Don't worry, be happy

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Finally, somebody who knows what he's talking about when it comes to the Olympics and security pointed out the obvious. Peter Ueberroth, the director of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, said that concerns about the Athens Games being targeted by terror groups would not be borne out.

"I believe the Athens Games will be a good Games, and that there will not be any major security incidents," he told reporters at a Manhattan function showcasing New York City's bid for the 2012 Games. "(Terrorism) relies on cowardice and an element of surprise. Athens is ready, so that takes away the element of surprise."
When Ueberroth was asked about the possible consequences of construction delays, smog, sunstroke, earthquakes, the position of the moon and a butterfly sneezing in China, he said, hey forgetaboutit, the Greeks have a handle on chaos. They invented that word, didn't they?

Posted on April 15, 2004 in Current Affairs, Olympics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

New party in the house

040308_newparty.jpgThe center-right New Democracy party, led by Costas Karamanlis, will form the next government in Greece after a decisive win in Sunday's general elections. Shortly after the polls closed, Socialist leader George Papandreou conceded defeat and the country erupted into street parties, with car horns blaring, flags waving and fireworks bursting in the sky overhead. Karamanlis, 47, becomes the youngest prime minister in modern Greek history.

Posted on March 8, 2004 in Current Affairs, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Race for election gold

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It's election time in Greece with voters going to the polls on Sunday, March 7 to choose their political masters for the next few years. The election is shaping up to be a contest between two Greek political dynasties with Giorgos Papandreou, the leader of the ruling socialist PASOK party and Kostas Karamanlis, head of conservative New Democracy party, as the main contestants. Polls and pundits put Karamanlis' New Democracy in the lead to win the election. If PASOK's Panandreou is out of a job after Sunday's election, he can always run for president of the United States.

Posted on March 4, 2004 in Current Affairs, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Please feel secure

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A Newsweek headline for a report on the 2004 Olympics declares that "The Athens Games will be the biggest – and most expensive – peacetime operation ever." The story cites than $825 million (US dollars) have been budgeted for security, more than three times the amount spent for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

Greece has been working with security experts from Australia, Britain, France, Germany, Israel, Russia and the United States to anticipate terrorist scenarios and improve security measures. More than 50,000 security personnel will be deployed around Athens, the U.S. Sixth Fleet will be on standby in Greek waters and NATO may send troops to Greece for the duration of the games.

Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni says that "we're paying the price for September 11." Athens 2004 will be the first summer Olympics since 9/11. Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, head of the Athens organizing committee is making sure that crews will scrub and spruce up the city so that it "won't look like a military zone."


Posted on March 3, 2004 in Current Affairs, Olympics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

You gotta have faith

040301_jrogge1 Reuters reported early last week that International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Jacques Rogge was confident that organisers of the Athens Olympics would have everything ready to welcome the world's athletes, media and spectators for the August 13-29 games. Speaking on Tuesday, the opening day of a meeting of the world's national Olympic committees in Athens, Rogge said "in the most categorical way that the International Olympic Committee surrounds the Greek effort with absolute confidence."

By Friday Rogge had become more guarded in his public assessment of Olympic preparedness in Athens, saying that it remains uncertain whether the games will be a success, according to this Associated Press story. "There's still a lot to do -- we have only five and a half months," Rogge said. "Our experts say if the pace and the rhythm of the work continues, there is enough time to finish in due time."

Fox Sports writer Peter Wilson wrote that Rogge voiced even greater concern in private IOC circles during his visit to Athens. Rogge told about 30 members of the IOC at a private breakfast on Friday that "there are serious question marks over the Athens Games and those question marks will remain right until the closing ceremony." Wilson, the only member of the media at that breakfast meeting, was there because an invitation intended for IOC's Ted Wilson was delivered by mistake to Peter Wilson's hotel room. Wilson's story includes a mini history on preparations for the first modern Olympic games, held in Athens in 1896, that shows Greeks are creative improvisers at crunch time.

Posted on March 2, 2004 in Current Affairs, Olympics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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