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Direct flights from Athens to Seoul will begin next year June 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in News Flights.
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Korean Air will begin direct flights from Athens to Seoul next January, in keeping with the memorandum signed yesterday in South Korea by Greek Transport Minister Michalis Liapis and his Korean counterpart, Lee Yongsup.

Airline officials will visit Athens soon to arrange the final details. With three flights per week, the tourism traffic is expected to increase, as well as being anticipated to strengthen commercial and economic ties between the two countries.

Most Greek citizens tolerant of recovering addicts June 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Health & Fitness.
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Only one in 10 Greek citizens would object to the establishment of a rehabilitation center for drug addicts in their neighborhood, a study by social scientists revealed ahead of International Day against Drug Abuse today.

Just 12 percent of a sample group of 700 questioned in Athens, Thessaloniki and Iraklion, Crete, said that they would not want such a center near their home, the National Center for Documentation and Information about Drugs told a press conference yesterday. Furthermore, eight in 10 said they would help an acquaintance with a drug problem, while two out of three said they would have no qualms about working with a drug addict.

The center also presented the results of a second survey which showed that the majority of drug addicts regarded work, family support and a comprehensive rehabilitation program as three crucial ingredients for kicking the habit.

Three die in record-high heat wave across Greece June 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece News.
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Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas took to the streets in central Athens yesterday to hand out pamphlets calling for consumers to be careful with power usage.

High temperatures over the last few days have tested the country’s power grid as Greeks switch on air conditioners to cool down.

Three people died yesterday as continued hot weather across the country kept temperatures well above the 40 degree Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) mark in what is set to be the the hottest June ever recorded. The Health Ministry said that three pensioners, aged 76, 84 and 103, died of medical conditions aggravated by heat stroke in central and southern Greece.

The government ordered all public offices to work only half-days today and tomorrow, closing at midday to reduce energy consumption and allow people to stay out of the sun during the peak hours of the day.

“Based on the forecasts, temperatures are expected to be very high for the next two days, so we have taken these extraordinary measures,” said Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

Temperatures are expected to remain high for a second week, reaching 43C (109F) in Athens.

National electricity consumption exceeded 10,000 megawatts to hit a record high yesterday, fueled by heavy air-conditioning use and causing limited power outages in parts of Athens and Thessaloniki. The government urged the public to avoid unnecessary energy consumption but insisted that the national grid had been adequately strengthened to avoid widespread outages.

“The system had been reinforced to withstand even higher levels of consumption,” said Nikos Stefanou, General Secretary at the Development Ministry.

Greece has been relying on importing electricity from neighboring countries to help meet demand. Temperatures are not expected to ease until Thursday, according to weather experts.

Greek Diva Nana Mouskouri on ITV June 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life, Music Life Greek.
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Nana Mouskouri who came 8th the Eurovison Song Contest for Luxembourg in 1963, appeaerd on ITV 1 at 12:15 – 12:30 today.

Nana is considered to be one of the most successful female singers in history, reportedly having sold over 350 million records world-wide. Now, the 72 year old legend, after 45 years of stage, has decided to say farewell with an extensive world wide tour.

Her appearance on today’s This Morning show, was to promote her performances this October in the UK as part of her 4 year farewell tour.  The tour began two years ago in Scandinavia and it will take her all over the globe. She has played Germany, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Asia as well as parts of Europe.

Nana came on in a black dress with a red jacket, she was introduced with an exclusive clip of her performance back in 1963, at the Eurovision Song Contest. She then was interviewed by the 2 hosts which commented on her fluency in 5 languages, and her 1350 songs all in 11 different languages.

She then talked about her Fairwell tour, which Nana described more as a Thank You tour. The tour started in Germany and will end in Greece. Nana then talked about her childhood and growing up in Nazi occupied Greece. “Children need to be heard and by singing I was heard”.

Nana was congradulated by the hosts, for not changing her image to fit with modern sterotypes, but as a one off, Nana tried on several new pairs of designer glases for the show, including DKNY and a nice pair of red spectacles.

Nana said “I never thought that I would grow that old. It is better really to stop while you are standing well on your feet. I just want to be proud and in very good form and thank the audience for all this love.” Nana’s fluency in many languages; Greek, French, English, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese has enabled her to reach audiences all over Europe, the Americas and even Asia.

