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Harry Potter casts his spell for the last time in Cyprus July 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Books Life, Books Life Greek.
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Airport bookshops lead the way in Cyprus > Harry Potter is ready to cast a spell over the book industry this weekend, with the seventh volume in the boy wizard series going on sale at Larnaca and Paphos airports at 2.01 am tomorrow morning

Millionaire author J.K. Rowling will mark the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows with a midnight reading at London’s Natural History Museum. “As launch night looms, let’s all, please, ignore the misinformation popping up on the web and in the press on the plot,” Rowling wrote in a message posted on her website on Wednesday.

“I’d like to ask everyone who calls themselves a Potter fan to help preserve the secrecy of the plot for all those who are looking forward to reading the book at the same time on publication day. In a very short time you will know everything.”

A spokeswoman for the Hellenic Distribution Agency in Nicosia, the official Cyprus distributors of publishers Bloomsbury, yesterday said that, “120 copies of both the adult and children’s editions have been sent to Larnaca airport, with a further 50 or so delivered to Paphos.” She stated that top-up orders would follow.

Jenni Fernando, spokeswoman for the Hermes Group, the consortium running the airports, said that they were looking at putting up special events for the launch and were trying to bring in some magicians.

CTCARI, who hold the airports’ exclusive retail rights, stated that the book would also be available to non-travellers, through the landside express shop. Elena Ourri added: “We want Cyprus to be part of the worldwide launch.”

Akis Christou of the Soloneion Book Centre in Nicosia said the store had ordered 192 copies of the book, priced at Cy£18.90, which have all been reserved. “It will go on sale at 8.30am tomorrow morning but only to those who have reserved,” he explained. “We have placed an order for further copies from the publisher but cannot say for sure when they will be arriving. In the meantime, we will be taking down the names of people who want to buy the book.”

According to Christou, the Greek version will go on sale by the end of November. The manager of the Moufflon Bookshop in Nicosia thinks sales will be better than for the previous volume in the series. “I’ve noticed that more people have been ringing up enquiring about availability, with many reserving a copy,” she said.

The six earlier novels in the series have sold more than 300 million copies, making Rowling wealthier than Queen Elizabeth II with a £545 million fortune, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.


Constantine Karamanlis tribute at the Delphi Center July 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Greek Culture Heritage.
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The late statesman Constantine Karamanlis, a former Prime Minister and President of Greece, once said, “The Delphi Center can become an institution dedicated to the ideals, cultural values and concerns of modern Europe.”

These are words that politicians and journalists of the time were called upon to interpret, spoken by a leader of the Nation who brought Greece into the great European family, looking ahead into the future and making his visions a reality. That statement by Karamanlis is a reminder that another of his visions, the Delphi Center, which he founded in 1977, has for 30 years functioned as an institution dedicated to the cultural values and concerns of modern Europe.

The phrase is carved beneath Karamanlis’s bust at the conference center that will from now on bear his name. The bust will be unveiled tomorrow, July 22, in a ceremony at which European Commissioner Jose Manuel Barroso will be presented with a medal and the key to the town of Delphi by Mayor Panayiotis Kaltsis.

The unveiling will be made by the Center’s President Helene Glykatzi-Ahrweiler. It will be followed by a reception given by Tourism Development Minister Fanni Palli-Petralia and a performance by Stamatis Spanoudakis of his work “In Company with Myths.” On Monday evening, Aliki Kayialoglou will give a concert of songs by Manos Hadjidakis.

From Greece’s Pnyx to Shanghai via the White House July 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Olympic Games.
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Exciting news has arrived to Yianna Despotopoulou, the President of Special Olympics Hellas, that the flame which was lit at the Pnyx in Athens on June 29 and is now being carried around Europe, is to arrive on July 26 by special flight in Washington DC, where it will be taken to the White House.

In a ceremony honoring the Spirit of the Special Olympics movement and the courage of its athletes, the «Flame of Hope» for the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games was lit on June 29 in Athens, officially launching the Global Law Enforcement Torch Run.

Despotopoulou has received an invitation to attend a ceremony hosted by President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush in the Rose Garden, to be broadcast live to Greece via ERT at 11.30 a. m. Washington time. At 12.30 p. m., just after the ceremony, the flame relay runners will run along the South Lawn to the National Mall for photo opportunities at the Capitol, at the Friendship Arch in Chinatown and at the Chinese Embassy, where the ambassador will hold a reception, followed by a VIP dinner that evening given by Special Olympics Chairman Timothy Shriver.

