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|Living in Crete
Crete & Greece
May & June 2009
|SANTORINI QUAKE 5.1-level tremor ‘not a worry’
29th June 2009 ekathimerini
Seismologists reassured citizens over the weekend that a strong earthquake, measuring 5.1 on the
Richter scale, that shook the popular Aegean island of Santorini shortly before midnight on Friday was
no cause for concern. The tremor was followed by several aftershocks, the strongest of which
measured 4.7 Richter and was recorded early on Saturday afternoon.
Stormy weather prompts cancellation of festival’s 2nd day
29th June 2009 ekathimerini
The organizers of the popular Rockwave music festival, held in a field in Malakassa, north of Athens,
canceled yesterday’s show after bad weather caused damage to stages and equipment.The second
day of the festival, yesterday’s lineup had included big names such as Welsh pop-soul singer Duffy, trip-
hop artist Tricky and American alternative rock band Dinosaur Jr. Organizers are due to announce
whether today’s scheduled show, due to feature veteran rock act Motley Crue and others, will go
ahead or not. Ticketholders should check the websites www.rockwavefestival.gr and www.didimusic.gr
Athens Acropolis Museum to Open
20th June 2009 AFP
Greece's Acropolis Museum will finally be unveiled on Saturday, an ultra-modern glass building at the
foot of the ancient citadel originally intended to be open in time for the 2004 Olympics.
Designed by celebrated Franco-Swiss architect Bernard Tschumi, it offers panoramic views of the stone
citadel and showcases sculptures from the golden age of Athenian democracy in the fifth century BCE.
The three-level building set out over a total area of 25,000 square metres (270,000 square feet) will
display more than 350 artefacts and sculptures that were previously held in a small museum atop the
The third floor, with natural light streaming in, contains a reconstruction of the Parthenon Marbles. It is
based upon several elements that remain in Athens as well as copies of the marbles still housed in the
British Museum in London, which are differentiated by their white colour.
Greece has long pursued a campaign for the return of the priceless friezes, removed in 1806 by Lord
Elgin when Greece was occupied by the Ottoman Empire and which the British Museum refuses to
"For the first time visitors can see all of the friezes together and understand the problem of the
dispersion of the pieces between London and Athens," said museum president Dimitris Pantermalis.
British Museum officials were nevertheless invited to the opening of the new museum and were set to
attend, although they insisted there was no change of position on the return of the priceless artefacts.
The new museum was intended to open in time for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, but that target
date fell by the wayside due to technical and bureaucratic hurdles.Not the least of them was the
discovery of the remains of ancient buildings under the proposed site of the museum on the southern
slope of the Acropolis. The problem was resolved by incorporating the ruins into part of the museum's
20th June 2009 ekathimerini
A strong quake, measuring 5.4 on the Richter scale, struck the undersea area off the coast of Rhodes
shortly after 5 p.m. yesterday but no injuries or damage were reported. Earlier, at around 2 p.m.,
Reuters cited the US Geological Survey as reporting a 5.8-magnitude quake some 85 kilometers south
of Rhodes. Seismologists in Greece, who did not determine the quake’s magnitude, described it as
“natural seismic activity” and said there was no cause for concern.
20th June 2009 ekathimerini
Firefighters battled several blazes across the country, on the islands of Corfu and Evia as well as in
Halkidiki, northern Greece, and in Livadia, northwest of Attica, yesterday as strong winds fanned
flames. It was unclear what caused the fires, all of which had been brought under partial control by late
yesterday. Meanwhile, police in Attica detained a 47-year-old owner of a store selling hunting and
fishing equipment in connection with a large fire in Ano Glyfada earlier this week. The suspect is
believed to have started the fire by accident while doing target practice in the area.
Anti-terror officer shot dead
Witness protection guard killed while on duty; weapon linked to Sect of Revolutionaries militant
group. 18th June 2009 ekathimerini
An anti-terrorism police officer who had been guarding a witness in a terrorism trial was shot dead
yesterday in an early morning raid by gunmen outside the witness’s home in the Athens district of Ano
Nektarios Savvas, 41, had been sitting in his car when he was attacked by gunmen who shot him more
than 20 times, police said. There had been no claim of responsibility for the attack by late yesterday but
police said ballistics tests on the two pistols had linked one of the weapons to a far-left militant group
called Sect of Revolutionaries which first emerged in February with an attack on a police station in the
suburb of Korydallos. The Korydallos hit, and a subsequent attack on the premises of private television
station Alter, were ostensibly in retaliation for the police killing of a teenager in Exarchia last December.
