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More news from Living in Crete on:
News Archive
Crete & Greece
June to August 2011
Restaurateurs call for VAT payment suspension
31 Aug 2011 AMNA

An urgently held assembly of the national federation of restaurateurs on Tuesday called on members to
suspend payments to the state until the lifting of a government decision to slap the 23-percent VAT
rate in the food and beverages sector.
The representatives of the sector also decided to proceed with protests on the sidelines of the
upcoming Thessaloniki International Fair.
Restaurant owners, apart from opposition to the measure, called for the sector to be included in the
lowest VAT rate of 6.5 percent. (AMNA)


Reporter’s car shot at in Crete
Vehicle trashed by vandals in lawless mountain village
30 Aug 2011 ekathimerini
Unidentified residents of the village of Anogeia, in Crete’s notoriously lawless mountain region of
Mylopotamos, on Monday opened fire on a car belonging to a 52-year-old reporter from Athens, local
police said.
The journalist - believed to have been visiting the area on vacation and not for work - had not been in
the car at the time of the attack, according to police, who said they had collected five used cartridges
from the scene.


Vodafone explores cooperation with Wind Hellas
30 Aug 2011 Reuters
"Vodafone Group confirms that it has entered into discussions with Largo Limited to explore a potential
business combination between Vodafone Greece and Wind Hellas," the company said in a statement.
"However, media reports that Vodafone Group is in discussions to buy Wind Hellas for cash are
incorrect. Discussions are at an early stage and there is no certainty as to whether an agreement will
be reached," the statement said.
It said that talks between the two companies' shareholders began 15 days ago and final details were
being discussed.
More than 1,000 jobs would be cut in total and that completion of the acquisition was expected by the
end of the year as Greek and EU regulatory approval would be required.
Wind, but also Vodafone, are struggling against cell phone market leader Cosmote, a unit of former
state monopoly OTE, which is in turn controlled by Deutsche Telekom.
According to figures released by Greek telecoms regulator EETT last year, Cosmote had almost half of
Greece's mobile phone market, with Vodafone and Wind distant runners-up.



Alpha, Eurobank merger
29 Aug 2011 ekathimerini
Major bank merger seen dictated by stark capital prospects and fear of nationalization
In a move widely seen as spurred by increasingly dimmer market and financial prospects, two of Greece’
s three biggest lenders, Alpha Bank and Eurobank EFG, announced on Monday merger plans that will
create one of the biggest banking groups in the broader region.
The new entity, to be called Alpha Eurobank, will be among the 25 largest eurozone banking groups,
with assets totaling 146 billion euros. The two banks currently account for an aggregate network of
more than 1,300 branches across eight countries, with prominent market positions in Bulgaria, Cyprus,
Romania and Serbia.


Greece on fire
26 Aug 2011 Athens News
Several fires are raging around Greece. A fire that threatened residencies at the Athens suburb of Ano
Glyfada broke out around 11.50pm on Thursday and spread quickly due to the strong winds.
The Fire Department dispatched 70 firefighters and 24 vehicles. According to early reports, one
residence under construction and two auxiliary buildings have been damaged.
Meanwhile, a fire in the greater Ano Liossia district, over the Gennimata residential area, is reported to
be under control.
Eight residential areas in the Leukimi Evrou region, have been put in a state of emergency, as fires are
raging for the third successive day. The municipality of Messolongi is also in a state of emergency, as
fires are burning in Evinohori and Aghios Thomas, while smaller fires have developed in Patra, Vonitsa,
Negrades Ioanninon and Stano Amphilochias.
Six fire-fighting aircrafts will arrive from Spain and France, Friday, as requested by the Greek fire service
in the context of the European community mechanism for civil protection.
The general secretary of civil protection warns of a very high probabillity of fires in Attica, Eastern
Sterea, Evoia, Peloponesse, Arta, Evros, Aitoloakarnania and the Aegean islands.


Clarifications on new VAT rates for eateries, cafes
26 Aug 2011 AMNA
The finance ministry on Friday unveiled clarifications over a controversial government decision to
increase the VAT rate to 23 percent from 13 percent in the restaurant and cafe sector, a decision that
generated widespread criticism, particularly by the all-important tourism sector.
According to a circular released by the ministry, only 5 percent of a hotel guest's total bill will come
under the 23-percent rate if the stay includes a breakfast; 15 percent for a stay that includes breakfast
and lunch, and 30 percent of the total bill will be calculated with the 23-percent rate for "all-inclusive"
packages.
Packaged foodstuffs ready for consumption will remain at 13 percent, however, restaurants and
taverns, will have to add 23 percent VAT to bills.


Wildfire in Evros, village evacuated
25 Aug 2011 Athens News
Τhe wildfire fronts at Lefkimi, Evros prefecture, continued to rage on Thursday, as authorities evacuated
Kila settlement for precautionary reasons.
The blaze, due to strong winds reaching 7 on the Beaufort scale, was heading towards residential
areas.
A sizable team of firefighters, two helicopters and four airplanes, were battling the blaze.


Tax exemptions, rates under revision
24 August 2011 ekathimerini
Government spokesman Ilias Mosialos said on Tuesday the government is planning extensive changes
to tax exemptions, rates and criteria, which will become law by October at the latest and apply
as of January.
”There are some 980 tax exemptions under revision, as well as the tax rates, including value-added tax
rates, and the objective criteria for the self-employed,” said Mosialos.
He did stress that the VAT on food catering will rise to 23 percent from September 1 but noted that this
would change, too, in the new year, as part of the general tax system overhaul.
After the furor created on Monday following an announcement by Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos
that all-inclusive holiday deals booked from abroad would rank in the 13 percent VAT rate for food
catering, while those booked domestically would rank in the 23  percent bracket, the government now
seems to be taking the decision back.
Sources now suggest that holiday packages booked within Greece will also stay at the 13 percent rate
after all.



