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A high-end sports village for Mazotos village in Cyprus March 20, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Infrastructure, Cyprus Limassol, Sports & Games, Tourism.
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A branded sports tourist village featuring 300 properties has been announced near the village of Mazotos. Located between Larnaca and Limassol, the name behind the development is ex-England and Davis cup Tennis player David Lloyd.

The development will be a self-contained village created in a traditional Cypriot style, while affording the luxury and convenience demanded by modern life. The focus will be on sport, particularly racquets, but also canoeing and football. With meandering cobbled streets and a selection of coffee shops, eateries and supermarkets sprinkled throughout the development, it promises to deliver a self-contained environment with its own unique ambience.

Properties will be either one bedroom or two bedroom apartments, split 20% to 80% respectively, and will make up the development. A beach is 300 meters away, a marina which is scheduled for expansion and plans for a theme park two kilometres away. A Four Seasons 5-star luxury hotel in the immediate area is also being built. A journey time of 25 minutes from Larnaca airport allows for easy access.

The village will also be a magnet for those interested in taking their sport seriously, with the climate providing ideal training conditions for professional and novice athletes alike. Consequently, the rental yield is likely to be very high. Commercially, the development already has an independent rental guarantee programme in place which operates on a sliding scale depending upon the level of personal usage the owner wishes to take. The minimum is five per cent although higher rates can be obtained. There is no compulsion to take the rental guarantee. Owners may wish to control this aspect themselves instead.

Overseas property specialists Thomson OPI have announced their involvement in the project which they claim will deliver all the attributes of an outstanding investment. Mike Thomson, Managing Partner at the firm said: “It is rare for all the variables in property investment to come together at the same time. With this project all of the critical elements of successful property investment are positive. With low or no entry deposits, no stage payments and a remarkable ten-year index linked rental guarantee scheme offering 6.25 per cent per annum it means that investors can access the Cyprus property market with security.”

According to its website, “Thomson OPI sets itself apart by specialising in pure investment properties. While this is the primary criteria, superb lifestyle purchases can also be excellent investments.” The company is inviting investors to register their interest early to obtain preferential options in the development.  “We offer to our clients our hand-picked properties which we ourselves have invested in,” Thomson explained. “This gives a measure of confidence to our clients that the appropriate due diligence has been completed. Additionally, we offer carefully selected opportunities through our partnership programmes.”

The likely financial structuring for acquisition in the development is consistent with Thomson OPI’s objective of delivering high capital growth opportunities whilst enabling easily affordable deposits payable over a long period of time. Sizes and prices are yet to be released, with completion scheduled for summer 2010.

According to the BuySell property index, 2007 saw prices increase by over 20 per cent, with the island set to enjoy continued double digit capital growth over the coming years. Key features of the development can be obtained by contacting Thomson OPI at: info@thomsonopi.com.

The project in summary > 
300 apartments, Sold fully furnished, Indoor and outdoor tennis, Full range of other sports activities, 300m to the beach and the marina, Water based activities, Concierge greeting service, Restaurants, bars, banqueting suite, Commercial Business Centre,
Supermarkets and shops, All year sunshine, PGA golf course 15 minutes away, Rental guarantee available (up to 10 years at a minimum of 6.25%), Low entry costs, 10% deposit with 5% upon delivery, Capital growth c. 12-15% per annum.


World’s momentum growing for Parthenon Marbles’ return March 20, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece, Arts Museums, Vote For Return Greek Marbles.
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World’s momentum is growing for the return of the prized Parthenon marbles, taken from the Athens Acropolis some 200 years ago by Britain’s Lord Elgin, as major Museums handed back more ancient objects.

Museums around the world have in recent years started returning ancient artefacts to their countries of origin and have tightened checks on acquisitions to avoid buying objects that were illegally excavated or smuggled abroad.

20-03-08_acropolis_new_museum.jpg  “More and more Museums are adopting tighter ethics codes and governments promote bilateral and international cooperation (for the return of ancient objects),” Greek Culture Minister Michalis Liapis told an international conference at the new Acropolis Museum. “So an ideal momentum is being created … for clear solutions on this issue,” he said.

The trend towards returning artefacts was strengthened by the high-profile affair involving former J. Paul Getty Museum curator Marion True and smuggled artefacts that were acquired by the Museum. Italy dropped a legal case against the Getty Museum last year after the institution agreed to return 40 items Rome believed had been stolen and smuggled out of the country, and the Getty has returned several such items to Greece. Both Italy and Greece have charged True with offences linked to trafficking in antiquities. She denies any wrongdoing. New York’s Metropolitan Museum has returned a prized 2,500-year-old vase to Italy, which recently displayed nearly 400 looted ancient objects that have been recovered in the past three years.

20-03-08_parthenon_marbles.jpg  The Parthenon marble friezes and sculptures were removed [stolen] from the Acropolis above Athens by British diplomat Lord Elgin in the early 19th century, with permission from the Ottoman Empire officials then in power. Lord Elgin acquired his collection between 1801 and 1810. It was bought by the British Museum in 1816. The Museum refuses to return them to Greece on the ground that its statutes do not allow it to do so.

