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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The fire was extinguished before it could destroy the aircraft and
the pilot was transferred to a military hospital for preventive reasons.
An investigation was ordered to determine the cause of the blaze..
Greek ferries tied up in port at start of 48 hour strike
2nd December 2016 via Apokoronas news

AP — Ferries will remain docked in ports across Greece on Friday 2nd
and Saturday 3rd December as seamen stage a 48-hour strike in protest
at the latest round of cuts to pensions and threat to jobs, leaving many
of the country’s islands cut off from the mainland and from each other.
The union representing Greek seamen, PNO, has warned of an escalation
of action if the  government does not address its concerns regarding
proposed changes to new tax regulations relating to workers in the sector,
setting income tax at 45 percent in addition to an existing 10 percent
special tax.

The seamen’s union has planned another  24-hour strike for Thursday, December 8,
Refugee camp evacuated due to adverse weather conditions
01 December 2016 To Vima

The heavy snowfall of the past few days has made living conditions
in the camp unbearable.
About 240 refugees, including 80 children, were evacuated from the
hospitality center at Petra, near Olympos in Pieria on Wednesday
evening, due to the adverse weather conditions.

According to municipal councilor Nikos Papaziogas, most of the
refugees have been transferred to another center in the area of Volvi
near  Thessaloniki. About 65 were temporarily taken to a hotel at
Paralia near Katerini, before also being transferred to Volvi.
Greek banks propose tax on cash withdrawal
30th November 2016

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

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

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

Interbank electronic transactions also cost between 3 and 6 euro  regardless of amount, so that if these proposals
are adopted,  the consumer is going to lose out whether he uses cash  or not.
Petra camp Greece 2016
Lenders not officially aware of social measures announced by Tsipras
9th December 2016 ekathimerini

The European Commission was not aware of announcements made by Greek PM Alexis Tsipras on Thursday
regarding a package of social measures benefiting low-income pensioners. The measures were announced by
Tsipras in a televised address to the nation.

It was not known on Friday whether representatives of the country’s lenders in Athens had been informed of the
decision. However, sources in Athens said that the possibility of extra measures for low-income pensioners had
been discussed on a technical level between Greek and European officials a few weeks ago.

Speaking to Kathimerini, a European official said the IMF usually opposed such moves. While Greece remained
within its targets and the extra provisions would be funded through the surplus, the state had still to pay off a series
of expired debts to third parties.

On Thursday, Tsipras announced the release of 617 million euros to low-income pensioners.
Greek parliament approves one billion euro new taxes for 2017
12th December 2016 via Cretepost

DW — Greek parliament passed next year’s budget on Saturday evening, giving Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras hope
his country will take bigger strides out of its financial crisis in 2017.

The budget called for of approximately one billion euros of
new taxes on cars, telephone services, television, fuel,
tobacco, coffee and beer.
Public spending on salaries and pensions will be cut by 5.7 billion euros.

The country is also eyeing 2.7 percent economic growth next year, having achieved a higher than predicted
primary surplus in 2016.

The budget was approved by 152 of the 298 present lawmakers after a five day debate. The budget was backed by
the ruling coalition from the left, and opposed by all other parties.

Tsipras announced in a surprising move Thursday there would be a tax break for Greek islands sheltering
thousands of migrants. “Europe owes a debt to (these islanders), the Greek state owes them its support,” said Tsipras.

Greece has been at the forefront of the migrant crisis, with thousands of migrants landing in Greece hoping to seek
asylum in Europe. Tens of thousands are waiting to be processed in Greece in order to continue on into Europe.
Two suicides within days in Apokoronas, Chania
11th December 2016 via &

A tragic end for a 35 year old man from the village of Tzitzifes, Apokoronas. Shortly before 3 p.m. on Thursday
afternoon, he committed suicide. According to information, he shot himself with a shotgun.

On Sunday afternoon a 47 year old man was found hanged in a field in the village of  Kalives near his home. Police
officers are trying to find the exact causes that led the 47 year old man to commit suicide. The hanging has
shocked the local community, while the man's wife is pregnant. No suicide note was found.
Ministry warns against use of wood fires
2nd  January 2017  ekathimerini
The Environment Ministry on Monday issued a warning
against the use of fireplaces and wood-burning stoves
amid concerns of a build-up of toxic smog, especially in cities.

The ministry said that prevailing conditions on Monday and
Tuesday of low winds and rising temperatures are conducive
to the accumulation of particulates in the atmosphere that cause
“We warmly urge citizens to respond positively to this
recommendation,” the ministry said, adding that it is monitoring
conditions on a 24-hour basis.
Since the start of the crisis, more and more cash-strapped Greeks are relying on fireplaces and wood stoves for
Major problems on Crete due to snowstorms
30th December 2016 via
According to an official Press Release by the Greek Police,
the following parts of roads are closed in Chania due to

From Chania to Omalos (from the village of Lakki to Omalos)
From Vrisses to Sfakia (from the plateau of Askifou to Sfakia)
From Sembronas to Petra Seli
From Agia Irini to Petra Seli
From Krapi to Imbros

Also, cars need to use non-skid-chains in:
Viannos, Heraklion
Mylopotamos, Rethymno
Oropedio, Lassithi
and all mountainous areas of Chania Prefecture.
Greek Police sends team to Rio to be briefed over envoy’s murder
1st January 2017 ekathimerini

The Greek Police (ELAS) on Monday confirmed that it has sent a team to Brazil to be briefed by authorities there on
the progress of an investigation into the murder of Greek Ambassador Kyriakos Amiridis.

