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News Archive
Crete & Greece
March - April 2007
Greek minister resigns after criticism over pension fund scandal
AP, DPA  28th April 2007

Greece's employment minister resigned Saturday after weeks of criticism that followed the discovery that a state pension
fund had overpaid EUR 4.8 million (US$6.4 million) for state bonds.
Recent opinion polls have shown that the majority of Greeks feel the governing conservatives are politically responsible for
not preventing the pension fund losses.
Savvas Tsitouridis, 52, submitted his resignation after an hour-long meeting with Prime Minister Costas Caramanlis.
"I will not tolerate anything that tarnishes the political life of the country," Caramanlis said. "It's a moral issue and that's
why I accepted the resignation of the employment minister."
Tsitouridis had been accused by the media and the political opposition of failing to properly monitor state pension fund
investments, and on Saturday, conservative daily newspaper Kathimerini said Evgenios Papadopoulos, a close associate
of Tsitouridis, was embroiled in a stock market scandal between 1999 and 2001.
Greek justice authorities are now investigating the case and have ordered that the banks accounts of close aides to
Tsitouridis be opened for examination.
The scandal has rocked public support for the ruling New Democracy (ND) party, Greek media reported Saturday. Up
through Friday, Karamanlis had stood by Tsitouridis.
AP, DPA


Traffickers toss group into sea
28th April 2007 ekathimerini

A 15-year-old girl drowned and two others were reported missing yesterday after human traffickers threw a group of
illegal immigrants into the sea close to the southern Aegean island of Leros, authorities said.
The dead girl was among a group of Kurdish migrants found in waters off the island of Farmakonisi, located near Leros and
a short distance from Turkey.
Two others, a one-year-old infant and a man, were said to be missing.
Nine people, including seven men and two women, were rescued by local boats and taken to a health center on Leros for
observation, authorities said.
Three coast guard patrol boats and a helicopter were participating in the search operation that continued throughout the
day.
Earlier this week, authorities detained 145 illegal immigrants, mostly from Iraq, off the coast of Athens who were stranded
at sea after the fishing boat in which they were traveling suffered engine problems.


Nuns Strangled to Death
25 Apr 2007   ANA & MPA

Two elderly  nuns that were found lying dead inside their rooms at the Artokosta Convent in Kynouria, southern Greece,  
apparently  strangled to death. According to information, coroner Filippos Kotsaftis, who arrived at the crime scene late on
Tuesday, estimated they were suffocated after being strangled. The  nuns were found dead by pilgrims on Tuesday
morning.
A church official confirmed that a number of valuable icons were kept in the monastery.
Up until late yesterday, nothing had been reported missing from the convent.
Remote monasteries are often the targets of thieves. A rare and valuable Byzantine icon was stolen from a cliff-side
monastery last year but was recovered a month later.


Greeks fail to belt up in cars
25th April ekathimerini

Less than half of car drivers and only a fifth of their passengers wear seat belts, transport engineers said yesterday,
maintaining that a reduction in the number of road accidents was linked more to an increase in traffic rather than stricter
policing.
Greece has one of the worst road safety records in Europe and the government this year unveiled stiffer penalties for
driving offenses.
Under the new rules, the fine for not wearing a seat belt will be between 175 and 350 euros. Drivers will also have their
license revoked for 10 days and be given five penalty points.
A conference on road safety heard that only 40 percent of Greek drivers wear a seat belt and even fewer passengers (20
percent) fasten their belts after getting into a car.
The head of the Hellenic Institute of Transportation Engineers, Yiannis Handanos, said that a 20 percent drop in car
crashes between 2000 and 2005 had little to do with policing or town planning and more with the fact that the number of
cars on the roads had risen dramatically, causing the average speed in cities to drop.

Tragedy on School Trip
24 Apr 2007  NET

A student from Glafki, Xanthi on a school trip to Corfu was found dead at dawn in the swimming-pool of the hotel, they
were staying. According to reports, the 17 year-old student had spent the evening at a bar and when he returned to the
hotel, probably drunk, he dived into the pool and drowned. He was transferred in an ambulance to the island's hospital
shortly after 04:00 early morning but he was already dead. A forensic test will be carried out to find the exact cause of his
death. The students from Xanthi arrived late last night in Corfu on a 5- day trip while the group leader, Andreas Moshos
maintained that the 17 year-old dived into the pool to help a classmate who was in danger. Education undersecretary, G.
Kallos underlined the need for parents concession even for day swimming. An investigation is being carried out to find the
exact circumstances under which the tragic accident occurred


BOMB HOAX
OA flight forced to land in Munich; no explosives found aboard
24th April   ekathimerini

An Olympic Airlines flight that was carrying 11 Greek MEPs to Strasbourg made an emergency landing in Munich yesterday
after the pilot reported a bomb threat. The Boeing 737, which was carrying a total of 136 passengers, landed at 10.45 a.
m. at a special area of Munich airport set aside for emergencies. All the passengers were safely evacuated. Greek police
said that someone calling their headquarters had made the threat but the flight number given did not exist. The
Strasbourg flight had the closest number. Sniffer dogs failed to find any explosive device on the plane.


