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|Living in Crete
Crete & Greece
March to June 2010
More travel misery from Greek general strike
29th June 2010 AFP
Travellers in Greece on Tuesday ran a labour gauntlet for the second time in a week as a general strike against
pensions reform shut down services and disrupted departures from the capital.
But authorities took swift action to keep the main port of Piraeus from being blockaded, sending around 1,000
coastguards and police to keep unionists from seizing control of ferries.
Some 500 Communist-affiliated strikers gathered at the harbour but were prevented from approaching the ships to
the Aegean islands which include some of Greece's top travel destinations, a coastguard source said.
However, they were able to block the departure of smaller vessels to islands closer to Athens.
"All the early boats to Aegean destinations have departed," a coastguard spokeswoman told AFP.
"There are increased operational measures at the harbour and things are calm," she said.
The general strike called by the main Greek unions is the fifth since February against a wave of austerity measures
imposed by the government as it struggles to staunch a national debt crisis.
Separate street demonstrations against the sweeping spending cuts were planned in central Athens and other main
Greek cities later on Tuesday.
A one-day protest on June 23 stranded thousands of travellers at one of the Mediterranean Sea's busiest ports for
VAT increase from July
26th June 2010 ANA-MPA
The rates of Value Added Tax (VAT) are to rise as of July 1, based on a tax bill recently passed by Parliament.
The regular VAT rate on most goods will increase from 21 percent at present to 23 percent, while the reduced rate of
10 percent currently charged on a range of goods and services will be increased to 11 percent. The lowest rate of 5
percent will increase to 5.5 percent.
The change will affect all invoices and receipts issued after July 1, even when they refer to transactions conducted
before that date.
Mourning in Heraklion for dead Policeman in Ministry Bomb attack
25th June 2010 ekathimerini & DigitalCrete
In one of the most brazen terrorist attacks to ever take place in Greece, a device exploded last night next to the
office of Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis in the ministry building near central Athens, killing his
Initial reports suggest that the explosion was caused by a parcel bomb that the minister’s assistant, 52-year-old
Giorgos Vassilakis, a married father of two from Herkalion, opened at around 8.30 p.m., triggering a blast that
brought down the wall between his and Chrysochoidis’s office. The minister was not in his office at the time.
The ministry building houses the offices of some of Greece’s top policemen as well as the anti-terrorist squad. The
intelligence services also use the building, located off Katehaki Avenue. There were no reports of any other serious
injuries as a result of the blast.
Heraklion society was shocked last night at the death of George Vassilakis, in whose hands the bomb exploded on
the seventh floor of the Ministry of Civil Protection. He hails from Heraklion and often visited his parents and two
brothers who live there.
EC warning over hospital supplies
25th June 2010 ekathimerini
Greece could be hauled before the European Court of Justice and fined for failing to keep to EU-wide rules governing
the procurement of medical equipment and supplies, the European Commission said yesterday.
Brussels found that Greek taxpayer money is being wasted and that public hospitals are breaking the rules in order
to prevent some companies from taking part in tenders to supply goods.
According to the Commission’s report, Greece spends 720 million euros a year on disposable products such as surgical
thread and medical gloves for 17 state hospitals. Brussels received complaints in 2003 that some public hospitals
were rejecting offers from suppliers of medical equipment that bore the CE certification marking, which certifies that a
product has met EU consumer safety, health or environmental standards. The CE mark is intended to show that
medical equipment is safe to use. Member states are only allowed to exclude such supplies if there are public health
concerns or if they are suspected to be forgeries.
“The Commission found that the technical specifications in the tender notice were subjective and discriminatory,
effectively blocking any supplier of CE-certified medical equipment to enter into a competitive bidding procedure to
supply several Greek public hospitals,” Brussels said in a statement yesterday. “Furthermore, the Commission found
that, as a result, Greek public hospitals may not have received the best value for money, leading to a waste of
Despite warnings last year, Brussels said, Greece has yet to take any action to remedy the situation. Athens now has
two months to comply or else it faces a financial penalty.
Port blockades leave hordes of travellers fuming
24th June 2010 ekathimerini
Thousands of Greeks and tourists remained stranded at Piraeus and other ports around the country yesterday after a
crowd comprising some 400 members of the Communist Party-affiliated labor union PAME blocked the boarding ramps
of several ferries during a 24-hour strike against austerity measures being pushed through by the debt-ridden
The demonstrators, members of two marine engineers’ unions, persisted with their action yesterday even though a
court had declared it illegal and abusive on Tuesday. The Panhellenic Seamen’s Federation (PNO), an umbrella
organization which represents a total of 14 unions including the two staging yesterday’s blockade, did not back the
protest, although it has expressed its opposition to the lifting of cabotage restrictions that prompted the strike.
Tempers flared at Piraeus port early in the morning as passengers trying to board ferries were faced with rows of
burly men with their arms interlocked. Most of the foreign tourists sat despondently by the ticket offices in the port
area, waiting for word about their scheduled journeys.
Two prosecutors were sent to the scene but they did not order police to enforce the court order deeming the strike
illegal. As for the coast guard officials, they said they would not attempt to break the blockade as it could fuel violence
in the port. “We do not want to make things worse,” the chief of the Hellenic Coast Guard, Vice Admiral Athanassios
Bousios, told Flash Radio. Bousios said the moored ferries could not depart for safety reasons anyway, as the
vessels’ engineers were among those staging the blockade.
The Hellenic Association of Tourism and Travel Agents yesterday condemned the action as the country’s crucial
tourism industry has already been hit by previous strikes.
Five Britons to be extradited for attack on countryman
24th June 2010 ekathimerini
Five British men charged in connection with a violent attack on a fellow Briton outside a nightclub in the Cretan
holiday resort of Malia in June 2008 have lost their legal battle against extradition, Agence France-Presse reported
from London yesterday. The men, all in their early 20s, deny stabbing Robert Hughes with a broken bottle and
stomping on his head. Defense lawyers claimed that Curtis Taylor, Daniel Bell, Sean Branton, George Hollands and
Benjamin Herdman would face detention in terrible conditions if sent back to Greece, AFP reported. But Britain’s High
Court ruled that the evidence presented to back up their claim was not strong enough to justify refusing their
extradition to Greece.
Compensation for stranded tourists
23rd June 2010 ekathimerini
Greece offered to compensate tourists stranded by labor unrest ahead of a new travel strike yesterday as unions
stepped up their assault against government austerity cuts.
Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos told a news conference that the government would “guarantee”
extra room and board payments made by visitors as rail unions started a series of stoppages.
“We are certain that it will be a calm summer and that there will be no major strike disruptions,” a ministry source told
“But just in case something happens, the Greek state is prepared to cover these costs,” the source added.
The minister told the press conference late Monday that compensation would even be paid for tourists stuck in Greece
during the volcano eruption in Iceland in April that blocked European air routes for several days.
Geroulanos gave no details though of how much the compensation would cost nor how it would be paid.
Digital TV reaches Attica
Athens News 21st June 2010
THE transmission of digital TV will commence on June 18 in the Athens and wider Attica area, serving 4.5 million
residents. The new service is provided by Digea, a company set up by Alpha, Alter, Antenna, Makedonia, Mega, Skai
and Star channels. In order to facilitate the digital broadcasts, it will be necessary to shut down the analogue
broadcasting station on the island of Aegina, meaning that thousands of residents of the southeastern slopes of
Mount Ymittos - including Vouliagmeni, Voula, Glyfada and Perama - will lose all analogue signals. Residents in these
areas will only be able to watch television if they have a digital television or decoder, which retail from 39 to 69 euros.
Analogue broadcasts will continue for a time from the transmission station on Mt Ymittos. More information on digital
TV from a previous Athens News article is available at
More strikes ahead
21st June 2010 ANA-MPA
The scene looks set for a long, hot summer, with a new wave of strikes ushering in the second half of June. This
includes a 24-hour nationwide strike on June 29 called by the country's two largest umbrella union organisations -
GSEE and ADEDY - against planned changes to pension and labour law and an ongoing strike by teachers marking the
nationwide university entrance exams.