From Washington, the flame is to go to China, where it will be taken along the Great Wall, arriving in Shanghai for the 2007 Special World Summer Games from October 2-11. July 26 is also the anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a significant date for all people with disabilities and those who care for them.

At the White House ceremony, Special Olympics Hellas President Yianna Despotopoulou is to be a guest as head of the flame-lighting ceremony and President of the successful Athens bid for the 2011 Special Olympics. Natasa Karamanli, wife of the Greek Prime Minister, has also been invited to the White House ceremony, along with Sports Minister Giorgos Orfanos and Secretary General for Sports Stavros Douvis. Members of the Greek press and media will also be there to watch when, for the first time in the history of the Olympic Games, the Olympic Flame is received at the White House by the US President. The flame is the flame of hope for a better world for those with mental disabilities but who are athletes in body and spirit.

Protection of archaeological and ethnological heritage of Cyprus July 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Cyprus.
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Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs R. Nicholas Burns and Ambassador of Cyprus to the United States Andreas Kakouris held a ceremonial exchange of diplomatic notes today signifying the extension of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that protects the rich archaeological and ethnological heritage of Cyprus.

cypriot_coins.jpg Ancient Cyprus coins

The MOU, which entered into force in 2002, is extended for an additional five years, effective July 16, 2007. Its continuation reflects the strong commitment of the United States to help safeguard Cypriot heritage and offers the opportunity for ongoing cooperation to reduce further pillage, thereby increasing opportunities for scientific study of intact sites. It also illustrates the strength of U.S.-Cyprus bilateral relations.

The MOU enables the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to continue import restrictions on pre-Classical and Classical archaeological objects and Byzantine period ecclesiastical and ritual ethnological material unless accompanied by an export permit issued by Cyprus. The designated list of categories of material restricted from import into the United States, has been published in the Federal Register by DHS.

Byzantine ritual and ecclesiastical ethnological material such as icons, mosaics and frescos, ranging in date from approximately the 4th century A.D. through approximately the 15th century A.D., illustrate the high degree of artistic achievement in Cyprus and include some of the finest pieces of Byzantine art ever produced. The rich archaeological heritage of Cyprus illustrates the interaction of the island’s inhabitants with neighboring societies, while maintaining a uniquely Cypriot character. Much of the history of the island from the 8th millennium B.C. to approximately 330 A.D. can be understood only from archaeological remains, because historical texts are very rare.

With the extension of this MOU, DHS amended the designated list of restricted categories to include ancient coins of Cypriot types produced from the end of the 6th century B.C. to 235 A.D. Coins, a significant and inseparable part of the archaeological record of the island, are especially valuable to understanding the history of Cyprus.

This extension of the MOU is consistent with the recommendation of the Cultural Property Advisory Committee, which is administered by the Bureau for Educational and Cultural Affairs. The MOU, the Designated List, and other information may be found at http://exchanges.state.gov/culprop/cyfactpc.html

Ancient mariner tools found in Cyprus July 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Cyprus.
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Archaeologists excavating the seabed off Cyprus have discovered the tools of ancient mariners, which they believe were used by foragers more than 10,000 years ago, before the island had permanent settlements.

The underwater discovery of what archaeologists said were the oldest materials recovered off the island’s coast could shed fresh light on the early history of Cyprus and Mediterranean seafaring.

Earlier this month, divers located the pre-Neolithic finds, chipped stone tools and ground stone implements, in several areas off the western coast, near Aspros, an archaeological site discovered in 2004. The most significant finds were located in water about 33 feet deep and about 330 feet offshore.

“These are the people who are the pioneers; without their knowledge people who came later maybe would not have had it that good,” said Colgate University’s Albert J. Ammerman, the survey’s director.

Archaeologists say the new discoveries indicate that ancient Aspros was much larger than the landward section visible today. The Aspros site, discovered in 2004, now extends more than 820 feet along the top of a cliff on the north side of the dry Aspros River bed, the archaeologists said.

“All of what we see on the land is just a tip of the iceberg of what is in the water,” said Ammerman, whose underwater survey was carried out by nine divers from Cyprus and the U.S. Aspros, along with a similar site also discovered in 2004 at the tourist resort of Agia Napa in southeastern Cyprus, lies on a coastal formation of aeolianite, old cemented sand dunes.

