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Crete & Greece
June to August  2006
Shots fly in Cretan cannabis plant raid
25th Aug 2006

Police detected eight cannabis plantations in Milopotamos, near Rethymnon in Crete yesterday, in an operation involving
some 80 law enforcement officers and a helicopter.
However, the operation got off to a difficult start as local residents fired about 70-80 shots at the officers trying stop
them from reaching the plantations, authorities said.
“They tried to scare us but despite the conditions we stayed in the area and took all the necessary measures to protect
ourselves,” said a senior police officer.
No one was hurt in the operation which resulted in the confiscation of 439 cannabis plants, some of which were 4
meters high. No arrests were made.
Since the start of summer, police have launched 22 raids in the Rethymnon area and have confiscated more than 3,000

Fires raging across Northern Greece and the Peloponnese
23rd  August 2006

A forest fire devastated the area of Cassandra in Halkidiki, northern Greece, causing the deaths of two people and
scorching some 5,000 hectares of scorched pine trees and at least 80 holiday homes yesterday.
The blaze broke out Monday afternoon but was fanned later in the day by high winds. More than 250 firefighters and
soldiers tried to put out the flames but were hampered by the wind and dark of nightfall.
At its peak, the fire spread over 25 kilometers and ravaged the village resorts of Polichroni, Hanioti, Pefkohori, Nea
Skioni and Kryopigi as thick black smoke covered the area.
The blaze forced thousands of tourists to flee their hotels for the local beaches, where more than 1,200 people boarded
boats and coast guard vessels for safety. Others simply spent the night on the beach.
Authorities said that an unnamed 41-year-old German tourist drowned while trying to get his family onto a rubber
dinghy. Another elderly man died of a heart attack but no details were made public. More than 50 people were taken to
local hospitals with burns, injuries or breathing problems.
The fire continued to burn last night between Nea Skioni and Cassandrino, leaving authorities hoping for favorable
weather overnight.

Meanwhile, another large fire was burning last night in Laconia in the southeast Peloponnese. Authorities said that at
least 4,000 hectares of land, including crops and trees, had been burned, as well as dozens of homes.
A state of emergency was declared in the municipalities of Gytheion, Oitylo and eastern Mani as firefighters tried to
contain the blaze on at least seven fronts

Crete stabbing
23rd August 2006
A 50-year-old with mental problems was arrested yesterday after stabbing a 60-year-old woman in Souda, Crete, police
said. The victim suffered serious arm and stomach injuries and was taken to the hospital. The 50-year-old is prone to
violent outbursts, police said, and had killed one of his sisters and injured the other six years ago. Since then, the
unnamed man had been held at several psychiatric clinics and was only released recently.

European Citizens Voting in Greece
23rd August 2006

There will be a large increase in the number of Europeans who will vote in the October local elections according to
figures released yesterday.
Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said that 8,921 European Union citizens, including people from the 10 newest
member states, will vote in October.
This is six times more than those who voted in the 1998 local elections, which were the first polls in which non-Greeks
could cast their ballot. This year’s figure is also 2.5 times higher than the number of EU citizens that voted in the 2002
local elections.
Almost 3,000 of the voters are Britons, who make up the largest group, followed by more than 1,800 German nationals
who registered before the June 30 deadline.
Foreigners will be able to vote in the municipal and community polls but not the prefectural elections.

Death Fall – Murder Charge
17th August 2006

A British man who jumped from a hotel balcony in Crete with his two children has been charged with murder after his six-
year-old son died.
John Hogan's two-year-old daughter survived the fall from the fourth-floor balcony  and is now in a stable condition in
Mr Hogan, from Bradley Stoke near Bristol, also faces an attempted murder charge, the UK Foreign Office said.
The 32-year-old told hospital officials he did not remember the incident.
His family was taken to the Agios Nikolaos hospital for initial treatment, after the incident late on Tuesday night.
The hospital's director Panayiotis Sparakis said it was a "truly tragic" case.
Mr Hogan's wife has been named as Natasha and works as a nurse at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport, South
He was reported to be in a stable condition after the fall at the Petra Mare hotel in Ierapetra on the south coast of the
island, and under police guard.
The family were said to have travelled from Britain for a two-week holiday.

