Tag Archives: Greece

Greeks behaving badly during lockdown – POLITICO

Greeks behaving badly during lockdown – POLITICO

ATHENS — In Greece, the people who make the coronavirus rules are often the ones who break them.

In the year since the country’s first recorded case of COVID-19, there have been numerous occasions when politicians have been caught out. The latest took place this month when the governor of the Southern Aegean islands headed to the small island of Chalki to get vaccinated — jumping the queue and, according to the opposition, leaving some residents unable to get their jab.

George Hatzimarkos from the ruling New Democracy party took a private boat from Rhodes to Chalki and was vaccinated last Sunday. At present, Greece is vaccinating health care staff and those aged over 75 (and is starting to vaccinate people aged 60-64 with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine). Hatzimarkos is 56.

Hatzimarkos justified his actions by saying he was on Chalki for business and was “informed that the vaccination process of the island residents has been completed and there were unused doses left, which … had to be used.” He said he “received the assurance that no resident of the island who wished to be vaccinated was left out.”

But the doctor in charge of the Chalki clinic, Athina Arvanitidou, said it wasn’t an impromptu decision at all and the governor’s name was on a list of those to be vaccinated for days before the jab was given.

Local opposition politicians said that at least two people were left unvaccinated on the island, as there were no jabs left, and accused the governor of “provocative behavior,” according to local Syriza lawmaker Nektarios Santorinios.

On Friday, the mayor of Thessaloniki, Konstantinos Zervas, called for the resignation of deputy mayor Dimitra Akritidou and the president of the city’s municipal council Drossos Tsavlis, after it was revealed that they helped some 24 people get vaccinated by jumping the queue. The two were suspended by New Democracy.

The opposition Syriza party said in a statement the the ruling party had “reached the point of illegally vaccinating 24 executives in Thessaloniki with vaccines intended for young children with disabilities.”

Back in December, the government faced a backlash from doctors and opposition parties after dozens of ministers and government officials were among the first to receive a jab, even before doctors and nurses. 

Some 45 officials were initially included in the government’s vaccination plan as “priority staff critical for the government functions.” The list was then extended to include some 126 government officials, without the rest of the names being revealed. After a strong reaction to photos of ministers and officials in their 40s and 50s posting so-called vaxxies (vaccination selfies), the list was cut back to 66 people.

It’s not just the vaccination priority list that seems to be a problem for politicians and their staff, but also the coronavirus restrictions.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has been under fire twice for disregarding lockdown rules. Earlier this month, during a visit to the island of Ikaria, videos and pictures showed him attending a gathering at the house of a local MP from the ruling New Democracy party, Christodoulos Stefanadis‬, who is a doctor. 

“Τhe image that was presented hurt the citizens and gave the wrong message about the purpose of the visit itself … I assure you, it will not happen again,” Mitsotakis said in a TV interview.

Mitsotakis was also accused of breaking lockdown rules in early December, when he went mountain biking with his wife in a forest near the Parnitha Mountain north of Athens and posed for photos with several passers-by — none of them wearing masks. 

Alexis Tsipras, leader of Syriza, was also criticized for giving his support to protests and rallies. In a recent newspaper interview, Tsipras was asked about planned protests against a controversial education bill and said: “Of course, I accept that there is a risk [of the virus spreading] and that is why I believe that it would be right for the government not to bring such bills that provoke significant social reactions during a state of emergency, amidst a pandemic.”

The communist KKE party has organized occasional mass gatherings since the first lockdown was imposed a year ago. On November 17, the anniversary of the 1973 student revolt against the military junta, some 1,500 party members gathered in central Athens, despite a strict ban on such gatherings. They were tear-gassed and several reported police harassment.

The powerful Orthodox Church is also a regular rule-breaker.

Priests tend to go maskless during services, as well as at the many important national events they attend. The ruling body of the Orthodox Church has stated that coronavirus cannot be transmitted through Holy Communion, and continues its tradition of handing out bread soaked in wine from the same chalice to the faithful. Doctors say that the virus can be transmitted through saliva but government ministers have repeatedly refused to comment.

Thousands of people attended celebrations for Saint Demetrios, the patron saint of Thessaloniki, on October 26. Weeks later the city was on red alert and remains one of the worst affected areas in the country.