“There was no warning, no telephone calls. This is the work of terrorists,” police spokesman Panayiotis
Stathis said, adding that 24 empty cartridge cases had been found at the scene.
Savvas had been in plain clothes and in an unmarked vehicle but locals claimed to have been aware of
his role as a witness protection officer. The 41-year-old had been just 20 minutes into his shift, which
began at 6 a.m., when the masked assailants appeared and started shooting him at nearly point blank
range in the head and chest. The gunmen, and a third man believed to have acted as a lookout, then
fled on two motorcycles, according to witnesses.
Savvas had been assigned to guard Sofia Kyriakidou, a state witness in the 2004 trial of four members
of People’s Revolutionary Struggle (ELA). The four, including Kyriakidou’s husband, received heavy jail
sentences but have since been released, most on grounds of ill health.
“End” to Card Cell Phone Anonymity
17th June 2009 ERT
Transport and Communications Minister Evripides Stylianidis presented a draft-bill providing for the
abolition of anonymity of cell card phones within efforts to contain crime. Procedures for the
identification of 13.5 million cell card phones start in July. Deadline is set till the end of July 2010 for
owners of card cell phones to go to shops of mobile phone companies with either their IDs’ or
passports for identification otherwise their numbers will be cancelled.
Fire crews quell Athens bush blaze
16th June 2009 AP
A wildfire raged uncontrolled through forest land in the outskirts of Athens, threatening homes and
power lines, a fire brigade official said on Monday.
Fanned by strong winds, the fire which quickly spread across the slopes of Mount Hymettus which
overlooks the Greek capital, sending thick clouds of smoke over the city.
"The fire is burning near homes, but only low vegetation and rubbish are in flames at this point," said a
fire brigade official who declined to be named.
More than 100 fire-fighters were battling the flames while eight aircraft and two helicopters dropped
tonnes of water to drown the blaze, which raged unabated for more than three hours.
Residents evacuated their homes, while volunteers with hoses and tree branches were struggling to
put out the fire, a Reuters witness said. Forest fires also raged in Sitia Crete, Lavrio and Evia.
Greece saw some of the deadliest forest fires in living memory in 2007, when they swept through
dozens of villages in southern Greece, during a 10-day inferno which brought the country to a state of
More measures as flu cases rise
16th June 2009 ekathimerini
A national committee set up to coordinate the response to outbreaks of swine flu in Greece yesterday
called for the vaccination of elderly and frail citizens.
The committee met with Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos after the number of H1N1 cases
diagnosed in Greece reached 21. Experts called for compulsory vaccination, as soon as it is available,
for those aged over 65 and for those over 55 who suffer from diabetes, serious respiratory or heart
problems and arteriosclerosis.
The number of H1N1 cases in Greece reached 21 over the weekend with the diagnosis of a 10-year-old
child who arrived in Greece from the US and a 20-year-old Peruvian who arrived in Athens from New
York. With an increasing number of tourists arriving in Greece, authorities have asked hotel managers
to ensure that visitors with symptoms of the flu are transferred to hospital immediately.
Greece to impose smoking ban on July 1
12th June 2009 AFP
Greece will impose a tobacco ban in public places on July 1 in its third attempt in a decade to stamp out
the habit in Europe's biggest-smoking nation, the health ministry said Thursday.
Under the terms of a law voted a year ago, thousands of restaurants and bars over 70 square metres
will have to build sealed-off smoking areas.
Establishments under that size must choose whether to accept smokers or go entirely tobacco-free,
while those lighting up illegally will face fines up to 500 euros (703 dollars).
"Our society is more ready than ever to embrace this," Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos told a
Around 20,000 Greeks die every year from tobacco-related ailments and around 42 percent of the
population smokes according to European Commission figures, ahead of Bulgaria (39 percent) and
Latvia (37 percent).
