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Old November 15th, 2013 #61
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Thumbs up 12 Infiltrators Found Dead After Boat Capsizes

Twelve "migrants" were found dead Friday and a further 15 were rescued after a boat capsized in western Greece, authorities said.

The Merchant Marine Ministry said the victims included four children. The accident occurred early Friday, off the coast of Lefkada, an island in the Ionian Sea. The "migrants" were presumed to have been headed to nearby Italy from the western Greek mainland.

Ministry officials said the "migrants" were aboard a plastic boat that was 7-8 meters (23-26 feet) in length. The survivors were being taken to hospitals for observation.

Lefkada mayor Costas Aravanis said coast guard boats and divers had searched in the Palairos area, between Lefkada and the mainland, before the effort was eventually called off about four hours after the sinking was first reported.

"The boat sank after dawn in good weather conditions, with low prevailing winds, so it's unclear how this happened ... It looks like the boat had been overloaded," Aravanis told the AP.

"Some of the survivors managed to swim to the shore and call for help .... There have been cases in the past where smugglers tricked the immigrants and left them on Lefkada, claiming they had arrived in Italy."

It was unclear where the voyage began. Greece is the European Union's busiest transit point for illegal immigration.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/...sizes-20896861
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Old June 20th, 2014 #62
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The Reality of the Greek “Success story”: Greece on Its Way to Become a Third World Country

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While prime minister Samaras speaks of a “Greek success story” reality looks quite different: Public debt has increased from 120 per cent of GDP to 180 per cent. The suicide rate is soaring. The public health and education systems have already been largely destroyed, says Chatzistefanou. According to physicians existential fear and poverty would lead also to a heavy rise in cardiovascular diseases – often with deadly consequences. The alleged primary surplus were fictitious as government debts – including unpaid salaries – were not taken into account. The left – including Syriza – would only be able to counter neoliberal policies if a massive social movement will support a progressive government as in parts of Latin America.
http://www.kontext-tv.de/node/430#ge...bedding%20code
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Old June 20th, 2014 #63
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Exploding the myth of the feckless, lazy Greeks

Here is the first myth: This crisis is made in Greece. It is not. It is the inevitable fallout of the global crisis which started in 2008.

Are there features in the Greek economy which made it particularly vulnerable? Yes – there is rampant corruption, bad management, systemic problems, a black market. All this has been explored ad nauseam. There are other factors, too; rarely mentioned. The crisis came at particularly bad time for Greece – four years after this tiny economy overextended in order to put on a giant Olympics and prove to the world it had “arrived”. When the crisis came, the country lacked the monetary and fiscal mechanisms to deal with it, because of its membership of the single currency.

However, all of the above are contributing factors – nothing more or less. The catalyst was the behaviour of the financial sector after the crisis. Here is what Angela Merkel had to say in February 2010, when the “Greek problem” started to rear its head, as reported by Bloomberg:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized market speculation against the euro, saying that financial institutions bailed out with public funds are exploiting the budget crisis in Greece and elsewhere. In a speech in Hamburg, she hit out at currency speculators, who she said are taking advantage of debt piled up by euro-area governments to combat the financial crisis. “The debt that had to be accumulated, when it was going badly, is now becoming the object of speculation by precisely those institutions that we saved a year-and-a-half ago. That’s very difficult to explain to people in a democracy who should trust us.”

And since it was difficult to explain, it appears, she gave up trying.

The crisis is a financial one. It is not. It is a political crisis and an ideological one. The difficulties of an economy the size of Greece (1.8 percent of eurozone GDP, 0.47 per cent of World GDP according to 2010 IMF figures) should hardly register as a blip on the global radar.

The primary reason for the widespread panic is the interconnectedness of the banking sector – the very same systemic weakness which caused the domino effect in 2008 and which the world has collectively failed to address or regulate.

The secondary reason is the eurozone’s refusal to allow Greece to proceed with what most commentators have seen as an inevitable default for many months now.

Both these factors are down to political decisions, not sound fiscal policy.

