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|Living in Crete
Crete & Greece
September/ October 2007
|Magnitude 5 earthquake rattles fire-damaged area in southwest Greece
27th October 2007 Associated Press
A magnitude 5 earthquake rattled southwestern Greece on Saturday, affecting areas ravaged by deadly
August forest fires. There were no immediate reports of serious damage or injury.
Seismologists at the University of Thessaloniki said the undersea quake occurred at 8:32 a.m. (0532GMT),
330 kilometers (205 miles) west of Athens.
"Earthquakes of this magnitude are not uncommon in this part of the country ... We will have to wait for
one or two days before we can say that this was the main earthquake," said Efthymios Lekkas, professor
of geology at Athens University.
The quake struck in an area affected by the country's worst wildfires on record. At least 65 people died in
the blazes between Aug. 24 and Sept.
Two men found dead on Saudi-flagged yacht off Greek Island
26th October 2007 Associated Press
Greek authorities found two men stabbed to death on a sinking Saudi-flagged yacht in the Aegean Sea
early Friday, and were seeking a third man believed to have been on the vessel.
The bodies were found on the 25-meter (82-foot) Ghareeb off the small island of Tilos, near Rhodes in the
southeastern Dodecanese chain. Local fishermen discovered the yacht at about 9:30 a.m. (0630GMT) in
the bay of Lethra, the Merchant Marine Ministry said.
A ministry spokeswoman said a crew list found on the vessel indicated the dead men were an Italian and
a Filipino crewman. Police were looking for another Filipino national believed to have been the third
crewman on board.
The identities of the three men were not immediately available.
One of the bodies was found on the yacht's deck, wrapped in a blanket, and the other in a cabin,
shrouded in a bloodstained sheet.
They bore wounds from a sharp instrument, possibly a knife," the Merchant Marine Ministry spokeswoman
said, speaking on customary condition of anonymity. She said the vessel — which was traveling from
Kusadasi in Turkey to Rhodes — had taken on water from a hole in the hull, and was close to sinking.
"We think the incident must have occurred in the past 24 hours at the most," she added.
Port officials arrived from other islands to investigate the incident, while police homicide experts was sent
to Tilos from Athens. Police have also informed the anti-terrorism department.
Athens chides British diplomat
26th October 2007 ekathimerini
British Ambassador Simon Gass was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Athens yesterday as Greece
made clear its displeasure with London’s decision to sign a strategic partnership agreement with Turkey
that referred to the occupied part of Cyprus as the “TRNC” or “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.”
The agreement has provoked the anger of both Athens and Nicosia, as only Turkey recognizes this part
of Cyprus as a self-proclaimed state.
Foreign Ministry General Secretary Aristidis Agathoklis told Gass, according to sources, that this sort of
move was not helpful at a time when the two sides in Cyprus are attempting to restart reunification talks.
The British ambassador insisted that London had no intention of recognizing any other authority than the
government in Nicosia and that it fully backed an effort to solve the island’s division as soon as possible.
Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos described the contents of the agreement signed by British Prime
Minister Gordon Brown and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan as being “a very unfavorable
“Britain’s policy has always been the same but it is only now that it is being revealed,” said
Cypriot government spokesman Vassilis Palmas reminded Britain that the presence of British military
bases on the island is founded on the principle of reciprocity
Eight out of ten steal at the pump
25th October 2007 ERT, Ethnos
Eight out of ten gas stations pour into the consumers’ oil tanks less gas and charge them for more. These
are the results of the research conducted by the Athens Technical University. Consumers may even get
7% less heating oil from what they are charged. The research describes 5% of the cases sheer theft, to
which gas station owners reacted strongly.
As per the research, 73% of the gas station owners take advantage of the law which allows up to 0.5%
deviation from the quantity of the gas sold to consumers. Culprits either put a microchip in the gas pump
or use other methods to sell less gas to consumers and charge them for more.
In addition, 15% of research samples of diesel had been diluted. 8.3 % of super gas and 4.6% of super
unleaded samples were doctored. There were also instances where regular unleaded was being sold as
There were a total of 599 samples taken from 402 gas stations from around the country. 144 from Attica,
102 from Thessaloniki, 49 from Patra, 53 from Larissa and 51 from Heraklion, Crete.
