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Crete & Greece
January to April 2012
Three die in Greece border pursuit
29 April 2012 ekathimerini
Two illegal immigrants, and possibly their smuggler, died Sunday in northern Greece in an attempt to escape a control
by police and EU border agency Frontex, police authorities said.
The illegal immigrants were pursued by police and Frontex at the Lykofos crossing near the border with Turkey, when
their vehicle «lost control, toppled over...and caught fire,» the police said in a statement.
Six undocumented people were taken to a nearby hospital, two of them fatally injured.
Firefighters found the charred body of the driver, who police believe may have been the group's smuggler.

Public schools to be closed May 4-7
Public schools will be closed between May 4 and 7 because some are to be used as election centers, the Education
Ministry said Wednesday.

EOPYY doctors have until June to log on
27 April 2012 Ekathimerini
Doctors who work with the National Organization for Healthcare Provision (EOPYY), Greece’s main primary healthcare
provider, have until June 1 to sign up to the electronic prescription system that has been introduced to cut down on
waste and fraud.

Sources told Kathimerini on Friday that the Health Ministry is set to drop plans to charge EOPYY doctors 1 euro for
each prescription they write by hand instead of entering it on the electronic system, but it is expected to proceed with
its intention of not covering the cost of any medicines that are not prescribed through the electronic program.

However, the Attica Pharmacists’ Association complained yesterday that the e-prescription system has not been
working properly for the last three weeks, after it was hacked.

Total of 32 parties will stand in May 6 elections
26 April 2012 ektahimerini
A total of 32 parties will take part in the May 6 elections, the Supreme Court has ruled after inspecting applications
from 36 parties.

Four parties were excluded after failing to comply with the necessary legal requirements.

Nevertheless, the amount of groups taking part represents a significant increase on the 23 that participated in the
October 2009 parliamentary elections.

Opinion polls indicated that as many as nine parties could enter Parliament, compared to five in 2009.

Private sector wages losing ground
26 April 2012 AMNA - Athens News
Greek private sector workers saw their income plunge by a quarter last year as the country's recession hit hard, the
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said, with wages falling far behind that of other euro zone

The average gross wage for full-time staff dropped by 23.1 percent last year, with the decline increasing to 25.3
percent after including inflation, the report said.

The average net wage dropped to 12,530 euros per year, less than half than in Germany and also falling behind its
level in fellow euro zone straggler Portugal.

The sharp drop took Greek wages back to their 2006 level, but they still remain about two thirds higher than in 2000,
before the Mediterranean nation joined the euro.

Immigrants pulled from boat
20 April 2012 ekathimerini
Coast guard officers rescued 151 undocumented immigrants off the island of Elafonissos early Friday after the boat
they were sailing in ran aground. All those on board were men aged between 16 and 30.
Authorities were alerted when one of the migrants called the police station in Sparta to report the boat had run into
problems. It was not clear where the migrants had sailed from.
Meanwhile, a 47-year-old lorry driver was arrested at the port of Patra Friday after 19 illegal immigrants were found
hiding in a secret compartment in his vehicle. A 46-year-old woman was also arrested at the port of Igoumenitsa
when officers found two migrants hiding in her car.

Bad weather closes Samaria Gorge
19 April 2012 NeaTV
The damage caused by yesterday's storm and gale force winds have resulted in the Samaria National Park remaining
closed  following a decision by the Forest Service of Chania.

The Directorate of Forestry reports that due to exceptional weather events and issues of power and communications,
the Samaria National Park is closed again (2 days after it opened on 16.04.2012 from the south entrance at Agia
Roumeli) and states that the disruption will last until restoration of the problems can ensure smooth passage for

Uncertainty envelops elections
19 April 2012 ekathimerini
Last opinion poll ahead of May 6 shows New Democracy and PASOK still struggling for combined majority
A new poll conducted on behalf of Kathimerini and Skai TV indicates that Greece’s political landscape continues to be
fragmented and that PASOK and New Democracy could struggle to get enough seats in Parliament to form a coalition
government, should they be able to agree on some form of cooperation.
The survey shows a slight rise in support for New Democracy compared to a survey conducted at the beginning of
April but the conservatives remain far short of the outright majority their leader, Antonis Samaras, insists the party
can achieve in the May elections.
New Democracy’s support rose 2.5 percent to 21.5, while backing for PASOK remained stable at 14 percent. There
was little change among the other parties, with the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) in third place on 13 percent,
followed by the Communist Party (KKE) and the nationalist Independent Greeks with 11 percent.
Read the full article

Cross-checking process to start
18 April 2012 ekathimerini
The Finance Ministry has finally decided to go ahead with the effective cross-checking of financial transactions through
the electronic software it possesses.
On Wednesday it informed financial institutions such as banks, insurance companies and the stock market that they
will have to submit the full details of loans accounts and other transactions by taxpayers so that the ministry can draft
a property profile for each person and compare it with the tax statement submitted.
It has also ordered public and private hospitals to send information about the doctors they employ and their activity.
Private insurance companies as well as social security funds must supply in electronic form all the statements they
issue to their clients or beneficiaries for tax purposes, showing the taxpayers’ payments and contributions, while
utilities, including cell phone networks, must supply account data such as total annual bills.
Credit card companies will also have to submit data on transactions in Greece for cards issued not just in this country
but also abroad.

Greek Easter 'poorest in a decade' amid crisis
14 April 2012 AFP
Orthodox Easter in crisis-hit Greece will be the "poorest in a decade" owing to debt-fighting austerity policies that
have brought salary and pension cuts, a leading trader lobby said on Friday.

"We can say with certainty that Greeks are being put through the poorest Easter of the last decade," the national
confederation of Greek commerce (Esee) said in a statement as the four-day religious holiday began.

The confederation said retail trade turnover was down 15 percent in the first two weeks of April when most Greeks
stock up on preparations for the traditional feast on Easter Sunday that brings the Lent fast to a close.

ECB worries about Greek election outcome
14 April 2012 ekathimerini
European Central Bank Governing Council member Ewald Nowotny said that he sees risk for the European debt crisis
in the Greek elections, according to an interview with Vorarlberger Nachrichten on Saturday.

“I see risks in the political area,” Nowotny, who also heads Austria’s central bank, told the paper. “Elections are due
in early May and I’m not sure that there will be a majority that continues the current economic program.”

Italy and Spain have carried out reforms and now have to be given time, Nowotny also said, adding that the situation
in Portugal and Ireland has improved. “The biggest risk is Greece,” he told the paper.

Nowotny also said that he sees the announced review of 110 European banks by Moody’s Investors Service as
potentially “unsettling” Europe, according to the report.

Citizen's Advice Bureaus to move into post offices
11 April 2012 ekathimerini
Almost 70 post offices across the country will double up as Citizen’s Advice Bureaus (KEP) following an agreement on

The deal, reached between the Ministry of Administrative Reform, the Infrastructure Ministry and Hellenic Post (ELTA),
is designed to expand KEP services and at the same time enhance the ELTA brand ahead of the liberalization of
postal services.

