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Rough ride for Zoniana police
30th December 2008 ekathimerini

Three policemen were slightly injured and their patrol cars damaged when residents of the
notorious Cretan village of Zoniana attempted to prevent them from arresting a fellow villager
who was wanted for attempted murder.
The officers were tipped off on Sunday night that the 35-year-old suspect was at a cafe in the
village, and moved in to arrest him. However, some 20 villagers who were at the cafe turned
against the officers, who had to fight their way out with the suspect.
The 35-year-old, who is alleged to have shot in the shoulder a fellow villager who was also the
chairman of a local soccer team, in October, was taken to the police station in Rethymnon.
In November last year, a police officer was shot in the head during a raid on the village that was
part of an operation to crack down on a major criminal ring operating out of Zoniana. The Cretan
union of police special guards issued a statement yesterday, saying that the latest incident “does
not provide signs of hope for the future.”



Heavy winter arrives in Greece
29th December 2008  Phantis.com

Greece is in the grips of stinging cold, snow and sleet, with snow chains required along most
parts of the road network in the north of the country.
Cloud with snow flurries were forecast for Monday in Thessaloniki, the eastern-central mainland
(Sterea), the Peloponnese, the Cyclades and Crete, with a further drop in temperatures and
northeasterly winds of 4-6 beaufort.
Rain and sleet is forecast for Tuesday in the southern part of the country, with local snowfall in
the rest of Greece. The weather conditions are expected to ease up on the mainland on Tuesday
afternoon, while the rest of the country will see a small further drop in temperatures, and frost in
the west and north.
Temperatures are expected to rise slightly on Wednesday, as snowfall will ease up and be
contained to northern Crete.
On Thursday, New Year's Day, snow flurries or sleet are forecast for the Cyclades and northern
Crete, mainly during the early morning hours, while the weather will be clear throughout the rest
of the country, with a small rise in temperatures.


Pro-Palestinian protesters clash with Greek police
29th December 2008 Associated Press

Greek riot police fired tear gas to repel protesters hurling rocks at the Israeli Embassy in Athens
on Monday during a rally against the Jewish state's assault on Gaza.
More than 3,000 demonstrators waving Palestinian flags and chanting anti-Israeli and anti-U.S.
slogans converged on the Israeli Embassy north of the city center in separate demonstrations
and rallies organized by Greek left-wing parties and Arab groups.
During an initial rally by about 300 Greek and Arab protesters, riot police fired stun grenades and
volleys of tear gas to push back youths throwing rocks and broken chunks of paving stones at the
embassy building and trying to break through a police cordon outside.
One man was detained after he broke through the cordon and managed to rip down the Israeli
flag from the embassy's flagpole. Police said the man was of Syrian origin.
No major injuries were reported, and the rallies ended after about four hours.


Greece will celebrate one of its coldest Christmases of recent times
24 December 2008 |FOCUS News Agency

Greece will celebrate one of the coldest Christmases of recent times, Greek weather forecast
service announced, cited by the Eleftheros Typos daily.
Frosts, high winds and snow on high grounds are expected around Christmas. The bad weather
cancelled two flights of the national Olympic Airlines and one of  Aegean airlines destined for
Chania on the island of Crete. Ships remained tied at the ports in Piraeus, Rafina and Laurium due
to the high winds. The bad weather also hit the grid of the national electricity company DEI,
cutting power in many homes across the country.


Protests wind down for holiday pause
24th December 2008 ekathimerini

Several thousand people staged what is likely to be the last major street protest before
Christmas yesterday as leftist students and self-styled anarchists occupying university facililties
started heading home for a holiday truce.
More than 3,000 demonstrators joined a march organized by leftist groups through the city
center, a continuation of more than two weeks of protests at the police killing of 15-year-old
Alexandros Grigoropoulos in Exarchia. The rally, which started outside the main entrance to
Athens University and culminated in Syntagma Square, was mostly peaceful. One group of youths
broke away from protesters at one point to overturn a police patrol car, but there were no reports
of any injuries. Another group of protesters burned a model of a pig’s head wearing a police cap
in front of riot officers.
Schoolchildren, protesting Grigoropoulos’s death and education standards, also staged a peaceful
demonstration outside the Education Ministry, singing Christmas carols. They said they would
continue their protests in the new year.
Leftists have scheduled another protest rally at the newly renovated Monastiraki Square at 4 p.m.
today and more for January.
Meanwhile, hundreds of self-professed anarchists who have been squatting in university buildings
over the past two weeks were reportedly packing their bags. According to sources, the premises
of the National Technical University of Athens and the Athens University law school were slowly
emptying.
University rectors were due to start taking stock today of the damage wreaked during the sit-ins.
Sources said windows had been smashed and chunks had been hacked out of marble staircases
and floors for use as missiles against riot police.



