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Crete & Greece
July to November  2016
Bus blaze on the National Road
6th July 2016 via apokornaslife
A fire broke out on a bus  on the move  on the National Road  between Heraklion and Aghios Nikolaos, near
Heraklion  Airport at 2:00 in the afternoon on Tuesday. The fire started in the engine compartment  but was
contained after the driver used a fire extinguisher. Several passengers smashed the bus windows to get out. Fire
services arrived on the scene soon afterwards making the vehicle safe.

All passengers got off the bus on their own,  with eight of the passengers on board – all hotel employees – taken to
Venizelion  Heraklion   hospital  with  smoke inhalation.

No other injuries were reported.
Water shortages in Apokoronas may force water use restrictions
5th July 2016 via
This year’s rainfall was 30% to 50% less than the average of the last five years in Western
Crete, Heraklion plains and the Lasithi mountain range. In parts of Sitia the recorded
rainfall was 60 -70 % less than the 5 year average.

Many municipalities across the island are considering emergency measures to ensure a
steady water supply through the peak summer season.

Even Apokoronas which is endowed with plentiful water sources is facing water shortage
problems compounded by the increased demand during the tourist season.

Villages like Drapanos, Kares Kokkino Chorio Samonas that lie higher up on the foothills  are already experiencing
problems with water pressure. Apokoronas water services are trying to find ways of meeting the extra summer
demand.  Among the immediate measures taken  is an improved inspection and  repair of leaks in the water

In Vamos where there is no OADYK agricultural water,  municipal network water is used for watering fields.  Local
news site reports that the council is considering turning off the municipal water supply for
agricultural use or at least rationing its use in the Vamos area.

If the water reserves continue to drop at the current rate the municipality may be forced to consider hosepipe bans
and introduction of regulations for the use of water
Jetoil gas company owner found dead, suicide suspected
4rd July 2016 ekathimerini
The cofounder and owner of bankrupt gas company Jetoil was found dead in his home in the northern Athenian
suburb of Dionysos on Sunday afternoon.

Kyriakos Mamidakis, 84, was found by his son-in-law at around 2 p.m. The presence of a gun near his body
suggests he may have taken his own life.

Jetoil recently filed for bankruptcy and protection from its creditors after amassing debts in excess of 314 million

The company, owned by the Mamidakis Group, attributed its debts to the economic contraction, the slowdown in
international economic activity, which has affected demand in the fuel market, and the reluctance of local banks to
finance its activities, mainly through guarantees for oil imports.

Of Jetoil’s debts, some 184 million euros are owed to banks, 87 million to suppliers, 2.5 million to the Greek state,
650,000 euros to the social security funds and 920,000 euros to its employees, among others.

The company was founded in the late 1960s by brothers Kyriakos, Giorgos and Nikos Mamidakis.
Taxi driver stabbed by tourists on Crete
28th July 2016
Three Serbian tourists were detained for allegedly beating and stabbing a taxi driver after refusing to pay for a ride
in the area of Hersonissos, in Heraklion in the early hours of Thursday.

According to initial reports, the three men, who were under the influence of alcohol, quarreled with the taxi driver
before they hit him and one of them stabbed him.

The victim was being treated at a local health facility, while the three suspects were detained.
Another drowning on Kavros beach
27th July 2016
Chania Post reports another death by drowning in Apokoronas.
The tragedy happened in Kavros, Georgioupolis on Wednesday afternoon.  It is
reported that  a 55 year old  man,  believed to be a  tourist  from the Czech
Republic,  died when he went swimming just  an hour after checking in to his

The emergency services were alerted by other bathers at around
7pm and an ambulance took the unfortunate man to Chania hospital where he was certified dead.

The coastguard  has referred the case to the coroner who will determine the exact cause of death.
Health Ministry draft bill seeks to restrict e-cigarettes
20th July 2016  ekathimerini
In a bid to outlaw the use of electronic cigarettes in public enclosed spaces, the Health Ministry tabled a draft bill
in Parliament on Friday that equates  “vapers” to tobacco smokers.

According to the ministry, e-cigarettes are a potential gateway to nicotine addiction as “vaping” is seen to simulate
tobacco smoking.

The bill, which adheres to European Union directives regarding the production, marketing and sale of tobacco
products, also targets traditional smokers, stipulating the inclusion of warnings on cigarette packets and tobacco
pouches with graphic color images depicting the damage done to body organs by nicotine consumption.

