|Copyright © 2004-2017 All rights reserved. Carol Palioudaki Living in Crete www.livingincrete.net
|Living in Crete
Crete & Greece
January to May 2006
|Blue Flag beaches
31st May 2006
Greece has the second-highest number of clean and well-maintained beaches out of the 40 countries rated by
the Blue Flag campaign in its annual awards, the results of which were made public yesterday.
The Denmark-based organization awarded Blue Flags to 404 Greek beaches (21 more than last year), as they
fulfilled 29 criteria, including those for water quality, environmental management and safety. The campaign is
run by the independent Foundation for Environmental Education, which is responsible for inspecting thousands
of beaches around the world. Spain topped this year’s list.
Among the Greek islands, Crete was found to have the greatest number of suitable beaches, gaining 92 Blue
Lassithi has been awarded blue flags at 38 beaches, the Prefecture of Hania 21 , Rethymnon prefecture 17, ,
while Heraklion has 16.
Meanwhile the clean up of Crete’s beaches is being organised by environmental organisations between 13th
May and 10th June with schools and school children taking part.
Ekathimerini.com / Haniotika Nea
US Warplanes from carrier Enterprise turned back over Crete
27th May 2006
Stir was created on Friday evening when some 20 US warplanes took off from the aircraft carrier Enterprise,
which has been docked in Souda Bay, and flew north of Crete. Greek fighter jets were immediately scrambled
to intercept them, while a Greek Defence Ministry official communicated with the US carrier’s captain and told
him that the US warplanes were flying within the Athens FIR without having submitted flight plans. The Athens-
based US embassy announced that the US warplanes were in contact with the Civil Aviation’s control towers
and were ordered to return to the carrier upon the Greek Defence Ministry’s request.
27th May 2006
A 28-year-old man surrendered to authorities in Chania Crete yesterday after allegedly stabbing to death
Roman Paraskevopolous, aged 23, in Hania on May 3. The suspect told police he had been hiding because he
feared reprisal from the victim’s relatives. The suspect, of Georgian background, is expected to face charges of
homicide along with carrying and using a weapon
Greek and Turkish Jets Collide Mid Air
23rd May 2006
Two F16 fighter jets collided Tuesday over the Aegean Sea near the island of Karpathos - an area where mock
dogfights often occur over disputed airspace.
Greek helicopters and navy vessels are searching for the missing Greek pilot, while the Turkish airman ejected
and was rescued by a merchant ship.
A Greek military statement said the crash occurred at 12:45 p.m. (0945GMT), 38 kilometers (24 miles)
southeast of Karpathos, while a pair of Greek F-16s were intercepting two Turkish F-16s acting as escorts to
an R-F4 photo-reconnaissance plane.
The statement said the planes collided at 27,000 feet (8,200 meters) after the Turkish jets "violated air traffic
rules. They did not confirm a statement by Turkey's Foreign Ministry which said the Greek pilot had been killed,
saying he will be considered missing for at least 72 hours before being declared dead.
Both Greek and Turkish military chiefs and foreign ministers Dora Bakoyannis and Abdullah Gul spoke shortly
after the crash and Athens and Ankara said the accident would not escalate tensions between the two rivals.
The Greek jet was based at Souda Air Force base, Chania, Crete.
Sunday 21st May
Temperatures reached 31oC degrees yesterday and today, and are set to soar higher on Wednesday &
Thursday as warm air from the coast of North Africa will be blowing across Crete, taking temperatures up to 36
o C. Friday will see temperatures take a 10 degree C drop, to around 26 o C - a more average May
FOREIGNERS IN GREECE
More than 6 percent rise in 14 years
20th May 2006
The number of foreigners living in Greece rose sharply from 1990-2004, according to Eurostat, which said
yesterday that 8.1 percent of the population are non-Greeks. The figure in 1990 stood at 1.4 percent. The
majority of new residents come from Albania, the EU statistics bureau added, as Greece recorded one of the
highest population increases of foreigners in the EU.
