Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

PM Samaras: “Two tourists for every Greek”

July 25, 2014

Many puzzle about what Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ meaningful and mysterious oracle. He said that there will be “two tourists for every Greek”. What did the Prime Minister had in mind? Some wondered whether every Greek will have to host two tourists at home. Others  corrected the sentence stressing that Samaras should have said “Two (female) tourists for every Greek (male).” One proposed that every Greek would have two tourists as souvenir of the wide world and another one got scared that he may have to come up to for the tourists’ expenses. Α third Greek asked whether we can choose among the 20 million tourists or they will be assigned to every Greek per lottery. And a fourth one said, he would order a French cook.

But my granny, as wise woman at her 95, came much closer: “We will have the tourists work for us”, she heralded.

Indeed. PM Samaras said exactly:

“The economy will go better, stability in Greece is very important when there are so many turbulence outbreaks around us, tourism today-that will reach 20 million, that is two tourists for every Greekwill give liquidity to the economy and things will get better. Therefore, I’m really optimistic and I want Greek people to be aware of this optimism. I do not say this out of the blue.”

Samaras made this weighty statement on the occasion of the anniversary of democracy restoration, July 24th 1094.

Then they all went and celebrated the anniversary of democracy restoration but the President of the Republic did not host the fine party as he did in previous years. In fact since 2013, the President of the Republic does not host a democracy restoration party, because the country is poor and we have debts. And there are many people out there who cannot buy food or pay their bills – and debts. But I honestly hope that these people have internet or tv, so they can get the message of the PM and be aware his  optimism. With or without “two tourists”.

 

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Athens: screams, faints and tear gas in school guards protest

December 3, 2013

Screams, fainting, detentions and fury spraying with tear gas were the elements of unbelievable scenes outside the Ministry for Public Administration Reform in downtown Athens. Laid-off school guards had gathered to protest being left without work.

Riot police repelled with force the school guards and made extensive use of tear gas. Two women protesters fainted.

Earlier police had detained 9 protesters who had managed to enter the ministry building.

There are claims that riot police also attacked reporters and photo-reporters. In other media, it has been reported that riot police hindered journalists.

Protesters were reportedly not more than 70 people of all ages.

Η ώρα της προσαγωγής του πανό ΦΩΤΟ NEWSIT

At the end a total of 13 protesters were detained, but also a …banner!

Ανοικτή η Βασ. Σοφίας μετά τη διαμαρτυρία των σχολικών φυλάκων

 

 

To be or not to be … rector of Athens University

December 2, 2013

Dressed with a red cape the white-haired actor stands alone on the stage of a small theater hall in Paris, France. The stage is located in the Greek House, a culture institute, the actor performs in front of no more than 55 people.The play “Mark Aurelius” is been written and directed by the actor himself.

The man taken by his passion for the theater is Theodosis Pelegrinis, the rector at the Athens University. One of the universities on strike since two and a half months due to enforced lay-offs in administration personnel. Lectors, teachers and administrative personnel are on strike, students cannot attend classes, take exams or even matriculate.

But the passionate actor seems apparently to believe, that these problems are nonfiction banalities when compared to his world of dramatic monologue and powerful gesture when he tries to communicate with his audience. Not his students.

Pelegrinis gave this exceptional performance in Paris last Sunday. When the Education Minister Konstantinos Arvanitopoulos was reportedly trying to find a solution for the university and the personnel was announcing a further strike week.

On Monday, and after Greek newspapers and media reported about the Mark Aurelius performance, the Education Minister decided to refer Pelegrinis to Disciplinary Boards for misconduct.

“Unlike the other seven Rectors of universities affected by the measure of availability, the Rector of the National University of Athens Mr. Pelegrinis keeps the University closed due to inaction and inability to implement the decisions of the Senate,,” the Minister said in a statement.

The Minister’s decision is interpreted by Greek media as “paving the way for Pelegrinis’ suspension.”

I don’t agree with the measure of availability ordered by the Troika and applied by the Greek ministers for the sole reason that it causes people to lose their jobs and thus without previous evaluation of their work performance. However, I don’t agree  with Pelegrinis either, who prefers to fly to Paris and be Marc Aurelius than a responsible manager of a university on fire.

Between Education Minister and Pelegrinis, students are the hostages.

Students are more likely to miss this one semester. Especially for students from the country side and not wealthy families rent and living cost for six lost months is a huge burden.

A university teacher I know told me recently that it was a grave mistake to have universities closed. “They should be open and operate dismantled from administrative personnel, so that everyone would see what’s going on.”

 

 

 

 

Education Minister fires the teacher, he awarded for innovation & excellent practices

December 2, 2013

It was a touching moment in the life of teacher Dimitris Sakatzis. He had was awarded in the context of  the program for “Excellent and Good Practices in Primary and Secondary Education” for his work as a teacher.

sakatzis

During the award ceremony, proud teacher Sakatzis raised his award certification with his right hand and another paper with his left one: the Ministry of Education notice, that he is included in the ‘availability scheme’ that will fire him if not other vacancy will be available for him.