Liapis told the conference “This museum is ready to embrace all important artefacts taken from the sacred rock of the Acropolis and I hope the same goes for the foreign-based Parthenon marbles… so the unity of the sculptures can be restored.”

Britain said for many years that the marbles were better preserved in London than in Athens’ polluted air. Greece has said this argument is now obsolete given the completion of the new Acropolis state-of-the-art Museum, where an empty gallery awaits the Parthenon marbles.

Ancient Mycenaean harbour town discovered in Greece March 20, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.
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Archaeologists recently announced what they call a ‘remarkable find”, the discovery of a relatively intact Mycenaean settlement, dating from 3,500 years ago, in the southern part of Greece.

The site, called Korphos-Kalamianos, is partly underwater and lies along an isolated and rocky shoreline in the Saronic Gulf in the western Aegean Sea, about 100 kilometres southwest of Athens and about 40 miles (65 km) east of Mycenae, one of the major Mycenaean capitals when Korphos-Kalamianos was active. Considered by archaeologists to have been a military outpost, the entire town’s plan is preserved and consists of more than 900 walls, as well as building remains and alleyways and streets.

The discovery is remarkable because it is so well-preserved and over the ground. Usually, Mycenaean sites, built in the Late Bronze Age, are covered underneath soil and archaeologists have to dig underground to discover them. The Mycenaean civilization thrived in Greece between 1600 and 1100 BC. It was the historical setting of Homer’s epics and many ancient Greek myths.

Though the settlement was built 3,500 years ago, hundreds of walls are still standing. The site is unique because the remains of most Mycenaean towns are completely buried by now under a few millennia’s worth of dirt and detritus. This one stands above ground, with many walls incredibly intact.

Although historians debate whether or not the Trojan War was a real event (many think the stories of Helen of Troy and the Trojan horse are likely myths), if it did occur, it would have been shortly after Korphos-Kalamianos was built. Though Korphos-Kalamianos did not seem to have a palace, many of the structures were built in palace-style architecture, leading the scientists to think that nobles or representatives of the King would have stayed there.

Cyprus broadband use growing, but short of the EU average March 20, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet & Web, Telecoms.
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Broadband penetration in Cyprus had increased from 9% to 14% during 2007, which is a satisfying development, but despite the rapid growth it is still relatively low when compared to the EU average.

Eight EU member states are currently world leaders in broadband deployment with penetration rates higher than the US in 2007. Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden have each penetration rates over 30% at the end of 2007, while United Kingdom, Belgium, Luxembourg and France had still higher rates than the US which was 22.1% in July 2007.

Over 19 million broadband lines were added in the EU in 2007, the equivalent of more than 50,000 households every day. The broadband sector generated estimated revenues of 62 billion euros and Europe’s overall penetration reached 20%. However, there is considerable scope for further consumer benefits from a reinforced single market, strengthened competition and reduced regulatory burden for market players.

The telecoms sector in the EU is worth nearly 300 billion euros (2% of EU GDP) and grew by 1.9% last year. 2007 was also the fifth consecutive year of increased investment in this sector, exceeding 50 billion euros (similar to the US and higher than China and Japan put together).

The mobile sector continues to be the largest in the telecoms market, with mobile revenues up by 3.8% to 137 billion. Mobile penetration rose further, to 112% compared to 103% in 2006. 3rd Generation (3G) mobile penetration doubled to 20% in 2007, now representing over 88 million subscriptions. As 3G took off, mobile data services grew by around 40%. While fixed telephony revenues declined 5% compared to 2006, with customers switching to mobile and IP services.

Cyprus mobile penetration reached 119% in 2007, which is above the EU average (111.8%). It has to be noted that mobile call termination charges in Cyprus are the lowest in Europe.

Incumbent operators hold more than 46% of broadband lines and in 7 EU member states control more than 60% of broadband connections. In Cyprus, Luxembourg and Finland, the incumbent’s broadband market share is higher than 70%. Concentrating on Cyprus, the incumbent (CYTA) dominates the broadband market, having a handful 88% share, and broadband access is concentrated in the main cities rather than the countryside. There is as yet no real platform competition as DSL remains the main technology for broadband services. However, a new entrant, the strategic partner of the Cyprus Electricity Authority (PrimeTel) owns an island-wide fibre optic network built on the electricity network. Though it presently reaches end-users via the incumbent, it intends to roll out its own network to the end-users, in the longer term.

The dominant incumbent operator in Cyprus has been designated as having “significant market power” with 88% of the market. A second mobile operator (MTN) has the remaining 11.2% of the market, and both already provide 3G mobile services.

The Commission has emphasised that the price of the national roaming services should be cost based, with an appropriate margin between the incumbent’s retail tariffs and its wholesale national roaming tariff (charged to its competitor). This price element is important as the second operator has not yet completely rolled-out its own network (85% in December 2007).

The incumbent operator still has a dominant position with a market share (in terms of total revenue) of 90% for all types of fixed calls and also for international calls. Alternative operators such as MTN provide voice telephony mainly through carrier selection, pre-selection and access to the internet.

