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|Living in Crete
Crete & Greece
July to October 2010
Rescue search - Man, 45, swept away by floodwaters after saving his son
29th October 2010 ekathimerini
Rescue workers late on Thursday continued their search in Thermi, on the outskirts of Thessaloniki, for a 45-
year-old man who was swept away by floodwaters on Wednesday evening following heavy rain. Authorities
said the man went missing after helping his 22-year-old son who had become trapped in his car after trying
to drive through a flooded street. The 22-year-old’s parents managed to pull him from the car but the father
was swept away. Heavy rainfall on Wednesday led to widespread flooding in Attica and northern Greece.
Culture Ministry protesters scale Acropolis entry
29th October 2010 ekathimerini
Culture Ministry contract workers seeking permanent status yesterday ratcheted up their protests, climbing
on top of the marble gateway to the Acropolis site and unfurling a large black banner that read: “No to
The protesters, who had climbed on top of the Propylaia in the morning, came down in the early afternoon
after the ministry dispatched a prosecutor to the site. Another group of workers staged a small
demonstration at the foot of the Acropolis but did not prevent tourists from visiting the ancient landmark as
they had done two weeks ago, prompting the intervention of riot police officers.
In a statement, the ministry condemned the workers for showing “a total lack of respect for history and for
the symbolism of the monument” and for putting the Propylaia at risk by mounting it. The statement added
that authorities were in the process of paying protesting employees who are owed up to two years in
wages but that those with contracts due to expire could not be rehired.
Huge cannabis haul in Chania
27th October 2010 ekathimerini
Narcotics officers in Hania, Crete, yesterday seized a large cannabis plantation containing 700 trees and 330
kilos of unprocessed marijuana. Acting on a tip, officers raided the makeshift plantation that had been
carved into a forest in Rodovani and became embroiled in a shootout with a group of unidentified suspects
who fled into the woods. Further investigation also revealed a large drying shed containing the 330 kilos of
26th October 2010 ekathimerini
A group of 150 owners of bars, restaurants and cafes from across the country yesterday lodged a joint
appeal with the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, seeking the revocation of a law
passed last month banning smoking in public places. The protesters say the law violates the Constitution
and claim to have seen their turnover plunge since its introduction.
25th October 2010 ekathimerini
Unionists representing the country’s gas station owners yesterday reiterated threats to suspend deliveries
of heating oil to Greek homes, complaining that the government had failed to make good on its pledges to
repay suppliers the special consumption tax they pay when buying the oil within two days of the submission
of invoices. The unionists said they would give the government until November 1 to satisfy their demands.
Industrial action to stop trains for four days as of Monday
23rd October 2010 ekathimerini
There will be no train services anywhere in Greece on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday as railway
workers resume strike action in protest at the government’s privatization plans. However, trains will be
running on Thursday, which is a national holiday. Workers on the Proastiakos Suburban Railway will also be
participating in the strike, while there will be no metro service to the airport, as the line will stop instead at
Doukissis Plakentias station. The strike was called by the union representing workers at the Hellenic
Railways Organization (OSE).
Two die as wind, rain lash islands
20th October 2010 ekathimerini
Two people were killed and substantial damage was inflicted on homes and businesses on several Greek
islands as a result of heavy rain and gale-force winds over the last two days.
Authorities said yesterday that a 34-year-old man was found dead in his home on Icaria, in the northern
Aegean. It appears that the heavy rain caused the ground beneath the building to subside, causing the
structure’s collapse. A pensioner drowned on nearby Chios on Monday night after being swept away in his
car by onrushing floodwaters.
The fire service had to help another 10 people who were trapped in their cars on Chios. It also responded
to more than 300 calls to pump water out of basements.
Also on Monday night, a mini tornado hit the Ionian island of Zakynthos, leading to a British tourist being
slightly injured when the window of the restaurant where she was dining smashed. It was the second
whirlwind to strike the island in the past few days.
The weather is expected to improve as of today, starting in western Greece and spreading to the rest of the
Greece and China sign tourist cooperation protocol
19th October 2010 express.gr
(Ana/MPA) Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos signed a Cooperation Protocol on Tuesday with
the Vice President of China's National Tourism Authority and head of the Chinese delegation Jiang Du,
regarding mutual action in a series of fields in the tourist sector and know-how exchanges in the sector of
tourist training and preparation.
The two sides agreed, among other things, to encourage the start of direct air linkage between the two
countries and to strengthen on both sides cooperation between tourist businessmen, cultural agencies and
Special reference was made to the Greek state's considerable efforts to facilitate Chinese visitors during the
visa issuing process.
Minister fumes at smoking snub
19th October 2010 ekathimerini
Dozens of bar and restaurant owners put ashtrays back on their tables yesterday, in clear breach of the
recent anti-smoking law, as the government appeared to accept a setback in its aim of banning people from
lighting up in enclosed public spaces.
Members of the federation of restaurants and bars, POESE, had let it be known in previous days that they
would flout the law because they believe that it is hurting their businesses at a time when custom is already
dropping off due to the economic crisis. TV images showed customers lighting up in cafes in Athens and
Thessaloniki, in contravention of the law.
However, Health Minister Andreas Loverdos admitted that the government is being hampered in its efforts
to impose the law because of the upcoming local elections. The government had enlisted the municipal
police in major cities as the key partner in its effort to impose the ban but it seems that, with voters due to
go to the polls on November 7, local authorities are either unwilling to crack down on offenders or have
shifted their focus elsewhere.
Loverdos said that he will wait until December to get a more accurate picture of whether the law is being
applied and stringent checks are being carried out but admitted that the government had suffered a serious
blow. “The worst thing that can happen to a lawmaker and a government that has to enforce the laws is for
society to refuse to abide by them,” he told Skai Radio.
Acropolis row set to continue
18th October 2010 ekathimerini
Culture Ministry contract workers scaled down their protests at the Acropolis over the weekend but have
warned that they may make their presence felt again from today.
After closing the gates to the ancient citadel on Wednesday and Thursday and blocking the ticket office on
Friday, the group of employees, who are protesting the non-renewal of their contracts and the fact that
some have not been paid for about 20 months, picketed outside the Acropolis yesterday and on Saturday
but did not obstruct visitors.
However, the head of their union, Nikos Hasomeris, said they might “step up” their protest from today.
“Our decision not to create any problems over the weekend shows that we respect and love this site,” he
said, blaming the presence of riot police for the tension that was created last week.
Drug Dealer Arrested in Heraklion port carrying 1kg Heroin & 150g cocaine
17th October 2010 Nea.tv
A 22 year old woman from Albania was arrested on arrival in Heraklion port yesterday from the ferry from
Piraeus. She was carrying 1 kilogram of heroin and 150 grams of cocaine.
Police were acting on a tip off that the young woman is involved in the trafficking and distribution of drugs,
being part of a larger chain of drug pushers supplying many Greek cities.
Visitors get into Acropolis for free
16th October 2010 ekathimerini
Culture Ministry workers who have been protesting in front of the Acropolis for the past three days decided
to change tactics yesterday and, instead of blocking the entrance to the ancient citadel, allowed tourists in
The contract employees, who were yesterday supported by permanent ministry staff, had blocked the main
gate to the Acropolis for the third morning in a row. However, after a standoff with riot police lasting several
hours during which officers briefly forced open the entrance, the protesting civil servants moved away from
the gate and blocked the ticket booth. This allowed tourists to enter the archaeological site without
purchasing a ticket.
Ministry workers on fixed-term contracts said that they would return to the Acropolis today to picket in front
of the ticket booth and would then decide what to do on Sunday. They are protesting the fact that some
colleagues have not been paid for some 20 months and are demanding the government scrap legislation
that limits their employment to just two years.
16th October 2010 ekathimerini
Authorities in Hania, Crete, said yesterday they are investigating allegations that a 16-year-old boy raped a
15-year-old girl at a local high school. The girl reported the incident to police the next day, saying that the
boy had forced her into the bathroom during a break and assaulted her.
Air traffic controllers' strike declared illegal
15th October 2010 ANA
An Athens court on Thursday ruled illegal a 24-hour strike scheduled for Sunday October 17 by air traffic
The appeal against the strike was filed by the Civil Aviation Service.
Bars, eateries may snub smoking ban
15th October 2010 ekathimerini
Some restaurant and bar owners are planning a major act of civil disobedience this Sunday, as they intend
to allow their customers to smoke even though a law banning people from lighting up in enclosed public
spaces has been in effect since the beginning of the month.
It emerged yesterday that the federation of restaurants and bars, POESE, which has 152 affiliated unions
representing 121,000 businesses and some 400,000 workers, has decided to take drastic action against the
recent smoking ban.
Its president, Yiannis Tsakos, told Kathimerini that POESE is not against the smoking ban itself but strongly
opposes its timing. He claims that restaurants and bars are already finding the going hard due to the
economic crisis and that the ban on smoking is hurting their custom even more.
“Since we are going to go out of business anyway as a result of the crisis, let the state come along and shut
us down because we are not following the law,” said Tsakos.
The General Confederation of Greek Small Businesses and Traders (GSEVEE) has backed calls for the ban to
be lifted. Its president, Dimitris Asimakopoulos, met with government representatives yesterday to request
The government, however, insists that it will not stop the law from being enforced.
14th October 2010 ekathimerini
An 11-year-old child reported missing from Anogia, Crete, on Monday, was found safe and sound yesterday
in Patra. Police had activated an «Amber Alert» - a notification system for missing children - after Rezai Ali
Reza, who is of Afghan descent, was reported missing. According to sources, the child told police that he
had gone to Patra to meet a friend who had left Anogia the week before. It was unclear if the two boys had
been staying at a hostel for refugees in Anogia.
Deliveries to begin tomorrow
14th October 201 ekathimerini
Deliveries of heating oil to Greek homes are to begin tomorrow as planned after Deputy Finance Minister
Dimitris Kouselas reached a consensus with unionists representing the country's gas station owners.
