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Elon Musk Sells 7 Billion Worth of Tesla Shares

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Elon Musk with background of Tesla logo
Elon Musk Sells 7 Billion Worth of Tesla Shares. Credit: NVIDIA Corporation/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk just sold 7.9 million shares of the company, bringing in $6.9 billion.

The Securities and Exchange Commission received several documents late on Tuesday night detailing the sales from Friday through Tuesday. They represent Musk’s first Tesla share transaction since April when he sold 9.6 million shares for a total of $8.5 billion.

These April trades happened not long after Musk and Twitter agreed to a $44 billion purchase agreement. However, he stated a month ago that he would not be following through with that agreement, claiming that Twitter management had withheld critical information about the number of user accounts that were spam and bot accounts rather than accounts managed by real people. Swift legal action was taken by Twitter to compel Musk to proceed with the April agreement’s conditions.

The rationale for the stock sales was not revealed in Musk’s papers. However, in response to a question on Twitter about whether he was done selling Tesla stock, he replied that he was and explained that this most recent sale was motivated by the risk of being compelled to acquire Twitter.

He tweeted: “In the (hopefully unlikely) event that Twitter forces this deal to close and some equity partners don’t come through, it is important to avoid an emergency sale of Tesla stock.”

However, he had also tweeted that there would be “no further TSLA sales planned after today” when he sold the Tesla (TSLA) shares in April.

He responded affirmatively to a question from another user on Twitter on Tuesday. The user had inquired about the potential of Musk’s buying up Tesla stock once again if the Twitter transaction fell through.

Tesla’s stock has lost close to twenty percent of its value so far this year, but it has gained fourteen percent since it released its July earnings report.

A tech analyst at Wedbush Securities Daniel Ives stated that “this is the last thing Tesla investors want to see. The biggest fear has been that Musk sells more stock, and that’s what just happened. It’s a near-term gut punch. There’s no explanation and that adds to the uncertainty.”

The Reason Behind Elon Musk’s Prior Sale of Tesla Shares

In the past, Musk sold Tesla shares when he needed funds to pay taxes on the exercising of options that were about to expire. The first large-scale sale of Tesla stock by Musk—made in April shortly after the Twitter agreement—was for reasons other than an impending tax payment.

For the recent share sales, Musk received an average price of $869 per share. This is significantly less than the $1,046 average price he obtained when selling 15.7 million shares late last year. In April, the average price he received for his Tesla sales was $883 per share. When he exercised options that were about to expire, he was faced with a record personal income tax bill that needed to be paid. This transaction was made to cover the cost.

Musk still owns 155 million shares of Tesla despite the most recent stock sales, and he has the option to purchase an additional approximately one hundred million at prices way below market value. Approximately twenty percent of Tesla’s outstanding shares are under his control thanks to his ownership of shares and options in purchasing additional shares. Additionally, less than three percent of the shares and options he currently holds were part of the 7.9 million shares he recently sold.

 

 

 

Ancient Greek Home Built with Recycled Glass

Europa and Zeus in the form of bull
Ancient Greek Home Built with Recycled Glass. Credit: Following Hadrian/ Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.0

New research of a luxurious Ancient Greek home revealed it was built with recycled glass.

Although this 5th century AD luxury villa was excavated and examined both in 1856 and in the 1990s, there continue to be secrets being revealed.

An international research team has now made further discoveries. Professor and archaeometry expert Kaare Lund Rasmussen from the University of Southern Denmark is in charge of the so-called archaeometric analysis, which involves using chemical analysis to ascertain the components of an object’s composition and its processing history among other things.

The team’s work, which included an archeometric analysis of nineteen roughly 1,600-year-old mosaic tesserae, was published in the journal Heritage Science.

House Located in Same City as One of the Seven Wonders

The tesserae are from a villa excavation from late antiquity that was done at Halikarnassos (today Bodrum in Turkey). King Mausolus’ enormous, opulent mausoleum, which was regarded as one of the seven wonders of the world, made Halikarnassos famous.

