Welcome, 77 artists, 40 different points of Attica welcomes you by singing Erotokritos an epic romance written at 1713 by Vitsentzos Kornaros

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Greek Government’s Maneuver to Avoid Conflict

In an attempt to calm farmers the government proceeded to announce a new improved proposal for farmer taxation. During their meeting Greek Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras, heads of the Ministry of Rural Development, Deputy Minister of Finance ...


Greek Festival coming up Feb. 21-23

Greek Festival coming up Feb. 21-23MiamiHerald.comSaint Sophia's Greek Orthodox Cathedral on Coral Way and 24th Road will hold its annual cultural festival on Feb. 21, 22, and 23 to celebrate Hellenic heritage and customs. Aside from traditional Greek dishes like spinach pies, lamb and stuffed grape ...


SYRIZA Frets Over Candidate’s Rant

SYRIZA officials will discuss the fate of a party candidate for Western Macedonia Governor who had anti-Semitic and pro-Golden Dawn sentiments on his Facebook page.

The post SYRIZA Frets Over Candidate’s Rant appeared first on The National Herald.


UN Chief Blasts Anti-Gay Sochi

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned attacks and discrimination against homosexuals 6, touching on the gay rights issue in Russia that overshadowed preparations for the Sochi Olympics.

The post UN Chief Blasts Anti-Gay Sochi appeared first on The National Herald.


Tsipras Says He’d Stiff Troika

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras says if he ever comes to power, he would revise the terms of international bailouts and give the lenders a 33 percent haircut on what Greece owes.

The post Tsipras Says He’d Stiff Troika appeared first on The National Herald.


Many Tributes for Alexandros Petersen

NEW YORK – Friends, colleagues, and the Greek-American community are mourning the tragic death Alexandros Petersen, who was one of 21 people who died in a suicide bombing and attack in Kabul. The January 17 attack, the worst on civilians since the war began, was apparently done by the Taliban. Petersen, praised for his brilliance […]

The post Many Tributes for Alexandros Petersen appeared first on The National Herald.


EU considers 50-year loans for Greece

Greece, which got €240 billion in two bailouts, has previously had its terms eased by the euro zone and International Monetary Fund amid a six-year recession. “What we can do is ease debt, which is what we have done before by offering lower interest or ...


Greece's NBG plans 3 billion euros in corporate loans this year

Greece's largest lender, National Bank (NBG) (ATH:ETE), plans to make 3 billion euros ($4 billion) worth of corporate loans this year to support businesses and assist the economy's recovery, its chief executive said on Thursday. With bank credit to the private sector in decline since 2011, aggravating Greece's six-year economic slump, prospects of a mild economic recovery this year will largely ...


Greece Is Still Bankrupt

As der Spiegel recently reported, the Greek government is intent on smothering its reluctant creditors with good news (in order to be able to accumulate a reasonable amount of such, the last ‘troika’ assessment has apparently been subject to numerous ...


Greek state hospital workers go on nationwide strike

Greek state hospital doctors, nurses and administrative staff have held a strike to protest the government’s austerity ... This has caused a soaring unemployment rate of over 28 percent.


Man arrested after allegedly posing as earthquake official in Greece following ...

CP24 Toronto's Breaking NewsMan arrested after allegedly posing as earthquake official in Greece following ...CP24 Toronto's Breaking NewsATHENS -- Police have arrested a 44-year-old man in southern Greece for allegedly posing as an official from the country's main seismological institute, following powerful earthquakes on the western island of Kefalonia. Police on Thursday alleged that ...Light Tremor Strikes Central GreeceGreek ReporterMagnitude-4.4 quake strikes central Greece, no injuriesShanghai Daily (subscription)Earthquake measuring 4.3 hits central GreeceANSAmedall 6 news articles »


Greek politician says his PM heading Jewish plot

The Times of IsraelGreek politician says his PM heading Jewish plotThe Times of IsraelATHENS, Greece — A politician from the main opposition party in Greece caused an uproar after posting an anti-Semitic rant on his Facebook page accusing the Greek prime minister of heading a Jewish conspiracy. Theodoros Karypidis, the left-wing Syriza ...AJC: Greek Syriza Party Candidate's Anti-Semitic Facebook PostPR Newswire (press release)all 11 news articles »


Greek Doctors Protest Outside Ministry of Health

Greek ReporterGreek Doctors Protest Outside Ministry of HealthGreek ReporterOn Thursday morning, Greek doctors, nurses and employees of EOPYY left their offices and gathered in the centre of Athens to protest against the Greek government's plans concerning the ostensible reform of Greece's main healthcare provider. After 11 am ...Greek doctors, nurses on strike over healthcare sector overhaulEurope Online Magazineall 4 news articles »


