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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Leader, members of right-wing Greek part arrested

ATHENS -- Greek police arrested the leader, two lawmakers and party members from the far-right Golden Dawn party on Saturday, and charged one member with being an accomplice to the killing of an anti-fascist rapper, a police official said.

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Greek govt cracks down on neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, arrests leader

RTGreek govt cracks down on neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, arrests leaderRTGreek police have arrested the leader, several MPs and dozens of members of ultra-right Golden Dawn party on charges of leading a “criminal organization.” The party promised to respond with mass rallies of its supporters. Greek police issued arrest ...

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Athens-Volos in Three Hours

Starting 2016, passengers will need only three hours and 10 minutes (from four hours and 40 minutes now) to travel from Athens to Volos in central Greece and two hours and 10 minutes to travel from Thessaloniki to Volos, the Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) announced on September 27. According to OSE, the total project is […]

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Samaras Sees Stability Without Elections

Before heading to the United States on Sept. 28, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said in the wake of the roundup of members of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party – including its leader, spokesmen and lawmakers – that the legal system would take care of extremism and Greeks had no worry about turmoil. “Justice, stability […]

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EU Frets Over Greek Colleges

According to the Guardian, European academics, university workers, students and others, are calling on the EU and the Greek government to protect the status and staff of Greek universities, in order to ensure that they remain able to engage in education and research as well as to recognize that these institutions are more important now […]

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Troika’s Not Leaving Athens Yet

Envoys from Greece’s international lenders, the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) will stay in Athens until the end of September to take more time in a review of the books and to determine if the government is making enough progress before releasing more monies. Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said […]

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Greek Court Rules Against Illegal Buildings, Labor Scheme

The Greek government’s plans to allow people who built unlawful homes, including on protected property, to keep them if they paid a penalty has been undermined by a ruling from the country’s highest court, the Council of State, that the legislation is unconstitutional. It was unclear yet whether the buildings would have to be demolished […]

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Greek Neo-Nazi Party Arrests Follow High-Profile Murder

Greek police arrested the leader of the neo-fascist Golden Dawn party Saturday on charges of establishing a criminal organization. The police also issued warrants for more than 30 party members — including six members of parliament — on ...

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Oliveira wins in Greece

Portuguese runner Joao Oliveira won the 245.3-kilometer historic ultramarathon Spartathlon race on Saturday clocking 23 hours, 29 minutes and 8 seconds.The race traces the classical route of Pheidippides, an Athenian messenger sent to Sparta in 490 BC to seek help against the Persians in the Battle of Marathon.The Spartathlon is one of the world's most difficult long-distance races. The race ...

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Sochi Flame Lighting Trial In Greece OK

ANCIENT OLYMPIA, Greece (AP) ? Using the sun's rays at the birthplace of the ancient Olympics, organizers carried out a successful rehearsal on Sept. 28 to light the flame for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, before embarking on a massive relay that will carry the torch as far as outer space. Under clear skies, actresses dressed as ancient priestesses took part in the rehearsal at Ancient Olympia in southern Greece ? lighting the torch using a parabolic mirror. The flame will be kept in reserve for the actual ceremony to be held on Sept. 29.Thomas Bach, elected this month as the new President of the International Olympic Committee, will attend the ceremony. The Russian leg of the torch relay is set to cover 65,000 kilometers (40,390 miles) before the Feb. 7-23 Winter Games.

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Golden Dawn leader charged with heading a criminal gang

Nikos Michaloliakos appears in court after he is arrested along with key members of his Greek neo-fascist party

The leader of Greece's Golden Dawn, widely viewed as Europe's most violent political force, appeared in court on Saturday night on charges of heading a criminal gang after police mounted an unprecedented crackdown on the neo-fascist party, arresting Nikos Michaloliakos and other key members of his organisation.

After a high-stakes police operation in which anti-terrorism officers stormed the homes of Golden Dawn politicians across Athens, Michaloliakos and five of his MPs were seized. Fourteen other senior Golden Dawn activists were taken into custody accused of fomenting violence as members of a criminal organisation.

The prime minister, Antonis Samaras, held emergency talks with his public order and justice ministers after the raids. Emerging from the discussion, the justice minister, Charalambos Athanasiou, insisted that those who had been arrested will face "just justice".

