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April 24, 2015

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GEOPOLITICS: Gas for Greece, Mayhem for FYROM

At the exact same time that Greece has received a guarantee for billions of cubic meters' worth of Russian gas, FYROM is being rocked by the threat of a renewed Albanian insurgency designed to offset Russia’s pipeline plans.

Andrew Korybko (Sputnik) - Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller announced that Russia will guarantee 47 billion cubic meters of gas a year to Greece via the Turkish Stream, which would then go onwards to supply the European market. While it's not yet specified exactly which path the pipeline will take from Greece to the EU, it's more than likely that it'll go through FYROM en route to the former South Stream's envisioned Serbian hub, and thenceforth through Hungary, Austria, and beyond, just like Russia originally anticipated last year.

There's one major obstacle to that strategy, however, and it's that the US is attempting to transform its failed Color Revolution in FYROM into an Unconventional War to neutralize this geostrategic route, utilizing the specter of an Albanian terrorist campaign modeled off the Syrian template to achieve its destructive goals.

From Color Revolution to Unconventional War

In the years since the War on Yugoslavia, the US has perfected and patterned a novel method of regime change that proceeds according to pre-established escalation checkpoints. Washington first issues either a direct or implicit/covert ultimatum to the targeted government, the rejection of which serves as the ‘dog whistle' for activating the dormant Color Revolution social infrastructure present in the country. Should that plan come to fail, then some of the associated destabilizing actors are transitioned into launching an Unconventional War.

The final step, should that fail and a Great Power doesn't diplomatically intervene (as Russia did with Syria in September 2013), is to repeat the Libyan Scenario of a conventional intervention that leaves no doubt as to the success of its regime change odds.

Adapting this template for the FYROManian application, it can be seen how the country has thus far successfully repelled the Color Revolution attempt by Zoran Zaev, which in turn led to concrete Russian investment in the country's pipeline infrastructure that set the stage for the Putin-Tsipras agreement earlier in April. Now that the Balkan Stream pipeline plans are rapidly gaining traction, the US realized that it needs to act quickly to in order to sabotage them, hence the sudden reemergence of Albanian terrorism in FYROM.

While this problem was previously so serious as to push the country near civil war in 2001, it's generally subsided since then, with only a handful of extremists unhappy with the generous Ochrid Agreements that guaranteed the Albanian minority vast political and social rights. Nonetheless, that hasn't stopped the country of Albania, the US' regional Lead From Behind proxy, from threatening regional destabilization in order to create Greater Albania.

An international scandal rocked the Serbian capital of Belgrade last fall when Albanian nationalists used a drone to fly a Fascist-era Greater Albania flag through a football stadium during a heated match, threatening to rekindle ethnic tensions that had long remained on edge in that corner of the Balkans. The provocation thankfully didn't result in any deaths, but it did raise fears that the same style of World War II historical revisionism from Ukraine was slithering down to the Balkans with implicit US strategic support, opening up a new geo-ideological front in the New Cold War.

Earlier this month, (friend of George Papandreou and socialist) Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama confirmed that Fascist-era thinking is indeed alive and well in Tirana when he officially pushed for the creation of Greater Albania. He spoke of his country's plans to annex the Serbian Province of Kosovo (which he calls "unification"), saying that it was "inevitable" and "unquestionable", and that the only question is "Will it happen in the context of the EU as a natural process and understood by all, or will it happen as a reaction to EU blindness or laziness?"

The Serbian government rightfully responded with indignation, warning Albania against "banging the war drums" and saying that the two entities would "never unite".

This was just the opening salvo of Tirana's regional agitations, however, as a short while later, Hashim Thaci, the former political leader of the terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army and Foreign Minister of the unilaterally self-proclaimed government of Kosovo, said he would travel to Belgrade to attend a conference he was invited to. Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic warned that "If he turns up in Belgrade, the Ministry of Interior will act according to the law and bring him to justice", since Thaci had been convicted in absentia of terrorist-related offensives in 1997 and sentenced to a decade imprisonment.

