|Copyright © 2004-2017 All rights reserved. Carol Palioudaki Living in Crete www.livingincrete.net
|Living in Crete
|Athens Marathon record
31st October 2008 ekathimerini
The number of participants in the 26th Athens Classic Marathon, which will take place on
November 9, has exceeded all expectations. Already about 9,400 runners will take part in
Marathon and the 5- and 10-kilometer races, the head of the organizing committee, Costas
Panagopoulos, said yesterday. Some 54 percent of participants are foreigners. Last year a
7,250 runners took part.
31st October 2008 ekathimerini
The Public Power Corporation’s reduced tariff for evening consumption comes into effect
tomorrow. Consumers who have registered for the special tariff will pay a lower rate
3.30 p.m. and 5.30 p.m. and between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. The measure will apply until April
New deadline is November 21
25th October 2008 ekathimerini
The deadline by which homeowners must declare their properties on Greece's first land
has been extended to November 21, the Environment and Public Works Ministry said
The ministry extended the deadline from October 31, as less than 70 percent of properties
been registered to date. But it stressed that no further extension would be granted and
those failing to declare their properties in time would be fined.
EU in favor of colleges recognition
24th October 2008 ert.gr
The European Court of Justice yesterday ruled, following action brought before the Court by
European Commission, that Greece's rules on recognition of diplomas are contrary to EU
legislation, in reference to the non-recognition of diplomas issued by the relevant
other member states following studies conducted in Greece in franchise colleges, noting
the member state where a diploma was awarded may verify its basis".
Greece shuts down for 24-hr strike
ABC news 21st October 2008
Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets in Greece to protest against the
conservative Government's economic policies.
Schools, banks, air traffic and public transport have all shut down for the 24-hour strike.
Thousands of people marched through Athens in protest the sale of state-owned
Protesters have also been angered by wage and pension reforms.
The country's main unions say the prospect of widespread job losses on top of Greece's low
wages and social security benefits will drag more of the country's 11 million people into
Government figures show that one in five Greeks live below the poverty line earning less
than 5000 euros ($9,600) a year.
The 2009 draft budget is due to go before the parliament this week.
Base gates closed during Crete protests
Stars and Stripes October 20, 2008
CRETE, Greece — Weekend protests over a newly opened NATO facility on the island of
Crete prompted U.S. Navy officials to shut their gates and place the city of Chania off limits
to personnel stationed at Naval Support Activity Souda Bay.
The gates to the base and nearby Marathi Pier facility were closed Saturday from 11 a.m. to
5 p.m. Access to the base and pier was restricted to emergency and mission-essential
personnel. The city was off-limits to U.S. personnel from Friday to Monday.
Navy officials said around 300 protesters walked and drove to the Marathi Pier facility, near
NATO’s Maritime Interdiction Operation Training Center.
PPC Workers Protest
Ekathimerini 21st October 2008
Members of the workers’ union of the Public Power Corporation (PPC) yesterday abseiled
down the front of PPC’s main offices in central Athens as part of a protest at the recent hike
in electricity charges. As PPC workers receive heavily discounted electricity bills, it is thought
that the unionists are attempting to express solidarity with the average Greek citizen to
gain public support.
Unionists charge that PPC has been inadequately managed. They have also expressed
concern about the possible repercussions of the government’s long-term plans to
deregulate the energy sector.
21st October 2008 ekathimerini
A 35-year-old British woman, who fell into a rocky ravine in Argolida, in the Peloponnese, on
Saturday and had to wait several hours to be rescued, was in serious condition in hospital
yesterday. After the woman’s fall, her husband sought help. But calls to the coast guard
went to an answering machine. By the time the coast guard arrived on the scene, the local
fire service had managed to rescue the woman and take her to hospital.
Cohabitation bill not for gays
Ekathimerini 17th October 2008
Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis yesterday stressed that a proposed cohabitation law,
granting heterosexual couples living together the same rights as those who are married,
would not be extended to gay couples.