The flooring of the Ancient Greek home was covered with recycled glass in several rooms, and it was designed around two courtyards. In addition to geometric patterns, there were also representations of numerous mythological characters and settings from Greek mythology, such as Princess Europa being kidnapped by  Zeus in the form of a white bull and Aphrodite at sea in her seashell.

There are also motifs from the tales of the much-younger Roman author Virgil. The villa was built in the middle of the fifth century AD, according to inscriptions on the floor, and its owner was named Charidemos.

Mosaics were a Luxury

The recycled glass flooring in the Ancient Greek home was quite expensive since pricey raw stones like white, green, black, and other shades of marble had to be delivered from far-off quarries. Additionally, it was necessary to import glass, ceramic, and other stone materials.

“I received 19 mosaic tesserae for examination in my lab in Denmark,” says Kaare Lund Rasmussen. “Seven of them were made of glass and came in a variety of colors, including purple, yellow, red, and deep red. Six of them, in my opinion, are most likely composed of recycled glass.”

Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, a type of chemical analysis, is the foundation of his findings. With its help, the research team has calculated the concentrations of no fewer than twenty-seven different elements, some of which were determined down to billionths of a gram.

“We were able to distinguish between base glass from Egypt and base glass from the Middle East and also, we could determine which elements were added by the ancient craftsmen to color the glasses and to make them opaque, which was preferred at the time,”Kaare Lund Rasmussen said.

Even though drawing conclusions from a mere seven glass mosaics is challenging, new findings match with what was going on in Anatolia in late antiquity. The decline of Roman influence led to closed trade routes or reroutes, resulting in a lack of products in various areas, including raw materials for glass manufacturing.

This information, combined with the scenes depicted on the floors, allow classical archeologists to construct a more thorough picture of what was common or popular in late antiquity.

Greece’s Open-Air Church that Looks Up to the Skies

An open-air church on top of a mountain in a half open cave located in Lemnos island Greece. It's named Panagia Kakaviotissa
Greece’s Open-Air Church that Looks Up to the Skies. Credit: I love LIMNOS/Facebook

The open-air church of Panagia Kakaviotissa in Greece’s island of Lemnos is one of the most impressive Greek Orthodox places of worship in the world.

Perched on top of Kakavos mountain on Lemnos island, it is as if it was built so that the faithful could have direct communication with God.

Panagia Kakaviotissa is named after the mountain on the North Aegean island and is included in lists of the most beautiful churches in the world.

Built inside a partially-open cave, it is not only a holy place of worship but also a popular travel attraction as well.

The difficult-to-access location of the church, situated in the midst of a range of cliffs and on top of a mountain, indicates that it was a place where monks and hermits church lived during the Byzantine era.

Panagia Kakaviotissa has belonged to the Megisti Lavra Monastery since 1305 AD, when monks from the island of Agios Efstratios settled there in order to protect themselves from the Ottomans.

Monks built the church in Greece for liturgies

The ascetic monks, who lived a strict lifestyle of prayer and fasting, completely separated from the outside world, lived in the surrounding caves in the mountain and built the church for their liturgies.

As years went by, the monks began to pass away and very few new monks came to replace them. The last one who remained there finally decided to leave the island and go live at the monastic community of Mount Athos.

The open-air church holds a Divine Liturgy every Tuesday after Easter when the holy icon of Panagia Kakaviotisa is said to return to its place on that day of the year. It is a unique ceremony attended by Limnos islanders and visitors as well.

Giannis Antetokounmpo Leads Greece Spectacular Win Ahead Of Eurobasket

The Greek National Basketball team poses for an official photo.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Leads Bold Win With Greece Ahead of Eurobasket. Credit: Twitter / Hellenic Basketball @HellenicBF

NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 31 points and led the win against Spain in his debut game with the Greek national team this season, on Tuesday evening at OAKA stadium in Athens.

This was the first of two friendly games between Greece and Spain, ahead of the Eurobasket tournament, running 1-18 September.

