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Greece’s Intralot signs Australian online gaming contract April 3, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy.
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Following an international tender process, Intralot Australia, a subsidiary of Greece’s Intralot S.A., has signed a contract for the provision of a new online gaming operating system and support services for the Lotteries Commission of Western Australia, Lotterywest.

The initial five year contract is expected to generate approximately 18 million Australian dollars worth of revenue for Intralot. Implementation of the new system will start almost immediately and the conversion to the new system will commence by March, 2008.

The project entails the supply and implementation, along with support, of the integrated lottery system based on Intralot open architecture solution LOTOS O/S and CORONIS family of terminals, including Ticket checkers and Portable Terminals. Furthermore INTRALOT will be providing the hardware equipment that will host the LOTOS O/S and its applications.

The new system will provide Lotterywest with all the necessary functionality to provide the community of Western Australia with a reliable and modern lottery system.

Jan Stewart, Lotterywest CEO commented “After a long and carefully considered procurement process, I am now looking forward to working with Intralot to provide Lotterywest with the lottery platform we require to ensure that we continue to provide our beneficiaries with the best possible level of support.”

Intralot CEO, Mr. Constantinos Antonopoulos said: “We are very pleased with this award, because we consider it as one more distinction for our company’s worldwide eminence in the lottery industry. We acknowledge that Australia has a long tradition of popular and well regulated lotteries and thus our responsibilities are even greater. This project is a highly important addition to our international portfolio and strengthens our presence in the demanding Oceania market. We engage ourselves to deliver a state-of-the-art integrated solution which will directly benefit the Lotterywest community, the lottery players as well as the broader local community.”

Shares of Intralot were up almost 1.5% this morning to €22.66.


Varna, Thessaloniki ports to co-operate April 3, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece News, Transport Air Sea Land.
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A railway connection between Bulgaria’s port of Varna and Greece’s Thessaloniki port will facilitate the cargo shipments between the two countries, Transport Minister Petar Mutafchiev and his Greek counterpart Michael Liapis decided.

The two countries will work for the modernisation of the railway transport in the Balkans Liapis said. A cargo railway line will also be built alongside the Bourgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline.

Easter > A Taste of Unity April 3, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Special Features.
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Catholic-Orthodox Calendars Coincide

It is a motive of great joy for many Christians that the Catholic and Orthodox Churches will celebrate Easter on the same day this year, says Bishop Franghiskos Papamanolis.

The Catholic Church, following the Gregorian calendar, normally celebrates Easter earlier than the Orthodox Church, which follows the Julian calendar. This year the two coincide with the celebration of Easter on April 8.

Bishop Papamanolis, President of the Greek Catholic episcopal conference, said that the Catholic community in the country normally celebrates Easter on the same day as the Orthodox Church. He said: “To celebrate Easter on different days creates social problems, and for us, it also creates pastoral problems. For us it is a suffering to celebrate Easter on a different day than Rome. The suffering is even greater,” the bishop added, “when we can’t celebrate Easter together in Greece, as there are many mixed families.”

Bishop Papamanolis of Syros and Milos islands said that the ideal “would be to arrive to an agreement so that all Christians could celebrate Easter together.” Next year, he added, “the Catholic universal Church will celebrate Easter on March 23, while the Orthodox Church, along with us Catholic Greeks, will do so on April 27.”

The Council of Nicaea established that the day of Easter should fall on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox. The difference of dates for the Catholic and Orthodox Churches is due to fact that they follow different calendars. The next time Easter coincides for the two Churches will be April 4, 2010.

Aristotle University top Greek Erasmus participant April 3, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Education.
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Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University was first amongst Greece’s higher education institutions during the 2004-05 academic year in terms of the number of students attending the popular Erasmus student exchange programme.

Five-hundred and eighty students from the University have participated in the programme, while the school has received 475 students from other European institutions.

Amongst Europe’s higher education institutions, Aristotle University placed third in terms of preference by visiting professors, while it occupied fourth place in terms of the number of professors taking teaching spots in other European universities.

Due to its popularity, the Greek University will be included in a special Erasmus publication to be distributed at the EU conference on Lifelong Learning in Berlin on May 7.

A Greek salad and a fish April 3, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes.
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Greek Tomato Salad
Ingredients >
6 large, sun-ripe tomatoes
red onion, sliced
crumbled Greek Feta cheese
Greek Kalamata olives
Olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Fresh basil
Method >
Slice the tomatoes and place them on a serving plate. Crumble Feta cheese on top, decorate with the slices of red onion and Feta cheese. Sprinkle olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top and let sit in room temperature for 90 min. before serving. Garnish with fresh basil. Makes 6 servings

Grilled Mackerel
Ingredients >
4 large mackerel, rinsed
salt and pepper
olive oil
lemon wedges
Method >
Sprinkle salt and pepper inside the fish. Brush with olive oil and grill fish whole, 10 min. on each side. Keep flipping the fish around and brush with olive oil. Serve immediately with lemon and a Greek side salad.

