French tourist dies after falling off balcony in Crete
28 July 2014 ekathimerini

A 45-year-old French tourist vacationing in Iraklio, Crete, with her husband died on Sunday after
falling off the third-floor balcony of the hotel the couple was staying at, the state-run Athens-
Macedonia News Agency (AMNA) reported.
The woman was taken to a local hospital, where her death was confirmed.
According to the AMNA police are investigating the possibility that the 45-year-old committed
suicide and that her death was not the result of an accident.




USA is looking to create new base for UAV drones in Crete
28 July 2014 Chania Post

According to exclusive information made available to To Vima, USA has asked the Greek
government for the permission to place a number of UAV drones on Crete for a period of six to
twelve months.
The information suggests that talks on the critical matter began in January, with the American
side pressuring the Greek government to transfer the drones by early June – no agreement has
been reached. The drones are part of the American strategy in tackling the rising terrorism in the
Middle East and surrounding areas.
While the Greek government has had a close relationship with the USA, Prime Minister Antonis
Samaras, the government Vice President Evangelos Venizelos and the Minister of National
Defense Dimitris Avramopoulos have been hesitant to come to an agreement.
Aside from their fear of Greece potentially becoming a target for extremist groups, the
government is keen to negotiate what it will receive in return. Military cycles have suggested that
Greece is interested in receiving technical assistance, or may even receive surplus UAVs in order
tackle illegal immigration.




Sifis the crocodile becomes Environment Ministry's problem
25 July 2014 ekathimerini

The task of trapping and relocating a 3-meter crocodile living in a lake in Rethymno, Crete,
belongs under Greek law to the Environment Ministry, the island’s Deputy Regional Director Maria
Lioni said Friday.
Despite having help from experts, local efforts to trap the reptile, known as Sifis, after it was
spotted by forest rangers at the Potami dam on the Amari plain in June have failed.
Lioni told a meeting of island authority agencies that any further attempts will have to be
coordinated by the ministry and adhere to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITA). She also rejected suggestions that the crocodile remain in
the lake as a local attraction.

       
       
       
PPC to look into death of disabled customer in Chania
24 July 2014 ekathimerini

The Public Power Corporation (PPC) launched an administrative inquiry on Thursday into why
electricity supplied to the home on Crete of a quadriplegic customer on life support was cut,
resulting in the woman’s death about an hour later.
PPC issued a statement on Thursday afternoon saying that it did not know the woman from Hania
was reliant on medical equipment to keep her alive before disconnecting her from the grid due to
unpaid bills of a reported 237 euros. The company said that she was not one of some 650,000
people who have been placed on a list that protects them from disconnection, nor was she
included in a list of the 5,874 PPC customers that are on life support.
The power firm said that it would investigate the incident after the woman’s son told Skai TV that
the family had applied for special status but had not received any acknowledgement from PPC.




Activists launch flotilla against Syria chemicals
24 july 2014 ekathimerini

Nearly 40 activists from Greece and Italy plan to launch a flotilla from the port of Hania on Crete
on Friday to protest the decommissioning of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile in the sea south
of the island.
During a press conference in Hania on Thursday, organizers said their aim was to approach the
US-owned Cape Ray, which is carrying vast amounts of nerve agents and mustard gas handed
over to the international community by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The activists, who will
set sail on three boats, expect to cover a distance of about 200 nautical miles in about 28 hours.
The campaign has received backing from local government officials. In comments on Thursday,
Sfakia Mayor Pavlos Pollakis urged activists to “shout out their opposition to the dangerous
experiment taking place at the expense of the Mediterranean Sea and the lives of its people.”



Taxi owners want to stop Chania airport to Rethymnon bus service
17 July 2014 Apokoronas News

T
he Taxi owners association of Chania has appealed to the department of decentalised
administration in Athens  in an attemt to reverse the decition of the deputy governor Voulgarakis  
to approve a bus service between Chania airport and Rethymnon town.  The taxi owners are
disputing the legality of Mr Voulgaraki’s  decision arguing that the bus service is illegal (?) and
that  it will damage their business. The service will continue as usual until a decision is taken by
the new permanent secretary of the ministry, Mr Rokadakis.

A new  regular bus service connecting Chania airport with Rethymnon  started on Monday 30
June, costing 6.80 euro for a single journey. The service runs from 4:30 to 23:00.
























North Wales Police to fly to Crete in search for missing pensioner Arthur Jones
6th July 2014 walesonline.co.uk
A  team of experts will travel to the Mediterranean island on Sunday to assist the Greek
authorities in their efforts to find 73-year-old Arthur Jones, missing in Crete

Detective Chief Inspector Gareth Evans, of St Asaph CID, will be flying out along with missing
person co-ordinator Mark Owen and chair of the North Wales Mountain Rescue Association Phil
Benbow.

Deputy Chief Constable Gareth Pritchard said: “We are pleased to be able to provide support to
the Greek authorities and will be sending officers who have vast experience in dealing with
missing person inquiries and searches.

“They will fly to Crete on Sunday where they will meet up with representatives from the
Consulate, Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the head of the Chania Police.”

North Wales Police said the family of the retired scaffolder are “very grateful” for the officers’
support.

Arthur hasn’t been seen since June 19 - two days after he arrived on the island.

Despite a substantial search and widespread appeal, local police told his family they’re “mystified”
by his disappearance.

The father-of-four is a very keen walker and it is thought he might have gone to the hills in the
area.

His son Jeff Jones, who is in Crete to help with the search, has expressed concerns of “foul play”
over his father’s disappearance.

He said: “Some things aren’t adding up, it seems like foul play. Not one person to have seen him,
it doesn’t make sense.”

The British Ambassador to Greece has visited the family and Prime Minister David Cameron vowed
this week in Parliament to do “everything” to ensure Mr Jones is found.

Friends and family have meanwhile held a candlelit vigil in Denbigh to demonstrate their concern
for the Jones family. Around 400 people, including the mayor, came out to pray for the his safe
return.

People have also been using social media in their droves to raise awareness of Arthur’s
disappearance.

Hundreds of users of the social media site are tweeting #FindArthur while many more Facebook
users are sharing a missing poster with pictures and information about the pensioner.
Anyone on holiday in the area recently who remembers seeing Arthur is urged to contact the
Police on 101, or the Missing Abroad Operations Team on 02070 475060.




Crocodile spotted taking a dip into a lake in Crete
4 July 2014  
www.tovima.gr/en/article/?aid=612473
“At first we thought it was a practical joke...” - Authorities begin searching for mysterious reptile

According to the ekriti.gr news portal, two firemen reported a crocodile diving into a lake during
their patrol near a river dam in Crete. The local Director of Transportation and Plumbing Works .
Vangelis Mamagakis stated that the two firemen saw the two-meter crocodile moving along the
shore before plunging into the lake.