The research concluded that consumers were being robbed of €500 million per year.
Representatives of the gas station owners association protested the findings of the research.
Police in north net record haul of heroin
25th October 2007 ekathimerini
A random inspection on a car near Thessaloniki yesterday led regional police to their biggest heroin haul
in 25 years when they discovered 47 kilos of the drug – worth 3.5 million euros – in the trunk of the
Officers started chasing the car after the driver refused to stop at a roadblock outside the town of
Katerini. They cornered the vehicle after it smashed into two parked cars, but the driver managed to
escape. Police said they know the suspect, a 22-year-old Albanian whose family is based in Florina. A
senior officer, who described him as “a significant link in a well-organized chain,” said he was surprised at
the boldness of the venture. “Other drivers worry about getting a ticket for not wearing their seat belt
and this guy had a load of heroin in his trunk,” he said.
The heroin, packed into two rucksacks, is believed to have been smuggled into Greece from Albania
25th Oct 2007 ekathimerini
An earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale was recorded in Iraklion, Crete, shortly before 1 a.m.
yesterday. The quake's epicenter was in the sea south of Iraklion. No injuries or damage were reported.
Pension protests - Unions call for strikes
23rd October ekathimerini
Greece’s two biggest unions, GSEE and ADEDY, said yesterday that they will stage joint rallies and strikes
over the next two months to protest the government’s plans for a reform of the pension system. The
unions plan to hold a rally toward the end of November and a strike in December. They are also planning
possible further industrial action in January. The two union groups have only agreed to take part in a
dialogue about pension reform in Parliament and not in direct talks between the two sides. GSEE
President Yiannis Panagopoulos said the unionists would continue to refuse direct talks until the
government made clear how it would fund the pension system, which could face collapse in as little as
Police locate looted millions
23rd October 2007 ekathimerini
Police said yesterday they had traced most of the 2.8 million euros taken in Friday’s Thessaloniki bank
holdup by a four-member gang of robbers, including an off-duty police officer.
Authorities managed to locate 2.4 million euros of the stolen cash, which had been stashed away in
barns, watering containers and portable coolers placed in village homes outside Thessaloniki.
Police yesterday arrested the last of the four male suspects, aged 28, who turned himself in to
authorities after being on the run since Friday. Another two men, aged 57 and 45, were arrested on
Saturday. Making up the quartet was a 45-year-old employee at the Alpha Bank cash distribution center
where the heist took place. The first arrest was made on Friday when the off-duty police officer was
caught escaping the scene by a security guard.
Severe Weather Warning
Sunday 21st October 2007 ekathimerini & ert.gr
The Secretariat for Civil Protection issued a warning yesterday about severe weather conditions expected
to hit the country today through Monday. Heavy rainfall and storms are expected to strike parts of
northern and western Greece along with the eastern Aegean islands. Authorities are on the alert to deal
with problems that may arise from heavy rainfall and storms. The National Meteorological Service has
forecast further deterioration of weather as of Sunday evening while the General Secretariat of Civil
Protection has given instructions to local authorities and civil services. Protection measures have already
been taken in the fire affected regions
Two more suspects arrested after Greece's biggest-ever bank robbery
20th October 2007 AP
Two more suspects were arrested Saturday on suspicion of participating in a multimillion-euro bank heist,
which police are calling the biggest robbery ever in Greece.
The two men include a 57-year-old man who was caught near the Macedonian border, and a 45-year-old
bank employee who had claimed to be a hostage during Friday's robbery, according to Thessaloniki Police
chief Pavlos Nicolaidis.
On Friday, a police officer serving in Veria was arrested in connection with the midday theft of €2.85
million (US$4.1 million) in the northern Greek city. Three armed men had burst into the facility — a
regional cash distribution center for Alpha Bank — and tied up two guards, shooting in the air as they
escaped with the cash.
A fourth suspect, 28 years old, remains at large.
So far, police have recovered €98,000 (US$140,000) of the stolen money, which they said was found with
the 57-year-old suspect.
Missing captain of sunken Greek cargo ship found dead
October 19th 2007 Source: Xinhua
Greek divers have found the body of the missing captain of "Diamond I," the cargo ship which sank on
Wednesday following a collision with another cargo off the Aegean coast, reported Athens News Agency
The remains of the 50 year-old Cypriot captain were found on Friday afternoon in the stairwell of the
sunken vessel's engine room after a two-day search and rescue.
