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|Living in Crete
High temperatures, winds stoke fires in various parts of Greece
30 July 2013 ekathimerini
High temperatures, which reached 40 degrees Celsius in some parts of Greece on Tuesday, and string winds
stokes a number of fires around the country.
In Aghious Theodorous on the Attica-Corinth border, a fire burned brush near the residential part of the
In Kynouria in the eastern part of the Arcadia province, water-dumping craft were trying to put out a blaze in a
stretch of forestland, while in Florina in northern Greece, firefighters were able to bring under control a blaze
than began on Monday evening in Aghios Germanos in the municipality of Prespes.
The firefighting service, meanwhile, was reported to have brought a large blaze that has been burning on the
southeastern Aegean island of Rhodes since Saturday under control.
Postal service to close smaller branches
25 July 2013 ekathimerini
Hellenic Post, the state-owned national postal service, announced on Thursday plans to shut down around 80
small branches around the country and to transfer staff to bigger departments.
The company's chief executive, Costis Melachrinos, said that no employees will be fired but would instead be
transferred to busier branches, and added that the services provided by the defunct branches will be assigned
He said that the move is expected to result in savings of 2.5 million euros.
Melachrinos also added that additional staff at central locations could mean some post offices operating for
Crete Stabbing: 18 Britons Held After Killing
24 July 2013 Sky News
Dozens of Britons were involved in a brawl that resulted in a teenage British tourist being stabbed to death on
the Greek island of Crete, police have said.
According to a police statement the fight broke out among a group who were holidaying in the popular party
resort of Malia.
The Briton suspected of the stabbing has been arrested, along with 17 others thought to have been involved
in the fighting.
Police have said they are still searching for 12 other Brits.
The 19-year-old victim was found outside a closed bar on a pedestrian street at 3am local time in the town,
which is renowned for its nightlife.
He had been stabbed in the chest.
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) spokesman said: "We can confirm the death of a British national in
Malia, Greece on July 23.
Crete: Third drowning in 24 hours
19 July 2013 Prismanews & Living in Crete
Three successive deaths from drowning, on the beaches of Crete have been recorded during the last 24
hours. After the drowning of a 45-year German man in Kavros beach, Georgioupoli yesterday and an 85 year
old man at Chrissi Akti beach, Chania, another drowning incident took place in Sisi where a 60 year old woman
was pulled unconcious from the sea.
Strong northerly winds have brought rough seas to much of the northern coast of Crete and red warning flags
are currently flying on many exposed northerly beaches.
A muted protest rally ends in central Athens
16 July 2013 ekathimerini
A rally organized by Greece's two biggest umbrella unions, GSEE and ADEDY, on Tuesday brought together
several thousands people protesting the government's plan to streamline the country's bloated public sector
in what was a rather muted turnout in a country that has become notorious for often violent reactions to
austerity measures imposed by international creditors.
Protesters began leaving Syntagma Square just before 2 p.m.
GSEE and ADEDY are also staging a general strike that has affected public transport and air travel, as well as
other public services, with the aim of convincing the government to withdraw its multi-bill of reforms, which is
due to be voted on by MPs on Wednesday.
The legislation contains the provision for 15,000 civil servants to be sacked by the end of next year and 25,000
to be placed in a mobility scheme, which could lead to thousands losing their jobs, by the end of this year.
Firefighters battle blazes in western Attica, Crete
14 July 2013 ekathimerini
Two fires kept the country’s firefighting force busy on Monday on the back of high temperatures and gusty
Ten fire trucks and dozens of firefighters battled flames in the forest of Psatha, in Megara, western Attica, as
well as in the Aghia Irini Gorge in the area of Kastelli, in Hania, Crete.
Mandatory HIV tests blasted by British journal
13 July 2013 ekathimerini
Respected medical journal The Lancet published an editorial on Saturday criticizing the Greek government for
reintroducing a regulation that gives authorities the right to force people that may be carrying infectious
diseases to undergo tests and treatment.
“Regulations that stigmatize vulnerable and already marginalized groups are counterproductive since they are
likely to deter people at risk of HIV from seeking testing and services,” said the British publication, adding that
“the measures... seem more about political posturing rather than constructively engaging with public health.”
The Lancet warned that: “Rather than tackling HIV ethically and effectively, Greece is storing up health
problems for itself in the near future.”
Earlier in the week, Human Rights Watch had also slammed Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis for bringing back
the regulation, which is seen as targeting migrants, sex workers and drug addicts.
Georgiadis pledged on Friday that the government would re-examine the rule but said it would be enforced
until a new regulation is drawn up.
Greek deputy PM faces angry protesters in Crete
11 July 2013 world bulletin via Greek current
Tension increased Friday in Greece's Crete island when protesters, deprecating economic policies of
government, threw water bottles at Greek Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Evangelos
Shouting anti-governmental slogans with black flags, the protestors gathered in front of the community health
center during visit of Venizelos inside. They protested the reshaping of state institutions and organizations
within the scope of reforms, which were applied by the government in order to get foreign financial assistance.
One protestor was detained after the incidents.
There was an increase in attacks on politicians in Greece, who were held responsible for the country's painful
EOPYY dangerously low on funds, needs intervention
10 July 2013 ekathimerini
The country’s main healthcare provider, EOPYY, is “out of control,” Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis said on
Wednesday as the organization’s new director revealed that its revenues were 100 million euros a month
Monthly contributions to EOPYY are around 250 million euros, compared to a target of 360 million, Dimitris
Kontos told Parliament’s social affairs committee.
Despite the critical shortfall, Georgiadis insisted that the government “will not let EOPYY collapse,” claiming
that “any changes would be carried out with the organization in operation."
Meanwhile a report by Greece’s public administration watchdog, Leandros Rakintzis, has found that EOPYY’s
finances are in complete disarray. The report highlighted numerous cases of academics, politicians and doctors
exploiting the system to secure treatment at private clinics abroad.
130 migrants saved from sinking boat south of Crete
9 July 2013 enetenglish
The 130 migrants rescued from a boat that sank south of Crete and being taken to the town of Ierapetra,
where local officials have prepared a secondary school to host them temporarily
Coastguard authorities said in a statement the boat began taking on water about 55.5km southeast of
Koufonisi, a small island south of Crete, in the Libyan Sea.
The vessel, which put out a distress call shortly after 6am on Tuesday, has now sunk.
A passing cargo vessel, en route to Malta, had begun collecting the passengers of the stricken 35m sailboat,
the coastguard said.
There was no immediate information on the nationalities of the people on board.
SDOE spots tourism tax dodgers
27 June 2013 ekathimerini
One in every two enterprises inspected across Greece by the Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) over the June 21-
24 long weekend was found to be withholding tax payments. Checks were conducted at tourism resorts
around the country and violations were identified in 381 enterprises.
Inspectors performed 841 checks on the islands and almost half of all the businesses were found to be failing
to issue receipts, not paying VAT to the state or being in violation of other tax regulations, with the violation
rate amounting to 45.3 percent.
The highest rate of violations was identified at Pilio in central Greece, with eight out of every 10 entrepreneurs
(83 percent) breaking the tax code. In Corfu the rate stood at 77.7 percent, on Paros at 61.9 percent, on
Santorini and Evia at 60 percent, in the Peloponnese at 46 percent, on Myconos, Skiathos and Skopelos at 42
percent, on Rhodes at 36 percent, on Lesvos at 34 percent, in Halkidiki at 32 percent, at Parga at 30 percent
and on Crete at 27 percent.
No foul play suspected in death of female tourist on Crete
2 july 2013 ekathimerini
A coroner was on Tuesday examining the remains of a 23-year-old woman who was found dead in her hotel
room in the resort of Aghia Pelagia in Iraklio, Crete, earlier in the day.
