Air-conditioned spaces for the public - Athens Municipal interactive map

Athens Greece Aerial View

Greece and the economic crisis

July 27, 2017

EU announces new emergency support for Greek refugee crisis - The Republic

"The Commission said the new funding more than doubles the emergency support extended to Greece for the refugee crisis, bringing it to a total of 401 million euros. The rental project is in cooperation with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and will provide 22,000 rental places with the aim of increasing the number of refugees living in rented apartments to 30,000 by the end of the year, including 2,000 places on Greek islands."

What does the new POS Circular say? -

"The Ministry of Finance proceeded to clarify the need to install POS for card transactions until the end of the deadline for a number of categories of professions.

The fine for not installing POS is € 1,500, but it is reduced by half if paid within 30 days of its notification or if an invoice proving the acquisition of the device is presented within 30 days of the audit."

Major Bitcoin trading site in limbo as Greece arrests Russian man on US charges of laundering $4bn - RT.Com

"Vinnik was arrested in the resort area of Halkidiki, near the city of Thessaloniki in northern Greece, with two laptops, five tablets and multiple mobile phones found in his hotel room, Bloomberg reported.

He appeared before a prosecutor, with the US lodging an extradition request, which could be considered within the next two months. While the exact charges remain unknown, a US source told Bloomberg that the entrepreneur was wanted for operating “a website that carried out Bitcoin conversions for proceeds from online hacking ransom, drug running, identity theft and tax violations.”

SETE calls for zoning plan for tourism - eKathimerini

The latest study by the Institute of the Greek Tourism Confederation argues that the country will not achieve the conditions required for the implementation of tourism investments without the immediate restoration of trust between the state and enterprises in the sector.

A key condition for that is the creation of an investor-friendly environment, which necessitates stability in the tax framework and the creation of appropriate zoning plans through an efficient special blueprint for tourism and sustainable growth.

Lycabettus in Athens Greece

July 26, 2017

Greece arrests Russian suspected of running $4 billion bitcoin laundering ring - Reuters

"Police did not name the 38-year-old, who was arrested in the northern Greek region of Chalkidiki on Monday on a U.S. warrant. He is suspected of heading a criminal organization since 2011 that "owns, operates and manages one of the world's leading e-crime websites", police said in a statement."

More Coverage:

Greece Detains Russian Alexander Vinnik for Bitcoin 'Fraud' - New York Times

Official data show refugees, migrants in Greece at 62,407 - Parikiaki

"The five Aegean islands hosting facilities are currently home of 15,222 asylum seekers and migrants, the majority of which are on Lesvos: 4,725 at the official state-run facility that has a total capacity for 3,500 and 188 at other centers. Chios is hosting 3,503 individuals, when it has an official capacity for 1,100, Samos’s facilities for 850 people have to cope with 2,414 and Kos is also stretched with 1,830 people living in a camp designed for 1,000, as well another 1,048 people staying at other facilities. Only Leros has manageable numbers, with 865 refugees and migrants staying at a camp for 1,000 people, as well as an additional 160 individuals in other facilities."

July 25, 2017

Greece raises €3bn in first bond sale for three years - Financial Times

"Deal marks growing confidence in recovery and is a step nearer to ending bailout programme

The country has raised €3bn with a new five-year bond, of which around half came from existing investors in its 2019 debt who agreed to swap their holdings for a slice of the new issue.

They were paid 102.6 cents on the euro — amounting to a €40m premium — for doing so. The notes were trading as low as 90 cents as recently as February.

The bond was priced a yield of 4.625 per cent, tighter than the initial guidance from bankers of about 4.8 per cent."

Greece on right reform path, but needs to keep 'pedalling': Moscovici - NY Daily

"Moscovici, who was visiting Athens, said the crisis-hit country was at a crucial juncture and urged Greece to keep up economic reforms.

"To legislate a reform is positive but to implement it is more significant," he told reporters.

He also said he was confident Greece could return to bond markets at "logical yields".

"Returning to the markets is an important first step," Moscovici told reporters. "

Banks discern many benefits in Greece's new bond issue- eKathimerini

"Domestic lenders expect to absorb some 1 billion euros from Greece’s first bond issue since 2014. The banks will swap paper maturing in 2019 for the new issue, a move set to fetch certain capital gains given the difference in interest rates and the maturity period. Besides the swap, local banks also intend to proceed with a slight increase in their Greek bond holdings.

Bank officials told Kathimerini that the country’s return to the markets constitutes a major step toward restoring normalcy."

July 24, 2017

Greece launches first bond sale since 2014 - UK Guardian

"Greece’s offer to buy back some of its existing five-year bonds is good news for investors.

