Archive for October, 2013

Random Greek news items from last week

Wednesday morning the Greek Parliament lifted the parliamentary immunity of 6 Golden Dawn Parliament Members. 246 yes votes out of 300 allow Greek courts to sue the GD Members of Parliament for various pending cases: the so –called party has been accused with being a criminal organization and the Public order Minister has openly called them a neo-nazi formation.

In spite of all the revelations about their criminal activities Golden Dawn remains the third party in opinion polls. One more proof of the Greek citizens mistrust and disgust with the existing political personnel.

Thursday night news broadcasts were flooded with reports about an incident between the workers’ union of the Corfu hospital and a group of Health ministry inspectors. The inspectors claimed that they were obstructed in carrying out their mission, that they were isolated in a room and threatened. Health minister, Adonis Georgiadis, was uncharasterically cool about the episode. It is to the government’s interests to keep health care discussions as there are rumors of hefty cuts in health funds. These rumors are fuelled by the lack of the most elemental facilities.

kouneva-1The good news is that a Piraeus Court has ruled for Konstantina Kouneva in her case against Ecomet, her employer company.

Ms Kouneva, a cleaning lady,  had been attacked and seriously injured on the 28th of December 2008 by people unknown as a result of her unionist activities. A Bulgarian immigrant , Ms. Kouneva actively struggled against the exploitation of women immigrant workers and had often been threatened for it. She has been awarded 250.000 Euros damage payment with the amount of 80.000 to be paid immediately. 

 

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Tsipras probe into submarines deal “shakes” the unity of the two–party Greek government

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Alexis Tsipras, SYRIZA President, announced his intention to ask for a probe into a submarine deal signed in 2010 and which he claims has “an aroma of scandal”. Mr. Evangelos Venizelos, present Chairman of PASOK and vice-chairman of the present Greek government was the minister of defence when the disputed deal was signed.

The bad feeling between Venizelos and Minister of Defence Avramopoulos resulted from the latter’s reply to Tsipras that this government has nothing to fear and that whatever “underhanded business” is of an earlier date.

Venizelos took this as a personal affront from Avramopoulos and replied, during the Parliament discussion that ensued, that it is not  a Minister’s job  to” describe situations. Neither are they there to play the good guy to the opposition but to bear responsibility and bring results”.

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The Prime Minister’s office took no sides and in spite of Avramopoulos’ clarification that he was referring to the Tsohatzopoulos’case,  Venizelos continues to feed the feud. The PASOK press office released to day a letter sent to Avramopoulos the day before the Parliamentary discussion giving him “directions” on how to deal with Tsipras accusations.

Earthquake shakes western Crete

A 6.4 magnitude earthquake took place at 16.00 today in the sea region of western Crete. It was so strong that it was felt in Athens as well. It actually felt like two earthquakes because it lasted quite long, or at least it seemed too long. Apparently it took place in 35 kilometres depth. There are no reports of damages so far but it is too early.

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After shakes are expected so I’ll keep you posted.

 

A mixed bag of news, thoughts and arguments

Today is the first really cloudy, autumn like day in Athens. News is rampant from all sides and citizens go about their business with their heads lowered and lost in their thoughts.

The prevalent mood is despair and insecurity. While the government announces that we are on the “road to development” the Troika talks about new taxes and austerity measures.

The neo –nazi formation of Golden Dawn is officially accused of being a criminal organization and its leader is in prison. According to news reports the Greek Parliament will tonight discuss and vote on removing the immunity of three Golden Dawn MPs so that they can be prosecuted. At the same time the Metsovion Polytechnic School staff is staging a concert in memory of the 32 year old anti-fascist rapper murdered by Golden Dawn thugs.

The news broadcasts are dominated by long and detailed reports on Golden Dawn acts: attacks against immigrants, actors, and speeches during which leading members of the fascist organization openly threatened democracy!! To the viewers the reporters’ “surprise” at the Golden Dawn doings is to say the least insulting since it is obvious that they knew the activities and just chose to keep silent.

Three out of eight Greek universities have submitted the names of their administrative staff that can be laid off. The European Commission has given the green light to the takeover of Olympic air (the private company that “bought” the state run Olympic airways) by Aegean air. In this way a state monopoly is replaced by a private monopoly system. In a press statement SYRIZA, major opposition party, underlines the fact that this constitutes a threat to the country’s cohesion.

On the other hand, .there are still people struggling to keep their spirits up and safeguard their livelihoods against all attacks. In Chalkidiki, in Macedonia, in Aghios Panteleimonas in Athens and so on. It is an unfair battle but let us hope that justice and right will prevail over greed and might.

 

Arsonist attempt against Greek Merchant Marine Minister

An arsonist attack took place last night against the private political office of Merchant Marine Minister Miltiades Varvitsiotis.

The two hooded attackers started the fire after ousting two clerks from the office. The fire was easily put out and there were no damages.

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New Democracy issued a statement stating that the party will not be intimidated. “Violence is rejected by Greek society”, they stated.

SYRIZA also condemned the attack underlining that “such acts contribute to the strengthening of the vicious circle of violence, autocracy and suppression”.

Democratic Left condemned the attack stressing that it “nourishes violence and tension”.