TAXI STRIKE
27th February 2010 ekathimerini

Taxi drivers are expected to go on strike again next week but this time they will stage a
48-hour stoppage on Tuesday and Wednesday, it emerged yesterday. Their union is
opposed to government plans to make cabbies issue receipts, keep account books and
pay tax according to their income. Under the current system, drivers pay just over 1,200
euros in tax each year, regardless of what they earn. Cabbies have already staged two
24-hour strikes this month and say they will keep protesting until the government
changes its mind.


Strike to paralyze transport, services
23rd February 2010 ekathimerini

A 24-hour strike by thousands of workers in the public and private sectors tomorrow,
Wednesday Feb 24th – the second major protest against austerity measures heralded
by the government – is expected to bring transport services to a halt as well as shutting
down banks and other services and imposing a media blackout as journalists join the
action.

All but a handful of flights into and out of Greece will be canceled as air-traffic controllers
join the walkout. Passengers scheduled to fly tomorrow should contact their airline for
information about changes.

The strike will also affect public transport in the capital as employees of the metro, trolley
buses, the tram, the suburban railway and the Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) stay
home.

Civil servants are also striking, with all government offices and schools closed.


Greek unionists block Athens bourse entrance
23rd February 2010 Reuters

A group of about 150 trade union protesters blocked entrances to the Athens stock
exchange building on Tuesday but bourse officials said they expected trade to go ahead
normally.

"There is a back-up capacity, an alternative mechanism that enables electronic trading to
go ahead normally," Athens stock exchange (EXCr.AT) Vice-Chairman Socrates Lazaridis
told Reuters. Greece has seen a string of one-day strikes in the last few months to
protest against austerity measures as the government struggles to cut a huge budget
deficit; major public and private sector unions plan a one-day strike this Wednesday.

However, public opinion polls show the government has considerable support; a poll by
Marc for Sunday's Ethnos newspaper showed 57.6 percent considered belt-tightening
steps went in the right direction, while 75.8 percent thought there should be no strike
action until the debt crisis had passed.


Robbers hit casino jackpot        
22nd February 2010 ekathimerini

An armed raid at the Porto Carras casino in Halkidiki, northern Greece, early Friday netted
the robbers almost 600,000 euros, it was revealed over the weekend. The two armed
men, wearing hoods, burst into the casino at 3.20 a.m. and threatened security staff and
cashiers with guns before making off with 594,000 euros in cash. Police were studying
CCTV footage over the weekend to gain clues. The casino’s management said the
building would remain closed until further notice.
Missing student
22nd February 2010 ekathimerini
Authorities from Crete had been unable by last night to locate a nursing student who
went missing from her village near Hania on Thursday. The family of the unnamed 20-
year-old said that she left her home to go to a pharmacy in a nearby village. Her car was
found near a bridge and all her personal belongings, as well as the car keys, were inside
the vehicle. Her family said the woman had been recently suffering from some personal
problems.


Scared shoppers cut spending by up to 20 pct
18th February 2010 ekathimerini

Consumers slashed spending during the winter sales period, after the country entered a
deeper recession than first thought in 2009, according to data presented by National
Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE) yesterday. Retailers have seen revenues drop
by an estimated 15 to 20 percent year-on-year as generous price reductions failed to get
consumers spending, ESEE said in a statement. ‘Unclear government announcements on
new taxes, pension reform and labor issues have added to uncertainty, leading to a
drastic reduction in retail sales recently,’ ESEE added. The winter sales season is
scheduled to run until the end of February. Greece’s economy contracted by 2 percent
last year, worse than a government estimate of a dip in GDP of 1.2 percent.


Illegal adoption
16th February 2010 ekathimerini

Police in Iraklio, Crete, on Saturday detained three Bulgarian nationals and two locals in
connection with an alleged illegal adoption. Local officers arrested a 25-year-old
Bulgarian woman, alleged to be the mother of the baby, her 28-year-old Bulgarian
partner and her 48-year-old mother. Officers also arrested a 54-year-old Cretan woman
alleged to have paid 5,000 euros to adopt the baby, born in a local clinic last Friday, and
a 51-year-old local woman alleged to have acted as a mediator in the illicit transaction.
The newborn boy is being cared for at a local state hospital.


WEEKEND EXODUS - Highway patrols boosted as thousands leave for weekend
13th February 2010 ekathimerini

Traffic police yesterday stepped up their presence on the national road network as
thousands of city dwellers headed to other parts of the country for the long weekend.
Most of the police units will be stationed at major junctions on the national highways and
some diversions are expected to be set up by traffic police. Ports around the country
were crowded yesterday afternoon as thousands prepared to board ferries for the
islands.


Safe lifted in Hania
13th February 2010 ekathimerini

Unidentified robbers early yesterday drove a truck through the glass front of a
supermarket in the village of Aghioi Apostoloi, in the Cretan prefecture of Hania, and
removed a safe containing some 20,000 euros, police said. The safe had been located
near the entrance of the store, according to the supermarket’s management. The
intruders did not touch an ATM machine on the premises of the store. Dozens of cash
machines have been yanked out of walls in Crete in recent years.


Olympic Air, Aegean Airlines In Talks For A Possible Merger?
12th February Capital.gr

Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines confirmed a ‘Kerdos’ financial daily report that they are in
talks on a future cooperation.
In reality, this could only mean the prospect of a possible merger.
Olympic Air is a strong brand name and Aegean a successful business model, based on
the declining state-run airlines. Now that Olympic Air is under MIG’s umbrella, the rules of
the game have changed, given that Greece is a small market for two players.
MIG’s official announcement reads as follows:
“Commenting on an article published today on the Greek press, we would like to inform
the following:
Discussions between the main shareholders of OLYMPIC AIR and AEGEAN AIRLINES have
taken place concerning the potential of a future cooperation.
However, at this time there is nothing specific to be announced.”


