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|Living in Crete
Crete & Greece
May to August 2012
Greek deposits in Switzerland to be taxed
30 August 2012 Athens News
An agreement between the government and the Swiss authorities regarding the taxation of hidden Swiss
accounts owned by Greeks is near completion, with the finance ministry hoping to draw in 4-6 billion euros
through the measure, To Vima has reported.
The contract between the two countries would be similar to agreements that Switzerland has signed with
Germany, the United Kingdom, and other governments, according to German news magazine Der Spiegel.
According to sources, Deputy Finance Minister George Mavraganis will meet Swiss counterparts on Monday to
finalise the agreement. Der Spiegel cites that 20bn euros of undeclared Greek money is being held in Swiss
According to the agreement, this money would be taxed at 20-30 percent, brining in 4 to 6bn euros to the
The agreement was not signed by either the Papadimos or Pikramenos governments, on the grounds that
they did not have the authority to do so before the elections.
A Syriza MP, Dimitris Papadimoulis, claimed that it could have been signed as early as 2005, but was delayed
because many MPs had undeclared Swiss accounts.
28 Aug 2012 Athens News
The silver cup won by Spyros Louis in the marathon race at the 1896 Olympics goes on year-long display on
Tuesday at the Acropolis Museum. Inaugurating the exhibition, the prime minister said that the country will
"overcome all obstacles". "Today Greece is participating in its entirety in a new marathon, a contest that puts
to the test both the endurance and the will of the athlete and that is won with both heart and mind. We shall
win this marathon, we shall overcome all the obstacles and we shall say at the end we have won," Antonis
Fires rage as arson probes intensify
27 Aug 2012 ekathimerini
Firefighters on Monday were struggling to contain several blazes across the country -- in Thessaloniki,
Halkidiki, Arcadia, Laconia and Messinia -- as authorities continued their search for the suspected arsonists
behind the most catastrophic of a spate of fires in August.
A 24-year-old Greek man who has allegedly admitted to starting 14 fires in the north of Chios, but not the
massive blaze that raged in the southern part of the Aegean island for nearly a week, was given 24 hours to
prepare his testimony before an investigating magistrate. The suspect, who is the son of a fireman serving a
short-term contract, reportedly admitted to starting several fires in northern Chios this summer and last year
in anger at not being hired by the firefighting service.
The fire in southern Chios, which burned on several fronts for six days in a row last week, destroyed an
estimated 15,000 hectares of forest and arable land, along with hundreds of mastic trees. The island’s
economy relies largely on mastic -- a resin used in cooking, cosmetics and medicines. Police said on Monday
that a probe aimed at identifying the perpetrator behind that blaze was progressing apace.
In a related development, a 60-year-old man was arrested on Zakynthos in connection with a blaze that
started on the Ionian island last Thursday.
Dump threatens turtle nesting site
27 Aug 2012 ekathimerini
Ten environmental organizations on Monday signed a petition for the relocation of an illegal landfill on the
island of Zakynthos that poses an imminent threat to a nesting site of the Caretta caretta loggerhead turtle,
according to Skai.
The dump on Lagana beach on the Ionian island of Zakynthos has been operating illegally for the past seven
years after reaching full capacity, with local authorities failing to provide an alternative site for the disposal of
The sandy stretch of Laganas is part of the protected Zakynthos National Marine Park and is a key a nesting
ground for the loggerhead sea turtle, which is a threatened species that is endemic in that part of Greece.
Zakynthos is estimated to host over 3,000 nests a year. The peak of the nesting season is June and July, with
hatchlings beginning to emerge around two months later.
Environmental protection groups say the garbage at the Laganas landfill creates obstacles to nesting and
baby turtles while toxins released from dozens of tons of putrefying garbage also pose a direct threat to the
Operation Xenios Zeus in figures
25 Aug 2012 ekathimerini
A total of 654 migrants were temporarily detained by police in central Athens on Friday, taking to 11,949 the
total number of immigrants stopped and questioned by officers since earlier this month, when the “Xenios
Zeus” operation aimed at tackling illegal immigration began.
Of the 11,949 detained in the ongoing crackdown, 2,020 were found to lack documents entitling them to legal
residence in the country and have either been deported or are awaiting repatriation while being held in
Six arrests as prostitution racket smashed in Hania
24 August 2012 ekathimerini
Police in Hania, Crete, on Friday raided a cafe-bar that was being used a front for a prostitution racket.
Authorities arrested a 25-year-old local woman on charges of procurement, as well as six Romanian women
aged between 20 and 27 on charges ranging from illegal prostitution to robbery.
The 39-year-old owner of the establishment was being sought by authorities.
Five-day heat wave expected in Greece from Thursday
21 Aug 2012 ekathimerini
A new heat wave is expected to hit Greece from Thursday, with temperatures rising to 40 Celsius.
The hot spell is forecast to last for five days, according to the National Meteorological Service (EMY). In Athens,
temperatures will reach a high of 40 Celsius, while in Crete they will climb to 36 Celsius.
Fires in Crete
cretalive.gr 20 Aug 2012
Fire broke out shortly before 02.00 in the morning, in Marethiana, Kissamos. 7 fire trucks with 16 men
attended the blaze, while in the morning reinforcements arrived from Heraklion. The flames burned forest and
grassland, but did not threaten residential areas.
Fires in Agios Nikolaos, Smari and Chamezi
380 acres of grassland were burned by the fire that broke out on Sunday morning in Smari, which was
brought under control in the afternoon of the same day.
A fire in Karidi, Agios Nikolaos was brought under partial control at 06.20 in the morning. 9 fire engines with 18
men remained at the scene.
A small fire broke out at night in Chamezi, Sitia. The fire has been brought under partial control and has
burned 7 acres.
Chios fire burning for a fourth day, mastic trees damaged
21 Aug 2012 ekathimerini
Wildfires were burning on Chios for a fourth day on Tuesday as authorities attempt to assess the damage
done to the island’s mastic production.
“Effectively, half the island has been burned,” the island’s deputy prefect, Constantinos Ganiaris, told Skai TV.
Nearly 13,000 hectares of arable land and forested areas, including hundreds of valuable mastic trees, have
been razed by the wildfires.