Tests point to direct shot by policeman
23rd December 2008 ekathimerini

Tests comparing the substances found on the bullet that killed 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos
on December 6 and materials taken from the scene of the shooting in Exarchia, which sparked this
month’s riots, suggest that the policeman charged with the boy’s murder shot at him and not in
the air, as he has claimed, sources told Kathimerini yesterday.
The results of the laboratory tests, due to be made public next week, reportedly suggest that the
bullet hit a surface less than 40 centimeters above the ground before entering the boy’s body.
“There is no evidence that a shot was fired in the air,” a source told Kathimerini.
In a reconstruction of the killing in Exarchia, police officers gathered samples of various materials
that might bear traces of silicon dioxide, a material found on the bullet that is broadly used in
manufacturing.
In a related development yesterday, eight youths arrested during last Thursday’s riots in protest
at Grigoropoulos’s death defended themselves on charges of possessing explosives and
attempting grievous bodily harm. Of five brought before a magistrate, one was remanded in
custody. The other three were released.
Yesterday saw a lull in protests after a weekend in which anarchists clashed with police and tried
to torch a Christmas tree in Syntagma Square. The largest rally was in Peristeri, western Athens,
where hundreds protested a second teen shooting last week. The 16-year-old was shot in the
hand in an attack that does not appear to have had anything to do with police. There was also a
protest concert outside Athens University but there had been no reports of violence late
yesterday.


PM ponders sweeping changes
23rd December 2008 ekathimerini

Up to 14 ministers and deputy ministers could be removed from the government in an imminent
reshuffle, sources said yesterday, as PASOK sought to distance itself from a possible collaboration
with New Democracy while trying to smooth over relations with the Coalition of the Radical Left
(SYRIZA).
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis looks set to introduce the Cabinet changes in early January
after seeing ND slip 6 percent behind PASOK in an opinion poll carried out by Public Issue for
Sunday’s Kathimerini.
Worryingly for the premier, PASOK leader George Papandreou is also, for the first time, seen as a
more suitable prime minister than Karamanlis.
Sources said Karamanlis will spend Christmas in Athens as he ponders possible changes. As many
as five ministers and up to nine deputy ministers could find themselves out of a job by the end of
the process.
The shake-up is likely to be accompanied by a government effort to present itself in a positive
light, with particular emphasis on the social aspect of its work, in the health and education
sectors, for example.
Speaking at the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry yesterday, Karamanlis warned that
2009 would be a tough year for Greece, as the consequences of the international economic crisis
are expected to hit the country.


Cash‘n’carry
23rd December 2008 ekathimerini

Three armed men held up a Lidl supermarket in Rethymnon, Crete, yesterday morning and made
off with almost 50,000 euros, police said. The suspects, all wearing hoods, entered the store at
about 6 a.m. and threatened the manager and an employee with handguns. They stole 47,500
euros from the safe and another 1,500 euros from the cash tills before driving off.


Another Greek Tradegy: Violence at the OFI Crete-Panathinaikos Match
22nd December 2008 www.101greatgoals.com/

Greece has been suffering from a wave of violent incidents in the past few weeks ever since
police shot a teenager, that sparked violent demonstrations throughout the country.

And yesterday the violence spilled over into the world off football as ugly scenes marred
Panathinaikos’ visit to OFI Crete, which the match having to be suspended for 10 minutes as
order was restored.
There was trouble both inside and outside the stadium. Pana fans was captured on camera
ripping up chairs and hurling them at the riot police, while other missiles including fireworks and
flares were also thrown as chaos broke out.

For their part, the riot police responded by wielding their batons and firing off tear gas, which
forced the match temporarily stopped as players and coaching staff were ordered back into their
respective dressing rooms.
Every week there seems to be another outbreak of violence, and sadly this week was no
exception.


Parthenon reopens - Workers end 10-day strike
17th December 2008 ekathimerini

The Parthenon and other ancient sites across the country reopened to the public yesterday after
the Culture Ministry agreed to the demands of protesting staff who had closed them down for 10
days. The union representing 9,000 archaeologists and civil servants said it had called off the
strike after the government agreed to pay them the 130-euro monthly bonus they had sought.
According to some tourism officials, the 10-day closure of the Acropolis site had damaged the
industry more than the violent riots that rocked the capital last week.



