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|Living in Crete
Crete & Greece
|Ministry websites hit by hacker intrusion
31st January 2008 ekathimerini
Hackers broke into websites belonging to the Interior and Agriculture ministries yesterday,
showing just how vulnerable sites are to such attacks.
The hackers, who go by the name “Cyber Anarchy,” broke into the networks run by the two
ministries and posted messages against the police and in support of migrants.
It is their second attack since breaking into the Justice Ministry’s website in November.
Ministry officials said they did not inform police immediately as they had launched their own
“It is clear that attacks against organizations and state services are a serious issue for the
intelligence services of Europe and Greece,” said an official from the National Intelligence
Agency (EYP), which is in the process of setting up a task force designed to protect state
services from similiar attacks.
Snow, gale force winds in Greece shut down airports, ports
30th January 2008 Phantis/DPA
ATHENS - Ships remained anchored at ports across Greece and dozens of flights were
cancelled Tuesday as snow and gale force winds shut down airports, causing havoc across
the country. Poor weather across Greece over the last 24 hours has caused problems to
the country's road network and paralysed marine and air services.
Ship and ferry departures from the main ports of Pireaus, Rafina and Lavrio have been
halted due to gale force winds blowing in the Aegean Sea.
Strong winds blowing in the Aegean and the southern Mediterranean forced the closure of
airports and disrupted dozens of flights on the islands of Milos, Samos and the cities of
Hania and Heraklion on the southern island of Crete.
Meanwhile, heavy snow blocked many roads on the outskirts of Athens, cutting off traffic
around the Penteli and Nea Makri, while drivers were required to equip their vehicles with
anti-skid chains on many highways linking northern Greece and the southern Peloponnese.
Heavy snowfall in the northern port city of Thessaloniki seriously damaged the public power
corporation network, causing power cuts to many towns in northern Greece.
False alarm - Missiles on truck were replicas
30 January 2008 ekathimerini
Two air-to-air missiles discovered by Italian police in a truck that arrived at the port of Bari
from Patras were harmless replicas that had been sent to Greece for use in military
exercises, Greek defense officials said yesterday. When Italian authorities informed their
Greek counterparts that the two missiles had been found on the truck, there were initially
fears that the weapons had been smuggled out of a Greek air base. Checks on the Greek
side confirmed that the missiles were replicas and had been sent over for use by F-4
Phantom jet fighters in exercises.
30 January 2008 ekathimerini
The decomposing body of a man was found yesterday on board a passenger ferry sailing
from Venice to Igoumenitsa. The body was found by a crew member in one of the
storerooms of the Ariadne. The ship serves the Patras-Igoumenitsa-Venice route and it is
thought the deceased man was an illegal immigrant who had stowed away on board the
30 January 2008 ekathimerini
An undersea quake, measuring 5 on the Richter scale, struck the area south of the island of
Aegina, between Poros and Methana in the Saronic Gulf, just after 5.15 p.m. yesterday.
There were no reports of injuries or damage caused by the quake, which was felt in the
greater Athens area. Seismologists said there was probably no cause for concern
Cretan man admits he raped, beat son, 6
28th January 2008 ekathimerini
A 33-year-old Cretan man accused of repeatedly raping and beating his 6-year-old son has
admitted to these crimes and has blamed his behavior on a drinking problem, police in
Iraklion said on Saturday.
The man was taken in by police on Friday after his mother took the child to the hospital to
receive treatment for injuries allegedly sustained from physical abuse. The boy had a
broken nose, heavy bruising and bore signs that he had been repeatedly raped, doctors
The 33-year-old was charged with systematic rape, grievous bodily harm and inflicting
psychological injuries on a minor. He is to defend himself before an investigating magistrate
today. His 67-year-old mother, who lived with him and the child, has been charged with
bearing false witness and harboring a criminal.
Greek hacker sold arms data
26th January 2008 ekathimerini
A retired Greek mathematician was yesterday charged with hacking into the computer
system of a major French arms manufacturer and selling its corporate secrets to rival firms
across the globe.
The 58-year-old is alleged to have hacked into software used by a subsidiary of Dassault in
designing its new-generation fighter jets and subsequently to have sold copies of the
software – at 700 euros apiece – to more than 200 companies in the US and Europe. The
suspect has been wanted since 2002 when the French firm first contacted Greek authorities.
The suspect, who used the code name “Astra” on the Internet, is believed to have
collaborated with a British hacker based in London who is being sought by Interpol.
