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Full ferries set sail for Aegean > mass exodus for Easter April 5, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Special Features.
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More than 200,000 passengers are expected to head off to the Aegean Islands for their Easter break this weekend on ferries leaving from one of Attica’s three main ports, located in Piraeus, Rafina and Lavrion.

According to the Merchant Marine Ministry, there have been 245 ferry routes scheduled for this week with most of them (137) leaving from Piraeus today and tomorrow.

Travel industry sources said that most passenger tickets for ferry boats headed to the islands of Paros, Santorini and Syros have been sold out.

Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis visited Piraeus yesterday to oversee safety checks being performed on vessels and the general operation of the country’s largest port.

In a bid to also help make road transport safer during the holiday period, the Public Order Ministry said yesterday that large trucks will be banned from traveling on parts of the national highway network today, tomorrow and Monday.

Road Safety > mass exodus for Easter April 5, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Special Features.
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Two helicopters to scan traffic in pilot project over Easter

A road safety initiative involving two helicopters carrying medical staff, who will be on hand to intervene in the case of serious accidents across the national road network, is to be tested tomorrow and on Monday, the General Secretariat for Civil Protection said yesterday. The pilot project will consist of two air force helicopters, stationed at the military airbases at Tanagra and Elefsina, it was agreed during a meeting attended by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos and security services directors. The helicopters’ field of operation will extend from Corinth to the Maliakos Gulf near Lamia.

Baghdatis leads charity exhibition event April 5, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Tennis Squash.
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A first-ever tennis charity exhibition event in Cyprus is taking place next week featuring Marcos Baghdatis, Petros Baghdatis, Fabrice Santoro, Marc Gicquel and Fotos Kallias.

Organised by Societe Generale Cyprus in association with Progressive Insurance and under the auspices of the European Union celebrating the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, the event is to take place on Tuesday in Nicosia.

According to a press release, Societe Generale Cyprus has a policy of social and charitable contribution to the island’s community. All net proceeds from the event will be donated to the development of young Cypriot tennis talent and to the Cyprus Society against Osteoporosis and Myoskeletal Diseases.

Societe Generale, being the official sponsor of Marcos Baghdatis in Cyprus and within their mutual commitment to success, promise to continue providing such innovative functions having always as an objective the social contribution and the continuous development of new tennis talent in Cyprus.

The event’s main sponsors are Michael’s Automotive Ltd, Louis Group and J & P. Other sponsors are Petrolina, the Shacolas Group, Zeus Travel, M.Afxentiou & Stylianou Developers and Areeba. For more information, contact the marketing department of Societe Generale Cyprus on: 22 399718.

Cyprus prepare to host Finland in Davis Cup April 5, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Tennis Squash.
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The National tennis teams of Cyprus and Finland go head to head at the weekend for the first round of games in the second group of the Davis Cup.

Cyprus are hosting Finland, who are ranked 49th in the world, 19 places higher than the home side.

The Cypriot team will be made up of Marcos Baghdatis, his 27-year-old brother Petros, Photos Kallias and 19-year-old Christopher Koutrouzas. The team’s captain is National Coach Yiannos Hadjigeorgiou.

The star of the Finnish team is undoubtedly Jarkko Nieminen, ranked 20th in the world, two places behind Marcos Baghdatis.

The matches will start on Good Friday with two singles games, followed by a doubles game on Saturday. The last round will take place with two singles marches on Easter Sunday. Each game will be based on a best of five sets system while the winning team will be the team to win at least three of the matches.

The draw for the weekend matches will take place on Thursday at 11 am at the Olympic Palace. All matches will take place at the National Tennis Centre in Nicosia.

Keo Pilsner offers taste of Cyprus April 5, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Cyprus, Wine And Spirits.
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Here’s another of the world’s beers that few have ever heard of outside of its region, but is worth checking out.

Keo, made on the island of Cyprus, is described as a pilsner and is golden in color and uses bottom-fermenting yeast, like all lagers. It differs greatly from the typical pilsners, however, in that it has much less hop bitterness and hop flavor than is typically found in the style. This allows the malt flavor to really stand out.

The malt flavor is slightly buttery but didn’t give off a popcorn flavor like some lagers I’ve had. A regular string of fine bubbles kept rising from the bottom, and a bright white head stayed for most of the pour. It has a nice grain flavor in the background and the maltiness is not heavy, so the beer still remains a light, easily drinkable beer. It also traveled well, there was no evidence of any off flavors indicating it had been sitting a long time or had suffered any temperature or light damage.

Keo beer has been made since 1951. The Keo company is the largest industrial employer on Cyprus, with more than 600 employees. It mostly makes wine, but also makes the Keo beer, brandy, ouzo and other spirits, bottled water, juice and more.

For a list of U.S. distributors of the beer, visit www.atheneeimporters.com/nation.htm, which gives state-by-state listings of the distributors, with phone numbers and addresses. Those distributors should be able to point you to local liquor stores that carry the product.

Does Keo compare well with the best German or Czech pilsners? No, but on the other hand, it is better than most of the world’s lagers, and its strong malt presence gives it a unique identity.

Keo is a good example of why a beer should not be ignored just because of the country it’s from. It never hurts to experiment, especially in this day and age when many liquor stores offer the chance to buy single bottles.

For info on Keo Pilsner, Keo Brewery, Cyprus > www.keogroup.com

Hopkins Architects wins the Cyprus Cultural Centre competition April 5, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Cyprus.
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The Cyprus Cultural Foundation voted unanimously to accept the recommendation from the jury of its architectural competition to appoint Hopkins Architects of London to design the Cyprus Cultural Centre, a new performing arts centre in Nicosia.