The Greek vessel carrying lignite was hit by another Panama- registered cargo ship, less than two
kilometers off Thessaloniki harbor in northeastern Greece.
The vessel sank, taking its captain with it. But six other crew members were picked up by a rescue ship.
The Thessaloniki Port Authority has launched an investigation on the causes of the collision.
It was the second maritime accident near Thessaloniki this month. Last Friday, a Greek ferry collided with
a fishing boat 23 kilometers off the coast. All the 143 passengers on board were safely disembarked and
six fishermen on the boat were unharmed.
Protesting Greek truckers block traffic
Oct. 19th 2007 UPI
Truck drivers in Greece blocked traffic along the main highway north of Athens to protest a government
plan to loosen restrictions on trucking.
At least 50 fuel trucks were parked along the Athens-Lamia highway Thursday causing major traffic jams,
Kathimerini reports. Another 25 trucks parked on the Athens-Corinth highway.
The truckers union is protesting the Greek Transport Ministry's decision to allow more driving permits,
claiming the loosening of restrictions would worsen traffic and cause environmental damage.
Police nab top crook in Athens
18th October 2007 ekathimerini
Greece’s third-most-wanted criminal was arrested in Haidari, western Athens, at noon yesterday after
falling into a police ambush.
Michalis Makriyiannis had been on the run since August 2006 after escaping from Crete’s Alicarnassos
Prison where he had been serving three life sentences for five murders and three attempted murders.
Police cars cornered Makriyiannis in a stolen BMW along with two suspected accomplices.
One of the two suspects is Constantinos Polydorou, a serial robber behind a series of bank raids in the
1990s, whose apartment in Haidari Makriyiannis is believed to have been staying in.
Officers said they had been watching the car for several days and that the men probably had been
planning a bank robbery following the discovery of two automatic machine guns and several hand
grenades in the car. The three men are believed to be behind a recent string of robberies, mostly in
Officers described the arrest as “historic.” “This success will boost the morale of those on the force,” a
senior officer told Kathimerini.
Employment Ministry evacuated after phone threat of impending attack
17th October 2007 ekathimerini
The center of Athens was gridlocked for about an hour yesterday due to a bomb hoax at the Employment
Ministry on Pireos Street. An anonymous caller rang the ministry at 10.45 a.m. claiming that a bomb would
go off in 40 minutes. Officials were forced to evacuate the building and police closed off Pireos as a
precaution. The measures had a knock-on effect on other busy roads in central Athens, causing jams in
the city center. Specially trained sniffer dogs were used to search the ministry but no traces of explosives
were found. The militant group Revolutionary Struggle claimed responsibility for a bomb that went off
outside the ministry in June 2005. Meanwhile Syntagma metro station was also closed for an hour last
night after a bomb threat was made at 9.10 p.m.
Crete University staff fear for safety
12th October 2007 ekathimerini
Staff at the University of Crete have called for improved safety measures after an increase in criminal
activity on the campus, which is off-limits to police.
The latest incident was early yesterday when thieves broke into the office containing keys to all of the
university’s premises. The assailants then entered about 20 offices belonging to professors and stole five
laptop computers and two overhead projectors.
In February, the heads of the University of Crete took the unprecedented step of allowing the police
unfettered access to the campus in Iraklion throughout August to help reduce drug-related crimes on the
grounds. It was the first time that a rectors’ council had made the decision to lift the so-called “university
asylum” for such a length of time. Current legislation prevents the police from entering university grounds
unless they have express permission. Rectors have called for an increase in funding to allow for more
private security guards on campus.
Mayors object to plans for Hellenikon park
12th October 2007 ekathimerini.com
The four mayors of the Athens suburbs that will be affected by the government's plans to turn the site of
the old airport at Hellenikon into Europe's largest metropolitan park have written to the Environment and
Public Works Ministry to demand that it drops plans to sell part of the site. The ministry has said it will sell
off 100 hectares to developers and use the money to create a «green fund» to finance the upkeep of the
However, the mayors of Hellenikon, Argyroupolis, Alimos and Glyfada have written to Environment and
Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias to say they are not willing to be «sacrificed for the sake of profit»
and argued the money would not be used for the «green fund» but to plug holes in the budget for the
The mayors asked Souflias to use money from the rental of other Olympic properties to fund the project.
