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It’s not all Greek to the Australians any more March 21, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora.
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Victoria’s traditional migrant communities are declining as new arrivals from Asia challenge their size and influence. Census data shows Melbourne’s boast as the biggest Greek city outside Greece is under threat as community numbers steadily fall.

The state’s Greek-born population fell by 3000 to 54,324 between 2001 and 2006, the figures reveal. With migration from Greece virtually non-existent, the Greek-born dropped from third biggest community to sixth during the five-year period.

Even when generations born here are taken into account, the decline is apparent. In 2006, 117,876 Victorians said they spoke Greek at home, 4 per cent less than the previous Census.

Rockbank farmer Christos Kartalis, 69, was part of the Mediterranean migration boom of the 1950s and 1960s when hundreds of thousands of Greeks and Italians poured into Australia. Mr Kartalis grows fruit and vegetables and makes wine, a skill he learned from his father in northern Greece. “I’d like to pass this on to my daughter, or to her husband when she gets married,” he said.

Mr Kartalis’s daughter Zoyee said it was important to preserve this knowledge for future generations before it was lost. “Simple things like making good food and wine, that’s part of my Greek culture,” she said. “Culture is really important to me, without it you have no identity.”

At the last Census, 156,000 Victorians claimed Greek ancestry, while 308,000 residents had Italian heritage. Like the Greeks, the Italian-born community is declining, down 8000 to 82,849 between 2001 and 2006. The biggest group, the UK-born, also decreased, but this is expected to turn around by the next Census given a recent surge in British skilled arrivals.

After the Brits, the Italians are still the number two group in Victoria, but Asian arrivals are quickly catching up. By 2006, the number of Vietnamese-born grew to 58,877, while the Chinese-born population rose by more than 50 per cent to 56,560.

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A waxworks exhibition comes to Nicosia’s Ledra Street March 21, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Cyprus, Arts Exhibitions Cyprus.
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An exhibition featuring 50 wax and silicone figures was yesterday opened by Nicosia Mayor Eleni Mavrou at the Municipal Information Centre at the bottom of Ledra Street.

Named ‘Ledras’, it hosts life-sized figures by renowned Russian artist Alexey Chuzhov that portray among others names from ancient Greek Mythology such as Hercules and Socrates, cartoon heroes, characters from the world of cinema such as Captain Sparrow, Shrek and Harry Potter as well as other well-known celebrities.

Mavrou described the exhibition as, “special and interesting,” adding that it will appeal to all age groups. “This is a cultural event which will give locals and visitors alike the opportunity to see what many have experienced already throughout Europe. The artist has managed to give life to his creations in an amazing way.”

Speaking to the press, Chuzhov, who has 20 year experience of working with wax, said that it takes between six months and a year to create one figure. “It is human tradition to make figures from wax, which often bear an amazing resemblance to their real-life subjects,” he said.

According to a Municipality press release, “the art of wax portraits in Europe has existed for centuries. Thanks to its qualities, wax was used by the ancients as a substance which connected the world of living beings and the world of the dead.”

Ancient Greeks made portrayals of the gods for performing vows and religious ceremonies. They also made wax dolls for children’s entertainment. In ancient Rome, wax masks of dead noble Romans were stored with great honour and were used in religious celebrations. When Christianity became the main religion in Europe, wax portrayals of noble persons were dedicated to the church and were stored in cathedrals. Many sculptors, such as Michelangelo, before working with marble made their masterpieces out of wax.

“Russian masters have worked out a unique technology of making wax which allows demonstrating wax figures in a wide range of temperatures from -40 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees. This wax doesn’t shine and perfectly imitates human skin,” said Rena Fotsiou of Nicosia Municipality. “Masters of the Museum of Wax Figures in Saint Petersburg use high-quality prosthetic appliances of eyes, teeth and real hair in their work.”

Four years ago, the masters began to make figures out of silicone, which they say is much more solid and stable. Previously, only visible parts of the body were made of silicone but it is now possible to make full-length nude figures. Silicone allows for the demonstration of figures in the open air, in any weather conditions. “They are used for advertising, photography and even to decorate a modern interior,” explained Fotsiou.

Chuzhov’s exhibits have been presented all over Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Serbia, Finland, Romania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, and Ukraine
The ‘Ledras’ exhibition will run until September 21, with entrance costing one to five euros. During its duration, it will be open from 10am to 5pm including weekends.

Silver medal for Greece March 21, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Aquatics.
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Greek swimmer Aris Grigoriadis settled for a silver medal in the men’s 100-meter backstroke at the European Championships on Wednesday night after clocking the world’s fastest time this year in the semifinals.

21-03-08_aris_grigiriadis.jpg  Grigoriadis led the pack through the first lap but was overtaken by Austria’s Markus Rogan late in the return lap for the gold medal. Grigoriadis’s silver medal was Greece’s first medal at the event, held in the Netherlands.

Olympiakos knocks out Real Madrid for quarterfinal spot March 21, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Basketball.
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Euroleague defending champion Panathinaikos eliminated

With defending champion Panathinaikos and Aris eliminated from the Euroleague a day earlier, Olympiakos became the country’s sole team to reach the premier European club-level basketball competition’s quarterfinals following a 72-63 victory against visiting Real Madrid last night.

The Spanish team was eliminated, ending third in the Round of 16’s Group F. Olympiakos, which captured the group’s second spot with a 4-2 record, will meet Group G winner CSKA Moscow, a favorite for the title, in a best-of-three quarterfinal series. Holding the home-ground advantage, the Russian club will play the first and third game – should it be needed – at home.

