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|Living in Crete
Crete & Greece
September to December 2012
|Road tax payment goes online
15 November 2012 ekathimerini
Greek vehicle owners will as of Friday be able to pay their road tax online.
Owners will be able to print their 2013 road tax form using the online TAXISnet system, then use this to pay at banks,
post offices or tax offices. Alternatively, they can pay online via web banking.
They have to do so by the end of December.
Authorities will no longer issue road tax stickers. Instead, all data will be logged electronically.
The move is estimated to save some 80 million euros per year.
Crete crime ring faces prosecutor
15 November 2012 ekathimerini
A prosecutor in Lasithi, Crete, on Thursday brought a series of criminal and misdemeanor charges against 17 suspected
members of a massive ring trading in drugs and arms, including three police officers, one of whom is said to be high-
ranking and is accused of providing information to the gang.
PPC disconnecting 30,000 customers every month
15 November 2012 ekathimerini
The Public Power Corporation is cutting the electricity supply to 30,000 homes and businesses each month due to
unpaid bills, the firm’s managing director, Arthouros Zervos, has admitted.
The information came to light by chance when Zervos responded to a question by Democratic Left MP Vassilis Economou,
who had been asking about the apparently high number of homes in the Thriasio Plain, west of Athens, losing access to
the power grid.
Zervos responded by informing Economou that only about 280 homes and businesses in the industrial area are being
disconnected each month, compared to 30,000 nationwide.
Greece to get more time but no immediate aid on Monday
12 November 2012 Reuters
Euro zone governments will not agree to disburse more money to debt-ravaged Greece on Monday, despite the country
approving a tough 2013 budget, because there is not yet a consensus on how to make its debts sustainable into the
Finance ministers gathered in Brussels should, however, give Athens two more years to make the budget deficit cuts
demanded of it, a concession that will require funding of around 32 billion euros, according to a draft document
prepared for the meeting.
Loans have been held up since Athens, which has received two bailout packages from the euro zone and IMF, went off-
track with promised reforms and budget cuts, partly as a result of holding two elections in the space of three months
earlier this year. Read More
9 November 2012 Athens News
A Norwegian research vessel scheduled to conduct hydrocarbon exploration in the Ionian Sea and around the island of
Crete will arrive at the port of Patras on Sunday, former deputy energy minister and current Pasok Parliamentary
secretary Yannis Maniatis said on Friday. The government has launched a tender of oil and gas exploration in the Ionian
and southern Crete, with tests and results to be announced by the Norwegian company Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS).
The state expects to benefit by around 12-13 million euros from the sale of data to oil exploration firms
One in Four Unemployed
8 November 2012 Athens News
The unemployment rate crossed the 25 percent threshold in August, to reach 25.4 percent, according to the Hellenic
Statistical Authority (Elstat). This represents a 0.6pt jump on the previous month and a full seven point increase on the
same month last year, Elstat said, in its Labour Force Survey for August. Young people are hardest hit, with 58 percent
of those under the age of 25 registered as without work, up from 45 percent a year ago. Unemployment remains higher
among women (29 percent) than men (22.7 percent). In real terms, the data translates into a total of 1,267,595
persons without work, an increase of 36,597 people in one month alone.
Next week may be too early for Greece decision, Schaeuble says
8 November 2012 Reuters
Next week may be too early for Greece decision, Schaeuble says Next week may still be too early to make a decision on
granting further aid to Greece, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Thursday.
“We are not out of the woods with Greece yet,” Schaeuble told an economics forum in the northern port of Hamburg.
“At the moment I do not see how we can come to a decision on Greece and with Greece at the end of next week, it
would be too early,” he said.
Wet and wintry conditions Thursday
7 November 2012 ekathimerini
The unseasonably good weather of the past few weeks is set to deteriorate radically from Thursday with heavy rain,
thunderstorms, strong winds and a sharp drop in temperatures forecast for many parts of the country and even a
chance of snow in mountainous parts.
The change in weather started on Wednesday night in northern Greece, with rain in parts of the capital, and spread
southward with the islands of the Aegean set to be affected on Thursday.
Crete police intercept package containing 250 bullets
7 November 2012 ekathimerini
Police on Crete on Wednesday were examining a package containing 250 bullets that was intercepted by officers at
Iraklio International Airport.
The package, which had been destined for an address in Ileia, in the Peloponnese, had been sent by an individual who
described the contents of the package as spare parts for cars. Police were seeking the sender.
Police, coast guard, reply to claims of tourist assaults
6 November 2012 ekathimerini
Police and coast guard authorities on Tuesday issued explanatory statements regarding alleged assaults of three
foreign nationals in Greece.
The coast guard denied reports according to which a 29-year-old New Zealander was beaten by officers in the Cretan
port of Hania on October 21. A statement said that the 29-year-old was briefly detained after being involved in a brawl
with patrons at a local bar but was released after the intervention of the New Zealand consul general.
Coast guard sources said the man, identified as Joel Stirling, had bruises before he was detained that appeared to have
been sustained during the brawl. Stirling was quoted in the New Zealand Herald as saying that he was punched and
beaten with batons while in detention.
Meanwhile Greek police said that two officers shown to be kicking and beating an immigrant in a video aired by the BBC
and CNN had been punished, one with a fine and the other with suspension.
In a related development, Korean authorities have said that they will lodge an official complaint with Greece after a
Korean tourist was allegedly assaulted by Greek plain-clothes officers in mid-October while sightseeing in Athens.
There were no details about the exact circumstances of the alleged assault but the tourist claimed to have been
attacked after officers asked him to show his ID.
48hr General Strike Tuesday 6 and Wednesday 7 November 2012
apergia.gr, livingingreece.gr, ekathimerini[
Public and private sector unions (ADEDY & GSEE) strike 48hours from Tuesday 6 November, plus PNO seafarers union
join the strike so there will be no ferry sailings from midnight Monday until midnight Wednesday.
The strike will affect:
- Banks, post offices, OTE & tax offices.
- Hospitals to take emergency cases only.
- Sites and museums may close
- Teachers will join strike (voluntary)
- shops and businesses may close (voluntary)
- Taxi drivers to start rolling 24hr strikes from Tuesday 6th November (no news on local Crete taxi drivers yet).
Air traffic controllers will strike Tuesday 6th November between 10.00hrs and 13.00hrs.
The strikes come ahead of Wednesday's government vote on new austerity measures.
Acquitted Greek journalist says press muzzled by elite
2 November 2012 Reuters
The Greek journalist put on trial for publishing a list of Swiss bank account holders accused Greece's political and
business elite on Friday of trying to muzzle the press to cover up chronic corruption.
Costas Vaxevanis was acquitted on Thursday of charges of violating personal privacy laws after he published the list of
2,059 names of prominent Greeks including several politicians, shipping magnates, doctors, lawyers, and housewives.
"The main problem in Greece is the people who govern it. It is a closed group, an elite, one part of which is composed of
people from all the parties and the second connected directly or indirectly to business people," he told Reuters in an
He said politicians had first tried to hide the list, and then once he was arrested, Greek media ignored his case even as
foreign media broadcast it around the world as an example of Greece's lack of progress in solving its crisis.