The anti-smoking push is the third this decade, after legislation passed in 2002 and 2003 outlawing
smoking in public places was mostly ignored.
"In Greece we are used to saying that laws are passed but not enforced," conceded Avramopoulos.
"Smoking is already prohibited in hospitals but the ban is not obeyed."
"We will all be judged here...this is the start of an effort to change the mentality on what is this
country's most crucial public health issue," he said.
A 2007 survey found the number of smokers in Greece had risen 10 percent in a decade while other
developed nations were kicking the habit.
11th June 2009 ekathimerini
A 40-year-old nightclub owner was shot dead in broad daylight yesterday afternoon while leaving a
cafe in the Athens district of Galatsi. The victim died instantly after being shot three times, twice in the
head and once in the chest, at virtually point-blank range by two gunmen who then fled by motorcycle.
According to police, the 40-year-old, who owned a string of night spots, had survived two previous
attempts on his life, one outside his home in Kalogreza, north of Athens, and another in Aghioi
Anargyroi, western Athens, in a hit using a homemade bomb.
10th June 2009 ekathimerini
An Olympic Airlines flight from Athens to New York with 95 passengers and 12 crew on board was
forced to return to Athens International Airport yesterday just an hour after takeoff as the captain
reported a reading that one of the Airbus A-340’s engines was on fire. No fire was visible but the
captain was instructed to turn back to Athens, where engineers found there had been a short circuit in
the plane’s display panel.
Greek power workers set summer strikes over jobs
9th June 2009 Reuters
Workers at Public Power Corp Greece's biggest electricity company, said they will strike next month to
press for 7,000 new hirings.
Labour walkouts last year led to widespread power cuts, forcing state-controlled PPC to shut down
units and boost imports from Bulgaria and Italy.
PPC employees will stop working overtime for two weeks from June 29 and hold rolling 24-hour strikes
after July 20, labour union leader Nikos Fotopoulos told Reuters on Tuesday.
Greece's electricity grid is particularly strained in the summer heat, when residents and tourists turn up
Workers want PPC, which posted a record 219.5 million euro ($304.7 million) profit in the first quarter,
to hire 7,000 new staff to reduce strain on current employees and cut accidents.
PPC said four of its employees have died in accidents since the beginning of the year.
6th June 2009 ekathimerini
A small explosive device went off outside a travel agency near Hania on Crete early yesterday, but
caused more damage to a neighboring house rather than the business, police said. The explosion
occurred at 1.40 a.m. and led to all the windows in the house next to the travel agency being smashed.
The elderly couple living in the house was not injured. Police did not suggest a motive for the attack.
Policeman seriously injured in April shootout dies
6th June 2009 ANA
Α 30-year-old police officer seriously injured during a shootout with a pair of armed suspects two
months ago died on Friday from his wounds.
The policeman, Spyros Theodorou, was shot by at least one man during a routine check on what turned
out to be the former's accomplice, an incident that occurred in the central Kypseli district.
Theodorou remained hospitalised in an Athens hospital's ICU since the shooting on April 3.
"I would like to express my sincerest grief and condolences to the family of the slain officer, Spyros
Theodorou, who fell in the line of duty," Deputy Interior Minister Christos Markoyiannakis said upon
being informed of the officer's passing.
Greece loses big in slot-machine gamble
5th June 2009 ekathimerini
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) yesterday ordered Greece to pay a fine of more than 3 million
euros because it has failed to repeal a law that bans all types of slot machines across the country.
The ECJ also ruled that Greece will have to pay a further penalty of 31,536 euros for each day that it
fails to change the law so slot machines can be installed in bars and cafes.
The law against electronic gambling was passed in 2002. It aimed to stop the use of thousands of slot
machines that had sprung up in arcades and cafes across the country, as the government feared they
were having a negative impact on small communities. It was then extended to cover all games in public
areas apart from those in licensed casinos. In October 2006, the European court found that the law
violated certain principles of EU legislation, including the free movement of goods and services
PM says he may change or scrap law due to abuse
5th June 2009 ekathimerini
The government is considering introducing stricter guidelines to prevent the abuse of the university
asylum system, according to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. In an interview with Antenna TV, the
premier said that his government may even think about repealing the law, which prevents police from
entering university grounds without permission, because it is so frequently abused. On Wednesday, a
group of some 20 people forced their way into the Athens Technical College and attacked two teachers
before daubing slogans on the walls. They were protesting a decision to put several anarchists on trial.