Authorities are trying to assess the damage on the eastern Aegean island from a blaze that began in the early
hours of Saturday, possibly by an arsonist, and continued to threaten villages and crops Monday.
The European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) estimates that the fire has consumed a total of 12,740
hectares so far, dealing a massive blow not just to the island’s agricultural economy, but also to the world
supply of Chios mastic, a resin used in a variety of food and cosmetic products which has protected
designation of origin status.
Chios produces between 20-25 percent of the world’s mastic crop, mainly around the village of Pyrgi, which
was badly hit by the blaze.
Slight rise in registered unemployed in July
21 Aug 2012 ekathimerini
The number of people in Greece registered as unemployed rose by 1.59 percent between June and July,
according to the latest statistics from the Manpower Organization (OAED).
A total of 794,924 people were registered as jobless in July. The majority, 58.5 percent, are women. The
highest rate of unemployment is in the 30-54 age group, which accounts for 63.4 percent of the total jobless.
Just over 18 percent of those without jobs have university degrees.
21 Aug 2012 Athens News
The new package of cutbacks worth 11.5bn euros will be finalised and announced shortly before the arrival of
IMF troika representatives in Athens in September, the finance minister said on Monday. Yannis Stournaras’
comments came after a meeting with the prime minister and his economic team. Stournaras did not comment
on the prospect of the labour reserve measure being applied utilities and companies in the wider public sector.
Some parts of the media, however, are reporting that the cuts may amount to 13.5bn, to cover for the
anticipated shortfall in tax and social security revenue.
33-year-old arrested over Sitia blast
20 Aug 2012 ekathimerini
A 33-year-old man was arrested on Crete Monday on suspicion of placing an incendiary device in the yard of a
house in the village of Skopi in Sitia.
Some damage was caused to the property when the device went off but nobody was injured.
Police did not reveal what the alleged motives behind the attack were.
20 Aug 2012 Athens News
Police on Monday arrested two young men on charges linked to an international human trafficking ring.
According to police, the two suspects are leaders of a criminal gang which reportedly "poached" illegal
migrants in downtown Athens, promising transportation to western European countries. The price for each
illegal migrant to be shipped to a west European destination was between 3,000 and 5,000 euros, reports
state. The two suspects were sent before an Athens prosecutor and an indictment has been filed against 15
Migrants call for protection
14 Aug 2012 ekathimerini
Racially motivated attacks against immigrants have intensified in recent months, a prominent member of the
local Pakistani community said Tuesday, alleging that police have failed to respond effectively to protect the
Javied Aslam, who is the president of the Pakistani community in Greece, also accused the police of physically
abusing foreigners during an unprecedented crackdown on clandestine immigrants.
“In the past six months, knife-wielding fascists have attacked some 500 persons with impunity from the
police,” Aslam, who is also chief of Greece’s Migrant Workers’ Association, told Skai Radio Tuesday. “The law
does not apply to them,” said the 43-year-old Aslam.
A 19-year-old man from Iraq was killed in an attack outside a makeshift mosque in central Athens in the early
hours of Sunday by a group of individuals on motorcycles. Police have yet to make a breakthrough in
connection with the fatal stabbing.
The lingering recession and record-high unemployment have helped fan anti-immigrant sentiment here, with
foreigners blamed for soaring crime and for “stealing” jobs from Greeks.
Aslam, who has been in Greece since 1996 and currently works as an interpreter at hospitals, said that
because of the economic meltdown some 15,000 Pakistanis have left Greece since the crisis began.
Immigrants did not come here for a holiday but to find a better future, said Aslam, who also accused police of
mistreating migrants during Operation Xenios Zeus.
Code-named after the ancient Greek god of hospitality, the ongoing campaign has seen more than 7000
foreigners detained and 1,650 immigrants arrested for not having a valid residence permit. Sixty people were
arrested and another 393 were briefly detained Tuesday.
Meanwhile, prompted by complaints of intensifying hate attacks, police in Iraklio, Crete, yesterday began
patrolling the neighborhoods populated by immigrants.
Following a string of assaults against migrants in the area, representatives had met with Iraklio’s prosecutor
and police chief to demand increased security measures
Drugs only for cash to those insured at EOPYY
10th August Proto Thema
The decision of the country's pharmacists not to fill prescriptions from September 1 marks a new round of
discomfort for those insured at the National Health Service Organization (EOPYY).
As decided by the Board of the National Pharmaceutical Association (PFS) on Wednesday afternoon, from
September 1 pharmacists will dispense drugs to the insured only forn cash, protesting the non-payment of
debts to their industry by the insurance fund.
The PFS administration decided to convene a general meeting on Saturday, August 25, concerning the
initiation of systematic protests for the payment of the amounts owed to them by EOPYY.
EOPYY owes pharmacists 207 million euros for the prescriptions of last May, of which 90 million was paid last
Tuesday, August 7, and while the deadline for payment expired on July 15. The deadline for the repayment of
145 million euros for the last June EOPYY prescriptions will expire on August 16.
Meanwhile, pharmacists in Magnesia, Crete and Evia decided to lift the credit for those insured at EOPYY
starting August 16.
The PFS decided to support all the associations that will decide to carry out protests earlier than September.
9th August 2012 Athens News
The primary school teachers’ union federation (DOE) announced a 24-hour strike for Sept. 12, the first day of
the new school year, while a day earlier they will stage two-hour sit-ins at primary education regional
administrative offices nationwide on Wednesday. A DOE statement underlined that the wage cuts make
“young educators live in poverty with monthly wages of 570 euros”.
HEALED SEA TURTLE
8th August 2012 Athens News
A female Caretta-Caretta loggerhead sea turtle that was found seriously injured two months ago in the
Adelianou sea region on the island of Crete, was returned August 9 to her natural environment into the
waters of the Cretan gulf. Volunteers at the Archelon sea turtle protection society, helped the turtle recover
from bite wounds to the neck and flipper and water in the lungs.
Peloponnese: Wildfires injure six and damage forestland
8th August 2012 Athens News
Six people have been injured and several villages evacuated as a fire that began on Tuesday continues to
rage strongly on Wednesday in the Arcadia area of the Peloponnese.
