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Crete & Greece
November & December 2010
Illegal games
29th December 2010 ekathimerini

Police in the Cretan port of Hania yesterday detained 13 Greeks and an Albanian on charges of illegal gambling.
Two of the suspects are owners of bars alleged to have allowed patrons to play craps and poker. Officers
confiscated more than 8,400 euros - believed to be proceeds from illegal gambling.

Cretan discovery among most important in 2010
28th December 2010 Athens news

The latest archaeological findings unearthed in Greece over the past year are in the top ten discoveries of 2010
list, published in the latest issue of Archaeology Magazine, a publication of the Archaeological Institute of America.

The findings in question are Palaeolithic tools discovered in Plakias (Rethymno prefecture) on Crete. According to
the magazine, "the discovery of stone tools at two sites on the island of Crete that are between 130,000 and
700,000 years old was
announced by a research team led by Thomas Strasser of Providence College and Eleni Panagopoulou of the
Greek ministry of culture. The tools resemble those made by Homo heidelbergensis and Homo erectus, showing
that one of these early human ancestors boated across at least 40 miles of open sea to reach the island, the
earliest indirect evidence of seafaring.
"If hominins could move around the Mediterranean before 130,000 years ago, they could cross other bodies of
water as well," said team member Curtis Runnels of Boston University, who helped analyse the tools."

Prison and fines to dishonest petrol sellers
28th December 2010

The government are set to take a tougher stance on the petrol selling industry. In an interview on Tuesday,
Deputy Minister Mr. Rovlias mentioned that the government will be relentless when it comes to suppliers of petrol
that have acquired illegal equipment for their pumps that provides less petrol than what they show they are
selling, therefore stealing from customers.

Traders caught stealing will have their businesses shut down and face a 5-year prison sentence. Mr. Rovlias said
that the new legislation will be passed in Parliament in the next three weeks.

In reference to the increase in prices, the Deputy Minister said there has been a global increase due to the
dollar/euro exchange rate.

There will be specific areas scrutinized for pricing since the Ministry has information of illegal profit at petrol
stations in Crete, the Peloponnese and Epirus.

In Crete most petrol stations sell unleaded at 1,68 euros per litre, when in most areas of the country it sells for

Deadly fire
27th December 2010 ekathimerini
A 26-year-old man died from smoke inhalation in Iraklio, Crete, on Christmas Day after a fire broke out in his
apartment. The fire service said that the cause of the blaze was not immediately clear. The man, who was not
identified, had already died when firefighters found him.

Census to be held next year
27th December 2010 ekatherini
Greece is to spend some 70 million euros to employ 60,000 people to carry out a census early next year, sources
told Sunday’s Kathimerini.
The European Union requires Greece to carry out another survey of its population next year as it will have been
10 years since the last one. The census is expected to be conducted over a two-week period at the end of March
and beginning of April and will require citizens to fill in forms providing detailed information about themselves,
such as their family status and profession.
According to the 2001 census, Greece’s population was 10.9 million. In 2008, Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency,
estimated it at 11.2 million. One of the key challenges for the statisticians next year will be to accurately record
the number of immigrants residing in Greece, since it is estimated that there are more than 1 million foreigners
living in the country but only about half have residence permits.

Tsunami response exercise on Crete
27th December 2010 Athens news

A European exercise testing preparedness in case of a major earthquake and subsequent tsunami will take place
in the southern part of the prefecture of Hania, Crete, it was announced on Monday.

Technical University of Crete natural disasters lab director Prof. Costas Sinolakis said a map exercise will be held
in the spring of 2011 and the actual exercise will take place between November 2011 and February 2012.

The region selected is southwest Crete from Elafonissi to Agia Roumeli in Hania Prefecture, and the criterion used
is its remoteness, in order to test intervention speed of those participating in the drill.

Athens hotel occupancy rates plummet in November
24th December 2010 ANA

Hotel occupancy rates in the Athens-Attica region were absolutely disappointing in the off-season month of
November compared to the same month last year.

A monthly report by the Union of Athens-Attica Hoteliers said the biggest decline in occupancy rates was
recorded in five- and four-star hotels, 16.70% and 10.50% respectively; 6.10% in three-star and 10.4% in two-
star hotels.

As regards the occupancy rates in Athens hotels in the month of December, the holiday season atmosphere is
absent and the decline in bookings is huge compared to past Christmases, union president Yiannis Retsos said.