“This (bill) is as far as we need to go to fulfill the demands and needs of Greek society – if
new behavior develops in the future, we will examine the issue again,” Hatzigakis told
The minister was reacting to appeals for the reforms to apply to gays too, submitted in
Parliament by the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), the National Committee for Human
Rights and another group representing lawyers from around the country.
“The law should serve social needs, not vice versa,” said criminologist Aliki Yiotopoulou-
Marangopoulou, noting that other European countries have introduced cohabitation laws
specifically for their gay communities as heterosexual couples already have the options of
religious and civil marriage ceremonies.
“It is an issue we will have to tackle at some point anyway, due to the European
Convention on Human Rights,” Sofia Spilio-topoulou of the National Committee for Human
Ekathimerini 11th October 2008
Three officials of an Athens tax office are being charged in connection with an alleged
attempt to coerce a businessman into paying 100,000 euros in order for a 2.5-million-euro
fine to be reduced.
The three suspects were caught after the businessman sought police intervention. One of
the three was arrested at his office after receiving 100,000 euros in pre-marked bills. The
other two officials were implicated in the course of questioning and subsequently arrested.
FAMILY LAW - Bill to simplify divorce and cohabitation tabled yesterday
10th October 2008 ekathimerini
New legislation foreseeing a swifter process for issuing divorces and the simplification of
the state adoption system was submitted in Parliament yesterday by Justice Minister Sotiris
Hatzigakis. If the bill is approved, married couples who file for divorce will have to wait only
two years for the decision to be made final, compared to four years now. The bill also
includes a controversial cohabitation provision that would grant heterosexual couples living
together the same rights as married couples.
9th October 2008 ekathimerini
An unidentified 38-year-old man was shot in the shoulder by a neighbour in the mountain
village of Zoniana, Crete, yesterday over a property dispute. Police are searching for a 35-
year-old man in connection to the shooting. An attempted police raid on suspected drug
dealers in the mountain village last November resulted in the injury of three officers.
Strike brings Athens to a halt as workers oppose sell-off plans
8th October 2008 ekathimerini
Employees of the state air-carrier Olympic Airlines joined a large-scale workers’ strike
yesterday to protest the government’s plans for its privatization. OA canceled more than 50
flights. Other flights were affected too, as air-traffic controllers joined the action. The city
center clogged up as citizens relied on their cars due to a public transport strike.
The umbrella labour union GSEE has called a nationwide general strike for October 21st.
PM: "Greek Economy Holds Up"
7th October 2008 express.gr & reuters
In a statement made in public, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis appeared reassuring by
saying that the Greek Banking system is safe and can hold up to wobbles caused by the
international economic recession.
After a cabinet meeting and on the occasion of the world economic crisis, Mr Kostas
Karamanlis stressed that the government, in cooperation with the Bank of Greece
guarantees the stability of the Banking system and protects the Greek people'Αs interests.
Mr Karamanlis stressed that the government is working with determination so that the
repercussions caused by the world Banking system are felt the least possible by the Greek
Meanwhile Greece will raise its guarantee for bank deposits to 100,000 euros ($135,900),
double the amount agreed by European Union finance ministers, the country's finance
minister said on Tuesday.
"The legal minimum of 20,000 euros that exists today in Greece, will be increased to
100,000 euros and will be enacted soon," George Alogoskoufis said in a statement.
Drowned immigrants wash up on seashore
7th October 2008 ekathimerini
The bodies of seven men, including a young teenager, have been found in the sea or
washed up on shore near the northern port of Alexandroupolis over the past few days.
Police believe they were illegal immigrants traveling in a small craft that sank southeast of
the northern Greek port.
The first body was found by fishermen pulling in their nets on Thursday. On Sunday another
four bodies were washed ashore between the Evros River delta and Alexandroupolis.
Another was found on the seashore yesterday morning and a seventh was later found by
another fishing boat in the same area. Documents found on two of the bodies identified
them as Iraqi nationals.
At least 58 people drowned last year trying to reach Greece from the coast of Turkey.
During the first eight months of this year, 8,880 people were caught trying to enter the
country by sea.