Eight drown in Aegean storm
12th February 2010 ekathimerini

The bodies of eight people were recovered yesterday from the southeastern shores of
Samos after a boat carrying illegal immigrants from Turkey to Greece capsized on
Wednesday night.
Rescuers were still searching yesterday evening for possible survivors after a Georgian-
flagged cargo ship pulled one man from the sea alive near the eastern Aegean island.
The survivor, who said he was Palestinian, explained that he had been in a rubber
dinghy with 10-12 other people when the vessel capsized during a storm on Wednesday
night. Gale-force winds hampered the search and rescue operation yesterday.
The bodies, of six men, one woman and a girl, were discovered near the area of Potokaki
by coast guards. It was not clear if they were also Palestinian.
It is estimated that more than 500 people have drowned trying to reach Greece from
Turkish shores over the past three years.


EU offers help but no specific money pledge
12th February 2010 Reuters

EU leaders said in a statement on Thursday that Greece needed to do what it had
promised to reduce its 12.7 percent budget gap, including a 4 percentage point cut in
2010 to bring down its deficit below the EU ceiling o 3 percent in 2012.
But they also said the euro zone would take determined and coordinated action, if
needed, to safeguard financial stability in the euro area as a whole, sending a signal to
markets that they would not let Greece default on its debt.
Euro zone sources pointed out the leaders' statement gave no mandate to the
Eurogroup to go any further with preparations of support for Greece.
"No detailed plan will be discussed. There is no urgency yet," a third euro zone source
said, adding the situation in Greece was not that bad yet.
Euro zone sources said no discussions on detailed rescue options for Greece have so far
been held and probably would not be until there was a crisis, so as not to send a signal
that Greece needed help now.
Sources said that if a Greek debt crisis were to happen, rescue steps could be arranged
quickly.


Remarks on Facebook get Hania schoolgirl expelled
12th February 2010 ekathimerini

A 14-year-old girl has been forced to leave a junior high school in Hania, Crete, after it
emerged that she had started a page on the Facebook social networking site to express
dislike for her principal.
The page, under the title “I hate the principal at Chrysopigi [high school]” had more than
100 members. The principal was notified about the page by one of the pupil’s parents.
School officials decided it would be best for the girl to leave Chrysopigi and join another
school.
However, the Hania school inspector, Nikos Vestakis, disagreed with this move and said
it was not necessary to expel the girl although the school had the right to. “I would have
invited the pupil and her parents [to a meeting] and the matter would not have been put
to the teachers’ association,” he said.


Protesting farmers stand firm at border
12th February 2010 ekathimerini

As dozens of farmers continued to block the Promachonas border crossing with Bulgaria
yesterday, causing long lines and fueling tensions, protesting colleagues started
assessing their gains following three weeks of roadblocks.
According to sources, the majority of protesting farmers have accepted that the reforms
pledged by the government might not provide the immediate cash support they had
initially sought but do offer a crucial temporary grace period for the repayment of some
200 million euros in loans. “This does not mean that the farmers will not be obliged to
repay this money later,” a spokesperson for the Agriculture Ministry remarked.
Meanwhile at Promachonas – the last bastion of the protesting farmers – hundreds of
trucks stood in long lines on either side of the border. Police remained on standby to
avert tensions escalating following scuffles between officers and farmers on Wednesday
night.


ESR downpour
10th February 2010

The state broadcasting watchdog National Television and Radio Council (ESR) yesterday
imposed a 70,000-euro fine on Star channel after deciding that the TV station’s
weatherperson, Petroula Kostidou, was harming the quality of programming and insulting
human dignity. Petroula is a household celebrity, known for presenting the weather in
skimpy outfits and gyrating provocatively in front of the cameras. Star TV was also fined
30,000 euros for dramatizing events in one of its news shows.


Strike tests government's austerity mettle
10th February 2010 Reuters

Greek public sector workers will strike on Wednesday in the first major test of the
government's commitment to push through austerity plans and tackle a debt crisis which
has shaken the euro zone.
The 24-hour strike will ground flights, shut government offices and schools and leave
public hospitals operating only with emergency staff, a day before EU leaders discuss
Greece at a special economy summit in Brussels.
Unions oppose plans to freeze public wages, slash the salary supplements many Greeks
get on top of their base pay, and replace only one in five people leaving the civil service.
They say tax reforms, which are also part of the EU-backed plan to shore up Greece's
finances, hurt the poor. "They had promised the rich would pay but instead they take the
money from the poor," said Ilias Iliopoulos, general secretary of the public sector
umbrella union ADEDY. "This is the policy we are fighting, not the effort to get out of the
crisis."



Bloody gamble
9th February 2010 ekathimerini

The owner of a betting shop in the resort of Ammoudara, in the Cretan prefecture of
Iraklio, was hospitalized yesterday after being shot in the leg during an armed raid
outside his store late on Sunday. The owner had been leaving his store with a bag
containing the weekend’s takings when two assailants jumped him and ran off with the
bag. According to the betting store owner, it had contained 5,500 euros.


Smoking ban ‘not working’
5th February 2010 ekathimerini

More than six months after smoking restrictions were applied in public spaces, in line with
European Union legislation, little has changed, authorities have told Kathimerini.
Although an awareness campaign was well received by the public in the countdown to
the July 1 ban, the necessary reforms have not been carried out to ensure that the
restrictions are enforced. As a result, smoking continues in most bars and cafes, public
offices and hospitals, according to Panayiotis Behrakis, the head of a steering committee
set up to oversee the implementation of the restrictions. “The whole country is smoking,”
he said.
Sources said there have been around 100,000 calls to a special phone line, chiefly from
bar and cafe owners seeking information about the restrictions, and about 3,000
complaints about the law being flouted. One of the problems seems to be that bar and
cafe owners have submitted incomplete applications for revised operating licenses.