Tourist Guides say bill on wrong path
4th June 2009 ekathimerini
Tourist guides in Greece are putting pressure on the government not to change the law and open their
profession to people who are less qualified and do not speak Greek.
A bill due to be submitted to Parliament, before its summer recess started early, would have allowed
anyone with an archaeology or history of art degree to become a guide.
“This would allow foreign graduates to come here and work in our profession,” the president of the
Panhellenic Federation of Tourist Guides Chryssa Karageorgi told Kathimerini, while pointing out that a
guide in Greece has to take 26 different classes to obtain a license.
The bill also proposes that guides do not have to know Greek. “Is it possible for a guide not to be able
to read a sign at a museum,” asked Karageorgi.
Kriton Piperas, the head of the Union of Athens Guides claimed the measure was aimed at allowing tour
operators to use cheaper foreign guides and that it would lead to a deterioration in the quality of
Truth is out – TV show banned
3rd June 2009 ekathimerini
Greece’s broadcasting watchdog yesterday announced that it was banning Antenna TV from airing the
controversial program “The Moment of Truth” any longer. In a majority decision, the National Television
and Radio Council (ESR) decided that the show, in which contestants are required to answer revealing
questions about themselves, should not be broadcast anymore because it was offensive and
demeaning for participants.
Red tape, protests slow wind power projects
30th May 2009 ekathimerini
Bureaucracy and public opposition are thwarting wind energy projects and sending would-be investors
to less developed countries that have taken bolder steps to harness this clean technology, experts
have told Kathimerini.
“Wind energy is moving at a snail’s pace due to the lack of political will,” said Dimitris Ibrahim of
Greenpeace, noting that less than 1,000 megawatts per year are produced via wind, as compared to a
target of 3,500 MW by 2010. According to Yiannis Tsipouridis, president of the Hellenic Wind Energy
Association, licenses can take up to seven years to issue. “Investors are turning to more welcoming
countries, such as Turkey and Bulgaria, which have simplified bureaucracy,” he said.
Public opposition at sites slated for wind park construction is another barrier, as residents fear a
negative impact on real estate prices and tourism.
Cafe owner shoots himself
28th May 2009 ekathimerini
A cafe owner from the western Athens suburb of Aghia Varvara was found dead in his establishment
yesterday after apparently committing suicide. Police said that the 55-year-old, who was not named,
had probably shot himself the previous night. Officers indicated that the businessmen had run up some
large debts. If this is confirmed, he will be the fourth person in Greece this month known to have
committed suicide due to financial problems, police said.
SWINE FLU - UK-based student confirmed as third Greek carrying the virus
27th May 2009 ert.gr
A third H1N1 case was confirmed early on Wednesday in Greece. As per the announcement issued by
the Health Ministry, it is a Greek subject, aged 21, who returned from Edinburg along with the second
Greek who was tested positive to the swine flu. Health Ministry Dimitris Avramopoulos has called an
emergency sitting of the expert committee set up to address the new type of flu. The Ministry yet again
reiterated that public health in Greece runs no risk and that everything is under control.
Muslim groups call for calm; legal suit lodged against officer alleged to have torn Quran
27th May 2009 ekathimerini
Tensions simmered yesterday in parts of central Athens with large immigrant populations, following a
weekend of protests by Muslims at a police officer’s alleged defacement of a Quran and an attack by
suspected far-rightists on a makeshift mosque.
Groups representing Muslim immigrants called on authorities to be cautious in their reaction to the
weekend’s developments so as not to fuel anger. Meanwhile, the police force insisted that its ties with
immigrant community groups were good and blamed the violent outbursts that marred a protest by
immigrants in central Athens on Friday on “a small minority of extremists on the fringes of the
Greece's Aegean Airlines to join Star Alliance
26th May 2009 Reuters
Greek carrier Aegean Airlines will join Star Alliance, which includes UAL Corp's United, Germany's
Lufthansa, Air Canada and Continental, a company official said on Tuesday.