Greece defeated the Spaniards with 86-70, and is looking at the rematch in Madrid on Thursday.

The game marked the “Greek Freak”‘s 50th appearance with the national team and also his highest points performance with them, topping his previous 26-point score.

Tyler Dorsey and Dimitris Agravanis were Greece’s next best scorers at the game, with 11 and 9 points respectively.

The team warmly cheered by the 17,000-audience of the nearly sold-out game.

Antetokounmpo brothers on the court

Giannis Antetokounmpo was the star of the evening, scoring 31 points in only 20 minutes of action. He also had 10 rebounds, three assists and one steal.

Eurobasket 2022 posted on its official Twitter account a video of the NBA star scoring for Greece, captioned “Who can stop him?”

Brothers Kostas and Thanasis also played, scoring seven and three points respectively. The youngest Antetokounmpo brother, Alex, had been expected to play but was eventually cut from the team last week.

Team’s rich schedule for August

The Greek team kicked off its training on August 1 and has a full month of preparation and friendly games ahead before their Eurobasket premiere on September 2.

They will compete in Group C, alongside Estonia, Ukraine, Britain, Italy and Croatia.

In the meantime, Greece will host the Acropolis Tournament at OAKA, from 17 through 19 August, where the team will face Georgia, Poland, and Turkey.

Before they head to Milan for Eurobasket, the Greek squad will also play two important official games for the 2023 FIBA World Cup qualifiers; on August 25, against Serbia in Belgrade, and three days later, against Belgium in Athens.

 

Greece Exits Enhanced Surveillance Status After 12 Years

Eurogroup Greece
Greece Exits Enhanced Surveillance Status After 12 Years. Credit: AMNA

A letter from EU officials has confirmed Greece’s exit from the enhanced surveillance status in August 21, after 12 years of strict post-bailout monitoring.

“August 20 marks the achievement of a major national goal for Greece, the ending of EU’s enhanced surveillance framework, thanks to the sacrifices of the Greek people, the prudent economic and reform-oriented policy consistently implemented by the government,” Finance Minister Christos Staikouras posted on Twitter on Wednseday.

Greece has been in enhanced surveillance status since 2018, when its third bailout program ended.

Multiple benefits of exit from enhanced surveillance

In an official statement shared by the Greek Ministry of Finance, Staikouras added that the exit confirmation letter, signed by the executive vice-president of the European Commission Vladis Dobrovskis and the Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni, affirms that Greece has fulfilled the main volume of policy commitments to the Eurogroup and efficiently implemented reforms -despite the adverse conditions created by the health and, more recently, the geopolitical crisis- and, thus, significantly strengthened the resilience of its economy.

“This development, combined with an early repayment of IMF loans and the full withdrawal of capital controls, ends a difficult chapter for our country, after 12 years. Greece returns to European normalcy and is no longer an exception in the Eurozone,” he pointed out.

Commenting on the “multiple benefits” of the exit from the enhanced surveillance status, Minister Staikouras said it will strengthen the position of Greece in the international markets and provide an additional boost to its growth potential and investment attraction.

It will also offer the Greek state more freedom in the exercise of economic policy, within the framework of the existing rules that apply to all European member states, and brings closer the achievement of the final goal, which is the recovery the country’s investment grade.

Greece will still be monitored by the EU institutions until 2059 when the country is estimated to repay 75 percent of the loans it received under the memoranda.

This will be done through a simple post-program monitoring phase, as is the case for Ireland, Spain, Cyprus, and Portugal, and a biannual evaluation —rather than the quarterly evaluations it had to go through thus far.

28 Lighthouses Across Greece Open For The Public On August 21

Doukato Lighthouse. Credit: CAVassilios/Twitter

A total 28 lighthouses across Greece will be open to the public on Sunday, August 21, in celebration of International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend 2022.

The lighthouses will be welcoming visitors from 10am to 8pm, presenting them with the rare opportunity to learn about the contribution of lighthouses to navigational safety as well as their significance in terms of cultural heritage.