Kouselas satisfied the unionists' demands for repayment of the special consumption tax they fork out when
buying the oil within two days of the submission of invoices to the ministry. Also, a regulation obliging gas
station owners to pay the tax in advance will be abolished on January 1.
Greece's Acropolis shut in dispute over unpaid wages and layoffs
Oct 13th M&C
Tourists planning to visit Greece's most famous ancient site, the Acropolis, found its doors closed on
Wednesday by workers in a dispute with the government over outstanding wages and layoffs.
Culture ministry employees launched the strike, which blocked access to the 2,500-year-old site, to demand
back pay for hundreds of employees with short term contracts which in many cases have not been paid for
The 300 protesters, mainly contract workers, are also demanding permanent jobs after the culture ministry
announced that their contracts would expire at the end of the month.
Collapsed currency firm could owe £20m
Monday, October 11, 2010
The collapse of foreign exchange company Crown Currency Exchange has left up to 13,000 customers owed
about £20 million, according to reports.
Much of the losses are made up of tourists who ordered foreign currency in advance of their holidays, but
others have lost savings in different currencies that they were using to buy property.
Most holidaymakers are believed to have lost amounts ranging from about £300 to about £5,000. However,
other families are facing loses of more than £70,000 linked to property transactions, according to a report in
the Mail on Sunday.
Crown Currency Exchange’s bank accounts were frozen by Barclays last month after company directors
reportedly informed the bank it was on the brink of collapse.
Greek policeman sentenced to life for killing schoolboy
11th October 2010 Telegraph
A Greek court has sentenced a police officer to life imprisonment after he was found guilty of shooting dead
a 15-year-old schoolboy in an incident which triggered serious riots nearly two years ago.
Epaminondas Korkoneas, 38, was convicted of intentionally shooting Alexis Grigoropoulos in Dec 2008 in
The guilty verdict was reached by the narrowest of margins: three of the seven-strong panel of judges and
jury members had wanted Korkoneas to be found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.
The panel also found his patrol partner, Vassilis Saraliotis, 32, guilty of complicity in the crime.
He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Both officers are expected to appeal.
IKA seeking 1 bln euros
9th October 2010 ekathimerini
Social security fund short of cash to pay pensions and unemployment benefits
Greece’s largest social security organization, IKA, will have to borrow more than 1 billion euros to pay
pensions and benefits at the end of this year and at the start of 2011 due to a massive shortfall in its
finances that has been caused by the rising unemployment rate and the inability of a growing number of
companies and individuals to pay their monthly contributions.
Sources told Kathimerini that the government has little option but to borrow the money and has contacted
two commercial banks about the possibility of them lending the funds, though the Labor Ministry has yet to
confirm that this is the case. It is expected to make a formal announcement over the next two weeks.
IKA already owes some 300 million euros to the Manpower Organization (OAED) for the payment of
unemployment benefits, as it has been unable over the last few months to pay out the 200 million euros per
month that are needed.
The drain on IKA’s financial resources has been fueled by the country’s rising unemployment rate.
Unemployment in Greece hit a 10-year high in the second quarter of 2010, according to data released by the
Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) last month. ELSTAT found the jobless rate had increased to 11.8
percent compared to 8.9 percent a year earlier. That is the highest rate since 2000, when unemployment
peaked at 12.3 percent.
The proportion of Greeks out of work is expected to reach 15 percent by the end of next year and, according
to calculations that IKA has carried out, this would lead to a 25 percent rise in the amount it spends on
paying unemployment benefits.
Police raids on pedophile ring
9th October 2010 ekathimerini
After months of investigation, the police’s electronic crime squad has arrested 18 suspected members of a
particularly hardcore child pornography ring and is seeking another 159 people in 43 different Greek cities.
Two of the 18 suspects in custody had been of particular concern to police, as one was living next door to a
private school and playground. The other suspect has been charged with sexual harassment of minors in
the past and had in his possession an electronic database containing the personal details of at least 600
young girls – information he tapped from the victims’ profiles on social-networking websites.
Officers have conducted dozens of raids on homes in several cities, including 72 virtually simultaneous raids
on homes in Attica, and are planning many more. Already officers have confiscated countless hard drives and
disks and are now examining some 211 gigabytes of information for further leads. The dozens of additional
suspects being sought include teachers, businessmen and armed forces officers.
Greek men are mommy’s boys
9th October 2010 ekathimerini
It seems that the stereotype of the average Greek man who lives at home until a worryingly advanced age
and relies on his mother to do all his cooking and cleaning might be accurate after all.
According to figures made public yesterday by Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics agency, Greeks are
more likely to live at home with their parents until their late 20s or mid-30s than almost any other European
The numbers indicate that 56 percent of Greek men aged 25 to 34 live in their parents’ home. Only men in
Bulgaria (61 percent) and Slovenia (60) percent are more reliant on their mothers and fathers.
By contrast, only 8 percent of Finns, 4 percent of Swedes and 3 percent of Danes in the same age group live
at their parental homes. The EU average was 32 percent.
Greek men also rank last in terms of the proportion who cohabit with their partners.
However, the survey was also revealing about the tendencies of Greek women in their 20s and 30s. It
indicated that 36 percent of them also remain with mom and dad between the ages of 25 and 34, just
behind Slovenia (38 percent) and Slovakia (42 percent). The EU average was 20 percent.
Unsurprisingly, Greece also ranks high in the 18-24 age group, where 67.7 percent of women and 84.4
percent of men live with their parents. The EU average in this age group was 71 percent for women and 82
percent for men.
The survey, which used 2008 figures, found that 46 percent of Europeans aged 18 to 34 (or 51 million
people in total) still live with their parents.
Police thwarted again on Crete
8th October 2010 ekathimerini
An attempt by police to conduct a check on a 41-year-old motorist in Anogeia, a village in the notoriously
lawless Cretan region of Mylopotamos, backfired yesterday when the man used his cell phone to call for
backup, prompting the arrival of around 30 people who surrounded the officers.
The incident occurred some 100 meters away from the local police precinct yesterday afternoon. Officers
signaled to the motorist to slow down for a routine inspection but the man refused and called a fellow
villager on his cell phone. Within minutes, the officers were surrounded by a group of villagers pushing and
threatening them. In the confusion, the motorist made his getaway. A few hours later, police caught up with
the man and arrested him. A search revealed that the man had been convicted four times for fraud. The
motorist, who was released after buying off his sentences, is to appear before a Rethymno court today
charged with resisting authority.
Greek police seize huge haul of stolen religious items
(AFP) October 7, 2010
Police on the Greek island of Crete said Thursday they had arrested a man on suspicion of amassing the
biggest collection of stolen religious artefacts ever discovered.
The suspect, a resident of Chania, was arrested following an enquiry launched in May into thefts at five
Orthodox churches in Crete.
Items found at his home included 40 relics of the bones of saints and martyrs, three sets of liturgical
garments, 208 icons, 36 liturgical books from the 18th and 19th century, and a gospel dating back to the
16th century, police said.
"All bishops have been informed that priests of churches that have suffered thefts can come to identity the
pieces," said Artemis Koutsautakis, Chania's police chief.
Police are also investigating the possibility that some of the loot came from overseas, particularly Catholic
objects which are rare in Greece.
Theft of religious artefacts is common in Greece, where churches and monastries are often full of historical
relics and items of religious significance.
Greek tourism income falls,signs of recovery-industry
7th October 2010 Reuters
Greek tourism revenues will fall 7-8 percent in 2010, on the milder side of expectations, and early bookings
show signs of a recovery next year, a key industry leader said on Wednesday.
Strikes and protests in Greece have kept many tourists away from its beaches and antiquities this year,
hurting a key sector that makes up about a fifth of the economy as the troubled euro zone member
struggles to emerge from a debt crisis.
"In the end, this year was better than expected. At least we avoided a total disaster," Andreas Andreadis,
vice president of the tourism enterprises association and head of the hoteliers' federation, told Reuters.
Tourism employs one in five Greeks and its performance is crucial for Greece's economy, which has plunged
into its worst recession since 1974.
Greece: Smoking ban in cars with children
6th October 2010 express.gr
Tough anti-smoking legislation for those that light up in their cars when children under 12 are present is
being mulled by the government, which is considering tabling the new laws as an amendment in Parliament
on Wednesday. Envisaged fines for violating the proposed ban may range from 1,500 euros to 3,000 euros,
while offenders may be stripped of their driving licence.
Health Minister Andreas Loverdos has apparently stated his determination to pass the new measure and
may enlist the help of the municipal police in its enforcement, asking them to patrol roads around primary
schools in order to locate drivers that are smoking in their cars while carrying children to and from school.
Meanwhile, according to Athens deputy mayor Andreas Papadakis, only five tickets for violating the ban on
smoking in public places have been handed out in central Athens since October 1, when the "grace period"
for adapting to the new legislation ended.
According to Papadakis, the balmy weather in the capital over the past few days has helped Athenians stay
on the right side of the law, allowing smokers to sit outdoors until late at night.
Greece: New car licences down
6th October 2010 express.gr
New road motor car licenses dropped by 31.8 percent in the first nine months of the year, according to
figures released on Tuesday by the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (EL.STAT.), while car sales
dropped by 44.2 percent in September.
More specifically, during the period of January-September 2010, a total of 158,375 road motor cars (both
new and used abroad) were put into circulation for the first time, representing a decrease of 31.8%
compared to the corresponding period of 2009.
A decrease of 20.5% had been observed during the period of January-September 2009,compared to 2008.
Ban on smoking followed by fines
3rd October 2010 ekathimerini
Cafe and bar owners who fail to comply with the smoking ban that went into effect on September 1 face
fines of up to 10,000 euros as of yesterday after the one-month transition period they had been granted
Anyone owning an establishment that does not comply with the ban on smoking in enclosed spaces will be
handed an initial fine of 500 euros that will then rise to 10,000 euros and could lead to them losing their
license if they repeat the offense.
Customers who ignore the ban will be fined between 50 and 100 euros.