The practice was supported by the Nicosia-based architectural practice of Vardas + Patsalosavvis, engineers Over Arup & Partners, acoustician Kirkegaard Associates, and theatre consultant Carr and Angier. The Centre is scheduled to open in 2011.

The jury was unanimous in awarding the second place to Coop Himmelb(l)au of Vienna and third place to João Luís Carrilho da Graça (Lisbon). The other finalists in the anonymous second stage of the competition were:

• Arts Team (London)
• Foreign Office Architects (London)
• Henning Larsen Tegnestue (Copenhagen)
• Meleltitiki – AN Tombazis and Associated Architects (Athens)
• Rafael Viñoly Architects PC (London and New York)

The finalists were drawn from sixty valid entries to the competition submitted from 16 countries.

Hopkins Architects was founded in 1976 by Michael and Patty Hopkins. It now employs over 100 people at its London office and a further 30 people in Dubai. The practice has a wide portfolio of buildings, including many for the arts, which have won numerous architectural awards. It is internationally recognized for its work in sustainable design. It is currently working on three University projects in America at Yale, Princeton and Rice and has recently completed the Shin-Marunouchi building for Mitsubishi in Tokyo, due to be opened in April 2007. The Cyprus Cultural Centre competition team was led by Director, Andrew Barnett, who will continue the development of the project from the London office.

Commenting on the finalists, Michael Colocassides, chair of the jurors, said: “My colleagues on the jury and I were thrilled at the eight winning entries and found the decision a difficult one. However, we were unanimous in choosing the Hopkins design for the intelligence, elegance and dynamic sensitivity of the plan. The design showed a sensitivity to the opportunities presented by the local climate in its openness and the use of interior courtyards and we were deeply impressed by the balanced consideration given to front and back of house areas. My colleagues on the jury were also impressed by the thought given to environmental sustainability in the design, which was well thought through and addressed the specific characteristics of the Cypriot environment, as emphasized in the brief.

The Holy Week in the Greek Orthodox Church April 5, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Special Features.
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The solemnity of Holy Week in the Greek Orthodox Church ends with the commencement of Easter celebrations, where it glorifies the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In Orthodox Greek religion, every Sunday is dedicated to the Resurrection of the Lord, but one hundred days also are dedicated to Easter, 50 before its actual preparation, and another 50 after it in commemorating the glorification of the Lord. Easter is therefore considered, the “Feast of Feasts”.

The 50 days before Easter, known as a part of the period of ‘Triodion’, are the period for strengthening faith in the Lord. This is a period of repentance, which changes people from indifference to full devotion and prayer, which is considered the soul of faith, which governs relationships with fellowman. With this special preparation, Greeks enter the sanctuary of Holy Week, not as spectators, but as actual participants in the commemoration and enactment of events leading up to the death and resurrection of Christ.

In Greek Orthodoxy, people believe Christians must always be well-trained to fight against those who try to corrupt God’s spirit. The Christian must keep his own spiritual kingdom intact and his freedom of religion and uprightness vivid in order to be a part of the Kingdom of God, where the compassion’s of the Lord and Resurrection will be experienced. In this belief, there is no other place where the Kingdom of God can be expanded except the heart of man; and there is no other gate whereby we can enter the Kingdom but that of repentance.

The 50 days which follow Easter are signified by the Pentecostarion, which are dedicated to the spiritual enjoyment of the participants in the deep belief that God is with all men in everyday life and thoughts. It starts with the celebration of the Jesus’ Resurrection. During this period, the Church of Christ (Christ’s mystical body) was instituted and strengthened. His disciples and Apostles miraculously witnessed the appearance of the risen Christ, and from that became recipients of the Holy Spirit. From this momentous event, the Apostles became the ambassadors of the new message of salvation in the name of Christ, ‘the Savior’. Nowadays, Christians are also called to commemorate the same divine events and to enact them in their hearts and minds in realization that ‘Christ is Risen’. This is also one of the reasons why the Church from the very beginning set forth as the center of its worship, the faith and Resurrection of Christ.

From the earliest days after Pentecost, the Apostles designated the first of the Sabbath of each week for the remembrance of the Resurrection of Christ. Holy Week itself, begins after ‘Palm Sunday’ and runs from Monday, where fasting and observance lead up to the so-called, ‘Passion’.

The Tuesday following it is usually devoted to scripture reading and Wednesday is devoted to the anointing the faithful with holy oil or a spig of oregano. These sprigs are later thought to have healing powers. Thursdays usually finds the household up and about very early decorating the churches as priests read bible passages from the Last Supper. Later, the taking of communion begins in which all the faithful participate. In the evening services, the priest recites passages from the twelve gospels, describing the Passion of Christ. On Good Friday, most shops and businesses are closed and flags are flown at half-mast in commemoration of Christ being taken down from the cross. On Friday evening, the bier of Christ, Epitaphios, is decorated with gold cloth and fresh flowers, where the faithful bow and stoop to kiss the symbolic body of Christ. After this, the bier is carried out of the church and paraded through the streets in a lengthy funeral procession. Finally on Holy Saturday, the ceremonies come to a close as people begin to break their fasts, savoring specially prepared dishes like ‘mageiritsa’ soup, made of lambs innards. The rest of the day is spent preparing for next day’s big lamb feast at the Easter Sunday celebrations.