The archaeologists believe that tools found at the two sites were used by seafaring foragers who frequented the island well over 10,000 years ago, before the first permanent settlers arrived around 8,200 B.C. They are thought to have sailed from present-day Syria and Turkey, at least 46 miles north and east of the island.

The dawn of seafaring in the region has been put at around 9,500 B.C. from evidence found 20 years ago at Aetokremnos, on Cyprus’ southern Akrotiri peninsula. The finds indicate these early wanderers traveled more widely, and more frequently, than was previously believed, outside experts say.

“This just shows there is a lot more activity than was originally thought,” said Tom Davis, an archaeologist and director of the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute, who not involved in Ammerman’s study. “We’re looking at repeated visits around the island. These would be people stopping deliberately, coming to the island to use resources, setting themselves with a clear understanding of the landscape,” Davis said.

The tools found at Aspros and Ayia Napa are similar to those found at Akrotiri, though precise dating must still be verified through radiocarbon tests, which are in progress. The era in question coincided with a climatic cold snap known as the Younger Dryas, dated roughly 11,600-12,800 years ago, when the sea level was some 200-230 feet lower. Rising seas subsequently submerged much of the ancient coast.

One in five teens fat, study says July 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Health & Fitness.
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One in five teenage boys in Athens is overweight, according to the results of a study which warned that obesity in youngsters was on the increase and could provoke health problems.

A total of 19.2 percent of boys aged between 12 and 18 are overweight, while 4.4 percent are obese, according to a two-and-a-half-year study conducted on 2,153 adolescents in the Athens district of Vyronas by Athens University Professor Anargyros Mariolis. Girls were also tested, with 13.2 percent proving to be overweight and 1.7 percent obese.

The study found that most adolescents opt for high-fat snacks and junk food, avoiding fruit and vegetables, and exercise an average of three hours per week, about the same time they spend in front of the computer. More than half of the youngsters claimed to eat junk food at least three times a week.

“Youth obesity and unhealthy habits are both gaining ground,” said Mariolis. “This could provoke health problems in young Greeks,” he said. Mariolis proposed that local health centers run awareness programs offering advice on healthy living.

Greeks are no slackers July 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Living.
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Putting the stereotype of lazy Greeks to rest, Eurostat data published yesterday in Brussels showed that people in this country work more than the EU average. The average working time per week stands at 40.7 hours, against an average of 40.5 hours in the 27 EU members.

The bloc’s greatest hard workers are the Austrians and the British, with 42.4 hours per week, while those working the least hours every week are the Dutch (38.9 hours), the Belgians (39 hours) and the French (39.1 hours).

Employment among people aged between 15 and 64 years has reached 61 percent in Greece, according to Eurostat data. The EU average stood at 64.4 percent. The number of working men within this age bracket in Greece is considerably more than that of working women: 74.6 percent of men versus 47.4 percent of women. The gap in employment between the sexes in this country is the second highest in the European Union behind Malta.

Eurostat suggested that 71.6 percent of men and 57.2 percent of women aged 15-64 years work in the EU. The highest levels of employment are in Denmark (77.4 percent) and the Netherlands (74.3 percent), while the lowest are in Romania (58.8 percent) and Slovakia (59.4 percent).

As far as people aged 55-64 years are concerned, Greece’s employment rate came to 42.3 percent, compared with an EU average of 43.5 percent. In this age group, 59.2 percent of men work against 26.6 percent of women, in the EU, the respective rates are 52.6 percent and 34.8 percent.

Part-time employment is definitely less common in Greece that in the rest of the EU. No more than 5.7 percent of Greeks work part-time, against an EU average of 18.8 percent. Women part-timers are far more numerous than men (10.2 percent against 2.9 percent). The EU average is 32.7 percent for women and just 7.7 percent for men.

The same data also show that 12 percent of Greeks work in agriculture (4.7 percent in the EU as a whole), 22.1 percent in industry (27.4 percent in the EU) and 65.9 percent in services (67.9 percent in the EU).

Last year, unemployment affected 434,000 Greeks (162,000 men and 272,000 women) out of a total of 19.1 million people in the whole of the EU. More than half (54.3 percent) have been out of work for over a year, against 44.9 percent in the EU-27. The long-term unemployed reach 46.5 percent in Greece (45.1 percent in the EU), while among women this rate comes to 59 percent (44.8 percent in the EU). Some 8.2 percent of young people are jobless in Greece, slightly higher than the EU average (7.8 percent).