“At first we thought it was a practical joke, but as soon as we realized that they were reliable
witnesses, we began investigating” Mamagakis continued. An investigation is about to begin, in
order to confirm the existence of the reptile and whether it is the only one.

Mr. Mamagakis believes that the crocodile may have been kept as a pet at a home or by a visiting
zoo and was subsequently abandoned.


Domestic power rates will rise from July 1
21 June 2014 ekathimerini
The abolition of a series of subsidies on electricity rates, as the bailout agreement between
Athens and its creditors dictates, will mean that as of July 1 homes consuming up to 800
kilowatt/hours per four-month period will see their power bill increase.

However, small commercial enterprises such as shops will enjoy a decline, according to the
chairman and chief executive of Public Power Corporation, Arthuros Zervos.


Disgruntled cabbies warn of possible action over taxes
18 June 2014 ekathimerini
The union representing the Greek capital’s taxi owners has called for the resignation of Prime
Minister Antonis Samaras and the government, warning that it is mulling action as the tourism
season kicks into high gear unless their tax burden is reduced.
Cabbies are protesting the imposition of a 26 percent tax on the earnings of freelance
professionals – from the first euro – as well as having to pay 55 percent of the tax on estimated
revenues for 2014 with this year’s tax return.
“We, the simple folk, the people with no distinctions or titles, who for five years have been giving
our blood and life so that the numbers add up for the creditors and their representatives, we will
be the ones to raise the banner of revolt first,” said the announcement on Wednesday by the
Attica Taxi Owners Association.
    

Famous Greek Casanova known as 'Bruno' murdered on Rhodes
17 June 2014 ekathimerini
A 64-year-old resident of the southeastern Aegean island of Rhodes who gained some notoriety
after featuring in a 2010 documentary detailing the heyday of the Greek "kamaki," Casanovas
who make a business of romancing tourists vacationing in Greece, was found dead in his home on
Friday by firefighters, local media reported on Tuesday.

Ilias Fanouris, who went by the name Bruno when chatting up foreign visitors to his native island
in the 1970s and 80s, was in his home late on Friday when unknown assailants set fire to the
property. Firefighters found a badly charred body in the wreckage, which has since been identified
as the notorious Casanova.

Police are investigating claims that Fanouris was involved with a group of individuals who worked
as prostitutes in the Aghios Fanourios district of the island. Neighbors also told investigators that
they had heard him arguing loudly with someone over Skype on several occasions.

In "Colossi of Love," by Nikos Mistriotis, 'Bruno' claimed to have seduced hundreds of wom-en.


Court rules seizure of debtors' deposits without notification constitutional
16 June 2014 ekathimerini
The Council of State, Greece's highest administrative court, on Monday ruled that the state and
insurance funds are within their rights to seize the contents of bank accounts belonging to
individuals who owe them money without notification.

Monday's ruling by a panel of seven judges, which paves the way for en masse seizure of
deposits, salaries, pensions, rent payments, etc, reverses an earlier judgement by a panel of five
in March ruling that seizures are unconstitutional if account holders do not receive prior
notification.

The final decision issued Monday states that the notification of debtors defeats the purpose of
the measure as it would give them time to empty their accounts or transfer their deposits to a
third party. It added that debtors are notified when they are in arrears and also know that steps
can be taken to retrieve the money from the very next day that a payment deadline expires.


Tremor of 4.9 Richter reported in southeastern Aegean
13 June 2014 ekathimerini
An earthquake measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale was recorded in the early hours of Friday off
the coast of Kasos, an island in the southeastern Aegean.

According to the Athens-based Geodynamic Institute of the National Observatory, the tremor hit
at 3.34 a.m. and its epicenter was located some 17 miles off the northeastern coast of the island.

No damages or injuries were reported.


More Greeks to benefit from social dividend
4 June 2014 ekathimerini
T
he income criteria for the distribution of the so-called social dividend  – i.e. the share of the
primary budget surplus to be handed out to households in need – are expanding to an additional
300,000 families.

A meeting conducted on Tuesday under Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras decided to
raise the maximum annual income criterion from 6,000 euros to 7,050 euros for unmarried people
and from 8,000 euros to 9,400 euros for couples, growing further depending on the number of
children. The amount comprising the one-off benefit handed out starts from 500 euros and
increases according to the number of household members.

Finance Ministry officials say that the applications that have been rejected, as well as those to be
submitted by June 30, will be examined and that in the coming days another 115,000 households
will have the social dividend credited to their bank accounts, taking the total number of recipients
to 320,000.


Man dies on Crete after handling infected mouse
1 June 2014 ekakthimerini
A 20-year-old man died on Crete on Saturday after coming into contact with an infected mouse.

Doctors at Hania Hospital, where he was taken on Friday, said that the man had contracted
leptospirosis, which is transmitted by rats and other wild animals and can cause internal bleeding.

The man was taken to the hospital on Friday after he complained of stomach pains. He was
treated in an intensive care unit but died soon afterwards.

The man, who was a goalkeeper at a local amateur club, reportedly touched the mouse with his
bare hands.



Speed Cameras on Crete National Roads
1 June 2014 Sfakia-Crete.com via cretalive

The official launch of cameras placed along the North Coast highway (BOAK) has taken place,  to
take snapshots of traffic violators on the road.

Approximately 40 cameras will take pictures in order to send fines to the homes of drivers who
have exceeded the speed limit or make other obvious violations.

The photographic cameras are scattered around the northern coastal road, and corresponding
cameras will be placed along the south axis of the island. The "headquarters" of the Hellenic
Police will be in Rethymno's Episkopi, where the processing of the photographs will take place and
the personal data will be guarded as per the legislation.




Leftwing Syriza party triumphs in European elections in Greece
26 May 2014  Guardian & Ekathimerini

The election marked a turning point for Greece on Sunday with voters delivering a resounding
victory for the radical left Syriza party while sending at least three neo-nazi Golden Dawn
members to Brussels.

In a historic day for the left, the anti-austerity Syriza won the ballot by a margin of nearly four
points over the conservative New Democracy party led by prime minister Antonis Samaras.
Addressing supporters as the results rolled in, Alexis Tsipras, Syriza's leader, called for general
elections to be held immediately, saying the outcome robbed the government of any "political or
moral legitimacy" to continue enforcing policies that were overwhelming rejected.

