|Copyright © 2004-2017 All rights reserved. Carol Palioudaki Living in Crete www.livingincrete.net
|Living in Crete
Crete & Greece
January to May 2011
Hania prefecture beaches receive 26 Blue Flags
29th May 2011 ANA
Twenty-six beaches in Hania prefecture, on Crete, have been awarded the "Blue Flag" distinction this year, the Greek
Society for the Protection of Nature announced on Thursday.
Greece has ranked in second place this year among 41 countries worldwide, having been awarded "Blue Flags" this
year for a total of 387 beaches, 98 of them on the island of Crete.
Cretan businessman commits suicide over financial woes
26th May 2011
ΑΝΑ-ΜPA/A 52-year-old businessman was found hanged in Crete, in an apparent suicide over severe financial
problems, police said on Thursday.
The body of the man - the latest in a rash of suicides on the island over financial difficulties -- was found by his
brother on Thursday morning in his home in Anogeia, Mylopotamos in Rethymno prefecture.ana-mpa
Sources close to the family told ANA-MPA that the businessman had kept the immense financial problems to himself so
as not to worry his wife and their 22-year-old son, and was a serious family man with good social relations.
Police are investigating the causes of the suicide.
Landslide in Santorini kills US tourist
23rd May 2011 AP
Greek police say a boulder dislodged from towering volcanic cliffs on the resort island of Santorini has killed an
American tourist and injured four foreign women.
A police statement says the 52-year-old man was hit as he was riding a hired mule on the steep cobbled path
winding down to the sea from Oia village - a popular tourist destination on the brim of
the island's trademark crags.
The cause of Monday's landslide was unclear.
The police statement said the victim's wife and daughter, as well as two Mexican women, were injured and were
being treated on the Aegean Sea island. It did not name any of the tourists.
Santorini mayor Anastasios Nikolaos Zorzos told private Skai TV landslides are unusual on the island. He said a
geologist would check the area.
Government to lift restrictions in more than 130 professions
23rd May 2011 ANA-MPA
The finance ministry announced the automatic abolition of all restrictions regarding the access and operation of a long
list of professions, valid as of July 2, 2011.
The restrictions to be lifted cover the number of persons with access to a profession and various other criteria. What’s
more important is that following July 2, no administrative license will be needed to commence a non-specialised
(physician, attorney) profession.
The list of more than 130 "closed" professions include: beauticians, drama and dance school
instructors, bakers, antiques dealers, insurance agents, insurance consultants, employment
consultants, diagnostics centre staff, translators, divers, cameramen, driving school instructors, cab
drivers, tourist bus drivers, newspaper stand owners, electricians, sound technicians, private school
owners, tobacco sellers, gun manufacturers and sellers, hairdressers, private investigators, port
workers, real estate agents, lifeguards, carpenters, financiers, opticians, auditors, movie/theatre
director and even car mechanic.
Privatization plan finally passed
23rd May 2011 ekathimerini
Greece approved on Monday the first wave of privatizations aimed at helping making its debt
sustainable by deciding to “immediately proceed” with the sale of stakes in several state-controlled
companies, including OTE telecom and Hellenic Postbank (TT).
A statement issued by the Finance Ministry said the Cabinet agreed on the plan which aims to raise 50
billion euros by 2015 by also reducing holdings in Piraeus and Thessaloniki ports as well as the
Thessaloniki water company (EYATH) “in order to front-load its ambitious program.”
“To accelerate this process, the creation of a sovereign wealth fund composed of privatization and real
estate assets was also decided upon,” the ministry added.
Greece plans to sell a 10 percent stake in OTE to Deutsche Telekom and will consider selling an
additional 6 percent of the phone company. A 17 percent stake in power company PPC will also go
under the hammer either through the stock market or by spinning off PPC assets to a strategic investor.
Additionally, a 34 percent stake in TT will be put up for sale with an additional 10 percent in the lender
possibly being listed on the Athens bourse or going to a strategic investor.
Battle of Crete anniversary events in Hania
22nd May 2011 ANA-MPA
Events held in the city of Hania marking the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Crete heightened at the
historic airport of Maleme on Sunday evening.
The ceremony included a religious service at the memorial of the fallen, the laying of wreaths and
speeches by Alternate Defence Minister Panos Beglitis,who represented the government, the vice
regional governor of Hania Apostolos Voulgarakis and the mayor of Platanias Yiannis Malandrakis.
The British Royal Air Force's (RAF) renowned aerobatics team, the Red Arrows, also put on a breath-
taking display at the Old Port of Chania, on the island of Crete, as part of the annual commemoration
Eight-year-old Afghan migrant drowns off Greece
18th May 2011 Herald Sun
TWO migrants on their way to Italy drowned off Greece early today, including an eight-year-old Afghan
boy whose twin was also missing after their boat capsized, Greek port authorities said.
The bodies of the young boy and an Iranian man in his forties were found just 20 metres from Preveza
island in the Ionian Sea, police said, adding they were still searching for the other twin.
The boat carried 22 other illegal migrants, including the parents of the boys, and two men from Iraq
and Pakistan, who were all rescued. The boat's captain, a 51-year-old Greek man was arrested.
Convicted ex-judge to appear in London court
16th May 2011 Athens News
Fugitive former judge Antonia Ilia is due to appear in a London court on Monday as part of Greece’s
attempt to extradite her. Ilia was found guilty last year of being part of a trial-fixing ring. In her
absence, she was sentenced to almost seven years in prison.
She has been on the run since being charged with working with corrupt lawyers to fix the outcomes
of trials but was arrested in Brighton, south of London, last Thursday.
She had been teaching French at a local college and insisted that she was not Antonia Ilia but a
French citizen. However, police searched her apartment and found her passport and ID, which
confirmed that she was the fugitive judge.
Greece to begin contacts with Libyan rebels
15 May 2011 ekathimerini
Greece will send officials and humanitarian aid to the Libyan rebel stronghold of Benghazi this week,
Foreign Minister Dimtris Droutsas revealed.
He was speaking to reporters after talks on Saturday in Athens with United Nations envoy to Libya
Abdul Ilah Khatib, who also met with Prime Minister George Papandreou.
“Greece’s role is to talk and have a dialogue with all sides in this crisis,” said Droutsas after revealing
that a delegation of Foreign Ministry officials would be based in the eastern Libyan city to act as a
liaison with the rebel forces in the country’s east.
“We cannot find a solution to the Libya crisis only through military means,” said Droutsas. “A political
solution is necessary and for this reason the international community must proceed with even more
decisive and coordinated efforts in this direction.”
A Greek vessel with humanitarian aid and a medical team is due to dock in Benghazi this week.
PM: Greece will not betray euro
14 May 2011 ANA-MPA
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou emphasised on Saturday that it is was "insulting" to the
country for anyone to demand islands, amongst others, as sovereign loan guarantees, in an interview
published here by the Italian daily "Corriere della Sera".
Moreover, the Greek prime minister reiterated that the country will "never betray the euro".
Papandreou emphasized that the very prospect of Greece's bankruptcy's was avoided, "winning a bit
more time in order to implement the necessary changes for Greece to gain a modern economy, one that
is viable and effective."ana-mpa
Population, residence census continues in Greece
12 May 2011 ANA-MPA
The population and residence census launched in Greece on May 10 continues without serious
problems, the Hellenic Statistical Authority (EL.STAT) announced on Thursday.
The procedure, aimed at putting together demographic, economic and social characteristics of the
population necessary in decision-making and in planning the country's economic and social policy, will
be completed on May 24.
The census-takers display a distinctive EL.STAT badge with their name and the name and telephone
number of their supervisors. For more information, the public can contact EL.STAT (phone numbers: 213
135 2138-40) or visit www.apografi2011.gr
HMS Albion in Souda
5 May 2011 ANA-MPA
The British Royal Navy flagship HMS Albion sailed into the Souda Bay anchorage (Crete) on Wednesday
for a five-day courtesy call.
HMS Albion is an amphibious assault ship and platform dock for helicopters. The warship is capable of
carrying more than 600 crewmembers and marines; it hosts four amphibious craft and ready-to-deploy
armoured military vehicles.
The warship was designated as a fleet flagship in Dec. 2010. It set sail from Plymouth in early April to
participate in a British ministry of defence exercise operation in the Mediterranean. (ANA-MPA)
Ceiling on unleaded prices
3 May 2011 ANA MPA
The government on Tuesday imposed price ceilings on unleaded gas in 13 prefectures in Greece,
without an expiration date, and effective as of Wednesday.
A ceiling is also imposed, for the first time, on wholesale unleaded prices in five of the 13 prefectures
affected by the retail price ceiling.(ANA-MPA)
Regional development and competitiveness minister Michalis Chrysohoidis told a press conference that
the ceiling enters into effect on Wednesday, and will not be removed until the prices fall and the
problems caused by illicit competition are solved permanently.