"The list went out. They arrested me. They tried me, and there was nothing on the TV channels," he said. "It is a huge
issue for freedom of press and the Greek channels didn't show anything."
Journalist due in court over Lagarde-list of Greeks
28 October 2012 ekathimerini
The investigative journalist Costas Vaxevanis was arrested on Sunday and then quickly released after his magazine Hot
Doc published on Saturday a list of more than 2,000 names that it claimed was the infamous «Lagarde list» of Greeks
with Swiss bank accounts given to Greece by French authorities in 2010 to be probed for tax evasion.
The journalist is to appear in court at noon on Monday when the date of his trial, on charges of violating laws relating to
the privacy of personal data, is to be set.
Vaxevanis, who was arrested on charges of violation of privacy, made several postings on his Twitter account before
being taken in. «They're entering my house with a prosecutor now, they're arresting me. Spread the word.» He
described the police surrounding the house of a friend where he was arrested, as «fascist militia."
In an interview uploaded onto the Internet before his arrest, following the announcement that a warrant had been put
out, he said he was being unfairly targeted. “Instead of arresting the tax evaders and the ministers who had the list in
their hands, they are trying to arrest the truth and freedom of the press,” he said.
Greek authorities did not confirm that the list printed on Saturday in Hot Doc was indeed the list of names given to
former Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou by Christine Lagarde in the fall of 2010 when she was France’s
Neither Papaconstantinou nor his successor Evangelos Venizelos, who forwarded the list to authorities earlier this
month, have indicated that the list included the names of politicians.
But the Hot Doc list of 2,059 names includes at least three politicians, including two conservative former ministers, one
of whom is deceased, and a current adviser to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.
Former minister Giorgos Voulgarakis dismissed his inclusion on the list as “disinformation” and “mudslinging” and
declared via his Twitter account, “Neither my wife nor I have any offshore companies or foreign bank accounts.”
Iraklio: One of the world's digitally smartest cities
25 October 2012 ekathimerini
The city of Iraklio, on the island of Crete, has been named one of Smart21 Communities of the Year by the Intelligent
Community Forum (ICF), which is based in New York.
This year’s ICF evaluation focused on the themes of innovation and employment.
A second stage in the organization’s evaluation will determine the top seven digital cities by January, while the world’s
digitally smartest city will be selected by next June.
The Cretan city was one of the ICF’s 21 finalists last year as well.
Greece bans Novartis influenza vaccines
25 October 2012 ekathimerini
Influenza vaccines produced by Swiss pharmaceuticals manufacturer Novartis are not to be sold in Greece until further
notice, it was announced on Thursday.
The ban, which follows a similar move in Italy, applied to the drugs Agrippal, Fluad and Influpozzi.
According to reports, the Italian Pharmaceutical Agency ordered the ban following indications of possible side effects
and ordered further tests on the drugs.
Drug ring busted on Crete
24 October 2012 ekathimerini
Police on Crete on Wednesday arrested seven men and one woman in connection to a drug ring whose illegal
operations are believed to stretch beyond the island, including in Athens.
During a search, police officers seized just under 400 grams of heroin and 89.5 grams of unprocessed cannabis.
Another suspect is still being sought.
Watchdog against sale of goods that have expired
23 October 2012 ekathimerini
The Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) declared its opposition on Tuesday to a new regulation that would allow
supermarkets to sell products that had been kept beyond their sell-by date. EFET chief Yiannis Michas said it would
damage people’s dignity and would make Greece a dumping ground for illegal goods.
“The [Agriculture] Ministry must suspend the implementation of this directive, which does not serve consumers or
business,” said Michas.
Leftist veteran: Golden Dawn 'insult to democracy'
23 October 2012 ekathimerini
Leftist veteran and main opposition SYRIZA MP Manolis Glezos on Tuesday condemned the ultra-rightwing Golden Dawn,
describing their presence in Greece's Parliament as «an insult to Greek democracy."
The entrance to Parliament earlier this year of Golden Dawn, which holds of 18 of the seats in the 300-seat Parliament,
is «one of the darkest pages in the history of Greek democracy,» Glezos said.
The 89-year-old wartime resistance veteran, best known for removing a flag bearing a swastika from the Acropolis in
1941, said Golden Dawn was not purely a fascist or Nazi group «but a party that essentially violates the good of the
nation and with characteristics of a criminal organization which does not hesitate to plot crudely, exploiting the instincts
of a society that is collapsing."
Racist attacks in Greece hit "alarming" levels: UNHCR
23 October 2012 Reuters
Racially motivated attacks have risen to alarming levels in Greece and authorities are doing little to tackle the problem,
the U.N. refugee agency said in a report on Tuesday.
Greece is a major gateway for mostly Asian and African migrants trying to enter the European Union and immigrants
face growing hostility as the debt-laden country goes through its worst economic downturn in six decades.
The agency said 87 racist attacks were recorded by rights and migrant groups between January and September this
year, calling the results "exceptionally alarming". Actual numbers were likely to be far higher since victims were either
too scared to report attacks to the police or turned away, it said. Read the full article
Pharmacists warn stocks at ‘unprecedentedly’ low level
22 October 2012 ekathimerini
The Panhellenic Pharmacists’ Association on Monday warned of “unprecedented” shortages in medicines on the Greek
market including crucial drugs for cancer sufferers, diabetics and those with heart and thyroid problems.
The level of shortages constituted “a record in the history of the Greek market,” the association said in a statement
before calling for a swift resolution to “the closed-door talks between Health Ministry officials and drug manufacturers.”
Ferries and flights to be affected by General Strike Thursday
17 October 2012 ekathimerini
Passenger ferries will not be running on Thursday 18 October after the Panhellenic Seamen’s Union (PNO) decided on
Tuesday to join the 24 hour general strike organized by public and private sector unions..
Flights will also be disrupted as air-traffic controllers will hold a work stoppage from 10 a.m. to 1.p.m.
Public and private sector workers, ADEDY and GSEE, will strike 24 hours closing government offices, banks,
archaeological sites and museums. In an unusual step, shop owners and kiosk owners have also decided to join
Thursday’s strike. Taxi drivers will walk off the job between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
In Athens public transport will also be disrupted on Thursday. Trolley buses in Athens will not be in circulation at all,
while the metro and the Kifissia-Piraeus electric railway (ISAP) will not be running before 9 a.m. Buses will be in
operation between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m..
Heating oil retailers and government lock horns
16 October 2012 Athens News
A meeting between gas station owners and Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Monday failed to result in a deal after
gas station owners claimed that they could not sell home heating oil at the new price of 1.35 euros/litre.
The station owners refused to sell oil at that price and are asking to meet with the highest government officials. Leaving
the meeting, they announced “we are not buying heating oil and we are not selling heating oil.”
It was last Friday that the parliament approved a special consumption tax on heating oil, which will be in effect the
following Monday, for 330 euros per kilolitre. The tax on heating oil will equal the tax on fuel, in efforts to increase state
Due to the 35% increase in heating oil prices from last year, many families are turning to alternative heating methods,
such as wood or wood pellets, A/C units, and natural gas. Demand for wood has increased 100% since last year.
It is estimated that heating oil sales will decrease 50%, and 2000 gas stations, particularly those in rural areas, are at
risk of closing.