British teen dies in Kos balcony fall
October 10th 2007 ekathimerini
A 17-year-old British tourist was killed in Kos early yesterday after falling from a second-floor balcony at a
hotel in the resort of Kardamaina. Police did not name the teenager but said that he fell from a height of
6 meters at around 1 a.m. while he was probably trying to climb down from the balcony. Further details
were not immediately available.
Mt Parnitha ready for the rains
10th October 2007 ekathimerini
Work to build anti-flood barriers on the slopes of Mount Parnitha, ravaged in a huge fire in June, is
virtually complete, forest authorities said yesterday. “In a few days, we’ll be done,” said the president of
the organization overseeing Mount Parnitha, Dimitris Spathis.
Some 3,000 kilometers of trunks – from the trees burned in the blaze – have been laid out on the
mountain’s slopes to protect residential areas beneath them from flooding when the first rains come.
Despite the preparations, residents of nearby residential areas are awaiting the first heavy rainfall
nervously. “That will be the first test, if the mountain handles that then we can relax,” a resident of
Aspropyrgos told Kathimerini.
Meanwhile, regrowth on the forest’s charred land is progressing well, environmentalists say. “The return
of the vegetation has been spectacular,” said forestry expert Panayiotis Latsoudis, who has been
monitoring the regeneration of Parnitha on a daily basis since the fire. The first sign of regrowth was the
sprouting of wild asparagus a few weeks after the fire. Since then shrubs growing at low levels on the
mountain have reached half a meter in height, Latsoudis said. Cyclamens and other hardy bulbs have
resurfaced very quickly. “We’ve got a foothold now and things are improving steadily,” Latsoudis said.
One unfortunate development in the Parnitha area is the killing, by illegal hunters, of more than 50 red
deer, a protected species. According to environmentalists, illegal hunters have eluded arrest by seeking
their prey at night and using silencers on their guns to avoid attracting the attention of forest rangers.
The deer have become more vulnerable to hunters as their natural protection – the forest itself – has
Diver dies in wreck operation
8th October 2007 ekathimerini
A 44-year-old diver monitoring pollution from a sunken cruise ship off the island of Santorini died on
Saturday after surfacing too quickly.
Authorities said the experienced diver suffered from decompression sickness, the name given to a variety
of symptoms suffered by a person exposed to a reduction in the pressure surrounding their body. No
further details were given.
The diver was pronounced dead on arrival at the Santorini health clinic.
Clean-up crews have been operating around the cruise ship since it hit a charted reef and sank to a
depth of 140 metres in April.
Some 1,600 passengers and crew were safely evacuated but two French tourists – a 45-year-old man
and his 16-year-old daughter – disappeared and are presumed dead.
The Sea Diamond’s captain and five officers have been charged with negligence, breaching international
shipping safety regulations and marine pollution.
Campaigner urges Greece to fight for Marbles for new Acropolis museum
5th October 2007 Associated Press
Greece should use the opening of its new Acropolis museum to ratchet up the pressure on Britain for the
permanent return of the Parthenon Marbles to their homeland, the head of an international campaign
The 2,500-year-old sculptures and friezes were removed from Greece in the early 19th century by British
diplomat Lord Elgin and successive British governments have refused to return them despite a campaign
launched by Greece in the early 1980s.
"What we would like to see is the Greek government to elevate this as an issue in bilateral relations
between Britain and Greece," said David Hill of the International Organization for the Reunification of the
Parthenon Marbles after meeting Greece's new Culture Minister Michalis Liapis.
The 129 million euro (US$181.5 million) museum, originally slated for completion before the 2004 Olympics
in Athens, was delayed for legal reasons and by new archaeological discoveries on the site at the foot of
the famed Acropolis hill.
With 20,000 square meters (215,000 square feet) of space, the facility is expected to display about 4,000
works, 10 times the number than the old hilltop museum it replaces.
A top-level, glassed-in gallery has been designed to hold the Marbles - if and when they are returned -
while offering an unobstructed view of the Acropolis.
