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|Living in Crete
Crete & Greece
October to December 2009
Last-minute shoppers flock to city center
31st December 2009 ekathimerini
The center of Athens was full of last-minute shoppers yesterday as many Greeks prefer to exchange gifts on
January 1, rather than Christmas Day. According to store owners, festive season turnover from clothing and
footwear items is down between 20 and 25 percent relative to last year’s levels, as many consumers are
waiting to take advantage of winter sales commencing January 15. Meanwhile, data released by the National
Statistical Service yesterday showed that Greece’s retail sales by volume fell 15.3 percent year-on-year in
October after a 8.7 percent drop in September. Retail sales by turnover dropped 14 percent year-on-year in
October after a 7.5 percent drop in the previous month.
29th December 2009 ekathimerini
Police in Hania, Crete, were yesterday searching for three men suspected of attacking another three people at
a local bar in the early hours. A German woman, a Moroccan man and a Palestinian man had to be taken to
hospital for treatment after the three suspects punched them and struck them with various objects. The
motive for the attack was not clear.
Second taxi driver killed in Thessaloniki
28th December 2009 ekathimerini
Police were yesterday investigating the brutal murder of a 32-year-old Thessaloniki taxi driver who was found
stabbed to death in his cab in the early hours of Christmas Day.
According to a coroner’s report, the unnamed cabbie had been stabbed six times in the neck. His vehicle was
discovered in the Pylaia neighborhood.
Officers have ruled out the possibility that the unnamed driver was killed during a botched mugging as they
discovered that he still had cash on him.
Police are also examining the driver’s mobile phone, which was found in the car. They are not ruling out the
possibility that this attack was linked to a fatal assault a few weeks ago on a cabbie in the northern city’s Ano
As a mark of respect, Thessaloniki taxi drivers did not begin work before 2 p.m. on Boxing Day.
Grief over ship tragedy, measures pledged
27th December 2009 ANA-MPA
The government expressed grief over the loss of nine seamen, including three Greeks, in a Christmas Day fire
aboard the Greek-owned bulk carrier Aegean Wind off the coast of Venezuela, and pledged that the causes
and circumstances of the tragedy will be investigated in depth and all measures to avert such accidents in the
future will be taken.
Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping minister Louka Katseli, in a message, expressed her "deep grief for
the loss of our seamen, both Greek and foreign", and the government's "unconditional support to their
"For our seamen traveling all over the world, the family warmth and peace of these holy days is not a given.
The tragic event on the Aegean Wind confirms that, even on Christmas Day, danger lurks," Katseli said, adding
that the ministry's services were mobilised from the first moment upon learning of the incident.
She pledged that the causes and conditions of the tragedy would be investigated in depth, aimed at the
taking of all measures deemed necessary to avert other such situations in the future.
Greece: Austerity Budget Passed
24th December 2009 NYtimes.com
The Greek Parliament passed a 2010 austerity budget on Thursday that is aimed at reining in Greece’s soaring
deficit by cutting public spending by 10 percent and cracking down on tax evasion. Elected in October, the
Socialist government of George A. Papandreou faces an acute financial crisis in a country widely seen as the
weak link in the 16-member euro zone. Three international ratings agencies downgraded Greece’s debt this
month after it emerged that its deficit was 12.7 percent of gross domestic product, four times the ceiling set by
the European monetary union and twice what the previous government had reported. Prime Minister
Papandreou has vowed to bring the deficit to below 9.4 percent next year.
COSTAS KARELIAS - VP of largest Greek cigarette firm found dead next to yacht
24th December 2009 ekathimerini
Costas Karelias, the vice president of the Karelia Tobacco Company, Greece's largest cigarette manufacturer,
was yesterday found drowned next to his yacht, which was moored at a marina in the Peloponnesian port of
Kalamata. Police said employees at the marina discovered the 65-year-old's body in the early hours. Officers
were awaiting the results of an autopsy and forensic tests on Karelias's boat and car, which was parked next
to the marina, before commenting on the cause of death.
24th December 2009 ekathimerini
A 40-year-old man injured in a blast at an olive oil processing plant on Crete on Sunday died yesterday.
Doctors at Athens's KAT hospital said Giorgos Hasourakis, a father of two, suffered third-degree burns to 90
percent of his body in the accident.
Citizenship draft law hailed by immigrants
24th December 2009 ekathimerini
The decision to introduce a new law that will grant citizenship to second-generation immigrants in Greece was
yesterday applauded by both migrants and groups that promote their rights.
The Cabinet approved on Tuesday a draft law that would allow children born in Greece to parents who are
immigrants, one of whom must have been living in the country legally, to apply for Greek citizenship.
The draft law also proposes that foreign children who have attended the first three years of primary school in
Greece or a total of six years of classes at Greek schools should be eligible for citizenship.
This heralds a new era for immigrants and Greek society, which can now be called a society of equal rights,”
said lawyer Vassilis Chronopoulos, who runs the www.diavatirio.net site. “The bill shows clear progress from
the simple resident’s permits that were given to first-generation immigrants to the granting of citizenship,
which solves the problems of the second generation.”
The general secretary of the Greek Union for Human Rights (EEDA), Yiannis Ioannidis, said the bill was
“revolutionary.” However, he added that the government must re-examine the 900-euro fee that immigrants
must pay for long-term residence papers.
Greek civil servants to strike on pensions, wages
December 22nd 2009 Reuters
Greece's civil servants union ADEDY said on Tuesday it plans to hold a 24-hour strike in late January or early
February to protest against government reforms it said were being forced by markets.
"We will not accept that the cost of the crisis will be borne by our shoulders," the haead of ADEDY union
Spyros Papaspyros told Reuters. "Specific forces from the markets are attacking us, it is to them that we will
Moody's said on Tuesday that social acceptance of deficit reducing measures would be key to decide on any
further downgrade of the country's rating which it lowered one notch to A2.
May taxi fare hike put under review
17th December 2009 ekathimerini
A planned hike in taxi charges in May, when fares are due to rise to 0.72 euros per kilometer from the current
60 cents, is to be reviewed, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Dimitris Reppas said yesterday, as
cabbies prepared to increase their fares by 1 euro for the holiday period, starting tomorrow.
The planned increase in May was to be the last in a series of three incremental hikes that taxi driver unions
agreed to last April with Reppas’s conservative predecessor Evripidis Stylianidis. Reppas’s move was seen as a
belated response to a question submitted in Parliament in October by Dimitris Papadimoulos, a deputy
affiliated with the Coalition of the Radical Left. Papadimoulis had sought a freeze on the second taxi fare
increase that came into effect on November 1. Reacting to rumors of a possible freeze on scheduled fare hikes
last month, taxi unions had threatened to strike.
Standard and Poor's downgrades Greek credit rating
17th December 2009 AFP
Standard and Poor's Ratings Services on Wednesday downgraded Greece's credit rating, voicing doubts that
recent measures announced by the center-left government would be able to tame the country's ballooning
The downgrade came after another agency, Fitch, last week downgraded its own rating on Greece's national
Greece has been facing its worst debt crisis in decades amid the global recession. It faces political pressure
from the European Union to straighten out its finances and obey deficit limits intended to support the shared
Standard and Poor's said in a statement it was cutting Greece's rating from A- to BBB+ with a negative outlook.
"The downgrade reflects our opinion that the measures the Greek authorities have recently announced to
reduce the high fiscal deficit are unlikely, on their own, to lead to a sustainable reduction in the public debt
burden." the statement said.