Greeks are lazy. This underlies much of what is said about the crisis, the implication presumably being that our lax Mediterranean work-ethic is at the heart of our self-inflicted downfall. And yet, OECD data show that in 2008, Greeks worked on average 2120 hours a year. That is 690 hours more than the average German and 467 more than the average Brit. Only Koreans work longer hours. The paid leave entitlement in Greece is on average 23 days, lower than the UK’s minimum 28 and Germany’s whopping 30.



Greeks retire early. The figure of 53 years old as an average retirement age is being bandied about. So much so, that it is has become folk-fact. It originates from a lazy comment on the New York Times website. It was then repeated by Fox News and printed in other publications. Greek civil servants have the option to retire after 17.5 years of service, but this is on half benefits. The figure of 53 is a misinformed conflation of the number of people who choose to do this (in most cases to go on to different careers) and those who stay in public service until their full entitlement becomes available.

Looking at Eurostat’s data from 2005 the average age of exit from the labour force in Greece (indicated in the graph below as EL for Ellas) was 61.7; higher than Germany, France or Italy and higher than the EU27 average. Since then Greece have had to raise the minimum age of retirement twice under bail-out conditions and so this figure is likely to rise further.

Greeks want the bail-out but not the austerity that goes with it. This is a fundamental untruth. Greeks are protesting because they do not want the bail-out at all (or the foreign intrusion that goes with it). They have already accepted cuts which would be unfathomable in the UK. There is nothing left to cut. The corrupt, the crooks, the wicked, our glorious leaders, have already transferred their wealth to Luxembourg banks. They will not suffer. Meanwhile Medecins du Monde are handing out food packages in central Athens.

Greece’s total annual deficit is €53bn Euros. Of that, our primary budget deficit is, in fact, under €5bn. The other €48bn is servicing the debt, including that of the two bail-outs, with one third being purely interest. Europe is not bailing out Greece. It is bailing out the European banks which increasingly unwisely gave her loans. Greece is asked to accept full responsibility as a bad borrower, but nobody is examining the contribution of the reckless lenders.

Western politicians have developed a penchant for standing on balconies and washing their hands like Pontius Pilate; lecturing from a great height about houses on fire with no exits. This conveniently draws a veil over the truth – that our house may have been badly built, but it was the arsonists of Wall Street and the Square Mile that poured petrol through our letterbox and started this fire.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb is the Lebanese-American philosopher who formulated the theory of “Black Swan Events” – unpredictable, unforeseen occurrences which have a huge impact and can only be explained afterwards. Last year he was asked by Jeremy Paxman whether people taking to the streets in Athens was a Black Swan Event. He replied: “The real Black Swan Event is that people are not rioting against the banks in London and New York.”
http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/wo...ss-lazy-greeks
 
Old June 21st, 2014 #64
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Economy: Greek GDP per capita at 75% of EU average in 2013‏

Actual individual consumption per capita in Greece totaled 82% of the EU average in 2013, while the country's average per capita GDP totaled 75% of EU average in the same year, as Ana-Mpa reports quoting last figures from Eurostat. In a report, the EU executive's statistics office said that actual Individual Consumption is a measure of material welfare of households. Based on first preliminary estimates for 2013, AIC per capita expressed in Purchasing Power Standards (PPS) varied from 49% to 138% of the EU28 average across the Member States. The highest level of Actual Individual Consumption per capita in the EU-28 was recorded in Luxembourg with a level of almost 40% above the EU-28 average. Germany was 25% above the average and Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Finland, France and the United Kingdom recorded levels between 10% and 20% above the average, while the Netherlands was just below 10% above. In Ireland, Italy, Cyprus and Spain, the levels were up to 10% below the EU-28 average, while Malta and Greece were between 10% and 20% below.
http://www.ansamed.info/ansamed/en/n...f2bf91216.html
 
Old July 7th, 2014 #65
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Greece: Some 130,000 Firms Shut Down in Six Years

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, JULY 3 — As many as 130,000 commercial enterprises shut down during Greece’s six-year economic recession while no more than 45,000 new ones opened, which translates into a net loss of some 85,000 businesses. At the same time — as Kathimerini online reports — an estimated 575,000 small and medium-sized enterprises were forced to stop operating, while 265,000 new ones were started. At least 230,000 employment posts, including traders-employers, self-employed and salary workers disappeared from the sector, while total employment in commerce has dropped to levels unseen since 1999.