International drug bust in Athens
22nd December 2010 Athens News

THE ATTICA drug squad dismantled one of the best-organised rings of drug dealers operating in Greece,
authorities announced on December 20. The ring traded in cocaine, hydroponic cannabis and ecstasy. A tip by
the United States Drug Enforcement Administration via the American embassy in Athens led to the drug bust.
Members of the ring reportedly smuggled drugs from Canada by hiding them in luxury vehicles imported into
Greece. The ring allegedly supplied dozens of well-known Greek musicians and models in Athens and Crete.
According to the DEA, a 34-year-old Greek Canadian was involved in dealing cocaine. Police arrested one Greek
American, six Greeks  and one French national.     

More protests on Wednesday 22nd December

Protest rallies outside Parliament are being planned by Greek trade unions next Wednesday afternoon, when
MPs will be wrapping up the debate on the 2011 budget.
The rally is being organised by the umbrella trade union groups General Confederation of
Employees of Greece (GSEE), representing the private sector, and the civil servants union
federation ADEDY. Highschool teachers announced nationwide work stoppages in order
to join the rally on Sunday,  while similar protests and demonstrations will also be held
in other Greek cities.

Christmas shoppers flood the town centres on Sunday
20th December 2010

Crowds descended on the towns of Heraklion and
Chania yesterday, as the shops opened on Sunday
for Christmas shopping, giving hope for some
recovery of the local market according to the Traders

Presents are exchanged at both Christmas and New
Year in Greece so the local market has 11 more
holiday shopping days to go.  

According to earlier estimates by the Traders Association, the turnover during this year's holiday season will be
reduced compared with last year (which was a difficult one) by 1 billion and is due to the decline in consumer
incomes and rising indirect taxes and excise taxes in the last quarter of 2010.

Unemployment at 12.4%
17th December 2010  ANa-Mpa

Unemployment in Greece rose to 12.4 percent in the third quarter of 2010, according to figures released
Thursday by the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT). In its regular Labor Force Survey, the
statistics authority reported that in the 3rd Quarter of 2010 the number of employed amounted to 4,402,931
persons while the number of unemployed amounted to 621,938.
The unemployment rate was 12.4% compared with 11.8% in the previous quarter, and 9.3% in the
corresponding quarter of 2009.
The number of unemployed persons increased by 4.7% compared with the previous quarter and by 33.7%
compared with the 3rd quarter of 2009.
The unemployment rate for females (16.1%) is considerably higher than the unemployment rate for males (9.7%).
By age group, the highest unemployment rate is recorded among young people in the age group of 15-29 years
(24.2%). For young females, the unemployment rate is 30.6%.

Greece 4th poorest in EU
15th December 2010 Athens News

TWO out of 10 Greeks are living on the verge of poverty, having already received social benefits from the state,
while one out of 10 lacks resources to pay their way, according to new data published by the European Union’s
statistics agency Eurostat on December 13. According to Eurostat, the people on the verge of poverty are those
living in households with an income below 60 percent of the average national income (about 12,000 euros
annually). Latvia tops the list of the percentage of people living on the verge of poverty (25.6 percent), followed
by Romania (23.4 percent) and Bulgaria (21.4 percent), with Greece fourth in the EU with the highest percentage
of people living on the verge of poverty. In Greece, 20.1 percent (2.2 million citizens) live on the verge of poverty.
The lowest percentages were recorded in the Czech Republic (9 percent), Holland and Slovakia (11 percent).
Eurostat data also suggest 11.2 percent of Greece’s population (1.2 million citizens) face serious difficulties in
paying the rent for their home, heating, receiving a meal with meat or fish three times a week and meeting
unexpected expenses etc.

Fuel leak
13th December 2010 ekathimerini

An Aegean Star passenger ferry was leaking fuel yesterday after it hit the jetty at the port of Lesvos. The crash
caused an 8-meter gash in the side of the ship. Port officials and volunteers were making efforts to pump fuel out
of the boat’s tank. The environmental damage caused by the leak has not yet been estimated.

Cold front brings snow, freezing temps
12th December 2010 NeaTV

Freezing temperatures, snow and strong winds affected most of Greece yesterday.

In Crete an unprecedented wave of storms swept across the island. On Saturday morning problems were
reported around the island in both the movement of vehicles in the national and provincial road network and
electricity supply.

Snow has  covered the mountains of Psiloritis in Anogia Mylopotamos, Amari, the Lefka Ori and villages in the
areas, with many roads being inpassable.

In the Chania prefecture many roads were closed, including the Omalos road at 30 km, the road to Sfakia closed
at Imbros and the Palaiochora road at Floria.
Four hikers were reportedly cut-off in Anogeia in Rethymno prefecture, near a ski resort.

Gale force winds also caused problems on the roads with broken tree branches. Electricity cuts were  reported
around the island due to the gale force winds.

The low temperatures are forecast to continue with gale force winds, sleet and snow.

