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#16689 Corruption In Greece?

Posted by chorianos on 29 October 2010 - 09:52 AM in Explore Crete

Look at the list on below link and find Greece on nr.78.....


#16670 Preveli Palm Forest Burned By Wildfires

Posted by chorianos on 03 October 2010 - 12:11 PM in Crete Gazette

Measures announced for scorched palm forest area on Crete razed by fire in August slated for reforestation

Three hectares of date palms were destroyed in the fire which ignited on August 22. [ANA]

Local authorities on the island of Crete announced earlier this week that the forest overlooking Preveli Beach on the southern coast of the island,
which was razed by a wildfire on August 22, has been designated for reforestation.
The area – known as Foinikodasos due to the large number of palm trees that once flanked
the Kourtaliotis River which reaches the sea at Preveli Beach – was the second-largest palm
forest on Crete, covering an area of 3 hectares. Measures announced by the Prefecture of Crete’s general secretary,
Thanasis Karountzos, also include a complete ban on grazing and all forms of camping in the area.
The Environment Ministry, meanwhile, has pledged funds for the rehabilitation effort and will be supervising the project
which is to begin within the next few months, adding in an announcement on its website
that it expects the reforestation to be smooth as the species of palm, Phoenix theophrasti (Cretan date palm), is robust and can easily be reproduced using cuttings. The fire that destroyed the palm forest was one of three blazes that began within a few hours of each other in southern Rethymno overnight on August 21.
Stoked by gale-force winds and temperatures in the high 30s, firefighters were unable to bring the blaze under control
before it almost completely demolished the forest. However, fire services were able to contain the blaze before it reached the historical Preveli Monastery further up the river gorge.
Local authorities, who attribute the blazes to arson, will also be examining why a 1.4- million-euro fire prevention
system which was approved in 2007 under a European Union program had not been put into operation.
In a statement following an inspection of the damaged site, environmental group WWF Hellas said that uncontrolled
tourism development also played a crucial role in the fire.
A scientific adviser for WWF Hellas, Kaloust Paragamian, told Skai that there were over 1,000 sunbeds, 50 to 60 pedal boats and numerous umbrellas on the beach that became fodder for the fire.
Paragamian also pointed to the existence of pine trees as possible culprits.
“Let’s go back 10 or 15 years when an area nearby [the palm forest] was planted with pines even though they had never existed there before. The pines and their pine cones ‘bombarded’ the palm forest; the fire would not have reached the palms had it not been for the pines,” he said.

#16628 Container Harbour Back On The Agenda

Posted by chorianos on 28 August 2010 - 10:20 AM in Explore Crete

If Mr. Ertel would have taken the time, during his holiday in Kalamaki, to dig in a little bit further in this matter, and not only reporting about what Mr. Ktistakis has to say, he would have found out that this “chinese harbor discussion” is closed and will be forever.
Greece has no authority to go over these matters without the approval of Europe. Twice already the European government has said no to this plans. The Komos area is a protected natural area and the Messara is an agricultural zone. For both area’s Greece receives every year hundreds of thousands euro’s of subsidies: for maintaining Komos as it is (the place where sea-turtles come to lay their eggs) and for the development of the Messara as an agricultural area. Therefore the harbor plan have been rejected. The Chinese are even not interested anymore in Timpaki as they now “possess” more or less the Pireaus harbor close to Athens.
Furthermore, the military airbase in between the Kokinos Pirgos harbor and the beach of Kalamaki will soon disappear. If Mr. Ktistakis should have talked with his fellow members of the Pasok party (who is in charge now), he could have known that the municipality of Timpaki (under which Kalamaki resorts) has made an application to Athens to fill in the free coming area as a “Touristic Zone” together with the Kalamaki beach area and all the way to Agia Galini. This means that a larger hotel infrastructure will be possible. Most of the hotels and pensions in Kalamaki were build illegally in their time (a lot of them are regularized now, but some still don’t have their EOT-license!) but can only have a maximum capacity of 29 rooms, because they are situated in a “non-touristic zone”. Transform the area in a touristic zone would change that, and for sure attract bigger players on the hotel market. Maybe Mr. Ktistakis should be more afraid of this then from his “harbor fantom”.
Anyway, I personally think that some “positive” publicity is much needed as we talk about developing tourism in this area. Negative comments like this article in Der Spiegel are not doing any good to anybody!

#16610 Tourism Must Be Protected

Posted by chorianos on 19 August 2010 - 11:00 AM in Explore Crete

Dear Graeme,

The people who know Crete, will not stay away, but the ones who have never been on the island will not be attempted to come and will probably choose for another holiday destination (like Turkey for instance).