"Moreover, we believe that the government's efforts to reform the public finances face domestic obstacles that
would likely require sustained efforts over a number of years to overcome."
Greek officials have repeatedly rejected speculation that a debt spiral might force the country to default on its
payments and have pledged to do anything necessary to right the economy, which entered recession in 2009
after years of robust growth.
But the government has shied away from salary and pension cuts in the country's bloated public sector, and is
moving slowly on crucial pension reforms.
17th December 2009 ekathimerini
Masked vandals early yesterday broke into a building in the Cretan port of Hania that accommodates a center
for immigrants, set fire to furniture and painted swastika symbols on the interior and exterior walls, according
to witnesses. The fire set by the vandals was small and fizzled out before firemen arrived at the scene,
according to police, who were given descriptions of the perpetrators but had not traced them by late last
night. There had been no one at the center at the time of the attack and so no injuries were reported.
15th December 2009 ekathimerini
The Athens Union of Journalists (ESIEA) yesterday called a 24-hour strike for Thursday, protesting recent
redundancies at newspapers and proposed reforms to the country’s pension funds that it fears will be
prejudicial to its members. The strike, due to begin at 6 a.m. on Thursday and to end at the same time the
following day, means no newspapers will circulate on Friday.
Greece's government unveils major spending cuts
14th December 2009 BBC
The Greek prime minister has unveiled a series of spending cuts, warning that the country is at risk of "sinking
under its debts".
George Papandreou said the planned cuts would include a 10% cut in both social security spending, and
overall government operating expenditures.
Calling for national unity, he vowed to reduce Greece's public deficit from the current 12% to under 3% by
He also announced a 90% tax on the bonuses of senior bank workers. Other proposals include a cut in
defence spending, pay and hiring freezes for public sector workers, and the closure of a third of Greece's
overseas tourism offices.
"We must change or sink," said Mr Papandreou, in a speech to business and union leaders.
Rectors arrive at asylum consensus
14th December 2009 ekathimerini
Rectors attending a summit on Saturday chaired by Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou agreed that the
university asylum law preventing police from entering campuses should not be abolished but effectively
enforced, as the minister called for a tally of all institutions currently under partial occupation by students or
“We reached a general consensus to work together, with specific initiatives, to ensure that the ideal of
safeguarding university asylum becomes a reality,” Diamantopoulou said.
These initiatives include determining which areas should be protected by the asylum law and which should not.
“Sidewalks and roads do not fall within the remit of the law,” the minister said. Diamantopoulou said she also
wants a list to be drawn up of all campuses, or sections of campuses, currently under occupation. “It is
unacceptable for public areas to be under occupation by individuals,” she said. Rectors will be asked to monitor
faculty buildings more carefully and, if they feel it is necessary, introduce security-boosting measures such as
the employment of guards outside campus gates or the issuing of identity cards to students.
Athens' Christmas tree gets police guard
12th December 2009 AFP
The Christmas tree adorning the Athens city centre will be given a 24-hour police guard after its predecessor
was burned to a crisp during youth riots last year, police said on Friday.The 15-metre (49-foot) metallic
structure covered with scores of small fir trees will be "discreetly" monitored by police foot patrols, a police
source told AFP.The tree, which is the centrepiece of Athens' Christmas festivities on central Syntagma Square,
is to be lit Friday night.Television footage of last year's burning tree was one of the most emblematic images of
riots sparked by the fatal shooting of a teenage boy by a policeman whose squad car was allegedly assaulted
by a group of youths.A replacement tree was later also targeted by demonstrators who pelted it with garbage
after authorities ringed it with riot police.
The city of Athens postponed this year's tree unveiling until after street demonstrations held in several cities
last weekend to commemorate 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos' death on December 6, 2008.
Scores of youths clashed with riot police on the sidelines of the Athens demonstrations on Sunday and
Monday, and the rector of Athens University was injured in a brief takeover of the university's offices in the city
Flash floods kill at least three in Greece
11th December 2009 Reuters
Flash floods killed three people in central Greece following heavy rainfall, which also disrupted traffic on sea
and land across wide parts of the country, authorities said on Friday.
The prefecture of Magnesia declared a state of emergency, a civil protection official said. Two farmers drowned
there on Thursday after a torrent trapped them in their tractors. A third man in the same area was swept
away by the waters and found dead at the bottom of a shaft.
Bad weather may also have led to the death of two illegal immigrants whose boat capsized in the Aegean Sea
off the coast of Leros early on Friday, a coastguard official said.
Many ferry schedules to the country's numerous islands were cancelled due to high winds. Heavy rain and
snow fall in mountainous areas cut off some villages in the country's centre and north, civil protection said
11th December 2009 ekathimerini
A Greek-owned cargo ship hijacked off the coast of Madagascar in May was reportedly released yesterday
after the vessel’s Athens-based owner paid a ransom to Somalian pirates. A spokesman for the firm, Alloceans
Shipping, confirmed that a ransom had been paid, according to Reuters, which was told by a pirate source that
a helicopter had dropped $2.6 million (about 1.7 million euros) onto the deck of the MT Ariana. The 24-member
crew, all Ukrainians, were safe yesterday.
Two in Crete clinic after beating
10th December 2009 ekathimerini
Two migrants, a 26-year-old Moroccan and a 25-year-old Palestinian, yesterday brought charges against a
group of unidentified assailants who are said to have beaten them with iron bars and knives in a central
square in the Cretan port of Hania on Tuesday night. The two migrants were yesterday receiving treatment in
a clinic in Hania for serious injuries to their heads and arms.
9th December 2009 ekathimerini
Two more people, a 71-year-old woman and a 72-year-old woman, who had contracted the H1N1 virus died
yesterday. Authorities said both women had suffered underlying health problems. By Monday evening, almost
240,000 people in Greece had received the jab against swine flu. Anyone interested in being vaccinated can
call 1135 for more details.
Rioting returns to Athens a year after teenager’s death
7th December 2009 ekathimerini
Thousands took part in a peaceful protest to mark a year since Alexis Grigoropoulos was killed.
There was a fragile calm in central Athens last night after several hours of extensive rioting that followed
protests to mark the one-year anniversary of the shooting of a teenager by a policeman and as several
hundred protesters remained holed up in the grounds of the University of Athens and the city’s Law School.
According to authorities, some 300 people remained on the campuses of the two institutions following the
clashes with police. Officers were unable to enter the university campus due to the asylum law.
Earlier, rioters, who used the two institutions as their bases, clashed from roughly 6 p.m. and for about three
hours with thousands of police who had been deployed in the city center to ensure that the anniversary of the
killing of Alexis Grigoropoulos by a special guard passed as peacefully as possible. However, following a calm
protest by thousands of people which began at about 2 p.m., scenes reminiscent of those that followed
Grigoropoulos’s death last year began to play out on the capital’s streets as rioters threw rocks, burned
dumpsters and damaged a dozen stores. Police reacted by firing tear gas and detaining almost 150 people.ed
as peacefully as possible.
Tax inspectors to target clubs and bars -
Majority of nightspots report net incomes lower than the average for salaried staff
4th December 2009 Athens Plus
The Special Inspections Service (YPEE) is set to target more than 1,600 nightclubs, bars, parking businesses
and advertising companies that declare suspiciously meager incomes.
After a recent sweep of 151 private doctors’ surgeries in the upmarket Athens district of Kolonaki, where one
was found to have declared an annual income of just 300 euros, inspectors from the Finance Ministry will
scrutinize the books of such businesses for evidence of tax evasion, as well as looking into whether they have
committed any other tax violations.
