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Vibrator ‘threat to national security’ May 10, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Lifestyle.
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A radio-controlled vibrator made in Britain has been banned in Cyprus after it was branded a threat to national security.

The Cypriot military are concerned the sex toy’s electronic waves will disrupt the army’s radio frequencies on the island.

A spokesperson for makers Ann Summers confirmed its Love Bug 2, a small, egg shaped device operated by a remote control, was on sale for use everywhere in Europe, except Cyprus. “The remote control only has a range of six metres. We have still been selling them in Cyprus, but with a warning urging Cypriots not to use it unless they travel abroad,” said the Ann Summers spokesperson.

In its promotional literature the company describes the device as a “deceptively powerful matt silver love egg”, later adding: “Not for use in Cyprus”.

Military officials refused to comment on the reasons for the ban, but the government’s Communications and Works Ministry said it had been a purely military decision.

“We never even saw them, they were banned before we even had a chance to check them, but if issues of national security are at stake then that is not surprising,” a spokesperson said. “The military does operate on a different frequency to the general frequency, but they do not share that information for obvious reasons, only they would have been able to decide what SRD’s (Small Range Devices) might be a threat and what to do about it.”

Lizzie Eddleston from the Ann Summers press office in the UK said: “It is a shame but we have to honour the request and have made it clear that the Love Bug is not for sale in Cyprus.

“We have been told the electronic waves given off by the ‘Love Bug’ would affect military frequencies, but we have told locals that we have a lot of other devices that are not banned which will satisfy their needs. After all, it’s better to make love, not war.”

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Bonhams Greek art auction May 10, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Auctions.
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Bonhams is marking a decade of Greek art sales on May 15 with at least one lot that that might, in other circumstances, have gone under a different type of hammer.

The sale of mostly 20th century pieces will include more than 200 lots but the most unusual must be the fresco Katsantonis in the Ravine near Pende Pigadia by Theofilos Hadjimchail (1867-1934). The painting pays homage to Katsantonis, one of the great figures of pre-revolutionary Greece.

Hadjimchail originally produced the work for the wall of a coffee shop in the village of Parkoila on the Greek island of Lesvos (Mytilini), where it remained for 30 years, accumulating the residue of the shop’s stove, gas cooker and doubtless the smoke of many a cigarette.

In the early 1960s, the work was transferred onto canvas and subsequently restored by the Athens National Gallery.

Top lot though, goes to Yiannis Moralis’ monumental Composition, a re-imagining of the archetypal Ionian frieze blending architectural motifs and emerging human forms.

For more information, visit: www.bonhams.com

Charleston Greek Festival May 10, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora Festivals.
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The 2007 Charleston Greek Fest will take place from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at The Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity, 30 Race St., downtown Charleston. The Charleston Greek Fest is a decades-old tradition of culture and entertainment.

Events during the festival include church tours, live Greek music, folk dancing demonstrations, a Byzantine choir concert, cultural exhibits, gift and art vendors, a kids area with jump castle, ponies, cotton candy, face-painting, a slide and more. All proceeds benefit the Greek Orthodox Church and its charities.

General admission is $3. College students pay $1. Children under 12 will be admitted free. Also, Mothers will be admittted free on Sunday, Mother’s Day. All proceeds will benefit the Greek Orthodox Church and its charities. There will be extra parking at 360 Fishburne St., and shuttles will run all weekend. For more information, call 577-2063.

HMHS Britannic breakthrough May 10, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.
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The number of technical divers visiting the wreck of the HMHS Britannic, the RMS Titanic’s sister, is expected to dramatically increase, following the establishment of an official wreck-access organisation. The Britannic Foundation, a registered charity set-up by the wreck’s UK owner Simon Mills, will now coordinate all access to the wreck which lies at between 82 and 120m off the island of Kea, 40 miles southeast of the Greek capital, Athens.

britannic.jpg  Britannic is a major liner wreck, measuring more than 6m longer than the Titanic, and is regarded as one of the best and most challenging technical dives in the world. The Britannic was lost on her sixth voyage, in 1916 during the First World War in her newly commissioned role as a military hospital ship. Thirty of the 1,062 crew were killed in the sinking when two lifeboats were pulled into the ship’s still-turning port propeller.

The Britannic sank in a busy shipping lane, which previously made applying for a dive licence a difficult process. Greek law is also often more restrictive than that of the UK, particularly where antiquities are involved. Only a small number of technical divers have been granted permission by the Greek authorities to explore the wreck since it was first visited by pioneering French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau in 1975.