Meatballs with traces of E. coli withdrawn
Checks on branches of Lidl store in west, central Greece reveal bacteria.
23 August 2011 ekathimerini
The Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) on Tuesday ordered the withdrawl of German-manufactured
meatballs, trading at the Lidl supermarket chain under the name Marvest, after tests on samples taken
from stores in central and western Greece revealed traces of the potentially fatal bacteria E. coli.

EFET officials reportedly confiscated 2.4 tons of the product, which are to be destroyed.


New police fiasco in lawless Zoniana
21 Aug 2011 ekathimerini
Greek Police chiefs have called for an investigation into an incident in the notoriously lawless Cretan
mountain village of Zoniana after a local police chief allegedly slapped a subordinate officer for trying to
arrest a local cannabis producer following a botched raid.

Nearly four years after villagers ambushed a police convoy outside Zoniana, seriously injuring an officer,
police faced resistance again by locals in another attempt to break up crime gangs in the area.
According to local reports, police spotted a cannabis farm on Friday and returned on Saturday to arrest
the cultivators. But locals apparently had latched onto the scheme as the cannabis trees had been
uprooted. As the police withdrew, they were harassed by villagers in pickup trucks. According to local
reports, a 33-year-old man in one of the trucks had been wielding a Kalashnikov assault rifle. When
one of the officers tried to arrest the suspect, he is said to have been slapped by his superior, an
apparent warning against riling the unruly villagers.

In May 2010, 28 people were convicted in connection with the November 2007 ambush on a police
convoy entering Zoniana that saw villagers open fire on officers. Officer Stathis Lazaridis, who was 29
when he was shot in the head during the raid, remains paralyzed from the neck down.


Lifeguards warn cuts are increasing risks at beaches
19 August 2011 ekathimerini
Lifeguards have told Kathimerini that local authority cutbacks mean that there are fewer of them on
duty to protect bathers, noting that 202 people have drowned in Greek seas so far this year.

Although 2011 is expected to end with a lower drowning toll than 2010, when 374 people died at sea,
lifeguards fear that bathers are at risk as many lifeguard towers remain empty.

According to the law, organized beaches should employ lifeguards between 10.30 a.m. and 5.30 p.m.
daily in the period between June 1 and August 31. The beaches of Attica offer more protection than the
legal minimum, most being staffed with lifeguards from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily between May and October.

The same does not apply outside Attica, experts told Kathimerini, noting that on many beaches
lifeguards did not start their summer jobs this year until mid-July.

According to the head of the National Lifeguard School, Vanja Vichou, only half of the required
lifeguards are currently at work.


Greece's first crematorium gets green light
18 August 2011 ekathimerin
i
The Municipality of Thessaloniki has sanctioned the construction of the country’s first crematorium, it
announced on Thursday, five years after a law allowing cremation was voted through Parliament.

The site selected by municipal authorities is located near Thermi in eastern Thessaloniki, and the total
cost, for the study and construction, is estimated at around 3 million euros, which the cash-strapped
authority will have to come up with.

Until now, hundreds of bodies have had to be transported abroad for cremation every year, with
Bulgaria being the nearest country that offers the option. Other countries where bodies are often taken
from Greece include the United Kingdom, France and Italy.

Lawmakers only approved legislation allowing for the cremation of the dead to take place in Greece in
2006, the first time in the country’s history, even though cremation has been allowed since 1884 in the
UK, where cremations are currently estimated to represent 50 percent of total funerals, and since 1887
in France.


Foreign nationals arrested on cocaine charges in Crete
17 Aug 2011  AMN
A      
Two Albanian nationals, 29 and 25, were arrested in Hania, Crete on Wednesday on felony drug
trafficking charges.
Police, acting on a tip-off, placed the two suspects under surveillance.
A search of the suspects' residence revealed 75.8 grams of cocaine and two handguns.


Minoan era stone seal discovered in western Crete
16 Aug 2011 AMNA
A Minoan-era stone seal is the most important archaeological find during this year's excavation works
at the Minoan peak sanctuary on Mt. Vryssina, south of the Cretan port city.

The deep red-coloured jasper quadrangular seal is the only -- up to present day -- evidence of the
presence of hieroglyphic Minoan writing in western Crete.


Greeks cut down, even on food and power
13 August 2011 ekathimerini
The financial crisis is forcing households to cut down on all their expenses, including even the most
basic ones such as food and electricity, according to the latest available data, with a consumer
confidence survey by the Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) suggesting that six out
10 households can barely make ends meet.
Hellenic Statistical Authority figures revealed a 7.6 annual decline in sales at big food stores such as
supermarkets, while sales at other food stores (butchers, bakeries etc) have shrunk by 20.1 percent
year-on-year.
Fuel sales have declined by 12.3 percent annually and consumers are even cutting down on electricity
use, as power consumption by households and small businesses showed a 2.45 percent annual decline
in the first seven months of the year.
Given all of the above, and the 16.6 percent jobless rate (in May), it is therefore no surprise that shops’
turnover in the first three weeks of the summer sales has shown a 25 percent decrease
compared to the same period in 2010.


