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Hunting ban in Greece November 11, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Sports & Games.
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The Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, in a ruling yesterday banned hunting in parts of Greece affected by the devastating summer fires until the end of February.

The court made the decision after an application was filed by an environmental group on the grounds that the fire had created imbalances in the country’s ecosystem and problems for wildlife. The temporary hunting ban applies to only parts of the burnt areas, according to the ruling.

Cyprus hunting season begins November 7, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Sports & Games.
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Thousands of hunters were out on Sunday, the first day of the new hunting season, which began with appeals by the government for safety.

This year there is more game, with the number of hare released in the wild up by 15-20 per cent and about 150.000 partridges freed for the season.

Interior Minister Christos Patsalides has urged hunters to comply with the written as well as the unwritten laws governing this sport and to pay the utmost attention to their safety and the safety of others.

The UN peace-keeping force in Cyprus has warned hunters not to venture into the buffer zone as “they are running the risk of drawing fire from either of the opposite forces.” The buffer zone, patrolled by UNFICYP, separates the Turkish occupied and military controlled, since July 1974, northern part of The Republic of Cyprus from the southern government controlled areas of the Republic. The military of both sides maintains positions along the buffer zone.

Boars and bunnies in hunters’ sights October 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Nature.
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The hunting season has been extended on Lemnos and Lesvos so that locals can attempt to cull the population of wild rabbits and boars on the islands.

Rabbits have caused farmers on Lesvos problems for a number of years. A number of measures have been taken on the northeastern Aegean island, including the release of sterile polecats but they do not seem to have had an impact.

Now, the Agricultural Development Ministry is allowing hunters to hunt the bunnies even at night. The Ministry has also extended the hunting season on Lesvos to tackle the growing number of wild boars that are roaming the island. It is thought that someone released a few animals into the wild around five years ago, possibly in the hope that they would breed and provide decent prey for hunters.

Greek PM tours burned areas, pledges to push regeneration September 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece News.
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Foreign investors considering tourism projects at Ancient Olympia, Kaiafas

Soldiers carried charred tree trunks across the burnt Hill of Cronus near Ancient Olympia on Saturday. Army personnel have been working with lumberjacks to build barriers on the site to protect it against flooding.

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Saturday toured areas ravaged by last month’s deadly fires, reiterating pledges to speed up regeneration efforts and protect burned forest land from development.

Meanwhile, reports emerged that a group of international investors are planning to develop parts of the fire-razed Ileia prefecture for tourism ventures.

On a visit to Zacharo, one of the areas worst hit by the fires, Karamanlis assured residents that reconstruction works would be accelerated. “These people must stay on their land and continue to farm,” he said. “Wherever there was once forest, there will be forest again,” he added.

Yesterday, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos also visited Zacharo, to attend the funeral of the town’s Deputy Mayor, 49-year-old Antonis Krespis, who died on Saturday of injuries sustained in last month’s fires. Krespis’ death brought to 67 the toll of last month’s blazes.

On Saturday Karamanlis also visited the site of Ancient Olympia, which sustained severe fire damage. Hours before his visit, firefighters battled to control a blaze near the village of Xirokambos. The Premier said works to restore the burned areas would be completed in time for the lighting of the Olympic torch for the Beijing Games next March.

Meanwhile, according to Kathimerini daily, foreign investors are planning to develop the region around Ancient Olympia and Lake Kaiafas, an EU-protected area ravaged in last month’s fires. The investors, a group of businessmen from Korea, the US, Japan and Cyprus, have reportedly invited the President of Ileia’s Business Chamber, Angelos Angelopoulos, to Seoul for talks this November. The group has allegedly offered $200,000 for local fire victims and budgeted $300,000 for a project that envisages a large marina for cruise ships at Lake Katakolo and a string of hotels. It is also believed to be planning a games complex near Ancient Olympia. Such initiatives would need the approval of the Tourism Ministry.

In a related development, hunting associations and wildlife protection groups have clashed following the failure of authorities to clarify the scope of a hunting ban in burnt areas. WWF Hellas is calling for a blanket ban on hunting in all prefectures affected by fires. Hunters say they should be allowed in zones adjacent to burnt areas.