Ex-minister arrested over felony
11 April 2012 ekathimerini
Former Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos will spend Easter in a security police holding cell in Athens after being
charged Wednesday with money laundering, a development that the PASOK veteran labeled a “pre-election gift” for
his former party and New Democracy.

On Tuesday, a prosecutor recommended Tsochatzopoulos face charges for failing to declare his 1million euro Athens
property on his 2010 source of wealth form (“pothen esches”). However, Wednesday’s arrest concerned his portfolio
of properties, not just the home on Dionysiou Areopagitou Street.

According to sources, prosecutors worked with the financial crimes squad (SDOE) to collect evidence that suggests
Tsochatzopoulos profited from under-the-table payments for the purchase of submarines and missile systems when
he was defense minister and that this money was distributed to offshore companies that were used to buy the
properties. The former minister, who has been ousted from PASOK, denies any wrongdoing.

Unemployment jumps to 21.8 in January
April 2012 AMNA
Unemployment in Greece jumped to 21.8 percent in January 2012, from 14.8 percent in January 2011 and from 21.2
percent in December 2011, the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Thursday, with the number
of unemployed shooting to 1,084,668 persons.

The number of unemployed persons increased by 46.6% compared with January 2011 .

'Antikythera Wreck' exhibition in Athens
April 2012 AMNA
An exhibition entitled "The wreck of Antikythera - The ship, the treasures, the Mechanism", opened at the National
Archaeological Museum in Athens on April 5 and will run for a year.

This is the first time that all the findings from the Antikythera wreck, dated between 60-50 BC, are displayed together,
while some of the items have never been displayed before.amna

Sometime before Easter 1900, Elias Stadiatis, a Greek sponge diver, discovered the wreck of an ancient cargo ship off
Antikythera Island at a depth of 42 m (138 ft). Sponge divers retrieved several statues and other artifacts from the
site. The Mechanism itself was discovered on May 17, 1901, when archaeologist Valerios Stais noticed that a piece of
rock recovered from the site had a gear wheel embedded in it.
Read more

Seamen insist on two-day strike next week
6 April 2012 ekathimerini
The union representing the country’s seamen decided on Friday to press ahead with a two-day strike next Tuesday
and Wednesday which is expected to seriously disrupt the travel plans of thousands of Greeks planning to go away
for Orthodox Easter, which falls on April 15.
The Panhellenic Seamen’s Union (PNO) announced its decision after talks with Development Minister Anna
Diamantopoulou collapsed and despite the repeated appeals of tourism sector professionals and traders on the
islands of the Aegean and Ionian who had been hoping to do some business over the Easter period.

Immediately after the announcement by the unionists, Diamantopoulou expressed disappointment that PNO was
“holding Greek citizens hostage and damaging the economy and the country’s image abroad.” “By anchoring ferries,
the unionists of PNO do not understand that they are doing themselves more harm than good,” the minister said,
noting that they were undermining the ferry firms which also give them work.
Read the full article

IOM presents migrant repatriation program
6 April ekathimerini
The Greek branch of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Friday presented its program for the
repatriation of 710 undocumented immigrants and 25 sex trafficking victims which is being funded by Norway, Iceland
and Liechtenstein.
Norway’s Ambassador to Greece Sjur Larsen said that “all of Europe will benefit from a more effective tackling of
immigration as this will avert the return of migrants to Greece.”

Despairing Greek leftist makes final stand
5 April 2012 ekathimerini
Fluttering on a nondescript balcony in a middle-class Athens neighbourhood, the remnants of a banner declaring «I
won't pay» bear witness to the protest Dimitris Christoulas staged against Greece's economic crisis and the politicians
he blamed for it.
For months the banner hung as a gesture of resistance to one-off taxes imposed by the government under a savage
austerity programme demanded by Greece's foreign lenders.
On Wednesday the 77-year-old retired pharmacist staged his final act of defiance. Christoulas went to the city's main
Syntagma Square and shot himself in the head outside parliament.
In a suicide note Christoulas, a leftist, said his age prevented him from taking «dynamic» action.
Read the full article

Mother kills daughter before attempting suicide
4 April 2012 ekathimerini
A 35-year-old Albanian woman in Rethymno, Crete, killed her 13-year-old daughter with a knife before attempting
suicide on Wednesday, Skai reported.
The woman was hospitalized in critical condition.
The motive of the killing was still unknown late on Wednesday.

Support for Greek socialists rises ahead of election
1 April 2012 Reuters
Support for Greece's co-ruling socialists is ticking up ahead of an election expected in May, though backing for the
country's biggest parties remains low, an opinion poll showed on Saturday.

Greece is expected to hold the election on May 6 after a successful debt swap deal to cut its massive debt allowed it
to secure a 130 billion euro bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund earlier this month.

Support for the bailout and the painful cuts included in it has sharply dented the approval ratings of the conservative
New Democracy and PASOK socialists, the two parties backing technocrat Prime Minister Lucas Papademos.

The latest poll showed them getting about 38 percent of the vote together - a level analysts have said should allow
them to just about scrape together enough seats in parliament to renew their coalition.

Greece should look to Internet for recovery, says study
30 March 2012 Reuters via Phantis
The Greek government should take a leaf out of South Korea's book and invest in better networks and getting more
people online, a study which measures how the Web raises GDP levels said on Friday.

While many European countries make noticeable gains in their economic output as the Internet makes shopping
cheaper and helps new businesses grow quickly, Greece's heavily indebted economy is far behind, research by
Boston Consulting Group found.

South Korea is number one in the world for online retail, high Internet penetration and network coverage combined,
an index compiled by the consultancy shows.

In 2010 Greece raised just 1.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) from the Internet, compared to 7.3 percent in
South Korea.

Just under half of all households in Greece have fixed broadband access and 67 percent of Greeks use their mobiles
to access the Internet. But only 12 percent of Greeks shop online, compared to a 40 percent European average,
Boston Consulting said.

Universities at risk of closing due to PSI bond swap
March 28, 2012   AMNA
Many of Greece's universities have been reduced to penury, with their accounts now approaching zero, following the
conversion of their funds into Greek state bonds by the Bank of Greece and the subsequent PSI bond swap scheme
they were forced to accept in March.

An emergency council of university rectors on Tuesday said that only 33 million euro remained of 120 million euro that
17 Greek universities had deposited with the Bank of Greece for the operating expenses, while six university accounts
were now completely empty and would soon be unable to stay open.

The rectors decided to set up a legal committee to claim the money lost but at this point will focus on making
university finances independent of the election of a governing board as demanded by the new framework-law and
the approval of their 2012 budgets.

Ancient statue recovered from alleged antiquities smugglers
28 March 2012 Athens News
Police on Wednesday announced that they have recovered an illegally excavated, 2,500-year-old statue that a
goatherd and an accomplice had been trying to sell for 500,000 euros.

The pair was arrested on Tuesday in Fyli, in western Attica, after police say they offered the statue, a kore type
believed to be from the archaic (520 BC) period, for sale.