Later PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos labelled “unconstitutional” a request by SYRIZA chief
Alexis Tsipras for early general elections.

Venizelos held a news conference shortly after Tsipras met with President Karolos Papoulias,
where he suggested that the government lacked the legitimacy to continue. Tsipras called for
national elections “as soon as possible.”

The PASOK leader said that in his suggestion that the European election results indicated a
“disharmony” between the public will and the allocation of seats in Greek Parliament was based
on an old version of the country’s constitution.

Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou insisted that the result of the EU ballot could not be
interpreted as a vote against the coalition. “If this were the case then government’s would not
have four-year terms in any country,” he said.



Golden Dawn demands the release of its detained MPs
25 May 2014 To Vima

The detained general secretary of neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn Nikos Michaloliakos has claimed to
be the “huge victor” in the Sunday elections and argued that his party is the third political power
in Greece.

According to Michaloliakos, the overall message of the European elections is for Golden Dawn’s
detained MPs to be released. The detained MPs face felony charges of joining and directing a
criminal organization.

Michaloliakos added that “aside from its anti-people politics, Samaras’ New Democracy has paid
for the lies and despicable conspiracy against us” and argued that SYRIZA “failed to express the
rage of the Greek people”.




Earthquake in northern Aegean measured at 6.4 Richter, felt in Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria
24 May 2014 ekathimerini

An earthquake of 6.4 magnitude struck off the coast of northern Greece on Saturday and was felt
as far as neighboring Turkey and Bulgaria but there were no reports of casualties or serious
destruction, police and fire brigade officials said.

The US Geological Survey said the quake occurred some 77 km (48 miles) south-southwest of
Alexandroupolis, between the islands of Lemnos and Samothrace, at a depth of 10 km (six miles).
It downwardly revised its first reading of 7.2.

A duty officer at the Lemnos police precinct said a female British tourist was slightly injured at the
airport when part of the ceiling fell, but was treated at the scene and did not require
hospitalization. He said no other damage or injuries had been reported.



   
Citizen Advice Centers (KEP) to expand services from May 27
21 May 2014 ekathimerini

Citizen Service Centers (KEP) will offer a range of new services from May 27, the Administrative
Reform Ministry said on Wednesday.

Among these services is helping Public Power Corporation (PPC) customers who meet certain
income criteria to apply to pay a reduced rate for the electricity they use.

Up to now, homeowners could only do this at PPC offices.


73rd Anniversary of the Battle of Crete - May 2014
This year the Battle of Crete Commemorations take place mid week between
Monday 19 May and Friday 23 May 2014.
Note that no services will take place over the weekend due to the local and European elections.
Full programme of events - click here



Sunday 18th May - International Museums Day
Free entrance to archaeological sites and museums across Crete and Greece
Greek museums and sites will once again take part in the worldwide celebration of International
Museum Day and open free of charge on Sunday 18 May 2014.



Greek Government “Freezes” Controversial Draft Coastal Development Bill
14 May 2014 news.gtp.gr
A controversial draft bill on coastal development prepared by the Finance Ministry has been
temporarily “frozen” by the Greek Government following reactions of environmental organizations,
citizens and even MPs.

The draft bill, among other provisions, lifts all restrictions on the maximum area designated for
constructions for business purposes (beach bars, umbrellas, sun beds) and abolishes the
unrestricted right of free access to beaches by the public.

Upon announcing the “freeze” of the draft bill, State Minister Dimitris Stamatis said the
government wants public consultation on the draft bill to be “thorough” and added that the
government would take a final position after the European Parliament elections (25 May) after
examining results and conclusions. The public consultation on the draft bill ended on 13 May.



Crete: Amateur paraglider found dead in remote ravine
7 May 2014 To Vima
Police reported that they discovered the body of an amateur paraglider who was on vacation in
Crete in a remote ravine near Lenta, Iraklio.
The deceased had been paragliding on Sunday when he was reported missing by his wife,
prompting the local authorities to launch a rescue operation.
The Fire Brigade’s Special Disaster Response Unit (EMAK) located the man’s body in the remote
ravine, which is between Loutra and Trypiti. The police are investigating the cause of his death.



Environmental group urges MPs to block 'criminal' coastal development bill
5 May 2014 ekathimerini                        
             
Reactions against a controversial bill that lifts restrictions on construction along Greece's coastline
continued Monday, as environmental protection group WWF Greece urged lawmakers to shoot
down the “ecologically criminal proposal.”
“It is a brutal and outrageously shortsighted, revenue-oriented wipeout of environmental law,”
the NGO said in an open letter to Greek MPs urging them to stop the draft law before it is
submitted to Parliament.
The bill, which was submitted by the Finance Ministry, lifts all current restrictions on the maximum
area designated for beach concessions such as bars, umbrellas and sun loungers while abolishing
the right to unhindered public access to the seashore.
The proposed measures also facilitate permanent constructions on beaches for commercial
purposes, while making it possible for businesses to pay fines to legalize unlicensed constructions.
Public consultation on the bill, launched during the Easter break, has been extended to May 13.
Local elections are scheduled to be held in Greece on May 18 and 25.
Read more:
                      
http://ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_1_05/05/2014_539454
     
    

Greece quietly launches new public broadcaster NERIT
5 May 2014 AFP via ekathimerini

"Something new began at 6:00 pm,» a voiceover intoned. «NERIT entered Greek homes, with
pluralism and reliability, humanity and respect for culture and history."
The muted launch of the new broadcaster was in stark contrast to the public outcry that greeted
the shutdown of its predecessor ERT last June as part of draconian budget cuts.
ERT's sudden closure after more than 60 years on the air shocked even austerity-hardened
Greeks.
Many of its employees refused to accept the shutdown, defiantly broadcasting online from its
headquarters until riot police forced them out.
The New Greek Radio, Internet and Television (NERIT) launched with a news programme
anchored by Andriana Paraskevopoulou, a familiar face from ERT.
Athens abruptly closed ERT as part of a bid to rein in public debt and gain access to EU-IMF rescue
loans vital to keeping Greece in the eurozone.
But the closure nearly brought down the coalition government of conservative Prime Minister
Antonis Samaras after one of its allies defected over the row.
Greece's To Vima newspaper on Sunday slammed the handling of the launch as «tragic» and
«slipshod».



University of Crete in global list of top 100
2 May 2014 ekathimerini        

The University of Crete ranked 48th in the Times Higher Education (THE) annual list of the top 100
universities founded in the past 50 years but the Cretan institution was classified significantly
lower in a list of the world’s top 400 universities.
The list of the top 100 universities set up in the past 50 years was published on Wednesday
along with an introductory report which praised the University of Crete for excelling in spite of
“the massive economic challenges” in Greece.
In the list of the 400 top universities, however, the same Greek university was ranked between
301st and 350th place. Only the first 200 rankings are specified with the remainder bundled into
groups of 50.



