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PrimeTel’s IPTV service in Cyprus July 5, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet & Web, Media Radio TV, Telecoms.
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PrimeTel is the first private electronic communications provider to offer triple-play services in Cyprus and the only one to bundle the three services, telephony, Internet and television.

With emphasis in providing quality service packages in truly exceptional prices, PrimeTel has established a strong presence in the broadband services market. Through PrimeTel’s service packages, subscribers can benefit from up to 40% cheaper fixed telephony rates compared to the incumbent, the fastest Internet speeds in the market (1.5 Mb) with ADSL2+ technology, as well as over 100 local and international channels on its PrimeTV Platform.

PrimeTel’s Packages > PrimeTel offers three service packages for home users; the PrimeHome package, Telephony, Internet and Television, the PrimeADSL2+ package, Telephony and Internet, and the PrimeTVplus package, Telephony and Television.

PrimeTV > PrimeTV is the IPTV platform included in two of PrimeTel’s packages. PrimeTV has unlimited capabilities, offering more than 100 channels and value added features such as the Electronic Programme Guide, an on-television Interactive Games Platform and Video on Demand library. The service offers a pause live TV option and very soon will also be offering PVR, Personal Video Recorder, cababilities. There is also strong VOD functionality with features such as Fast Forward, Rewind, and Pause.

PrimeTV’s channel line-up > With BBC Prime and FMen bei ng the latest additions to PrimeTV’s exquisite channel line-up, PrimeTel offers outstanding value packages to digital entertainment. PrimeTV’s channel line-up includes CNN, Sky News, CNBC Europe, Deuche-Welle TV, Euronews, France 24, both French and English channels, Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera International, BBC World, BBC Prime, Bloomberg Television, ESPN Classic, Eurosport, Eurosport 2, Discovery Channel, Discovery Science, Discovery Civilisation, Discovery Travel & Living, Fashion TV, FMen, Sailing Channel, TCM, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, all local channels, free 24hour Adult Channel, as well as additional subscription channel packages.

Additional PrimeTV features > An additional feature offered on PrimeTV is the Funspot Interactive Games service through its cooperation with Accedo Broadband, a leading supplier of IPTV applications. The service is again a first for the Cyprus market, offering PrimeTel’s subscribers to play games such as Trivial Pursuit, Sudoku, Blackjack, Poker and Solitaire and compete one another.

Through an exclusive agreement, PrimeTel offers a UEFA Champions League interactive service on its PrimeTV Platform, free of charge. Through this service PrimeTel’s subscribers can choose and watch the recorded game they want, be informed about the games results, the groups standings as well as the coming program by just the push of a button, with a language choice. Also through an easy to use menu, subscribers can find out the UEFA Champions League latest news and happenings.

PrimeTel protects its IPTV platform with the software-based IPTV content security solution from Irdeto. The smart cardless Irdeto IPTV content security solution was chosen because, during the evaluation phase of various suppliers, it exceeded the company’s technical and commercial requirements. To complete its IPTV architecture, PrimeTel chose set-top boxes from Kreatel and Kasenna’s VOD solution.

Related Links > http://www.prime-tel.com


A five-star retreat at the Azia Club and Spa in Paphos July 5, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hotels Cyprus.
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A five-star retreat with expert therapists, kids’ treatments and its own fruit juice > The five-star Azia Club and Spa is a retreat from hectic home life and a refuge from the  crowd a few kilometres from Paphos town centre.

When the Azia was redesigned 18 months ago the Economides family were keen to incorporate nature as much as possible. The bright and airy lobby is built around a palm tree that started life as a baby, then shot up so high that within five years a hole in the glass ceiling had to be made to accommodate it. It’s a fantastic centrepiece surrounded by a central atrium bursting with flowers, plants and hanging vines. My bungalow suite had a large balcony with two sun loungers and a hot tub. All I could hear were birds chirping, cicadas buzzing and waves crashing against the coastline while I looked out onto extensive grounds littered with palms, mango trees and bougainvillea, but most importantly, acres of space to get lost in. Bliss. The spa is equipped with a whirlpool, Jacuzzi, steam and sauna room, gym and beauty and hair salon.