Police to target illegal trade in central Athens
4th October 2008 ekathimerini
Police are planning to crack down on the illegal trade in central Athens which has flourished
over the past year following the influx into the capital of thousands of would-be immigrants.
The capital’s historic district will have a permanent police presence from now on and officers
have been instructed to carry out surprise raids on stores suspected of trading in
counterfeit products, said Deputy Interior Minister Panayiotis Hinofitis following a meeting
with top-ranking officials from the Public Order and Development ministries, City Hall and
the police force.
The officials also decided to set up a committee to monitor the tactics used by illegal traders
and to make recommendations as to how they may best be curbed.
The initiative is to be extended to Piraeus, which has also seen an increase in the trade in
Forged British Bank Cards
3rd October 2008 ekathimerini
Police at Athens International Airport arrested two Romanian nationals yesterday after a
search of their luggage revealed 125 forged bank cards for British banks. According to
officers, the two men also had a list of personal identification (PIN) numbers corresponding
to the cards they are alleged to have forged. It was unclear how many illicit transactions
had been carried out.
30 year old suspect arrested in Kalyves, Chania for Halikidiki Murder
1st October 2008 Haniotika Nea
Chania police announced yesterday that they arrested a 30 year old man in Kalyves,
Apokoronou for suspicion of the murder of a 31 year old Bulgarian woman in Olynthos,
Halkididi on Spetember 25th. The man was visiting his mother’s village of Kalives to attend
a wedding, and he worked in ahotel in Halkidiki.
The body of the 31 year old victim was discovered in a wooded area in Halkidiki by a female
passer by on Sunday. Officers believe that the pair had gone out together and that the
man drove the unnamed woman to a remote spot where he assaulted her and hit her over
the head with an iron bar The victim suffered blows to the head, face and chest. The
perpetrator of the murder had hidden the body under branches, while the head of the
woman was distorted by the impact of the offender in trying to alter the characteristics of
the victim to make it difficult to identify her.
Same Sex marriages in Greece
30th September 2008 ekathimerini
A rally took place in Syntagma Square yesterday evening, protesting attempts by the state
to overturn the first same-sex marriages in Greece. Representatives from more than 20
organizations met ahead of a court ruling due this week regarding two marriages of gay
couples conducted on the island of Tilos in June. The Justice Ministry filed a suit to overturn
the unions of the couples, two men and two women, who took advantage of a loophole in
civil law that does not specify gender in marriages.
Athens News bids to survive
30th September 2008 ekathimerini
More than 350 people had signed an electronic petition by last night to save the English-
language newspaper the Athens News after it emerged on Friday that Lambrakis Press,
which has managed the weekly since 1993, said it will wind up the operation, possibly this
In an e-mail late on Friday, the newspaper’s editor John Psaropoulos said efforts were
being made to extend the deadline so new investors could express their interest. Readers
set up an online petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/AN001/petition.html.
“I believe the newspaper can be turned around in a year or just over a year with a
business plan that the Lambrakis Press is not willing or unable to carry out,” Psaropoulos
told Kathimerini English Edition. “But I think our publisher is keen to allow someone else the
opportunity of bringing to completion the work in which he invested 15 years.”
He said the newspaper, first published in 1952, has launched a subscription drive to help
keep it in existence, adding that fees would be reimbursed if the paper closes.
Court gives cremation go-ahead
27th September 2008 ekathimerini
A new law that would allow cremation to take place in Greece for the first time in the
country’s history was approved yesterday by the Council of State, Greece’s highest
MPs approved the law in March 2006 and yesterday’s decision effectively paves the way for
cremation facilities to be built in Greece.
According to the presidential decree, families can cremate their dead by obtaining a permit
from the local mayor or community leader 60 hours after the death of their relative.
The law stipulates that the deceased has to leave a written request asking to be cremated,
otherwise a relative up to the fourth degree must confirm that this was the person’s choice.
