Posts Tagged ‘Greek news’

The Onassis Foundation came with a proposal to alternate and rethink of the centre of Athens through organizing and funding a European Architectural Competition. The project named RETHINK ATHENS is centered around Panepistimiou Street with the goals to:

  1. Make the city centre a destination for people instead of a traffic area for automobiles
  2. Functionally, aesthetically and environmentally upgrade the city centre
  3. Reinforce the commercial, administrative and financial activities of the city
  4. Re-inhabit the city centre
  5. Highlight the historical and cultural profile of the capital
  6. Offer quality of life to all citizens

In the official presentation a couple days ago it was mentioned that it will be funded with European funds designed for the support of European cities and their incorporation into networks and cultural galaxies. Hopefully it will be completed by 2015 reaching the cost of 200 million euros.

The Foundation is already collaborating with the Greek Ministries of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, and of Transport, Infrastructure and Networks, together with other organizations that will contribute and coordinate the project.

The public, citizens and entrepreneurs of Athens are able to discuss and express their opinions through the social media (Facebook, twitter), something happened for the first time.

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Two countries, sharing the same sea that divides them. Greece and Turkey. Since I was born, and way before my humble existence, the enemy was known, lurking on the other side of Aegean.

But economic crisis bring people together, not in means of solidarity though. In order to survive (?), since you are incapable of managing your own pocket and you are sort of money you make peace even with your worst rival, yet sponsor, as part of the country’s largest privatization plan imposed by its creditors.

The “saving solution” includes the selling out of ports, airports, power plants, highways and energy firms (plus lives, dreams, hope but, who cares about that…). Of course, they had to be first degraded. And only then they could be sold “bir para” as Turks say (means at very low cost). That plan of depreciation has launched some years ago and it has been tested on other continents too.

So the Greek officials started to favour a collaboration with the so far enemy in the name of development. “One third of Greek land is on sale”, said Panos Protopsaltis, head of Privatization Program of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund, speaking at a meeting organized in Istanbul. In the absence of other Western investors, he encouraged Turkish business people to take advantage of the… low prices. Moreover, the program aims to generate nearly 19 billion euros (cash) by 2015.

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Christine Lagarde. Earnings: $467,960 as of November 2011. Profession: Managing Director, International Monetary Fund. Age: 55. Education: Master of Arts, Institut d’ etudes politiques d’ Aix-en-Provence. Marital Status: Single. Children: 2.

This is the profile according to Forbes Lists of the ninth most powerful woman on this planet. One woman who is responsible for the future of many countries and the everyday lives of its citizens. One woman whose appearances even in the media “down under” have impact thousands miles away.

Once someone reads the following statements made by her some days ago on an Australian TV programme called “7.30 Report”(ABC) can get the picture. At the least the one with the… “Greek colours”:

“Greece has a few things to do. The first thing that needs to be achieved which is of paramount importance from our perspective is that it has to have the support of the largest possible number of people both at governmental level, parliamentary level and in society as well. Because clearly the path on which the country is engaging is going to be a difficult one, one that will require resilience, determination, some sacrifices along the way and a clear focus on growth, on trying to create value, on trying to create competiveness. (…)

If you look at the minimum wage for instance which is one of the conditions that was put in the program, the minimum wage in Greece is about 50 per cent higher than Portugal, 17 per cent higher than Spain and multiple of the minimum wage in countries like Croatia for instance. (…) Clearly, growth is not going to come out of those changes in the minimum wage, because there will be less consumption, less tax collection – on that particular aspect of the market, but it’s a necessary step to improve the competitiveness of the country”.

Before almost a week, the Organization responsible for employment (OAED) announced its figures about the rates of unemployment in Greece for the second month of 2012, that is February, after the continuous cuttings on people’s incomes and the general austerity measures in the name of the utopian development.

An numbers talk for themselves:

770.369 unemployed

1,13% more than January

REAL number 956.041 (185.672 don’t actively search)

335.721 MEN  (43,58%)

434.648 WOMEN (56,42%)

Aged 30-54: 63,16%

Aged under 30: 27,12%

Aged over 55: 9,72%.

It is unnecessary to mention that many people are not tracked down as they have not officially declared their unemployment, which means that the previous figures are even higher than that…

It has been the same story for many years now. Panathinaikos and Olympiakos face each other in the Athenian derby, but the ball changes pitch and the real game is played by the so called “fans”…

The match of Super League in OAKA has turned violent and was called off in the 82nd minute, with Olympiakos leading 1-0 on a goal in the 51st minute from Djamel Abdoun, after being interrupted twice because of crowd violence. Flares, molotovs and missiles were thrown to policemen, fans set fire to seats in the upper and lower decks, petrol bombs exploded close to the pitch, plus the stadium’s electronic scoreboard caught fire and was damaged.

The result? Fifty seven people have been detained and a further 20 arrested, while nine police officers were injured. Clashes started before the game, when fans without tickets tried to enter the stadium, where Athens Olympic Games were successfully held.

Some say that this was to blame for the riots, as OAKA was never built to host soccer matches. On the other hand, “The violence may have been partly provoked by the heavy police presence,” one fan said. Moreover, “When these groups can get away with such things, it is because they were able to get away with them in the past, with no one being punished,” Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis admitted on local television.

Broadcaster NovaSports did not show any of the mentioned images and only focused on the match, saying that it will continue to isolate violent scenes and any message irrelevant to football.

Rules hold that if a match is abandoned due to crowd cause, penalties for the accused team include 0 point for the game, a fine ranging from 120,000 to 180,000 euros and probably point penalty.Olympiakos is already ahead in the score board so, Sunday’s “result” could seal the title.

A detail unmentioned? Panathinaikos fans were only allowed to attend the game…

Since today, PASOK has a new leader. Evangelos Venizelos, Vice President and Finance Minister of Lucas Papademos’ government, won the internal party elections throughout Greece, gaining a second chance after having lost from former PASOK president George Papandreou in the previous party elections held in November of 2007.

But his victory did not come as a surprise for the wide minded. The last months he was assigned one of the most difficult tasks in the world: to save the Greek economy.  The completion of a plan to erase a third of the over 360-billion-euro Greek state debt burden held by private creditors, opened the way for the release of a second 130-billion-euro bailout deal to Greece by international lenders which is expected to be ratified by the Greek parliament by April.

In return, the 55-year-old ran unopposed in the contest to take over the centre-left party from George Papandreou, who resigned as prime minister in November. And he won with the approval of more than 200.000 who were willing to pay the 2 euro fee for voting him…

Apart from that, the Greek socialist party is facing tremendous lose as to its popularity and not without a reason. The latest survey conducted by telephone (Public Issue, March 8-13) put PASOK in fifth place with the support of 11 percent of respondents, while for decades it was the largest party in Greece with 40 percent of the vote or more in most elections.

And why so? The party took most of the blame for the painful rounds of austerity measures enacted in exchange for aid from foreign creditors. Analysts believe that voters are likely to punish socialists for its role. Furthermore, one-third of voters plan to abstain or cast blank ballots according to recent polls.

So, a “change” was compulsory in order to reverse the negative image in people’s minds due to the general election by early May.

And last but not least, today, March 18, is the anniversary of the death of Eleftherios Venizelos. If someone believes in reincarnation, something which Greek Orthodoxs don’t, maybe there is a hope…