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Online check-in for Cyprus Airways September 15, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in News Flights.
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Cyprus Airways has launched an online check-in facility where passengers can simply choose their seat and print off their boarding pass, and, if travelling with only hand luggage, can proceed straight to the departure area.

The service is available to all Cyprus Airways passengers travelling with an e-ticket and with a confirmed booking on direct flights departing from Larnaca or Paphos airports. It is available 24 hours a day, every day. Passengers can check in from 24 hours before their flight to three hours before departure.

The online service has four easy steps. Once a passenger enters the details of their reservation, they then review the itinerary. All information about the flight is displayed, including flight number, departure date, departure time, departure airport, destination airport and arrival time on destination. Once the passenger list appears, the traveller selects the name of the person to be checked in. If more than one passenger is travelling, the name-select process is repeated.

The seat map of the aircraft is then displayed and passengers can choose the seat they want from the ones remaining. Occupied and available seats are clearly displayed, Cyprus Airways said. After choosing a seat, passengers can print their boarding passes. If someone changes their mind about a seat, it can be changed before the printing stage.

Passengers with baggage can then go to the “Quick Drop Baggage” counter. “If there is no ‘Quick Drop Baggage’ counter, you must go to Cyprus Airways’ check-in counter,” Cyprus Airways said.

People who book with a travel agency, and not directly from the airline are allowed to use the online check-in, but electronic checking in is not allowed if a person has a connecting flight.

To celebrate the launch of the new service, Cyprus Airways will hold a draw for three tickets among all customers who use the electronic check in during the first week of October. Over 90 per cent of Cyprus Airways routes use electronic ticketing, and by May 2008 it will be available to all destinations.

Related Links > http://www.cyprusairways.com/main/default.aspx

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Baghdatis China Open reign ended September 15, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Tennis Squash.
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Ivan Llubicic ended Marcos Baghdatis reign as China Open champion yesterday, the Croatian knocking the Cypriot out in the quarterfinals 6-4 4-6 7-6 (5).

It was fourth seed Ljubicic’s first win in four matches against Baghdatis who will now face Spaniard Fernando Gonzalez in the semifinals. Baghdatis was hugely disappointed to give up his title after saving two match points in the decisive tiebreak against Ljubicic. “I had many opportunities but I didn’t grasp them,” he said. “He played well in the tiebreak and he was more aggressive.”

Baghdatis has broken Ljubicic’s serve to start the match but the experienced Croat broke the fifth seeded Cypriot twice in a row to take a 4-1 lead. Baghdatis broke back in the ninth game to reduce the score to 4-5 but again failed to hold serve.

The second set started in similar fashion as the 22-year-old Cypriot broke Ljubicic’s serve in the first and third game and built up a 3-0 lead. However, Ljubicic managed to break Baghdatis in the fourth game and then hold server to get back in the match at 2-3. But Baghdatis held his serve to see out the set and level the tie.

Both men found greater consistency in their serve in the final set to force a tie-breaker. Unforced errors by the reigning champion handed the initiative to Ljubicic and eventually gave the Croatian his first tour win over Baghdatis.

Eurobasket 2007 > Greece advances to semi finals September 15, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Basketball.
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If Greece plays like it did over the final 92 seconds of its 63-62 win against Slovenia, it just might beat Spain to reach its second straight European basketball championship final.

Greece progressed to the semi finals of the European Basketball Championships with a close-fought 63-62 win over Slovenia.

The holders mounted a thrilling fight back in the final quarter to set up a semi-final showdown with world champions Spain. They trailed by 16 points midway through the fourth quarter but stormed back to win thanks to a two-pointer from Theodoros Papaloukas with 41 seconds remaining to spark wild celebrations. Papaloukas scored a game-high 17 points and pulled down five rebounds.

“If anyone has a heart problem this wasn’t the game for them,” said Greece coach Panagiotis Yannakis. “Slovenia played better most of the game but we didn’t lose our courage or spirit to keep fighting to the last seconds. “I want to thank the players. They have shown great personality and a love for the team and that’s why this game was won.”

