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Olympic history built in sand September 30, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Olympic Games.
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olympic_history.jpg  A visitor walks past a large sand creation with an ancient Greek Olympic athlete throwing discus, on Zhujiajian Island, East China’s Zhejiang Province, on September 29, 2007.

These and other sand sculptures were made by 30 artists from 10 countries, including China, the U.S. and Russia, to welcome the 2008 Beijing Olympics as well as illustrate the history of the Games. (Photo courtesy by Xinhua)

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A revolution in the homes of Cypriots > TV September 30, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Media Radio TV.
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50 years on, cameras still rolling > Fifty years ago, people huddled around electronics stores to catch their first glimpse of television in Cyprus. It has come a long way since

Fifty years ago this week there was a revolution in the home in Cyprus: the introduction of TV. On October 1, two cameras and various other equipment were set up at what has since become the CyBC, Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation, building as an attractive young women with a distinctive 50s hairdo and dress sat down and transmission began. In these media intense times, it’s hard to picture there was a time when the little box, or large plasma screen, we have come to depend so much on today was practically non-existent. And when it did happen, only the privileged few were able to watch.

The very first television programme was broadcast on an experimental basis and transmission was available twice weekly, for a total of 2½ to three hours. Gradually, broadcasting hours were increased but reception was still limited to a 16-mile radius within Nicosia. It wasn’t until 1965, when two transmitters were placed on Mount Olympus and Mount Sina, that more people around the island were able to watch history in the making.

The biggest challenge to TV broadcasts in Cyprus came with the 1974 Turkish invasion. “Those were extremely tough times,” says Andreas Constantinides, Director of the station from 1969. “People felt disconnected and almost destroyed but with the station’s constant sourcing of information and broadcasts, we were able to help in a very significant way.” Reporters were sent out to capture images and inform people about the happenings around the island. Nayia Roussou, who also worked at the station as a television producer during the invasion, recalls:

“As television producers at the time, we didn’t just do our job. We went through intense mental and emotional suffering. We witnessed and recorded scenes of tragic despair at the Philoxenia Hotel where we filmed the missing men who made it back home, bearded, terrorised and shaken. We interviewed 80-year-old women who, among others, had been raped. For many years after the invasion, we, as producers, continued to produce documentary and magazine programmes about the misery of the uprooted people, the destruction of the cultural heritage in the occupied areas, presenting these in film festivals like the Leipzig Festival and talking about the destruction.”

During those days of filming in basements and hotels, all images were hurried back to the studios where a time-consuming process of developing and projecting began. “Our equipment was up-to-date but back then everything worked so differently so we had a lot of work on our hands when the cameramen would come back,” said Constantinides. “The 16mm film used was black and white and we had to change the polarity by developing the negative, which also meant that the quality wasn’t excellent.”

However, cameramen also had a hard time recording images as they were the only people on the job those days apart from various foreign reporters who were sending information around the world. “The people of Cyprus depended on us,” says Constantinides. During the invasion and despite the constant roll of information, broadcasts began late in the afternoon and finished around midnight. “A lot of what we were broadcasting was live with various presenters coming in but the announcements were recorded.”

CyBC 2 was launched in 1992 as more commercial and mainstream stations began operating. It was CyBC’s attempt to lure housewives to the box by airing endless South American dramas and soap operas without losing its reputation as a source of informative reporting.

Once upon a time, people worked hours on end, sometimes risking their lives to get an image or an article through; they loved their jobs and working as a team was of utmost importance. Nowadays? “It’s a shame that competition is what is driving people in this area,” she says. “Everything has become about mass production and while the Greek shows airing every night are fun and light, I prefer watching The History Channel.”

Even though we now have five local TV channels to chose from, the need for more Americanised raw and entertaining programmes brought to us bang up-to-date, mostly initiated by the younger generation, brought the era of pay TV to Cyprus. Between them, CyBC, MEGA, ANT-1 and Sigma have not managed to fight the popularity of satellite TV, with increasing numbers of homes on the island displaying a dish on the roof.

LTV may have made the first step in 1993, but it wasn’t long before The Cyprus Electricity Board popped up with Cablenet and the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority followed suit with MiVision as well as Athina Sat, launched in May 2005. It is the first Cypriot-owned DTH satellite provider in Cyprus and one of two satellite platforms, the other being NOVA Cyprus.

Cyprus aims to double its renewable energy sources September 30, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Energy.
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Cyprus, which spends about 500 million euro annually on energy imports, intends to double its reliance on renewable energy sources (RES) by 2010 to meet EU criteria and reduce energy costs.

Addressing a conference on ”Renewable Energy Sources and Energy Efficiency”, Commerce and Industry Minister Antonis Michaelides pointed out that Cyprus is not connected to any networks of electricity or gas and the only exploitable indigenous energy resources it has are solar, wind and biomass energy.

“The cost of imported energy is a significant burden on the island’s economy. Every year approximately 500 million euro is spent on energy imports, which represents about 12 per cent of the total cost of imports,” he added.

“The National Action Plan for RES and energy efficiency calls for doubling of RES contribution to the country’s energy balance from 4.5 per cent to nine per cent by 2010 and increasing the contribution of RES in electricity production to six per cent by 2010,” he said.

Seattle’s Jurek wins Greece’s Spartathlon September 30, 2007

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Ultramarathoner covers 152.4 miles in less than 24 hours > Scott Jurek of Seattle captured his second straight Spartathlon ultramarathon in Greece on Saturday, winning a 152.4-mile race that attempts to retrace the journey of the legendary messenger Pheidippides 2,500 years ago.

Jurek completed the run from Athens to Sparta in 23 hours, 12 minutes, 14 seconds.