The show ended with a quick reminder about Nana’s Thank You tour, coming to London in October, at various dates at the Royal Albert Hall. You can book tickets on Nana’s Website.

Related Links > www.nana.mouskouri.online.fr

Greece braces for record heatwave June 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece News.
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Authorities in Greece have put emergency services on full alert and were bracing for power shortages as the country bakes in temperatures of up to 46 degrees C, making June the hottest month ever recorded.

Athenians heading for work dragged themselves out of the city’s metro clutching newspapers over their heads to try stave off the blazing sun, while tourists with bottles of water sheltered under the few trees in the city centre.

“Emergency services are on full alert and the state apparatus is ready to deal with all possibilities,” civil protection chief Panayiotis Fourlas said in a broadcast on state-run NET television.

But authorities were not taking any chances. Across the country, Municipalities have set up large air-conditioned halls to provide shelter for the elderly and people with heart problems. Authorities have also told Athenians to stay out of the sun, avoid unnecessary travel and switch off energy-hungry home appliances including washing machines, boilers and air conditioners. In attempt to curve energy consumption, all public offices closed today at noon, 12.00 local Greek time.

Increased use of air conditioners has, however, raised the spectre of blackouts during the week, as people who have escaped to the beaches over the weekend returned home. State energy utility Public Power Corp.  has urged customers to limit their use of household appliances and ration air conditioning use to help stave off possible power disruptions. 

200 million people in world use drugs > UN study June 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Health & Fitness.
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Today the International Day Against Drugs is marked

About 200 million people around the world consume drugs each year, with cocaine, opium and its derivatives including heroin, topping the list of favourites, a United Nations report said on Tuesday.

“Though a large share of the world’s population – about five per cent of the people between the ages of 15 and 64 – uses illicit drugs each year, only a small fraction of these can be considered ‘problem drug users’,” the report issued by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said.

According to the report, opium continued to be the prime drug in most of Europe and Asia. In South America victims queue up mostly for cocaine-abuse treatment and in Africa abuse is primarily confined to cannabis.

More than half of the world’s opiate (opium derivatives)-using population lives in Asia, with the highest levels of abuse occurring along the main drug-trafficking routes out of Afghanistan. The total number of opiate users in Central Asia is close to 300,000. Around one million people around the world use heroin.

The report said that the global consumer market of narcotics has remained stable in 2006 despite a significant increase in drug abuse in the countries along major trafficking routes. However, the report noted that several Asian countries, Pakistan, Iran and India included and some parts of Africa, Russia and Europe had recorded an increase in heroin consumption over the last decade.

“Many of these areas have high levels of poverty and HIV, leaving people vulnerable to the worst effects of this drug,” said the report.

The UN organisation added that cocaine use in Asia has increased slightly, mainly due to higher levels of use in India. Still, in most parts of Asia cocaine use remained at very low levels. Cocaine use increased in 2006 in Africa, especially western Africa. High and rising levels of cocaine use have also been reported from Britain and Italy.

However, the UNODC stressed that the global drug problem was being contained. The production and consumption of cannabis, cocaine, amphetamines and Ecstasy have stabilised at the global level, with one exception. “The exception is the continuing expansion of opium production in Afghanistan. This expansion continues to pose a threat – to the security of the country and to the global containment of opiate abuse.”

The report also said that the global opiate interception rate rose from just nine per cent in 1990 to 15 per cent in 1995, 21 per cent in 2000 and 26 per cent in 2005, reflecting increased efforts made by various countries to curb trafficking in opiates. In Pakistan, where poppy is grown in the Afghan-Pakistan border region, the government reported a 59 per cent reduction in the area under cultivation in 2006, bringing it to 1,545 hectares.

The report said that injecting drug use has contributed to increasing HIV infections in India, Indonesia, Iran, Libya, Pakistan, Spain, Ukraine, Uruguay and Vietnam. “In China, Central Asia and several countries of eastern Europe, injecting drug use has been the most frequently cited mode of transmission of HIV in recent years,” the report said.

Related Links http://www.unodc.org/pdf/research/wdr07/WDR_2007.pdf