Greek unemployment rate hits all-time high
11th August 2011 ekathimerini
The number of unemployed persons in Greece has soared to 822,719, according to data published by
the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) on Thursday.
With the economy in its third year of recession, the unemployment rate rose to an all-time high 16.6
percent from 15.8 percent in April. It was 12 percent in May last year.
The number of jobless people in May shot up by 220,534, according to the ELSTAT figures, 36.6 percent
more than May last year, and by 36,260 people compared to April this year.
The economically inactive population, which includes all men and women who are not part of the labor
force, i.e. are neither employed nor unemployed, now includes 4,383,374 people.
Unemployment is considerably higher among women than men (20 percent against 14.1 percent), while
the age bracket with the biggest jobless rate is 15-24-year-olds, at 40.1 percent.
By region, the highest unemployment was in the western Macedonia region, where the jobless rate
reached 24.9 percent in May, ELSTAT reported.
In a recent survey on the Greek economy, the OECD forecast an unemployment rate of 16 per cent in
2011 and 16.4 per cent in 2012.


Millions paid in pensions to deceased
11 Aug 2011 Athens News
Cross-checking of records conducted by Ika-Etam (Greece’s largest social insurance fund) into pensions
paid to those born before 1920 revealed 1,473 instances where pension payments continued to be
deposited into the bank accounts of pensioners who were deceased, it was announced on Thursday.
The total amount paid out to people who were not eligible came to1,882,282.17 euro a month.
The payments have already been stopped and Ika-Etam is now in the process of calculating the full
amounts collected illegally by ineligible individuals, who will be sued for damages by the defrauded Ika-
Etam branches.
Crosschecks continue by the fund’s services, while an annual census of all pensioners is in effect since
July 1. (AMNA)


One dead, two seriously injured in Crete brawl
10 Aug 2011 ekathimerini
A 48-year-old woman was murdered and two more people were seriously injured in a brawl late on
Tuesday in Iraklion, Crete.
Police have arrested a 43-year-old man.
The incident took place after Tilemachos Pantagakis, 53, who is police chief in the Mesara region, and
his wife visited an apartment that they rented out to a 35-year-old woman. The woman had called
them up to complain of being harassed by a neighbor.
When the couple knocked on the door of the suspect, they were attacked with a knife.
The wife of Pantagakis was killed instantly after she was stabbed in the heart. Pantagakis and the 35-
year-old woman were both treated in hospital with serious injuries.
The suspect was later arrested by police without any resistance.


Ten fires on Corfu, fanned by strong winds
10th August 2011 ekathimerini
Firefighters on the Ionian island of Corfu were busy battling 10 separate blazes on Wednesday, as
forest fires near the villages of Vitalades and Chlomo threatened a number of houses.
Strong winds, reaching 8 Beaufort, stoked the flames and prevented the use of water-dropping aircraft.
The island’s entire firefighting force and dozens of locals were still struggling to contain the blazes late
into Wednesday night, and were expecting the arrival of four water-dropping helicopters to help them
in their efforts.


New search of Elgin's sunken ship finds no marbles
8 Aug 2011 Athens News
A British ship that sank off southern Greece 200 years ago carrying sculptures taken from the
Parthenon has been searched for a fourth time, but again no ancient art works have been found.
During July's search Greek Culture Ministry divers did, however, recover 19th-century tableware,
firearms, a cannonball and navigational instruments from the wreck of the Mentor, off the island of
Kythera, the ministry said Monday.
The ship was loaded with marble art removed from the Acropolis on behalf of Thomas Bruce, the
Scottish Earl of Elgin, before it sank in 1802.
Those works were soon salvaged and are now displayed with other Parthenon Marbles in London's
British Museum.
The three previous ship searches also turned up no more sculptures.
Greece has failed to get Britain to return the ones it has. (AP)


Taxis return to work, for now
6 August 2011 ekathimerini
Taxis returned to the streets of Athens and other major cities Friday after unionists voted to end 19
days of strike action, which has paralyzed services and undermined the crucial tourism sector, until the
details of the planned deregulation of their profession are made clear later this month.

Following several hours of often fiery debate, unionists took a majority decision to suspend their strike
until September 5. Of those who voted, 13 were in favor of ending the action and six against.


Government, taxi drivers at loggerheads
2nd August 2011 ekathimerini   
     
A standoff between the government and taxi drivers protesting its plans to open up their sector to
competition grew even tenser on Monday after a new round of talks aimed at breaking the deadlock
collapsed and protests intensified.

Police on Crete fired tear gas to disperse cabbies who had blocked the road to Iraklio Airport, obliging
hundreds of tourists to drag their luggage several hundred meters through the heat after tour buses
could go no further. Taxi drivers responded to the volleys of tear gas by hurling stones at officers who
eventually resorted to more heavy-handed tactics, using clubs to beat back protesters, according
to witnesses.

There were also delays for several hours on the Athens-Patra highway at Rio, in the Peloponnese, due
to a protest there by cabbies that created tailbacks stretching back several kilometers.

Protesters blocked access to the main port on the Ionian island of Corfu too and in Athens cabbies
staged a rally outside the Transport Ministry which they said would continue for 48 hours.

The taxi drivers’ frustration was clearly fueled by another breakdown in talks between union
representatives and Transport Minister Yiannis Ragousis.

Cabbies have pledged to continue their protests despite the serious financial losses they have incurred
over the past two weeks and despite a warning by Ragousis that authorities will remove the  license
plates of any taxis used to block roads during protests.

A total of 7,138 people have been charged in connection with the taxi drivers’ action over the past two
weeks.