Vinci Targets Airports in Chile, Peru, Greece to Tap Traffic

Vinci Targets Airports in Chile, Peru, Greece to Tap TrafficBloombergIt's also interested in airports in Asia and regional platforms in countries such as Greece and Brazil, and in motorway concessions in Colombia, he said. Three of the four largest airport acquisitions have happened in the past 14 months. Brazil's ...and more »


Greek politician accuses prime minister of heading Jewish conspiracy

Jewish Daily ForwardGreek politician accuses prime minister of heading Jewish conspiracyJewish Telegraphic AgencyATHENS, Greece (JTA) — A politician from the main opposition party in Greece has caused an uproar after posting an anti-Semitic rant on his Facebook page accusing the Greek prime minister of heading a Jewish conspiracy. Theodoros Karypidis, the ...Greek Leader Rants About Jewish 'Hanukkah' ConspiracyJewish Daily ForwardAJC: Greek Syriza Party Candidate's Anti-Semitic Facebook PostPR Newswire (press release)all 10 news articles »


Greece to privatise power grid operator to help island tourism

Greece to privatise power grid operator to help island tourismReuters UKBut Greece's opposition and labour unions oppose the grid sale, fearing it is a precursor to fully privatise state-controlled power producer PPC, which currently owns 100 percent of ADMIE. The main opposition Syriza party pledged to reverse the sale ...and more »


Businessman, 64, arrested for debts to the state

A 64-year-old businessman was arrested Thursday in Orestiada, northern Greece, on suspicion of owing the state 5.8 million euros. The suspect is due to face a prosecutor in Orestiada. No more details were made available.... ...


EOPYY doctors protest outside Health Ministry

State hospital doctors, nurses, dentists and employees of EOPYY, Greece's main healthcare provider, walked off the job on Thursday to protest government plans to overhaul the primary healthcare sector Protesters rallied outside the Health Ministry in cent... ...


Italy rescues more than 1,100 migrants in rafts south of Sicily

Rescue from overcrowded rafts comes as seven die while trying to swim from Morocco to Spanish enclave of Ceuta

The Italian navy has rescued more than 1,100 migrants from nine large rafts in the waters south of Sicily.

Patrol helicopters identified the overcrowded rafts about 120 miles south-east of Lampedusa on Wednesday and four navy vessels participated in the rescue which ended early on Thursday. The navy gave no details about the nationalities of the migrants.

Meanwhile Moroccan authorities say emergency services have recovered the bodies of seven people who drowned after attempting to swim to the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. Authorities told the state news agency that at least 200 migrants tried to swim to the enclave, which is on a peninsula jutting out from the Moroccan shore.

Italy is a major gateway into Europe for migrants, and sea arrivals more than tripled in 2013 from the previous year, fuelled by Syria's civil war and strife in the Horn of Africa.

In October, 366 Eritreans drowned in a shipwreck near the shore of the Italian island of Lampedusa, which is located about halfway between Sicily and Tunisia. More than 200, mostly Syrians, died in another shipwreck a week later.

With two Spanish enclaves on its coast, Morocco is a magnet for immigrants from all over Africa seeking jobs in Europe.

Every month, hundreds of immigrants attempt to force their way into Ceuta, near the city of Tetouan, and Melilla to the east.

Over the past two decades, Italy, Greece and the Mediterranean island of Malta have borne the brunt of migrant flows and have urged the EU to make a more robust and coordinated response. © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Cash Registers, 'Ghost Receipts,' Latest Greek Scam

Greek ReporterCash Registers, 'Ghost Receipts,' Latest Greek ScamGreek ReporterThe Financial and Economic Crime Unit (SDOE) of Greece has brought to light a new fraud, this time involving cash registers. The technique is rather simple: the controls that take place in Greek shops have a goal of making sure that every customer gets ...


Foggy Bottom salon now selling Greek gear

Foggy Bottom salon now selling Greek gearGW Hatchet (subscription) (blog)Kris Hart, an alumnus and Foggy Bottom business owner, opened a Greek merchandise store on campus Tuesday, which he said would give students a convenient place to buy Greek gear. He will sell items from pint glasses and koozies to pens and fraternity ...


Greek Leader Rants About Jewish 'Hanukkah' Conspiracy

Jewish Daily ForwardGreek Leader Rants About Jewish 'Hanukkah' ConspiracyJewish Daily ForwardA politician from the main opposition party in Greece has caused an uproar after posting an anti-Semitic rant on his Facebook page accusing the Greek prime minister of heading a Jewish conspiracy. Theodoros Karypidis, the left-wing Syriza Party's ...AJC: Greek Syriza Party Candidate's Anti-Semitic Facebook PostPR Newswire (press release)Greek politician accuses prime minister of heading Jewish conspiracySt. Louis Jewish Lightall 9 news articles »


Cypriot president says 'serious prospects' reunification talks can resume

NICOSIA (Reuters) - Cyprus's president said on Thursday there were "serious prospects" that long-stalled talks to reunify the island could resume between the estranged Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities.