Curators will start transferring hundreds of antiquities to the new museum by crane on Oct. 14, although
the new museum is not due to start opening until next year, with the completed galleries open by 2009.
Athens now proposes that the Marbles, currently kept at the British Museum in London, are returned
through a long-term loan. British Museum trustees have declined to return them saying the Museum
owns them and that the sculptures, as part of the world's cultural heritage, are best kept in London
where visitors can view them for free.
But Hill said the new museum would allow the Marbles to be presented much better than in London. “It
(the museum) is the best argument for the return of the Marbles, and is arguably one of the most
significant new buildings in Greece for 2,000 years. It is of enormous significance, not only to Greece but
to the world.”
Road rage tiff sparks Cretans’ fatal revenge
3rd October 2007 ekathimerini
A 31-year-old border guard and his brother, 33, of Cretan origin, are to face an Athens prosecutor in
connection with the murder of a 29-year-old man who allegedly got into a fight with their younger sibling
Police said the brothers admitted to tracking down Achilleas Liolis because he allegedly punched their
younger brother following a dispute about who had priority on a road in central Athens last December.
After learning of the incident, the brothers are alleged to have harassed several of Liolis’s acquaintances
and beaten one of them, in their efforts to find him and avenge their younger brother. When they finally
found him in July, with a friend in a square in the suburb of Aghia Paraskevi, the elder brother allegedly
shot Liolis in the head with his pistol while his brother knifed Liolis’s friend, a 20-year-old air force private.
Greek diet fuels heart problems
27th September 2007 ekathimerini
Changing dietary habits have placed Greece in a higher risk group for heart disease while other Southern
European countries have managed to retain healthier diets, according to medical experts.
Doctors said at a conference in Athens yesterday that people from Italy, France and Spain are not
exposed to a higher risk of heart disease due to their changing lifestyles.
Greeks, who were ranked in the low-risk group for heart problems, have been upped to medium risk as
they have turned their back on healthier living and the Mediterranean cuisine.
If there is no coordinated attempt by authorities to prevent heart disease, then in a few years there will
be a need for more health centers for patients suffering from heart attacks, medical experts said.
According to official data, some 20,000 Greeks suffer a heart attack every year while nearly one in two
smoke and 20 percent are overweight.
Bodies of four migrants pulled out of the sea near Samos and Chios
24th September 2007 ekathimerini
The bodies of four illegal immigrants, including a child, were recovered off the islands of Samos and
Lesvos yesterday, local coast guard officials said. A man and a child died, while seven others were
rescued, after a wooden boat carrying would-be migrants from Turkey sank off Samos early yesterday
amid gale-force winds. Also yesterday, the bodies of two more migrants were recovered off Lesvos.
Officials on Samos, Lesvos and Kos yesterday detained a further 70 illegal immigrants. Coast guard
vessels and a helicopter continued to search for one more person still believed missing off Samos.
21st September 2007 ekathimerini
A 35-year-old man died near Souda, Hania, Crete, late on Thursday after being run over by a bus on the
Hania-Rethymnon national road. Authorities said the local man was trying to cross the highway at a point
where the road is not lit. Street lights were installed on this section of the road 15 months ago but they
have not yet been connected to the electricity grid, said Souda Mayor Yiannis Perakis .
Two Greek Coastguard Officials arrested for Corruption
September 21, 2007 DPA, Kathimerini
Two coast guard officials were arrested in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki and charged with
participating in an international human trafficking ring, newspaper reports said Friday.
The two men were arrested in an undercover operation after allegedly taking a €15,000 ($21,000) bribe
and accused of helping 100 illegal immigrants cross into the country through the northern Halidiki ports of
Ierissos and Neas Marmaras.
The two coast guard officials had agreed to turn a blind eye to the transfer of the illegal immigrants
through the territory they were responsible for.
Both were charged with taking bribes as well as with illegal firearms and drug possession.
Tens of thousands of illegal immigrants attempt to cross into the European Union via Greece, mainly from
neighbouring Turkey, the Middle East and Africa.
“In cases of corruption, we need to be tough. While some colleagues in the coast guard are doing
business deals with illegal immigrants, others are fighting against it and putting their lives at risk,” a
member of Internal Affairs told Greek daily Kathimerini. The suspects were also found to be in possession
of loaded guns.