"Justice has moved with decisiveness and transparency," he told reporters gathered outside the prime minister's city-centre office. "I want to say for all those who have been arrested, if they are sent to trial there will be just justice."

Authorities said 25 counter-terrorism units were trying to track down two other politicians almost nine hours after Michaloliakos was arrested in his Athens home at 7am. Greek media quoted the politician as telling police: "What you are doing is not right. The truth will shine," as he was taken into custody in handcuffs. Hundreds of Golden Dawn supporters, many wearing the party's de rigueur black T-shirts, gathered outside Athens's police headquarters spurred on by a text message reportedly sent by the party to "support our moral and just struggle against the corrupt system".

Michaloliakos and his chief lieutenant, the party's spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris, were inside the building as the supporters massed. Only on Friday, Kasidiaris, who became infamous with an assault on two female leftwing MPs during a live television debate last year, had openly joked that "we are here to hand ourselves in", as the party launched a lawsuit against Pasok, the junior leftwing party in Samaras's fragile coalition. Police officials said a number of weapons had also been discovered in the crackdown. Three unlicensed guns allegedly found in Michaloliakos's suburban home were to undergo ballistics tests, and tens of thousands of euros were also apparently found, the media reported.

Greece's third biggest party, Golden Dawn, has seen its popularity soar on the back of desperation and despair, becoming Europe's most extreme rightwing political force in the process. The group is accused of making violence its calling card, and human rights groups hold it responsible for hundreds of attacks on dark-skinned immigrants in the three years since the debt-stricken country plunged into crisis.

Since being elected to parliament for the first time in June last year with 7% of the popular vote, the party has been linked to a wave of violence directed mostly against migrants, gay people and leftists on Greece's increasingly fractious political scene. The fatal stabbing this month of Pavlos Fyssas, a hip-hop star popular among anti-fascists, prompted widespread outrage and galvanised the governing coalition into taking action.

Amid revelations that Golden Dawn had set up hit squads with the help of commandos in the special forces and openly colluded with the police, the authorities launched a far-reaching inquiry into the group's activities.

Two senior police generals resigned and several officers were suspended after allegations of links with the party. More than a dozen Golden Dawn members, including the 45-year-old man who confessed to murdering Fyssas, were rounded up.

Not since the collapse of military rule have MPs been arrested en masse. "This is without precedent in Greek political life," said a professor of constitutional law, Kostas Chrysogonos. "Authorities are acting within the law, but I also think it would have been constitutionally more correct if they had asked parliament to lift their [MPs'] political immunity first."

Even if the politicians are imprisoned pending trial, they will still retain their standing as MPs, experts said.

This week Kasidiaris told a TV show that "they can arrest us, they can put us in prison, but we will still be MPs. We are not going to go back even one step."

Although Samaras's shaky coalition has been applauded for its tough stance – with opinion polls showing a drop in support for Golden Dawn and a slight rise for his own conservative New Democracy party – there are fears that the crackdown could ultimately damage the government.

The opposition leader, Alexis Tsipras, of the radical left Syriza party, gave voice to those fears last week, saying the party should be confronted "within the law, not outside it".

Before the crackdown Golden Dawn was polling at around 15%, prompting it to boast it had "more than a million" supporters in the crisis-hit nation.

Earlier last week Michaloliakos had warned that he might withdraw his 18-strong parliamentary group from Greece's 300-seat parliament — a move that could unleash political instability in a country dependent on international rescue funds to survive.

The politician had also said that what he described as "mudslinging and slander" against his party would "open the gates of hell".

Golden Dawn partyGreeceThe far rightHelena Smiththeguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


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Greek far-right leader, other legislators arrested

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The leader of Greece's extreme-right Golden Dawn party and four other of its parliamentarians were formally charged Saturday with membership in a criminal organization with intent to commit crimes, in an escalation of a government crackdown after a fatal stabbing blamed on a supporter.


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Greece seeks to boost ties with Albania

In a bid to boost cooperation with neighboring Albania, Greek President Karolos Papoulias and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos will pay visits to Tirana in the coming weeks, it was reported Saturday. The recent election of Edi Rama as Albania’s premie... ...