Greek rescue fund worried stress test delays may deter investors

KathimeriniGreek rescue fund worried stress test delays may deter investorsKathimeriniLeaders of Greece's bank rescue fund are worried that lengthy talks with foreign creditors over a health check of the top four Greek banks may put off investors looking to take part in the privatization of one of the country's biggest lenders ...and more »



REYES RELISHES TO BE GROUPED WITH ARGENTINA, GREECEInquirer.netOne-time gold-medal winner Argentina and one-time podium finishers Greece and Croatia are among the teams Gilas Pilipinas tangles with in the preliminary round of the 2014 FIBA World Cup slated Aug. 30-Sept. 14 in Spain. The Filipinos are also lined up ...and more »


Greek Film Festival in London

The submission period for the annual London Greek Film Festival has already started and will last until May 23. The festival is to take place October 6-17. This will be the seventh year of the festival which is considered the international ...


Greece seeks enhanced co-operation on financial transaction tax

Greek ReporterGreece seeks enhanced co-operation on financial transaction taxEuropean VoiceGreece seeks enhanced co-operation on financial transaction tax. By Nicholas Hirst - Today, 04:45 CET. France and Germany have renewed their efforts to clinch a deal on a financial transaction tax, aiming to agree a joint position at a Franco-German ...Bild: Greeks Richer than the GermansGreek Reporterall 2 news articles »


20 year-old Greek Girl Claims Gang Rape

A 20 year-old girl in Thessaloniki, Greece, went to police and claimed she was gang raped by four men. Greek police arrested them after they were identified by the young victim on a social network site. The perpetrators gave the young girl mephedrone, a synthetic stimulant drug, and she consequently fell unconscious. The victim knew one of the defendants, most of who appear to be of Albanian origin. The drug which the defendants gave the girl is also known as “meow- meow” and it is mostly traded via the internet. The four young men were set before a trial judge for their statements. Mephedrone, also known as “meow,” is produced mostly in China and is imported in Europe as “green manure.” Its low price makes it accessible to many users and has the same effect as ecstasy and amphetamines. It causes tachycardia, panic attacks, muscle spasms and hallucinations. The effect of the drug starts half an hour after the ingestion and lasts up to four hours.


One in Two Greeks Imagines Himself a Businessman

According to the Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report for the year 2013, one out of two Greeks imagines himself as a businessman. However, more than eight out of ten fear the possibility of failure and do not proceed with their business plans as they claim that the fear of failing is eventually the most significant obstacle in starting a business. The source of their fear appears to be the ongoing economic crisis that Greece has been facing since 2008. According to the survey, about 69 percent of Greeks maintain a positive attitude towards entrepreneurship, a rate that remains at the same levels as the international average of 70 percent, despite the slight decline compared to last year. At the same time, Denmark (89 percent), Finland (87 percent), Australia (84 percent) are the countries that noted the highest rates in terms of their positive attitude towards entrepreneurship. On the other hand, Austria (40 percent), Hungary (40 percent), Portugal (37 percent) and Germany (34 percent) are the countries ranking last in the entrepreneurship rate. Although 70 percent of Greeks fear the possibility of failure, the government is trying to encourage people to initiate a business with state subsidies and by offering education on entrepreneurship. Professor Panayiotis Petrakis claimed that the economic crisis had a catalytic impact on the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Greece and led to the reduction of the number of enterprises and employees. During the period 2011-2013, a total of 116,016 enterprises were established but only 34,406 managed to survive the crisis. Moreover, Evangelos Achilopoulos, Head of Policy Intervention Committee of the Federation of Hellenic Associations of Young Entrepreneurs (ESYNE) highlighted the benefits of making business initiatives. In addition, George Apostolopoulos, general manager of Amway Hellas, referred to the business model of direct sales and how this could contribute to the development of entrepreneurship in Greece. He also underlined that this is an exceptionally flexible and low risk business opportunity for everyone.