A man and woman were seriously injured while trying to save their property during a raging fire that burned
its way through their village, and four firefighters suffered respiratory problems after battling the flames on
The woman is currently being treated for burns in Tripolis Hispital, while the man, aged 60, has been
transferred to a hospital in Athens and is under care for severe burns.
The villages of Routsi, Voutsara, and Kamaritsa, and Soulari have been evacuated while firefighting efforts
Strong winds have made firefighting efforts especially difficult.
10,000 hectares of forest land and olive trees have been burned.
135 firefighters in 59 vehicles, 56 firefighters on foot, and three aircrafts dropping water are fighting the
flames. (AMNA, EM)
Amnesty slams mass migrant roundups
8th August 2012 Phantis
Human rights group Amnesty International is calling on Greek authorities to stop mass roundups of suspected
illegal immigrants, arguing that police are treating law-abiding foreigners like criminals and subjecting
thousands of detained persons to "degrading and inhumane" conditions.
The London-based group said Wednesday that legitimate asylum seekers were being denied proper
assistance and that police were stopping and detaining suspects based on skin color.
Greek police launched the mass deportation drive — named operation Xenios-Zeus— over the weekend.
Vehicle registrations slump 40.4% in Jan-July 2012
6th August 2012 AMNA via Phantis.com
New vehicle registrations fell by 40.4% in the 7-month period January to July this year, the independent
Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said Monday.
ELSTAT, in a report, said that 50,489 vehicles, both new and used, circulated for the first time in Greece in the
7-month period, posting a decline of 40.4% against the corresponding period in 2011. A decline of 39.9
percent was posted in 2011 against the corresponding 7-month period in 2010.
New registrations of motorcycles (above 50cc) also declined by 31.7 in the same period.
EOPYY Doctors' Appointments Telephone Number change
2 August 2012 KeepTalkingGreece & newsnow.gr
The National Organisation for Healthcare Provision (EOPYY), Greece’s state-owned health insurer which
provides health cover for IKA, OAEE etc., has announced a change to the national appointments phone
number. Patients will need to dial 14884 or 14900 (previously Tel. 184) to make an appointment with the
doctor from Monday August 6th.
Call charges will also increase, from 0.03€ per call at present to 0.99€ per call to 14844 and 1.08€ per call to
14900. Calls from mobiles will cost 1.18€ per minute.
Coalition Agrees further 11.5bn cuts
2 August 2012 Athens News
A tense meeting between coalition leaders ended Wednesday night with Pasok leader Venizelos and
Democratic Left leader Kouvelis agreeing to the 11.5bn cuts demanded by the troika, after strongly resisting
the termsAfter the meeting, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said, “The prime minister recommended that
we should accept the reduction of public spending by 11.5 billion euros as a necessary prerequisite for Greece
remaining in the eurozone and being able to negotiate further. The recommendation was accepted.”
Two arrested for arson in Crete
1 August 2012 AMNA via Athens News
A livestock breeder and undocumented Pakistani national have been arrested on felony charges for deliberate
arson of the major wildfire that broke out Monday in the Viannos area of southern Rethymno in Crete.
The two men were arrested on Tuesday after evidence was discovered by a crew working a water-dropping
helicopter. From the air they spotted a black automobile leaving the spot where a fire had just broken out. The
pilot brought the helicopter to a lower altitude and the crew took the vehicle's details. The license plate was
traced to the livestock breeder by police.
The suspected arsonists will appear before a local prosecutor on Wednesday.
The fire caused massive destruction before being contained late Tuesday. Strong firefighting forces remain in
the area as gusty winds keep rekindling the flames on several fronts.(AMNA)
Crete farmer shoots & injures 2 fire spectators
31 July 2012 AP
Greek police said Monday they are seeking a farmer who allegedly shot and injured two bystanders videoing a
wildfire on the island of Crete after an argument over whether they might be better employed helping to put
out the blaze.
A police statement said the two men were hospitalized with stomach and leg gunshot injuries. A woman with
them was not injured.
Police said the shooting took place in the Viannos area of Crete, on a road near farmland owned by the
suspect who was driving by and stopped to reprimand the three for videoing the area as it burned.
"There was a strong verbal altercation between the suspect and the trio," a police official said, quoting
testimony from the injured men and the woman. "He told them they should join the firefighting effort, and the
argument became heated."
The official, who spoke on customary condition of anonymity, said that the suspect then produced a gun from
his car and shot at the two men, before speeding away.
The wildfire broke out earlier Monday, and forced the evacuation of three villages. Three firefighters were
slightly injured trying to extinguish the blaze.
Record number of drownings in Crete seas this year
23 July 2012 Kritiki Epikaira
A total of 27 people have drowned in Crete seas so far this year, pointing to an increase in the number of
drownings as the record for 2011 was 28 drownings over the whole year.
The numbers are large and tragic ", says Director of the Ambulance Service Crete, Dimitris Vourvachakis, who
adds "Many people think they can tame nature. They see such big waves and yet despite the risks they dive
deep. Both locals and tourists ignore the precautions, despite repeated warnings from experts for swimming
and careful observance of the rules. We should all understand that as keen swimmers, if we do not observe
some basic rules of the sea it is very dangerous".
Flag warnings and lifeguards are situated at all of Crete's major beaches during the summer months. When a
Red Flag is flying, swimming is dangerous.
Fire in Kissamos, Crete
20 July 2012 cretalive & ethnos
A fire around the villages of Vathi and Pappadiania, Kissamos, Chania, remains for a third day, due to its
location in a hillside residential area which is difficult to reach.
The fire started on Wednesday evening, and from early in the morning on Friday a helicopter again made
water drops at points where the ground forces cannot reach. 40 firemen and 16 fire engines vehicles, including
army vehicles, have been fighting the blaze.
Greece's green energy output grows 17 pct in first half
20 July 2012 Bloomberg via ekathimerini
Greece increased electricity generation from renewable energy sources connected to the national grid by 17
percent in the first half, led by solar power.