The unnamed woman, who was reported to be Russian, is believed to have died of natural causes after foul
play was ruled out.
Crackdown on Athens cabbies sees 27 arrested for rigged meters
21 June 2013 ekathimerini
Twenty-seven taxi drivers will be facing prosecutors after being found to have illegally altered their meters so
that they could charge higher fares, or who had disabled their receipt-issuing machines.
Most of the arrests, part of a police crackdown on unscrupulous cabbies on Friday, were made at popular
spots for picking up fares, such as metro and train stations, and concerned drivers who had rigged their
Greece wants 'redistribution' of irregular immigration burden
20 June 2013 ekathimerini
Greece has asked its European Union peers to support its efforts to stem the tide of irregular immigration
Speaking at the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday, Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias urged for
a revision of Dublin II regulations under which the debt-wracked country has to accommodate all foreign
migrants entering the bloc via its borders; transit to other EU countries is not permitted.
“Greece is responsible for handling a very large percentage of the migration flows to the EU,” Dendias said.
“This is not fair,” he said.
Reports said the conservative official called for a policy of “redistribution” regarding the handling of clandestine
migrants and asylum seekers by the member states.
Greece is a gateway for mostly Asian and African migrants trying to enter the EU through its porous sea and
Crete hit by another series of small tremors
19 June 2013 ekathimerini
Minor tremors continued to rattle Crete on Wednesday, as another 4.3 magnitude earthquake struck the
southern Greek island at 1.27 a.m.
The Athens Institute of Geodynamics reported the quake’s location at about 80 kilometers off the south coast
of Crete and at a depth of 40 kilometers.
Eight more minor tremors between 3.3 and 3.9 on the Richter scale were felt up until 7.30 a.m., according to
Experts have sought to allay fears over the increased number of earthquakes close to the island in recent few
days, a highly seismic area where tectonic plates converge.
Shock as debt-laden Greece shuts down public broadcaster, ERT
12 June 2013 ABC news
Greece's government has announced the immediate closure of public television and radio broadcaster ERT, in a
shock move that affects nearly 2,700 jobs.
Thousands rushed to the broadcaster's main headquarters in a northern Athens suburb shortly after the
announcement to show their support.
The announcement came after months of work stoppages by ERT employees in opposition to plans to
restructure the broadcaster as demanded by debt-laden Greece's so-called troika of international creditors.
Nearly 500 people also gathered outside the organisation's Thessaloniki branch in northern Greece as news
editors union Poesy called on private broadcasters to hold an immediate work stoppage in solidarity.
Fruit farmers seek to hire Greeks
Producers in Ileia plan to advertise 4,000 positions with Manpower Organization
10 June 2013 ekathimerini
Strawberry producers in Ileia, in the Peloponnese, are seeking to recruit Greek fruit pickers, rather than the
migrant laborers they usually employ, in a bid to curb rising unemployment, Kathimerini has learned.
The 120 or so strawberry producers in northern Ileia are expected to submit applications to the Amaliada-
based office of the state Manpower Organization (OAED) in the coming days for the recruitment of more than
4,000 fruit pickers and the majority want those jobs to go to Greeks.
In April dozens of migrant workers were injured when their supervisors opened fire on them following a
dispute over unpaid salaries, fueling a debate about conditions on Greek fruit farms.
Hundreds of foreign workers, chiefly undocumented, uninsured migrants, eke out a living working on fruit farms
in the Peloponnese. Virtually all of Greece’s strawberry exports are produced by farms in Ileia.
Crete police launch investigation after man's body found in well
8th June 2013 ekathimerini
A 60-year-old man was found dead on Friday in a well near his home in the village of Apidi near Siteia in
eastern Crete, police said.
The body of the victim, who was not identified, was pulled out of the well by a crew of the EKAB ambulance
Police have opened an investigation into the case.
Reports said the man was suffering from psychological problems.
Fires in Irakleio, Crete, under control
Fires in Vasilies, Voni and Agia Pelagia
7th June 2013 EnetEnglish AMNA
A number of fires that broke out in Irakleio, Crete, on Friday have been put under control, authorities
confirmed on Saturday.
The first fire broke out on Friday evening near a residential area in Vasilies. Six fire brigade vehicles and 15
firemen were sent to the scene and, with the help of a team of volunteers, managed to get the fire under
control late at night.
Another two fire brigade vehicles, 13 firemen and a municipality water truck rushed to Voni in Irakleio to
prevent a fire from reaching the monastery of Agia Marina on Friday night and got the blaze under control a
few hours later.
A third fire that broke out at 11pm on Friday in Agia Pelagia in Irakleio was contained before threatening
Several acres of agricultural and forest land have been destroyed.
Greek student arrested in Istanbul riots returns home
7 June 2013 ekathimerini
A Greek student who was detained earlier this week in Istanbul amid ongoing anti-government protests
returned to Greece on Friday after being deported by the Turkish authorities.
Giorgos Iatridis, who was in Istanbul under the Erasmus student exchange program, faced a prosecutor on
Thursday but was not charged.
Another 12 foreign students had been taken into custody following a police crackdown on protesters at Gezi
Mass release of vultures on Crete to set world record
7th June 2013 ekathimerini
There will be an attempt to break a world record on Crete on Saturday, when 10 vultures are due to be
released back into the wild.
The vultures were all found poisoned on Crete and have been treated at the Hellenic Wildlife Hospital on
The birds are due to be released at 11.30 a.m. in the area of Archanes. Organizers have applied for the event
to be recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest mass release of vultures in history.
Early morning tremor shakes Athens
4th June 2013 AMNA
Athenians were rocked awake on Tuesday morning by a tremor that hit a few kilometers east of the capital
and was sharply felt in most parts of the city.
The quake, measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale, hit at just before 5 a.m., with no damage or injuries reported.
Its epicenter, according to seismologists, was Pikermi, a town some 24 kilometers east of the capital, and a
few kilometers to the north of the Athens International Airport, which kept operating without any problems.
Experts said that the tremor did not give rise to concerns as the Pikermi fault line is considered relatively
inactive and low risk.
Local residents in eastern Attica described the tremor as a sharp wave accompanied by a loud noise.
The center of the quake was estimated to be five kilometers from the surface. No major aftershocks have been
Fires break out across Crete
30 May 2013 Living in Crete & Prismanews
In the early hours of Wednesday morning major fires broke out on fronts across the Chania region, the worse
being in Aptera -Megala Horafia and Vamvokopoulo areas. The fire raged across the village of Aptera, fanned
by strong winds. Much farmland was burnt and many homes threatened, with the villagers evacuating houses
and helping fight the flames. There are no reports of any injuries and miraculously no homes were burnt.
In Vamvoukopoulo the large fires burned three businesses: an Aluminium warehouse, a business with
agricultural products and a boat supplier.
There were also fires in Platanias and Kerameia in the Chania region.
In Rethymon fires broke out in the regions of Melidoni, Anogia and Gonia, while in Heraklion fires started in
many regions, including Stavies, Lutto, Kalivia and Afrati.
Winds in excess of 70km an hour made it difficult for firefighters to control the spread, but they managed to
get the fires under control by daylight hours. Some of the fires have been blamed on DEH, the electricity
company, with the electricity lines being damaged in the strong winds and producing sparks. In some other
cases arson is suspected.
Reports shows Greeks work longer and are paid less than OECD average
28 May 2013 ekathimerini
People in Greece work 2,032 hours a year, more than the OECD average of 1,776 hours, according to the
update of the OECD’s Better Life Index, published on Tuesday.
