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Everest climb for Olympic torch April 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Olympic Games.
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The Olympic torch will reach the top of Mount Everest en route to the Beijing games, officials have confirmed.

The flame will be carried through 20 cities in five continents on its journey from Olympia in Greece.

But self-ruling Taiwan, seen by China as part of its territory, has rejected its inclusion on the route, seeing it as an attempt to downgrade its status. And the inclusion of Tibet, ruled by China since it invaded in 1950, is likely to provoke protests abroad.

Officials also unveiled the new Olympic torch, a red and silver design shaped like a Chinese scroll. The 72cm (28-inch) high torch is designed to withstand wind and rain, and is also eco-friendly, officials said.

torch.jpg  The torch will arrive in Beijing in time for the Olympics opening ceremony on 8 August next year.

At a ceremony in Beijing, International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said the torch relay would “be a journey of harmony, friendship and respect to people of different nationalities races and creeds”.

Liu Qi, head of Beijing’s Olympic organising committee, said the route would “cover the longest distance and be the most inclusive” in Olympic history.

But officials in Taiwan were not happy that the planned route would have seen the torch visit Taipei followed by stops in Hong Kong and Macau. “This route is a domestic route that constitutes an attempt to downgrade our sovereignty,” said Tsai Chen-wei, the chairman of Taiwan’s Olympic Committee. “It is something that the government and people cannot accept.”

While many in Taiwan are said to be keen for the torch to come, some fear that if the route directly links the island with China it would appear to endorse Beijing’s view that Taiwan is part of its territory.

The highlight of the 137,000km (85,000-mile) journey is expected to be the torch’s planned ascent in May of the world’s highest mountain, Everest, which straddles the border between Tibet and Nepal. But its path through Tibet may trigger protests from critics of Beijing’s rule. China invaded Tibet in 1950 and its spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, lives in exile in India.

Four US activists were arrested on Everest on Wednesday after unfurling a banner calling for Tibet’s independence as Chinese climbers were carrying out relay assessments. They were still believed to be in detention on Thursday. China said it was investigating the incident and warned foreign citizens against engaging in “activities concerning the sovereignty and unity of China”.

The flame will be lit on 25 March in Greece at the site of the ancient Olympics. It will then be carried by a series of athletes, celebrities and specially-chosen members of the public to Beijing.

Related Links > http://en.beijing2008.cn

Olympic Torch and Torch Relay route April 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Olympic Games.
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Beijing will unveil its Olympic Torch and Torch Relay route today at the Millennium Monument. The Torch is one of the primary symbols of the Olympic Games.

The lighting of the flame traces back to the beginning of historical Olympic Games. Commemorating the theft of fire from the Greek god Zeus by Prometheus, it originates from ancient Greece, where a fire is kept burning throughout the celebration of the ancient Olympics. Fire was reintroduced to the Olympics in 1928, and has been part of the modern Olympic Games ever since.

The 1936 Berlin Games first featured the torch relay. The torch was made of a thin steel rod topped with a circular piece from which the flame rose.

There was more focus on appearance when it came to the 1968 Mexico Olympic torch.

The first liquid fuels were introduced at the 1972 Munich Games. Torches since that time have carried liquid fuels.

The 1992 Barcelona torch was more modern than before and also featured the use of an arrow to fire the flame, which impressed the world.

But it was the 2000 Sydney Olympics torch that had the most lightweight, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly design. And the torch’s underwater journey was shockingly impressive.

The 2004 Athens Olympics torch turned more attention to the soul, and it resembled an olive leaf, a symbol of Greece and of peace.

For each Olympics, a new flame is started in the ancient Olympic stadium in Olympia, Greece, using a parabolic mirror to focus the rays of the Sun. This flame begins its Olympic Torch Relay by touring Greece. The flame is normally taken to the country where the games will be held.

The opening ceremony is the end of a long journey for the Olympic torch. By the time it arrives in the stadium, it has traveled thousands of miles. It may have crossed oceans and deserts and traversed mountains. It may have been carried on planes, trains, bicycles. boats and other means of human conveyance. And it will have passed through the hands of thousands of different people around the globe.

The torch must be tested rigorously in all kinds of weather conditions. This testing of the torch represents the perseverance and spirit of the athletes, and is also the true meaning of the Olympic Games.