All clear for Greek airports
11th August 2006

Airline travelers were urged yesterday not to panic as the government assured people that airport security in Greece
was adequate following the uncovering of an alleged plot in Great Britain to blow up airplanes with liquid explosives.

Hundreds of passengers were delayed at Athens International Airport as all Olympic Airlines flights to Britain were
suspended following a heightened security alert.
British Airways and easyJet also canceled flights as British authorities said they averted “mass murder” in the skies by
thwarting an alleged plot to blow up passenger planes bound for the United States. A British Airways flight which left for
London yesterday morning was forced to return to Athens because of the alert.

An Olympic Airlines flight which departed Athens for Heathrow airport at 6.15 p.m. was the first flight of the day to leave
for Britain. A British Airways flight to Gatwick Airport also left soon afterward. Flights from the UK to Greece were also
severely delayed.
The arrests of 21 people triggered in Britain worldwide security alerts. Passengers were forced to repack their hand
luggage and only carry essential belongings through security in clear plastic bags.
However, government sources said that Greece has not been asked to take any additional security measures, adding
that tight checks are already in place at Greek airports.

“There is no cause for concern in Greece,” said Transport Minister Michalis Liapis.
“Greece has won the reputation of being a safe country and the successful hosting of the Olympic Games proved it,”
said Tourism Minister Fanni Palli-Petrali

New museum in Kissamos
10th August 2006

Authorities in Crete said yesterday that a new archaeological museum will open in the area of Kissamos on September
3. The museum will exhibit artifacts that have been unearthed during archaeological digs in the area, which is part of
the Hania prefecture. Most of the exhibits are from the Roman era, officials said. The construction of the museum cost
586,000 euros.

IKA dodgers
9th Aug 2006

Almost a third of businesses in Hania and Rethymnon, Crete, which were inspected during the last two weeks were
employing workers without social insurance, Costas Smirilis, the head of the inspection service for the country’s largest
fund, IKA, said yesterday. He said that 490 businesses were checked and 170 were found to be breaking the law.
Smirilis said that by evading their contributions, these companies were costing IKA 51,000 euros a year.

Cafe owner lashes out over refusal of license
8th Aug 2006

An enraged cafe owner injured two prefectural officials and damaged their car in a village near Hania, Crete, after
attacking them with a piece of wood because his business had been refused an operating license, police said on

Two health and hygiene inspectors had just conducted a routine check at another cafeteria in the village of Aghia when
the attack occurred.

The man struck the officials and their driver with the piece of wood and then smashed all the windows of the car in
which they were traveling.

After the incident, a woman inspector was taken to the hospital where doctors fitted her with a neck brace. The driver
suffered minor injuries to his back, officers said.
Police arrested the unnamed cafe owner.

Last respects
31st July 2006

Crowds of worshippers, dignitaries and members of the church gathered in Iraklion to pay their last respects to the late
Archbishop Timotheos of Crete, who was buried on the island on Saturday. Timotheos had served as Crete's archbishop
for 28 years.

Iraklion tremor
31st July 2006

An earthquake measuring 4.4 Richter shook Iraklion, Crete, early yesterday morning without causing any injuries or
damage. The quake struck at 3.40 a.m. and its epicenter was in the sea 19 kilometers north of the city, at a depth of 20

Big tax hikes in store
28th July 2006

Taxes on cigarettes and monthly mobile phone subscriptions will rise by up to 317 percent as the government tries to
secure state revenues amid the geopolitical uncertainty and high petrol prices threatening to derail its budget policy.

Smokers will have to cough up an extra 0.20 euros per packet starting today. The higher levy will be applicable on all
tobacco brands.

The tax rises mean that as of October, monthly mobile phone bills of up to 30 euros per month will be charged an
additional 0.50 euros while tax on accounts in the 60- to 90-euro range will rise at least 3.50 euros.