Not even a week later, about 40 individuals identifying themselves as members of the thought-to-be disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army, the same group that Thaci himself once led, crossed over from Kosovo (now under NATO occupation and no longer administered by Serbia) and raided a FYROManian police post near the border. They took a couple police officers hostage and ominously declared that:
     "We will have an Albanian state", before scurrying back to their NATO protectorate after a few hours.
Thus, just as Albanian nationalism threatened to make South Stream a pipedream, so too does it seem poised to do the same with Balkan Stream, as in the course of only six brief months, Albania and its Kosovo satellite have shockingly:

  • Flown a Fascist-era flag over Belgrade;
  • Openly declared their intentions to unilaterally impose a Greater Albania on the Balkans;
  • Revived an irredentist terrorist organization;
  • And staged a violent border incursion into FYROM.

The most destabilizing aspect is that the US, EU, and NATO haven't condemned any of this whatsoever, and in fact, Albania and Kosovo enjoy de-jure and de-facto NATO support, with the former being an official member and the latter being occupied by one of the US' largest bases in Europe, Camp Bondsteel.

These disturbing facts reveal implicit Western support for Albanians aggressive actions, adding credence to the analysis that they are indeed being coordinated by the US in order to sabotage Russia's Balkan Stream project.

Forecast Indicators And Coming Consequences

Here's what to monitor as the situation further develops:

  • Possible expansion of terrorist raids into Serbia's Albanian-populated Sandzak and Presevo Valley border regions;
  • Albanian/Kosovar/NATO/US military reactions and official statements to the terrorist incursion (whether in FYROM and/or Serbia);
  • The loyalty of Albanian political parties to the democratically elected government of FYROM;
  • And the ‘second wind' potential of the FYROManian Color Revolution and its possible transformation into a EuroMaidan-like meltdown.

Other than the possible disruption of Balkan Stream's construction and the violent formalization of Greater Albania, the consequences of renewed ethnic destabilization in the Balkans could include:

  • A strengthening of Serbian-FYROManian ties centered on shared victimhood;
  • Intensification of CSTO/SCO/Eurasian Union outreaches to beleaguered non-NATO and non-EU members Serbia and FYROM;
  • The threatening of China's Balkan Silk Road plan for high-speed rail from the Greek port of Piraeus to Budapest (via FYROM and Serbia);
  • And subsequently, possible Chinese shadow mediation at settling the conflict before it spirals out of control.

Finally, be on the lookout for US/EU ‘mediation' attempts that are nothing more than ‘good cop' diplomatic tricks to pursue their ‘bad cop' geopolitical designs. Also, be wary of any initiative or statement that could be interpreted as a subversive invitation for US/NATO military intervention in Serbia and/or FYROM.


April 23, 2015

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OPEN LETTER: Greece can't withstand waves of desperate people arriving from war zones

To: The Leaders of all European countries
All Members of the European Parliament
President Obama and All Members of the United States Congress

April, 2015

The conflicts in many Middle-Eastern and African countries have devastated life in these regions and made survival uncertain. While the world has been witnessing the horrific decapitations and burning alive of human beings, large scale events are also occurring that can change the history and the fate of the affected countries and the world.

Thousands of people, Christians and Muslims, are fleeing the war zones in any way they can; entire families jump into boats hoping to reach Europe, if they do not drown on the way. South Europe is the most accessible, and particularly Greece and Italy.

Tragedies in the Mediterranean Sea, with desperate people drowning on the way to Europe, have been happening for a few years by now. But only recently this news reached the United States (US) and every part of the world, due to the extensive loss of human lives, while it is hardly in the news that Greece and Italy have been left essentially with no help to deal with these tragedies.