Week of Strikes Ahead
12th December 2010

Strikes are set to disrupt flights, ferries and public transport this week, as unions rally against a shakeup of
labour rules that will cap public sector salaries and further loosen job safeguards.

Tuesday 14th December - 3 hour work stoppage called by General Workers Union (GSEE) & Civil Servants
(ADEDY) from Noon to 3 pm.  Bank workers on 24 hr strike

Wednesday 15th December - 24 hr strike by GSEE & ADEDY member strike for 24 hours. Air traffic controllers
and seamen are joining the strike so no flights in or out of Greece for 24 hours and no ferries. Bank workers,
lawyers and all government offices are also striking.

Journalists are to strike too, on Wednesday December 15, as well as Friday December 17 and Saturday
December 18, demanding that the publishers take back recent lay-offs and comply with the labour contracts.
Click here for ongoing strike updates

Meteor shower
11th December 2010 ekathimerini

One of the most impressive meteor showers of the year will be visible in most parts of the world, including
Greece, on the evening of December 13 and through the early hours of December 14. The meteor shower is
called the Geminids because it appears to radiate from the constellation Gemini.

Action needed on road safety
9th December 2010 ekathimerini

Greece has fallen far short of a target set by the European Union in 2000 to halve road traffic accidents within a
decade, the head of the Hellenic Institute of Transportation Engineers told a cross-party road safety committee
According to Vassilis Halkias, Greece managed to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities on the country’s
roads by 23 percent in 10 years, significantly below the EU average of 36 percent. This means that Greece ranks
third from last in the 27-nation bloc for its efforts to improve road safety. Still, authorities can significantly
improve the situation by implementing a harsher stance against traffic offenders and modernizing the country’s
road network.
According to Halkias, Greece’s safest road is currently the Attiki Odos highway, with only 0.6 percent of the
country’s road fatalities occurring on it. Of the traffic-related deaths recorded on Attiki Odos, however, half are
drivers or passengers of motorcycles or scooters.

Defunct insurance firm chief to answer to fraud charges
9th December 2010 ekathimerini

Pavlos Psomiadis, president of the defunct Aspis Pronia life insurance firm, is to face an investigating magistrate
tomorrow on fraud and money-laundering charges following his arrest late on Tuesday. He and his assistant
Andreas Loizos face charges of providing the company’s creditors with a false 550-million-euro letter of
guarantee from a British bank to keep the business afloat. The case came to light after 65 investors sued the

Cretan raid
7th December 2010 ekathimerini

Police in the Cretan prefecture of Rethymno said that they were seeking the assailants who pulled up in a car
outside the offices of an insurance company in the small town of Perama early yesterday morning and fired shots
at the building, causing damage but no injuries.

Christmas lights
7th December 2010 ekathimerini

With less than three weeks left until Christmas, the Consumers' Protection Center (KEPKA) has warned shoppers
that almost one in three sets of Christmas lights sold are dangerous as they could start fires. KEPKA advised
consumers not to leave Christmas lights on when they are not at home.

Minor clashes mar protest rally
7th December 2010 ekathimerini

Demonstrations commemorating the second anniversary of the fatal shooting of  15-year-old Alexis
Grigoropoulos by a policeman brought Athens and several other major cities to a standstill for several hours
yesterday and were marred by outbreaks of violence.
In Athens, where thousands of police officers were mobilized to avert a repeat of unprecedented rioting two
years ago, around 6,000 schoolchildren, members of leftist organizations and labor unionists took to the streets
in separate marches that were mostly peaceful.
. Later in the day, a larger crowd of hooded youths threw firebombs and chunks of marble and paving stones at
officers, who responded by firing tear gas. Police said at least three people were injured. Several store facades
were smashed and garbage dumpsters set alight but the damage but was not extensive.
Small-scale outbreaks of violence were also reported during similar demonstrations in other major cities including
Thessaloniki and the Cretan port of Hania.

Court rules major tourism project on Crete illegal
4th December 2010 ekathimerini

The Council of State yesterday ruled illegal a controversial project to build a large holiday complex and golf
course on a 2,500-hectare plot on the eastern tip of Crete, dubbed Cavo Sidero. The country’s highest
administrative court deemed that a ministerial decision issued in February 2007, granting a British development
company the right to proceed with the project, was illegal as it violated restrictions for construction on the island.

