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A controversial Greek legislation > cohabitation law March 14, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Gay Life, Greece News, Lifestyle, Religion & Faith.
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Justice Minister and Archbishop of Greece to discuss controversial legislation

Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis is due to meet today with Archbishop Ieronymos at the latter’s official residence in Plaka to discuss the government’s plans to introduce a cohabitation law, giving partners in a relationship the same rights as if they were married.

Hatzigakis reportedly requested the meeting following opposition from many clerics who claim the move would “downgrade the institution of marriage.” But Archbishop Ieronymos appears to be prepared. “Life goes on and we must learn to tackle its challenges,” he said, adding that the Holy Synod would debate the matter when it convenes next week.

UPDATE > 14 March 2008 >>> Church clears cohabitation law

The head of the Church of Greece Archbishop Ieronymos, yesterday gave a green light to the government’s plans to introduce a law that would allow couples who live together to have the same rights as those that are married.

Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis presented the proposals to Archbishop Ieronymos amid concern that the Church might object to the change of law. However, Ieronymos, who was elected to succeed Archbishop Christodoulos last month, indicated that trying to interfere in the details of the law is beyond the Church’s remit.

«The members of the Church follow the dictates of the Bible, the rules of the Church, the order of the ecumenical synods and the Holy tradition,» said the Archbishop. «As a result, there are clear limits and in respect to this matter, the Church does not have the right to ask for it to be watered down or to have any other request granted.»

The new law is set to allow unmarried couples to make their relationship official and legally binding by signing a simple notarial contract. The contract would remain in effect, thus ensuring full protection of both partners’ legal rights, until they get married or one marries someone else.

There are no plans to extend the law to same-sex couples, although this may be considered in the future.

Yesterday’s meeting came as a lesbian couple announced that they will try next week to become the first same-sex partners to be married in a civil ceremony by taking advantage of a 1982 law which does not specify that a civil union must be between a man and a woman.

Ieronymos appeared to take a philosophical approach to the changes that are afoot. «Some people who have certain problems choose to regulate their lives in their own way,» he said. «The Church cannot keep a check on this by enforcing measures like the police.»

The Archbishop said that following his discussion with the Minister he was confident that the proper research would be carried out to see what the public thinks of introducing a cohabitation law.

A Church for the 21st century > With little drumbeating and no television cameras, the recently appointed Athens Archbishop is changing the face of the Church of Greece. Ieronymos is bringing the Church closer to the tradition of humility and love for one’s fellow man.

The new Archbishop gave away the luxury cars of his predecessor and turned down the luxury home in the upmarket Filothei district, opting instead for a small apartment. He is doing important charity work far from the glare of publicity and is steering clear of politics. He has rendered unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and unto God that which is God’s, leaving diplomacy and the nation’s well-being to Caesar. Ieronymos does not aspire to become a leader of the nation but a shepherd of souls.

Ieronymos’s deeds elevate the Church in the eyes of the people. At the same time, they pre-empt its main detractors. The new Archbishop is bringing the Church back to society, a society in harmony not conflict. He is building a Church for the 21st century.


City of Athens launches campaign to turn off plastic bags February 11, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Environment, Lifestyle, Shopping.
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Greece’s top supermarket chains and the City of Athens launched Monday a campaign to turn shoppers off plastic bags, some 2.5 billion of which are used nationwide each year.

“We need to persuade people to stop using plastic bags,” Christophoros Giokas, general sales manager at Greek chain My Market, told reporters. “We frequently see shoppers taking five spare bags home.”

Nine chains, AB Vassilopoulos, Atlantic, Veropoulos, Bazaar, Galaxias, Carrefour Marinopoulos, Dia Hellas, My Market Metro, and Sklavenitis, signed a memorandum with Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis to provide reusable and environment-friendly bags on a two-month trial ran starting April 14.

The measure will begin in earnest on June 1 along with efforts to expand it to the rest of the country, Kaklamanis told a news conference. Around 40 percent of Greece’s 11 million people live in Athens, where increasing levels of domestic waste are being generated, the memorandum said.

Plastic bags end up in hundreds of unofficial or substandard landfills around the country that are a major headache for Greek authorities, but also pose a threat to river and marine wildlife. Ninety-eight percent of European sea birds have pieces of plastic in their stomachs, the memorandum said.

The European Union has repeatedly expressed alarm over the disposal of environmentally-hazardous waste at these sites, and Greece is often singled out by both the EU and environmental groups such as Greenpeace and WWF for failing to enforce even its own environmental legislation. Only around 20 percent of waste generated in the country is recycled, the Greek environment ministry said in July.

Greek teens hooked on mobiles February 5, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet & Web, Lifestyle, Telecoms.
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Almost all youngsters between the ages of 12 and 15 years of age own a mobile phone, with two in 10 using the phone for more than 15 minutes each day, according to the National Statistics Service (NSS).

NSS data gathered in 2007 showed that 86.8 percent of children aged 12 to 15 use a mobile phone and that 91.7 percent of use is on a daily basis.

The highest mobile phone penetration rate among children in the age group was in the Aegean Islands, followed by Attica and central Greece. The data was gathered as part of a study conducted by the statistics service on new technologies in Greece.