Big wildfire raging on Crete
30th July 2011 ANA
A major wildfire that broke out late Thursday night in an inaccessible area in Rethymno, on the island of
Crete, was still blazing at noon on Friday and was spreading.
Water-dropping planes resumed work at first light, as the fire burned olive tree expanses and grazing
land.
Two Canadair fire-fighting planes and a water-dropping helicopter, assisted by a strong force of
firefighters from the entire island, volunteers and local residents were battling the blaze, which was
approaching the villages of Krya Vrissi, Kentrochori and Platanes.


Greece wins women's gold in water polo
29 July 2011 Reuters
Greece won their first women's waterpolo title at the world swimming championships when they beat
China 9-8 in the secondary Natatorium pool at the Oriental Sports Centre on Friday.
Greece led throughout and had held a two-goal cushion with just over two minutes remaining before
the Chinese managed to get to 9-8.
The home team then turned over possession with just over 90 seconds remaining and with a chance to
send the final into overtime but threw the ball away as they pressed for the game-tying goal.
Greece then simply ran down the clock to claim gold.
Russia beat Italy 8-7 earlier on Friday to win the bronze medal.


Patra shaken by earthquakes
29 July 2011 Athens News
MORE than 30 minor earthquakes have been recorded along a fault in the seabed near the village of
Rio, close to the port city of Patra. The latest and strongest of the quakes measured 4.2 on the Richter
scale with tremors felt at 12.18pm on July 28. Although Patra residents were alarmed, no damage was
reported. The epicentre of the cluster of quakes that began on July 24 is west of the Rio-Antirrio bridge
and most of the earthquakes have been superficial, with a depth ranging from four to 17km. Because of
the shallow depth, this means they are more strongly felt in the surrounding settlements of Patra, Rio
and Nafpaktos.


Police seize 1 million bogus euros
24 July 2011 Athens News
Police on July 22 confiscated 1 million euros in counterfeit currency, following the arrest in Athens of two
men in possession of forged notes. The two detainees led police to an apartment in Galatsi, which had
been transformed into a factory printing fake notes. A total of 1,115,190 euros and a further 40,000 US
dollars worth of counterfeit notes were found. The two men were brought before the prosecutor and
are in custody.


Seamen retract calls for strike
22 July 2011 ekathimerini
The Hellenic Seamen’s Union (PNO) said on Friday that it would not proceed with strike action,
paralyzing the country’s ports in the middle of the tourist season, after a meeting with Alternate
Merchant Marine Minister Haris Paboukis seemed to appease protesters.
Unionists convened on Friday after talks with Paboukis on Thursday evening during which they aired
their objections to the government’s plans to decrease their social security and pension benefits.
Paboukis reportedly suggested freezing the proposed changes. PNO’s general secretary, Yiannis Halas,
said the proposal was an encouraging first step although it fell short of fully satisfying union
demands.
Still, the gesture was deemed sufficient to call off the threat of action. The union said it would
reconvene at the end of August to review the state of play.
The government was keen to avert a strike by seamen in the middle of the summer tourism period,
particularly as a week of action by protesting taxi drivers has paralyzed services, but authorities are
also bound by their commitments to foreign creditors to push through austerity measures and have
little room to negotiate.


Prosecutor issues tougher order against striking taxi owners
22 July 2011 ANA-MPA
Supreme Court Public Prosecutor Ioannis Tentes on Friday ordered police to immediately arrest and
charge anyone obstructing means of transport and the movements of people using roads, airports and
seaports in Greece, an order directly linked to this week's various industrial actions by striking taxi cab
owners.
The high court prosecutor noted that existing laws concerning the disruption of transport give
authorities the power to do this, without any express instructions or permission from a prosecutor.
The development was apparently marks a tougher stance by judicial authorites from the chief
prosecutor's earlier instructions to subordinates, calling on them to remove the licence plates of taxis
used to blockade airports or seaports.


Report: 10% of Forests burned since 1983
22 July 2011 ANA-MPA
Wildfires have claimed more than 10 percent of Greece's forests between 1983 and 2008, according to
the findings of a report entitled "Forest Fires of Greece: 1983-2008" that was released on Thursday. In
roughly half these fires, the original cause remains unknown.

The total expanse of territory burnt during that period is estimated at just over 1.3613 million hectares
or 1,200 square metres for every resident in the country.

The study was conducted by the Institute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems and Forest Products
Technology of the National Agricultural Research Foundation and the environmental group WWF Hellas.


19 year-old missing in Samaria Gorge found dead
21 July 2011 ekathimerini ANA-MPA
A 19-year-old student who was missing since Wednesday in the Samaria Gorge on Crete island was
found dead at Aghios Georgios spot on the 7km of the passing on Thursday morning.
The young man, who in the last seven days was working in a volunteer programme at the national
forest of Samaria, was found wedged between two boulders.
The youth was working with the rest of the team in Samaria Gorge but he did not return to the meeting
point at the scheduled time.
An operation to locate the missing youth was immediately launched. Samaria Gorge workers, sniffer
dogs and a rescue team on foot together with police officers and Red Cross volunteers took part in the
operation.


Taxi strike action continues
21 July 2011 ekathimerini
Unionists representing taxi drivers were expected to hold a fresh round of discussions on Thursday to
decide upon further action following the collapse of talks with Transport Minister Yiannis Ragousis on
Wednesday. A group of unionists is also expected to meet with Alexis Tsipras, leader of the Coalition of
the Radical Left (SYRIZA).
Strike action continued around the country on Thursday. On the island of Crete, cabbies continued their
blockade of Iraklio Airport -- though without disrupting flights -- while fellow drivers held a rally at the
city port. In Thessaly, they blocked the national highway at Tempe.
Meanwhile, blockades at toll stations in Elefsina, Afidnes and the Corinth Canal were lifted on Thursday
morning.
On Wednesday, a group of 21 PASOK MPs requested that the planned reforms be discussed by
Parliament’s transport committee and asked Ragousis to inform them about recent developments and
of his intentions regarding the current dispute.
The taxi drivers are protesting a new law proposed by the current minister for the sector’s liberalization
and are demanding that Ragousis reverts to a law drawn up by his predecessor, Dimitris Reppas, which
sets limits to the number of taxi licenses that can be issued.