I do not agree with your statement that the Turks are a most unfriendly bunch of people.
You can not generalize because (maybe) you have met some unfriendly Turks.
I personally know a lot of well educated, friendly, cosmopolitan Turks and at the other hand, I also know a most unfiendly bunch of Cretans too, after 6 years living now on this island.

#16578 Eating In Iraklion - Trying Again

Posted by chorianos on 30 July 2010 - 05:34 AM in Explore Crete


#16570 Tourism Must Be Protected

Posted by chorianos on 28 July 2010 - 09:59 AM in Explore Crete

Greece is now destroying tourism in their own country.
Next year more people will go on holiday in Turkey, avoiding all the problems they face in Greece.
Well done Greece!

No letup in truck strike

In Halkidiki, where some 100,000 tourists are currently on vacation, there was no fuel available at all. The shortages prompted the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) to warn of the damaging impact that the strike is having on the tourism sector. There are concerns that prospective visitors from neighboring Balkan countries who were planning to use their cars to come to Greece will cancel their trips. It is expected that private coaches carrying tourists already in the country to various destinations will start to run out of fuel from tomorrow. KTEL intercity buses are thought to have enough fuel to last them until next week.

source: Ekathemerini, today

#16567 Tourism Must Be Protected

Posted by chorianos on 26 July 2010 - 01:01 PM in Explore Crete

Tourism promotion for Greece all over the world has not been "great ?!" the last couple of years.
Maybe soon we will know why!

Tourism probe

An Athens prosecutor on Saturday started examining the findings of a probe by state public administration officials regarding the alleged mismanagement of more than 70 million euros in funding destined for tourism promotion campaigns in 2008 and 2009. Deputy Culture and Tourism Minister Giorgos Nikitiadis said that the case should be sent to Parliament if the prosecutor’s probe ends up apportioning blame to politicians.

Source: Ekathemerini, today

#16418 Crete: Decline And Fall Of The Mediterranean Diet

Posted by chorianos on 07 July 2010 - 05:10 AM in Explore Crete

By Margot Krijnen, Maastricht University

About 45 years ago, the incidence of cardiovascular diseases and cancer was very low in Crete: until recently, in the valley of Messara, only one third of the national Greek level and much, much lower than in the Netherlands. Today, these diseases occur almost as often in rural Crete as in the rest of the country. No wonder the Cretan people became concerned. Media coverage about this strange increase of diseases led to a public outcry for thorough investigation. What was going on? Did it have to do with environmental factors, pollution? Was there a factor that could and should be controlled? The Cretan prefecture commissioned a study. Dr. Constantine Vardavas conducted the research and earned his PhD on the subject at Maastricht University.

What exactly was the famous Mediterranean diet?
“It consisted of bread, fruit, vegetables, wild greens, olive oil, some fish, few dairy products and hardly any red meat,” says Constantine Vardavas. “In fact, only seasonal products from the region that the people harvested from their own open air cultivation. That required hard physical work on the land. The key aspect of the diet was olive oil, which accounted for up to 40% of the daily calorie intake. Moreover, their Orthodox Christian religion prescribed almost 200 annual days of fasting, when they were not allowed to eat foods of animal origin, dairy products, and fish. So, part of the year the Cretans consumed an almost vegetarian diet.”

How did you approach the study?
“We recruited 662 farmers, aged between 18 and 79, took blood and fat samples and submitted them to a thorough clinical examination. Moreover, we asked them to write down exactly what they ate every day and how much physical exercise they had. In other words, we performed a complete clinical, dietetic and lifestyle assessment on each of them. The results were stunning. We found that the famous Mediterranean diet no longer existed. Over the past 45 years, the consumption of fruits and vegetables had dropped from 655 grams per day to 400 grams per day, while the meat intake jumped from 35 grams per day to 124 grams per day. We could monitor this alteration in dietary habits by comparing adipose ‘fat’ composition among farmers in 1962 and in 2005. This comparison indicated a decrease in mono-unsaturated fatty acids and an increase in saturated fatty acids in the human fat. Just as you can tell a tree’s age from looking at its rings, looking at the fat composition in the human body gives you clear insight in the person’s dietary habits.”