On January 6 — Epiphany — the church ignored the national lockdown and opened thousands of churches for the celebration and told priests to defy government orders. The government relented and allowed limited attendance in churches.

“The church showed disobedience and the government showed tolerance,” said Metropolitan Athenagoras, spokesperson for the Holy Synod

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EasyJet And TUI 600 Percent Holiday Bookings Spain Greece Turkey

EasyJet And TUI 600 Percent Holiday Bookings Spain Greece Turkey

EasyJet And TUI Report 600 Percent Overnight Demand For Holiday Bookings In Spain, Greece, And Turkey
EasyJet And TUI Report 600 Percent Overnight Demand Surge In Holiday Bookings For Spain, Greece, And Turkey. image: Pixabay

EasyJet And TUI Report 600 Percent Overnight Demand For Holiday Bookings In Spain, Greece, And Turkey.

ACCORDING to a report from The Express, package holiday and airline companies, EasyJet and TUI, have experienced massive demand for summer holidays in Spain, Greece and Turkey following Boris Johnson’s speech on his road map for recovery.

Tui said bookings for foreign trips jumped six-fold overnight with Greece, Spain and Turkey all in hot demand. Spain, in particular, has been the main destination for British holidaymakers for the last 30 years. Spain’s tourism industry is anxiously watching the situation and is desperate for the return of foreign visitors.

With opening restrictions and curfews still in place, thousands of businesses in Spain are on the edge of closure and all hopes are pinned on a summer season of tourists. Although trips abroad are not actually expected to be allowed until at least May, the pent up demand for summer holidays in the sun remains unabated.

Boris Johnson is said to considering the use of digital covid passes to allow free movement to pubs, restaurants and events and the PM is under great pressure to make a decision soon and has promised a review of so-called vaccine passports to try to facilitate the process.

With Greece, Israel and Cyprus now all agreeing on a vaccine passport, summer season tourism is back for those countries and hopefully, Europe will follow their lead in establishing free movement with vaccine passes.

Spain’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Reyes Maroto told local media: “Andalucía has lost more than 16 million tourists because of the virus. Immunity will allow us to restart the trips safely and to facilitate safe mobility in the vaccination passport together with the tourist corridors.”


Thank you for taking the time to read this news article “EasyJet And TUI Report 600 Percent Overnight For Holiday Bookings In Spain, Greece, And Turkey”. For more UK daily news, Spanish daily news and Global news stories, visit the Euro Weekly News home page.

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Greece issues COVID vaccine certificates to those who have had both doses

Greece issues COVID vaccine certificates to those who have had both doses

A few months before the tourist season kicks off, Greece has become one of the first countries in the European Union to issue digital COVID-19 vaccination certificates.

The aim is to facilitate travel, hoping that by the summer, a large part of the world”s population will have been vaccinated.

Kyriakos Pierrakakis, Minister of Digital Governance says he hopes that it will be adopted as a certificate at a pan-European level.

“The Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has already filed our proposal at a European level, which is, for the certificate to be used as a tool to facilitate, obviously not as a tool to discriminate.”

“The proposal focuses on border crossings,” he outlined. “We propose that when you cross the border to go to another country, to have of course the possibility to have a test and to be quarantined, but also, if you have been vaccinated, to have the opportunity to cross the border easily. A kind of fast lane inside the airports, if one has been vaccinated, to have the opportunity to go to a different lane from those who haven’t been vaccinated.”

The country’s rollout got underway last month, starting with frontline health care staff and residents of nursing homes.

The certificate will only be available to those who have received both doses of the vaccine. So far, that’s 2.2% of the population.

They are able to download documentation via the government website. The system went live on Friday morning, and by Monday 55,000 certificates had been issued.

For the time being, it will be used as a medical certificate, but it is hoping it will soon be used for international travel.

”Especially as far border crossings are concerned, we are very optimistic that this proposition will be adopted because if it doesn’t, we will face the absurd version, where someone that is vaccinated, still needs to get tested or quarantined – when these resources can be used better for other citizens, ” added Pierrakakis.

