Poll Reveals Citizens are Critical of Government

Greek voters are increasingly pessimistic about the local economy and have serious doubts about the socialist government’s handling of financial issues, according to Tuesday’s poll for private television station Mega TV.
The poll conducted by research firm GPO for the show “Anatropi” showed that 78.3% of local voters saw little or no positive prospects for the local economy going forward.
58.1% of Greek voters consider the socialist government’s economic policies to be heading in the wrong direction.
Additionally, 71.7% of those questioned think the current PASOK government has no independent economic policy and has relinquished the country’s fate to the austerity policies of its international lenders.
In May the debt ridden country agreed to fiscal consolidation and unprecedented austerity measures with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union, in exchange for a 110 billion euro bailout to alleviate bankruptcy.
Socialist Minister for Health Andreas Loverdos said on the television program that while Greek voters are naturally unsatisfied, they are hoping the government wins the bet to put the country back on the right economic track, even if they are unsure about the success rate.
But the poll also revealed additional alarming statistics regarding the government. 61.3% of voters have a negative view of the recent cabinet reshuffling.  57.1% believe new and tougher measures are unavoidable and will be imposed despite current government denials.
A key test for the government and main center-right opposition New Democracy party will be during early November local government elections.
GPO surveyed 1,000 Greek voters nationwide over the age of 18 in the last nine days to compile their results. No margin of error was given.

Trucker Bites Police Officer in Protest

A 65 years old trucker was arrested yesterday for biting a police brigadier on the hand during a scuffle outside a Metamorfosi sewage collection depot.
The upheaval began when a group of protesting truckers who object to the recent law concerning the opening of their closed profession, tried to block the entrance to the sewage depot and prevent the tankers from emptying their loads. Police forces along with the Northeast Attica police brigadier Fotis Zoumboulis arrived to halt the prevention.
One of the savage truckers bit the senior officer on the hand while attempting to escape arrest.  He was subdued and taken to court, along with his son who attempted to help him escape. Zoumboulis was transferred to the nearest hospital for first aid and necessary medical care.
(source; ana-mpa)

Spa facilties in Peloponnese


The Greek government is drafting a master plan envisaging the development of Kaiafas spa facilities and the development of real estate properties in the seaside regions of Zaharo and Kounoupeli, in the prefecture of Ilia, western Peloponnese.
The head of Hellenic Tourism Development Co, Avgi Markopoulou and the chief executive Dimitris Lambrou, discussed the plan during a three-day tour of the locations, September 23-25, as part of a strategy to accelerate procedures towards a more efficient use of tourism real estate property.
In a series of meetings, held with local authorities, talks focused on ways to achieve a better management of spa facilities in Kaiafas and Kyllini. Helenic Tourism Development plans to launch open tenders for both projects. “These properties could be very well developed, upgrading the Ilia region both touristically and economically, ensuring the region’s environmental characteristics,” Mrs Markopoulou said.
(source: ana-mpa)

Roy and Diana Vagelos have donated $50 million to Columbia University Medical Center


Roy and Diana Vagelos (photo) have taken their donation efforts further uptown with a $50 million gift to the Columbia University Medical Center to support the construction of a new building for medical and graduate education.
The major gift is the largest received for CUMC’s fundraising campaign, the University said Monday morning.
Greek Roy Vagelos, an alumnus of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Diana Vagelos, BC ’55, are known in Morningside for their $15 million donation to Barnard’s new student center, now called the Diana Center.
“The new medical education building will ensure that Columbia continues to produce superior doctors and researchers trained in the latest techniques, as medicine continues to evolve rapidly throughout the 21st century,” said University President Lee Bollinger in an email announcing the gift.
“Roy and Diana’s generosity of spirit is truly inspirational. Generations of future medical and graduate students will benefit from their support and vision for Columbia,” the email said.