How did this happen? What made the Cretans change the diet they had adhered to for centuries?
“The changes were brought along by a combination of factors. There was the tourist industry boom in Crete in the seventies, the introduction of mass super markets with imported food, and the fact that the Cretans were no longer as strict about fasting. Whereas in the 1960’s farmers cultivated and consumed their own produce, they now grow commercially profitable foods and spend less time cultivating their own fruit and greens. They found out that it is much easier to go to the supermarket and buy food rather than actively cultivate the produce they need to sustain an entire family. So, their lifestyle has become much more sedentary. In the sixties, the farmers walked on average 12 kilometres per day to their fields. Now they drive there in their four-wheel drive cars. Even the shepherds, the healthiest people ever on Crete, now use their motorbikes to go their herds.”

Your research has definitely proven the effectiveness of the original Mediterranean diet?
“Adherence to this diet has been shown to have a protective effect on the development of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and overall mortality. It lowers the blood pressure, increases the good cholesterol HDL, and lowers the bad cholesterol LDL. We believe that the magic ingredient with the beneficial effects is the concurrent interaction between all the micronutrients and vitamins. A good example of the power of the Mediterranean diet is the fact that smoking habits never changed on Crete. Already in the sixties, the studied Greek farmers smoked, and they still do. Their diet used to protect them from developing the diseases that come along with smoking, as it counterbalanced the negative effects of smoking on health. Now that the diet no longer exists, the Cretans get the same diseases as the rest of the world.”

How did the participating farmers respond to the results?
“They were, of course, startled when they realized they had let their health to slip through their fingers. They all received a folder with their blood test results and the assessment of their dietetic lifestyle, but also with a proposal on how they could improve their health status by implementing basic personal guidelines. We actually also managed to locate and treat a few developing cancers. For sure, the population got a strong wake-up call!”

What will be done with the conclusions of your research?
“Our findings and those of other studies on the Mediterranean diet were brought forward and a call for action was made in Greece. Consumer knowledge is extremely important and information should be provided from childhood on. In Greece, there are no comprehensive health education lessons in schools. Because of the great increase in obesity, the great lack of physical activity, and the smoking rates, we have had discussions with the Ministers of Health and Education to include health promotion as a core lesson in primary schools and to educate teachers to become proper role models in the schools. Perhaps we can convince the Greek population of the future to go back to the famous en beneficial Mediterranean diet. The diet of great health.”

Constantine Vardavas PhD defended his thesis “Public Health implications of the Mediterranean diet; its interaction with active and passive smoking” at Maastricht University on May 27th. His promotor was prof. Wim Saris, from the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences. Contact: [email protected]

#16408 Tourism Must Be Protected

Posted by chorianos on 02 July 2010 - 12:19 PM in Explore Crete

Tourism must be protected

It is impossible to measure the extent of the damage done to Greece’s image abroad by recent events such as the deadly firebombing of a Marfin Egnatia Bank branch in central Athens during the street protests on May 3 in which three employees died of smoke inhalation.

In addition to this tragedy, we now have the ongoing blockade of ports by disgruntled seamen and the earlier, irrational blockade of hotels by other protesters who would not allow paying patrons to enter or leave the establishments.

Athens and a number of other linked destinations are already beginning to feel the brunt of the port closures, as thousands of tourists have canceled their cruise reservations in fear of these actions and the disruptions they can cause to their travel plans.

The impact on tourism, Greece’s biggest industry, should be taken seriously into account by the government the next time it sees a group breaking the law, because the country’s economy simply cannot bear anymore blows.

Source: Ekathemerini, today

#16358 How Is The Road There?

Posted by chorianos on 06 June 2010 - 06:36 PM in Explore Crete

This stupid mountain people even made the Belgian news!
As a promotion for Crete and tourism, this one counts!!

Bravo to them!

#16357 How Is The Road There?

Posted by chorianos on 06 June 2010 - 05:42 AM in Explore Crete

Very nice mountain village, Anogeia is!

Policemen attacked in Anogeia

A group of policemen were set upon by around 45 villagers in Anogeia, Crete, yesterday when they burst into a house in the area to investigate the source of gunshots heard. The villagers beat the policemen, using sticks and iron bars, leaving some of the officers with significant injuries. The assailants fled after the scuffles but police said that at least six of them are known offenders and would be traced.

Source: Ekathemerini, saturday 5 june

#16287 New Greek Austerity Measures

Posted by chorianos on 11 May 2010 - 10:45 AM in Explore Crete


Every measure taken will have a negative influence on tourism, no escaping at that.

Totally agree with you about how the Greek bureaucracy is working (wrong verb in this context, I think).
Also the “baksheesh” mentality has to be exterminated.
You can never have your papers done without leaving money in your file.


#16281 New Greek Austerity Measures

Posted by chorianos on 07 May 2010 - 09:44 AM in Explore Crete

Your quote: "I fail to see how some of the recently announced austerity measures will do anything to help the Greek economy".

