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Unesco names new World Heritage sites June 28, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece.
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The old town of Corfu in Greece also made the Unesco list. Unesco aims to work with national governments to preserve sites of world cultural significance.

Sydney Opera House, Australia
Old town of Corfu, Greece
Red Fort Complex, India
Bordeaux, France
Volcanic island of Jeju, South Korea
Iwami Ginzan silver mine, Japan
Parthian fortresses of Nisa, Turkmenistan
Samarra archaeological city, Iraq
Rideau Canal, Canada
Mehmed Pasa Sokolovic Bridge, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Teide National Park, Spain
Primeval beech forests of the Carpathian, Ukraine
Lope-Okanda, Gabon
Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape, South Africa
Twyfelfontein, Namibia
Diaolou villages in Kaiping, China

In pictures: New World Heritage sites > BBC

Related Links > http://www.unesco.org


Awards for Greek cheese June 28, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Greece.
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Northern Greece-based dairy company MEVGAL came away with two “highest quality” prizes for its feta and goat cheese in the competition of the International Taste and Quality Institute (ITQI) last March, the company announced yesterday.

Related Links > http://www.mevgal.gr

Baghdatis overcomes slow start at Wimbledon June 28, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Tennis Squash.
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Cyprus’s Marcos Baghdatis, a semifinalist at Wimbledon last year, has reached the Grand Slam tournament’s second round following a 3-1 win yesterday over unseeded 18-year-old Latvian Ernests Gulbis.

Baghdatis, the tournament’s 10th seed, dropped the opening set 6-3 against the Latvian, who was making his debut Wimbledon appearance. But the Cypriot soon found his way against the inexperienced Gulbis, playing only his second Grand Slam tournament.

Baghdatis, who lost the opening set after 27 minutes of play, responded by taking the matches’s next three sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 and finishing off his rival in just under two hours.

Gulbis, who managed to move Baghdatis around with ease in the opening set, eventually made 37 unforced errors, compared to the Cypriot’s 14.

US State Department supports Ecumenical status of Patriarch June 28, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Politics, Religion & Faith.
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The US State Department said yesterday it supports the Ecumenical status of the Istanbul-based Orthodox Patriarch Vartholomaios but stopped short of commenting on a Turkish court ruling that recognizes him only as the spiritual leader of the local Greek community.

The Athens Bar Association (ABA) meanwhile said yesterday that the Turkish court’s disputing of the Patriarch’s status was politically motivated.

“The legal culture in the neighboring country remains undeveloped and is light years behind the respective culture in Europe,” it said.

On Tuesday, an appeals court ruled that Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios is only Head of the local Greek Orthodox community. The Turkish government has long sought to curtail Vartholomaios‘s influence and objects to the use of the title “Ecumenical” or Universal.

Greek Government’s plan for lifelong learning June 28, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Education.
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The Education Ministry will spend 3.3 billion euros over the next seven years on different programs that will include providing more adult training courses, a senior government official said yesterday.

The funding, from the European Union’s Fourth Community Support Framework for the 2007-2013 period, will help a larger number of Greeks above the age of 25 sit through training programs and improve their qualifications in the labor market.

“In the field of education, 3.3 billion euros will be invested via co-funded programs by Greece and the European Union. Of this, 2.2 billion euros will be included in the Education Ministry’s operational program with a focus on activities aimed at developing education projects and programs” said Education Ministry special secretary Dimitris Skiadas.

“While 1.1 billion euros will be invested in regional education programs targeting an improvement in infrastructure and education equipment, we have an increase of 600 million euros, as during the 2000-2006 period we had a budget of 2.7 billion euros for education,” he said.

The EU has placed a growing weight on lifelong education and this will also be reflected in Greece where the concept of adult learning has only recently started to take off. By the end of the decade, the EU is aiming for 12.5 percent of the population between the ages of 25 to 64 to have taken part in an education or training program.

Currently the figure in Greece is about 1.8 percent, according to the National Statistics Service. By the end of 2013, the target is for the figure in Greece to increase to between 7.5 to 8 percent of the adult population.

