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Αγώνες Special Olympics στην Πολωνία (18-24/9/2010)-Ελληνική συμμετοχή

Από τις 18 ως τις 24 Σεπτεμβρίου πραγματοποιήθηκαν στη Βαρσοβία οι Ευρωπαϊκοί Αγώνες Special Olympics, με την συμμετοχή 1.600 αθλητών από 57 χώρες της Ευρώπης και της Ευρασίας.
Στους αγώνες συμμετείχε και ελληνική αποστολή 86 αθλητών, δηλώνοντας με την παρουσία της – πέρα από το μήνυμα της αποδοχής της διαφορετικότητας και της ενθάρρυνσης της συμμετοχής ατόμων με διανοητική αναπηρία σε κοινωνικές και αθλητικές δραστηριότητες – την ενεργό προετοιμασία της Ελλάδας για τους επόμενους Παγκόσμιους Αγώνες Special Olympics (XIII Special Olympics World Summer Games) που θα πραγματοποιηθούν στην Αθήνα το καλοκαίρι του 2011.
Στην τελετή έναρξης των Αγώνων Special Olympics στις 18 Σεπτεμβρίου, παρευρέθηκε και ο έλληνας ευρωβουλευτής Γιώργος Σταυρακάκης, ο οποίος σημείωσε ότι η «Φλόγα της Ελπίδας» μετά την αφή της στην Αλεξανδρούπολη στις 5 Σεπτεμβρίου ταξίδεψε  σε οκτώ ευρωπαϊκές πόλεις για να φθάσει τελικά στη Βαρσοβία για την τελετή έναρξης των Αγώνων.
Ο κ. Σταυρακάκης υπογράμμισε την σημασία των Αγώνων Special Olympics ως το μεγαλύτερο αθλητικό γεγονός για άτομα με διανοητικές δυσκολίες, τονίζοντας την αναγκαιότητα στήριξης –και μέσω του Ευρωπαϊκού Κοινοβουλίου- των προσεχών Παγκόσμιων Αγώνων Special Olympics στην Αθήνα, που στόχο έχουν όχι μόνο να ενισχύσουν περαιτέρω τα ολυμπιακά ιδεώδη της άμιλλας και του εθελοντισμού, αλλά και να βοηθήσουν στην ένταξη στο κοινωνικό σύνολο περιθωριοποιημένων ανθρώπων, καθώς και στην κοινωνική συνοχή.

Lighting the way to 2010 Youth Olympic Games

The official ceremony for the Lighting of the Olympic flame that will burn at the inaugural Youth Olympics Games in Singapore will take place today (July 23) at Ancient Olympia.
In the presence of International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge and Minister of Culture Pavlos Yeroulanos, the priestess will stand in front of the 2,600 year-old Temple of Hera and by using a concave mirror will light a silver torch with the sun’s rays.
As soon as the flame is lit, the Journey of the Youth Olympic Flame will begin travelling in five cities across the globe: Berlin, Dakar, Mexico City, Auckland and Seoul.
Yesterday, a successful rehearsal was conducted and hundreds of tourists, visiting the site where the Ancient Olympics were held from 776 BC to 393 AD, witnessed the event. The first ever Youth Olympic Games will be held from August 14 to 26 in Singapore.
Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism: The Archaeological site of Olympia
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

New era in Greek-Turkish relations

» High Level Cooperation

Premier George Papandreou and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan expressed their will to take important steps towards the improvement of Greek-Turkish relations, as the Turkish leader wrapped up an official visit to Athens on Saturday.
This was sealed with the opening session of the Greece-Turkey High Level Cooperation Council and the signing of 21 agreements.
George Papandreou met with the chiefs of Turkish media, while Erdogan with the chiefs of the Greek newspapers.
The Greek premier told Turkish journalists that Erdogan’s visit heralds a new era in Greek-Turkish relations, further adding that the two sides had better overcome their differences. He also touched on economic cooperation between Athens and Ankara.