The ceiling on wholesale prices was imposed on five prefectures: Dodecanese (1.654), Lassithi (1.718),
Rethymno (1.704), Samos (1.664) and Chios (1.669).(ANA-MPA)
Low turnout in Greek May Day rally
Reuters May 1st 2011
Fewer Greeks took part in May Day rallies against austerity on Sunday compared to previous years, and
labour unions say a planned strike later in the month will better reflect public discontent over belt-
Cuts in public sector pay and pensions along with higher indirect taxes to slash deficits have
exacerbated the economic downturn as Athens scrambles to cope with a debt crisis and meet tough
fiscal targets under a 110 billion euro EU/IMF bailout.
Police said it was the lowest turnout in the last years with about 5,000 people demonstrating
peacefully in central Athens but labour unions said participation was higher around 12,000.
Boy hurt by Easter flare dies in hospital
29th April 2011 ekathimerini
The seven-year-old boy who was seriously injured by a flare on Easter Saturday has died in an Athens
hospital, doctors said.
The boy, who was not named, suffered serious head injuries when the flare exploded in the courtyard
of the Aghios Georgios church in Drosia, near Halkida on Evia.
He was being treated at Aghia Sofia Hospital, where he died on Friday morning.
A 25-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly firing the marine flare.
It is traditional in Greece for worshippers to set off fireworks and bangers as part of celebrations to
mark the resurrection of Christ.
Pharmacists to stop issuing prescription medicines to civil servants and self-employed
29th April 2011 ekathimerini
Pharmacists will stop supplying prescription medicines to civil servants from Monday because they say
the government has not kept its promise to settle a debt for drugs that have already been supplied.
The Athens Pharmaceutical Association said that the government pledged that it would ensure the Civil
Servants’ Fund (OPAD) would by April 30 pay for all the medicines its members had received.
Pharmacists will also stop giving prescription drugs to people insured with the Social Security
Organization for the Self-Employed (OAEE) until they receive payment.
PPC union to hold rolling strikes in May
28th April 2011 Reuters
Workers at Greece's biggest electricity producer PPC (DEHr.AT) will stage rolling 48-hour strikes next
month in protest at government plans to reduce the state's holding in the firm, a union official said on
Workers at the power utility have gone on strike several times over the past few years, usually leading
to rotating power cuts across the country and increased electricity imports.
"We decided to move to rolling 48-hour strikes," said Costas Koutsodimas, vice-president of the GENOP
labour union. "We want to show the government that keeping the (state's) 51 percent stake is a
matter of principle," he told Reuters.
Greece's cash-strapped government, which owns 51 percent of PPC, wants to sell as much as 17
percent in the company next year as part of a 50 billion euro privatisation drive to pay down debt.
Greece considers cutting ferry ticket prices
27th April 2011 ekathimerini
The Greek government is looking into reducing state charges imposed on ferry tickets in a bid to
increase passenger traffic to the country’s tourist dependent islands.
The move is seen as helping boost revenues for Greece’s loss making ferries but analysts doubt
whether the savings will reach travellers in full.
Apart from revenues going to ferry operators, ticket costs in Greece are also made up of additional fees
paid to the sailor pension fund, among others.
According to a Maritime Affairs, Islands and Fisheries Ministry senior source, the government is looking
into dropping some state charges for services no longer provided to the public, such as porters helping
“We are looking at this. The move could result in a price drop of 12 to 14 percent in time for the summer
period,” the source told Kathimerini English Edition.
The decision requires a commitment from ferry operators that they will pass on the savings to
passengers, the source added.
Ancient marble objects were used to decorate villas
21 April 2011 Athens News - ANA
Roughly 150 ancient marble objects destined to decorate local villas were found in a marble workshop
in Messaria region on the southeastern Aegean island of Kos.
Acting on information, the prosecutor and the archaeological service searched the workshop premises
where the marble objects were being processed and found a total of 600 marble items, 150 of which
were of archaeological value. The workshop owner was arrested.
Qatar plane flies injured Libyans to Athens
21 April 2011 M & C
Athens - A transporter belonging to Qatar's air force on Thursday flew 49 injured Libyans and 15 of
their relatives to Athens, according to Greek media.
The injured were then taken to private clinics by ambulance. The evacuation was the second carried out
by the Qatari air force.
Around 30 injured Libyans and some of their relatives were flown out on April 2. On that occasion the
worst injured were taken to the Greek island of Crete whilst the others were taken on to Qatar.
Unions announce 24-hour strike for May 11
19th April 2011 Athens News / ANA
A nationwide general labour strike has been called for Wednesday, May 11 by the country's two largest
umbrella union federations in the private and public sector, GSEE and Adedy, was announced by the
GSEE executive committee on Monday.
"The strike is the workers' response to the problems faced by the unemployed, the workers and the
pensioners who, according to the national plan on the economy, are again the ones who are called to
pay the bill," GSEE President Yiannis Panagopoulos stated.
Air-traffic controllers warn of delays this summer
19th April 2011 ekathimerini
Greek air-traffic controllers at have warned that there could be long delays for airline passengers
this summer unless more staff are hired.
Their union said on Monday that current staff shortages and an increase of up to 15 percent in the
number of airplanes flying through Greek air space this summer could lead to difficulties.
It called for another 60 air-traffic controllers to be hired.
Crete proposed as hub for Libya humanitarian effort
14th April 2011 ekathimerini
Greece has offered to act as a hub for humanitarian aid to Libya once the United Nations begins its
efforts to get supplies to citizens in the war-torn country, it has emerged.
Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas made the offer to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Doha, Qatar,
on the sidelines of the first meeting of the International Contact Group on Libya on Wednesday.
Droutsas proposed Crete should be used to ferry humanitarian assistance to Libya. Sources said Ban
agreed to Greece’s proposal. The UN is expected to head the scheme and a Greek, Panos Moumtzis,
the UNHCR’s head of donor relations, could be in charge of coordinating the effort.
Moumtzis headed the UN refugee agency’s appeal in March to donors for 32 million dollars to fund its
continuing emergency response operations for the Libya crisis. The bulk of the supplementary funding
was to be used for protection needs, to support the continuing humanitarian evacuation of thousands
of people stuck in Tunisia and Egypt, and for lifesaving aid supplies.
In Doha, Droutsas also met with a representative of the Libyan rebels, Mahmoud Jibril, to discuss
Greece’s offer to help with humanitarian aid and the transportation of anyone injured in the fighting.
Ticket inspector shot as drive to stop fare dodgers begins
12th April 2011 ekathimerini
A ticket inspector was in serious condition in an Athens hospital on
Monday night after being shot in the stomach by a bus passenger in
Keratsini, near Piraeus.
The incident occurred at about 4.30 p.m. yesterday as the Athens
Urban Transport Organization (OASA) inspector, who was not named,
was waiting at a bus stop to check the tickets of passengers.
The assailant pulled out a handgun with which he shot his victim
twice before running off.
The shooting came as a new team of 100 OASA inspectors began work on the public transport system
following a week’s training.
Bomb threat forces emergency landing in Athens
4th April 2011 SE Times
A passenger airplane made an emergency landing at the international airport in Athens Monday (April
4th) after a bomb threat was received at the office of its operator. The plane, owned by the British
tourist company Thomson, was travelling from Great Britain to Egypt. The bomb warning was received
at Thomson's office. Two Greek F-16 jets and a Super Puma helicopter escorted the aircraft to the
airport in the Greek capital, where it landed. All 213 passengers onboard and the crew are safe. Police
are searching the plane.
NATO aircraft evacuates wounded from Libya
2nd April 2011 M&C
A NATO transport aircraft evacuated several wounded Libyans from the area around the harbour city of
Brega and bought them to the Greek island of Crete, according to sources in the Greek Defence Ministry.
One man died during the flight, five were in serious condition and another six were badly wounded,
said the officials. All the wounded were taken to a hospital in the city of Chania, a spokesman told the
German Press Agency dpa.
Since the mission was done under NATO auspices, exact details of the operation could not be shared.
The evacuation from the fighting in Libya was reportedly conducted by a C-17 transporter with Qatari
fighters escorting. Several Libyan rebels were reportedly wounded Friday in a NATO attack gone awry.
Quake hits off Crete
1st April 2011 Athens News
A strong earthquake of a 6,2 magnitude struck off the Greek island of Crete on Friday at 16.30.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the epicentre of the earthquake was 80 klm deep and
122 kilometers east-northeast off Heraklion, Crete. No damages were reported.
Well paid ELPE workers strike over productivity proposal
31st March 2011 ekathimerini
Workers at Greece’s largest refinery Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE), who rank among the best paid employees in the
country, have called strike action over a proposal by management to introduce productivity assessments.
ELPE workers, who receive 17.5 monthly salaries as opposed to the 14 specified by Greek law, have called a ten day
strike starting Sunday.