According to officials of the Greek police’s electronic crime squad, the firm has incurred some
245 million euros in losses as a result of the alleged sale of its data. The companies and
individuals alleged to have purchased the copied software are also being sought by Interpol
Plunge Father “Did not plan deaths”.
21 January 2008 Press Association
A woman whose husband leapt from a fourth floor balcony with their two children has
described how their make-or-break holiday had been plagued by rows.
Natasha Hogan was giving evidence on the first day of John Hogan's trial on the Greek
island of Crete.
Hogan, 34, from Bristol, plunged from the four star Petra Mare hotel in Crete with his son
Liam, six, and daughter Mia, then aged two, during a family holiday in August 2006.
Liam died from massive head injuries. Mia survived with a broken her arm.
Hogan went on trial in Crete on Monday charged with murder and attempted suicide.
Denying the murder charge, he told the Criminal Court in the port town of Chania: "I do not
accept the charge that I planned to kill my children." He added, in a voice cracking with
emotion: "I did not plan it,"
But after hearing his plea, the jury of three men and a woman selected to sit alongside the
three judges, heard from Hogan's wife, who described a threat he had made.
Mrs Hogan, 35, now divorced from the defendant, told the court her husband told her: "If
you are going to live in a house with the children I will burn it to the ground."
The tragic events unfolded midway through a two-week break at the 227-bed hotel, which
overlooks the beach of Ierapetra, in Crete. Hogan, then 32, had been rowing with his wife
before he jumped. All three were taken to Heraklion University Hospital.
Liam, who Hogan hurled over first, was declared dead despite his mother's frantic attempts
to resuscitate him. Mia had only a broken arm because she was being held by her father as
Hogan, who ran a tiling business in Bristol, was charged with murder and attempted murder.
Chania Airport and Souda Port Demonstrations
21 Jan 2008
Chania citizens along with the local Mayors of Akrotiri and Souda cordoned off Souda port
Sunday evening in reaction to a decision in the National Town Plan of describing the port as
one of only local importance, in a ‘symbolic protest’.
The protesters erected signs and blocked the entrance to the port in the evening as the
ferry from Piraeus arrived in Souda. Passengers however disembarked and embarked
smoothly, with the exception of cars, which experienced delays.
In parallel, at Chania airport demonstrators had blocked the entrance to Daskalogiannis
airport on Friday as they demand the airport be described as one of national, rather than
local, importance. Passengers were relatively unaffected by the demonstrators who
blockaded the main gates with vehicles forcing passengers to park outside the airport and
walk to the terminal building.
Prime minister to visit Turkey next week in first official trip for 50 years
18th Jan ekathimerini
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will go ahead with a planned visit to Turkey from
Wednesday to Friday, the first official visit by a Greek prime minister to the neighboring
country in 50 years, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros confirmed
yesterday. Karamanlis is due to meet his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the first day
of his trip. Yesterday Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis briefed the foreign affairs council on
other issues such as upcoming talks on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)
name issue and the situation in Kosovo.
Patras may be a city under the sea by 2100
18th January 2008 ekathimerini
The Peloponnesian city of Patras could be 1.6 meters under water by the end of the century
if the sea level continues to rise at the current rate, a university professor said yesterday.
Efstratios Doukakis, associate professor of topography at the National Technical University
of Athens, said that the sea level has risen by 16 millimeters every year from 1969 to 2001.
“It is not necessary for me to tell you that receptionists at the country’s large hotels will in
a few years be wearing bathing costumes at work,” he joked in an effort to underline his
According to the professor’s research on 2,000 kilometers of coastal area, most of the land
was categorized as being at high risk. Some scientists have claimed that 80,000 hectares of
Greece will be covered by the sea in 2100.
16th Jan 2008 ekathimerini
A Cretan fisherman netted a 1.5-meter squid, weighing more than 4 kilos, off the coast of
Hania yesterday. The squid had probably lost its bearings in its search for food and had
subsequently been unable to return to the deep, experts said.
Greek Culture Minister Limits Official's Powers After Scandal
Jan. 16 (Bloomberg)
Greece's Culture Ministry reduced the powers of the official overseeing the country's
archaeological service after the resignation and suicide attempt of the previous man in the
job sparked an investigation.
Theodoros Dravillas, who takes over as secretary-general at the ministry, won't be able to
use a second vote to force decisions at the 17-member Central Archaeological Council,
Minister Mihalis Liapis said today, according to an e-mailed statement from the ministry.
Dravillas also urged the council to strive for the ``biggest possible majority'' in decisions it
``We have to change some things so that there is greater transparency, so that the trust
of the public can be restored to this very important institution,'' Liapis said. Items on the
council's agenda and the minutes of the meetings will be posted on the Internet as well
``for full transparency.''