Cyprus TV host charged with contract killing
5th February 2010  guardian.co.uk

Cyprus police have charged a TV host, her brother and a third man over the suspected
contract killing of the island's most powerful publisher. Prosecutors charged Elena
Skordelli, her brother Anastasios Krasopoullis and Andreas Grigoriou with premeditated
murder and conspiracy to commit murder. All three deny involvement in the death of Andy
Hadjicostis.
The 41-year-old director of the Dias Media Group was shot on 11 January outside his
Nicosia home.
Prosecutors said revenge over the TV host's firing and control of a Dias-owned TV station
appeared the likely motives. Police are seeking a fourth suspect who is believed to have
fled abroad.


Citizenship bill made stricter
5th February 2010 ekathimerini


Second-generation immigrants who are hoping to obtain Greek citizenship under the new
law proposed by the government yesterday discovered that the conditions for doing so
are going to be substantially stricter than had originally been announced.
PASOK submitted the revised bill to Parliament yesterday and it soon became apparent
that some of the draft law’s provisions have been tightened up following a period of
public consultation during which there were many objections to what some people
regarded as the ease with which citizenship would be awarded.
Under the new provisions, a child born in Greece to immigrant parents will need to have
had both his father and mother living in the country legally for five years before he or she
can apply for citizenship. Originally, only one parent would have had to be a legal
resident.
Also, the children will have to prove that they have spent at least six years in Greek
schools rather than the three years originally proposed by the government.
In another major change to the initial plans, applicants will also need to produce
recommendation letters from three Greek citizens.
The proposed law would still allow second-generation immigrants to vote in local
elections and to stand as city councilors after obtaining citizenship and proving that they
have a good command of Greek.


Cook reps death trial ‘is a farce’
4th February 2009 TTG live

The trial of the Thomas Cook reps over the deaths of two children in Corfu,  (which
started Thursday ) has been branded a farce by one of the industry’s leading figures.

Cosmos overseas director Hugh Morgan said it was the hotel rather than Richard Carson
and Nicola Gibson that should be held accountable for the deaths.

He was backed by Abta chairman John McEwan, who said the blame for the tragedy was
in Greece, not with the reps.

Carson and Gibson were due to sit alongside 10 Greek defendants yesterday over the
deaths of Christianne Shepherd, seven, and her brother Robert, six, of carbon monoxide
poisoning in the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel.

Morgan has joined the Support Richard Carson and Nicola Gibson facebook group started
by TTG,  along with many senior industry figures, travel agents and reps.

Speaking in a personal capacity, he expressed concern some members of the group had
claimed the reps were being made a scapegoat by Cook.

“There have been suggestions these two reps are being used as a scapegoat by the
tour operator but this isn’t the case,” he said.

“This tragedy isn’t the tour operator’s fault and these reps should not be in court.
Someone needs to be held accountable, but it is the hotel.

“The Greek justice system is a tragedy and a farce.”


Greek strike deepens debt crisis fears
4th February 2010 AP

European stock markets sank Thursday, led by concerns over debt-ridden Greece and
Portugal and whether their governments will be able to push through unpopular
austerity programs to tame their ballooning deficits.
Greece, under intense pressure from markets and other European Union governments to
get a grip on its deficit, faced a first wave of strikes, with customs and tax officials
walking off the job for 48 hours.
Greece's customs strike will choke imports until next week, with fuel supplies likely to
suffer first. Lines of trucks were already forming at the country's borders, with customs
workers allowing through only perishable goods and pharmaceuticals.
More walkouts are planned for later this month, with the country's two largest umbrella
union organizations calling separate 24-hour strikes, one for next Wednesday Feb 10th
and one for Feb. 24th.


Land register
4th February 2010 ekathimerini

The public company responsible for running Greece’s first ever comprehensive land
register, Ktimatologio SA, said yesterday that it has begun returning money to almost
80,000 applicants who overpaid fees when submitting their paperwork. The firm said that
some 40 percent of the people concerned had already been repaid the outstanding
amount. The company added that it has had trouble repaying some applicants because
their bank details have not been recorded properly. It expects the process to be
completed by April.


Metro robbers net huge sum
4th February 2010 ekathimerini

Police yesterday were seeking the four Kalashnikov-wielding assailants who burst into
the Ethniki Amyna metro station, in northeastern Athens, and forced cashiers at the
ticket-issuing office to hand over more than 250,000 euros in the first robbery of its kind
in the capital.
The robbers entered the station just before 2 p.m., when the entrance hall was full of
commuters emerging from the underground platforms or waiting to buy tickets. According
to police, the incident did not spark a panic nor cause any injuries, as the robbers
blended into the crowd of commuters and did not use their guns.
Officers said the assailants had probably planned the heist after a long period of
observation. Before threatening the cashiers, the assailants reportedly forced a security
guard to hand over his gun and handcuffs. Bagging the cash, they exited the station,
boarded two motorcycles and fled, witnesses said. There was no sign of them by late
yesterday.


Teachers strike
2nd February 2010

State secondary school teachers decided yesterday that they would stage their own
strike on March 8, protesting scheduled salary freezes and funding cuts, in addition to
participating in the civil servants' union (ADEDY) strike due on February 10. Teachers
object to plans by the government to hire several thousand part-time staff rather than
full-time teachers and fear that their wages will be frozen along with those of other civil
servants.