Power produced by connected power units rose to 2,409 megawatts on June 30 from 2,052 megawatts at the
end of 2011, the state-controlled electricity market operator, known as LAGIE, said in a statement on its
Solar power generation climbed 65 percent to 724.18 megawatts, while wind power production rose 5 percent
to 1,428 megawatts from the end of 2011, according to the statement.
Greece is working on a 20-billion-euro solar power project that would help the European Union’s most-
indebted country to export clean energy and revive growth.
The average annual solar radiation in Greece is 1,800 kilowatt-hours per square meter, among the highest in
Europe, according to European Union data.
Cannabis shootout in Crete
20 July 2012 ekathimerini
A 24-year-old man was being treated for a gunshot injury to the thigh sustained during an exchange of fire
with police during a raid on a cannabis plantation on the outskirts of Rethymno, Crete, Friday.
The 24-year-old Albanian was working in a field containing 600 cannabis plants with another man when police
raided the premises, where they also found another 317 bushes in a drying shed.
19 July 2012 Athens News
If you live in Athens and turned on your television this Thursday morning, you're probably wondering where
most of your channels have gone. That's if you don't have a digital receiver. Why? As of today, analogue
broadcasting from Mt Ymittos has ceased and has been replaced by a digital signal. The three stations from
state broadcaster ERT will continue to be broadcast on analogue until August 17, after the London Olympics.
CRETE has not yet been switched over to digital TV.
18 July 2012 Athens News
A fire that began on Monday at Zevgolatio in Corinthia was still burning fiercely on Tuesday afternoon due to
strong winds that started up during the night. In spite of the fire brigade's efforts, the fire was burning
uncontrollably on Tuesday and heading toward Archaies Kleones, having passed through Spathovouni.
A force of 40 fire engines from Corinthia and surrounding prefectures was battling to put out the flames,
assisted by teams on foot from Tripoli, Patras and Athens and six Canadair water-bombing aircraft from the air.
All fire-fighting forces in the Peloponnese are currently on alert.
Peloponnese Regional Authority chief Petros Tatoulis has been on the scene since Tuesday afternoon and
earlier contacted the head of the fire brigade.
17 July 2012 Athens News
The government is seeking a bridge loan from foreign lenders to cover its financing needs until September, a
finance ministry source said on Tuesday. The country's European partners have promised that they will find a
solution to cover the country's funding needs through August, but have yet to specify how that will be done.
"We are fighting to secure the bridge loan by September," a finance ministry official told reporters, speaking on
condition of anonymity.
No power cuts for property tax, government spokesman says
16 July 2012 Athens News
Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou stressed in statements to Vima FM on Monday that DEI (Public
Power Corporation) will not cut off power to those unable to pay the property tax attached to their electricity
Following an intervention by the troika of lenders, the government decided that, once again, the property
tax will be incorporated in the electricity bill and not form a separate pay notice to the bill, as it was
initially being planned.
Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis had stressed on state television on Saturday that power supply should
never get cut for people who have not paid the property tax.
"The position [expressed by Kouvelis] was unequivocal. In these difficult times we cannot leave a part of our
society unprotected, however small it may be," Kedikoglou underlined, referring to Kouvelis’ statements.
The tax will be attached to electricity bills starting late July and payments will be made in five instalments.
Cutting off the power supply for people who cannot afford the property tax has been deemed unconstitutional
by the Council of State.
However, according to To Ethnos newspaper, outstanding payments of the property tax will be referred to tax
offices which will then be able to proceed with confiscation of income and personal property, excluding real
Environment ministry issues heatwave warning
12 July 2012 Athens News- AMNA
In a statement issued to the public on Thursday due to the heatwave and high temperatures, the Greek
environment ministry urged people to avoid activities that released pollutants into the atmosphere during
daylight hours and up until the early evening.
With temperatures reaching their peak during a heatwave forecast to last into the middle of next week, the
ministry asked that people avoid using their cars and prefer public transport, avoid transporting liquid fuels
during the day and avoid refuelling their vehicles until after sunset.
It also urged people to avoid operating units and businesses such as dry cleaners, metal-plating workshops,
painting and dyeing workshops and other activities that emit volatile hydrocarbons, as well as using paints
containing organic thinners in the afternoon and early evening.
The environment ministry noted that the meteorological service forecast weather conditions favouring an
accumulation of atmospheric pollutants to potentially dangerous levels.
Ozone levels were also at high levels in Athens at around 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, just below the alarm level at
236 microgrammes per cubic metre in Thrakomakedones.
The level for informing the public is 180 microgrammes per cubic metre, while the alarm level is 240
microgrammes. At alert levels, the health ministry advises those with respiratory or heart conditions or other
sensitivity to air pollution - among them small children - to remain indoors and avoid intense physical activity.
12 July 2012 Athens News
The country's jobless rate scaled a new record high of 22.5 per cent in April from a revised 22 per cent in
March, the country's statistics service ELSTAT said on Thursday. Elstat's Labour Force Survey showed that the
number of unemployed people grew by about 25,000 since April. Τhe number of unemployed amounted to
1,109,658, while the number of citizens considered economically inactive is up to 3,360,717. The total at
4,923,259 is higher than the number of those currently employed at 3,813,601. The age group between 15-24
are the most affected by unemployment, and women are 6% higher in unemployment rates over men.
Unemployment is almost twice the average jobless rate in the 17 eurozone countries.
Central banker confirms deposits are returning
10 July 2012 ekathimerini
Greece's central bank chief said on Tuesday that bank deposits were returning at a «satisfactory pace» after
elections last month reduced uncertainty about the country's future in the eurozone.
"The banks had gone through a difficult period and lost deposits, but after the elections bank deposits
returned at a satisfactory pace,» said George Provopoulos, governor of the Bank of Greece told the country's
president, Karolos Papoulias, in remarks made before journalists.
He called on Greece's new government to act «courageously» to push through privatizations. [Reuters]
Strong quake off Rhodes felt as far away as Cyprus
9 July 2012 ekathimerini
A strong quake, measuring between 5.5 and 6 on the Richter scale according to varying reports, occurred
some 120 kilometers southeast of Rhodes, close to Turkey, shortly before 5 p.m. on Monday.
There were no reports of any damage or injuries provoked by the quake, whose epicenter was just 10
kilometers below the seabed.