These were the key points in data submitted on Wednesday by the National Confederation of Greek Commerce (Esee) to new Development Minister Nikos Dendias at their first meeting. “We have to try in every way we can to save the enterprises that can be saved. This is the way to prevent unemployment from increasing and to achieve its reduction soon, to the benefit of the young generation,” said Dendias.

http://www.ansamed.info/ansamed/en/n...f0605a059.html
 
Old July 15th, 2014 #66
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Greek Cypriots File War Crimes Complaint Against Turkey

A group of Greek Cypriots has filed a war crimes complaint against Turkey at the International Criminal Court over what they say is its policy of settling Cyprus’ breakaway north with mainland Turks.

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/gre...&NewsCatID=359
 
Old July 21st, 2014 #67
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Revolutionary Movements of Italy and Greece: Movements, Unification & Modernization



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Old August 16th, 2014 #68
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A 30-YEAR-OLD man from Congo, arrested for allegedly threatening to blow up mosques, and his 27-year-old flatmate from Senegal, were remanded for eight days pn Wednesday by the Limassol court.

According to Sigmalive, the 30-year-old who has a French passport, was reported to the police by the mufti of the mosque in the Ayios Antonios area in Limassol on Tuesday when he reportedly threatened to blow up all the mosques in Cyprus.

The suspect allegedly issued the threat when the mufti asked him what he was doing wandering around his mosque. The suspect was later located by police at his house and he and his roommate were arrested…

http://cyprus-mail.com/2014/08/13/re...mosque-threat/
 
Old August 19th, 2014 #69
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Anti-racism bill with tougher penalties due back in Parl't

New legislation that provides stiffer penalties for individuals and political parties who engage in racism or incite racist violence is to be discussed in Parliament on August 26, following months of delays, it was announced on Tuesday.

The anti-racism bill was first submitted to Parliament in November but objections from the then cabinet secretary Panayiotis Baltakos forced the government to withdraw the would-be legislation. It was resubmitted to the House but has not moved beyond the committee stages for several months. Now a new version of the bill is to be tabled in a bid to bring Greece’s anti-racism legislation, which has stood since 1979, up to date.

The draft law includes provisions that mean parties or associations which promote racism will be cut off from state funding of any kind for between one and six months. The justice minister will also have the right to fine the people involved in such acts between 10,000 and 100,000 euros.

Individuals engaging in racist acts can be jailed for between three months and three years. They will also face fines of 5,000 to 20,000 euros. If their actions lead to another crime being committed, this will carry a minimum six-month prison sentence.

Jail terms of three months to three years will also be handed down to anyone who praises or denies “the significance of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, the Holocaust and Nazism” in a manner that could incite racial hate or violence. If the perpetrator is an MP or public official then the jail sentence will be stiffened, rising to between three and five years.

Government sources told Kathimerini that the Justice Ministry would be taking on board the concerns voiced by 38 New Democracy MPs who asked in a letter that there be a specific reference to the genocide of Black Sea and Asia Minor Greeks, as well as Armenians and Assyrians. The Greek Parliament has recognized these slaughters as genocide since 1994.

ekathimerini.com | Anti-racism bill with tougher penalties due back in Parl't
 
Old September 2nd, 2014 #70
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Greece to toughen penalties on hate speech, outlaw Holocaust denial

ATHENS, Greece – Lawmakers in Greece have begun debating draft legislation to outlaw Holocaust denial and expand prosecution powers against the incitement of racial violence, following scores of violent attacks against immigrants and a surge in popular support for the extreme right Golden Dawn party.

The draft legislation to be voted on later this week would allow the prosecution of racial abuse without requiring victims to take any legal action, with convictions for incitement to violence carrying a penalty of up to three years in prison.