Aegean, which competes with former state carrier Olympic Airlines, will hold a press conference later on
Tuesday. Members of the airline alliance cooperate on route scheduling and revenue sharing. The Star
Alliance competes with two other alliances -- Sky Team and Oneworld.
Brits in Cretan court for bare-faced cheek
26th May 2009 ekathimerini
A group of 17 British tourists holidaying on the island of Crete were freed by a court in Iraklion
yesterday after spending 24 hours in detention for wandering around the popular tourist resort of Malia
wearing nun costumes and allegedly flashing their backsides at residents.
The British men, all residents of the southwestern city of Bristol and aged between 18 and 60, had
faced charges of causing a scandal through provocative acts. They walked free after no witnesses
turned up in court to testify that their behavior had been offensive. The men appeared in court in the
same clothes they were wearing when arrested, according to police who said they had been “dressed
like nuns, carrying crosses, but wearing thongs under their skirts and showing people their bottoms.”
Malia has become notorious for the antics of alcohol-fueled Britons visiting for vacations or stag
26th May 2009 ekathimerini
While much of the country was bathed in brilliant sunshine yesterday, farmers in Trikala, central Greece,
were counting the cost of the damage wreaked by a freak hailstorm. State assessors went to the area
to examine for themselves claims that crops, greenhouses and equipment for livestock farming over an
area of some 300 hectares had been damaged by hailstones.
Diver dies on filming project
25th May 2009 ekathimerini
A British diver who was part of an underwater crew that was filming the wreck of the HMHS Britannic off
the island of Kea (Tzia) for National Geographic magazine died yesterday from suspected
The 37-year-old diver was taken by helicopter from the small Cycladic island near Lavrion to the Greek
Navy hospital in Athens after losing consciousness, but doctors there were unable to revive him.
The Athens News Agency named the man as Carl Spencer, an experienced diver who led an expedition
in 2003 to film the Britannic, a former White Star ocean liner and sister ship to the Titanic, which was
turned into a floating hospital in World War I, but which sunk off Kea in 1916 after hitting a German
A 17-member National Geographic crew had been given permission to film the wreck between May 19
and 31, according to the Merchant Marine Ministry.
BATTLE OF CRETE
Red Arrows take to sky ahead of memorial service
25th May 2009 ekathimerini
Britain’s Royal Air Force aerobatic team, the Red Arrows, entertained crowds on Crete on Saturday
ahead of a service yesterday to remember the Allied soldiers and locals who were killed during the
Battle of Crete 68 years ago. More than 3,500 people died trying to prevent the Nazi invasion of the
island in 1941. Deputy Defense Minister Yiannis Plakiotakis, who attended the memorial service, said
the sacrifices made by the Cretans during the battle was “one of the most glorious pages of modern
21st May 2009 ekathimerini
The State Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OLME) said yesterday that some 20,000 substitute
teachers will not be paid for work they have carried out until the start of the new academic year. OLME
says the total amount owed to the teachers stands at 31 million euros. The federation blames the
Economy and Finance Ministry for the problem.
A famous Cretan businessman abducted and killed
20th May/ 22nd May 2009 update GR Reporter & Ekathimerini
50 year old businessman Yannis Kipriotakis was found charred in the trunk of his car at 01:30am.
Yannis Kipriotakis owned a factory, which is producing paint in the Industrial part of Iraklio – the capital
of Crete. The businessman, who was abducted Monday night, was a father of three children. On
Monday afternoon he received a phone call from an unknown individual, who told him to go to Vasileos
region, near to Iraklio, in order to look at a building and decide whether he wants to paint it or not.
The businessman went to the arranged meeting but after that his tracks were lost. After he was
abducted, his kidnappers called his family and asked for a ransom of €300 000. His wife was the one
who was negotiating with the criminals under the supervision of the police and the required ransom
was decreased to €154 000.