Greece has now close to a 27% unemployment rate and is struggling to convince her lenders of the obvious: that the economy will not recover by more cuts in salaries and pensions, more mass layoffs, and the sell-off of public assets. Signs of the crisis are everywhere. An increasing number of Greeks are being fed by their local churches.

Illegal immigrants already fill the streets of Athens and try to survive by searching the garbage or turn to criminal activities. Hospitals struggle to provide care to all of Greece’s inhabitants. On this background, the waves of hungry and sick people from war zones arriving at Greece’s ports and islands are growing. Others arrive by crossing the borders with Turkey, whose government seems to turn a blind eye to this situation, giving the human traffickers free rein.

Greece, a small country with a population of only about 10 million, already has an estimated one and a half million immigrants (legal and illegal), and the number of refugees has been increasing dramatically in recent months. Even hospitable Greeks cannot take care of the refugees. They simply cannot feed and provide shelter in the short-term, or employment in the long-term. Greece is akin to a boat where those aboard are trying to prevent it from sinking, while people who are desperate to avoid drowning appear all around the boat and try to jump in. The fate of such a boat and all of those aboard is sadly predictable.

The European Union (EU) and the US cannot remain observers to this externally-inflicted Greek drama.

Steps that must be taken immediately include:

1) Efforts to resolve the conflicts in the Middle East and Africa must intensify. Success will not be achieved if lessons from past mistakes are not heeded. The words “dictator” and dictatorship” do not sound good to our “democratic ears”, but if one has to choose between favoring on one hand, a dictatorship under which Christians and all Muslims live peacefully side and side, and on the other hand complete chaos and devastation, the choice is obvious.

2) The Dublin Regulation, according to which the Member State through which an asylum seeker first enters the EU is responsible for the care of the refugee‒who must be returned to the “Member State of origin” if caught in another European country!‒must be cancelled or modified. Among other serious shortcomings, it places excessive pressure on South Europe, and particularly on Greece and Italy. Who can honestly say that such a regulation is in accordance with the spirit of fair share of the burden among the EU countries? The Dublin regulation has been criticized by the European Council of Refugees and Exiles, as well as by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. It is high time for changes to this regulation, which will be beneficial to all concerned.

3) A number of good proposals have been offered by Ms. Federica Mogherini (European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy) and Mr. Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenship. Such are the transfer of Syrian Refugees to Northern Europe and the creation of safe zones within the regions of conflict, where asylum cases and other refugee issues can be resolved. These proposals must move from the discussion to the implementation phase immediately. Additionally, the US should accept her fair share of these refugees.

The EU and US need to hear the pleas coming from the South European countries, as well as those of the refugees. The humanitarian catastrophe has reached large scale, with profound and irreversible consequences. Greece is paying a disproportionately high price, although Greece played no role in triggering this catastrophe. The EU and the US have the moral obligation‒which is also consistent with their long-term interests‒to take the necessary steps to put an end to the suffering of those in war zones, while at the same time prevent Greece’s collapse under the mounting pressure of refugees.

Signatures:

  • Anagnostopoulos Stavros A., Emeritus Professor, University of Patras, Chief Editor (Europe), Earthquakes and Structures GREECE.
  • Anastassopoulou Jane, PhD, Privatdozent, Professor, National Technical
  • University of Athens, GREECE
  • Andreatos S. Antonios, Prof. of Comp. Engineering, Hellenic Air Force Academy, GREECE.
  • Angelides Demos, Ph.D., P.E., Professor Emeritus of Marine Structures, Department of Civil Engineering Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki 54124, GREECE
  • Angelides Chr. Odysseas, DIC, CEng, MIET, Chartered Engineer, CYPRUS
  • Argyropoulos, Yiannis, Ph.D., Principal Member of Technical Staff, AT&T Labs, USA.
  • Arkas Evangelos  Ph.D. Physics & Th.D. CEO. PHOS Solar Technologies Ltd London, UK.
  • Aroniadou-Anderjaska, Vassiliki, Ph.D., Research Associate Professor, Maryland, USA.
  • Baloglou George, retired SUNY Professor of Mathematics, GREECE​.
  • Blytas, George C. Ph.D. Physical Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. Research Consultant, Royal Dutch-Shell; President, GCB Separations Technology, Founder and Conductor:  The Houston Sinfonietta. Author, The First Victory, Greece in the Second World War, 2009. USA.
  • Christakis Christofi, General of Cyprus Army (Ret.), CYPRUS.
  • Cefalas Alkiviadis-Constantinos, Director of Research, National Hellenic Research Foundation, Theoretical and Physical Chemistry Institute, GREECE.
  • Christou Theodora, PhD in Law from Queen Mary University of London, UK
  • Dokos Socrates, PhD, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering, University of New South Wales, Sydney, UNSW, 2052, AUSTRALIA
  • Economidis Alexandros, Engineer, GREECE.
  • Eleftheriades George Savva, OAM, GCSCG, CETr, JP, Retired Academician, Australia.
  • Eleftheriadou Eugenia, CLETr, CSH, Retired Academician, AUSTRALIA.
  • Eleftheriou Panicos, Bank customer service officer, GREECE
  • Euthymiou Pavlos N., Emeritus Professor, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, GREECE
  • Evangeliou, Christos C., Professor of Philosophy, Towson University, Maryland, USA.
  • Foutsitzis George, PhD. Ecole Superieure Robert De Sorbon, FRANCE.
  • Fytrolakis Nikolaos, Emeritus Professor, National Τechnical University of Athens, GREECE.
  • Gatzoulis, Nina, Professor, University of New Hampshire, USA.
  • Georgiadis Georgios, Maj. General (Ret.), GREECE.
  • Georgiadis Sotirios, Admiral (Ret.), GREECE.
  • Giannoukos Stamatios, Ph.D., University of Liverpool, UK.
  • Gryspolakis Joachim, Professor Emeritus, Technical University of Crete, 73100 Chania, GREECE.
  • Ioannides Panos, Lawyer-Industrialist, Nicosia, CYPRUS.
  • Ioannou Petros, Professor, Electrical Engineering Systems, University of Southern California, Director Center for Advanced Transportation Technologies, Associate Director for Research METRANS, Director of Financial Engineering Masters Program, Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • Kakouli-Duarte, Thomais, PhD., Lecturer, Institute of Technology Carlow, Past President Hellenic Community of Ireland, Trustee Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Dublin, Patron and Director at Phoenix Project Ireland, IRELAND.
  • Kaloy, Dr. Nicolas,  Ph.D.(Philosophy), Geneva, SWITZERLAND.
  • Katsifarakis Kostas, Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, GREECE.
  • Kostas/ Konstantatos Demosthenes Ph.D,MSc, MBA, Greenwich CT USA
  • Kostopoulos K. Dimitra, LLB.,LLM (International Law of the Sea), GREECE.
  • Kostopoulos S. Konstantinos, B.A., M.Sc. (Transport Economics), GREECE.
  • Koumakis Leonidas, Jurist, Author, GREECE.
  • Kyriakou Georgios, Professor, Democritus University of Thrace, GREECE.
  • Kyratzopoulos S Vassilios, System Analyst, Voula, Attica, GREECE.
  • Lazaridis Anastasios, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Widener University, Chester, PA, USA.
  • Magliveras Spyros S., Ph.D., Professor of Mathematics, Florida Atlantic University, and Assoc. Director CCIS.
  • Mermigas Lefteris, Pathology SUNYAB, USA.
  • Moraitis L. Nicholaos, Ph.D., International relations-Comparative politics.
  • University of california, U.S.A.
  • Negreponti-Delivanis, Maria, Former Rector and Professor in the University of Macedonia, President of Delivanis’ Foundation, GREECE.
  • Papagiannis Grigorios, Dr. Phil., Associate Professor, Democritus University of Thrace, GREECE.
  • Papadopoulos Nikolaos, Th., Ph.D., FEBO Emeritus Professor of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, GREECE.
  • Papadopoulos A.P. Tom, Senior Research Scientist and Adjunct Professor, Windsor, Ontario, CANADA
  • Papadopoulou Maria, Civil Engineer, Ph.D. Candidate, Author, Director of the Institute for the Preservation of Hellenic Culture, GREECE.
  • Papakostas Stefanos, MBA (Univ. of Texas at El Paso), Ex Professor of the American Colleges in Athens, Southeastern College, Deree College, Univ. of Indianapolis, GREECE.
  • Pavlos Georgios, Associate Professor, Democritus Technological University of Thrace, GREECE.
  • Phufas-Jousma Ellene, Professor, SUNY ERIE, Buffalo NY USA.
  • Rigos, Capt. Evangelos, Master Mariner, BBA Pace University of New York, GREECE.
  • Salemi Christina, MSc, Mechanical Engineering, GREECE.
  • Stampoliadis, Elias, Professor, Technological University of Crete, GREECE.
  • Τjimopoulou Fryni, Chemist, University of Athens, GREECE.
  • Vallianatos Evaggelos, Ph.D. Scholar and Writer, USA.
  • Vamvakousis Georgios, PhD. Engineer, University of Paul Sabatier, FRANCE
  • Yannopoulos Panayotis, Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Patras, GREECE.


