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Greece’s Olympiakos takes on Real Madrid tonight October 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Football.
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‘We have nothing to lose from this game… only to gain,’ says Piraeus club’s coach about Champions League encounter

Real Madrid and Olympiakos will try to maintain their unbeaten group records in the Champions League tonight. Both the Spanish and Greek Champions have four points in Group C after each winning and drawing. Olympiakos leads on goal difference, Lazio is third with two points, and Werder Bremen has zero.

Olympiakos is in good spirit after beating Bremen 3-1 earlier in the month to snap a 31-match winless streak away from home in Europe’s top club competition. In contrast, Madrid has been shaken by a 2-1 league loss at Espanyol last Saturday, its first defeat of the season.

However, Olympiakos coach Takis Lemonis recognizes his team will be the underdog at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, especially since it hasn’t won in its 11 visits to Spain. “Real is one of the five best teams in the world,” Lemonis said. “Lots of strong opponents have lost at its home ground, but in effect things are pretty clear, we have nothing to lose from this game. On the contrary, we can only gain.”

Madrid’s defeat at Espanyol ended a nine-game unbeaten streak in league and European games and spoiled Bernd Schuster’s unblemished start as coach. Madrid will be without injured forward Arjen Robben and defenders Gabriel Heinze and Pepe. Another defender, Fabio Cannavaro, and midfielder Mahamadou Diarra are also ruled out after knocks on Saturday. Schuster recalled Robinho and Julio Baptista after omitting them from Saturday’s game as a punishment for their late arrival from international duty with Brazil.

Facing Real Madrid will hold few fears for Olympiakos players Darko Kovacevic and Luciano Galletti who both joined the club in the close season after lengthy stints in the Primera Liga.

Kovacevic, who has scored four goals in the past five games for Olympiakos, was renowned for his ability to sow panic in the Real defense while at Real Sociedad, scoring 10 goals in 15 appearances against the Spanish powerhouse. “It’s great to be playing Madrid again. I’m on a good run and I feel really fit,” Kovacevic told sports daily Marca yesterday. “Let’s see if I get a chance to score and help my team get a positive result.”

Galletti scored the winner against Real in the final of the King’s Cup in 2004 when he was at Real Zaragoza. Olympiakos defender Didier Domi will miss the game because of injury. Another player who will be relishing the trip is defender Raul Bravo who moved to the Piraeus club in the summer after 11 years on the Madrid books.

“Winning in Germany against a team like Werder Bremen, not to mention the manner in which we did it, made us believe that we can win at any ground,” he told Uefa.com. “I think we have a good chance at the moment. We will be going there [the Bernabeu] to win because the three points could be very important for our chances of getting through to the next stage, but a draw would also be a good result.”


Philoxenia and Hotelia Exhibition to open next week October 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Shows & Conferences, Tourism.
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This year’s Philoxenia tourism fair, scheduled for November 1-4 at the Helexpo grounds in Thessaloniki, will be hosting 701 Greek and 113 foreign exhibitors from 30 countries, Helexpo President Aristotelis Thomopoulos told a press briefing yesterday.

The organizers estimate that the event will break last year’s record number of 25,000 visitors. The 23rd Philoxenia will also host a number of parallel events, most prominent of which will be the 2nd International Symposium on Gastronomy and Wine Tourism on the evening of the opening day, which will be addressed by a large number of academics and gastronomy experts. Subthemes will include marketing gastronomy and wine tourism, sustainability issues, managing gastronomy and wine tourism, healthy nutrition and nutritional hygiene, with emphasis on the Mediterranean diet and gastronomy.

Also to be touched upon are tourism as a means of preserving national gastronomic heritage, food and wine events, wine tourism as a special form of tourism, and globalization and gastronomy. The event will include visits to the wineries of Halkidiki and Thessaloniki.

Other events will include the Greek tourism awards to 10 destinations and 11 hotels. The award winners were selected following secret inspections by “mystery guests” who visited them as ordinary clients.

Philoxenia will run in parallel with the Hotelia hotel equipment exhibition, to which 110 buyers from 31 countries have been invited.

Related Links > http://www.helexpo.gr/portal/

Cyprus tourist revenues grow October 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism.
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Cyprus’ revenues from tourism grew 6.6 percent from January to August year-on-year to 743.1 million Cyprus pounds ($1.8 billion), the Cyprus Statistics Department said yesterday.

In August alone, revenues from tourism hit 179.1 million Cyprus pounds and were 15.5 percent above August 2006 figures.

Way forward for the olive oil industry is in exports October 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Food Greece.
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Domestic olive oil consumption is expected to remain stable over the next few years, while that of olive-pomace oil is expanding considerably.

Exports are the main route for the expansion of the Greek olive oil market, according to a survey by research company ICAP, which shows Greece as the third-biggest olive oil producer in the world and the second-biggest producer of table olives.

Olive oil and olive-pomace oil exports have shown fluctuations as their level depends mainly on the size of production and on demand from abroad, where it is exported in bulk form. In 2006, olive and pomace oil exports grew by 4.6 percent and 30.5 percent respectively.

Imports were limited, as demand is covered by domestic production, and concern products with special features for purposes of mixing. Last year imports posted a 29.4 percent decline from 2005, coming exclusively from European Union countries.

The majority of domestic consumption is covered by bulk olive oil (38 percent) and standardized olive oil (27 percent), while 35 percent concerns consumption of own products. Industry professionals argue that the domestic consumption of olive oil is not expected to change in the near future.

The pomace oil market is showing significant growth even though its demand remains limited since it is used as a substitute for olive oil. Notably the domestic consumption of olive oil shrunk by 5.9 percent in the 2005-2006 period compared with the 2004-2005 period, while the domestic market for refined pomace oil showed 27.3 percent annual growth.