Greek Coach Who Discovered Mitroglou

Nobody can doubt that the Greek striker Kostas Mitroglou is a gifted and talented player. His recent transfer to Fulham F.C proves it. The Greek explosive striker penned a contract that will keep him at the Cottagers for 4 and a half years. This transfer was the most expensive in Greece’s football history. But what about the man who discovered the Greek striker and put faith in his abilities when no one else did? His name is Kostas Melikidis who is a former professional footballer of the historic team of Greece, Doksa Dramas. Mr. Melikidis lives in Germany permanently for the last 20 years and is the man who discovered Kostas Mitroglou. Mitroglou, since he was a young boy, loved football. He was playing for the village’s football team, Neukirchen-Vluyn. Back in 2002, when Kostas was 13 years old, his father introduced him to coach Melikidis. The same year, Mitroglou joined MSV Duisburg U17 squad and after four seasons with the club he joined Borussia Mönchengladbach U19 squad. Then, Tasos Melikidis decided to bring Kostas to Greece. He personally recommended him to Michalis Iordanidis who was also the assistant manager of Greece U19’s coach, Nikos Nioplias. Since then, a lot of water has flowed under the bridge and Mitroglou became a key-player for both Olympiacos and Greece’s National Team. “It is sad to say that I regret what I have done for Kostas” stated Mr. Melikidis at Newsit. “I have seen the love this child has for football. I remember when Kostas spent a lot of time playing football when he was just a little boy. Every time I used to visit his family, his mother would tell me ‘Kostas is outside somewhere playing football again.’ Before the German football officials convinced Kostas to join the German U19 national team, I brought him over to Greece personally, at my own expense. I thought that such a talent should play for Greece.” Mr. Melikidis continues. “Kostas has not called me since the day he joined Olympiacos. It’s been 8 years since the last time we spoke on the phone. I expected him to call me and invite me to one of his Champions League games. When a child becomes a mature man, he should think that ‘there was a man in my life who helped me in my early career steps and believed in me, I should call him or send him a letter.’ Kostas showed his indifference towards me all these years. He behaved in an ungrateful way after all the things that I have done for him.”


Three Greeks to Receive the EGU Award 2014

The European Geosciences Union (EGU) Award is the highest honor in the field of geosciences, planetary and space sciences at a global level. This year, a total of 43 awards and medals will be awarded to a group of European scientists. Three of the scientists who are to receive an award come from Greece. Dr. Stamatios Krimigis will receive the Jean Dominique Cassini Medal which is considered the highest honor for a senior scientist. Dr. Costas Synolakis will receive the Sergey Soloviev Medal and Dr. Christina Plainaki will receive the Outstanding Young Scientist Award in Planetary and Solar System Sciences. The award ceremony will take place during the annual conference of the EGU on “The Face of the Earth- Process and Form” this April in Vienna. Stamatios Krimigis is one of the most significant space scientists in the world. He is responsible for organizing the experiments and the valuable parts of the Voyager spaceships. Dr. Krimigis held a significant place in space research considering that he was the first to receive the space missions’ data at his computer as the Voyager-1 exited our solar system for the first time in 2013. He was head of the Space Department of the Applied Physics Laboratory of the Johns Hopkins University. Dr.Costas Synolakis is one of the most famous professors in Natural Disasters and the most prominent expert on extreme wave events (tsunamis). For more than twenty years he was a professor at universities in the USA (1984-2004) and at the Technical University of Crete (2004-) Dr. Christina Plainaki attained her PhD at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (UOA) at the Science Faculty, in the Astrophysics, Astronomy and Mechanics Department in 2007 and is only 35 years old. She will receive the Outstanding Young Scientist Award in Planetary and Solar System Sciences. Only young scientists who are distinguished for their research program receive this award. Since December 2007 she has been living and working at the Institute of Space Astrophysics and Planetology (INAF-IAPS) in Rome, Italy.


Mundial Themed Carnival in Xanthi

Organizers and thousands of participants in the Xanthi Carnival in Greece, will be dancing to the rhythm of the Mundial Championship. The carnival is the peak of the 49th Thracian Folk Festival, and it will take place from February 14 to March 2, with a large carnival parade in the main streets of the city. Xanthi, once again will be flooded with colors and music. The theme for this year’s carnival was inspired by the biggest football celebration, the Mundial Championship. The carnival organizers want every participant to “travel” to the ends of the world. This year, during the 49th Thracian Folk Festival, children from elementary schools in Xanthi will put on a parade for the first time. Young carnival participants will take part in the “Mundialito” accompanied by their parents; after parading the main streets of Xanthi, they will head to the main square, which will be filled with surprises. Three popular Greek artists, Dimitris Starovas, Myronas Stratis and Isaias Matiaba, as well as various music ensembles will contribute to the celebrations throughout the Thracian Folk Festival. “Putting all difficulties aside, we did not compromise the quality of the Festival; we made the promotion of our cultural identity a priority. Our cultural identity will not be touched by any economic problem,” said the mayor of Xanthi, Michalis Stylianidis. President of the Municipality’s Cultural Center, Manolis Varoufakis noted: “in these difficult times that Greek society faces, the Carnival of Xanthi will provide a short break of joy and excitement. People will be able stop thinking, at least for a little while, about the harsh reality they are faced with. Our active participation and the collaboration with many institutions and associations guarantee the success of the Thracian Folk Festival.”