Greece’s know-how in relation to these certificates has piqued the interest of other member countries, especially regarding how bilateral agreements could work in the near future.

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Accusations of sexual harassment rock arts world in Greece

Accusations of sexual harassment rock arts world in Greece

A month after Greek Olympic sailing champion Sofia Bekatorou’s publicly disclosed allegations that she was sexually assaulted by a former sports official 23 years ago, the floodgates appear to have opened in the country for similar claims.

As Greece’s prosecutors investigate an increasing number of such allegations and sexual harassment has become a part of the public discourse, the authorities have pledged to take action and bring justice to the victims.

“Exactly 65 years ago, on Feb. 19, 1956, women in our country voted for the first time,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis recalled during a meeting with President Katerina Sakellaropoulou on Friday. “Today, the country has the first female president and last month a veil of silence has broken with the shocking revelations in the context of the #MeToo movement.”

“Courts must punish the perpetrators of such incidents, and we must make sure that we have the right framework to avoid such abuses as much as possible,” he said on Greek national broadcaster ERT.

“Abuse of power, violence — verbal and physical — whether in the workplace, at schools, in personal or family relationships, cannot be tolerated. We have a duty to support these people, protect their dignity and bring justice,” Sakellaropoulou stressed, noting that an acute problem that has existed for years is now revealed with intensity.

Sixty-five percent of women in Greece said they had suffered sexual harassment, according to a survey released a few days ago by the Prorata polling firm. In the same survey, 87 percent of respondents said it was not easy for victims to find justice.

According to experts, this is one of the reasons why such cases remain underreported and do not reach the courts. Bekatorou as well as other women who spoke out lately said they feared they would not be heard.

Greek officials have pledged that all allegations will be fully investigated, urging the victims to speak out.

Bekatorou, 43, spoke during an online event organized by the Greek Culture and Sports Ministry on Jan. 14.

“I will share with you an experience that was disturbing for me and has marked my life,” she said. “In order to protect the health and safety of other youngsters, I have decided to talk openly, even if with a delay.”

She revealed that an official of the Hellenic Sailing Federation sexually assaulted her in 1998 during training for the Sydney Olympics. The official denied the claim but was forced to quit his post within a few days.

Bekatorou’s case will not reach the courts, as the 15-year statute of limitations has already expired.

However, she inspired dozens of women and men to talk about their experiences of abuse in sports, culture, science, the media, universities and other sectors.

Victims have spoken out in newspapers and on social media, filed complaints and several accused perpetrators have already been removed from their posts and are now facing probes.

In one case, a former sailing coach was arrested on charges of sexual abuse of a junior athlete between 2010 and 2013.

In the arts world, the Hellenic Actors’ Union said that within a few weeks it had received over 1,000 complaints filed by female and male artists. The accused perpetrators – many of them publicly identified — included at least five prominent actors and directors. One had also served as deputy minister in a government a few years ago.

They have all denied the allegations, threatening to sue their accusers.

In one of these cases, Dimitris Lignadis resigned from his post as artistic director of the National Theater on Feb. 6. A male actor publicly alleged that Lignadis had sexually abused him when he was a minor and submitted a formal complaint to the judicial authorities.

“Lignadis deceived us, deceived me,” Culture and Sports Minister Lina Mendoni told an online press conference on Friday. “He was trying to persuade us that he was not involved in any of these incidents by staging a theatrical performance.”

The minister said that she had also submitted a complaint to the Supreme Court prosecutor asking for a thorough investigation of the alleged abuses that had occurred in the theater.

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Heavy snowstorm in Greece leaves thousands without electricity

Heavy snowstorm in Greece leaves thousands without electricity

Tens of thousands of households have been left with no electricity in the suburbs of Athens.

The dense snowfall that hit the area has caused huge problems with thousands of fallen trees and a power blackout that lasted for more than 48 hours.

The Army, national electricity company staff and hundreds of firefighters have been deployed to the most affected areas.

Watch Euronews’s full report in the player above.

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Cold, coup, Koh, and COVID-19 trial – International

Cold, coup, Koh, and COVID-19 trial – International

MEXICO looks like Canada, and the winter storm that devastated the Texas power grid has caused blackouts in northern Mexico and cut natural gas exports south of the border by 25 percent.

