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New discoveries in Central Greece May 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.
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In what is considered to be one of the richest finds in recent years, an archaeological team has found thousands of miniature clay pots and statuettes in the ruins of an ancient sanctuary near the town of Orchomenos in central Greece.

Excavations revealed the pottery offerings, dating from the early 5th century BC up to at least the 3rd century BC, in a shrine to presumed fertility deities. The shrine had sustained damage during the construction of an irrigation canal in the 1950s. Archaeologists found thousands of votive offerings, including miniature vessels, animal idols, scarabs and lamps.

“The identity of the deities worshipped there is not yet clear, but it is certain that they were goddesses associated with plant growth and fertility,” the Culture Ministry said.

It said a famous sanctuary of the Three Graces, deities of growth and beauty, was known to have stood in ancient Orchomenos, and one of the offerings was inscribed with the name of Eurynome, mother of the Graces.

Greece’s tourism revenues increased May 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism.
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For the January – March 2007 period

Tourism revenues increased by 10.8 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2007, reaching 575.6 million euros, according to the Institute for Tourism Research and Forecasts (ITEP).

Although it is too early to reach a sure conclusion about the course of tourism foreign currency inflows, preliminary data show a rising trend, ITEP commented. The 16 percent annual decline recorded in the first quarter of 2006 had meant far from satisfactory inflows throughout last year. The course of tourism revenues and the record number of tourists expected this year in Greece promise a rebound for the entire year, estimated ITEP.

South African Ambassador in Greece marries gay couple May 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Gay Life.
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The South African Ambassador in Greece raised a few eyebrows when she presided over what appears to be the first gay marriage in Greece.

Sources who did not want to be identified, said the wedding ignited a fierce media debate in a society that is generally seen to be fairly conservative. Same sex marriages are not legal in Greece at present.

The two South African men who were living in Greece, apparently were in a long-term relationship and following the passing of the Civil Union Act in South Africa, wanted to get married. They applied to the Department of Home Affairs and received permission to get married in Athens.

The ceremony took place at the Embassy and according to a source, was “simple but dignified” and attended by two witnesses and the Ambassador, Mandisha Donna Marasha, who officiated. The couple were apparently very happy and satisfied with the proceedings and were apparently proud of South Africa.

Following the wedding, the story made it onto Greek TV and talk shows where the issue of gay rights and marriage was fiercely debated.

Counsellor to the South Africa Embassy in Greece, Petrus Viljoen, confirmed that the wedding had taken place, but declined to comment further.

Cyprus to host international historic car rally May 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Racing & Motors.
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Cyprus will hold a historic car rally this weekend on the scenic Mediterranean island with the participation of 72 old cars.

The 19th International Historic Car Rally, or the 2nd Historic Cyprus Rally, is organised by the Cyprus Automobile Association (CAA). It is included in the calendar of the International Federation of Ancient Vehicles (FIVA) and the International Automobile Federation (FIA).

A total of 72 old cars manufactured before 1982, with the oldest Ford model A made in 1931, will roll for the three-day regularity rally from May 25, covering 500 kilometers with 18 timecontrol points divided into three legs.

Petros Demetriades, a spokesman of the CAA, said that foreign participants from Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Sweden, Britain and America will join local drivers in the rally.

The rally will start in capital Nicosia on Friday afternoon. The participants will drive their historic cars to coastal towns of Larnaca, Paphos and Limassol. They will be back to Nicosia on Sunday.

Athens’ Champions League Final in some interesting numbers May 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Football.
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According to our sources >

More than 3,000,000 (yes, that’s right!) tins of beer sold mainly to Brits as well as Italians visiting Athens during the Champions League Final. It is forecasted that consumption it was raised by 1,000,000 (one million) 100liters which is the equivalent of 3 million tins. This consumption is estimated to be around 20 to 30 or more tins consumed per person within 24 hours! 

It should be noted, that beer total consumption in Greece is estimated to be around 4 millions of 100liters (400,000,000 millions) anually. Total value is estimated around 750 millions euro.

