It‘s all Greek Cheer at special tea for Christmas fund

It‘s The Herald Christmas Cheer time again. And this time it‘s the Greeks, as well as other good friends, who are bearing wonderful gifts to help folk in need of enjoying something special in the festive season.

And so it was that Beggar-in-Chief yesterday entered an Aladdin‘s Cave of Christmas decorations in Evy Evlambiou‘s scintillating Christmas Shop in the Walker Drive Centre off Kabega Road.

The Beggar got together with Evy, Olga Hafner and other members of the Hellenic community who are to stage a special Greek Tea on Saturday, October 27, at 2 for 2.30pm in the Hellenic Hall. Funds raised will boost this year‘s Christmas Cheer Fund, the charity that spreads goodwill to the poor, the needy and the lonely at Christmas.

Once more, The Herald is seeking funds for Christmas Cheer, with Rodney Gibson acting as treasurer. He and the Beggar are looking forward to contributions from the more fortunate who, year by year, show generosity to the fund. Last year, it rose to a whopping R739 522.

And already there is a humungous figure in the kitty thanks to the women of Port Elizabeth‘s Club 100 who raised a whopping R160 000 in this year‘s Christmas in June two-night extravaganza, with further boosts from the Boardwalk and Pick ‘n Pay.

Donations to the fund may be sent to The Herald Christmas Cheer Fund, Private Bag X071, Port Elizabeth, 6001.

Thousands join pope Shenuda for Coptic Christmas

Posted On January 7, 2007

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Cairo, Egypt > Thousands of Copts joined their pope Shenuda III at Saint Mark’s Cathedral here overnight Saturday-Sunday to celebrate Orthodox Christmas.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak sent a top government official to represent him at the midnight mass, which was attended by many young people. January 7, Orthodox Christmas Day, has been a nationwide holiday in Egypt for the past three years.

After the mass, the faithful were to break their 45-day fast during which they did not eat any food “with a soul” meaning coming from an animal. The traditional meal after the all-vegetarian diet is the “fatta”, a mixture of meat, rice, and bread fried in butter with garlic sauce.

The Coptic Church, the largest Christian community in the East, has about five to six million members, according to official figures, and 10 million according to Church estimates.

The Egyptian Government includes only two Copts: Finance Minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali and Secretary of State for the Environment Maged George Elias.

Christmas gifts sent to Cameroon

More than 500 shoeboxes of Christmas presents were sent to a village in Cameroon thanks to kind-hearted staff at the QEII and Lister hospitals.

Staff from women’s services, children’s services and the renal department at the East and North Herts Hospitals NHS Trust sent the presents to children in the village of Ntumbaw to make sure they had a happy Christmas.

The boxes were filled with pens, books, toys, toothbrushes and sweets and were taken to Cameroon by the New Jerusalem Foundation, of which renal dialysis unit sister Mandy Northover is secretary.

World welcomes New Year

Hundreds of thousands of revellers flooded New York’s Times Square to watch the famed crystal ball as it dropped to mark the New Year.

It was a scene repeated, with some variations, around the world as millions cheered impressive fireworks celebrations while others saw 2006 capped with bombings and death.

Preparations for the Times Square countdown had begun days in advance, complete with the cheering and the kisses. Partygoers, projected to reach a million, were in high spirits, cheering and joking in the unseasonably warm evening. The New York festivities include a star-studded line-up, including performances by singers Christina Aguilera and Toni Braxton, rap group Three 6 Mafia and country band Rascal Flatts.

Security was tight in and around Times Square and spectators passed through police checkpoints while bomb-sniffing dogs roamed the crowd. Texas band Radiant kicked off the event, when the famously flashy New Year’s Eve ball was raised to the top of a flagpole.

Across the globe, the countdown to the New Year was marked, in parts, with a combination of joy, tears, prayers and hopes.