Athens mayor seeks to kindle Christmas spirit
16th December 2008 ekathimerini

Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis is to turn on the lights on a new Christmas tree in the city center
this afternoon, replacing the original that was torched last week by rioters, as municipal staff
boost efforts to clear up damage.
Kaklamanis appealed to citizens to attend the “launch of the festivities” in Syntagma Square at
7.30 p.m. to “help the city find its rhythm again and bring smiles back to people’s faces,
particularly children.”
On a more practical note, the president of the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities
(KEDKE), Dimitris Kalogeropoulos, called for the launch of a fundraising campaign to support
businesses in the center that suffered losses during the riots. “No one should sit by passively
with everything that has been happening,” he said.

S
tudent Protests Go On
16th December 2008 ert.gr

Still protesting the police killing of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos, university and school students
are planning to block several roads throughout the Attica basin. In the meantime, seven students
charged with participating in the clashes reported last Tuesday in the city of Herakleion, Crete,
were referred Tuesday to the Prosecutor. Students and teachers gathered outside the city's court
hall to demonstrate their solidarity with the students charged. Students are currently staging a
street protest in Heraklion, demanding the ones responsible for Alexis' loss be exemplary
punished. Thirteen schools in the city have been taken over, while six of the eight Departments of
the University of Crete have also been shut.


TV Studio Stormed
16th December  ert.gr

A group of people stormed Tuesday noon NET's studio while its news bulletin was on. ERT
President and Managing Director Christos Panagopoulos condemned the incidence, stressing that
it wasn't students by unknown people who do not respect freedom and democracy, sneaking into
the ERT premises.


Couple freed in Crete baby case
16th December 2008 ekathimerini

A Romanian couple who were arrested last Wednesday on suspicion of selling their baby to
another family were yesterday cleared by a court in Iraklion, Crete, after it was established that
the child had been given up for adoption legally. The couple was taken into custody after police
received a tip-off from a neighbor. The court found that the couple had followed all the legal
procedures and returned the baby to its new, adopted family.


2009 Difficult Year for Crete Tourism
15th December 2008 Haniotika Nea

Many are predicting an extremely difficult year for tourism in Crete in 2009. Comment from the
Haniotika Nea today-
Firstly the adverse economic climate prevailing internationally, and now the anarchy and the
pictures shown around the world in recent days of the vandalism in Greece’s biggest cities, will
deter foreign tourists.
Indeed, the incidents and the climate that shaped the international media, are probably the
ultimate blow for Greek and, especially, for Cretan tourism. The travel advice issued by many
foreign countries has created and cultivated a climate of insecurity for those who planned to
spend the summer holidays in Crete or in another Greek tourist resort.
According to initial estimations demand for holidays in Crete appear reduced by up to 50% while
competing countries such as Turkey and Egypt are showing an upward trend in demand.

The British market is showing a reduction of up to 50%, while the corresponding figures from the
German market decline by 30%. As Germans and British are the prime "summer customers", then
we may consider how dramatically the situation will affect Cretan tourism , as well as the local
labour market and the local economy. If many businesses do not open hundreds of workers will
become unemployed, and a large number of companies which "deal" with tourism will be affected.
"Nobody can say with certainty what will happen", commented the "Cretan Review" vice-chairman
of the Hoteliers Association of Rethymnon, Manolis Tsakalakis.

For the moment, not even the tour operators in Europe are in a position to know what lies ahead.
A better picture is expected to emerge in February, as every year.


Nightclub owner killed in mafia-type shooting
15th December 2008 ekathimerini

A 40-year-old businessman was shot dead and his 31-year-old singer girlfriend was injured early
on Saturday in a gangland-style ambush in the coastal suburb of Voula. The police have attributed
the attack to a settling of accounts by underworld figures with whom the victim is said to have
had clashes in the past. Babis Lazaridis, the owner of a string of nightclubs in Attica, and Angeliki
Iliadi had just left a hotel and had been getting into a car when they were approached by two
assailants wearing motorcycle helmets, one of whom opened fire on Lazaridis with a Kalashnikov
assault rifle, police said. An autopsy revealed at least 20 bullets in Lazaridis’s body. Iliadi was
transferred to a hospital with leg injuries. A year ago, Lazaridis had been charged as a moral
instigator in the attempted murder of a rival nightclub owner. In March this year, a bomb attack on
a nightclub co-owned by Lazaridis caused damage, but no injuries


Youths attack the Exarchia police station as protesters hold candlelit vigils a week after a
teen’s death
13th December 2008 ekathimerini