Greeks also earn less than the average in the 34 countries surveyed, with the average household net-
adjusted disposable income of $20,440 (15,887 euros) a year, slightly less than the OECD average of $23,047
(17,914 euros) a year.
The OECD also found that there is a considerable gap between the richest and poorest in Greece as the top
20 percent of the population earns six times as much as the bottom 20 percent.
The index compares the well-being of 34 developed and emerging countries based on eleven categories
including housing, income, jobs, education, life satisfaction and work-life balance.
Woman arrested at Crete tax office after threatening staff with meat cleaver
27 May 2013 ekathimerini
A woman has been arrested on Crete after entering a tax office brandishing a meat cleaver and allegedly
The incident took place at the tax office in the town of Hania. The woman, who had a tax-related complaint,
allegedly brought the meat cleaver down on one of the employees’ desks.
Police were called and she was arrested on the spot.
Hate Speech Bill
16 May 2013 EnetEnglish
An anti-racism bill the government had was due to be tabled in parliament last week has finally been
presented to the house. The prime minister's office had halted the document for consultation but it was sent
to parliament on Wednesday unchanged. It is to be debated on May 21. The bill raises financial and prison
penalties for racist offences. In a statement, the prime minister's office said that normal procedure was
followed with the bill.
Parliament allows MP's to go on trial
16 May 2013 EnetEnglish
Parliament has stripped four MPs of immunity from prosecution, including Tourism Minister Olga Kefaloyanni,
allowing them to stand trial. Kefaloyanni and Golden Dawn MP Ilias Panayotaros are charged with slander,
Pasok MP (and former Speaker) Nikitas Kaklamanis is being sued by an Athens municipality worker for
dereliction of duty, and independent MP Odysseas Voudouris is charged with negligent manslaughter.
Stripping MPs of their immunity used to be extremely rare. It was brought into vogue earlier this year by
independent MP Dora Bakoyanni, who requested the opportunity to face charges of financial misdemeanour
and clear her name.
Boy, 11, stabbed on Crete
15 May 2013 ekathimerini
Police on Wednesday were investigating the stabbing of a 11-year-old boy in Iraklio, Crete. According to early
reports the boy was in critical condition after being stabbed several times in the back, while police had
arrested a 20-year old Dutch hotel employee in connection to the attack.
According to local media reports, the boy is of Russian descent and was vacationing on the southern Greek
island with his family. He was found near the hotel he was staying with his parents after the latter reported
Initially transferred to a local hospital for treatment, the boy was subsequently airlifted to an Athens health
Civil servants strike as teachers forced to work
13 May 2013 ekathimerini
Civil servants are to walk off the job on Tuesday in a bid to express solidarity with secondary school teachers
after the government issued a civil mobilization order to force teachers to work on Friday when they had
planned an anti-austerity strike.
The government on Monday issued civil mobilization papers to some 88,000 teachers who face arrest and
possible dismissal if they fail to turn up for work from Wednesday, when the order comes into effect.
The Education Ministry reportedly made a concession, however, withdrawing a presidential decree foreseeing
thousands of compulsory transfers of teachers – one of the key points of contention of protesting teachers –
The union representing secondary school teachers, OLME, had little luck in drumming up strong support. ADEDY
called its solidarity strike for Tuesday after refusing a request from OLME to join its walkout on Friday, saying it
did not want to create upheaval for students sitting university entrance exams.
OLME was also snubbed by the Council of State, which rejected an appeal for the government’s civil
mobilization order to be “frozen.”
Gov't freezes anti-racism bill for 'reassessment'
10 May 2013 ekathimerini
An anti-racism bill aimed at reining in the ultra-right Golden Dawn by banning from politics MPs found to have
been involved in racist violence will be "reassessed" before its submission to Parliament, Justice Minister
Antonis Roupakiotis said on Friday.
The bill, which also foresees lawmakers using Nazi imagery or salutes in Parliament having their immunity lifted
and losing their right to stand for office, had been scheduled to be put to public consultation on Friday.
Roupakiotis said that State Minister Dimitris Stamatis and the government's general secretary, Panayiotis
Baltakos, would review the anti-racism bill as "its social parameters must be examined more thoroughly." On
Wednesday, Roupakiotis had said the bill was "basically ready." The minister added that all political parties,
apart from one, were ready to embrace new reforms that would criminalize the phenomenon of racist violence
According to sources, the government's back-pedaling on the bill comes amid fears of making martyrs of
Golden Dawn MPs, many of whom have been linked to racist attacks. A head-on clash with Golden Dawn could
end up boosting the ultra-right party by making it appear to be persecuted, some government officials sources
Unemployment in Greece reaches 27% during February and OVER 64% FOR YOUTH
9 May 2013 protothema
The unemployment rate rose to 27% in February, from 26.7% in January 2013 and 21.9% in February 2012.
According EL.STAT. figures, the unemployed increased by 245,021 persons compared to February 2012 (+22.
8%) and 11.663 compared with January 2013 (+0.9%), amounting to 1,320,189.
First in unemployment is the age group of 15-24, where the ratio has reached 64.2%, followed by the 25-34
group with 36.2% and the 35-44 group with 23.7%. The highest unemployment rate is recorded in women, as
it has increased to 31% from 25.7% a year ago. In men it rose to 24.1% from 19%.
Greek public HIV testing clinics halt checks due to budget woes
9 May 2013 ekathimerini
Public HIV testing clinics have stopped checks since last month because of budget problems, the Athens
medical association said on Friday, attacking Deputy Health Minister Fotini Skopouli for blocking funding to the
The allegations came as data show that the number of HIV/AIDS cases is soaring in Greece, with infections
among injecting drug users more than doubling since 2010.
“Despite the recent AIDS epidemic, Skopouli is wrecking the country’s defense against the disease,” Giorgos
Patoulis, head of the association, said on Friday.
A total of 180,000 euros has been earmarked for the three HIV testing clinics, but none of that money has so
far reached the units, according to reports.
No ferries, public transport to be disrupted as unions mark May Day
Greece’s two largest labor unions, GSEE and ADEDY, are hoping for a strong turnout on Wednesday, May 1st,
when a number of professions will go on strike and take part in a rally in central Athens, to mark May Day.
Public transport will be disrupted on Wednesday but unions have said they will try to ease the impact on
passengers as much as possible. However, there will be no metro to Athens International Airport.
Ferries will remain docked throughout Wednesday as the seamens’ union, PNO, will be taking part in the May
Public hospitals will be operating with skeleton staff as doctors and nurses are also due to go on strike.
Court hands down stiff sentences over 2007 ambush of police in lawless Zoniana
29 April 2012 ekathmerini
A five-judge Piraeus court on Monday handed down sentences of between 25 and six years to 16 men found
guilty of involvement in an ambush against police officers in Zoniana, a rural area in Rethymno, Crete, during a
drug raid in November 2007, in which one officer was seriously wounded.
The court gave two men, one of whom is an Albanian national and remains at large, the maximum sentence of
25 years for the attempted murder – among other charges – of 33-year-old special officer Stathis Lazaridis,
who remains in a coma five-and-a-half years after gunmen in the lawless village opened fire on 49 police
officers conducting a raid in search of illegal narcotics, for which the area is notorious.
Another two officers were injured in the gun battle.
The court also handed sentences of 10 years to another three men and five-and-a-half years to another 10.
The 16th defendant saw his sentence reduced to four years.
Athens Airport rejects Ryanair proposal
25 April 2013 enetEnglish
Ryanair could attract 10m tourists to Greece in the next three years as long as the country's airports agree to
certain terms, the airline’s deputy CEO said on Thursday. Speaking at a press conference, Michael Cawley said
that Athens International Airport should reduce taxes to 5 euros per passenger in order to become more
competitive, something which the Airport firmly refused to do in a statement released just hours later, arguing
that their business model is not compatible with Ryanair practices.