Data sent to YPEE by the General Secretariat for Information Systems show that three out of four nightclubs
and bars declare net incomes of less than 15,000 euros a year or even losses.
2nd December 2009 ekathimerini
Unidentified thieves yanked an ATM of Pancretan Bank from the wall in the Cretan port of Iraklio yesterday and
fled with some 90,000 euros in cash the machine was believed to have contained. Police found two trucks, one
mounted with a crane, and the tools believed to have been used by the thieves in the mountain village of
Psiloriti, near Anogeia.
PRIMARY EDUCATION -Government insists children go to nursery school before classes
2nd December 2009 ekathimerini
The government said yesterday that it is overturning a law passed by the previous New Democracy
administration that would have allowed children to enter primary school without having first spent time at a
nursery school as of next year. Deputy Education Minister Evi Christofilopoulou said that only children who are
at a nursery school, even one without an operating license, this year would be admitted to primary school next
year. She said the government aims to make it compulsory for children to have two years of preschool
education before starting classes at primary school.
Samaras takes helm of New Democracy
1st December 2009 ekathimerini
Antonis Samaras took over yesterday as the leader of New Democracy from Costas Karamanlis after scoring a
clear victory in Sunday’s election, which is seen as a clear mandate for the former finance, foreign and culture
minister to begin reshaping the conservative party.
With almost all of the votes counted by last night, Samaras had taken 50.31 percent of the vote, compared to
39.34 for his main rival Dora Bakoyannis and 10.34 for Thessaloniki Prefect Panayiotis Psomiadis.
Many had expected that none of the candidates would get the 50 percent needed to prevent a second round.
But Samaras’s percentage represented a major victory for him, especially considering that Psomiadis was
regarded to be diverting votes from the would-be ND leader. Conversely, the result was a huge blow for ex-
Foreign Minister Bakoyannis, who pledged that she would back the new party president, despite significant
disagreements during the six-week campaign.
Disgraced teacher -Porn ring suspect suspended
1st December 2009 ekathimerini
Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou said yesterday that she had ordered the immediate suspension of a
school teacher in Kavala, northern Greece, and also asked a disciplinary council to consider his dismissal. The
teacher is one of 17 people arrested by police last week as suspected members of a child pornography racket.
Double heist in Crete
27th November 2009 ekathimerini
Two armed raids took place almost simultaneously at banks in a central square in Acharnes, near the Cretan
port of Iraklio, yesterday morning. Two gunmen allegedly robbed one bank, while a third held up another
branch on the other side of the square. The three fled together in a car being driven by an accomplice,
according to police, who said the perpetrators netted about 50,000 euros.
23rd November 2009 ekathimerini
Six undocumented immigrants and a suspected trafficker were arrested following a brief car chase in Evros,
northeastern Greece, on Saturday. The car in which the seven men were traveling was stopped by border
guards in the Tavris area. In a separate incident, authorities announced that they had arrested four suspected
people smugglers and five illegal immigrants in Alexandroupoli after a surveillance observation. No further
details were made public.
Greece confirms 12 new flu A H1N1 related deaths
23rd November 2009 express,gr
Another three H1N1-related deaths were reported in Greece over the weekend, with victims in all cases
suffering from serious pre-existing conditions, health officials said.
In the first instance, a 16-year-old teen tested positive for "new flu" in Thessaloniki, suffered severe
respiratory and multiple organ failure while being treated in a local hospital. Also an 11 year old girl suffered
Additionally, a 70-year-old man, also in Thessaloniki, succumbed to a severe form of pneumonia in a local
hospital's ICU. He was earlier diagnosed with H1N1. The total number of deaths from new (swine flu) A H1N1
virus in Greece, to November 22, 2009, is twelve.
21st November 2009 ekathimerini
State hospital doctors said yesterday that they would go on strike on November 30 to demand more
government spending on the health system and the hiring of 2,000 more doctors. The doctors said that they
would only treat patients thought to be suffering from the H1N1 virus on November 30.
Tom Tom introduces car navigation products in Greece
20th November 2009 Phantis
Navigation device maker TomTom is launching three car navigation products in Greece. TomTom is offering the
mid-range TomTom XL (regional and Europe) and entry-level TomTom One (regional).
The new Greek TomTom website is live at tomtom.com, featuring extensive information about products and
services available in Greece. All TomTom products feature a touch screen with an intuitive navigation menu and
icons in Greek. It also features clear voice instructions and EasyPort mount.
Tele Atlas and Geointelligence are proving the maps of Greece. In addition to a pre-installed map, TomTom will
provide customers buying the XL model with a full year of free map updates, offering every map version
released in the first year for free.
TomTom Map Share is a free map improvement technology which allows drivers to improve their maps directly
on the device as soon as they spot changes in the roads.
Rhodes child porn arrest third in a week
21st November 2009 ekathimerini
A 60-year-old man from Rhodes yesterday became the third person in Greece in a week to be charged with
possession of child pornography after the police conducted a raid on his house based on information they
received from Interpol.
Electronic crime squad officers traveled to the island from Athens and, with the help of local law enforcement,
visited the suspect's property, where they seized some 5,000 DVDs containing indecent images of children.
Sources said that Interpol had informed the police about people from Greece who were downloading child porn
from a specific website hosted in another country.
Earlier in the week a 46-year-old lawyer and a 26-year-old employee of a private company were arrested in
Kilkis, northern Greece, following another Interpol tip-off. The two men were released on bail yesterday.
Mother bear, cub rescued after being stranded on NW Greece highway
19th November express.gr
A female bear and her 10-month-old cub were rescued on Tuesday morning after police stopped traffic on a
provincial roadway in northwest Greece, allowing the two disoriented animals to calm down and move toward
the nearby Aliakmon River forest.
This was the third such incident recorded in the specific region over the past month, while numerous crossings
of bears and their cubs have been reported.
The animal conservation group Arcturos, called in to help remove the bears from the Neapolis - Kastoria
highway -- near the village of Kostarazi -- praised the concerned citizen that called police to report the two
animals in distress.
One of the eight fatal road accidents involving bears recorded this year took place in the specific region. The
protective fence along the Egnatia motorway and intersecting roadways built to keep animals out has
collapsed in many parts of the network making it dangerous for motorists and animals alike.
Athens Technical University anger over charges
19th November 2009 ekathimerini
The National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) said yesterday that it is the victim of “coordinated attacks”
after a prosecutor charged rector Constantinos Moutzouros over the institution’s failure to stop its computer
terminals being used to update the website of the Athens branch of the anti-capitalist news network
Earlier this year OTE telecom threatened to cut the NTUA’s Internet connection because by allowing the
Indymedia site to be updated from its computers, the NTUA was breaching its contract with the
telecommunications company. This week, a prosecutor took action against the university because the
Indymedia site does not serve any “educational or research purpose.”
In a statement issued yesterday the university said that it refused to engage in any kind of censorship
“regardless of the ideological or political gap that may separate it from the opinions being expressed.”
Greece edge Ukraine to reach World Cup
19th November 2009 AFP
Greece reached the World Cup finals for the first time since 1994 on Wednesday with a hard-fought 1-0 win
over Ukraine in the return leg of their European zone play-off.
Panathinaikos striker Dimitris Salpingidis netted the only goal of the match sending Greece, the 2004 European
champions, into their second World Cup finals after a 16-year absence.