The table olives market is forecast to remain stable this season, although in 2005-2006 consumption declined by 18.6 percent. Although most of the olives are consumed in bulk form, the last few years have seen an increase in the share of standardized products. The size of local production changes each year, depending mostly on the weather conditions. Another feature of this industry is that the pattern of production is cyclical, and tends to be repeated every two to three years.

Recycling of Greece’s electronic waste gets off to a tentative start October 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Environment, Technology.
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Only a small percentage of old computer hardware is processed > “Where does my personal computer go when it dies?” wondered Yiannis Dimitriadis, a graduate of the National Technical University.

He may well ask. A Presidential decree in 2004 ruled that we should be recycling 44,000 tons annually, that is 4 tons per capita, at controlled recycling centers, in line with European Union legislation. At the end of the 1980s, along with 169 other countries, Greece signed the Berne Convention against the illegal distribution of waste. The member states that have ratified the convention (63, including Greece), do not export e-waste to developing countries.

The average life span of the average PC declined from six years in 1997 to just two years in 2005. By 2010, the amount of e-waste in the European Union is expected to reach 12 million tons annually. Ioanna Dantidi, public relations officer for Appliances Recycling SA, www.electrocycle.gr, explained the procedure and the part her company plays in it. “The firm is the first national collection agency for the alternative management of electrical and electronic appliances. It functions as a kind of state concession. “We are licensed by the Environment and Public Works Ministry, to which we are answerable,” she said.

E-waste collection depends to a great extent on the Municipalities and the agreement they reach with the authority concerned. Nevertheless, this is no easy matter. “The first problem is finding a storage place and the second is finding a way to collect the waste from the Municipalities.”

The Municipalities who do collect this waste undertake to transport it to appropriate sites and from there to the Greek Recycling Center (EKAN), the only recycling center for PCs at the moment, although another eight are expected to start operations in 2008. Appliances Recycling has arrangements with 136 Municipalities, which are paid 140 to 180 euros per ton for their cooperation.

“This gives them an incentive, because even though they are obliged by law, there are many ways to shirk that obligation and they often make great efforts to do so,” said Dantidi.

Gypsies have always collected scrap metal, but now much of this waste consists of electrical appliances, including computers. According to mechanical and civil engineer Giorgos Vakontios, Vice President of EKAN, the Gypsies remove the glass, plastic and copper to sell separately to the recycling centers. However, they then throw away what is left in garbage dumps. Computers are pollutants in themselves. Even if EKAN collects PCs from waste lots, it is too late.

EKAN processes up to 20,000 tons of e-waste every year. As Greece produces a total of 170,000 tons, the rest ends up in garbage dumps. But EKAN is a dismantling plant, not a recycling plant. PCs are broken up and dangerous materials separated from the useful materials, which are taken to recycling plants elsewhere in Europe. However, some materials do end up in the Third World, in China and Pakistan.

According to Vakontios, these countries receive different types of plastics, motors, transformers and hard disks which are sent abroad for further recycling. So Greece does send material to China once dangerous materials have been removed. The question is who decided what is dangerous.

Apart from the Municipalities, retailers also bear a responsibility for collecting e-waste. Although required by law to do so, it is very rare with only a few exceptions. According to Appliances Recycling, some retailers do make an effort. The DIY chain Praktiker has installed collection points for small appliances. Since the end of 2005, Cosmote has installed bins for collecting old cellphones, bluetooth appliances and batteries.

International organizations are struggling to persuade manufacturers to assume their responsibilities. Greenpeace, the Basel Action Network (BAN), the main agency for monitoring e-waste based in Seattle, USA, and Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, an NGO defending public health from the side effects of high technology, are waging a daily battle to prevent the illegal movement of e-waste but also to change the way major manufacturers manage their waste.

They are also fighting for limits on the use of dangerous substances in the manufacture of computers and other appliances. Nokia tops the Greenpeace e-waste scorecard. It is withdrawing dangerous chemicals from many of its products. Sony Ericsson is close behind. Near the bottom of the list are Apple, Hewlett Packard and Panasonic.

EU legislation has already been amended so that producers will now be responsible for recycling their waste. The cost of abiding by the legislation, which is likely to raise product prices, is estimated to amount to 500-900 million euros.

Athenians becoming teletubbies > survey October 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Health & Fitness, Lifestyle, Media Radio TV.
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Nearly one in two Athenians spends five hours per day in front of the television while just over 55 percent of Athenians do not participate in any form of exercise, according to a survey made public yesterday.

The survey, conducted by the Hellenic Medical Association for Obesity and sports group Europe Corporate Games, showed that 46 percent of respondents admitted to watching at least five hours of television per day.

The survey sample was 403 white-collar workers, including 178 women, employed at different companies in Athens.

The majority, 55 percent, exercise less than 100 minutes per week and use their own means of transport to get around the city, even to cover short distances, according to the study.

Increase in duty hospitals October 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Health & Fitness.
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The system for on-duty hospitals in Athens is set to be tweaked in a measure that will be combined with the hiring of hundreds of extra doctors to reduce waiting times for patients and prevent overcrowding.

The Health Ministry indicated yesterday that the number of hospitals that are on duty at any given time in Attica would be increased from four to five. Authorities overhauled the duty scheme some three years ago with the main aim of reducing the number of patients that had to be treated on gurneys in hospital corridors.

Deputy Health Minister Giorgos Papageorgiou said the revised system had led to the average number of gurneys on view in the corridors of state hospitals being reduced to eight per day. But he stressed that adding another hospital to the rotation scheme would help ease overcrowding even further.

Papageorgiou added that several hundred new doctors would soon be employed in the state sector, beginning with 450 specialist positions that are to be filled in the coming days.