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Golden Dawn head, MPs arrested in unprecedented Greek crackdown

In an unprecedented crackdown over the weekend, police arrested the leader of the ultra-right Golden Dawn, Nikos Michaloliakos, as well as several lawmakers and party officials following an investigation by a Supreme Court prosecutor into criminal activit... ...

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Debt-hit municipalities use tricks to stay afloat

In line with a decision by the union representing Greek municipalities, most mayors have chosen not to submit their draft budgets for next year to the Economic Observatory of the Local Authority Organizations (OTA), Kathimerini understands. A considerable... ...

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Agenda

MONDAY Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to dine with the American Jewish Committee in New York as part of his US trip. He will also meet with the CEOs of US listed firms, some of which have expressed investment interest in Greece, and with JP Morgan officia... ...

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Plan to boost Eurobank's capital by 1 bln euros

Greece's plan to return Eurobank to private ownership will see the country's fourth largest bank issue more than 1 billion euros of new stock to private investors, boosting its capital ratio, a source familiar with the transaction said late on Friday. Eur... ...

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Sochi Flame lit in Greek Rehearsal

Using the sun’s rays at the birthplace of the ancient Olympics, organizers carried out a successful rehearsal Saturday to light the flame for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Under clear skies, actresses dressed as ancient priestesses took part in the rehearsal Saturday at Ancient Olympia in southern Greece — lighting the torch using a parabolic […]

READ THE ORIGINAL POST AT greece.greekreporter.com

Illegal Guns in Michaloliakos’ Home

Three illegal guns (a pistol, a revolver and a shotgun) were found in Nikolaos Michaloliakos‘ home, and are to undergo ballistics tests, the media reported. Reportedly, the Golden Dawn leader does not possess a firearms license. Moreover, bullets and cartridges, 43,100 euros in cash, computers and a USB were also found in his house. Investigations […]

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Weak Support For Golden Dawn

What if Golden Dawn has pinned its hopes on “half a million supporters” stressed Nikolaos Michaloliakos. The supporters of the neo-fascist party gathered outside the police headquarters today after the arrests, are no more than a few dozen. They came in order to support their political leader, MP’s and Golden Dawn members who have been arrested. […]

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Golden Dawn arrests take Greece into uncharted waters

The crackdown on the far-right party will undoubtedly release new tensions on to an already poisoned political scene

Before his untimely death at the age of 34, Pavlos Fyssas was a hip-hop rapper popular on Greece's anti-fascist scene but little known beyond the frontiers of that music genre or the borders of the country itself. On the night of 17 September all that changed.

In lightning fashion, after becoming embroiled in a row over a soccer game beamed from the big screen of a cafe in a gritty working class Athenian suburb, Fyssas and his friends were set upon by thugs dressed in the combat pants and black T-shirts worn by supporters of the country's far-right Golden Dawn party.

Cornered by the mob, the bearded singer was soon lying in a pool of blood with stab wounds to his heart and chest.

Within minutes he had died. And within hours the killer, a self-professed member of Golden Dawn, had been arrested.

Murkiness may still surround the circumstances of the murder, but what Fyssas's death revealed, in sharp relief, was the depth of division within Greece. In an atmosphere made toxic by record levels of poverty, unemployment, desperation and despair, Greeks were soon describing the killing as a "political assassination" – the latest act in a string of attacks by a party bolstered by its seemingly runaway popularity in the polls.

Overnight, Fyssas had become a martyr – with the far-rightists deemed to have crossed a "red line" despite vehement protestations it had no connection with the crime. Amid public outrage, thousands took to the streets.

"Until then we had managed to be civilized about the differences between the left and the right that have run through our country since the [1946-49] civil war," said the political commentator Giorgos Kyrtsos. "With Fyssas's assassination, that line was crossed."

After months of tolerating a group that had brutalised society – spawning a climate of fear among immigrants, attacking gays, holding "Greek only" food handouts and coarsening political exchange with rants about "subhuman foreigners" in the Athens parliament – Antonis Samaras's fragile coalition finally took action.