20th September 2007 ekathimerini
Lots of sunshine and strong family ties have helped keep the number of suicides in Greece way below the
levels seen in Eastern Europe, psychiatric experts said yesterday ahead of a conference in Thessaloniki.
Greece has one of the lowest suicide rates in Europe, with five suicides for every 100,000 people. Russia
and Lithuania, on the other hand, experience between 70 and 80 suicides for every 100,000 inhabitants.
Dream cruise turns sour for four seamen
20 Sep 2007 ekathimerini
A prosecutor on Rhodes yesterday charged four officers from a cruise ship, which began listing in the
Dodecanese island's harbor on Tuesday, of deliberately trying to run the vessel aground.
The Bahamas-flagged Dream was carrying 930 Israeli tourists on a Mediterranean cruise but began listing
by 10 degrees when it docked in Rhodes.
The prosecutor suggested that the ship's captain, first mate and two engineers, all Greek nationals,
intentionally endangered the vessel's safety when they moved ballast from one tank to another.
All four suspects, along with a representative of the company that owns the ship, are being held at the
Rhodes Port Authority while divers investigate the cause of the ship's problems. It has been claimed that
the vessel struck an object while sailing from Turkey.
New Democracy Returns with a reduced majority. PM Karamanlis to form new government.
17th September 2007 BBC
The Greek Prime Minister, Costas Karamanlis, has been asked to form a new government after his party
won Sunday's parliamentary poll.
Mr Karamanlis' centre-right New Democracy party won 152 seats in the 300-seat parliament, a loss of 13
seats since 2004.
But his main opponents, the socialist Pasok party, also lost ground, falling to its worst result since 1977.
The poll was overshadowed by forest fires that killed dozens in August.
On Monday Mr Karamanlis met President Karolos Papoulias, who asked him to form the new government
Under the constitution, Mr Karamanlis has three days to form the administration, which he has said will
be smaller and contain "new blood".
His job of reforming pensions and higher education, included in New Democracy's electoral manifesto,
may now be harder given the slim majority in the new parliament - only four more seats than the
However, Mr Karamanlis is the first conservative prime minister to win re-election since 1977 and
conversely, George Papandreou is the first Socialist leader to lose two consecutive elections in the past
Drivers to receive EU permits
15th September 2007 ekathimerini
Greek drivers will be issued new licenses next year that will contain a microchip used to store driver
information, such as blood type and other personal details.
The new pink-and-yellow credit card-like licenses will be issued as part of a European Union drive to
introduce the same permits across its 25 member states in a move that is also seen as helping to reduce
The microchip will also contain information, such as the number of penalty points gathered by the driver,
and will let police officers know whether the license has been revoked.
Police will issue the new permits that will then be distributed by prefectures.
Greeks will have until 2013 to replace their existing licenses, while the EU hopes to have updated permits
in all member states in the next 25 years.
Currently there are 110 different types of licenses issued across all EU states.
Once obtained, Greek drivers will then be required to replace the license every 10 years.
Skeleton discovered on Gavdos
Haniotika Nea 11 September 2007
A human skeleton was discovered on the island of Gavdos, south of Crete. Believed to have been buried
for five, even ten, years there is hope that DNA testing will identify the body. Heraklion Coroner Michalis
Michalodimitrakis examined the remains and concluded that it was a man aged 35 to 40 years, 1.70 to
1.76 m tall. He said that he could not determine the cause of death but there were no broken bones.
Most likely the man had died on the beach where he was found and his body had been buried in a
The skeleton was found on the 21st August 60 meters from the sea by Agios Ioannis beach, a popular
beach amongst visitors to the island.
Authorities are awaiting results of a DNA testing from Athens.
Arsonist began nine wildfires
13th September 2007 ekathimerini
A 32-year-old man who confessed to setting nine fires in parts of the Peloponnese this summer told
police yesterday he enjoyed watching firefighting planes fly over head.
“I enjoy watching the flames and the planes dropping water on the fire,” authorities cited the suspect as
The man, who has been treated at psychiatric clinics in the past, confessed to setting fire to parts of
Nafplion, Tolo and Corinth. He re-enacted his crime with authorities yesterday, describing in detail how he
went about the arson attack.
“Despite the fact that he has psychological problems, he appears to be well aware of what he has done.
