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Qatar’s Nasser wins fifth consecutive Cyprus Rally April 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Racing & Motors.
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Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi of UAE and co-driver Nick Beech maintained their overall lead in the FIA Middle East Rally Championship by finishing fourth in the Cyprus Rally, round three of the eight-event series.

The 2004 regional champion lost his chance of taking an outright victory on the fifth of 16 timed special stages on Saturday, when he sustained a puncture and lost around one minute and 50 seconds to the defending regional champions and eventual rally winners Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah and Chris Patterson.

With support from the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority and Italian tyre supplier Pirelli for his Team Abu Dhabi Subaru Impreza WRX STi, Al Qassimi also suffered rear suspension troubles on the first day and front differential-related problems yesterday morning, as he became embroiled in a fascinating tussle for third overall with multiple Cyprus Rally Champion Andreas Tsouloftas.

Al Qassimi had held third overall at the start of the final leg of eight timed special stages, a mere three seconds ahead of Tsouloftas and 1m 23s adrift of second-placed Andreas Peritikos, before slipping eight seconds behind Tsouloftas after four of the final day’s eight stages.

But both Tsouloftas and Al Qassimi hit trouble on the 14th special stage between Vavatsinia and Mandra Kampiou, with the Cypriot forced to stop after rolling his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX and Al Qassimi badly delayed with engine overheating after holing his radiator.

The final two stages of the rally, the 18km of Agios Onoufrios and the 9.57km of Kofinou confirmed Qatar’s Al Attiyah’s and Ulster co-driver Chris Patterson’s fifth successive Troodos Rally win, with Peritikos and co-driver Nicos Panayides consolidating second overall.

But Al Qassimi was forced to crawl through the 14th stage at a snail’s pace to preserve his overheating engine and slipped from a potential third place to sixth overall. The UAE driver managed to coast through the final two stages to record fourth position of the registered contenders to earn five priceless championship points and maintain a three-point lead over Al Attiyah in the 2007 FIA Middle East Drivers’ Championship.

“This is always a long and difficult rally,” said a relieved Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi, who thanked Sheikh Sultan Tahnoun Al Nahyan for his invaluable support for Team Abu Dhabi this season.

“We had some minor technical problems over the two days and then we had the engine overheating problems near the finish. I lost a lot of time on the last three stages.

Cyprus grows in popularity as a magical destination April 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Racing & Motors, Tourism.
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Magical destinations in Cyprus such as Larnaca and Paphos have been named as some of the areas Britons increasingly want to go to.

A report by Tourism Intelligence, How The British Will Travel, has shown that Britons will continue to escape to sunnier places with novel cultures. Cyprus was marked as one of the destinations with the quickest growth and it’s easy to see why.

Not only does the island bask in the Mediterranean sun and is blessed by spellbinding views and picturesque countryside, it also has a rich history.

While retaining its ancient roots, the island is also moving into modernity and nothing quite illuminates the transition like the Cyprus Rally. Highly tuned rally cars squeal their way around winding mountain roads built for horse carts.

Earlier this week, Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah won the event, which is part of the FIA Middle East Rally Championships.

Visitors are not advised to race around the windy roads, but renting a car is a very good way to get around the island, giving visitors to choose where they go and the opportunity to stop and see any of the picturesque towns away from the beaten track.

There are regular flights out to both Paphos and Larnaca, from where holidaymakers can begin the holiday they’ve always dreamed of.

Apollo on the island of Delos April 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Culture History Mythology.
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On the island of Delos, Leto gave birth to Apollo, the son of Zeus.

The ancient Greeks considered Apollo as the God of music and song as well as some other little items such as agriculture and the sun.

Apollo was also the God, if not the creator, of classical ballet.

And the three Muses > Terpsichore, Goddess of music and song; Polyhymnia, Goddess of mime; Calliope, Goddess of poetry.

Big tap into Greek weddings April 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora.
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Maroulio Sotiriou was one of hundreds of nervous women who left their families in Greece, boarded a ship and came to Australia to marry a man she had never met.
Now living in Sylvania with her husband, her account of meeting her husband-to-be is, surprisingly, humorous.

”This was the first time I would see him. It was hard to find him because he was so shy – all the time hiding,” she said. ”He didn’t come out to greet me and I didn’t like this at all.”

Her story and that of 23 other of the ”proxy brides” are featured in the bridal exhibition in Marrickville Town Hall this week.

The exhibition will include the paraphernalia and attire of traditional Greek weddings.
Letters, photographs and newspapers taken from the research of Sydney University lecturer Panayota Nazou document the heartbreaking journey of betrothed Greek girls in the 1950s and 1960s. While the accounts displayed are generally lighthearted, the sadder reality of some of the women lies beneath the surface.

”At that time it was a very patriarchal culture … they decided to come, nobody made them, but many cases were not happy at all [and] those are mostly anonymous,” Dr Nazou said.

Festival director Nia Karteris said sometimes women were deceived into the marriage.
”A young girl had a photograph of a young man aged 25 and when she showed up in Sydney or Melbourne there was a 60-year-old man waiting for them but they wouldn’t go home for the shame, they stayed, married and endured it.”