PM sets scene for ‘painful’ measures - Workers march against austerity plans
30th January 2010 ekathimerini

Prime Minister George Papandreou yesterday gave the clearest indication yet that his
government is determined to push through the tough austerity measures necessary to
resuscitate Greece’s beleaguered economy during a flurry of interviews with the foreign
press on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum at the Swiss ski resort of Davos.

“Greece remains committed to making the sacrifices required to put its finances in order,”
Papandreou was quoted as telling the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore. The Greek
premier added that his administration would focus on curbing wasteful spending and
trimming the salaries of some public servants.

In another interview with US television network CNBC, Papandreou admitted that the
planned changes would be “painful” but were unavoidable if the country’s dire fiscal
situation is to be remedied and Greece is to “become a competitive economy.”

But in Athens, the first real social impact of the government’s austerity measures were
evident. Around 2,000 firemen marched through the center, demanding payment for
hours worked as overtime. Public sector employees on short-term contracts also took to
the streets.

The next scheduled strike action is on February 10 when public servants are to walk out.

Other sectors are expected to join the action and a general strike has not been ruled out.

Tax officials are due to strike on February 4 and 5, protesting planned cuts to salaries
and benefits that they say will cut their incomes by up to 25 percent.




Hospital disruption - Doctors to join Feb 10 strike
29th January 2010 ekathimerin
i

Doctors at state hospitals are to join a 24-hour strike on February 10 called by the civil
servants’ union, the umbrella union representing the country’s doctors announced
yesterday. The decision to take action was made to protest plans by the Finance Ministry
to cut state funding for hospitals as part of a broader program to rein in public spending
and get the reeling economy back on track.



EC probes farmer cash
Gov’t must recover last year’s handouts if they turn out to be state subsidies
28th January 2010 ekathimerini

The European Commission said yesterday that it had launched an investigation into
whether 425 million euros paid out to farmers in 2008 and 2009 as compensation for
damages actually constituted state subsidies, which would violate European common
market regulations.
In a statement yesterday, the EC gave the government a month to provide more details
about the payouts made by the Hellenic Agricultural Insurance Organization (ELGA),
which oversees the compensation to farmers. “It cannot be ruled out that the
compensation paid by ELGA in 2008 and 2009 under the compulsory insurance scheme
constitutes state aid,” the statement said. If it transpires that theses payments were
state subsidies, the government will be obliged to recover the 425 million euros from
farmers or face the European Court.
Such a move seemed inconceivable yesterday as hundreds of farmers maintained 28
roadblocks across the country, pressing their demands for the release of subsidies.
Successive meetings yesterday between Agriculture Minister Katerina Batzeli and various
groups of farmers ended in deadlock as she stressed the government’s inability to make
immediate cash payments.



Ten suspects eyed in child porn crackdown
27th January 2010 ekathimerini

An international operation to track down people trading child pornography has resulted
in cases being built against 10 people in Greece, two of whom have already been
arrested, police revealed yesterday.
Members of the police’s electronic crimes squad have been investigating Greek
connections to child porn for the last three months before tracing the 10 people they
believe have been trading hardcore images of young children.
The suspects are located in Athens, Thessaloniki, Spetses, Corfu and Igoumenitsa,
officers said without giving details about where the two arrests were made. They said,
however, that they had seized 12 computer hard disks, a laptop and dozens of CDs and
DVDs with indecent images of young children.
Police did not identify any of the suspects.



Protest widens as farmers march in Athens
26th January 2010
Hundreds of Greek farmers stepped up a 10-day confrontation with the government
yesterday by marching through central Athens to press their demands for €1bn in extra
subsidies.
The protest came as worries grew over the government's slow implementation of its
three-year stability plan and followed a warning from a Greek former finance minister that
the proposals still did not go far enough.


ETZ HAYYIM - Gov’t pledges to help synagogue
25th January 2010 ekathimerini

The government intends to help renovate the historic Etz Hayyim synagogue in Hania,
Crete, after it was damaged during two arson attacks, Defense Minister Evangelos
Venizelos told members of the Jewish community in Thessaloniki yesterday. “We accept
the responsibility… not only to repair the damage but also to protect this monument, and
all the Jewish monuments in the country,” he said. Venizelos added that Greece was in a
position to play a more active diplomatic role in securing peace in the Middle East.


Attack on anti-racism protest leads to arrests
25th January 2010 ekathimerini

A prosecutor yesterday remanded in custody 44 suspected right-wing extremists for
violently disrupting an anti-racism rally in Ambelokipi, central Athens, on Saturday and
causing one woman to require hospital treatment.
The suspects have been charged with a range of offenses, including disrupting the
peace, using threatening behavior and illegally carrying and using weapons. All the
charges have been changed from misdemeanors to felonies, as the 44 were allegedly
wearing hoods or had their faces covered when they committed them.
The anti-racism rally was held after extremists recently forced their way into a local social
club, where they caused widespread damage. A 50-year-old woman was injured during
the scuffles on Saturday, when the assailants allegedly used various objects to attack
the protesters that had gathered outside the Panormou metro station.


Policeman 'a monster' says mother of shot teenager
23rd January  News.Scotsman

THE mother of a Greek teenager allegedly shot dead by a policeman in an incident that
sparked nationwide riots a year ago branded the officer a "monster" during emotional
testimony at the opening of his long-awaited trial yesterday.
Tzina Tsalikian said he had regarded her son's life as worth no more than that of a
cockroach.