Expert laments lack of measures to protect children from poverty
2 May 2014 ekathimerini

Greece has not been doing enough to fight child poverty, Deputy Ombudsman Giorgos Moschos
told a parliamentary committee on Friday.
He told MPs on the equality and human rights committee that a panel of experts at the National
Center for Social Research had come to this conclusion after studying a range of figures.
“The team of experts found that children at risk of poverty had risen from 23 percent in 2008 to
30.4 percent in 2011 and that the percentage of children experiencing severe material deprivation
rose from 18.7 percent to 29.2 percent,” he said, adding that the proportion of children living in a
household where neither parent works tripled to 9.2 percent.
“So far there has been no strong political commitment to fighting child poverty in Greece,”
Moschos said.



May Day - Labour Day Thursday May 1st

- Sites and museums across Greece will be closed May 1st.
- Ferries will remain docked May 1st across Greece as seamen strike 24hrs


Third protest in Crete against destruction of Syrian chemical weapons off island
28 April 2014 ekathimerini

Hundreds of people gathered in Sfakia, Crete, on Sunday to protest against the destruction of
Syrian chemical weapons in the Mediterranean.

The demonstration, attended by hundreds of people, was timed to coincide with the Organization
for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) reportedly starting the process of destroying the
weapons.

The toxic substances were be placed on a ship with systems that can carry out the process of
hydrolysis that will convert the chemicals into less dangerous substances. It is expected that
some 20 tons of mustard gas and neurotoxic agents will be destroyed.

The government says it has received assurances from all those involved that the process is safe
and will not lead to any pollution.

The protest on Sunday was the third against the process.



No fruit and vegetable markets as producers launch strike
28 April 2014 ekathimerini

Producers who sell their agricultural goods at open-air markets around the country launched an
open-ended strike on Monday in protest at proposed changes to legislation governing how the
markets are managed.

A protest in central Athens was also due to take place from 10 a.m.

The association representing the producers, POSPLA, said that the government had failed to
consult with them properly before submitting the legislation.

The producers are opposed to a range of provisions, which include municipalities being given the
right to decide the maximum number of stalls at each market and the proposed physical
separation of stalls run by producers and traders.

The draft law also proposes that public lotteries should be held to decide where each producer
sets up their stall.


Crete Police Seize Fake €50 Banknotes
19 April 2014  Greekreporter.com
Greek traders are warned to beware of fake 50 euro banknotes after police in Crete seized
forgeries that experts say were likely printed in Bulgaria.

Greece’s Financial and Economic Crime Unit claimed that the counterfeit banknotes seized in Crete
were manufactured in Bulgaria and fully resemble forgeries found previously in other parts of the
country, Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) reported Saturday.

Police are investigating how the counterfeit money made its way from Bulgaria and whether some
of it has been in circulation elsewhere in the country.



Mission to woo Russian visitors to Greece
16 April 2014 ekathimerini

The Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) has set its target for this year’s tourist
arrivals from abroad at 18.5-19 million and revenues at 13 billion euros, as bookings from foreign
markets continue to show a strong rise.

However the crisis in relations between Russia and the European Union due to current events in
Ukraine, along with the devaluation of the ruble, are of great concern to Greece.

In a bid to minimize the impact on Greek tourism, SETE has sent a delegation of its officials to
Moscow, where on Wednesday they met with representatives from 25 Russian tour operators to
inform them on the new visa-issuing system that Greek authorities have adopted.

SETE’s aim is to see Russian tourists increase from 1.3 million last year to 1.5 million in 2014
.



ELSTAT: Collapse in wages, pensions and welfare
16 April 2014 To Vima
The Greek statistics authority ELSTAT published the results of a study regarding the regular cuts
in wages and pensions in the public sectors, along with the restriction of welfare.

According to the data employee compensation was reduced to 22% of total expenses (5.595
billion euros) in the final quarter of 2013, from 23.1% (6.439 billion euros) and 23.5% (6.96 billion
euros) in the final quarters of 2012 and 2011 respectively.

At the same time, the cost of welfare services dropped to 39.6% of total expenses  (10.087 billion
euros), comparedto 42.7% (11.901 billion euros) and 41.6% (12.318 billion euros) in the final
quarters of 2012 and 2011.
The ELSTAT study also showed that income taxes amounted to 23.1% of the general government’
s revenue and that the public debt at the end of 2013 was 318.7 billion euros, with 99.1% of
loans being long-term.


Dutchman rescued in Soúgia
11 April, 2014 sfakia-crete.com

A rescue mission was completed shortly after 8:30 this morning to rescue a 50 years old tourist in
Soúgia with initially unknown medical problems.

According to the information, a 50 year old Dutchman was leading his partner and a German
couple from Agia Roumeli to Sougia on the E4 path.

The Dutch tourist at dawn fell down in a rough spot near the beach of Sedóni, resulting in a
shoulder dislocation.

His friends alerted the authorities and in the early hours started a rescue operation involving the
Coast Guard and a rescue ambulance.

A private fishing boat approached the point where the 50 year old was, and took him to Soúgia,
from where he was carried in the ambulance for evacuation to the Health Center of Kantanos.

The state of health of the 50 year old is good.



Greek unions to hold General Strike on April 9  (AP)
Greece's largest public sector union will join a nationwide general strike April 9 to protest
austerity measures. The move means that the walkout will affect all private and public sector
services. The ADEDY union said  it was joining the strike call issued by the GSEE union.



Cargo ships collide off Lesvos; no injuries, damage reported
6 April 2014 ekathimerini         

Two foreign-flagged cargo vessels collided off the coast of the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos
on Saturday.
There were no reports of injuries or damage.
Details were not made available regarding the ships’ identities or the size of their crews after
they collided 19 nautical miles off the island’s northwestern coast, though the coast guard said
that neither of the captains requested assistance.
The captains are also said to have assured that the accident did not result in any crew injuries or
any pollutants leaking into the sea.



Tremor rattles Greek island Hydra, felt in Crete
4 April 2014 ekathimerini

A moderate tremor rattled the island of Hydra in Greece's Saronic Gulf on Friday night.
The earthquake struck at 11.08 p.m. and was felt in Crete and Athens. Hydra is 85 kilometers
southwest of the capital's main port, Piraeus.
The Athens-based Geodynamic Institute initially put its force at 5.4 on the Richter scale, but
revised the figure upward to 5.6 to put back at 5.4 later. Its epicenter is said to have been
located 28 kilometers off the southeastern coast of the island.
There were no initial reports of damages or injuries.