“Workers at ELPE have been paid in the past 10 to 12 years better than European workers and we are proud of this
of this. We don’t want to touch their salaries. We want European salaries with European productivity,” said a senior
According to data presented by the company official, who requested anonymity, ELPE workers have been receiving
better pay than peers in Germany, Belgium, Holland and Italy in the past decade.
However, productivity levels of ELPE workers is between 30 to 60 percent lower than that seen in other European
ELPE workers were initially given three extra monthly salaries as an incentive to boost productivity, but the amount
ended up being given to everyone, regardless of work completed, the source added.
The company’s employees work 38 hours per week, rather than the standard 40 hour week, and 197 days per year.
Peers employed at rival Greek companies work 213 days per year while workers at oil refineries in Spain and Italy
work 211 days and 232 day respectively.
In Belgium, Italy, and Germany refinery employees work 244 days per year.
S&P downgrades 4 Greek banks
The Globe and Mail 31st March 2011
Standard & Poor's has downgraded four Greek banks' credit ratings, two days after cutting the debt-ridden country's
credit worthiness by two notches, putting it further into junk status.
S&P said Thursday it was lowering the ratings to B+ for Alpha Bank, Piraeus Bank, EFG Eurobank Ergasias and the
National Bank of Greece.
The agency said it believed there was an increased likelihood of a government debt restructuring, and the four banks'
business and financial profiles were likely to be weakened by the “deterioration of the economic and operating
Greece was saved from defaulting on its debts last May by a three-year €110-billion ($156-million U.S.) package of
bailout loans from the other European Union countries that use the euro and the International Monetary Fund.
Police break huge extortion rackets
30th March 2011 ekathimerini
Police in Athens said on Thursday that they had broken four criminal rings, involving dozens of suspects including
police officers and a popular singer, which are believed to be behind the systematic extortion of dozens of businesses
in the capital as well as a robberies and attempted bomb attacks.
Police said that a total of 217 people had been charged, 44 arrest warrants issued and 22 people brought in for
The suspects include a well-known female singer, seven police officers – some currently employed and some retired –
and several civil servants including employees of the country’s central bank.
The raids came after several months of investigation during which police determined the modus operandi of the rings,
believed to have been exacting “protection money” from a total of 268 nightclubs and other businesses in the capital.
Ryanair Announces First Crete (Greece) Routes
25th March 2011 Finchannel.com
Ryanair today (24th Mar) announced its first routes from Chania (second largest city on the Greek island
of Crete) to Frankfurt Hahn and Milan Bergamo from May 2011 which will deliver 60,000 passengers p.a. and create
up to 60 local jobs in Crete.
Ryanair celebrated its first Crete route by launching a 1 million
€7 seat sale for travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays
in late April and early May which are available for booking until midnight Monday (28th Mar).
Doctors at public hospitals and IKA to strike
25th March 2011 ekathimerini
IKA social security fund doctors have called a strike for Tuesday and Wednesday while hospital doctors will also be on
strike on March 30.
Employees at non-urban public hospitals also announced that they will strike on Thursday, while those working at city
hospitals will hold a work stoppage between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on the same day.
Doctors are due to hold a rally in central Athens on Wednesday.
IKA doctors are demanding that all their employment contracts with the fund are renewed. The protests will also
focus on the government’s spending cuts in the health sector.
Greece’s Souda Military Base is a Key Player in Libya
23rd March 2011 keeptalkingreece
Greece’s military base at Souda is developing into a key player for the coalitions forces bombarding defense positions
in Libya, in order to apply what diplomats call a No Fly Zone. A source at The Greek Defense Ministry told portal
onalert that 60 to 100 fighter aircrafts are expected to use the bases of Souda (Crete), Andravida (Patras) and Aktio
(Preveza). Most probably the air force bases at Araxos (Peloponnese), Kasteli (Crete) and Tanagra (Boeotia) will be
also used to absorb the huge amount of fighter jets.
Last night 6 F-16 and one C-130 form Norway landed at Souda. The eight F-16 from Belgium, currently stationed at
Araxos, have requested a Souda deployment.
OA, Cyprus Airways partner up
23rd March 2011 ANA-MPA
Olympic Air and Cyprus Airways on Tuesday announced they will join forces in the framework of a wide-spread
cooperation to deal with increasing competition and a crisis hitting the air transport sector along with strengthening
their presence in the wider Southeast European market.
Under the agreement, signed by the chairmen of the two airlines, Yiannis Karadakas and George Mavrokostas
respectively, the two airline companies will operate code-sharing flights. The partnership will begin March 27 with
code-sharing flights connecting Athens, Rhodes, Heraklion (Crete) and Thessaloniki with Limassol and Paphos. The
code sharing agreement will expand from April 15 covering all 38 destinations included in Olympic Air's and Cyprus
Airways' flight schedule programs.(ANA-MPA)
Greek ports to cut docking fees
20th March 2011 Bloomberg
Piraeus Port Authority SA, operator of Greece’s largest harbour, said it will provide docking services for less than a
private company is currently charging at the port.
Piraeus Port will cut the docking fee for cruise ships to 125 euros ($177.3) from 250 euros and for cargo vessels to 75
euros from 150 euros, the authority said today in an e-mailed statement. The authority will charge passenger ferry
companies between 200 and 950 euros a month, depending on the size of the ship, rather than a fee each time a
vessel arrives or leaves the port, according to the statement.
The number of cruise ship arrivals scheduled for 2011, based on information from cruise ship operators, is set to rise
to 962 from 823 last year, the authority said March 3.
Coast guard on Crete finds three more bodies
One more Bangladeshi evacuee from Libya unaccounted for after 13 discovered drowned.
16th March 2011 ekathimerini
Coast guard workers on Crete on Wednesday recovered another three drowned bodies from the island’s
northwestern coast, believed to be members of a group of Bangladeshi nationals that abandoned a ship evacuating
them from Libya earlier this month.
This brought to 13 the number of drowned bodies recovered from the island’s coastline since March 6 when a group
of 49 Bangladeshis used a rope to clamber down the side of a Cyprus-flagged ship as
the vessel was sailing toward Souda Bay.
Of the 49 evacuees that descended into the sea, 35 managed to reach the shore safely and have since been
repatriated. Coast guard vessels are still scouring the area around Souda Bay for signs of one more Bangladeshi who
remains unaccounted for.
Authorities believe the Bangladeshis, who had all been employed with the South Korean conglomerate Daewoo in
Libya, had abandoned the ship evacuating them from Libya to avoid being returned to their homeland.
Foreign Ministry will facilitate the transport of Greeks living in Japan
16th March 2011 Athens News / ANA
"The Greek foreign ministry is in consultations with airline companies to reserve airline tickets and facilitate the
transport of Greeks living in Japan who wish to return to Greece," foreign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras
said on Wednesday.
He stated that roughly 130-150 Greeks are in Japan and currently there is no issue of relocation of the Greek
embassy in Tokyo to another city.
Delavekouras stated that Athens has offered to assist Japan as proven by the relevant list of countries made public
by the Japanese government.
"Our country's readiness is a given, and we are expecting the Japanese side's response," he said.
Migrants to return to Crete after ending hunger strike
14th March 2011 ekathimerini
Protestors have received papers allowing them to remain in Greece for at least six months
The 237 immigrants who had been on hunger strike for six weeks in Athens are due to leave on Monday the
downtown listed building they have occupied for most of that time to return to Crete.
A representative said that all the migrants had received by Sunday documents from the police confirming that they
have been granted a stay of extradition.
Their hunger strike ended after 44 days when the government agreed that it would give the protestors, who either
do not have a resident permit or whose permit has elapsed, a six-month grace period to stay in the country.
Ministers also pledged to make it easier for migrants to renew their permits in the future but insisted that they were
not providing an amnesty to the migrants who had been on hunger strike.
Record Rainfall in Samaria Gorge
13th March 2011 NeaTV
Record rain fell in Samaria Gorge in February with 728mm of rain, the highest monthly record for Greece over last 5
The heavy rainfall and the snow in early March on the White Mountains, will have a beneficial effect on the water
balance in Crete.
Economic woes hit tourism
10th March 2012 Athens News
German tour operator Rewe said economic problems and strikes in Greece were preventing the Mediterranean
country picking up holiday business from Egypt and Tunisia.
"It is not rational," Soeren Hartmann, head of Rewe's tourism unit, said on Thursday, adding Greece needed to work
on an image badly hurt by the financial crisis.
Greece's 230 billion euro economy is suffering its deepest recession in almost 40 years following austerity measures
to shore up its finances and meet the terms of an EU/IMF bailout.
Hartmann told reporters bookings for Greece were down 15 percent year-on-year.
Rewe is Germany's third-largest tour operator behind TUI Travel and Thomas Cook.
Like its rivals, Hartmann said summer bookings for Tunisia had collapsed, by 47 percent, with Egypt down 28 percent.