Yesterday, at 10:00pm the wife of the 50 year old businessman was supposed to leave the money at
an abandoned place near Gouves village in the Iraklio region. The woman carried out all conditions and
when the abductors got in touch with her, they told her that she will find her husband in two hours at
an abandoned place near another village close to Iraklio. When the woman arrived at the right place
with her relatives, she found Kipriotakis’ car burnt with his body in the trunk.
Tests now show that he had been strangled prior to being burned, police said yesterday. Officers said
the victim, might have been killed after recognizing his kidnappers, as his family had provided the
ransom demanded on time.
Flu risk is played down
20th May 2009 ekathimerini
Student diagnosed with H1N1 ‘stable’ as tests carried out on 16 friends, relatives
Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos yesterday said that Greece’s first case of swine flu did not pose
any threat to public health, as tests were carried out on 16 friends and relatives of the 19-year-old
Greek student who was diagnosed with the virus over the weekend.
The minister stressed that the country was well prepared to deal with the virus, noting that several
hospitals in Athens, Thessaloniki and other major cities had been put on standby and that specialist
medical teams had been set up at major airports to detect other suspect cases.
By late yesterday, tests on the relatives and friends of the 19-year-old had not revealed any indication
that they had contracted the H1N1 virus. The 19-year-old was said to be in stable condition in Athens’s
Man kills wife, jumps off balcony with sons
20th May 2009 ekathimerini
A 40-year-old man yesterday stabbed his 26-year-old wife to death in their home in the southern
Athens district of Kallithea before grabbing his two sons, aged 2 and 3 years old, and jumping off the
balcony of his fifth-floor apartment, killing himself and his youngest son, police said.
The 3-year-old boy was in the intensive-care unit of an Athens hospital yesterday after sustaining
serious injuries in the fall, which occurred at around 3.30 p.m. The man and his sons had landed on the
roof of an adjacent three-story building.
The 40-year-old had earlier used a kitchen knife to repeatedly stab his wife in the throat, according to
police, who said they found a note in the apartment explaining the reasons for the attack. No details
were provided about the content of the note.
Greece recovers stolen antiquities from Germany, Belgium, Britain
Earthtimes 19th May 2009
Germany, Belgium and Britain have returned hundreds of priceless artifacts to Greece, the oldest a 5th
century coin, Greek Culture Ministry officials said Tuesday. Among the items retuned from Germany
included 96 copper and ceramic pots and vessels, dating from the 3rd or 4th century BC from Thessaly,
in northern Greece.
Officials said the items were seized by customs authorities at Nuremberg, Germany in 2007 in a truck
arriving from Greece.
"Many of these items were returned with the cooperation of German authorities and the Greek Consul
General in Munich," Culture Minister Antonis Samaras said at a presentation of the newly displayed
items at the Archaeological Museum in Athens.
The minister presented hundreds of fragments of pottery and copper coins dating from the 5th to 3rd
century BC which were returned to Greece from Belgium.
Samaras also unveiled a piece of marble, dating from the 11th or 12th century, taken from a Byzantine
temple in the Ancient Agora by a British tourist in the 1950's.
The marble fragment was returned recently to the Greek Embassy in London by a family member of the
British tourist, saying they supported the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.
First swine flu case in Greece
19th May ekathimerini
Health Ministry officials are to hold an emergency meeting this morning after tests on a 19-year-old
Greek student who recently returned to Athens from the US confirmed that he has been infected with
Deputy Health Minister Giorgos Papageorgiou confirmed late yesterday that the student, who returned
to Athens on Saturday after nearly five months in the US, had tested positive for the potentially lethal
H1N1 flu strain. But the official sought to play down the development. “There is no reason for concern...
The patient is in good condition. His fever and general condition are not worrying us,” Papageorgiou
The 19-year-old, who underwent tests for H1N1 at Athens’s Sismanogleio Hospital, was to undergo
another set of tests at the Hellenic Pasteur Institute, an organization for scientific and public health
research, a ministry spokesperson said.
Arsonists amok in major cities
18th May 2009 ekathimerini
Suspected anarchists staged a barrage of arson attacks in Athens and Thessaloniki early yesterday,
causing damage to firms supplying military and security equipment as well as car dealerships supplying
police but causing no injuries.