Dravillas, a former official at the Greek telecommunications regulator, replaces Christos
Zahopoulos. Zahopoulos fell from the fourth floor of his home in Athens on Dec. 20, 2007, a
day after submitting his resignation. The apparent suicide attempt has sparked a furor in
Greece, leading to the detention of Zahopoulos's former assistant and an investigation into
The Central Archaeological Council is a body that can block construction projects on land
that is deemed to be of archaeological importance. It also has the power to authorize
companies to use ancient Greek symbols and locations to shoot movies or advertisement
Previous rulings by the council have caused controversy. In July, Zahopoulos used his vote
to allow the delisting of two historic buildings that marred the view from the New Acropolis
Museum. Prosecutors have begun an inquiry into all of Zahopoulos's decisions while at the
ministry, according to the state-run Athens News Agency.
15th Jan 2008 ekathimerini
A missile discovered off the coast of Santorini is believed to have been left behind after a
NATO exercise, authorities on the island said yesterday. The missile was discovered some
30 meters off Perissa in the island’s southeast at a depth of 4 meters. A team of experts
was expected to determine yesterday whether the missile was active.
15th Jan 2008 ekathimerini
Lawyers will walk off the job on Thursday 17th Jan in protest at government-proposed
pension reform plans. The one-day strike may be followed by more protest action if the
Employment Ministry does not provide further information on the changes to be made to
their pension fund. Lawyers will meet on Saturday to decide on further action.
Police arrest ring of six suspects in Rethymnon after long investigation
14th January 2008 ekathimerini
Police on Crete believe they have smashed an extortion ring after arresting six people in
Rethymnon yesterday. The operation was sparked by ongoing police efforts to stamp out
lawlessness on the island following a raid on the village of Zoniana last November. The six
suspects are due to be charged with blackmail, causing grievous bodily harm and illegally
carrying firearms. Officers said that the six were extorting money from shopkeepers in
Iraklion, Prinia and Megali Vrisi. Police also confiscated two cars and a handgun.
Greek police nab Briton for Khat trafficking
14th January Reuters
Greek police have arrested a Briton at Athens airport for trying to smuggle 13 kg (29 lb) of
the narcotic leaf khat into the country, police said on Tuesday.
They said that a second Briton was also being sought by police in connection with the
"A 43-year-old British man was arrested last night at Athens airport while trying to pick up a
suitcase containing 13.5 kilos of khat," a police official told Reuters.
The official said the suitcase belonged to another Briton, aged 45, who was sought as an
The suspect had been detained in Oslo, Norway, before Christmas for trafficking 30 kg of
khat, a mild narcotic stimulant which is typically grown and chewed in East Africa and in
Yemen, where it is known as Qat.
Illegal in many Western nations, the leaf gives the chewer a mild amphetamine-like high.
Kickbacks cost 613 mln euros
Study says one in five pay bribes
13th January 2008 ekathimerini
One in five Greeks paid an estimated total of 613 million euros in bribes to public and
private sector officials last year, according to the results of a survey made public yesterday.
According to corruption watchdog group Transparency International, 26 percent of the
6,000 households surveyed said they had been asked for a bribe at some point in their
dealings with the public service.
Nine percent also said they had been asked to pay bribes by non-state bodies, including
hospitals and banks.
Hospitals, town-planning and tax departments are considered the most corrupt public
As for the private sector, bribes go mostly to doctors, banks and lawyers who often play an
intermediary role between their clients and the state.
The average public sector bribe in 2007 reached 1,313 euros, while private sector kickbacks
averaged 1,554 euros.
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has pledged to tackle corruption in public services – a key
election platform that helped the conservative leader win his first term in office in March
He said yesterday that technology can be used as a tool to reduce the number of
opportunities corrupt officials can take advantage of.
“A crucial method to achieve more efficient operation of the state... and a way to stamp out
corruption is our e-governance plan,” he said.
“The utilization (of technology) will allow people to perform transactions without the
mediation of state employees... more directly, efficiently and objectively.”
Greece ranks 56th in Transparency International’s 2007 corruption index of 180 countries,
that was published last year.
PASOK president George Papandreou accused Karamanlis of contributing to the problem by
failing to uncover who is behind recent scandals, including the acquisition of overpriced
government bonds by state pension funds.
“The government supposedly came to provide solutions to boost transparency but it has
become a central part of the problem itself,” he said.
Robbery rate soars in 2007
13th January 2008 ekathimerini
Countrywide crime figures made public yesterday show that there were nearly 10,000 more
robberies and homes broken into last year than in 2006, pushing the total figure to 58,472.