Youths attacked police stations, stores and banks in Athens and Thessaloniki on Saturday as
candlelit vigils were held to mark a week since a police officer shot dead 15-year-old Alexandros
Grigoropoulos, triggering a wave of riots across the country. There were no reports of injuries, but
police detained dozens of suspected rioters.
About 100 youths congregated in the central district of Exarchia and a group broke off to firebomb
the police station, where the two officers awaiting trial for the youth’s killing had been based.
Outside Parliament there was a tense standoff between police and a crowd of around 2,000
demonstrators. There was unrest on Patission Street too yesterday, after youths hurled
firebombs at three banks near the National Technical University of Athens and set fire to cars and
trash bins. An office of the Environment Ministry was targeted as well.
In Thessaloniki, about 2,000 youths staged a rally on Saturday evening that was marred by
outbreaks of violence, including a firebomb attack on the local offices of the Communist Party.
The protests are set to continue this week. Pupils are organizing a rally today outside the police
headquarters on Alexandras Street in central Athens. Rallies are also planned for Wednesday and
Thursday.


Two dead as storms bring floods, damage
13th December 2008 ekathimerini

Strong winds battered many parts of the country yesterday, causing widespread damage and
flooding and keeping ferries moored in ports.
A 38-year-old Albanian woman and her 18-year-old daughter died late on Thursday when their car
plunged into the sea on the Ionian island of Cephalonia in the middle of a thunderstorm. The
woman’s 16-year-old son had been driving the vehicle but managed to get out.
Yesterday storms damaged homes, stores and farms in the Peloponnese. There were landslides
on some roads due to heavy rain which knocked out several sets of traffic lights.
Passenger ferries remained moored at Piraeus and in Aegean harbors. A Greek ferry sailing into
the western port of Patras from Italy sustained a 2-meter gash in its hull when gale-force winds
drove it into the pier. No harm came to the 102 passengers aboard the Pasiphae.



Strikers Peaceful Labour Rally
10th December 2008 ANA - MPA

In a peaceful rally today staged by Greece's two main umbrella union federations GSEE (General
Confederation of Workers of Greece) and ADEDY (Civil Servants' Supreme Administrative Council),
employees demonstrated their commitment to democracy and political, labour and social rights.
Addressing the protesters gathered at Syntagma Square in central Athens, GSEE head Giannis
Panagopoulos underlined that the government's policy would change, warning that If not, it
would be toppled. He then invited the employees to another rally outside the Parliament building
on the day the state budget is set to be voted.

Panagopoulos condemned the killing of the 15-year-old boy, yet he urged the young to turn their
back to raw violence and join trade unions.

ADEDY head Spyros Papaspyros, on his part, touched on the shooting of the teen, as well as on
the government's bailout plan. He termed the recent developments as a landmark, calling on
everyone to stay committed to struggles and never lose their anger, with a view to shaping a
new social and political reality.

GSSE secretary and leader he ruling New Democracy (ND) affiliated trade union group DAKE
Kostas Poupakis voiced his sorrow over the tragic loss of the 15-year-old boy and blasted raw
violence irrespective of its origins. He further highlighted the need for national unity and
consensus.


Arrests in Crete Riots
10th December 2008 Haniotika Nea

A total of six people were arrested the night before last in Chania according to a notice issued
yesterday by the Police Directorate: "From 11.00 hours - 11.30 pm six people were arrested by
the Security Department of Chania, including five domestic and one foreign national of Bulgaria.
Five of the arrestees are accused of stealing pocket computers, mobile phones and accessories
from the OTE-COSMOTE store, which had already suffered damage, while the sixth occupied and
damaged the bank Eurobank. A folded metal rod (truncheon) and a knife were found in the
possession of one of the perpetrators.


Greek shop owners in despair after riot damage
December 8, 2008 Associated Press  

As riots left dozens of stores gutted across the Greek capital, one assistant at a china shop described
how she felt after seeing her store in ruins. "They broke our windows, but luckily
we have strengthened glass and the fronts didn't come down," said the woman, who gave her name only
as Eleni. Her fear then gave way to anger.                                                                              
"The thing is, nobody seems to care about the employees at the burnt shops, what will their fate
be now over the Christmas season?" she asked.

Athens shop owners pleaded Monday for protesters to suspend all demonstrations until the new
year, but their call was ignored.