Restaurateurs and bar owners fear that the imposition of the ban, which was not heavily enforced during its
first month, will damage their business. “This will be a total catastrophe for us,” said Dimitris Arvanitis, who
heads a committee of cafe-bar and restaurant owners opposing the law. “The downturn in business at our
stores will be dramatic.” continues (ekathimerini)
Chinese Premier Wen says Greece emerging from crisis
3rd October 2010 Reuters
Greece is starting to emerge from its severe debt crisis, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said on Sunday during
a visit to Athens.
"It is with joy that we see Greece emerging from the shadow of its debt crisis," Wen told the Greek
parliament. "The financial market has started to stabilise, the budget deficit is coming down, investor
confidence is increasing and a growth prospect is emerging on the horizon."
"We have every confidence in Greece's future," he said.
China offered on Saturday to buy Greek government bonds when Athens resumes issuing, in a show of
support for the country whose debt burden pushed the euro zone into crisis and required an international
Roman theatre restoration
2nd October 2010 ANA-MPA
Important restoration works at the ancient Roman-era theatre in Hersonissos, Crete will continue following
a relevant agreement signed on Thursday between the local municipal authority and the ministry of culture.
The funding of the project will be undertaken entirely by the local municipality.
The Odeon at Hersonissos, dating back to the 1st - 2nd centuries AD, was destroyed during the Cretan
insurrection in 1897.
Sixteenth century geographer Onorio Belli had referred to the theatre, stressing that it presents a number
of innovations as regards its ground plan. Trial excavations held in 1995 unearthed part of tiered seating
and the western outer wall of the theatre's stage.
Greek truck owners call off strike
1st October 2010 express.gr
Striking freight and fuel truck owners called off their mobilisations shortly after midnight Thursday after a
marthon meeting that lasted more than five hours. The strikers, whose mobilisations have entered their
third week, will begin removing their trucks from roadblocks throughout the country on Friday, giving a
breath of relief to the market, where severe shortages have taken a heavy toll.
30th September 2010 ekathimerini
Two Albanian nationals were being questioned by police in the Cretan port of Hania yesterday as suspected
members of a local drug-dealing ring. Acting on a tip-off, officers arrested the two men on Tuesday evening
in the act of supplying drugs to two other men, also Albanian. A search of the homes of the two key
suspects turned up quantities of heroin, cocaine, cannabis and a 22-millimeter pistol.
Major archaeological finds on Crete
29th September 2010 ANA-MPA
Archaeologists at the site of the ancient city of Eleftherna near Rethymno, Crete, made an important
discovery when they unearthed the gold-adorned remains of a woman, one dated to the early Archaic
Small gold plaques, 1-3cm-thick, in different forms (square, triangle, and diamond-shaped) were found next
to the remains of the woman, discovered a few weeks ago by the team led by archaeology professor
Nikolaos Stampolidis. The findings were inside a 2,700-year-old twin tomb, the only one in ancient
Eleftherna, located very close to a necropolis of fallen warriors.
A unique jewelry piece depicting a bee as a goddess was also found amongst the thousands of gold
The findings are so extraordinary that they justify the decision made recently by the Archaeological Institute
of America to include the excavations at ancient Eleftherna among the best worldwide.
In the past 27 years, since the excavations were launched, archaeologists have been creating an
archaeological park, by recreating an ancient city at the site of Orthi Petra, spanning a 2,000-metre-long and
29th September 2010 ekathimerini
The new US ambassador to Greece, Daniel Bennett Smith, yesterday presented his credentials to Greek
President Karolos Papoulias at the Presidential Palace in Athens. Smith, who most recently served as
executive secretary of the State Department, was sworn in as the new ambassador to Greece on
September 7 by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Wildfire on Crete
29th September 2010 ANA
A wildfire that broke out midnight Tuesday in a remote area near Roussospiti in Rethymno prefecture on
Crete island continued to burn brushland, bushes and olive trees on Wednesday, with high winds
hampering the Fire Brigade's operations.
Two fire dropping helicopters, two teams on foot and 14 fire engines with a 30-member crew were currently
trying to contain the blaze.
Olympic Air wins ERA award
28th September 2010 ANA-MPA
Olympic Air has won the silver award as the ERA Airline of the Year for 2010/11, an award bestowed by the
European Regions Airline Association.
The award was presented during an annual general assembly of ERA in Barcelona.
The ERA Airline of the Year award is earned for quality amongst European regional airlines, based on a
whole range of activities an air carrier conducts.
The ERA award represents a significant recognition in the airline industry.
ERA has more than 200 members. It represents 70 airline companies covering 426 destinations in 61
European countries, carrying 70,600,000 passengers through 1.6 million flights annually.
28th September 2010 ekathimerini
A Syrian man died in a hospital in Iraklio, Crete, yesterday after being beaten by two unidentified assailants.
According to the testimony the Syrian gave before his death, two strangers attacked him in the area of
Kaminia. They then bundled him into their car and drove him to a remote part of Rethymno prefecture where
they abandoned him. The man was found by a passer-by and taken to the hospital where he died a few
Truckers to press on with protest
25th September 2010 ekathimerini
Protesting truck drivers said yesterday that they would press on with a strike that has caused two weeks of
traffic disruption and led to widespread shortages of supplies, complaining that the government has failed
to make good on its promises to them.
“The document we received from the Transport Ministry does not correspond to the commitments that had
been made to us,” one union representative told Kathimerini, referring to pledges made by Minister Dimitris
Reppas regarding the truck drivers’ tax and social security contributions.
Meanwhile, at the country’s main port of Piraeus, a large number of truckers clashed with police for a second
day yesterday as the protesters sought to stop fellow truck drivers from boarding ferries with goods bound
for the Aegean islands. Lines of trucks remained parked alongside highways in the outskirts of Athens and
Thessaloniki. The lines were smaller than they had been last week but the presence of the trucks near busy
junctions continued to cause traffic disruption. The truckers’ action has also paralyzed deliveries and is
causing an estimated 5 million euros in losses per day for businesses. Some 5,000 containers are sitting at
Piraeus waiting for collection.
24th September 2010 ekathimerini
A sniffer dog at Athens International Airport alerted narcotics officers to the luggage of a 24-year-old Greek
woman traveling back from Sao Paolo in Brazil, authorities reported yesterday. A search of her luggage
revealed more than 3 kilos of cocaine wrapped in five separate parcels. The young woman, who is the
daughter of veteran soccer player, according to sports site sport.gr, had flown to Athens via Madrid.
Fire threatened villages in Crete
23rd September 2010 ANA
A major fire that broke out on the island of Crete early on Wednesday, in a chestnut and plane-tree grove
between the villages of Annisaraki and Vamvakado in the municipality of Kandanos, had spread over seven
kilometres and threatened to engulf both villages later the same morning.
A strong fire-fighting force managed to prevent the flames reaching the villages and has now brought the
blaze under control, while local residents say that it started in three places simultaneously and bears all the
hallmarks of deliberate arson.
Two fire-fighting helicopters from Hania and Iraklion and two water-bombing aircraft from Elefsina assisted
the force on the ground and had the fire under control by midday. Their work was hampered by strong
winds blowing in the area and the inaccessible terrain.
The area was visited by Crete Region General Secretary Athanassios Karountzos, who said that the fire
brigade would investigate the causes of the fire. Fire fighting forces remain on the scene in case the fire
flares up again.
Road haulage bill approved amid protests
23rd September 2010 ekathimerini
Parliament yesterday approved controversial legislation liberalizing the country’s road haulage sector as
hundreds of truck drivers continued their protests against the reforms, causing traffic chaos on national
highways and clashing with police in the city center.
Truckers, many of whom had spent Tuesday night in a sit-down vigil outside Parliament, watching the reform
bill debate on a large television screen brought along for the purpose, continued their protest yesterday.
There were minor scuffles with police as some of the demonstrators threw stones at the Parliament building
while others pushed their way through to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Police fired tear gas to disperse
the small but boisterous crowd.
Truckers claim the new law, which aims to drastically reduce freight costs by issuing new cheaper operating
licenses, is unfair to existing operators, many of whom have paid up to 300,000 euros for their licenses.
Greek Civil Servant Federation Calls One-Day Strike For Oct 7
21 September 2010 Bloomburg
Greece’s main union for state workers, ADEDY, called a nationwide one-day strike for Oct. 7 to protest
government austerity measures, according to an e-mailed statement from the Athens-based federation
ADEDY also plans to rally in central Athens on Sept. 29 to participate in a European-wide protest against
such austerity measures. The union will also hold a protest at the offices of the European Union in Athens.
Skulls ‘were for Halloween’
19th September 2010 ekathimerini
Two American tourists, aged 25 and 28, who were arrested on Wednesday after being found with six
human skulls in their luggage at Athens International Airport, were released from police custody yesterday.
The pair, who were on holiday in Myconos, claimed to have purchased the skulls from a souvenir shop on
the island for 25 euros apiece, believing them to be fake. They were planning to use them at Halloween on
October 31 in their home state of California, they told police. The police are investigating the origin of the
Hania Hospital blaze
18th September 2010 ekathimerini
Patients were evacuated and windows broken at Hania Hospital on Crete yesterday as firefighters
contained a blaze in the psychiatric ward started by a patient who left a lit cigarette lying on a mattress. The
ward was not equipped with a smoke alarm or sprinkler system, forcing firefighters to break several
windows in order to put the fire out. Two of the hospital’s wards will be closed for repairs.
Unemployment at 11.8%
18th September 2010 express.gr
Greek unemployment rate rose to 11.8 pct in the second quarter of 2010, from 11.7 pct in the first quarter
and 8.9 pct in the second quarter of 2009, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Thursday. Practically, the
unemployment rate in the country returned to its 1999 levels (11.9 pct).