According to the data, 9,222 suspects were arrested in 2007 in connection to robberies, of
which 5,751 of these, or more than six in 10, were Greek nationals.
Armed holdups of banks, supermarkets, service stations and security vans also rose to
2,823 for the year from 2,463 in 2006.
Calls for increased policing of the country’s large city centers have been repeatedly made
by community groups. However, police argue that many officers are tied up in embassy
guard posts and minding senior government officials.
The effectiveness of police investigations also appears to be slipping as 16.4 percent of
robberies were solved last year from 20.2 percent in 2006. Police confiscated 44 kilos of
cocaine in 2007 and 237 grams of heroine.
House fire - Mother and daughter badly burned
11th January 2008 ekathimerini
A 39-year-old Cretan woman and her 2-year-old daughter, who sustained serious burns
after a fire broke out in their home in Iraklion on Wednesday, were yesterday flown by
military aircraft to Athens hospitals. The mother, being treated at the Thriassio hospital, is
in a critical condition as she reportedly has burns on 80 percent of her body. The child,
being treated at Athens’s Paidon hospital, has less serious injuries. The woman’s 20-year-
old son sustained minor burns during his attempt to rescue his family from the blaze,
believed to have started from the house’s fireplace.
The reforestation of Attica’s slopes - Pro-green businesses join forces with diaspora,
journalists and diplomats to help restore Pendeli’s woodland.
11th January 2008 ekathimerini
Maintenance will be the focus of the latest in a series of efforts to restore forests destroyed
by some of the most devastating wildfires in recent years in Greece. Beginning Sunday on
Mt Pendeli, the drive is being spearheaded by a group of “pro-green” businessmen,
international environmentalists, volunteers and foreign embassy officials who have joined
forces with local and state services. The local municipalities have committed themselves to
watering the plantings from April to October for the next two to three years, so that the
effort does not go to waste.
The initiative was taken by a new organization called Independent Reforestation Movement
- Reforestation Now! comprising a number of historians, firefighters, environmentalists, local
government officials and Greek and foreign journalists, with the approval of the government’
s Forestry Department. Among the leaders of the initiative is Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the
London-based Greek-Cypriot founder and chairman of easyGroup, which among others
includes easyJet and easyHotels.
“A lot of help has been forthcoming for the worst-hit parts of Greece and the restoration of
homes and villages seems to be progressing well,” said Sir Stelios after a visit to the burnt-
out areas and the former marble quarries of Pendeli. “But I believe the time has come to
pay attention to Mount Pendeli because of its significance for the environmental needs of
Athenians and for its contribution to global cultural heritage. And if this project goes well,
we can then proceed with other areas of Athens and Greece in general.”
Sir Stelios concluded: “I am delighted that I can be of some help in this worthwhile effort. I
hope that the time I will devote to this project, as well as some initial financial support that
I have pledged, will act as a catalyst to encourage others to help.”
Journalist Paul Anastasi, who is the coordinator for the Independent Reforestation
Movement, said that unlike some reforestation efforts that ended with the planting of the
trees (of which half died subsequently through lack of the necessary follow-up until they
had become established), Sunday’s work would not being going to waste.
“The local municipalities (Pendeli, Kifissia, Melissia) have committed themselves to watering
the trees once a week from April to October for the next two to three years, and one of our
main goals is to provide water trucks for that purpose,” said Anastasi
Zachopoulos case - Ex-employee charges impropriety in Culture Ministry contracts
11th January 2008 ekathimerini
The former head of the administrative inspection unit at the Culture Ministry, Ersi
Filippopoulou, told a prosecutor yesterday that the ministry’s ex-general secretary had
pressured her into approving some contracts for public works that did not comply with
European Union legislation. Filippopoulou resigned her position in March 2006, citing
disagreements with Zachopoulos. During questioning yesterday, the former official referred
to three contracts that she considered to be improper.
Greece vows to privatise ports despite strikes
ATHENS, Jan 8 (Reuters)
Greece will go ahead with plans to privatise its largest commercial ports despite a strike by
dockers, the country's merchant marine minister said on Tuesday.
The government has said it wants to sell stakes in its major ports to strategic investors
seeking to bolster investment and make them regional hubs.
"The ports' development is a one-way street," said Merchant Marine Minister George
Voulgarakis after meeting Piraeus city officials.
Workers at state-controlled Piraeus and Thessaloniki ports staged a 24-hour strike on
Monday opposing the government's plan and refuse to work overtime.