More banks and shops were trashed Monday, the third day of riots in Greek cities following the
fatal police shooting of a teenage boy on Saturday.
Over the weekend, hundreds of youths wearing hoods and crash helmets went on the rampage
for hours along Athens' busy shopping streets, smashing and burning stores, banks and parked
cars, torching three large departments stores and damaging dozens more.
"On Saturday, our colleagues were standing in front of their shops, watching them being smashed
and saying 'My God what is happening?'" said Panayis Karellas, head of the Athens Traders
Association.
"This was a show of force by mindless people," he said. "At some point someone has to tell us
who will pay for all this damage."
Karellas said 130 businesses were damaged during the weekend riots. He did not give an
estimate of the cost but said the timing would hurt many businesses pinning hopes of their
financial survival on Christmas sales.
According to the trade association, one in 10 businesses in the capital have been damaged by
violent demonstrations and vandalism, with nearly half that number being forced to close
permanently. Traffic-halting demonstrations are a near-daily occurrence in Athens, while heavy-
handed policing is frowned upon.
Greece's largest union, the GSEE, said it would go ahead with a major strike Wednesday that will
ground most flights at Athens International Airport and disrupt transport services across Greece
On Ermou Street in the city's main commercial area, Christmas shoppers and noisy street
musicians were back Monday. Nearly all stores opened for business after hastily installing new
front windows overnight. Others simply placed tape or plywood boards around damaged areas.
"The damage is terrible ... Everything was burnt in the shop. Luckily there was nobody in the
building," said Lefteris Karagiannis, an engineer working at a sports shop destroyed by fire.


Police killing of youth sparks explosive riots in Greece
Schoolboy, 15, shot dead in Exarchia
8th December 2008 ekathimerini

The center of Athens looked like a conflict zone last night after almost 24 hours of rioting –
probably the worst Greece has seen since the restoration of democracy in 1974 – that was
sparked by a police officer shooting dead a 15-year-old boy in the district of Exarchia.
Dozens of shops, banks, car dealerships and even an apartment block were attacked, causing
millions of euros worth of damage as hundreds of people outraged by the death of the teenager
took to the streets.
The incident which sparked this reaction occurred at about 9 p.m. on Saturday when two officers
were patrolling the area of Exarchia, which is often the scene of clashes between self-styled
anarchists and police.
Sources said the officers claimed their vehicle was attacked by a group of some 30 people. One
officer claims he threw a stun grenade while the other alleges he fired his service revolver three
times – twice in the air and once at the ground – in self-defense.
One of the bullets struck 15-year-old schoolboy Andreas Grigoropoulos in the chest, killing him
instantly.
The officers’ version of events is contradicted by several witnesses who spoke to TV and radio.
They claim there was simply a verbal exchange between a small group of youngsters and the
officers who got out of their car to pursue the youths. The officer, who has not been named, is
alleged to have shot at the group, not in the air.
The two officers have been arrested on suspicion of murder and illegal use of a weapon. Soon
after the incident, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos and his deputy Panayiotis Hinofotis
tendered their resignations, but they were not accepted by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.
Pavlopoulos held a news conference yesterday to assure the public that the officers would be
punished: “The taking of a life is something that is not excusable in a democracy.” He also said
that the police would be “on the defensive” as it focused on protecting property and people’s
lives.
However, owners of dozens of businesses on Athens’s main shopping strip, Ermou Street, in
Monastiraki, on Alexandras Avenue and in Exarchia, who have suffered serious damage at the
hands of rioters are unlikely to have been appeased by the minister’s pledge.
Last night, as police and rioters played a tear-gas-infused game of cat and mouse around the
National Technical University, Pavlopoulos, Hinofotis and Karamanlis met to discuss how the
government should deal with this explosive situation.
Protests and clashes with officers in Crete
On Crete, there was unrest in Iraklion, Hania and Rethymnon. In Hania, some 30 people outside
police headquarters clashed with officers, who responded with tear gas. In Iraklion, youths went
on a rampage through the city, damaging public buildings. A protest in Rethymnon passed off
more peacefully.


Scavenger murdered
6th December 2008 ekathimerini

A 75-year-old used-goods scavenger was found dead yesterday in a pool of blood in his home in
the Cretan prefecture of Hania. The man, whose body was found by his daughter, had been
stabbed twice in the chest, according to a coroner. Police said his home was full of old furniture,
bric-a-brac and garbage. Officers found three bank books with details of small sums of money in
three accounts he had opened.


Aegean Air cuts ticket surcharges as oil drops
5th December 2008 Reuters

Greek carrier Aegean Airlines  said on Friday it will cut ticket surcharges by up to 3 euros for
domestic and international flights thanks to tumbling oil prices.
Greece's largest private carrier, whose main competitor Olympic Airlines is being privatised, raised
surcharges in July when oil prices neared $146. But oil this week neared $43, its lowest level in
almost four years.
"Due to the drop in oil prices, Aegean is reducing surcharges on domestic and international routes
tickets by two and three euros respectively, starting from January," the company said in a
statement.
It was the second surcharge reduction in a two-month period



Greek President to visit Hania for celebrations marking the Union of Crete with Greece
25th November 2008 Haniotika Nea