The tremor was felt as far away as Cyprus, according to seismologists.
10 July 2012 Athens News
The property tax will no longer be linked to the electricity bill and will be paid in five or six installments, the
Public Power Corporation (DEI) has decided. DEI suffered big losses last year when citizens failed to pay for
electricity services because they could not afford the property tax that was attached to the bill. This year’s tax
will come in a separate bill and failure to pay it will not result in an electricity cut, as this has been deemed
4th July 2012 Athens News Bites
Britain could restrict the immigration of Greeks and other citizens of eurozone countries affected by the debt
crisis in the event of "extraordinary stresses and strains", Prime Minister David Cameron said on Tuesday. "The
legal position is that if there are extraordinary stresses and strains it is possible to take action to restrict
migratory flows, but obviously we hope that doesn't happen," he told a parliamentary committee. "I would be
prepared to do whatever it takes to keep our country safe, to keep our banking system strong, to keep our
economy robust," he added.
OIL BIDS IN
3rd July 2012 Athens News
The state has received eight bids by companies to search for oil and natural gas in three blocks in the western
part of the country, the energy ministry said on Monday. "It is important that Greece returns to the energy
map again," Energy Minister Evangelos Livieratos said in a statement. "Our country can attract new
investment, create new jobs and boost its geo-strategic position and competitiveness to exit the crisis." The
three blocks combined, two offshore and one onshore, may contain as much as 280 million barrels of oil,
officials said last year. They are near the Patras and Katakolo, in the western Peloponnese, as well as in the
northwestern region of Epirus.
Crete butcher held over killing amid vendetta fears
29 June 2012 ekathimerini
A 52-year-old butcher in Iraklio, Crete, was remanded in custody after testifying that he had acted in self-
defense on Monday when he shot and killed an alleged assailant, 34-year-old Priamos Xydakis, as well as a 64-
According to reports, Xydakis walked into the butcher’s shop wielding a pistol on Monday, allegedly in order to
settle a grudge.
During a scuffle with the butcher’s teenage son, Xydakis’s gun went off, hitting the 17-year-old in the neck.
The butcher then allegedly ran to his car and retrieved a shotgun, opening fire on the alleged assailant and
injuring him fatally.
The 64-year-old man was killed in the crossfire.
Authorities are concerned that the killings may spark a blood feud -- not uncommon in Crete -- with Xydakis’s
father saying, “We don’t want any more bloodshed, but they [the suspect’s family] have to leave the village”
of Profitis Ilias, where the incident occurred.
Police also said on Friday that they were concerend after finding four sheep belonging to the butcher with their
Priests arrested for payroll scam
29 June 2012 AMNA via Phantis.com
Two priests responsible for managing the payroll for clergy in the Thessaly and Farsala diocese have been
arrested on charges of embezzlement and fraud to the amount of 690,000 euros in the first half of 2012. The
two are accused of tampering with the amounts recorded on payroll documents in order to rake in large sums
on their own behalf.
The two priests, aged 36 and 38 years old, respectively, were arrested in Farsala on Wednesday by Larisa
security police. The charges against them include forgery, fraud, embezzlement and extracting false
Their activities were reported by the finance ministry's financial review board for Thessaly, which found
suspicious looking intervention and alteration of sums in the documentation for the Farsala municipality clergy
during an inspection carried out two weeks earlier. Read more
UK rescuers return to Greece to look for missing runner
22 June 2012 ekathimerini
A team of rescue volunteers from the UK have been flown out to Greece to pick up efforts to locate a runner
who has been missing on Mount Taygetos since early April, the BBC reported on Friday.
John Lawton, aged 62, went missing on April 8 during the Taygetos Challenge 2012, near Kalamata. He was
last seen in the latter stages of the competition after his name was ticked off at the fourth check point along
the route, which features a tough terrain of gorges and sheer drops.
Speaking to the BBC, his wife, Lynda, said that she knows her husband is not likely to be alive but hopes to be
able to «bring him home."
Nine search and rescue volunteers from Lawton's hometown of Cheshire have been flown out to Greece for a
second time and are planning to carry out a six-day search for the missing man.
Greek police have told Lynda Lawton that the case remains open.
Squeeze Greece or find funds yourselves, euro chief warns
21 June 2012 Phantis - AFP
A top EU bailout official warned the eurozone Thursday that it must order Greece to make fresh budget cuts or
raise more taxes, or eurozone members will have to cough up more cash themselves.
As a new Greek government takes office, the country's second bailout which was stuck in limbo as voters
challenged European Union and International Monetary Fund austerity measures in two elections, is "totally off
track, months behind schedule," Thomas Wieser told AFP.
With Greece's eurozone partners set to meet with new Greek Finance Minister Vassilis Rapanos in
Luxembourg, Wieser, head of the key Euro Working Group, said the choice facing currency partners was stark.
Either you "stick to the fiscal targets and then you need additional measures" from Greece, the Brussels-based
official said, or you change deadlines, in which case "you need extra money."
Wieser, who chairs preparations for politically-charged meetings of the Eurogroup, said a deal worth 130
billion euros ($165 billion) in new loans agreed in March was no longer workable.
Read the full article
Firefighter dies of heart attack
21 Jun 2012 Athens News
A 28-year-old firefighter died on Wednesday June 20 after suffering a heart attack while participating in
firefighting efforts aimed at extinguishing a major wildfire still burning in Aspropyrgos, west of Athens.
The victim, the driver of the Attika fire brigade chief who was in charge of firefighting efforts, felt ill and was
rushed to the Thriassio Hospital. A ruptured aneurysm was cited as the cause of death.
Two fellow fire-fighters admitted to the hospital with injuries caused in the line of duty were discharged later
the same day, after receiving first aid treatment. One was facing respiratory difficulties and the second had an
According to the hospital, the fireman that died had no pulse upon arrival at the hospital's emergency room.
Doctors were unable to revive him, despite persevering for almost an hour.
Greece forms new government
20 June 2012 VOA via Phantis
Ending weeks of political limbo, Antonis Samaras, the leader of Greece's New Democracy party was sworn in
Wednesday as prime minister after agreeing to form a coalition government with the Socialists and a smaller
left-wing party, the Democratic Left.