Easter egg dye withdrawn in Greece over safety fears
25 April 2013 ekathimerini
Regional authorities in Attica and the Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) in association with the General Chemical
State Laboratory on Thursday called for the withdrawal from the Greek market of a dye for Easter eggs trading
under the name Radix Cut after inspections showed it contained the extract of a plant for which there is no
record of safe use.
European Commission to rule on Aegean's bid for Olympic by September 3
23 April 2013 Bloomburg via ekathimerini
Aegean Airlines SA faces an in- depth probe into its renewed bid to buy Olympic Air and form Greece’s biggest
carrier, two years after the EU blocked a previous attempt over antitrust concerns.
The European Commission, the 27-nation EU’s antitrust regulator, said today it will rule on the transaction by
Assailants shoot at University of Crete academic's empty car
22 April 2013 ekathimerini
A car belonging to an academic at the University of Crete was shot at outside his house near the town of
Iraklio early on Monday.
Police said that the windows were smashed in the attack but nobody was injured as the incident happened at
4 a.m. Two shotgun shells were found at the scene.
There was no immediate indication of what the motive for the shooting might have been.
Financial police arrested a farm owner, uncover offenses after shooting of strawberry pickers
21 April 2013 ekathimerini
Financial police have conducted checks on eight farming companies operating in the Nea Manolada area,
where Bangladeshi strawberry pickers were short earlier this week.
The police said late on Saturday that one owner had been arrested for employing undocumented immigrants.
Inspectors also recorded three offenses relating to labor laws and one breach of the tax code.
The three suspects who injured almost 30 migrants earlier in the week are due to face a prosecutor on
Body of 45-year-old man found off Crete
19 April 2013 ekathimerini
The body of a 45-year-old man who went missing off the coast of Crete on April 7 was found on Friday.
Authorities said the crew of a fishing boat found the corpse at a depth of 45 meters some 600 meters from the
The 45-year-old, a physiotherapist, was one of four men who went sailing in stormy weather off the coast of
Ierapetra in southern Crete earlier this month. The other three men were rescued.
Small gifts not bribes, govt says
16 April 2013 EnetEnglish
Justice ministry clarifies that law passed in March does not legalise the 'fakelaki', as under-the-table cash
bribes are known, but only covers gifts such as books and pens
A recent law that essentially legalises the offering of small gifts to civil servants as an expression of gratitude
does not extend to under-the-table cash payments, regardless of the amounts involved, the government has
Dismissing claims that the new legislation gives a green light to bribery, the justice ministry on Monday
underlined that “only books, pens and other symbolic gifts have been legalised as ‘expressions of gratitude’”.
Unemployment in Greece rises yet again
11 April 2013 EnetEnglish
The rate of unemployment in Greece rose to 27.2% in January – extending its previous eurozone record – in
the latest figures released by state statistical service Elstat. A further 11,653 people lost their jobs in the
month, taking the total to more than 281,000 in the calendar year. The figure is up from 25.7% the previous
month and 21.5% in the same month last year.
Samaria Gorge partly opens April 10th
9 April 2013 http://kritikaepikaira.gr
The Samaria National Park opens from Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at the south entrance (Agia Roumeli) for the
first two kilometers. The full opening of the gorge has not yet been announced, this is usually around
Municipality of Festos: Abandoned houses for the homeless
7 April 2013
The municipality of Festos in Crete has called on all property holders in the area to temporarily offer empty and
abandoned buildings to homeless families.
According to a statement released by the municipality, the housing issue has become a serious problem facing
many families in Festos. The insecurity, anxiety and fear felt by those who do not have a home can have sad
repercussions, the statement stresses.
The municipality says that temporarily providing these families with a roof over their head will give them a
chance to improve their socio-economic condition.
Festos is situated in the Heraklion prefecture on the southern island of Crete. It is named after the ancient city
of Festos, whose ruins are among the island's most popular tourist attractions.
ELTA offers discount on food parcels to students away from home
4 April 2013 ekathimerini
The Greek postal service, ELTA, launched a scheme on Thursday which allows parents to send food parcels or
other packages to children that are studying away from home in Greece at a 30 percent discount.
ELTA said the lower rates were available to people sending parcels to students and to the students
themselves, if they wanted to send something home.
Under the scheme, sending a 2-kilo package costs 2.87 euros. A 5-kilo parcel costs 4.27 euros and a 10-kilo
package 6.51 euro
Serres: Deputy mayor stole pasta, cheese and oil meant for the poor & needy
3 April 2013 Keep Talking Greece
A law suit has been filed against Deputy Mayor of Heraclea in Serres, Northern Greece, who allegedly stole
large quantities of food destined for needy. However his aim was not the personal consumption but the
distribution of these food items to those picked up by the elected local politicians. Possible to secure votes and
According to news website Thestival.gr, 29 cartons with cheese, six cartons with pasta and 35 boxes with
olive oil, total worth 1,000 euro, were stolen within two weeks in January from the municipality depot for the
needy of the area.
Distribution of food for the needy is done through strict income criteria.
When the case blew up, the deputy mayor returned the goods. He is to face charges for stealing.
Greek villagers block Golden Dawn food handout on Thassos
1 April 2013 BBC News
Villagers on the Greek island of Thassos have prevented the nationalist Golden Dawn party from handing out
free food and other basic goods.
One of the most right-wing parties in Europe, Golden Dawn is accused of anti-immigrant attacks, but denies
To Vima says the anti-Golden Dawn protest in Potamia was organised by the cultural centre, local football
team and some other residents. Thassos is in the northern Aegean Sea, near the coast of Thrace.
Earlier Golden Dawn had distributed food in the village of Limenaria, but few had accepted the charity, the
Last August party activists distributed food to Greeks in central Athens - but obliged recipients to show their
identity papers, to prove their Greek citizenship.
Floodlight pylon collapses in Crete due to strong winds
25 March 2013 ekathimerini
A floodlight pylon collapsed Monday at OFI soccer club’s homeground in Iraklio, Crete, due to gale-force winds.
Several cars were damaged but no injuries were reported.
Piraeus Bank to absorb local Cypriot bank branches
24 March 2013 EnetEnglish
As Piraeus Bank is confirmed as the buyer of the local subsidiaries of Bank of Cyprus and Cyprus Popular Bank
(formerly Marfin), pressure mounts for branches to open after the March 25 public holiday
Piraeus Bank was chosen on Friday to take over the Greek branches of Cypriot lenders, in a deal that helps
shield Greek banks from the island's crisis and allows Cyprus to shrink its bloated banking sector.
The deal, announced by Greece's bank bailout fund, is subject to approval by European competition authorities.
The fund did not provide further details but officials said Piraeus, the country's No 3 bank, beat out Alpha Bank
in the race for the Greek units of the two biggest Cypriot lenders – Bank of Cyprus and Cyprus Popular Bank
(formerly Marfin). Read more
Arms packages intercepted at Iraklio airport
22 March 2013 ekathimerini
Police at Iraklio airport on Crete on Friday intercepted two packages containing arms that a 50-year-old man
had attempted to send to Thessaloniki and Corfu.
The contents of the packages were detected during a security scan. The packages contained two air guns, two
flare launchers, a taser gun and 100 cartridges.
The 50-year-old suspect was detained for questioning while the would-be recipients of the two packages were
Last November, police intercepted a package containing 250 bullets at Iraklio airport.