Coast Guard locates ship with 408 Syrian refugees north of Crete
1st April 2014 To Vima

T
he Coast Guard is conducting a rescue operation off the north western coast of Crete, after
locating a 32-meter ship that is carrying about 400 Syrian refugees. According to web portal
CretaLive the weather conditions, while ideal, are not affecting the operation.
The ship was discovered after it made a request for help, after which point the Unified Command
Center of the Ministry of Shipping ordered two nearby cargo ships and a US Navy ship to
attend. The Coast Guard also dispatched a ship from Piraeus, a Greek Navy frigate and a
helicopter.
As the refugee-carrying vessel does not appear to be leaking, it is thought that it made the
distress call due to a mechanical failure. The three ships remain nearby the migrant-carrying
vessel, which does not appear to be facing any immediate danger.
So far about 13 of the 408 refugees have been transferred to one of the cargo freighters.
Amongst the refugees are an estimated 100 women and children. As soon as the refugees are
rescued, they will then be taken to the nearest port in Crete.




Tourism hotspots in pilot Sunday store opening scheme
28 March 2014 ekathimerini
The liberalization of Sunday opening rules for stores will start on a pilot basis in tourism
destinations such as the islands of the Cyclades and Dodecanese, Halkidiki and Crete, as well as
cruise ships ports of call such as Piraeus and Thessaloniki. Eastern Attica could also be included.

The lack of clarity in the regulation the Development Ministry has included in the multi-bill to be
voted on in Parliament tomorrow evening leaves a loophole whereby areas such as the historical
center of Athens or parts of Attica with major tourism investments such as Elliniko could be
characterized as “touristic.”

The ministry’s regulation dictates that the minister can issue a decision up until June, following
consultations with local professionals, which will determine at least three regions where the pilot
application of full Sunday opening (for all stores, on all Sundays of the year) will apply for 12
months. This means there will be no limit to the size of stores (compared with the existing limit of
250 square meters) and no decision by the regional authority will be required. A monitoring entity
will be appointed for the recording of comparative conclusions.



Austerity bill angers Greece's neighbourhood stores
28 March 2014 AP

Associations representing bakers, pharmacies, booksellers and milk producers have expressed
angry opposition to a new austerity bill in Greece, a proposed overhaul of trading rules they fear
will wipe out independent stores.

The government is due to submit the draft legislation to parliament Friday to scrap dozens of
commercial regulations it says are overly protective of independent stores and stifle competition.
The measures, to be voted Sunday, would liberalize retail sectors, and include plans to grant
supermarkets permission to set up in-store pharmacies, allow a longer shelf-life for milk and scrap
price limits on books set by Greek publishers.

Unions also oppose the plans, and have called for weekend protests and a general strike on April
9, while most pharmacies across the country closed indefinitely in protest this week. [AP]



Greek unions to hold general strike on April 9
27 March 2014 AP
Greece's largest public sector union says it will join a nationwide general strike April 9 to protest
austerity measures. The move means that the walkout will affect all private and public sector
services.
The ADEDY union said Thursday it was joining the strike call issued by the GSEE union a few days
ago.
ADEDY said it was also organizing a demonstration outside Parliament on the day lawmakers vote
on a new bill legislating the latest measures agreed to between Greece and its international
lenders. The bill, which has not yet been submitted to Parliament, is expected to be voted on
Sunday night.
Athens agreed on the measures last week. But some of them have raised serious objections from
lawmakers inside the two-party governing coalition. [AP]



PNO unionists blocking ships with unpaid crew members
27 March 2014 tovima.gr
Unionists of the Panhellenic Seamen’s Federation (PNO) have been conducting spot checks in
ships for unpaid crew members, as part of their announced strike action. The unionists are
focused on vessels operating in the Argosaronic.
A few days ago, the federation issued an ultimatum to NEL Lines, ANEK, Hellenic Seaways,
Ventouris Sea Lines, ANMEZ and LANE Lines to pay overdue wages to their crew members.
According to the Athens News Agency (APE), some of the companies have already paid a portion
of the wages owed and requested extra time from PNO.
Since PNO has confirmed that it will participate in the 24-hour general strike organized by GSEE
on the 9th of April, the ships will remain docked.



Severely burned toddler dies in Crete
26 March 2014 ekathimerini
Police officers were investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a 3-year-old boy in
the area of Mesara in Irakleio on the island of Crete on Wednesday.
The boy was allegedly taken to a local health facility by his mother and her partner, both
Bulgarian nationals, with severe burns all over his body and was pronounced dead. Early reports
suggested he had been burned with hot water.
A post mortem was ordered while the two Bulgarians were being questioned by law en-forcement
agents.


Greek pharmacists call indefinite strike over measures
25 March 2014 ekathimerini
Pharmacists have decided to launch an open-ended strike from Wednesday in protest at the
government’s liberalization measures.
The pharmacists accused the coalition of making last-minute changes to draft legislation that will
limit the role of pharmacies and threaten the livelihoods of some 12,000 Greek pharmacists.
“Pharmacies will not go like lambs to the slaughter,” said the head of the Greek Pharmacists’
Association, Kyriakos Theodosiadis.
“If people want medicines they should go to [Development Minister Costis] Hatzidakis’s office to
get them. Let the ministers who vote for these provisions secure medicines for people.”
The Health Ministry responded with a statement that said it had secured significant benefits for
pharmacists in Greece’s recent agreement with the troika, including the withdrawal of a demand
that their profit margin be reduced to 15 percent across the board.




Man dies following road rage attack on Crete
25 March 2014 ekathimerini
Two of three people allegedly involved in a road rage incident in Crete that left one man dead on
Sunday have been arrested.
The two brothers are alleged to have beaten the man with shepherds’ crooks after he complained
about their driving at the village of Antiskari in Mesara.
The third man is not believed to have taken part in the beating but is considered to be an
accomplice.
The incident took place in the presence of the victim’s son.
His father suffered serious head injuries and was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.



Chania airport expansion - 'çhanges not enough'
15 March, 20 Sfakia-crete.com via flashnews.gr

On the occasion of the expansion project of Chania airport, the Hotel Association of Chania has
sent a letter to the Commander of Aviation, Mr. Kouki, and to the MP of Chania, the Vice Prefect of
Chania and the Chania Airport Manager, indicating some points that need improvement at the
new Chania airport, which concern the movement of passengers and the feasibility of the project-
functionality.