Officers linked to sex racket
4th December 2010 ekathimerini

Police investigating the operations of one of the largest sex-trafficking rings ever broken in Greece were
yesterday questioning 51 people including 19 suspected ring members, two of whom are police officers.
Officers from the police's organized crime unit said they had questioned more than 180 people about the racket,
which is believed to have been bringing women from Russia and states of the former Eastern bloc into Greece
and forcing them to work as prostitutes at nightclubs in Athens, Thessaloniki and other major cities.
The proceeds of the ring's activities were laundered through a chain of bakeries, whose owner is in custody, as
well as nightclubs and the purchase of real estate.
With the help of their counterparts in Russia, police determined that the ring lured women to Greece with the
promise of work as dancers at nightclubs in various major cities before forcing them into the illegal sex trade.

Pressure on striking sailors growing
29th November 2010 ekathimerini

Rolling 48-hour strikes by seamen prompted the government on Saturday to say that it would intervene unless
the action, which has enraged farmers on Crete unable to transport their produce and hampered thousands of
travelers, is brought to an end.

On Saturday, the Panhellenic Seamen’s Federation (PNO) called a new 48-hour strike, thereby extending to
seven the number of days that sailors had not been to work. The seamen are demanding a new collective
contract and job security. The extension of their protest drew criticism from the government, which for the first
time since the strikes began threatened to take action, without detailing whether it intended to force the sailors
back to work by issuing a civil mobilization order.

The strike has caused tension on Crete, where farmers have clashed with seamen as they have been unable to
get their fruit and vegetables to the mainland. The two sides came to a compromise on Saturday and three
vessels set sail from Crete for Piraeus carrying local produce. The ships arrived at their destination yesterday but
PNO said that it would not allow any more vessels to sail until the strike was over.

Strike action
Unions plan walkout for Nov 25, strike for Dec 15
20th November 2010 ekathimerini
The country’s two main unions, the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) and the civil servants’ union
ADEDY, yesterday called a three-hour work stoppage for November 25 and called on their members, who number
more than 2 million, to join a general strike on December 15 in protest at the debt-ridden government’s ongoing
austerity drive. The work stoppage next Thursday may result in public transport disruptions between noon and 3
p.m. The strike for December 15 was announced by GSEE last month and is now being joined by ADEDY amid
speculation of severe cuts to spending in the public sector. ADEDY president Spyros Papaspyros described the
government’s austerity drive as “a marathon whose finishing line keeps moving.”

Tourism sector hails tax cut, anticipates positive knock-on effects
19th November 20101
The Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) welcomed the news of a tax cut for accommodation facilities,
describing it as the first growth measure implemented by the Socialists since the introduction of last year’s
austerity measures. ‘This will soon generate a positive secondary effect for the economy,’ it said.

Ministry to lighten smoking ban
19th November 2010 ekathimerini
The Health Ministry is reportedly planning to significantly soften a blanket smoking ban introduced in September
following “tremendous pressure” from bar and restaurant owners who claim the changes, together with the
impact of the economic crisis, are ruining them.
According to sources, the ministry is considering permitting smoking in cafes and bars after 9 p.m. while keeping
the blanket ban in place for restaurants. Cafes and bars that decide to permit smoking would not be allowed to
serve patrons aged under 18, according to the amendments reportedly under consideration.
The ministry’s general secretary, Antonis Dimopoulos, said authorities have been besieged by complaints from
bar and cafe owners claiming to have seen their business plummet. Dimopoulos said. “We did not expect such
tremendous pressure from business owners.”
It remained unclear which, if any, of the aforementioned measures the government would adopt and whether
these changes would be acceptable to the European Commission, whose regulations Greece must adhere to as
a member state.

'Troika' calls for speedier opening of 'closed professions'
19th November 2010 Athens News
Representatives of the EU-ECB-IMF troika currently in Greece called for the intervention of the Hellenic
Competition Commission (HCC) to ensure quicker procedures for the opening of so-called "closed professions".
During a recent visit to the HCC offices, "troika" representatives focused on structural reforms that need to be
made to ensure the independent authority's optimum operation.
The opening of «closed professions" in Greece -- a decades-old demand of the business community -- was high
on the list of "troika" demands, with representatives recommending that the HCC be staffed with more
personnel. (ANA)

Corfu floods
18th November 2010 ekathimerini
Heavy rainfall and thunderstorms yesterday caused widespread flooding on the Ionian island of Corfu, and
injured three people while the local fire service was besieged with telephone calls from residents trapped in
flooded homes and vehicles. Corfu’s Prefect Stefanos Poulimenos told Skai the storms that battered the island
were the worst in 40 years. He said that the rainfall had caused several rivers to break their banks and provoked
landslides across the island. The fire service received around 200 calls to pump out water from flooded shops
and homes. The extent of the injuries sustained by the three islanders remained unclear late yesterday.