EOPPY units face closure as doctors' contracts expire
22 March 2013 ekathimerini
There is a serious risk of dozens of local units of the National Organization for Healthcare Provision (EOPPY),
the country's biggest healthcare provider, closing due to the departure of thousands of doctors, Skai
Of some 6,000 doctors serving at around 200 EOPPY units, most of which were formerly branches of the Social
Security Foundation (IKA), 1,040 are on short-term contracts which are close to expiring, meaning that the
units will soon face an acute shortage of medical staff.
Meanwhile hundreds of doctors from the private sector who had been cooperating with EOPYY have stopped
offering their services, causing problems for Greeks insured with healthcare providers who must find new
GSEE predicts unemployment will reach 29 percent this year
22 March 2013 ekathimerini
Greece’s General Confederation of Labor (GSEE), the country’s largest private sector union, said that its
researchers project that unemployment will reach 29 percent by the end of this year, meaning the number of
unemployed Greeks will reach 1.45 million.
The jobless rate in the final quarter of last year reached 26 percent, according to the Hellenic Statistical
GSEE researchers also said that the average gross income in Greece had fallen by 29 percent since 2009,
while the average price of goods and services had risen by 17 percent compared to 2007 levels.
Tax officials have no right to access your bank account
20 March 2013 EnetEnglish
Tax officials have no business looking into your bank account, according to the Council of State.
Greece’s highest administrative court has ruled against the government’s latest effort to combat tax evasion
by giving the Financial and Economic Crimes Unit (SDOE) full powers to access any Greek bank account in order
to cross-check with income declared. The court ruled it is unconstitutional.
SDOE was reportedly going to start implementing this controversial measure to combat tax evasion this week.
Based on the ruling, SDOE is still required to obtain a court order to peek in bank accounts.
Demolitions on Crete postponed in view of upcoming tourist season
19 March 2013 news.gtp.gr
Scheduled demolitions of constructions erected illegally on the coast of Crete have been postponed until the
end of the summer, according to Greek press reports.
Following two recent demolitions by decentralized government crews of an illegally built seaside tavern on
Tobruk Beach in Heraklion and an illegal structure of a hotel complex in Malia, the Crete Travel Agents
Association sent a letter to Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and requested for the postponement of the
demolitions until after the tourism season.
In the letter, the travel agents said the images of the island’s demolished establishments made headlines in
the international media and would “scare off” tourists and discourage them to come to Greece just before the
start of the season.
As a result, the general secretary of Decentralized Administration of Crete, Yiorgos Diktakis, suspended
scheduled demolitions until the end of this year’s tourism season.
According to reports, the demolitions will continue in October 2013.
Cretan mayors quit over education overhaul plan
15 March 2013 enet English
Entire councils of Ayios Nikolaos and Ierapetra resign en masse
Two mayors in the island of Crete have resigned in protest at the government’s plans to overhaul the third-
level education system and the deteriorating health service in the country.
Dimitris Kounenakis, Democratic Left mayor of Ayios Nikolaos, and his Pasok counterpart in Ierapetra, Sifis
Anastasakis, informed the Cretan regional authority that they were vacating their posts on Friday.
The move follows the mass resignation on March 6 of municipal councillors in both towns, which are both
located in Lasithi prefecture, over the third-level issue.
The Athina plan includes the closure of four universities - the University of Central Greece, the University of
Western Greece, the International Hellenic University and the University of Western Macedonia - as well as of
dozens of departments at universities and technical colleges. As a result of the changes, many students will
have to move to a different city in order to complete their studies.
The mayors and councillors will formerly remain in office until the relevant presidential decree accepting their
resignations is signed.
Property tax back on electricity bill
14 March 2013 EnetEnglish
This year’s property tax will not come in a separate bill, but will continue to be levied via electricity bills this
year. So said Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras from Brussels where he is attending a European Union
The troika has reportedly insisted the tax continue to be attached to the electricity bill.
In response to the news, main opposition Syriza and the two coalition parties Pasok and the Democratic Left
said they do not support the decision. Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos said he will try to fight it.
Last year, the Council of State, Greece’s highest administrative court ruled that the tax is legal but not the
penalty of cutting off the electricity of those who fail to pay it. The government had decided this year’s tax
would come in a separate bill.
Greece Regional airports to be privatized
8 March 2013 Capital.gr and ekathimerini.com
International tenders for the privatisation of the country΄s local airports will be launched before the end of
March, Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Kostis Hatzidakis
According to AMNA, he said tenders will be for long-term concessions to exploit the commercial operation and
management of the airports, which will remain the property of the state. He specified, however, that the new
airport of Kasteli (Heraklion) on Crete will be exempted from the above procedure since it was "targeted at a
different class of investors".
Twenty-one regional airports will be split into two groups to be conceded to private investors for a period of
about 30-35 years.
Group 1 will consist of Thessaloniki, Corfu, Zakynthos, Cephalonia, Aktio, Kavala and Hania airports, with an
option for the investor to add those of Alexandroupoli, Araxos and Kalamata. Group 2 will be the terminals on
Rhodes, Kos, Myconos, Santorini, Skiathos, Mytilene and Samos, with the additional option of Chios, Limnos
and Karpathos. Nea Anchialos Airport near Volos may be added to either of the groups.
It is only the operation and development of the airports that will be conceded, while the state will retain
ownership and monitoring rights through the Civil Aviation Authority.
Sites and state-run museums to close on Monday
8th March 2013 ekathimerini
Archaeological sites and state-run museums will be closed on Monday 11 March due to a strike by Culture
Ministry staff, who also held a 24-hour protest on Friday.
Cretan kindergarten's power supply restored
8th March 2013 ekathimerini
The Public Power Corporation said on Friday that it had reconnected the electricity supply of a state-run
kindergarten on Crete that had failed to pay its bill.
Iraklio Municipality said that the school was part of a new complex completed in September 2012 and a
bureaucratic error had led to the electricity bill not being paid.
The municipality complained that the kindergarten, which is attended by about 80 pupils, was not given any
warning that its power would be cut.
PPC cuts electricity supply to about 30,000 customers a month due to unpaid bills.
Greece, Israel and US begin 'Noble Dina' naval exercise off Crete
7th March 2013 ekathimerini
Greece, Israel and the United States on Thursday began a naval exercise in the sea around Crete and the
Called “Noble Dina,” it will last 15 days and involves simulated combat against submarines, air battles and
protection of offshore natural gas platforms. The same exercise was held in the Mediterranean last year.
Greece is participating with a frigate, a helicopter and a submarine.
Student tragedy from makeshift heater
2nd March 2013 Enet
Two students died and a further three remain in critical condition in hospital after being overcome by fumes
from a makeshift brazier they were using to keep warm in Larisa.
The students were discovered when a friend visited the house but received no answer at the door on
Thursday afternoon. She entered using the housekeeper's key and discovered the five students unconscious.
They were taken to hospital but two died.
Two remain stable but in critical condition, while one who was originally in the pulinary unit was also
transferred to the intensive care unit of the University Hospital of Larisa.
The students had apparently made a makeshift brazier from a dismantled boiler.
Autopsies will be carried out on the two dead students, 21 and 22, from Chania, in Crete, and Halkida, in
northern Greece, on Friday.
Court upholds cash limit on purchases
1st March 2013 ekathimerini
Greece’s highest administrative court, the Council of State, on Friday rejected an appeal against a February
2011 government decision that requires any purchases of products or services worth over 1,500 euros to be
made by credit or debit card.
The measure was introduced as part of an effort to tackle tax evasion but was appealed against by two
The judges found that the appellants had not proved how the measure might damage consumers’ interest.
Undeclared work on the rise
1st March 2013 Enet
The rate of undeclared employment has reached 36%, rising as much as 44% in some regions, according to a
report drafted by inspectors of the Social Insurance Foundation (IKA) and submitted to parliament for review
by Labour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis.
