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Greek report
by Euro Reporter
2014-08-29 11:10:47
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Mysterious 2,300-year-old tomb found in Greece

Archaeologists excavating an ancient mound in northern Greece have uncovered what appears to be the entrance to an important tomb from about the end of the reign of warrior-king Alexander the Great, officials said Tuesday. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who visited the tightly-guarded site Tuesday, said the discovery "is clearly extremely important" and dates between 325-300 B.C.

Alexander, who started from the northern Greek region of Macedonia to build an empire stretching as far as India, died in 323 B.C. and was buried in Egypt. His fellow royals were traditionally interred in a cemetery near Vergina, far to the west, where the lavishly-furnished tomb of Alexander's father, Philip II, was discovered in the 1970s. But archaeologists believe the apparently unlooted Amphipolis grave, which is surrounded by a surprisingly long and well-built wall with courses of marble decorations, may have belonged to a senior ancient official.

Excavator Katerina Peristeri has argued that the mound was originally topped by a large stone lion that was unearthed a century ago some 5 kilometers from the site. In the past, the lion has been associated with Laomedon of Mytilene, one of Alexander's military commanders who became governor of Syria after the king's death. "The excavation will answer the crucial question of who was buried inside," Samaras said. The tomb is expected to be opened in the next two weeks. So far, workers have unveiled a flight of 13 steps that lead to a broad path, flanked by masonry walls, which end in a built-up arch covering two headless, wingless sphinxes - mythical creatures that blend human, bird and lion characteristics. A strong police guard has been mounted around the fenced-off mound, where earth-moving machinery was shifting tons of dirt from the excavation Tuesday.


Greece likely to miss Eurostat deadline for reassessed figures

The country’s statistics on the economy look set to be thrown into doubt once again, as it appears Greece will miss a deadline to submit a reassessment of economic data covering the period from 1995 to 2013, a Eurostat demand on all European Union member states. This latest bout of doubt, if it occurs, would concern historical data, not the current economic figures. All EU members face a September 22 deadline to deliver reassessed figures as part of a new accounting framework, ESA 2010, imposed by Eurostat, which will present the results on October 10. The EU’s statistical service is awaiting revised GDP, deficit and debt figures based on new ESA 2010 criteria. Its processing of entries such as public utilities and defense spending is expected to produce different deficit and debt results for the years 1995 to 2005.

ELSTAT, Greece’s statistical authority, is believed to be on schedule for its reassessment of GDP results, but is said to be behind in its reworking of deficit and debt figures. ELSTAT chief Andreas Georgiou told the Finance Ministry to begin work on its part of the task in January, but the ministry has reportedly only just assembled its team. Should the ministry not send all necessary historical data to ELSTAT within the next few days, there is no way it will be able to process the information and provide its final results to Eurostat on time. If so, the Greek statistical service would miss out on sending Eurostat any revised deficit and debt data prior to 2006. In this event, legal action could be taken against Greece.

The current deficit and debt figures are said to be beyond any doubt as ELSTAT has already conducted reassessment procedures from 2006 onward, as required. However, failure to meet Eurostat’s deadline would spark unnecessary reaction and undermine Greece’s improved standing in terms of credibility. The period prior to 2006 includes two crucial issues. New light would be shed on Greece’s preparation for Economic Monetary Union, between 1995 and 2005, requiring a GDP deficit of less than 3 percent, and could spark renewed debate about whether the country should have entered the eurozone or not. Also, ongoing debate on New Democracy policies while the party was in power in 2004-09, and whether they led to the bailout, could provide fresh information.


Immigrants Massively Leaving Greece

Many immigrants who once chose Greece as a destination for a better future are massively returning to their homeland, as they are unable to find a job. A massive flow of young Greeks and immigrants unable to find a job in the country has been observed in the past 5 years, since the financial crisis struck Greece. Figures released by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), the Bank of Greece (BoG) and data from Greece’s largest social security fund IKA, show that immigrants – mainly from Albania – are returning to their country.

Albanian immigrants, the majority of which came to Greece in the 90’s, have been unable to continue earning a decent living in Greece and are returning home. Most of them had been working legally in the country and held deposits in Greek banks, as several banking scams have occurred in their country.

According to ELSTAT, the number of Albanian nationals that left the country in the period from 2011-2012 reached 133,787 persons, while this trend is expected to be larger during the period 2013-2014, however no data is yet available. Moreover, the number of deposits from non EU citizens, mainly depositors from Albania, has decreased during the past 4 years by 30 billion euros, with deposits down by 3.5 billion in the period from June 2013-June 2014 alone. Data revealed by IKA show that the number of Albanian nationals insured by the fund in 2009 reached 121,902, while at the end of 2013 the number decreased to 85,893 persons. The greatest drop was observed in the construction sector, where just one third of those insured in 2009 are still left, since this was the sector most severely hit by the financial crisis.


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