Trial of Briton accused of murdering girlfriend starts in Crete
16 October 2012 ekathimerini
The trial of a British man accused of beating his girlfriend to death in Crete in May 2010 began at a criminal court in
Iraklio on Tuesday, but was due to be postponed as judicial officials go on strike on Wednesday.
Chelsea Hyndman, from West Yorkshire in the UK, aged 20, died in a Crete hospital in May 2010 after undergoing
extensive surgery for abdominal injuries, which local investigators believed to have been inflicted by her boyfriend, Luke
Walker, 24, from the West Midlands.
The couple were living on the island at the time and working as bar staff in the popular resort town of Malia.
Hyndman has insisted that he is innocent of the murder charge brought against him ever since his arrest, claiming that
Hyndman suffered her injuries during a fall after a night out in Malia.
The British man was held in remanded custody for five months and is currently on bail with orders not to leave the island.
Key testimony in the proceeding is expected to come from medical examiners who conducted two postmortems on the
The first part of the trial was originally scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, though the judicial strike will mean a
postponement. No date has been set for the resumption of the hearing.
Greek inflation smallest in eurozone
16 October 2012 ekathimerini
Eurostat figures for September confirmed on Tuesday that Greece had the lowest inflation in the eurozone, at just 0.3
percent, while the average in the euro area was 2.6 percent and in the 27-member European Union, 2.7 percent.
Despite the general decline in the prices of products and services, they are still at relatively high levels in comparison
with disposable incomes, which have shrunk dramatically.
It is no coincidence that Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras insists that there is no need for further intervention in the
labor market, but rather in the product and service sectors.
Analysts say that prices remain high because various enterprises are refusing to cut charges and there are barriers to
the free transport of goods.
12 October 2012 Athens News
The finance ministry on Friday announced plans to close 127 local tax offices by the end of the year as part of a
restructuring effort designed to improve inspection and revenue collection mechanisms and restrict tax evasion. The tax
offices that are closed will become part of the 114 tax offices that remain throughout the country. The total gain to the
public sector in 2013-2014 from the move is calculated to reach 15 million euro. Apart from generating savings, the
mergers are also expected to increase efficiency by increasing the staff available at the tax offices that remain.
Greece's biggest company flees, bottler CCH to Switzerland
11 October 2012 Reuters
Greece's biggest company, Coca Cola Hellenic (CCH) is leaving the country, the drinks bottler said on Thursday as its
move to Switzerland and a London listing for its shares dealt a blow to the crippled Greek economy.
The immediate material impact on Greece is limited - its Greek plants stay open and CCH said the small portion of its
activity that the world's second-ranked Coke bottler has in Greece will be unaffected. But analysts quickly saw it as bad
news for a nation struggling to compete inside the euro zone.
CCH, which has said it fears the Greek crisis could disrupt its multinational business, said in a bourse filing in Athens that
shareholders, most of whom are abroad, will exchange their stock for shares in Coca Cola HBC AG, based in Switzerland
and effectively shorn of the Greek tag "Hellenic".
That stock will be primarily quoted on London's LSE.
Airport tenders in the pipeline
5 October 2012 ekathimerini
It appears that investors will be invited to submit expressions of interest for the operation of Greek regional airports by
the end of the year, as sources from the ministries of Development and Infrastructure and the state privatization fund
(TAIPED) said on Thursday that the tender for the concession of between 13 and 22 airports will be announced before
the end of 2012.
The government intends to concede to private investors the airports that enjoy traffic in excess of 250,000 passengers
per year, thus constituting an investment opportunity, while it is possible that there may also be some interest in
terminals with traffic between 75,000 and 250,000 passengers per year. For this reason, the number of airports for
concession will depend on the level of investor interest expressed.
Airports will remain state property, Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis clarified, and the government will retain a
Farmers protest in Crete, shipyard workers protest in Athens
5 October 2012 AP
Hundreds of farmers on Crete, taking part in an anti-austerity protest on Thursday, tried to invade the terminal and the
runway of Iraklio airport. Police kept them off with tear gas, and one man was detained for trying to drive his tractor
onto the runway.
Airport authorities said flights were not affected by the protest.
In Athens on Thursday, more than 100 shipyard workers forced open the shuttered entrance to the Defense Ministry
complex, crossing the courtyard and blocking the entrance to the general staff building. Riot police were called in to
force back the demonstrators, who were demanding to meet with ministry officials.
Greece's top military officer, Gen. Michalis Kostarakos, was heckled by the shipyard workers when he came out to speak
to them by using their portable loudspeaker. "First get off my base," Kostarakos told the protesters, arguing that the
military had no part in the workers' dispute with the government.
Police said 106 people were detained for questioning, prompting another protest gathering outside police
headquarters. Riot police used pepper spray to prevent a group of protesters from barging into the building.
Workers from the Skaramangas Shipyards, which deals mainly with military contacts, say they have not been paid in
Former Pasok minister found hanged
4 October 2012 Athens News
Leonidas Tzanis, a former Pasok deputy interior minister in Costas Simitis' government, took his own life at his home in
Volos, Mega TV has announced.
Tzanis was found hanged by his wife, a Mega reporter said.
The former Pasok MP was named last week as one of the 36 politicians under investigation by the Financial and
Economic Crime Unit (SDOE) for financial irregularities and suspicious acquisition of wealth.
According to the list, the SDOE in Thessaloniki launched an investigation into his accounts on 31 May 2012.
First elected in 1993, he served as MP until 2007 and was deputy interior minister from February 1999 to October 2001.
4 October 2012 Athens News
A study presented to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in June estimates that Greece has about 460bn euros' ($600bn)
worth of offshore natural gas reserves, Reuters reported on Wednesday. The study points to strategically significant
reserves in Greek waters south of Crete, enough to cover over six years of EU gas demand.
3 October 2012 Athens News
A flash drive containing the names of 2,000 Greek citizens reportedly with large bank accounts in Swiss banks was
delivered to financial crimes prosecutor Grigoris Peponis on Tuesday. After a commotion on Tuesday over where the
data was – former French finance minister presented it to her counterpart Yiorgos Papakonstantinou in December 2010
– Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos said he had a copy, which he sent to the prime minister's office, who then
forwarded it to the Financial and Economic Crime Unit (SDOE) general secretary Stelios Stasinopoulos.
Greeks hand their kids over to tax man in protest
3rd October 2012 ekathimerini
Dozens of angry Greek parents handed over their children to bewildered officials on Wednesday in a symbolic protest
against the abolition of tax breaks for large families as part of cuts demanded by foreign lenders.
"Here you go, you can raise them,» Nikolaos Smoloktos, head of the group representing Greeks with three or more
children in the town of Drama, northern Greece, told the tax director.
The parents held banners reading «Stop killing our families» in one hand and strollers in the other as they walked
straight into the director's office and pushed their children towards him to make their protest.
G reece's cash-strapped government has pledged austerity measures worth about 12 billion euros for 2013 and 2014
to try to secure more aid from the European Union and International Monetary Fund to keep it afloat.
But the conservative-led coalition has come under growing pressure from Greeks, who have begun a series of protests
and strikes against the latest round of cutbacks.
"We are used to making sacrifices but this is too much,» Smoloktos, a father of four, told Reuters by telephone after the
protesters left, taking their children with them.