A total 19,083 inspections were conducted last year. Inspectors discovered 22,006 unregistered (and thus
uninsured workers). About 40% of these workers are immigrants.
Employers were fined a total 11.9m euros.
According to Markos Tountas, director general of IKA’s inspection office, the increase in the number of
undeclared workers is mainly due to higher taxation and high levels of social insurance contributions. He also
noted that a growing number of jobless and undocumented migrant workers is making it easier for employers
to find workers willing to work off the books.
Aegean seeks EU approval for renewed takeover of Olympic Air
28 February 2013 Bloomberg via ekathimerini
Aegean Airlines asked European Union regulators to approve renewed plans to buy Olympic Air and form
Greece’s biggest carrier, two years after the EU blocked a previous attempt over antitrust concerns.
The European Commission set an initial deadline of April 9 to rule on the deal, it said in a website filing today.
Aegean, based in Athens, said in October it would pay 72 million euros ($94 million) for Olympic Air to help the
two unprofitable airlines benefit from cost savings and an extended network. Aegean will pay cash
installments to Marfin Investment Group Holdings SA, which acquired Olympic from the Greek state in 2009.
The Brussels-based commission refused to allow the two carriers merge in 2011, saying they would form a
quasi-monopoly that would have increased passenger fares in Greece. The EU yesterday blocked Ryanair
Holdings Plc (RYA)’s bid for Irish rival Aer Lingus Group Plc (AERL), more than five years after a previous
takeover was also banned on concerns it would end competition on some routes.
Roula Saloutsi, a spokeswoman for Aegean, declined to comment on the filing. Olympic Air’s press office wasn’t
immediately available to comment.
Greece Tourism on the Up
27 February 2013 Enet English
The number of British tourists is on the rise (up by 20%), according to Andreas Andreadis, president of the
Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises. Speaking to central Bank of Greece shareholders, he also said the
number of German, French and Scandinavian tourists is on the rise and that 2013 could be a rebound year for
the country’s tourism industry. According to Andreadis, Greece is likely to meet (possibly even exceed) the
target of 17m foreign tourists and 11bn euros in revenue this year. He stressed, however, that investments
worth 2.5bn euros are needed.
Horsemeat in Greece
27 February 2013 Enet English
After Ikea was forced on Monday to withdraw its popular meatballs from sale because they were found to
have traces of horsemeat, it has emerged that two Greek companies are under investigation for importing
Bulgarian horsemeat and selling it as beef. As reported in Eleftherotypia, the Hellenic Food Authority (Efet) and
state prosecutor are looking into two businesses, the official address of one of which is a field. According to
Eurostat figures, Greece imports 74 tonnes of horsemeat every year, but an Efet official has told Eleftherotypia
that the real figure could be ten times that. In a separate case, health officials have seized 13 tonnes of
Romanian meat for inspection.
Talks between ministers, farmers break down
25 February 2013 ekathimerini
Talks between four ministers and unionists representing farmers who have been pushing for tax breaks and
other concessions broke down on Monday, prompting producers to herald further protest action.
Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, who met the farmers along with his counterparts holding the labor,
agriculture and environment portfolios, said that the government “listened to the farmers’ demands” but noted
that the “possibilities, within the constricting fiscal framework, are small.”
He said the government aimed to offer farmers a special card that would give them discounts on a special
consumption tax on fuel and was also considering introducing legislation that would allow all farmers to retire
after 40 years of service.
Unionists were less positive. “The government gave us nothing,” said Vangelis Boutas, who heads the
association of farmers from Karditsa in central Greece. “For us this is a struggle for survival; we will scale up
our action,” he said, referring to the roadside blockades that farmers have been holding for several weeks in a
bid to wrest concessions.
Smoking ban checks to restart
23 February 2013 ekathimerini
The Health Ministry has announced the return of stricter checks regarding the enforcement of a smoking ban in
According to the ministry’s general secretary, Christina Papanikolaou, a new circular calls for the intensification
of checks at schools, hospitals, restaurants, bars and nightclubs by inspectors in charge of the implementation
of the law initially introduced in 2010.
The new wave of inspections is expected to meet with opposition from entrepreneurs who argue that the
smoking ban will affect business amid the ongoing financial crisis.
In November 2012, the Council of State ruled that the ban was in keeping with Greek law and the
Constitution, after 150 entrepreneurs and the Panhellenic Federation of Restaurants and Related Professions
filed an appeal against it.
Civil servants arrested over pensions scam
22 February 2013 ekathimerini
Police have arrested five women, including three former employees of the State General Accounting Office, and
one man on suspicion of diverting money destined for pensions into their own bank accounts.
According to officers, the three public servants identified pensioners who had died or whose monthly
retirement pay had been suspended and then arranged for this money to be transferred to their own accounts
or ones opened by their accomplices.
In the case of pensioners who had died, they changed the addresses recorded on the accounting office’s
computer system so that the families of the deceased would not be aware the pensions were still being paid.
Police said that the six suspects operated in two teams. One had been active since October 2004 and the
other began its activities in October 2011. They allegedly stole almost 550,000 euros of taxpayers’ money.
Seamen to join Feb. 20 general strike
15 February 2013 ekathimerini
The union representing Greek seamen, PNO, said on Friday that it will be joining a nationwide 24-hour strike
called by private and public workers’ organizations GSEE and ADEDY on Wednesday, February 20, meaning
ferries will remain docked throughout the day.
There will also be a media blackout on Tuesday, February 19, as journalists join the action a day ahead of
Greece's unemployment is more than double the euro zone's average rate of 11.7 per cent
15 February 2013 Phantis / Reuters
Greece's jobless rate scaled a new record of 27.0 per cent in November from a revised 26.6 percent in
October, the country's statistics service ELSTAT said this week.
Greek unemployment was more than double the euro zone's average rate of 11.7 percent in November as a
crippling, austerity-fuelled recession continued to take its toll on the labour market.
Separate surveys showed the country remains stuck in recession and predicted nearly a third of the
population will be in poverty by the end of the year.
Worst affected are the young, with 61.7 per cent of those in the 15-24 age group without a job.
3.6 million Greeks remain employed, but 3.3 million are registered as inactive and 1.35 million are unemployed,
according to the November figures.
Greeks forgo winter heating after jump in fuel tax
7 February 2013 Reuters
A growing number of Greeks are struggling to keep warm after a fuel tax hike aimed at curbing smuggling and
boosting revenues for the cash-strapped state sent heating oil prices up 40 percent.
With Greeks already struggling under wage and pension cuts imposed by the foreign lenders that bailed their
country out, many have stopped using heating oil altogether, pushing consumption down 70 percent in the
last three months of 2012 from a year earlier. Read more
Greek workers to strike against austerity on Feb. 20
Greek private sector workers will walk off the job for 24 hours on Feb, 20 to protest austerity measures
prescribed by the country's international lenders, their union GSEE said on Thursday.
Public sector union ADEDY is expected to join the strike, its general secretary Ilias Iliopoulos told Reuters.
Greece: Top jobless rate in the EU
2 February 2013 ekathimerini
Greece holds the record among all European Union countries in terms of jobless rates.
Eurostat figures released on Friday showed that the unemployment rate in this country stood at 26.8 percent
in October 2012, with Spain coming in second with 26.1 percent. Read More
Gov’t using wait-and-see tactics over farmers' protests
31 January ekathimerini
As thousands of farmers gathered at key road junctions around the country on Thursday, pushing for
concessions from a new tax bill, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras chaired a meeting with key ministers in a bid
to stop the burgeoning protest from becoming a new point of conflict between the government and society.