The lighthouses that will open to the public this year are the ones at the following locations:

1. Ag. Nikolaos – Kea island
2. Akrotiri – Santorini island
3. Arkitsa – Fthiotis
4. Mudari – Kithira island
5. Vrysaki – Lavrio
6. Fiscardo – Kefalonia island
7. Gourouni – Skopelos island
8. Drepano – Chania, in island of Crete
9. Kastri – Othoni island
10. Keri – Zakynthos island
11. Skinari – Zakynthos island
12. Kranai – Gythio
13. Megalo Embolo – Thessaloniki
14. Melagavi – Loutraki
15. Plaka – Lemnos island
16. Koraka – Paros island
17. Kokinopoulou – Psara island
18. Port of Alexandroupolis
19. Tenaro – Laconia
20. Koprena – Arta
21. Kaki Kefali – Chalkida
22. Monemvasia – Laconia
23. Lakkas – Paxi island
24. Vasilina – Evia island
25. Pappa – Ikaria island
26. Spathi – Serifos island
27. Doukato – Lefkada island
28. Katakolo – Ilia

Lighthouse heritage in Greece and the world

According to the Lighthouse Authority of the Hellenic Navy, the Greek network of lighthouses extends 18,400 km along the coast of Greece.

Today, the 1,297 torches maintained by the Lighthouse Authority are estimated to fully cover the lighting needs of an extremely large number of islands, islets and rock islands (9,835) as well as 1,345 bays and coves, 161 straits and channels and 520 ports.

The International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW) is an annual event held on the third full weekend of August each year. It was the brainchild of John Forsyth and Mike Dalrymple, who were members of the Ayr Amateur Radio Group in Scotland, and founded the initiative in 1998.

The objective of the event, which has become increasingly popular over the world, is stated as “to promote public awareness of lighthouses and lightships and their need for preservation and restoration, to promote amateur radio and to foster International goodwill.”

As many of these buildings are suffering from neglect and vandalism, the organisers aspire to make people aware of the need to conserve these historic aids to navigation before they are lost.

Alert Over New Zoonotic Virus Discovered In China

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Doctor Lab Tubes Gloves
Alert Over New Zoonotic Virus Discovered In China. Credit: Pixnio CC0

Scientists are on alert over a newly-discovered virus in eastern China, which made at least 35 people sick.

The virus, named Langya henipavirus or LayV, is thought to be transmitted from animals, and there is currently no evidence that the pathogen can be transmitted among humans, according to an announcement by Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported in The Taipei Times.

Although none of the patients has died or suffered a serious illness, people need to pay close attention to further updates about the virus, until CDC has determined whether human transmission is possible or not, the organisation’s Deputy Director-General, Chuang Jen-hsiang, said.

So far, contact tracing showed no viral transmission among close contacts and family, suggesting that human infections might be sporadic.

Taiwan’s laboratories will need to establish a standardized nucleic acid testing method to identify the virus, so that human infections could be monitored, if needed, Chuang added.

New virus symptoms

26 among the total 35 identified patients were infected with the Langya virus only, carrying no other pathogens.

They developed symptoms including fever (100 percent), fatigue (54 percent), a cough (50 percent), loss of appetite (50 percent), muscle pain (46 percent), nausea (38 percent), headache (35 percent) and vomiting (35 percent).

They also showed a decrease in white blood cells (54 percent), low platelet count (35 percent), liver failure (35 percent) and kidney failure (8 percent).

According to Bloomberg, the novel pathogen was discovered thanks to an early detection system for feverish people with a recent history of exposure to animals, and the patients were mainly local farmers.

CDC tested 25 wild animal species to detect the provenance of the new zoonotic pathogen, and the results suggested that the shrew might be the natural reservoir of the Langya henipavirus, as the virus was found in 27 percent of the tested shrew subjects.

The study titled “A Zoonotic Henipavirus in Febrile Patients in China” was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on August 4.