The number of unemployed people totaled 594,032 in the second quarter, up 151,469 or by 34.2 pct within
a year, reflecting the impact of an economic recession in the labour market. The number of new unemployed
seeking jobs accounted for 23.8 pct of total unemployed people, while long-term unemployment accounted
for 47.7 pct of total unemployment in the country.(ANA – MPA)
Convict on the run from Crete jail caught tapping ATMs
17th September 2010 ekathimerini
A 29-year-old Romanian man who escaped from Alikarnassos Prison on Crete in 2009 while on a six-day
furlough, was arrested by police in Athens yesterday. The man, who was not named by authorities, is
suspected of rigging ATM machines with a data-transfer device and obtaining bank customers’ card and PIN
numbers. Police found 39 blank cards on him, 27 of which were already loaded with data, as well as
electronic equipment. He was arrested in the southern Athenian suburb of Voula yesterday and will be
facing charges of participation in organized crime and forgery, the same charges for which he was serving a
17th September 2010 ekathimerini
Two brothers wanted on charges of armed assault in Iraklio, Crete, turned themselves in to local authorities
yesterday. The two unnamed men were allegedly part of a group of five who opened fire on a vehicle on the
Iraklio-Mires highway in late August, seriously injuring the 54-year-old driver and his son, both relatives of
the assailants. Two other men, who were arrested on Saturday in connection to the same incident, were to
face a prosecutor yesterday. A fifth man was arrested the day after the incident but was released after
making his deposition.
Truckers’ action revives fuel rush
14th September 2010 ekathimerini
Fears of fuel shortages returned yesterday, as hundreds of truckers protesting plans to liberalize their
sector stopped deliveries and parked their vehicles along major highways.
After rumors emerged that some truck drivers were planning to drive into central Athens to stage a protest,
police were dispatched to the junctions at Metamorphosi, Aspropyrgos and Haidari in northwestern Attica
and Neo Faliro, in southern Attica, to block them. Police are on standby again today as it is thought the
truckers will try to drive into central Athens with the aim of reaching Parliament where a draft bill foreseeing
the liberalization of their profession is to be debated.
Unionists representing the truckers insisted yesterday that their action would not disrupt deliveries of fuel
and food as they had done in July.
But despite the truck drivers’ reassurances, motorists waited in long lines outside gas stations for a second
day to fill up on fuel.
The peak in demand yesterday resulted in some gas stations running low on supplies. It also triggered
widespread profiteering, leading the government to declare a ceiling of 1.47 euros per liter for unleaded
gasoline in Attica. Government inspectors said that regular inspections were being held to crack down on
gas station managers found to be profiteering. Supreme Court prosecutor Yiannis Tentes said all violators
would be brought before a prosecutor.
No OSE services today; metro link to airport also to halt
14th September 2010 ekathimerini
All services on the country's railway network and on Athens's suburban railway (Proastiakos) are to be
suspended today as employees of the Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) launch a 24-hour strike to
protest the planned streamlining of the debt-ridden company. The metro link between Athens International
Airport and Doukissis Plakentias station will also not be operating. The strike is to run from midnight on
Monday until midnight on Tuesday. The workers oppose government reforms which will result in hundreds of
job losses and forced retirements.
Truck and tanker owners to stage a new strike Monday
11th September 2010
Truck and tanker drivers say they will stage a new strike from Monday (13 September) in protest at the
government's plan to open up their 'closed' profession. A previous strike by truckers in July ended after 9
days when the government commandeered trucks and tankers in order to get supplies of goods and petrol
back into the marketplace after a number of crippling days.
The truckers will hold a protest in Athens on Monday, starting the strike action, saying they will strike 'for as
long as it takes'.
Black box of one F-16 in fatal crash is found
11th September 2010
The black box of one of the two F-16 fighter jets involved in a fatal collision off Crete at the end of last
month has been recovered from the seabed off the island’s southern coast, air force officials said yesterday,
adding that the black box belonging to the other jet has been located but cannot yet be accessed. The black
box, which was raised from the seabed near the islet of Gaidaronisi yesterday, has been sent to the US for
analysis, the officials said. The crash between the two F-16s on August 26 killed one of the pilots, 33-year-
old Anastasios Balatsoukas, instantly and left the other pilot, Iosif Anastasakis, 35, with serious injuries that
led to his death a few days later. Anastasakis’s co-pilot, 25-year-old Pavlos Votzakis, suffered only minor
injuries after ejecting from the plane.
10th September 2010
The owner of a hotel in the Cretan prefecture of Iraklio was yesterday detained by police after a search on
his premises turned up a submachine gun, ammunition and several detonator fuses. Police got involved
after guests at the hotel complained about the installation of surveillance cameras that they felt violated
their privacy. It was unclear exactly where the cameras had been installed.
Greek FM calls on Ankara to pull troops out of Cyprus
10th September 2010 ekathimerini
Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas yesterday appealed to Turkey to withdraw thousands of its troops from
the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus during his first visit to the divided island in his new role. Describing the
Cyprus problem as “Greece’s top foreign policy priority,” Droutsas called on Turkey “to make the necessary
moves that turn words into deeds.” “The Cyprus problem is one of invasion and occupation. This we have
not forgotten,” Droutsas told reporters after talks with Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias. The minister
said Turkey had an obligation to “respond constructively” to proposals by Christofias, such as the return of
the port of Famagusta to the Greek Cypriots. United Nations-mediated talks between Christofias and
hardline Turkish-Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu have not made much progress.
Tourism sector warns against further VAT hike
9th September 2010 ekathimerini
While the decline in annual tourism revenues is no longer expected to exceed 10 percent, thanks to
numerous offers made by the sector’s enterprises to offset the drop, tourism professionals are warning of
greater losses and more unemployment next year if the government raises value-added tax higher still. The
Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) suggested in a statement yesterday that even a 1 percent
VAT hike for tourism services would result in a considerable loss in revenues, given that demand in the
sector is particularly sensitive to price changes. Companies in Greece managed to absorb this year’s
repeated increases but a new one will be beyond their ability to absorb and will have to be passed on to
tourists, it warned. The Hellenic Hotels Federation added that imposing VAT of 15 to 18 percent (from 11
percent today) would be ‘a suicidal move’ for Greece.
Job prospects in Greece among world’s worst
8th September 2010 ekathimerini
Hiring expectations in Greece for the fourth quarter of the year are among the worst in the world, according
to an international survey, which showed labor market conditions being toughest in the retail sector.
Job finders Manpower Inc, which conducts quarterly surveys in 36 countries, measuring employer intentions
to increase or decrease staff levels, said yesterday expectations are strongest in Switzerland, Norway,
Poland and Germany and weakest in Greece, Italy and the Czech Republic.
“Job prospects are expected to deteriorate further in Greece, where employers are reporting the least
optimistic hiring intentions since the survey was launched there in the second quarter of 2008,” it said in a
statement. Read the full article
Greece: Inflation at 5.5% in August
8th September 2010 ANA
Inflation in Greece was running at a high 5.5 percent in August, according to figures released on Tuesday by
the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) recording a 5.5
percent rise compared with August 2009.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) in August 2010 compared with (ANA-MPA) August 2009, increased by 5.5%.
The previous year, in August 2009, the annual rate of change of the CPI was 0.8%.
8th September 2010 ekathimerini
The Ministry of Education announced yesterday that it will be closing down five private higher education
institutes within the next few days, though it did not release the names of the businesses. According to the
ministry’s announcement, the institutions in question either do not have the proper permits or have been
running misleading advertising campaigns.
7th September 2010 ekathimerini
Police in Hania, Crete, yesterday arrested two Algerians, aged 20 and 30, believed to have been stealing
purses and other valuables from beaches in the area. Officers caught the suspects following a complaint
lodged by a 54-year-old Danish tourist who said he was robbed while swimming in the sea. The Dane had
cash and valuables amounting to 1,100 euros in his beach bag.
7th Septemebr 2010 ekathimerini
The Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) yesterday ordered the withdrawal from supermarkets of a mozzarella
cheese trading under the name Linessa Mozzarella Light after tests on samples revealed traces of
salmonella. The product was being retailed at the Lidl discount chain.
Preveli palm tree forest designated for reforestation
6th September 2010 ANA-MPA
The prefecture of Crete on Monday designated for reforestation the expanse of the Preveli palm tree forest,
which was totally destroyed by a wildfire in August.
According to the local authorities' announcement, camping and grazing are prohibited in the area for the
next 10 years. The cutting of trees, branches, brush and shrubs is also forbidden, as well as all kinds of
recreational activity, such as camping, biking, etc. The decision prohibits, in general, any action that may
further harm the already ravaged environment, in a bid to restore and protect the forest's ecosystem.
6th September 2010 ekathimerini
The 170 passengers on board a flight operated by Slovakian airline Air Explore that landed on Kos on
Saturday morning were forced to evacuate the plane after one of the engines caught fire. The incident
happened as the aircraft was taxiing after landing without any problems. The plane had been carrying
passengers from Verona in Italy. Nobody was injured in the evacuation. The cause of the fire was not clear.
Heating oil tax plans fuel concern
4th September 2010 ekathimerini
Gas station owners expressed concern yesterday at news that the government is considering hiking the tax
on heating oil to make it the same as that on other forms of fuel, a measure that would also lead to
households’ heating bills doubling.
The government has been forced to think about bringing the taxes on the different forms of fuel into line
with each other as a result of its postponing plans to move hundreds of products from the 11 percent value-
added tax bracket to the 23 percent one.
The memorandum signed by Greece, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund calls for the
government to increase the VAT on 30 percent of the products and services in the lower bracket by next
year. The Finance Ministry had thought about adopting the measure this fall but has been put off by the
opposition of business groups, who fear it would lead to a drop in sales.
However, the government is desperate to find ways of increasing state revenues and the adjustment in
heating oil tax seems a likely alternative.
The tax rise would see consumers pay roughly 1.10 euros per liter rather then the 0.55 they paid last year.
Although the government is considering rebates for low-income groups, the measure is likely to prove
deeply unpopular if enforced.