“The political world should be ashamed for slandering the teachers,” Sakatzis said addressing the audience of the ceremony.

The program of “Excellent and Good practices” awards teachers for the use of innovation and creativity in schools as a basis for the enrichment and empowerment of educational work and learning process.

For the last year of the awards program 2012-2013 , 1,035 projects were submitted by 2,114 teachers. Awarded were 105 individual and group projects , implemented by 258 teachers nationwide .

PS whatever phrase I will use to describe this situation will be a cliché of the well-known categories: “Only in Greece possible”, “Greece is eating its own children,”  and “same old Greek tragicomedy.” And I don’t want to repeat myself for one more time.

No awarded teacher, not doctor will escape the IMF-hand while the Greek government still tries to save its friends and friends of their friends.

 

New Greek phenomenon: job vaccancies want personnel on “voluntary basis”

December 2, 2013

In Greece of recession and IMF loan agreements reality of labor market has turned worse than in our worst nightmare. Employers not only pay their employees with up to six months delay. A new phenomenon has recently arose in the Greek labor market. Employees offer job vacancies and thus on voluntary basis. In times of debts, unemployment and desperation, EU citizens are forced to work not only for a piece of bread in a debt-ridden country with consumer prices remaining shameless high. Now, employees are requested even to work for no salary, to work for nothing. For no salary at all, on volunteer basis. With sole award for the desperate employee, being the bright perspective of being chosen the volunteer of the year.

I post some examples of the latest developments in the Greek labor market in hope that someone will address the European Court of Human Rights.

Work for nothing

In Greece of brazen and savage capitalism, private interests and profit become places of wild exploitation of labor market and poor conditions, while at the same time they pander the noble cause of volunteering, an altruistic activity for the improvement of human life and the promotion of good causes.

A private company in Athens seeks volunteers for the Marketing Department, to work 9 am-5pm, at least four days per month.

Required skills: team work, willing to learn etc.

Offers: life experience, moral satisfaction, contact with other volunteers, volunteer certification, “volunteer of the year”. (source)

Work for bed & meals

In best cases, employers offer a meal and free accommodation, as in the case of a hotel on the island of Aegina.

Hotel seeks room maid for voluntary work in Aegina, offers accommodation and meals.

Work and return part of salary to employer

Employers seem to never run out of ideas when it comes to exploit working forces. A cleaner denounced last week that their employers was demanding back part fo their salary.

The woman was hired by a private company who had a contract with a public hospital in Athens. “They used to put on my bank account 800 euro every month, but a couple of days later two ladies would visit me and demand 200 euro in cash,” the cleaner told private skai TV. She added that this was the common practice for the whole personnel and that employers were forced to give back 200-300 euro depending on their salary.

Work and wait 3 months for salary

With the IMF-imposed abolishment of collective bargains, workers and employees in Greece are facing the deliberate new rules of the employers like six-day week, flexible working schedules, rotation work of 3 or 4 days per week, no allowances and overtime benefits.

One of the recent examples of the new morals in Greek labor market was signed beginning of November:

Employees at a security company were forced to sign working contracts according to which salary payment is legitimized to occur with a delay of 90 days!

“The payment of salaries for staff will take place within 90 days from the end of the month in which the work was given, either via transfer to employee’s bank account or in cash or in combination ot the two.” (imerisia.gr)

Work and get food vouchers

In Greece’s  international transportation sector a new collective bargain foresees that employees will be paid according to company turnover. If turnover is decreased in a period of nine months, salaries will be reduced by 4 percent. If turnover is increases, a bonus in form of cash or food vouchers will be given.

And you know what’s most weird and shameful in the whole situation? That the Greek public sector, the state that is deep in debt, still keeps paying higher salaries and higher pensions than the private sector.

PS and if we don’t end completely broke by 2014, we will live to admire the new Greek success story…

 

 

Piraeus bishop to excommunicate MPs voting for same-sex civil partnership

November 28, 2013

Greek-Orthodox Bishop Seraphim of Piraeus threatens to excommunicate MPs who will vote in favor of same-sex civil partnerships. Greece is obliged to bring in line with European Convention of Human Rights the extension of  “Pact of  Cohabitation” also to couples of same-sex. Main opposition party left-wing SYRIZA has recently submitted a relevant proposal to the Parliament, while allegedly also the government prepares an extension of the “cohabitation pact” also to homosexual couples.

«Ποινή αφορισμού σε όσους ψηφίσουν υπέρ των ομοφυλόφιλων»

In a 9-page long and extremely strict statement, Bishop Seraphim said that he will excommunicate lawmakers elected within the province of his pastoral responsibility, if and when they will vote in favor of the civil partnership amendment.

He describes homosexuality as a “terrible sin”.