After a brief hiatus over the weekend, meanwhile, workers at the Athens Metro decided on Sunday to suspend a 24-
hour strike initially planned for Monday, although it has not been clarified whether they will resume rolling work
stoppages in protest over the management's refusal to renew the contracts of 286 workers hired before the
elections. According to the Public Administration Inspector, their contracts were illegal because they were hired during
the pre-election period. Metro workers are additionally demanding that they be exempted from the general public
sector pay cuts imposed by the government.
In a decision on Friday, the plenum of bar association presidents announced that lawyers will abstain from court
appearances and other duties from June 23 until July 7.
21st June 2010 ekathimerini
Residents of the prefecture of Ierapetra on Crete gathered over the weekend with the aim of creating the largest
salad in the world and earning a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Using a receptacle measuring 100
square meters as their salad bowl, locals threw together 6 tons of tomatoes, 3 tons of cucumbers, 2 tons of peppers,
a ton of onions, 800 kilos of feta cheese and half a ton of olive oil. It remained unclear late yesterday whether the 12-
ton salad had made it into the record book.
Crisis forcing migrants home
21st June 2010 ekathimerini
Thousands of immigrants who have lived in Greece for years, chiefly Albanians, are moving back to their homelands as
the impact of the financial crisis bites into their incomes, Kathimerini has learned.
Travel agencies across the capital are reporting a significant increase among migrants buying coach tickets to their
native countries for themselves and their families. “My office is reserving tickets for about 10 families every month,”
said Petros Matzaris, who runs an agency in central Athens that organizes coach trips to Albania
Nikita Tsiprian, who works in another travel agency on central Acharnon Street, reported the same trend. “Some
construction workers tell me that they have hardly had any work at all for the past six months,” he said.
Most of the migrants leaving Greece are Albanians, with smaller numbers from Bulgaria and the countries of the
former Soviet bloc.
Greek police match launcher used in US embassy hit
21st June 2010 AP
Greek police say a rocket-propelled grenade launcher found in a suspected radical hideout was used against the U.S.
embassy in Athens three years ago.
A far-left group called Revolutionary Struggle claimed the audacious Jan. 2007 attack on Greece's most heavily
guarded foreign embassy, which caused no injuries and minor damage.
Police arrested six suspected group members in April, and seized what is believed to have been Revolutionary
Struggle's main arsenal in an Athens flat. The haul included the launcher, RPGs, firearms and explosives.
A police statement Friday said laboratory tests have confirmed the launcher was used against the embassy.
The six suspects, all self-declared anarchists, have been charged with terrorism and attempted murder.
Clampdown on tax evasion
19th June 2010 ANA
The government is determined to clamp down on tax evasion and punish those who acquired wealth at the state's
expense, regardless of "how high" they are, finance minister George Papaconstantinou stressed in an interview
appearing in the Sunday newspaper "Proto Thema".
Papaconstantinou also stressed that every new measure will be enacted in order to put a stop to the impunity, and
announced that "we will soon see shops being closed due to tax evasion".
He said that the next step for regaining the taxpayers' confidence in the inspection mechanism will be minimisation of
their direct contact with the services.
He further said that the country's exodus from the economic crisis "tunnel" has already commenced, "from the
moment we pinpointed the problems", and "we are proceeding, together with the society, in the implementation of a
three-year program for the salvation and recovery of the country".
"We have already the first indications that the economy can cover more quickly than we had anticipated," he added.
Tragic end for a 28 year old paraglider from Rethymnon
14th June 2010 Digitalcrete
On Sunday afternoon a 28 year old from Amari Rethymnon was found dead after trying to jump with a parachute at
Plateau Krapi Sfakia. The circumstances of the death of the young man were unclear, but the problem appeared to be
with his parachute and he had been unable to use the reserve.
Three other friends managed to successfully paraglide and communicated by radio. Once they realised that something
had happened to their friend they tried to contact him, with no success .
Fire fighters were called in to help locate him, and eventually he was found dead, lying face down, in the quarry near
Greek PM optimistic about future
12th June 2010 AP
Greece's prime minister says steps taken to fight the country's debt crisis are starting to take hold.
George Papandreou says tough and necessary decisions have been made and that "we are now witnessing the first
signs that we are turning the corner."
Papandreou -- addressing members of the Institute of International Finance -- also pledged to repay financing by the
European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
Greece was saved from defaulting on its loans last month by the first installment of a euro110 billion ($131 billion)
rescue package from the IMF and the 15 other nations that share the euro currency.
Papandreou also said his goal was a complete reorientation of the Greek economy.
12th June 2010 ekathimerini
A three-day blockade of two Italian-owned cargo ships at Corinth’s cargo port by Greek seamen nearly escalated into
a diplomatic episode yesterday when representatives of Adriatic Lines refused to attend negotiations proposed by
the Greek government to break the deadlock, as the shipping firm’s request that the Italian ambassador to Greece
attend the talks was denied.
A written statement sent to the general secretary of the Economy and Merchant Marine Ministry, Giorgos Vlachos, late
yesterday afternoon by Adriatic Lines turned down his invitation for talks at 8 p.m. The reason for the refusal,
according to sources, was Vlachos’s inability to fulfill the firm’s demand for the presence of the ambassador, Gianpaolo
Scarante, at the negotiations. According to diplomatic protocol, officials of the Greek Foreign Ministry would also need
to attend a meeting involving the Italian ambassador.
Speaking to Skai TV yesterday evening, the president of Adriatic Lines, Marco Alberti, said his firm’s vessels were
being held hostage and that he and his managers would not negotiate “with a gun to our heads.” Alberti added that
the Greek judiciary knew that his firm was in the right and accused Greek authorities of failing to enforce the law.
Earlier in the day a prosecutor in Corinth had informed Supreme Court prosecutor Ioannis Tentes that the Port
Authority is unable intervene to impose the law and allow the two vessels to leave the port.
The Ropax I and the Ropax II, both laden with cars, have been stuck at Corinth’s cargo port since Monday when
members of the Panhellenic Seamen’s Federation (PNO) set up a blockade, demanding that the vessels employ Greek
Official caught taking 1,000 euros to issue documents
11th June 2010 ekathimerini
The head of the forestry authority in Lavrio, southern Attica, was charged with bribe-taking and blackmail after being
caught in the act of accepting 1,000 euros from a local resident who had requested a certificate classifying a plot that
he owned as farmland. On being asked for the backhander, the resident contacted police, who advised him to pay the
official in marked bills. The official was arrested after accepting the cash by police waiting outside his place of work.
Three hundred euros was found on him and the remaining 700 euros was discovered hidden in the bathroom next to
Temporary dip in jobless rate
March unemployment falls to 11.6 percent from 12.1 pct; one in three aged 15-24 looking for work
11th June 2010 ekathimerini
Greece’s unemployment rate dropped in March after climbing to its highest rate in six years the previous month.
However, it is seen as resuming its upward trend later this year.
The jobless rate fell to 11.6 percent March from 12.1 percent in February, the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT)
said yesterday. The number of unemployed in March decreased by 26,554 people from the previous month.
Greece’s jobless rate was the fourth highest in the 16-member eurozone after Spain, Slovakia and Ireland and 1.6
percentage points above the bloc’s average in March.
The jobless rate in March was 29 percent among those aged 15 to 24, the worst affected age group, followed by a
15.4 percent rate for those aged 25 to 34, the authority said.
The unemployment rate was highest in the Ionian Islands, which include the popular holiday destination of Corfu, at
23 percent. The rate reached 16.7 percent in the southern Aegean, which includes the popular tourist islands of
Myconos and Santorini. The jobless figure on Crete, the country’s most populous island, rose to 12 percent in March
from 10.3 percent a year earlier.
Sectors such as construction, retail and manufacturing have suffered the most in the ongoing crisis.
EU Statisticians Given More Powers After Greek Data Fiasco
11th June 2010 Radio Free Europe
Finance ministers from the European Union have determined that the EU's statistical office, Eurostat, should have
greater powers of scrutiny over national data on public finances.
The measure, agreed at a meeting in Luxembourg, is meant to prevent a repetition of Greek-style misreporting that
triggered the current debt crisis in several European countries.