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EUROSTAT: Greece has highest long-term unemployment in Europe

Not one, not two but seven out of ten regions in Europe with the highest long-term unemployment rates are Greek, according to recent data released by Eurostat. In 2014 the percentage of long – term unemployed in the Attica region alone was 77.3%, which is also the highest in the EU.

Other areas in Greece with high unemployment rates are Western Greece (76.7), Epirus (75.8), Central Macedonia (75.2), the Peloponnese (73.8), Thessaly (73.5), Central Greece (72.2). In all, seven out of 10 (73.5%) unemployed Europeans in 2014 have been unemployed for over a year, claims Eurostat.

The percentage of the Europeans who were unemployed for over a year in 2013 was 67.1%.

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ECB To hold press conference - Prospects of deal have evaporated

UPDATE:  Head of the European Central Bank (ECB) Mario Draghi told reporters at a news conference on Thursday afternoon that emergency liquidity is going to be provided to Greek banks for as long as they are solvent and have collateral. He explained that the ELA will continue to be given until Greek banks will be solvent and have adequate collateral, and added that “given the fragility of the current situation, the continued deposit outflows, the ongoing policy dialogue, recently the yields on sovereign bonds were the highest since 2012 PSI time”. Draghi then said that “the higher are the yields, the bigger is the volatility, the more collateral gets destroyed”. The chief of the ECB was opposed to the possibility of a partial payout of the next loan installment, noting that the agreement with Greek authorities was a for full program within four months.
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By John Ward  (The Slog) - Although Greek PM Alexis Tsipras will hold sideline talks with Germany’s Angela Merkel during the African migrants summit, Reuters claims that ‘the prospects of a reform-for-cash deal when euro zone finance ministers meet in Riga on Friday appear to have evaporated’. One of the oddities of political life is that MPs, Congressmen and so forth don’t have much power when in Opposition, and even less when they get elected to power.

This is without doubt symptomatic of the fact that Western governments these days do not control their own destiny for dozens of different reasons, the main one being that it is the remotely unelected who have most of the power now. Nowhere is this more true than in the contemporary Greece v EU fiasco.