Ferry fares deregulated
18th May 2006
The government yesterday announced that it would lift controls on ferry prices on routes from six ports to the
Aegean Islands and Corfu. In response, ferry operators, who still feel that market liberalization has not gone
far enough, immediately announced discount packages.
Restrictions on ferry fees are lifted on the following routes:
- From Piraeus to Agios Nikolaos (Crete), Agistri, Aegina, Iraklion, Santorini, Icaria, Ios, Kalymnos, Kos, Milos,
Myconos, Lesvos, Naxos, Paros, Poros, Rethymnon, Rhodes, Salamina, Samos, Siteia, Sifnos, Spetses, Syros,
Tinos, Hydra, Hania and Chios.
The liberalization is conditional on at least two companies being active on each route and a minimum annual
traffic of 300,000 passengers. Subsidized routes remain regulated.
The move follows recent protests by ferry operators who have criticized the government for dragging its feet
on liberalization and have threatened to moor their ships if the government does not fully implement EU law.
Ferry operators responded yesterday by saying that, while a positive development, the circular does not go far
enough in adopting the EU Directive 3577/1992.
They said they would also like to see the abolition of charges in favor of third parties, which account for over
20 percent of fares, and the obligation for ferries to operate 10 months each year.
The truce between the ministry and the ferry operators may not last long: at their first meeting, on May 24,
the ferry operators’ association (EEA) will discuss whether the government is sincerely aiming for full market
Ferries are a vital lifeline for the country’s 600,000 islanders and are a critical transport means for the millions
of tourists who flock to the white-washed villages and sunny Greek islands in the Aegean and Ionian seas
each year. Earlier this month, ferry operators had announced they would hike prices unilaterally without
waiting for government approval.
Ferry operator Hellenic Seaways has already announced discount packages, with discounts ranging from 10
percent for frequent passengers to 50 percent for retired seamen, large families and people with special
needs. “Liberalization will bring lower fares,” said Hellenic Seaways Chairman Gerasimos Strintzis.
Greeks’ purchasing power is far lower than the EU average
17 may 2006
The average salary of Greeks employed in industry and services reached 14,518 euros in 2002, far below the
European Union average of 23,638 euros, according to a Eurostat survey conducted every four years. Greece
stands below Cyprus (18,841 euros) and Spain (16,457 euros), but above Portugal (9,735 euros) and Slovenia
(9,040 euros). Measured in Purchasing Power Parities (PPP), the gross income of Greeks in industry and
services came to 17,393 PPPs, against an EU average of 23,190 PPPs. The EU statistical service’s data shows
there are no major differences across Greek regions in gross salaries both in euros and in PPPs.
Moderate quake in Aghios Nikolaos
16 May 2006
An earthquake measuring 4.6 on the Richter scale shook Aghios Nikolaos, northeastern Crete, yesterday, but
there were no reports of injuries or damages. The tremor struck at 7.22 a.m. and its epicenter was in an
undersea area off Aghios Nikolaos
Illegal Renting of Properties to Tourists
11th May 2006
The Association of Hotel Owners in Hania have called on Chania Council to take steps to stop the illegal
renting of accommodation to tourists. “In the last five years there has been a huge increase in the building
and selling of property, particularly to buyers from outside of Greece. This phenomenon generally helps the
national economy, but it also clearly takes away customers from the hotel owners, which we cannot disagree
with, except that many of these properties are rented illegally by foreign owners to tourists, without EOT
licences. This means it is illegal income and no taxes are paid. We ask that the council take steps to ensure
that these illegal rents are stopped “.
Vamos calls for more police officers.
11th May 2006
Vamos council in Apokoronas, Chania have once again called for more police officers to be stationed locally as
break-ins and petty thefts are increasing in the area, particularly in houses which are unoccupied - mostly
foreign owned holiday homes.
The Mayor of Vamos, Stelios Michelakis has been requesting extra police officers since 2004, to no avail.
Drugs Bust in Hania
11th May 2006
Two undercover policemen from the narcotics squad in Hania arrested two young men in Vamvakopoulo last
night as the men tried to sell 2 kilos of hashish for 8,000 euros to the undercover officers. According to police
the two men, aged 23 and 24 years had bought the hashish in Mulopotamos, Rethymnon for 6,000 euros and
had agreed to give the cash when they had sold it on. Police had been following the suspects.