Hartmann said Turkey was the biggest benficiary of the uprisings, with summer bookings up 50 percent.
Migrants end Greek hunger strike after government offer
9th March 2011 BBC news
Nearly 300 migrant workers in Greece have ended a six-week hunger strike after the government offered a deal over
Details of the deal were not immediately available but it is believed the mainly North African protesters will get
More than 100 protesters had been taken to hospital and some were being treated for acute kidney failure.
Many of the hunger strikers had lived and worked in Greece for years.
Search continues on Crete for lost Libya evacuees
8th March 2011 ekathimerini
Coast Guard and Navy vessels on Monday continued a search for 11 Bangladeshi evacuees from Libya, missing since
early Sunday after abandoning a ferry near Crete’s Souda Bay along with dozens
of compatriots, three of whom had been found drowned by late last night.
The local coast guard chief, Antonis Daskalakis, said that worsening weather conditions were hampering the search
for the missing Bangladeshis but that efforts would continue until they are found.
The Cyprus-flagged Ionian King had sailed in to Souda Bay in the early hours of Sunday with 1,288 evacuees from
Libya where pro-reform demonstrators are seeking to wrest control from forces loyal to Colonel Moammar Gadhafi.
Shortly after 3 a.m., a group of 49 Bangladeshis used a rope to clamber down the side of the vessel, the Ministry of
Marine Affairs said in a statement. The statement added that more than 10 coast guard vessels and a rescue
helicopter were deployed after officials on a nearby navy base reported seeing people in the sea and on the beach.
Of the 49 Bangladeshis who abandoned the ferry, three were found drowned and 11 were still missing by late on
Monday. The remainder were treated in local hospitals before being returned to the ferry. Daskalakis said all the
Bangladeshis found had been employed by the South Korean conglomerate Daewoo in Libya. It appears that they
abandoned the ship as they feared they would be sent back to their homeland.
The remaining passengers aboard the Ionian King were chiefly Koreans, Filipinnos and Sudanese, Daskalakis said.
Some of the other passengers had already boarded flights to their homelands by late Monday while the rest were to
remain on the vessel until their repatriation is arranged.
Aegean Airlines Buys 4 Slots From Olympic Air
8th March 2011 Capital.gr
Aegean Airlines announced on Tuesday that it acquired from Olympic Air in total 4 slots at the airports of London
Heathrow (LHR) and Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG).
According to an Aegean announcement, the acquisition took place for a financial consideration. Slots are intangible
assets which could be used by the company or leased to another airline.
“Slots in heavily congested airports in Europe have economic value as they can be used from any destination to these
airports”, Aegean concluded.
Cost of buying property among highest in EU
8th March 2011 ekathimerini
The cost of buying real estate in Greece is among the highest in the European Union, prompting many investors to
freeze potential deals in a move that further weighs on the downturn.
Data shows that the purchase of property valued at about 260,000 euros costs the buyer some 8,800 euros (notary
expenses, land registry costs and an obligatory contribution to a lawyer’s fund) in addition to a 1,475 euro tax bill.
According to a survey put together by the OECD, Greece is the sixth most expensive country to buy property in.
Airlines lift off against EU
7th March Athens News
OLYMPIC and Aegean, the country’s two largest airlines, announced on March 2 plans to appeal a recent European
Union ruling that prevented their plans to merge. EU regulators blocked their proposed merger in January on the
grounds the tieup would result in higher prices for consumers.
“Olympic, together with Aegean, will turn to European courts against the EU Competition Commission’s decision,”
Olympic said in a statement. Aegean and Olympic, which together control more than 90 percent of Greece’s air
market, last year agreed to merge but the EU watchdog said they had not offered sufficient remedies to ease
The carriers had offered to cede takeoff and landing slots in Greece, but the commission ruled this was not enough as
Greek airports do not suffer from the levels of congestion affecting others in Europe. Olympic and Aegean rejected
suggestions to give up part of their fleet or one of their two brand names to new entrants. The former ailing state
carrier Olympic was sold to Marfin Investment Group (MIG) in 2009.
Foreign nat'ls flee Libya rescue vessel off Crete; 3 dead
6th March 2011 ANA-MPA
Three bodies of foreign workers evacuated from Libya were recovered and more than a dozen are still missing on
Sunday morning after an undetermined number of evacuees -- identified as Bangladeshi nationals -- jumped off the
rescue vessel as it was nearing the Souda Bay anchorage on Crete.
One report put the missing at 17.
A massive search-and-rescue effort is underway at Souda Bay, near the port city of Hania, which hosts both civil and
According to initial reports, the foreign workers attempted to "jump ship" before landing at the harbour instead of
being repatriated to their home country. The vessel has picked them up from eastern Libya the previous day. Some
40 individuals were picked up in the unseasonably frigid waters.
Interpol locates stolen icons in London gallery
5th March 2011 ANA-MPA
Stolen icons from churches and monasteries in the mountainous Zagorohoria region of Ioannina, NW Greece, were
discovered in a London gallery by Interpol, during an operation held with the assistance of New Scotland Yard
According to an announcement on Friday, six of the stolen icons have been identified while an investigation is still
Stolen icons from Greece have also been discovered in Berlin but their exact number and the regions from where they
were stolen remain undisclosed.
For the record, dozens of icons and sections of chancel screens have been stolen in the past two years from churches
and monasteries in the region.
New bill to fight racism
4th March 2011 Athens News
JUSTICE Minister Haris Kastanidis on March 3 presented a draft bill that will outlaw speech that incites racial hatred
and xenophobia. Kastanidis told a press conference the new law builds upon existing legislation passed more than 30
Two Greek policemen killed in shoot-out
2nd March 2011 M&C news
Two motorcycle police officers were killed and another two seriously injured after being shot while chasing suspected
criminals, reports said Wednesday.
The incident, which occurred late Tuesday, took place in the west Athens suburb of Rendi when gunmen opened fire
with automatic rifles during a car chase with police along a highway.
Police started chasing the car after it was reported to have been involved in an armed robbery at a convenience store.
The officers, aged 22 and 23, died after being transferred to hospital. Another two officers were hospitalised with
Citizens Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis cut short a visit to neighboring Turkey after the incident, saying it was
too early to say whether the shooting was linked to domestic terrorism.
OA cuts four European routes, including London
and adds domestic and Balkan links
2nd March 2011 ekathimerini
Olympic Air (OA) plans to stop flying to four European destinations, including London and Brussels, but will expand
domestic flights and Balkan routes as part of restructuring efforts, it said on Wednesday.
“The recent decision from the European Competition Committee, blocking the creation of a single Greek airline of pan
European status, along with negative conditions and the market's medium term prospects, obligate the company to
review its flight program,” OA said in a statement.
Domestic flights will be expanded with the following routes: Athens-Corfu, Athens-Alexandroupolis, Thessaloniko-
Iraklion, Thessaloniki-Hania, Thessaloniki-Mytiline, Thessaloniki-Rhodes.
On the international front, the other European destinations that will be cut will be links to Vienna and Paris.
“At the same time, we are readjusting our international network by maintaining or expanding flights to Amsterdam,
Belgrade, Bucharest, Cairo, Istanbul, Larnaca, Sofia and Tirana,” it said in a statement, without providing further
Greece among tourism winners from Egypt unrest
2nd March 2011 ekathimerini
Greece and Spain are the two main beneficiaries of a shift by holidaymakers away from Egypt and Tunisia, according
to the head of Thomas Cook, Europe’s second-largest tour operator.
The southern European countries are “clear winners” as customers seek to avoid northern Africa amid political unrest
in the region, Thomas Cook Chief Executive Officer Manny Fontenla-Novoa told Bloomberg.
Greek hoteliers have cut prices after last year’s economic contraction, while their Spanish counterparts are also
offering better deals, he said.
Tourism in Greece has seen a “real comeback, especially after all the problems there last year,” the CEO said. In
Spain, the Balearic Islands, particularly Majorca, have “benefited hugely,” he said.
Thomas Cook and larger rival TUI Travel have scrapped trips this year from some European countries to Egypt and
Tunisia and brought customers home early. Egypt accounts for about seven percent of Thomas Cook’s annual profit,
while Spain and Greece account for a much larger proportion.
Greece will be hoping to cover some lost ground in its tourism industry this summer after income in the sector, which
accounts for about 18 percent of the economy, has been dropping in the last few years.
Earthquake shakes southern Crete
28th February 2011 ANA-MPA
A strong earthquake measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale shook eastern and southern Crete on Monday morning at 9:
49 a.m. The quake was felt throughout the region, especially around Ierapetra but also in the city of Iraklio.
According to the Geodynamic Institute of the National Observatory in Athens and the Geophysics Laboratory at the
Thessaloniki University, the epicentre of the quake was 368 kilometres south southeast of Athens and 25 kilometres
southwest of Lasithi in the Ierapetra region. It follows an earlier earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale that
occurred in roughly the same region on February 23.