"We just hope they'll change their mind and vote against these horrible measures."
Generic drug drive ups the cost of medicines for patients
1st October 2012 ekathimerini
A measure requiring insured patients to pay the difference in price between brand-name drugs and their cheaper
generic alternatives if buying the former went into effect on Monday, catching thousands unaware.
Part of the Health Ministry’s cost-cutting drive, the measure was scheduled for implementation earlier. Still, pharmacists
said they had not been adequately briefed about its going into full effect on Monday, when thousands of patients,
mainly those insured with the National Organization for Healthcare Provision (EOPYY), learned that they had to pay as
much as 100 euros more for their medication.
“Coverage by EOPYY for generic drugs only is a measure that will save the organization up to 150 million euros a year
without affecting the quality of patient care,” Alternate Health Minister Marios Salmas said.
Pharmacists also pointed out that the new system ignores special categories such as patients with cancer, depression
or kidney disease, whose drugs were free.
Greeks strike against wage, benefit cuts
26 September 2012 Bloomberg
Police fired tear gas near the Greek Parliament on Wednesday after protesters threw firebombs as thousands of people
joined a strike opposing wage cuts and austerity that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said are vital to keep the euro.
Demonstrators streamed into the central Syntagma Square in Athens, opposite the Parliament House, shouting slogans
such as "struggle, clash, overturn: history gets written by those who disobey." A police spokesman estimated the crowd
at 35,000 people.
Schools, hospitals, ferries and government services shut down in the first walkout since February. Shops were
scheduled to close from 3 p.m. to let staff take part in demonstrations. Public transportation was set to operate until 9 p.
m. to allow protesters to attend rallies in Athens city center. A three-hour walkout by air traffic controllers disrupted
flights around the country.
The shutdowns, called to protest the cuts to benefits, wages and pensions that will form the bulk of a $14.8 billion
austerity package, come as speculation swirls anew about Greece's finances. International Monetary Fund Managing
Director Christine Lagarde said Monday that the financing gap won't be solved by the savings because a weak economy
and delayed asset-sales worsened Greece's finances.
Teen dies in Crete shootout
23 September 2012 ekathimerini
A 17-year old teenager died and another two men, aged 22 and 29 years old, were seriously injured during an
exchange of gunfire in the village of Rotasi in Iraklio, Crete, on Saturday.
Police investigating the incident described it as a “vendetta killing,” saying it was sparked by a land dispute. A fourth
person, also aged 17, was admitted to hospital with bruises.
Cyprus Airways expands Greek routes
22 September 2012 ekathimerini
Cyprus Airways has announced its expansion in the Greek domestic market as of October 28 beyond the main Athens-
Thessaloniki service that it says has been very successful.
The new routes it will serve as of late next month are Athens-to-Iraklio twice per day, Athens-to-Rhodes once per day,
Thessaloniki-to-Iraklio once per day and Thessaloniki-to-Rhodes three times per day.
It is also adding a third daily flight to the Athens-to-Thessaloniki service and a fourth to the Iraklio-to-Rhodes service,
the Cypriot carrier said in a statement earlier this week.
Aegean and Olympic brace for turbulent times ahead
21 September 2012 Ekathimerini
Following negative forecasts for the winter season, Greece’s two main carriers, Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air, are
seeking ways to ensure their survival as they attempt to navigate through a particularly tough period.
Losses are soaring, operating costs are growing further due to the increase in the price of fuel, and the uncertainty
regarding the domestic political and financial landscape represents a clear threat for the two rivals that are trying to
regain lost altitude.
Upon announcing the company’s financial results for the first half of the year, Aegean’s Chief Executive Officer Dimitris
Geroyiannis spoke of the firm’s need to move ahead with “further significant adjustments, [increasing] flexibility and
[developing the company’s] extrovert character,” suggesting that major changes are coming to its flight schedule.
It is not out of the question that the two airlines may cut more flights, as a number of them are loss-making. The most
likely scenario is that they will follow the international trend of reducing the frequency of certain services. Olympic and
Aegean are already in the midst of an offers war, constantly reducing ticket prices in an effort to bolster passenger
traffic and turnover.
Aegean posted losses of 38.52 million euros in the first half of 2012, almost twice as much as those incurred in the same
period last year (19.8 million). Aegean’s sales went down by 26 million euros in the same period compared with a year
earlier, while Olympic’s were reduced by 16.4 million euros year-on-year. Aegean’s strong point is its cash reserves,
which amounted to 181 million euros at end-June.
Greek police investigate 32 politicians for corruption
21 September 2012 Reuters via Phantis
Greek police suspect 32 politicians of having acquired ill-gotten wealth, the finance ministry said on Thursday, adding
fuel to popular frustration with the country's rulers as they discuss a new round of austerity with international lenders.
Financial crimes squad SDOE is investigating acting and former politicians, mayors and public servants, finance minister
Yannis Stournaras said in a written response to a lawmaker's query in parliament.
"Thirty-two individuals in politics are currently being investigated," Stournaras said, adding SDOE was checking if their
assets were in line with their declared income.
He did not reveal any names.
Under popular pressure to justify harsh austerity cuts taken as part of Greece's international bailout, authorities are
anxious to show they are also cracking down on endemic corruption and tax evasion.
Fire at Malaxa, Chania
21 September 2012 NeaTV
No sooner had the fires at Aptera and Kalami been extinguished, than a new fire broke out today at Malaxa, above
Souda and Tsikalaria. The fire quickly took hold as strong winds fanned the flames, but firefighters managed to get it
under control before it reached the Malaxa ridge. Both fires, yesterday in Aptera and today near Malaxa, were arson
according to firemen. The fire near Aptera yesterday broke out in six different places, close to the National Road.
Fire at Aptera, Chania.
20 September 2012
A large fire threatened the site of Ancient Aptera and closed the National Road this afternoon.
Fire first broke out above Kalami and spread quickly towards Megala Chorafia and some time later the fire forces had to
deal with two new fires below Aptera.
20 fire engines and firefighters managed to extinguish the fires by late evening.
Ferries to remain docked 26th September
19 September 2012 naftoemporiki
Ferries will remain docked in all ports across Greece next Wednesday, September 26, as the Panhellenic Seamen's
Federation (PNO) decided to join a 24-hour nationwide strike to coincide with the general workers strike of GSEE and
Heating oil subsidy plan
18 September 2012 ekathimerini
The Finance Ministry decided on Wednesday that certain consumers will be refunded heating oil taxes of 200-900 euros
on the condition they apply and qualify for the benefit.
Applications will be filed online and consumers can expect to be refunded within seven days.
The criteria to be used will be based on the location, income and property of each taxpayer, while the unemployed and
those below the poverty line will qualify for a special benefit.
In total, the ministry is planning to spend some 300 million euros this winter to this end.
The price of heating oil will soar from an average of 1 euro per liter last winter to about 1.40 euros due to the leveling of
the special consumption tax for heating oil with that of diesel as of October 15 in a bid to clamp down on tax evasion.