And, when it did, it acted with an alacrity and determination that few might have envisaged. In the space of 10 days, Golden Dawn branches across the nation were raided and searched, members were arrested, weapons confiscated and sympathetic police officers removed from posts. In the early hours of Saturday came the next step: the arrest of five of the organisation's lawmakers, including its rabble-rousing leader, Nikos Michaloliakos, and 14 prominent cadres.

All 19 were due to appear late on Saturday before a public magistrate on charges of forming a criminal gang.

Not since the return of democracy after the collapse of military rule in 1974 has a party been so publicly hounded. The arrests will undoubtedly unleash new tensions on to a political scene already poisoned by profound disillusionment with an establishment widely blamed for the financial mess that has lead to the nation's economic and social meltdown.

Adding to the crippling sense of uncertainty hanging over Greeks, Michaloliakos himself pledged that the campaign against his party would "open the gates of hell" before his arrest at his home early on Saturday. As Golden Dawn supporters gathered outside the gargantuan central police headquarters in Athens on Saturday – blue and white Greek flags in hand underscoring their ultranationalist views – it remained unclear how the extremist organisation would react.

In recent months Europe had looked on horrified as the group, whose emblem resembles the swastika and whose politicians have openly applauded the policies of Adolf Hitler, has gone from strength to strength. Three years ago the far rightists won only 0.72% of the vote. In elections last year that support increased ten fold with the party winning just under 7% of the vote and 18 deputies in the 300-seat parliament on the back of deep disgruntlement over sweeping austerity measures.

The government, which had come under increasing pressure to clamp down on an organisation now viewed as the continent's most violent political force, has won plaudits for the decisiveness with which it has ultimately cracked down on the group. Polls have shown a sudden drop in support for Golden Dawn, with conservatives who had migrated to the far right in disgust with Samaras's own centre-right New Democracy party returning to the fold.

But the far rightists have also managed to retain their core support with successive polls this week showing that with at least 7% of the vote, the party still remained Greece's third biggest political force. If need be, Michaloliakos and his cadres have vowed to fight their corner from inside prison cells.

Many have voiced concerns that the crackdown could backfire. The government is wading into uncharted waters, constitutionally, with experts emphasising the impossibility of outlawing a party catapulted into parliament by democratic means.

Even if its MPs are found to be guilty they will still retain their political identity. Greeks are still haunted by the memory of the KKE communist party being outlawed for almost 30 years after the civil war.

"It may have been more correct constitutionally to have sought parliament's approval to lift their political immunity first," said the constitutional law professor Kostas Chrysogonos.

In a rare display of consensus on both the left and right, politicians have attributed Golden Dawn's meteoric rise to the relentless, internationally-mandated cutbacks Greeks have been subjected to since their debt-stricken country descended into crisis in late 2009. Far from having ideological appeal in a country that suffered one of the most brutal occupations between 1941-44 under Nazi rule, the far rightists have managed to capitalise on the deep sense of injustice and fury that has increasingly radicalised society.

"Golden Dawn's respirator is the memorandum," said Takis Pavlopoulos, a senior policymaker in the radical-left main opposition Syriza party, referring to the loan accord Athens has signed up to with its "troika" of creditors at the EU, ECB and IMF. "Its base is not ideological but one of desperate people. Once you abolish the memorandum, the party will wither away."

Without Greece being cut some slack by its foreign lenders – not least Germany which has paid the lion's share of its €240bn in rescue loans since 2010 but has made austerity the price – many fear the party will resurface under another name if it is ultimately banned.

Hopes abound that by exposing the inner workings of a group that has operated as a paramilitary force but until now has been shrouded in mystery, Greeks will gradually turn their backs on Golden Dawn.

"We are not saying to all those people who voted for them that they are Nazis or fascists," said Notis Marias, a senior figure in the rightwing opposition Independent Greeks party. "What we are saying is that they made a mistake and this is the time to correct it."

Golden Dawn partyGreeceThe far rightHelena Smiththeguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


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Authorities arrest neo-Nazi politicians in Greece

Authorities arrest neo-Nazi politicians in GreecePress TVRiot police officers clash with protesters in Greece's capital Athens on September 18, 2013 after the killing of Pavlos Fyssas, a leftist musician. Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:20AM. Share | Email | Print. Authorities in Greece have arrested Nikos Mihaloliakos ...