Panathinaikos coach Zelimir Obradovic, in an initial assessment of his team’s failure to reach the Euroleague quarterfinals, said his players did not show the experience that was necessary. The Athenian basketball club was deprived of the chance of defending its European title after being beaten 82-73 by Partizan in Belgrade.

The defeat left Panathinaikos a disappointing third in the Round of 16’s Group D with a 3-3 record. Siena and Partizan advanced from the group to the quarterfinals with 4-2 records. Obradovic blamed the defeat on a lack of cool heads in his big-budget team as well as a lack of tall men to win rebounds and force the play inside the key. Partizan won 37 rebounds compared to Panathinaikos’s 18.

“We lost the game on offence because we missed three times in crucial moments,” said Obradovic. “Panathinaikos has experienced players and I expected smarter, more patient play from them,” he continued, adding that the team had a huge problem in the power-forward position.

Playing in Group E, Thessaloniki team Aris ended its campaign with a morale-boosting 83-74 home win over Lietuvos Rytas. Both teams were eliminated with 2-4 records, with Tau Ceramica and Fenerbahce gaining quarterfinal places from this group.

Greek children suffering as parents puff away March 21, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Health & Fitness.
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The health of nearly seven out of 10 children living in Athens is being put at risk by their parents’ smoking habit, according to the results of a medical study made public yesterday.

Of some 2,133 children with breathing problems examined over the past 10 years by experts at the Elpis Hospital’s pediatric unit, around 65 percent were found to have been exposed to smoke by one or both of their parents.

Doctors also found that parents living in Athens have been smoking more, rather than less, following the imposition of smoking restrictions in public places in August 2002. Some 65 percent smoke, compared to 55 percent before the introduction of the new regulations.

Medics said the government’s anti-smoking policy was a “failure” and called for harsher penalties for those violating anti-smoking restrictions.

Saving water begins at home March 21, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Environment.
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To mark World Water Day today, homeowners in Greece have been encouraged to fix leaky faucets and toilet cisterns as they may be doubling each family’s water consumption.

The Director of the Athens Water Company’s (EYDAP) network, Stefanos Georgiadis, said that a leaky faucet could cause some 400 liters of water to be wasted every day when the consumption of the average Greek household is between 350 and 400 liters per day.

«A rise in water consumption is a sign of better living, so we do not want to reduce consumption to the detriment of the quality of life,» said Georgiadis. «The easiest way for us to reduce consumption is to stop all the leaks in each house.»

Georgiadis said that more accurate billing would also help to reduce consumption. He said that EYDAP only bills for 80 percent of the water that is used and that the remaining 20 percent is either not recorded by water meters or is lost through leaks.

EYDAP also sounded a word of warning about water levels ahead of the summer. «At the moment, the water reserves will suffice but we need to be careful,» said the water company’s President, Costas Kostoulas. «If the next year turns out to be as dry as the last one, then we will have to adopt emergency measures.»

Meanwhile, the Macedonia-Thrace Ministry revealed at a conference last night that it has begun a study of pollution in Thessaloniki’s Thermaic Gulf. So far scientists have established that there are at least five main sources by which the Thermaic Gulf is polluted, including rivers that empty into the sea. The readings indicate a high concentration of heavy metals, especially lead and chromium, in some areas. High levels of phosphorus and ammonia were also recorded.

Polluting the little water we have March 21, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Environment.
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Scientists say the uneven distribution of supply and the dumping of toxins are problems, not sufficiency

Half the country’s population and half its industries are concentrated in and around Athens and Thessaloniki but problems of water quality and quantity are by no means restricted to those areas.

Many other parts of the country are faced with drought and pollution and the story is much the same everywhere, nitrates from fertilizers used in farming, urban waste water channeled into cesspits, wells, rivers and lakes, the salination of underground water reserves in coastal areas and a fall in the level of the water table from over-drilling. The national water management and protection plan recently drafted by the National Technical University of Athens, Water Resources Department for the Environment and Public Works Ministry drew attention, among other things, to the lack of sufficient water measurements, both qualitative and quantitative, so the data available to experts is sparse and fragmented.

Yet the scientists who drafted the plan are fairly optimistic, not to say over-optimistic. They claim that Greece does not have a problem of water sufficiency, but of distribution.

In other words, northern and western areas of Greece have a surplus, eastern and southern areas a shortage. Most industries in Attica illegally dispose of their wastewater into the drainage network, the Kifissos River and other water courses. The Ano Liosia landfill site is also a source of water pollution, as is the disposal of urban wastewater in cesspits. Any agriculture still existing in the region also affects the ground water. Generally the deterioration of ground water means that it cannot be used to supply homes, and potential reserves are not enough even to meet irrigation needs.

In northern Greece, there are the same problems of nitrate pollution and excessive reliance on lake water. Western and Central Macedonia are believed to have sufficient supplies of water; any pollution is attributed to urban wastewater, farming and livestock breeding. Eastern Macedonia is considered to have abundant supplies of water; pollution is from nitrates used in farming.

In Thrace, there is a marginal sufficiency that depends to a great extent on Bulgaria, which manages the waters of the Nestos and Evros rivers. The eastern Peloponnese does not have sufficient water and the problem is getting worse. Eastern central Greece is facing similar problems, particularly in the summer. Western central Greece and Epirus have the most water in the country, and Crete too is still self-sufficient.