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Meteora Monastery on mountain top
View of monastery at Meteora mountains in Thesselly View Enlargement

March 25, 2011

Independence Day in Greece 2011

Theodore Colocontranes 1770-1843

For an interesting look at one part of the Greek war of independence from the Ottomans, read this brief biographical portrait about Greek rebel leader Theodore Colocontranes online.

Papaconstantinou "There is no class war in Greece"
Permanent bailout fund on the way for Europe - ESM European Stability Mechanism

March 24, 2011

Unemployment in Greece could go to 16.5% in 2011

Anniversary of 1822 war of independence

President Karalos Papoulias statement addressing the anniversary of the war of independence from the Ottoman Empire:

"President of the Republic Karalos Papoulias called for the unity of Hellenism to overcome today's challenges and for Greece to succeed in overcoming the economic crisis, in a message to Greeks abroad issued on Tuesday for Friday's March 25 national holiday."

President Obama signs proclamation recognizing Greek Independence Day Anniversary

The statement of proclamation is available to be read at

Greek cooperation with the American effort in the Libyan / NATO fight

From the opinion piece by Nick Larigakis, President of the American Hellenic Institute:

"With respect to the revolt in Libya, Greece is aiding with the evacuation of Egyptians stranded at the Tunisian-Libyan border and has helped more than 13,000 Chinese nationals evacuate to Crete. Of significance to the United States, the Associated Press reported on March 3 that approximately 400 U.S. Marines arrived at the naval base at Souda Bay, Crete. They were joined the following day by two U.S. Navy amphibious assault ships, the USS Kearsarge and the USS Ponce. Together, the two ships carry 4,000 personnel, including 1,300 Marines. According to Greek news sources, the USS Kearsage is expected to lead the naval forces in case of military operations against Libya. "

Childhood obesity in Greece has ballooned alarmingly

From news article at Kathimerini (in Greek here) about research study by researchers at Harokopio University.

From a sample of 867,000 students from all over Greece tracked for a period of 13 years, four in ten children of primary school age are obese, An estimated half exercised very little or none at all. Some of the statistics:

  • The percentage of overweight children in the last 13 years increased approximately 30% (19.5% in 1997 - 26% in 2009) in urban and rural areas.
  • The percentage of obese children has increased more than 50% across the country (7.7% in 1997 - 11.8% in 2009) and is among the highest in Europe.
  • The aerobic fitness of schoolchildren in the last decade has fallen more than 5%. (This reductionof 5% increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by 150%).
  • Rise in obesity is directly linked to lack of exercise and poor diet. As seen from the survey many children in Greece fall into severe sedentary habits even before entering puberty.
  • Only 45% of the children played outside the house, defined as even a minimal amount of activity (this was linked to 90% being active at watching television each day during the week.)
  • Only 72% of boys and 56% of girls meet international recommendations for physical activity, whichis 60 minutes daily.

March 21, 2011

Greece participating in efforts to combat Qaddafi regime

Despite a sometimes closer association with Qaddafi in the past (specifically Greece under Andreas Papandreou who allowed Libyan agents in the 1980s to hunt for anti-Qaddafi Libyan dissidents in Athens) that cooperation is has entirely changed (source:

"Greece will open its airspace to warplanes operating from the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, enabling them to join the international campaign in Libya, a Greek military source said Tuesday.

The French carrier is expected at the island of Crete by Wednesday and will position itself in international waters, the general staff source told AFP.

"Greece will give the green light to French fighters operating from the aircraft carrier on this date," the source said.

The island of Crete is a strategic springboard for operations in Libya."

76% Drop in profitability declared by Alpha Bank

The number-three lending institution in Greece, Alpha Bank has declared a 76% drop in profits, indicators of the recession level that has truncated the Greek economy since the beginning of the economic crisis (source: Reuters):

"Alpha Bank (ACBr.AT), Greece's third-biggest lender, is expected to report a 76 percent drop in full-year 2010 net profit, as a deep recession at home curbed loan growth and led to higher loan-loss provisions."

Portugal debt crisis may bring government collapse

Often lumped in with Greece (along with Ireland), Portugal's debt crisis is on the verge of bringing down the current standing government under Prime Minister Jose Socrates Carvalho Pinto de Sousa, who is facing a wall of opposition from all of Portugal's political groups for trying to implement austerity measures in order to avoid a eurozone, Greece-style bailout. See yahoo news for more info.

Privatization program will yield income this summer, says Papaconstantinou

Report by Costas Paris and Alkman Granitsas at the Dow Jone News Service on the privatizing of various public businesses in Greece:

"Greece hopes to raise its first revenue from its ambitious EUR50 billion privatization program by this summer, Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou said Tuesday, and will announce the appointment of its first advisors as early as Wednesday.

"We may have the first income from privatizations in the summer," Papaconstantinou said, adding that the first phase of the program calls for EUR15 billion from privatizations in the next three years...

He said that by the last quarter of the year, Greece will have appointed all of its outside advisors for its privatization program.

...Among the first moves to be considered by the government's privatization committee Wednesday, are steps to privatize the national lottery; extend the privately-managed concession for the Athens International Airport; and sell-off the government's stake in Greece's natural gas monopoly DEPA.

Over the next three years, the government is also aiming to privatize a range of assets from the national railroad company, to regional airports and water companies, as well as better exploiting its vast land holdings--which has an estimated value of close to EUR300 billion."


March 20, 2011

Historical image: The Corinth Canal 1974

Corinth Canal 1974

Note the large Phoenix and Soldier emblem on the Corinth Bridge: The Colonels who seized power in 1967 used the image (which dates to 1822 as an emblem of Greece, though sans the soldier silhouette) extensively during their 6 year reign. Click to view a larger version of the photograph

Corfu island sunset in Greece on the Aegean
Sunset over Corfu View Enlargement

March 9, 2011

Unemployment goes to 14.8%; predictions of 20% raised

Hunger Strike Ends for Illegal Immigrant Group in Athens

New page about the Greek statistical authorities ELSTAT and GSS online here.

March 8, 2011

"Banks that brought down Greece"

March 7, 2011

Greece credit rating gets downgraded by MoodysTalk of default / Drachma rebirth heats back up

Related: The drachma

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