Heroin bust on Crete
18th November 2010 ANA
A 42-year-old man was arrested in Hania, Crete, on major heroin trafficking charges, police said on Thursday. The
arrest on Wednesday was made following a tip-off. A search in the suspect's house revealed 676 grams of
heroin and drug paraphernalia.

Cheese thieves
17th November 2010 ekathimerini
Unidentified thieves made off with about 10 tons of cheese from a factory in the Cretan prefecture of Iraklio early
yesterday, police on the island said. According to police, the thieves gained access to the maturing room where
the cheese is kept by hacking a hole into the exterior wall of the three-floor factory. The factory owner told
officers that the cheese taken was worth around 100,000 euros.

Greece 2009 Deficit Revised To 15.4% Of GDP – Eurostat
15th November 2010 Nasdaq

Greece's budget deficit in 2009 reached a revised 15.4% of gross domestic product, almost two percentage
points higher than previously forecast, the European Union's statistics agency Eurostat said Monday, well above
the government's official estimate and dealing a further blow to the country's efforts to fix its public finances.

The long-awaited Eurostat report comes as Greece scrambles to meet its deficit targets for this year and next
under the terms of a EUR110 billion bailout agreed to in May with the International Monetary Fund and the
European Union.

Under the terms of the loan, Greece must cut its budget deficit to 8.1% of gross domestic product this year--from
a previously estimated 13.8% gap in 2009- -and to 7.6% of GDP in 2011.
With a higher starting point for the deficit last year--and combined with lagging tax revenues this year--the
government will have to adopt an estimated EUR4 billion in further spending cuts to meet its fiscal targets for
2011, government officials say.

The Eurostat report also revised higher Greece's public sector debt to EUR298.0 billion, or 126.8% of GDP, up
from the government's previous estimate of 115% of GDP.

Record abstention and spoiled ballots in 2nd round elections
15th November 2010 Ta Nea

The levels of voter abstention and the percentage of invalid and blank ballots reached unprecedented levels in
Greece yesterday, with more than 6 in 10 people choosing not to go to the polls or not to vote for a candidate.

The percentage of invalid and blank votes reached 10.9%, ie 1.8% more than the first Sunday. Note that in the
provincial elections of 2006 null and blank votes accounted for only 6%.

Record abstention was recorded in the Region of Northern Aegean, where the rate stood at 61.71%, while it was
close to 60% in Attica (60.46%), Western Greece (59.93%) and the Ionian Islands (59.3%).

Final tally of local administration elections
15th November 2010 Athens News

With the final count completed from Sunday's second-round local government elections, the ruling Pasok-backed
candidates were elected as Regional heads in eight of the country's 13 Regions, the new geographical
administrations created under the Kallikratis local administration reform plan, with the remaining five Regions
won by main opposition New Democracy (ND) backed candidates.

Pasok-backed candidates also won 73 of the country's 325 municipalities, while ND-backed candidates won in 41

Outgoing Athens prefect Yianns Sgouros, who was backed by Pasok, will be the Attica Region's first elected
regional head, with a percentage of 52.87 percent and 61 seats on the Regional Council, against 47.13 percent
and 12 seats for ND-backed Vassilis Kikilias.

In Athens, Pasok-backed candidate and former Greek Ombudsman George Kaminis carried the vote with 51.94
percent against incumbent mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis with 48.06 percent, while in Thessaloniki Pasok-backed
Yiannis Boutaris prevailed with 50.20 percent over ND-backed Costas Gioulekas with 49.80 percent.

For Chania & Heraklion results
click here

15th November 2010 ekathimerini

Authorities were unable to give a conclusive answer over the weekend regarding the origin of a bright light that
was seen moving through the night sky from central Greece to the north of the country late on Friday. It is
thought the object was a meteorite as witnesses reported seeing a ball of light.

Hail destroyed crops and farm roads closed in Sitia
13/11/2010  Nea TV

Serious problems were caused by bad weather in the area of Sitia on Saturday. Hail stones the size of chestnuts
fell in the area and caused major damage to crops, specifically in Goudouras, Agia Triada and Apidia to olive
trees, according to initial estimates of farmers. Roads were made impassible for a while in the area.

Driver remanded
13th November 2010 ekathimerini

The Greek driver of an intercity KTEL bus that plunged into a ravine in southern Albania on Monday night, killing
nine people and injuring dozens more, was remanded in custody yesterday after appearing in court in the
Albanian town of Fieri. The court refused the defense lawyer's request for the driver to be released on 10,000
euros' bail and decided to remand him until the date of the trial, which has yet to be set. The driver's lawyer told
the court that the driver lost control after the bus was hit by another vehicle.