» “We have an agreement”

Twenty-one cooperation agreements in fields as diverse as technology and tourism were signed during the Turkey-Greece High Level Cooperation Council.
Ministers signed agreements boosting trade, investments and shipping and the two countries will hereby extend their cooperation in projects concerning infrastructure works and transnational transport networks.
Relations between the two countries in the field of immigration will be governed by a bilateral agreement which provides for readmission of illegal immigrant flows to Turkey and cooperation in the fight against organized crime, trafficking and civil protection.
Both sides agreed to improve tourism cooperation, aiming at increasing their market share in countries with economic potential such as China, as well as raising global awareness on matters of cultural heritage protection.

Special attention was given to education and synergies concerning research. Environment protection and joint ventures in energy projects including renewable energy sources and the existing Turkey- Greece-Italy gas pipeline were also sealed with respective deals.
In terms of strengthening bilateral ties,  a Joint Political Declaration on the establishment of the High Level Cooperation Council as well as a Protocol on regular political consultations between the two countries’ foreign ministries were signed.

» Signing the Olympic Truce

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan concluded on Saturday his landmark visit to Athens by signing the Olympic Truce initiative.

At a brief ceremony in front of the imposing Panathenaic Stadium, Erdogan referred to the “great honour in signing my name in this book; to put my signature for a world of peace.”
Papandreou said that Turkey’s support for the idea sends out a clear message “by Turkey and Greece to the world,” adding that Greece will actively support Istanbul’s bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games.
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

“Apollon”: Athens 2011 Special Olympics Mascot

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Athens will host the Special Olympics World Summer Games in 2011. During a press conference held yesterday (December 8), at Zappeion Hall, the Athens 2011 Organising Committee launched “Apollon,” the Games’ mascot, a radiant sun named after the God of Sun in Greek mythology.
The sun was chosen as “a source of life that underlines the excellence and power of the athletes participating in the Games,” said Ioanna Despotopoulou, President of the 2011 Athens Special Olympics Organising Committee.
With the slogan “I AM IN,” “Apollon” invites all people to join the “Wonderful Winning World” of the Games.
The launch of the Games’ mascot marks the countdown to the Athens 2011 Special Olympics, a leading sports event to be held from June 25 to July 4, gathering 7,500 athletes from 185 countries. 
You Tube: Athens 2011 Masco
“Apollon”
  & Promo Video

Olympic Flame: Goodbye Greece, Hello Vancouver

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Canadian Governor General Michaelle Jean’s official visit to Athens has coincided with the lighting of the Olympic Flame, that was passed on yesterday to the organizers of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, in Vancouver.

The Canadian city is becoming the flame’s keeper, after the final run on Greek soil by Greek-Canadian figure skater Niki GeorgiadouPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias received the Canadian Governor General Michaelle Jean at the Presidential Mansion in Athens, on October 29.  In his welcoming speech, President Papoulias pointed out that Haiti, the country of origin of the Governor General of Canada, supported the Greek War of Independence against the Ottomans in 1821.  He also underlined that “Canada embraced Greek immigrants,” and referred to the humanitarian aid Greece received from Canada, during WWII.  Olympic Movement: The lighting ceremony in Olympia & Greek News Agenda: Ancient Olympia in the Spotlight

64 Greek Medals at Mediterranean Games

rowinggreekmedal1(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Greece collected a total of 64 medals in the Mediterranean Games, achieving incredible success. The Greek representation, which included many young athletes, returned (July 6) home having won 19 gold medals, 14 silver and 31 bronze medals during the ten days of the Games.  After an impressive 5 gold medals in rowing, 4 golds in track and field and 2 in karate and gymnastics, Greece celebrated yesterday (July 5) its second gold medal in judo with Ilias Iliadis’s triumph. In team sports, the men’s basketball team came 2nd, the volleyball team 6th, and the water polo team 7th. Greece will host the XVII Mediterranean Games of 2013 in the cities of Volos and Larissa. The Mediterranean Games is an event held every four years and always takes place in the year following the Olympic Games.  Kathimerini daily: Great Tally in Percara