The ministry has also compiled a list of the kinds of health warnings to be used on packets, including: “Smoking
causes nine out of 10 lung cancers,” “Smoking can kill your unborn child” and “Stop smoking, keep on living for
your loved ones.”

Last week, an association representing Greece’s e-smokers denounced the government for preparing the bill
without first having consulted with researchers, scientists, former smokers and e-cigarette users.

Vapers insist that by lumping them together with regular smokers, the new legislation denies them the “choice of
avoiding tobacco smoke.”
Rethymnon fire under control – Agios Georgios bathers evacuated safely
1st August 2016 /
he wilfdfire burning since yesterday  afternoon south of Rethymnon
was put under control after 27 fire crews battled the flames all night.

The fire destroyed 30000 stremma of grazing land and farmland
burning olive trees and vine. The agricultural water network also
suffered extensive damage .

Several people who were trapped in Agios Georgios beach  by the fire were safely  evacuated by sea to Agia Galini.

There is currently a High fire risk warning for the whole of Crete
Man rescued from sea cave in Apokoronas
18th August 2016 / ERT
A successful rescue effort saved the life of a 55 year old man, believed
to be a Russian citizen,  on Monday evening in Apokoronas. The man
was trapped and lightly injured  in a sea cave near  Drapanos when the
emergency services were alerted. A team of rescuers from Vrises located
the man who was then taken by ambulance to Chania General where he
received treatment.
3 year old girl rescued from locked car in the centre of Chania
11th August 2016
Passers by in Minoos Street in the centre  of Chania on Wednesday called the police to report a young child locked
in a rented car in full sun. A police locksmith opened the door of the car and the child was safely removed from the
car. The young parents of the 3 year old, visiting the island from France,  were arrested when the returned to the
car 30 minutes later and led before the public prosecutor to answer charges of endangering the life of their

The couple claimed that the car central locking system  malfunctioned and that the locks came on before the got
the child out of the car and that being unable to unlock it they went to get help.

The prosecutor accepted their defence and they were released with a caution.
Thousands of refugee children to receive education in Greece
30th August 2016
Thousands of refugee children in Greece will join the public education system from September, said today the local
The Greek Ministry of Education outlined a plan, supported by the United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF) and
other international organizations, so that children attend school at shelters for immigrants or nearby public schools.
Refugee children will learn their native languages, English and basic Greek so that they can integrate into the host
According to Nikos Filis, minister of Education, Research and Religion, for this reason, 800 teachers of primary and
high school levels will be hired, and kindergartens within the camps will be built.
According to a recent research carried out by the non-governmental organization Save the Children, minors have
missed classes for a year and half.

UNICEF estimates, some 22,000 out of the 54,000 immigrants trapped in Greece are minors.
Heraklion coast guard alarmed by numbers of drownings in Crete
31st August 2016 /
The  worrying increase in the numbers of deaths by drowning in Crete which have so far in the summer season
reached 27  was one of the issues the chief coast guard officer in Heraklion raised with the  shipping minister
during their meeting.  The increase was greater in the prefectures of Chania, Lasithi and Rethymnon while in
Heraklion the numbers showed a small decline from last year.

The minister, Mr Dritsas responded by saying that there are plans to minimise the number of accidental deaths in
the sea in the whole of Greece. The programme includes better education for the young  and practical swimming
lessons. As this is a long term plan, Mr Dritsas suggested that local businesses make a contribution in supplying
better information to customers and by meeting some of the costs of extending the life saver’s services on popular
Making Greece a movie destination
3rd September 2016 ekathimerini
The Greek Tourism Ministry has revealed an ambition plan to
transform popular tourist destinations in Greece into film sets for
international movie producers.

Some 40 million tourists annually select their holiday destination
on the basis of where a particular movie was made, according to data
from the Tourism Ministry.

IOBE research suggests that films produced in Greece have had a
positive impact on the economy, citing the case of “Captain Corelli’s
Mandolin,” filmed on Cephalonia in 2001, which boosted the island’s hotel reservations by 14 percent. To this end,
the ministry has created a working group to figure out ways to facilitate foreign producers who want to film in
Greece. The aim is to hammer out the legal framework that would provide incentives to attract foreign production

The working group is also examining ways to make it compulsory for foreign productions to make use of Greek
Major oil reserve of 80-100 mln barrels discovered off Patra coast
25 September 2016 ekathimerini
A significant oil reserve in the Patraikos Gulf near Patra, on a par with that at Prinos off Thasos island, has been
confirmed by a study of seismic surveys conducted by Hellenic Petroleum, which is about to be completed in the
coming weeks in London.