While being questioned, he admitted to setting fire to particular areas of forest that were dense and off
limits to firefighting trucks,” said a senior firefighting official.
Separately, police said yesterday they found a homemade incendiary device in the burnt forest area at
Group says 17 pct of Greeks admit to bribing state official
11th Sep 2007 ekathimerini
Figures released by Transparency International yesterday showed that 17 percent of Greeks have
admitted to bribing a state official. Seventy percent of local residents also admitted that corruption is a
problem, while just over four in 10 say they are not satisfied with the way the problem is being handled
by the government. Costas Bakouris, president of Transparency International Hellas, called on all political
leaders to address the problem in Greece and introduce the necessary legal changes to boost
transparency and stamp out corruption .
Zakynthos mayor remanded
11th September 2007 ekathimerini
Zakynthos Mayor Akis Tsagaropoulos was arrested on Sunday and charged with attempting to set fire to
the municipality’s financial records department. Authorities are investigating a fire at the municipality
offices on Friday night to determine whether the blaze is linked to claims of an economic scandal.
Tsagaropoulos has been accused of forging municipality decisions as a means of siphoning money,
according to press reports.
Six arrested in Athens and Rhodes on heroin charges
Ekathimerini 11th September 2007
The coast guard has arrested six people in Rhodes and Athens believed to have been smuggling
narcotics from Athens to the Aegean Islands after finding them in possession of more than 4 kilos of
heroin, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday. Two foreign nationals, aged 19 and 17, were
arrested at the port of Rhodes last week after authorities found hidden in their bags 1 kilo of heroin.
Following a police interrogation, the two suspects named two men as being their contact points in
Rhodes and two more men in Metamorphosis, northern Athens, as being their suppliers. The unidentified
four suspects, all foreign nationals, were arrested shortly afterward. Police said they are continuing their
investigation into the drug ring.
Ekathimerini 11th September 2007
Rescue workers yesterday recovered the body of a 39-year-old man from the wreck of his car, which had
fallen off a pier at the port of Piraeus. It is unclear how the car fell off the pier near the embarkation point
for ferries heading to Chios and Lesvos. The man was transferred to the Tzanneio Hospital where he was
confirmed dead on arrival.
Rising crime is big concern for Greece voters
8th September 2007 Reuters
Rising crime across Greece has made security a big issue in next week's tightly contested parliamentary
Greeks have seen the rate of crime, from petty theft to guerrilla attacks, shoot up since the huge security
operation mounted in the Athens 2004 Olympics.
Polls show safety and security are major concerns for Greek voters in the run-up to the Sept. 16 poll,
seen as crucial for the reforms Greece needs to catch up with its euro zone partners.
Greeks have rushed to install electronic alarm systems or expensive steel-reinforced security doors at
their homes in recent years. Many are expected to show their discontent at the ballot box.
"It's expensive but burglars have broken in twice already and I need to do something to at least feel safe
because the state is doing nothing to protect me," said pensioner Maria Vafiadou, 67, after changing the
door to her small apartment.
The ruling conservatives, who swept to power in 2004 but are now barely ahead in opinion polls, have
vowed to reverse the trend with more efficient policing that Greeks have yet to see.
The opposition socialists accuse the government of dismantling an effective system that led to the
capture of Greece's biggest domestic security threat, the November 17 leftist guerrillas in 2002.
Public Order Minister Byron Polydoras was sharply criticised for his handling of forest fires that killed 65
people. He blamed arsonists for what he said was an organised attack against Greece but caught none
of the supposed conspirators.
He has also been under fire for not putting enough police on the streets, according to many citizens.
Robberies and burglaries, which form the bulk of crimes, have risen by more than 16 percent from 2004 to
2006 to almost 50,000, according to police figures.
Guerrilla attacks have resurfaced, most notably with an assassination attempt against a minister last
year and a grenade attack on the U.S. Embassy in January.
Smaller self-styled anarchist groups torch banks and cars with almost daily frequency.
Security experts say this is the other side of the government's successful economic reform record. State
finances may have been shored up but affluence has yet to trickle down to the lower classes, which only
see the rich get richer. About 20 percent of Greeks live below the poverty line.