In an Ekathimerini piece of today – a balanced account, critical of both Syria and the eurogroupe – there was this wonderful sting in the tail:
     ‘Tsipras has done a terrible job. Compared with the rest of Europe’s leaders, he looks like a statesman’.
The problem of course is that none of the major players – Schauble, Draghi and Dijesselbleom – wants a solution: wheelchair Wolfie asks only for unquestioning obedience to his madcap FiskalUnion ideas, Draghi would happily bring on chaos in order to serve his masters at Goldman Sachs, and Jeroan de Gouda wants to be the Chairman of the EU organ that finally did for all opposition to Nordeuropa.

(There remain, however, powerful forces in the EC who would very much like to do for him).

Anyway, it now seems there is to be an ECB press conference this afternoon, with Brussels sources suggesting it will be significant. No doubt Draghi will be behind a newly-constructed plate-glass window in order to keep the dancing girls at bay.

The struggle for power over the asylum continues.


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ANALYSIS: 10% Flat Tax! Shock Economics or the Key to Greece’s problems? The Current Situation


Although the Greek economy is classified as an advanced high income economy, this has done very little in convincing its Eurozone partners, creditors and especially the markets, that Greece is anything but ‘’fiscally undisciplined’’. Since 2009, the country has been following an externally imposed policy of fiscal austerity, spearheaded by the ‘’fiscally disciplined’’ Germany.

Exclusive to HellasFrappe
From Vasillis (Basil) Tomaras

Leading economists, business leaders, fund managers and even the current SYRIZA government, all agree that policies have done very little to improve the situation of the Greek people. The levels of unemployment levels, the prime indicator of the effect austerity has on the ground , are/is still at an appalling 26% and a vast majority of which is youth as half of the population between 15-24 is currently unemployed.

The ‘’welfare state’’, the myth and the real causes

A common and dominant narrative about Greece and the causes of the crisis is that it is a generous over- bloated welfare state. According to the OECD’s statistics for social expenditure over GDP, this is not the case:
The full Greek state expenditure is at close to 48.7%, which is marginally higher than the EU-15 average (estimated at 0.6%). However, budget deficit is approximately 4.3% higher than the EU-15 average. What does this all mean? In simple terms, it’s not state expenditures that heightened the economic crisis in Greece but rather state revenue, or to be more precise a lack thereof.

Traditionally, tax evasion in Greece has been described as a ‘’national sport’’ by even the highest ranked government officials. The problem of corruption and tax evasion in Greece is well known and is influenced by many factors.

Austerity, the real shock economics!

Without a doubt, the impact of austerity has been felt in all aspects of life and in all sectors of the economy: 
  • Recession with no end in sight: The continuous drop in GDP, the lowest in the entire post-war period, led to the lowest reduction in domestic demand and consumption. Ensuing decrease in production led to the loss of thousands of jobs in the private sector (at one point even numbering in the thousands daily).
  • Rapid labour decline: This resulted from the steep increase of insecure and uninsured work, degrading wages, decline of workers’ rights and also from the deregulation of workers accords.
  • ·The slow killing of the middle class: Traditionally, the middle class economy consisted of small and medium sized businesses that were generously funded in the past by the banking sector which had no apprehensions about granting generous loans and overdraft lines with minimal collateral and oversight. After these financial institutions were respectively starved of funds, a lethal combination of liquidity depletion, decline in consumption and introduction of ‘’emergency’’ taxes, resulted in most of these middle income enterprises subsequently closing down (65.000 in 2010 alone).
  • Migration push factors and ‘’brain drain’’: In contrast to the usual yellow press publications of the ‘’lazy’’ Greek, the truth is that the workforce in Greece is among the best educated in Europe and the most productive, actually surpassing their German counterparts. While those studying in academic institutions abroad were discouraged from returning to Greece after graduating, many already educated and skilled professionals also left the country.
  • ·Homelessness: Along with the pre-crisis immigrant homelessness which was largely unreported, newly austerity borne destitute also joined their ranks. People and families with medium and higher educational backgrounds who previously belonged to the middle class. Notably, homelessness increased 25% between the period 2009-2011 (over 20.000 by NGO estimates).
  • ·    Record level of suicides: One can only feel sorrow and sympathy for Dimitris Christoulas, a retired pensioner, who publicly committed suicide in early April 2012 at Syntagma square, just outside the Greek Parliament, leaving his family in complete sorrow. This gentle, cultured and above all sane man cited in a politically fueled suicide letter, that he preferred a dignified end to his life in lieu of an undignified existence after government austerity measures slashed his pension. Sadly, he is not the only victim of this crisis, as austerity driven suicides skyrocketed as much as 40% between the period 2010-2011.      
  • ·    Disintegration of the health services: The health care system also suffered greatly, through reduced access to health care services following massive cuts. As a result, HIV infections increased by 52% between the periods 2010-2011, while drug prevention centers and psychiatric clinics shut down after tough budget cuts.
The Shadow economy of Sandanski and how Bulgaria is benefitting from the crisis