This reserve concerns extractable oil quantities of 80-100 million barrels, while the ongoing processing of the high-
definition surveys is looking to establish whether the seabed off the western port city is indeed holding Greece’s
second major oil reserve, as indicated by geological findings.

It is noted that revenues for the Greek state from every 100-million-barrel reserve are estimated at 300 million
euros per year (or about 0.2 percent of gross domestic product) over 25 years.

With the first encouraging results at hand, Hellenic Petroleum has already started making plans for the first
drilling, which is very likely to be done in cooperation with a major multinational.

According to Kathimerini sources, unofficially confirmed by Hellenic Petroleum officials, major market players
have expressed their interest in the Patraikos Gulf area, such as Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP, Total and Repsol, with the
first deal expected within 2017
Farmers receive ten-year prison sentences for arson in Crete
22nd September 2016 tomos news via
Two Greek farmers who were found guilty of arson by the Felony
Appeal Court of Crete have received ten-year prison sentences for

According to the court, the two farmers were responsible for a major fire
that broke in the Platanes community in the municipality of Agios Vasilios
near Rethymno on the 28th of July in 2011, which burned over 30,000
acres of trees.
Crew of British warship recovers body of dead woman
17th September 2016 ekathimerini
Crew aboard the British warship HMS Diamond recovered the body of a woman off the southern coast of Crete and
handed it over to local authorities, the coast guard said in a statement on Saturday.

The body of the woman, who was of medium height and aged between 30 and 40, was found some 96 nautical miles
south of Palaiohora on September 11, according to the announcement, which added that the corpse was in “an
advanced state of decomposition.”

It remained unclear whether the body belonged to a person reported to be missing or a would-be migrant.
British police seeking Ben Needham on Kos find items of 'slight interest'
27th September 2016 ekathimerini
British police searching for Ben Needham, who went missing on the island
of  Kos 25 years ago at the age of  21 months, said on Tuesday that they have
found items of "slight interest",  including fabric and bones believed to
belong to a dog or other animal.

Officers aim to establish whether the fabric found might be pieces of the
clothes Ben had been wearing when he disappeared on the island on 1991.

The new line of inquiry by the South Yorkshire Police suggests the 21-month-old may have died near a farmhouse
his grandparents were renovating in July 1991.

Konstantinos Barkas, also known as Dino, was working an excavator close to where Ben was playing on the day he
disappeared and may be responsible for his death, a friend of the builder allegedly told police.
Education Minister Filis: No plans to separate Church and State
20 October 2016 protothema,gr
Speaking to Skai TV, Education and Religious Affairs Minister Nikos Filis said the
Greek government had no plans to hold a referendum on the separation of Church
and State. He continued by stressing that even though he shared the opinion of
70% of citizens who, according to surveys, were in favour of the separation of State
and Church, he noted that it was not included on the party’s agenda, citing what
Greek PM Alexis Tsipras had stated in his speech on the institutional reform
during summer. Filis avoided commenting on the recent statements made by the head of the Greek Orthodox
Church, Ieronymos, who had said that the Church would not surrender orthodoxy and the country, simply
expressing his respect to the Church institution.
Man, 22, gets two life terms for brutal murder of 71-year-old
13th October 2016 ekathimerini
A court in Iraklio on Crete on Thursday handed two life sentences to a 22-year-old Bulgarian national after finding
him guilty of the brutal murder of a 71-year-old man in the village of Moires in August last year.

Police found the 71-year-old butchered in his bed and subsequently arrested the 22-year-old and a youth who
were charged with breaking into the elderly man’s home in order to rob him.

The 71-year-old was found to have been stabbed 57 times.

It remained unclear whether the 22-year-old had an additional motive apart from robbery for the vicious attack.
Student falls from second floor of Chania Marine academy
19th October 2016 ekathimerini via

An 18-year-old student at the Merchant Marine Academy of Crete was in critical condition on Tuesday after
plunging from the building’s second floor.
It was not clear why or how the incident occurred, and a probe has been launched.
The student from Athens was attending engineering courses at the academy in the area of Souda.
Crete University research gives hope to ALS, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis sufferers
8th October 2016
Ground-breaking research carried out by the University of Crete medical School Pharmacology Professor Achilleas
Gravanis in Greece gives hope to sufferers of neurodegenerative diseases.
he research focuses on a new types of synthetic substances called microneurotrophins used to protect tissue from
decline by mimicking the protective and regenerative properties of the natural  larger molecule neurotrophins in
the brain cells.