Perceived inequality and high unemployment among young people will only increase the violence, the
"There is wide discontent among young people who are angry and want to vent that anger," said
University of Piraeus Professor Mary Bossis, a security expert and former government consultant. "The
number of these attacks will continue to rise."
8th September 2007 ekathimerini
The state’s Supreme Chemical Council yesterday declared as “unfit for human consumption and a risk to
public health” peach marmalade trading under the name “Iraklis.” The council warned consumers that
have purchased the firm’s 5-kilo plastic tubs to return them untouched. The marmalade is believed to
contain unsafe levels of chemicals such as sulfurous acid, experts said. The council also advised against
the use of an “aluminium sport bottle” produced by a Chinese manufacture. Tests showed that the flasks
were lined with a chemical that dissolves in water, the council said.
Anti-flood works pushed
6th September 2007 ekathimerini
As anti-flood works got under way in the Peloponnese and Evia yesterday, residents of fire-ravaged
areas said they feared that crucial infrastructure would not be in place in time to avert further damage
from floods and landslides which may be brought by heavy rain.
Works to shore up the banks of some 20 rivers in the area, at an estimated cost of 15 million euros, have
already started at Ancient Olympia, Zacharo and Amaliada. Meanwhile, dozens more woodcutters arrived
in Ileia to help build anti-flood barriers to protect the fire-razed region in the event of heavy rain, which
meteorologists forecast for much of the country over the next few days.
In a bid to boost the regeneration drive, Washington has offered Athens support in the form of
equipment and manpower. US Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England pledged the support during
a telephone conversation with his Greek counterpart Vassilis Michaloliakos yesterday.
But despite intensive efforts, locals fear that the area’s basic infrastructure will not be strong enough to
withstand wet and windy weather conditions.
“Maintenance and clearing works are not enough to protect the whole region, as the threat of erosion in
mountainous areas is serious,” Ileia Deputy Prefect Panagiotis Platanias told Kathimerini. “We will do
whatever we have time to do in order to protect our villages and roads,” Platanias said.
A total of 847 homes in eight prefectures were completely destroyed in the recent fires, according to
state officials who completed their assessment yesterday. Another 672 homes have been partially
damaged, they said.
By late yesterday nearly all fires had been put out. But the fire service remained on alert as firefighters
made efforts to control small blazes in Laconia, on the slopes of Mount Parnon, in Messinia, Ileia, Arcadia
Meanwhile, a 39-year-old air force pilot died yesterday after sustaining serious burns in last month’s
devastating fires, bringing the death toll to 66. Another 10 people had died in an earlier cycle of fires in
As the debate on fire prevention intensified, the Public Order Ministry proposed the creation of an
international forest fire advisory committee to pool know-how from countries with experience in
firefighting such as the USA, Australia and France.
Officers talk down prisoners off roof
Ekathimerini 3rd September 2007
Police on Crete yesterday peacefully quelled an uprising at the island’s Alikarnassos jail that began on
Friday night when some 400 inmates climbed onto the roof.
Officers were called to the jail after prisoners destroyed surveillance cameras, set fire to mattresses and
gathered on the prison roof to protest the detention of a fellow prisoner believed to have smuggled
heroin into the institution.
Inmates reacted after hearing that guards had ordered a prisoner returning from a furlough to be
transferred to hospital for inspection as they believed he had heroin in his stomach. Prisoners have called
for such inspections to stop.
Police eventually convinced the inmates to return to their cells yesterday morning following talks between
officers and a delegation of prisoners.
The incident was the latest in a series of revolts at prisons across the country in protest at overcrowding.
Halkidiki hit by new floods
3rd September 2007 ekathimerini
More than 20 homes and businesses were flooded and four cars were swept into the sea yesterday
morning when heavy rain and hail caused extensive flooding in Cassandra, Halkidiki.
The area of Siviri in southern Cassandra was worst hit by the floods, which knocked down trees and
damaged roads in the area. Two drivers had to climb out of their cars to safety as the raging water
swept away their vehicles. There were no reports of injuries.
Authorities said that the flood was caused when a stream that runs from the forest burst its banks. The
area suffered flooding last year following the devastating forest fire in Cassandra.
Flooding was also reported in Alexandroupolis, northeastern Greece, where the fire service had to
respond to more than 40 calls to pump water from basements.