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Acropolis sculptures soon to be moved to the New Acropolis Museum May 29, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Museums, Vote For Return Greek Marbles.
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The Acropolis sculptures survived on the ancient hill in Athens for 2,500 years despite war, weather and looting. But their remaining days there are numbered.

Three hundred marble statues will soon be moved off the Acropolis to the New Acropolis Museum, Greek officials said Tuesday. The sculptures, weighing up to 2.5 tons each, were carved in the 6th and 5th centuries B.C. to decorate the Parthenon and other temples. Most are currently exhibited in a small Museum on the Acropolis.

A new state-ofthe-art, glass and concrete Museum, purpose-built at the foot of the hill to house all the Acropolis finds, will open in early 2008, Culture Minister George Voulgarakis said. A huge operation will start in September to move the marble works to the new facility, he said. “It will be a very difficult undertaking,” said Voulgarakis. “This has never been done before. But I think everything will go well.”

Three cranes, standing up to 165 feet tall, will relay the sculptures from the old Museum on the Acropolis to the new $174 million building, a distance of some 438 yards. Among the works to be moved will be four Caryatids from the Erechtheion temple, decorative female statues that held up a small porch, and sections of the Parthenon pediment and 530-foot frieze. The sculptures will be stored in foam-packed metal boxes, while the cranes are designed to absorb shocks that could damage the precious works.

The operation will cost $3.4 million and is scheduled to finish by the end of this year, Voulgarakis said. The old Acropolis Museum will close to visitors in July to facilitate the move, he said. “It will depend on the weather too,” he said. “Our main concern was to ensure the works’ safe transportation and that minimal damage is caused to the monuments. The cost is not a concern.”

The move will be insured, although that could be complicated. “These works are beyond price,” Voulgarakis said. “Nobody can set a precise value to one of the Caryatids.”

Initially scheduled for completion before the 2004 Athens Olympics, construction of the new 215,000-square foot Museum was delayed by long-running legal fights and new archaeological discoveries at the site. The top of the two-story building will be a glass hall containing the Parthenon sculptures. The glass walls will allow visitors a direct view of the ancient temple.

Blank spaces will be left for sculptures removed from the Parthenon two centuries ago by British diplomat Lord Elgin, which are now in the British Museum in London. Greece has campaigned long for their return.

As well as the Parthenon sculptures, the 150,000-square foot new exhibition area will contain more than 4,000 works, 10 times the amount currently on display in the old Museum. Most have never been exhibited before.

“Many more of the Parthenon’s sculptures will be on view in the new display, including many that are now in storage, or fragments that have been reassembled in the 1980s and 1990s,” said archaeologist Alexandros Mantis.

The new Museum was designed by U.S.-based architect Bernard Tschumi in collaboration with Greece’s Michael Photiades. It will incorporate, under a glass cover, building remains from a 3rd-7th century Athenian neighborhood discovered in the 1990s during preliminary work on the site.

Russian Transaero launched flights to Greece May 29, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in News Flights.
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Russian Transaero launched charter tourist flights to the Greece resorts, said in the company’s announcement.

The flights will be carried to Iraklion, Rhodes, Araksos. The flights will be carried from Pulkovo once in 10 days by Boeing-737. The first flight has been performed to Iraklion on May 29. Flights to Rhodes will commence on June 1, to Araksos on June 5.

Transaero is one of Russia’s largest air companies, one of the top five Russian leading air carriers. The airlines fleet mainly consist of foreign-construction planes particularly Boeing 747, Boeing 767-300, Boeing 767-200, Boeing 737-400 and Boeing 737-200. Transaero also connects Paphos, Cyprus.

Company’s earnings made approximately 13.63 bln rub in 2006 that is 37.84% more then in 2005. Principal shareholders are Alexander Pleshakov, the Board’s Chairman, and members of his family (44.14% altogether). Transaero Airlines’ net profit under RAS made 304.8 mil rub in 2006, that is 69.5% more then in 2005.

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

http://www.transaero.ru

54th BP Ultimate Acropolis Rally of Greece May 29, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Racing & Motors.
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Every round of the FIA World Rally Championship presents a tough challenge, however this weekend’s Acropolis Rally of Greece is one of the most difficult of them all.

Since the Safari Rally left the WRC calendar, Greece’s round has assumed the mantle of ‘the toughest rally’.

Durability is often just as important as outright performance. The ambient temperature, which can get as high as 40 degrees Celsius, puts driver fitness at a premium, while the rough conditions of the mountain roads are demanding on the machinery and the crews. The dust thrown up by other competing cars and rocks on the racing line are among the potential hazards, so the teams have to pay particular attention to under-car protection and engine cooling.

The risk of punctures on sharp rocks is also a major factor, and BFGoodrich will offer a super-tough tyre compound, introduced for the first time on the previous event in Sardinia, to suit the anticipated conditions. Furthermore with a nine-week break in the WRC year after this event, all of the drivers’ and teams’ heading to the Mediterranean will be keen to end the first half of the season on a high.