Revenues in the first six months of the year have beaten targets. The government says it has cut the deficit by about a
third compared to the same period a year earlier.

Greece is aiming to lower the deficit to below 3 percent of gross domestic product for the first time since the country
entered the single currency zone in 2001.

“Intense geopolitical instability has resulted in the increase of petrol prices and raw materials. This influences all
countries and forces us to protect the budget from external factors,” the ministry added.
The move comes after an increase at the start of June in the special consumption tax that is applicable to petrol. The tax
is expected to boost state coffers an extra 115 million euros over the rest of this year.

According to some estimates, the higher levies imposed yesterday are likely to earn an additional annual amount of 270
million euros.
But the news comes as inflation already appears to be spiking toward the 4 percent mark for July.
Greek inflation remains one of the highest in the eurozone.

Malia Mob Fight
23rd July 2006

Ten British men have been arrested in Crete after "quite a big punch-up" involving around 50 Britons, the Foreign Office
has said.

The men were arrested on Saturday and charged with dangerous bodily harm, disturbing the peace and damage to

A 20-year-old British woman, appearing alongside the men, was charged with damaging a police car.
The group of 50 people smashed equipment and broke windows as they charged through a local hospital looking for
four patients stabbed earlier, according to the Sun newspaper.
The paper said trouble started after groups of men began to argue following insults about their girlfriends.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "Quite a big punch-up took place on the main beach road in the early hours of
Saturday morning.
"The fighting continued at the medical centre in Malia. The men have been released on bail until 1 August."

George Speis, who works for Cretan Medicare, said the group arrived at the medical centre after a man had been taken
there with a wound from a bottle.
He said: "It was like a riot. It was pretty nasty. It was unacceptable.
"The police tried to disperse them. They were threatening so one policeman drew a sub-machine gun and they got
scared and disappeared.
"This year, in the last two weeks, the British have become extremely aggressive, which has not happened before.
"This is the worst year in regard to violence with British people. I'm worried someone might get killed."
According to Mr Speis a security guard had been employed at the centre following another "small riot" involving around
100 "drunk" British people 10 days ago.
He said on that occasion a group of around 50 Britons had caused up to £2,000 worth of damage during the fight, which
had lasted about 15 minutes.

Horse and carriage plunges into Harbour
24th July 2006

A horse and carriage plunged into the sea at Hania Old Harbour yesterday, along with it’s four passengers and driver.
The young driver and the passengers, two women and two children from Finland, were helped to safety, but
unfortunately the horse drowned. Onlookers say that something startled the horse and it ran out of control a little way
before falling into the harbour.

Deadly fall
24th July 2006

A 40-year-old woman died early yesterday after apparently falling from a bridge near the Rethymon-Hania national road
in Crete. The unnamed woman had been traveling in a car with three friends when she asked the driver to pull over so
she could relieve herself. However, she wandered down an unlit side road and when she did not return, her friends
began searching for her. They found her body at the foot of a 6-meter-high bridge. She was pronounced dead upon
arrival at the hospital.

Crime rise a concern for police
19th July 2006

Crime figures released yesterday indicate that there was a rise in certain criminal activities, such as bank robberies and
apartment break-ins, during the first six months of this year, the Public Order Ministry said.

Police recorded 131 bank raids in the first six months of this year, whereas there were 139 during the whole of last
year. Officials said that 111 of the bank robberies this year have taken place in Attica. Only 18 have been solved until

There have also been more than 24,000 break-ins so far this year, compared to some 31,000 burglaries during the
whole of 2005. Some 17,000 break-ins took place in Attica, confirming the region as the most crime-ridden in Greece.

Almost 1,700 people have been arrested in connection with these burglaries, according to yesterday’s figures. Around
1,100 of them are Greeks.
Authorities are also concerned about the rise in the number of drug-related crimes. Police have confiscated 5 tons of
cannabis, some 100 kilos of heroine, 8 kilos of cocaine and 10,000 ecstasy pills so far this year.