"OLP is a profitable business. It is the cow that provides us with milk, it cannot be handed
over to private or international investors," said George Nouhoutides, head of Piraeus Port's
Dock workers will stage another 24-hour strike on Friday and will continue with more action
in coming weeks that could cause disruption in goods distribution.
Piraeus and Thessaloniki port in northern Greece have a market value of 754.50 million
euros and 360.86 million euros respectively.
The government has not detailed the size of the stakes it wants to sell but the plan is part
of its privatisations agenda for 2008 to raise funds to pay down public debt
Europol cracks down on euro counterfeiting
BRUSSELS, Jan. 10 (Xinhua)
A total of 19 illegal print shops producing counterfeit euro banknotes as well as two illegal
mint shops were dismantled in 2007 thanks to efforts of Europol and national authorities,
said the police organization of the European Union (EU) on Thursday.
The crackdown prevented the introduction into circulation of about 600,000 counterfeit euro
bank notes and ended up with the arrest of more than 500 suspects, said Europol in a
A criminal profit of nearly 50 million euros was prevented because of these seizures, it said.
In addition, two illegal mints were discovered where more than 35,000 counterfeit two-euro
coins were seized.
The print and mint shops were dismantled in Italy, Spain, France, Greece, Austria, Britain
and Romania as well as non-EU countries Bosnia, Colombia and Peru.
Zoniana Arestees to the Examiner
03 Jan 2008 ΝΕΤ-105.8
Last Saturday’s eight arrestees from Zoniana have been testifying before the Examiner in
Herakleion since the morning. The eight, who face charges on setting up a gang,
possession of arms, robberies, thefts, attempted homicides and damage of foreign
property, were arrested in Zoniana and Fodele, Milopotamos by the police.
The procedure is expected to last until tomorrow, as the brief is 4,500 pages. Until noon,
only two of the eight had testified.
The culprits have begun their illegal activities on 19 December 2006 by robbing the
Agricultural Bank in Krousonas. In parallel, they are charges with three homicide attempts,
as they attacked those who tried to stop them.
The eight are also accused of an attempted robbery against a van carrying cash to the
Anogia Agricultural Bank in Gonies, Herakeion that took place on 5 March 2007 and during
which they attacked two persons with sledge-hammers and Kalashnikov assault rifles.
Moreover, they are accused of having stolen the ATM cash dispenser machine of the Pan-
Cretan Bank at Daros, Herakleion, on 31 March, as well as the removal of another ATM
machine in Gazi on 8 April. In parallel, as per the brief, they are accused of having stolen an
Alpha Bank ATM machine from Makro shop, Herakeion on 31 March. On 15 August, they
stole another ATM machine at Krousonas and then shot against a passer by.
Finally, they are accused of having attempted to steal another ATM machine of the
Agricultural Bank in Krousonas, on 25 September.
Sales to start 15th January 2008
5th January 2008
The Athens Traders Association has announced that the sales will last from 15 January-28
February. Checks will be carried out in the market so that shop owners do not proceed to
offers before the official sales period commences. As per law 3357/14.5.2007, it is forbidden
for sales to begin before 15 January. Traders are satisfied with the fact that the sales will
last for six weeks, while 82% of them are happy that their duration is fixed.
Zachopoulos case twist
5th January 2007 ert
Radical developments have been taking place on Zachopoulos case. One of the two
lawyers, who appear to be involved in the former Culture Ministry Secretary General’s
blackmail, attempted to commit suicide by falling in front of a truck on Poseidonos avenue.
The lawyer remains hospitalized at the Nikaia General Hospital. Although no medical
announcement was issued, his condition has been described stable but critical.
Members of the patient’s family are at the hospital. As there were fears that that the man
might try to commit suicide again he was transferred to another room with a smaller
The lawyer carried a note on him that spoke of suicide. Moreover, as per information he had
left letters to his family explaining his decision, as well as deterring his friends from saving
him. In his note he wishes that his wife is supported, adding that he is innocent and that
he is being used as a fall guy. He argues that Ms Tsekou had been annoying them,
threatening to destroy Mr Zachopoulos against whom she had evidence. He also states
that he visited Mr Zachopoulos to protect him and not to blackmail him, advising him to file a
complaint if he wished to escape the blackmail.
The lawyer was to be summoned by the Examiner at the beginning of next week. In
parallel, Culture ministry employees have been summoned to testify, while Mr Zachopoulos’
aide may also re-testify.
On Saturday, a Court in Chambers ruling gave the green light for Christos Zahopoulos and
his aide’s bank accounts to open from 2003 and onwards and telephone calls from 1
November-20 December 2007 examined.