Crete Pharmacists Update
September 17 2012 NeaTV, Cretalive
After meetings today, Monday, Hania pharmacists have stopped their action for now and are honouring EOPYY
prescriptions again, but Rethymnon and Heraklion pharmacists have decided to continue their action, probably until
Hospital doctors and judges walk off the job
September 17 2012 ekathimerini
Hospital doctors launched go-slow action Monday, saying they would only deal with emergency cases in a bid to
underline their discontent with ongoing austerity and demand the payment of six months in unpaid salaries.
The head of the national union representing hospital doctors, Dimitris Varnavas, told Kathimerini that the participation in
the action was very high as medics are exasperated at seemingly endless state cutbacks. “In some hospitals,
participation in the action has hit 100 percent,” he said.
Health Ministry officials insisted that they have given the order for the outstanding wages to be paid to doctors and
attributed the delay to “the inability of other parts of the civil service to respond adequately.” Varnavas countered that
the ministry is shirking its responsibilities.
There was upheaval in other sectors too, ahead of next Wednesday’s general strike. The country’s judges and
prosecutors started their own industrial action Monday, working for an hour in the morning before walking off the job to
protest planned cuts to their salaries of up to 35 percent. The judges, whom the Constitution forbids from holding full
strike action, are to continue their action through Friday, demanding that the government retract the planned cutbacks.
Kos residents launch petition for Ryanair flights
17 September 2012 Athens News
Residents of the island of Kos have launched an online petition in order to pressure their mayor into making a decision
about Ryanair flights to the island.
According to Petition Action for Kos, the mayor has been stalling for several months on paying the agreed amount to the
company, which has resulted in Kos losing its Ryan Air winter flights.
The island’s residents fear that if action isn’t taken immediately they might also lose their summer flights, which would
be detrimental for the island’s tourism. “The cancellation of Ryanair flights would mean the end of any hope we have of
working through the current difficulties”, the petition reads.
The initial purpose of the petition is to gain some sort of definitive response over the future of Ryanair flights to Kos.
Local authorities have so far been evasive on the subject, residents say.
To learn more and/or sign the petition, go here
Pharmacists halt protests from Monday Sep 17
September 16 2012 protothema via neatv
From tomorrow, Monday, September 17, the pharmacies in the country, outside of Attica, will serve their members of the
National Health Services (EOPYY) giving drugs on credit.
Pharmacists in Attica will continue their protests.. The President of the Pharmaceutical Association of Attica, Kostas
Lourantos, said that pharmacists in the Attica/Athens region will continue to withhold drugs on credit indefinitely, until
they are paid the debts of EOPYY from 2011 and a full reschedule of payments for 2012 is agreed.
Pharmacists across Greece still seek to solve the payment issues and they will be the subject of dialogue with the
Ministry of Health in the coming days.
Tax-free threshold could be scrapped
14 September 2012 ekathimerini
Public officials are to spend the next few days crunching numbers in order to provide the government, which is steeling
itself for stronger opposition to the latest austerity package, with the potential savings from scrapping the 5,000-euro
income tax-free threshold.
The Finance Minister has asked officials to provide details on how specific income groups, such as pensioners,
freelancers and farmers, would be affected by the move. Greece’s tax-free ceiling was reduced from 12,000 euros last
year. At that time, of 779,319 self-employed and freelancers, 457,386 declared an income of less than 12,000 euros per
It is estimated that if Greece scraps the threshold altogether, as the International Monetary Fund has proposed, the
government would raise an extra 1.5 billion euros per year. The coalition has the option of applying the measure to this
year’s incomes, which have yet to be taxed, not just next year’s.
The IMF has proposed the creation of four income tax brackets as part of an overhaul of the taxation system. Anyone
earning up to 22,000 euros would be taxed at 18 percent, those making 22,000 to 45,000 at 35 percent, those with
incomes of 45,000 to 100,000 would pay 40 percent in tax and anyone making more than 100,000 euros would be
taxed at 45 percent.
General strike called for Sept. 26
13 September 2012 Reuters via ekathimerini
Greece's main labor unions urged workers to walk off the job for 24 hours on Sept 26, to protest a new wave of
austerity measures demanded by the country's international lenders, a union official told Reuters on Thursday.
"We can't take any more austerity,» said Ilias Iliopoulos, secretary general of public sector union ADEDY. Greece's
private sector labor union confederation GSEE also takes part in the strike.
This will be the first major nationwide strike since the conservative-led coalition took over in June with a mandate to
keep the country in the euro.
Greek workers have repeatedly gone on strike since 2010, when the country agreed its first bailout deal with the
European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
Strong earthquake in the early morning, in the sea area southwest of Crete
12th September 2012 Cretalive
A quake was felt early this morning in Crete. The vibration, measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale occurred at 06.27 am, in
the sea area southwest of Crete, 63 km southeast of Paleochora and near the island of Gavdos, at a depth of 20 km.
The shaking was felt throughout most of the island, including Chania, Rethymnon and Heraklion. There are no reports of
Plan to cut Greek airport tax
11 September 2012 ekathimerini
The Development Ministry is drawing up a policy paper that will include a strategy for the reduction of airport taxes, a
key demand of the tourism and air transport sector in Greece.
The issue was the focus of talks on Monday between Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis and the head of the
Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises (SETE), Andreas Andreadis, along with SETE board members.
The strategy framework on air transport is expected to be ready by the end of October, following consultations with the
Infrastructure improvements are also planned for the coming months at the country’s airports.
A bill within 2012 will provide for the split of the commercial arm from the regulatory competences of the Civil Aviation
Pharmacists continue action
Athens News 10th September 2012
The ministry for health has set out a time-frame for the repayment of public debt owed to pharmacists around the
country. According to the time-frame, pharmacists will be paid for June prescriptions in mid-September, while payments
for July and August will be made between October 12 and November 12. In response to the ministry’s announcement,
pharmacist representatives have said they are opposed to the ministry’s decision and will continue their action
Australia returns Greeks at border
10th September 2012 Athens news
Dozens of Greek citizens visiting Australia as tourists have been refused entry and turned back at the border due to
tougher Australian immigration rules, according to a report in the Australian-Greek newspaper Neos Kosmos. According
to the report, in recent months up to 20 Greek passport holders on arrival were temporarily held in migrant detention
centres before they were placed on the next flight home.
Athens News 10th September 2012
The state will no longer supply police officers for the protection of Golden Dawn MPs, the public order ministry
announced on Monday. The announcement came after the party's declaration that it intends to continue activities aimed
at preventing migrants from selling goods in street markets and fairs. According to the announcement, the leadership of
the police made this decision to avoid involving the officers in the covering-up of criminal acts that are not their
responsibility or presenting them with conflicts in the line of duty, forcing them to choose between their obligation to
protect and their obligation to prosecute and arrest offenders. Exempted from the decision are the officers supplied to
guard the party's central offices and for the protection of the party's general secretary.
Santorini Hot Lava
Athens News 10th September 2012
The underground chamber of molten rock beneath the volcano on Santorini expanded substantially between January
2011 and April 2012, according to a new survey conducted by British and Greek scientists. The growth of this "balloon"
of magma, more than 15 times the size of the London Olympics Stadium in volume, resulted in an 8-14 centimetre rise of
the surface of the island during this period, the team, led by Oxford University scientists, found during an expedition. In
January 2011, a series of small earthquakes began beneath the island of Santorini, which was the first sign of activity
beneath the volcano to be detected in 25 years.