Crete island shaken by earthquake

Today, at 06:55 a.m, Crete was shaken by a small but alarming earthquake measuring 3,5 on the Richter scale. According to the European Seismological Centre, the quake’s epicenter was in the sea region of the island; 94 km southeastward of Ierapetra. The quake’s focal depth was approximately 80 km. An upheaval was caused to the residents, as recently, a number of earthquakes shake the island. However, the seismologists who are further investigating, note that earthquakes are characteristic, considering the seismicity of the area. Reportedly, it did not cause any damages or injuries.

Ministries Of Defense And Environment Agreed On The Construction Of 'Green Military Camps'


A memorandum of cooperation was signed by the Ministers of Defense, Evangelos Venizelos, and Environment, Tina Birbili. They plan to emphasis on the usage of natural gas and energy upgrade of buildings, these are a number of projects concerning the country’s military campuses.
Both Ministries will cooperate on, forest protection and immediate response to natural disasters, whilst YPEKA will examine the possibility of interconnecting the military campuses with the existing natural gas network.
MOD, will prepare the preliminary layouts for the creation of the so called ‘green camps’ and ‘green military hospitals’ and thus proceed to the gradual conversion of existing camps.
In the mean while they will grant YPEKA the meteorological and geographical information, which will be exploited in matters of renewable energy recourses and environmental protection. In addition, they will carry out studies on making the transpiration system more environmentally friendly.
Both ministries, will take responsibility for the organization of events, plus the promotion of environmental awareness.

Credit Deal Ratified Between Greek Government & Banks

Ministers George Papakonstaninou and Michalis Xrysohoides hope to improve the low levels on the Greek market regarding lending and investments with assistance by Greek banks. A deal was signed this morning which include the below terms:

  • 25 billion Euros will be given to the Greek banks.  The banks must create their own business plans to infiltrate the money back into the Greek market.  The plans must be approved by the Bank of Greece.
  • The banks will help to apply the new taxation law immediately by creating business accounts for all companies and businesses.  All credit institutions should participate effectively in  public programs for the support of small businesses.

Minister of Finance Papakonstaninou stated: “We have to ensure that these funds will be used to improve our economy”.

Christofias spoke at the Brookings Institution, in Washington


The President of the Republic Mr Demetris Christofias travelled from New York to Washington, yesterday, to inaugurate the exhibition “Cyprus: Crossroads of Civilizations” at the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institute.
Yesterday, the President of the Republic delivered a speech at the Brookings Institution, which is considered one of the most well known and reliable think tanks in Washington.
The President of the Brookings Institution Mr Strobe Talbott, who also served as Deputy Secretary of State with the Clinton government, made the introduction for the President of the Republic. US government officials, Members of Parliament, Ambassadors of foreign countries, journalists, academics, leading personalities of the Cypriot community in America and members of the Brookings Institution and of other think tanks listened to the speech. On the part of Cyprus, the Minister of Communications and Works Mrs Erato Kozakou Marcoullis, the Government Spokesman Mr Stefanos Stefanou, the Ambassador of Cyprus to Washington and other government officials were present.

In his speech, the President made an in depth analysis of the Cyprus problem and presented his positions for the reunification of Cyprus and its people and the peaceful coexistence of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, with whom, as he said, we are united through common struggles. He explained that in Cyprus there were never conditions of federation since Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots were living together and as a result of this the federation solution was a very brave decision on the part of President Makarios.

Referring to the direct negotiations, President Christofias said that although Turkey has the final word in achieving a solution, there has been progress with Mr Talat on the chapter of governance. President Christofias added that with the election of Mr Eroglu “we are facing serious problems on the chapter of properties because his position is that the current user should have the first say as regards the property”, and underlined that the property issue is an issue of principles and human rights and that his position is to safeguard the human rights of all the refugees.