GSEE calls strike for December 15th
11th Nov 2010 ANA

The private sector union GSEE called a nationwide 24-hour strike for December 15, expressing opposition to "all
anti-labour measures", as it charged.
According to a statement issued by GSEE on Thursday, all trade unions must express their strong opposition to
the anti-labour policies by participating in the strike action announced.

Greek unemployment rises to 12.2 percent in August
11th November 2010  AP

Greek officials say unemployment in the debt-ridden country rose to 12.2 percent in August, from 12 percent in
July, after some 46,000 jobs were lost lost.
A statistical office statement says the total number of unemployed people rose to 613,108.
The government has said unemployment is set to rise to 14.5 percent next year and 15 percent in 2012.
Greece narrowly avoided bankruptcy in May, drawing from a euro110 billion ($151 billion) rescue loan package
from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
In return, the Socialist government cut pensions and salaries and hiked taxes, hoping to reduce the budget
deficit from more than 13.6 percent of annual output in 2009 to 2.6 percent in 2014.

Cuts, not taxes hikes, more likely in Greece: minister
11th November 2010 AFP

Any new austerity measures in Greece will come from spending cuts and not new taxes, the Greek finance
minister said Friday.
"If a further adjustment is needed, it will be made in state spending cuts, where there really is waste that can be
reduced," Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou told the private Mega channel.
Greece has already slashed its runaway deficit by over 14 billion euros (19 billion dollars) this year under a
draconian programme of tax hikes and pay cuts mandated by the European Union and the International
Monetary Fund in return for a massive loan that saved the country from looming bankruptcy.
But a revised calculation of the Greek state deficit by EU data agency Eurostat that will now include the bulging
losses of public companies is expected to still leave the government short of its targets.
The revised deficit figures are expected to be released on Monday as a mission from the EU, the European
Central Bank and the IMF arrives in Athens for a scheduled audit of Greek finances.
The new deficit figures are expected to show an upward revision for 2009 to more than 15.0 percent of GDP from
13.6 percent.

Tourism scam uncovered
9th November 2010 ekathimerini

Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos yesterday dispatched to an appeals court prosecutor a report
compiled by the financial crimes squad (SDOE) implicating nine officials and employees of the Greek National
Tourism Organization in losing the GNTO (EOT) some 5.5 million euros between 2006 and 2009.
According to the report, the losses were incurred by the GNTO’s state-subsidized social tourism program which
the officials and employees are alleged to have exploited by overissuing coupons. In 2006 alone, the body
issued more than 22,900 coupons, according to the report, compared to the 2,000 foreseen by official decisions.
This resulted in an additional financial burden on the organization of 1.75 million euros for that year. The report
also draws attention to the issuing of bogus coupons by hotels – a practice that GNTO officials are alleged to
have noticed but failed to follow up on.

Major cocaine bust
9th November 2010 ekathimerini

Four people were arrested and some 48 kilos of cocaine were seized by authorities in the western port city of
Patras and in Athens in a cocaine bust on Monday.
Patras port authorities, acting on a tip-off and with the help of sniffer dogs, on Monday discovered a large
quantity of cocaine (approximately 48 kilos) during a check of a truck in the port that had arrived from Bari, Italy,
by ferry. The narcotic was concealed in a specially-designed hiding space in the driver's cabin of the truck, and
had been covered by a special cream and wrapped in carbon paper so that it could not be traced by x-ray
Authorities also found a carton containing 10 one-kilo boxes of the chemical substance phenacetin in white
powder, which was to be mixed with the cocaine in order to increase the quantity of the drug.
The driver of the truck and two others in a car accompanying the truck were arrested in the port, and a
subsequent operation in Athens led to the arrest of a 48-year-old Albanian national said to be the recipient of
the cocaine.
According to port officials, Monday's stash was one of the largest quantities of cocaine to be seized in the last
five years, while international connections were not ruled out
The investigation was continuing for possible other members of the drug ring.

Tornado passes through Zakynthos
9 Nov 2010 Athens News

A tornado that passed through Zakynthos island in the Ionian Sea, on Monday left several houses and tourism
businesses damage.

The tornado emerged from the sea area off Laganas bay and passed through Vassiliko village, where it
destroyed house roofs and age-old trees. This was the second time within a few days that a tornado passed
through the area. (ANA-MPA)

PASOK endures, reforms go on
Ruling party’s support reduced in local polls but lead allows Papandreou to avoid national elections
8th November 2010 ekathimerini

Prime Minister George Papandreou declared late last night that his government would continue with its reform
efforts after partial official results from the first round of crucial local authority elections showed ruling PASOK to
be leading in key regions, including Attica.