On Sunday 30th November and Monday 1st December Greek President Karolos Papoulias will be present
at the events marking the 95th Anniversary of Crete’s union with Greece in 1913.
Events will be held Sunday at 10.50 am in Kolimbari, followed by 11.35 am in Voukoulies.
On Monday 1st December at 11.00 am a service will be held at the Metropolitan Church, Hania, followed
by speeches and raising of the flag at the Firkas Fort in the old harbour.
Read the history of the Union of Crete with Greece here


Hu in Geece for €4.35bn port deal
24th November 2008 AP

Chinese president Hu Jintao began a three-day official visit to Greece headlined by the signature of key
trade accords including a deal putting Chinese
container giant Cosco in charge of running cargo facilities at the main port of Piraeus

"Our aim is to make Greece the prime location in our region for inward Chinese investment," the Greek
PM said.
Successive Greek administrations have lobbied to persuade China of Greece's strategic value as a trade
partner with easy access to the Balkans and the European Union.

Political relations between Greece and China grew closer after Athens hosted the 2004 Olympics and
transferred part of its experience to the Chinese for last summer's Beijing Games.

During his stay, Hu is scheduled to sign a 4.35-billion-euro (5.5 billion-dollar) deal for the 35-year
concession of the main container terminal at Piraeus, Greece's busiest port, to giant Chinese port
operator Cosco.

The government says it is imperative to increase the competitiveness of Greek harbours at a time when
Mediterranean neighbours Egypt, Syria and Turkey have already taken similar steps to attract operators.

Under the terms of the concession, Cosco is expected to modernise the Piraeus container terminal and
boost its annual capacity from 1.6 to 3.7 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU).

Hu will also spend a day on Crete, where the Greek government plans to invest around one billion euros
to create a new container terminal in Tymbaki, on the island's southern Messara Bay.


Hania protest
24th November 2008 ekathimerini

Fifteen migrants, mostly from Morocco and Palestine, will today be completing their second week of a
hunger strike protest in front of the town hall in Hania, Crete. The protesters are demanding a
speeding up of the process for granting residence permits.


Cretan convict’s death seen as revenge attack
21st November 2009 ekathimerini

The death of a 27-year-old Cretan man, whose body was found riddled with bullets near his car in the
Cretan region of Sfakia on Wednesday night, may have been a revenge attack as the victim had been
linked to the murder of a local farmer three years ago, police on the island said yesterday.
Stavros Polentas had been shot several times in the head and back, leading police to believe that he
had been ambushed. Officers had no leads yesterday about who may have killed Polentas but believe his
connection to a crime against a neighbor in 2005 may point to the perpetrators of his killing. The victim’
s father, 75-year-old Manolis Polentas, is serving a life sentence for killing 39-year-old farmer Christos
Klapakis in 2005 in a property dispute.
The 27-year-old had been sentenced to 10 years in prison after being found guilty as an accomplice in
that killing but had been released pending his appeal.


Britain returns Byzantine icon
20th November ekathimerini / AP

A Byzantine icon that was stolen from a monastery in northern Greece 30 years ago and ended up in
the hands of a London-based art collector a few years ago, has been returned to Greece, the Culture
Ministry said yesterday. The 14th-century painting, which shows Christ being taken down from the
cross, disappeared from a monastery in the northern town of Serres in 1978. Greek authorities traced
its whereabouts in 2002 when a British collector, who is reportedly of Greek origin, attempted to sell
it. Greek authorities alerted the British police after the collector allegedly refused to hand over the
painting despite being shown evidence that it had been illegally smuggled out of the country. A British
court finally ruled earlier this year that the painting should be returned to Greece, dismissing an appeal
from the collector who has owned it for the past six years.
The icon is to be returned to the John the Baptist Monastery in Serres after undergoing restoration at
Athens’s Byzantine and Christian Museum. Liapis said security would be intensified at the museum to
prevent another theft. “The Culture Ministry does not encourage domestic ‘Elginism,’” he said.



Somali Pirates Seized Greek Ship
19th November 2008 ΝΕΤ 105.8, ΑΠΕ , Reuters

Somali pirates "seized a Greek ship" Tuesday, in the Gulf of Aden with about 25 crew on board, despite
a large international naval presence in the waters off their lawless country. "The pirates are sending
out a message to the world that 'we can do what we want, we can think the unthinkable, do the
unexpected'," Andrew Mwangura, coordinator of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Program, told
Reuters in Mombasa.
His group, which monitors attacks at sea, said the Greek ship was taken Tuesday in the Gulf of Aden
with about 25 crew on board. He had no further details but it followed the hijacking of a Hong Kong-
flagged ship and its 25 member crew, the 8th in 12 days, carrying grain and bound for Iran while in
another incident a Thai fishing boat with a 16 member crew was hijacked off Somalia's coast
Early on Tuesday, the captured Saudi supertanker, anchored off Somalia, 300km north of Mogadishu.
The vessel, the size of three football pitches, owned by "Aramco" is carrying two million barrels of
crude oil worth as much as 100 million dollars and is the largest hijack in history. According to a pirates
statement to Al Zazira, the captors are asking for ransom to release crew members. Negotiators are on
the tanker and on the coast and the case will be resolved when they agree on the ransom.