Car scam
24th April 2007 ekathimerini

Two men were arrested in Menidi, northern Athens, on suspicion of selling motorcycles and cars that did not belong to
them, police said yesterday. The suspects, aged 27 and 40, allegedly agreed to pay another man a total of 7,500 euros for
his car. The two men paid the owner 1,000 euros and agreed to pay the rest in four installments. But they produced
forged papers for the car and sold the vehicle to another man for 2,000 euros. Police said the suspects had used this
tactic to sell seven cars and one motorcycle over the last three years.


Shipwreck treated cautiously
21st April 2007 ekathimerini

The precarious position of the sunken Sea Diamond cruise ship is slowing down the process of emptying the vessel's fuel
tanks because experts have to develop a detailed plan about how to conduct the operation without putting any lives at
risk.
Santorini Mayor Angelos Roussos said yesterday that the situation is being studied carefully so that divers who will help in
the effort to empty more than 400 tons of diesel from the ship will not be any danger.
The vessel sank on April 5 and finally came to rest upside down at a depth of around 120 meters on the slope of
Santorini's volcanic caldera.
Roussos told Skai TV that it would take three to four weeks to complete the task of emptying the ship's fuel tanks and
make sure that the island's coastline would not face further pollution.
So far, special teams have been cleaning oil from the sea where the ship sank and from the beaches where the diesel that
has already seeped out of the shipwreck has washed up. Authorities maintain that tourism on the island has not been
affected.


ABBAS VISIT - Palestinian chief due in Athens
21st April ekath imerini

The head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, is due in Athens today for talks with government officials on the
latest leg of a European tour aimed at seeking an end to the isolation of the Palestinian Authority. It marks the start of a
Greek diplomatic effort in the Middle East as Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis is due to visit the region in June. Diplomatic
sources said that Athens will try to become a reliable mediator between the Palestinians and the European Union.

Briton Awaits Crete Murder Ruling
19th April ITV.com

A Briton accused of murdering his parents at their Crete home could have all charges against him dropped, a legal
campaign group has said.
Ryan Johnson, 33, a dance instructor, had always denied killing Terry, 53, and Josephine, 54, originally from Newlyn in
Cornwall, at their Mediterranean dream home in Almirida.
On March 12 last year he had been staying with them and awoke to discover they had been stabbed and strangled with a
washing line. The house has also been burgled.
According to Catherine Wolthuizen of charity Fair Trials Abroad, Greek prosecutors have formally recommended that the
charges are dropped.
Ms Wolthuizen said: "There was never any motive nor evidence connecting Ryan to the crime.
"When DNA evidence revealed the involvement of an 'unknown male' but failed to show any link between Ryan and the
crime, any cause to prosecute him evaporated."
"However, Ryan is not out of the woods yet. The Crete court must accept the prosecution's recommendation that the
charges against him be dropped - which will take several months.
"It may yet decide to subject him to trial, in the face of the recommendation that there is no case for him to answer. Until
he learns whether he is truly free to mourn his parents in peace, he must endure the tense wait on the island."

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Measures for Athens final to be unveiled Friday; British police assist
19th April 2007 ekathimerini

The measures that Greek police will take to prevent acts of hooliganism at soccer's Champions League final in Athens will
be unveiled on Friday. Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras met yesterday with the head of the Hellenic Football
Federation, Vassilis Gagatsis, to discuss how to control the influx of thousands of supporters from abroad. Greek police
officers are due to travel to Britain on Monday for consultations with their British counterparts. At least one of the two
finalists will be an English team. Another group of four officers will travel to England and Italy to observe how the
authorities in those countries police football matches. British officers are likely to travel to the final in Athens on May 23 to
help Greek authorities keep tabs on possible troublemakers.