Biden Signs US Approval Documents For Finland, Sweden To Join NATO

Joe Biden
Biden Signs US Approval Documents For Finland, Sweden To Join NATO. Credit: The White House / Wikimedia Commons

President Biden signed ratification documents endorsing Finland and Sweden’s NATO accession on Tuesday, making the United States the 23rd ally to their membership.

In his opening remarks, the U.S. President said: “Our Alliance is closer than ever, more united than ever, and when Finland and Sweden bring the number of Allies to 32, we will be stronger than ever.”

The move is considered to be the most significant expansion of the military alliance since the 1990s, as it responds to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In President Biden’s words, “it is a watershed moment in the Alliance and for the greater security and stability not only of Europe and the United States, but of the world.”

The decision by the two Nordic countries, which were both neutral throughout the Cold War, to formally apply for NATO membership came in May.

“This is the best thing for Sweden’s security,” the Swedish prime minister, Magdalena Andersson, stated at the time.

Overwhelming votes for Finland and Sweden

Prior to the signing of the U.S. Instrument of Ratification, the United States Senate, on August 3rd, had consented to Sweden and Finland’s membership with a near-record 95 votes in favor.

“Sweden and Finland have strong democratic institutions, strong militaries, and strong and transparent economies [and] they’ll meet every NATO requirement; we’re confident of that,” the U.S. President said of the decision.

After Biden’s signature, the governments of the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, and Turkey will still need to sign the instruments of ratification, as will all thirty existing NATO allies who must approve of the new members.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had previously stated his opposition to Finland and Sweden joining NATO. Within hours of their announcement that they would seek membership, Erdogan objected.

He appeared angered by what he saw as their willingness to host Kurdish militants, describing Sweden in particular as a “hatchery” for terrorist organizations.

However, on June 28th, Turkey lifted its veto over Finland and Sweden’s bid to join NATO after the three nations agreed to protect each other’s security.

The Astounding Story of Alexander the Great

Ancient Roman floor mosaic from the "House of the Faun", Pompeii showing Alexander the Great fighting king Darius III of Persia in the Battle of Issus.
The Astounding story of Alexander the Great Credit: Wikipedia/Public domain

Alexander III, the “Basileus of Macedon”, the “Hegemon of the Hellenic League”, the “Shahanshah” of Persia, the “Pharaoh” of Egypt and the “Lord of Asia” — better known as Alexander the Great — was one of the most significant figures in human history.

Born in Pella, in modern-day Central Macedonia, northern Greece, in 356 B.C., he was the son of Philip II, the King of Macedon and his wife, Olympias. But Alexander was no royal place-holder. He became renowned at a very early age for both for his military and political capabilities.

Alexander, whose name in Greek (Alexandros) means either “defender of men” or “the one who fends off men”, knew as the son of a king that his destiny was already written, putting him at the forefront of history.

This was why, while he was still a teenager, he began to be tutored by one of Greece’s most respected men, the giant of philosophy and science, Aristotle.

Since his education included philosophy, politics, ethics and science, Alexander was clearly not brought up to become just a warrior but a thoughtful leader of men and society.

Fate dictated that, following his father’s assassination when Alexander was only twenty, he would take into his hands not only the Kingdom of Macedon but also the generalship of the Hellenic League of Greece.

Several years prior to that, his father Philip II of Macedon had managed to unite most of Greece’s city-states, urging them to address the Persian threat as a united and solid front. Alexander fearlessly took on this enormous responsibility after the death of his father, and began the great march of the Hellenes to the East.

The greatest leader of all time

Thousands of soldiers followed him. What are now the modern-day countries of Turkey, Syria, Israel, Egypt, and the entirety of the modern-day Arab world, became Greek in less than ten years’ time. In a few short years, Alexander had conquered all the way east to the western borders of India.

Battle after battle, fight after fight, Alexander and his men were able not only to beat many enemies while conquering the vast Achaemenid Empire, but to establish a new status quo which would respect the local people. At the same time, the Greek overlords would introduce into their everyday life and culture elements of the Greek way of thinking and acting.