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A time for serious reflection

The ongoing crackdown on Golden Dawn, Greece’s neo-Nazi gang, is convincing: several MPs, including its leader, and senior party members have been arrested on charges of homicide, attempted homicide, money laundering, blackmail, grievous bodily harm, and ... ...

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Council of State rules first round of civil service mobility unconstitutional

Greece’s highest administrative court has deemed unconstitutional the first round of a reserve scheme for civil servants announced in 2011. The Council of State said that the scheme violates equality and meritocracy rights. Any such scheme, judges said, s... ...

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Police clear out Thessaloniki orphanage squat

Police in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Saturday detained 30 people trying to reoccupy the Orfanotrofio squat, a former orphanage in the district of Toumba. Earlier this month, seven squatters were arrested in a raid on the premises and charged with i... ...

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Is This How Our Ancestors Sounded? Linguist Recreates Proto-Indo-European Language (AUDIO)

What did our ancient ancestors sound like? Between approximately 4,500 and 2,500 B.C, the ancestors of much of Europe and Asia once spoke the same mother tongue, a language referred to as Proto-Indo-European, or PIE. Although there is no written record of such a language, linguist Dr. Andrew Byrd recently attempted to reconstruct his own recordings of PIE language for Archaeology magazine, building off three centuries' worth of scholarly work on the topic. Byrd is an expert in ancient Indo-European linguistics, focusing on phonology, and teaches at the University of Kentucky. For his recording, he edited and recited his own version of a reconstructed PIE fable known as "The Sheep and the Horses," as well as a version of a Sanskrit story called “The King and the God.” "The Sheep and the Horses" is an interesting case because it was actually written in 1868 by German linguist Dr. August Schleicher, who then translated the story into PIE as a way to experiment with the vocabulary, according to Archaeology. In an interview with The Huffington Post, Bryd said that his recording of "The Sheep and the Horses" was "an approximation" of what PIE originally sounded like and is largely based on our knowledge of the texts of ancient Indo-European languages, such as Latin, Greek and Sanskrit. Byrd's rendition of the "The Sheep and the Horses" largely derives from a text originally composed by a mentor, UCLA linguist Dr. H. Craig Melchert. That text in Proto-Indo-European, as reprinted from Archaeology, reads thus: Here is the passage translated into English:A sheep that had no wool saw horses, one of them pulling a heavy wagon, one carrying a big load, and one carrying a man quickly. The sheep said to the horses: "My heart pains me, seeing a man driving horses." The horses said: "Listen, sheep, our hearts pain us when we see this: a man, the master, makes the wool of the sheep into a warm garment for himself. And the sheep has no wool." Having heard this, the sheep fled into the plain. Although there is no way to create a definitive version of the language, Byrd told HuffPost that his pronunciation is "still a very educated approximation." "Languages differ on how they pattern their sounds together," Byrd explained. "And they use those sounds to create new words. Proto-Indo-European is very guttural." Somewhat surprised by the viral success of his recording, Byrd said he doubts that he will make any further recordings, in large part because he'd have to create another new narrative to translate. The researcher added, however, that the media attention has brought Indo-European linguistics into the mainstream somewhat, which is a good thing. Some of the many modern languages that stem from the Indo-European family include English, Swedish and Farsi. Byrd told HuffPost that this ancient connection is often forgotten in the context of today's geopolitical climate. "Farsi and English were 6,500 years ago the same language," he said. "That's pretty cool, and it kind of gives you a sense of unity." Because of the lack of available information, PIE can be a controversial topic among researchers. Byrd believes PIE was probably spoken on the Eurasian steppes around 6,500 years ago; but, he added, other researchers believe it was spoken several thousand years earlier in Turkey. Asked what it would take to create a completely definitive PIE recording, Byrd just laughed. "A time machine?" he mused.

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Sochi Olympics Flame Lighting Rehearsal Successful At Ancient Olympia (PHOTOS)

ANCIENT OLYMPIA, Greece -- Using the sun's rays at the birthplace of the ancient Olympics, organizers carried out a successful rehearsal Saturday to light the flame for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Under clear skies, actresses dressed as ancient priestesses took part in the rehearsal Saturday at Ancient Olympia in southern Greece – lighting the torch using a parabolic mirror. The flame will be kept in reserve for the actual ceremony to be held Sunday. Thomas Bach, elected this month as the new president of the International Olympic Committee, was present at the events. The Russian leg of the torch relay is set to cover 65,000 kilometers (40,390 miles) before the Feb. 7-23 Winter Games.