Bike Sharing System in Greek Municipalities

Bike-Sharing Systems are electronic, automated systems that offer short-term bike rental. The bikes are provided from special automated stations which are located in various public spots and are operating with an electronic sharing system. The citizens, after filling out an application, receive a user code which they use to unlock the bike from the automated stations. Then, they can use the bike and when they are done, simply return it to the nearest special station. Some municipalities in Greece have already launched a bike sharing system in order to improve the daily life of the citizens and protect the environment. The bike sharing system has been provided by Cyclopolis Ltd. According to Harris Siakantaris, Business Development Manager of the company, “We have already supplied nine municipalities with public bikes and there are also 19 pending applications. Many municipalities are willing to provide this service to their residents but the lack of resources had postponed the plan.” “The first pilot bike sharing system was launched in 2009 on the island of Corfu which was never actually used and in 2011 on an island located in the Pamvotida lake at Ioannina. The official implementation of the program started in 2012 when the Green Fund from the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change approved the Bike Sharing System among other pro-environmental actions,” he added. The bike sharing program has until now been implemented to the Municipalities of Acharnes, Moschato, Amaroussion, Nafplio and Marathon. According to city council members, the program has been quite successful and the residents are using the bikes on a daily basis. “The bike market in Greece has significantly increased over the last decade. We see much more bikes on the roads nowadays compared to 5 or 10 years ago. More than 350 cities worldwide have been offering public bikes to their citizens. It’s high time Greece joined them,” Siakantaris concluded.


Yet Another Greek Splinter Party

Two former members of New Democracy who were ejected from the ruling party after refusing to obey orders to vote for austerity measures have joined forces to create their own party, another in a grouping of challengers to the political system that has seen voters always returning the Conservatives and the PASOK Socialists to power. Former public order minister Vyron Polydoras and Christos Zois have named their party the Union for the Homeland and the People although Zois, who last year formed Nea Mera (New Day) will keep that party within the new party, although it’s unclear how they would operate simultaneously. Polydoras, in a fiery speech against the harsh austerity measures being imposed by the government on the orders of international lenders, indirectly blistered Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras for being blind to the suffering they are causing although Polydoras had always supported the conditions until then. There haven’t been any polls to indicate how much support they might have, but other splinter parties formed by disaffected politicians, such as former PASOK minister Andreas Loverdos don’t even register in surveys and are essentially irrelevant. Zois has been out of the New Democracy ranks since February 2012, when he voted against Greece’s second bailout. He then joined Panos Kammenos’s Independent Greeks – another New Democracy offshoot – but left the party in December of the same year and created Nea Mera which has has zero influence since.


Patras: Man Rapes His Children

A couple who had been in custody since May 2013, were involved in a case that shocked all of Greece. A 50-year-old man form Patras, was repeatedly raping his three children, a boy and two girls, forcing the boy to have intercourse with his mother. On Tuesday the Greek Mixed Jury Court in Pyrgos sentenced the father to 123 years in prison and the mother to 103 years in prison. They were accused of forcing their children to take part in orgies, in which they sometimes participated as well. The case was brought to light in May 2013 when one of the young girls spoke to a relative about their situation at home. The relative then called the organization “Smile of the Child” which then informed the Prosecutor for minors. The 50-year-old father forced his two underage daughters to have intercourse with him on a regular basis. He also forced his son to rape his own mother multiple times so the father could watch. The son, who is a minor, would have intercourse with his mother whenever his father ordered him to do so and it appears that his mother was willing and claims that she was afraid of her husband who was regularly drunk and out of control. However, when police officers pressured the mother she allegedly told them: “I wanted to make my boy a man, that’s why I did it.” The trial took place behind closed doors to protect the identity of the children who are minors.


Greek Glendi returns to Sarasota

Since way back in the mid-1980s, one of the Bradenton-Sarasota area's favorite festivals has been the Greek Glendi at St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church. It's billed as "an authentic cultural experience" and it offers four full days of Hellenic ...


Astoria: Rochester's Greek cuisine, a review

Astoria: Rochester's Greek cuisine, a reviewCampus TimesAstoria. No, not Astoria, NY – an area right outside of Manhattan that is largely populated by Greeks – but Astoria, the restaurant on Monroe Avenue, just a few short miles away from the University. As a Greek guy from Astoria, NY, I can tell you that ...