After winning Sunday's election, the president gave the New Democracy party three days to form a
government. There were concerns that a resolution had to be found quickly to reassure markets that Greece
was back in business after the second election in a matter of six weeks.
On Wednesday Mr. Samaras concluded discussions with leaders of The Pasok socialist party and a smaller left
wing party called the Democratic Left. After visiting the president, he was sworn in at a Greek Orthodox
Carrefour to sell Greek operations
15 June 2012 Reuters - Ekathimerini
French supermarket retailer Carrefour said on Friday that it would sell its stake in a Greek joint venture to its
partner there, Marinopoulos, taking a 220 million euro ($277.12 million) non-cash charge.
The move to exit Greece comes ahead of elections this Sunday that have emerged as a referendum on the
European Union/International Monetary Fund bailout of the economically struggling country.
It is one of the first decisions by newly named Chief Executive Georges Plassat, who is due to address
shareholders for the first time on Monday amid hopes he will give some clues about his turnaround plan for the
Carrefour said the sale would allow the joint venture, which also operates in Cyprus, «to meet the challenges
of Greece's prevailing economic environment."
In addition to Greece, where Carrefour's first-quarter sales plunged 16 percent, Europe's biggest retailer is
exposed to the troubled markets of Spain and Italy.
Owners get extension to declare illegal properties
15 June 2012 ekathimerini
The Environment Ministry on Friday announced it is granting an extension to owners of illegally built properties
to submit an application to participate in a scheme allowing them to pay a fine in order to legalise the property
for 30 years.
The deadline for new applications is now September 14 instead of June 30.
People who have already applied have until the end of the year to present the documents backing their claim.
Health system crumbles under weight of crisis
The country's state hospitals are cutting off vital drugs, limiting non-urgent operations and rationing even
basic medical materials for exhausted doctors as a combination of economic crisis and political stalemate
strangle health funding.
"It's a matter of life and death for us," said Persefoni Mitta, head of the cancer patients' association,
recounting the dozens of calls she gets a day from patients needing pricey, hard-to-find cancer drugs. "Why
are they depriving us of life?"
The emergency has grown out of a tangle of unpaid bills, with pharmacists and doctors complaining of being
unable to pay suppliers until competing health insurers clear a growing backlog of unfilled state payments...
Union warns of spiraling unemployment
15 June 2012 ekathimerini
The Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE), the umbrella union representing private sector workers, warned on
Friday that unless measures are taken to boost the job market soon, the number of unemployed Greeks will
swell to 1.5 million by the end of the year from around 1.12 million now.
GSEE was responding to data released by the Hellenic Statistical Authority on Thursday, putting unemployment
at 22.6 percent for the first quarter of 2012, or 42.14 percent above that of same period last year.
Police on Corfu probing death of British teen
June 14, 2012 ekathimerini
Police on the Ionian island of Corfu on Thursday were investigating the circumstances surrounding the death
of a 19-year-old British tourist at the popular resort of Cavos, in the island’s south.
The 19-year-old's body was found outside the complex of rented apartments where he had been staying and
bore bruises to the face, police said.
An autopsy is to be conducted today to determine the cause of death.
Earthquake jolts Rhodes
10 June 15, 2012 AMNA
A moderate earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale jolted the Dodecanese island of Rhodes early
Sunday afternoon, but no damage was immediately reported.
It was followed five minutes later by a quake measuring 5.5 Richter, and a subsequent string of smaller
The earthquake was recorded at 15:44 local time (13:44 GMT), with its epicentre in the sea region 73
kilometers east of the island, between Rhodes and Turkey, and an epicentral depth of 37 kilometers.
The quake, which lasted 37 seconds, was felt especially on Rhodes and the surrounding islands of Kos,
Kastellorizo and Symi.
The Athens Observatory's Geodynamic Institute put the magnitude of the initial earthquake at 5.8 Richter,
while the Euro Mediterranean Institute put the magnitude at 6.0 Richter.
Second day of fire in Lefkakia
6 June 2012 AMNA/Athens News
A fire that broke out on Tuesday afternoon in Lefkakia, an area near Nafplio, continues to rage on Wednesday.
Throughout the night, firemen managed to contain the flames. However, gusty winds that started to blow in
the morning rekindled the fire.
Twenty-eight firefighters with fourteen fire engines are currently battling the flames in the region of Argolida.
According to initial reports the fire has already burned 200 acres of farmland.
Boat runs aground on route from Aegina to Piraeus
6 June 2012 AMNA/Athens News
A hydrofoil boat ran aground in shallow waters between the Saronic Gulf islands of Aegina and Agistri, a little
after eight in the morning on Wednesday. The fifty-nine passengers and six crew members were not injured.
The Port Authority board arrived quickly on site. Some passengers were returned to Aegina port with the
"Agistri Express," while others proceeded to their final destination of Piraeus with another Flying Dolphin boat.
The six crew members remained on board the Dolphin to help coordinate the detachment of the boat. The
cause of the incident is unknown.
Thirty would-be migrants rescued from Evros islet
5 June 2012 ekathimerini
Border guards in Evros, northern Greece, on Tuesday rescued 30 would-be migrants from an islet in the middle
of the Evros River that separates Greece from Turkey.
The migrants, mostly from Algeria, Syria and Morocco, had become trapped on the islet after trying to cross the
river in a rickety dinghy.
They were detained after authorities established that they were unhurt.
Cancer patients line up for drugs
5 June 2012 ekathimerini
Hundreds of cancer sufferers and carers lined up outside pharmacies across the country Tuesday after an
agreement between caretaker Health Minister Christos Kittas and pharmaceutical companies led to fresh
supplies being channeled to the National Organization for Healthcare Provision (EOPYY), the country’s main
According to a statement released by EOPYY, the process of sending out orders for the anti-cancer medicines
was completed Tuesday and pharmacies were being stocked with the drugs. It was expected that pharmacies
would be fully stocked in the next two days, EOPYY said. Cancer patients can telephone the hotline 184 from
noon Wednesday for information about where to procure their drugs.