The Asphodel Spa was built at the beginning of 2006 when the Azia had a facelift. In Greek mythology the Asphodel is an immortal flower and the food of the dead, which is probably how many of its stressed out visitors feel when they arrive. That wouldn’t last for long if my therapist Irina had anything to do with it. In Cyprus the weather and pace of life are anything but demanding. Irina’s background was in sports massage so she knew the best way to treat my tense lower back and be mindful at same time. She gave me tips on how to improve my circulation and strengthen my weakened leg muscles. Using Elemis de-stress oil, Irina gave me one of the best full body massages I’ve ever had, which included lymphatic drainage. She seemed to know which areas of my body could withstand hard pressure and which couldn’t and even relaxed the muscles between my ribs.

If the weather had been a little cooler I would have had my treatment under a small gazebo in the grounds. Later though I had a pedicure in a glass conservatory overlooking the indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Full blown pampering sessions are also on offer such as the Exotic Frangipani Body Nourish Wrap, a bath in jasmine picked from the Azia’s gardens and a hamman, highly recommended by Irina for detoxification and smooth feeling skin. Children aren’t excluded from pampering rituals either. The Little Girl’s Morning includes a shoulder massage, manicure with flowers, a milkshake, pedicure for mum and a coffee iced frappe.

Predominantly British families and couples with a strong local clientele are using the day spa. Have a chat with Niove who runs the souvenir shop, a delightful lady who will tell you everything you need to know about Paphos and Cyprus in general.

All fruits used at the hotel are grown on the Azia’s Morokambos plantation and a jug of freshly squeezed orange juice awaited me when I arrived. The plantation includes 15,000 Mediterranean and tropical plants and the hotel will organise fruit picking excursions. The Cava Cocktail Bar, a dark, sultry lounge with Arabic interiors is a perfect seduction venue before you head into the à la carte Akamas restaurant. On the night I was there a traditional Cypriot buffet was served outside on the terrace.

Bungalow Suites from CYP 50.50 to CYP 130.00 including bed and breakfast. A 60-minute Elemis Deep Tissue Muscle Massage, CYP 45.00. Exotic Frangipani Body Nourish Wrap, CYP 60.00. Exotic Jasmine Flower Bath CYP 25.00. Full Hamman Ritual CYP 80.00. Little Girl’s Morning CYP 55.00. 

Azia Resort and Spa, P.O. Box 62108, 8061 Paphos, Cyprus, tel 26 845100; www.aziaresort.com

Cyprus skeet champion ranks world’s first July 5, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Sports & Games.
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Cypriot skeet champion George Achilleos is currently ranked first worldwide, the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) announced.

This is the first time that a Cypriot athlete ranks first worldwide in any sport.

Another Cypriot skeet athlete, Antonis Nicolaides, is in the top five of the ISSF world ranking.

According to the ISSF homepage, Achilleos has a total of 1647 points followed by Russian Valery Shomin with 1521 points, Vincent Hancock of the USA with 1085 points, Jan Sychra of the Czech Republic with 884 points and Cypriot Antonis Nicolaides with 811 points.

A third Cypriot skeet athlete, Antonis Andreou, is in the 20th position in the ISSF world ranking with 292 points.

Baghdatis advances to Wimbledon quarters July 5, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Tennis Squash.
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Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis was a fourth-round winner Thursday and advanced to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon.

Baghdatis, the 10th-seed, defeated sixth-seeded Russian Nikolay Davydenko 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5), 6-3. Baghdatis also reached the quarterfinals here at Wimbledon last year.

Three more fourth-round matches need to be completed Thursday as last year’s Wimbledon runner-up Rafael Nadal highlights that action. The second-seeded Nadal looks to fight past 14th-seeded Mikhail Youzhny while Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych both look to advance to the quarterfinals.

There will also be two quarterfinal matches Thursday as Roger Federer will take on Juan Carlos Ferrero while American Andy Roddick will square off against Richard Gasquet.

Read Marco’s interview at > Wimbledon2007-The Official WebSite

From Laclos to Muller to Wilson July 5, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Stage & Theater.
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The final performances of ‘Quartett’ are to take place tomorrow and on Sunday

Just one month after Robert Wilson presented “Rumi: In the Blink of an Eye” at the Pallas Theater, the Greek public has yet another opportunity to immerse itself in the famed stage director’s magical universe. Wilson is currently staging Heiner Muller’s “Quartett” at the Olympia Theater with final performances, held within the context of the Athens Festival’s “From the Page to the Stage” series, taking place tomorrow and Sunday.