Kiosk robber
A man was arrested in Hania, Crete, yesterday on suspicion of having broken into at least five kiosks in the city after
some 1,500 euros in coins was found in his possession, police said. Officers caught the man, an unnamed Albanian
national, as he came out of a kiosk which he had just robbed, taking 400 euros in change and phone cards worth 500
euros. A further 940 euros in coins, four boxes of cigarettes, two knives and a cigar were found at the hut in which he
was living. He is suspected of having robbed four other kiosks with an accomplice.

Minister warns civil servants about extended summer vacation

Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos sent a message to all civil services yesterday reminding staff and managers that
employees’ vacations should not interfere with the running of their offices. Some public services, such as town-planning
offices, have been known to shut down for the entire month of August but Pavlopoulos indicated in his circular that
managers are responsible for ensuring that staff do not all take their vacation at the same time and that the office
functions properly during the summer.

Boy, 6, dies in swimming pool in Hania
17th July 2006

A 6-year-old Austrian boy died on Saturday afternoon, moments after his family had checked into rented rooms near
Hania, Crete. Police said the boy dove into a swimming pool at the complex without his parents’ knowledge. They later
saw the child at the bottom of the pool and pulled him out. The boy was still breathing when an ambulance arrived at
the complex in Parigoria but he died on the way to the hospital. The coroner later said the boy died after swimming on a
full stomach and warned parents to keep a close watch on their children and prevent them from swimming just after
they have eaten .

Wife Murder  - Suspect caught after 15 years on run
15th July 2006

A 40-year-old man from Serres, northern Greece, who is suspected of murdering his wife 15 years ago went on trial in
Iraklion, Crete, yesterday. The unnamed suspect is alleged to have killed his Cypriot wife in Thessaloniki in 1991. Police
think that he fled the city after the murder and has been living in virtual seclusion on Crete ever since. He was stopped
at a routine traffic check on Tuesday and officers discovered that he was using a stolen identity card and had given
police false details. After his trial in Crete for possessing false papers, he will be taken to Thessaloniki to face murder

Samaria Gorge Accident
12th July 2006

A 14 year old Austrian boy was seriously injured by a falling rock in Samaria Gorge yesterday. The accident took place
1km from the entrance to the gorge, and just 200m from the spot where a 52 year old French tourist was killed by a
blow to the head by a falling rock two months ago.

The boy was taken to Hania hospital by ambulance and underwent
neurosurgery and is in a critical condition.

According to sources from the Forestry Commission the rock falls are caused by wild goats which are prevalent in this
area. They are now looking into how tourists can be protected, including the possible use of hard hats.
Haniotika Nea.

Cretan fire fighting
30th June 2006

Prefectural authorities in Hania yesterday appealed to the Public Order Ministry to supply them with two water-dropping
helicopters which would be stationed at the airports of Hania and Iraklion to boost the island’s fire fighting capabilities.
The move came after a blaze on Wednesday ravaged 25 hectares of olive trees in the area of Sfakia. “If there had been
aircraft support (on Wednesday) the damage would have been significantly smaller,” the head of Hania prefecture’s civil
protection unit, Lambros Vassilakis, said. The blaze in Sfakia was controlled late on Wednesday, according to authorities

EU sues Greece over its waste

The European Commission yesterday took Greece to the European Court of Justice for failing to ensure the proper
treatment of wastewater in 24 towns and cities.
Effective water treatment should have been implemented by Greece by the end of 2000, the Commission noted in a
statement, adding that untreated waste water poses a public health risk.
But Greece's facilities are still inadequate even though Greece «is eligible for and has received considerable EU
funding,» the Commission said in a statement.
The areas deemed to fall short of EU standards include the island of Zakynthos, Iraklion on Crete, central Thessaloniki
and several small towns in eastern Attica.
According to European Union regulations, towns and cities of more than 15,000 inhabitants are obliged to have sewage
systems for collecting their wastewater as well as facilities for subjecting the water to biological treatment before
discharging it into the sea or fresh water.