Greeks abroad
14th April 2007

The Greek Communist Party (KKE) parliamentary spokesman Antonis Skyllakos said yesterday that Greeks living abroad
should not be given the right to vote in Greece's general elections. The Interior Ministry is set to change the law so that
members of the Greek diaspora can vote in their countries of residence but Skyllakos said his party believed this could lead
to the 'will of the Greek people' not being truly reflected. He argued that most Greeks living abroad were not in touch with
developments in Greece and that the political parties would not be competing on a level playing field.


Building fire
14th April 3007 ekathimerini

Twelve apartments, two stores and a bar were damaged in a fire in Iraklion, Crete, authorities said yesterday. There were
no reports of injuries. The fire started at ground level in the 12-story building but authorities did not know what had
caused the blaze.

Pilot memorial
A bust of Flight Lieutenant Costas Iliakis, who was killed during a mock dogfight with a Turkish fighter jet last year, is to be
erected in his hometown of Hania, Crete by the municipal council.

Corkyra Beach Hotel Shut Down
12 Apr 2007 www.ert.gr

The Ministry of Tourism has decided to shut down the Louis Corkyra Beach Hotel in Corfu. By the decision of Tourism
Minister Fani Palli-Petralia, the hotel unit will remain closed for this year?s season. With regard to the salary and social
security rights of the 130 staff members, they will be safeguarded in collaboration with the Ministry of Employment. The
Tourism Ministry is currently probing the reopening of the hotel unit during the Easter holidays, although it had been
stripped of its authorisation when two minors from Britain met their death after inhaling carbon monoxide inside their hotel
room last October.  The Hotel is run by the same firm that operated the "Sea Diamond" cruise ship which sank off Santorini
last week.

Earthquake Hits Lefkada  
12 Apr 2007  NET 105.8

Western Greece is concerned over the earthquakes that first rocked Cephalonia at the end of March, then the area around
Lake Trihonida two days ago and Lefkada on Thursday. The earthquake that took place in Lefkada at 06:38 today
measured 4.5 on the Richter scale and was especially felt in Lefkas, Aitoloakarnania, Igoumenitsa and Preveza. The depth
of the quake was less than 10 kilometres below ground. Not damages have been reported yet. Seismologists however do
not see any connection between the two cases.

Quakes shake central Greece
11th April 2007 ekathimerini

A series of moderate earthquakes shook central Greece yesterday, unsettling residents and causing widespread minor
damage but no injuries.
The first quake, measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale and with an epicenter south of Lake Trichonida, in the prefecture of
Aitoloacarnania, occurred just before 2.30 a.m. It was followed by a 5.4-force quake shortly after 6 a.m. and then by a
series of three tremors, measuring 5.2, 5.0 and 5.4 on the Richter scale, in quick succession at about 10.15 a.m. The sixth
quake, measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale, struck the area shortly before 2 p.m. and was followed by dozens of
aftershocks. The tremors, which are believed to have had the same epicenter, were felt across central and western
Greece, prompting alarmed residents of Mesolongi, Agrinion and other towns and villages to rush out onto the streets.
The quakes damaged around 70 homes and two schools in Aitoloacarnania and disrupted the water supply in some areas.
Teams of civil engineers have been dispatched to inspect the extent of the damage caused to buildings and infrastructure,
Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said after briefing Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.
Seismologists yesterday advised calm.  "The first 48 hours are critical and will allow us to reliably assess developments
"said Giorgos Stavrakakis, director of Athens' Geodynamic Institute.
Vassilis Papazachos of Thessaloniki's Aristotle University, stressed that the region did not have a history of strong quakes.
"We do not expect an earthquake stronger than 6 on the Richter scale, "he said. But locals remained nervous. "We are
not used to this. We are all scared and hoping that things don't get worse", the mayor of Makryneia, Vassilis Karakostas,
told Kathimerini.

Canteens closed on Hania beaches
11th April 2007 ekathimerini

Authorities in the prefecture of Hania  Crete, yesterday shut down nine beach canteens two years after a court ruled that
they were illegal. The owners of the canteens complained that they had only been informed last Wednesday of the
intention by local authorities to shut down the canteens, which stretch from Aghioi Apostoloi to Stalos.


BANK HEIST
Police on Kos seek armed duo who netted some 100,000 euros in raid
11th April 2007 ekathimerini

Two armed men held up a branch of Alpha Bank on the Aegean island of Kos and made away with nearly 100,000 euros in
cash, police said. The men, who wore baseball caps and sunglasses, held up the bank at 8.10 a.m. and escaped the scene
on a stolen motorcycle. Authorities said they have stepped up checks at the island's port and airport in a bid to stop the
men from escaping from the island. Also yesterday, two armed assailants netted 13,600 euros after robbing a branch of
National Bank in Yiannitsa, northern Greece. No one was reported to have been hurt in either of the bank raids.