The ministers proposed that Eurostat be given audit-like powers over data submitted by EU national governments.
Currently, that information has to be taken at face value by Eurostat statisticians. EU Economic Affairs Commissioner
Olli Rehn today expressed "some concerns" over economic statistics provided by Bulgaria and is considering sending
an inquiry mission there.
On June 7, Eurozone nations began setting up a massive bailout fund that could rescue any member of Europe's
currency union from default. The EU/IMF package will total 750 billion euros ($1 trillion).
Trade unions to hold protest rally
11th June 2010 ANA-MPA
The General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) and the civil servants' union ADEDY are to hold a protest
rally at Klathmonos Square in central Athens on the evening of June 16 at 19:00 in order to demand the withdrawal of
the government's measures for the pension system.
New plan to curb tourism development
8th June 2010 ekathimerini
A special zoning plan for tourism, which aims to curb construction on islands and coastlines that are already heavily
developed but to encourage projects in other areas, is being tweaked by experts and will be submitted for public
consultation in a few weeks’ time.
The bill, a revised version of legislation drawn up by the previous conservative government, also foresees the closure
of old hotels and the abolition of a controversial plan to encourage the construction of “tourist villages” with
apartments for sale to tourists seeking holiday homes.
According to the director of land zoning at the Environment Ministry, Polyxeni Zeikou, the new legislative framework
will seek to determine the relative potential of various coastal zones for development with the aim of ensuring that
“saturated” areas, as seen on Crete, Rhodes and Kos, are not subject to more construction. Other factors, such as
the percentage of the local population employed in the tourism sector, will also be taken into account when
determining which areas can be subject to further development, Zeikou said.
5th June 2010 ekathimerini
Lawyers are to stage two 48-hour strikes over the next two weeks to protest the impact of new tax measures and
imminent changes to the pension system, the coordinating committee representing all the country’s bar associations
said yesterday. The action is scheduled for June 7 and 8 and June 16 and 17.
Policemen attacked in Anogia, Crete
5th June 2010 ekathimerini
A group of policemen were set upon by around 45 villagers in Anogeia, Crete, yesterday when they burst into a
house in the area to investigate the source of gunshots heard. The villagers beat the policemen, using sticks and iron
bars, leaving some of the officers with significant injuries. The assailants fled after the scuffles but police said that at
least six of them are known offenders and would be traced.
Greek seamen to strike
30th May 2010 Reuters
Dozens of ships will be stranded in Greek ports when seamen strike Monday against a government decision to lift
restrictions on vessels with foreign crews docking in Greece, union and state officials said.
Passenger ships will be most affected by the strike starting at 0300 GMT Monday, with at least 30 ferries not
operating from Greece's main port Piraeus, near Athens, and more across the many Greek islands.
Greece's Socialist government said in April that the Mediterranean country would allow non-EU-flagged ships with non-
Greek crew to moor at its ports and travel between Greek islands, in order to boost tourism.
The move was seen as a first step toward liberalizing Greece's labor market and boosting competitiveness. The
government, fighting a debt crisis that has rocked Europe, has stirred angry protests by embracing austerity
Shipping companies were previously restricted to hiring Greek crews, and even EU-flagged ships did so in practice to
avoid protests and labor stoppages.
29th May 2010 ekathimerini
The civil servants' union ADEDY said that it would not go ahead with a protest rally it had planned to hold in Athens
today but instead will put all its energies into a joint rally with the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) next
Saturday, June 5. ADEDY and GSEE are planning strike action in June - to protest a pension reform bill due to be
submitted in Parliament soon - though a date has yet to be set.
Stricter laws for lax civil servants
29th May 2010 ekathimerini
New regulations currently being drafted by the Interior Ministry aim to put civil servants found guilty of dereliction of
duty or corruption on a fast-track scheme to dismissal, Kathimerini has learned.
In a bid to put an end to years of unaccountability, the ministry also plans to impose strict deadlines for rulings by
disciplinary councils hearing the cases of civil servants charged with dereliction of duty. Moreover, civil servants will be
barred from holding positions on these councils, as a sense of solidarity has led many of them to issue decisions that
are too lenient on fellow public servants.
The government is also planning to merge the various mechanisms currently involved in organizing inspections on the
public sector into one single unit. It is thought that this leaner, centralized mechanism will be more effective in
targeting cases of corruption and dereliction of duty.
Parliament passes 'Kallikratis' bill
29th May 2010 ana.gr
The Kallikratis bill envisaging mergers between local authorities was passed by the Greek Parliament during a vote on
the individual articles on Friday. The bill had been passed in principle during a session on Thursday.
Debate on the bill on Friday focused mainly on the issue of local government elections, with Interior Minister Yiannis
Ragoussis announcing that the government would invite the political parties to dialogue on a municipal election
system in June.
Ragoussis stressed that the government would come to these talks with the same position as that incorporated in
the bill passed on Friday, which requires that mayors and regional authority chiefs be elected with a 50%-plus
majority, but made it clear to all the parties that they would be asked to find a common ground, exhausting all
margins for a common, single and fixed system of elections in local government.
Bulgarians in Greece force their 15-year-old daughter to prostitute
26th May 2010 Focus News Agency
The Greek authorities in Heraklion, Crete, solved two cases of sexual exploitation involving Bulgarian citizens, Greek
newspaper Ethnos reported. Four people have been arrested and three are wanted. In both cases the people
involved were relatives.
The first case is for a 15-year-old girl that has made sexual contacts with a 56-year-old Greek from Heralkion 10
times, as apart from money, the man has also given her gifts, which was known and approved by her parents. The
mother of the girl and the Greek citizen are arrested, while the father and cousin, who helped in the initiation of the
contact with the Greek are wanted by the police.
The second case is for a 22-year-old Bulgarian girl, who was forced to prostitute by a 24-year-old man. He tricked her
into visiting him in Heraklion, after which took her passport and ID and forced her to prostitute for EUR 30 – EUR 100.
The 24-year-old man and his mother are arrested, and a 48-year-old woman is wanted for complicity.
Transparency in Tax Administration
25th May 2010 bloomberg.com
Greece is taking measures to improve the operation and transparency of its tax administration, the Finance Ministry
The measures include replacing 20 tax-office directors and investigating the financial standing of more than 200
Finance Ministry employees, the ministry said today in an e-mailed statement. The ministry also will cross-check
declared income and real-estate holdings of ministry workers, it said.
“According to a preliminary investigation, 70 Finance Ministry employees have real-estate holdings ranging from
800,000 euros to 3 million euros in value,” the ministry said. “The average real-estate holdings for these employees is
valued at 1,228,337 euros, while their average declared income is 50,834 euros,” it said. The ministry is launching
investigations into all these cases, according to the statement.
Post-mortem test 'supports Crete murder accused's case
24th May 2010
A man accused of murdering his 21-year-old girlfriend on Crete has received a boost to his claims of innocence.
24th May 2010 BBC news
A man accused of murdering his 21-year-old girlfriend on Crete has received a boost to his claims of innocence.
Chelsea Hyndman, from Castleford, died on 17 May. Her boyfriend Luke Walker, 22, of Brierley Hill in the West
Midlands, has been charged with murder.
Greek police allege that Mr Walker beat Miss Hyndman in a jealous rage.
His father said a UK post-mortem test showed Miss Hyndman suffered only one injury, adding credence to his claim
she was wounded when she fell on glass.
The BBC's Athens correspondent, Malcolm Brabant, said the case against Mr Walker was "almost entirely" based on a
post-mortem examination conducted by a Greek pathologist, who said Miss Hyndman's pancreas was ruptured after
she was punched.
Mr Walker's father Patrick said the second post-mortem, carried out in Yorkshire, confirmed Miss Hyndman suffered
one blow rather than multiple hits.
The Walker family claim she fell heavily on to her abdomen during a night out in the Cretan resort of Malia. Mr Walker
has been charged with pre-meditated murder. He has been remanded in prison and could stay there for up to 18
months while a trial date is arranged.
Greeks protest more reforms, peacefully
21st May 2010 ekathimerini
Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Athens yesterday for a peaceful demonstration as public and
private sector workers joined the latest 24-hour strike against the government’s austerity measures.