Turkey must lift threat
3rd September 2010 ANA MPA
A foreign ministry spokesman on Thursday stressed that Turkey must withdraw a threat to initiate hostilities
against Greece in the event that Athens decides to legally extend the country's territorial waters to 12
Pointing out that Greece had a sovereign right to extend its territorial waters under both maritime and
European law, spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras said the mere existence of Turkey's 'casus belli' was
"It is inconceivable that there is a threat of war by a candidate state against a member-state of the EU,
given also the framework in which international relations develop in our times. It is up to Turkey to abolish
it," the spokesman underlined when asked about recent statements made on the issue by Turkish Foreign
Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
Delavekouras repeated Greece's support for Turkey's rapprochement with the EU and said that Athens will
continue efforts to improve bilateral relations "with very careful steps and without compromising sovereign
Police on Crete arrest 5 for kidnapping of UK-based professor
2nd September 2010 ANA-MPA
Police in Rethymno on Wednesday reported a further five arrests in connection with the abduction on the
island of Crete of a 50-year-old lecturer from Manchester University in England. The five, all residents of
Iraklio, have been charged as accomplices in the kidnapping.
They include two Greek women aged 32 and 60 years, respectively, and three Greek men aged 37, 41 and
43 years old. According to police, all five participated in the preparation and execution of the kidnapping.
They will now be led before a public prosecutor in Lasithi prefecture. (ANA-MPA)
The kidnapping was planned and carried out by the brother of 20-year-old student Aggeliki Stavroulaki from
Asi Gonia in Hania. The young student has been missing since she left home on Feb.18 this year and her
brother kidnapped the 50-year-old lecturer in the belief that he knew of her whereabouts because of the
friendship between them.
Stavroulakis turned himself in to police on Tuesday and admitted to the kidnapping. The unnamed academic
had been on holiday in the region when he was abducted last Thursday. The victim has been found but
police say he has suffered both physical and mental abuse.
Education ministry shuts down Hellenic American University
2nd September 2010 ANA_MPA
The education ministry on Tuesday announced its decision to close a second private franchise college that
had failed to comply with requirements set down by law for its operation, specifically the Hellenic American
Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou stressed that HAU had been given ample time to comply with the
standards required by law since receiving its first warning from the ministry in March this year.
Concerning students already studying at HAU, the minister only noted that "everyone, when they make their
choices, must be careful".
The minister made the statement during the tabling of a bill on life-long education to Parliament's
educational affairs committee.
2nd September 2010 ekathimerini
A 29-year-old Cretan man was in detention in the port of Iraklio yesterday on charges of sexually harassing
at least two minors in his neighborhood. The suspect was detained after complaints were lodged by the
parents of the children alleged to have been harassed.
Greece imposes heavy fines for smoking in offices and restaurants
1st September 2010 Digital Journal
Starting today, Greece prohibits smoking in all enclosed public spaces and will slap offenders with heavy
fines in a bid to reduce nicotine consumption in the country where 42 percent of the population are smokers.
After previous attempts to ban smoking in bars and restaurants, Greece introduced a new law that comes
into effect on September 1, 2010.
With fines up to 500 Euro ($ 635) for the person who smokes in an enclosed public areas, and fines up to
Euro 10,000 ($ 12,700) for an owner of such a place who allows smoking on the premises, the government
is showing its determination to drastically reduce the consumption of nicotine.
Greek fighter jets collide in mid-air off Crete, pilot killed
26th August AFP
Two Greek fighter jets have collided in mid-air, killing one of the pilots and leaving two other crew injured.
The collision between the two F-16 planes, a one- and two-seater respectively, happened south of the
island of Crete during training in air fighting involving six aircraft, the air force high command said.
A fisherman engaged in a search of the area found the body of one pilot a few hours later, state television
reported. The two others were plucked from the sea after ejecting, one of them with serious injuries to his
head and one lung.
The jets were from Souda air force base in the northwest of Crete, the defence ministry said.
Courts to enter the digital era
26th August 2010 ekathimerini
Greece is going to spend more than 37 million euros on computerizing the judicial system in a bid to cut
down on red tape and speed up the dispensation of justice, the government said yesterday.
According to Justice Minister Haris Kastanidis, the money will be spent on, among other things, creating a
system to scan case files and to have court minutes transcribed so that these are both available in digital
Each year, some 1.2 million case files and 250,000 contracts are submitted to Greek courts, which means
that court officials often have the laborious task of carrying mountains of paperwork with them.
Kastanidis said the electronic system would allow judges to view case files via their computers and would
also permit courts to provide interested parties with automatic updates on the progress of cases.
Fears over smoking ban laxness
25th August 2010 ekathimerini
Anti-smoking campaigners have started lobbying authorities to issue a government decision to ensure the
implementation of a blanket ban on smoking in bars, restaurants and businesses as the new law is to come
into effect in less than a week.
Members of the No Smoke group said they have been urging swift action from officials at the Health, Interior
and Economy ministries – which are due to issue the decision on the implementation of the ban jointly – as
the edict is set to come into effect on September 1.
Meanwhile, many owners and managers of bars and cafes are expressing concern ahead of the
implementation of the smoking ban, as they fear it will aggravate the slump in business they have seen
since the onset of the economic crisis
Sources at the Health Ministry told Kathimerini there would be no problem with the implementation of the
blanket ban, noting that any “loose ends” would be tied up before the new law comes into effect. When the
blanket ban is imposed, no smoking will be allowed in public places, meaning that bars, clubs and
restaurants will no longer be allowed to operate smoking and nonsmoking areas and companies will no
longer be able to have smoking rooms on their premises.
Spetses prepares for high-profile nuptials
25th August 2010 ekathimerini
Security was tight yesterday at the Poseidonion Grace Hotel on Spetses, where Nikolaos, the second son of
Greece’s former king Constantine, and his bride, Tatiana Blatnik, were holding a cocktail party ahead of their
wedding today. The 40-year-old former prince will be marrying the 29-year-old event planner in the
presence of members of royal families from Denmark, Spain and Sweden, as well as many other guests,
reportedly to include pop star Elton John
Air-traffic controllers warn of possible action over ‘old’ system
24thAugust 2010 ekathimerini
The general secretary of the air-traffic controllers union, Yiannis Kormoulakis, yesterday warned of strike
action after a breakdown in the communication system linking the country’s airports on Sunday grounded
scheduled takeoffs for three hours. Kormoulakis said the system remained out of date despite several
appeals over the years by his union for an overhaul.
Loss of speed
24th August 2010 ekathimerini
The captain of the Hellenic Seaways Highspeed 1 catamaran, two other company representatives and a
coast guard official from Rafina are due to face a prosecutor after the vessel was unable to complete a
journey from the Attica port to Myconos and back yesterday. After sailing from Rafina to Andros, the ship’s
engine caught fire before it reached Tinos. The blaze was put out by the crew but the Highspeed 1 had to
dock at Tinos for repairs. There were 120 passengers on board headed for Myconos, 87 of whom were
taken by another vessel. The remainder had to stay on Tinos overnight.
Bank robber frees hostages
24th August 2010 ekathimerini
A gunman who held 18 bank employees and customers hostage following a botched robbery in Piraeus
yesterday afternoon surrendered and freed his captives unharmed following hours of negotiations with
The man, a Greek national, stayed inside the branch of National Bank after his two accomplices, who had
been standing guard outside, spotted police and fled. The two lookouts, ethnic Greeks from the former
Soviet Union and Egypt, were arrested almost immediately. But the would-be robber refused to emerge from
the bank and took hostage the 18 people within. Armed with a pistol and two hand grenades, he fired
warning shots inside the bank, located on busy Iroon Polytechneiou Street, and demanded a getaway car.
He tried to escape, using four hostages as human shields, but retreated on seeing the large police presence
outside. After several hours of talks with police negotiators, the man freed his hostages and gave himself up.
Palm Forest of Preveli destroyed in wild fire
23rd August 2010 Crete Gazette + ekathimerini
A large part of the famous Palm forest of Preveli, by Preveli beach, was burned on Sunday morning during
wildfires that broke out in the southern part of Rethymnon Prefecture.
According to reports from the Fire Brigade and local authorities, the historical palm forest of Preveli was
burned to ashes, along with a thousand hectares of cultivations, animals and olive trees. The blaze, which
was also fanned by strong winds, had approached Preveli monastery at one point but firemen managed to
contain it before it posed a real threat to the monastic community.
The local prefectural official responsible for civil protection, Antonis Bayiartakis, described the damage
wreaked by the blaze as “a massive disaster – a huge blow for the environment, culture and tourism
sectors.” The fire had been brought under partial control by late last night.
Network error grounds flights in Greece
23rd August 2010
A breakdown in the communication system linking the country's airports prevented flights from taking off for
nearly three hours yesterday morning, leaving hundreds of passengers stuck in departure lounges or
aboard aircraft waiting on runways.
According to a Civil Aviation Authority spokesman, the malfunction occured at 8 a.m. and was resolved just
before 11 a.m. Although scheduled takeoffs were suspended, flights were able to land normally.
Yiannis Kormoulakis, secretary-general of the air traffic controllers union, blamed the problem on «a
systematic failure by authorities to modernize technical equipment for airspace surveillance.»
Allowed to vote
21st August 2010 ekathimerini
A circular sent by the Interior Ministry to municipalities yesterday instructs them that in addition to nationals
from European Union member states, people from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland can also
vote in the November 7 local elections if they have been living in Greece for five consecutive years. Those
interested in registering to vote should go to their local municipality with their residence papers, which will
then be checked against the Interior Ministry’s records. An application for that person to be included on the
electoral roll will then be made.
Greater checks on driving test
20th August 2010 ekathimerini
The Transport Ministry is devising new measures to crack down on widespread corruption in driving tests,
including a random selection of driving test examiners and the use of video monitoring, sources said
Examiners routinely accept bribes from driving school instructors to pass students. Despite pledges,
governments have repeatedly failed to eradicate the habit, estimated to generate some 50 million euros
Among the measures under consideration by ministry officials is the introduction of a computerized lottery
that will pick examiners moments ahead of the actual test. The changes, which should be in place by the
end of the year, also include the use of cameras to ensure transparency during the theory and practical
tests. According to new rules, examiners will be obliged to file declaration of income statements (pothen
esches), while the length of their training will be extended from one-and-a-half to two years.
