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Evridiki releases new CD album March 27, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Greek.
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Cypriot performer Evridiki presents her new CD album titled “13”.

The music was composed by Dimitris Korgialas and the lyrics by Nikos Moraites, Dimitris Korgialas, Thanos Papanikolaou, Lilian Dimitrakopoulou and Poseidonas Yannopoulos.  Evridiki will attend the ‘Women of the Year’ awards on March 30. 

Listen to snippets from Evridiki’s new CD album > http://www.evridiki.gr/13/

Cyprus and Evridiki are considered already one of the potential winners of the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest. Despite the polls, Cyprus aims to qualify to the final which is the ifrst and main step. Cyprus has to compete to the 2007 semifinal due to last year’s poor result in Athens.

Evridiki performs “Comme çi Comme ça”, Cyprus entry for the Eurovision 2007 Song Contest. EUROPEANS! VOTE FOR IT!

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300 > Conquers more countries March 27, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life.
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King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) uses his shield as shelter from the fierce storm that heralds the arrival of the Persian army to Greek shores

300leonidas.jpg  Dominating the foreign box office, 300 posted $48.3 million from 33 markets over the weekend for a $79.6 million total. The computer-generated battle picture was unleashed in 20 new markets, conquering nearly all of them.

300’s strongest debut was the United Kingdom with $9.2 million from 369 screens. It topped Troy’s start there by six percent, while, in France, it bested Troy by 30 percent with $5.6 million from 485 screens. Spain’s $6.7 million from 536 screens and Mexico’s $2.6 million from 526 screens ranked as the second highest 18-rated openings of all time, and another near record occurred in Russia where 300’s $5 million from 417 prints ranked as distributor Warner Bros’ second largest start ever. It also opened atop Italy with $4.7 million from 486 prints.

Holdovers countries continued to generate potent returns as well. 300 continued to stun in Greece with a whopping $1.3 million third weekend, despite a major Euro Cup soccer match between Greece and Turkey last Saturday. The picture’s $9.4 million total is the industry’s fifth highest mark ever and already Warner Bros’ biggest of all time. 300’s second weekend in South Korea was off 29 percent to $3.4 million for a magnificent $12 million tally, trailing Troy by 12 percent through the same point.
 
Filling the second spot overseas with $7.9 million was Norbit, including a good $1.8 million opening in Italy. The comedy’s total grew to $42.9 million, but it has witnessed high drop-off rates and has yet to have a breakout market.

Music and Lyrics earned third place with $7 million from 52 markets for a $68 million total. The romantic comedy was driven by holdovers, with only one opening in Turkey ($339,000). The star power of Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore and the exclusiveness of its genre overseas have made it a big seller. The U.K. ($17 million), Australia ($7.2 million) and South Korea ($6.2 million) are among the movie’s successful runs.

The other weekend ranks were harder to determine, but it looks like Ghost Rider secured fourth place with an estimated $5.5 million from 60 territories. The comic book movie added five moderately-sized markets, including Thailand (an impressive $919,215 from 116 screens), Greece ($273,227) and New Zealand ($346,720 from 53). Ghost Rider hasn’t held up well, though, with all but one second weekend market falling 50 percent or more as well as an 84 percent, third weekend dive in Hong Kong. With $95.3 million overall thus far, however, Ghost Rider will cross the century mark.

Looking to supplant 300 next weekend but settling for superb results from just two markets was Mr. Bean’s Holiday. It set a record biggest comedy opening ever in both Singapore ($1.1 million from 43 screens) and Malaysia ($739,648 from 49 screens), boding well for its 21-territory release next weekend.

The Pursuit of Happyness entered some of its final markets on a low note. The drama made only $121,910 from 66 screens in Russia, a market that has made even straight-to-video pictures hits. Pursuit, though, looked good in Hong Kong though with a second-ranked $218,767 debut, and it has had an excellent run overall with $137.8 million thus far.

Ending its foreign campaign in Japan, The Holiday excelled again with a $1.5 million launch. The romantic comedy has more than doubled its domestic take with a $130.9 million overall total and it was popular all around, the U.K. leading the way at $23.9 million. Meanwhile, Reign Over Me fell flat in its foreign debut, Australia, grossing only $217,936 from 56 screens.

Greek water polo double victory March 27, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Aquatics.
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Men face Serbia and women meet European champs Russia for semifinal berths at Worlds

The Greek men’s water polo team reached the quarterfinals at the World Aquatic Championships in Melbourne following a narrow 8-7 win over Romania yesterday.

Greece will next face Serbia, the world champion in 2005 and European champion last year, in a quarterfinal tomorrow. In his post-match remarks, Greek player Antonis Vlontakis suggested that his team needed to overcome extremely unfair refereeing to snatch victory over the Romanians.