The strike brought most public transport to a halt, shut down schools and left hospitals with only emergency staff.
International flights were not affected as air-traffic controllers did not join the action to avoid aggravating disruption
in air space over Europe caused by volcanic ash. But ferries remained moored in port as the strike was joined by
The police were out in force yesterday, with orders to quell violence of the kind that led to three deaths during the
last strike on May 5 when rioters firebombed a bank. Officers detained nearly 100 people for questioning following
pre-emptive checks in the central Athens neighborhood of Exarchia.
There were no reports of skirmishes between protesters and riot police and the three rallies, organized by separate
unions, concluded peacefully.
Kiosk owners, market traders must issue receipts by July 1
21st May 2010 ekathimerini
Kiosk owners and street-market traders must be working with cash registers, and issuing receipts, by July 1,
according to an Finance Ministry decision made public yesterday. Taxi drivers have also been asked to use cash
registers, issue receipts and keep account books as part of the government's drive to crack down on tax evasion.
Cabbies have expressed reluctance to issue receipts and be taxed according to their income, as they have enjoyed a
special tax status to date. Market traders have also expressed opposition. However, most kiosk owners are
reportedly ready to install registers as long as the government lifts restrictions barring them from selling products
such as lottery tickets.
21st May 2010 ekathimerini
A coroner in Hania, Crete, yesterday was seeking to determine the cause of death of a man whose charred corpse
was found in a wooded area near the northern port late on Wednesday. The victim is believed to be a Pakistani
immigrant who had been reported missing to police on Monday by his brother.
Double killing in Heraklion
20th May 2010 ekathimerini
A 55-year-old tax office employee and his 30-year-old Bulgarian girlfriend, whose bodies were found bound in a
holiday home in the village of Koxari, near the Cretan port of Iraklio, are believed to have been killed by professionals,
police said yesterday. The victims had been s
hot several times at close range, according to police.
Boyfriend charged with Crete murder
20th May 2010 yorkshirepost.co.uk
A British man has been charged with the murder of his girlfriend who died in hospital in Crete on Monday after
suffering fatal internal injuries.
Doctors on the Greek island said Chelsea Hyndman, 21, suffered ruptured internal organs caused by physical
violence. Luke Walker, 22, of Brierley Hill, West Midlands, appeared before a court in the island's Heraklion, yesterday
where he was formally charged with murder and remanded in custody.
His lawyer George Koundourakis said he hoped Walker would be granted bail.
"He is in prison now but we are going to file an appeal for bail next week. It is too early to say when the trial will be."
It was originally thought Walker would face a lesser charge of causing fatal bodily injury.
Greece fully pays off 8.5 bln euro bond
19th May 2010 Reuters
Greece used EU and IMF emergency loans to fully repay a 10-year, 8.5 billion euro bond that matured on Wednesday,
officials said, and now needs to make painful changes to revamp its economy.
It was Greece's perceived inability to redeem the looming May 19 bond that prompted the European Union and
International Monetary Fund to come up with an 110 billion euro ($137 billion) emergency loan agreed at the
beginning of this month.
"We have concluded the repayment of the 8.5 billion euro maturing bond," a bank official close to the deal said.
Though it has gained breathing space, Greece must now convince investors it can rein in its deficit so that it can
eventually start borrowing on the market again.
Greek Tourism Minister Angela Gerekou Quits Over Husband's Unpaid Taxes
18th May New York Times
Greece's deputy tourism minister resigned on Monday after tax officials said that her husband, a popular singer and
former film star, owed nearly $7 million in unpaid taxes.
The resignation was a major embarrassment for the Greek government, which is trying to curtail tax evasion as part
of a broad effort to rein in huge budget deficits.
The government issued a statement saying that the deputy tourism minister, Angela Gerekou, 51, a former actress,
had stepped down hours after a daily newspaper published an article about the unpaid taxes.
"Angela Gerekou has submitted her resignation for reasons of sensitivity and sensibility, so that there cannot be the
slightest pretext to hurt the government," the statement said. It added that Ms. Gerekou said she had not been
involved in the tax affairs of her husband, Tolis Voskopoulos.
The Finance Ministry confirmed that Mr. Voskopoulos faces prosecution for $6.8 million (5.5 million euros) in unpaid
taxes and fines. It said that his case had not yet come to court, but that his real estate assets had been frozen.
Mr. Voskopoulos, 69, is one of the best-known members of Greece's older generation of popular singers and nightclub
stars. He has released dozens of records and appeared in several films during the 1960s and 1970s.
A burning issue
17th May 2010 ANA/Athens News
CONSTRUCTION of Greece’s first ever crematorium is slated to begin this year, after the relevant joint decision was
signed by the ministries of health, environment and interior on April 11. “Our main goal is to get in line with
international practices in developed countries where the state gives people the choice of cremation according to their
religious or ideological beliefs,” Environment Minister Tina Birbili told reporters. At present, burial is the only option in
Greece. According to the law, crematoriums will be created in cemeteries run by municipalities.
Quake jolts Evia
13th May 2010 Athens News
AN EARTHQUAKE measuring 4.0 on the Richter scale jolted the island of Evia on the morning of May 11, and was also
felt in parts of Athens and the wider region. The earthquake was recorded at 10.03am at a distance of 75 kilometres
northeast of Athens, with its epicentre in the village of Psachna. No damage was reported.
Athens hoteliers report thousands of cancellations after protests
7th May 2010 xinhuanet.com
Foreign visitors cancelled at least 5,800 room bookings during the first 24 hours after protests against austerity
measures in Athens turned deadly last Wednesday, the Union of Athens Hoteliers said Friday.
The number represented 10 percent of overall bookings, said a statement released by the Union that reassured
tourists that the Greek capital remains a safe destination.
Condemning the violent actions of a group of anarchists that marred the peaceful protest of tens of thousands of
Greeks and caused three deaths, the Union called on media to stop reproducing images that give an impression that
Athens is sinking into chaos every day.
“These images are counterproductive,” the statement said.
The next two weeks will be crucial for the Greek tourism industry, since in May major tourist operators from around
the world sign contracts for the next year, said Argiro Fili, president of the Greek Tourist Operators.
She suggested calm and“more responsibility from media which broadcast an exaggerated image of Greece that does
not reflect reality."
Debt-ridden Greece counts on the tourism sector, which is one of the country's strongest industries to get out of the
According to the World Tourism Organization one in five Greeks is employed in the tourism sector.
Deaths place Greece on ‘edge of abyss’
6th May 2010 ekathimerini
The deaths yesterday of three bank employees, who were caught in a fire when rioters threw Molotov cocktails at
their branch, overshadowed a protest in Athens against the austerity measures being pushed through by the
The bodies of two women, Angeliki Papathanasopoulou aged 32 and Paraskevi Zoulia 35, and 36-year-old
Epaminondas Tsakalis were found inside Marfin Egnatia Bank at 23 Stadiou Street after firefighters put out a blaze
that started when hooded assailants threw firebombs inside the building. Coroner Filippos Koutsaftis said that all
three had died from asphyxiation. Five of their colleagues were rescued after making it onto a second-floor balcony.
These were the first deaths in such circumstances during a public protest since January 1991 when four people died
when another building in central Athens caught fire.
The incident was condemned by Prime Minister George Papandreou and the other political parties. “Every citizen has
the right to protest but they do not have the right to use murderous violence,” said Papandreou, who added that the
state would support the families of the three victims. “The perpetrators will be made to pay for their action.”
Tens of thousands of people had gathered in the city center as part of a general strike by the private and public
sectors to protest drastic public spending cuts and tax hikes that are being introduced to deal with Greece’s debt
It took a statement from President Karolos Papoulias to best sum up Greece’s dire situation and the frustration that
many people are feeling with the political system. “Our country has reached the edge of the abyss,” he said. “It is
everybody’s responsibility that we do not take the step toward the drop. Responsibility is proved in action, not in
words. History will judge us all.”
Three Dead in Greek Strike
5th May CNN
Athens, Greece. Police sirens and tear gas filled the streets around Greece's parliament building Wednesday after
protests against government spending cuts turned violent, then deadly, with three people dying in a fire inside a
The demonstrators are furious at what they see as plans to take money out of their pockets.