Having condensed Pierre Cholderos de Laclos’s epistolary novel “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” into just 12 pages of published text, Muller has created a chapter of dialogue on the battle between the sexes and the shattered bourgeoisie conscience. The playwright’s language spares no one in its sarcasm and harshness, while the constant altercations between the characters and the sexes pose a challenge to the actors.

The German playwright has kept little of the famed novel, written on the eve of the French Revolution. The correspondence between the Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil and Vicomte Sebastien de Valmont has been removed. Muller places the lovers on stage, toward the end of their tempestuous and scandal-ridden affair, while to the stage direction for the scene “Drawing Room Before the French Revolution,” Muller has added “Air Raid Shelter after World War III.” Using both historical contexts, Laclos’s in 1781 and Muller’s in 1981, “Quartett” forms a parenthesis to the demise of the bourgeoisie. Merteuil is played by Isabelle Huppert and Valmont by Ariel Garcia Valdes.

At the Olympia Theater, 59 Academias Street, Athens, tel 210 3272000.

Dozens of hotels close for lack of fire safety form July 5, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hotels Greece, Tourism.
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Tourism authorities are closing down 41 hotel units across Greece for lack of fire safety certificates.

Tourism Development Minister Fanni Palli-Petralia published the list of the hotels penalized yesterday and said the decision was essential to safeguard the prestige of the Greek tourism sector.

The hotels to be closed down are located on Crete, the Ionian Islands and the Cyclades. They are mostly small or medium-sized units and have a period of 20 days to comply with the decision.

“In the first circular we sent to those who had not complied with fire safety regulations, we saw no response at all. There was some movement after the second one, but when the checks intensified and hoteliers saw that we were serious, they started to respond rapidly,” said Palli-Petralia.

She stressed that the strict checks will continue throughout the tourism season and added that a radical revision of the entire monitoring framework of the tourism market has begun and will intensify, from the central administration to all tourism authorities. The Ministry’s aim is to ensure the online interconnection of all agencies with the central administration so as to provide live information on the checks made.

In total some 5,180 checks have been made on hotels across Greece, while the second wave of inspections will also include rented rooms. Palli-Petralia confirmed the positive developments in tourism this season, citing the example of Rhodes, where in the first fortnight of June there was a 10 percent rise in arrivals, while foreign currency inflows have also registered growth. She finally suggested that the first problems to be reported to the new complaints section of the Ministry concerned Internet bookings.

Cyprus package to close wealth gap July 5, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Living.
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The Cyprus government yesterday announced a wide-ranging 100-million-pound benefits and tax relief package aimed at improving living standards and closing the gap between rich and poor.

President Tassos Papadopoulos said the package, equivalent to about 170 million, was affordable as the government had reined in spending to ensure it met EU single currency convergence targets. Papadopoulos, who is expected to announce later this month his plans to run for re-election in February 2008, also pledged “no new taxes” would be imposed on the Cypriot public.

The cabinet-approved measures need to be passed by parliament, although this is seen as a formality with the government holding a majority in the house. Last month EU leaders backed Cyprus’s plans to adopt the euro as planned on January 1, 2008.

Under the scheme, tax-free income is raised from 10,000 pounds (about 17,120 euros) to 10,750 pounds for 2007, with the ceiling extended to 11,350 pounds in 2008. “This gives Cyprus the highest tax breaks in Europe,” said Papadopoulos.

The package includes increases of up to 15.8 percent in low-end state pensions, a reduction in value-added tax on some products and services to 5 percent from 15 percent, longer maternity leave, plus more money for people with special needs and the long-term chronically ill. VAT decreases, on various food items, animal fodder, contraceptives, bottled water and juices, had been approved by Brussels, said Papadopoulos.

Finance Minister Michalis Sarris said the aim of the package was to ease the tax burden and improve the living standards of Cypriots, currently at 94 percent of the EU average.

“The economy is positive and meeting our euro targets has given the government the opportunity to provide this social cohesion package,” Sarris told a news conference. “Our eurozone entry is the greatest confirmation of our success.” Cyprus enjoys full employment, low inflation, high economic growth and a continual downward trend registered in the public debt and budgetary deficit, Sarris said.

Economic growth stands at 3.9 percent of gross domestic product, inflation is 1.4 percent, unemployment 3.8 percent and public debt 61 percent of GDP. The Cyprus pound will be locked into the euro on July 10. Cyprus joined the 27-nation bloc on May 1, 2004 and formally applied to enter the eurozone in February.