The statue, which showed up on a subsequent search, has been entrusted to the archaeological service, which says
it is of priceless historical value.

Those arrested will be brought before an Athens first instance court prosectuor.

Civil unrest marks 25 March celebrations
25 March 2012 Athens News
Despite increased speculation about trouble brewing prior to the military parade in Athens on Sunday, it was not that
particular parade that got the authorities scrambling during this year’s culmination of the 25th of March Revolution
day celebrations.

In Patra, the parade was held up for several hours due to violent clashes between members of the public and riot
police. Dozens of protesters marched in the town centre prior to the start of the parade and attempted to approach
the dignitary stand that had been set up at the Trion Simahon square.

Riot police used tear gas to disperse the angry mob, but after the atmosphere was once again clear of chemicals, the
protesters returned, voicing their opposition towards the Papademos government and the memorandum. Due to the
incidents, it was decided that no government representative would be present at the parade, which eventually began
just after noon.

The most severe incident of the day, took place in Iraklio, Crete, where the parade was called off altogther, for the
first time in the city’s history. The decision was made after violent scenes of civic unrest convinced local authorities
that going ahead with the parade would endanger the students set to take part in it.

Local MPs had perhaps anticipated the brewing troubles as it was noted that no political representatives from any
party were present.

Explosive device goes off at ministry building
24 March 2012 ekathimerini
A homemade explosive mechanism consisting of gas canisters exploded at a building of the Internal Affairs Ministry in
Athens in the early hours of Saturday.
The bomb caused some minor damage at the entrance of the building on Ilioupoleos Avenue, south of the center.
Noone was injured.
Police specialists have collected the remains of the explosive mechanism to conduct a thorough investigation.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack as yet.

Healthcare coverage for unemployed extended
23 March 2012 ekathimerini
Greece's unemployed will have longer-term healthcare coverage according to an amendment introduced on Friday by
Labor and Social Security Minister Giorgos Koutroumanis.
According to the new provision, people who are recently unemployed are eligible for full medical coverage after being
able to produce 50 benefit stamps (each of which represents one day of work on full pay)instead of the current 80
per year.
The provision also extends the period during which unemployed people are eligible for health coverage after losing
their jobs to three years from the current two.

Greek prosecutor charges banker with fraud
21 March 2012 Reuters via Phantis
A Greek prosecutor filed felony charges against prominent Greek banker Lavrentis Lavrentiadis over a financial
scandal that has led to the demise of small lender Proton Bank, court officials said on Wednesday.
Lavrentiadis, a high-flying businessman who started from the chemicals industry to rapidly expand into banking and
media, has vehemently denied any wrongdoing in what is seen as one of Greece's biggest financial scandals in years.
Economic crimes prosecutor Grigoris Peponis formally charged Lavrentiadis, 39, with being part of a criminal gang that
embezzled Proton funds and defrauded the government, a court official said on condition of anonymity.
If convicted, he could face life in prison. Another 27 suspected associates, including Proton executives, face
convictions adding up to life imprisonment.
Read the full article

Pregnant woman helps police bust baby traffickers
21 March 2012 AMNA / Athens News
A 31-year-old Bulgarian woman in the final stages of her pregnancy, was able to help authorities crack down on a
baby-trafficking outfit that had taken her hostage in order to steal her unborn child, police announced on Wednesday.

The woman was in the eighth month of her pregnancy when she arrived in Greece looking for work and met the two
Bulgarian nationals, aged 46 and 39 years old, respectively, that offered to help her and took her to a house in

The two men had originally posed as good Samaritans...
Read the full article

Potato movement shifts 15-17 million kilos of produce
20 March 2012 AMNA / Athens News
More than 15-17 million kilos of potatoes from the Nevrokopi basin have been sold direct to consumers through the
"Potato movement", bypassing middlemen, local potato farmers said on Tuesday.

They stressed their determination to continue supplying consumers with discounted potatoes in the new season
beginning next September.

Farmers said the unsold quantities of potatoes remaining are just three to four million kilos, which at current rates will
be exhausted in roughly a week to 10 days.

Though the amounts sold direct to consumers are impressive given the short space of time involved (20-30 days),
they are nevertheless dwarfed by the region's total production, which is estimated at 100 million kilos. This was
mostly sold before the Potato movement was launched, at the extremely low price of 0.11-0.12 euros per kilo, which
according to farmers is about half the cost of production without calculating packaging and transport.

Ferries will remain in port on Monday and Tuesday
17 March 2012 ekathimerini
Ferries are to remain moored on Monday 19 and Tuesday 20 March as sailors hold the first in a series of planned 48-
hour walkouts in protest at the government’s austerity drive.
The Panhellenic Seamen’s Union (PNO) objects to cuts to pensions and changes to collective labor contracts.
The union has said it will continue with rolling two-day strikes until authorities address its concerns.

George Dalaras cancels gigs after attacks
16 March 2012 ekathimerini
After being heckled and attacked at two concerts in Athens in as many weeks, popular singer Giorgos Dalaras has
decided to cancel the remaining dates in his itinerary of free “solidarity” performances to avoid “giving opportunity to
blind rage,” organizers said on Friday.
“The violence of the few was imposed on the many,” the organizers said in written statement, referring to members
of the public who pelted Dalaras and his band with fruit, plastic bottles and even chairs during two concerts in the
Athens districts of Ilion and Dafni.
Noting that the countdown to general elections, expected in early May, demands “cool-headedness,” the statement
added that although Dalaras still felt he had much to offer, the risk of continuing was too great.
“We will not turn public venues into arenas for those who seek to continue a cycle of extremist violence,” it said.
Dalaras, whose wife is Socialist PASOK MP and former Deputy Employment Minister Anna Dalara, has been slammed
for backing Greece’s loan agreement with creditors.

Tourism sector on a 'tight rope' this year
Greek tourism is "walking on a tight rope" this year, Culture & Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos said on Tuesday,
noting that the tourism sector could face further problems if the country's image in international media remains

Speaking to reporters, the minister referred to the recent international tourism fair in Berlin, saying there was a tide
of negative publicity against Greece, while he stressed that early bookings from Germany were down 30 pct and 10
pct from the UK so far this year. These figures represent losses of around one million tourists for the country, he

Geroulanos said the ministry was preparing a strong response, aimed to reverse the negative climate by hiring two
communications firms for the markets of Germany and UK.

He noted that there was enough time to change the situation and announced that Greek officials will begin joint ad
programmes with large international tour operators.

A focus on new markets, such as Russia, Israel, China, will aim to counterbalance losses from traditional market-
targets. amna

Two ministry staff remanded over graft charges
16 March 2012 ekathimerini
Two Development Ministry officials arrested earlier this week on suspicion of soliciting a 120,000-euro bribe from two
businessmen planning to make a 4.7-million-euro investment in the Peloponnese were remanded in custody on Friday.

The two men, both 61, were employed in the ministry’s private investment department, where they were responsible
for assessing whether projects qualified for state funding.

Testifying before an investigating magistrate yesterday, one claimed to have been set up by the businessman while
the second maintained to have not have had anything to do with the affair.