Playing a day earlier, the Greek women’s water polo team, a silver medalist at the Athens 2004 Olympics, made it through to the quarterfinals with a 9-5 win over New Zealand.

The Greek women’s team will now encounter Russia, the European champion, for a place in the semifinals. They meet today.

New Zealand offered little resistance to the Greek team. Coach Koulis Iosifidis took the opportunity to give playing time to his entire squad, including 17-year-old reserve goalkeeper Elena Kouvdou. The Greek girls established a 7-0 lead early in the third quarter of play before slackening and allowing New Zealand to narrow the deficit for the final 9-5 score.

“We controlled the game from the very beginning without problems. I gave playing time to the youngsters toward the end so they can get a feel for these games. They may be needed,” said Iosifidis. Commenting on his team’s prospects against Russia, the Greek team’s coach warned that it would be a testing encounter.

“They could well be the most in-form team. They apply lots of pressure, take risks and seek to spread panic to their opponents,” noted Iosifidis. “They don’t care about how many goals they will concede because they believe they can score more. If we don’t make the right choices, we will encounter lots of problems,” he added.

In swimming, Aristidis Grigoriadis, a gold medalist at the worlds two years ago in the 50-meter backstroke, failed to make the final in the discipline over 100 meters. His semifinal time of 55.12 seconds gave him no better than 11th place, overall, following the semifinals. Grigoriadis went into his semifinal heat with the fifth-fastest time, 54.95 seconds, in the previous round.

Greek team rushes to finish laptop by the April deadline March 27, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet & Web, Technology.
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Quietly, efficiently, and above all collectively, some 500 Greek volunteers are spending a considerable amount of their time on a noble endeavor, developing the Greek version of the famous “$100 computer” a project run by the international NGO One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), founded by Nicholas Negroponte, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor.

100dollar_laptop.jpg  The Greek project associated with OLPC has many volunteers, including 250 people with programming, translation and other skills and another 250 primary and secondary school teachers. The team includes lawyers, PhDs, English teachers and one young student who is in the sixth grade of primary school.

“The volunteers working on the Greek version of the computer are fighting on four fronts,” Thodoros Karounos said. Karounos, coordinator of the Initiative Committee, works in the Network Design Laboratory of the Engineering School at the National Technical University of Athens. “The first team mainly comprises programmers who are working on adapting and improving existing applications, but also on writing new software for the cheap computer,” he said.

The team is part of an international effort in which thousands of programmers are racing against time to iron out the last wrinkles before the computer goes into production in mid-April.

“The second team is made up of translators, who translate the software and applications into Greek and adapt them,” Karounos said. “The third team are teachers who develop some pilot educational software and assess educational applications, while the fourth organizes demonstrations of the concept.”

Despite growing interest, the Initiative Committee say they need more volunteers and invite those interested to write to them at http://olpc.ellak.gr and indicate which team they would like to participate in.

They are paving the way for the availability of a cheap laptop for schoolchildren in Greece as of the next school year.

“The state has set a target of 20,000 cheap computers by September in 300 schools that express interest in carrying out pilot programs in the sixth grade of primary school and the second class of junior high school in two subjects, mathematics and physics,” Karounos said.

The software for the Greek edition will be developed under the auspices of the Special Secretariat for the Information Society and on a volunteer basis by the open source software community.

What motivates them? “For a start, it’s because they want to contribute to something democratic that helps develop a shared, public digital infrastructure,” said Karounos. “The ‘$100 computer’ is inspirational because, although it is specially designed for children, easy to use, free of toxins, with applications that appeal to youngsters, it is not a ‘kid’s game.’ On the contrary, it is technologically innovative, for example, images and text on the extremely high-definition screen are clear even in bright sunlight, and it subverts the profit motive, opening up new technological and communications potential for all children. Another reason that motivates these volunteers is the desire for knowledge, as they learn by collaborating, coming into contact with very good programmers. There is a third reason, to acquire a reputation, which may lead them to a future career.”

How much time do the volunteers devote to the project? “It differs from one person to another,” Karounos said. “Some spend even more hours on it than they do at their day jobs. There is one team leader, for instance, who is the manager of a computer store, but he sits at the computer here until late at night. You can call him at two in the morning to fix some code.”

Open-source software for the digital world March 27, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet & Web.
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In a new knowledge-sharing era, Greeks join millions globally who are writing programs and posting them for free on the Internet

In Greece there are already more than 8,000 volunteers working on open-source software. ‘They want to contribute to something democratic that helps develop a shared, public digital infrastructure,’ Karounos says.

Millions of volunteers all over the world are building a network for the new digital era. More than 10 million volunteers around the world are writing programs and posting them for free on the Internet.

“From the very beginning, the Internet was based on volunteers and open-source software that could be further developed,” says Thodoros Karounos, coordinator of the team making a Greek version of the $100 computer. “It’s not new. This is how knowledge grows, through communication and cooperation. Even Newton said he rose high because he stood on the shoulders of giants.”