Rethymnon Bus and Fuel Tanker crash.
27th June 2006

A fuel tanker collided with a bus on the National Highway yesterday and burst into flames. The tanker driver and 3
passengers on the back seat of the bus were killed, while many others were injured and burnt including 4 passengers
who are in a critical condition. The bus belonged to a local factory and was transporting workers.  It happened some
10km outside of Rethymnon and the section of the road where the accident occurred was closed off.  Just a few meters
from the accident is a petrol filling station and there were fears that the flames could spark an explosion there.

Shop owner caught in Crete antiquities raid
16th June 2006

Authorities said yesterday that a 60-year-old businessman arrested in Iraklion  for possessing illegal antiquities could
be linked to a large international smuggling operation.
The head of the Special Investigation Service, Michalis Anastassakis, said that evidence does not currently point to
illegal trade in antiquities but he did not rule out the suspect being part of an international antiquities-smuggling gang.
Police found in the suspect’s possession an ancient marble funeral tablet, two vases, 27 ancient coins and six icons
dating from before the 19th century, among other items.
Additionally, police found 159 bullets in a bank deposit box kept by the suspect. Authorities did not identify the man,
who owns a retail store in Iraklion, as investigations into the issue continue.

Public Sector Extends Working Hours
11th June 2006

The Inner Cabinet meeting yesterday approved the public sector’s new working hours, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., scheduled to
begin September 1. The operating hours will be the same in the summer and winter periods. Some public services,
including tax offices, will close their doors to the public earlier, at 2 p.m.

Chief inspector finds corruption is still rife in public sector
7th June 2006

Corruption and inefficiency is thriving in the public sector, particularly at town-planning offices, Public Administration
Inspectors’ Agency head Leandros Rakintzis said in his annual report which he presented yesterday. Rakintzis said that
town planners were in many cases failing to enforce environmental laws and were not conducting enough checks on
illegal construction. Rakintzis noted widespread illegal building in the southern Aegean and Ionian islands. He
investigated 592 cases of alleged corruption or mismanagement and referred 62 of them to prosecutors for further

Hania stabbing
7th June 2006

A 40-year-old police officer, Spyros Mavredakis, was hospitalized in Hania, Crete, yesterday after being stabbed in a
cafe while he was off duty. He was in stable condition. Witnesses said that the victim was attacked by Ioannis
Ieronimakis, aged 48, for no apparent reason before he fled the scene in his taxi. Ieronimakis later gave himself up to

Firefighters take off
6th June 2006

The firefighting season began officially yesterday as a number of water-dropping planes flew from Elefsina, west of
Athens, to islands and various other parts of Greece where they will be used to combat forest fires. The planes
conducted 2,387 sorties during the firefighting season last year, racking up a total of 5,012 hours in the air.

Minister wants golfers in Greece
5th June 2006

Attracting more golfers to Greece will be one of the country’s chief tourism targets over the coming years, Tourism
Minister Fani Palli-Petralia said yesterday. She was visiting the island of Crete, which is hosting Greece’s first
international golf tournament. “Crete is an ideal destination for all those people who play golf,” she said. The minister
said that the government is preparing a draft law to help develop the game in Greece. “We have to create golf courses
over the next few years because there is great interest and investment opportunities,” Palli-Petralia added.

Pilot’s Funeral in Chania
1st June 2006

A full honorary military funeral was held in Chania yesterday for Costas Iliakis, the Greek fighter pilot who lost his life in
the mid air collision with a Turkish jet over the Aegean last week.
The service was held in the Metropolitan church of Chania and was attended by top politicians – Greek President Karolo
Papouli, PASOK leader Georgos Papandreau, and Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyianni, as well as top military personnel and
colleagues from the Air Force Base, family, friends and hundreds of local people who turned out to pay their respects.  
The 36 year old, who lived in Aroni, Akrotiri, leaves a wife and 2 young children aged 4 and 1 ½ years.