The Acropolis is one of the legendary events on the WRC calendar, albeit one that has experienced some major changes in a history that stretches back to the start of the World Rally Championship itself.

In 2005 there was a major change in the event’s format. The rally had been based in central Greece, around the town of Lamia, 200km north of Athens, but two years ago it shifted its base to the Athens Olympic Stadium complex. The move meant the rally organisers could incorporate some new special stages into the route, using some roads in the hills to the north and west of Greece’s capital city.

For 2007 the base of the rally has moved once again, this time to the Olympic Equestrian Centre in Markopoulo, 30km south of Athens, but some of last year’s special stages remain, mixed with a selection of roads that are new to the drivers.

Related Links > http://www.acropolisrally.gr/en/

Rivaldo signs for AEK Athens May 29, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Football.
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Greek first division club AEK Athens announced on Tuesday that it had signed Brazilian football great Rivaldo on a two year contract where he will paid reportedly 1.3 million euros a year.

The 35-year-old had been playing for Olympiakos the last three seasons but quit the team earlier this month saying he had been asked to stay for a fourth year with a 50 percent reduction in his pay which he rejected.

No financial details of the deal were revealed by AEK, which finished in second place this past season and will play in the Champions League qualifying round next season.

However Greek press reports said Rivaldo will be getting 1.3 million euros a year for playing with AEK plus bonuses if the Greek team does well in the Champions League or wins the domestic league crown. Rivaldo had been receiving 1.9 million euros annually at Olympiakos, it was reported.

“I am here in order to help AEK win the championship,” Rivaldo said after signing his contract and then leaving for a vacation in his native Brazil.

Cyprus to allow cremations May 29, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Religion & Faith.
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Powerful Orthodox Church opposed and initially the law will be for non-Orthodox

Cyprus is poised to break with centuries of religious tradition by allowing islanders to be cremated, after an apparent yielding on former stiff opposition from the Cyprus Orthodox Church.

As an increasingly popular option overseas of dealing with the inevitable, law experts have been tasked with drafting regulations ending the Mediterranean island’s status as one of the few countries in the European Union where cremations are illegal.

“I dealt with cases where it was the last wish of the deceased to be cremated. They could not, and we had to have the body exported to Britain for cremation, and the ashes brought back to Cyprus. It was extraordinary,” said Marios Matsakis, a forensic pathologist and an MP.

Signs of cemetery overcrowding are everywhere. In one sprawling graveyard in central Nicosia, corridors were being dug up for the dead to be interred. The practice stopped when relatives complained.

The law is being prepared amid an apparent yielding of opposition from the Church, which said it still recommended burials because of Orthodox tradition. “There is no dogmatic barrier for the resurrection of the dead, whether they are cremated or buried, but we do recommend burials,” said Bishop Georgios, a member of the Holy Synod, the Church ruling body. “If this law is passed, we will still do the funeral rites, but not on cremated remains,” Georgios told Reuters.

Handling the dead has turned into a major issue for authorities because of the influx of thousands of foreigners to the holiday island. At least 50,000 Britons live in Cyprus, including many retirees.

Law affairs commissioner Leda Koursoumba told Reuters her initial mandate was to prepare regulations that would be applicable only to members of the non-Orthodox faith.

Historic car rally ends in Cyprus May 29, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Racing & Motors.
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The 19th International Historic Car Rally, or the 2nd Historic Cyprus Rally, ended on Sunday evening with 52 old cars finishing the three-leg rally.

Trophies were given to the winners of categories according to the cars’ manufacture time. A 1957-made Wolseley, driven by Cypriot Katsioloudes Petros won the First Overall Trophy.

Participants from Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Sweden, Britain and the United States also joined local drivers in the regularity rally from May 25 to 27. The rally received a total of 72 entries of 31 makers. All the cars were manufactured before 1982, with the oldest Ford model A made in 1931. They rolled from Nicosia to coastal towns of Larnaca, Paphos and Limassol, covering 515 kilometers.

The rally, not a competition for speed but for precision, demanded participants drive under a certain average speed. Any late or early arrival at time control points, willful deviation from the route would lead to penalties or even disqualification.

The three-day event was organised by the Cyprus Automobile Association (CAA). It was included in the calendar of the International Federation of Ancient Vehicles (FIVA) and the International Automobile Federation (FIA).

RoboBraille tested in Cyprus May 29, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus News.
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A Danish RoboBraille service is being tested in 5 additional countries: Ireland, Portugal, Italy, Cyprus and the United Kingdom.

The eTEN RoboBraille market validation project aims to validate the commercial viability and user acceptance of the Danish RoboBraille translation service, which makes text information accessible to people with physical or reading disabilities.