Truckers heading for a second strike
19th August 2010 newsbeast
According to www.newsbeast.gr truck drivers are heading for a second strike at the end of August. An
announcement of their decision is expected early next week.
Blood donations stopped in northern Greece due to virus
19th August 2010 ekathimerini
The Health Ministry denied yesterday that Greece faces a shortage of blood for transfusions and operations
after authorities stopped people in northern Greece, where the West Nile virus has infected dozens of
locals, from donating blood. The ministry said that blood from other parts of Greece would be sent to the
affected areas to cover any shortfall and that donations of blood made in the north over the last few days
would be screened as of Monday to ensure that it does not contain the West Nile virus. The number of
people who have contracted the disease rose from 60 to 64 yesterday but only 31 of these are still in the
hospital, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO). Eight cases are being
treated in intensive care.
18th August 2010 ekathimerini
A bar owner in the town of Aghios Nikolaos in Lasithi, Crete, had to undergo surgery late on Tuesday after
being stabbed while at work. Police officers said that the man was attacked by an Albanian national, who
then struck his head as he tried to evade arrest. The attacker was also taken to the hospital. It was not
clear what prompted the attack.
Robbers target Samaria Gorge cashbox
18th August 2010 ANA
Gun-totting robbers made off with nearly 10,000 euros from the till at the Samaria Gorge visitors' centre on
Crete late Sunday.
According to reports, three masked suspects with shotguns roughed up an employee at the entrance of the
famous gorge at the Xyloskalo site.
Afterwards they tied the man's hands and took his mobile phone, radio receivers and the keys of the
Wildfires on Crete & mainland
16th August 2010 ANA-MPA
A wildfire broke out on Saturday at the Aghia Moni site on the island of Kythira island, in the southeastern
Aegean, and was reported as still in progress on Sunday.
A fire brigade unit reportedly contained two of the blaze's three fronts over the night.
Another wildfire was reported in Ierapetra, Crete, burning brush land in the Selakano site. One water-
dropping helicopter and 10 fire engines along with a unit of fire-fighters were dispatched to the scene.
A wildfire broke out in a forested area near Vari, southeast of Athens, on Sunday. The blaze was being
fought by 30 fire-fighters, backed by 10 vehicles, a helicopter and two fixed-winged aircraft.
Double drug bust
16th August 2010 ekathimerini
Police in Hania, Crete, arrested a mother, aged 40, and her 22-year-old daughter on charges of possession
and trafficking of drugs on Saturday. A search of the woman’s home revealed 220 grams of heroin, 35 grams
of cocaine, drug-related paraphernalia and evidence that the daughter was also involved in trafficking. In
Thessaloniki, meanwhile, drug enforcement officers on Saturday arrested two men, aged 41 and 23, on
Court grants Britons bail
13th August 2010 ekathimerini
A court in Iraklio, Crete, late on Tuesday granted bail to five British men accused of brutally attacking
another Briton while on holiday on the island two years ago.
The five men, all aged between 20 and 22, are accused of stabbing, assaulting with broken bottles and
stomping on the head of Robert Hughes, a former semiprofessional soccer player, outside a nightclub in
June of 2008. Hughes spent three months in an Iraklio hospital, where he underwent three lifesaving
His alleged attackers, who deny all charges, were extradited to Greece last week after being detained in
Britain on European arrest warrants in December. The Iraklio court has ordered them to each pay between
3,000 and 12,000 euros in bail.
A sixth suspect, aged 20, will face a separate extradition hearing next month. He also denies being involved
in the alleged attack.
School’s In – New school year to start 13 September
12th August 2010 ekathimerini
Schools will be opening on Monday, September 13, according to an announcement yesterday from the
Education Ministry. The first day back at school will be dedicated to the annual opening ceremony, while the
curriculum will be announced the following day.
12th August 2010 ekathimerini
Police in Hania, Crete, arrested three Romanian men – aged 17, 25 and 29 – and a Georgian, aged 20,
yesterday and charged them with running a motorcycle theft ring. The men allegedly are behind the theft of
numerous motorbikes in the area in the past few months.
Earthquake strikes Greek island of Crete
8th August 2010 CNN
A 4.8-magnitude earthquake struck the Greek Island of Crete on Sunday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey
The epicenter of the earthquake was between the city of Chania and Iraklion, and to the south, 220 miles
(354 km) from the capital of Athens.
The quake rattled the island at 7:06 a.m. local time. No damage has been reported .
Tertiary education fails test
6th August 2010 ekathimerini
There are too many universities and technical colleges in Greece, the standard of teaching is not up to
scratch and students take too long to complete their studies, according to the findings of a study by a
national tertiary education watchdog.
The conclusions drawn by the state-run Hellenic Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (ADIP) will
not come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the problems of Greek universities but will nevertheless serve
as a timely reminder to Education Ministry officials and academics, who are due to start talks next month
about reforms to the sector.
ADIP argues that 22 universities and 16 technical colleges (TEI) are far too many for a country of Greece’s
size and population. It suggests that some departments are set up with no specifically defined academic
purpose and that they accept students even though they do not have the staff or facilities to teach them
For years, governments have found it difficult to stop the expansion of regional universities or TEIs because,
in many cases, they proved to be vital to local economies as the influx of students meant that apartments
would be rented easily and that money would be spent at local stores.
Big ELTA haul an inside job?
4th August 2010 ekathimerini
Police yesterday were seeking a 35-year-old man, employed as a cashier at a branch of Hellenic Post (ELTA)
in the central city of Larissa, after he failed to turn up for work on the same day that 1.3 million euros was
found to be missing from the safe of the post office.
According to police, the safe was full of clothes. Bank staff told officers that the 35-year-old had come to
work last Friday carrying a rucksack that he had said contained clothes for relatives whom he would be
joining on vacation over the weekend. Officials at ELTA refused to comment on the disappearance of the
cash or the cashier, who has been employed with ELTA for seven years, saying they would wait for the
outcome of an internal investigation and a police probe. The incident came a day after armed robbers raided
a cafe in Domokos, Fthiotida prefecture, and forced an ELTA employee who had been distributing pension
payments to locals to hand over 30,000 euros.
Tragic Accident -Refuse collector crushed to death during collection in Hania
4th August 2010 ekathimerini
A municipal sanitation worker was killed yesterday in Hania, Crete, while trying to dislodge a piece of trash
that had blocked the operation of a garbage truck’s compacting mechanism, local police said. The man, who
was not identified, died after the truck’s rear door crushed his head. The truck driver and another municipal
worker who had also been there at the time were transferred to the local hospital in a state of shock.
PPC workers threaten action
3rd August 2010 ekathimerini
Gas stations were able to start serving customers yesterday as truck drivers returned to work but there
was no letup in the pressure on the government as Public Power Corporation (PPC) unionists said that they
are prepared to “go to extremes” in their opposition to plans to sell off 40 percent of PPC’s power plants.
The government is being pressed by European Union and International Monetary Fund officials to privatize
some of its electricity production units in order to increase competition in the market. However, the GENOP
union, which is a federation of the groups representing PPC workers, has said that it will oppose any move
to sell off power plants.
TEI campus pot grower caught
2nd August 2010 ekathimerini
A 24-year-old man has been arrested on Crete after police caught him red-handed as he was about to tend
to cannabis trees that he had planted amid an olive grove on the grounds of the Technical Educational
Institute of Crete (TEI) in Iraklio.
Police said on Saturday that they had placed the particular spot under observation after finding two illegal
shrubs there. The 24-year-old was arrested while attempting to water the plants. His name was not made
public and officers did not reveal whether he was a student at the college.
Also on Crete, a 67-year-old Greek American was arrested after police raided his home and found that he
was cultivating 63 cannabis trees in his backyard. Officers also seized a small amount of cannabis on the
premises. Police said they conducted a raid after a tip-off. They did not name the man they arrested.
List of tax evading companies released
2nd August 2010 ANA MPA
The finance ministry's financial crimes corps (SDOE) on Monday released a list of 70 companies found to be
seriously in violation of taxation legislation, folliwng audits conducted by the SDOE in stepped up efforts to
clamp down on tax evasion.
Penalties for tax evasion provided under the new taxation legislation will be imposed on those companies in
September, according to SDOE, which include increased fines and even shutdown of the enterprises.
SDOE secretary general Yiannis Kapeleris told ANA-MPA that in the two-month period of June and July, SDOE
conducted 800 audits on enterprises in the islands of the Aegean and ascertained 15,000 violations of tax
law, the majority of which were failure to issue receipts.
New fires on Samos
2nd August 2010 ANA
A wildfire which broke out on Monday on the island of Samos, in the Marathokampo and Karlovassi regions,
was threatening residential areas.
Hotels in the area were evacuated in a preventive move.
Six water-dropping planes, one Super puma helicopter and 75 firefighters were dispatched to the eastern
Aegean island to join firefighting forces battling the blaze.
Truck owners vote to end strike
1st August 2010 ANA-MPA
Greek truck owners on Sunday voted to end a strike that had starved the country of fuel and dealt a severe
blow to tourist enterprises hoping to make up revenue losses from a lacklustre tourist season during the
The vote was carried by a narrow majority during the truckers' general meeting and not before serious
problems had been caused to the supply of goods to markets throughout Greece. Truck owners are now
waiting for the government to end the civil mobilisation and warned that they will resume strike action if the
government failed to honour its side of the bargain. If all goes well, they go back to work on Monday.
The meeting had been preceded by a flurry of consultations the day before that also involved other
professional groups, which mediated between truckers and the government with proposals that truck
owners suspend their open-ended strike if the government stopped a civil mobilisation to force truck owners
back to work and requisition their vehicles.
The proposal was adopted by both striking truckers and Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister
Dimitris Reppas, provided that the truckers pledged not to begin any new strike action while dialogue on a
draft bill to open up the road freight sector was underway. The draft bill is due to be voted on at the end of
State employs nearly 1 in 5 workers
31st July ekathimerini
Almost one in five Greeks who has a job is a civil servant, according to the results of the first ever census of
public sector workers to be carried out in Greece, the results of which were made public yesterday.