The new regulations permit the cremation of people who request this method instead of
burial as long as their religion also allows it. The law still forbids the act for Orthodox
The Church of Greece opposes cremation for believers, arguing that Orthodox traditions
only allow for burial.
The previous law also banned cremation for other faiths. This made matters particularly
difficult for Muslims in Greece who had to send their dead abroad to be cremated.
Under the new law, relatives up to four times removed from the deceased in the family tree
can request cremation. If there is a disagreement among family members, then the matter
will be settled by a prosecutor.
The Council of State said that an amendment should be made so that if people who are not
relatives have evidence that the deceased preferred to be cremated but the relatives do
not want cremation, a prosecutor should investigate and take the final decision.
The court also said that some stipulation had to be made for cases where parents disagree
over whether an underage child should be cremated. It also said that the law needs to ban
urns that contain ashes from becoming “an object of business transactions.”
Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis said last year that the first crematorium in Greece will be
located in the city’s First Cemetery.
Many Greeks are in favor of cremation, as a lot of the country’s graveyards have reached
capacity, but the Church of Greece’s rigid stance against Orthodox Christians being
cremated means that there are unlikely to be any changes to the current situation
Greek PM’s Advisor Convicted in Crete Trial
September 23rd 2008 (Reuters)
A close adviser to the Greek prime minister resigned on Tuesday after being convicted of
trying to pervert a criminal investigation, the latest scandal to beset the troubled
A court in Crete sentenced Yannis Kefaloyannis, a former minister and elder statesman of
Greece's ruling New Democracy party, to a 12-month suspended sentence for trying to
protect criminals during an enquiry into cannabis mafias on the rugged Mediterranean
island. He has appealed against the ruling
The scandal comes at a bad time for Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis's government, which
lost its lead in opinion polls to the opposition Socialists last week for the first time since
winning power in 2004, amid public anger at corruption, tax rises and unpopular economic
The departure of 76-year-old Kefaloyannis, a scion of one of Crete's most powerful political
families, comes less than two weeks after Merchant Marine Minister George Voulgarakis
resigned over allegations of improper property deals.
Kefaloyannis, who served three times as a minister in the New Democracy government of
the early 1990s, was put on trial after two Cretan police officers testified that he had told
them not to investigate certain individuals in relation to a major drugs bust last year in the
island's lawless hills.
Protesting Greek airline workers walk onto runway
Associated Press 23rd September 2008
Hundreds of protesting Olympic Airlines workers walked onto the main runway of Athens
International Airport Tuesday to protest plans to sell the troubled state-owned airline.
The employees, including pilots, air stewards, technicians and support staff, stopped planes
from taking off or landing there, but the airport said flights were not disrupted as planes
were diverted to a second runway.
"There is no impact on the flights, all are using the western runway," airport spokeswoman
Marina Papageorgiou said.
The protest lasted for about half an hour.
The government says OA has accumulated total losses of around €2.7 billion ($3.85 billion).
The European Union last week approved a government plan to privatize the Greek carrier
Olympic's 8,100 staff are not guaranteed jobs when the airline is sold, but about 4,600
salaried employees will be offered public sector jobs as part of a compensation package
worth €1.2 billion ($1.74 billion).
Employees' unions have said they have no plans to strike but will carry out frequent
Tuesday's demonstration at the airport is the second such action in a week. Last Thursday,
employees blocked a taxiway near the main runway but did not disrupt flights
Greek programmers hack CERN
15th September 2008 ekathimerini
A group of Greek computer programmers managed to hack into the much-vaunted security
system of the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) which is conducting the Big
Bang experiment in Geneva, it was revealed on Saturday. The hackers, calling themselves
the Greek Security Team, said they had not wanted to disturb the experiment but simply to
expose the system’s lax security. The Greek hackers reportedly described the CERN
computer technicians as “useless” and “a bunch of schoolchildren.
Ill-behaved cabbies to face fines, license loss
15th September 2008 ekathimerini
Taxi drivers will face fines of up to 1,800 euros for refusing to pick up customers and for
overcharging, according to new reforms to be voted through Parliament this week and to
come into effect in November.