Port of Souda, Chania expects more cruise tourism this year
10 March 2012 Greek Reporter
More than 140,000 visitors are expected to arrive at the port of Souda in Chania of Crete.According to data, revealed
by ‘‘,  three cruise companies, twelve cruise ships, sixty four arrivals and more than 140,000 visitors
are expected for this year’s cruise tourism sector concerning Chania, Crete.
The first cruise ship for this year is scheduled to anchor on the 4th of April and it belongs to the cruise company
‘Seabourn Cruises’, while the last cruise ship (Royal Caribbean company) will depart on the 19th of November from
Souda port.

General elections look to pick a final date
10 March 2012 Reuters via Athens News
The country will have a parliamentary election on April 29th at the earliest and may not hold the vote until May, a
government spokesman said late on Friday, giving Prime Minister Lucas Papademos time to complete a debt deal to
avert default.
Spokesman Pantelis Kapsis told Skai television "Elections could take place as early as April 29th but may come on one
of the following Sundays. I imagine it will be somewhere then.
There has been widespread media speculation that the elections, delayed from February, would be held in early May,
but officials have been wary about commenting openly about dates.
Papademos's technocratic coalition government, formed in November and including both the Socialist Pasok and
conservative New Democracy parties, had a narrow mandate to complete bailout and debt cut talks and then hold
elections as soon as possible.
Elections had been set for mid-February, mainly under pressure from New Democracy, which is leading in opinion polls.
The conservatives agreed to push back the date after it became clear that Papademos needed more time to complete
negotiations on the EU/IMF bailout, Greece's second since 2010.

Greek youth unemployment hits 51.5pc
8 March 2012 Telegraph
More than half of all young people in Greece are now unemployed, depressing new figures have revealed.
It is the first time that the number of young Greeks out of work has outnumbered those in work, according to
Greece's statistics agency Elstat, which published the figures yesterday. The country's overall unemployment rate also
hit a record high in December, rising to 21pc.
Greece's youth unemployment rate has doubled in just three years. In contrast, Germany's youth jobless rate rests at
a cool 7.8pc. The UK's is 22.2pc.
Such a high number of under-25s without jobs in Greece does not bode well for the country's future and will have far-
reaching consequences, analysts said yesterday.

Europe must not lose Greece says EIB president
4th March 2012 AFP
European Investment Bank (EIB) President Werner Hoyer says Europe must not lose Greece, in an interview with a
Greek newspaper on Sunday.
"If we lose Greece, we will take European integration back by several decades. We cannot and must not lose them
(Greece)," the newly appointed EIB president told Kathimerini newspaper.
"At these difficult times for the Greek people, I want to believe that the aid package approved this week marks better
days for the future," Hoyer added.
Hoyer suggested that exploitation of natural resources in a sustainable way could contribute to enhancing growth
and creating jobs.
Athens is finalizing a second rescue package worth 237 billion euros ($310 billion) with the European Union, the
International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and private creditors.
The release of funds by eurozone countries is just waiting for the results of an offer to private investors to write
down their holdings of Greek government debt next week.

CoS rules against power cut if property tax is not paid
3rd March 2012 ekathimerini
Electricity supply cannot be cut anymore to users who have not paid for the special property tax through the
electricity bill, as the Council of State ruled late on Friday that the measure violates the Greek Constitution.
In its ruling the CoS, whose plenary convened behind closed doors on Friday, said that the imposition of the
emergency tax through the power bills is constitutional and legal provided it is not a permanent tax, as it has been
imposed for just two years: 2011 and 2012.
However, cutting the electricity supply cannot be justified and runs against the country's constitution, the plenary of
the CoS ruled.
It followed a recourse to the country's top constitutional court by a number of lawyer associations who had asked
whether imposing the tax and threatening to cut the power supply contravened the Constitution.
The CoS reserved the right to examine the case again should the government render the tax permanent.

Eight firms bid for Greek oil exploration
2nd March 2012 Reuters
Greece has received expression of interest from eight firms to conduct seismic and geological research for oil, as it
seeks to evaluate possible discoveries in its western seas, the energy ministry said on Friday.

The energy ministry identified the bidders as US's ION Geophysical, Norway's TGS-NOPEC, Dolphin Geophysical and
Petroleum Geo-Services, France's CGG Veritas, Spec Partners, Spectrum Geo Ltd and Fugro Multiclient Services.

The firms are interested in conducting research for oil in the Ionian Sea and the sea area south of the island of Crete.

Athens spends between 10 and 12 billion euros a year on oil imports, about 5 percent of its gross domestic product,
and wants to start the first test drilling for oil by the end of the year. [

Police seeking 3 more in connection with cyber attacks
2nd March 2012 ekathimerini
Two more teenagers appear to have been involved in a spate of cyber attacks against the websites of the Greek
Justice Ministry, banks Proton, Piraeus and National, as well as the Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA) over
the past three months.
After the arrest last month of three high school students believed to be members of Greek Hacking Scene (GHS),
which claimed the attacks, electronic crime investigators on Friday said they are closing in on three more suspects,
two of whom are high school students, believed to be members of the same group.

Tax statements to be submitted later
1st March 2012 ekathimerini
The Finance Ministry is planning to postpone the submission of income statements by taxpayers, with sources
suggesting it may announce its decision on Wednesday.

That is because of the lack of the appropriate forms and the delay in the issue of the guidelines booklet.

The plan is for all 5.5 million taxpayers to submit their statements at the same time, probably in May and June,
regardless of whether they are salary workers, pensioners, freelancers or farmers.

This is set to cause serious problems in the execution of the 2012 budget.

Greek PM says has given up salary
1st March 2012 ekathimerini
Lucas Papademos, the head of Greece's coalition government, has given up his salary, foreign media quoted him as
saying on Thursday.
Speaking to German journalists following a meeting with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in
Brussels on Wednesday, Papademos said he gave up his salary as soon as he took over as provisional prime minister
more than three months ago.
Many Greeks have been badly hit by austerity measures demanded by the debt-wracked nation's foreign lenders. The
unemployment rate hovers over 20 percent.
Greek President Karolos Papoulias gave up his own salary last month in a “symbolic act of solidarity” with ordinary

Lower minimum wage from March 1st
28th February 2012 ekathimerini
A minimum  wage cut, set to be voted through the Greek parliament this week, will take effect on March 1, the labour
minister said. But Yiorgos Koutroumanis said businesses were not being forced to slash their employees’ pay. “The
reduction is a right but not an obligation for employers,” the minister said. Under the proposed changes, the minimum
monthly wage will be reduced by 22 percent from 751 to 580 euros (gross, before tax), with workers under the age of
25 suffering a 32 percent reduction to 510 euros (gross, before tax).