Online flirting leads to fatal stabbing
21 July 2011 ekathimerini
A 17-year-old Albanian youth was stabbed to death on the Ionian island of Corfu on Wednesday. The
victim had arranged to meet with his alleged attacker, a 20-year-old compatriot, at Corfu town’s central
square to settle a dispute regarding the younger man’s alleged flirtation with the perpetrator’s
girlfriend on the social networking website Facebook.
According to witness reports, the young men were accompanied by another two youths and the young
woman in question. A verbal confrontation was followed by a scuffle, which ended in the 20-year-old
attacking the victim with a knife before fleeing the crime scene.
The 17-year-old was taken to the hospital where he died of his injuries. Meanwhile, the island’s port
authorities were on a high alert Thursday to prevent the alleged attacker from fleeing the country.


Dentists warn of long-term strike action
20 July 2011 ekathimerini
Dentists in Attica are warning of possible long-term strike action if the government decides to go ahead
with its plans for the sector’s liberalization. According to the dentists, the government is planning to
allow dental practices to be set up by people who do not hold degrees in dentistry.
The move, say dental practitioners, would lead to a very small number of professionals in the health
sector benefiting financially, while dentists would acquire employee status.
Dentists argue that the quality of services provided would deteriorate and thousands of existing dental
practices around the country would be forced to close.


Crisis 'hits' divorces
18 July 2011 ANA-MPA
A large decline in the number of divorces in Athens and marriages all over Greece seems to be a result
of the financial crisis that made both of them too expensive.

The economic crisis in Greece has apparently hit the divorce "market", which has marked a large decline
due to the financial cost of a legal separation.

According to figures from the City of Athens registry service, divorces have declined by 25 percent in
recent years.
More specifically, from a total of 1,579 divorces registered in Athens in 2006, the number started to
decline in 2009 after the outbreak of the economic crisis, falling to 1,149 in 2010.
Meanwhile, the Hellenic Statistical Authority (Elstat) has recorded a drop in marriages as well, which fell
from 63,997 in 1995 nationwide to 59,512 in 2009. The ration of marriages per 1,000 residents fell to
5.3 in 2009 from 7.3 in 1980 and from 9.0 in 1960.
Also, 41.9 percent of couples prefer civil weddings from just 10.5 percent in 1995.

Wildfires blaze
15 July 2011 Athens News
GREECE experienced a number of wildfires this week on both the mainland and the islands. July 13 saw
fires break out on the islands of Corfu, Paros and Zakynthos as well as in the Attica suburb of Nea
Peramos. Ground-based firemen, in conjunction with fire-fighting aircrafts, tackled the blazes, which
resulted in no casualties or property destruction.

Annual summer sales begin
13 July 2011 Athens News
Shoppers can expect the “biggest discounts in recent years” in this year’s summer sales, which begin
on July 15, according to the National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE), which is urging
shoppers to take advantage of the reduced prices. Discounts of up to 70 percent await shoppers at the
sales, which will run through August 31.


Forest fires hit Evia, Keratea
11 July 2011 ekathimerini
High temperatures and strong winds conspired to fuel several forest fires on Sunday, with the worst
blazes in northern Evia and Keratea southwest of Athens.
In Keratea, firefighters curbed the blaze before it could threaten
residential areas.  In northern Evia, near Aidipsos, firefighters were working until late in the evening to
contain the blaze Smaller fires in Laconia and on the Ionian island of Zakynthos were quickly
extinguished.

The blazes were the first major fires so far this year and come as firefighting unionists complain about
inadequate equipment and acute shortstaffing.


Turkish FM presses for Cyprus deal
9 July 2011 ekathimerini
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Saturday called for a deal reunifying Cyprus before the
island assumes the European Union’s presidency in the middle of next year.
Davutolgu’s comments came a few days after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pushed Cyprus
leaders to reach a settlement by October.

“We hope to find a solution to the Cyprus problem by the end of the year, and hold a referendum in the
early months of next year so that Cyprus can take on the presidency of the EU as a new state that
represents the whole island,” Davutoglu said.

Responding later on Saturday, Cyprus government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou accused Davutoglu of
resorting to “publicity stunts” and “talking in abstract terms about a settlement without making efforts
to secure one.”


Greece to get next part of IMF financial rescue package
8 July 2011 BBC
The International Monetary Fund has backed the latest 3bn-euro (£2.6bn) instalment of a rescue
package for Greece.
It is the latest tranche in the IMF's joint bail-out with the European Union aimed at helping the country
pull back from an impending debt default.
A 110bn-euro rescue package was drawn up for the country last year.
The IMF also said on Friday that Greece had continued to make "some progress" in introducing
economic reforms. And the fund said it believed Greece would return to positive growth in the first half
of 2012.