Anyone who bought the debt last year, when they traded below their face value, can now sell them back for a profit:

Greece Bond

More Coverage:

Greece attempts bond comeback after 3-year absence - MSN

Greece announces new 5-year bond issue after 3-year market exile - Reuters

Goldman Sachs and HSBC are among 6 banks advising Greece on its first bond issue since 2014 - Business Insider

"The €4bn 4.75% 2019 bonds have been trading at a record low yield, bid below 3.5% according to Thomson Reuters prices, making it an opportune time for the country to issue its first deal since 2014.

Greece has a total debt pile of €325bn, according to Thursday's sustainability analysis from the IMF."

Inside of the Acropolis Museum in Athens Greece

July 23, 2017

Greece and Turkey struggle in aftermath of quake that killed two UK Guardian

"The 6.7-magnitude quake left hundreds more injured in the Turkish resort of Bodrum, about 12 miles (20km) across the sea from Kos. Tourists have faced flight delays and the damaged main harbour was closed for a second day.

“Given the amount of people outside at the time, having only two victims is a miracle,” said the deputy Kos mayor, David Yerasklis.

The undersea quake struck at 1.31am on Friday between Kos and Bodrum, when many tourists in both places had been out enjoying the nightlife."

IMF: Greece Must Implement Measures in 2019 and Countermeasures in 2023

"According to the Fund, countermeasures (1% of GDP from social spending in 2019 and 1% from tax cuts in 2020) should be expected to apply from 2023 onwards.

The IMF report says that the high levels of non-performing loans in Greek banks and the weak quality of their funds represent a serious risk to the sustainability of public debt. The 10-billion-euro cushion for the recapitalization of banks may not be sufficient. For this reason, it proposes to carry out an assessment of their assets before the end of the program in order to identify in due time the impact that any additional capital needs may have on the sustainability of sovereign debt."

July 22, 2017

Residents, tourists in Greece sleep outdoors after quake - Bozeman Daily Chronicle

"Residents and tourists were too afraid to return to their homes and hotels, camping out instead in parks and olive groves, or slumbering in their cars or on lounge chairs.

The most seriously injured in Greece were airlifted to hospitals on the mainland and the southern island of Crete, and at least two were listed in critical condition Saturday."

Eurobasket U20 Final Prediction: Israel vs Greece - bangthebook

"Israel are perfect so far in the competition, finishing the group phase with a 3-0 record and placing first in Group C. In the first round of the playoffs they eliminated Iceland with a 74-54 score and in the semifinals they eliminated France with a 74-52 score...

Greece are perfect so far in the competition, finishing the group phase with a 3-0 record and placing first in Group A. In the first round of the playoffs they eliminated Lithuania with a 76-72 score and in the semifinals they eliminated Spain with a 77-56 score..."

UN’s Eide in Cyprus on Monday amidst criticism - Protothema

"One day earlier, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said in Nicosia that Eide had not prepared satisfactory the failed UN-brokered Conference on Cyprus in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, earlier this month."

July 21, 2017

EU offers post-quake help to Greece - FOX

"The EU is offering emergency equipment, personnel and satellite imagery to help Greece deal with the aftermath of the overnight earthquake.

The bloc's commissioner for humanitarian aid, Christos Stylianides, offered condolences and said "the EU offers its full support" after Friday's quake that killed two people on the island of Kos. The quake, which also struck the shores of nearby Turkey, injured some 200 people."

Aegean Sea Earthquake Rocks Greece, Turkey Resorts - NBC

"The quake struck about 6.2 miles south-southeast of Bodrum but most of the damage was recorded on Kos, which is southwest of Turkey's southeastern coast, according to the Associated Press.

...Greece's deputy minister of shipping and island policy said on state TV that most of the injuries are believed to be minor. The temblor has prompted a warning to avoid beaches.

... "I saw everything shake. We really felt it. Everyone is in fear and out on the street," Elif Bereketli, 30, a journalist who was in Aydin province in Turkey, told NBC News by phone."

Earthquake rocks Greece and Turkey: Two dead on Kos as hundreds of tourists hurt amid tsunami - UK Telegraph

"At least two tourists have been killed and more than 500 others injured after a powerful earthquake shook the Greek Islands and Turkish coast, triggering a small tsunami.

The 6.7-magnitude quake struck in the Aegean Sea on Thursday night south of the Turkish city of Bodrum and east of the small Greek island of Kos - both areas popular with British holidaymakers.

It sent a building crashing down on tourists at a bar in the Old Town of the main port on Kos, killing two men - a 27-year-old from Sweden and a 39-year-old from Turkey - and injuring scores of others in scenes of panic."