In Rio de Janeiro, nearly 21,000 police officers fanned out across the Brazilian city, many patrolling impoverished slums ruled by gangs, to guarantee the safety of tourists and revellers at a huge New Year’s Eve bash on the famed Copacabana beach. The show of force comes after gang attacks left 19 dead last week in Rio.

In Sydney, fireworks exploded over Harbour Bridge as a million onlookers celebrated the New Year. The display was to celebrate the bridge’s 75th anniversary.

Hundreds of thousands of others cheered in London as Big Ben rang in 2007. The chimes were relayed by sound systems along the River Thames and the onlookers lined its banks near the Houses of Parliament to watch a light show countdown projected on to the 443ft London Eye wheel. The countdown was followed by a 10-minute fireworks display “big enough and loud enough to be seen … all over the capital”, mayor Ken Livingstone said.

In India, police arrested two suspected Islamic militants about half a mile from the site of New Delhi’s main public New Year’s Eve celebrations, a report said.

Pope Benedict XVI prayed at a New Year’s Eve service at the Vatican City in Rome that 2007 would bring the world “peace, comfort, justice”.

In Romania and Bulgaria, midnight marked a historic milestone, with the two countries becoming the newest members of the European Union. Fireworks thundered through the sky in the Romanian and Bulgarian capitals, which were decorated with the EU’s blue-and-gold flags.

Bad weather dampened celebrations in other parts of Europe. In Belfast, an outdoor concert that was to feature soul singer Beverley Knight and rock band The Thrills was called off because of the threat of gale-force winds. In Glasgow high winds and rain had forced officials to cancel traditional Hogmanay New Year’s celebrations.

No official celebrations were planned in Paris, but thousands were expected to congregate around the city’s most famous avenue, the Champs-Elysees, to welcome 2007.

In the Philippines, where many believe noisy New Year celebrations drive away evil and misfortune, police threatened to arrest anyone setting off oversized firecrackers.

In Japan, thousands climbed mountains, some scaling famed Mount Fuji, to greet the first dawn of the year. Police expected crowds at the summits to reach 15,000.

In Iraq, New Year’s Eve was another day marked by death, following the burial of executed former leader Saddam Hussein. The US military announced the death of a US soldier in Iraq, raising to 3,000 the American death toll in the country since the war began.

From Sydney to Bucharest, fireworks welcome new year

The world welcomed 2007 with skyrockets and rock concerts. But in some corners of the globe, the new year was marked by bombings.

Fireworks exploded over Sydney Harbour Bridge as a million onlookers greeted the new year. In London, thousands of revelers gathered to cheer as Big Ben rang in 2007.

But the Thai capital of Bangkok canceled the main celebration after nine bombs exploded across the city, many in crowded tourist areas. Two people were killed and 34 were injured.

In Sydney, one of the world’s first major cities to usher in the new year, people crammed the harbor shore for the lavish fireworks display celebrating the 75th anniversary of the iconic bridge. 

Thousands of would-be revelers who had gathered at Bangkok’s Central World Plaza shopping mall complex for the event were sent home, officials said. Festivities continued in other parts of the city, though, including the famous Patpong Road red light district. Police and army troops with assault rifles, meanwhile, guarded some tourist sites, mass transit stations and traffic circles.

In India, police arrested two suspected Islamic militants about 1 kilometer, half a mile, from the site of New Delhi’s main public New Year’s Eve celebrations, a report cited police as saying.

Pope Benedict XVI prayed at a New Year’s Eve service at the Vatican City in Rome that 2007 would bring the world “peace, comfort, justice.”

In London, Big Ben’s chimes were relayed by sound systems along the banks of the great, gray River Thames. Crowds flocked to the banks near the Houses of Parliament to watch a light show countdown projected onto the 443-foot London Eye Ferris wheel, followed by a 10-minute fireworks display “big enough and loud enough to be seen … all over the capital,” Mayor Ken Livingstone said.