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Leaders of far-right Golden Dawn party held in Greece

Golden Dawn party on Saturday after the killing of an anti-fascist rapper by a party supporter triggered outrage and protests across the country. The party's leader Nikolaos Mihaloliakos, spokesman Ilias Kassidiaris, two other lawmakers and 10 members were arrested on charges of founding a criminal organisation. They are due to appear in court this weekend to be charged formally. Police ...

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Potential lay-offs at Nemea spark response from head archaeologist

By Alex Clapp The possible dismissal of seven temporary guards from the archaeological site of Ancient Nemea as part of government plans to streamline the Greek civil service, may force the closure of the site, Dr. Stephen G. Miller, director of Nemea excavations, has warned.In an open letter addressed to the general public recently, Miller lamented the consequences of such a decision, citing ...

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Four members of Parliament arrested in Greek crackdown on extremism

ATHENS, Greece, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Four members of Parliament are among 14 members of a far-right political party arrested Saturday in a government crackdown on extremism, Greek police say.

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Greek far-right party leader, members arrested

Athens, Sep 28 (IANS) Greek far-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) party leader Nikos Michaloliakos and several party members were arrested Saturday on charges of forming a criminal organisation.

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Greece nominates new privatisation agency chief, third in seven months

Greece nominates new privatisation agency chief, third in seven monthsReuters UKATHENS (Reuters) - Greece has nominated a new chairman to take over at its privatisation agency after the dismissal of its previous head last month, the finance ministry said on Saturday. Constantine Maniatopoulos was named to head privatisation agency ...

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Police in Greece arrest leaders of extreme right-wing political party on charges of forming a criminal organization

Golden Dawn party leader Nikos Mihaloliakos, seen here in May 2012, was arrested as part of a crackdown on the country's extreme-right party. (Petros Giannakourism/Associated ...

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Leader of Greece's far-right Golden Dawn party arrested over stabbing of rapper that sparked violent street protests in Athens

The party's leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos and spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris were arrested today in connection with the stabbing of Pavlos Fissas on September 17

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Troika staying on till the end of the month

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said on Saturday that the representatives of the country’s creditors will be staying on for a few more days to continue talks with the Greek government on the implementation of the adjustment program. On his way out of t... ...

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Golden Dawn Crackdown Gets World’s Attention

News of the arrest of the far-right Golden Dawn party, Nikolaos Michaloliakos and other party MP’s is traveling around the world. According to the BBC, “The Greek police arrested the leader of the far-right Golden Dawn party, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, on charges of forming a criminal organization. The article claims that the arrests come after the […]

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Profile Of A Greek Extremist: Nikolaos Michaloliakos

Nikolaos Michaloliakos, 55, the leader of the Greek neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party that the government is trying to break through legal means, has dominated political attention since the extremists won 18 seats in Parliament in 2012 on the back of an anti-immigrant anti-bailout platform, but had to rise from obscurity first. The party won a […]

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Catsimatidis Sounds Off On Politics

NEW YORK - It's a Friday morning and John Catsimatidis is simultaneously sleepy, scrappy and animated. He tells us to make ourselves some coffee before sitting down and placing his three phones on the table in the conference room of his Red Apple Group, Inc. headquarters. It's not clear why Catsimatidis, a Greek-American billionaire and former New York City mayoral candidate, keeps three phones, if not out of the goodness of his heart to keep BlackBerry and 'old-fashioned phones' in business. He is quick to swat at our joke that one is for the money, the other for the honey - he says the media tried in vain to dig up all they could from girlfriends and women of the past. If you are hard pressed to believe that the self-proclaimed 'Man of the People' is, in fact, 'pro-people,' Catsimatidis' office on the desolate corner of West 56th and 11th Avenue is convincing evidence.

