Archive for July, 2012

Olympic Games 2012: Greek Athlete Failed Doping Test?

July 26, 2012

Greeks are in Olympic Games Shock! After the expulsion of triple jump athlete Voula Papachristou due to a racist comment, another incident is spreading dark clouds around the Greek Olympics team. Dimitris Chondrokoukis, high jump champion has failed a doping test, Greek and international media reported on Thursday. According to Chondrokoukis family lawyer the sample was taken 15 days ago and tested by WADA. The lawyer told Greek media, the family has authorized him to ask the examination of a backup “B” sample.  The first sample was tested positive for the steroid stanozolol.

World indoor champ Chondrokoukis out of Olympics

A Greek athlete has failed a doping test, according to an IAAF official, and the father and coach of world indoor high jump champion Dimitris Chondrokoukis says his son has tested positive and withdrawn from the Olympics.

The IAAF official spoke on condition of anonymity because the case has not yet been made public.

Greek media published a letter attributed to Kyriakos Chondrokoukis saying his son had tested positive for the steroid stanozolol. He said his son has not taken any banned substance and has asked for the backup “B” sample to be tested.

“Despite the fact that we consider this news to be surreal, we do not wish to dispute the result of this test,” the letter said, adding that Chondrokoukis and his father might also seek to have both samples later tested at a separate accredited laboratory.

“The paradox of the use of such an easily detectible banned substance by a recent world champion who is under the microscope of doping control authorities, and on the eve of the Olympic Games, is blatantly obvious,” Kyriakos Chondrokoukis wrote in the letter. “Against this paradox I will fight, we will fight, to answer and determine what exactly happened.”

The 24-year-old Chondrokoukis was expected to be a strong medal contender at the London Games after winning the world indoor title in Istanbul in March.

Chondrokoukis finished fifth at the 2011 world championships in Daegu, South Korea, and matched his personal best jump of 2.32 meters at the Doha Diamond League meet in May.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams said he had read media reports about the case, but said it was an IAAF matter.

“If we are catching people with pre-games testing, it can only be a good thing. We applaud it,” Adams said. “The more drug cheats we can catch the better.” (AP via yahoo sports)

 

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Greece to Decrease Compensations to PM and Ministers, But Not To MPs

July 26, 2012

Greece’s alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras uploaded in open government a series of compensation cuts for the high-ranking officials of the country. The Prime Minister and the Parliament speaker, Ministers and alternate ministers will see their income been cut between 468 and 1,872 euro per month.

The salaries for the 300 MPs remain ‘untouchable” from the austerity cuts:

PM and Parliament Speaker a decrease of 1,872 euro per month.

Deputy PM and Main Opposition leader a decrease of 1,404 euro per month. 

Ministers and deputy/alternate Ministers a decrease of 935 euro if they are also MPS and a decrease of 468 euro, if they are not.

A further decision on wages cuts to General Secretaries is expected too.

With these cuts the debt-ridden government expects to save 9-10 million euro per year.

The Finance Ministry decided also to proceed to cuts of 10-25% the state pays for rent for public buildings.

PS I didn’t know we had a deputy prime minister… the last two in Papandreou & Papademos governments were Venizelos & Pangalos, but Samaras government had not appointed any. Or it has???

 

 

 

Ex Greek Representative: “IMF Knew Austerity Program was Impossible to Succeed”

July 26, 2012

 It looks as if the IMF knew from the beginning the Austerity Program for Greece was far away from a possible success. This revelation comes from Panagiotis Roumeliotis, a former representative of Greece to the International Monetary Fund. For one striking reason: Because as a member of the common currency area, the Euro Zone, Greece could not devalue its currency. And because the IMF underestimated the impact of the austerity to the real economy.

“We knew at the fund from the very beginning that this program was impossible to be implemented because we didn’t have any — any — successful example,” said Panagiotis Roumeliotis at New York Times, a vice chairman at Piraeus Bank and a former finance minister who until January was Greece’s representative to the International Monetary Fund. Because Greece is in the euro zone, he noted, the nation cannot devalue its currency to help improve its competitiveness as other countries subject to I.M.F. interventions almost always are encouraged to do.

At the same time, Mr. Roumeliotis and others note, the troika underestimated the negative effect its medicine would have on the Greek economy.

“The argument that is used usually by the troika in order to criticize Greece — and to ignore their mistakes — is that the deep recession is because of the nonimplementation of the structural reforms,” Mr. Roumeliotis said. While Athens has fallen woefully short on that front, he conceded, the bigger problem is that the severe cuts contributed to the downward spiral by decimating economic demand within Greece.

It remains to be seen whether the troika is prepared to force Greece to default. Much of the talk on both sides is aimed at extracting concessions in negotiations. But while Greece has been pushed to the edge before, it now appears to be running out of time because its European partners, however complicit in Greece’s current plight, appear to be running out of patience.

The original [IMF imposed] plan called for Greece to return to financing its debts on the open market in 2014, an idea that one European official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, now calls a “fiction.”

Complicating matters is the fact that the troika’s institutions have different mandates and constituencies. “The troika is not one homogeneous bloc,” said Guntram B. Wolff, the deputy director of Bruegel, a public policy research institute in Brussels. “They have different views.”

Some experts say that the I.M.F. has been quietly pushing to ease the austerity terms while European leaders have mostly been trying to satisfy Germany’s demands to keep Greece on a tight leash to persuade its own voters to support the bailouts. (Full story New York Times via Capital.gr)

Greek Employees, Pensioners & Patients to Pay for Troika Austerity

July 26, 2012

It’s the same old Greek story: Employees, pensioners and patients will mainly pay for the Troika austerity measures. A package of 11.5 billion euro for the years 2013-2014 and additional measures of 3 billion euro for 2012 to cover up missed fiscal targets.

Employees, pensioners and patients will have to come up for expenditure cuts worth 5 billion euro.

How will this look like? As Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras exposes Samaras’ government cuts-proposals to the Troika this morning, parts of this package have been leaked to the press.

Some of the measures would include:

A cap for pensions: maximum pension would be 2,000-2,200 euro

Pensions: 5% for pensions 1,000-1,400 euro, 10% for pensions over 1,400 euro. If someone gets more than one pension, the cut will affect the total amount.

Allowances, Social Benefits: More than 89 social and welfare benefits will be given only according to income and social criteria. Only unemployment allowance and EKAS (a welfare benefit for low pensioners) are not “touched by the measures, even though a very low-income cap was set and applied last year for EKAS.

There have been some rumors to cut unemployment allowance for seasonal workers (agriculture, tourism) but nothing is confirmed yet.

Lump sum: 22.67% cuts for civil servants. A total of 40% cut for those insurance funds that pay higher lump sum than employees’ contributions.

Health Care: That’s THE end of Greek patient, should the cuts will be applied as apparently planned!

Maximum annual spending pro insured patient will be 1,500 euro! This amount would include expenditutre cover by insurance funds for: prescription medicine, 2 check ups per year, 1 hospital staying.

If this amount is earlier spent, the patient will have to pay 10 euro per visit to a doctor and 15% of the daily cost for a hospital staying.

Nothing has been said so far about prescription medicine costs.

I do not know if the healthcare cut is a serious proposal or just a ‘game’ so that the government can say: we negotiated with the Troika and succeed in canceling this provision.

But if THIS health “un”-care measure will be imposed and applied, then there will be THE time for revolution here… a revolution staged by the chronic-ill and low pensioners.

 

 

 


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