The blasts in the capital, caused by gas canister bombs, targeted several stores in the city and
northern suburbs. In most cases the damage was not very extensive, though the attack on a Skoda
dealership in Holargos was more serious. A Suzuki car dealership in Kypseli was also targeted. The two
firms supply the police with cars and motorcycles.
There was similar trouble in Thessaloniki. In one incident unidentified vandals broke into a state-run
depot used to store impounded vehicles and torched four cars. Another attack involved suspected
anarchists hurling Molotov cocktails at the guardhouse of the Thessaloniki International Fair premises
opposite the main campus of Aristotle University.
Greek Civil Servants' Strike 14th May - Flight delays and cancellations
13th May 2009
Air traffic controllers are set to walk off the job Thursday 14th May between 10 am and 2pm in Greece's
latest strike action by ADEDY, the public sector union, members. Passengers who are due to travel
Thursday should call their airline for information. The strike action by air traffic controllers mean that
there will be no flights arriving or departing from Greece between 10 am and 2pm on 14th May, causing
delays and some cancellations.
Civil servants and hospital workers are holding the 24 hour general strike in opposition to recent labour
reforms and privatization.
13th May 2009 ekathimerini
A 45-year-old man died of injuries he sustained while working at the port of Iraklion on Crete
yesterday. The man, who was not named, was captaining a tugboat when a crane struck him. He died
of internal bleeding.
Bomb blast wrecks bank in Athens, no injuries
12th May 2009 Reuters
A powerful bomb wrecked a Greek bank in the outskirts of Athens early on Tuesday, damaging nearby
cars and blowing out windows across the street but causing no injuries, police said.
The bombing, outside the Greek Eurobank in the southeastern Argyroupoli district, was the latest of
several attacks in the Greek capital in the months following the police killing of a teenager in December.
"We believe it is a terrorist attack. The anti-terrorism squad is investigating the remnants of the bomb
and the area," said a police source.
An anonymous caller warned a Greek newspaper that a bomb would explode within 30 minutes.
"No one has been injured but there is significant material damage," the police said. The bomb exploded
at 0405 local time they said.
Greece has suffered a string of anarchist and leftist bombing and arson attacks aimed at domestic and
foreign firms, including several banks, since December's widespread rioting.
Greece bars Google's Street View pending details
11th May 2009 AFP
Greece's data protection agency Monday barred Google from taking any more images on the nation's
streets for its Street View feature, pending "additional information" from the US search engine service.
In a statement, it said it wants Google to disclose how long it intends to keep the images it takes, and
what steps it is taking to alert residents liable to be photographed of their rights.
For the same reasons, the Greek Data Protection Authority also suspended a comparable service run by
Greek Internet service provider Kapou which depicted streets in Athens, Thessaloniki and Larissa cities.
Launched two years ago in the United States, Street View gives Google users a 360-degree view of
any given street. In response to critics, Google says it blurs out the faces of any passers-by caught by
Cretan farmers protest in Athens
6th May 2009 AFP
Farmers from Crete staged a rally outside the Economy Ministry in Syntagma square in downtown
Athens today, in demand of materialisation of the government's promises.
Approximately 1,500 farmers, accompanied by a delegation of local administration officials, arrived on
Wednesday morning in Piraeus port on ships from Hania and Heraklion.
The farmers want to meet with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to submit to him a memorandum
listing their demands.
The protestors are calling for measures to support olive crops, viniculture and early garden produce
The protest is causing traffic jams, but has been peaceful. In a similar protest in February, extensive
clashes broke out after police refused to let the farmers drive their tractors through the capital.
On your bike
6th May 2009 ekathimerini
The Transport Ministry has signed a decision that will lead to the setting up of Greece’s first
roadworthiness tests (KTEO) for the country’s 700,000 motorcycles and scooters. Sources said
yesterday that the ministry is hoping that by next year several private centers will have been
established where motorcycles will be subject to tests similar to those currently conducted on cars.
Owners of bikes that are more than four years old will be the first to be called to undergo the tests.
They will then have to visit the centers every two years.
Rhodes court annuls same-sex marriages
6th May 2009 ekathimerini
A court on Rhodes yesterday annulled the country’s first same-sex marriages, conducted last June on
the island of Tilos, noting that state law includes no provisions for gay unions.