Reviving Athens 2004 Olympic Games Ceremonies

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Culture Minister Antonis Samaras will inaugurate tomorrow (July 8) an exhibition, titled “A Greek Festival-Athens 2004,” featuring the costumes and sets used in the opening and closing ceremony of the Athens Olympic Games at the National Gallery in Goudi. The exhibition, which first appeared in Beijing as part of the Cultural Olympiad, include the painted papier-mâché costumes, the signature paper boat, the rotating cube and some 47 traditional costumes from all areas of Greece.A special honorary celebration has been scheduled for the 8,000 volunteers who took part in the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games. The exhibition is organised by the General Secretariat for the Olympic Utilization and it will last until December 20, 2009. You Tube: Best of Athens 2004 Opening Ceremony & Olympic Closing Ceremony Athens 2004; Volunteers’ Website: www.volathens2004.gr (in Greek)

A floating “Green” Restaurant in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   An Olympic city with many attractions and strong commercial foundations as a port, Volos is an ideal place for the first floating eco-friendly restaurant designed and constructed in Greek shipyards.  The new, floating, “green island” will be transferred to its permanent home in the summer. It will have naturally grown lawn, photovoltaic systems to cover its energy needs, and waste will be biologically cleaned.  More importantly, the materials used in its construction, as well as any other expendable supplies used during its operation, are eco- friendly. The artificial island will welcome its visitors on board in August.  Volos: Host of 2013 Mediterranean Games ; Agrotravel.gr: Volos

Greek – Chinese Relations Grow

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    Chinese President Hu Jintao is scheduled to arrive in Athens on Monday, November 24, and it is expected that this visit will herald a new era in bilateral relations between Greece and China, which date back to 1972. The recent development of Sino-Greek relations has been stunning, especially in the sectors of economy and culture. After Athens hosted the Olympic Games 2004, preparations for the Olympic event in Beijing began, which required officials to meet regularly and discuss everything from know-how to security. These meetings soon expanded to include not only sports, but also trade, shipping and tourism. Discussions have helped China’s Cosco Pacific take over the cargo management services of state-controlled Piraeus port in a 35-year deal assessed to be worth €4.3 billion, and the Chinese president is expected to seal the deal officially during his trip next week. Other sectors of trade include lottery and jewellery: lottery systems supplier Intralot is a Greek company expanding into the Chinese market, and the Folli-Follie group has more than 80 points of sale in China. The population of the Chinese community in Greece – estimated at 20,000 to 30,000 – is not merely interested in commercial relations with Greece, but also in evolving into a prosperous and integrated community, on many levels, throughout the country. Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Greek- Chinese Bilateral Relations; Embassy of Greece in Beijing: www.grpressbeijing.com Mediainfo2004.gr: From Athens to Beijing; InterChina Cultural Centre in Piraeus: www.interchina.gr Secretariat General of Information: Feature Stories-The Greeks and the Chinese: Doing business for aeons (Economist, 21.08.08)

The Flame of Hope for the 2009 was lit in Athens

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    The Flame of Hope for the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games was lit on November 12, at a ceremony in Zappeion Hall, Athens. In keeping with the Olympic tradition, the torch was lit by the sun’s rays before embarking on a three-month journey around the world to Idaho, USA, the site of the next World Games (www.2009worldgames.org). Almost 3,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities from more than 100 countries will participate in Special Olympics World Winter Games to be held from February 7 to 13, 2009.  After Athens the first stop for the torch will be in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. It will then continue around the world, making stops in Poland, Costa Rica, South Africa, India, China and three cities in the United States – Miami, New York and Los Angeles. On January 27, 2009 the flame will reach Idaho, USA, to begin the Torch Relay‘s final leg through many cities in Idaho before arriving at the Opening Ceremony for the World Winter Games on February 7. The 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games will be held in Athens, Greece.  Special Olympics Hellas: www.specialolympicshellas.gr (in Greek)