10th May 2006
Three Greeks who broke bank customers’ online passwords and transferred money from their accounts to
associates in Russia have been arrested, police said yesterday. The three men, from Heraklion, Athens and
Corinth ,hacked into the accounts of several customers from Alpha Bank and the National Bank of Greece.
Officers did not reveal how much money the men had allegedly transferred from the accounts but said that a
percentage of the loot was wired to other suspects in Russia, where officers think the operation initiated.
Greeks snap up loans
Credit growth hits 30 percent as 60,000 loan holders stagger under debts
9th May 2006
Greek households snapped up home and consumer loans at a fast pace in the first two months of 2006 as
credit growth jumped by about a third, according to Bank of Greece (BoG) data released yesterday, while more
than 60,000 loan holders are struggling under the weight of their debts.
The Bank of Greece, the country's central bank, said in a report that at the end of February, Greeks owed
financial institutions 71.3 billion euros, 30 percent more than in the same period a year earlier.
Mortgages shot up 33.6 percent, in comparison with the same period a year earlier, reaching 47 billion euros.
Consumer credit also grew strongly, rising by 28 percent to 22.6 billion euros.
The BoG has repeatedly called on banks to be more stringent in issuing loans as signs appear that Greek
households are starting to have problems in paying money back to lenders.
The 60,000 loan holders that are having repayment problems have delayed those payments for more than
three months and owe a total of 3.3 billion euros, the BoG added.
About 6.3 percent of Greek households delayed their loan payments in 2005 while the respective figure in the
12-member eurozone is a lower 3.6 percent.
About half of the delayed repayments on loans come from Greeks who have taken out a mortgage, while the
remaining delayed repayments are from households that have consumer loans.
7th May 2006
Greeks are far more obsessed with domestic politics than the average European, according to a survey for the
European Union made public yesterday. The Eurobaromater poll showed that 61 percent of Greeks were “very
interested” in their country’s politics compared to an EU average of just 19 percent. That fascination with the
domestic political scene may also explain why only one in 10 Greeks said they ventured outside the country’s
borders during the previous 12 months, compared to 37 percent of respondents from other EU countries who
said they had traveled abroad during that period.
Fatal stabbing in Nea Hora, Chania
4th May 2006
One 20 year old man was fatally stabbed and another beaten in an attack in a park in the Nea Hora area of
Chania at around 8 pm last night. According to information received by the police, 5 Russian ponti attacked
the two men from Georgia, who were sitting on a park bench. The suspects were arrested and taken to
Chania central police station. It is not yet clear as to the cause of the crime, and whether there were any
personal differences between the men, although this is thought to be the case.
At the time of the crime many local residents who live around the small park heard the shouting. It has
become a common meeting place for immigrants to gather, and residents say they gather there from morning
till night drinking and playing cards.
The residents are now asking for police patrols at the park.
Translated from the Haniotika Nea
Strikes strikes strikes
4th May 2006
Once again workers in Greece are threatening strike action over the next two weeks.
The General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) said yesterday that its members who work at public utilities
and banks will go on a 24-hour strike on Wednesday May 10th. The action has been called to defend labour
and social security rights and to protest against the government’s planned reforms for public utilities.
Meanwhile the Coastal Shipowners Union has announced that all ferries will remain docked on Tuesday May
16th, which will leave a number of passengers stranded and islands temporarily cut off from their normal
source of supplies.
The ferry companies want complete liberalization of their market so they can set ticket prices as they see fit.
So far, fares have only been partly liberalized. Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis has stressed
that there will be no liberalization for routes that are subsidized by the state and which serve remote islands.
The coastal ship owners argue that without the freedom to price tickets as they see fit heading into the
summer season, they will not be able to develop their business, attract investors and build new ships. As a
result, the EEA decided yesterday that its members should go ahead and free up their market on their own.