Greece Tough on Drug Smuggler
Belgian serving life in Greece
10 April 2007 Expatica.com

Belgian national Alain Libens (33) has been sentenced to a life-long penalty of forced labour by a Greek court after trying
to smuggle 10 kilos of cannabis into Greece. The dealers he was working for in Belgium were sentenced in Belgium to a
maximum of five years in prison.
Until three years ago Alain Libens was working as a waiter near Liege. He said he couldn't refuse the lucrative offer of EUR
3,000 in exchange for bringing 10 kilos of cannabis to Athens.
Two accomplices were able to get by Greek customs authorities, Alain was caught. He has been held in a high-security
prison near Athens since June 2004.
A year after his arrest he was sentenced to a 50,000-euro fine and life-long forced labour. The suppliers who were behind
the shipment were sentenced a year later to three to five years in prison, not by Greek authorities but by Belgian ones. "A
big difference from my penalty," Alain says. His appeal case will be heard in November. "I am begging the Greek
authorities to transfer me to Belgium."


Three killed by fireworks
9th April 2007 ekathimerini

Three people were killed over the Easter weekend when they attempted to set off homemade fireworks, authorities said
yesterday, despite an awareness campaign and the seizure of more than 1 million illegal fireworks by police.
A 39-year-old man was killed on Easter Sunday on the eastern Aegean island of Icaria when a homemade firework blew
up in his hands. He was named as Markos Glaros, a married man with two children.
A 50-year-old father of three was killed on the same day in a village near Agrinion, central Greece. One of the unnamed
man's hands was blown off when a firework exploded and he died from his injuries soon afterward.
Authorities said that a 59-year-old man died Good Friday in a village near Mesolongi, western Greece, when a firework
that he had made exploded in his hands.

CHILD FOUND
Nine-year-old safe and well in Crete after large-scale search
www.ekathimerini.com 9th April

A 9-year-old boy who had gone missing outside of Iraklion, Crete, on Sunday afternoon was found alive and well
yesterday after a large rescue operation. Rescue teams, firefighters, police and medical officials joined residents in the
search for the child in the Mochos area. The boy, named Odysseas, had strayed from his parents while going for a walk
with them in a forested area. He was found resting among bushes and was taken to a hospital for precautionary checks.
Authorities said he suffers from communication problems. Police had also flown to Crete a heat-seeking camera on board a
helicopter to help with the rescue attempt.

ATM HEIST
Vehicle tows away cash machine
9th April ekathimerini

An ATM machine was pulled out of a supermarket in Iraklion, Crete, on Sunday and towed away by a large four-wheel
drive vehicle, police said. Parts of the Alpha Bank ATM, which contained an unknown amount of cash, were found down the
street, indicating the escape route taken by the assailants, police added. It was the second such incident in Crete in the
last few weeks. On March 31, thieves towed away another ATM machine from a bank and opened it by using explosives.
Police believe that an organized gang is behind the thievery tactic which has been seen on different occasions on the
island over the last few months. A manhunt has been launched for the culprits in the broader area.

Santorini Cruise Liner - passengers rescued, ship sinks - two missing.
7th April 2007

More than 1,500 people, including hundreds of foreign tourists, were safely evacuated yesterday from a cruise ship that
ran aground and began to list dangerously off the coast of the Cycladic island of Santorini.
The Sea Diamond, which is operated by Cyprus-based Louis Hellenic Cruise Lines, appeared to have hit a reef near the
port of Thira around 4 p.m. The collision damaged the hull and the ship took on water between decks 2 and 3, according to
initial reports.
A large rescue operation was launched after the captain sent out a distress call. The 143-meter cruise ship listed 12
degrees and a tugboat was needed to prevent the vessel from tilting further, taking on more water and possibly sinking.
Some 1,170 passengers were taken to safety by several coast guard launches, small tourist vessels, fishing boats and a
ro-ro ferry while five coast guard and navy helicopters circled overhead.

The mild weather facilitated rescue efforts and the passengers taken off the cruise liner included 730 Americans, 112
Spaniards, 100 French and other nationalities, including Germans, Britons and Australians. Many had to climb down escape
ladders onto waiting boats that carried them to dry land.

The cruise ship sank at 05.00 hrs local time, more than 12 hours after the collision. Two French citizens were later reported
missing, a 45 year old man and his 16 year old daughter who were believed to have been in their cabin.