"I'm proud of my players. They put all of their heart and soul into today's match," said Greece manager Otto
Violence flares at Greek marches
18th November AFP
Greek police fired tear gas and detained more than 200 people as clashes broke out with stone-throwing
protesters at a march to honour a 1973 anti-junta student revolt in Athens on Tuesday.
Three police officers were injured as violence flared at the end of the demonstration.
Tens of thousands of demonstrators including students and adolescents marched through Athens city centre,
chanting slogans against capitalism and NATO and in favour of migrants' legalisation.
Around 6,500 officers were deployed across Athens for the annual march to the US embassy which is often
marred by clashes between anarchists and riot police.
Tensions were particularly high this year as the event came nearly 12 months after the fatal shooting of
teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos by a policeman, which sparked riots across Greece.
Protestors chanted: "Police traitors, murderers, torturers" and "Americans out" while some carried a placard
reading "Remember December, the 6th December" in English -- referring to the date of the Grigoropoulos
Uniformed soldiers and sailors from the Greek military trade union marched behind a banner which read: "No
soldiers beyond our borders. Dissolve NATO".
The march began late afternoon at the Athens Polytechnic, where at least 44 people were killed in the 1973
The annual demonstration often takes on an anti-American tone because of Washington's support for the
military regime that ruled Greece from 1967 to 1974.
Teen shooting trial put off until January
18th November 2009 ekathimerini
The trial of two policemen implicated in the fatal shooting of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos last December,
due to take place in Amfissa, central Greece, on December 15, was yesterday postponed until January 20.
Court sources said that the trial was postponed due to a backlog of cases. Originally scheduled to take place
in Athens, the trial of Epaminondas Korkoneas and Vassilis Saraliotis was moved to Halkida, Evia, to avert
mass protests, and then shifted to Amfissa when it emerged that activists were planning protests in Halkida
on the day of the trial.
The trial is to go ahead in Amfissa on January 20 despite protests by local authorities and by the teenager’s
family, who wants it to be held in Athens fearing that certain key witnesses will not travel to Amfissa.
18 November 2009 ekathimerini
A new probe was launched yesterday into the death of two guests over 24 hours at a hotel in Thessaloniki
earlier this month from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning. Prosecutor Giorgos Bombolis wants to establish
whether an engineer who visited the hotel after the first death had been negligent in not closing it down and
as a result may have been guilty of the second guest's manslaughter.
17th November 2009 ekathimerini
Fire service workers in the Cretan prefecture of Iraklio yesterday removed the charred corpses of two
Pakistani nationals from a derelict house where they had been living in the area. According to a coroner, the
migrants had probably died of suffocation after inhaling toxic fumes from the fire.
Greek police capture helicopter fugitive
16th November 2009 AP
A convicted murderer in Greece who made a dramatic prison escape by helicopter earlier this year was
arrested near Athens on Monday, police said.
Alket Rizaj, of Albania, was arrested with a female companion at an isolated house near the town of Marathon,
about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Athens, Greater Athens crime squad director Yiannis Dikopoulos said.
Rizaj escaped from Greece's largest prison, located in Athens, on Feb. 22 along with bank robber Vassilis
Paleokostas, who has not been captured. Both were whisked out of the Korydallos prison in a helicopter
rented and then hijacked at gunpoint by their accomplices.
It was the second time they escaped from that prison, staging a repeat of their 2006 chopper getaway. They
were both recaptured after the first escape.
On Monday, Rizaj surrendered peacefully after police surrounded the building, Dikopoulos said.
"Police seized two automatic weapons, two handguns, a large amount of ammunition, and several hand
grenades," Dikopoulos said. "He changed homes often and used several different cars. We are investigating
his possible involvement in any serious crimes since (his escape)."
Police detain terror suspect
16th November 2009 ekathimerini
A 22-year-old female student charged with membership of the terrorist group Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire,
which has claimed responsibility for several attacks this year, is to face an investigating magistrate today.
The woman was arrested on Saturday with another two suspects who were later released. She has been
detained in the past in connection to gas canister bombings, according to police who said her fingerprints had
been found in the terror group’s hideout in Halandri, northern Athens. Three suspected members of the group
have been held since September and arrest warrants have been issued for another six. In a related
development, police detained a 24-year-old man arrested after around 50 hooded youths attacked riot police
in Exarchia, central Athens, early Saturday. Another man arrested at the scene was released. Sources close to
the 24-year-old said witnesses could prove that he had been a bystander.
Aspis Pronia chief questioned
14th November 2009 ekathimerini
The president of the Aspis Pronia life insurance firm, Pavlos Psomiadis, was released from custody on 100,000-
euro bail after facing a magistrate who is investigating allegations that he supplied the company’s Greek
creditors with a false 550-million-euro letter of guarantee from British bank HSBC in order to keep his business
afloat. Four of Aspis’s insurance companies had their licenses revoked in September.
Turkish business mission to Hania
14th November ANA
One hundred and forty-five entrepreneurs from Turkey on Friday visited the Chamber of Commerce of Hania,
Crete, part of a visit to enhance trade between Turkey and the region.
"Turkey as is widely known, has low production costs because it has low labor costs" according to Hania
Chamber of Commerce president Evangelos Spanoudakis, adding that "enterprises for their own interest,
prefer to buy products from Turkey".
It was the second visit that Turkish entrepreneurs from the Izmir Chamber of Commerce paid to Hania over the
past two years.
Turkish entrepreneurs represented sectors of clothing, beverages, footwear, furniture, building materials,
tourism and electronics.
Sex ring lured women with voodoo threats
13th November 2009 ekathimerini
A criminal ring believed to have lured more than 40 Nigerian women to Greece from their homeland with bogus
promises of legitimate jobs and then to have blackmailed their victims with the threat of voodoo curses, has
been broken, police in Athens said yesterday.
Officers said they rescued five young Nigerian women who had been held captive by traffickers demanding a
ransom of 80,000 euros from each of the women's families. Police also detained a 20-year-old Nigerian woman
who is believed to have facilitated the racket and are now seeking her husband, a Nigerian with Greek
citizenship thought to have played a key role in the scam.
The members of the ring are alleged to have blackmailed their victims to work as prostitutes, threatening to
place curses on their relatives through the use of voodoo, which is still practiced and feared in many African
Eurozone concerned about Greece
12th November 2009 ekathimerini
Greece’s public finances have become a “concern for the whole euro area,” according to European
Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Joaquin Almunia, who said the Greek government needs to
move ahead with crucial institutional reforms.
Economic statistics provided by Greece “were completely wrong,” Almunia said in Brussels yesterday, adding
that the challenges facing the country are “high” and “a question of common concern for the whole euro area.”
Greece admitted last month that its budget deficit will come in at 12.7 percent of gross domestic product in
2009 as opposed to the 3.7 percent shortfall originally estimated.
Responding to the comments, Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou said in Athens that the government
is determined to restore the credibility of its macroeconomic statistics and reduce its large fiscal deficit.
“A country that has a deficit of 12.7 percent of GDP and a public debt with the dynamics of ours clearly creates
a broader concern in the eurozone,” he told reporters.
In its autumn forecasts, released last week, the EU’s executive Commission sees Greece’s budget deficit
remaining above 12 percent of GDP through to 2011 – at 12.2 percent in 2010 and 12.8 percent in 2011.
“We do not share the European Commission’s projections that see the [Greek budget] deficit over 12 percent
in the coming years. This projection was made without taking into account the change in policy,” said
Papaconstantinou, who believes he can lower the budget deficit to below 10 percent next year.
“We are changing policy and this will be reflected in the next budgets,” he said.