McDonals at Athens Syntagma Square, said that they surpassed their turnover as compared to the figures made during the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, made in the last four days

Arrivals and departures at the Athens International Airport, hit a new increase, as compared to the 2004 Athens Olympic Games figures. At that time, 2004, we had 856 arrivals and departures, while during the Champions League yesterday we had 913 and today 870

In total Athens, could receive a 26 million euro ($35m) windfall from hosting the Champions League Final between Liverpool and AC Milan.

Hotels, bars, restaurants, transport providers and vendors at the 63,800-seat Olympic Stadium will be the largest beneficiaries from the influx of fans into the Greek capital, according to research commissioned by Champions League sponsor MasterCard Inc, the second-largest credit card company.

“The financial benefits of hosting the final are vast and, while only one night of the year, offer a lasting local economic legacy for Athens,” said John Stuart, senior vice-president of sponsorship for MasterCard Worldwide.

More than 50,000 English and Italian fans were expected to travel to Athens for the match, although only 35,000 of them have tickets, Greek police officials said last week.

The winner, AC Milan, will earn as much as 100 million euros in future revenue from broadcasters, sponsors and ticket sales, according to a separate MasterCard survey two days ago.

The city of Athens hosted the Summer Olympic Games in the year 2004. Staging Europe’s biggest club football final could help the city secure the right to host other international events in the future and entice visitors to return for holidays, researchers said.

UEFA blames Liverpool fans for ticketing problems May 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Football.
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UEFA to investigate teams over final security

UEFA has launched an investigation into security problems at Wednesday’s Champions League final between Liverpool and AC Milan, an official at European soccer’s governing body said.

Greek police on Wednesday arrested 97 people for possessing or selling forged tickets. Many others, mostly British, attempted to force their way past the security perimeters around the Olympic Stadium hours before kick-off.

“We have launched an inquiry, but following our discussions with the Greek police and the organising committee, it seems as though Liverpool fans were mainly to blame,” UEFA’s director of communications William Gaillard said on Thursday.

“However, it also seems around 800 Liverpool supporters got tickets in the Milan end which we know were distributed to AC Milan, not any ticket agency or travel agent. So yes, if the club is found to have been involved in anyway or hasn’t acted in a proper manner, they can expect action,” he said.

Gaillard said UEFA were satisfied with the actions of the local police and the organisation committee.

“To be honest, it is lucky nobody was killed. The police took a decision after being attacked by fans without tickets to allow them in as it was safer and avoided any further confrontation,” Gaillard said. “Other fans knowingly bought forged tickets from touts and even from banned websites, thus putting the safety of fellow supporters, who bought their tickets legitimately, at risk.”

Thousands of fans headed to the Greek capital in hope of securing a ticket, meaning numbers were high. And as they were turned away from the Olympic Stadium, which they were told was already full, riot police used tear gas and batons. Some genuine ticket holders were also kept out of the stadium, while others reportedly managed to force their way in with either forged tickets or none at all.

Uefa’s head of communications William Gaillard remains adamant that the stadium was not the issue: “It was a suitable venue. It is the stadium where the 2004 Olympic Games were held and where all the games of the Greek National Team are held. Unfortunately in Britain it is the behaviour. Liverpool fans are responsible for the problems before, during and after the game. They were trying to go over the barriers to get into the stadium without tickets, which is not the behaviour we can condone. It is very easy to say ‘this is not a football stadium’. Milan supporters didn’t face the same problems because they didn’t behave in the same way. I am very sorry for what has happened to fans who had regulation tickets but at the same time there is a collective responsibility for behaviour.”

AC Milan wins Champions League in Athens May 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Football.
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winnersacmilan.jpg  The Italian AC Milan won the Champions League after beating England’s Liverpool FC 2-1 in the soccer final played at the Olympic Stadium in Athens on Wednesday night.

Milan’s goals were scored by Filippo Inzaghi in the 45th minute and 82nd. Liverpool’s goal was scored by Dirk Kuyt in the 89th.

Among the spectators were President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias and UEFA President Michel Platini.

A full compliment of nearly 14,000 uniformed police officers were in and around the stadium, as well as in the capital’s centre, metro stations and the airport.

The area around the stadium was off-limits to individuals without tickets, whereas mass transit routes were increased and operated throughout the night. This the seventh time for AC Milan to win in the European Champion League finals.