The two homicide investigators and the head of Europol’s Greece desk traveled to Rio de Janeiro on New Year’s Eve
to meet with the officers heading the investigation into the killing of the Greek envoy. They will then draft their
own report, which will be submitted to judicial authorities in Greece.

Brazilian authorities on Sunday said they have arrested Amiridis’s Brazilian wife, Francoise, aged 40, and a 29-
year-old police officer who is said to have been the woman’s lover and is suspected of murdering the envoy on her
behalf. They also said that both suspects have confessed to the crime after initially denying any involvement.
Athens responds to Ankara's claims over sea border
21st December 2016 ekathimerini
Greece has written to the United Nations to complain about and challenge a letter from Turkey’s Permanent
Mission that questions Greek sovereign rights in the Eastern Mediterranean.

In the Greek missive, sent by the country’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Aikaterini Boura,
Athens accuses Ankara of trying to impede Greece from agreeing a maritime delimitation with other states. The
official challenged the Turkish claim that the Greek islands in the maritime area in question are not entitled to
their own continental shelf and exclusive economic zones. This runs counter to the international law of the sea,
Greece argues.

The letter argues that Turkish challenges to the delimitation of the continental shelf in the Eastern Mediterranean
are unfounded and an attempt to interfere with Greece’s right to move ahead with agreements with other countries.
Boura’s letter was sent on December 8 but only made public now.
Crete in the Snow
8th January 2017

Many areas of Crete, including towns
and beaches, were covered with snow
on Sunday 8th January 2017 as
temperatures dropped and a cold front swept
cross Greece.

See more photos on the blog at
Chania Harbour
Minoan Lines exit the Adriatic Sea service after 35 years
January 2017
Minoan Lines, the Crete-based ferry company, has entered 2017 without the two largest vessels in its operation
after their charters from parent Grimaldi Group were allowed to expire at the start of January.Napoli-based
Emanuele Grimaldi-led ferry owner redelivered two ships serving the Greece-Italy route to its sister company
Grimaldi Euromed and Minoan announced the change, which leaves it without a vessel in the cross-Adriatic and
with more focus on Greek market where it is operating the Piraeus-Iraklio routes with the Knossos Palace and
Festos Palace.
At the same time, Grimaldi Group has revealed that it has enhanced its Greece-Italy link service by including
Venice after January across the Ancona-Igoumenitsa-Patras line, until now carried out daily by Cruise Europa and
Cruise Olympia.In an official announcement to the Athens Stock Exchange, Minoan Lines noted that it will stop
covering the Patras-Ancona route after 35 years as charter of Cruise Europa (photo) and Cruise Olympia have
ended, essentially being deprived of an estimated 104 million euros from its Adriatic income, which will now be
running under Euromed’s umbrella.
Foreign plates carry risk of high fines
3th January 2017  ekathimerini
There has been a significant increase in the number of vehicles with foreign plates in Greece, as their owners are
able to avoid paying this country’s high road tax and fines.

In response to a parliamentary question, Deputy Finance Minister Katerina Papanatsiou said that the temporary
circulation of vehicles in Greece with foreign plates is legal provided certain conditions are fulfilled, such as being
in Greece for no more than six months of the year and that their owner’s main residence is outside Greece.

If owners of cars with plates from other European Union states do not meet these requirements, they face fines of
between 2,500 and 10,000 euros, while in the case of vehicles with plates from third countries, the owners may be
charged with smuggling and face a fine three times the cost of vehicle registration and tax payments in Greece.
Their vehicles will also
be confiscated.
Greek finance ministry takes first steps towards a cashless economy
5th January 2017
A Greek government plan to push citizens into online banking to cut down on VAT avoidance is reportedly
causing concerns among Greek taxpayers

Many are waiting in bank lines across the country to apply for e-banking accounts, debit cards and other kinds of
cashless money in order to get their entitlement to the tax-free threshold.

The government says the measures are to try and recoup an estimated €6.5 billion in lost revenue caused by
people paying for services cash-in-hand — thereby avoiding VAT.

Greek lawmakers have approved the plans but the measures have not yet come into force.

The draft law tabled last month says a person with an annual income up to €10,000 will have to spend 10 percent
of their annual revenues through electronic transactions, where VAT is unavoidable.

This means that a citizen with an annual income of €5,000 will have to spend at least €500 via cards or e-banking.
For annual incomes up to €30,000 this minimum spend rises to 15 percent and jumps to 20 percent for incomes
over €30,000.

In its latest directive the finance ministry has included utility, transport and supermarket bills in the list of
expenditure that qualifies for building up the tax free threshold but excluded rents and the purchase of motor