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Greek report Greek report
by Euro Reporter
2009-10-04 09:15:25
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Greek voters seek clear direction

Across Europe, pundits are declaring the death of socialism, but, on the eve of a general election, opinions polls suggest Greeks may buck this trend, and vote the left-wing opposition PASOK party into power. If this does happen, however, there is unlikely to be widespread rejoicing on the streets of Athens.

Many Greeks are sceptical about PASOK's ability to transform their country and they simply feel that the centre-right New Democracy government does not deserve another chance. The mood in Greece has become cynical and dark. Greeks are anxious about the economic crisis and are angered by a series of scandals and disasters that have left the government looking incompetent and corrupt. Costas Karamanlis, the country's prime minister, called this election only half-way through his second four-year term, in an attempt to win a stronger mandate for difficult reforms he wanted to implement to the Greek economy.

The election campaign draws to a close with Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis’s final appearance before his party’s supporters at a public rally in the centre of Athens and the leader of the opposition PASOK party, George Papandreou’s appearance in Patras.

Today, Greece’s citizens will be called to choose their next government, one that will have to deal with the repercussions of the economic crisis and lead the country on the road to recovery.  Twenty three political parties and electoral blocs are running in this election. According to the Ministry of the Interior, 9,835,007 (5,076,727 women, 4,758,280 men) citizens have the right to vote, with 245,866 first-time voters. Voting begins at 7 a.m. and ends at 7 p.m. 

Exit polls will become public as soon as the polls close.  Election results are expected to be known earlier (than during previous elections) due to a new system that the Ministry has adopted.   This system involves transference of results from polling stations to the secure, central computer through text messages.

Let’s hope that the socialists will bring the …sun from their logo!


Olympic Air’s first

Olympic Air (OA) launched its flight operations under its new name for the first time on October 1st.
An Airbus 320 took off from Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos with destination to Thessaloniki’s International Airport "Makedonia," symbolically retracing the route of the very first flight carried out more than half a century ago by Aristotle Onassis' Olympic Airways.

At the inaugural ceremony, the vice president of Marfin Investment Group announced that the airline will also launch a new subsidiary called "Macedonian Airlines" in the coming months, expected initially to fly from Thessaloniki to Germany and Amsterdam.

It’s like starting a …Olympic sport!


The sponge industry

Sponge fishing in Greece has a centuries-long tradition.  In 1905, the first Greek sponge colony was established in Tarpon Springs, Florida, USA and, within a year, 1500 Greek sponge divers had settled there.  The sponge industry grew immensely in the 1930's with a fleet of about 200 ships. In 1936, Tarpon Springs became recognized as the sponge capital of the world.

As a tribute to this past, lucrative business, the city of Tarpon Springs refurbished a sponge boat built in 1936 (listed on the American Register of Historic Places), that sits on the Sponge Docks.  An article in Florida’s St. Petersburg Times (23/09/2009) titled "Tarpon Springs refurbishes 1936 sponge boat" reports: "Not only is this a city asset, but it represents the culture of Tarpon Springs," city Commissioner Chris Alahouzos said.  "It's an attraction to us and contributes to the local economy because tourists are here to see the sponge boats, and this is one of the originals."

An old tradition that should not disappear!


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