Specifically, and in accordance with the notice of the Hotel Association, this gives useful
information about the current operation of the airport and the elements that require change....
Read the full article at
www.sfakia-crete-forum.com/read.php?3,630



Greeks warned against eating bitter almonds, apricot kernels
14 March 2014 ekathimerini

The Health Ministry on Friday issued a warning regarding the consumption of bitter al-monds and
apricot kernels following reports from the Poison Control Center at the Aglaia Kyriakou Children’s
Hospital of a spike in cyanide poisoning cases in the past six months.
The culprits are believed to be bitter almonds and apricot kernels sold at supermarkets and
health food stores that are advertised as having antioxidant properties.
The ministry warned that consuming more than 10 pieces a day can cause poisoning, alerting
consumers to warning signs such as stomach ache, nausea, vomiting and shortness of breath.
The Hellenic Food Authority has been informed and is expected to take steps to have the
products removed from shelves.



Pharmacists closed Friday and Monday in ongoing strike against reforms
13  March 2014 ekathimerini
Pharmacies to be closed again on Friday 14th and on Monday 17th March as Greek pharmacists
continue their protests against planned reforms aimed at liberalizing their sector.
The pharmacists walked off the job earlier this week in an initial "warning strike" and have
threatened to intensify their action unless the government rejects a series of reforms demanded
by the troika that would extend the right to sell over-the-counter medicines to supermarkets and
would allow any individual or business to open a pharmacy.
Unionists are to meet again on Monday to decide how to continue with their action.



Two suicides rock Crete over the weekend
March 10
Two businessmen are believed to have committed suicide on the island of Crete over the
weekend, raising concerns about the impact of the crisis as both incidents though unrelated are
believed to have been prompted by financial concerns.
The first occurred on Saturday morning in Irakleio on the northern coast of the southern Aegean
island, where a 61-year-old businessman shot himself in his home.
Just 24 hours later, authorities reported the death of a 56-year-old man in Hersonissos who shot
himself with a hunting rifle, also in his home.
Local media reports did not mention whether they had left notes explaining their decision.



Pharmacies launch two-day strike on Monday, Tuesday
9 March 2014 ekathimerini
Pharmacies across Greece will begin the week with what they are calling a "warning" strike on
Monday and Tuesday, 10 & 11 March, in protest at plans to liberalize their sector.

The Panhellenic Pharmacists' Union is objecting to measures being urged by the country's
creditors to open up the sector to competition by changing the rules governing where pharmacies
can operate and by whom they can be run, as well as freeing their opening hours.

The union has repeatedly expressed fears that the liberalization of pharmacies will make small
businesses owned by individual pharmacists vulnerable to competition from large pharmacy
chains.

The union said that the strike on Monday and Tuesday is "just the start" of action against the
measures, which also include a contentious plan to allow supermarkets to sell over-the-counter
medicines.


Hellenic Seaplanes bets on airborne island hopping as new trend
7  March 2014 Bloomberg
Hellenic Seaplanes S.A., a new airline set to start flying tourists between Greek islands this
summer, forecasts that sea-based commercial carriers could generate 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion)
in annual revenue as European travelers return to a country emerging from recession.

With nearly 6,000 islands and fewer than 50 airports, Greece is a “natural” for seaplanes and
could become “the center of a seaplane industry” in Europe, Nicolas Charalambous, president and
chief executive officer of Hellenic Seaplanes, said in an interview in Athens

The Greek government has agreed to speed up licensing to allow flights to start before the
summer, Environment Minister Yiannis Maniatis said Feb. 18, citing the industry’s potential role in
boosting tourism.

Charalambous’s company wants to “act as a feeder” to carriers such as International
Consolidated Airlines Group SA’s British Airways and Aegean Airlines SA, he said. Code-sharing
could allow passengers to “buy a ticket from anywhere in the world to a Greek airport, and then
onward to water aerodromes on islands we serve.”


Gavdos residents to boycott Euro-polls to protest weapons destruction
4 March 2014 ekathimerini

The residents of Gavdos, a tiny island south of Crete with a population of just 152, issued a
statement yesterday saying that they would not vote in the European Parliament elections on
May 25 to protest efforts by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to
destroy Syrian chemical weapons in the Mediterranean.
In a message published online, the islanders said they hoped to contribute to a campaign aimed
at preventing the weapons from being destroyed near Crete.
“If there is an accident, these dangerous substances will sink into our sea and destroy every
living organism, us included,” said the Gavdos residents.
The toxic substances will be placed on a ship with systems that can carry out the process of
hydrolysis that will convert the chemicals into less dangerous substances.



Doctors call for withdrawal of 5-euro patient fee
4 March 2014 ekathimerini
The Federation of Greek Doctors' Unions (OENGE) on Tuesday urged the Health Ministry to
withdraw a directive calling for patients to pay a 5-euro fee for admission to polyclinics in the
country’s new Primary National Healthcare Network (PEDY).
"Citizens have already paid for the health system via their social security contributions and their
taxes, and they should not be obliged to pay for the same thing a third time," OENGE said in a
statement, adding that citizens should refuse to pay the admission fee.
The Health Ministry's decision has drawn criticism from the junior partner in Greece's two party
coalition, PASOK, as well as from the opposition.



Greek Television Station Banned From Airing Investigative Report
15 February 2014 AP

A Greek judge on Thursday banned a leading private TV station from airing an investigative report
into a deadly migrant boat accident, claiming it could compromise the secrecy of the ongoing
official investigation.

Judge Antigoni Stamoleka warned Mega TV of "severe legal sanctions" if it broadcasts the report
— or even continues to screen advertising spots for it — before her investigation is concluded.

Mega TV said the order was an unacceptable act of censorship, and insisted it would complete
and air the report as planned during next week's episode of the popular "Protagonists" show.

"It would be a sad state of affairs if journalists had to secure judges' permission to investigate a
story," said reporter Stavros Theodorakis, who presents "Protagonists."

The Jan. 20 sinking of a boat trying to smuggle immigrants into Greece from the nearby Turkish
coast left six dead and another six presumed drowned near Farmakonissi islet in the eastern
Aegean Sea.


Seaplanes on the horizon in Crete
12 February, 2014 Flashnews via
www.sfakia-crete-forum.com

Seaplanes are getting ready for their business, after posting the "Green Light" in the Circular of
the General Secretariat of Ports and Maritime Investment Policy, with the prescribed procedures
and conditions laid down for the licensing and transfer of licenses for seaplanes.

In Crete, the procedures in Rethymno, which came first to the 'game', have already begun, where
as we were informed by Mr. Minos Alefantinos, President of the Municipal Port Fund of Rethymno,
the file is ready for licensing in the next 10 days to be submitted to the Ministry.