The court on Rhodes, which has jurisdiction over all the Dodecanese islands, issued its ruling in
response to appeals lodged by a local prosecutor against the two couples – two men and two women
– and against Tilos Mayor Tassis Aliferis. The prosecutor had asked for both unions to be declared null
and void. Reacting to the verdict, the lawyer representing the two couples and the mayor described the
prosecutor’s appeals as “unacceptable and groundless.”
“The prevention of marriage between homosexuals strikes at the very heart of civil rights, namely self-
determination and freedom,” Aliferis said. The two couples yesterday vowed to appeal to the European
Court of Justice.
Greece votes against indicting ex-minister
5th May 2009 AFP
Greece's parliament voted early Tuesday against indicting a former minister in a corruption probe that
could have forced early elections on the embattled conservative government.
A vote on whether to indict former minister Aristotelis Pavlidis, now a ruling party MP, over an alleged
bribery scandal fell short of the 151 ballots required with only 146 lawmakers voting in favour and 144
Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis had come under increasing party pressure to oust Pavlidis on
moral grounds even though this would have erased the government's one-seat majority in parliament,
raising the prospect of snap elections with the opposition socialists holding a firm lead in opinion polls.
Such a prospect is now less likely but Tuesday's secret ballot vote was not bloodless for the
conservatives as a number of their MPs failed to support the party line to reprieve Pavlidis on lack of
The 66-year-old former minister came under investigation after a shipowner claimed he had to pay
bribes to stay in the running in a contract for state-subsidised Aegean island ferry routes.
Wife of officer shot in Zoniana drops suit
5th May 2009 ekathimerini
As the trial of 42 suspects from the Cretan village of Zoniana resumed yesterday at an Athens appeals
court, the wife of Stathis Lazaridis, the special guard who was seriously wounded in a shower of bullets
when police raided the village in November 2007, said she was dropping her civil suit against the
Lazaridis’s wife, who did not specify her reasons for withdrawing as a civil plaintiff in the trial but is
believed to have been intimidated, said she would seek compensation for her family’s ordeal. “I cannot
tell you the reasons but there are many,” Maria Lazaridou told the court. “If Stathis was here he could
take the decisions. I just want him to get better and for the perpetrators to be punished,” she added.
Lazaridis has been left paralyzed from the neck down after being shot in the head during the botched
police raid in November 2007. The injured officer’s wife insisted that her action “would not have any
essential impact on the trial.”
Outside the courthouse after the proceedings yesterday, relatives of some of the younger defendants
claimed that the latter were scapegoats for the real criminals of Zoniana. The uncle of one defendant
said: “Those beasts with the moustaches and the big fists are roaming free. For these kids, jail would
be a disaster.”
Swine flu - Minister heralds campaign, British singer in Greek hospital
4th May 2009 ekathimerini
Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said on Saturday that checks had been intensified at the country’
s land borders and airports to ensure that suspected cases of swine flu are detected. Speaking after
an emergency meeting with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, attended also by Interior Minister
Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Education Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos, Avramopoulos said that his ministry
would soon launch an awareness campaign in schools about the risks of swine flu which has killed
dozens worldwide. Meanwhile the BBC reported that a British pop star of Greek origin, Tulisa
Contostavlos of N-Dubz, is in an Athens hospital being tested for swine flu after falling ill on a flight to
Greece. No details about her symptoms were revealed.
Cab fares up as young, old get cheaper travel
2nd May 2009 ekathimerini
As taxis hiked their fares yesterday, the first in a series of increases that will double charges over the
next year, a new measure offering reduced fees on public transport for the young and the elderly came
Taxi fare charges are now up 33 percent to 48 cents from 36 cents per kilometer. The next increase will
be in November, when the rate will rise to 60 cents, and the final hike is due in May 2010, when it will
reach 72 cents. The minimum charge for a cab ride, 3.80 euros, will not change. In exchange for the
fare increase, cabbies have vowed to stop common violations such as overcharging and taking on
Meanwhile, a government initiative that also came into effect yesterday offers half-price tickets on the
metro, bus, trolley bus and tram for under-18s and over-65s as well as foreign students visiting from