The Britannic Foundation has now been granted power by the Greek authorities to issue all licences to dive the wreck. An expedition to survey the wreck in cooperation with the Greek government will take place during the summer.

UEFA Champions League > we are the champions! May 10, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Football.
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Let the games begin > The Athens Olympic Stadium is the venue for this year’s UEFA Champions League. The Athens Olympic Stadium was originally designed in 1979 and constructed in 1982. It was extensively renovated in time for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

athens_stadium.jpg  The UEFA Champions League is the most prestigious prize in European Club Football, and this year Greece is committed to bringing the passion of this world-class event right to your doorstep.

The legacy of Athens provides an appropriate backdrop for this year’s ultimate European football contest. The Athens Olympic Stadium will be the venue for the 2007 final. Named after the first winner of the marathon event at the inaugural Olympic Games of the modern era in Athens 1896, the Spiridon “Spyros” Louis Stadium seats 72,000 beneath a majestic roof of “bent leaves” that converges into an oval shape. Indeed a venue so rich in culture and heritage such as this aptly reflects the significance of the Champions League tournament.

Originally designed in 1979 and constructed in 1982, the Athens Olympic Stadium was extensively renovated in time for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. This saw it taking on a magnificent new roof designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The roof, suspended by cables from soaring tubular steel arches, shields athletes and spectators from the scorching sun while giving Athens an architecturally distinguished landmark.

This historical site provides a fitting setting for the epic battle that will take place for European supremacy. Two mammoths of European football will converge for a titanic battle beneath the majestic ceramic foliage to claim the ultimate prize in club football. And just as champions are celebrated in Greek mythology, the jubilant victors of the UEFA Champions League can expect to be venerated in similarly glorious fashion.

After all, Athenians are used to honouring champions. Being the birthplace of the Olympics in 1896, Athens is regarded as the “Mount Olympus” of athletes. In Greek mythology, Mount Olympus was the dwelling place of the gods, and only heroes and champions of Greece were ushered into its immortal halls. 

UEFA Champions League > some are unhappy May 10, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Football.
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Parry unhappy with Liverpool ticket allocation for Champions League final

Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry is unhappy with the way UEFA has handled ticket sales for the Champions League final, the IHT reports via the AP.

Liverpool and AC Milan have each received 17,000 tickets for the May 23 final in Athens, Greece. UEFA has reserved 20,000 tickets for sponsors, officials and broadcasters, while 9,000 tickets will be drawn from a ballot.

“UEFA must look at the way they allocate tickets for future finals,” Parry said Thursday. “The current way of working means that thousands of genuine supporters are not being given the opportunity to attend what is the biggest game in club football. When you only get 17,000 tickets, you are never going to find a system of distribution that is anything but a problem.”

Parry told UEFA that 40,000 Liverpool fans will be in the Olympic stadium “hook or by crook.” “So wouldn’t it be better to give us the tickets and let us distribute them fairly without fans having to go to extreme methods to get them?” Parry said. “Our pleas fell on deaf ears.”

World looks to Helsinki as Eurovision sings for diversity May 10, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life.
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The eyes and ears of Europeans and television viewers across the world will focus on Helsinki from 5-12 May as the Eurovision Song Contest searches for a new musical superstar while highlighting the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All.

During Eurovision Week, entrants to the festival including Ireland’s Dervish and Belgium’s The Krazy Mess Groovers will perform live and give interviews at the European Year pavilion, in the centre of Helsinki, as part of the diversity campaign’s partnership with the song contest. Wheelchair basketball, dance workshops and circus schools will highlight the campaign messages.

Vladimír Špidla, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities said: “The Eurovision Song Contest is an excellent platform for us to inform Europeans about their rights to equal treatment. It is also a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the benefits of diversity. More than a third of Europeans are unaware of their rights to equal treatment. And over half believe that not enough is being done to address the problem of discrimination. This must change! Europe needs to embrace diversity.”

On May 11, Commissioner Špidla, Finnish Minister of Labour Tarja Cronberg, and the Head of the EC Representation in Finland Antti Peltomäki, will attend a special press conference and photo opportunity to celebrate the partnership, starting at 10 am at the EYEO press stand at Eurovision Media Centre.

Špidla will also give a speech about the European Year campaign later that day. He will attend a basketball game of players in wheel chairs and visit the ability path which provided an experience of difficulties in everyday life when one is blind.