In Heraklion, Mr. Giannis Brás told to Flashnews.gr, that while the dossier is getting ready, they
will examine some other procedural and technical issues and soon everything will be in the
process of filing the dossier to the Ministry for authorization.

"The Port Authority of Chania and the Port Committee have decided to proceed in the
development and operation of seaplanes in the Port of Souda and before the end of March the file
will be completed and submitted to the Ministry of Infrastructure for the licensing of seaplanes in
Souda", as Mr. Kostas Brokalakis told to us, while he assured us that they make every effort to
quickly complete the process.

As is apparent, in contrast to the above three Cretan Ports that are completing procedures to file
an authorization to the Ministry, Agios Nicholaos has not started yet.



Aegean reports first rise in domestic air traffic in four years
6 February 2014 ekathimerini
Aegean Airlines reported on Wednesday an increase in domestic traffic last month for the first
time in four years.

Along with its subsidiary Olympic Air, Aegean posted a remarkable 18 percent increase year-on-
year from its Athens hub, and a 41 percent rise from its hub in Thessaloniki.

This is attributed to Aegean’s new pricing policy since November that has led to impressive
growth in traffic to island destinations.

Total traffic for Aegean and Olympic’s domestic and international flights rose 12 percent last
month to 522,000 passenge


Efforts to render Cephalonia operational ahead of tourist season
5 February 2014 ekathimerini
Fifty-five percent of the 250 buildings checked for damage in the town of Lixouri following two
strong earthquakes on the island of Cephalonia need repair work, according to Stratos
Simopoulos, secretary general at the Ministry of Public Works.

Speaking on Skai television on Wednesday Simopoulos noted that the priority was to make the
island "operational" through repair work at the island's ports and road infrastructure.

Hundreds of people have been left homeless on the Ionian island following tremors measuring 5.8
and 5.7 on the Richter scale.

The island was expected to be declared “earthquake-hit” in the coming days, a prerequisite for
further financial support and repairs, which includes state funding to cover rent for families who
were forced to leaver their homes.

"Efforts are being made to solve problems before the tourist season begins,” said Simopoulos.



Greece paying a heavy price for corruption
3 February 2014 ekathimerini
Corruption costs Greece some 554 million euros every year, according to the first European
Commission report on the phenomenon that was published on Monday.

A remarkable 99 percent of Greek respondents said corruption constitutes a widespread problem
in the country, placing Greece top in the European Union chart (of perceived corruption) while the
European Union average is at 76 percent. Over three in every five Greeks (63 percent) believes
corruption affects their everyday lives against an EU average of 26 percent.

The report identifies five main fields where corruption is rife in Greece: They are the health sector,
the funding of political parties, the justice system, which delays the processing of corruption
cases, state contracts and the fragmentary handling of the phenomenon in Greece.

The report did find, however, that some important steps against corruption have been taken in
the last two years.



Greek Farmers Setting up Roadblocks
31 January 2014 Greek Reporter.com
Greek farmers are prepared to escalate their struggles starting Monday February 3.
'
Representatives of the farmers met with the Greek Minister of Rural Development and Food,
Athanasios Tsaftaris to discuss a series of matters and demands (taxation, production cost).

Tomorrow they will decide on setting up roadblocks everywhere, starting from Monday. The
farmers are pointing to the high taxation, the increase in the VAT rate and in the production cost,
as well as the low producer prices as the main reasons for their struggle.

Farmers in Chania, Crete have announced that they will blockade the tax office on Monday and
Tuesday, 3 & 4 Feb.



Kefalonia hit by many aftershocks
30 January 2014 ekathimerini
Aftershocks continued on Thursday on the Ionian island of Cephalonia, following Sunday’s 5.9-
Richter earthquake, but seismologists were reassuring, saying that the tremors were dwindling
and that a larger, more destructive quake was unlikely.

A total of 362 aftershocks had rattled the island by late last night, Thanassis Ganas, head of
research at the Institute of Geodynamics, told Kathimerini. He said the original quake jolted
adjacent fault lines, causing a large number of aftershocks but that there was no indication of a
larger looming tremor.

Checks by state engineers have suggested that around half of some 1,000 buildings damaged by
the quake are temporarily unsafe for use


Greece to show latest oil and gas seismic data to investors in Feb
29 January 2014 Reuters
Greece will soon invite international investors to look for oil and natural gas in its western and
southern waters, following the completion of seismic tests that have proved interesting, it said on
Wednesday.

The offshore tests in the Ionian Sea and south of Crete were carried out by Norwegian firm
Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) . The data has been transferred to the government and will be
made available to interested companies in February, the energy ministry said in a statement.

"A preliminary assessment of the data shows interesting geological structures bearing significant
similarities to areas in neighboring countries which already produce hydrocarbons (Albania,
Italy)," it said.

Greece imports almost all its oil and natural gas, spending about 5 percent a year of its GDP on
the purchases. It pays about 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion) a year alone on oil to produce electricity
for dozens of islands that are not connected to the national power grid.

When it hired Oslo-based PGS in 2012, Greece said it was planning to call a bidding round for
offshore oil and gas exploration in mid-2014. The licences would cover a maritime zone with a
width of between 100 and 400 km.


Coast guard chief apologizes in Parliament for Farmakonisi tragedy
29 January 2014 ekathimerini
Government and opposition politicians clashed in Parliament on Wednesday during a heated
debate that accompanied a briefing by coast guard officers on the circumstances surrounding an
incident in the Aegean last week that resulted in 12 immigrants being lost at sea.

The session culminated in the head of the coast guard, Vice Admiral Dimitris Bandias, apologizing
to the families of the migrants who drowned off the coast of Farmakonisi. “We apologize to the
families of the victims but to all Greeks too for the situation that we put them in,” he said. “We did
what we could.”

Officers who had been on the coast guard vessel which towed the migrants’ boat told a
parliamentary committee that the boat capsized when the passengers moved to one side.

Merchant Marine Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis told the House that coast guard officers have orders
to “guard the country’s sea borders and save the lives of those at risk at sea,” not to conduct
“violent pushbacks and behave inhumanely.”

In a related development, the Ombudsman called for an investigation into claims that coast guard
officers abused the migrants. The circumstances of the incident are being probed by prosecutors
following protests by human rights groups.

Farmers launch new round of nationwide protests
21 January 2014 ANA-MPA
Greek farmers on Tuesday launched a new round of protests, following a decision during a
meeting on Sunday in Larissa, central Greece, with the participation of farmers from several parts
of the country.