Primary Greek tax evaders are the professional classes
9th September 2012 Guardian via Phantis
An in-depth study of how Greek banks, politicians and professional workers behave was published last week by two
economists from the Booth school of business at the University of Chicago and a Greek academic based at the Virginia
Interestingly, their report, Tax Evasion Across Industries: Soft Credit Evidence From Greece, which documents the
hidden, non-taxed economy, blames the current malaise not on dodgy taxi drivers or moonlighting refuse collectors, but
on the professional classes.
They found that €28bn (£22.4bn) of tax was evaded in 2009 by self-employed people alone.
Greek jobless rate hits fresh record of 24.4 pct in June
6 September 2012 Reuters via ekathimerini
Greece's jobless rate scaled a new record high of 24.4 percent in June from an upwardly revised 23.5 percent in May,
the country's statistics service ELSTAT said on Thursday, as a deep, austerity-fueled recession continued to take a toll
on the labor market.
Unemployment in Greece is more than twice the average jobless rate in the 17 countries sharing the euro.
Greece picks Norwegian firm for offshore oil, gas tests
5 September 2012 Reuters via ekathimerini
Greece selected Norway's Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) to carry out offshore seismic tests in the country's south and
west, the government said on Wednesday, paving the way for the launch of an oil and gas drilling bidding round in 2014.
Oslo-based PGS will send a ship to the Ionian Sea and off the southern island of Crete to gather the data by the end of
the year, Energy Minister Evangelos Livieratos told lawmakers. Seven other companies had sought the business.
The value of the contract was not disclosed.
Based on the results, Greece plans to call a bidding round for oil and gas exploration in the area in mid-2014.
"There are serious prospects (for a find),» the minister told a parliamentary committee. The tests will be conducted in a
maritime zone between 100 and 400 kilometers wide, he added.
PGS had carried out similar tests in Cyprus, where a huge offshore gas find encouraged Athens to step up its own
search. Cash-strapped Greece imports almost all its oil and natural gas, spending annually about 5 percent of its GDP on
Almost 200 fruitless test wells have been drilled in various parts of the country in the past century, the most recent
about 12 years ago. But most of the tests were badly managed or carried out at the wrong locations, Greek officials
In July, Greece called a bidding round for three oil and gas offshore and onshore explorations in the western part of the
country. The government hopes there are about 280 million barrels of oil there.
It received bids from companies such as Hellenic Petroleum, UK-based Chariot Oil and Gas, as well as Schlumberger, the
world's biggest oil services company by market value, which teamed up with local partner Energean Oil and Gas. The
government is expected to announce the winning bidders soon.
Bomb attack kills one on Crete
3rd September 2012 ekathimerini
A 59-year-old man died of internal bleeding following a bomb explosion in his field in Kasteli Kissamos in Hania, Crete, on
According to early reports, the complexity of the device pointed to the perpetrators possibly having some military
training. The man’s residence in Kasteli had been the subject of a bomb attack in 2010. At the time, the victim had
indicated that migrant workers demanding higher-than-agreed wages were behind the attack.
The police believe the two cases may be linked
EOPYY Doctors launch industrial action
2nd September ekathimerini
Doctors working with the National Organization for Healthcare Provision (EOPYY) are set to launch industrial action from
tomorrow, Monday September 3rd, in protest at their nonpayment by the organization. Pharmacists will continue their
protest for the same reason by not supplying drugs on credit to people insured with EOPYY.
Thousands lost wages in 2011
1st September 2012 ekathimerini
Some 400,000 employees were not paid at least three months’ worth of wages last year, according to a former official
of the state Labor Inspectorate.
In an interview broadcast on Skai TV on Saturday, Michalis Halaris, the former special secretary of the inspectorate,
which operates under the auspices of the Labor, Social Insurance and Welfare Ministry, said that 67 percent of all
complaints received by his department in 2011 related to the nonpayment of salaries to workers.
Last year, around 120,000 companies withheld salaries corresponding to three months of work or more from 400,000
employees, Halaris said.
In view of a deepening recession which has entered its fifth year, and with a new raft of tough austerity measures
looming, the situation will almost certainly worsen this year as thousands more businesses struggle to stay afloat,
Halaris told Skai.
Proportion of uninsured workers rose to 35pct last year
28 December 2012 ekathimerini
The percentage of Greek workers who are employed without social insurance rose to 35 percent last year, according to
the head of the Labor Inspectorate Michalis Kandarakis.
The proportion of uninsured workers stood at 29 percent in 2010, Kandarakis told Skai TV.
He added that there has been a sharp rise this year in the number of employers who have converted their employs
contracts from full-time to part-time.
Deeper probe ordered into GNTO finances
28 December 2012 ekathimerini
A team of inspectors from the General State Accounting Office will be probing the finances of the Greek National Tourism
Organization (GNTO), it was revealed on Thursday, after five arrests over an embezzlement scam and claims of 12
million euros missing from the organization’s coffers.
The Tourism Ministry ordered a deeper probe into the GNTO’s finances after general secretary Panos Livadas admitted
to there being some “gaps in the accounts,” following the arrest earlier this week of five people, including a former
GNTO consultant, on embezzlement charges.
Three names on new Lagarde list related to former FinMin, report says
28 December 2012 ekathimerini
Three names on the new list sent to Greece by French authorities containing the names of Greek depositors at a branch
of HSBC in Geneva are linked to former Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou, Skai television reported on Friday.
The new list of names was sent last week to Greek authorities after suspicions that a previous list -- handed over two
years ago by then-French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde (currently managing director of the International Monetary
Fund) to her Greek counterpart at the time, Papaconstantinou, and apparently lost in the process of an investigation for
possible tax evasion -- had been tampered with.
The new list is being probed by prosecutors and has been submitted to Parliament as well so that it can conduct its own
investigation into the names on the list and into whether the original list had been adulterated in any way.
According to Skai, the new list contains three additional names to the 200-odd on the original record. These three
names are allegedly connected to Papaconstantinou, who had received the original list, and one of the three is said to
have deposits at HSBC in Geneva of $1.22 million.
According to sources quoted by Skai, no other new names appeared on the new list that is being investigated by
Greek Retailers Take 40% Hit
27 December 2012 GreekReporter.com
Greek retailers faced their worst Christmas sales turnover in a decade, posting a reduction of about 40 percent
compared to 2011 across the debt-laden country, according to first estimates on Dec. 27. As the negative result
exceeds their forecast before the holidays, they now hope that the extent of damage might be reduced ahead of New
Year’s Eve and during the sales period in January.
In the clothing and shoe sector, shop owners reported a 50 percent decline in comparison with last year, in the
electrical appliances market an average of 40 percent, and in cosmetics and books a 30 percent reduction, the National
Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE) said on Dec. 27.
Recession-hit Greek consumers spent approximately 20 percent less compared to 2011 even for food products,
according to the survey.
Government begins disbursal of heating oil subsidy
24 December 2012 ekathimerini
Thousands of Greeks who applied for a heating oil subsidy this year are due to begin receiving their benefits on Monday.
The government is offering to pay 28 cents for every liter of heating oil that eligible applicants buy. The subsidy was
brought in after the government raised the consumption tax on heating oil to equal that on fuel, which pushed prices up
to about 1.40-1.50 per liter.
