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Greece wildfires force thousands to evacuate

Thousands of people in Greece have been forced to evacuate their homes after major wildfires continued for their third day in the suburbs outside of Athens.

10,000 people were evacuated out of one town, Agios Stefanos, located 23 kilometres from downtown Athens, after the flames headed for the area. All residents were ordered to take the main highway to Athens.

The deputy mayor of the town, Panayiotis Bitakos, told Skai TV that “I call on all residents to follow the instructions of the police as to where they will go. We had been begging the authorities since early in the morning to send forces […] It is too late now. Too late.” Read More…


Forest fires rage near Athens

A state of emergency was declared in Greece after major wildfires started burning out of control on the northeast edges of Athens. Fire crews, aided by water-bombers and helicopters, have been dispatched to the affected areas to try to contain the fires.

According to Greek Authorities, the wildfires started late on Friday near Grammatiko, a village located 25 miles northeast of downtown Athens. The blazes, strengthened by heavy winds in the area, eventually reached neighbouring Varnava and Marathon on Saturday morning. Read More…

Greek shipping magnate kidnapped in Athens

Pericles Panagopoulos, the president of Greek ferry operator Attica Group, which runs Superfast Ferries, was abducted near his home in Athens on Monday by three men armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles, as he was being driven to work in a coastal suburb. No injuries have been reported in the incident, which is being investigated by counter-terrorism police.

“Panagopoulos and his driver were stopped and forced into another car by three gun-wielding assailants,” a police source told Reuters. “The driver was then set free and subsequently informed the police of the event.”

Rioting rocks Greece

The riots in Greece that started on December 6, have entered their fourth night. These are the worst riots the Hellenic Republic has witnessed in decades.

The riots were triggered when Alexandros Grigoropoulos, a 15-year-old student, was shot and killed by police. The police say that Grigoropoulos was throwing a bomb at them when they fired.

Cities throughout Greece have been hit by the unrest, not just Athens. Hundreds of shops and businesses have been destroyed. Read More…

Wide-spread rioting across Greek cities

The Greek riots started on December 6 when a Greek Police special guard, Epaminondas Korkoneas, shot and killed 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos (Greek: Αλέξανδρος Γρηγορόπουλος) in the Exarcheia district of Athens, following an altercation between police and anarchist youth.

greece_riots_2008The confrontation resulted in wide-spread rioting across the city, with hundreds of demonstrators engaging riot police with Molotov cocktails and damaging property.

Rioting later spread to several other cities, including Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city. Read More…

Somali Islamists condemn pirates

Islamic militants have vowed to fight pirates holding the Saudi Arabian oil tanker Sirius Star off the Somalian coast. The militants are angered over the seizure of a ‘Muslim’ ship.

The tanker is anchored near Haradheere, a town controlled by the Islamists. The Sirius Star, owned by Saudi state firm Vela International Marine, has a crew of 25 from the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Croatia, Poland and Britain. A ransom of $25 million is being sought, a quarter of the value of the vessel’s cargo of oil. Read More…

Eurozone in recession

The Eurozone is now officially in a recession, due to the recently released figures showing that, in the third quarter of 2008, the economy shrunk by 0.2%.

European Central Bank

European Central Bank

For a recession to be official, the economy must have shrunk for at least two consecutive quarters. This is the case as the Eurozone’s economy also shrunk by 0.2% in the second quarter of this year.

Howard Archer, the chief European economist for Global Insight commented on these results. “Not only did the third quarter contraction in GDP confirm that the Eurozone is now in recession, but latest data and survey evidence indicate that the fourth quarter is likely to see a sharper fall in GDP as the financial crisis bites harder,” he stated.

This development comes after two large countries in the Eurozone, Germany and Italy announced that they were in a recession. Read More…