“The development of knowledge, particularly in the digital age, is connected to the free movement of ideas, and not with patents and the ownership of information,” he says. These ideas have inspired the volunteer movement on the Internet.

What will be the common public infrastructure of the digital age? “Today it is roads, tomorrow it will be the Internet, which must be free and shared,” said Karounos. “The underlying idea behind digital volunteerism derives from the English commons, the shared fields.”

In Greece there are already more than 8,000 volunteers working on open-source software, and their number multiplies every year as more people use the Internet and acquire broadband connections. There are approximately 2,500 people hooked up to the Greek open-software community (http://www.open-source.gr/ and http://www.ellak.gr/) while many thousands more work independently or in other groups.

Volunteers are the rule rather than the exception, with a network of people behind every activity. For instance, one community (www.athenswireless.net) is making Athens the world capital of wireless Internet. Other individuals, such as educators in the provinces, are working alone to spread the use of the Internet.

In an age where everything is for sale, digital volunteers may seem like naive romantics or people who are easily exploited. But they feel as if they are pioneers of a new era, not only on the Internet but also in every aspect of life.

Safety in numbers as Greek Wikipedia grows March 27, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet & Web.
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More writers, less chance of site being used for propaganda

Known as “Geraki”, hawk, on the website, Constantinos Staboulis, one of the Greek Wikipedia’s editors, believes most writers enter a subject that they have a personal interest in publishing.

The Greek version of Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia written exclusively by users, already has some 20,000 entries. The site kicked off in 2003 with just one writer, but today it publishes some 30 texts a day and has 50 regular writers.

Wikipedia, a project aimed at becoming the first truly open online encyclopedia, was created by a group of volunteers who have continued to support the project today. The Greek version has eight staff members who work on the site for a few hours each day on a volunteer basis, crosschecking the information posted and editing and screening new entries.

The most common problem they run into, according to one of the first Greek Wikipedia writers, Constantinos Staboulis, is that entries are often direct copies from other websites; this is against the regulations of the website, which requires original work.

Nicknamed “Geraki” on the site, Staboulis believes that most writers enter information about a subject that they have a personal interest in publishing. “We have texts about almost every neighborhood in Patras, but nothing about any city in China,” he says.

For the screenings staff, who prefer to use their user names rather than reveal their true identities, their greatest reward working on the site is the information and knowledge they glean, more so because they have to read up on a subject from different sources in order to ensure that the information posted is correct.

CeeKey edits some 20 texts daily, spending two to three hours on them. A physics major, he edits scientific texts. “I try to edit those that have something to do with my own area of study. I’m not trying to be a know-it-all. If I’m not familiar with a subject, I’ll pass it on to another member of the staff.”

The eight editors frequently come under attack from the writers of the texts. FocalPoint says: “We get a reaction to almost every decision we make, such as removing a piece or correcting something, or even barring a user from making entries,” he says.

The smooth operation of the site is upset every time a “hot” or controversial issue arises in current affairs, as it is inevitably followed by a flood of contradictory information.

According to Badseed, these issues are normally related to religion, ideology or politics, but also to modern Greek history. “Because of the open character of the site, and its increasing dynamics and breadth, some try to use Wikipedia as a forum for propaganda, a means of promoting certain views or even as a vehicle for advertising,” he says. He also adds that the number of people writing for the site is one of the best ways of restricting this kind of usage, even though there are measures in place to exclude such activities from the site. “As the participation of people with different points of view increases, we will see a reduction in the number of people using the site for propaganda or pushing a personal agenda,” he says.

Scientists who use Wikipedia agree that it is a site that can develop into a very useful tool, yet they express their reservations over the quality of articles on highly specialized subjects.

Astrophysicist Dimitris Nanopoulos says that he uses Wikipedia frequently and is so far pleased with the results: “Whenever my team has had to cross-check certain information, it has not found any serious errors in Wikipedia. I am a bit skeptical about the scientific articles, but, I must confess, I have used the website for other areas of research and have been satisfied. It offers a direct source of information which, with the right level of quality control, can prove to be a very useful source of general knowledge.”

Professor Nikos Lygeros, who is writing about genocide, finds the Greek Wikipedia more reliable than other versions regarding his field of study. He believes that when the criteria are quantitative, it hurts the quality of information. “A prime example is the entry for ‘genocide.’ While the Armenian genocide has been recognized in France since 2001, the French version of Wiki had accepted entries from revisionist elements who questioned the genocide. The result is that under the same entry you find conflicting points of view. The outcome is simple; the user cannot use the information on Wiki because it has been tainted by misinformation. The absence of a certified committee renders Wiki a vulnerable source,” says Lygeros.