U.S.-based watchdog Human Rights Watch said the legislation failed to encourage the reporting of crimes by immigrants living in the country illegally, and risked "interference with freedom of expression and association."

The bill is likely to pass after receiving backing from two left-wing opposition parties.

Greece to toughen penalties on hate speech, outlaw Holocaust denial | Fox News
 
Old September 3rd, 2014 #71
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Greek academics say anti-racism bill risks interference with freedom of expression

More than one hundred Greek historians and academics have expressed reservations over aspects of draft legislation designed to outlaw Holocaust denial and expand prosecution powers against the incitement of racial violence.

A statement signed by 139 experts welcomed government measures to curb racism and racially-motivated violence. However, it expressed concern over Article 2 of the bill which seeks to criminalize denial of the Holocaust and other genocides for impeding freedom of speech.

“Our stance is not based on tolerance of the 'deniers' of hideous crimes, nor from a reluctance to punish criminal acts, but from the conviction that, as international experience has shown, such measures lead to dangerous paths: they impinge on the democratic and inalienable right to freedom of speech,” the statement said.

“Furthermore, [such measures] have proved totally ineffective in fighting racism and Nazism, racism and hate speech,” it said.

The anti-racism bill was approved in principle on Tuesday by Parliament’s summer session. A second vote on the bill’s articles is to be held on Friday.

Greece's Ombudsman said it received complaints of 281 suspected racist and homophobic attacks in the 16 months before May 2013, resulting in four deaths and 135 injuries.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w...09/2014_542609
 
Old September 6th, 2014 #72
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(ANSAmed) — ATHENS — The ticking time bomb of the Greek social security system will not explode in 2025, but 10 years earlier, or next year, according to a study by the Institute of Labor of the General Confederation of Greek Labor (Ine/Gsee) which is to be presented in Thessaloniki on Thursday as Kathimerini online reports today.

Gsee’s annual report on the Greek economy includes a chapter on the aging population and the sustainability of the social security system from 2013 to 2050. Its conclusions, which Kathimerini has seen, say that the prolonged recession and high unemployment have brought forward the pension system’s crumbling point by a decade and that in order to become viable the system requires additional resources of 950 million euros for 2016 alone. The system’s extra requirements are expected to grow rapidly in the following years, soaring to 2.67 billion euros for 2020.

The authors of the study note that pension cuts and a hike in the retirement age would have allowed for the sustainability of the system until 2025 had it not been for the deep and protracted recession and high unemployment. As a result 2015 is seen as the year when the social security system could fall apart. They add that new measures will be necessary due to reduced state funding (from 16.4 billion euros in 2012 to just 8.6 billion per year from 2015 to 2018), an explosive rise in the jobless rate (today at 27%), an increase in the number of new pensioners (from 40,000 in 2009 to 100,000 per year after 2010), salary reductions and the growth in undeclared and flexible labor. Already the social security funds’ cash reserves have dwindled from 26 billion euros in 2009 to just 4.5 billion last year, while the demographic shift in Greece resulting from longer life expectancy and a reduction in the birthrate has contributed to a 15% increase in the pension burden on funds, the study notes. The Ine/Gsee economists also note that after the recent interventions to the pensions system, the average age of retirement has grown to 63 years (not including early retirement options), while pensions have been cut by about 32.5%.

http://www.ansamed.info/ansamed/en/n...50b49a2fa.html
 
Old September 6th, 2014 #73
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Unemployment rate and inflation rate affect citizens’ psychology

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, SEPTEMBER 3 — US business and technology news website Business Insider classified Greece among the most miserable countries in the world, based on the unemployment rate and the high prices of products.

As GreekReporter online writes, Business Insider cites a Bloomberg survey that counts misery in each country with the “misery index.” It is measured by adding the unemployment rate to the inflation rate. The index was created by economist Arthur Okoun and in previous decades was a very popular term in the USA. Despite the criticism the “misery index” has received, scientific research has shown that unemployment and inflation affect the psychology of citizens. Venezuela tops the list of the most miserable places with 59.50% (CPI inflation at 52.7%, unemployment at 7.1%) and South Africa comes second with 31.80% (CPI inflation at 6.3%, unemployment at 25.5%).