This move is likely to have an immediate impact on economy-class ticket prices and lead to a showdown with
28th April 2006
A 40-year-old man drowned in Rethymnon yesterday when he drove off a sea wharf. Rescue teams pulled the
man out of the vehicle about 30 minutes after the incident. The circumstances of the incident were unclear.
Easter Fireworks prove too explosive
24th April 2006
At least eight people around Greece were injured, including two teen-
agers in danger of losing their hands, by fireworks over the Easter weekend, police said on Sunday.
In the most serious incident, a 17-year-old in a village near Iraklion, Crete had his fingers severed after he set
light to a homemade firework. The teenager was flown to the KAT Hospital in Athens so surgeons could try to
restore his fingers.
Millions of fireworks are traditionally let off to mark the resurrection of Christ, but it is illegal to sell pyrotechnics
without a license. Police said they had arrested 179 people and seized some 1.5 million fireworks of various
types since the beginning of March
Rubbish Strike to End?
8th April 2006
A strike by municipal workers which began on Thursday and has resulted in the suspension of rubbish
collections throughout Greece, may continue next week, unionists said yesterday. The heads of the municipal
workers’ union POE-OTA are due to meet tomorrow to discuss whether to extend their strike for another 48
Tons of rubbish are lying around on the streets of Crete as bins are overflowing, and with the strong winds of
yesterday much of it has been strewn across roads and fields.
Fires across Crete
8th April 2006
A fire raged in western Crete at Deres yesterday, and spread quickly across hundreds of acres, fanned by the
strong south winds. At one point the village of Limni was under threat. According to witnesses a local farmer
was burning branches in his field, but the bonfire quickly became out of control in the strong wind.
The fire brigade were also called to 12 other smaller fires in the Hania region on the same day.
Recent high temperatures and little rain in the last month has left the land somewhat dry for this time of year.
Clouds of sand dust over Crete again
7th April 2006
Strong south winds from Africa of 8 – 9 Beaufort brought sand dust clouds to Crete today, reducing visibility
like fog. The afternoon Aegean Airlines flight attempted to land 3 times at Hania airport, but visibility was so
bad that it failed and had to return to Athens
7th April 2006
A construction worker was killed and another was injured in Rethymon yesterday. The two workers, both
foreign nationals, were conducting restoration work when the building’s roof caved in and crushed them.
Firefighters freed them from the debris, authorities said.
7th April 2006
A 73-year-old priest found dead in his home in the yard of a church in Halepa, Hania where he had preached
for more than 20 years was suffocated by one or more attackers who also beat him. Panayiotis Vozinakis died
shortly after midnight on Sunday 2nd April, according to a coroner who said the assailants had probably used
Police have since arrested three young men aged 22, 28 & 29 years who have confessed to killing Father
Vozinakis. The three local men are believed to be drug users and petty thieves, whom the priest had helped in
the past. The men say they broke into his house at 3am and tied up the priest, in order to rob the house.
They placed cushions over his face to keep him from calling out, but ultimately he suffocated. The murder has
shocked local residents.
Shooting in Anogeia
6th April 2006
An argument outside a school in Anogeia, Rethymnon turned to tragedy yesterday. A 21 year old was
apparently repeatedly driving past the local high school at high speed. A 24 year old man confronted the
driver, who when stopped took out a gun and shot at his confronter, shooting him in the head and also
wounding a 16 year old boy.
The driver later turned himself in at Rethymnon police station, and admitted to shooting a 16-year-old boy and
24-year-old man on Wednesday, but said that he was attacked first. The 24 year old was in hospital in critical
condition yesterday. Police have been patrolling the area of Anogeia, where the incident occurred, because of
fears of reprisals.