12th November 2009 ekathimerini
The 153 inmates of a jail in the Cretan prefecture of Hania yesterday launched a hunger strike to protest
detention conditions at the institution. The inmates are chiefly protesting overcrowding in the jails.
Acropolis Suicide Leap
Reuters 11th November 2009
A man died after jumping off Greece's Acropolis, a major tourist attraction visited by millions every year, police
said Tuesday. Tourists witnessed the man's plunge, police said, adding he was not Greek and believed to be in
his late twenties. "Witnesses said he ran and jumped off the Acropolis hill killing himself," a police official said.
"We believe it is a suicide but we are still investigating." Police said it was a rare case but not the first time
someone had jumped off the 150-metre-high flat-topped rock on top of which stands the fifth century BC
Parthenon temple built in the Golden Age of Athens.
No anonymity with prepaid cell phones
10th November 2009 ekathimerini
Owners of cell phones operating on prepaid cards, rather than those acquired by contract, will henceforth be
obliged to submit their personal details, in accordance with a law passed earlier this year to curb terrorism and
Those who already have prepaid cell phones must submit their details to the retailer where they purchased
the device by July 2010, a deadline that was imposed by the aforementioned law but has not been enforced.
The details required include the holder’s name, address and number of their identification card or passport.
Owners must also present their subscriber identity module (SIM) card.
The regulation also applies to new purchases of prepaid cell phones. Authorities decided to retract the
previous anonymity enjoyed by owners of prepaid cell phones when it emerged that crime rings used them to
plot their activities.
Smoking ban is re-examined
11th November 2009 ekathimerini
The ban on smoking in most bars and cafes is not being adhered to nor applied properly, the government said
yesterday, adding that it is launching a review of the law that was passed earlier this year after pressure from
the European Union.
Health Minister Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou said that she had noted “great gaps in the application of the
smoking ban” and would be re-examining the legal framework supporting it.
At the end of last month, it was revealed that state inspectors had received more than 2,500 complaints about
people violating the ban. It also emerged that some 2,200 cafe and bar owners in Athens had applied to turn
their venues into all-smoking establishments but that none of the paperwork had been processed by
authorities, in most cases because the applications were incomplete.
Xenogiannakopoulou said she wants to address such problems.
The president of the National Coordinating Committee against Smoking, Panayiotis Behrakis, recommended
yesterday that the government not allow any exceptions to the law and ban smoking in all public places.
Georgian gets 20 years in jail for killing actor
11th November 2009 ekathimerini
An Athens court yesterday passed down a 20-year jail sentence on a 31-year-old Georgian national charged
with the murder of popular actor Nikos Sergianopoulos in June 2008 at the latter’s home in the eastern Athens
district of Pangrati.
The court voted unanimously to convict David Murtikneli on charges of murder, illegal arms possession and
illegal entry into the country.
The lawyers representing Murtikneli said they would appeal the verdict. Defending himself in court at the end
of last month, the 31-year-old claimed that his victim had tried to force him to have sex with him at knife-point
after they both took cocaine.
Murtikneli claimed then that the influence of the drug made him lose his grip on reality. He did not make any
comments after the verdict was announced yesterday
11th November 2009 ekathimerini
Women take home salaries some 20 percent lower than men, according to a report by the Ombudsman,
whose findings were made public yesterday. The Ombudsman said it received 230 complaints between May
2008 and April 2009 regarding sexual discrimination. Of these, 77 percent were submitted by women, with 83
percent citing unfair treatment in the workplace.
Air Force celebrates patron saint
9th November 2009 ANA/MPA
The Hellenic Air Force on Sunday celebrated the feast of its patron saint, the Archangel Michael, in airbases
throughout the country.
The main celebration, at the airforce base in Dekeleia, was attended by national defence minister Evangelos
Addressing the event, Chief of the Air Force General Staff (GEA) Lt. Gen. Vassilios Klokozas assured the
minister that the Air Force was prepared to do its duty wherever and whenever required.
Venizelos, in turn, said that the Greek State and the entire Greek people on this day pay tribute to the
guardians of the Greek skies.
Like every year, the Air Force is celebrating its patron saint by also opening up all air bases to the public up
Hotel owner charged over CO poisoning deaths
9th November 2009 ANA/MPA
A public prosecutor on Saturday charged the 34-year-old owner of the Hotel Nepheli in Thessaloniki's
Panorama district with two counts manslaughter through negligence and causing bodily harm through
negligence after two guests died of carbon monoxide poisoning in the hotel. The charges are being prosecuted
The hotel owner was released after he was charged.
The manslaughter charges relate to the deaths of two young men aged 27 and 28 years old, one of them a
father of one, who were found dead in different rooms within the hotel over a period of 24 hours and proved
to have died of inhaling carbon monoxide fumes in their sleep. The second charge relates to a third guest
staying in the hotel that felt unwell and lost consciousness.
The prosecutor said that the evidence file submitted to the public prosecutor was judged incomplete and
returned to the Panorama police station, which was asked to include the coroner's report on the two deaths
and the experts' report on the hotel's central heating system.
The hotel owner has claimed that the technicians installing a new gas-fuelled central heating system in the
hotel four years earlier had failed to inform him that he needed to carry out yearly maintenance and that he
had two maintenance technicians on his staff.
The Central Macedonia Tourism Directorate is expected to issue a decision temporarily closing down the hotel
within the next 24 hours.
One dead, another missing in rainstorms
9th November 2000 ekathimerini
For the second time in two weeks, heavy rain in various parts of Greece has caused a loss of life, as one
person was killed and another two went missing yesterday.
A man was found dead in Grevena, northern Greece, after his car was swept away by onrushing water as he
was driving between the villages of Trikokia and Karpero. The man was not named or further identified.
Rescue teams were yesterday searching for a 42-year-old man after the car in which he was traveling with his
wife and daughter was also swept away when they attempted to cross a river swollen by rainwater in the
Aridaia municipality in Pella, northern Greece.
The unnamed man’s 35-year-old wife and 17-year-old daughter managed to get out of the vehicle and swim to
the banks of the river but he has been missing since the incident, which occurred at about 4 a.m.
Firefighters and locals were yesterday helping in the effort to find the vehicle and the missing man.
A search-and-rescue operation was also taking place yesterday off the coast of Hania, Crete, after reports
that a boat with one person on board had capsized.
9th November 2009 ekathimerini
Acting on a tip-off, police on Crete arrested two men, aged 24 and 21, in Geropotamos, near Rethymno,
yesterday after discovering a cache of weapons in a farmhouse. Officers seized two Kalashnikov assault rifles,
an M1 rifle, several handguns, a hand grenade, 62 detonators and 1,300 bullets. The arms will be sent to
police central headquarters so they can be examined by forensic scientists.
EXPLOSIVE CARGO - Truck with gas canisters seized
9th November 2009 ekathimerini
The driver of a truck carrying 6,500 camping gas canisters, 500 liters of kerosene and 90 liters of natural gas
was arrested in Iraklio, Crete, on Saturday, after illegally boarding a passenger ferry with the vehicle. It is
against the law for dangerous substances, such as natural gas, to be transported on passenger ferries. In
this case, the driver had boarded the ferry, which was carrying some 1,500 passengers, in Piraeus. The truck
and its contents were seized.