Ferries tied up, schools closed due to weather
28 February 2012 ekathimerini
Heavy snowfall and strong winds continued on Tuesday morning, causing disruptions to ferry and train services, and
closing down schools in many parts of the country, including in Attica.
Ships remained tied up at the ports of Piraeus, Lavrio and Rafina because of gale-force winds on Tuesday, while the
Panorama ferry, caught in winds with 65 passengers on board on its way back to Piraeus from Marmari in Evia on
Monday evening had to find shelter in a cove near Marmari and finally made its way to Piraeus shortly after 3 a.m. on
In Attica, snowfall in the northern suburbs closed schools in Palaia and Nea Pendeli, as well as in Melissia, while traffic
police warned that snow chains were needed on Parnitha Avenue and ice caused disruption in parts of the northern
suburbs. Light snowfall was also reported in downtown Athens in the early hours.
The cold weather -- with more snow and strong winds -- is expected to persist throughout the country until
Wednesday, when temperatures are forecast too begin rising again to reach seasonal level by the end of the week.

Incendiary device found on Athens metro, police ask for help
27 February 2012 ekathimerini
Police have appealed for passengers who used the Athens metro on Saturday afternoon to contact them if they saw
something suspicious after revealing that someone left an incendiary device one a train.
The homemade device had been activated to explode but did not go off. It was placed in a green bag and left on the
train that travelled between Ethniki Amyna and Egaleo stations at about 5 p.m.
The device was found at 5.18 p.m. on a seat at Egaleo – the last station on Line 3 – by the driver, who checked the
carriages at the end of the journey.
Police are not sure whether the device was intended to go off while the carriage was carrying people or during the 10
minute wait before it headed in the other direction, towards Athens International Airport.

Legalisation deadline extended
26 February 2012 ekathimerini
THE ENVIRONMENT ministry announced that it will extend the deadline to legalise buildings erected without planning
permission until June 30, through a rider attached to an emergency bill on reducing pensions. The deadline for
submitting supporting documentation for applications will also be extended to September 30. Ministry data show that
the total expected revenue from illegal structures that have already been declared will exceed 1.6bn euros, while that
received so far in fines and fees is around 312m euros.
 How to legalise a building structure under this law.

The Rambo priest of Faistos
24 February 2012 Apokoronas News
In the village Voriza of the Faistos Municipality, a 23-year-old boy, the fiancé of the 15-year-old daughter of the village
priest, decided to “elope“with the underage girl. The mother of the girl learnt of the plan and reported it to the girl’s
father, the priest. He,  utterly infuriated, took his assault rifle and riddled the boy’s family house with bullets. From the
field investigation 12 cartridges were found around the place. The 39-year-old priest is now wanted.

This is not the first time the 39-year- old clergyman has upset the whole community by deciding to act like Rambo -  in
2010 the priest and his brother had grabbed, at gunpoint, a terrified 52-year-old businessman from a local cafeneion.
The case had then become a main issue for the Municipal Council of Mires and finally made it to court. The priest had
only been prosecuted for committing a felony and was released under restrictive orders back then. The Church had
called a meeting to investigate the cas,.but did not defrock him since no one was hurt. Some people in the village find
the behaviour of the priest totally unacceptable and inconsistent with the vocation of priesthood.

Victoria Hislop Presents her Νew Novel in Agios Nikolas, Crete
22 February 2012
British novelist Victoria Hislop presented her third and eagerly awaited historic novel “The Thread” on Tuesday at
Agios Nikolas in the Lasithi Prefecture, Crete.

The new novel describes the most important historical moments of modern Greece from 1917 until 1978 through a
love story unfolding in Thessaloniki.

The Mayor of Agios Nikolas, Dimitris Kounenakis, honored the British writer with the book of Agios Nikolas town and
noted that it would be a blessing if more people would be inspired by Greece in the same way as Hislop is.

Moreover, Mr. Kounekakis thanked Hislop for being a precious “passport” for the Greeks going through exceptionally
harsh times, by showing the world that Greece has more to offer than just the current negative aspects presented in
the media.

Furor over MP who took 1 mln euros out of country
22 February 2012 ekathimerini
The revelation to a parliamentary committee, by the head of the country’s anti money-laundering agency, that an
unidentified MP removed one million euros in savings out of the country fueled a political storm on Wednesday.

According the agency head, Panagiotis Nikoloudis, the lawmaker removed the cash from the country in May even as
authorities were appealing to Greek citizens not to panic and empty their bank accounts. The MP is said to have
transferred the money abroad legally but a moral question remained, Nikoloudis said.

The topic prompted heated debate in Parliament with several legislators insisting that the MP step up and admit to
his or her action, noting that it was unfair for all legislators to be tarred with the same brush. Justice Minister Miltiades
Papaioannou was among those who called on the MP to speak out. Prominent PASOK official Chistos Protopappas
condemned the move by the unidentified MP as “unacceptable, showing a lack of responsibility and patriotism” at a
difficult time for the Greek government and people.

Parties respond to debt deal with mix of relief, concern and outrage
21 February 2012 ekathimerini
The leaders of the two main parties in the coalition government welcomed the agreement as “of historic significance.”
Conservative New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras, whose party is leading in the polls, said the deal safeguarded
the country’s solvency and future in Europe while also paving the way for early elections, expected in April.  Socialist
PASOK chief and former Premier George Papandreou said the deal has “vindicated” the efforts of Greek authorities.
“The road now opens for the creation of all the necessary conditions for a new growth effort which the country needs
so badly,” Papandreou said.

Greek Communist Party (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga condemned the agreement as bringing the “orderly default of the
country and the disorderly default of society,” adding that it was nothing more than a temporary solution for Greece.

The right-wing Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party, which left the unity government earlier this month, dismissed the
deal as ineffective, with party leader Giorgos Karatzaferis remarking, “We have been internationally humiliated and
we will not be able to return to the markets until 2020.”

Alexis Tsipras, head of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), said “it is clear that this agreement exclusively
concerns and binds those who signed it,” adding that “it is not signed by the Greek people. It is signed by a
government acting in its name that has no legitimacy.”

Fotis Kouvelis, leader of the Democratic Left, said the deal ignored the country’s growth prospects, expressing fears
that new austerity measures would be demanded before long.

Dora Bakoyannis, the former conservative foreign minister who heads the centrist Democratic Alliance, was one more
upbeat. “Europe, though belatedly, did its duty yesterday,” she said.

Construction Workers Discover Magnificent Cave in Crete
18 February 2012
Workers placing new biological treatment pipes in the village Fodele of the Municipality of Malevizio, Crete, came
across a magnificent cave of stalagmites and stalactites on February 14.

The responsible Ephorate of Antiquities was informed of the discovery although no ancient items have been revealed
so far. Archaeologists of the Ephorate scanned the field on February 16 to decide whether the cave covers all security
measures in order to be included in the sites of the traditional village.

At the same time, for the protection of the passersby, a guard was placed outside the cave to prevent curious people
or small children from entering the cave.

According to local Patris daily, the cave has already fuelled the locals’ imagination with lost treasures hidden inside of
it. A group of teenagers has attacked the guard and the president of the community, while they attempted to enter
the cave in spite of the security instructions and warnings.