In a live televised address delivered from the Maximos Mansion, Papandreou doused intense speculation about
the possibility of early general elections being called, making it clear that his administration would continue with
reforms aimed at reviving the debt-ridden economy and putting Greece on the path to repaying huge loans to its
European Union partners and the International Monetary Fund.

With 10 percent of vote counted, Singularlogic, the firm commissioned by the Interior Ministry to forecast the
result of the polls, predicted that the ruling PASOK would win eight of the 13 races for the new post of regional
governor, including Attica.

Crete and Southern Aegean regions were expected to be resolved but the others were expected to go to a
runoff next Sunday. PASOK made losses in some regions but this did not appear to particularly benefit ND, with
the candidates of smaller parties and independents profiting instead.

Abstention reaches record highs in local elections
8th November 2010 Athens News

Politicians have been asked to comment on the issue of abstention, which reached 58% in Athens and 60% in
other areas. Culture Minister Pavlos Geroulanos said that abstention seems to be the first clear message of this
election and main opposition New Democracy MP Aris Spiliotopoulos noted that such large abstention has not
been witnessed before in Greece, saying that it doesn't indicate indifference but it has an intense political

Sea search
8th November 2010 ekathimerini

Coast guard officials yesterday continued with their search for an 80-year-old sports reporter who has been
missing since Friday after leaving the Aegean island of Serifos on his speedboat, on a trip destined for the Alimos
marina, south of Athens. The Coast Guard said that the 7-meter vessel, Toxotis, had been found off the island of
Milos with two cracks in its sides. One of the cracks had a towel stuffed into it, suggesting that the 80-year-old
had attempted to stop the vessel from sinking. According to sources, the reporter of daily Ta Nea, always took
his speedboat from Serifos to Alimos at this time of year.

Hania police probe rape, abduction case
7th November 2010 Athens News / ANA

Authorities in the Cretan port city of Hania are investigating a case involving the alleged rape and abduction of a
27-year-old Norwegian woman.

According to reports, a 40-year-old Romanian woman has already been arrested in the case, while another six
suspects, all male, are wanted on rape charges.

Police said the incident came to light after the Norwegian consulate notified local authorities in the popular
tourist area (of Kournas) a tip-off which led to the Norwegian woman's detection. The latter charged that she
was held against her will in residence in the region for 20 days, where she was assaulted repeatedly by a
number of unknown men.
The arrested suspect is expected to be led before a local prosecutor.

Bombs reverberate across EU
7th November 2010

AS POLICE and the public remained baffled as to how a handful of 20-somethings could organise a detailed mail-
bombing operation against diplomatic missions in Athens and foreign leaders, the Greek president and political
leaders roundly condemned the new wave of terrorism.

Police linked the parcel bombs to the Conspiracy of Fire Cells terror group, which until now had specialised in
attacks with pressure cookers rigged to explode outside politicians’ homes.

That they now would be able to get letter bombs inside the German Chancellery and on planes to prominent
European leaders and institutions represents a quantum leap in their activity.

Several packages reportedly had exact replicas of the stamps of government bureaus and businesses that were
falsely marked as the senders, suggesting a sophisticated information network..
read more

Woman arrested for drug dealing
6th November 2010 ANA

Coast guard officers at Souda harbour on Crete arrested a 20-year-old Albanian woman on Saturday morning
after finding significant quantities of drugs in her luggage. The woman was on board the ship "Eleftherios
Venizelos" that had sailed into the harbour in the morning and was caught during a routine check by harbour
Concealed within her luggate were 5.2 kilos of cannabis and 52.75 grammes of cocaine. The 20-year-old has
been charged with drug dealing.

EU claims back 347.47m euros in Cap expenditure
5th November 2010

In a decision adopted on Friday, the European Commission will ask Greece to pay back sums amounting to
347.47 million euros in EU farm money that is considered "unduly spent". The money is being claimed back
because of non-compliance with EU rules or inadequate control procedures for agricultural expenditure.

In total, the Commission will recover 578.5m euros of Common Agricultural Policy (Cap) expenditure from 19
member-states for the above reasons.

The decision followed the regular clearance of accounts for the European Agricultural Guarantees Fund (EAGF)
and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), in which the three most significant
corrections involved Greece.

Garbage truck fuelled by frying oil
5th November 2010  ANA-MPA

A garbage truck that will be powered by used frying oil is to be placed in circulation by the Thessaloniki
municipality in a symbolic action to support recycling.

The truck will run on new-generation biofuel deriving from frying oils used in tavernas and restaurants, in the
framework of an innovative programme in cooperation with the National Centre for Research and Technology
(Certh), the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) and the local Association of Restaurateurs and Grill House

Thessaloniki municipality obtained the vehicle under the European Union programme Life+Biofuels-2G on
boosting the use of biofuels in an urban environment.