Other areas the seven-year operation plan will cover include helping fight school dropout rates and helping people with special needs have access to proper studies. The plan will also target education in new technologies and improve research programs in a bid to draw qualified and experienced researchers from abroad.

Insomnia affects one in four Greeks June 28, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Health & Fitness.
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At least one in four Greeks suffers from insomnia which, when chronic, can provoke mental problems, psychiatrists told a seminar in Athens yesterday.

Sometimes mental problems are at the root of insomnia but sleeplessness can also be provoked by health problems or environmental factors, such as the current heat wave, experts from Greece and the USA agreed.

Insomnia can be a symptom of latent mental problems, according to Athens University Professor Constantinos Soldatos and Antonis Kalos, professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania.

If symptoms of sleeplessness persist for a year, the chances of the sufferer developing mental problems increases 40-fold in comparison to people who have no history of problems with sleep, the experts said.

According to doctors, the best way of warding off insomnia is to attempt to get at least seven hours sleep a night and to ensure that sleeping and waking times do not vary greatly. Reducing caffeine and alcohol intake also helps.

EU hits sports betting curbs in a wave of legal action June 28, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece News.
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The European Commission took new steps yesterday to prize open sports betting markets in France, Sweden and Greece as part of a quarterly crackdown on EU rule busters.

The Commission adopted 955 legal actions spanning telecoms, energy, gambling and the financial sector.

“While important improvements have been made in recent years, too many member states persistently infringe upon Community law. That is why we are determined to act,” Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said in a statement. The curbs on gambling competition in France and Sweden have not been shown to be necessary, proportionate and non-discriminatory, the Commission said in its final warning before the cases move to the European Court of Justice. The court can fine and force states to change their laws.

“Furthermore, in the Commission’s view, existing national operators cannot be regarded as non-profit organizations, given that they are subject to strict annual revenue targets and often rely on commercial retail outlets to market their various gambling services,” the EU executive said.

Brussels gave Greece two months to respond to a “letter of formal notice,” the first step in the EU’s infringement procedure against countries that break the bloc’s laws. The Commission also reminded Greece of its obligation to lift a total ban on gaming machines, including computer games.

Sports betting and gambling is a state-owned monopoly in many EU countries, generating large amounts of revenue for government coffers but thwarting attempts by private sector rivals to get a piece of the multibillion-euro business.

New French President Nicolas Sarkozy is seeking to downplay the importance of competition as a strategic objective in the 27-nation EU, saying he wants to help create more ”European champions.” Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said on Tuesday that gambling in Sweden would be reformed.

EU Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy told Reuters on Tuesday that it would be impossible to draw up EU-wide rules on gaming, given the wide differences in attitudes between EU countries toward the sector.

“We hope the Commission will continue in its efforts to force these countries to act in accordance with the EU treaty and EU jurisprudence,” British sports betting firm Stanleybet International said.

Athens told to lift ban on gaming machines, submit energy measures. The European Commission yesterday formally reminded the Greek authorities of their obligation to lift the total ban on gaming machines, including computer games.

The European Court of Justice ruled on 26 October 2006 that the Greek ban on all electrical and electronic gaming machines, including all computer-based games, at all public and private premises apart from casinos, violates the principles of free movement of goods, freedom of establishment as well as freedom to provide services.

The Commission sent a reasoned opinion requesting Greece to adopt the measures required to comply with the judgment within two months. If Greece fails to do so, the European Commission could ask the European Court of Justice to impose financial penalties.

Separately, the Commission launched court proceedings against Greece for failure to make known its implementing measures for the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, adopted in 2002.

Reasoned opinions, the last step before a formal complaint to the Court of Justice is lodged, were also forwarded to Estonia and Poland for failure to submit the necessary measures. The aim of the directive, which should have been implemented by January 4, 2006, is to reduce energy consumption in buildings by laying down national minimum energy performance standards for new buildings and major renovations of large existing buildings, as well as ensuring that heating and air-conditioning installations are regularly inspected to facilitate performance improvements.