The survey also found that 95 percent of children in the 12-15 age group use a computer to access the Internet every day or at least once a week. The main reason they use the Internet is to play games and listen to music.

Greek executives say little energy left in tank after work > Survey February 1, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Lifestyle.
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One in four Greek executives does not have the energy to enjoy their personal life at the end of the working day but the majority of them are prepared to put in more hours if that will result in extra money, according to a recent survey.

The research, conducted by consultants Stedima, highlighted imbalances between the work and personal lives of executives and the fact that about two-thirds of respondents would sacrifice more of their personal life to climb the corporate ladder.

“The large majority… choose to sacrifice more personal time if that would mean more duties. The response was the same among men and women,” said the researchers.

The respondents work an average of more than 50 hours per week with one in five spending more than 12 hours per day at the office. The survey, carried out via the Internet over a six-month period, targeted more experienced executives who occupy senior corporate positions such as that of general manager. One of the findings to emerge from the survey was the positive stance among respondents regarding how they feel about their work.

Work-related stress and fatigue remain among the biggest problems but most respondents said they view their job as creative and satisfying.

Those questioned are also fairly satisfied with their remuneration and happy with their supervisor, the research found.

“At the same time, 42 percent cited being treated unfairly as the main reason for a negative feeling at work,” said Stedima.

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.

Greece’s Public opens first Cyprus store October 18, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Lifestyle, Shopping.
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Limassol to follow, third in Paphos > Greek company, Public, has opened its first store in Cyprus and plans to open two more in the near future, challenging the local bookstores and opening up a new market for home entertainment.

Many years ago, the limited choice for bookstores were the Moufflon and the Bridgehouse [later Soloneion] in Nicosia and Kyriacou Bookshops in Limassol. Recently though, despite the growing trend for online bookstores, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, this segment has grown to include Metropolitan and newcomer Savalas, with traditional bookshops now stocking stationery supplies, music and DVDs, while the chain of Play music stores has opened up in all towns.

Public’s flagship 1,700-square metre store opened in the ‘Mall of Cyprus’ in the Shacolas Emporium Park last month with an estimated 5,000 people visiting the books section that boasts 80,000 titles, as well as the home entertainment, music, games and computer departments on the first day.

The holding company, Publicworld SA, embarked on an ambitious recruitment drive and employs 35 staff at all levels, from mid-management department heads to marketing and sales, as well as engineers, cashiers and store keepers.

ICT Publicworld Ltd., owned directly by the Greek investor Panos Germanos, has pumped some 2,5 million euros into the Cyprus operations and plans to open its second Public store in Limassol and possibly a third one in Paphos. This is in line with the Group’s expansion plans to have a total of 15 stores in Greece and Cyprus by the end of 2011.

Hardware in stock include LCD TVs, home and portable DVD players and recorders, MP3 players, games and gadgets, 50,000 music CDs, 10,000 films and series on DVDs. The product mix on the shelves is about 60% for IT, home and communications technology, 20% for books and 20% for music and movies.

But it will have to work hard to attract the English-speaking consumers who are proportionally more than in Greece where Public has two stores and will open a new one in Athens’ Syntagma area scheduled for opening in early December.

The books section has a good selection of English-language books and recent bestsellers, but the children’s section is almost primarily Greek.

Public also attracts customers through its marketing gimmicks such as ‘in-store’ events, music downloading, digital photo printing and surfing the Internet through wireless hot spots, while it also plans to introduce new services such as ticket sales [cinema, theatres].

The only other shortcoming the store faces is the lack of magazines and newspapers, even though in the stores in Greece they do stock specialist magazines such as for music, art, architecture and technology.

Survey cites increasingly unhealthy Greek lifestyle October 18, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Health & Fitness, Lifestyle.
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21st century Greeks have adopted a lifestyle significantly less healthy than that of previous generations, according to the findings of a survey released on Thursday, with one result showing life expectancy plummeting from the 2nd highest in European Union, in 1991, to just 11th place in 2004.

According to its results, present-day Greeks are “committing a slow suicide” on a daily basis by eating too much, smoking incessantly, spending too much time in front of the television and completely ignoring the need to exercise or undergo regular medical exams.

The results of the survey were announced by Athens University professor of social and preventative medicine Ioannis Tountas and were based on an analysis of a number of European and Greek studies regarding lifestyle and habits.

They indicated that Greece currently holds one of the highest positions worldwide for rates of smoking, since 49.9 percent of men and 30.8 percent of women are smokers and the numbers are tending to increase.

About 60 percent of the population is overweight, with Greeks ranking as the most overweight and obese nationality in Europe after the British.

They also tend not to exercise, with one third of men and about half of women saying they do not do any exercise.

Most worrying is the evidence that Greeks have to a great extent abandoned their previously healthy Mediterranean diet, with current dietary trends diverging as much as 50 percent from the “Med diet” model, while they do not take precautionary action against disease, with 35 of Greek adults suffering from some chronic ailment.

Studies carried out by Dr. Tountas showed that the lower socio-economic classes tended to have more health problems, with a rate of 36.9 percent, compared to the higher classes (30.4 percent).

The inverse relationship between income and health also held true across regions, since areas with a low per capita GDP, like eastern Macedonia and Thrace, tended to have a higher mortality index and a higher rate of cardiovascular disease.