More than 40 MPs ousted as Greece approves EU-IMF deal
13th February 2012 ekathimerini
Greece’s Parliament approved in the early hours of Monday the country’s new loan agreement with the European
Union and the International Monetary Fund despite more than 40 PASOK and New Democracy MPs voting against the
terms of the deal.

Out of 300 lawmakers, 278 cast their ballot following several hours of intense debate. Of those, 199 voted ‘yes’ in
principle, while 74 voted ‘no’ and five voted ‘present’. The rest did not vote.

Twenty two PASOK MPs and 21 New Democracy deputies voted against the bill. In both cases, thoe lawmakers were
expelled from their parties.

Former Transport Minister Makis Voridis and Deputy Mercant Marine Minister Adonis Georgiadis went against the line
of their party, Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS), by voting for the bill. Both were expelled.

It was the first time in Greek parliamentary history that so many lawmakers were ousted from their parties on the
same night.

The debate was overshadowed by an outbreak of rioting in central Athens that led to several buildings being set on
fire and a number of shops being looted.

"Vandalism and destruction have no place in a democracy and will not be tolerated,» Papademos told Parliament.

More than 50 protesters and some 40 policemen were injured in the clashes, which disrupted a peaceful protest
attended by tens of thousands of people.

Greek unions protest against new austerity
10 February 2012  WJS
Greece's major unions launched a 48-hour nationwide strike Friday to protest new austerity measures demanded by
the country's creditors, adding to social tension in a country now in its fifth year of economic recession.

The general strike comes a day after an agreement was reached by the political parties supporting Prime Minister
George Papademos' caretaker government on more than €3 billion ($3.99 billion) in additional cuts to the 2012

The package of cuts will be put before the government cabinet for approval on Friday and will go before parliament for
a crucial vote in a few days.
Read the full article

Greek unemployment passes 20%, with 48% for youth
9th February 2012 ekathimerini
Greece's jobless rate rose to a fresh record of 20.9 percent in November 2011 from 18.2 percent in October, statistics
service ELSTAT said on Thursday, as the debt crisis and austerity measures took their toll on the labour market.
This rise takes the number of unemployed in Greece to 1,029,587 people. It also represents an increase of 7
percentage points since November 2010, when unemployment was at 13.9 percent.
The number of employed fell by 9.4 percent (405,786 people) year on year and by 4 percent (164,506 people) month
on month.
The unemployment rate for people under the age of 25 reached 48 percent in November 2011.
Greek unemployment figures are not adjusted for seasonal factors.

Over a quarter live below the poverty line in Greece
8th February 2012
27.7 percent of Greek citizens were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, a report by Eurostat showed on Wednesday.
The report, published here by the European Union’s statistics agency, showed that Greece ranks seventh, in poverty
levels, among the EU-27 member states.
The “at risk of poverty” indicator identifies all those (households or people) who fall below a certain income threshold,
which in the EU has been set at 60 percent of the median income.
Romania and Bulgaria (41 percent each), Latvia (38 percent), Lithuania (33 percent), Hungary (30 percent), Poland
(27.8 percent) and Greece (27.7 percent) recorded the highest poverty rates in the EU-27.
More analytically, in Greece, the percentage of children up to 17 years old living in poverty was 28.7 percent, in the 18-
64 age group the poverty rate was 27.7 percent and in the 65-plus age group the poverty rate was 26.7 percent.
In the EU-27, these rates were 27 percent, 23.3 percent and 19.8 percent, respectively. (AMNA/ Athens News)

British woman drowns in Symi
7th February 2012 AMNA / Athens News
A 40-year-old British woman, a resident of the island of Symi, Aegean Sea, was swept away by torrential waters and
drowned late Monday.
The woman, in an attempt to save her motorbike which had been swept away, was trapped in the torrent and
The woman's body was found two hours later following a rescue operation. A toddler that was with the woman was

Roadside bodies believed to be migrants
7 February 2012
Police have found the bodies of three men believed to be Afghan migrants dumped by the side of a motorway in
western Greece.
A state coroner said the men appeared to have suffocated, leading police to believe the men died while being
transported in a lorry carrying cottonseed.
Police said the bodies of the men were wrapped in blankets, suggesting others had attempted to handle the bodies
in accordance with Islamic practice. The bodies were discovered and reported to police by a passing motorist near the
northwestern town of Parga. (Athens News/AMNA)

Antiquities smuggling arrest on Crete
6 Feb 2012 AMNA Athens News
A 48-year-old man was arrested on Monday in Crete, charged with antiquities smuggling and drug possession.
A raid of his house revealed two ancient clay pots, parts from amphorae and other antiquities as well as a small
quantity of cannabis.
The suspect was sent before a local prosecutor

Smith & Nephew charged for bribing Greek doctors
6th February 2012 ekathimerini
The US Securities and Exchange Commission charged medical devices company Smith & Nephew for bribing Greek
public doctors over more than a decade, the Wall Street Journal’s Marketwatch reported on Monday.
Smith & Nephew will pay more than $22 million (16.7 million euros) as part of a deal with the SEC and US Department
of Justice.
The complaint alleges that Smith & Nephew subsidiaries used a distributor that created a slush fund to forward
payments to doctors working at public hospitals in Greece to win contracts.

Fiscal news may bolster tourism
4 February 2012 ekathimerini
The president of the Panhellenic Hoteliers Federation, Yiannis Retsos, said recently that once the debt swap and the
new bailout package are confirmed for Greece, the country’s tourism could find itself back on a northbound course.
Retsos told Kathimerini that bookings from abroad for 2012 are currently seriously lagging, but “when the PSI and
bailout processes are successfully concluded, we shall see what the markets’ reaction will be and whether there is an
actual lag.”
While conceding that the bookings picture is also affected by conditions in other European economies, the head of
Greece’s hoteliers suggested that a more accurate estimate on the course of the country’s tourism this year cannot
be made before early March.
“Anyway, this is set to be the year that is the hardest to predict,” he added.

Households spared feared tax hike
2nd February 2, 2012 Athens News
The deputy finance minister says tax values on property will not be raised this year, sparing struggling homeowners a
hike in emergency taxes.
Pantelis Oikonomou told parliament that the ministry had no intention of raising or adjusting officially listed property
values, in a move that follows protests by property developers and owners associations as well as a drop in
commercial property prices.
The government is already struggling to cope with problems created by the new tax that has been added to
electricity bills after officials conceded tax authorities were unable to deal with the logistics of the latest levy.
Officials at the Public Power Corporation, DEI, explained today that homes been mistakenly disconnected this week at
a village in northern Greece because private crew, contracted by the company, had not been given proper instructions.
DEI has promised to suspend disconnection in areas affected by the cold snap.

Made in Greece
2nd February 2012 Athens News
Greek-made electric cars with the ability to drive 100km on battery power and costing between 5-6,000 euros are
expected to roll of the assembly line of a new factory that will open in 2013 in Ptolemaida. The initial phase of the
project will be financed by Public Power Corporation (DEI), while private investors will provide funds for the completion
of the project.