Interviews with the Greek proxy brides still living in St George and Sutherland Shire were conducted by playwright and activist Sophia Catharios for her novel, Demetra , which won the Angelidis Award for best Greek Australian literature.

The exhibit runs until April 26 and will include a talk by Dr Nazou on April 25 about the Greek ”proxy brides” in Australia.

Greek summer stops from GB Airways April 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in News Flights.
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GB Airways, a franchise partner of British Airways, is set to offer its biggest ever network of flights to the Greek islands starting next week.

From May 3 flights will begin from Gatwick to Mykonos and the next day to Corfu, with additional flights to Heraklion, again from Gatwick, and Rhodes starting at the end of May.

GB Airways’ flights to Mykonos will operate twice a week, Thursday and Sunday, until October 26, while the service to Corfu will operate Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, ending October 28.

Alan McIntyre, commercial director of GB Airways, said: “Only two years ago we started flying to Crete with two flights a week and this summer we have expanded to 20 flights a week to four Greek islands.”

One-way all-inclusive fares start at £55 to Corfu, Heraklion and Rhodes from Gatwick, £65 to Heraklion from Manchester and £69 to Mykonos.

Related Links > http://www.gbairways.com

Open border fails to reconcile April 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied.
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The decision to open crossing points on the ethnically divided island of Cyprus in 2003 did little good.

The decision to open crossing points on the ethnically divided island of Cyprus in 2003 did little to facilitate closer contacts between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, a U.N. commissioned poll released on Tuesday showed.

The poll suggested that for Greek Cypriots crossing the checkpoints “it’s like a sacred pilgrimage in which you don’t engage or enjoy” whereas for Turkish Cypriots “it’s something they do for pleasure”, according to analyst Alexandros Lordos. Lordos, a Greek Cypriot, was commissioned by the United Nations to assist in the preparation and interpretation of the results of the poll carried out in February.

Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 after a brief Greek Cypriot coup and keeps some 35,000 troops in a breakaway Turkish Cypriot illegal and self-proclaimed state in the northern military controlled and occupied third of the island.

Of the Greek Cypriots who have crossed, a large proportion said they have a worse opinion of Turkish Cypriots, especially those who crossed once or a few times to visit their old home towns.

The majority of Turkish Cypriots who have crossed said their opinion of Greek Cypriots had not changed as a result. Of those who reported a change in attitude, more said they have a better opinion as a result of crossing.

There was also a high level of pessimism in both communities on prospects of a settlement for the disputed island.

“The majority on both sides said they did not see the Cyprus problem being solved in the foreseeable future,” said Lordos.

Around 40 per cent of Greek Cypriots polled said they had never crossed to the north of the island since the opening of the first crossing point in April 2003.

Half said that after one or a few initial crossings, they no longer do so. Only 10 percent of Greek Cypriots continue to cross the checkpoints with any frequency, the report said.

Among Turkish Cypriots, around 30 per cent have never crossed. One quarter have crossed once or occasionally, but not any more. Some 45 percent of Turkish Cypriots still cross with greater or lesser frequency.

The vast majority, 90 per cent of Turkish Cypriots and 87 per cent of Greek Cypriots have no meaningful contact at all with the ‘other’ side.

30,000 people expected to sign the Famagusta petition April 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied.
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Around 30,000 people have signed the Famagusta Municipality’s petition under the slogan “Let’s give voice to our city”, which began April 14 and ended yesterday.

The campaign’s aim was to collect signatures by Famagusta refugees demanding that they be allowed to return to the fenced off town, which is occupied by Turkish troops since 1974.

Speaking at a press conference today, Mayor of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, Alexis Galanos, said he was satisfied with the campaign’s results so far and noted that Cypriots abroad could continue signing the petition until the beginning of May.

”Signatures are expected to reach 30,000, including the ones from abroad. We have made an important and positive step towards enlightenment”, the Mayor said. Galanos said that the Famagusta Municipality expects the government and the political parties to respond to this campaign and use its results as a material that would contribute to the efforts for a Cyprus solution and the return of Famagusta to its lawful citizens.

He also noted the importance of the UN Security Council resolution 550 as well as the High Level Agreements of 1977-1979 which give priority to the return of Famagusta. “The European community and the people of Europe should be made aware of the fact that Turkey, a country that aspires to become an EU member state, is holding a European town with a great European history, as hostage in the most inhuman manner”, he said.

Galanos said that the Famagusta Municipality’s enlightenment efforts would include meetings with the European Parliament, the Council of the EU, the Council of European Municipalities and Regions, the national Parliaments, as well as the US Congress. Referring to the US, he said that in the last few years, Cyprus has “neglected the US factor” in the area of enlightenment and added that in the light of the US elections, the overseas Cypriots should begin a new campaign on Cyprus.

The fenced-off area (Varosha) of Famagusta is under Turkish military administration. Security Council resolution 550 (11 May 1984) ”considers attempts to settle any part of Varosha (Famagusta) by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the United Nations.”