Just over 768,000 state workers registered their details via an online system between July 9 and 29. The
government launched the initiative after being pressured by the European Union and the International
Monetary Fund to record in more detail the size of the country’s public sector work force. Before this
exercise, only estimates existed about how many civil servants there were in Greece.
The number of civil servants represents 17.5 percent of the overall working population, which totals 4.4
million people. From the analysis of the data submitted by the bureaucrats, it emerged that 54 percent were
men and one-third are aged between 40 and 50. Almost 40 percent have a university education and 28
percent have only finished high school.
The civil servants’ union, ADEDY, said the number of civil servants as a proportion of the Greek work force
was lower than the European Union average. However, yesterday’s figure does not include workers in the
broader public sector. A census of employees at public utilities and companies is to start in September.
Truck drivers defy order to end their strike
31st July 2010 ekathimerini
The government yesterday enlisted the help of the army in a bid to tackle the fallout from a five-day strike
by truck drivers, dispatching military trucks to help alleviate nationwide fuel shortages.
“The armed forces, with their own means, are already guaranteeing the supply of critical sectors such as
airports, electricity plants and hospitals,” said a statement issued after an emergency Cabinet meeting. The
statement added that navy landing craft “will also contribute if necessary.”
The impact of the truckers’ action on Greeks and tourists was evident yesterday. Motorists experienced
problems as many gas stations remained without fuel. The problems were most acute in northern Greece.
In Thessaloniki yesterday evening, riot police clashed with truck drivers outside a refinery. The protesters
had been trying to stop a truck from leaving the establishment.
29th July 2010 ekathimerini
Coast guards on Santorini were yesterday dispatched to investigate an uncaptained sailing boat spotted off
the coast of the Aegean island with 20 illegal immigrants aboard. After being towed to safety, the
passengers – 16 men, two women and two children – told officers that they had sailed from Turkey with
plans to reach Italy. Further questioning revealed that the traffickers, two men aged 41 and 35, were
among the group.
One dead in Iraklio explosion
27th July 2010
A huge explosion in a car repair shop on the ground floor of an apartment block in the Cretan port of Iraklio
yesterday killed the owner of the business, left an elderly woman in critical condition, two other block
residents with serious burns and another eight with breathing problems. Local residents reported several
loud bangs shortly before 5.30 a.m. yesterday. The fire caused by the explosion spread from the ground
floor to the first floor, according to the local fire service, which dispatched nine fire engines to extinguish the
blaze. The cause of the explosion remained unclear yesterday.
Τruck owners strike
25th July 2010 ana-mpa
Owners of state-licensed road freight vehicles have moved planned strike action forward to Sunday, July
25, after the government announced planned legislation to open up the currently closed road freight
market. The strike had originally been scheduled to start on August 27.
The decision may lead to problems in the supply and distribution of goods on the market at the height of the
tourist season, including petrol.
In an announcement, the truck owners' association accused the infrastructure, transport and networks
ministry of acting without any warning and focused especially on the value given to the vehicle licence,
pointing out that the state sold them licences at triple the current value.
Air controllers’ strike ‘illegal’
24th July 2010 ekathimerini
Air-traffic controllers, who had threatened to disrupt all flights into and out of the country as of tomorrow
(Sunday July 25) with rolling 24-hour strikes, yesterday called off the action after an Athens court declared it
The workers, who are demanding better wages and the recruitment of more staff, said they will stage a
work-to-rule protest instead of the rolling strikes. This would result in delays to domestic and international
flights, as air-traffic controllers observe strict limits on the number of aircraft allowed in Greek air space at
any given time. According to sources, the public servants said they would not stage work stoppages during
the week to avoid causing disruption for passengers. But other sources claimed that workers are
considering calling a 24-hour strike for next weekend.
Transport Minister Dimitris Reppas yesterday urged the air-traffic controllers not to take action that would
hurt the country’s tourism industry, which is reeling following several months of workers’ strikes against the
debt-ridden government’s austerity measures.
Wildfires on Crete, Evia
24th July 2010 ANA
A large wildfire broke out early Friday in the Liopetra area of Siteia, on Crete and was still raging at noon,
burning forest, brush and farm expanses.
A strong team of firefighters with five fire engines and several municipal water trucks, and an army
contingent were battling the blaze, assisted by a water-dropping helicopter, but efforts were being
hindered by high winds.
No homes or populated areas are at risk.
A second fire was blazing in a forest expanse on Mt. Gorila in Paramythia, Thesprotia prefecture.
Meanwhile, a major wildfire that broke out in Karystos, Evia, on Thursday was receding on Friday, although
it has passed through several housing settlements and continued to burn forestland, while a strong force of
f48 firefighters with 24 fire engines and four divisions on foot were battling the flames, while water-dropping
aircraft resumed efforts at the first light of day and reinforcements have been sent from Athens.
Further, a wildfire that broke out Thursday in Derveni, Arcadia prefecture, was reported as having been
contained on Friday, as was another fire in Pera Chorio, Livadia, from which the water-dropping aircraft have
now been withdrawn.
Most Greek banks defy doomsters, passing stress tests
24th July 2010 smh.com.au
Greece's main banks passed with varying success on Friday EU-wide stress tests on their ability to weather
another storm, with only one bank failing to make the grade.
Many analysts had wondered how Greek banks, heavily dependent on central bank funding, would survive
the EU-wide crash tests.
But the Bank of Greece said five out of six Greek credit institutions had passed the exam, a result which the
Greek finance minister said showed the system's resilience in an extreme-case simulation.
The sole laggard was ATEbank, formerly known as Agricultural Bank, which fell 242.6 million euros (312
million US dollars) short of a worst-case sovereign debt crisis scenario on core capital-to-asset ratio.
The remaining organisations, National Bank of Greece, EFG Eurobank, Alpha Bank, Piraeus Bank, and Hellenic
Postbank, said in separate releases that they had met the challenge set by the London-based Committee of
European Banking Supervisors
Three Arrested on Arson Charges
23rd July ert.gr
Fires in Thesprotia and Sithonia are under control while there is no fear for spreading of the fire that broke
out in Acrata on Saturday noon. In the meantime, the Fire Department announced that 3 people were
arrested in connection with fires in Halkidiki, Lefkada and Karystos. A Serbian national, 34 was arrested in
Halkidiki charged of igniting fire in farm land as he was burning dry weed. A Czech national was arrested in
Lefkada on the same charges while a 43yo resident in Karystos using an electric device was also arrested .
Sparks from his electric machine ignited the fire .
Farmers to Blockade Hania Tax Office
20th July 2010 Haniotika Nea
Farmers are to blockade the Hania tax office ' indefinitely' from 11 a.m on Thursday 22nd July, in protest at
the non - payment of compensatory damages from 2009.
A spokesman for the farmers said “We are not satisfied with the (govt) statement that it will be the end of
summer when compensatory damages are paid. It is vague and we want something more concrete,
something more tangible."
They say they will continue the blockade until the government decides to deal with their problems seriously.
20th July 2010 ekathimerini
A military aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing at Hania airport on Crete on Sunday evening
after experiencing mechanical failure. Airport authorities said the plane landed safely. Around the same time,
a commercial flight that had been on its way to Hania from Athens was redirected to the airport in Iraklio.
No ferry strike action until after August 15th says PNO
20th July 2010 ekathimerini
Passenger ferry routes connecting Piraeus to the islands of the Aegean are not expected to suffer any
disruptions for the next month after the Panhellenic Seamen’s Federation (PNO) said yesterday that it would
not be staging any strike action until after August 15. Over the past few weeks, members of PNO and the
Communist Party-affiliated labor group PAME staged several blockades at the country’s main port of Piraeus,
thwarting the travel plans of thousands of Greeks and tourists.
Greek journalist investigating corruption shot dead at his home
20th July 2010 Independent
A Greek investigative journalist was gunned down outside his home yesterday in an attack blamed on a far-
left terrorist group.
Sokratis Giolias, a 37-year-old radio journalist and popular blogger and father of one, was shot more than
15 times by terrorists carrrying 9mm pistols. He was killed at around 5.20am in the middle-class Athens
suburb of Ilioupoli after three uniformed attackers in bullet-proof vests, apparently posing as security
personnel, rang his doorbell. They drew him out of his apartment building by claiming that someone had
stolen his car. His pregnant wife was upstairs.
Later police discovered a car, apparently the getaway vehicle, abandoned and burned to a shell near to the
scene of the crime. Officers initially dismissed the idea that terrorists were responsible. But later they said
that ballistics tests on bullet casing at the scene had shown that the same guns had been used in previous
operations by the Sect of Revolutionaries, a far-left group which was implicated last year in the murder of an
anti-terror police officer and an attack on a television station. .. continues: Independent
First major fire of summer hits near Athens
19th July 2010 Ekathimerini & Business Insider
More than fifty forest fires struck Greece over the weekend. The largest fire burned over 800 hectares of
shrubland outside Athens.
So far Greek firefighters have been able to contain the wildfires.
More than 800 hectares of mostly shrubland were burned by a wildfire that broke out almost 50 kilometers
northeast of Athens on Saturday and which took the fire service most of the day to get under control, as
firefighters battled against other, smaller blazes as well.
The fire service said yesterday that initial estimates indicate that Saturday’s fire destroyed 800 hectares of
greenery between Kapandriti and Varnavas, a few kilometers from the resort of Kalamos. It was the first
major forest fire of this summer in Greece.
The blaze broke out early in the day and was fanned by gale force winds. More than 300 firefighters, 100
soldiers and 61 fire engineers took part in the ground operation to but out the blaze. Six airplanes and four
helicopters also played a vital part in getting the fire, which developed on several fronts, under control by
repeatedly dropping water. The fire was put out soon after 2 a.m., the fire service said.
Although the wildfire got close to a number of homes, only a shack was burned and no injuries were
reported. Residents, however, were forced to leave their homes as the blaze spread.