At least a million revelers were expected to flood Times Square in unseasonably warm New York City to see performances by singers Christina Aguilera and Toni Braxton. The crowd will also cheer and watch a 1,070-pound Waterford Crystal ball fall at midnight. 

In North Korea, an editorial carried in all three state-controlled newspapers celebrated the new year by boasting that the country’s possession of nuclear weapons “serves as a powerful force for defending peace and security… and guaranteeing the victorious advance of the cause of independence.” The editorial exhorted North Koreans to “mercilessly defeat any invasion of the U.S. imperialists.”

Meanwhile, two former Communist Eastern bloc states, Romania and Bulgaria, took another step toward the West as they became the newest members of the European Union at midnight. Fireworks thundered through the sky in the Romanian and Bulgarian capitals, which were decorated with the EU’s blue-and-gold flags. 

Bad weather dampened celebrations in other parts of Europe. In Belfast, Northern Ireland, an outdoor concert that was to feature soul singer Beverley Knight and rock band The Thrills was called off due to the threat of gale-force winds. Glasgow officials said high winds and rain had forced them to cancel traditional Hogmanay New Year’s celebrations in the Scottish city. Edinburgh at the last minute also canceled its Hogmanay party, which was to be headlined by the Pet Shop Boys.

In Belgium, several fireworks displays were canceled after two party tents set up for celebrations in northern Belgium blew away on Saturday. No official celebrations were planned in Paris, but thousands were expected to congregate around the city’s most famous avenue, the Champs-Elysees, to welcome 2007.

In the Philippines, where many believe noisy New Year’s celebrations drive away evil and misfortune, police threatened to arrest anyone setting off oversized firecrackers. Despite the warning, 284 people were injured by firecrackers and celebratory gunfire in the two weeks before New Year’s Day, a 75 percent rise from last year, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

In Japan, thousands climbed mountains, some scaling famed Mount Fuji, to greet the first dawn of the year. Police expected crowds at the summits to reach 15,000. Many Japanese, ranging from families with children to elderly couples, usually start climbing at night so they can reach the top in time for sunrise. Police anticipated 95 million visitors to the country’s major Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines over the first three days of the new year, as people offer prayers for peace, health and prosperity in one of the few religious rites in which most Japanese regularly take part.

The South African city of Cape Town prepared to celebrate New Year’s Eve with a show by the Cape Minstrels.

From Sydney to Bucharest, fireworks welcome New Year

Fireworks exploded over Sydney’s Harbor Bridge as a million onlookers celebrated the New Year. In London, hundreds of thousands of revelers cheered as Big Ben rang in 2007, but the Thai capital canceled its main event after a series of deadly bombings.

In the Australian capital, one of the world’s first major cities to usher in the new year, people crammed the harbor shore for the lavish fireworks display celebrating the 25th anniversary of the iconic bridge.

But in Thailand, city officials canceled Bangkok’s main New Year’s Eve celebration Sunday after a series of bombs killed two people and wounded more than 30. Thousands of revelers who had gathered at the Central World Plaza shopping mall complex for the event were sent home, officials said.

In India, police arrested two suspected Islamic militants about 1 kilometer (half a mile) from the site of New Delhi’s main public New Year’s Eve celebrations, a report cited police as saying.

Pope Benedict XVI prayed at a New Year’s Eve service at the Vatican City in Rome that 2007 would bring the world “peace, comfort, justice.”

In London, Big Ben’s chimes were relayed by sound systems along the River Thames. Hundreds of thousands of people crowded the river’s banks banks near the Houses of Parliament to watch a light show countdown projected onto the 443-foot (135-meter) London Eye Ferris wheel, followed by a 10-minute fireworks display, “big enough and loud enough to be seen … all over the capital,” Mayor Ken Livingstone said.

At least a million revelers were expected to flood Times Square in unseasonably warm New York City to see performances by singers Christina Aguilera and Toni Braxton.

Police said everything was going according to plan, and there had been no reports of unruly onlookers. Security was tight in and around Times Square. Spectators, expected to number about a million by midnight, passed through police checkpoints, no big bags or backpacks were permitted and bomb-sniffing dogs roamed the crowd.