Greece: An Ancient Calculator

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The size of a shoebox, a mysterious bronze device scooped out of a Roman-era shipwreck at the dawn of the 20th century, off the island of Antikythera (www.antikythira.gr), has baffled scientists for years and proved to be a  a calculator used by the Ancient Greeks more than 2,000 years ago. Researchers yesterday announced that the Antikythera Mechanism (www.antikythera-mechanism.gr), as it is now known, could predict eclipses decades in advance and was also used to record the four-yearly cycle of the original Olympic Games.  World Media Reports – Google: Scientists unlock new secrets of Antikythera mechanism; Secretariat General of Information: World Media on Greece – Highlights

Greek Participation at Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games

The Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games take place from September 6 to 17. The 69 Greek Paralympic athletes left Athens on August 29 for the eleven-day sports event. The Greek team counts 53 men and 16 women, who will compete in power lifting, swimming, boccia, cycling, shooting, athletics, archery, judo, sailing, wheelchair tennis and wheelchair fencing. In total, 4,000 athletes from more than 150 countries are expected to participate in Beijing’s 13th Summer Paralympics.  Beijing 2008 Paralympics: en.paralympic.beijing2008.cn/; Hellenic Paralympic Committee: www.paralympic.gr; Secretariat General of Information: About Greece-Sports

Greeks Returning Home from Beijing 2008

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The 29th Olympic Games ended on August 24 after 16 days and 17 nights of sporting celebration. Although not equivalent to the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, the Greek harvest of medals is considered well satisfying. Greek athletes won two silver medals, one in rowing (Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls) with Vassilis Polymeros and Dimitris Mougios and another one in taek won do with Alexandros Nikolaidis winning his second Olympic medal after Athens 2004. Another two bronze medals were won by Sofia Bekatorou, Sofia Papadopoulou and Virginia Kravarioti in sailing (Yngling class), while our 2004 gold medal winner Chrysopigi Devetzi reached the third place in triple jump. With regard to the doping incidents, the International Olympic Committee has commissioned a full investigation over the Greek athletes who were disqualified facing charges of illegal substances use. IOC will recourse to the Greek courts, while measures have been taken in order to enhance already existing legislation concerning doping,this time introducing harsher penalties.  Hellenic Olympic Committee: www.2hoc.gr

Olympic Link to a 2,100 Years Old Calkulator

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   More than a hundred years ago an extraordinary mechanism was found by sponge divers at the bottom of the sea near the island of Antikythera. It astonished the whole international community of experts on the ancient world. Was it an astrolabe? Was it an orrery or an astronomical clock? Or something else? For decades, scientific investigation failed to yield much light and relied more on imagination than the facts. However research over the last half century has begun to reveal its secrets. The Antikythira mechanim dates from approximately the 1st century B.C. and is the most sophisticated mechanism known in the ancient world. Nothing as complex had been manufactured for the next thousand years. A new paper from the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project (www.antikythera-mechanism.gr) is published in the prestige science journal Nature on July 31st 2008. It reveals surprising results on the back dials of the Antikythera Mechanism – including a dial dedicated to the four-year Olympiad Cycle of athletic games in ancient Greece. Antikythera Mechanism: Frequently Asked Questions; World Media Reports – Google: Scientists unlock new secrets of Antikythera mechanism Secretariat General of Information: World Media on Greece – Highlights

The Greek Media Experience Transfered to Beijing

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    On the occasion of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, the Secretariat General of Information introduced its “mediainfo2004 – Media Services for the Olympic Games” website (www.mediainfo2004.gr). This website subscribed to the idea of a “one-stop-shop” service for media professionals, who wished to cover contemporary Greece before and during the Olympic Games 2004. The website was affiliated with the Zappeion Olympic Press Center, situated in central Athens in the grounds of the Zappeion Mansion. Secretary General of Information Panos Livadas, the Zappeion Olympic Press Center director, was in Beijing recently at the invitation of the Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG). BOCOG publicly paid tribute to his advice and contribution in setting up and operating the Beijing International Media Center (www.2008bimc.cn).