9th November 2009 AFP
A Greek cargo ship hijacked last week was being taken toward the Somali coast but its crew members
remained unharmed, the ship’s operating company said Saturday. “The master of the vessel has reported that
the crew are unharmed and the vessel is sailing toward the Somali coast,” Athens-based Meadway Shipping
and Trading Inc said in a statement. Meadway Inc said the cargo ship, Delvina, was hijacked early on Thursday
northeast of the Comoros Islands in the Indian Ocean. It had been sailing from Ukraine to Mombasa in Kenya.
5th November 2009 ekathimerini
Tension returned to the Athens University of Economics and Business yesterday when clashes between
students affiliated to ruling PASOK and opposition New Democracy broke out for the third time in less than a
week. The row has been sparked by the two groups’ political differences.
H1N1 VIRUS - Mass vaccination program will start on November 16
4th November 2009 ekathimerini
A mass innoculation program aimed at vaccinating the population against swine flu is to begin on November 16
when the first batch of vaccines for the H1N1 virus is administered to health workers, it was revealed
yesterday. In a circular distributed to hospitals and local authorities, Health Minister Mariliza
Xenogiannakopoulou heralded the formation at all major hospitals of swine flu committees and vaccination
teams. The latter will each comprise at least one doctor and one nurse. The week beginning November 16 will
be devoted to the vaccination of nursing staff but some citizens of exceptionally fragile health will also be able
to get their jabs on their doctor’s recommendation. The following week, beginning November 23, will be set
aside for the vaccination of vulnerable citizens, chiefly those suffering from other serious ailments.
5th November 2009 ekathimerini
A powerful undersea quake, measuring between 5.6 and 5.9 on the Richter scale, struck between the Ionian
islands of Zakynthos and Cephalonia at 7.25 a.m. yesterday. The quake, whose epicenter was approximately
10 kilometers below the seabed, was felt on both islands but there were no reports of any damage or injuries.
Three candidates to vie for ND leadership
3rd November 2009 ANA/ APE
Former Athens mayor and health minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on Monday announced that he was bowing
out of the race to succeed main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis at the party's helm,
saying he does not want to be part of any "crisis" in the party amid the ongoing election process.
Avramopoulos' decision now leaves three candidates: former ministers Dora Bakoyannis and Antonis Samaras
and current Thessaloniki Prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis.
In qualifying his decision, he again reiterated his proposal for allowing "friends" and "supporters" of the party,
beyond registered rank-and-file members, the right to vote for a new ND president.
The withdrawal comes just days ahead of an ND extraordinary Congress on the weekend that will decide
amendments to the party's Charter provisions for the election of the party president, with the aim of
broadening the voter base.
Car Withdrawal Abolished
2nd November 2009 ERT
Finance and Environment Ministers announced abolition of car withdrawal measure underlining the huge fiscal
cost for the state budget, the limited benefit for the environment and minimum boost of the country’s
productivity as it does not have a car industry. Souflias’ measure will be in force for ones that have withdrawn
their cars to present. The measure announced also changes road tax charges on the grounds of
environmental incentives and introduction of social criteria.
Finance Minsiter G. Papakonstantinou and Environment Minster Tina Birbilis announced abolition of car
withdrawal.The Ministers’ Council have already signed the new act which will be approved on Tuesday
Mr. Papakonstantinou said that the measure has no environmental gain, do not boost Greek economy as it
does not have a car industry while it has a huge fiscal cost, mounting to 400 million euros per year.
Ones who have withdrawn their cars will receive the compensation provided by the former measure which is
€1000 or €500 and two mass transport travel cards.
Environment Minister Tina Birbilis announced changes in road tax charges which reduce burden on small cars
and increase charges on big engine cars which consume more energy. Road taxes are divided in four groups
depending on the size of engine.
New tax levies on companies, fuel, tobacco, alcohol
31st October 2009 ekathimerini
The first wave of taxes from the new government aimed at bolstering revenues will include a rise in the special
consumption tax on fuel, alcohol and tobacco, as well as the imposition of an extraordinary levy on major
The package is set to be submitted by the government’s economy ministers in the next few days, with
consumption tax set to rise from the start of next year so that the state coffers can gain about 1 billion euros
more than they did this year.
The bill to be tabled will not include any changes in the income tax brackets and the tax system in general.
Those changes will likely be included in a new bill scheduled for February or March 2010.
Forthcoming changes in property taxation have worried owners, who are rushing to transfer properties to
their children. The government’s intention to abolish the single property tax and reintroduce the large property
holding tax (FMAP) and levies for parental concession and inheritance has forced many taxpayers to proceed
immediately with real estate transfers so as to avoid the taxes on them.
According to reports, most of the transactions taking place at present concern parents leaving property with
considerable value to their children.
Building Code - Law on alterations suspended
31st October 2009 ekathimerini
The previous government’s law allowing homeowners to pay a penalty to put in order illegally altered parts of
their properties was officially suspended yesterday following instructions given by Environment Minister Tina
Birbili. The PASOK government has said it will freeze this regulation for six months so that it can decide what to
do. Birbili, however, did not make clear yesterday whether any changes will be made to the car scrappage
scheme introduced by the previous government. Any announcement is likely to be made next week.
Ban Ki-Moon- UN secretary-general to make first official visit to Greece
31st October 2009 ekathimerini
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is to arrive in Athens on Tuesday in the first ever official visit by
the head of the organization. Ban, who earlier this week pressed Cyprus leaders to seek the necessary
promises to reach a settlement, is due to discuss the Cyprus issue, illegal immigration, climate change and the
economic crisis with political leaders.
31st October 2009 ekathimerini
A spokesman for All Oceans, the company that owns the Greek ship Ariana which was hijacked by Somali
pirates in May, told the Athens News Agency late on Thursday that no deal for its release had been reached.
Earlier a Reuters news agency report suggested that the company had agreed to pay a $3.5 million ransom for
the ship’s release and the pirates would leave the vessel as soon as the money arrived.
30th October 2009 ekathimerini
After an eight-day trip around Greece, the Olympic Flame will be flown to Canada for a 45,000-kilometer
journey ahead of the Winter Games in February. The International Olympic Committee criticized Greece’s
decision to allow disgraced hurdler Fani Halkia to take part in the Vancouver flame relay. Halkia is serving a
doping ban after testing positive for steroids at the 2008 Beijing Games.
6 Greek police officers wounded in attack on police station
28th October 2009 AP
Gunmen on a motorcycle fired on a suburban Athens police station with automatic weapons late Tuesday,
wounding six police officers, authorities said.
The attack occurred after Greece's new Socialist government promised to crack down on anarchist and far-left
militant groups that have stepped up bombings and shootings in the wake of riots in Athens and other cities in
Two officers were seriously wounded in Tuesday's shooting, which occurred at 9:40 p.m. (1840 GMT, 2:40 p.m.
EDT) in the Agia Paraskevi area, north of the Greek capital, police said. Four other officers were hospitalized
with less serious injuries, while a bystander was treated for shock, state hospital officials said.
"This was a cowardly and murderous attack ... it was 100 percent terrorism," said Michalis Chrisochoidis, a
government minister in charge of police.
Two men on a motorcycle stopped and opened fire on police officers standing outside the station before
driving away. The gunmen fired about 50 shots, authorities said.
Officers from the police's anti-terrorism division gathered evidence at the targeted police station, while police
stopped and searched vehicles across northern Athens.
No group claimed responsibility for the shooting, but suspicion fell on far-left militant groups that have
increased attacks since the December riots that were triggered by the fatal shooting of a teenage boy by
Eight illegals drown off Lesvos
28 October 2009 ANA-MPA
The government will not allow Greece to become open to all comers nor a purgatory of souls, Citizens'
Protection Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis stressed after yet another tragic incident involving illegal migrants on
Tuesday, in which eight people lost their lives in an attempt to reach Greek shores.