Epaminondas Korkoneas, 38, is charged with fatally shooting Alexis Grigoropoulos, 15,
during a night patrol in December 2008 in the bohemian and rebellious Athenian district
of Exarchia. His squad car partner, Vassilios Saraliotis, 32, is accused of complicity to
murder. Both men pleaded innocent yesterday.

The highly emotive case is receiving coverage by the Greek media. The schoolboy's death
ignited the country's worst civil unrest in three decades and caused a resurgence of far-
left and anarchist attacks.
Karkoneas told the tense and hushed courtroom: "I don't accept liability for anybody's
death. I would have stepped forward to shield anyone, including these kids." His lawyer,
Alexis Kouyias, said the incident was a "tragic accident" which occurred as police fired
warning shots "in a state of panic" to keep back youths who were lobbing stones and
bottles at them.

Saraliotis insisted he was also innocent and "will prove it". He told the court: "I have
nothing to do with my colleague's actions."
The trial was moved from the Greek capital to the small, remote town of Amfissa 120
miles away to head off the possibility of unrest by anarchists and because of death
threats against the defendants by a far-left extremist group. More than 400 police
officers have been sent to protect Amfissa: some 200 anarchists marched through the
town's centre chanting anti-police slogans on Wednesday, when the trial was originally
due to begin.
Shopkeepers and banks in the town of just 12,000 inhabitants boarded their fronts for
fear of violence.


PM asks farmers to be ‘responsible’
23rd January 2010 ekathimerini

Prime Minister George Papandreou yesterday appealed to protesting farmers to end road
and border crossing blockades that have caused transport disruption and diplomatic
tension, asking them to display “joint participation and joint responsibility” in the
government’s effort to resuscitate the reeling national economy.
“We have absolutely no scope to satisfy the various financial demands that are being
made out of the blue,” Papandreou told Parliament. “If we did so, it would be a criminal
act against our country and our people,” he added, responding to opposition criticism of
the government’s handling of the farmers’ action, which entered its eighth day yesterday.
Earlier, unionists representing the farmers met with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko
Borisov on the Bulgarian side of the Promachonas border crossing to explain their
grievances. The unusual meeting was reportedly organized after Borisov responded to a
request by the farmers. Papandreou and Borisov had spoken on the telephone earlier
and the Greek premier said that the meeting could go ahead as long as it was on
Bulgarian territory. Following their 10-minute talks with Borisov, the farmers lifted their
blockade at Promachonas and let waiting trucks cross until 10 p.m.
Elsewhere, Greek farmers stood their ground, maintaining around 25 blockades.



Britons and local arrested over Crete synagogue fires
23rd January 2010 Reuters

Greek police on Friday arrested two Britons and a Greek man in connection with two
arson attacks against a synagogue on the Aegean island of Crete this month.
Police said they were still looking for a U.S. citizen, who is suspected of setting fire to the
synagogue in the city of Chania on January 5, while the other three men watched.
One of the Britons arrested was suspected of launching a similar attack on January16,
police said, damaging extensively the roof of the building, thousands of books and
computers.
"We have arrested three people over the synagogue attacks, and we are still looking for
a U.S. citizen," said a police official who declined to be named.
The police official said the Britons, both in their early twenties, and the 33-year-old Greek
were nightclub employees. They were expected to appear before a prosecutor within the
next few days.


Nafpaktos quake
23rd January 2010 ekathimerini

A strong earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale struck near the town of
Nafpaktos, northeast of Patra, at 3 a.m. yesterday morning. There were no reports of
any injuries or damage but the quake shocked residents, many of whom rushed out into
the streets. Schools in Nafpaktos were closed for the day to allow for structural
inspections to be carried out on buildings.


Bomb Scare - Turkish plane forced to land in Thessaloniki following hoax call
23rd January 2010 ekathimerini

A passenger plane traveling from Germany to Turkey made a safe emergency landing in
Thessaloniki yesterday after the pilot apparently received a bomb threat on his mobile
phone. The plane, a Turkish SunExpress aircraft with 69 passengers on board, landed
just before 6 p.m. “Someone called the pilot on his mobile phone and threatened him,”
Greek air-traffic controller Panagiotis Hatzakis told Reuters. There were also reports that
the words “will die today” were found daubed on the wall of one of the airplane’s
bathrooms. No explosive device was found on the aircraft.


EasyJet flights to Chania, Crete
22nd January 2010

Easyjet have confirmed a new route Gatwick to Chania for summer 2010 and  flights are
now on sale on the Easyjet website.
The Gatwick / Chania route starts on 23rd May and runs until 29th September, with
flights three  times a week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays.



Police nab call girls in international sex ring
22nd January 2010 ekathierini

Two women, a 20-year-old Lithuanian and a 21-year-old Hungarian, arrested by officers
of Attica police’s vice squad yesterday are believed to have been working for a major
international prostitution racket whose ringleaders are based in London, Moscow, Prague
and Amsterdam.
Officers detained the women after posing as prospective customers and visiting a luxury
hotel in Athens believed to have been one of several used by the ring. The meeting was
arranged over the Internet.
During questioning the women are alleged to have admitted to having sex with
customers in exchange for payments ranging from 250 to 1,000 euros. Officers said they
confiscated a total of 1,550 euros from the two women as well as notepads containing
long lists of e-mail addresses, telephone numbers and addresses of hotels in various
European cities.


Cretan body
20th January 2010 ekathimerini

Rescue workers on Crete yesterday recovered the body of a missing 40-year-old man in
the Geropotamos River in the island’s prefecture of Rethymno. The man had been
reported missing on Sunday. His body was found entangled in the roots of a tree at the
river’s estuary on the southern coast of the prefecture.