OTE cuts leasing fees for ADSL service providers
6th April 2006
Main Greek Telecoms provider OTE has cut prices on high-speed lines leased to its rivals in a bid to expand the
broadband market, which has the lowest penetration in Europe. Annual rental charges for the lines, which are
normally used for broadband services by fixed-line carriers and Internet service providers, will be cheaper by
2.4 to 57.9 percent starting April 3, OTE said yesterday. “The new discounts on high-speed leased lines
significantly reduce the cost of high-speed data transfer, thus contributing to the development of broadband in
Greece,” it added. The country’s largest Telecoms operator is keen to increase the take-up of high-speed
broadband ADSL services to offset the erosion of its core voice traffic as users migrate to other carriers and to
mobile telephony companies. At about 2 percent, Greece’s ADSL penetration is the lowest in Europe, which has
an average of 29 percent. Analysts expect penetration to rise to 25 percent by 2010. The government plans to
invest 184 million euros this year to boost broadband use to 7 percent of the population by 2008. (Reuters)
Million-euro heist in Crete
1st April 2006
Police launched a manhunt on Crete yesterday after armed robbers held up an armored truck and made off
with an estimated 1.25 million euros in one of the biggest heists of its type to take place in Greece.
The truck had been transporting cash on behalf of ATEbank to fill cash machines at various branches around
the island. It was stopped at 1 p.m. in the area of Anogeia near Rethymnon. The driver and a guard aboard
the truck said that a car pulled in front of them and a man smashed the truck’s windscreen with a
sledgehammer while other robbers shot at the vehicle.
One of the attackers made it into the truck and drove it some 10 kilometers before forcing the driver and guard
out. After a spate of armored truck robberies around Greece recently, police chiefs had asked banks not to
transport large amounts of cash
31st March 2006
Police in southwest Crete said yesterday that thieves had broken into the warehouse of a farming cooperative
in the area of Selino and made off with some eight tons of olive oil worth 25,000 euros. In the latest of a string
of similar incidents, the thieves used a crowbar to break the lock on the warehouse gate and loaded the oil
onto a truck. Based on the trail of oil that the thieves left behind, officers believe the suspects headed toward
the village of Temenia.
Chania Airport Opens 24hours
26th March 2006
From today Chania airport will be open 24 hours a day, for the summer season. It is the first time that night
flights will be allowed into the airport - previously the airport closed between midnight and 6 am and no flights
were allowed to land or take off during this time.
Successor to OA is taking shape
20th March 2006
Olympic Airlines, Greece’s troubled national carrier, is to be replaced by a completely stripped-down airline
which will be called Pantheon Airways, according to a business plan which has been prepared by the
government and was seen by Sunday’s Kathimerini.
The new carrier will be shorn of all its subsidiaries such as ground handling, and will focus only on actual
flights. Pantheon’s first flight is slated for October 26 this year.
Under the plan, prepared by Sabre Airline Consulting, the new airline will employ less than 2,200 people
compared to the 6,200 currently working at OA.
The new hirings will have to go through an application process, similar to any private company, and will not be
cherry-picked from Olympic.
The Greek state will be the main shareholder in the new airline but Deputy Finance Minister Petros Doukas is
compiling a list of private investors interested in obtaining a share of Pantheon. The European Commission
was given a copy of the business plan and has allowed Doukas until the end of the month to present the list
of interested parties.
Last September, the Commission sealed OA’s fate by ordering the airline to return up to 700 million euros in
illegal state aid.
Pantheon will operate a reduced schedule, flying to 92 destinations (26 fewer than Olympic) and less
frequently than its predecessor.
Son in murder case released on bail
17th March 2006
Ryan Johnson, the 32 year old son of the British couple murdered in Crete last week has been released on
bail. Relatives voiced delight at his release, saying it was the best news they had had in a very bad week. A
great-uncle had agreed to raise the €20,000 (£14,000) bail, they said.
Ryan claims he is innocent and his family, including his parents’ brothers, are backing him and have flown out
to Crete to support him.
With the inquiry still under way he remains a suspect, and must remain on the island.
Strike Action to Paralyze Greece
14th March 2006
Tomorrow will be a taxing day for most people, as a 24-hour general strike, called by two of the country’s main
labor unions, promises to cripple public transport, disrupt flights and disable public sector services.
Olympic Airlines has said it will be conducting just one flight per destination.
Ferry services will be disrupted between 8 a.m. and noon, when seamen are to stage a work stoppage.