Error on map ‘sank liner’ in Santorini
November 18th ekathimerini

The shipping firm that owns the Sea Diamond cruise liner, which struck a reef and sank off Santorini in
April last year, yesterday declared itself cleared of responsibility for the incident after the Hellenic
Navy published a map indicating that an original plan of the area had been inaccurate.
The new map reportedly shows the reef to be 113 meters away from the island’s coast and not 58
meters as shown on the previous map. The map also determines that the depth of the water at the
spot of the collision is 5 meters and not 18 to 22 meters as the original map had indicated.
“These official findings vindicate the stance the cruise liner owner has insisted upon for the past year,
namely that, based on the official map in use at the time, the course that the Sea Diamond followed
when approaching Santorini had been absolutely safe,” Louis Cruise Lines said in a statement. The
Merchant Marine Ministry refused to comment on the development yesterday.



Minor clashes as thousands mark Greek uprising of November 17th
Associated Press  17th November 2008

Police clashed with demonstrators outside the U.S. Embassy in Athens on Monday during an annual
march through central Athens to mark the anniversary of a student uprising.
About 100 youths broke away from a peaceful rally of about 10,000 people marking the 35th anniversary
of the student uprising against the military dictatorship that ruled Greece from 1967-74. Some hurled
Molotov cocktails and rocks at riot police outside the embassy, where they had marched to protest
America's support for the junta at the time.
Heavy rainfall quickly extinguished the fire from the crude bombs and the youths dispersed after police
responded with tear gas and gave chase.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or arrests.


Greek TV reporter dies after Afghan road accident
The Associated Press   November 16, 2008

A Greek journalists' union says a war correspondent with state-run television has died from injuries
sustained in a road accident in Afghanistan last month.
Giorgos Koiliaris had worked for several newspapers and radio stations before he started working for
the NET broadcaster. The 53-year-old specialized in reporting on wars from around the globe, beginning
in Lebanon in the 1980s.
The journalists' union said Sunday that Koiliaris died in an Athens hospital late Saturday. He was
seriously injured in the road accident on Oct.8 and was evacuated to Abu Dhabi and then Greece.


NBG cuts credit card rates
14th November 2008 Athens Plus

National Bank, the country’s largest lender,
said on Tuesday it was cutting its credit card
rates by 1 percent as of December 1, which
would now vary between 13 and 16.55 percent,
depending on the type of card. It will also offer a
preferential 10 percent rate to card holders for paying off debts of up to 10,000 euros


Greece takes last place for harmonisation with European legislation  
12 November 2008 FOCUS News Agency

Brussels. Greece takes 27th place for harmonisation with European legislation among EU member states,
Greek AHA-MPA agency reports, citing EC official data. The presented data, in reference to Greek MEP
Dimitris Papadimulis’ question to the EC, show that Greece takes 27th position. Bulgaria and Romania
are before it. The Commission had already started legal proceedings against Greece under 34 EU
directives that are included in the international legislation. The most problematic fields are judiciary,
freedom and security.



Migrants protest - 15 on hunger strike in Hania
12th November 2008 ekathimerini
Fifteen migrants went on hunger strike outside the town hall in Hania, Crete, yesterday to highlight the
fact that they have not been given residence permits. The migrants also pitched eight tents in front of
the building and said they would not leave until they have been issued the permits. Dozens of other
migrants gathered to offer their support. It is estimated that some 500 migrants have submitted
applications but have yet to be granted residence papers.


After 42 km, Athens Marathon decided on finish line
10th November 2008 ekathimerini
Kenyan Nicholas Paul Lekuraa (r) edges out compatriots Julius Seurei Kiprotich (l) and Paul Kogo to win
the Athens Classic Marathon yesterday in a record time of 2 hours, 12 minutes, 42 seconds. Japan’s Mai
Tagami won the women’s race in 2:36:58. A 60-year-old man died from heart failure while taking part in
the 10-km race.