Users receive TV broadcasts mainly via analogue terrestrial transmission (88%) and satellite (8%). Nine television channels (seven free-to-air and two pay-tv channels) and 13 radio stations – all with nation-wide coverage – are offered via analogue terrestrial transmission. Cable and xDSL have each less than 5% end-user penetration and are in the early stages of development. This said 2012 has been fixed as the date for switching-off analogue broadcasts.

In trying to rollout fixed infrastructure, market players have voiced heavy criticism of the very slow granting of the necessary “rights of way”, and the different practices employed by different authorities involved in the licence granting process. In response to infringement actions initiated by the Commission, the competent Cypriot authorities have now taken steps to ensure that applications for the acquisition of rights of way will be evaluated within 6 weeks.

Mobile operators still face difficulties in that most sites in rural areas are government owned. Approval for construction can thus be a lengthy process. Legislation in order to improve this situation is still pending as it has not yet been adopted in 2007. 

A website warns of ads impostor > so be warned! March 20, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet & Web, Police & Crime.
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The online classified ads website www.bazaraki.com yesterday warned that an imposter claiming to be a representative of the site was calling up customers requesting payment for ads, which are actually free.

According to the director of the website, Saskia Koper-Groenevelt, “a woman called up a man who placed an ad for construction work and claimed to be calling from bazaraki.com, requesting money in order for the advert to be renewed or upgraded for the price of 97 euro. Luckily the man said he would think about it and gave no money”.

Bazaraki.com is in fact a free service. The company is investigating the possible number of victims and is considering taking legal and other actions.

If you have been contacted by someone claiming to be a representative of Bazaraki.com asking for money for ads, kindly email info@bazaraki.com immediately.

Archaeological excavations at the areas of Hellenic Cosmos March 20, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.
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In the summer of 2007, in the areas of the FHWʼs Cultural Centre Hellenic Cosmos, archaeologists unearthed important antiquities that contribute significantly to the study of Attica in the Byzantine and the post Byzantine period.

MEDIEVAL WINE PRESS > THE AREA AND EXCAVATION RESEARCH > The area of the excavation is on the property of the Foundation of the Hellenic World, on 254 Pireos Street, behind the Athens School of Fine Arts. Significant antiquities were unearthed during the works for the construction of the new facilities of Hellenic Cosmos.

The excavation researches were conducted initially by the 16th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities and then by the 1st Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities. Thanks to the intense efforts of the Archaeological Service and the unconditional and direct assistance by FHW, the excavations were completed in short time and with remarkable diligence.

THE FINDINGS > Eight walls were found that defined two square areas, with good quality plaster on the interior surface of walls and the floor. Area II partly overlaps area I on its northeastern part. At that point a cistern was discovered, constructed in the shape of a pithos, with diameter of 1,35 m. maximum, a mouth of 0,55 m. and 1,95 m. deep. The cistern communicated with the two areas through canals of triangular cross section, approximately 0,20 m. wide and has good quality plaster on its interior surface. The bottom of the cistern creates a small cavity with a cornice approximately 0,15 m. wide. Three carelessly constructed walls have been revealed to the east of the two areas.

20-03-08_fhg.jpg  A significant amount of pottery dated to the Late Classical/Hellenistic Period was found in the area (mainly small fragments of black glazed pottery), as well as a large quantity of Byzantine glazed pottery (with burnished polychrome and monochrome ware) and kitchen ware of the Middle and Late Byzantine Period (11th-14th century). The intact vases found in the cistern were of particular importance. All in all, we cannot distinguish a clear stratigraphy in the excavation area, since the pottery sherds appear to be disturbed. On the upper strata we detect traces and findings of the Middle Byzantine Period (15th-17th century).

EVALUATION > During the excavations it was evaluated that this was a workshop for the production and storage of food. Based on the findings it was interpreted as a wine press, with two areas for pressing grapes (“lenos”) and a cistern (“hupolenion” a wine-vat), where must was collected. The two lenoi were used successively.

This was a complex workshop area, which was most probably used during the 11th-13th/14th century, while there are elements to suggest a later use, during the Middle Byzantine Period.

The morphology and variety of the findings, pottery in particular, as well as the morphology of the construction, lead us to the conclusion that the wine press is an important monument that should be systematically studied and methodologically evaluated.

We will be able to answer these questions regarding the exact date of the construction and the various stages of its use and operation after a careful examination of the findings.

Foundation of the Hellenic World, 38 Poulopoulou Street and 254 Pireos Street, Athens, tel 212 2543800.

Related Links > http://www.fhw.gr

A Meeting at the Athens Ancient Agora March 20, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece, Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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The Foundation of the Hellenic World presents its new exhibition “Meeting at the Ancient Agora” and which focuses on the values that were born in the Ancient Agora of Athens and shaped contemporary political thought: freedom, justice, education, isonomy, freedom of speech, sociability and participation to common affairs.

With natural exhibits and interactive applications of advanced technology, the exhibition brings to life the social, political and intellectual reality of the city of Athens in the period in which the Agora was constructed.

Related Links > http://meeting.athens-agora.gr/index_en.html