The growing presence of protesting farmers – and their tractors – at major junctions such as the one at Nikaia
on the Athens-Thessaloniki national highway was reportedly the focus of talks between Samaras, Agricultural
Development Minister Athanassios Tsaftaris and State Minister Dimitris Stamatis. The majority of the farmers
involved in the current blockades are affiliated with the Communist Party (KKE) though a growing number of
protesters are aligned with conservative New Democracy.
Sources told Kathimerini that the government is keen to nip the protests in the bud. But neither Samaras nor
his ministers have taken any concerted action to diffuse the tension, a fact which is said to have puzzled some
government officials. Read more
Greece accepts $31 million bid for Corfu island plot
31 January 2013 AP
Greece's state privatization fund says it has accepted a (EURO)23 million ($31 million) bid from New York-based
investors to develop real estate on the western resort island of Corfu.
It is the first successful deal involving a large plot of state-owned real estate, which accounts for about 50
percent of Greece's ambitious privatization program.
A fund statement Thursday said NCH Capital will be granted a 99-year concession to exploit the seaside plot
at Kassiopi. The state will retain ownership of the 120-acre (nearly 50-hectare) forested property, selling what
it calls the "right of surface."
The fund said the total investment at Kassiopi is expected to reach (EURO)75 million ($101 million), and will
create hundreds of construction jobs.
Diagnostic centers launch EOPYY boycott
30 January 2013 ekathimerini
Doctors and diagnostic centers will refuse to fulfill prescriptions issued by the National Organization for
Healthcare Provision (EOPYY) for blood and other laboratory tests as of Thursday.
Unions representing those working in primary healthcare said that EOPYY still owes them money from 2012
and previous years. They are demanding a timeline for the payment of the outstanding amounts.
Sweden directs jobless youth to Greece
29 January 2013 ekathimerini
Sweden's government-funded employment agency on Monday launched a campaign encouraging unemployed
Swedish youths to look for summer jobs in crisis-stricken Mediterranean countries including Greece and Spain.
The jobs, most of them in the hotel and entertainment sectors, will mainly serve Swedish tourists.
"We hope our Swedish youths will get every single one of these jobs. These companies have had good
experience of young Swedish workers," said Kristina Gaerdebro Johansson, a European Employment Services
(EURES) advisor at the Swedish agency.
Hundreds of jobs in Greece, Spain, Italy and Cyprus - all popular tourist destinations for Swedes - will be
marketed at a special event organised by the country's employment agency and EURES in the southern city of
Malmoe next week.
The positions include football coaches, aerobics instructors and dancers at hotels and resorts around the
Mediterranean. Some of the jobs require Scandinavian language skills, but not all of them, said Gaerdebro
Johansson. read more
Cretan man jailed for 8 months over illegal pension claims
31 January 3013 ekathimerini
A 55-year-old man from Iraklio, Crete, was sentenced to eight months in jail on Thursday for failing to pay back
his mother’s pension which he claimed illegally after she died.
The country’s main social security fund, IKA, had ordered the man to pay back 16,000 euros out of the 30,000
he claimed illegally between January 2008 and October 2011.
His offense was discovered when IKA completed an audit of its pensioners last year, its first ever.
The same court handed a six-month jail sentence to a local woman on January 9 for illegally collecting her dead
sister’s pension between March 2005 and October 2011.
4.3 Richter quake off east coast of Crete
29 January 2013 ekathimerini
An moderate undersea earthquake measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale was reported to have struck the area
between the islands of Crete and Karpathos in the southeastern Aegean in the early hours of Tuesday.
According to the Geodynamic Institute of the National Observatory of Athens, the quake struck at 3.48 a.m. on
Tuesday and was felt mostly in the Cretan region of Siteia and on the northeastern coast of the prefecture of
Lasithi. It was deemed as being a mild tremor, with its epicenter 18 kilometers west of Karpathos. No damage
Doctors and seamen to stage protests next week
26 January 2013 ekathimerini
After the disruptions to Athens’s public transport system this week, strike action is due to affect other services
in the coming week, with doctors, nurses and seamen among those who have planned to walk off the job.
On Thursday, January 31, doctors and other employees at public hospitals are to hold a 24-hour strike to
protest the government’s reorganization of the health sector, which has resulted in the closure of dozens of
Doctors and diagnostic centers working with the National Organization for Healthcare Provision (EOPYY) are
due to strike the following day to protest a government plan to pay them 20 percent less than what they were
owed by the social security funds that merged to form EOPYY.
Also on Friday, the civil servants’ union, ADEDY, has announced a work stoppage from noon until the end of
employees’ shifts to allow its members to express opposition to health reforms.
Seamen are to stage a 48-hour strike from Thursday as they believe the government’s plan for coastal
shipping will lead to fewer routes and will result in job losses.
Two arrested after Kalashnikov raid on Crete gas station
25 January 2013 ekathimerini
A 28-year-old Greek and a 24-year-old Albanian national were detained on Friday as the suspected
perpetrators of an armed robbery on a gas station in the Cretan port of Hania.
Police traced the suspects based on a description given by the gas station employee who said one of the
robbers threatened him with a Kalashnikov assault rifle while the other hit him, forcing him to hand over the
contents of the cash register in the store.
Police also arrested a 33-year-old man believed to have driven the robbers' getaway car.
Teenagers injured in police chase in Heraklion
25 January 2013 ekathimerini
Two males aged 16 and 19 suffered serious injuries on Crete on Thursday after their motorcycle crashed as
they tried to avoid a police inspection.
The teenagers sped away from a police checkpoint in Iraklio and were being chased by a patrol car when the
rider lost control of the motorcycle.
The two policemen in the squad car, meanwhile, were taken into custody for questioning after a witness said
that one of them kicked the motorcycle while it was in motion when the squad car pulled up beside it, causing
it to veer out of control.
Greek subway staff end strike after police raid
25 January 2013 AP
Striking subway workers in Athens returned to the job Friday, hours after the Greek government used riot
police to evacuate holdouts from a train depot, ending a bitter standoff over new austerity measures.
The nine-day strike - which knocked out a system serving more than a million people a day - was the biggest
labor unrest Greece's uneasy, conservative-led governing coalition faced since taking over last June. Read more
Gov't to issue civil mobilization orders, minister says
24 January 2013 ekathimerini
Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis on Thursday said the Greek government will issue civil mobilization
orders to make Athens metro staff, who have been on strike for eight days, return to their jobs.
Hatzidakis, who is responsible for transport, spoke after a four-hour emergency meeting with Prime Minister
Antonis Samaras on the issue.
“Unionists have decided to take the path of blind confrontation and not to respect the decisions of Greek
justice,” said Hatzidakis adding that the government was left with no other option.
The prospect measure of civil mobilization – used against seamen, truckers and street cleaners in 2010 and
2011 – means that employees will have to return to work or face the prospect of going directly to jail.
There was no immediate reaction form the unions.
Earlier on Thursday worker representatives said they would suspend their action if the government committed
to maintaining the collective labor agreement, which expires on April 30, before negotiating a new deal.
Workers are objecting to a reduction in their salaries that has resulted from their induction into a new civil
service wage structure.
Greek coastal shipping suffers major losses in Aegean, Adriatic
23 January 2013 ekathimerini
The Greek coastal shipping sector has incurred major losses as a result of the ongoing debt crisis, according to
the Hellenic Chambers Transport Association.
The association estimates that during the 2009-2012 period, ferry operators lost over 2.5 million passengers,
445,000 vehicles and 140,000 trucks on routes servicing the Aegean Sea and the Adriatic Sea.
The association is demanding that both Greek authorities and the European Union develop initiatives that will
safeguard the activities of local coastal shipping companies.