Festival brings Greece to Hernando County

Festival brings Greece to Hernando CountyHernando TodayThat's exactly what the folks of Christ the Savior Greek Orthodox Church in Brooksville have in mind for those attending their Greek Festival, running today and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., at the Hernando County Fairgrounds, 6436 Broad St. in ...and more »


Emigration or anarchy seem the only options for resentful Greeks

Between 1922 and 1974 Greece experienced nine coups and counter-coups, a civil war and three periods of dictatorship, the last being that of “the Colonels” from 1967 to 1974. The root of these regime changes was the deep division as to how order was to ...


The Latest Sochi Controversy Is...Greek Yogurt?

Is Russian President Vladimir Putin playing games with Americans' yogurt ahead of the Olympics?New York Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer is upset that Chobani yogurt is being held up by Russian authorities instead of making its way to American athletes in Sochi. (Chobani is based in Schumer's home state.


Greek FinMin in Frankfurt as report suggests loan maturities may be extended

KathimeriniGreek FinMin in Frankfurt as report suggests loan maturities may be extendedKathimeriniGreek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras heads to Frankfurt on Thursday, where he will meet Bundesbank and Deutsche Bank officials, with the discussion about further debt relief for Greece having apparently been rekindled. Finance Ministry sources ...


From Farmers to Doctors, Biggest Tax-Evaders in Greece for 2013

But this was not my intention. I take full responsibility for my action and it was not my intention to act illegally.” Additionally, Greece’s Financial and Crime Unit also found many State-owned organizations that are tax evading.


Crete: Rethymno Carnival Brings Thousands of Tourists

One Hundred years have passed since the first Rethymno Carnival in Crete, Greece. The Carnival will once again open the tourist season on the Greek island, which means one more reason for the municipality of Rethymno to celebrate. The city is collaborating with several travel agencies of the municipality in order to offer good, cheap travel packages throughout the tourist season of the Carnival. Deputy Mayor of Culture and Tourism in Rethymno, Pepi Birliraki, when asked about bookings from abroad said that Cypriots, Italians, Americans and other international tourists make reservations to visit the carnival season in Rethymno and experience it first hand. During the peak of carnival season, it is estimated that approximately 3,000 beds will be occupied by visitors of the city, not taking into account visitors who come from other parts of the Greek island.


Cyprus Says Close to Reviving Talks

Cyprus said on Wednesday, Feb 5, it was close to reviving stalled peace talks between the island’s Greek and Turkish communities, Reuters reports. The United Nations has been toiling for months on the wording of a ‘joint statement’ to restart negotiations between the island’s two dominant groups that broke off in mid-2012. “Important consultations are underway related to drafting a final and substantive joint statement,” said Christos Stylianides, spokesman for Cyprus’s internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government. Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades was expected to visit Athens on Thursday ahead of a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Foreign Affairs Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Friday, Cypriot government spokesman Christos Stylianidis announced on Wednesday. Anastasiades was expected to inform the Greek government of recent developments in the ongoing efforts for a fresh round of peace talks under UN hospices regarding the island country’s future. Negotiations have repeatedly stumbled on issues ranging from power sharing to redrawing territorial boundaries, as well as property claims of tens of thousands of displaced persons. Cyprus has been divided since 1974 following a Turkish invasion after a coup led by supporters of the island’s union with Greece.