Greek Parliament passes 2010 ban on smoking in public places
8th November 2008 ekathimerini

A bill foreseeing the imposition of a blanket ban on smoking in public places from January 1, 2010, was
voted through Parliament yesterday. The bill, which was backed by all parties, will lead to smoking
being prohibited in all restaurants, bars and offices and on public transport. In offices, and certain
other spaces, designated areas will be set aside to accommodate smokers. The ambitious legislation also
foresees fines of between 1,000 and 20,000 euros for traders found to have sold cigarettes or alcohol to
minors.


Officers raid UK betting shop in Athens
8th November 2008 ekathimerini

State gaming company OPAP showed yesterday just how determined it is to retain its monopoly on the
gambling market in Greece, as police raided the Athens premises of a UK-based sports betting group,
Stanleybet, following complaints by the Greek company.
OPAP alleged that Stanleybet set up two betting shops, in Athens and Thessaloniki, illegally, as it had no
license to do so. Under Greek law, OPAP is the only gaming company allowed to accept bets.
Police arrested two people in the Athens shop – the manager and a 20-year-old student who was
placing a bet. The latter was released after questioning. Officers also confiscated more than 5,000
euros in cash and office equipment.
Stanleybet, which has more than 1,400 outlets, says it has a legal right to provide its services in the
European Union. It cites EU law and rulings by the European Court of Justice.


National Bank comes up with aid
8th November 2008 ekathimerini

National Bank, the country’s largest lender, will put the brakes on homes being auctioned due to
default loans and give unemployed mortgage holders some slack as part of efforts to support low-
income earners and small businesses, it said yesterday.
The country’s banks have been accused by the country’s top political leaders of adopting excessively
tight lending practices that are taking a toll on the economy even after being offered a 28-billion-euro
state rescue plan.
In what National Bank described as being the “first set of measures,” customers defaulting on mortgage
loans worth less than 300,000 euros will not see their first homes go under the hammer for six months.
Additionally, unemployed customers can put off paying monthly home loan payments for a year, while a
new 100-million-euro fund to finance small and medium-sized businesses will be launched.
“National Bank will continue the smooth flow of finance toward businesses and households, making use
of its liquidity and supporting the national economy,” the bank said in a statement.
The plan comes in response to comments from Development Minister Christos Folias who earlier said
National Bank and other lenders are being investigated for adopting “abusive practices.” According to
the minister, consumers have filed complaints against lenders for upping credit card interest rates and
charges without previously informing them.
The European Central Bank reduced its key interest rate by half a percentage point to 3.25 percent
yesterday.


Investigation into Hania police
4th November 2008   Patris.gr

Internal Affairs officers are investigating allegations that officers of ELAS in the Chania prefecture are
involved with hashish growers and foreign criminal elements in the region. Also under investigation are
possible irregularities in the Chania prefecture with police overtime and special allowance payments.


Summer in November ... 30 Degrees!
3rd November 2008

The weekend brought high November temperatures to Crete as the thermometer hit 30 degrees
according to the Heraklion Patris newspaper. Beaches across the island were busy as Cretans made the
most of the unseasonal weather. However the forecast from today and for the rest of the week is a
little cooler as the wind changes from southerly  to northerly..

Qatar Airlines, Iberia could bid for Olympic Airlines: Greek state TV
3rd November 2008 AFP

Qatar Airlines and Iberia are among more than a dozen investors which have expressed a preliminary
interest in buying parts of ailing Greek national carrier Olympic Airlines, state television NET said on
Monday.

Citing transport ministry sources, NET said at least 18 candidates including airlines and private funds
tabled non-binding declarations of interest in the first phase of an international tender that ended on
October 31.

Without naming the candidates, Transport Minister Costis Hatzidakis told reporters the Greek
government was satisfied with the investor lineup.

"Of course there is satisfaction. Never in the past, in any process to privatise Olympic, had there been
such a preliminary interest," he said.

The Greek government will study the offers and release the candidate list in the coming days, NET said.

Greece wants to sell the airlines by the end of the year. The bids and selection process will be
surveyed by a third-party proxy.

The sale involves three separate parts of the company -- airline services, ground handling and technical
maintenance.

The investor or investors chosen will be obliged to keep the name Olympic, the logo and the existing
flight slots.

Greek governments have spent years seeking private investors to take over Olympic Airlines, which is
crippled with debt, but the process was complicated by the European Commission's demand that the
company repay illegal state aid.

The privatisation has divided the company's employees, many of whom have been offered early
retirement packages and state jobs elsewhere.

But the Greek federation of civil aviation unions (OSPA) remains strongly opposed and has staged several
protests against the move.




________________________________________________________________________
News Archive
in Crete & Greece
November & December
2008