Meanwhile, unionists representing the country’s pharmacists are refusing to provide medicines on credit until
EOPYY settles debts of some 250 million euros for prescriptions issued in March.
Young woman dies in Crete crash
3 June 2012 ekathimerini
A 19-year-old woman from Algeria who was on holiday in the Cretan resort of Malia was reported dead on
Sunday after crashing on the road between Iraklio and Aghios Nikolaos in the afternoon.
The unnamed woman was driving a motorcycle along the road when she lost control of the vehicle and
crashed into a pile of rocks.
She died soon after being admitted to hospital, though her passenger, a young man who has not been
identified, was reported as having sustained only minor injuries.
Tour bus strike deemed illegal
3 June 2012 ekathimerini
A four-day strike planned by touring bus drivers that was due to begin on Monday has been called off following
a ruling by an Athens court that deemed it illegal.
Drivers are demanding a renegotiation of a collective contract for their sector following the expiry of the last
agreement between employers and employees.
Negotiations between drivers and the owners of the buses that have been ongoing since February have
reached a deadlock, according to the union, with owners demanding that drivers take a 70-percent cut in
salaries and benefits, or 50 percent over the 20-percent reduction they have already seen.
Greek banks get 18 bln euros in recapitalization funds
29 May 2012 ekathimerini - Reuters
Greece handed 18 billion euros to its four biggest banks on Monday, the finance ministry said, allowing the
stricken lenders to regain access to European Central Bank funding.
The long-awaited injection - via bonds from the European Financial Stability Facility rescue fund - will boost the
nearly depleted capital base of National Bank, Alpha, Eurobank and Piraeus Bank.
The Hellenic Financial Stability Fund - HFSF - allocated 6.9 billion euros to National Bank, 1.9 billion to Alpha, 4.2
billion to Eurobank and 5 billion to Piraeus. All four are scheduled to report first-quarter earnings this week.
The news came as two government officials told Reuters that near-bankrupt Greece could access 3 billion
euros, left from its first bailout programme, to cover basic state payments if efforts to revive falling tax revenue
Social security debts threaten standstill in health sector
27 May 2012 ekathimerini
The provision of primary medical care and medicines to about 9 million people is at risk of collapse due to the
accumulated debts of the National Organization for the Provision of Health Services (EOPPY), as the
government has reneged on its promise to settle all arrears to private suppliers of the old insurance funds
that now comprise EOPPY by the end of March, totalling 1.7 billion euros.
Pharmacists last week decided to indefinitely suspend dispensing medicines on credit, protesting the
accumulation of debts of 540 million euros for prescriptions up to March. The insured now have to pay
themselves for the cost of their medicines, and claim it from their social insurance funds.
EOPPY-contracted private doctors are reported to be planning similar action, claiming they are owed 620
million euros for services they provided up to the end of March.
Pharmacists in Attica are to decide on their next moves on Wednesday, depending on the progress of
piecemeal payment of arrears until the elections of June 17 for medicines dispensed in March and April, as
promised by the caretaker government.
Tourism income down 15%; fewer tourists
25 May 2012 Athens News - Reuters
Fewer German, British and Russian tourists visited the country in the first quarter, contributing to a 15.1
percent drop in tourism receipts compared to the same period a year earlier, the central bank said on Friday.
The drop dampens hopes for a strong tourism season this year to help the economy.
A key sector for the 215bn euro economy that accounts for about a fifth of gross domestic product (GDP),
tourism helped to narrow the government's current account gap to 9.8 percent of GDP in 2011.
The Bank of Greece said receipts from Russian and German visitors were down by 41 and 7.9 percent
respectively, while those from British travellers – the country's second-biggest tourism market after Germany –
fell 11 percent.
"The data confirms that it will be a difficult year for the tourism sector. Recession in the euro zone and high
uncertainty in Greece are having a negative impact," said National Bank economist Nikos Magginas.
"The trend will probably worsen in the second quarter, so hopes for stabilisation are pushed back for after
July," he said.
The number of travellers visiting Greece fell 11.7 percent in the first three months of the year to 978,600.
Tourism receipts from European Union visitors fell 28 percent year-on-year, while revenue from non-EU
travellers was down 9.5 percent.
The Bank of Greece said revenue from Russian visitors fell 41 percent from the same period a year earlier.
Broad daylight heist in Rethymno
21 May 2012 Athens News AMNA
Robbers made off with what store owners said was half-a-million-euros worth of gold jewelry, which they
snatched in broad daylight, from a jewelry shop located in a luxury hotel outside the city of Rethymno, Crete,
police announced on Monday.
The robbers apparently went unnoticed by taking advantage of the large number of tourists gathered at the
hotel lobby early on Sunday morning waiting to check-in.
The break-in was discovered much later by the shop’s owner who found its front door unlocked and called
There were no eye-witnesses among the hotel employees and tourists. No information was given on whether
CCTV footage was available. An investigation is underway. (AMNA)
With time running out, Greece heads to new elections
16 May 2012 ekathimerini
Greece is heading for new elections, most probably on June 17, after party leaders failed on Tuesday to agree
on the formation of a government despite efforts by President Karolos Papoulias to broker a last-ditch deal.
The collapse of the talks led to New Democracy, PASOK and Democratic Left accusing the Coalition of the
Radical Left (SYRIZA) of scuppering any agreement because it wanted new elections that might elevate the
party from second position to first. SYRIZA, which more than tripled its share of the vote on May 6, said that it
had to remain true to its opposition to the terms of the European Union-International Monetary Fund bailout.
Read full article
Concerned about a euro exit, Greeks pull funds from banks
16 May 2012 Reuters
Greece's president spoke of "fear that could develop into panic" at the country's banks in the weeks before
fresh elections that could precipitate Athens exit from the euro zone.
Central bank head George Provopoulos said savers withdrew at least 700 million euros ($894 million) on
Monday, the president told party chiefs. "Mr Provopoulos told me there was no panic, but there was great fear
that could develop into a panic," the minutes quoted the president as saying.
Read full article
Olympic Flame arrives in Athens en route to London
16 May 2012 ekathimerini
The Olympic Flame has arrived in Athens as it makes its way around Greece before eventually arriving in
London later this summer for the 2012 Olympics.