The Sea Diamond had begun cruises to the Greek island on March 9. It was built in 1986 but had been extensively
refurbished in 1999 and was bought by Louis Hellenic Cruise Lines last year.
The Louis group owns 13 cruise ships and 26 four- and five-star hotels in Greece. Two British children died of gas
poisoning at one of the group?s hotels on the Ionian island of Corfu last October
+ ekathminerini

Police detain 30 and seize 250,000 'explosives'  in past week on Crete
6th April 2007 ekathimerini.com

Police have arrested 30 people in Hania, Crete, and confiscated more than 250,000 fireworks in the last week as part of a
crackdown on the illegal use of firecrackers during Easter celebrations. On Tuesday, police confiscated another million
fireworks in Athens. Greek law forbids the possession, use and trade of fireworks but the lighting of firecrackers at
midnight on Holy Saturday has become an annual event. Last year, 11 people were injured by fireworks during
celebrations and four have died since 2000 despite regular warnings by authorities.


Acid attack
5th April ekathimerini.com

A 65-year-old man was hospitalized yesterday after two assailants beat him with baseball bats and threw acid in his face
in the center of Hania, Crete. The two men, who own a shop in the town center, were arrested shortly afterward. Police
said they were investigating what provoked the attack.

Postman attacked
5th April 2007

Another postman was attacked by robbers yesterday as he was delivering pension money. He was on a country road
outside the village of Skines, Hania when a car stopped in front of him and two men emerged from a nearby field armed
with shotguns. They fired at the vehicle's windscreen then struck the postman and bound him to a tree before stealing the
18,000 euros pension money.


COUPLE DROWNS
MP's secretary found dead in Evia
4th April ekathimerini.com

The secretary of New Democracy MP Simos Kedikoglou and a 40-year-old businessman were found drowned in Halkida,
Evia, yesterday after apparently driving the deputy's car into the sea. The couple had been missing since Sunday night.
They had last been seen with Kedikoglou and other friends. The MP said that his secretary, whose name was not made
public, had taken the keys to his car without permission. Police said that the 39-year-old woman had either lost control of
the car or parked it on a downward slope near the sea without engaging the handbrake properly.


MENINGITIS DEATH
Family on Crete loses daughter, 5; schoolmates undergo medical tests
4th April ekathimerini.com

A 5-year-old girl from Crete has died of meningitis, authorities on the island said yesterday as the child's nursery school
classmates underwent tests to make sure that they have not contracted the disease as well. The parents of the unnamed
girl took the child to the hospital in Hania on Sunday morning because she had not been feeling well. Doctors conducted
tests and told the parents to come back in three hours, when the results would be available. But the child?s condition
deteriorated and she was admitted to the hospital suffering from hemorrhaging and died soon afterward. The nursery
school she attended has been closed until tests on the other children are concluded.


Gun backfires
4th April ekathimerini.com

A 45-year-old man was in critical condition in a hospital in Rethymnon, Crete, yesterday after his hunting rifle backfired as
he was handling the firearm. Police said the man was hit in the leg in the accident and that doctors were forced to
amputate part of the injured leg.

Greece called to reduce road deaths
30th March ekathimerini

The European Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot yesterday urged Greece to do more to reduce the number of road
deaths after meeting with Transport Minister Michalis Liapis in Athens. Barrot recognized the progress Greece has made
but said it was essential that all Greeks make “an effort to reduce the number of deaths” on the country’s roads. Greece
has one of the highest road death tolls in the European Union – 1,629 people were killed in vehicle accidents last year.
Data released yesterday showed that the number of people killed in traffic accidents in January rose 22.5 percent on an
annual basis to 125.

Weapons found
30th March ekathimerini.com

Police arrested three men yesterday in Therisou, close to Crete’s city of Hania, and are searching for two others after the
men were discovered in possession of more than a dozen weapons. A tip led police to the stash of hunting rifles,
handguns and military firearms in four homes and four separate storage areas