Greece and Bulgaria have very different social and economic environments. In the interest of not confusing the reader with national quantitative data, I will rather limit indication to a bite size measure by making reference to Sandanski.

To most Europeans and Greeks alike, the Bulgarian border town of Sandanski may not be on their radar, but to the inhabitants of Northern Greece, the town is very well known. This is due to the fact it has benefited extremely well from the Greek financial crisis. Thousands of Greek vehicles cross the border every day to fill up on gas since it is 40% less expensive; Housewives do their grocery shopping; Dentists, many of whom have relocated from the capital Sofia, have opened up offices in Sandanski to service Greek patients bearing Euros; etc.. Additionally, scores of Greek pensioners made a permanent move to Sandanski simply because their reduced pensions were not enough to live on in Greece.

The most notable migration trend to Sandanski of all are Greek businesses. The traditionally bustling Northeastern Greek town of Serres, 50Kms south of the border has become a shadow of its former past as many businesses moved north to Bulgaria. According to Dimitris Giannakis, the president of Serres’ Chamber of Commerce and industry, at least 5.000 Greek businesses were struck from the registry over the past five years. It’s painfully obvious where they moved to (according to the Bulgarian Register these estimates could be as high as 8.000). This is not taking into account migration to other countries such as FYROM, Albania, Romania and Serbia. As it stands, Greece is the third largest investor in Bulgaria after the Netherlands and Austria.

So the obvious question is, why did all these Greek businesses move to Bulgaria? And what are the Bulgarians doing better which the Greeks are not?


Taxation - Greece’s Achilles heel.
Two countries with radically different taxation policies put into debt perspective.

Bulgaria - When Bulgaria exited the Eastern-Bloc sphere of influence in 1991, it had just over €10 Billion state debt, which represented 180% of GDP. Bulgaria entered the EU in 2007 after maintaining a decade long policy of budget surpluses and reforming their tax codes in the process, after which public debt reached a record low of 13.7% over GDP (the second lowest in Europe after Estonia). Although Bulgaria was not immune to the European financial crisis, thanks to sound fiscal policies and the resulting €4.3 Billion state fiscal reserve, they managed to ride out the financial storm and maintain a public debt of only 18%. These post crisis deficits levels are comparable to those of Norway, Sweden and Austria.

Greece - Although Eurozone entry had ‘’strict’’ criteria for government to GDP ratio of under 60%, we can all agree that 14 years down the line and omitting creative accounting practices of the past, the true present situation is anything but Maastricht compliant.


Balkan economic wars

Bulgaria has benefited from major investments. Here are a few examples. 
  • ·         Montupet automotive (for those who remember the DeLorean) has invested €100M in Bulgaria and employed almost 1.000 people.
  • ·         The telecommunications arm of AIG invested $2B in several plants.
  • ·         American Standard - $240M.
  • ·         AES Energy Generation Corp - $1.4B.
  • ·         NU Image Film Productions - $28M.
  • ·         Microsoft, Hewlett Packard and IBM have their European call and service centres in Sofia.
  • ·         Turkish companies Sisecam and Alcomet opened plants that employ 2.000 people (blue & white collar) combined.
  • ·         Germany’s SAP opened SAP labs, an ICT facility in Bulgaria employing over 500.