Heavy rain in Crete
19th January 2010 ekathimerini

One person is missing and dozens of homes and businesses have been flooded on Crete
after heavy overnight rain. Authorities did not identify the missing man but said that he
had been swept away while trying to cross a stream by car in Rethymno Prefecture. A 12-
year-old boy who was in the vehicle with him managed to clamber to safety. Firefighters
were also called to more than 200 homes and businesses in Iraklio that were flooded
due to the rainfall. A female police officer also had to be rescued after being swept away
by the water.


Greece Sues Protesting Farmers
18th January 2010 Sofia News Agency

The prosecutor's office in the town of Thessaloniki has launched legal proceedings
against the militant Greek farmers, who used tractors and farm machinery to block
crossings with Bulgaria and Macedonia in the first widespread protests against the
socialist government’s austerity policies.
In a document, sent to the police headquarters at Thessaloniki, the prosecutors say that
hampering road traffic constitutes a crime and that in order for the law to be abided by
legal prosecution is needed.

Protestors set up barricades of farm vehicles at several junctions on the main north-
south highway linking Thessaloniki with Athens, diverting hundreds of TIR trucks to
secondary roads.
Bulgarian authorities warned transport companies to stay away from the Greek border
crossing and threatened to approach Brussels, seeking compensations for the losses,
incurred on the Bulgarian companies.
The protests are expected to continue until the end of the week despite the warning of
the Greek and Bulgarian authorities.


Greek farmers block highways, border crossings to protest delays in aid payments
18th January 2010 AP

Greek farmers blocked major highways and border crossings with Bulgaria and
Macedonia on Monday to press demands for quicker payment of state aid.
Using tractors and agricultural machinery, farmers cut the highway network at more than
a dozen points, forcing drivers to make long detours.
They also blocked two crossings at Greece's northern borders with Bulgaria and
Macedonia, and threatened to close a crossing to Turkey in the northeast.

The farmers are demanding payment of delayed government aid and are protesting high
production costs. The protests started Friday and grew larger Monday.
Greece's centre-left government, which is struggling to cope with a debt crisis, pledged to
pay the aid by mid-March and urged farmers to dismantle their roadblocks.


Greek privacy watchdog likely to allow Street View
18th January 2010 AP

A privacy watchdog lifted its objections Monday to a Greek Web site publishing panoramic
street-level images online, making a similar decision in favor of Google's Street View
service more likely.

Greece's Data Protection Authority, or DPA, said it was satisfied by assurances given by
operators of the Greek Internet site kapou.gr, including its use of face-blurring
technology and limits on storing original images.

DPA officials said they were concluding talks with Google over similar concerns. They gave
no date for a likely decision on Google's service.

The authority had ordered in May that both services suspend operations in Greece until
the issue could be clarified and safeguards against potential privacy abusers could be
guaranteed.


Pirate row - Greek ship in middle of spat
18th January 2010 ekathimerini

Rival Somali pirate gangs fired shots at each other yesterday in a row over how to split a
multimillion-euro ransom for a hijacked Greek-flagged oil tanker but there were no
reports of any injuries, Reuters reported. The pirates, who hijacked the Maran Centaurus
last November, reportedly object to sharing the ransom of 3.8 million euros with gangs in
the Somali pirate haven of Haradheere, where the vessel is moored. There were no
details released about the vessel’s crew – nine Greeks, two Ukrainians, one Romanian
and 16 Filipinos.


Second arson attack on Hania synagogue
16th January 2010 ANA

Authorities in the city of Hania, Crete on Saturday expressed grave concern regarding the
second attempt to torch the Jewish Synagogue in the old city. The fire that began in the
early hours of Saturday morning was put out by the fire brigade but not before it caused
an estimated 30,000 euros in damage, burning through the building's wooden roof and
floor, several books, archives, four computers, CDs and tapes of Jewish music stored
within.
A police announcement said the fire was set by one or more unidentified individuals that
entered the Synagogue's yard through an adjacent building and then broke in via a door
on the ground floor. The method used to start the fire has not yet been determined.
The fire brigade responded promptly and prevented the fire from spreading to the rest of
the synagogue and next-door buildings.
This was the second time that an attempt to burn down the synagogue has been made
in less than a month, following a similar attack in which books and a staircase were burnt
19 days ago.

The two attacks combined have been responsible for the burning of 2,500 rare books. All
that remained of the contents of the building has now been transferred to another
location.


Bomb explodes outside Greek ministry, no injuries
16th January 2010 AFP

A bomb exploded outside a Greek ministry in Athens late on Friday, causing material
damage but no injuries, a police source said.
The bomb went off outside the Greek secretariat for information shortly before midnight,
after private television stations Alter and Antenna had received anonymous warnings by
telephone that an explosion was imminent.
Police were given about 12 minutes to clear the area, the source told AFP.
The blast smashed windows at the ministry, state television NET said.
The incident is the second targeting a Greek state building in a week.
Last Saturday, an explosive device went off in a rubbish bin outside the Greek parliament
without injuring anyone.
The parliament attack was claimed by a far-left organisation calling itself Conspiracy of
Fire Nuclei, which has carried out a string of arson strikes against the homes and offices
of politicians in recent months.
The group also claimed a bombing that caused extensive damage to the ground floor of
Greece's largest insurance company Ethniki Asfalistiki on December 27.



Arms cache
16th January 2010 ekathimerini

Police on Crete yesterday detained two farmers from the prefecture of Rethymno after
finding large caches of weapons and explosives hidden in and around their homes.
Officers confiscated a submachine gun, two Kalashnikov assault rifles, three pistols, a
revolver, a shotgun, two anti-aircraft missiles, 7 kilograms of dynamite and two
detonators after searches of the two men’s homes and storehouses. It was unclear
whether the two suspects are related to or acquainted with one another.