GREECE: Thousands of homes in northern Athens are also without power as heavy snow has blanketed the Acropolis and halted COVID-19 vaccinations.

SYRIA: Snow across the Middle East has grounded warplanes in Syria and left at least two Syrian refugees in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley dead. Much of the region lacks power and heat, and temperatures hover between 20 and 30 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s why you can’t cry in Damascus when it snows.

MYANMAR: A record number of protesters have turned out today in opposition to a Feb. 1 military takeover, determined not to back down despite the threats. In Karen state to the north, the army has continued attacks on ethnic minorities, dropping overnight mortar rounds (according to a report from Free Burma Rangers), blocking aid, and forcing more than 5,000 people to flee their homes.

MALAYSIA: It’s been four years since the abduction of Pastor Raymond Koh outside Kuala Lumpur, and family members report little progress as they await a trial date for a civil suit filed in the case.

GUINEA has declared a new Ebola epidemic.

UNITED STATES: Fallout overseas continues after Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) released a report last week finding extensive evidence of sexual misconduct—including sexual assault—by the global apologist who died last year.

  • Its U.K. ministry offshoot, Zacharias Trust, announced it was severing all ties with RZIM and changing its name. The Trust also runs the Zacharias-founded Oxford Center for Christian Apologetics.
  • HarperCollins announced it was pulling all of Zacharias’ books.
  • In Australia, former RZIM head Dan Paterson said he regrets he didn’t “push harder against the tides of submissive loyalty to demand better answers earlier.”
  • Several RZIM leaders overseas severed ties with the organization after an initial report confirmed sexual misconduct allegations in December. Overseas RZIM continues to operate Wellspring International.

BRITAIN: A London hospital will host the world’s first “human challenge trials,” which pay healthy volunteers to be infected with COVID-19 as a way to measure the long-term effectiveness of treatments and recovery.

FRANCE: French experts are combing the country’s forests for centuries-old oaks to rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral spire.

LENTEN devotional starting today here.

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Ancient monuments covered by rare heavy snow in central Athens

Ancient monuments covered by rare heavy snow in central Athens

Rare heavy snow covered Athens on Tuesday morning as part of a cold weather front that has hit Greece since Friday, sending temperatures plunging from the low 20s (Celsius, or around 70 degrees Fahrenheit) on Friday to well below freezing.

Authorities appealed to the public to restrict their movements outside to the essential only, while the main highway leading north out of the capital was shut due to snowfall.

Heavy snowfall was predicted for central, southern and eastern Greece, including on the southern island of Crete.

While snow is common in Greece’s north and its mountains during the winter, it is rare on the islands and in the centre of the capital.

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Greece seeks Gulf allies over tension with Turkey

Greece seeks Gulf allies over tension with Turkey

Foreign ministers and senior officials from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates were meeting with foreign ministers from Greece, Cyprus and Egypt in Athens on Thursday, as Greece seeks to expand alliances to counter tension with Turkey, AP reported. French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian joined online. Nato members Greece and Turkey are locked in a dispute over boundaries and offshore resource rights in the Mediterranean.

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Greece reopens embassy in Tripoli

Greece reopens embassy in Tripoli

Greece’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday announced it is immediately reopening its embassy in Libya’s capital, Tripoli and a consulate in Benghazi.

The announcement came a day after UN sponsored talks led to a new interim government for Libya, headed by the President-elect of the Presidential Council (PC), Mohammad Menfi.

“In light of yesterday’s developments – and specifically the election of the interim President of the Presidency Council, Mohammad Menfi, its Members and the Prime Minister of Libya by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum – by decision of Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias, the Greek Embassy in Tripoli will reopen,” the Greek Foreign Ministry said in a statement. 

“In parallel, the necessary procedures will be undertaken to open a Consulate General of Greece in Benghazi,” the statement further reads. 

Reacting to the election results, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis congratulated the new leadership and stressed that “all actors should support the process towards democratic and free elections in December,” reacting to the election results”.

Menfi served for many years as Libya’s ambassador to Greece, however he was expelled in December 2019, after the Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez-al-Sarraj signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Turkey on maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean Sea. 

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