Cyprus trounce Greece in first international rugby match March 27, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cricket Hockey Rugby.
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Saturday witnessed the first Rugby Football International match to take place on Cypriot soil.

Years of hard work and planning by a few dedicated individuals resulted in 15 strapping Cypriot players taking on the much more experienced Greek side who are currently leaders of their regional group. This was officially a ‘friendly’ but to mark the occasion, the sides were competing for Independence Cup which will now be played on an annual basis.

Shortly after the kick-off, a scrum formed in the Greek half and our pack were dumped. Cypriot captain, Jonathan Pettemerides, soon settled them down and they went to work with a furious enthusiasm that unsettled the Greeks. Cyprus was rewarded with a penalty after five minutes and vice captain Tony Thoma kicked between the uprights into a punishing wind and secured the first three points for Cyprus in an international. Cyprus camped out in the Greek half and battled on for a try scored by full back, Mike Maratheftis to take the lead by 10 points after Thoma converted.

Following some moments of indecision, the Greeks advanced into Cypriot territory and gained a penalty, which they failed to convert. Shortly before half-time Cyprus was awarded another penalty that deflected from the post, but was gathered by the outside half, Andrew Binikos who went over for a try which went unconverted.

At half-time Cyprus left the field leading by 15 to 0. which was fully justified; they displayed good handling skills, were not overawed in the set pieces, but most importantly were excellent in defence; the Greeks could not penetrate their line.

The second half started in the most dramatic fashion with a scorching break by the outstanding captain, Pettemerides, who passed outside to Binikos, who went over under the posts. The reliable Thoma converted and Cyprus led by 22-0. As the game progressed Cyprus became more confident and apart from minor indiscretions arising from sheer enthusiasm, dominated the experienced Greek side. The defence tackling of the two centres, particularly George Agathocleous was outstanding.

Twenty minutes into the half, the Greeks were rewarded for their persistence with a converted penalty by the No. 10, Athanasios Tsatsalos which followed from a series of infringements by Cyprus. This was soon adjusted by a try by Tony Thoma, who converted and took the score to 32-3; Thoma, a utility forward was part of a back row that was relentless in attack and defence. Almost on full time Chris Thoma crashed over on the wing, and with his brother’s conversion, brought the final score to 39-3.

If you think this is flattering, be aware that poor ball handling in the second half prevented Cyprus running in at least another two tries. Led by John Stavrou, the officials had an easy game, and apart from a mild case of ‘handbags’, the event was one of outstanding sportsmanship. Following the game Omiros Fanariotis, the Greek loosehead prop, said, “Cyprus was tough and well-trained”. He said Greece had not underestimated Cyprus but had not expected them to gel so well in their first international. “The Cypriots capitalised on our mistakes”. He commended the spirit of the game, but predicted that Greece will win the return match next year.

Neophytou described the win as a “great day for Cyprus”. On being awarded the Man Of The Match trophy, Cyprus captain Jonathan Pettemerides paid tribute to his side. “The boys worked very hard and deserve full credit for their work around the pitch. Greece was very aggressive but it was our intention to move them around and unsettle them, which we did. “I want to acknowledge the hard work done by the coaching staff and the management.”

Pettemerides, who has played rugby around the world, said that captaining his country was his proudest moment in the game. Tony Thoma, top points scorer, paid tribute to the team’s “excellent skipper”, adding “it was a top-notch performance after only one full practice, but I thought the Greeks would be stronger”.

Niall Docherty, the national coach said he “wasn’t surprised by the result”’.

The whole atmosphere surrounding the game was one of good fellowship; rugby followers from all nationalities domiciled in the island swelled the crowd to over 2,500. Among the VIPs in the hospitality centre was Irish Ambassador Tom Brady and Garth Hunt, the Australian High Commissioner, diplomatic representatives of two of the world’s strongest rugby playing countries. Both expressed their pleasure at being present on such an historic occasion for Cyprus.

President of the Cyprus Rugby Federation, Costas Mastoroudes, paid tribute to his team and officials and to those who had rallied to support the national side; not least the members of Paphos Tigers RFC who ran the food and drink stalls, but most particularly to those stalwarts and principal sponsors of Cyprus rugby, Artio Brasserie, run by Andreas Antoniou and Rona Bloomfield who not only provided the hospitality marquee, but donated the national team’s shirts.

Loukis Pattihis, vice-president of Cyprus Rugby Federation summed it up in saying, “We won before we got on the pitch”.

Next up for Cyprus, a friendly in November, perhaps against Bulgaria. In case any cynics out there are wondering about the overseas players; they all paid their own expenses. Six players from the winning team will be in action on Thursday when the Limassol Crusaders take on Akrotiri in the semi-finals of the Cyprus Cup. The game starts at 7.00pm at Akrotiri. For more information visit www.limassolcrusaders.com