The Transport Ministry bill foresees fines for a string of offenses. The bill also outlines a
point system penalizing taxi drivers for repeat offenses. According to this system, a taxi
driver will lose his license for six months if he commits five offenses within two years and
will have it revoked for a year if he offends 10 times. Cabbies who offend 15 times in two
years risk losing their license for good. The fines rise according to the frequency of the
offenses. Cabbies driving rented cars face 400 euros for their first offense, 700 euros for
the second and 1,200 euros for the third. Cabbies who own their vehicles face higher fines,
ranging from 600 to 1,800 euros.
Known fraudster shot 17 times outside Athens café
15th Sep 2008 ekathimerini
Police were yesterday seeking the perpetrators of the Mafia-style execution of a 56-year-
old man who was shot 17 times outside a cafe in the district of Nea Pendeli, northern
Athens. According to police, the man – a known fraudster – had visited the cafe on Friday
night after receiving a telephone call from an acquaintance who had asked for his help in a
matter relating to a common friend. After visiting the cafe, the acquaintance is believed to
have asked the 56-year-old to step outside for a private conversation, at which point a
motorcycle pulled up and an assailant sitting on the back shot him 17 times at close range.
Two patrons of the cafe sustained minor injuries from ricocheting bullets, police said.
11th September 2008 ekathimerini
A magistrate in Halkida yesterday ordered the pre-trial detention of a 77-year-old former
Japanese ambassador and his 67-year-old Greek wife charged with murdering their 36-year-
old daughter at their villa on Evia. Masami Tanida and his wife Maria were arrested last
Friday after police found the body of their daughter Amphithea wrapped in a sheet in one of
the bathrooms. Officers raided the villa after the dead woman’s partner and father of her 3-
year-old daughter reported her missing. The parents claim their daughter committed suicide.
Blue Flags removed from 15 beaches
6th September 2008 ekathimerini
Fifteen Greek beaches have lost their blue flags, which are awarded for the quality of the
sea water and the services offered to bathers, it was revealed yesterday. The flags were
removed because of the lack of amenities or because the local authorities had not shown
an interest in looking after the beaches. None of the beaches is in Attica. Denmark’s
Foundation for Environmental Education, a non-governmental group, operates the Blue Flag
scheme. Earlier this year, 430 beaches in Greece were awarded blue flags which ranked it
second out of 40 countries.
4th September 2008 ekathimerini
Doctors at state hospitals are to stage a five-day strike from September 15 to protest
proposed tax reforms and understaffing in their sector. On September 18 the doctors are to
stage a rally in front of the Health Ministry offices in Athens.
Robbers net 170,000 euros but miss 70,000
2nd September 2008 ekathimerini
Armed robbers yesterday made off with 170,000 euros in pension payouts following a raid
on a van that had been taking the cash to a post office in Hania on Crete.
According to the van driver and the officer supervising the delivery of the cash, the four
assailants used two trucks to trap the van on the national highway just outside Hania. The
driver sustained a minor leg injury after one of the robbers fired a shot while threatening
him and the second man to hand over the cash.
The robbers grabbed a bag containing the 170,000 euros that had been destined for
Cretan pensioners and fled in another car that arrived to pick them up. The burnt wreck of
the getaway car was found near the scene. This vehicle and the two trucks used in the raid
had been stolen, police said. An additional 70,000 euros, in a separate bag in the van, was
not found by the robbers.
Greeks abroad to vote
Bill allows foreign-based voters to take part in polls without coming to Greece
30th August 2008 ekathimerini
Up to 400,000 Greeks living abroad are expected to benefit from an imminent change to the
law that will allow them to vote in Greece’s general elections from their country of
residence, which would end the practice of the two big political parties flying over
supporters to cast their ballot.
According to information obtained by Kathimerini, the draft law which will make this possible
is almost ready and is likely to be submitted to Parliament within a matter of days.
The bill proposes that only those with Greek nationality whose details have also been
recorded in municipal lists in Greece will have the right to vote.