All eight illegal migrants, among them five children, were drowned after a speedboat carrying 17 people
crashed into the rocky shores of Cape Korakas, on the northern part of Lesvos island early Tuesday.
The minister stressed that the European Union also bore a share of responsibility for dealing with the
migration crisis unfolding on its southeastern borders, with 300-400 illegal migrants daily attempting to enter
Greece and from there carry on to the interior of the EU in any way possible.
According to reports on Tuesday's accident, the vessel was carrying 16 migrants and a 45-year-old Turkish
migrant-smuggler, having set off from the opposite Turkish coast. The suspected migrant smuggler was
amongst those rescued off the eastern Aegean island.
24th October 2009 ekathimerini
A Thomson Airlines aircraft that had been en route to London from the Cretan port of Iraklio early yesterday
conducted an emergency landing at Athens’s International Airport. The plane landed in Athens for a preventive
inspection after one of its windows was found to be cracked.
24th October 2009 ekathimerini
A 38-year-old Greek man and a 25-year-old Bulgarian women were killed in separate road accidents involving
scooters in the Cretan prefecture of Hania yesterday. In the first incident, the 38-year-old driver of a scooter
veered off the road near Souda Bay and hit a protective barrier, suffering fatal injuries. In the second incident,
a German woman driving a car collided with a scooter being driven by a Bulgarian man. The crash caused the
death of the scooter driver’s 25-year-old Bulgarian wife who had been a passenger on the bike.
24th October 2009 ekathimerini
The number of foreign visitors to Turkey rose 5.2 percent year-on-year in September to 3.14 million with the
global recovery showing signs of recovery, the Tourism Ministry said yesterday. In the first nine months of the
year the number of foreign visitors, an important source of foreign currency for Turkey, rose 1.47 percent to
21.83 million. A total of 26.336 million tourists visited Turkey in 2008, and 21.830 million in the first nine
months of this year, making it one of the top destinations in the Mediterranean. (Reuters)
Empty beds lead to sharp drop in income for Athens hotels
23rd October 2009 ekathimerini
A new batch of figures released yesterday on tourism showed the sector is reeling from the economic crisis
despite efforts to attract visitors with lower prices. The Athens & Attica Hotel Association said five- and four-
star hotels saw receipts dip by 22 and 18 percent respectively in the first nine months of 2009. Price discounts
of around 10 percent were offered by the two categories in the January to September period but occupancy
rates were 9 to 13 percent down, the group added. Earlier this week, the Bank of Greece said tourism receipts
fell 13 percent to 7.5 billion euros in the first eight months of 2009.
21st October 2009 ekathimerini
Police on Crete yesterday were investigating the death of a 79-year-old man whose body was found in his
home at Tsivara, in the prefecture of Hania, with 24 stab wounds to his neck. The victim, found on Monday by
his niece, is believed to have died on Sunday.
Grass roots to elect ND leader
19th October 2009 ekathimerini
The election of the new leader of the conservative New Democracy party following its crushing defeat in polls
earlier this month is to take place on December 6 in a vote by party members rather than delegates of a
forthcoming party congress, it emerged over the weekend.
The four New Democracy deputies who have declared their candidacy to replace outgoing prime minister
Costas Karamanlis as party leader – Dora Bakoyannis, Dimitris Avramopoulos, Antonis Samaras and Panayiotis
Psomiadis – have all agreed for the vote to be held at grassroots level, the head of the organizing committee
for the party’s forthcoming congress, Dimitris Sioufas, said on Saturday.
Sioufas said that certain amendments would need to be made to the party charter ahead of its congress on
November 7 to allow party members to vote. Citizens who are not members of ND but would like to sign up will
be able to do so on the day of the vote, he added.
In addition, Sioufas said, the race for party leader would be opened up to new aspirants who have until
Thursday to submit their candidacy.
17th October 2009 ekathimerini
A court in the Cretan court of Iraklio yesterday convicted two medics in connection with the death of a 9-year-
old boy who underwent an operation to have his tonsils removed at their private clinic. The surgeon was given
three years in jail and the anaesthetist had his license to practice revoked for a year. Neither have the right to
appeal their sentences.
Showers lead to flooding on mainland
17th October 2009 ekathimerini
Heavy thunderstorms and rainfall yesterday in Attica and across the Peloponnese caused widespread flooding
and problems on the roads. Severe conditions provoked brief power cuts in parts of Attica. In the
Peloponnese, crops were damaged and a large hospital in Tripoli was forced to suspend several surgeries and
to close its maternity clinic after rainwater started leaking into the building from the roof. The fire service
received dozens of telephone calls to pump water out of flooded ground-floor and basement apartments and
stores in many parts of the country.
At Delphi, part of the archaeological site was closed yesterday for safety reasons after heavy rain in the area.
The Culture Ministry said that a team of experts is examining the problem caused by the rainfall, which led to
the upper part of the site, including the ancient theater and stadium, being cordoned off.
Some 125,000 flu jabs ready
16th October 2009 ekathimerini
Greece has received 125,000 H1N1 flu vaccines and health experts have been asked to work out who should
be inoculated as a matter of priority. Health Minister Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou met yesterday for the first
time since being appointed with the members of the National Flu Pandemic Council to discuss plans to
vaccinate the country’s entire population. It was also decided during the meeting that for a schoolchild to be
suspected of having the virus and thus taken out of school, he or she would have to have a temperature of 38
Celsius and to be coughing. So far, more than 2,300 people have contracted the virus in Greece.
Private colleges suing university teachers
15th October 2009
The legal battle over whether private colleges in Greece, which operate as franchises of foreign universities,
will be given proper licenses took another twist yesterday when the owners of these institutions decided to
sue Greek state university professions for defamation.
The Panhellenic Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (POSDEP) and the Federation of Technical
College Professors (OSEP) are opposed to the operation of private colleges and have issued numerous
statements challenging their teaching quality but mainly their legal status.
Now, the Hellenic Colleges’ Association says it will “take all legal means” against the two unions, arguing that
POSDEP and OSEP have caused “grave moral and financial damage” to the colleges. The move comes as the
government is reviewing a last-minute New Democracy decision to grant licenses to 41 colleges.
Heating Oil Supply Starts Tomorrow
14th October 2009 Ert
Supply of heating oil, sold from 52-55 cents per liter, starts on Thursday. “Strict inspections will be carried out
at all stages of transport, trade and supply of fuel” said the undersecretary for Environment, Energy and
Climate Change Yiannis Maniatis to representatives of fuel market, adding that prices are lower compared to
last year. He also called all sectors involved to show restrain as regards profits.
Price of heating oil is expected to range between 52-55 cents per liter this year, 23% lower compared to 2008
starting price 68-71 cents per litter.
For heating-oil order below 1000 liters, price goes up to 56-58 cents per liter compared to 77 cents, starting
heating oil price at remote regions last year.
The Athens Prefecture informs consumers that they can dial 1539 for complaints from 08:00 to 20:00.
New Parliament Sworn in
14th October 2009 ERT
Greece's new 300-member parliament was sworn-in on Wednesday morning, in a special ceremony, while the
election of the Parliament’s Presidium will follow. Earlier Prime-minister G. Papandreou delivered a speech at
the first session of PASOK Parliamentary Group, whose new secretary is Hristos Papoutsis.. Mr. Papandreou
stressed that the new government was assigned the historical duty to draw and proceed to big changes the
Port strike halts hospital stocks
14th Oct 2009 ekathimerini
As dockworkers in Piraeus entered the third week of their strike yesterday, the union representing the country’
s medical suppliers warned that the action risked leaving hospitals dangerously understocked.