The Texas band Radiant kicked off the event, when the famously flashy New Year’s Eve ball was raised to the top of a flagpole.

Revelers practiced several countdowns to 2007 in the hours before the show, complete with cheers and New Year’s kisses.

In Romania and Bulgaria, midnight marked a historic milestone, with the two countries becoming the newest members of the European Union. Fireworks thundered through the sky in the Romanian and Bulgarian capitals, which were decorated with the EU’s blue-and-gold flags.

“Welcome to the EU,” EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn told a crowd of tens of thousands at a celebration in Bucharest, where he was joined on stage by Romania’s president and European foreign ministers from Germany, Denmark, Austria and Hungary. Officials were flying later Monday to Sofia for celebrations there.

Bad weather dampened celebrations in other parts of Europe. In Belfast, Northern Ireland, an outdoor concert that was to feature soul singer Beverley Knight and rock band The Thrills was called off due to the threat of gale-force winds.

Glasgow officials said high winds and rain had forced them to cancel traditional Hogmanay New Year’s celebrations in the Scottish city. Edinburgh at the last minute also canceled its Hogmanay party, which was to be headlined by the Pet Shop Boys.

In Belgium, several fireworks displays were canceled after two party tents set up for celebrations in northern Belgium blew away on Saturday.

No official celebrations were planned in Paris, but thousands were expected to congregate around the city’s most famous avenue, the Champs-Elysees, to welcome 2007.

In the Philippines, where many believe noisy New Year celebrations drive away evil and misfortune, police threatened to arrest anyone setting off oversized firecrackers.

Despite the warning, 284 people were injured by firecrackers and celebratory gunfire in the two weeks before New Year’s Day, a 75 percent rise from last year, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

“I have campaigned every day against firecrackers,” Duque said. “But this has become a deeply rooted part of our culture.”

In Japan, thousands climbed mountains, some scaling famed Mount Fuji, to greet the first dawn of the year. Police expected crowds at the summits to reach 15,000.

Many Japanese, ranging from families with children to elderly couples, usually start climbing at night so they can reach the top in time for sunrise.

Police anticipated 95 million visitors to the country’s major Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines over the first three days of the new year, as people offer prayers for peace, health and prosperity in one of the few religious rites in which most Japanese regularly take part.

The South African city of Cape Town prepared to celebrate New Year’s Eve with a show by the Cape Minstrels.

No nuisance on New Year’s eve! > Swaziland

Posted On December 29, 2006

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MBABANE Municipal Council Mayor Bennedict Bennett has thanked residents and visitors for their good behaviour during the Christmas holidays. He said the city had always enjoyed a relatively quiet and peaceful Christmas celebrations in years.

Bennett said: “This is a good sign of a city destined to be the ‘Preferred Destination in southern Africa’.”

He further implored residents to keep up the good behaviour during the New Year’s Day celebrations over the weekend.

“I hope no one will cause any nuisance against fellow residents, especially neighbours. Residents should respect each other, especially by avoiding making loud noise and uncontrolled fireworks displays. Most importantly, do not over drink, let alone drink and drive,” he said.

On another note, the Mayor said 2006 had been a busy year for councillors and employees. “During the year we witnessed a number of activities being successfully carried out by Council,” he said.

Bennett said, among other projects, the Municipality continued to engage in joined projects with other institutions, within and outside Swaziland. “The co-operation between the city of Mbabane and the cities of Salo in Finland continued even this year. In the co-operation, the city of Salo looked at further collaboration projects with the city of Mbabane, especially with regard to refurbishing recreational facilities and protecting the environment,” he stated.

In the previous year, Council sent five students and a teacher on an exchange visit and this year six students and a teacher were given a chance to undergo the same exercise. Bennett said the basic focus of the relations was to promote cultural exchange between the people of both cities, especially the youth.

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