Greece stops  games after fan dies
29th March   Reuters

Greece has suspended all team sports matches for 15 days after a fan was stabbed to death during clashes between rival
hooligans before a volleyball game.
Government spokesman Theodore Roussopoulos informed reporters of the decision after a cabinet meeting chaired by the
prime minister.
"Violence at stadiums concerns society as a whole," Roussopoulos said. "All (controlling) bodies must act with
determination and with the support of the state to wipe out this sad phenomenon."
Greece's Football Federation said in a statement it was abiding by the government's decision.
"We announce the suspension of all soccer championship games of all professional and amateur leagues until Friday April
13," it said.
Fans clashed in an eastern Athens suburb ahead of a women's volleyball match between the country's biggest clubs
Olympiakos and Panathinaikos on Thursday.
One fan was stabbed and run over by a car, at least six people were injured, one of whom was in critical condition, and
police made 13 arrests following the 20-minute battle.
Among those injured were bystanders as well as several minor soccer league players on their way to training. Their team
logo and colors resembled those of Panathinaikos.
Both clubs have teams competing in many sports including soccer, basketball, volleyball, water polo.
Clashes among supporters of the two teams date back decades. The most recent death of a spectator in Greece, in 1995,
was after clashes between Olympiakos and Panathinaikos fans during a basketball match.
The fan's death on Thursday dominated the front pages of daily papers and television news. Political party leaders issued
statements condemning the violence


Greek filmgoers ignore critics of `300'
Associated Press

THERMOPYLAE, Greece - Greece's critics hated "300," but moviegoers here are lining up to watch the gory recreation of the
Battle of Thermopylae in record numbers - happy to lap up the Hollywood thrills and take an indulgent view of what
detractors call a butchery of their ancient history.
The film had a record opening weekend in Greece with 325,000 ticket sales. That easily exceeded the previous mark set
last year by "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" (220,000).
Inspired by Frank Miller's graphic novel, the movie directed by Zach Snyder is about 300 Spartans led by King Leonidas
holding off hundreds of thousands of invading Persians - and the odd imaginary monster - at a mountain pass in Greece.
Critics dismissed the movie as gratuitously violent and historically inaccurate, one magazine describing it as a "bloodlust
videogame."   They were soon drowned out by moviegoers.

"The film was incredible on all counts. It's the first time I've heard a cinema audience clap at the end of a movie" said Nikos
Mastoris, who owns a comic bookstore in Athens. "The photography, the music, and all the scenes are really brilliant. The
movie is very faithful to the comic book."
Haris Antonopoulos of distributors Village Roadshow said ticket sales of "300" in Greece have topped the 1 million mark -
out of a population of 11 million - and is on course to beat the record-setting "Loufa kai parallagi: Sirines sto Egeo," a
movie about life as a Greek army conscript which sold 1.4 million tickets in 2005.

The village of Thermopylae, population 250, lies about 125 miles north of Athens, and is marked by a modern monument
near the country's main highway to the battle fought in 480 B.C.
Most villagers still haven't seen the movie because the nearest cinema is in the city of Lamia, an hour's drive to the north,
but are still proud of its success.

In the battle, King Leonidas (played by Gerard Butler) led a small force which fought to the death against the invading
Persians, to give Athens valuable time to prepare its defenses and ultimately defeat the army of Emperor Xerxes I
(Rodrigo Santoro).
Unlike the movie, historians believe Leonidas was not a young man. And Sparta, of course, was not a democracy as it is
depicted in the movie but a fearsome military power ruled with absolute authority.
Greek movie fans didn't seem to mind the history-bending or the comic-book style. And Greek Internet bloggers zealously
defended the fantasy-laden movie - many arguing that "300" stands up historically, although it is spiced up with allegorical
interpretations. Xerxes' colossal proportions, they say, represent his inflated ego and monsters in his army represent an
invincible force in the eyes of Greeks.
The Iranian government, which has drawn international condemnation over its nuclear program, has objected to the film's
depiction of ancient Persia as barbaric and for what it sees as a politically loaded, West vs. Iran story line.

Kefalonia Earthquake
27th March IOL

The archaeological museum of the Greek Ionian Sea island of Cephalonia (Kefalonia) was closed on Monday after a
weekend of seismic activity damaged the building and smashed items, the culture ministry said.
An undersea tremor measuring 5.9 points on the open-ended Richter scale on Sunday toppled a number of exhibits at
Argostoli Museum, smashing three of them, the ministry said without offering further details. The museum building itself
sustained minor damage, with cracks appearing in its walls.

A number of aftershocks up to 5.1 points Richter were recorded on Monday.

There were reports on Sunday of minor damage to homes and limited rock slides on roads, but no injuries. Government
engineers have been dispatched to Cephalonia to inspect schools and other public buildings in addition to the island's
roads, many of which are built along steep cliffs.

The Argostoli Museum was entirely destroyed in a 1953 earthquake that devastated the island.

Greece is the most seismically active country in Europe, accounting for half the number of earthquakes recorded on the
continent.