There were no reports of damages.
Some 50,000 Greek executives pack bags
26th February 2011 ekathimerini
Some 50,000 business executives in Greece have given up on looking for work locally and are applying for positions
abroad, according to Marios Kyriakou, president of KPMG Hellas.
Deteriorating labour market conditions have forced a growing number of Greeks to look for work abroad as
unemployment hit a record of 13.9 percent in November due to the deepening recession.
Kyriakou said that KPMG will launch several programs aimed at helping company executives find work by providing
training in areas such as interview techniques and networking. The programs are free of charge.
Easyjet to launch Athens-Edinburgh flight link
25th February 2011 ekathimerini
EasyJet announced on Thursday that it will start a flight linking Edinburgh with Athens, the only direct air route
between the two cities, in September.
“We are responding to customer demand, providing an even greater choice of city, sun and ski destinations from
Edinburgh,” Hugh Aitken, easyJet’s commercial manager for Scotland, said in a statement.
Easyjet will also launch new flights linking Scotland’s capital with Tenerife and Grenoble.
The three times weekly service to Athens commences on September 20.
Chinese escape to Crete from Libya
24th February 2011 newsbeast
At noon today the first 4,600 Chinese citizens, of a total of 13,000, are expected to arrive on Crete from Libya, to be
repatriated. The Chinese government had approached the Greek authorities asking for help earlier in the week and
ships were sent from Greece
Two ships carrying the Chinese citizens will dock today in the port of Heraklion and the Chinese will remain up to 15
days in Crete until their safe transportation on to China is organised by the Chinese
The Chinese ambassador and a delegation are in Heraklion to coordinate the operation. Hotels in Amoudara,
Hersonissos and Malia have opened in record time to accommodate the Chinese.
2011 death toll from H1N1 reaches 112
24th February 2011 Athens News
Deaths caused by the H1N1 virus in Greece climbed to 112 since
the start of the year, according to figures released by Greek
authorities on Thursday. Another 121 people are receiving
treatment in intensive care units for complications caused by the
virus. Experts estimate that the epidemic peaked during the past week but expect a spike in the number of deaths
during the current and next week.
Mass protest against austerity
24th February Athens News
Tens of thousands of protesters marched to parliament on Wednesday in what is estimated to be the largest mass
protest against EU/IMF/ECB proposed austerity measures. Police said that 30,000 people took part in the Athens
march but unions and independent news sources talk about 80,000 demonstrators, while Reuters refer to 100,000
and the most massive demonstration since December 2008 demonstrations against police brutality, after 15 year old
Alexis Grigoropoulos was murdered by a policeman.
In several streets across the city, police fired teargas to disperse demonstrators hurling stones and plastic bottles.
Shops barricaded their windows and hotels in central Athens locked up.
Police said two policemen and five civilians were injured, including one journalist slightly hurt by a petrol bomb. Four
protesters were detained.
Minoan Group sees Crete project advancing
23rd February 2011 Stock Market Wire
Crete luxury resort developer Minoan Group plc posted a £1.26m loss for the year to September 30, up from £0.92m,
which it said was in line with its expectations.
Minoan said a December decision on its Cavo Sidero Project by the Greek Council of State, although annulling
previous government approval, had indicated the form of development that may be created in the area.
Chairman Christopher Egleton said, 'We believe that our project will match the required criteria under the new
guidelines and we look forward to advancing the project throughout 2011.'
The company said it had identified a number of potential acquisitions in the tourism and leisure sector and non-
binding heads of terms for the first small target had been signed.
Assuming completion, the group would be producing revenue for the first time.
Mionoan was committed to the renewable energy sector but following the restructuring of local government in Greece
late in 2010 and changes to legislation it would only take further action when confident that the profitability and cash-
generating properties of the business was secure.
Chinese evacuated via Crete
22nd February 2011 ANA-MPA
Roughly 13,000 Chinese working in Libya will return to their country via Crete, following a request by the Chinese
government to Greece and Italy for the evacuation of nearly 40,000 Chinese nationals, workers and business people,
stranded in the strife-torn North African country.
According to reports, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has contacted the regional governor of Crete and
requested the best possible accommodations and support services for the Chinese nationals.
The evacuees are expected to arrive on the large southern Aegean island on Thursday and will be staying in local
hotels until they are flown back to China aboard chartered planes that will take off from the airports of Irakleio and
One hundred migrants rescued from sinking boat
22nd Febraury 2011 ekathimerini
A group of 100 undocumented immigrants rescued from a foundering a sailing boat off Lefkada late on Monday were
undergoing medical inspections on the Ionian island on Tuesday as local police questioned another three migrants
believed to be their smugglers.
Coast guard vessels were dispatched to tow in the boat on Monday evening after the captain of a tanker saw the
vessel taking on water a few kilometers off the island's western coast and telephoned in an emergency call to
It remained unclear on Tuesday whether the boat had set sail from Igoumenitsa or some other western port but it is
believed to have been bound for Italy. There were no details available about the ethnic origin of the migrants or the
Greece has second highest petrol prices in Europe
22nd February 2011
Greece has the second highest prices in unleaded petrol and diesel oil in Europe in February, with the average prices
for both products remaining unchanged, compared with January, to 1.593 euros per litre and 1.391 euros per litre,
respectively, the Greek automobile touring club (Elpa) said on Tuesday.
In a report, Elpa said Greece trailed the Netherlands (1.657) in second place for average unleaded petrol prices, with
Belgium (1.559), Portugal (1.511), Finland (1.489), France (1.483), Italy (1.472) and Germany (1.476) following.
Belarus (0.783), Luxembourg (1.253), Spain (1.28) and Austria (1.296) recorded the lowest prices.
Tourism professionals attack government
22nd February 2011 ekathimerini
Tourism professionals accused the government on Monday of being unable to grasp the significance of their sector for
Greece’s fiscal rebound.
The Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE) issued a statement saying that the recent denial by the Finance
Ministry to approve a 50 million euro payment for the Greek National Tourism Organization to pay its dues to the
media (40 million) and to promote Greek tourism (10 million) is testimony to that. This decision, SETE suggested,
means that Greece and its tourism product have no advertising promotion at all, reducing the chances this country
might have to increase the number of arrivals. Greece will therefore be unable to tap into the opportunity in the
international tourism market from the troubles in rival Mediterranean destinations.
SETE also referred to other issues such as revenues from casinos that do not go to Greece’s promotion but to
covering other needs, and the Culture and Tourism Ministry funds (about 80 million euros) that will not go into hosting
the 2013 Mediterranean Games (the event is taken away) and could go into advertising.
Recession digs deeper into construction sector
21st February 2011 ekathimerini
Problems in the construction sector, a key driver for the Greek economy, got worse in November, according to data
released by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) on Monday.
Greek construction activity, measured by the number of new building permits, fell by 21.7 percent year-on-year in
November to 3,757 versus a drop of 16.2 percent in October.
Data on November volume and surface of space being built showed respective drops of 30.6 percent ( -20.9 percent
in October) and 33.2 percent (-17.3 percent in October), ELSTAT added.
Alpha Bank rejects NBG merger proposal
19th February 2011 ANA-MPA
Alpha Bank’s board on Friday unanimously rejected National Bank’s merger plan, which was announced earlier in the
The bid was the second in a decade where a merger plan between the two banks failed to materialise. A bank
statement said Alpha Bank’s board “unanimously, and after examining the terms of the proposed merger, rejects the
plan, taking in view the uncertainty created by the current economic situation and the context of the plan, whose
terms are considered not to be to the benefit of Alpha Bank’s shareholders”.
Gas stations to close on February 23
Action called to coincide with general strike
18th February 2011 ekathimerini
Gas station owners said yesterday that they would join a 24-hour strike that the country’s two main labor unions
have planned for February 23.
The Federation of Gasoline Station Owners (OBE) called on all members to join the action to express solidarity with
Greece set to relax rules for residence renewal
Migrants will require fewer social security credits under new law being examined
18th February 2011 ekathimerini
Deputy Labor Minister Anna Dalara confirmed on Thursday that the government is examining ways of relaxing
requirements for economic migrants to renew their residence permits.
“A law-making committee is looking at two things: reducing the number of social security credits needed, especially in
some types of work where it is impossible for them to be collected; and at imposing tough sanctions on employers
who do not register their workers, not just migrants,” Dalara told Vima radio.
There is concern that the impact of the economic crisis and rising unemployment means that some immigrants living in
Greece legally will fall short of the number of social insurance credits require.
However, Dalara insisted that the government would expel migrants from the country if they do not have the proper
documents or if they do not meet the necessary requirements.
“We have laws and this means that some people will have to go,” she said.