Quake Kills Two in Greece, Injures 120, Some Critically - WSJ

Turkey and Greece hit by strong earthquake: two dead and 200 injured – as it happened - UK Guardian

July 20, 2017

IMF Board Set to Approve Greece’s Latest Bailout - WSJ

"A new cap on debt in the International Monetary Fund’s latest Greek bailout due to be approved later Thursday keeps pressure on Europe to deliver debt relief and prevents Athens from raising fresh cash in the markets anytime soon.

The IMF’s board is set to green light Greece’s bailout, but only “in principle,” since it still considers the country’s debt is “unsustainable” without significant debt relief by Athens’ European..."

Greece waiting for 'right moment' for bond market return - nwitimes

"Greece lost market access due to high interest rates in 2010 and briefly returned with a 2014 bond issue before seeking additional bailout money the following year.

The current bailout program, funded by other eurozone members and monitored with help from the International Monetary Fund, ends in one year."

More Coverage:

Any market foray should be first step to full return, gov't says - eKathimerini

Greece's return to the bond market should be done in a 'lasting way': ECB president Draghi - MSN

Greece Explores Market Return After Three Years' Exile Under Lenders' Watch - US News

Greece's Trainose sale to happen next week and OLTH to wait - Tornos

"Greek state sell-off fund TAIPED is said to have received a few days ago a response from Trainose’s prospective buyer, Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, on the final touches to the transaction contract, including a provision that the public service subsidy will not exceed 50 million euros per year including value-added tax. "

July 19, 2017

A fourth bailout for Greece may yet be needed - Capital GR

"...the economy of Greece is again showing tentative signs of recovery. Arise in the manufacturing PMI to above the “no change” level of 50 suggests that GDP probably just about expanded again in Q2, after a 0.4% y/y rise in Q1. What’s more, some success in fiscal consolidation has caused the EC to recommend the termination of Greece’s Excessive Deficit Procedure.

This has all resulted in an encouraging drop in government borrowing costs, with the ten-year yield now at 5.3%. Accordingly, there is speculation that the Government will soon try returning to financial markets, starting with a five-year debt issue."

More coverage:

Goldman Sachs: Unlikely direct integration into QE, likely a fourth program - Naftemporiki

35 arrested in migrant camp clashes - SF Gate

"Clashes have broken out for the second time in eight days at a crowded migrant camp on the Greek island of Lesbos.

Authorities said 35 migrants were arrested Tuesday for public disturbance offences, after police used tear gas against stone throwing protesters at the Moria camp. "

Yes, Greece Can - Bloomberg

"The Hellenic Republic had been laying the groundwork to issue as much as 4 billion euros ($4.6 billion) in five-year bonds after repaying 6 billion euros of its existing debt this week. But the funds to pay down that debt came from the European Stability Mechanism, so Greece's overall debt hasn't been reduced, simply extended.

...Another option would be to allow some of Greece's 15 billion euros of debt that matures in a year or less to mature without being replaced with new debt."

Greece to Chair OECD High Level Meeting on Tourism Policies for Sustainable Growth -

"This is the first time Greece will chair the OECD’s tourism committee’s meeting. “This is a result of the efforts made to upgrade Greece’s international presence and establish closer relations between the tourism ministry and the OECD in the field of tourism,” the tourism ministry said an announcement on Wednesday. "

Light earthquake: M4.1 quake has struck near Crete, Greece - earthquakenewstoday

"Event epicenter was 59 km (37 miles) from Irákleion (c. 137 200 pop), 49 km (30 miles) from Chaniá (c. 54 600 pop), 9 km (5 miles) from Rethymno (c. 29 900 pop), 61 km (38 miles) from Néa Alikarnassós (c. 11 900 pop), 52 km (32 miles) from Gázi (c. 9 700 pop), 74 km (46 miles) from Goúvai (c. 7 800 pop). Country/countries that might be effected, Greece (c. 11 000 000 pop). Closest city/cities or villages, with min 5000 pop, to hypocenter/epicentrum was Goúvai, Néa Alikarnassós, Irákleion."

Government skyrockets prices with levy 2%-6% on computers, tablets, smartphones and cameras - Keeptalkinggreece

"The new tax, the so-called “tablet levy” of 2% will be imposed on any appliance with a RAM memory exceeding 4GB.

A levy of 6% will be imposed on devices recording image and sound as well as electronic storing discs of more than 1Tetrabyte (TB).

A levy of 4% will be imposed on photocopy machines, scanners, photocopy paper and hard disc of up to 1 TB."


Hydra Island

July 18, 2017

Piraeus Bank Races to Reach ECB Target for Reducing Bad Loans - Bloomberg

"CEO Christos Megalou must offload 4 billion euros ($4.6 billion) in bad loans by the end of the year under a restructuring plan worked out with the European Central Bank’s supervisory arm months before he took over at the largest Greek lender.

