Sunday, 23 July 2006

Kotsopoulos' youngest clan member marries

JK: My brother Jason and I are about 11 months apart in age. So, just for the sake of symmetry, our respective weddings have now taken place about 11 months apart too. Jason and Carolyne's (Topdjian) big day took place outside of Athens on Sunday, July 23 in a nice venue set amidst modern art and flora (Museum Vorre).

The bride was ravishing and the groom dashing (yes, cliché terms, but accurate -- so why not!). Highlights included the best man (Mike Slayer) head-banging to the Ramones, the groom performing a shockingly accurate traditional Armenian dance, the Team Canada table achieving new heights in beer consumption, and various folk from both maternal (Thrace) and paternal (Messolonghi) homelands battling it out for folk-dance supremacy.

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves despite the challenge of going directly from the wedding to the airport for our 6am flight back to Brussels. Our flight was via Lesbos (we had come to Greece by charter which landed there). The Lesbos leg was delayed by 4 hours...but there are worse places in the world to spend an extra few hours. Update on our trip to come (early pics already available here).

Tuesday, 11 July 2006

FACTBOX: Dangers facing children around the world

MK: Kidnappings, rape and forced labour are some of the horrors inflicted on children highlighted in a Reuters AlertNet poll released on Tuesday to identify the world's most dangerous places to be a child.

Here are some statistics for dangers faced by children around the globe:

  • Nearly 11 million children a year -- about 30,000 a day -- die before their fifth birthday, mostly from preventable causes.
  • Out of 100 children born in 2000, 30 will likely suffer malnutrition, 26 will not be immunised and 17 will never go to school.
  • An estimated 218 million children are used for labour. Millions work in especially horrific circumstances, including the virtual slavery of bonded labour.
  • An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked each year for labour or sex.
  • About 1 million children are thought to be exploited in the multi-billion dollar sex industry.
  • There are over 300,000 child soldiers, some as young as eight, in more than 30 countries.
  • More than 2 million children are thought to have died as a direct result of armed conflict in the past decade.
  • Up to 10,000 children are killed or maimed by landmines each year.
  • An estimated 100 million women and girls have undergone genital mutilation.

(Reuters Source: Unicef, International Labour Organization.)

Monday, 3 July 2006

The Peacekeeper joins us in Brussels

MK: Mr. International Development, none other than Ian Rowe, blessed us with his powerful presence for almost a week in early July.

A great friend of JK’s since 1986 (yep, the years are really going by), Ian is moving to Brussels to undertake an MA at the same university (Kent) where John studies. So, 15 years after they graduated high school, the two will be classmates again!

On top of that, Ian found an apartment approximately 30 seconds by foot from ours – perfect for weekend “pub crawls” and “keggers”. Welcome back to school Mr. Rowe!! :)