Greece hosted fewer international travelers in 2012
23 January 2013 ekathimerini
International tourist arrivals were down 5.2 percent during the January-September 2012 period, compared to
the same 9-month period last year, according to figures released by Greece’s statistical authority, ELSTAT, on
According to the agency’s report, the greatest losses (8.3 percent) were recorded in arrivals stemming from
European Union countries.
Fewer visitors travelled to Greece from Poland, France, Belgium, Germany, Bulgaria, Italy and Holland, for
instance, while there was an increase in tourist arrivals from Britain and Russia.
German tourists topped the list of visitors (13.1 percent), followed by British (12.6 percent) and French
travelers (6.6 percent).
Meanwhile, a rise was recorded in arrivals from the United States and a number of Asian countries.
Afghan national gets life in prison for Crete murder
23 January 2013 ekathimerini
A 23-year-old Afghan national has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of 76-year-old Aikaterini
Kokkinou in Livadia, Mylopotamos, on the island of Crete, in November 2011.
The 23-year-old was found guilty of strangling the 76-year-old, who was found covered with a blanket in her
bedroom, along with his accomplice, a 23-year-old compatriot. An international warrant has been issued for
the latter's arrest.
The Hania court handling the case ruled that the motive behind the crime was robbery, for which the 23-year-
old received an extra 15-year prison sentence.
Farmers warn of blockades over production costs
21 January 2013 ekathimerini
Farmers in Thessaly, central Greece, on Monday parked their tractors in town squares to protest rising
production costs caused by repeated hikes in electricity rates.
Meanwhile, Greece’s farmers union warned of blockades should the government snub their demands for a
meeting with the prime minister or the agriculture minister by Friday.
Farmers, who have in the past used their tractors to block national highways and junctions, object to the
government’s new tax law and policy on agriculture.
Queen Mary 2 diverts to Heraklion due to bad weather in Piraeus
17 January 2013 neatv.gr
The presence of the cruise ship Queen Mary 2 in Heraklion port was welcomed by shop keepers and business
owners today, as 2,500 unexpected tourists arrived in the City.
The Queen Mary 2 was bound for the port of Piraeus, but due to bad weather the company asked that the
ship dock in another port and was diverted to Heraklion. The Queen Mary 2 will spend the day docked in
Heraklion before continuing its cruise.
Checks find 36 percent of employees uninsured
16 January 2013 ekathimerini
More than a third of Greek workers are uninsured, checks by the country’s main social security fund, IKA-ETAM,
In 2012, checks on almost 61,000 people in employment revealed that 36 percent were not registered to
receive social security benefits.
IKA-ETAM said that last year was the first in several when there the proportion of Greek workers without
insurance was larger than that for migrants.
The fund said it inspected just over 19,000 businesses, of which 1,034 had not registered for social security
With child poverty rising due to the economic crisis, a team of public policy experts from the Athens University
of Economics and Business (AUEB) has called for a state program offering school meals, noting that pupils
could be fed for as little as 3 euros per child per day.
Call for free school meals amid rising child poverty
16 January 2013 ekathimerini
According to the proposal, providing meals to some 750,000 pupils at primary schools would cost around 400
million euros, or 0.22 percent of gross domestic product per year. Extending the program to secondary
schools, and another 650,000 pupils, would cost 750 million euros or 0.4 percent of GDP. The cost would be
lower if subsidized by the pupils’ parents in line with their income, according to the AUEB team who proposed
first targeting schools with a greater proportion of poor children. The proposal came as the Education Ministry
said it had secured 60 million euros in European Union cash to provide fruit, milk and toasted sandwiches to
250,000 primary school children.
Inflation cools down in December
15 January 2013 ekathimerini
Despite the major hike in the price of heating oil this winter, inflation in Greece dropped to just 0.3 percent in
December compared with prices a year earlier.
The figures released on Thursday by Eurostat show that Greece had the lowest inflation in the eurozone last
The consumer price index had stood at 0.4 percent in November 2012 and at 2.2 percent in December 2011.
Bodies of 3 migrants retrieved off Greek island of Chios
13 January 2013 Washington Post via Phantis
Greece’s coast guard says the bodies of three male would-be migrants have been retrieved in the waters off
the eastern Aegean island of Chios.
Two bodies were found Sunday morning by fishermen and the third later by a coast guard vessel. The men’s
national origins were not immediately clear, but they may have been trying to cross into Greece from Turkey.
A coast guard spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on
the record to media, confirmed that an autopsy on the first two bodies showed they had drowned.
Greece in grips of snow
8 January 2013 AMNA and Cretalive
Greece was in the grips of snow and sub-zero temperatures, with heavy snowfall in northern and eastern
Attica, leading to the closure of schools in Dionyssos, Palea Penteli and Nea Penteli, and snowflakes making
their appearance even in downtown Athens on Tuesday.
Several parts of the Attica suburban road network were closed, while snow chains were required for others.
The upper part of Mt. Parnitha has been closed to traffic since Monday, while temperatures in Athens were not
expected to exceed 5C.
Due to the extreme cold, the City of Athens has opened up three municipal buildings on a 24-hour basis to
provide shelter and warm beverages to the homeless, and has activated a four-digit hot-line, 1960.
Piraeus municipality has taken similar precautions, opening up all its senior citizen centers (KAPI) to provide
warmth and shelter.
In Crete Tuesday morning the snow clearance machines were working hard to keep roads open in
mountainous areas where there is snow.
According to the head of the Civil Protection of Crete John Tzanokostaki, snow chains are required in the areas
of Lassithi Plateau, Anogia and Omalos.
Festive retail data point to big sales dive
7 January 2013 ekathimerini
The average drop in retail turnover this past Christmas season has amounted to between 21 and 30 percent
from the year-earlier period, according to data compiled by the National Confederation of Greek Commerce
(ESEE), while in some areas the decline reached a staggering 60 percent.
The decision to allow stores to open for an additional Sunday during the holidays (on December 30) failed to
produced the revenues expected, as reduced disposable incomes and the bad weather discouraged
consumers from adding to purchases already made before Christmas.
Out of ESEE’s 58 member associations, only three said that their highest consumer traffic was seen on
December 30. According to the confederation, demand peaked on December 23 and 24.
The biggest losers this festive season were apparel retailers, as most consumers have put off buying clothes
and footwear until the sales that are scheduled to begin next Tuesday. Even spending on children’s toys
posted a major decline, according to 45 percent of ESEE member associations. Books, on the other hand, fared
better, as 20 percent of associations saw purchases remain unchanged while another 10 percent reported an
Lagarde list probe unveils large-scale tax evasion
3 January 2013 ekathimerini
A number of Greeks holding accounts at a Geneva branch of HSBC are suspected of major tax evasion by the
Financial Tax Squad (SDOE), according to Kathimerini sources.
According to a SDOE investigation of the so-called Lagarde list, a large number of the 2,062 Greeks figuring on
the list are unable to justify their deposits as legally earned income.
The amount of suspected tax evasion is expected to reach dozens of millions of euros while a number of those
holding deposits are expected to face charges once the SDOE probe is concluded.
Police seize stolen jewellery worth over 300,000 euros in Heraklion pawn shop raid
1 January 2012 ekathimerini
Police in the Cretan prefecture of Iraklio on Monday confiscated more than 300,000 euros’ worth of stolen
jewelry from a pawn shop and arrested two male employees, aged 38 and 40, as well as issuing an arrest
warrant for the 37-year-old owner of the establishment who had been absent at the time of the raid.
Officers confiscated more than half a kilogram of jewelry from the home of the 38-year-old suspect.
Crete & Greece
January to July 2013