The head of the Finance Ministry’s General Secretariat for Information Systems (GSIS), Harris Theocharis, told Skai TV
that about 50,000 Greeks have applied for the subsidy. They will receive a total of about 6.5 million euros.
The applications can be made online at www.gsis.gr
Tourism minister sees restaurant VAT rate dropping from 23pct to 13
24 December 2012 ekathimerini
Tourism Minister Olga Kefaloyianni has suggested that the government will attempt to reduce from 23 to 13 percent the
value added tax on restaurant, cafe and bar bills.
The tax was raised to 23 percent by the PASOK government as part of efforts to increase tax revenues but a drop in
demand has led to negative results.
It is estimated that turnover in the food and catering sector is down about 40 percent, with 4,000 business closing
down in Attica this year, which led to 30,000 jobs being lost.
In the summer election campaigns, New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras had pledged to reduce the VAT rate
charged by restaurants.
CoE worried about rise of xenophobia
19 December 2012 ekathimerini
The Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights, Nils Muiznieks, has expressed concern about the rise of
“xenophobic and anti-migrant discourse” and attacks on human rights activists in Europe, particularly Greece.
“The situation in Greece is particularly worrisome as migrants have become targets of unacceptable, extreme violence,
notably by members, including MPs, of the far-right party of Golden Dawn,” he said in a blog post yesterday. “Human
rights defenders defending migrants are under threat.”
Up Greek Tourism campaign turns to London
19 December 2012 ekathimerini
Following billboard campaigns in New York and Washington in the United States, the Up Greek Tourism initiative aims to
make its mark in London thanks to the efforts of three volunteers.
Three London-based volunteers -- Katerina Spetsiou, Annita Dimitriou and Katerina Ioannou -- were conducting
crowdfunding and social media campaigns in order to gather at least 12,000 pounds sterling by December in order to
set up a billboard campaign on Piccadilly Circus in February next year.
The group was reportedly 500 pounds short of its target on Wendesday, Skai reported.
Up Greek Tourism was established in 2009 following an initiative by a group of Greek Americans residing in New York as
a response to the ongoing Greek debt crisis and the tarnishing of the country’s image in global media.
PPC customers in for a shock
18 December 2012 ekathimerini
Hundreds of Public Power Corporation clients protested inside and outside the company’s headquarters in central
Athens on Tuesday as PPC chief Arthouros Zervos told Parliament that the rate hikes the corporation is proposing for
2013 amount to ‘only 15 euros per month per household.’
This signifies an additional 30 euros per bill (issued every two months) for households, even for those with low power
Zervos argued that this rate hike had been among the country’s obligations from the first bailout agreement in May
2010, but that governments since had failed to implement the measure.
This means that the increase – which will range from 14 to 49 percent, depending on the level of consumption – will
have to come within just six months, before the July 2013 deadline, as agreed by Athens.
The PPC proposal for the rate hike has been submitted to the Regulatory Authority for Energy, which in turn has
forwarded it to the Energy Ministry.
Jobless rate to hover around 30 pct by 2014
18 December 2012 ekathimerini
Unemployment in Greece will climb to 29.3 percent in 2013 and 31 percent in 2014, the German institute of
macroeconomic forecasts IfW Kiel predicted on Tuesday.
The German institute’s economists also forecast the economic contraction to come to 4 percent next year and spill over
into 2014 at a 1 percent rate, against a European Commission prediction for 0.6 percent growth in 2014.
In its revision of the Greek streamlining program, published in Brussels on Monday, the Commission had also been more
optimistic in its estimates for the jobless rate, putting it at 24 percent for 2013 (from 23.6 percent in 2012) and 22.2
percent in 2014.
By contrast, using International Labor Office (ILO) methodology, the IfW Kiel economists expect the unemployment rate
to come in at 24.6 percent at end-2012 before soaring to 29.3 percent in 2013 – higher even than Spain’s 27.9 percent
rate. A rise in employment usually trails the economic growth rate by at least six months.
The IfW forecast mirrors that of the Labor Institute of the General Confederation of Greek Labor, which expects
unemployment to top 30 percent next year.
IfW also sees inflation in Greece reaching 1.1 percent this year and turning into deflation of 0.6 percent in 2013.
Eleven Syrians dumped off southern Crete coast
17 December 2012 ekathimerini
Eleven young men of Syrian origin were being provided with first aid, food and clothing in southern Crete on Monday
after being dumped off the coast of the southeastern Aegean island by human traffickers and forced to swim to shore.
All 11 of the would-be migrants told investigating coast guard officers in Rethymno that they had been taken off a larger
boat that brought them near Crete and then rowed closer to shore in a dingy from which they were told to jump in the
water and swim to safety.
They were found by local residents suffering from exposure before being transported to the local police station of Spili,
where they were provided with first aid, food and clothing. They said that journey had cost as much as 5,000 euros per
Police were questioning two men, also believed to be Syrians, after a search of their car revealed bundles of wet
On Saturday, coast guard officers recovered the bodies of 20 immigrants off the coast of Lesvos in the eastern Aegean
following the sinking of their vessel amid high winds.
22 Dead After Migrant Boat Sinks off Greek Coast
15 December 2012 Reuters via Greek Reporter
A small boat carrying migrants hoping to get to Greece sank near the eastern island of Lesvos early on Saturday,
drowning 22 people, Greek police said.
The boat had set off from the nearby Turkish coast carrying 27 migrants and its captain. It capsized about one mile (1.6
km off the coast of Lesvos due to strong winds, according to a survivor, police said.
“The survivor told coast guard authorities all the immigrants were from Iraq and had paid about 2,000 dollars per head
to be transported to the island,” a police official said.
The Greek coast guard found 20 bodies in the sea and was searching for any remaining survivors, the official said.
Greece seeks 2.5 billion euros in new tax revenues
14 December 2012 Reuters
Greece has formally unveiled a bill to boost tax revenues under the terms of its international bailout, part of a two-
pronged attack to get its citizens and firms to pay their way.
The planned measures are estimated to increase tax revenues by about 2.5 billion euros in 2013-2014, the finance
A second bill to be introduced later will to reform a tax administration widely seen as corrupt and ineffective in
combating rampant tax evasion.
The first bill, introduced, late on Thursday, scraps many tax exemptions and raises tax rates on property, companies and
households with above-average income. There is also a tax on capital gains for stock sales.
The bill is part of an overall 13.5 billion euro austerity package for the next two years that Athens passed last month to
qualify for further EU/IMF bailout funds.
Wage cuts and tax increases will keep the economy in a sixth consecutive year recession in 2013, bringing total
economic contraction in 2008-2013 to 24 percent, according to estimates by the country's central bank.
Getting the tax bill through parliament is among the conditions Athens must fulfill to get 14.7 billion euros in rescue
loans by the end of March, on top of the 34.3 billion its lenders cleared on Thursday for disbursal.
Four regional port networks, including Heraklion, to go up for sale.
13 December 2012 ekathimerini
The process for the privatization of 12 Greek ports got under way on Thursday with the publication of its terms by the
Merchant Marine Ministry. The regulations were put up for public consultation and constitute one of the so-called prior
actions that the government must complete according to the bailout agreement signed with the country’s creditors.