Many employees at private sector and state-controlled enterprises, such as energy company PPC, post offices,
OTE Telecom and ports are also expected to participate in the strike.
Schools across the country will be closed and hospitals will be operating on skeleton staff as teachers and
doctors join the action.
State and private television schedules will also be disturbed as workers walk off the job between 11 a.m. and
Tomorrow’s action has been called by the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) and the Civil Servants’
Union (ADEDY), who are protesting the erosion of labor rights and calling for a collective labor agreement.
British Couple Murdered in Almirida, Chania
13th March 2006
Terry Johnson, 54, and his wife, Josephine, 53, were found dead on Sunday, a few days after they moved into
their dream villa. The bodies were found in their home by their 32 year old son Ryan, who lived with them.
Ryan told police he returned home from a bar in the early hours of Sunday but assumed his parents would be
asleep, so did not check their room until he woke up. Manolis Michalodimitrakis, the coroner, said that Terry
Johnson had suffered three stab wounds to the throat and blows to the head, and had been strangled. The
cause of death was listed as death by haemorrhage and asphyxiation. His wife had been strangled.
Police chief Stelios Vardambasis said: "Ryan Johnson has been kept for further questioning. There are gaps
and contradictions in his testimony." The 32-year-old son of the couple has now been charged with murder
and he is due to appear in court on Tuesday. He has been visited by a representative of the British Consulate.
Kostas Vardiambasis, a senior police officer, described the crime as “the most gruesome murder of foreign
residents in Cretan history”. The killings have shocked the foreign community in Crete.
More Strikes on the way
9th March 2006
The Civil Servants Union (ADEDY) and teachers will stage a 24 hour strike on Wednesday 15th March over pay
End of the road for Greece’s highways
9th March 2006
The news that Greece has one of Europe’s most dangerous road networks is, unfortunately, old news. But a
press conference held yesterday by the road safety observatory of the Technical Chamber (TEE) showed that
the reality is in fact even gloomier than that.
In 2001, Greece ranked at the bottom of road safety tables among the old 15 EU members, meaning it had the
highest mortality rates from road accidents. Now Greece occupies last place on the table among the present
Greece’s Technical Chamber estimates that even if all the measures announced by the various governments in
the past were implemented successfully, Greece would still fall short of the road safety standards of the more
developed European nations.
The primary cause of the scourge is the poor condition of Greek roads. Most Greeks have personal experience
with this, but it is still shocking to hear TEE, the competent authority of Greek engineers, charging that the
country is so sorely lacking in road regulations and standards that project studies and their construction are
“Intersections designed for the regions, prefectures and municipalities are not just wrong, but in many cases
are dangerous as well,” the observatory report said
Greek Parliament holds special session on women's day, 8th March.
A special session dedicated to women was held in Parliament on Wednesday on the occasion of the
completion of half a century since Greek women won the right to vote.
All the political leaders, having first made a historic review of women's gains, both in the world and in the
Greek scene, noted the need for further steps to be made for the consolidation of equality and equal
treatment between the two genders.
More women jobless in Greece than EU norm
7th March 2006
The gender pay gap between men and women in Greece has narrowed recently, yet unemployment among
women is still higher than the European Union average, according to data released yesterday.
A report from Eurostat, the statistical arm of the European Union, showed that the jobless rate among women
in Greece is currently at 15.5 percent compared to 9.6 percent in the 25-nation bloc.
The difference is attributed partly to the fact that more part-time jobs are generally available in other EU
Recent data shows that Greek women were paid 10 percent less than their male counterparts in 2004 as
opposed to 13 percent in 1999.
Greeks are also having less children that their EU peers. The Greek birth rate hovers at 1.29 children per
woman compared to the EU average of 1.5, the report said.
19th February 2006
All Greek passenger ferries are laid up in ports across the country as seamen go on a nationwide strike. A 48
hour strike on Thursday 16th Feb was extended for another 48 hours yesterday, until Monday morning. The
seamen’s union was unmoved by Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis’s response to their demands,
which include higher pensions, measures to tackle unemployment in their sector and a new collective labour
agreement. Seamen also object to legislation foreseeing the creation of private merchant marine academies
Crete News in English – Daily
Local Cretan TV channel, “Kydon” have a new news programme in English, broadcast Monday to Friday at 6.30
Crete Airport improvements.