Papandreou gets united front on tackling economic problems but voters have serious
doubts.
15th January 2010
ekathimerini

Prime Minister George Papandreou got the unity he was looking for as the Cabinet met
yesterday to approve the government’s economic recovery plan, but despite its ambitious
targets an opinion poll published yesterday indicated that three in four Greeks are
dispirited about the country’s future.

Papandreou convened a meeting of his ministers for them to approve the Stability and
Growth Program. The government plans to cut Greece’s budget deficit to 2.8 percent of
GDP in 2012 from 12.7 percent last year.


Cavo Sidero scheme on ice
14th January 2010 ekathimerini

The Environment Ministry has indicated it is unlikely to approve a controversial plan to
build a large holiday complex and golf course on the eastern tip of Crete even though a
final decision could take some time.

In response to a question from Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) MPs, Environment
Minister Tina Birbili said the PASOK government is taking into account a decision last year
by the Council of State, Greece highest administrative court, to halt the Cavo Sidero
scheme. But she said a final decision would not be reached until the government has
reviewed the present zoning plan for tourist resorts.

Protesters claim that the project – which would comprise five holiday villages, a string of
luxury hotels and three golf courses – would damage the environment and be a heavy
drain on water resources. British property developer Minoan Group (formerly Loyalward
Limited) insists the 1.2-billion-euro project is environmentally sustainable.


Acute lack of staff affects museums
13th January 2010 ekathimerini

Several important museums and archaeological sites across the country have been
closed to the public or are displaying only a section of their exhibits due to chronic
understaffing, the Culture and Tourism Ministry admitted yesterday.
A decision by the ministry to cancel a recruitment drive for 2,584 full-time employees and
the expiry of the short-term contracts of another 4,000 staff has left several major
cultural landmarks without the necessary guards and administrative personnel to
operate normally. According to ministry sources, the recruitment drive was suspended
due to “irregularities” in the process. One source remarked, “Everyone had tried to find
positions for their children and other relatives.”
The ministry issued a list of 22 archaeological sites that are closed to the public and 23
museums which are either completely or partially closed due to understaffing. The
National Archaeological Museum in Athens is reportedly operating normally during the
week but its entire top floor closes to the public on weekends as the contracts of the
guards employed on those days have expired. The situation is even worse at the
museums of Delphi and Sparta where there is a shortage of guards for night shifts
throughout the week.

Museums and sites affected in Crete are: the archaeological sites of Lato and Malia, and
the archaeological museum of Agios Nikolaos.


Farmers to hold road blocks on National Highway, Crete
13th January 2010 Haniotika Nea

Farmers yesterday gathered in the centre of Chania  and announced their proposal to
continue their protest, against the low prices of government and EU subsidies, by setting
up a road block on the National Road between Souda and Megala Chorafia next Tuesday
19th January starting at 10.00 a.m.


Hania protest
13th January 2010 ekathimerini

The Technical University of Crete in Hania has been taken over by a group of people who
are not students and are demanding that the institution stop renovation work on a
building in the old part of the city and instead allow it to be used for various events by
student groups. The heads of the technical university assigned a contractor over the
holidays to renovate the Papadopetrou building, which for the previous two-and-a-half
years had been used without permission by student groups. Rector Ioakim Gryspolakis
said he had been locked out of his office by protesters.


Greek civil servants union to strike Feb 10
12th January 2010 Reuters

The Greek civil servants' union ADEDY on Tuesday called a one-day strike for Feb. 10 to
protest against the government's austerity measures.
Pressured by its European Union peers and financial markets, Greece's socialist
government is taking measures to cut deficits and shore up public finances. Among them
is a freeze on public sector pay for those earning above 2,000 euros a month. "ADEDY
decided to strike ... after considering the negative outlook for the public service (as a
result of) the continuation of an austere incomes policy and cuts in real pay through the
government's reduction of supplementary allowances," the union said in a statement.
ADEDY's private sector sister GSEE labour union, which has also threatened to strike next
month, said it had not yet decided on whether to join ADEDY's labour action.
"Negotiations on pay rises have not started yet and the pension reform is still pending, "
GSEE spokesman Stathis Anestis told Reuters. "We'll decide in February." (



Greece: Attack won't intimidate government
10th January 2010 CCTV

The Greek government says it won't be intimidated by those who carried out a bomb
attack outside the country's parliament. A counter terrorism squad has arrived at the
scene to search for evidence.
The explosive device that went off outside Greece's parliament on Saturday evening did
not cause injuries and only minor damage.
Parliament is in a central, well policed area where some of the capital's government
ministries and top hotels are located. It's also a popular pedestrian zone.
The device was placed next to a garbage bin in bushes at the Tomb of the Unknown
Soldier.


Greece orders 20% tax hike on alcohol/tobacco
8th January 2010 RTE Business

The Greek government today announced an immediate 20% increase in tobacco and
alcohol taxes as it fended off EU pressure for drastic action to fix the crippling budget
deficit.
It is believed that experts from the European Commission and European Central Bank
had demanded to know 'in detail, when and how' the necessary measures would be
taken during talks with Greek leaders before leaving today.
Finance Minister Georges Papaconstantinou announced the tax increases as he
reaffirmed the need for the country to establish financial credibility in Europe where
Greece's troubles have raised fears over the stability of the euro zone.
Announcing the tax increses, Papaconstantinou denied press reports that he plans to
increase sales VAT on goods or to end the 14th month salary that most workers get.