According to a statement issued yesterday by the union, dozens of container ships carrying basic medical
supplies remain stranded at various ports around the Mediterranean as commercial vessels are unable to
continue their scheduled routes to the country’s main port of Piraeus. Meanwhile dozens more containers are
stuck at Piraeus as the protesting workers will not allow them to get customs clearance. “If this strike
continues for another week, there will be a serious problem and we will not be able to provide hospitals with
the supplies required for their smooth operation,” a spokesman for the union said.
Hundreds of tourists evacuated in Greek forest fire
14th October 2009 Reuters
A forest fire forced the evacuation of about 500 mostly French tourists from a Club Med hotel on the Greek
island of Evia on Tuesday, officials said.
"They have been evacuated with three ferry boats and two large passenger ships," a coastguard official said.
"This is a preventive measure, no one is in danger." The tourists were taken to the nearby port of Edipsos.
More than 60 firefighters battled the blaze in a fir tree forest, using 23 fire engines and 11 eight aircraft. There
were no reports of injuries.
In August, wildfire tore through scores of homes and thousands of acres of forest near Athens, forcing
thousands of residents to flee.
13th October 2009 ekathimerini
Health authorities on Crete yesterday announced the closure of a poultry farm in Hania after inspections
revealed that 4,000 chickens had been infected by the Salmonella bacteria. A prefectural official said that the
chickens in question were sent to a special incinerator in Ioannina, northwestern Greece. Officials said that
further inspections were being carried out on other poultry units on the island.
Anarchists run amok in center
9th October 2009 ekathimerini
A group of around 20 hooded youths went on the rampage in central Athens yesterday, using sledgehammers
and rocks to smash four bank facades and a bookshop belonging to a member of the nationalist party Popular
Orthodox Rally (LAOS) and causing widespread damage but no injuries.
According to witnesses, the youths stormed down central Harilaou Trikoupi Street and started smashing up
banks in the area. They also vandalized a bookstore belonging to LAOS deputy Adonis Georgiadis before
fleeing to Exarchia Square, an anarchist stronghold. Leaflets scattered in the area proclaimed solidarity with
the militant group Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire, which has claimed a string of bloodless bomb blasts in
Athens, most recently an explosion in a garbage dumpster at Pedio tou Areos earlier this month, near an
election rally, and an attack on the Kolonaki home of Louka Katseli, now economy minister.
Wanted Briton hid for 3 years in Messara, Heraklion
8th October 2009 Haniotika Nea
A 56 year old Briton, with a European arrest warrant issued against him, remained hidden in Crete for three
years, it emerged today. He was arrested yesterday afternoon by police and is expected to go before the
Crete Prosecutor today in order to begin extradition proceedings.
The 56 year old, named as Stephen Burnell from York, was convicted of 11 crimes in 2007 in his absence after
disappearing while on bail. He was sentenced to a six year prison sentence. He had been convicted of an
attempted rape, seven acts of abuse against a woman, one act of sexual abuse and two counts of taking
obscene photographs of a minor.
The 56 year old was living in the area of Leda, Messara, and working as a waiter in a taverna. During the
summer he lived in a tent on the beach and in winter rented a small room, where the investigation took place.
BOMB THREATS - Syntagma shut after hoax calls
8th October 2009 ekathimerini
Two anonymous telephone calls to private television channel Alter early yesterday afternoon, warning that a
bomb was due to explode in central Syntagma Square, turned out to be hoaxes after bomb disposal experts
failed to find any suspect devices. The first call, made at 12.30 p.m., warned that a bomb would go off near
Syntagma Square but did not give details of location or timing. Half an hour later a second call warned that a
bomb would explode in 20 minutes. Police cordoned off roads around Syntagma Square as a precaution but
nothing suspicious was found.
Three Bulgarians arrested in Greece for selling newborn for 13 000 euro
7th October 2009 Sofia Echo
Three Bulgarian nationals have been arrested by Greek police while attempting to sell a two-month-old baby,
Bulgarian news agency BTA quoted Greek media as reporting on October 7 2009.
The three Bulgarians, one man and two women, of whom one is the baby's mother, tried to sell the baby for
13 000 euro to undercover police officers who presented themselves as buyers in the town of Katerini in
According to Greek police, the baby was born in August in a hospital on the island of Crete.
The arrest was the latest news of Bulgarians involved in human trafficking in Greece. On June 17, three
Bulgarians, two of them lawyers, were apprehended and charged with child trafficking.
They were involved in the smuggling of 16 newborn babies, 13 of whom were ferried to Greek couples. The
other three were sent to Bulgarian parents.
Reportedly, the lawyers managed to persuade pregnant women to sell their babies for between 3000 and
5000 leva before selling them on to Greek couples for as much as 40 000 euro per child, the SANS report said.
New Greek premier will personally handle foreign affairs
6th October 2009 EarthTimes
Greece's newly-elected Socialist Prime Minister, George Papandreou, will personally handle foreign affairs in
the new government and named foreign-trained ecnomists to the country's top ministries Tuesday in an effort
to pull the country from the brink of recession. Following a landslide victory in parliamentary elections on
Sunday against the conservatives, the US-born and -educated Socialist leader has made reforming the
faltering economy his government's top priority.
He appointed London-trained economist Louka Katseli to head the Economy, Competitivenes and Shipping
ministry and Socialist party spokesperson George Papacontantinou in the Finance Ministry.
Faced with high youth unemployment, low budget revenues, a faltering economy and a deficit surpassing 6 per
cent of GDP, both Katseli and Papacontantinou will be responsible quickly to turn the economy of the
eurozone's second-poorest member around.
The Socialist PASOK party has promised a new approach to the economic crisis with a 3-billion-euro stimulus
package, and heavier taxing of the rich and helping the poor.
Immigrants hail Greek Socialists’ poll win
5th October 2009 Euronews
Members of Greece’s immigrant community have taken to the streets to celebrate the Socialist victory in the
country’s snap election.
Winner George Papandreou’s party has promised state recognition for immigrant children born in the country,
along with local voting rights for migrants after five years of residence.
“We have a lot of faith in the Socialists. In the past, the Socialists have supported the immigrants and we
hope they will do the same again,” said one migrant.
Illegal immigration is a serious problem in Greece. Tens of thousands cross by land and sea from Turkey every
year and are forced to live in ghetto- like conditions in Athens or in immigrant reception centres on the islands.
In an attempt to stem the flow of migrants, police have launched various sweeps of immigrant neighbourhoods
to round up suspected illegal migrants, which has led to clashes and a right-wing backlash.
Two more schools shut down after pupils contract H1N1 virus
3rd October 2009 ekathimerini
Another two schools were closed temporarily yesterday – a primary school and a kindergarten in the Cretan
prefecture of Hania – after several pupils there displayed symptoms of swine flu. The schools in Crete have
been closed for a week, at the behest of the Health Ministry, following the closure of another four schools in
Attica, two state institutions and two private ones. Meanwhile, another two secondary school pupils in
Thessaloniki were diagnosed with the H1N1 virus yesterday. Panagiotis Efstathiou, the head of the Health
Ministry’s operations center, predicted a steady increase in infections among schoolchildren, expected to climax
in two or three weeks.