Chania airport is to be extended, and a study will be carried out throughout 2006. In 2007 the airport will be
open 24hours a day and night flights will be allowed. Currently no flights are allowed to land or depart from
Chania between midnight and 6a.m.
Meanwhile Heraklion is to get a new International Airport in the area of Kastelli, Heraklion. The current airport
has inadequate facilities and is very close to residential areas. The new airport is expected to take 8 years to
build, opening in 2013, at a cost of 1.1 billion Euros.
1st February 2006
The first analysis of damages caused to public and private buildings in the prefecture of Chania from the strong
earthquake of the 8th January, has been reported by civil engineers.
To date 357 homes have been examined, with another 500 on the list. Most of the recorded damage is in the
old town of Chania. Of 149 houses examined in the old town, 45 are listed as being “temporarily unfit’ and 16
as “dangerous”. Those judged as temporarily unfit can be restored to their original state with some re-
inforcements, while the “dangerous’ buildings must be demolished.. Most of the houses in the “dangerous”
category are uninhabited and abandoned, and had problems before the earthquake.
Of the public buildings and schools that have been examined, 13 schools were found to be “temporarily unfit”,
none “dangerous”. These schools have been temporarily re-housed in other buildings while work is underway
to repair them. Public buildings of historic and archaeological importance were also examined by civil
engineers, and 10 of those were found to be “temporarily unfit”, including the “Neoria’ building which is used
to house cultural events and this will remain closed during the summer of 2006 for extensive repairs.
30th January 2006
Heraklion police arrested a 47 year old Bulgarian woman yesterday and her 25 year old daughter who were
trying to sell a 20 day old baby boy. Police had been tipped off and undercover police offices posed as
potential buyers for the baby. The 47 year old, Grandmother of the baby, and the 25 year old, Mother of the
baby, asked for 20,000Euros, but the detective, pretending he was a desperate father, bargained down the
price to 16,000 Euros.
Police believe the Grandmother is involved in a trafficking ring. Another young Bulgarian woman, 8 months
pregnant, was discovered at her home, along with 2 other young women. The authorities are also looking into
the role of a Bulgarian man, who lives in Hania but comes and goes to the Heraklion house.
The home of the Great Statesman Eleftherios Venizelos, in Halepa, Chania, is to be turned into a museum. The
house was built in 1877 and Venizelos lived at least half of his life there. In 2002 the ‘National Foundation
Eleftherios K. Venizelos’ bought the house with the aim of transforming it into a museum. A study of the
building has been made and the first estimates of costs is 1,700,000 Euros. One third of this cost has been
promised by the Greek Parliament.
Much of the original furniture, along with photographs, remain in the house and the Foundation’s goal is to
collect, through donations and by buying, artifacts and works of art related to Eleftherios Venizelos and the
history of that era.
Ski Lessons for Chania Children.
The Chania Mountaineering Club organised their first ski lessons for children over the weekend of 21/22
January, by the Kallergi refuge in the White Mountains. Over the rest of the winter period the lessons will
continue each weekend taking up to 16 children each time. There has been a huge response so far.
Winter Sales Start Today
Monday 23rd January 2006
The winter sales officially start today in Greece and shops will be offering bargains for the next five weeks. The
sales in Greece are monitored by the government, who announce the starting date each year. The
Development Ministry said that inspectors will be checking shops to see whether the sales are genuine and to
catch retailers using the discounts as an excuse to dump inferior-quality products.
Climber killed in Lasithi
23 January 2006
A member of a climbing party that was attempting to scale a mountain in eastern Crete under difficult
conditions was killed, though his three companions were rescued after an operation lasting more than nine
hours, police said yesterday.
The unnamed 42-year-old fell to his death during an ascent of Afendis Christos in Lasithi, officers said. His
group set off from the Limnakaros plateau on Saturday but made a call for help the same afternoon.