I just wanted to say that these austerity measures will be very necessary and will be even the only way to save Greece from bankruptsy,
no mather who was responsable for this crisis.
Tourism will be affected of course, but hard times are coming for the Greek people and others living overhere ...

I hope you see my point

#16278 New Greek Austerity Measures

Posted by chorianos on 06 May 2010 - 09:59 AM in Explore Crete

On the road to destruction

Can a society self-destruct? Yes, it most definitely can and the way Greece is headed right now it is a very real possibility that it will.
Here we have a state and a society that allow a handful of nihilistic hooligans to torch the city and cause the deaths of three citizens.
We have the leadership of the country’s second biggest political party opting for a populist line of rhetoric and failing to answer a simple question on whether or not it will support the government’s economic recovery plan.
We see a society that is mad, and justifiably so, and we see it going down an ill-advised path.
Then we see the government, caught in the grips of panic, contributing to the populist fever and pouring more oil over the fire.

Greece is at the most crucial point of its post-1974 history and whether we destroy ourselves or not, whether we go bankrupt or not, depends not just on our political leadership, but also on every single one of us individually and collectively.

Article in Ekathemerini, today

#16104 The Dark Side Of Greece's Economic Ills

Posted by chorianos on 21 January 2010 - 09:47 AM in Crete Gazette

Read this:

Press article By Paul Moss
BBC News, Athens

Greece's finances are in a critical state, with its total debt exceeding the country's annual GDP

He was a rather gentle-looking man - kind enough to meet me late in the evening, and he even helped me find my hotel.
But the world described by the architect I spoke to in the centre of Athens, was shabby, dishonest, and shameless.
His company helps design government buildings. And being chosen to do this work requires, he said, a certain bending of the rules.
"To win the contract for a public building, you do a favour for the public officer," he said.
"You can give a job to someone that is related to them, or you may help him construct his own property. This is the way things work here in Greece."
That is a commonly expressed sentiment here, that this is "just how things are done".
But what is new is a sense that there may be terrible consequences to Greece's rampant corruption.

Tax dodging

Greece's finances are in a critical state. Its total debt now exceeds the country's annual GDP. Its credit rating is slipping. And now the European Union is keeping it under a close watch.
As a member of the euro, Greece is supposed to stay within strict deficit boundaries. At the last count, the country was more than four times over the limit.
"Corruption and our economic difficulties - they are bound together," said Constantinos Bacouris, chairman of the Greek branch of Transparency International.
His organisation campaigns all over the world against government and business malpractice.
But in the case of Greece, Mr Bacouris argued that corruption, and also widespread tax evasion, have been crucial in dragging the country into its present mess.
"We estimate that 30% of GDP is not declared," he said. "We would be in a much healthier situation if our citizens declared all their income, we wouldn't have this huge economic problem."


The Greek government is all too aware of this issue. Indeed, tackling tax evasion and corruption are central pillars of its latest economic plan.
The problem is that this administration is only the latest that have made similar promises, but to little effect.
"I understand the cynicism," said Greek Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou.
But he insisted that this time things will be different.
"People will be watching us - the international markets, our European allies, to see if we are serious about tackling the problems," he said.
The difficulty Mr Papaconstantinou has is that he is not only trying to change widespread habits. He is also attempting to impose swingeing austerity measures in order to cut the country's deficit as quickly as possible.

'Squeeze the fat cats'

There will be reductions in the allowances awarded to public sector workers, and a change to the way pensions are funded. And the government is also planning to cut back public spending.
These would be hard to get past the Greek public at the best of times. But the fact that they are being introduced by the socialist Pasok Party, has provoked widespread fury.
"We will go the streets all of us, with very big demonstrations," warned George Panagatis, a left-wing activist in the north of Athens. "We will demand from the government to stop these measures."
I suggest to his friend Ilias Janopolis that the measures might be necessary for Greece to avoid bankruptcy. But he has an alternative.
"The government should tax the rich instead," he insisted. He quoted approvingly a British slogan: "Squeeze the fat-cats!"
Mr Janopolis and Mr Panagatis are not alone.
Next month, public sector workers are planning to down tools for a day in protest at the cutbacks.

Private sector unions are considering whether to join in, and turn the event into a full-scale general strike.
For the novelist and commentator Miltos Frangopolis, this is just one sign of the obstacles faced by any government, when it tries to alter a way of life that is deeply-rooted in history.
"Greece developed very quickly, and it makes it much easier for fast development when you don't have many rules," he said.
"And this became a habit. It will be a big struggle within the Greek government trying to regulate things, but also a struggle within the Greek psyche. At this time, it's hard to be optimistic."