Snowfall in Athens; subzero temperatures up north
1 February 2012 Athens News - AMNA
The cold front that has hit the country continued on Wednesday, with heavy snowfall and frost in most parts of the
Snow fell in the morning in central Athens and the northern suburbs of the city were covered in white blanket.
The weather will worsen in the afternoon with heavier snowfall expected, even in the southern parts of the country.
Subzero temperatures prevailed in northern part of the country.
Snow chains are mandatory not only in the mountainous area but also in areas of lower altitude.
However, the gusty northerly winds have subsided and shipping services are running normally.
According to National Meteorological Service (EMY), the snow front will abate on Thursday, with rainfall replacing the
snowfall in most parts of the country and with a small increase in temperatures.

Third Crete and Santorini quake in as many days
28 January 2012 ekathimerini
Yet another earthquake struck the area between Santorini and Crete in the early hours of Saturday, measuring 4.5
degrees on the Richter scale, according to the Athens Institute of Geodynamics.

This was the third tremor at the same spot in as many days, causing justified concern among citizens on both islands
in southern Greece.

There was no damage or injuries reported.

On Thursday there was a 5.3 R quake followed by a 5.2 R tremor on Friday.

Seismologists, however, say they are not worried by the seismic sequence as they suggest that it serves to defuse
the energy stored some 30 kilometers from the surface, where the center of the quake was.

Santorini citizens even expressed worries about a possible awakening of the island’s volcano, but Greek experts
answered that although there has been some irregular behavior by the volcano, there are absolutely no signs linking
it with the week’s tremors.

Cold weather, strong winds over weekend
28 January 2012 ekathimerini
The chilly weather of the past few days will last through the weekend as temperatures will dip to freezing, according
to the National Meteorological Service (EMY).

Those in northern and western parts of the country will bear the brunt of the bad weather, in what is expected to be
the coldest week this year, with temperatures droppin below 0 Celsius in many parts of the country, even in the

Gale-force winds, of up to 8 Beaufort in the Aegean on Sunday, could cancel ship sailings.

Hotel industry is worried by low booking rate
28 January 2012 ekathimerini
Provisional data and early estimates about the course of the tourism season in 2012 give good cause for some
Hotel market sources have noted a decline in the booking rate for this year, a trend they attribute at this stage to the
anticipation of developments regarding Greece’s economy.
Additional turbulence has been created in the travel market by cuts from at least 15 foreign airlines in direct flights to
the Athens International Airport. In their majority these fights concern scheduled services and are planned for the
summer season. On the other hand, at least seven foreign airlines have decided to increase their flights to the
country’s main terminal this season.
At any rate it may be too early for drawing any concrete conclusions for the 2012 season, but the industry is worried
and pegging its hopes on last-minute bookings so as to maintain the positive momentum from last year.

The job interview rapist
28 January 2012 Athens News - AMNA
A 46-year-old jailbreaker was arrested in the Athens district of Votanikos on Friday for raping women whom he
attracted with announcements supposedly offering employment.

According to police, the man posted announcements in streets in Athens with which he offered employment. He
secured telephone contact with women seeking employment and then arranged a meeting with them. During the
meetings he persuaded the women to board a truck that he then drove to a remote area in the region of
Skaramangas and, threatening them with a knife, eventually raped them. Two such cases have been recorded over
the past 10 days.

The jailbreaker had been at large since April 2011 when he violated a 10-day regular leave from the Malandrinos
prison, where he was serving a 25-year sentence for attempted homicide, thefts, frauds, cheques and other offences.

Jail term set for animal cruelty
26 January 2012 Athens News
Parliament has approved legislation that would see cruelty to animals punished by imprisonment of up to a year and
fines of up to €15,000.

The bill, set to be voted in its final form next week, would also ban the use of animals for public entertainment,
including circuses. Animal welfare groups have broadly approved the changes in the bill, but pointed to the legislation
chaotic passage through parliament,

Some key articles of the bill have been rewritten at least five times.

Farmers take the streets
22 January 2012 Athens News
Farmers take the streets again from Monday, organising mobilisations throughout the country, which will culminate in
a rally in Thessaloniki on February 4 on the ocassion of the 24th International Fair of Agricultural Machinery,
Equipment and Supplies «Agrotica», which begins on February 1.

Farmers are reacting to taxes recently imposed on them and demand that relevant organisations are enabled to
reimburse them for up to 100% of their crops losses.

On Monday, farmers will hold protest rallies across the country. They call on all unemployed, pensioners and workers
to participate in the protest marches planned at PPC branches in every city on January 25.

On January 27, farmers will hold mass mobilisations in district offices, as well as offices of their pension funds and
branches of the country's Agricultural Bank.

Winter pause on lights-off threat
19 January 2012 Athens News
The state-run electricity company DEI says it will again suspend disconnections due to bad weather, in a move that
will come as a relief to consumers who have fallen behind on paying their bills and emergency property tax.
Company spokesman Kimon Stergiou said disconnection resumed last week, affecting businesses and not
households, after an 80-day pause but, that the process had been stopped again due to plunging temperatures in
most parts of Greece.
The government has admitted it is effectively unable to raise additional revenue through its troubled tax system and
slapped emergency property taxed last autumn onto electricity bill, with the threat of disconnection to those who do
not pay.
Stergiou said tax authorities had approved 25,000 applications to be made exempt from the property tax and were
reviewing another 20,000 applications.
Households this month began receiving the second instalment of the 2011 emergency tax on their bills, with the
taxes his year set to increase and be divided up into a higher number of instalments.

Five arrests made in Crete over tax evasion
19 January 2012 ekathimerini
Five people have been arrested in Hania, Crete, for allegedly owing a combined total of some 6 million euros in taxes,
authorities said on Thursday.
The head of the financial crimes squad (SDOE) in Crete, Stelios Lantzourakis, said that more arrests could be
imminent and suggested that those who owe money to the state ought to come forward.
He said SDOE has a list of 15 suspects in Hania alone, with some people owing as much as 2.5 million euros.
A 35-year-old woman was also arrested in Halkidiki in northern Greece on Thursday on suspicion of large debts to the
The woman had owned a clothing company until 2010.

19 January 2012 Athens News
Police in Thessaloniki say they have smashed a multimillion-euro moneylending ring, involving prominent personalities
and officials from the northern city. Up to 53 people are implicated in the loan shark ring, including company owners, a
tax official, hopeful politicians, a journalist, bank managers, soccer players, lawyers and policemen. All were lead
before the courts this morning and were charged with a variety of offences, including extortion, moneylending and
Police say the ring operated for up to 15 years and the proceeds were lodged in Swiss bank accounts.  
It is understood that a suicide note left by a restaurateur who took his own life in June alerted police to the

Three die in freezing weather
15 January 2012 Athens news
Α Man drowned in a town near the Cretan city of Irakleio on January 12 after his car was swept away by an
overflowing river due to torrential rain and strong winds. A rescue team rushed to the area and found the car but only
later discovered the body after a thorough search.
On December 10 a 63-year-old homeless man died in hospital, also on Crete, apparently freezing to death after
torrential rainfall. Authorities were alerted after a bystander checked on the man in the centre of Chania, where he
was camped out near the city’s municipal Christmas tree. A few days earlier, a 36-year-old mountaineer from Kilkis
was found dead in a gorge after being reported missing on the steep slopes of Mt Beles. The man, found by a hunter
at an altitude of 1,600 metres, was part of an 11-member group and is believed to have died from hypothermia.