"I've been working 38 years in the private sector. I live a simple life. I never took money from anyone," one man in
the crowd said. "And now I owe a lot of money to the borrowers -- I don't know who else."
Three people died after a fire bomb hit a bank in central Athens, the Greek fire brigade told CNN. The victims, two
women and a man, were bank employees, they said.
Protesters were throwing bottles at police guarding the burned-out bank, shouting "torturers" and "liars" because
they said they don't believe people were killed inside. Riot police were moving in to push the crowd away, CNN's
Diana Magnay reported from the scene.
One woman in the bank died trying to reach an upstairs balcony, and the other was found trapped in an attic, medical
examiner Filippos Koutsaftis said.
The man was found coming down a staircase, he said. All three victims were between 32 and 35 years old, the
ministry of civic protection said.
The ministry said one of the women was pregnant, but the medical examiner refused to confirm it.
All three appear to have suffocated, having inhaled toxic gases and smoke, the medical examiner said.
Corfu trial: Not guilty verdict for Thomas Cook reps
4th May 2010 Travel Weekly
The Thomas Cook reps standing trial for the deaths of two children in Corfu have been found not guilty.
Richard Carson, 28, and Nicola Gibson, 26, both faced charges of manslaughter by negligence in relation to the
children and causing bodily injury by negligence in relation to the children’s father Neil Shepherd and his partner Ruth
Their trial in Corfu began in February.
The pair were joined in the dock by nine Greek nationals including the manager of the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel
where the family were staying in October 2006 when the tragedy happened.
Hotel manager Georgios Chrysikopoulos, head of the hotel technical department Petros Stoyiannos and hotel
electrician Christos Louvros were each sentenced to seven years. Civil engineer Dimitrios Xidias was given two years
The operator said the children's death had resulted from a unique set of circumstances, none of which should be the
responsibility of the company or the two employees.
Greece to Unveil Cuts to Get Approval for Bailout
2nd May 2010 New York Times
Prime Minister George Papandreou of Greece was to unveil Sunday a raft of tough austerity measures, clearing the
way for long-delayed 120 billion euro rescue package aimed at helping the country to avoid a debt default and
preventing economic contagion from spreading throughout the region.
The unprecedented bailout of a member of the 16-nation euro zone, which was expected to be revealed later on
Sunday, marks the culmination of months of often fraught negotiations. The crisis has tested the credibility of the
single currency and underlined some of the deepest fissures in the European project since its inception, more than
half a century ago.
Crucially, Greek officials said the plan included potentially politically explosive measures that would make it easier to
lay off thousands of public sector workers, whose generous salaries and benefits have been a key cause of Greek’s
debt problem. Until now, the government has not been able to lay off civil servants, whose employment rights are in
effect constitutionally guaranteed.
Protests Mark May 1st International Labour Day in Greece
1st May 2010 periodico26
Protesters throughout the world took to the streets on Saturday to mark International Worker's Day. In Greece,
demonstrations gained special significance this year with millions of people facing increased taxes and pay cuts as the
government struggles to overcome its huge debt problem. Protesters clashed with police in Athens and other Greek
cities on Saturday.
Several anti-government rallies by labor unions disrupted transport services in Greece. The port of Piraeus, which
connects Athens with the Greek islands, was closed -- with striking workers gathering to protest the government's
planned spending cuts.
Clashes could be seen in Athens as riot police fired tear gas at a group of rock-throwing anarchists in front of
parliament in the capital and at the Polytechnic University. Protesters set fire to garbage cans, smashed the fronts of
luxury hotels, dozens of shops as well as setting fire to a state television van.
Elsewhere across the country, shops remained closed for the day while hospitals operated with emergency staff as
doctors joined the walkout.
Tax officials guilty of taking part in lucrative VAT returns scam
30th April 2010 ekathimerini
Four inspectors from Thessaloniki’s tax office yesterday received jail sentences ranging from seven to 15 years after
being found guilty of corruption. The tax officials were the latest to be jailed for being involved in helping businesses
to obtain a combined total of 60 million euros in VAT returns by issuing fake invoices indicating they had exported
products. So far, 12 inspectors have been convicted, five of whom are serving time in jail. Ten businessmen have also
29th April 2010 ekathimerini
The government’s plans to launch a new process to register illegally altered parts of homes may have to be changed,
it emerged yesterday. A new law would allow homeowners as of tomorrow to begin submitting to their local town-
planning offices paperwork to pay a penalty to protect them from any further fees for the next 40 years. The
government had pledged to use the penalty money to fund the creation of more green spaces. However, sources said
that officials from the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission have
asked that this money be used to help reduce Greece’s public deficit. Such a move may scupper the legislation, since
the Constitutional Court approved the bill only based on the creation of the Green Fund. Otherwise, even the
temporary legalization of an illegal construction is deemed unconstitutional.
26th April 2010 ekathimerini
The 27th Athens Fun Run, organized by City Hall, yesterday attracted more than 15,000 runners of all ages.
Competitors participated in two circular routes, one of 8 kilometers and the other 3.5 kilometers, which started at the
Panathenaic Stadium and concluded at Zappeio Hall.
Seamen strike Monday 26th April and Saturday 1st May(Labour Day).
25th April 2010 Ta Nea
Greek flagged ships will remain docked in port tomorrow, Monday April 26, as seamen launch a 24 hour strike,
primarily over the government's plan to lift cabotage. They will also strike again on May 1st, Labour Day. Ferries to
and from the Greek Islands will not be running on these dates.
IMF reportedly seeking further austerity measures as workers take to the streets
23rd April 2010 ekathimerini
Prime Minister George Papandreou chaired a gloomy Cabinet meeting yesterday, examining the debt-ridden
government’s dwindling options as visiting officials of the International Monetary Fund reportedly increased pressure
for additional austerity measures and thousands of Greeks took to the streets.
According to sources, Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou, who has been in back-to-back meetings with
officials from the IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Bank, told his peers that pressure was
building on the government to herald new measures. Papaconstantinou said the officials were expecting to see
changes in labor relations. It is thought that these changes would lead to a reduction of salaries in the private sector,
mirroring cuts that have already been introduced to the public sector.
Opinion in the government is said to be divided ....continues - read all
Athens at a standstill as Greeks go on strike
23rd April 2010 France 24
Greece has gone on strike for the fourth time this year, in protest at harsh cost-cutting measures proposed by the
Government. Athens wants to increase taxes, cut public sector wages and freeze pensions to try to pull Greece out of
its financial crisis. New figures show the Greek budget deficit for 2009 was higher than was previously thought,
standing at 13.6%.
23rd April 2010 ekathimerini
A lone robber in the central town of Volos netted more than 10,000 euros in cash yesterday after holding up a branch
of Bank of Cyprus. The man, who was wearing a ski mask and cap, threatened the two cashiers with a shotgun,
forcing them to empty their registers. The robber stuffed the cash into a rucksack before fleeing on foot. Police had
not traced him by late yesterday.
21st April 2010 ekathimerini
An earthquake measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale struck Zakynthos early yesterday. The quake’s epicenter was in the
sea, 35 kilometers southwest of the Ionian island. The tremor was recorded at 6.19 a.m. No injuries or damage was
Ash cloud could delay Greek EU-IMF meeting Monday
Sun Apr 18th 2010 (Reuters)
A meeting requested by Greece with EU and International Monetary Fund officials scheduled for Monday could be
delayed due to flight disruptions caused by the spread of volcanic ash from Iceland, an EU official said on Sunday.
The Athens meeting of sernior officials of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF was
called as a step towards Athens possibly obtaining billions of euros in emergency loans.
"We are trying to make sure they can attend, but we will have to see how things pan out -- at the moment it's
looking increasingly difficult," a spokesman for the European Commission said of the meeting.
The spread of volcanic ash from last week's eruption in Iceland has forced closure of most northern and central
European airspace and has severely disrupted transatlantic flights. Airspace in southern Europe, including Greece,
has remained open.
An IMF official said last week the joint mission to Greece should last about 15 days and any agreement would be
finalised shortly afterward by the IMF board.