Greece sets June 7 as new deadline for Kasteli (Heraklion) airport-minister
18th February 2011 balkans.com
Greece has had to postpone the award of a 1 billion euro tender for a new airport on Crete, the second time it has
pushed back a project seen as a test of investor appetite for deals in the recession-hit country.
Kasteli is the first major infrastructure project Greece's Socialist government has tackled since winning power in
It is one of a raft of big investment plans the country needs to kickstart growth and exit its debt crisis.
"The interested groups asked us to extend the deadline for the submission of financial offers to June 7," deputy
Infrastructure Minister Giannis Magriotis said in an interview.
This is the second delay to the Kasteli tender on technicalities. The initial deadline for opening bids and naming a
winner had been set at Oct. 19, 2010, and the second deadline was for early March.
"There have been significant changes (to the tender) to make Kasteli a full-service airport," he said. "We're in the final
Greece is one of Europe's top tourist destinations and Kasteli will become its second-biggest airport after Athens in
terms of foreign traffic. It will replace Crete's outdated Heraklion airport, which is bursting under the strain of handling
nearly 2 million tourists a year.
More than 13 domestic and foreign construction firms expressed initial interest, Magriotis said, adding he hoped the
airport would be operational by the summer of 2015.
Circular on local taxes for homeowners withdrawn
18th February 2011 ekathimerini
Interior Ministry backtracks on extra charges for those who declare illegaly altered parts of homes. The government
was forced into an embarrassing climbdown on Thursday when it withdrew a circular to municipalities informing them
that they could charge homeowners local taxes for illegally altered parts of their homes that had been declared over
the last few months.
Deputy Interior Minister Giorgos Dolios informed Parliament on Thursday afternoon that the circular was no longer
valid and he apologized to homeowners for any confusion.
The mix-up began on Wednesday when Dolios issued a circular to municipalities that said they could collect tax from
homeowners for illegal parts of their homes that had been declared under a government scheme launched last year.
The circular proved extremely controversial because when the government passed a law last year allowing
homeowners to declare illegaly altered parts of their properties, known as imiypaithrioi (semi-open spaces) in Greek,
it stated clearly that those coming forward would not be liable for any further penalties or taxes.
Drug dealer arrested in high school on Crete
17th February 2011 ANA-MPA
A 24-year-old foreign national was arrested on the island of Crete for dealing narcotics in a high school in Heraklion,
while a 17-year-old pupil was also arrested as he was purchasing hashish from the dealer.
The dealer was spotted by the school guard in the school's toilets as he gave the hashish to the pupil and the two
were taken into custody by the local police.
Withdrawal of older vehicles starts
15th February 2011 Athens News
A joint ministerial decision issued on Tuesday for the withdrawal of older vehicles -- a "cash for clunker" variation -- is
considered "life-sustaining" measure for the depressed retail car sales market, one of the biggest victims of the
ongoing economic crisis.
So far, retailers have recorded a reduction of more than 50 percent in sales.
The decision concerns older vehicles with a circulation license issued before December 31, 1998, to be replaced by
new cars with an engine capacity of up to 2000cc.
The withdrawal should take place no later than December 20, 2011 through the approved alternative management
system for older vehicles.
Inflation up 5.2% in January
10th February 2011 Ana-Mpa
According to Elstat, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in January 2011 compared with January 2010, increased by 5.2
In January 2010, the annual rate of change of the CPI was 2.4 percent. The CPI in January 2011 compared with
December 2010, decreased by 0.7 percent. In January 2010, the monthly rate of change of the CPI was also -0.7
In the twelve-month period from February 2010 to January 2011 compared with the period from February 2009 to
January 2010 the annual average rate of change of the CPI was 4.9 percent.
The corresponding annual average rate of change of the CPI in the previous year (February 2009 to January 2010),
was 1.3 percent.
GPs fight police in Greek protest
10th February 2011 Press Association
Striking doctors have scuffled with police outside Greece's parliament as anti-cuts protests spread beyond unions to
professional groups. More than 1,000 doctors, some in white coats, staged the central Athens protest against plans
to impose tougher monitoring rules for spending in the National Health Service. Police used pepper spray during the
brief confrontation, which ended without any injuries or arrests. The country's largest unions plan a general strike for
February 23, and have announced that retailers will also join the protest and close their stores for 24 hours.
The Greek Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen and Merchants said one in four of its small business members -
or 225,000 enterprises - face the threat of closure in 2011.
Doctors at Greece' main public health insurer, IKA, continued rolling strikes, joined by state hospital doctors in greater
Athens. Doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, teachers and public transport workers are all taking part in strikes this week
against the latest round of austerity measures.
The government has set in motion a series of longer-term measures aimed at cutting overspending in return for
international bailout loans worth 110 billion euros (£93 billion) throughout 2012
Health sector overhaul voted into law
10th February 2011 ekathimerini
A controversial bill overhauling the debt-ridden health sector was voted into law on Wednesday despite the objection
of all opposition parties and vehement protests by striking doctors who demonstrated outside Parliament.
The legislation was approved, in principle, by ruling PASOK though lawmakers from the main opposition parties all
voted against it.
Opposition from within the ranks of PASOK was limited. One of the most vociferous critics though was Ektoras
Nasiokas, a former deputy health minister who claimed that the draft legislation was not comprehensive or bold
Health Minister Andreas Loverdos insisted that the reforms were crucial for Greece's debt-crippled health sector to
become viable, noting that Parliament should «celebrate» the arrival of changes that should have been introduced
three decades ago.
Earlier on Wednesday striking doctors marched from the Health Ministry, where they have been staging a sit-in for
more than a week, to Parliament where there were minor scuffles with police who fired small quantities of tear gas to
disperse the crowd. More
Striking doctors up the ante over reforms
8th February 2011 ekathimerini
As state hospital doctors resumed strike action on Monday in protest at radical draft legislation for the debt-ridden
health sector, which is due to be submitted in Parliament on Wednesday, Health Minister Andreas Loverdos appealed
to medics to display some social responsibility during the flu season.
Hospital doctors have said they will stay off the job through Thursday while doctors employed with the Social Security
Foundation (IKA) are to press on with strike action through Friday.
According to sources, the action has led to the cancellation of some 30,000 appointments per day, or around 300,000
appointments over the past 10 days.
Last Wednesday Loverdos responded to the IKA doctors’ strike action by announcing that people insured with IKA will
be able to visit doctors who work for two other major funds - the Civil Servants’ Fund (OPAD) and the Self-Employed
Pension Fund (OAEE) - without charge.
Noose set to tighten on property market this year
7th February 2011 ekathimerini
Greece’s housing industry suffered one of its worst years since the Second World War in 2010, contributing to the
Unfortunately, the outlook is not good this year, raising concerns about the length and the depth of the adjustment in
the industry and its impact on the economy.
The residential property market has been one of the major pillars of Greek gross domestic product growth for
decades, surpassing in importance other eurozone countries with the exception of Ireland and Spain in some aspects
in the last few years, according to experts. Read more
Off-duty officer, 30, shot dead in Kallithea 7th February 2011 ekathimerini
A 30-year-old off duty policeman was shot dead in the early hours of Monday by unidentified assailants who opened
fire on him with Kalashnikov assault rifles in the neighborhood of Kallithea, south of central Athens. At the time of the
attack, at about 3.30 a.m., the special guard had been in a parked car with a 26-year-old Albanian national who was
seriously injured in the hail of bullets. It is believed that the attackers fled on a motorcycle. The 26-year-old was in a
serious condition in the capital's Evangelismos hospital on Monday after undergoing emergency surgery. According to
police, the two men were showered with at least 20 bullets.
Putting computer classes offline 5th February 2011 Athens News
COMPUTER science teachers at public secondary schools sent an open letter to Prime Minister George Papandreou on
February 2 requesting his immediate intervention to stop a decision aimed at pulling the plug on IT classes. The
education ministry is currently debating whether to remove computer science classes from the curriculum of the
country’s lyceums - the last three years of secondary school. According to the computer science teachers, such a
decision would be “unprecedented”. They also stressed it would go against ruling Pasok’s election campaign promise
of putting all schools online and bringing new technology into education. “In an age when everyone is proclaiming
the transition from an information society to a knowledge society, in an age when digital literacy and the development
of thought determine development in all those areas that contribute to the prosperity of a country and its people, the
graduates of the new-style lyceum are in danger of being condemned to digital illiteracy and ignorance of the
algorithmic way of thinking,” the teachers said in their letter.
Civil servants to work longer hours 4th February 2011 Athens News
INTERIOR Minister Yiannis Ragousis announced on February 3 plans to modernise the public sector. He announced the
extension of the public sector workday by 2-1/2 hours, up to 40 hours per week. Ragousis said public services will
soon be open in the afternoon. Civil servants union ADEDY chief Spyros Papaspyros was quick to voice his
reservations over the increased working hours and the afternoon shifts.