Saturday’s semi-final sets up a repeat of last September’s world championship final in which Spain crushed Greece 70-47. Slovenia looked to be home and dry as the fourth quarter got underway with Radoslav Nesterovic, who finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, dominating in the zone. But they started to lose their fluency and nerve as Greece came back.

“It’s a very hard moment for me and my players. We played well for 37 minutes but in the last three we made mistakes and lost some balls. We lost crazy game,” said Slovenia coach Ales Pipan.

Greece > Sunday’s general elections 2007 September 15, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece News, Politics.
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Time to stand up and be counted

Tomorrow is a big day for democracy. It is the hour of responsibility for Greek citizens, who are called upon to judge politicians and parties and to make a decision on the country’s future. The people go to the polls having mostly recovered from the shock of the wildfires. It’s time for the wavering and undecided masses to take a stand and determine the country’s future direction. Sure, people’s rights and responsibilities do not end on election day. And this is something that they must keep in mind. However, right now this is their specific duty: to express their political will at the ballot box.

Tomorrow’s election will be based on an electoral law implemented for the first time since being introduced in February 2004 under the previous socialist PASOK government.

Of the 300 seats in Parliament, 260 will be divided up among political parties and 40 seats will be automatically awarded to the party that is first past the post.

The newly adopted legislation is seen as helping to offer the most popular party a stronger majority in Parliament. The new law also states that parties must have gained at least 3 percent of votes countrywide in order to have representation in Parliament.

Parties that meet the 3 percent threshold receive a minimum of six parliamentary seats.

Smaller-sized parties are seen as getting a boost from the new electoral law, as it can also potentially award them more seats in the event of there being no clear winner than the previous law.

Voters who are unsure where they need to go in order to cast their vote can find out more information by accessing the Interior Ministry’s website, www.ypes.gr, or by calling 1564.

Polls will open at 7 a.m. and will close 12 hours later. The first election results are expected to be known at around 11.30 p.m.

Greeks are obligated by law to vote but senior government officials have admitted that penalties against those that do not exercise this right are no longer imposed.

Press catering to migrants in Greece avoid taking sides on elections September 15, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Media Radio TV, Politics.
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Many newspapers cater to Greece’s large population of migrants, from Omonia in Russian and Gazeta e Athines in Albanian, to the Times of Athens in Chinese and Al Dafatan in Arabic. All offer background information on tomorrow’s National elections.

Newspapers for migrants play an intrinsic part in the lives of those who have come to Greece to find work, and possibly to attain Greek citizenship and the right to vote. How are the newspapers for migrants covering the 2007 elections, and how do they see the major parties?

According to a poll in the Russian-language weekly Omonia, founded in 1993, one in 10 say they will vote for Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS), led by Giorgos Karatzaferis. “This is unprecedented,” says editor Inga Abkarova, who is of Georgian origin. “You know, for our people it’s important to hear that Russian President Vladimir Putin is better than US President George W. Bush.” In the same poll, 80 percent said they would vote for PASOK and 10 percent for New Democracy.

Out of respect for its readers’ views, however, Omonia, which has a circulation of 18,000 throughout Greece, makes no comment. The paper’s 600,000 readers are Greeks from the Black Sea, Russians, Ukrainians, Georgians and other Russian-speakers from the former Soviet Union. “Officially there are 18,000 Black Sea Greeks,” explained Abkarova. “It is a significant number, so at election time the parties visit us regularly.”

How will the Black Sea Greeks vote? According to the main story in Omonia, it will be whoever brings back 60,000-euro housing loans and simplifies the process of acquiring Greek citizenship.

In the office next door, journalist Ira Lonto of the Albanian newspaper Gazeta e Athines, which has been published since 1998 in Greece and Albania, is closing the front page. “Elections, everything about the vote” and “Automobile license plates being returned” are the headlines.