"There is a decision of this management to accelerate the implementation of the restructuring plan in order to pay back state aid as soon as possible," Megalou said in an interview at the bank’s headquarters in Athens...

Greece aims to sell bonds for first time since 2014 - Financial Times

"Greece is looking to sell government bonds for the first time in three years in the latest sign of investor willingness to forget the past problems of former pariah sovereign borrowers.

...Since the 2010 eurozone debt crisis Greece has raised new debt only twice, in 2014, issuing €4.5bn of bonds at three- and five-year maturities."

Making Greece a medical tourism destination - Neos Kosmos

"...This prospect was discussed when Bill Papastergiadis met with the Mayor of Maroussi Giorgos Patoulis, who is also chair of two significant Greek institutions: the Athens Medical Association and the Central Union of Greek Municipalities. They were not alone.

Also present was Philip Dalidakis, Victoria's Minister for Small Business, as well as the vice president of the International Institute of Greek Doctors, Konstantinos Pantos. The meeting was about the upcoming medical tourism convention, in Melbourne on 25 and 26 November 2017 for business operators, academics, medical experts, and tourism professionals. For Greek Australian doctors, this is a unique opportunity for Greece to strengthen its position as a medical tourism destination, something that will be beneficial to both the medical sector and local communities around the country."

Record high number of insured vehicles - eKathimineri

"According to data from insurance companies, the number of insured vehicles has reached 6.2 million, the highest in the last few years at least, up from 5.6 million in end-2016.

The same data also reveal that the majority of newly insured vehicles are motorbikes..."

July 17, 2017

Draft law in the works for developing seaplane bases across Greece - Tornos

"Four years and three months after a law was passed regarding strategic and private investments to accelerate licensing for seaplane bases in Greece, this market remains on paper.

Nevertheless, government sources say that in the coming months the final draft of the bill regarding seaplane airports will be tabled in Parliament."

Bill pledging wage hikes and jobs under scrutiny by creditors - eKathimerini

"A European Commission official indicated over the weekend that Greece’s lenders are aware of some aspects of the new bill but intend to assess it in its entirety.

Government officials had initially indicated that the bill would regulate the situation with local authority workers, thousands of whom have been employed on renewable short-term contracts for years."

Can Greece Become Global Maritime Capital? - marinelink

"...The study gauging the views and forecasts of 779 Greek shipping executives revealed that the most attractive and comprehensive framework among shipping hubs or “clusters” today is Piraeus, Greece’s biggest port.

The executives believe that its enhancement would strengthen their business – in spite of the the growing attractiveness of competing maritime centers."

July 15, 2017

Suspect in killing of American in Greece claims innocence: 'Wrong place at the wrong time' - Fox News

Video Report and Article

"...Nenad Javanovic, a 22-year-old Serb, claims he did not take part in the fight that killed Bakari Henderson, also 22, in Zakinthos' rowdy tourist district of Lagana on July 7.

He told Serbian media that he was “at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

More Coverage:

Suspect in beating death of US tourist in Greece is jailed - Washington Post

Greece hands Cyprus secret files on 1974 coup - Financial Times

"...Three rooms under Greece’s foreign ministry have contained the 21,000 pages of the “Cyprus File”, documenting the chain of events that led to the coup by the then military regime in Athens against Archbishop Makarios, the island’s leader. The coup prompted a Turkish invasion of Cyprus days later, leading to the division of the island that has subsequently haunted regional politics, while it also sparked the collapse of military rule in Greece."

Turkey Still Awaits Greece’s Decision for the Extradition of Eight Turkish Officers, Ambassador Cevik Says - Greek Reporter

"...Speaking to both Greek and foreign correspondents, Cevik said the attempted coup was led exclusively by “Fethullah Gulen’s terrorist organisation FETO” and by Turkish military officers, using this opportunity to refer to those that had fled to Greece.

“Eight putschists fled to Greece in a helicopter on the morning of July 16. Greece condemned the attempted coup, expressed its solidarity and said that the putschists were not wanted in Greece,” he said, noting Turkey’s appreciation for Greece’s stance."

Admin. Reconstruction Min Gerovassili expresses optimism over solution at Thursday's Eurogroup - Athens News Agency

Administrative Reconstruction Minister Olga Gerovassili estimated on Monday that a solution will be reached on Thursday "that will reflect a new positive step forward for Greece" speaking to Flash radio.

Epicurus Greece Travel

Travels with Epicurus: A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life

Rick Steves Athens and Peloponnese Guide Book

Rick Steves Greece: Athens & the Peloponnese

Amazon 2016 Lonely Planet Guide Greece

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