Guards agree to open sites and museums on weekends
13 January 2012 ekathimerini
Guards at museums and archaeological sites have decided to suspend their weekend strikes over unpaid wages.
State-run museums and famous sites like the Acropolis had remained shut on weekends due to the protests.
Guards are demanding that the government pass a law ensuring that – in contrast to other civil servants – they are
paid for working on weekends and public holidays.
The Finance Ministry has attached an amendment to a bill that has been submitted to Parliament that will make sure
that the guards receive the appropriate payment.

Cold weather hampers road, sea travel
11 January 2012 ekathimerini
Low temperatures, snow and gale force winds swept across several parts of Greece on Wednesday. In Attica
snowfall in northern suburbs prompted authorities to advise motorists to use snow chains on Dionysou avenue in
Dionysos, parts of Penteli and Parnitha, while sleet was observed in areas such as Kiffisia.
Strong winds reaching 9 Beaufort at sea forced ferries in the ports of Piraeus, Rafina and Lavrio to cancel scheduled
According to the Hellenic National Meteorological Service (HNMS) weather conditions are expected to improve by
Thursday and temperatures to rise by Friday.

Man caught carrying four kilos heroin
10 January 2012 AMNA
Drug squad officers on Tuesday arrested a 26-year-old man, who was caught transporting nearly four kilos of heroin
from Chania to Iraklion on the island of Crete in a suitcase.
The man had boarded an inter-city bus and got off in the region of Talos where drug squad officers were waiting for
him, acting on a tip-off. In his luggage they found 3,855 grams of heroin, one of the largest quantities ever
confiscated on the island.
The suspect refused to give police the code to unlock the suitcase and his mobile phone, claiming that they were not
his, and refused all cooperation with the authorities. He has no previous criminal record but police are convinced that
he is an important link in the drug-trafficking network on Crete.
The estimate street price of the heroin confiscated is nearly 100,000 euro.

Chania Heist
10 January 2012 Athens News
Unknown robbers broke into a jewelry shop in the Cretan city of Chania early on Tuesday and stole jewelry, watches
and other valuables.
The burglars used a crowbar to break the safety bars, smashed the window and grabbed valuables worth
approximately 50,000 euros.  Police are investigating the case.

Primary school teacher faces sex-offense charge after Internet probe
10 January 2012 Athens News
Police on the island of Crete say a 22-year-old woman is facing charges of seducing minors, after offering teenage
boys help with their homework on the Internet.
The primary school teacher is facing the charges after police interviewed boys she allegedly seduced and seized her
computer and memory storage equipment from her home.
The police's Electronic Crime Division assisted the investigation, launched following complaints from parents who
became suspicious of their children's behaviour. A statement from the division said it has recovered Internet chat
messages, allegedly between the teacher and the schoolboys that included "obscene and objectionable content".

Robbers raid National Gallery
9 January 2012 ekathimerini
Unidentified robbers stole several paintings from the National Gallery in Athens early on Monday including an early
work by Pablo Picasso entitled 'Head of a Woman,' according to the Athens News Agency.
According to Skai, another painting removed from the gallery was a work by the Dutch painter Piet Mondrian. The
robbers are believed to have taken a total of four works of art from the premises.
It remained unclear how the intruders, who remained at large early Monday, gained access to the gallery as there
was no sign of a forced entry, according to police.
Officers believe the robbers may have used a side entrance or window to access the premises. They were examining
fingerprints found on a window sill close to the gallery's side entrance.
The gallery features mostly 19th and 20th century Greek paintings and some choice European works. The Picasso
painting is believed to have been a gift to the museum.

Greek police rescue 11 migrants from swollen river
8 January 2012
Greek authorities say they have rescued 11 immigrants stranded in the middle of a flood-swollen river after they tried
to illegally enter Greece from Turkey.
A police statement Monday said the 11 Algerian men were taken to a hospital where one was treated for
Police said the immigrants tried to cross the Evros River in two inflatable dinghies, which were swept away by
floodwaters and caught on a sandbar on Sunday afternoon. They called for help and were rescued two hours later.

Business reacts to Crete suicide
5 January 2012 ekathimerini
Business leaders on Crete are considering setting up a special counseling unit to assist local entrepreneurs following
the suicide of a local olive oil exporter, the latest in a string of such deaths on the island.

At least 20 suicides have been recorded on Crete over the last 12 months, several of which involved local
businessmen who had run into financial difficulties. The latest Cretan to commit suicide was a 66-year-old olive oil
exporter who shot himself with a hunting rifle. Authorities suspect his mounting debts caused him to take his own life.

“We are prepared to work with the local doctors’ association to create a structure that could offer psychological
support to local businessmen who are going through difficulties,” the head of the Hania Chamber of Commerce,
Yiannis Margaronis, told Kathimerini.

Greece saw a rise in suicides last year. Official statistics are not yet available but police recorded 511 suicides in 2011,
compared to an average of about 400 for previous years. Nongovernmental organization Klimaka said that the
number of calls to its helpline doubled to some 5,000 last year

Greek wages on the line
PM tells unions changes to salaries, minimum rate needed as part of bailout deal
5 January 2012 ekathimerini
Greece might have to reduce its minimum wage and private sector workers could have to accept severe salary cuts as
part of the reforms needed to secure funding without which the country is likely to go bankrupt by March, Prime
Minister Lucas Papademos told union leaders Wednesday.

For the first time since the economic crisis began, the issue of both the minimum wage and private sector salaries
were laid on the negotiating table. So far, unions have sought to protect changes to both, although in reality
thousands of private sector workers have seen their wages reduced over the last two years.
Article continues -

Elections in April, no reshuffle, says gov't spokesman
3 January 2012 ekathimerini
Government spokesman Pantelis Kapsis has ruled out the possibility of interim prime minister Lucas Papademos
carrying out a reshuffle at the moment and suggested that elections would probably be held in April.

Speaking to Skai TV, Kapsis played down recent rumors that Papademos would shake up his Cabinet in a bid to
create better cooperation between the three parties involved in the coalition. He also said it would be “dangerous” to
hold elections now.

“What is important at the moment is to support the government and for all three parties involved to set aside their
differences,” he said.

Holy robbery in Cretan monastery
3 January AMNA/Athens News
Burglars broke into a monastery in Irakleio, Crete, and stole votive offerings (or tamata) valued at some 300,000
euros, police said on Tuesday.
The robbery is believed to have taken place on New Year's Eve, when the monks were attending a fundraising event
in support of the nursing home they run.
The perpetrators broke through the Agia Irini Chrysovalantou monastery's main entrance and rushed to the abbot's
cell on the third floor, where the icon of the monastery's patron saint was kept.