Getty returns 2 antiquities
March 26th AFP

The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles has returned two ancient pieces long claimed by Greece on grounds of illegal
provenance, the Greek Culture Ministry said.
The items, a gold funerary wreath and a marble woman’s torso, arrived Thursday evening on an Olympic Airlines flight from
New York in “excellent condition,” a ministry official told AFP on Friday. ”The antiquities will be stored at the Archaeological
Museum in Athens, and will be officially presented by Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis on Thursday,” she said.

Greece had demanded for over a decade the return of the two works, in addition to two other items yielded by the Getty
last summer, arguing that they were illegally removed from the country. The museum decided to return the wreath and
torso after seeing evidence of their provenance from the Greek Culture Ministry, Museum Director Michael Brand said in
December.

Man stabbed in Hania
26th March 2007 kathimerini

A 30-year-old Albanian national was found dead in his home in Hania, Crete, after being stabbed in the heart, police said
yesterday. The victim and two acquaintances reportedly drank heavily and quarreled at a local bar on Saturday before the
victim went home. Police said one of the men, aged 23, went to the victim’s home and stabbed him. The alleged culprit has
been arrested. Neither the suspect nor the victim were named.

Strong Winds and Rain lash Crete
22nd March 2007

A wave of bad weather is affecting Greece and Crete at the moment with winds of 10 Beaufort causing disruption to
passenger travel.  Ferry crossings have been cancelled as well as some flights into Chania airport. The strong winds are
expected to last through today and Friday.


Missing children
22nd March 2007 ekathimerini

The search for missing children in Greece will be facilitated by a new regulation allowing the photograph and details of
these children to be posted on the Public Order Ministry’s website, the Greek Police Department said in a statement
yesterday. The information will be uploaded onto the site (www.ydt.gr) subject to the approval of the parents or
guardians of each missing child, police said. Citizens who have information about missing children should telephone Attica
Police at 210.642.2936.


Mayonnaise recall
17th March 2007 ekathimerini

The Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) announced yesterday the recall of Hellman’s mayonnaise, produced by Knorr Bestfoods
Hellas, on fears of glass fragments being found in the food product. The 230ml container being pulled off the market has a
September 2007 expiry date.

Ferry accident
16th March 2007 ekathimerini

A passenger ferry carrying 608 people was damaged as it tried to dock in Iraklion harbor, Crete, the Merchant Marine
Ministry said. None of the passengers aboard were hurt. The Lato was prevented from sailing back to Piraeus until the
small crack in the hull of the ship was repaired.

Shooter jailed
15th March 2007 www.ekathimerini.com

A 21-year-old man from Crete was sentenced to 20 years and three months in jail yesterday for the attempted murder of
three people on the island last April. The victims were injured when the unnamed man shot at them following an
argument. One of the victims has been partially paralyzed after being struck in the head by a bullet.

Students get set for school trips
15th March ekathimerini

Some 88,000 secondary school students are getting ready to enjoy themselves before the end-of-year examination period
on annual school trips set to take place around Easter, according to data released by the Education Ministry yesterday.
Holiday destinations, for trips ranging from two to more than four days, include traditional favorites Rhodes and Crete,
while other schools will be heading abroad to Italy and the Czech Republic.
Ministry data showed that 83 percent of students have opted for a holiday resort in Greece.
Authorities said they are preparing to help make the trips safe as possible by informing local prefect authorities, police and
the Public Order and Transport ministries of upcoming student trips.
“Again this year, we are continuing attempts to secure the safest possible transportation, quality food and accommodation
for the trips,” said Deputy Education Minister Giorgos Kalos.
Spending from the school trips, mostly involving senior high schools, is expected to exceed 50 million euros.

Counterfeit notes
14th March 2007 ekathimerini

Police said yesterday they found 57,000 euros worth of counterfeit notes hidden in a plastic bag in an area near Hania  
(Kalathas Beach) Crete. Authorities said they had received a tip-off from an anonymous caller about where the fake money
had been placed and had had the area under surveillance since Friday. But police decided to collect the fake –50 notes
after no one appeared to pick up the money.

Tourism needs better ports
14th March 2007  Reuters

Greek passenger ferries and dozens of popular Aegean island ports must urgently improve if the Mediterranean country is
to continue cashing in on a bumper tourist market, industry officials said yesterday.

More than 14 million tourists visited Greece last year, an increase of about 8 percent from 2005, and about 15 million are
expected this year, industry and government officials have said.
Greece has made a determined effort in recent years to shake off its mass tourism image and lure more high-end visitors.
Gone are the days when island-hopping backpackers formed the staple diet of the industry, which now boasts golf
courses, spas and five-star hotels.