Alexander’s original plans included a conquest to the last centimeter of the East. It is recorded in history that he stated his vision was to literally reach “the end of the world”. But Alexander’s long military campaigns finally led his men to demand his return to their beloved homeland of Greece.

Alexander wisely eventually listened to his officers and men, who once had blindly followed him eastward, and he reluctantly began his long journey home from the borders of present-day India.

His plans called for the city of Babylon to become the new capital of his vast empire. But the Fates did not pay heed to the conqueror’s grandiose plans.

Alexander, at the very young age of 33, suddenly fell gravely ill; to this day the cause of his illness remains a mystery. In the span of just a few days, his strong body betrayed him, and he died in his bed.

Alexander’s legacy never died, however

More than twenty cities around the world still bear his name. Alexander’s influence in the East was left as a gift to the entire world, reflected in the thousands of towns and villages once under his command and in the vast lands which were colonized by Greeks.

Nearly 2,400 years after his birth, Alexander the Great is still considered one of the greatest men to have ever lived, and definitely one of the most influential Greeks in history.

Last Surviving Soldier from Battle of Crete Dies

last soldier of WWII battle of Crete Cyril Henry Brant Robinson
Last Surviving Soldier from Battle of Crete Dies. Credit: Auckland Museum

New Zealand’s and perhaps the world’s last surviving soldier of Second World War heroic Battle of Crete died at the age of 104.

On Sunday, Cyril Henry Brant Robinson, passed away at the retirement community of Whangamata Moana House, New Zealand.

Robinson was the last New Zealand soldier to have served in the Battle of Crete, according to Paul London, a former leader of the New Zealand Battle of Crete Association, and “in all likelihood, he may well be the world’s last solider to have participated in the battle.”

Last Surviving Soldier’s Astounding Tale of The Battle of Crete

In speaking to The Herald about the Battle of Crete, Brant had revealed that “six hundred and seventy-two Kiwis (New Zealanders) were dead after 12 days of violent, ferocious combat with expert Nazi paratroopers, frequently in close quarters with fixed bayonets. As the Mediterranean island passed into Hitler’s clutches, another 967 people were hurt and more than 2,000 were seized as prisoners of war.’’

The soldiers who battled for the island of Crete in its time of need were never forgotten by the Cretans. Among the men who had fought for Crete was Brant Robinson of New Zealand, who passed away on Sunday. But just what was his role in the battle?

On June 1, 1941, in Souda Bay, Staff Sergeant Robinson was taken prisoner by the advancing Germans after arriving on Crete with the advance detachment to set up camp.

He was imprisoned in a POW camp on Crete for seven weeks before being transported to Nazi Germany, having been forced to march for days without food and minimal water despite Cretan residents trying to hide food in their passing hands.

Brant was detained at Stalag VIII-B Lamsdorf, which was built in 1939 to house Polish detainees from Germany’s invasion of Poland in September of that year. Later, he was transferred to Stalag 8B Teschen for three months before being transferred to Stalag 383 Hohenfels.

“The worst part of being held prisoner is not knowing how long the confinement would last.” Robinson said.

World War II Survivors
Brant Robinson together with other World War II Survivors. Credit: Dr. Stephen Clarke/ Twitter

Robinson, one of the last surviving soldiers of the battle of Crete, was one of the thousands of men compelled to march west in the early months of 1945 when the Soviet troops swept through Germany. Known variously as The March, The Long March, or the Death March Across Germany, it resulted in hundreds of people starving to death and dying from cold weather-related causes.

Robinson, however, considered himself fortunate and had claimed that “it wasn’t that bad.”

“We only had to march for about three weeks, whereas people who lived further east had to begin during the winter and suffered from frostbite while trekking through the snow,” he had said. “We were quite fortunate to have decent weather, and the Red Cross was able to find us and provide us with food. Thus, things may have been worse.”

Eventually, he was freed by advancing American forces at which time he then set out on his arduous return trip, and despite the hardships he had faced during WWII, he lived to the ripe old age of 104!