17 migrant smuggling deaths
8th January 2010 ANA

A total of 17 bodies have been recovered from a sea region off extreme northeast Greece
following what authorities believe was the New Year's Eve sinking of a vessel loaded
with illegal migrants.
Four bodies, including one of a toddler, were recovered on Friday after a fishing boat
notified the coast guard. The bodies of 12 men, four women and the toddler have so far
been located in the specific sea region of the Thrace Gulf, in a triangle comprised of the
port city of Alexandroupolis and the islands of Thassos and Samothrace.
Greece is increasingly being targetted by migrant smugglers attempting to ferry mostly
Third World migrants into the European Union member-state from neighbouring Turkey,
an issue that has recently generated heated reaction from both Athens and the EU.


Captain released
8th January 20101 ekathimerini

A Greek sea captain who had been in detention in Iran for 14 months returned to Athens
yesterday following negotiations between Greek government officials and their Iranian
counterparts to secure his release. Angelos Alexiou was met at Athens International
Airport by high-ranking representatives of the Foreign Ministry.


Fire in Hania Synagogue attributed to arson
7th January 2010 ANA

Unknown individuals were the perpetrators of the fire that broke out inside a synagogue
in Hania's historic old quarter, on the island of Crete on Tuesday, according to a police
announcement released on Wednesday.
According to the announcement, unknown individuals broke into  the Etz-Hayyim
Synagogue's yard an hour after midnight and set fire to an outdoor wooden ladder which
leads to the library. The fire was extinguished immediately before it threatened the
temple and the adjoining library, which features roughly 1,600 rare books and
manuscripts. Hania Fire Brigade chief said that at the scene, firefighters found a bottle
with a flammable liquid still burning.
Authorities in the Cretan port city said the synagogue's main doors were locked and that
the alarm system sounded when firefighters broke down the main gate to enter the
building.
The medieval synagogue in Hania's old quarter is amongst the most noted Jewish
temples in Greece, functioning as both a cultural centre and a house of worship.



Armed Robbery in Sfakia, two injured
5th January 2010 Haniotika Nea

Two trucks with three  armed men yesterday blocked the road of a Group 4 security
vehicle, just outside Imbros, which was transferring money to a bank ATM in Sfakia.
A few yards after the Imbros tunnel, the driver of the Group 4 vehicle was forced to stop
as the perpetrators had placed rocks in the road. The robbers, according to the data so
far, were three people wearing hoods and helmets and carrying guns.
Driving two 4x4 trucks, the robbers blockaded the security vehicle, smashed the windows
and pulled the driver and passenger from the vehicle and proceeded to beat them.
The robbers then  grabbed the money (around 70,000 euros), set fire to one of their 4x4
vehicles and sped off in the second vehicle in the direction of Chania.

The 33 year old Group 4 driver and his 27 year old co-worker were taken by ambulance
to Chania Hospital. The 33 year old driver sustained serious injuries, while the 27 year
old sustained lighter injuries.

A few hours later the police identified the burnt out second vehicle, in which the
perpetrators fled, in the mountain area of Imbros.
According to police sources, both vehicles used in the robbery  were stolen. One of the
vehicles was stolen yesterday morning from Kalives and the second 4x4 was stolen last
December from Rethymno.

The police have launched a manhunt to arrest the perpetrators.


Fire on ship at Souda Naval Base
5th January 2010 Haniotika Nea


Heavy Smoke covered  the area of Souda yesterday afternoon, from a fire which broke
out in the engine room of  the naval ship "MYCONIAN", at the naval base for repairs.
The fire caused material damage but, fortunately, no injuries.
According to a Naval statement  the fire broke out shortly after 1 pm the engine room of  
the ship during the welding of metal, being undertaken by a  private firm.
The fire was extinguished by  firefighters and four vehicles from the Chania fire service.
evacuated workers from the accident. The Navy has ordered an investigation into the
exact cause of the accident.
Dense smoke "choked" the port area, causing concern among local residents.



Farmers threaten to block highways again
5th January 2010 ekathimerini

Greece’s farmers are threatening to set up roadblocks along the country’s national roads
later this month in a bid to get a better financial deal for themselves, although
government sources have dismissed the threat as posturing and a result of differences
between the farming unions.
Farmers shut down Greek highways last January and February, as they have done many
times in the past, in an attempt to force the then New Democracy government into
granting them greater subsidies.
However, Agricultural Development Ministry sources said that they believe this year’s
proposed action is borne of the desire by some unionists to raise their profile.
The government points out that it has already set January 25 as the date when it will
launch wide-ranging talks with the country’s farmers.


Strong winds cause transport disruption at sea, in air
4th January 2010 ekathimerini

Strong winds over the weekend caused disruptions in passenger ferry routes, as most
vessels were forced to remain moored at ports. The winds dropped in most regions
yesterday, allowing services to resume but there were problems in some areas. A ferry
setting sail from the main port of Rhodes struck a pier early yesterday, though no harm
came to any of the 80 passengers on board who took a different vessel later in the day.
Another passenger ferry that had been en route from the port of Lavrio to Ai Stratis was
forced to divert its route due to strong winds in the northern Aegean. Several scheduled
flights to Santorini were also canceled due to the weather.


Emergency landing
2nd January 2010 ekathimerini
An Egyptian Airlines aircraft which had been en route to Germany from Cairo yesterday
lunchtime was forced to conduct an emergency landing at Athens International Airport
after the plane developed engine problems. The aircraft had been flying over the eastern
Aegean, with 100 passengers on board, when the problem arose. The pilots requested
permission for an emergency landing, which was executed safely.




_______________________________________________________________________
Copyright 2004-2010  Carol Palioudaki. Latest News in Crete & Greece.   www.livingincrete.net
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