But the coastal shipping industry, which ferries millions of tourists to the sun-drenched isles each year, needs serious
upgrading. The late announcement of summer schedules, still to be issued in their entirety for this season, scarce routes
for more remote islands, an aging fleet and below-par on-board services compromise the sector.

Yiannis Evangelou, president of the Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies (HATTA)  said the state must
dramatically increase spending to upgrade dozens of ports across the country to allow bigger ferries to dock there and
boost visitor numbers.
Michalis Sakellis, president of the union of coastal shipping enterprises, conceded there were problems but said action was
under way to remedy them next year, if not this.
“We are not perfect and there are problems,” he said. “For the 2008 schedule, we plan to publish travel schedules as
early as this coming October to give sufficient time to plan in advance.”


Sir Patrick Leigh Fermour , writer and WWII hero,  honoured
3rd March 2007 ekathimerini.com

The week that passed brought both joy and sorrow to those close to two British heroes who fought for Greece during
World War II and whose love for the country never dimmed. The writer Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor, author of famous books
such as “Mani” and “Roumeli,” “A Time of Gifts” and “Between Woods and Water,” even settled in Greece, near the Mani
village of Kardamyli. This week President Karolos Papoulias bestowed upon him the Order of the Phoenix in the New Year
honors for 2007. Ambassador Tassos Kriekoukis, director of protocol for the Foreign Ministry, spoke of “Sir Patrick’s love of
writing and traveling but also for Greece, for whose freedom he fought at the side of Greek and British commandos. Who
can forget his part in the kidnapping (in wartime Crete) of (German) General Kreipe?” Colonel Mark Blatherwick, the British
Defense Attache in Athens, accompanied Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor to the event.


Cavo Sidero complex & golf courses ready to go
3rd March 2007

After 11 years of trying, British investment group, Minoan Group (former LoyalWard)  late last month received the official
approval of its environmental study for the Cavo Sidero complex, opening the way for the first infrastructure projects to
start, scheduled for this May, while this fall the construction of buildings will begin.
The project, on the Sidero peninsula in Northeast Crete,  involves the creation of six tourism villages of holiday houses,
three, four and five star hotels, and two golf courses,  supplementary sports and cultural facilities. .The total construction
will reach 255,000 square meters, 65 percent related to houses, and will provide 7,000 beds.
Cavo Sidero is expected to start operating in 2009, but works will continue until 2017, when it will be completed.
Other resorts with golf courses are being planned by private investors/ groups  at:
Sitia East Crete
Cavo Plako, East Crete
Aghia Galini, South of Rethymnon.

The Greek tourism ministry is encouraging these types of investments all over Greece and hoping to attract more high
income tourists and open the way for Greece as a  winter tourism  destination.

SAMARIA GORGE REOPENING
March 2, 2007 ekathimerini

One of Crete’s main tourist attractions, the Samaria Gorge, is due to open between the 15th and 20th April. The forestry
service, which is responsible for looking after the national park in southwest Crete where the 18-kilometer-long gorge lies,
has been conducting safety tests at the site after some tourists were injured by falling rocks last year. Local officials said
they would ask for extra funding so doctors could be posted at the site to treat any injuries sustained by visitors.

Taxi Fairs Go Up
01 Mar  NET

Taxi fares will go up by 5.5% as of today. Tariff 1 will be adjusted to € 0.34 and Tariff 2, applying as of 24:0005: 00 hrs to
€ 0.64, while the initial charge (flagdown rate) will remain €1. Bus tickets will also rise by 5% as of today. Passengers
taking a taxi from Eleftherios Venizelos Airport will be burdened with a € 3.2 surcharge, while surcharges from Macedonia
airport will cost € 2.65. A simple call for a radio taxi will be charged € 1.60 and appointment and place € 2.65.

British man in Malia balcony fall case released.
1st March 2007   cretetv.gr

In October 2006 41 year old Briton Michael Edwards was accused of attempted murder when his pregnant girlfriend Sarah
Maskell, 34 fell 20 ft from  a Malia hotel balcony and was impaled on a spike. Firefighters cut her free and she was rushed
to hospital. She survivied her injuries but her unborn child did not.

A Greek court last week heard a  statement from Ms Maskell saying that the couple had an alcohol- fueled argument  in
their hotel room, and Mr Edwards started packing his bags. In order to stop him from  leaving the 34 yr old climbed onto a
bed and threatened to jump out of the window,  but due to her being drunk and in a 'state of panic' , she accidently fell.
She stated that Mr Edwards was in the other room and did not even see her fall.

Mr Edwards was released from Neapoli prison yesterday and has returned to Britain with all charges against him being
dropped.


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