Greece blocks Canadian ship from sailing to Gaza
3rd July 2011 ekathimerini
Greek authorities have blocked a Canadian vessel carrying activists that was due to sail from Crete to
Gaza.
Coast guard officers are reported to have boarded the ship on Friday, the same day that a US vessel
was prevented from sailing from Perama, near Piraeus.
“We are being Gaza-fied,” Lyn Adamson, 59, a lifelong Toronto activist and chair of the Canadian Voice
of Women for Peace, told the Toronto Star newspaper.
“What we’re doing is perfectly legal and we haven’t given up,” said Adamson, one of 22 Canadians due
to sail with the Canadian boat Tahrir — Arabic for “liberation” and named after the square in Cairo that
was the focal point for Egyptian protests earlier this year.
“It’s clearly coming from on high,” said Adamson. “It’s really a shame that this Greek government would
be pressured, as it has been, into stopping these boats. Why is Israel afraid of our aid?”


UN expert warns Greek austerity may hurt human rights
3rd July 2011 ekathimerini
The United Nations independent expert on foreign debt and human rights warned today that the
austerity measures and structural reforms proposed to solve Greece’s debt crisis may result in
violations of the basic human rights of the country’s people, the Office of the High Commissioner for
Human Rights (OHCHR) reported.
“The implementation of the second package of austerity measures and structural reforms, which
includes a wholesale privatization of state-owned enterprises and assets, is likely to have a serious
impact on basic social services and therefore the enjoyment of human rights by the Greek people,
particularly the most vulnerable sectors of the population such as the poor, elderly, unemployed and
persons with disabilities,” said Cephas Lumina, who reports to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
“The rights to food, water, adequate housing and work under fair and equitable conditions should not
be compromised by the implementation of austerity measures,” he said, urging the Government to
“strike a careful balance between austerity and the realization of human rights, taking into account the
primacy of States’ human rights obligations.”
Lumina also called upon the authorities to maintain some fiscal leeway to meet its people’s basic
human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights.
“Tax rises, public expenditure cuts and privatization measures have to be implemented in such a way
that they do not result in unbearable suffering of the people,” he said.


Healthcare overhaul nears
30th June 2011 ANA-MPA
HEALTH Minister Andreas Loverdos (photo) unveiled Greece’s new healthcare reform - shortly after the
government passed the new 28 billion euro austerity package on June 29. The minister announced
deep cuts to the public healthcare budget. The plans include drastic changes to the overall organisation
and operation of hospitals, including 50 mergers. There are currently 133 hospitals. According to
Loverdos, 75 million euros in healthcare spending will be cut by 2012, to meet a goal of saving some
150 million euros by 2014. The minister has repeatedly stressed that increases in public health
spending have improved the quality of healthcare services. One of Prime Minister George Papandreou’s
campaign promises in 2009 was to streamline and improve healthcare services in Greece.


Greece grinds to a halt with 2-Day General Strike
28th June 2011 Daily Record
Workers across Greece began a 48-hour general strike today, timed to coincide with a parliamentary
debate of a new round of austerity reforms designed to win the country additional rescue loans needed
to avoid bankruptcy.
More than 5,000 police were guarding Athens city centre, with union protest rallies due to head to
Parliament.
The strike disrupted or halted most public services. Everyone from doctors and ambulance drivers to
casino workers and even actors at a state-funded theatre were expected to join the protest.
Hundreds of flights were cancelled or rescheduled as air traffic controllers walked out for four hours
from 8am and are also to strike between 6pm and 10pm.
Unions are angry at a new 28 billion euro (£24.9 billion) austerity programme which would slap taxes
on minimum wage earners and other struggling Greeks, following months of other cuts that have
seen unemployment surge to more than 16%.

The package and an additional implementation law must be passed in parliamentary votes tomorrow
and Thursday so the European Union and the International Monetary Fund release the next instalment
of Greece's 110 billion euro (£97.8 billion) bailout loan.


Tourist injured in the Samaria Gorge
27th June 2011 Creta Live
A 60 year old Norwegian tourist was hospitalized in Chania yesterday with trauma to the head. The
unlucky man was injured while hiking in the gorge of Samaria.

The incident happened as the Norwegian, along with others, was in a narrow part of the gorge, when a
small rock detached and hit the man on the head. At the same time, a few yards ahead, a rock
weighing 30 kilos fell onto the path, luckily no one was hurt by that fall.

The injured tourist was helped out of the gorge by wardens and transported by boat to Sfakia where
an ambulance was waiting to take the 60 year old man to Chania hospital to determine his injuries
which, by first indications, do not seem to be serious.


Briton's body exhumed over missing kidney
27th June 2011 ekathimerini
The body of a 24-year British man who died on the island of Rhodes in June 2000 has been exhumed so
a dispute over a missing organ can be resolved. Christopher Rochester died from internal bleeding after
being left unattended on a hospital gurney. The 24-year-old had earlier fallen from a hotel balcony. He
was found to be missing a kidney when his body was flown home. An organ later sent to the UK from
Greece failed a DNA match, prompting Greek authorities to request additional samples from the body. A
hospital doctor on the island was convicted of manslaughter through negligence in connection with the
death in 2008. But a row has persisted over the missing organ.
Members of the Communist Party-affiliated PAME labor union place a huge banner atop the Acropolis,
reading in English and Greek: «The peoples have the power and never surrender. Organize
counterattack!».


PAME takes message to the Acropolis
27th June 2011 ekathimerini
About 300 members of the union entered the site on Monday and put up the banner at the foot of the
Parthenon before it opened to the public.
The protest by PAME came just ahead of a parliamentary debate on the austerity package, which the
government needs to pass if it is to get another package of EU-IMF aid.