Those wanting to vote will also have to register with the Greek embassies or consulates in
their place of residence.
They will only be able to vote for the party of their choice, not specific candidates. Their
votes will be counted at the embassies or consulates by an electoral committee and the
results will be announced at the same time as those from Greece. The bill is expected to
pass through Parliament easily, as it also has the support of PASOK. It is likely to allow
Greeks abroad to take part in the elections from 2011 onward.
Until now, ND and PASOK have invested in flying Greeks over for the election in a practice
that was considered unfair to those unable to cast their vote and to the other parties not
able to spend on flights
Deadline for land register extended
27th August 2008 ekathimerini
Environment and Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias announced yesterday the extension
of the deadline for hundreds of thousands of property owners to submit their land register
applications until October 31, admitting that the process had not run as smoothly as
authorities had hoped.
Souflias conceded that a backlog had accumulated around mid-August when at least half of
staff processing land register claims went on vacation. The process was hindered further as
thousands of citizens decided to submit their applications in August, when the capital
usually empties out, hoping to avoid queues.
Souflias apologized to citizens for the aggravation but stressed that October 31 is the final
deadline, noting that property owners who fail to meet it will face fines of up to 1,500 euros.
The minister also heralded a series of measures to ensure that the process runs smoothly
from now on. These measures include extending the opening hours of more than 70 land
registry offices so that they operate from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and also receive the public on
Saturdays, from 8.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. Additionally, citizens will be able to pay land registry
charges – 35 euros for each property and 20 euros for each garage or storeroom – at post
offices as well as most major banks. The latter measure is expected to encourage more
property owners to submit their applications by post and take some pressure off the land
Death threat blogger arrested in Athens
27th August 2008 ekathimerini
A 40-year-old man alleged to have created a blog urging people to murder a senior
television journalist and his son, has been charged with libel and incitement to commit
Police caught the blogger in the Athens district of Kato Patissia after monitoring his online
activities for several weeks. The journalist – Mega Channel’s head of news, Christos
Panayiotopoulos – told police a month ago that he had been the focus of malicious criticism
and death threats. Police traced the suspect after his right to online privacy protection was
lifted by a prosecutor. Officers said the blog contained at least 10 references to the
journalist over the past three days.
The 40-year-old, who had worked in a series of jobs at polling firms over the past years,
reportedly maintained five or six additional blogs with “cultural content.”
27th August 2008 ekathimerini
Philips Hellas has recalled some 5,500 flat-screen television sets sold between March and
August this year due to a problem with the wiring that could cause a short circuit. Philips
Hellas had already withdrawn 2,000 of the TVs, having serial numbers from CG1A0813 to
CG1A0832. The defective televisions have not caused any injuries, according to a statement
by the firm.
Search continues for elderly Swiss jogger missing on Crete
Rescue services on Crete yesterday intensified the search for a 72-year-old Swiss tourist
missing since Tuesday afternoon after going jogging in the southern resort of Palaiochora.
The man, who had been staying at a local campsite with his wife and son, set off on a jog
at about 6 p.m. on Tuesday and was reported missing after failing to return by nightfall.
Dozens of locals joined the rescue effort, which was aided by helicopter, but there had
been no sign of the man by late yesterday.
Greece's Olympic Airlines cuts flights to save money
22nd August 2008 Thomson Financial
Greece's cash-strapped national carrier Olympic Airlines on Friday said it was axing a loss-
making service to London's Gatwick Airport and cutting back on another four overseas
flights to cut costs.
'The decision to streamline the flight programme is dictated by the company's major
financial difficulties, the size of the available fleet and the adverse international situation
caused by high fuel costs,' OA said.
In addition to scrapping a flight between the northern Greek city of Salonika and Gatwick,
which was running up losses of 3.6 million euros (5.33 million dollars) a year, the company
will also reduce flights to Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart and Dubai.
Annual losses on these flights amount to 22.1 million euros, OA said.
The company is also examining the prospect of entering into commercial partnerships with
other carriers to reduce its airport charges abroad.