Greek and IMF officials have stressed that Greece, struggling to finance a national debt greater than its annual
economic output, has still not decided whether to apply to activate an emergency aid mechanism announced by euro
FLIGHT DISRUPTION Ash delays outbound planes
18th April 2010 ekathimerini
Several aircraft were grounded at airports around the country as a huge cloud of ash from an Icelandic volcano
spread out across Europe, causing visibility problems. Passengers scheduled to travel from Greek airports over should
contact their airline for information about changes to their flights.
Note Greek airports are still open as at Sunday 18th April, with flights to the east, as well as domestic flights, still
MINISTRY WATCH Progress reports posted on deputy prime minister’s website
18th April 2010 ekathimerini
In keeping with its pledge to foster transparency, the government said yesterday that regular progress reports on
how ministers are progressing with the tasks they have been assigned will be published on the website of Deputy
Prime Minister Theodoros Pangalos. The first such report was uploaded yesterday on the site www.antiproedros.gov.
gr. It gives voters an indication of how various pieces of legislation are progressing and whether ministries are
meeting their targets. Prime Minister George Papandreou has given Pangalos the task of overseeing the effectiveness
of the government’s ministers.
Creta TV Channel sit-in
16th April 2010 ekathimerini
A group of anti-establishment protesters late on Wednesday occupied Creta Television’s premises in Iraklio, Crete,
complaining about the arrest of six suspected members of the Revolutionary Struggle terrorist group and the
government’s austerity measures. They burst into the studio during a news bulletin. There were no arrests as the
protesters left the premises peacefully.
15th April 2010 ekathimerini
An 80-year-old woman was killed instantly yesterday when a crane ran her over outside her home in the village of
Gangales in Iraklio, Crete. According to police, the 34-year-old crane driver had stopped for a moment to allow a car
to pass before reversing to allow another vehicle to pass. The crane driver hit the woman while reversing.
14th April 2010 ekathimerini
The executive committee of the civil servants’ union ADEDY yesterday confirmed that its members would be staging a
24-hour strike on April 22 in protest at the government’s austerity measures and at the repercussions of a new tax
Greek civil servants union calls strike April 22
10 th April 2010 Reuters
Greek civil servants will walk off the job for 24 hours on April 22 to protest against austerity measures which they say
burden only the poor, a union (ADEDY) official said on Friday.
"We decided to strike on April 22," Ilias Iliopoulos, ADEDY's general secretary told Reuters.
"We understand that Greece's economy is in a crisis as well as the need for measures. But the measures this
government has taken only burden the poor, leaving those responsible for the crisis unaffected," he said.
The nationwide strike will be the union's fourth since the beginning of the year. ADEDY represents about half a million
workers and the strike is expected to affect transport and public services.
10th April 2010 ekathimerini
Police on Crete yesterday detained a 54-year-old man after finding 3.5 kilograms of cannabis hidden in several small
barrels in a forest close to his home in the port of Hania. Officers also seized a pair of scales and 500 euros in cash
from the suspect who has been detained in the past on drug-related charges and is believed to be a dealer in the
EU agrees on Greek rescue terms, Fitch downgrades
9th April 2010 Reuters
Euro zone officials agreed on Friday on the terms of a possible financial rescue for Greece as a ratings agency
downgraded its debt by two notches citing a worsening economy and rising borrowing costs.
Deputy finance ministers and central bankers of the 16 countries sharing the European single currency decided that
any emergency loans would be made on terms almost identical to standard International Monetary Fund bailouts if
Greece needed them, an EU source said.
"A deal has been reached," the source with close knowledge of the discussions told Reuters. "It is almost a carbon
copy of International Monetary Fund terms."
But the news brought only momentary relief to credit markets because Fitch Ratings cut Greece's credit rating to BBB-
minus, its lowest investment-grade rating, and signaled further downgrades are possible.
Fitch also downgraded to BBB-minus the ratings of Greece's four largest banks -- the National Bank of Greece, Alpha
Bank, Eurobank Ergasias and Piraeus Bank. It also cut the rating of the Agricultural Bank of Greece to BB-plus, or
All of those institutions, which still carry a negative ratings outlook, have experienced a 2-4 percent decline in the
level of deposits as a result of the elevated risk perception surrounding Greece, Fitch said.
New figures published on Friday highlighted a deepening recession in Greece that will further aggravate its fiscal
problems as the government continued to resist market pressure to seek outside help with its debt crisis.
Visa waiver program - US ambassador sees ‘smooth transition’ on visit to airport
8th April 2010 ekathimerini
US Ambassador to Greece Daniel Speckhard said yesterday that the first three days of the country’s accession to the
US Visa Waiver Program had gone well. Speaking during a visit to Athens International Airport, Speckhard remarked
that “the transition to visa waiver has gone very smoothly.” “One young woman said it took only a few minutes for
her travel authorization,” the envoy said after talking to passengers, airport officials and airline staff.
Three killed in Easter festivities
6th April 2010 ekathimerini
Three people were killed and four injured in accidents involving fireworks during the Easter weekend, when it is a
tradition for pyrotechnic displays to accompany church services marking the resurrection of Christ.
A 17-year-old man was killed on Crete, a 21-year-old on Santorini and a 25-year-old in the Peloponnesian prefecture
The 17-year-old died in the village of Voroi near Iraklio while constructing a homemade firework with a friend on
Sunday. He lost a hand in the blast and had died by the time he was taken to the hospital.
The 21-year-old died in an explosion on Saturday night while he was making fireworks with a friend in a warehouse in
Karterado. The other man suffered eye injuries. A 28-year-old in the Santorini village of Firostefani also suffered
serious injuries to one of his hands while making fireworks, known locally as “balafouma.”
In Messenia, the 25-year-old from the village of Moschohori was transporting balloons containing oxygen that were
due to be exploded in place of fireworks on Saturday night but they went off in his car and the unnamed man burned
Large Forest fire in Lassithi, Crete
1st April 2010 Haniotika Nea
Fire fighting forces in Crete were on alert until late last night because of a large fire that occurred early in the
afternoon in the pine forest of Lassithi.
Strong southerly gale force winds, up to nine Beaufort, turned the scene into a fiery inferno, putting firefighters at
risk. According to the deputy commander for the fire service in Crete, George Trigoni, the situation until late last night
was dire "The fires are scattered throughout the pine forest. Flames spring up in a split second, spreading from one
place to another. It is dangerous for the firefighters, "he said.
The Prinas pine forest is dense, with prohibitive access as there are no footpaths.
The fire was reported yesterday at 12 noon, by local resident who saw smoke at the top of the forest. They
immediately alerted the fire department.
Two firefighting aircraft were despatched to the area, but the extremely strong southerly winds prohibited them from
making water drops. Firemen were then brought in from Agios Nikolaos, Ierapetra, Iraklio and Rethimno provinces to
battle the flames, along with army soldiers and volunteers.
The village of Kalo Chorio south of Agias Nikolaos was under threat of the flames at one point, with residents close to
evacuation. The fire fighters continued their battle against the fires into the early hours of the morning.
Outlook unclear for OA payoffs
1st April 2010
Some 4,500 laid-off employees of the former state-carrier Olympic Air (OA) will probably receive their compensation in
installments, it emerged yesterday after four top-ranking Cabinet members discussed the matter at Maximos Mansion.
According to sources, Deputy Finance Minister Filippos Sachinidis emphasized during yesterday’s meeting, which was
chaired by State Minister Haris Pamboukis, that state coffers do not contain the 260 million euros needed to pay off
the ex-OA staff. The same sources told Kathimerini that the likeliest scenario is the disbursement of 50 million euros
to fund one initial payment. This would be done chiefly to appease angry workers, some of whom occupied the offices
of the General Accounting Office for nine days earlier this month. It remained unclear yesterday when, or even if, the
remaining 210 million euros would be paid to laid-off staff. If the cash is found for subsequent installments, it is
expected that employees who were on lower salaries would be favored.
Sources told Kathimerini that former OA employees were concerned at the government’s failure to set out a time
frame for the disbursement of the compensation.