Bon Apetite!

Thematic Museum series expands in Volos April 3, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Museums.
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Early 20th century ceramic materials factory now a showcase

volos_museum.jpg  An old ceramic materials factory becomes a Volos flagship.

Right up until the late 19th century, facilities producing ceramic construction materials operated as family businesses. They relied on abundant reserves of raw materials located nearby and sold their produce regionally. The sector’s first steps into the industrial era were taken during the last two decades of the 19th century with the establishment of two sizable facilities, the Dilaveri Ceramics Company in Piraeus and Industrial and Commercial SA in Thessaloniki.

The sector took off in the 1920s when numerous facilities in urban centers, both large and small, such as that of the Tsalapata Brothers in Volos, northern Greece, turned to steam for fuel.

The Volos facility, which was founded in 1926 and developed into a flagship firm for the provincial city, went through various phases. There were two rounds of modernization, and a bumper period during which the company, once equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, employed 250 persons. The Volos unit’s product line included Marsailles-type roof tiles, as well as a Greek version commonly known as the Byzantine roof tile, and clay pipes. The Tsalapata brand name was synonymous with quality. At its peak, the Volos facility’s production reached 9 million units per year.

The sector’s gradual demise began with the arrival of cement in the building sector. The renowned Volos factory survived until the mid-70s before being forced to halt all activity. But the production facility and its equipment remained and, in 1995, the defunct factory was added to the country’s cultural heritage list. Around this time, it was purchased by the Municipality of Volos with the intention of turning the unit into a cultural center focused on the industrial and handcrafted traditions. Work toward the building’s new use began three years later and was completed in 2001. Moreover, not long after, the Piraeus Bank Group’s Cultural Foundation (PIOP) took on the development of a Museum showcasing examples of the facility’s old ceramic construction items.

Athenian guests who attended last Saturday’s grand opening, launched by Greek President Karolos Papoulias, were impressed by the results. It wasn’t just the Museum but all its peripheral features, such as a cafe, restaurants and shops, that added considerably to the project’s good impression.

This is the fifth addition to the Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation’s series of thematic museums at former production facilities. Others include a silk Museum in Soufli, northern Greece, and an olive and olive oil Museum in Sparta, in the country’s south.

The preservation, documentation and exhibition of traditional production methods is one of the foundation’s basic policies, as has been underlined by its President, Sophia Staikou, on numerous occasions. At the Volos facility’s opening, Staikou spoke of the difficulties encountered by PIOP for this latest endeavor, while also noting the series’s “contribution to regional development.”

Visitors to the converted Volos factory get to see details of production techniques. This impressive Museum, a project budgeted at 2.7 million euros, serves as a “good example,” as was noted by Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis during his speech at the opening. Other PIOP projects in the pipeline include a Museum on marble working on the island of Tinos, which is scheduled for a September opening, if all goes according to plan.

The Rooftile and Brickworks Museum, N. & S. Tsalapatas
South Gate, Volos, Tel: 24210 29844

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

Cyprus to get Concert Hall April 3, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Cyprus.
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Music will find a new home at the Cyprus Cultural Megaron

Cyprus has taken a further step toward acquiring its own Megaron Mousikis or Concert Hall, following the completion of an international architectural competition won by Sir Michael Hopkins, an architect knighted for his achievements in the field. Hopkins and his associates are world-renowned for their projects, which include the UK’s Glyndebourne Opera House and a recently built UK Parliament building, Portcullis House.

Hopkins and his associates, one of eight contestants in the competition, were awarded the project by unanimous decision. The competition’s jury reported being impressed by the winning proposal’s overall balance in details, including its harmony with the surrounding area, where a planned parliamentary building may also be sited. The jury also underlined the winning bid’s ingenuity, elegance and dynamic sensitivity, both interior and exterior, as factors in its decision.

The Cyprus Cultural Megaron, as the new concert hall will be named, plans to host both state-sponsored and private events. The venue will be partly managed by the state. It will be located in Nicosia’s downtown Archigrammmateia district, where various government services, housed mostly in prefabricated buildings dating back to the days of British rule, are currently based.

The venue, which will comprise a complex of state-of-the-art concert halls and peripheral facilities, will be fully equipped to host the most demanding of productions, be they domestic or imported.

The main concert hall, a 1,400-capacity structure, will be suitable for hosting symphony orchestras, opera productions, ballets and other large-scale events. Also incorporated in the project will be a smaller, 500-capacity room for chamber music, dance events and smaller concerts in general.

The project is expected to be completed in five years. The concert hall is part of a wider government program aimed at enriching the infrastructure of the Mediterranean country’s cultural landscape. Considering the cultural reality on Cyprus, where interest in the type of events to be hosted at the venue is limited to a relatively small group, this ambitious project comes as something of a surprise.

Meanwhile, the country is in urgent need of a new Archaeological Museum. Many of Cyprus’s most important antiquities are presently crammed into an inadequate building built in the days of British rule.