Last week in the Greek press

  • Sifis the crocodile found dead
  • IKA to axe any doctors found to have role in fraud ring
  • Greece has not submitted reform proposals yet, Germany says
  • Greece faces EU fine over hazardous waste
  • Five arrested over debts to the state
  • Air arrivals grow 20 pct in Jan-Feb 2015

Sifis the crocodile found dead

Sifis, the crocodile that had taken up residence in a reservoir near Rethymno in Crete has sadly been found dead.

The crocodile who is thought to have once been a pet that had been released when he grew too large was first spotted last summer by somewhat dumbfounded municipal workers.

He rapidly became a local celebrity drawing tourists and locals alike eager to catch a glimpse of the reptile.

While the cause of his death remains unknown it is considered likely that the reptile failed to survive the Cretan winter which this year was particularly harsh.


IKA to axe any doctors found to have role in fraud ring

The management of the IKA social security foundation on Friday ruled in favor of the dismissal of any doctors who may be involved in a benefit fraud ring that was cracked by police earlier this week.

The Financial Police on Thursday arrested seven people in connection with the alleged embezzlement of 360,000 euros from IKA and the OAEE fund for freelancers and the self-employed by issuing forged diagnoses of worksite accidents with the help of doctors.

At least 17 doctors working for the organizations are being probed in connection with the racket.


Greece has not submitted reform proposals yet, Germany says

Greece’s European partners are still waiting for Athens to present a comprehensive list of reforms and there is no date set yet for a meeting of the Eurogroup, a spokesman for the German finance ministry said on Monday.

“We need to wait for the Greek side to present us with a comprehensive list of reform measures which is suitable for discussion with the institutions and then later in the Eurogroup,” Martin Jaeger said.


Greece faces EU fine over hazardous waste

The European Commission has asked the European Court of Justice to fine Greece for its failure to manage hazardous waste.

Previously convicted by the court in 1999 for failing to comply with the EU’s landfill directive, Greece could pay 17.7 million euros in fines, plus a daily penalty of 8,096 euros until it solves the problem.

The Commission has identified problems in four key areas: failure to record the amount of trash being produced, failure to treat about one third of hazardous waste which ends up in so-called temporary storage, lagging infrastructure such as waste treatment facilities, and insufficient monitoring.

Greek industries produce 280,120 tons of hazardous waste a year. Another 7,000 tons comes from households and construction.


Five arrested over debts to the state

Police in Heraklion, on Saturday arrested a 63-year-old man over debts to the state of 11 million euros.

Authorities also announced the detention over the weekend of another four men, aged 40, 42, 45 and 48, who reportedly owed the state between 50,000 and 478,000 euros each. All five were expected to face a local prosecutor.


Air arrivals grow 20 pct in Jan-Feb 2015

Air arrivals from abroad during the first couple of months of the year posted a much higher growth rate than in rival destinations such as Spain, Turkey and Cyprus.

Civil Aviation Authority data reveal that air arrivals from other countries to Greece in the year to end-February posted a 20 percent rise from the same period last year, reaching 714,804 passengers. Arrivals increased by 18.9 percent in February.

The jump is attributed to the momentum that Athens maintains as a tourism destination, as well as the positive course of visitors to Thessaloniki.

Greece has evolved into a particularly attractive destination in financial terms for markets such as Britain and the US owing to the decline of the euro against other currencies.

Notably, US website, which charts trip budgets in dollars for 56 European cities, has placed Athens 11th among the most financially attractive destinations in the continent.