedly told of the award in a letter from the Office of Greece’s President last month. “I have no idea why they are doing this but I am deeply honoured and moved,” he said after receiving the medal at a lavish ceremony in Athens.

“I think they’ve enjoyed reading my books and heard I was an eager participant, who got in the thick of things during the war,” said the author, who is also known for pulling off one of the greatest coups in Nazi-occupied Europe, orchestrating the capture of General Kreipe, the military commander on Crete, a feat immortalised by the book and film Ill Met by Moonlight, (Music by Mikis Theodorakis).

Friends say Leigh Fermor, who has chronicled Greece for more than 60 years, is these days acutely aware of the passage of time and put aside precious writing time to make the trip from his home in Mani on the southern Peloponnese. When he was handed the prestigious Travel Writers’ Guild award in 2004, he dispatched his biographer Artemis Cooper to pick up the gong.

Since the second half of the 80s, he has being toiling to complete the third volume of a trilogy depicting his extraordinary journey on foot from Rotterdam to Istanbul at the age of 18. His painstaking perfectionism means his output has not been prolific. He wrote the first volume of the trilogy, A Time of Gifts, widely considered his greatest work, nearly four decades after the odyssey in 1977. The second, Between the Woods and the Water, was released in 1986. Ever since, fans have been desperate to read the third.

Greece ranks 24th in world tourism March 2, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism.
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Greece ranks on the 24th place among 124 countries in the overall rankings for the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index presented on Thursday by the World Economic Forum.

According to a joint announcement by the Union of Greek Industries (SEB) and the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE), the country is behind competitors in its immediate neighborhood, such as Spain (15th place), Cyprus (20th place) and Portugal (22nd place), though ahead of nearby Croatia (38th place), Turkey (52nd place) and Egypt (58th place).

Among Greece’s strengths are the very good levels of hygiene (3rd worldwide), high levels of security (18th worldwide) and cultural resources (23rd worldwide), as well as a positive attitude of Greeks toward tourists (23rd worldwide) and a high priority to tourism in government action (22nd worldwide).

Its weaknesses include a rigid legislative framework that discourages foreign investments, where the country ranks 57th worldwide, restrictions on ownership by foreign nationals and difficulty in obtaining a visa. The country is also criticized for its travel infrastructure, which is seen as significantly inferior to that in other European countries, and a lack of specially trained personnel, where Greece ranks 55th worldwide.

According to SEB and SETE, the report highlighted that prices are not the most important factor in undermining competitiveness. They pointed out that prices were actually higher in the countries that scored better than Greece but that these offered better quality services and better value for money.

A personal message from Marcos to all his fans March 2, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Tennis Squash.
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February > An excellent month for Marcos Baghdatis

“To all of you a big Thank you, your continued support has helped me play at my best.”

In the last few weeks, the sequence of events has shown Marcos claiming victory after victory.

Winner of the Zagreb tournament (Croatia) then the following week playing in the finals of the Marseille tournament only to be defeated by his French opponent Gilles Simon.

On incredible match took place in Dubaï between Marcos and the wold’s N°2 player Rafaël Nadal. After a set and a half of dominating the Spaniard. Nadal took the upper-hand and won the match in 3 set.

Marcos still thanks you!!!

Best regards

Related Links > www.baghdatis.com