The President of the Republic then analyzed the package of proposals he submitted recently for speeding up the negotiations, which was rejected by the Turkish side. He underlined that he hopes the Turkish side will have second thoughts because it will be for the benefit of both the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey’s EU accession course.
Finally, President Christofias referred to the Cyprus Government’s assistance to the Turkish Cypriots on the trade of their goods via the EU Green Line Regulation and expressed the wish for all the green lines to be abolished soon and for Cyprus to be reunited.

2012 Olympic Games Chooses Traditional Greek Music!


Could you believe that an orchestra with the traditional Greek instrument bouzouki, could be presented at the Olympic Games of 2012 in London and perform songs of Mikis Theodorakis, Hatzidakis, Tsitsanis and the song “Zeimpekiko tis Evdokias” of Manos Loizos? Why not? That was the dream of the well known composer Giannis Polykandriotis which finally came true.

The School of Traditional and Folk Music, String Instruments founded by Polykandriotis was chosen to participate in the Olympic Games taking place in London.  This was decided on September 12th by the committee of the organization of the Olympics, among several music groups in the auditions which have been made at the Cultural Olympic celebrations 2012 in Cedar Park Chechunt. The affirmative was announced via a formal letter received by Polykandriotis a few days ago.

The Greek orchestra consisting of 35 music instruments, boys and girls from 9 to 32 years was deified by 5,000 people who attended the event at Cedar Park Cheshunt. It proved once more that good traditional Greek music can be loved by foreigners. Our joy is indescribable, as we were marked with the highest grade” Polykandrotis stated. They told us that apart from the Olympic stadium we will perform in many sport centers.  Soon we will be invited to more festivals. These young people who give their best all these years, have every right to celebrate. Personally, I feel our representation in the Olympic games as a vindication of my decision to create the School in 2002 targeted on the advertisement of Greek Traditional music.Songs like “Children of Piraeus”,” Vraxo vraxo ton kaimo mou”, “Delfini Delfinaki”, ”Deka palikaria”, ”Zeimpekiko tis Evdokias” were performed at Cedar Park Cheshunt. On the first row of the orchestra the Pilvakis sisters, aged 13 and 16 and 9 year old Panagis sat proudly next to their teacher. They were accompanied by bouzouki expert George Poxes who came from Greece to perform at the festival. He also had performed in the opening of the Olympic games of 2004 in Athens with Thanasi Polikandriotis’ music group “Oi Epomenoi” (“The Next”).  The orchestra’s presentation was accompanied by the dance group of Dora Konstantinidis from London’s Greek Community Center.

About the School:

Polykandriotis funded the school with only 12 students in 2002, in cooperation with the local school of the Greek  community of St. Panteleimon in Harrow, North-West London.  He knew the significance of his efforts as he was a very talented child.  He began his own concerts when he was 13 years old followed by a 50 year fabulous career in the genre of Greek traditional music.

Today he feels great satisfaction from the fact that our delivery continues with a unique way through students aged 7 to 57 years old. The students play the bouzouki, tzouras and baglamas in the old familiar quality style of Rebetiko. The School of Traditional and Folk Music, String Instruments counts more than 50 students and is assisted by the Ministry of Education.  Cyprus has created 4 schools in various areas in London in cooperation with school of the Greek community.

Costly Fines Placed on Illegal Smoking Areas


The end of September will also bring the end of the warning period for those who refuse to comply with the new smoking rules in Greece. Starting October 1st, costly fines will be given to those who continue to allow smoking in offices, shops, cafes, restaurants and other public places.
Ironically Greece is the first country to adopt anti-smoking laws in 1856.  However its citizens seem reluctant to abandon their favorite vice.
Greeks continue smoking on balconies, terraces, halls and behind closed doors of their offices.  During working hours smokers are claiming that their work is being delayed if they have to smoke away from their work areas.  This can be found in private and public offices, ministries and even hospitals!
According to the average results of thirty five different surveys, it is realistic that the anti-smoking rules will
decrease by 10% of the world’s smoking population.
(info: www.ana-mpa.gr)