Naturally occurring neurotrophins play a key role in the development and protection of brain matter from birth
until the depths of old age but are sometimes prevented from crossing  the blood-brain barrier that protects the
brain from toxins in the environment leading to neurodegenerative disorders.

Unlike the naturally occurring  cells which are blocked by the brains natural defenses  the much smaller synthetic
alternatives are able to cross the blood brain barrier.

This breakthrough research could help  ALS, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis sufferers .

The research is taking place at the University of Crete School of Medicine, the Foundation for Research and
Technology Hellas (FORTH) in Heraklion where Gravanis is working as a researcher at the Molecular Biology and
Biotechnology Institute and the National Hellenic Research Foundation in Athens
Greek police net international migrant-smuggling gang in Heraklion
31st October 2016 ekathimerini

The Greek Police on Monday said it has dismantled an international
criminal organization that helped smuggle undocumented migrants
from Turkey into Central and Northern Europe via Iraklio’s Nikos
Kazantzakis Airport on the island of Crete.
After a lengthy investigation, authorities arrested 11 suspects, two of
whom are Greek nationals reported to have been working at the airport
and facilitating the illegal transfers.
According to the investigation, the gang – which is believed to have
been active since 2014 – would charge migrants between 2,500 and 4,000 euros each to bring them from Turkey to
Athens, then ferry them by boat to Crete before arranging for them to board flights to other European countries with
forged travel documents.
The nationalities of the other people arrested are Syrian, Iraqi and Lebanese.
Charge for plastic bags to be introduced next month
30th October 2016 ekathimerini
In a bid to reduce waste the country produces, a 0.05- to 0.1-euro charge for disposable plastic bags will be
introduced at supermarkets next month, the Environment Ministry has announced.

The measure comes in response to a circular approved by European Parliament in May, 2015, whereby European
Union member-states are required to reduce the annual disposal of plastic bags to 90 per person by the end of 2019
and 40 by 2025, or to ensure that a levy is introduced for plastic bags by the end of 2018.

The EU average currently stands at 198 per year per resident, while there are large discrepancies between

Denmark and Finland have already reduced their figures to just four per person annually, compared to more than
400 bags per person in countries like Portugal, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.
In Greece, 242 bags are used per person on an annual basis, while in Cyprus the figure is 125.

The measure has already been introduced as a pilot program on several Greek islands, including Syros and
Refugees face ‘appalling conditions’ in Greece says aid group
21 October 2016  Associated Press
The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says refugees at camps in Greece are still living in mostly
"appalling conditions" with poor access to health care and a lack of provisions to identify the most vulnerable.

In the report issued Thursday, the agency commonly known by its French name, Medecins sans Frontiers, argued
that the European Union and Greece had "collectively failed to establish humane and dignified reception

More than 60,000 refugees and migrants — many escaping wars in Syria and Iraq — have been stranded in Greece
following European border closures this year. Most still live in tents at about 50 refugee camps.

Around 14,000 of them are confined to islands in the eastern Aegean Sea where they are being processed for
potential deportation back to nearby Turkey.
Heraklion Airport
Fire damages F-16 on Crete
2nd Novemeber 2016 ekathimerini

A fire broke out Wednesday aboard one of several Greek F-16s
that had been about to take off from the military base at Souda
on Crete to chase away Turkish aircraft that had flown into
Greek air space over the Aegean. No injuries were reported.

The fire was extinguished before it could destroy the aircraft and
the pilot was transferred to a military hospital for preventive reasons.
An investigation was ordered to determine the cause of the blaze..
Greek banks propose tax on cash withdrawal
30th November 2016

Greek banks have proposed a tax on cash withdrawals so that Greeks make more electronic transactions as a
measure to curb tax evasion.

The proposal is sent to the ministry of finance for further review, the basic idea being that it would become
expensive to use cash. The ministry is advising people to make more electronic transactions and is planning a
program that would give people incentives to use credit or debit cards in order to battle rampant tax evasion.

It is worth noting that Greek banks charge traders between 1 and 3% of the amount of the transaction every time
an electronic payment is made and in addition, most banks charge for the supply and maintenance of electronic
POS terminals.

Interbank electronic transactions also cost between 3 and 6 euro  regardless of amount, so that if these proposals
are adopted,  the consumer is going to lose out whether he uses cash  or not.