The torch due to reach the Acropolis on Wednesday evening before being presented at the Panathenaic
Stadium, where the 1896 Olympics were held, on Thursday.
There, the flame is due to be passed over to organizers of the London Games as it begins its journey around
the world. A 70-day relay will be held before the flame returns to London for the start of the Games on July 27.
Closing firms outnumber new ones
15 May 2012 ekathimerini
The first quarter of 2012 was the first during Greece’s ongoing crisis that saw more enterprises shutting down
than opening, according to figures released on Tuesday by the Development Ministry’s General Secretariat for
Data showed that 8,361 new enterprises went into business in the January-March period, while 10,315
Up until the end of 2011, start-up businesses had continued to outnumber those closing down in spite of the
difficult economic conditions.
The General Secretariat noted yesterday that the ‘One-Stop Shop’ service for establishing new enterprises has
been up and running since April 4, cutting the cost for start-ups by up to 61.7 percent.
Hotels slash their prices
12 May 2012 ekathimerini
Greek hotels, such as the Palladium on Myconos (pictured), have slashed their prices this year in a bid to
attract more visitors in the context of a growing domestic crisis as well as problems being faced by the
eurozone as a whole, but it seems this will not be enough to offset a drop in bookings from last year.
Hotel comparison website Trivago’s data show that Greece has this month become the third cheapest
destination among 24 European countries as far as accommodation is concerned. It also has lower prices
compared with its direct Mediterranean competitors, Turkey, Spain and Cyprus.
In Athens hotel rates have gone down by 16 percent year-on-year this month, dropping from an average rate
of 114 euros in May 2011 to 96 euros now.
The Kazantzakis Museum, Crete among the top in Europe
11 May 2012 protothema.gr
The Nikos Kazantzakis Museum is among the 47 European museums that are nominated for the top annual
distinction award, the “European Museum Year Award”, for the year 2012.
The organizing committee has already made the decision since last November, but the announcement
ceremony is to take place at the Penafiel Museum in Portugal, between May 16 and 19.
Wordpress suspends Chrysi Avgi's blog
10 May 2012 ekathimerini
Blog publishing platform Wordpress has taken down the site maintained by the far-right party Chrysi Avgi
(Golden Dawn) after it breached the terms of service.
Chrysi Avgi won 21 seats in Parliament in Sunday’s elections but has since been embroiled in controversial
incidents with journalists.
Among the reasons Wordpress gives for suspending content is inciting “violence or threatening or
impersonating a private person.”
Civil service evaluation on ice
8 May 2012 ekathimerini
An ambitious plan to evaluate Greece’s civil servants, which had been scheduled to begin after the elections as
the first step in overhauling the country’s bloated public administration, has been put on hold amid the current
According to a plan hashed out between officials of the Administrative Reform Ministry and representatives of
Greece’s foreign creditors, civil servants were to start sitting written examinations and face personal
evaluations by their supervisors immediately after snap polls. The results of these tests were to form the basis
of an “overhaul” of the civil service.
Minister Dimitris Reppas never explicitly linked the evaluation process to the thousands of layoffs that creditors
have demanded. But authorities have also been told to abolish and merge dozens of state agencies, which
would clearly lead to job cuts. This process has also been put on hold as party leaders scramble to form a new
Turnout at an all-time low in Greek elections
8 May 2012 ekathimerini
Turnout at the May 6 general elections was at an all-time low, official figures published by the Interior Ministry
have shown, with absentee ballots surpassing the percentage given to the first party.
New Democracy received 18.8 percent of from 6,476,751 ballots, or 65.10 percent of the total 9,949,401
people registered to vote. However, a percentage of 34.91 did not cast a ballot on Sunday, a figure that
breaks the record of 2009, when one in three people did not vote.
The highest rate of abstention was registered in Florina in northern Greece, where 59.07 percent of the
electorate did not turn out to vote, while in Attica the abstention rate was 24.64 percent.
Finding your way on the election map: www.athensnews.gr/issue/13494/55366
IMF on standby in light of Sunday's elections in Greece.
4th May 2012 Athens News
An IMF representative on Thursday once again avoided any statement concerning his position on the Greek
elections, reiterating the position on the strict implementation of the loan contract and Greece's support
Statements are expected as of Monday, as it is estimated by sources of the Fund, and their content will move
in accordance with the election result and the developments that will be emerging.
According to assessments by American media, concern exists in circles of the IMF before the possibility of the
elections leading the country to a lack of governance, creating problems in the implementation of the
Public to vent rage in weekend election
3rd May 2012 Reuters via Athens News
Voters enraged by economic hardship will punish traditional parties in a highly uncertain election on Sunday
that could plunge the country into new political chaos and shake the entire euro zone.
At stake is whether the country sticks with the harsh terms of a hugely unpopular 130 billion euro EU/IMF
bailout, or heads down a path that could see it ejected from the single currency, with dire risks for other EU
peripheral states like Spain and Italy.
Wages and benefits have been slashed, unemployment has rocketed and thousands of businesses have
collapsed. Furious Greeks have been turning to small, anti-bailout parties to punish traditional politicians they
blame for the crisis. Read More
Minister blasts brothel customers
2 May 2012 Athens News
Health Minister Andreas Loverdos has angrily criticized brothel customers who pay an additional fee to have
unprotected sex, as authorities conceded the number of HIV cases related to Greece's massive illegal sex
trade is set to rise.
"They disregard everything. They visit (brothels) that they know are not checked. Then they return to their
relationship and infect their wives," Loverdos said.
He went on to say that the very act of unprotected sex in these circumstances should be classified as a crime,
with responsibility for it falling equally on both the customer and the prostitute.
For years, the government ignored the operation of hundreds of illegal brothels in Athens and other cities,
often in areas with large populations of immigrant men.
Since the crackdown was launched, police have released the names and photographs of 12 - one working on
at unlicensed brothel and 11 working on the street - who have tested positive for HIV and have been charged
with causing "intentional and serious bodily harm against an unknown number of persons."
The Greek Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Keelpno ( http://www.keelpno.gr ) said more than 1,600
men had telephoned the agency seeking information about illegal brothels and Aids tests.