More bombs put police on high alert
Two blasts as five embassies targeted
3rd November 2010 ekathimerini
Authorities were reeling yesterday and the police was on high alert after letter bombs exploded at the Swiss and
Russian embassies in Athens, causing no injuries, and three more similar devices, addressed to other embassies,
were intercepted.

A package bomb was also found in the office of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin later in the day. It
bore the return address of the Greek Finance Ministry, according to Der Spiegel newspaper. German police
evacuated the office of the chancellor, who was absent, and neutralized the bomb by using a water cannon.

Meanwhile, another two suspicious devices were found in the cargo terminal of Athens International Airport late
last night. One was destroyed in a controlled explosion and the other was being inspected by police.

Police said there were clear similarities between yesterday's and Monday's attacks but did not release the
composition of the bombs nor which particular domestic terrorist group is behind the attacks. They did say,
however, that the bombs used in yesterday's attacks were almost identical to those intercepted on Monday.

4 parcel bombs found in Greece; 1 wounded
1st November 2010 CNN
One person was wounded Monday when a parcel bomb exploded at a private courier company in Greece,
according to the nation's Public Order Ministry.
The woman suffered mild wounds to her hands when the bomb exploded as she was moving packages, the
ministry said. The package was in an envelope addressed to the Mexican Embassy. Police said it was delivered
by two men.
Two suspects were arrested after police cordoned off the surrounding area, the ministry said. Both were wearing
wigs and one of them was wearing a bulletproof vest. Both also were carrying Glock 9mm pistols and were in
possession of another explosive parcel addressed to French President Nikolas Sarkozy, the ministry and police
The package was detonated by police.
The men arrested are ages 22 and 24, and both are Greek nationals, police said. One of the two men arrested is
a suspected member of the Greek leftist militant group Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire.
Meanwhile, two other parcel bombs were found nearby….

Marathon event boosts Athens' tourism
1st November 2010 Athens News
The successful organising of the 28th Athens Classic Marathon on Sunday brought back memories of the 2004
Athens Olympic Games to hoteliers in the Athens-Attica region.
Yiannis Retsos, president of the Athens and Attica Hoteliers’ Association, speaking to ANA-MPA, reaffirmed
comments made by Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Yeroulanos saying that Athens' hotels enjoyed 90
percent room occupancy rates, while he stressed that room prices were around October levels.
Retsos noted it was the first time after a long period that Athens was positively commented around the world
and stressed that the Marathon event helped in boosting tourism to the country’s capital. He said that events
like these helped in the promotion of the country abroad with minimum cost and direct results.

Greece: Final tax policy decisions in November
1st November 2010

The Greek government is poised to finalize its decisions on tax policy for 2011 within the coming month. The
decisions will cover the transfer of products from a tax rate of 11 pct currently to a higher rate and taxation of
vehicles. This policy is included in a memorandum signed by the Greek government and the EU/IMF/ECB troika in
order to be implemented from January 1, 2011 and help the government raise 1.0 billion euros annually.
The Finance ministry is examining various scenarios, such as the transfer of products from an 11 pct tax rate to
an intermediate tax rate. Decisions on the issue are expected to be reached following consultations with the
troika experts, expected to visit Greece in November as part of a regular inspection of the course of the Greek
economy ahead of approval of a third tranche of a 110-billion euros support loan.
The government is examining plans to cut registrations duties for middle-class cars, offering a much-needed
breathe to the domestic car market hit by the crisis. The government has already decided to postpone for six
months the introduction of higher tax rates in real estate property in order to avoid a further burdening of a
market already 30 pct down compared with 2009. The ministry will probably raise taxes on real estate property
in June 2011.

One of wettest Octobers ever
1st November 2010 ekathimerini

October was one of the wettest months on record in recent years, with more rain falling on one day in Athens,
October 18, than throughout the entire month in the years 2000, 2001, 2005 and 2008, according to
On Monday, October 18, an average of 38 millimeters of rain fell in Athens. When the final figures for the whole
month are in, it is expected to be wetter than any October of the last decade, when the record was in 2006 with
a total of 89 millimeters.
“This fall is reminiscent of those we were used to in the past,” said the head of the National Meteorological
Service, Dimitris Ziakopoulos. “We cannot make accurate predictions for the future yet but it is clear that records
for low temperatures and rainfall will be broken more regularly.”
A number of areas of Greece experienced flooding during October, including the island of Icaria, where 303
millimeters of rain fell in just over a day – about a third of the total rainfall on the island between August 2009
and August 2010.