Prince Philip's birthplace centre of Greek heritage sale row
26th June 2011 Telegraph
A Royal palace on Corfu where the Duke of Edinburgh was born will this week emerge as the focus
point of protests on the Greek islands against the sale of the national heritage to pay off the country's
debts.
Islanders are preparing to join mainland industrial workers in protests against government plans to
raise 50 billion euros fron the sale of state assets.
Residents of Corfu, one of the largest of the Greek islands and a popular holiday destination, are
furious at the idea of the state auctioning off its prime locations to the highest bidder.
“Greece may be on the verge of bankruptcy but surely it’s not a good idea to sell off the family silver,”
said Spiros Avramiotis, a local olive oil producer, seated in a cafe on a cobbled square in the Venetian
quarter of Kerkyra.
“We have to stand up and send a message to the politicians in Athens — Corfu is not for sale, not one
inch of it. Full stop.”


Court mulling power workers' action
24th June 2011 ekathimerini
A first instance court is due to decide on Monday whether to rule an ongoing strike by the GENOP union
representing Public Power Corporation (PPC) workers illegal and abusive.
The strike entered its fifth day yesterday. GENOP took several more power plants off the national grid,
forcing PPC to conduct longer and more widespread power cuts to prevent a general blackout from
occurring.
PPC, which has been importing electricity from other countries, appealed to households and businesses
to curb their consumption of power during the strike action. It also lodged an appeal with the court,
which ordered GENOP to ensure that there is enough supply of electricity to prevent a blackout until
PPC’s case is heard on Monday.
Sources at the Hellenic Transmission Systems Operator (DESMIE) said that the power cuts over the
weekend are not expected to be severe but there is concern that GENOP will step up its action on
Monday, regardless of whether the court rules the union’s strike illegal.


Slight increase in minimum wage
23rd June 2011 ekathimerini
The national minimum wage, as set by the collective contract signed by the GSSE private sector union
and business representatives, will rise by 1.6 percent from July 1.
The least that an unmarried employee can be paid will be 751.39 euros before tax, as opposed to the
current 739.56.
A married person will earn a minimum of 826.53 euros rather than 813.52.


Deadline for registering home alterations extended
21st June 2011 ekathimerini
The deadline for the scheme that allows homeowners to pay a one-off fee to protect illegally altered
parts of their properties, known as imiypaithrioi, for the next 40 years has been extended until the end
of October, the Environment Ministry said on Thursday.
Property owners had been asked to submit their applications by the end of this month but because of
the high demand, the government has decided to extend the deadline a second time.
So far, just over 618,000 applications have been submitted and more than 300 million euros has been
raised for the public coffers. Environment Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou said that he would employ
a similar scheme for homes built without permits.

Fighter jet recovered from the sea
21 June 2011 ANA-MPA
A Mirage 2000 fighter jet that had made an emergency sea landing off the eastern Aegean island of
Samos on June 9 was successfully recovered on Wednesday during a military salvage operation.
The French-made plane's two pilots had safely ejected from the fighter.
The warplane was pulled up from a depth of 75 metres during an operation conducted by the Greek
armed forces.


Acropolis Museum celebrates 2nd anniversary
18th June 2011 ekathimerini
The New Acropolis Museum celebrates its second anniversary on Monday June 20th.
The 25,000 square-meter Museum will be open to the public on Monday from 8:00 in the morning until
midnight, to celebrate
the event.

To mark the event, the City of Athes Symphony Orchestra will stage a free concert at 9:00 p.m.,
performing works by Strauss, Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky and Piazzola.


Greeks protest as revamped government pursues cuts
18 June 2011 Reuters
Thousands of Greeks marched on parliament on Saturday in a show of unabated public anger after
Prime Minister George Papandreou reshuffled his cabinet and vowed to push on with a belt-tightening
campaign.

In a move meant to stifle dissent in his Socialist Party, Papandreou on Friday dismissed former Finance
Minister George Papaconstantinou, author of a new five-year austerity programme that has sparked
weeks of protests.

The reshuffle coincided with a pledge by France and Germany to continue funding Athens, a move that
may have bought Greece and its fellow euro zone members time to prevent a messy default, even if
doubts over its longer-term solvency persist.

The European Union and International Monetary Fund have made the reforms a condition for a new
bailout package worth an estimated 120 billion euros ($170 billion) that Greece, shut out of capital
markets, will need to fund itself through 2014.


Invest in Greece event in Crete
18th June 2011 Athens News
With the purpose of exploring business and collaboration opportunities in Greece, some 40 commercial
attaches from foreign embassies in Greece from Europe, Asia and the Middle East are currently in
Rethymno, on the island of Crete, in the context of the Invest in Greece agency's "Synergassia"
(Cooperation) initiative.

Invest in Greece is a state agency that aims to promote the Greek regions as investment and business
locations, and in this context has organised a five-day business mission to the Region of Crete that
winds up on Sunday.

The mission, comprising foreign economic and commercial missions and other foreign interests in
Greece, is supported by the Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO), the Hellenic Foreign Trade
Board and the Export Credit Insurance Organisation.

The program concerns cooperation with the Region of Crete so as to brief commercial attaches and
other participants on opportunities in the area and enable them to meet with the business community
in Crete, so as to convey the information and their experiences to businesspersons in their own
countries.       


Trial of ex-judge Ilia postponed again
17 June 2011 ekathimerini
A London court decided on Friday to postponed for a second time the hearing of the fugitive ex-judge
Antonia Ilia, whose extradition Greek authorities are seeking.
The trial was put off until July 4 following a request by Ilia’s lawyer for additional time to prepare her
client’s defense.
Ilia was found guilty last year of being part of a trial-fixing ring and sentenced to almost seven years in
prison.
Ilia is to watch the trial proceedings by live video link from the prison where she is being held as her
presence is not deemed necessary in court.
Earlier this month, the suspect denied that she is Ilia despite the fact that tests on her fingerprints
have confirmed her identity.