EU Mulls 50-Year Greek Loan Repayments

The latest scheme to save the Greek economy include an idea that may include extending the maturity on rescue loans to 50 years and cutting the interest rate on some previous aid by one-half percent, according to two officials with knowledge of discussions being held by European officials. Αccording to Bloomberg, the plan, which will be considered by policy makers by May or June, may also include a loan for a package worth between 13-15 billion euros, a third bailout which the government has consistently denied it would need because Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said he’s engineering a “success story.” A previous government in 2011, when current PASOK leader Evangelos was finance minister, stiffed investors, including banks and Disaspora bond holders, with 74 percent losses but didn’t make a dent in the still-staggering $430 billion debt. The government is also reportedly trying to do the same to the its international lenders, the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) which has put up $325 billion in two bailouts. “What we can do is to ease debt, which is what we have done before through offering lower interest or extending the maturity of loans,” Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who heads the Eurozone told broadcaster RTLZ. “Those type of measures are possible but under the agreement that commitments from Greece are met.” Euro-area officials have mentioned the prospect of cutting interest rates further on the Greek Loan Facility part of the bailouts, “but this conversation is not for now,” EU spokesman Simon O’Connor wrote in an e-mail. He said focus remains on how Greece can meet its current bailout terms. Samaras’s office declined to comment on the talks for a possible third aid package. New money would help Greece fill a 2.4 billion euro ($3.24 billion) hole in the 2014 budget which has Troika officials anxious. EU President Herman Van Rompuy said last month that Greece must continue to tighten its belt even as “the people of Greece are still suffering from the consequences of the painful but nevertheless needed reforms that are taking place.” He said they need more. Under the eased terms, all the bailout-loan repayments would be extended from about 30 years and rates would be cut by 50 basis points on funds from the 80 billion-euro Greek Loan Facility, which was created for Greece’s first bailout in 2010, said the officials, who requested anonymity because talks are still in preliminary stages, Bloomberg said. The idea, along with a number of other proposals, has previously been floated but gone nowhere. Samaras says Greece will have a primary surplus of as much as one billion euros ($1.37 billion) and is on track to recovery even without the assistance. The government had hoped it would have some bailout money left over after giving banks 50 billion euros ($67.6 billion) instead of using it for social services and people affected by harsh austerity measures but there’s nothing left. The bailouts run out this year and the banks need still even more money because so many people unable to afford paying their bills have given up on their mortgages, credit cards and loans. Greece is contesting requirements on how it should stress-test its banks, an exercise taking place before an ECB review later this year, according to two officials. Germany’s Finance Ministry said this week it’s too soon to begin discussing extra help. The country is putting up the bulk of the rescue loans. “Currently there’s no rush to decide anything,” Steffen Kampeter, deputy to German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, said in an interview in Frankfurt this week. “We will be presented with all necessary data at the end of April, beginning of May. Only then will we be able to have a clear picture of Greece’s performance.”


5,000 Homeless After Cephalonia Earthquake

Another powerful aftershock rocked the island of Cephalonia in Greece last night, terrifying the thousands of residents who had to spend the night in tents, boats, buses and even cars. Lixouri looks like a bombed area with the number of homeless reaching 5,000, according to rough estimates. Secretary of Public Works, Stratos Simopoulos said that until Tuesday night they were able to check 250 houses in the area of Lixouri and came to the conclusion that 55% of the buildings need repairs. Serious damages have also been ascertained in four schools and it appears that classes will be held in prefabricated buildings. According to Greek news, Simopoulos said that their first goal is to make the island functional once again, before the tourist season. In order to achieve this goal, authorities must first restore the islands ports and  road network. Greek government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou, said Cephalonia meets all the criteria required for Greece to request assistance from the European Solidarity Fund in order to finance the reconstruction of houses and infrastructure of the island.


PASOK MP’s Want Tax Talk Answers

Nervous lawmakers from the PASOK Socialists who are the junior partner in Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and New Democracy Conservative party leader’s government say they want an explanation about taxes they say are damaging to the ruling parties. New Democracy has fallen behind the major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) in polls while PASOK, whose leader Evangelos Venizelos is Deputy Premier/Foreign Minister, has plummeted to between 3-5 percent and would be irrelevant and powerless if it had not given its votes to Samaras and acceded to harsh austerity measures, including tax hikes. There are only 26 PASOK MP’s left in the 300-member Parliament after Venizelos ejected some for refusing to obey his orders to back austerity and some want to meet Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras and General Secretary for revenues Haris Theocharis to get some answers over their plans for reforms demanded by international lenders, including taxes. The lawmakers who are now feeling anxiety over taxes have voted for them. It wasn’t said if Venizelos had given his  consent for them to question the government officials. Farmers are protesting new tax regulations, including the need for them to keep records and have taken to blocking roads, making some MPs uneasy, but there are also concerns in the government about the impact of other tax-related issues, such as a proposed capital gains tax on property. Samaras and Venizelos have discussed them as well and the PASOK chief was said to have some concerns but he has mostly relented after putting up a public squawk. Samaras told New Democracy’s parliamentary group last week that there would be adjustments to iron out “mistakes and injustices.” Venizelos was in Strasbourg on Feb. 4 and met with Hannes Swoboda, leader of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, and Parliament President Martin Schulz, who hopes to become European Commission President. They discussed the possibility of Schulz visiting Greece in early March and attending a joint congress that PASOK will hold with the fellow center-left Movement of the 58, with whom the Socialists will stand in May’s European Parliament elections in a bid dto shore up their eroding base.