The Greek government has spent years seeking private investors to take over Olympic
Airlines but the process is complicated by the European Commission's demand that OA
repay around 700 million euros in past illegal state aid.
Summer Profiteering in Fuel on Greek Islands to End
13th August 2008 NET
Profiteering in fuel on islands has forced the government to introduce a ceiling price for
unleaded oil there. As per the Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE), the price will be a few
cents over the average price of unleaded petrol in Athens due to transport costs. The
ceiling price will go into force by the end of August.
Ceiling prices will go into force for leaded and unleaded oil in the Dodecanese, for all types
of fuel in Chania and Rethymno, for all types of fuel except for diesel oil in Lasithi and for
unleaded, super unleaded and super leaded oil in Heraklion.
Petrol prices will also be controlled in Zakynthos, Kefalonia, the Cyclades, Lesvos and Chios.
12th August 2008 ekathimerini
Hunting season will begin on August 20, the Agricultural Development Ministry confirmed
yesterday. The season will last until February 28, 2009, apart from the hunting of hares,
which will stretch until March 10.
Worries over high drowning toll
9th August 2008 ekathimerini
More than 150 people have drowned in swimming accidents across Greece so far this
summer and the number is expected to double by year-end.
Experts cite two main reasons for the high number, the lack of awareness of risks among
the population – due to improper training – and the lack of lifeguards on most beaches.
The toll has been 157 since June 1 – of whom 101 men, 54 women and two children.
Twenty-two were foreign citizens.
“More than half of Greeks do not know how to swim. Elsewhere in Europe, children learn to
swim in pools from a very young age but in Greece it’s something one learns alone,” said
Nikos Giovanidis, president of the Sea Life Saving Academy.
“Other countries have a policy on the issue. In Spain, for instance, the number of drownings
decreased spectacularly within a few years because they adopted a comprehensive
approach,” said pediatrician Agis Terzidis of Athens University.
Particular groups, such as children and the elderly, are more susceptible to drowning.
Among children, the main cause seems to be lack of supervision and among adolescents
the overconsumption of alcohol. “Most drownings I have seen were due to pathogenic
causes, such as heart failure or high blood pressure, affecting older people. Such cases are
usually fatal,” said Dr Haralampos Gouvas.
The law, which provides for the presence of at least one lifeguard on crowded beaches
(with at least 500 swimmers) every 600 meters does not seem to be observed.
Merchant Marine Ministry sources said that this is the responsibility of municipal authorities
but that they often try to avoid the extra expenses involved in purchasing equipment and
Bid to rein in tourists on Crete
8th August 2008 ekathimerini
A Dutch tourist fell 8 meters from his hotel room balcony on Crete and was being treated in
the hospital in Iraklion for serious head injuries and broken bones yesterday in the latest
incident involving injuries to tourists on the island.
The man had arrived at the hotel in Hersonissos on Wednesday and fell from the balcony at
about 2 a.m. yesterday. Witnesses told police that he was drunk.
The unnamed 26-year-old’s fall came just a week after another tourist, a 17-year-old Briton,
fell from a balcony at a hotel in Malia.
The coastal resort of Malia, near Iraklion, has been the focus of repeated incidents involving
tourists and has become notorious for the drunken and aggressive behavior of visitors,
particularly from Britain, who frequent many of the bars along the main strip, known as the
Malia Mile where they can buy drinks for as little as 1 euro.
It is not just alcohol that is causing problems in the area. Five British tourists were arrested
for possession of cannabis on Wednesday in the latest incident involving drugs in Malia.
Earlier this week, Iraklion prosecutor Nikos Markakis wrote to the police, the fire service and
the financial crime squad in a bid to reign in the behavior of tourists and the local nightclub
and bar owners who serve them.
Markakis asked the police to conduct more regular patrols in Malia in a bid to ensure
behavior does not get out of hand.