Greece ranks third with 27.10% (CPI inflation at 0.7%, unemployment at 27.8%). The survey highlights the problem of the increased unemployment when referring to the country’s situation after the six-year recession and dealing with the debt crisis. According to Business Insider, the Greek public sector makes up 40% of the GDP and tourism accounts for 18%. Almost 20% of workers are immigrants and take the agricultural and unskilled jobs. It is also noted that Greece is the first developed country that is now considered an “emerging market.”

http://www.ansamed.info/ansamed/en/n...db17a7208.html
 
Old September 10th, 2014 #74
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Greece Passes Bill Making Holocaust-Denial Illegal, Tougher Anti-Racism Laws

Hate Crimes Have Surged Alongside Rise of Golden Dawn


Greek lawmakers on Tuesday passed a bill toughening anti-racism laws and making Holocaust denial a criminal act, as it cracks down on a wave of xenophobic attacks that have come amid the country’s worst-ever peace-time financial crisis.

A gateway into the European Union for thousands of migrants from Asia and Africa, Greece is home to more than 1 million undocumented migrants, who face growing hostility as the country struggles through a six-year recession and record unemployment.

Hate crimes have surged alongside the rise of the fiercely anti-immigrant Golden Dawn party, whose top members are in jail pending trial on charges of setting up a criminal group that attacks immigrants and opponents. They deny the accusations.

“Reinforcing our legislative arsenal is demanded more than ever today, when the enemies of democracy and those who deny the human substance preach hatred,” Justice Minister Haralambos Athanassiou told parliament last week.

The bill raises the prison term for instigating hate crimes to three years from two and allows prosecutors to investigate crimes even if the victims fail to report them to authorities.

It also imposes fines of up to 30,000 euros for those instigating racism and up to 100,000 euros for groups involved in racially motivated crimes, in addition to banning them from receiving state funding for up to six months.

A controversial article criminalizing the denial or trivialisation of the Holocaust, Nazi war atrocities and genocide, was voted for by 54 of the 99 lawmakers present during the summer session.

The government had rejected a proposed amendment that would have legally recognized gay and lesbian couples, citing the need for study of tax and religious issues, despite a 2013 EU court ruling that it was violating EU rules by not doing so.

Rights groups like Human Rights Watch that have long criticized Greece for turning a blind eye to racism welcomed the latest changes.

“Greece is waking up to the fact that there is a serious problem with racist violence,” Human Rights Watch said in a recent report.

Golden Dawn, which features a swastika-like emblem and has referred to immigrants as “subhumans”, said the new rules violated freedom of expression.

“What is xenophobia? The railings at my home stopping a Pakistani, or any foreigner, from raping my wife or killing me?” Golden Dawn lawmaker Michail Arvanitis told parliament. “Discrimination is a fact of life.”

Golden Dawn’s leader, Nikos Michaloliakos, has denied the Holocaust, and the party’s members have been seen giving Nazi salutes. Michaloliakos has held in pre-trial detention after a party supporter killed a anti-fascist rapper a year ago.

An investigation into Golden Dawn’s links to a string of violent attacks, including the killing of the rapper and a Pakistani immigrant, has entered its final stage. A trial of more than 70 suspects, including Golden Dawn’s 16 lawmakers, is expected to begin in November. The new laws cannot be applied to those on trial.

http://forward.com/articles/205395/g...#ixzz3Ct3YdGCC
 
Old September 19th, 2014 #75
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Old September 28th, 2014 #76
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According to a report of the Parliamentary Budget Office

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS — A shocking report of the Parliamentary Budget Office regarding the economic situation of Greek households revealed that approximately 6.3 million Greeks (some 58.3% on a total population of around 11 million according to the census of 2011) are threatened by poverty.

Approximately 2.5 million Greeks are living below the poverty line, while 3.8 million are in direct danger of crossing the poverty line, the report said.

