Friday, January 27, 2006

Images from Kefalonia

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Ithaki, from Poros beach

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Aenos foothills, from Tzanata

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Snowy mountain scene, from Valerianos

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Telegraph pole snapped off, Valerianos

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Telegraph pole blown over, Valerianos

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Crumpled pylon, between Valerianos and Platies

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View towards Poros, from Agios Gorgios (Pastra)

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Lemon tree, cactus, snow

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Deserted village in the snow

News and views (power supplies permitting) in the ELSOKAI Forums

Thursday, January 26, 2006

News from Kefalonia

Latest news re situation on Kefalonia at the ELSOKAI Forums in the Local News: Kef - power down

Monday, January 23, 2006

Turkey moves forward, UK moves abroad

The UK government is to follow banks, airlines and phone companies by exporting British jobs abroad. Staff currently giving information to the unemployed will presumably be able to get the latest advice on how to claim unemployment benefits by phoning India, where wages are about 20% of those paid in the UK. Ah, that must be international socialism at work?

Turkey, at least, has shown common sense by dropping charges of ‘insulting Turkey’ against Orhan Pamuk and by re-arresting the man who shot Pope John Paul II. Mehmet Ali Agca, a known criminal with links to Turkish far-right paramilitary groups, had been released early while serving a sentence for murdering a left-wing journalist.

Henceforth, Greece will have a national day of remembrance for victims of terrorism.

And despite notices on the cars stating their status, specialist volunteers who worked to save the whale stranded in the Thames returned to their cars to find parking tickets on them. Nice one, huh?

News and views in the ELSOKAI Forums

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Artic weather here

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Picture from the
Whale & Dolphin Trust

Extreme weather conditions, with fierce storms, heavy snowfall, northerly gales and a big drop in temperature, looks to be sent in for the next three days.

The real estate market looks set to continue attracting consumers as the growth prospects in the real estate market are favourable, with demand expected to continue increasing in the next five years.

In the UK, record levels of gun crime are being blamed on the fact that more people than ever are carrying firearms as fashion accessories.

At the same time, it’s been revealed that the police spend more than £500 million a year on paperwork - a sum greater than that spent fighting robberies and house burglaries.

There’s an interesting article in a non-political American blog headed, “The UK is heading toward a police state”. HEY – it’s not just me!

And the bottlenose whale which captivated the world as it swam up the Thames has died before it could be released back in to the ocean.

News and views in the ELSOKAI Forums

Friday, January 20, 2006

Cool running

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A survey released on Sunday shows that almost 40% of Greeks would prefer closer ties with China rather than with the US, while 66% of those surveyed replied that they like the Chinese.

A strategic agreement signed between Greece and China yesterday is aimed at bringing the two nations closer together. 60,000 tons of Greek fertilizer will be exported to China and Greece will be promoted as a transport hub for Chinese vessels shipping products to Southeast Europe.

So, is Greece going to export sh*t and import… dodgy Chinese electrical goods?

Poultry sales have plummeted by up to 40 percent recently as fears that bird flu will enter Greece from Turkey have driven consumers to opt for other meat on their dinner table, despite continued reassurances from authorities that eating (Greek) chicken and eggs is completely safe.

A seven-tonne whale has made its way up the Thames to central London.

A Jamaican sled-dog racer has arrived in Aviemore, Scotland, to enter Europe's largest husky racing event.

And a farmer in Wiltshire, UK, has received a speeding ticket for driving at 85mph… on his tractor.

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Pictures from Kefalonia

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Ho hum, fiddle-di-di

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Former judge Constantina Bourboulia, who had been on the run from authorities for the last four months, was arrested in Paris yesterday. Bourboulia is alleged to have taken a €350,000 bribe from a lawyer in return for not remanding his client, a corrupt stockbroker, in custody.

The Greek government has recently bought a number of US-made Hummer vehicles for the army at a cost of €195,000 per vehicle, almost double the price in the USA. The Defence Minister said the vehicles bought by Greece had different specifications from the ones usually available on the market.

62% of Greeks have economic difficulties with more than half unable to pay for a week’s holiday every year. One in five Greeks cannot afford to adequately heat their homes. For the first time more companies are closing down than opening. 30,000 small and middle-sized firms are facing bankruptcy, partly because people have no money to spend and partly because of newly-arrived big trade centres.

UK supermarket giant, Tesco, may be expanding in to Greece.

State inspectors yesterday issued a report slamming the levels of hygiene at the historic Varvakeios Market in central Athens and partly-thawed frozen food was seized and destroyed in Thessaloniki.

A large proportion of Greek factories have not been built to withstand the pressure of an earthquake and many offices lack basic safety features, seismic experts revealed yesterday.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Greed, corruption, & food

Incidents of dishonesty by food merchants, who up until recently were trusted by consumers, are on the daily agenda. Television coverage of a filthy storeroom behind a butcher’s stall at Athens’s central meat market, aired on Star channel’s Saturday news bulletin, was hair-raising stuff.

Viewers were shown a trapdoor leading to an underground catacomb containing darkened cuts of meat, wild pig heads on shelves and cockroaches scuttling along the floor — an ideal backdrop for a horror movie.

The recent wave of horrifying reports about unsuitable food products making their way onto the local market is due to increasing profiteering at the expense of public health.

Some say the stricter and more regular controls are a public relations exercise ahead of local elections in October. Although there is certainly some truth in that, criticism does not change the essence of the problem but merely underscores the vital need to disengage the system of food inspections from petty politicking.

And once again, checks at supermarket chains have revealed that the prices charged at the checkout are higher than the prices marked on the shelves.

About a year after building work started on new homes near the Hellenic Petroleum (HELPE) oil distillery at Thessaloniki a court has ruled that the buildings fail to comply with relevant laws.

Police and the anti-terrorism squad are continuing investigations into an Athens bank robbery on Monday that resulted in gun shot injuries to three people. The gang were very heavily armed and a connection with terrorism is strongly suspected.

And a new website has been launched that maps more than 25,000 surnames across Britain. Anyone can tap in their name and with the click of a mouse glimpse a profile of how others who share their name are distributed around the country.

News and views at the ELSOKAI Forums