Goldtrail collapse leaves Britons in Greece and Turkey
17th July 2010 BBC
A British tour operator has collapsed leaving thousands of holidaymakers abroad, the Civil Aviation Authority
(CAA) has said.
Greece and Turkey specialist Goldtrail, based in New Malden, south-west London, went into administration
on Friday with an estimated 16,000 customers overseas.
The CAA said it was arranging to fly customers home after their holidays and there were no more outbound
The CAA said flights home from Turkey would operate as normal but holidaymakers in Greece were warned
to expect changes.
Those in Greece are advised to check with representatives at local airports. The company used charter
airlines such as Onur Air, Turkuaz and Viking.
It is thought that as many as 50,000 holidaymakers who have booked flights over the summer will be
affected by the company's collapse.
Greece Summer Sale season begins July 15th
15th July 2010
Greece's summer sale season (from July 15th to August 31st) starts this week. Shoppers will be able to buy
products at reduced prices all across the shopping spectrum.
But shoppers beware. The Greek Consumers Centre (ELKEPA) warns consumers should survey the market
and compare prices. Also, each item should have two prices, the one that was valid before the sales period
began and the reduced price being offered during the sales period.
Greek strike to ground flights on July 15
Flights to and from Greece will be halted for four hours on Thursday when air traffic controllers walk off the
job to join a public sector walkout against labour reforms.
The stoppage is part of an anti-austerity strike by public sector union ADEDY which called for its half a million
members to march to parliament on July 15 as lawmakers will be voting on civil servants' retirement rules.
Air traffic controllers cancelled earlier plans for a 24-hour strike on July 14 and said that instead they would
stop work between 11.00 and 15.00 hrs (0800 and 1200 GMT) on Thursday to protest against the pension
reforms and to ask for payment of overtime.
Despite repeated general strikes and protests against the reform, Greece's parliament approved last week
a sweeping pension reform that curbs early retirement and raises the retirement age to 65 for all.
The strikes have hurt tourism, which accounts for nearly a fifth of Greece's 240 billion euro economy. Air
traffic controllers did not take part in May and June walkouts, saying they did not want to further hurt the
See Athens Internationl Airport Bulletin for links to airlines & details of cancelled and rescheduled flights.
Heraklion Businessman commits suicide
14th July 2010 Haniotika Nea
Financial problems are believed to be the cause of the suicide of a 58 year old market trader from Heraklion.
The man disappeared early on Monday morning after a dispute with an individual, believed to be over
economic differences. As the hours went by and the man did not return home, his family realised his rifle
was missing and sounded the alarm as he had previously attempted to commit suicide.
His car was found hours later by a farmhouse in Kavrochori and the body of the 58 year old was found
nearby, with a suicide note, having turned the gun on himself.
Athens pleased with EU reaction
14th July 2010 ANA-MPA
Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou on Tuesday expressed his satisfaction here over the fact
that Community officials acknowledged Athens' efforts to restructure its battered economy.
Speaking to reporters after an ECOFIN meeting in Brussels, the Greek FinMin said the issue of the Greek
economy was briefly discussed during Monday’s Eurogroup meeting, with the European Commission
presenting positive recommendations of an interim report by EU experts.
Papaconstantinou underlined the comments made by Eurogroup’s president, Jean Claude Juncker, who
praised Athens' efforts to cut the country’s double-digit fiscal deficit.
He reminded that around July 24, delegations from European Commission, the European Central Bank and
the International Monetary Fund will visit Athens and stressed that the result of this visit would become the
basis for approving the second tranche of a loan agreement to Greece, the second in 2010 totaling 9.0
billion euros. (ANA-MPA)
Drug Arrests in Kalives and Souda
12th July 2010 Haniotika Nea
Two foreign nationals arrested in Kalives and Souda yesterday are accused of possession and drug
trafficking. Police say they are nationals of Iran, aged 23 and 30 years old.
Narcotics police found, in the suspects homes, 34 grammes of raw hemp and 12.7 grams of raw opium
Drop in Chania tourism 5,65%
10th July 2010 Haniotika Nea
A report in the Haniotika Nea says the financial crisis is affecting tourism and contributing to reducing the
number of arrivals in Greece and the prefecture of Chania.
The number of tourist arrivals in the prefecture of Chania in the first half of 2010 was down by
approximately 5.65% over the same period of 2009, according to the Department of Economics and
Management at the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania (MAICh) in collaboration with the
Department of Financial Management, Technical University of Crete.
Making a comparison between the first half of 2010 with the corresponding quarter of 2009, for the seven
major nationalities who visited the prefecture of Chania, they observed that there is a decrease in arrivals
of all nationalities.
Of the Nordic countries, Norway and Sweden have remained about the same level as last year, while
Denmark and Finland were down by close to 6%.
The biggest fall is seen amongst tourists from England, with a reduction of 21.75%. Meanwhile the
Germans continue to reduce their visits to Chania, marking a drop of 57.5% over the first half of 2007, but
these comparisons are only for the months of May and June, as the Germans begin to visit Chania from May
In the prefecture of Iraklion arrivals of foreign visitors for the first half of 2010 at Heraklion Airport declined
by around 5.14%.
Making a comparison between the first half of 2010 with the corresponding quarter of 2009, on the main
nationalities visiting the prefecture of Heraklion, there was a decrease in arrivals from most nationalities. But
Russian arrivals showed a very significant increase of about 61.72%, climbing to fourth place ahead of the
Civil servants set for headcount
8th July 2010 ekathimerini
The Data Protection Authority (DPA) yesterday gave the Interior Ministry the go-ahead to start a census of
the country’s civil servants, believed to number at least 700,000 and to be a significant burden on the debt-
According to sources, the DPA said that the count could be carried out only if authorities use data relating to
the civil servants’ salaries. The authority has insisted that personal questions be removed from an electronic
form to be distributed to public service employees. The census began with the distribution of these forms to
employees of the General Secretariat for Public Administration, which operates under the ministry’s
supervision, the General Accounting Office and the Municipality of Haidari in western Attica. The second
phase of the initiative, due to be completed by the fall, foresees the creation of a single body to handle all
payments to staff in the civil service. According to the plan, civil servants who fail to register will not be paid.
Another General Strike 8th July and New Blockade - Seamen to close Piraeus port
3rd July 2010 ekathimerini
In what is fast becoming a major headache for the country’s tourism sector, the Panhellenic Seamen’s
Federation (PNO) has announced that it will be staging another 24-hour strike on July 8, preventing
travelers from boarding island-bound ferries at the port of Piraeus. Several blockades over the past few
weeks have resulted in thousands being stranded at the country’s main port and on the Aegean islands.
The decision to strike next Thursday, when another general strike is also scheduled, was made after
tensions peaked during a session of PNO’s executive committee between federation members and
representatives of the militant Communist Party-affiliated group PAME.
Burglar Arrested in Chania – others sought
3rd July 2010 Haniotika Nea
Police in Chania say they have arrested one member of a criminal gang of three burglars. The offender is a
34 year old foreign national from Georgia. Investigations are continuing to identify and arrest the other two
According to police, between 17th June and 23rd June 2010 the gang committed a total of 16 break-ins; 13
in Chania and 2 in Rethymnon. The value of jewelry that had been stolen is in excess of one hundred
thousand (100,000) Euros.
Fresh offensive targets tax cheats
3rd July 2010 ekathimerini
A crackdown by state inspectors on hundreds of companies and self-employed professionals believed to
have used bogus invoices to evade some 2 billion euros in taxes has led to dozens of individuals being
indicted on criminal charges, Kathimerini has learned.
An Athens prosecutor has already drawn up 338 charges of tax evasion and Finance Ministry inspectors are
looking into dozens of additional cases. According to sources, the ministry suspects that the use of bogus
invoices to evade taxes is far more widespread than the simpler method of concealing sources of income by
not declaring them.
Ministry inspectors have been conducting raids on the premises of several suspicious businesses, chiefly
doctors’ and lawyers’ private practices. Many are believed to have been paying third parties to provide them
with bogus invoices so they could report lower revenues and pay less income tax. The ministry is also
seeking those alleged to have issued these bogus invoices. Most of the latter are self-employed
professionals and are believed to have made a healthy second income by charging would-be tax evaders for
their illicit services, sources said.
In a related development, the state yesterday took control of five properties belonging to popular singer
Tolis Voskopoulos and his wife, former Deputy Culture Minister Angela Gerekou, with the aim of auctioning
them off to recoup some of the 5.5 million euros the singer is alleged to owe the tax office. It is thought the
auction will raise at least 3.5 million euros. Last month, the singer lodged seven appeals against the tax
evasion charges that have been brought against him. The country’s highest administrative court, the Council
of State, is to hear the appeals of the 70-year-old singer in October.
Athens Passenger traffic rises to 5.8 mln for first 5 months
1st July 2010 ekathimerini
Athens International Airport said yesterday passenger traffic rose 2.8 percent in the first five months of the
year, to almost 6 million people. The total number of people passing through Greece’s biggest airport was
5.8 million, up from 5.6 million for the same period a year ago, the company said in a statement.
International travelers rose 1.9 percent and domestic passengers increased 4.2 percent. Industry officials
expect the number of tourists from abroad this summer to remain the same as last year but with a drop in
the amount spent by visitors of up to 10 percent. Tourism accounts for 16 percent of Greece’s gross
domestic product and about one in five jobs.
Cretan relic hunter nabbed
28th June 2010 ekathimerini
A resident of Hania, Crete, who handed a bag of human bones to local police after apparently discovering
them while out searching for World War II relics was arrested when officers found a stash of weapons at his
The 27-year-old’s house was searched after he presented some human remains to the officers at the Nea
Kydonia police station. The man, who has not been named, said that he uncovered the bones in the Maleme
“It is likely that these are the remains of a high-profile figure who took part in the Battle of Crete,” the police
said in a statement. “But the bones have to be sent to the University of Athens Anthropology Center for
Officers found several machine guns, submachine guns, rifles, dozens of bullets and other items the suspect
said he uncovered using a metal detector. However, as he did not have a firearms license, he was taken