Parcel bomb intercepted 4th February 2011 Athens news
A PARCEL bomb sent to the justice ministry was detonated by bomb squad experts in a controlled explosion at 1.35
pm on February 3. Police said that the parcel had arrived by courier from the Athens district of Nea Ionia. Addressed
to the minister, the parcel’s sender was given as the “Independent Initiative of Law Interns”. Staff at the ministry
called the police, who said the mechanism was similar to the ones found in parcel bombs sent to embassies and other
targets in November.
Fuel market in Crete investigated 3rd February 2011 ekathimerini
The Competition Commission is looking into whether gas stations on Crete are working together to keep fuel prices
artificially high. In checks held at Cretan service station associations on Tuesday, the competition watchdog
confiscated files and minutes from their meetings. Gas station owners on Greece’s largest island recognize the lack of
competition in their district but blame it on rigid conditions in the wholesale fuel market. They have called on the
government to impose a price ceiling on wholesale fuel prices by the end of the month in a bid to help lower their
retail prices, threatening to otherwise launch strike action. The island often has among the highest gas prices in
Greece. An investigation by the Competition Commission into Crete’s fuel market was initially launched in 2009 but a
decision has yet to be reached.
Non-Greeks cannot vote in local polls, CoS finds 2nd February 2011 ANA-MPA
The Council of State, Greece's supreme administrative court, on Wednesday judged that a law allowing non-Greeks to
vote but also run for office in local government elections is unconstitutional. It also rejected sections of the 2010 law
that 'naturalised' non-Greeks that are permanently resident in the country. The court found that based on the
Constitution only Greek citizens had the right to run for office or vote in prefecture and municipal elections, barring all
foreigners, and that the law could not apply unless the relevant article of the Constitution was amended. The case
has now been referred to the CoS plenum for a final decision.
Bomb destroyed outside Justice Ministry 2nd February 2011 ekathimerini
Members of the police's bomb disposal unit destroyed a suspicious package found at the Justice Ministry shortly
before 2 p.m. on Wednesday in a controlled explosion outside the ministry building. Police sources told Skai that the
package had contained a small quantity of explosives. Officers were called to the building after ministry staff deemed
the package to be suspicious. The booby-trapped package had been addressed to the office of Minister Haris
Kastanidis with the sender listed as «the independent initiative of lawyers,» the Associated Prees quoted police
spokesman Athanasios Kokkalakis as saying. A wave of letter bombs targeting foreign embassies in Athens last
November was subsequently claimed by the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire guerrilla group. The campaign caused
international alarm after one of the packages reached the Berlin office of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Greece braces for possible migrant influx from Egypt 31st January 2011 ekathimerini
Citizens’ Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis chaired a meeting of security chiefs on Monday morning as Greece
prepares for a possible influx of immigrants from Egypt and other North African countries. The chiefs of police, coast
guard and national intelligence attended the meeting, which was aimed at developing a strategy for dealing with a
possible spike in the number of undocumented immigrants trying to enter Greece after anti-government protest in
Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt. The meeting is also likely to have been driven by the government’s concern that it should
look proactive on the issue of illegal immigration after apparently being caught out by a protest last week by more
than 230 immigrants at Athens University’s Law School. The hunger-striking immigrants are now housed in another
building in central Athens and in tents in its courtyard. Campaigners have said that the building is too small to
accommodate all the protesters and about 100 of them are having to sleep in tents.
Battle of Crete 29th January 2011 ANA
A large number of Greek Australians and Australians plan to visit Greece in May to attend events commemorating the
70th anniversary of the Battle of Crete. According to reports, the Cretans of Australia are planning a "mass incursion"
on Crete to attend the 70th anniversary commemorations, as well as a large number of Australians whose ancestors
fought in the strategic battle during WWII. A series of commemorative events will be held on Crete in May with the
customary participation of war veterans from Greece, Australia, New Zealand and Britain. The Battle of Crete began
on the morning of May 20, 1941 when German forces launched an unprecedented airborne invasion of Crete, code-
named "Merkur". The operation was successful in that it wrested control of the island from Allied forces, although the
victory was so costly in terms of paratrooper casualties that the Wehrmacht never again attempted a major airborne
operation. The stiff resistance by ANZAC troops and local Cretans is also credited, by many historians, with delaying
the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.
UK-Egypt plane diverted to Greece after 'bomb' alert 29th January 2011
BBC News A plane travelling from the UK to Egypt was diverted to Greece after a note containing the word "bomb"
was apparently found on board. The EgyptAir jet, which had departed from London's Heathrow Airport, was carrying
251 passengers when it landed at Athens International Airport. The UK Foreign Office said 50 Britons were on the
Cairo flight and they were staying in hotels in Athens overnight. The EgyptAir pilot made a request to land and the
plane touched down in Athens at 2039 local time (1839 GMT) on Friday. An Athens International Airport spokeswoman
said: "Everybody is safe and the aircraft landed safely."
Elstat preparing for national census 28th January 2011 Athens News
The Hellenic Statistical Authority (Elstat) on Friday announced the start of work to count all residences in Greece in
preparation for conducting a national census. The statistics authority said that this would help in dividing up the
census sectors and regions so that the census can be carried out in roughly the same time throughout the country.
The count of the buildings will take place on February 1-28, while the general census of population and residences will
take place from March 30 until April 13. (ANA)
Letter with bullets sent to Greek Embassy in Madrid 28th January 2011 ANA
Staff at the Greek Embassy in Madrid on Thursday handed over to Spanish police an envelope containing eight bullets
and a written document discovered earlier in the day during an inspection of incoming mail. According to a statement
on Greece’s Foreign Ministry website, the envelope contained “some small-caliber bullets and the text of a
proclamation.” No details were released about the content of the proclamation. It remained unclear how the letter
had arrived at the embassy. Its discovery came just a day after a similar package was sent to the Greek Consulate in
Barcelona, the ministry said.
EU blocks Olympic/Aegean merger, says anti-competitive 26th January 2011 Reuters
EU competition regulators blocked on Wednesday the proposed merger of Aegean Airlines and Olympic because the
combined Greek carriers would have a quasi-monopoly in the domestic market. It was the first merger prohibition by
the European Commission since June 2007, when it blocked the attempt by Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair to acquire
Aer Lingus . Aegean and Olympic had not offered sufficient remedies to ease competition concerns, the EU watchdog
said in a statement. "The merger between Aegean and Olympic would have led to a quasi-monopoly in Greece and
thus to higher prices and lower quality of service for Greeks and tourists travelling between Athens and the islands,"
EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said. He said the remedies offered by the carriers would not have
protected travellers adequately.
Civil servants’ to join workers for strike on Feb. 23 26th January 2011 ekthimerini
The civil servants’ union ADEDY said on Wednesday that it would be joining the country’s main private labor union,
known by its acronym GSEE, for a 24-hour strike on February 23 to protest the government's ongoing austerity drive.
In a statement, ADEDY said it would be joining the action “to protest cuts to wages and benefits and to express
solidarity with workers in the private sector.” Together the two unions represent around 2.5 million workers.
Immigrants in Greece arrive in Athens to stage hunger strike asking for residence permits 24th January 2011
AP ATHENS, Greece —
More than 200 immigrants have arrived in the Greek capital from the island of Crete to begin a hunger strike
demanding to be granted residence papers. The immigrants, all young men mostly from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia,
are camping on the premises of Athens University's law school, which, by law, is off limits to the police. They say they
will begin their hunger strike Tuesday. Most of the immigrants have been in Greece at least two years, some as many
as 10, and are employed in poorly paying manual labour jobs. Some had applied for legal papers but their
applications were rejected, they say. Some 128,000 migrants, mostly from South Asia, entered Greece illegally in
2010, according to official figures.
Fatal plunge 21st January 2011 ekathimerini
A 60-year-old man died yesterday after jumping out of the fourth-floor window of Chania hospital in an incident police
were treating as suicide. According to hospital sources, the man had been admitted to the hospital in the early hours
of the morning by his wife after swallowing large quantities of unidentified medicines. He had been in the internal
medicine clinic of the hospital when he jumped out of the window, hospital staff said.
Acropolis Museum, Athens open until 10 p.m. on Fridays 21st January 2011 ANA-MPA
Starting on January 28th, the New Acropolis Museum will henceforth stay open until 10 p.m. on Friday evenings so
that visitors can tour the exhibits while also viewing the floodlit Acropolis -- opposite the museum -- at night. At the
same time, the museum will also begin a programme for the conservation and restoration of the Caryatid sculptures -
structural columns holding up the temple's porch that were carved to look like young women - from the Erechtheum.
The programme includes using laser tools to clean the sculptures from atmospheric pollution and remove factors
causing damage, affix less secure areas of the marble and restore their structure. The museum has chosen not to
move them from the gallery during the process, in order to avoid the strain of an additional move. It also hopes to
allow visitors to get first-hand experience of procedures that until now took place in inaccessible laboratories.