#16097 Acute Lack Of Staff Affects Museums

Posted by chorianos on 15 January 2010 - 04:57 PM in Crete Gazette

Article in Athens plus today:

Our only hope

Tourism accounts for about 18 percent of Greece’s gross domestic product and employs one in five workers, so whatever happens in this sector will play a decisive role in the country’s efforts to curb its deficits and lower its debts. In 2009, the first recession in 16 years in Greece saw tourist arrivals drop by about 8 percent, beating expectations of a 15-20 percent drop. The other two mainstays of the Greek economy are also suffering: Shipping has been hit by the global downturn and construction is suffocating due to the credit squeeze and a glut of housing. Unemployment climbed to 9.8 percent in October, from 9.1 percent the previous month. Banks and businesses (large, medium, small and very small) are suffering because of the recession, the credit squeeze, the lower spending power of consumers and so on. The labor minister declared this week that there isn’t enough money to pay out unemployment benefits and he is in a continual scramble to find money for the latest pension payment.

Everywhere we look the situation is terrible. Everywhere a great effort will have to be made to get Greece to move forward. Unlike many other countries that were hit by acute economic crises, Greece can neither devalue its currency, being a member of the eurozone, nor does it have the production base or agricultural produce that will allow it to sell enough products to dig itself out of the hole. Tourism will have to carry a large part of the burden, in spite of all the problems caused by the global crisis and Greece’s endemic weaknesses. And 2010 will be a seminal year in this regard.

According to initial reports (see pages 4-5), Greece’s two biggest markets – Germany and Britain – seem likely to stabilize at last year’s figures. This looks encouraging, suggesting that the damage can be contained. The problem is that last year many hoteliers had cut prices so much that they could not make a profit from the prices paid by customers, forcing them to depend on government help to stay afloat. This means that the business model has to be changed. Add to this the fact that development of hotels and resorts is at a standstill and the closure of a third of the National Tourism Organization’s overseas offices and it appears that Greece is in the tourism doldrums and is making little effort to promote itself and to make money. At the same time, Turkey, Egypt and other Mediterranean countries that are outside the eurozone and who do not have the EU’s visa requirements are attracting ever greater numbers of visitors.

The message from Greece’s traditional tourism markets is that customers need great value for money in order to come. But cutting prices to such an extent that hotels are no longer viable is not the solution. Some hoteliers have taken the initiative of transforming their hotels, turning two or three separate rooms into suites, adding a private pool and other luxuries. According to initial reports, this has helped boost revenues by attracting higher-paying customers. That is one way forward – promoting Greece as a luxury destination. For that to work, though, a national effort has to be made: The country must not be dotted with garbage; its airport facilities must be improved and everyone involved in the service industries should behave as if they finally realize that their livelihood depends on making visitors happy.

Another focus should be the improvement of the country’s image and the clever exploitation of the image created by films and Greece’s cultural heritage. Let’s not forget that mass tourism took off after the global success of the film “Zorba the Greek” in 1964. “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and “Mamma Mia!” gave Greece another boost, as did the success of the Athens 2004 Olympics. The burning of Athens in December 2008 and the childish “terrorism” of our disaffected youth work in the other direction. Someone has to shape this image – and that someone is every citizen and every official at the local and government level. That is the cheapest way to solve our problems – and the most difficult one as well.

I hope that the ministery of tourism, and especially EOT have read this article, and then I mean the ones in charge, not the clercks who work there, because (see above) they just don't care!

#16096 Acute Lack Of Staff Affects Museums

Posted by chorianos on 14 January 2010 - 06:50 PM in Crete Gazette

Acute lack of staff affects museums

Several important museums and archaeological sites across the country have been closed to the public or are displaying only a section of their exhibits due to chronic understaffing, the Culture and Tourism Ministry admitted yesterday.

A decision by the ministry to cancel a recruitment drive for 2,584 full-time employees and the expiry of the short-term contracts of another 4,000 staff has left several major cultural landmarks without the necessary guards and administrative personnel to operate normally. According to ministry sources, the recruitment drive was suspended due to “irregularities” in the process. One source remarked, “Everyone had tried to find positions for their children and other relatives.”

The Greeks are urging the goverment to create jobs: well there are.....
The number 1 asset for Greece to attract tourists: their ancient history, to be seen on archeological sites and museums....

By the way.....when is the archeolocigal museum in Heraklion (the main attraction for tourists coming to Crete) fully open again?
I asked the tourist information office in Heraklion last month and they answered that it was not there "task" to inform people about that matter!!

Nobody cares, but complains....