Farmers will move their tractors to the centre of their villages, while further protests – escalating
even to the blocking of highways at the end of month-- will depend on the participation rates.

Farmers have also decided to hold gatherings outside tax offices across the country and rally in
Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on February 1, during the Agrotica Trade Fair.

The farmers protest against taxation and demand the settlement of ‘bad loans’.



Police implicate five in illegal adoption racket case
21 January 2014 ekathimerini
Police are building a case against five people in connection with an illegal adoption racket
following the attempted sale of a 1-month-old Bulgarian infant to a Greek couple in the Cretan
port of Rethymno, Kathimerini understands.

According to police, the couple, a 58-year-old man and a 51-year-old woman, traveled to Athens
last week and paid 30,000 euros to buy the baby from its natural mother. A lawyer and a nurse,
both Greek, are believed to be members of the racket.



Coast guard looking for 12 passengers of capsized migrant boat
20 January 2014 ekathimerini
Greek coast guard officials were on Monday night still searching for 12 immigrants – nine women
and three children – who fell into the sea off the eastern Aegean island of Farmakonisi after their
vessel capsized.

According to authorities, the immigrant vessel was spotted 1.5 nautical miles from Farmakonisi by
a patrol boat that tried to tow it to the Dodecanese islet. The boat allegedly capsized after two
immigrants jumped into the sea for unknown reasons.

Coast guard officers were able to rescue 16 people who were later taken to the island of Leros.
The migrants are believed to be from Somalia and Syria.


Blogger convicted for page mocking Orthodox priest
16 January 2014 ekathimerini
A 27-year-old fish farm employee, who set up a satirical Facebook page mocking a deceased
Orthodox monk whose sayings have gained prominence in recent years, was given Thursday a 10-
month suspended sentence for
blasphemy by an Athens court.

Filippos Loizos, 27, and his lawyer expressed surprise and disappointment at the verdict. “It was
clear that from the start the court was not willing to take my argument on board,” said the
blogger, who insisted that he set up the page to satirize the sudden interest in the life of Elder
Paisios.

Loizos used the name Elder Pastitsios and edited photos of Paisios so a pastitsio – a Greek dish
consisting of pasta, bechamel and ground beef – appeared in place of his face.

“The judges were very aggressive and it seemed they did not want to understand what the page
was about,” added the blogger.

Loizos was arrested in 2012 after Golden Dawn MP Christos Pappas, who is now in custody on
suspicion of being part of a criminal gang, raised the issue regarding the Facebook page in
Parliament.



Amendment scrapping 25-euro hospital fee tabled in Parliament - fee to be passed on to
tobacco products
10 January 2014 ekathimerini
The government on Friday tabled an amendment abolishing a controversial 25-euro fee for public
hospitals. Under the same amendment the fee is instead passed on to tobacco product prices
which will go up by 5 cents.

The bill was included in a bill by the Agriculture Ministry.

The price hike is expected to generate some 40 million euros in revenues, in line with government
targets.


Nearly half of incomes below poverty line
7 January 2014 ekathimerini
Over 44 percent of the Greek population had an income below the poverty line in 2013 according
to estimates by the Public Policy Analysis Group of the Athens University of Economics and
Business (AUEB).

The poverty threshold is measured as 60 percent of the price-adjusted average income in 2009,
or up to 665 euros per person per month and up to 1,397 for a couple supporting two underage
children.

The AUEB researchers also found that last year 14 percent of Greeks earned below the adequate
living standards, compared with 2 percent of the population four years ago.

The group’s report, published last week, suggested that during the crisis instead of strengthening
support to the unemployed – which is one of the most efficient methods to rekindle demand – the
state was forced to reduce it.

It added that besides the austerity policies of the last few year, the inability of the state to
contain the collapse of social structures is due to the lack of targeted strategies and to the
inefficient use of resources, problems that dogged Greece even before the onset of the crisis.



Gay couples protest against Bishop Seraphim at Epiphany ceremony in Piraeus
6th January 2014 ekathimerini
Epiphany, a public holiday in Greece, was marked by a traditional religious ceremony at Piraeus,
where gay couples protested against the port city’s ultra-conservative bishop, Seraphim.

Accoridng to Efimerida ton Syntakton newspaper, several gay couples kissed as Seraphim
conducted the blessing of the waters, throwing a crucifix into the sea. They also handed out
leaflets reading: “Love is not a sin”.

Seraphim is known for his homophobic and anti-Semetic statements. He recently opposed plans
to extend legislation allowing unmarried couples to have their partnership legally recognized to
same-sex couples.

He said that any other relationship, barring that between a male and a female, “is a unnatural
aberration not even observed in animals.”

A ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in November condemned Greece for excluding
gays from civil partnerships. The court ruled that Greece had not offered “convincing and weighty
reasons” to justify excluding gays.



Health minister comes under fire over hospital charge
3 January 2014 ekathimerini
Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis came under a new barrage of criticism on Friday over the 25-
euro charge for those admitted to public hospitals. The barbs aimed at the conservative politician
also came from coalition partner PASOK and not just opposition parties.

Georgiadis hit back at criticism of the measures, arguing it is a small charge which is vital to
keeping state hospitals running properly. He called on his critics to come up with alternative ways
of raising the money needed. “What we are saying is that someone will be charged once every 10
years they need treatment so that hospitals can be able to buy medicines for the poor,” said
Georgiadis.

PASOK responded with an unusually strong-worded criticism of Georgiadis, calling on him to find
alternative sources of revenue from the economic plans Prime Minister Antonis Samaras had
unveiled at Zappeio Hall when he was in opposition. SYRIZA and Democratic Left also called for
the 25-euro charge to be scrapped.


One arrested, 15 sought over swindles against elderly victims
2  January 2014 ekathimerini
A 26-year-old woman was arrested on Thursday as police sought at least another 15 suspects in
connection to a string of reports by elderly people from different parts of Greece who said they
had been cheated out of money.

At the center of the investigation are 44 reports made at precincts in the Greek capital, on Crete,
Naxos and in Messinia, among other areas, suggesting that the gang has been at work since
2010 and has swindled over 130,000 euros out of elderly victims.

Members of the gang are believed to have posed as friends of close relatives of the elderly victims
in order to gain their trust and convince them to hand over cash in order to held the alleged
relatives.


Man aged 26 dies in New Year’s Eve motorcycle crash on Crete
1 January 2014 ekathimerini
A man died on New Year’s Eve after his motorcycle crashed in the Souda district of Hania, Crete.

The name of the victim, who was 26 years old, has not been made public.

The crash is still under investigation.






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