Businesses fume at smoking ban 20th January 2011
The federation representing the owners of bars, cafes and restaurants yesterday discussed the possibility of staging
rolling 24-hour strikes after the government threatened to intensify the enforcement of a smoking ban which has
been only laxly implemented since its introduction last September. Addressing a press conference yesterday, a
spokesperson for the federation, known by its acronym POESE, said that a crackdown by authorities would compound
the losses suffered by businesses due to the economic crisis, leading to the closure of up to 20,000 businesses and
the loss of some 80,000 jobs. “We are not against the ban but we believe it is a mistake to enforce it at this
particular point in time,” POESE’s general secretary, Giorgos Kavvathas, told the press conference. Kavvathas said his
federation was seeking the suspension of the law’s implementation for at least a year to allow businesses to
weather a difficult year. According to POESE’s president, Yiannis Tsakos, union members have seen a drop in
turnover of around 50 percent since last year.
Cabinet approves liberalization plans for a host of professions that will ‘change the way Greece works’ 20th
January 2011 ekathimerini
Dozens of so-called closed professions, which benefit from barriers to competition and minimum fees, will be
liberalized in about four months from now, according to a draft law approved by the Cabinet yesterday. The
government has already been given a rough ride in its attempt to open up pharmacies and legal services.
Pharmacists will today be on the second day of a three-day strike that will be repeated next week. Lawyers are also
on strike until the end of the week. Both are protesting attempts to liberalize their professions. However, PASOK has
become somewhat battle-hardened to this type of reaction after a lengthy standoff with truck owners following
attempts to open up the road haulage sector last summer, which brought Greece to a standstill several times. The
bill presented by Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou yesterday could bring the government in direct
opposition to a number of other professionals, including notaries, architects and civil engineers. Read more
Pharmacists announce two three-day strikes in protest at measures to open up their profession
18th January 2011 ekathimerini
The government’s determination to liberalize some of Greece’s most high-profile so-called closed professions is due to
be tested over the coming days as pharmacists and lawyers decided yesterday to go on strike to protest measures
that aim to remove barriers to competitors entering their sectors.
The pharmacists led the way yesterday by declaring that they would shut their stores across Greece from Wednesday
through Friday this week. They also plan to strike on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday next week.
Migrant boat found off Corfu, 22 missing
15th January 2011 msnbc.com
A Dutch-flagged vessel rescued 241 immigrants stranded on a wooden boat about 30 miles off the Greek island of
Corfu and coastguards are searching for 22 missing migrants, coastguards said Sunday.
Greece has become the main gateway to the European Union for illegal migrants and asylum seekers. Over the past
year migrants have increasingly chosen the safer land route via Turkey rather than crossing the sea on rickety boats.
"Searches are now being conducted by five vessels and search and rescue helicopters looking for 22 people who are
missing according to statements making by those rescued," the Greek coastguards said in a statement.
The migrants rescued are all well and say they are Afghans, said a coastguard official who declined to be named.
They called for help late in the evening and were found at about 0230 local time (7:30 p.m. EST).
An estimated half a million illegal immigrants and asylum seekers live in the Mediterranean state of about 11 million
inhabitants, and an increasing share of those trying to reach the EU come in through Greece.
Greece: Unemployment jumps to 13.5pct in Oct. 2010
14th January 2011 express.gr
Greece's unemployment rate jumped to 13.5 percent in October 2010 from 9.8 percent in October 2009, according to
figures released on Thursday by the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority.
According to the Labor Force Survey for October 2010 made public by ELSTAT on Thursday, the unemployment rate in
October 2010 was 13.5% compared to 9.8% in October 2009 and 12.6% in September 2010. (ANA-MPA)
The number of employed amounted to 4,369,543 persons while the number of unemployed amounted to 684,047 and
the number of inactive to 4,263,751. (ANA-MPA)
Winter sales begin Friday January 15
The winter sales period officially opens on January 15, but shops are already selling goods at discount prices to
attract customers after a lacklustre holiday period.
According to the Association of Working Consumers of Greece, the reduction in real incomes and pensions, rising
unemployment and a higher VAT rate on staple goods have changed the everyday priorities of the consumers and
therefore winter sales are eagerly awaited by consumers this year.
Spike in deaths, serious accidents over holidays
10th January 2011 ekathimerini
The number of road fatalities recorded over the holiday season this year increased by 8.16 percent compared to the
same period last year while the number of serious accidents increased by nearly 30 percent, according to traffic police
figures made public yesterday. A total of 63 people died in road accidents between December 21 and January 8
compared to 49 deaths in the same period a year ago. The increase in serious accidents was even sharper, with 84
people badly hurt compared to 65 in the same period last year. The only positive news was that the number of minor
injuries fell to 691 from 806 in the same period a year ago.
7th January 2011 ekathimerini
The government on Wednesday ordered the Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) to investigate whether any foods
imported into Greece have been contaminated after tests in Germany revealed that dioxins in animal feed had led to
eggs being tainted with carcinogenic substances.
Police bike kills 7-year-old girl
7th January 2011 ekathimerini
An Athens prosecutor has ordered a preliminary investigation into the exact circumstances of the death of a 7-year-
old Roma girl who was hit by a motorcycle being driven by a policeman in the northern suburb of Menidi on
Wednesday afternoon, prompting clashes between dozens of members of the local Roma community and police
officers dispatched to investigate the incident.
Around 100 Roma residents took to the streets near the spot of the accident late on Wednesday, after news
emerged that the girl had died of her injuries in a local hospital. Demonstrators hurled rocks and flares at riot police
officers, who responded by firing tear gas. There were no reports of any arrests or injuries during the clashes.
The 22-year-old officer who had been on the motorcycle was released pending the outcome of the investigation. He is
not to be charged until the completion of the probe.
Cretan outlaw takes own life
5th January 2011 ekathimerini
Police in the Cretan prefecture of Rethymno yesterday recovered the bullet-riddled body of a 53-year-old fugitive and
murder suspect from his hideout in the mountain village of Archontiki following a shootout.
It appears Vangelis Selianakis, whom police have been seeking since 1996, took his own life. According to a coroner,
Selianakis – who was left-handed – bore a gunshot wound to his left temple. The wounds to the 53-year-old’s legs
were incurred during a shootout with police.
Officers surrounded the hideout and called on Selianakis to give himself up. The fugitive responded by opening fire on
police, who shot back. The 53-year-old, charged with two murders and linked to another three, had been at large
since escaping from Alikarnassos Prison in 1996. He had been dressed in army combat clothes and surrounded by
guns and ammunition when police found his body.
Greece to use old army bases for asylum seekers
5th January 2011 ekathimerini
Citizen Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis said disused army bases could help ease serious overcrowding at
existing detention centers as Greece plans to overhaul rules for granting immigrants asylum.
Earlier this week, Papoutsis announced plans to build a 12.5 kilometre fence on the Greek-Turkish border, to prevent
new arrivals. Decades-old military minefields have been cleared in the area, prompting a shift in immigration patterns
this year away from busy clandestine sea routes between the Turkish mainland and Greek islands.
Greece is the busiest transit point for illegal immigrants coming into the European Union. The country is receiving
emergency assistance from the EU border agency, Frontex, to deal with the problem.
"We are looking at military facilities that are not being used by the Greek armed forces ... to allow humane living
conditions for immigrants who enter our country," Papoutsis told private Mega television.
"There must be some order, Greece can no longer tolerate this situation," he said. "200-300 people enter the country
every day without papers."
Papoutsis, a former EU commissioner, said Greece is seeking the urgent renegotiating of European Union asylum rules
that allow member states to send back migrants to the country of entry into the 27-member union.
Immigrant, human rights and other protest groups are planning a demonstration in Athens on January 15 against the
proposed border fence.
Greece plans Turkey border fence to tackle migration
4th January 2011 BBC
Greece has announced plans to build a 12km (eight-mile) fence along part of its border with Turkey to prevent illegal
immigrants from crossing.
Public Order Minister Christos Papoutsis said more than 100,000 people had entered Greece illegally last year and
Athens had a duty to act.
Greece has long complained to Turkey about border security.
But the European Commission said such fences were "short-term measures" which did not tackle the root of the
The proposed fence would cover a short section of the Greece-Turkey border in the Orestiada area of north-eastern
The area has become the main route into Greece for migrants from Africa and Asia with an average of 245 people
crossing illegally every day in October 2010, according to Frontex, the EU's border agency.
3rd January 2011 ekathimerini
A 66-year-old man was detained in the Cretan port of Iraklio on charges of sexually molesting a 12-year-old girl who
is alleged to have been forced into prostitution by her mother and sister. Police said they caught the 66-year-old in a
car with the girl in a remote part of Iraklio. Police found in the girl’s possession 40 euros – believed to be the charge
for her sexual services. The 46-year-old mother and 23-year-old sister have been detained