“For all Holy Fathers homosexuality is the most disgusting and unclean sin. Support and acquittal of homosexuality is a great disrespect to God and blasphemous abolition of the Gospel. ”

Directly addressing the lawmakers and the government, Bishop Seraphim asks: “Who are you, the representatives of modernity that dare put themselves above the God and abolish the Gospel and the teaching of the Holy Fathers?”

He calls for an emergency meeting of the Bishops of the Orthodox Church of Greece and calls on Greek government not to implement “this insult against God and human beings.” (sources: TA NEA, zougla.gr and others)

UPDATE: The Bishops’ threats apparently had their effect and the government plans to freeze the law for the time being after 25 lawmakers from conservative Nea Dimocratia raised their objections, Greek media report. Coalition government partner socialist PASOK expressed the view that the government partners had agree on the issue. The Justice Minister said that the issue will come up again in form of a bill “sometime in the future.”

Meteorite crashed in western Greece (video)

November 28, 2013

A unique and for many scary phenomenon occurred on Wednesday night at around 9:30 p.m. A large fireball traveling with tremendous speed appeared in the sky and brightened the night. Those who saw the object speak of a “huge fiery ball”.  According Greek media reports, it was a meteorite that fell in the sea area between the islands of Kefalonia and Zakynthos in the Ionian Sea.

meteorite Greece

Residents of Machairadon and Alykon in Zakynthos reported, they suddenly saw a flash light in the sky followed by a loud sound. Eye-witnesses in Kefalonia said, that the object lightened also their homes.

The phenomenon was visible in Thessaloniki and Veroia in Northern Greece, in Patras in Northern Peloponnese. The meteorite crossed the sky also over Athens, with eye-witnesses reporting that they saw it flying also over the city center.

via LunarMeteoriteHunters

Scientists note that the fact the meteorite fell in the sea helped avoiding a disaster.

Another video allegedly showing the meteorite, filmed from Trikala in Central Greece. I personally see nothing, but there is a church bell to hear, apparently the faithful were on alert…

“This is a part asteroid or comet (fragment) which was in orbit around the sun and affected by the gravitational pull of the sun and other planets crossed the orbit of the earth. It entered the atmosphere and dissolved at a distance of 70 to 100 km”‘said Andreas Vosinakis, board member of Greeks Friends of Astronomy.

Dionysis Simopoulos, director of Greece’s Planetarium in Athens, stressed that the phenomenon was nothing special and that it was probably a meteorite. According to Simopoulos, the meteorite was not bigger than a human head and not heavier than 2.5 kilograms.  He categorically denied that the meteorite was part of the so-called “comet of the century” ISON that is expected to travel as the closest distance to the sun today.

Problem solving techniques – Take the poll

November 27, 2013

There several techniques – nation specific – on how to solve a problem. The German way seems straight forward → from A to B. the British way is based on the motto “have a cup of tea first”. the Spanish way adapts more to the southern climate with a nice vino-lunch and a nap. The American way is also straight forward → from A to Boom! As for the Greek way… well… quite complicated to describe in a few words. What’s you’re ideal way for find solutions to problems? problem solutions

photo credit to @elenikomini

 

Please, take the time to answer my  test poll!

Thanks for answering 🙂

 

Athens: municipality policemen brawl with public sector unionists

November 27, 2013

Angry municipality policemen and public sector unionists had a real bad time with raised punches and pushing around in an Athens hotel on Wednesday. A group of frustrated and laid-off municipality policemen entered the hall where public sector union ADEDY was holding a conference. The municipality policemen shouted slogans against the unionists and accused them of not having supported their struggle, when the Greek government decided to suspend the institution and send them home with the ghost of unemployment haunting them.

ADEDYmunicipality policemen

Angry fists were raised and most possibly fell as well, pushing against each other occurred, some tried to calm down the spirits. When ADEDY vice president asked municipality policemen to leave the hall, blood started to boil again.

more pictures in newsit.gr

Really ugly scenes were averted though, and policemen left shouting at the unionists, that they leave to them “the comfort chairs of power and the ambitions for political careers”.

That’s the bitter truth dividing the austerity-hit Greek society. Those without work and income envy those with work. And furthermore, unionists who spent years allegedly struggling for the rights of workers and employees found a safe job as ‘lawmakers’, climbing the stairs up to a ministerial post.

Journalist Vaxevanis acquitted for publishing the Lagarde List

November 27, 2013

vaxevanis

Greek investigative journalist Kostas Vaxevanis charged with the publishing of Lagarde List was cleared of all charges on Wednesday. The Three-Member Misdemeanor Court unanimously declared Vaxevanis innocent despite the prosecutor’s suggestion that the disclosure of the names on the Lagarde List were ‘breach of privacy’.

It is the second time that the court declares Kostas Vaxevanis innocent.

Last year, Vaxevanis published in his magazine HOT DOC the names of more than 2,000 Greeks, holders of bank accounts in HSBC Geneva branch.

 


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