He was among 332 runners at the foot of the Acropolis on Friday to start the race. The route covers highways, rural roads and mountain paths.

Jurek won last year’s event in 22:52:18 and owns the fifth- and sixth-fastest winning times in Spartathlon history. The first international Spartathlon was in 1983.

Leonard Cohen’s spirit still lives on Hydra island September 29, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Islands.
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The hydrofoil skips over the deep blue waters of the Saronic Gulf, the azure sky burning overhead. Athens soon fades. Aegina, Methana, Poros, Hydra. The ferry nuzzles against the dock in the U-shaped harbour, and the few remaining travellers disembark.

Nothing moves quickly on Hydra. The day trippers wander slowly among the shops and cafes. There are no cars here, no trucks, but there are birds, and wires, now. Those staying wheel their noisy suitcases to the waiting line of donkeys and servants. Darkly tanned men hoist the luggage onto the beasts, and lead the guests to their hotels.

I wait until all are gone, leaning against a post at the end of the harbour. I’m not here for the paradise beaches, nor to dive the Aegean Sea. I’m here to find Leonard Cohen. It was from the idyllic island in 1965 that the CBC introduced the poet to his nation in Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Leonard Cohen. On the poster for the film, he stands on a ship in Hydra’s harbour, dressed as a casual sailor. Five years earlier, at age 26, Cohen had bought a house here. “I live on a hill and life has been going on here exactly the same for hundreds of years,” he wrote to his mother.

But things changed. The long arm of modernity stuck its finger into Cohen’s bohemian backwater, and tall poles went up to hold the wires for the telephones. Cohen, saddened by this and catching sight of a bird resting on this strange, uncomfortable nest, wrote his legendary Bird on the Wire. “I would stare out the window at these telephone wires and think how civilization had caught up with me and I wasn’t going to be able to escape after all,” he later said.

It was also on Hydra that Cohen met Marianne; and from here he wrote So Long, Marianne, and the album Songs From a Room; the back of the CD is a picture of Marianne sitting at his typewriter in his house on Hydra.

I sit at a cafe, a few feet from the harbour, flipping through The Spice Box of Earth, peering over the ragged top. Eight rough fishermen grunt and drag a boat out of the clear water. Gulls wheel through the clear air, dreaming of scraps. Through his poetry, Cohen tells me he has not lingered in European monasteries. I don’t believe him, but it does give me an idea.

Beyond the harbour, houses climb a steep hill. I’ve heard a monastery sits at the summit. I finish the sweet Greek coffee, drop some euros on the table, put the poetry in my backpack, and leave the village. The path winds up a steep road. I pass a man and his donkey. The man is not sweating. Only tourists sweat in Greece. In the backyard of a whitewashed house, a rooster crows, while a mule and a dog ignore it. As I get beyond all the houses, the path narrows, branches. A hand-painted sign points me in the right direction. I smile.

The mountain is called Eros. Cohen must have smiled at that. I climb on, heat hovering in the air. I press through the hard bush and emerge on the summit, which has been cleared. A stone floor covers it. In front of me is a white building. The stones around the door have been painted to resemble brick. A prophet in a chariot pulled by four white horses rides over the door. Elijah, on his chariot of fire. Elijah, the fierce Old Testament prophet who heard the still, small voice of God. The climber of Mount Eros arrives at a Monastery. Cohen must have smiled.

I walk to the edge, seat myself on the wall. A tall monk in long black robes, long black beard and a black hat walks past me toward the chapel. I smile. He nods back, lost in prayer.

Below is the village; across the water is the mainland. The island has two other mountains. Stone walls crawl over them like chains. Clouds cover the distant peak, but here, the light is strong. Cohen wrote a poem called Hydra: “Pain cannot compromise this light,” he says. A small, nearly still breeze comes across the Gulf of Hydra. I inhale deeply as the sun presses down on me, setting everything a golden blaze. Cohen is here.

Source > The Daily News

Briam September 29, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes.
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Ingredients >  
1 kilo potatoes
3-4 zucchini
2 eggplants
3-4 onions
3 green peppers
2-3 carrots
½ kilo tomatoes
finely chopped parsley
2 cups oil
salt and pepper to taste 

Method >
Clean the vegetables and slice in wheel shapes about the thickness of a finger. Mix them in a baking dish and salt and pepper to taste. Pour in the oil and a little water before putting in the oven. Bake at low temperature. 

briam.jpg

Spartathlon > Jurek wins second consecutive ultra-marathon race September 29, 2007

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American Scott Jurek won the 245.3km ultra-marathon Spartathlon race here on Saturday for the second year in a row.

The 33-year-old from Seattle timed 23hr 12min 14sec. Last year he clocked 22:52:13.

The race traces the classical route of Pheidippides, an Athenian messenger sent to Sparta in 490 BC to seek help against the Persians in the Battle of Marathon.

The Spartathlon is one of the world’s most gruelling races, running over rough tracks and muddy paths, crossing vineyards and olive groves, steep hillsides and, most challenging of all, the 1,200m ascent and descent of Mount Parthenio in the dead of night. This year’s race started at the Acropolis in Athens on Friday and ended in the southern Greek town of Sparta. A record 323 runners participated in the 25th edition of the race.

The top 10 finishers > 1. Scott Jurek (USA) 23:12 2. Piotr Kyrulo (POL) 24:29 3. Valmir Nunes (BRA) 25:37 4. Jens Lukas (GER) 25:48 5. Markus Thalmann (AUS) 26:34 6. Eusebio Bochons (ESP) 27:40 7. Nobumi Iwamoto (JPN) 28:17 8. Takehiro Matsushita (JPN) 28:36 9. William Sichel (GBR) 29:01 10. Ryoichi Sato (JPN) 29:25