Greece’s Major Opposition Party Stable in the Lead

A new Marc opinion poll carried out on behalf of the Greek site,, shows that Greece’s major opposition party leads by 2 percent over New Democracy. The opinion poll places SYRIZA first with 23.3 percent followed in 2nd by New Democracy with 7.8 percent. The Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn, seems to be stable in third position with 7.8 percent. In fourth stands the coalition party PASOK with 5.2 percent along with the Greek Communist Party (KKE). Right behind them follows the Independent Greeks Party (ANEL) with 4.6 percent. DIMAR stands sixth with 4.3 percent and this is the first time after a long period that a poll shows that the Democratic Left could enter the Greek Parliament. Those partaking in the poll answered that they want to see out the four-year term of the Greek government under Antonis Samaras leadership. Only one out of four (24.6 percent) supports early elections as a solution. In addition, Marc conducted a poll concerning the forthcoming elections of the European Parliament. The aim is to answer which party citizens will vote for in the upcoming elections.  The major opposition party, SYRIZA, has a clear 4 percent lead over New Democracy. The detailed poll shows that in first comes SYRIZA with 21.7 percent and follows New Democracy with 8.7 percent. Third is Golden Dawn with 7.1 percent and fourth is KKE with 5.1 percent. PASOK stands fifth with 4 percent and sixth is ANEL with 3.1 percent. DIMAR stands at 3 percent.


Greek Gov’t Announces Measures for Cephalonia Residents

The inhabitants of the island of Cephalonia, Greece, will be exempted from the special real estate tax in 2014 and they will receive rent subsidies of up to 500 euros, depending on family status, and subsidies of up to 6,000 euros for destroyed household appliances, Greek government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou announced on Wednesday evening. Following an inter ministerial meeting chaired by Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to coordinate action on the island, Kedikoglou also said that 80 percent of building repairs costs will be subsidized and the remaining 20 percent will be covered by an interest-free loan. He added that Infrastructures Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis is the general coordinator of government actions to restore normalcy to the earthquake-stricken in Cephalonia. The government spokesman stressed that bureaucratic procedures will be sidestepped and a vertical structure at each ministry will be coordinated by a secretary general, all of whom will be coordinated by government Secretary General Dimitris Vartzopoulos. Chryssohoidis, exiting Maximos Mansion, attacked seismologists for spreading fear to Cephalonia residents by their comments, called them “earthquake prophets post-earthquake” and asked them to stop. (source: ana-mpa)


Here's A 5-Second Guide To What Traders Are Chatting About Right Now

Dave Lutz of Stifel Nicolaus has a roundup of what traders are chatting about ahead of the U.S. market open:

Good Morning!   US Futures are off small, but remain off the lows of the overnight.   Seems quiet out there, with Traders unwilling to take big bets ahead of PMI Services today (representing roughly 80% of our economy) – and ADP, both which will set the tone for NFP Friday.  EM remains stable, with the FX basket higher against the $, and most CDS coming off peaks quick.   Some stress remains in Ukraine, where their FX is barely bouncing despite the smackdown yesterday, and their CDS remains elevated.  In Europe, we are getting solid PMI data, but Germany remains under slight pressure ahead of the ECB decision tomorrow.   EU Fins continue their upward trajectory, however, as Yields across the PIIGS all drop on another Greek bailout (but not “haircuts”), and PMI in Spain jumping with unemployment reversing lower, a first in 6 years.    While China remained closed, Hong Kong lost 60bp, and Japan had a very “tepid” bounce despite some solid earnings reports.    EM Asia was mostly higher, but Aussie lost another 50bp as the RBA’s hawkish tone weighs heavy.    Globally, Financials were in favor, along with Technology – while Materials and Industrials seem the biggest weights.  Some Single Stock US movers include MU +3% (Moody’s u/g), ZNGA +2% - While Losers include LVS -3.5% (Macau), INTC -1%.

The 10YY is unchanged, after failing an attempt to get upside y’days 2.63% peak.   Credit folks will be watching Munis with Puerto Rico downgraded to Junk, a well expected move.  Stress has come off some of the Treasury Bills maturing in March, as signs indicate the House to accept a “clean” bill raising the debt ceiling.  The $ is losing ground to both Euro and Yen – and the bulls are watching the “Carry Trade” reversing most of yesterday’s gains with the $-Yen cross struggling to stay upside 100dma this morning.   With the DXY lower, we have a tailwind for commodities – and we continue to see upticks in some Industrial metals like Silver and Copper, and Gold 50bp higher as it gears to test the 100dma again.   WTI is higher, not only from Inventory data, but reports of “limited” exports to Europe nearing.   Nat Gas is off 1%, as investors take profits after yesterday’s pop higher, and the CME hikes margins again – a 2nd time in a week.   We have a day chock full of important catalysts – starting with ADP employment at 8:15, at 10 the double whammy of our Services PMI, and the “Online Help Wanted Index”.  At 10:30 we get DOE data for Crude – and 2 Fed speakers chatting on the Economy: Plosser at 12:30, and Lacker at 1:40, both among the largest “hawks” –   We also have a rare Double POMO day – a small $.85-$1.15B buy at 11, followed by a larger $2.5-$3B buy at 2:15. 

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