A law introduced by the previous conservative administration not only foresees compensation payouts to all laid-off
OA staff but also the payment of a 500-euro monthly income supplement to former employees who are being
transferred to other posts in the public sector. The aim of the latter provision had been to ensure that the employees’
salaries remained at roughly the same level as when they worked for OA.
Some estimates have put the cost of the government making good on the OA law as high as 1.3 billion euros.
According to the General Accounting Office, which calculates and dispenses civil servants’ pensions, the OA law will
cost insurance funds alone some 650 million euros.
Giant shark caught off Crete
1st April 2010 ANA-MPA
A 4.5-meter-long shark species weighing in at slightly more than 300 kilos was caught by a trawler in a sea region off
Hania, Crete, some 30 nautical miles from the coastline. This type of shark, with a distinctive long tail, is rarely caught
by local fishermen.
31st March 2010 ekathimerini
A 14-year-old boy shot dead his 39-year-old stepfather while the latter was sleeping in their home in Siteia, eastern
Crete, police said. According to police, the teenager had been upset after his stepfather scolded him the night before.
It was unclear whether the boy would face reduced charges due to his age.
Bomb kills youth, maims sister
30th march 2010 ekathimerini
A pipe bomb that had been placed on the steps outside a business institute in the Athens district of Kato Patissia
killed a 15-year-old Afghan boy, seriously injured his 10-year-old sister and hurt his 45-year-old mother when it
detonated late on Sunday.
Police said the device bore the hallmarks of the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire but the organization posted a
statement on the Internet yesterday evening denying any link. The bomb exploded at 10.40 p.m. on Sunday night
outside the Hellenic Management Association. The 15-year-old was killed instantly and his sister hospitalized with
severe shrapnel wounds to the eyes and burns to the face. Doctors said late last night that they were fighting to
save her eyesight but that the outlook was bad.
Police are certain that the Afghan family was not the target of the attack and that their involvement had been a tragic
twist of fate. Officers believe that the boy picked up the device, which had been placed in a rucksack, out of curiosity,
minutes after the perpetrators had planted it. The bombers had probably been planning to phone in a warning call to
the police or media after planting the bomb, police said. Police had been on standby since Sunday morning when an
anonymous caller told Alter television channel that a bomb was about to explode outside a business association but
the acronym given did not correspond to any registered institute and no blast occurred – until Sunday night. Forensic
experts examining the remnants of the explosive device believe it was a pipe bomb containing ammonia dynamite.
According to police, the device that detonated on Sunday is virtually identical to the bomb used in an attack on the
Chilean Consulate in Thessaloniki in July and claimed by the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire.
29th March 2010 Ekathimerini
An earthquake measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale shook the island of Chios in the northern Aegean on Saturday. The
tremor, the epicenter of which was 220 kilometers east of Athens, struck at 8.35 p.m. No injuries or damage were
Gripes about state services up by a third
27th March 20101 ekathimerini
The financial crisis has aggravated chronic problems in state services, according to the Ombudsman which said that
complaints lodged by citizens – chiefly regarding the health service and the social security system – increased by
more than a third last year.
A total of 13,433 people submitted complaints to the watchdog last year, up 36 percent from 2008 and the highest
number since the institution was founded in 1997.
“Client-patron relations, corruption and a lack of transparency are harming social cohesion and holding the country
back,” Ombudsman Giorgos Kaminis said.
According to Kaminis, many of the complaints relate to bureaucratic procedures and understaffing of insurance funds.
Another popular gripe is about the health service with thousands expressing exasperation over red tape and lack of
Gas station owners threaten to strike over price ceiling
26th March 2010 ekathimerini
Gasoline station owners on Crete and in the Dodecanese as well as the prefectures of Thesprotia, Fokida and
Preveza in eastern Greece are threatening strike action next week unless the government suspends the ceiling
imposed on fuel prices in those areas.
The Greek Federation of Gasoline Station Owners (OBE) is against a ceiling on retail prices alone but would favor one
that applies to all stages of fuel distribution, from refineries to trading and retailing.
The strike is threatening to cause problems for motorists during Holy Week, when large numbers of urban dwellers
travel to their villages for the holidays.
BoG unveils monetary policy report
23rd March 2010 ANA
The Greek economy is expected to shrink by 2.0 pct this year, the Bank of Greece announced in a report on monetary
policy released on Monday. The report was tabled in Parliament by George Provopoulos, the central bank’s governor.
The inflation rate is projected to rise to 3.0 pct in 2010 and the country’s gross domestic product shrank by 2.0 pct
22nd March 2010 ekthimerini
Three Cretans were in an Iraklio hospital yesterday following a financial dispute between members of rival families,
police said. A total of six people had been involved in the brawl, which culminated in several knives being drawn,
according to police, who detained five of them. The sixth suspect eluded arrest.
Rift in E.U. Widens Over Importance of Greek Aid
21st March 2010 NYtimes
The rift over how to solve the Greek debt crisis widened Sunday between Berlin and the rest of Europe after
Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said there was no need to make aid to Athens the main topic of a European
Union summit meeting set for Thursday.
Greece should solve its own problems and does not yet need aid, Mrs. Merkel said during an interview on
Deutschlandfunk radio Sunday. “Therefore, I don’t think it’s advisable to upset the markets by raising false
expectations for the summit on Thursday,” she said. “If Greece doesn’t need any help, then I don’t think the issue
should be in the foreground.”
But her statements were out of sync with other European leaders ahead of the summit meeting. Prime Minister Silvio
Berlusconi of Italy told reporters on Sunday that if “within the European Union there is no willingness to help a
country which has the euro currency and is in the middle of a crisis, then the European Union has no reason to exist,”
according to a report by Reuters.
New exhibits in Hania Maritime Museum
20th March 2010 ANA- MPA
The Hania Maritime Museum on the island of Crete, which was inaugurated nearly 35 years ago, has enriched its
exhibits with items just received from old lighthouses throughout Greece dating as far back as 1890.
The Maritime Museum, located at the entrance of Hania's outer harbour on the site of the Firka Fortress, was built
originally by the Venetians as a guard house, naval garrison and prison for those condemned to death, and later
taken over by the Ottomans for much the same purposes.
The museum is well worth a visit for people of all ages, as it provides a brief visual introduction to Crete's history from
the Bronze Age to the World War II.
It was on the harbour front, adjacent to the Museum, that the Greek Flag was raised on 1 December 1913 by then
King Constantine and Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos, to commemorate the "Enossis", the Union of Crete
Tax against Church unconstitutional
20th March 2010 ANA
Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos on Sunday was quoted in an Athens weekly as charging that a
looming tax on Church-related commercial property and revenue was unconstitutional, while warning that the Church
of Greece will seek recourse to Greek and European courts if a relevant draft bill provision is approved.
Instead, the primate of the autocephalous Church of Greece proposed a calculation based on revenues and
expenditures, with the Church subsequently paying a tax of 20 percent on the remainder of whatever net income.
"The state is telling us that 'we don't know what your (Church) revenues are; yet, I want 20 percent of what you
receive'. This is unconstitutional, and can be countered in both Greek and European courts. However, it is also
unprincipled. How can you take 20 percent from someone when he may not even cover his expenditures?" Ieronymos
was quoted as saying.
Cretan pupils posed online with Nazi signs
20th March 2010 ekathimerin
Cretan teachers are spearheading an anti-racism drive after photographs uploaded onto the social networking site
Facebook showed pupils from a secondary school in Akrotiri posing under symbols of far-right organizations.
According to Dimitris Loupasakis, the head of the school in Hania prefecture, the discovery came months after rumors
emerged of far-right “cells” in schools. “It’s a phenomenon that is spreading,” Loupasakis said, adding that primary
schools were being targeted too “as younger children are politically naive.” Teachers asked pupils if they had been
approached by individuals preaching extremism, prompting local far-right groups to write a blog entry accusing
schools of persecuting children with nationalist leanings. Hania has been the scene of many far-right attacks this
year, including the vandalization of a synagogue and an assault on a teacher, who had a swastika scratched into her
19th March 2010 ekathimerini
Police in the Cretan port of Iraklio yesterday were seeking two armed robbers who netted 7,000 euros after holding
up a supermarket late on Wednesday night. No one was injured in the raid.