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On Ancient Olympia, organizers hold successful rehearsal of Sochi flame lighting ceremony

by  Associated Press Sochi flame lighting rehearsal successful Associated Press - 28 September 2013 05:52-04:00

ANCIENT OLYMPIA, Greece (AP) — Using the sun's rays at the birthplace of the ancient Olympics, organizers carried out a successful rehearsal Saturday to light the flame for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Under clear skies, actresses dressed as ancient priestesses took part in the rehearsal Saturday at Ancient Olympia in southern Greece — lighting the torch using a parabolic mirror. The flame will be kept in reserve for the actual ceremony to be held Sunday.

Thomas Bach, elected this month as the new president of the International Olympic Committee, was present at the events. The Russian leg of the torch relay is set to cover 65,000 kilometers (40,390 miles) before the Feb. 7-23 Winter Games.

News Topics: Sports, 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, Winter Olympic games, Olympic games, Events

People, Places and Companies: Greece, Sochi, Western Europe, Europe, Russia, Eastern Europe

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. This article is published under the terms of the News Licensing Group, LLC. privacy policy, in addition to the terms of use and privacy policy for this website.


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A major European failure

by  Konstantin Tsapogas - von Taube

Today is a sad day for Europe. Not for Europe as a geographical region. But for Europe as it emerged in the ashes of WW 2, a vision of unity that would lay to rest any fears of Europeans having to face the same horrors that two consecutive wars wrought on the continent. That the conditions which fueled the rise of Fascism and National Socialism, would never reappear.

In a EU member state, 6 members of the parliament belonging to an extreme right party, "Golden Dawn" including the head of the party, were arrested today and a party elected by 7% of the popular vote is investigated with the possible outcome of it being outlawed as a criminal organization is a screaming testimony to that failure.

It is a sad day, not because the rule of law is being imposed. But because this testifies that the rule of politics has failed. And the failure is not that of local politics but of European politics.

After all, if there is a EU member state that epitomizes the subjugation of local, or internal, politics to European ones, is Greece. A country that has become a de facto European Protectorate within Europe itself in all but name.

The Greek political system is certainly responsible for creating an uncontrollable mess that opened the doors to the first experiment of running a EU member state directly from Brussels, Frankfurt and Berlin. But from the moment the core decision making process has moved from Athens to these three European capitals, so did responsibility for the effects and results.

The Greek political class was reduced to the role of Vassals, implementing, translating, or reacting to major policy decisions taken and imposed by their overlords. No matter how inefficient, corrupt or downright incompetent, from the moment major parts of sovereignty were taken away from them, so did an equally major part of responsibility for the results. It lies with those that pull the ropes, not those who are left to tend to the frayed strands.

The experiment could have been successful. It could have been a step towards further European integration, a move forward in search of a European federal future that would certainly put an end to any fears of return to the bloody past. But it was bungled.

The painfully obvious lack of statesmanship in Europe, be it at the European level in Brussels or at the major European capitals has guaranteed this result. By a combination of bureaucratic short- sightedness, technocratic aphasia, ideological paralysis, populism and downright bloody-mindedness, it transformed a financial crisis to major European political crisis. And, if unchecked, it promises to further elevate this crisis to a European disaster, in true 20th century form.

Greece had the doubtful privilege to be the test case of European reflexes in a major crisis. But nothing is unique in Greece. Everything that exists in Greece, exists in all EU member States. The difference lies in quantity. How much corruption, how much clientelism, how much populism, how much bureaucratic inefficiency.

Certainly, as Leon Trotsky once pointed out, “quantitative changes beyond certain limits become converted into qualitative”. And this was what offered Greece on a platter a a test-bed.

The failure of European politics to stem or reverse the increment of “quantitative changes” in Greece, led Greek democracy on the defensive. “Democracy knows how to defend itself” say Greek politicians, as would any politician in their shoes, while referring the solution of an ugly and unpalatable situation to Justice.

True. But this speaks of Democracy cornered on the defensive.

If in Greece Democracy is obliged to resort to it's defensive weapons, current European tacticism and lack of strategic vision promises that gradually Democracy will follow the test case paradigm.

“Quantitative changes” are occurring all over Europe, visible to the naked eye. Extreme nationalism, with more or less overt fascist or neo-nazi undertones gains ground everywhere. Qualitative results are coming very close to the corner. 