Local police, the fire brigade and the EMAK rescue team were alerted and launched an operation to save the
climbers. Rescuers reached the three stranded men at around 4 a.m. yesterday and helped them to safety.
The body of the fourth climber was collected and taken to a local coroner who was to conduct an autopsy to
establish the exact cause of death
6.9 Quake off Crete
9th Jan 2006
An earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale, one of the most powerful ever to strike Greece, was felt
yesterday at lunchtime all around the country and as far afield as Israel, causing damage on the islands of
Kythera and Crete but, remarkably, no serious injuries or deaths.
The quake struck at lunchtime, around 1.30pm. The tremor’s epicenter was in the seabed east of Kythera,
just North of Chania.
The Athens Geodynamic Institute said the quake occurred 70 kilometers below the sea, some 30 kilometers
east of Kythera.
“We were very lucky this quake happened underwater,” said the head of the institute Giorgos Stavrakakis. “If
it had happened on land it would be a mess. The fact that it was deep in the sea saved us.” There were
several aftershocks, which did not cause any problems.
In Chania the quake was felt very strongly and people rushed out of their homes into the streets. Some
buildings in the old town of Chania sustained minor damage, including the collapse of a wall at one of the
main cafes on the harbour front. All schools in Chania were closed Monday for inspections, and it has been
announced that 9 schools have been declared unsafe and will remain closed. Alternative arrangements will be
made for pupils of these schools while further tests and repairs are carried out on the buildings. The
earthquake also caused damage to the new Chania hospital; a large crack appeared in one of the walls but it
has been declared safe by civil engineers.
The quake was felt in southern Italy, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Cyprus and parts of the Balkans
Cretan tension after killing
Police in Rethymnon were yesterday bracing for a possible outbreak of inter ethnic tension following the fatal
stabbing of an Albanian youth by a group of Greeks on New Year’s Day.
The 17-year-old Albanian died in hospital after being knifed 17 times by a group of seven Greeks, led by an 18-
year-old army conscript and his 40-year-old father, police said. The conscript was charged with murder and the
other six with complicity.
The seven are alleged to have attacked the youth after breaking into his home in the port’s old town shortly
after an altercation between some Greeks and Albanians outside a bar early on Sunday.
Officers were on standby yesterday after around 200 Albanians staged a protest before accompanying the
victim’s coffin to a ferry waiting to take him to Tirana for burial. By late yesterday, there were no reports of any
It was unclear what triggered the clash that led to the boy’s death but police said it was probably past
Reforms go into action
Greeks can expect to see more reforms being implemented this year, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said in
his New Year’s Eve address after saying he was pleased with the structural changes that his government
introduced in 2005.
“The year 2006 will be a decisive one. It will be a year when changes and reforms will be stepped up,” said
Karamanlis as he looked back on the 12 months during which his government undertook a number of economic
and labor reforms. The ruling conservatives passed legislation to introduce more flexible work hours, reduce
the cost of overtime, reform the bank pensions system, extend shopping hours and end jobs for life at public
utilities. “The year 2005 will stand as a landmark year for major structural reforms. Bold changes everywhere,
especially in the wider public sector, signal a new beginning for the country,” said the premier
An amendment to a legislative proposal to allow the right to cremation, which is forbidden by the Orthodox
Church in Greece, was submitted in parliament yesterday.
According to the amendment the non-existence of cremation centers in Greece violates citizens’ constitutionally
protected right to religious freedoms.
The EU’s executive body on Thursday submitted a proposal for the creation of a “Single Payments Area” by
2010. The aim is to make cross-border payments, including credit cards, as easy, cheap and secure as national
payments within one member state. Currently each member state has its own rules on payments.
This means that using a credit or debit card or any other form of money transfer within EU member countries
should not incur more charges than a similar transaction within the same country.
This will apply to the entire EU and not just the eurozone, where the proposed directive will apply the rules for
bank transfers to all payment methods. With the creation of the single payments area, Brussels is expecting to
save between 50 and 100 billion euros per year and to bolster competition among credit institutions in favor of