Greece staying in eurozone, insists PM
18th March 2010 ekathimerini
There is “zero chance” of Greece leaving the eurozone, Prime Minister George Papndreou said yesterday after
suggestions by German Chancellor Angela Merkel that members should face expulsion if they do not comply with the
euro’s fiscal criteria.
Papandreou made his comment after meeting with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in Brussels,
where the Greek premier refused to rule out the possibility of Athens turning to the International Monetary Fund for
financial assistance in what is becoming an increasingly tense game of cat-and-mouse between the PASOK
government and the other eurozone members, Germany in particular, who are unwilling to yet commit to the idea of
lending Greece money.
“Certainly, I would say there is zero possibility of [Greece] leaving the eurozone,” said Papandreou.
Earlier, Merkel said that Greece “has shown a lot of courage” in adopting austerity measures to trim its public deficit
but suggested that countries should be kicked out of the eurozone “as a last resort” if they flout its financial rules
“again and again.”
Farming shortfalls - EC seeks return of 132.3 mln euros in agricultural subsidies
17th March 2010 ekathimerini
The European Commission has asked Greece to return 132.3 million euros in farming subsidies after detecting
shortfalls in quality inspections and growth programs in the agriculture sector, it emerged yesterday. The decision,
which comes at the worst possible time for the debt-ridden government, was issued after EC officials reported
inadequate inspections on cotton farming and a lack of initiatives to spur growth in the broader sector.
EU inches toward aid for Greece
17th March 2010 ekathimerini
The members of the eurozone have agreed to the structure of a groundbreaking financial assistance package for
Greece should it need it in its battle to restore the country's public finances but the green light for the scheme will
have to be given by European Union leaders, possibly when they meet at the end of next week, it was confirmed
Speaking after a meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels, European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner
Olli Rehn said that Greece does not need any help at the moment but that almost everything was in place for it to be
offered if necessary. «The Commission is ready to propose a European framework for coordinated and conditional
assistance,» said the Finn.
Households buckling under debts
16th March 20101 ekathimerini
A growing number of households are struggling under the weight of mortgage and consumer loan payments,
according to data unveiled yesterday, as the depth of Greece’s economic recession worsens.
Survey figures presented by Kappa Research showed that 32.3 percent of the people questioned with some form of
debt believe that they will not be able to keep up with credit installments in the coming year.
The percentage of households currently making late loan payments – or not making them at all – amounted to 31.8
percent of respondents, with most delaying on consumer loans.
Just below 3 percent of households have simply given up trying to keep up with monthly bank demands with the
majority of slow payers, 17.8 percent, delaying by up to a month.
The study, commissioned by the General Secretariat for Consumers, questioned 2,085 people from March 4 to 8,
immediately after the Socialist government unveiled 4.8 billion euros’ worth of austerity measures in a combination of
spending cuts and higher taxes.
15th March 2010 ekathimerini
The increase in value-added tax from 19 to 21 percent, one of a series of new austerity measures approved in
Parliament last week, is to come into effect today, bumping up the price of food, fuel, utility bills and various services.
The price of toll fees on the national road network increased at midnight yesterday. At the Afidnes junction in
northern Attica, the new toll fee for motorists will be 1.90 euros, at Thebes 2.30 euros and at Tragana 2.20 euros. Toll
fees on the Attiki Odos ring roadwill not change.
3.4 Richter scale earthquake in Malia, a total of 16 in Greece
10th March 2010 DigitalCrete.gr
A number of small earthquakes shook the whole of Greece yesterday, creating turmoil in combination with the
earthquake of 6 on the Richter scale that occurred in eastern Turkey.
There is no reason for concern as it is a normal phenomenon, confirmed the researcher of the Laboratory of Natural
Disasters TUC, Spyros Fotinis.
In Crete, a few minutes after 9 am, was seen a small earthquake of magnitude 3.4 on the Richter scale, centered four
kilometers east of Malia. The earthquake was felt by some residents of Heraklion and Agios Nikolaos. The focal depth
of the quake was 30 miles.
Meanwhile, two earthquakes preceded yesterday morning in the sea area between Euboea and Skopelos. The first,
which occurred at 4 am, was magnitude 4 on the Richter scale and the second, at 4:55 in the morning, was 4,3
Of the two shocks that were felt in Athens, there are no reported injuries or damage. A similar-sized quake had
occurred yesterday afternoon in Aigio.
Throughout the Greek world only yesterday ... a total of 16 earthquakes were recorded by the European-
Mediterranean Seismological Center.
Greek police see how UK bobbies fight crime
8th March 2010 thisissouthdevon.co.uk
GREEK police have been in Torbay to see how bobbies in Britain deal with the influx of visitors during the summer
Three lieutenants from the Greek Police, Manolis Theodosoulis, from Crete, Peter Litsnis, from Kos, and Stelios
Psarogiannis, from Zakynthos, were joined by Alison Beckett, Her Majesty's Consul from the British Embassy, Athens,
during the three-day trip.
Lt Litsnis said: "The aim of this trip is to exchange experience. We want to hear from our colleagues here how they
deal with things which are similar to Greece, which have to do with criminality from tourism and English tourists. We
are keen on learning new things, to exchange ideas and we would like to thank the British Consul for giving us this
opportunity to visit Torbay's Police."
Greek unions call nationwide strike for Thursday March 11
5th March Reuters
Greece's biggest public and private sector unions called workers to walk off the job on March 11, piling further
pressure on the government as it struggles to stem a severe debt crisis.
"We are holding a strike on Thursday, March 11," a spokeswoman for private sector union GSEE said.
Ilias Iliopoulos, secretary general at public sector sister union ADEDY, said public workers would also strike on March
11. ADEDY had originally called a strike for March 16 but decided to bring the date forward.
The two unions together represent about 2.5 million workers, half of Greece's workforce.
Strikes and Demonstrations
4th March 2010 ERT
Protesting the tough measures announced by the government, Greeks decided to escalate their reactions. About 100
members of PAME (All Workers Militant Front) have blocked the entrance of the building housing the Finance Ministry.
PAME is also planning to stage protests in several other cities. The ADEDY public sector union is staging a
demonstration in central Athens at 6pm on Thursday. ADEDY and GSEE will hold work stoppages on Friday. Unions are
considering rescheduling the 24-hour strike they had initially called on 16 March and hold it in the coming week.
Primary school teachers will go out on strike on Friday. The board of the secondary school teachers association is
currently meeting to discuss their participating in Friday's strike.
Survey finds graft is thriving
3rd March 2010 Ekathimerini
Corruption is thriving in Greece’s public and private sectors, with staff at hospitals, tax offices and town-planning
offices among the worst offenders, Transparency International’s Greek office said yesterday.
Bribes paid to Greek officials last year rose by 50 million euros to 790 million euros, the corruption watchdog said,
noting that the bulk of the increase was due to illicit transactions in the private sector.
In the state sector, the usual suspects topped the chart. According to a survey of 6,122 people carried out for TI’s
Greek office by polling firm Public Issue, hospitals accounted for 33.5 percent of bribes taken, with tax offices and local
authority services accounting for 15.7 and 15.9 percent, respectively. Banks and lawyers are next on the list with 10.8
percent and 9 percent of cases.
In the state sector, the average bribe was 1,355 euros and in the private sector 1,671 euros, according to the survey.
Police bust dealers of valuable artifacts
1st March 2010 ekathimerini
Two members of a suspected ring trading in exceptionally valuable, illegally acquired ancient artifacts – one piece
worth an estimated 7 million euros – were being questioned by police in Thessaloniki yesterday.
The two Greeks, aged 48 and 51, were arrested on Friday night by police who stopped the car in which they were
traveling on the Egnatia Highway, near the junction with Kavala, for an inspection. A search of the car turned up a
bronze statue dating to the 4th century BC, which the suspects are believed to have been on their way to sell for 7
million euros. Subsequent raids on the two suspects’ homes in the city of Drama turned up several more artifacts,
including the bronze head of a boy dating to the Roman period and several ancient coins.
Officers said they were seeking other suspected ring members as well as prospective customers.