Weather completes TIM Hellas takeover April 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Telecoms.
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Greek mobile operator TIM Hellas Telecommunications has announced the completion of the 100% takeover of its parent holding company Hellas Telecommunications (Luxembourg) by Weather Investments, the telecoms holding vehicle of Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris.

The deal was first announced in February, when Weather agreed to buy TIM Hellas and its sister company Q-Telecom, Greece’s third and fourth largest cellcos by subscribers, from Apax Partners and Texas Pacific for a total of USD4.4 billion. Sawiris has also proposed a plan to increase Weather subsidiary Wind’s 50%-plus-one-share stake in Greece’s largest alternative fixed line telco Tellas to 100% by buying out its joint venture partner, Greek electricity utility Public Power Corporation (PPC).

Athens RFC, rugby champions of Greece April 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cricket Hockey Rugby.
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ATHENS RFC successfully retained the Greek rugby championship when they beat Rhodes 19-0 in a lacklustre final on April 15 in Kifissia.

Both sides lost key players in the opening 15 minutes with Greece prop Costas Tsampaos breaking his arm, an injury which is sure to rule him out of next month’s international playoff against Slovakia.

Athens’ pressure finally told when Georgian flanker Revas Kiknadze touched down for the opening score of the game midway through the first half.

George Tzatsaronis missed the conversion but was on target when centre Chris Fiotakis, who is tipped to be going to play in England at the end of the season, twice outran the Rhodes defence for two touchdowns behind the posts.

Leading 19-0 at the break, Athens were pegged back in the second half with Rhodes pinning them in their own half for long periods. Rhodes had several try-scoring opportunities, but either knocked on at crucial moments or were held up by spirited Athens defence.

The islanders, playing without their standoff Anesti Karageorgiou, who was red-carded in the semifinal for punching an opponent, might also rue their decision to try for the seven-pointers whenever they had penalties within kicking distance of the posts.

On at least four occasions in the second half they had straightforward chances to kick for goal but turned them down each time. With a possible 12 points under their belt they might have made the last ten minutes extremely uncomfortable for the Athenians.

“We feel great because we really feel we deserved to win the title – even if the game itself did not really come up to expectations,” said Athens prop Omiros Fanariotis, who also gave credit to Rhodes for the pressure they applied in the second half.

Last year, Athens won the inaugural championship by default when Rhodes were unable to make the trip to the capital for the final because of bad weather which led to the cancellation of their ferry. This year they flew.

Related Links > www.rugby.gr 

Athens prepares for Champions League final > April 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Football.
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Two performers hang suspended in the air by ropes against the backdrop of a wooden soccer pitch.

athens_performers.jpg

The unusual scene was on display in Syntagma Square, central Athens, yesterday as the city prepares to host the Champions League final, Europe’s top club soccer game, on May 23 at the Olympic Stadium.

Freestyle motocross April 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Racing & Motors.
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Freestyle motocross world champion Mat Rebeaud of Switzerland is pictured airborne with his motorbike in front of the Acropolis in Athens yesterday during a motorcycle show.

athens_motocross.jpg

Rebeaud and his colleagues had performed stunts at the old airport in Hellenikon the previous day, using a Jumbo jet as a prop for their display. Rebeaud became the first European to win the international freestyle motocross competition, known as the Red Bull X-fighters, in Mexico City last year. He will be defending his title at Slaine Castle in Ireland on May 26.

Greek poet Kiki Dimoula in Yale University series April 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Books Life, Books Life Greek.
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A collection of selected works by Greek poet Kiki Dimoula is among the first projects Yale University Press has planned for a major new series of foreign literature in translation, daily Kathimerini reports.

The series, titled the Cecile and Theodore Margellos World Republic of Letters, was made possible by a recent endowment made to the publishing company by Cecile and Theodore Margellos, whose object is to make literary works from around the world available in English through translation.

Formally announcing the gift and new series last Tuesday, John Donatich, director of Yale University Press, said “the great ambition of this series will allow Yale University Press to help reverse the trend against literary translations, that virtual censorship that further insulates our culture. Personally, the program affords me and other editors in the Press the opportunity to fulfill a career dream as well as giving the Press at large another way to contribute to world culture.”

The other books signed in the series are “Five Flavor Grove” by Can Xue, one of contemporary Chinese fiction’s most distinctive voices; “The Selected Poems of Umberto Saba,” a new verse translation of the great Italian poet’s work; and “The Selected Poems of Adonis,” which is a roundup of poems by the acclaimed Syrian-born poet and essayist.