A number of Britons are already counting the cost of losing control while on vacation at the
A 19-year-old British woman, Charlotte Robinson, is being treated in a hospital in Crete
after falling off a scooter last Friday. She was not wearing a helmet and had been drinking
before the accident. Her insurance company has refused to cover the cost of bringing her
home because the fact that she had been drinking invalidated her policy.
Another British man, Dean Willis, a 23-year-old DJ from Derby, is also trying to raise the
money to return to England after being knocked off his moped. Willis broke his leg and ribs
but does not have travel insurance.
New doping case rocks sport in Greece
8th August 2008 ekathimerini
Just as the Olympics got under way yesterday, Greek sprinter Tassos Gousis tested positive
for the same banned substance (methyltrienolone) as the 11 weightlifters on the national
team and swimmer Yiannis Drymonakos earlier this year. Gousis was caught during the
tests conducted by the Greek anti-doping agency ESKAN, which checked the entire Olympic
squad. Gousis would have been Greece’s representative in Beijing in the 200 meters, in
athletics. He currently is in Japan training with most of the Greek athletics squad. Reports
suggested he is to return to Greece immediately.
8th August 2008 ekathimerini
Traffic police will go on high alert from today until August 24 to cope with the extra number
of vacationers expected to take to the country’s roads over the coming days. It was
announced yesterday that lorries will be restricted from traveling on national highways on
August 14, 17, 22 and 24. August is the month that Greeks usually take their vacation.
No change to September date
6th August 2008 ekathimerini
The head of Ktimatologio SA, the company in charge of managing the land registry, denied
yesterday that an extension would be given to property owners to submit their real estate
declarations for registration in the cadastre. “Based on the current situation, there is no
reason for an extension to be given,” said Ktimatologio general manager Costas Kyriazis.
The deadline for the first round of declarations is the end of September but it had been
rumored that this would be pushed back to the end of the year. Kyriazis said that 800,000
declarations – roughly 15 percent – had so far been submitted. He foresees more than 30
percent being handed in by the end of this month.
6th August 2008 ekathimerini
A 36-year-old man was yesterday charged with attempted murder in Iraklion, Crete, after
opening fire on police officers. The 36-year-old was chased through the streets of the city
before being arrested. His father was also charged with not keeping his weapon under
Traffickers arrested as 71 illegal migrants picked up off Crete
02.08.08 19:15 Trend News
The Greek Coast Guard discovered a cargo ship south of the island of Crete with 71 illegal
immigrants on board Saturday, the dpa reported.
Four Ukrainian members of the ship's crew were arrested.
The would-be immigrants from various Arab countries said they had departed from Egypt
three days previously and were heading for Italy.
Storm-strength winds forced the crew to change course and seek a leeward bay on the
south coast of the island near Palaiochora.
The migrants were in good health despite the conditions they were discovered in.
They were expected to be housed in a reception camp in the port of Chania Saturday
Archaeological findings on Crete
31st July 2008 ANA
A section of a Byzantine wall, church frescoes, important inscriptions, a fortress that played
a supportive role to Koule Fortress and tombs that have not been opened yet, make up the
rich archaeological findings discovered during ongoing upgrading works at the Heraklion
Port on the island of Crete.
The scheduled works will have to be altered as a result of the findings, which have been
unearthed in the region of Bentenaki, while the archeological excavations will continue until
early October at the latest ,funded by the Heraklion Port Authority.
Easier to skip religion class
31st July 2008 ekathimerini
Schoolchildren will be able to skip religious education lessons by providing their teachers
with a note – written by their parents – according to a new initiative by the Education and
Religious Affairs Ministry.
A circular distributed to primary and secondary schools says children can miss RE without
their parents having to provide a reason, as is now the case. The only requirement will be a
written note – from a parent, unless the pupil is over 18. Sources say the reason usually
noted in exemption letters is that the children are not Christian. But experts say many
parents and children had avoided submitting such notes in the past as they did not want to
identify themselves as non-Christian. The fact that declaring the reason is no longer
compulsory – as per European Union personal data protection laws – will increase
absences, experts say.
The move is expected to provoke the ire of the Orthodox Church, which did not comment
in Crete & Greece
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