The poverty line, or poverty threshold, is the minimum level of income deemed adequate in a particular country. The survey, entitled “Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI) Policies in the European Union and Greece” also notes that protection policies are effective, while the implementation of the GMI in Greece is delayed as GreekReporter website underlines.

http://www.ansamed.info/ansamed/en/n...748b90ed6.html
 
Old September 30th, 2014 #77
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Greece: Prime Minister Samaras Eyes Constitutional Reforms

Including a change to the electoral system

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, SEPTEMBER 29 — Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is to unveil plans for constitutional reform, including a change to the electoral system and the way the Greek president is elected, once the troika has completed its review of the country’s adjustment program, as Kathimerini online reported. Troika inspectors are due in Athens today and the coalition hopes that the review will be completed by the end of November or early December. This would allow the government to concentrate on winning over MPs before they have to vote for a new president to succeed incumbent Karolos Papoulias early next year. The government believes that the promise of major constitutional changes could help sway some of the 180 MPs it needs to elect Papoulias’s successor. Among the changes being considered are for the president to be elected by voters rather than Parliament, thereby putting an end to the threat of opposition parties forcing elections every five years if the government cannot muster the required votes to elect a new head of state. Also, the coalition is considering enhancing the president’s powers. In terms of the electoral system, there are a number of ideas being discussed within the government, particularly changing the way the 50-seat bonus is awarded to the party that wins national elections.

http://www.ansamed.info/ansamed/en/n...3eb66d2d4.html
 
Old September 30th, 2014 #78
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Yes, now that the polls show SYRIZA has a 10-point lead over them they are trying to do something about it. The thing is, if they remove this 50-seat bonus, nobody will have seats to make a solid coalition. This only issue would be... an ND-SYRIZA coalition...
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Old October 1st, 2014 #79
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Greece: Poll: Strong Lead for Main Opposition Party Syriza

It’s ahead of New Democracy by 11 percentage points

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, SEPTEMBER 29 — A Public Issue poll on the “estimated electoral influence” of the political parties returned a strong lead for main opposition Syriza (radical left), which forged ahead of New Democracy — ND, the leading party in Greece’s ruling coalition — by 11 percentage points. The results of the survey — that was conducted nationwide in a period from September 15-23 — were published in the newspaper Efimerida ton Syntakton on Saturday as Ana-Mpa reports. Specifically, on the question of estimated electoral influence, Syriza increased its percentage to 36% (from 31% in July) and ND rose to 25% (from 24% in July). The newly formed Potami party dropped to 9.5% (from 10.5%) but remained in third place, followed by far-right Golden Dawn (7.5% from 8.5%), the Communist Party of Greece (KKE, unchanged at 6.5%), junior coalition partner Pasok (5.5% from 7.5%), Independent Greeks (4% from 4.5%) and lastly Democratic Left (Dim.Ar) with 1% (from 1.5%). Other parties received 5%, down from 6% in July.

Based on these findings, the number of Parliamentary seats that each party would receive if elections were held are the following: Syriza 146 (within a range from 142-150), ND 66 (61-72), Potami 25 (20-30), Golden Dawn (16-24), KKE 17 (15-20), Pasok 15 (12-17), Independent Greeks 11 (8-13) and Dim.Ar none. Asked which party they considered most likely to win an election held now, irrespective of their personal preferences, 64% of respondents said Syriza (up from 54% in July) and 24% said ND (down from 32% in July). On who was most suitable for prime minister, 38% replied the current premier Antonis Samaras (from 43% in July), and 34% said SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras (from 29% in July). Another 28% said ‘neither’ or did not express an opinion.

http://www.ansamed.info/ansamed/en/n...4bcc500ca.html
 
Old October 10th, 2014 #80
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Remembering the Greek Jews who participated in the Auschwitz revolt 70 years ago THERE ARE NO GREEK JEWS ... ONLY JEWS LIVING IN GREECE
Prisoners succeeded in setting fire to Crematorium IV

Author: Damian Mac Con Uladh

On 7 October 1944, having learned that the SS was going to liquidate much of the squad, the members of the Sonderkommando, including Greeks, rose in revolt, setting fire to a crematorium and attacking SS guards with hammers, axes and stones



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