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Greek Golden Dawn officials arrested

Greek police have arrested officials of the Golden Dawn party for forming a criminal organisation.

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Greece says all Golden Dawn members assured of fair trial

ATHENS (Reuters) - Lawmakers and members of the far-right Golden Dawn party arrested on Saturday on charges of being part of a criminal organization will get a fair trial, Greek Justice Minister Haralambos Athanassiou said. "Democracy in Greece is strong," the minister said after meeting Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias. "All those arrested will have a fair trial." Senior Golden Dawn members, including its leader, were arrested on Saturday in the biggest crackdown against a political party in Greece since the fall of a military junta in 1974. ...

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Greek PM rules out snap elections after Golden Dawn arrests

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras ruled out early elections after the arrest of senior Golden Dawn members and lawmakers on Saturday and said his government would focus on ensuring stability in the country. "The case is now in the hands of the justice system," Samaras told reporters after a meeting to discuss the developments around the arrests, the biggest crackdown on a ...

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Greek police arrest far-right party leader amid crackdown

Al Jazeera AmericaGreek police arrest far-right party leader amid crackdownAl Jazeera AmericaGolden Dawn holds 18 of the Greek parliament's 300 seats; the party won nearly 7 percent of the vote in general elections last year. The party has denied any links to the killing, and Mihaloliakos has warned the party could pull its awmakers from ...

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Greece says no risk of political instability after Golden Dawn arrests

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's finance minister played down the risk of political instability after police arrested the leader of the far-right Golden Dawn party, two of its lawmakers and party members on Saturday. "There is no risk of destabilization," Yannis Stournaras told reporters after a meeting in which Prime Minister Antonis Samaras briefed Greece's European Union and International Monetary ...

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Greek police arrest senior members of far-right Golden Dawn party

Greek police arrested the leader, two MPs and party members from the far-right Golden Dawn party today, and charged one member with being an accomplice to the killing of an anti-fascist rapper. Police said party leader Nikolaos Mihaloliakos, spokesman ...

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Fall Greek Festival 'just like a big party'

Fall Greek Festival 'just like a big party'Poughkeepsie JournalSimou described the assortment of Greek cuisine available: braised lamb shanks, spanakopita (spinach pie), tyropita (cheese pie) and pastichio, a Greek pasta casserole with noodles, seasoned ground beef and cheese with b├ęchamel sauce. The No. 1 seller ...

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Oliveira wins ultra-marathon race

Portuguese ultra-marathon runner Joao Oliveira won the 31st Spartathlon race, one of the most difficult long distance international routes, crossing the finish line at the southern Greek city of Sparta early Saturday. Oliveira reached the statue of ancient Spartan king Leonidas at approximately 6:30 a.m., at 23 hours, 29 minutes and eight seconds after the start of the 246 km non-stop race at ...

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Golden Dawn Leader, Officials Arrested in Crackdown

ATHENS, Greece (AP) ? Four top officials of the extreme-right Golden Dawn party were among a flurry of arrests of party members on Sept. 28, in an escalation of a government crackdown after a fatal stabbing allegedly committed by a supporter. It is the first time since 1974 that sitting Members of Parliament have been arrested. Police announced the arrests of party leader Nikos Michaloliakos, spokesman Ilias Kassidiaris and two other lawmakers on charge of forming a criminal organization. Authorities also said they arrested a local Golden Dawn leader in an Athens suburb, as well as nine other unnamed party members. Two police officials said an operation by the counter-terrorism unit was still ongoing, with a total of about 35 arrest warrants for Golden Dawn members issued

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Golden Dawn's Murder Too Far

In recent months, Greek society has grown to increasingly resemble the Weimar Republic, a historical symbol of a dysfunctional democracy besieged by increasingly violent political extremes. The last straw was the murder of young musician Pavlos Fyssas, 34, by a follower of the Greek nationalist party, Golden Dawn. The murder itself caused understandable outrage - and in its wake, serious questions must be raised about the specter of neo-Nazism in Greece and how to blunt its violent spread. Many people in Greece and beyond are demanding a crackdown on Golden Dawn and its followers by a state long accused of tolerating illegal behavior.

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