Greece @ China’s Cultural Year

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Greece relishes international attention by being the honoured country for this year’s Cultural Year in China (www.greece-china.com). Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis on Sunday inaugurated the International Olympic Truce Centre exhibition at Beijing’s Hellenic House (“From ancient Olympia to Beijing 2008 – forty Greek and forty Chinese artists discuss the Olympic Truce” ) in the presence of former International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch. The “Agon” exhibition by the National Archaeological Museum, initially held in Athens during the 2004 Olympic Games, presents themes from the athletic events of the ancient Olympic Games, along with the whole context of poetry, theatre and artistic competitions held from time to time at the major temples throughout the Greek world (Beijing’s Capital Museum). Dimitris Papaioannou, director of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games opening ceremony, brought his adapted version of ancient Greek tragedy Medea to Beijing (Grand National Theatre in Beijing on August 1 and 2). Greece will be the country of honour at the 15th International Beijing Book Fair to be held early September 2008. Greece is the fourth country after France, Russia and Germany to be receiving such an honourary invitation. Within the same framework, China will be the country of honour at the Thessaloniki International Book Fair in 2010.

From Athens 2004 to Beijing 2008

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  In 2004, the Olympic Games returned to Greece, the country of their birthplace, and Athens, the city of their revival in modern times. In 2008, Beijing is hosting the Olympic Games for the first time in its pioneering history as a seat of authority and government as well as culture and learning. Greece and China have benefited from a favourable development of friendly cooperation cooperation in political, economic, and cultural affairs. On the political side, top government officials have paid many visits to China, the latest being the one of President Karolos Papoulias last June. Concerning economic prospects, Greece can constitute a potential base of operations, from where China could expand its business in the EU, the Balkans and the Mediterranean. Shipping leaves much room for economic cooperation and the latest Cosco Pacific Ltd’s deal over Piraeus port inaugurates a fruitful synergy in the broader field.   Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Greece’s relations with China; mediainfo2004.gr: From Athens 2004 to Beijing 2008; Press and Communication Office – Beijing: www.grpressbeijing.com  
                                                     Greece @ 2008 Olympics
Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, Culture Minister Michalis Liapis, Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis, and General Secretary of Information Panos Livadas are in Beijing for the Olympic Games. Greece will participate in the XXIX Olympic Games of Beijing with 156 athletes, 84 men and 72 women. 22-year-old gold medal winner in the 2004 Olympic Games judoka Ilias Iliadis will be the flag bearer of the Hellenic delegation during the Opening Ceremony, at the Olympic Stadium. Hellenic Olympic Committe: www.hoc.gr; SportInGreece.com: Olympics 2008

Greece: Ancient Meets Contemporary

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Work on excavating ancient Pellina in Thessaly has begun and is continuing at a rapid pace, local authorities said on July 28, in a project that ultimately aims to create an archaeological park with various educational, recreational and sports facilities around the ancient site. The immediate goal is to clean and display the ancient wall, and to calculate its course. Ancient Pellina or Pellinaion was situated on the left bank of the Peneus River in western Thessaly, between Trikki and Farkadona. The first ancient reference to the city that survives was in Pindar, who cited it as the home of the athlete Ippocles, who won a race in the Pythia Games held in 498 B.C. Ancient accounts and architectural remains yield information about the city mostly during and after the 4th century B.C. Athens News Agency: Ancient Pellina archaeological park; Region of Thessalia: www.thessalia-region.com  (Photo: Peneus River )

Greek Ideas in Action…in China

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)              General Secretary for Information Panos Livadas was in Beijing last week at the invitation of the Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG), Executive Vice-President Jiang Xiaoyu. Livadas was the media director of the Press Centre for non-accredited to the Games journalists during the ATHENS 2004 Olympics (www.mediainfo2004.gr). BOCOG adopted his idea and publicly paid tribute to his advice and contribution in setting up and operating the Beijing International Media Center for non-accredited journalists opened on July 8. More than 5,000 reporters, including 2,700 from abroad, have been registered so far. “I am very happy to see that BOCOG has set up a media center for non-accredited journalists” Livadas said, adding that “such reporters like to focus on the social and cultural aspects of the host nation.” He further pointed out that the legacy of holding the Athens Olympics was positive, and Greece used the event to re-brand itself. “I am sure the Beijing Olympics will be truly wonderful,” he underscored.  China Daily: Greek official hails media facilities