Of the 1,269 migrants who have been granted Greek citizenship this year, the 548 who managed to be sworn in by July 30, 2007, will vote for the first time in a Greek election. Most of them are Greeks from Albania. Gazeta does not take sides and its articles focus on general information and directions for the elections. With a circulation of 19,000, the newspaper reaches 700,000 readers. “The real number is at least a million,” said Lonto.

The Bulgarian paper Atinksi Vesti (Athenian News), established in 2000, does draw some conclusions, although its editor, Nelli Karangiova, says that only 1,000 of the estimated 200,000 Bulgarians in Greece actually vote. “The government that is elected will probably be weak and we will have elections again in two-and-a-half years,” she commented. “On Sunday, Greeks have to decide who will govern them for the next four years” is the headline. What about the Bulgarians? “As citizens of the European Union, we will vote in the Municipal elections.”

In Metaxourgeio, home to many Chinese, publisher Robin Wang is proofreading the front page of the paper that will come out the day after the elections. Photographs of the leaders of the two major parties are already in place, but the title is not done yet. The Times of Athens, the only Chinese newspaper in Greece, is a weekly with a circulation of 2,500, and it aims to be the voice of the 20,000 Chinese migrants who live in Athens. Fewer than 10 Chinese have acquired Greek citizenship and will be entitled to vote on Sunday.

But, said Wang, “if the Chinese voted, they would not vote for PASOK because during the 20 years that PASOK was in power, migrants were not first-class citizens. By contrast, in the past three years, new favorable measures were instituted for the establishment and tax regime of migrants’ businesses, and for the import of Chinese products.”

“The catastrophic fires helped the small parties and burnt the fingers of the big parties,” says the Sashati Mansur, editor of the Arabic-language Al Dafatan, explaining the headlines. The paper is aimed mainly at Greek citizens who come from Arab countries and who vote here. Mansur estimates there are 3,000-4,000 Arab voters. “The newspaper condemns the mistakes related to the fires but does not take a stand on the elections. The parties play the games,” he said. “The Arabic-language newspapers in Greece don’t put governments in or out of power.”

News from home is what interests Talat Jafri, publisher of the Pakistani paper Awaz (Voice), and not the scandal of the structured bonds, he told us as he delivered his paper by hand in Anaxagora Street. Awaz, which has acquired an official readership of 50,000 (unofficially 70,000) since it first came out in 1999, informs Pakistanis what is happening in their homeland. It will not run an article about the Greek elections.

“In my country, the government is in danger of falling. President Pervez Musharraf is ready to declare a state of emergency, and you talk to me about the Greek elections? In Pakistan we are burning, do you understand? Burning.” “We’ve already been burnt, Mr Jafri,” interpolates a Greek passerby.

Greek drivers to receive new EU permits September 15, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Transport Air Sea Land.
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Greek drivers will be issued new licenses next year that will contain a microchip used to store driver information, such as blood type and other personal details.

The new pink-and-yellow credit card-like licenses will be issued as part of a European Union drive to introduce the same permits across its 25 member states in a move that is also seen as helping to reduce forgery.

The microchip will also contain information, such as the number of penalty points gathered by the driver, and will let police officers know whether the license has been revoked.

Police will issue the new permits that will then be distributed by prefectures. Greeks will have until 2013 to replace their existing licenses, while the EU hopes to have updated permits in all member states in the next 25 years.

Currently there are 110 different types of licenses issued across all EU states. Once obtained, Greek drivers will then be required to replace the license every 10 years.

Organic market opens in Piraeus September 15, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Greece, Shopping.
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A new, laiki, street market, selling organically produced goods, will start operating in Piraeus as of next Monday.

The license for the market, which will be based in Pigada Square, has been granted to the producers by the Municipal authorities. Authorities also said they were planning to cooperate with the producers for an initiative aimed at introducing biological projects in kindergartens.