Protesters plan to block Parliament
14th June 2011 Phantis.com
The protesters who have been flocking to Syntagma Square in central Athens for the past three weeks
are planning to form a human chain around Parliament to prevent MPs discussing the government’s
midterm fiscal plan, which includes further tax rises and public spending cuts.
The protesters said they are planning to coordinate their action so it coincides with the general strike
that has been organized by Greece’s two largest unions, GSEE and ADEDY.


Greece rating cut three notches to CCC by S&P
13th June 2011 ekathimerini
Standard and Poor's (S&P) slashed its credit rating on Greece by three notches to CCC, the lowest in
the world, saying there is a significantly higher probability of a default in the struggling eurozone
member.
"The downgrade reflects our view that there is a significantly higher likelihood of one or more defaults,
as defined by our criteria relating to full and timely payment, linked to efforts by official creditors to
close an emerging financing gap in Greece,» said the rating agency on Monday.
The downgrade comes as the European Central Bank (ECB) and Germany battle over how to bail out
Greece and whether officials should push creditors to share some of the costs.
ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet said on Monday that his advice to European governments is to
“avoid what would be a compulsory concept” and “avoid whatever would trigger” a default.
The outlook on the rating is negative, S&P said. The rating company held its recovery rating at ‘4,’
indicating it estimates bond holders would recover 30 percent to 50 percent of their investment.


90 illegal migrants detained, four migrant-runners arrested by Frontex patrol SW of Crete
12th June 2011 AN
A-MPA
A total of 90 illegal migrants who were picked up by a Frontex patrol boat southwest of the island of
Crete at dawn on Saturday were transferred to an Athens detention on Tuesday so that deportation
procedures will be initiated.
The illegal migrants, who told authorities they are from Egypt, were rescued from a distressed vessel in
the early hours of Saturday by the Iceland-flagged "OPV Aegir", which was taking part in the Frontex
"Poseidon 2011" joint European operation. The vessel was patrolling in the region at the time.
The search and rescue coordination centre was informed early Saturday of a distressed vessel
southwest of Crete with an unknown number of migrants and immediately alerted the Frontex vessel
patrolling the area.
The Frontex patrol boat spotted the vessel at noon on Saturday at a distance of 80 nautical miles west-
southwest of Crete, and picked up the 94 people on board for transport to the Port of Piraeus.
The Frontex vessel arrived at Piraeus on Sunday morning, where it disembarked the 94 people in the
presence of port authority and police officials, which took the 90 illegal migrants into custody.
The other four persons were arrested on charges of migrant-smuggling and will be taken before a
public prosecutor.


Tens of thousands protest outside Greek parliament
6th June 2011 cnbc

Tens of thousands of protesters have gathered in downtown Athens to protest outside parliament
against the government's austerity policies and demand that the heavily indebted country stop
paying its creditors.
Sunday's protest was the 12th in as many days, and organizers have vowed to make it the biggest in
recent weeks. Greece was saved from default with a €110 billion ($160 billion) bailout package of loans
from the International Monetary Fund and European Union. In return, it imposed strict austerity
measures last year, including public salary cuts, pension reductions and broad tax hikes. The measures,
however, have angered ordinary Greeks, sparking frequent protests.


Court staff walkouts to disrupt trials
6th June 2011 ekathimerini
Proceedings at courts around the country will be disrupted this week as court staff stage daily three-
hour walkouts to protest changes to civil servants’ salaries that will reduce their income.
The walkouts – to be held from noon to 3 p.m. on Monday through Friday – are expected to slow down
the dispensation of justice in courts that are already burdened by a backlog of tens of thousands
of cases.
Protesting court employees have planned a demonstration for 1 p.m. on Wednesday when they are to
gather outside the Athens Court of First Instance.


New Greek aid could exceed 100 billion euros
5th June 2011  Reuters
A new aid package for Greece could cost more than 100 billion euros ($144 billion), German news
magazine Der Spiegel said in its latest issue to appear on Monday.
The magazine said experts from the German Finance Ministry and the "troika" of the EU, IMF and
European Central Bank consider it possible that Greece would need roughly that amount if it still needs
to rely on foreign aid in 2013 and 2014.
The German finance ministry declined to comment on the report.
Greece's original EU/IMF bailout agreed a year ago was for 110 billion euros, with Germany's portion
amounting to 24.4 billion euros.
Greece is expected to need a second aid package of some 65 billion euros but the cost of a second
package could rise to more than 100 billion euros, Der Spiegel said, because Greek government bonds
will need follow-up financing in 2014.
The report also said that German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble banned his deputy Joerg
Asmussen from agreeing to any second rescue package that does not include the participation of
private creditors.


New routes, flights mean more tourists to Greece
Jun 02, 2011 eturbonews.com
Ryanair is offering 17 new routes to Greece and it has started running the new additions in April with
flights to top holiday choices Thessaloniki, Rhodes and Kos. Ryanair is also commencing its first routes
from the island of Corfu to London from June 2011, which will deliver 30,000 passengers per year, and
create up to 30 local jobs in Corfu. New direct flights from Vienna to Volos via "Lauda Air," (subsidiary of
Austrian Airlines) started on May 23. The air carrier "Swiss' has added a second daily flight as of April
29, 2011, between Athens and Geneva. Spanish company Vueling is offering low cost flights beginning
from June 23 until September 11, directly to Crete and Mykonos islands from Barcelona, while its in-
flight magazine "Ling" features and article on Crete and Mykonos in its May 2011 issue.




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