The 12 ports will be divided into four companies, thus setting up an equal number of port networks, in Attica, northern
Greece, western Greece and Iraklio, Crete. These networks may also have other neighboring ports incorporated at a
The framework also includes the setup of the Port Regulatory Authority and the Committee for the Planning of Port
Development. Both bodies will come under the jurisdiction of the Merchant Marine Ministry.
Crete: Oxygen bottles explode in ambulance after accident – 2 dead
12 December 2012 KeepTalkingGreece
A tragic accident occurred on Wednesday morning in Rethymnon, Crete, when an ambulance collided with a private car.
Three oxygen bottles exploded causing the death of the two passengers, while the driver suffered serious injuries. The
two women on the private vehicle suffered minor injuries
Dead are the director of Crete ambulance service EKAV, anesthisiologist Dimitris Vourvachakis, and the chairman of the
union of Crete-EKAV workers, paramedics Vangelis Kelarakis.
According to Skai TV, the two men were heading to a seminar with their private car when it broke down. An ambulance
passing by gave them a lift. For reasons unknown so far, the ambulance got away from its course and collided with a
Within minutes, the oxygen bottles exploded engulfing the ambulance in flames.
Drivers from other cars tried to help the trapped passengers but it was impossible because of the flames.
Property tax to stay on DEH bills
11 December 2012 ekathimerini
The Public Power Corporation will continue to levy a tax on property owners via electricity bills despite a court ruling
deeming this method of collection illegal, sources at PPC / DEH said on Tuesday after Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras
sent PPC managers a letter pressing them to continue issuing the levy.
Left-wing opposition SYRIZA accused Stournaras of making “an unacceptable intervention which proves that nothing can
stop the coalition of the memorandum, neither court rulings nor laws.”
PPC officials confirmed that further tax bill installments will be sent to homeowners by March. Those who do not pay the
levy will have it transferred to their tax office, the officials said, noting that PPC would not cut anyone’s power supply.
ADEDY public sector 24hr strike, Wednesday 19 December
The public sector workers' union, ADEDY, have declared a 24hour nationwide strike for Wednesday 19 December.
Self-employed to shoulder most of new tax burden
8 December 2012 ekathimerini
Self-employed professionals in Greece, who have traditionally been responsible for a large part of the country’s tax
evasion problem, are going to have to pay the bulk of the tax increases the government will implement over the next
two years as part of its bailout commitments.
According to the new tax code prepared by the government, and which is due to be submitted to Parliament on
Tuesday, self-employed professionals will pay 1.3 billion euros more in tax over the next two years, when Greece has to
raise an extra 3 billion euros from taxation to be in line with the troika’s demands.
The abolishing of tax breaks (only discounts for expenditure on healthcare, charitable donations and child support will
remain in place) will lead to salaried workers and pensioners paying an extra 237 million euros in tax, while reductions
in child benefits will bring in another 230 million euros.
Farmers will have to cough up an extra 282 million euros due to a reduction in their VAT rebate, while they will also be
obliged to keep proper accounting books for the first time. This will lead to them being taxed at a rate of 13 percent
from the first euro they earn.
Rises in indirect taxes and social security contributions worth some 700 million euros, which will affect all sectors of
society, will also be implemented.
Man, 32, charged with string of robberies
7 December 2012 ekathimerini
Police in Rethymno, Crete, on Thursday arrested a 32-year-old man suspected of pulling off a string of robberies on the
The man allegedly entered two clinics, one gym, a private tuition center and a lingerie shop, stealing one wallet, a
woman’s bag and three cell phones. All the stolen items have been returned to their owners. The suspect was
scheduled to face a prosecutor Friday.
Police are investigating his involvement in other robberies.
Record Greek jobless rate highest in euro zone
6 December 2012 Reuters
Unemployment in Greece climbed to a new record of 26 percent in September, topping that of Spain to become the
highest in the euro area, data by Greece's statistics service ELSTAT showed on Thursday.
Greece's jobless rate has almost tripled since it started climbing in September 2009, driven higher by the global financial
crisis and then by severe austerity policies imposed by the bailed-out country's international lenders.
Unemployment is more than double the euro zone average of 11.6 percent, edging past the rate in struggling Spain,
which was 25.8 percent in September, according to data from European statistics agency Eurostat.
The Greek economy is now in its fifth year of recession and is expected to have shrunk by almost a quarter before
recovery begins in 2014, according to the country's central bank.
This has taken its toll on the labor market, especially for the young. Unemployment among those aged 15-24 stood at
56 percent in September, compared with 22 percent in the same month four years ago.
A record 1.3 million Greeks were without work in September, up 38 percent from the same month last year, ELSTAT said.
Stolen bust recovered on Crete
5 December 2012 ekathimerini
An 18-year-old man faced theft charges on Tuesday after police officers on Crete arrested him for allegedly stealing a
bronze bust of air force pilot Costas Iliakis, who was killed in 2006 while trying to intercept a Turkish overflight.
According to police reports, the young man stole the bust over the weekend with the intention of selling it to a scrap
Greek natural gas reserves could reach 427 bln euros according to Deutsche Bank report
5 December 2012 ekathimerini
Undersea natural gas reserves south of Crete could reach an estimated value of up to at 427 billion euros, according to
a Deutsche Bank report published in November .
The German lender’s report notes that the Greek government has commissioned preliminary seismology studies, with
initial results expected in mid 2013.
The report, however, also noted that the scale and evaluation of the natural gas reserves have yet to be verified and
have so far been based on gas finds in the Levantine Basin in the Eastern Mediterranean, a sea area between Cyprus,
Turkey, Syria, Israel, Egypt and Lebanon.
According to the report, revenues stemming from the exploitation of the natural gas reserves could be expected in no
fewer than 8 to 10 years.
Foreign Ministry employees arrested for translation fraud
4 December 2012 ekathimerini
Police on Monday arrested a 45-year-old employee and a 42-year-old appointed translator at the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs’ Translation Service on charges of making a false statement, forgery, breach of faith and violation of duty.
The two women are suspected of developing a scheme for providing members of the public with official translations by
bypassing the department’s official processes and without issuing lega
Move to freeze migrant citizenship
1 December 2012 ekathimerini
A ministerial decision to suspend all procedures relating to the examination and approval of citizenship applications by
immigrants has fueled upheaval within the fragile three-party government.
A circular sent out by Alternate Interior Minister Haralambos Athanassiou late on Friday calls on state services to
suspend processing of all citizenship applications by migrants and registration of new citizens at municipal offices. The
move comes ahead of the anticipated publication of a Council of State ruling questioning whether existing legislation
granting citizenship and voting rights to second-generation immigrants residing in Greece is compatible with the
Read the full article
Cutting military service could save cash, troika says
1 December 2012 ekathimerini
Greece’s foreign lenders have suggested that the debt-hit nation could reduce defense spending by abolishing its
mandatory military service. Officials also recommend an increase in the use of e-procurements “for a further
rationalization of expenditures.”
The proposal is included in a draft report by the European Commission on the progress of the Greek economy dated
November 27, one day after the eurozone finance ministers’ summit in Brussels.
Sources at the Ministry of Defense, however, told Skai that “the military service is compulsory and will remain so.”