Bulgaria is not the only country that did the prudent thing by lowering its taxes and simplifying their tax codes.  Albania and FYROM both have 10%, while Romania and Serbia have 16% and 15% respectively. Add to the mix, the brutal Greek 23% VAT rate and the fact that you can open a limited liability company in Bulgaria with just €1 share capital (€4.500 in Greece), it’s no wonder why Greece is losing the economic war against its Balkan neighbors.

In conclusion, and according to very conservative estimates, a combination of intolerable tax rates, a high VAT rate and inflated payroll tax has driven one quarter of the Greek economy underground by tax evasion, transfer pricing practices etc., while the more honest ones in the formal economy are either forced to shut down or move to other countries such as Bulgaria. What’s more, massive migration of businesses from Greece continually gains momentum and at the same time delivering a huge blow to the state coffers in the process.

The call to reduce taxes and tackle reforms

The promises made by the previous ND-PASOK administration that there would be a return to markets in 2014 has yet to materialize. It also hasn’t silenced market experts and economists alike who claim that this will not be attainable in 2015 either, since a third bailout package is looming on the horizon.

As EU-IMF bailout packages come with painful reforms and demands, there is no doubt that Greece will once again be forced into a vicious storm of austerity amidst a tranquil sea of more competitive economies right smack on its borders.

There has recently been several appeals by the likes of economists such as Nathan Lewis and even Steve Forbes to adopt measures that will not only stem the exodus of businesses, but also provide a stimulus to foreign investment and economic development.
  •  Adoption of a flat tax on personal income and corporate profits (which will also deter tax evasion. After all, who in their right mind is going to evade 10%?).
  • Axing the ridiculously high payroll tax from 45% to 10%.
  •  Reducing VAT to 15%. 

The current leftist-led coalition government of SYRIZA which claimed victory during the January elections did so largely on a radical platform of taxing the wealthy, easing tax burdens on the poor and more state interference in the economy. This approach is a trip down the wrong avenue known in economists’ circles as Sweetwater economics and is doomed to fail. It will not only deteriorate the already toxic situation, but it is also going to alienate valuable investors (domestic and foreign).

Is the Greek government seriously seeking a development stimulus that will bring in foreign investment, deter tax evasion and fill up the state coffers? Are they willing to learn from Bulgaria’s proven model? If yes, then they should follow Bulgaria’s approach by reducing taxes, simplifying tax codes and axing bureaucracy. The question is, will the government eventually get a grip of reality and pick up the courage to fearlessly serve it to the EU and IMF on a take it or leave it basis?

All self-respecting Greeks, who either live in Greece and/or abroad, need to unite and make a stand to promote this policy by lobbying to their MP’s and other interest groups. We also need to do this now as time is Greece’s number one enemy and a commodity that our nation simply does not have.


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Tsipras & Merkel discuss mutually beneficial solution

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras would meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Brussels on Thursday, on the sidelines of the emergency Summit on immigration that was called in light of the recent tragedies in the Mediterranean Sea and the surge of migration towards Europe.

Ahead of the meeting Tsipras met with Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis in order to discuss his recent trip to the United States as well as the outcome of his meetings with the IMF and US government. The Greek Premier would also be informed of all Brussels Group talks developments, in order to be prepared for his talks with the German Chancellor.

Commenting on the meeting, government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis told MEGA Tv on Thursday morning that the Greek PM would maintain the same stance he had kept in all his meetings with foreign leaders (basically to find a mutual and beneficial solution).

Meanwhile, European Central Bank executive board member Benoit Coeure stressed that the possibility of a “Grexit” is not a working hypothesis and that “a lot of work” needs to be done in Greece.

Speaking to the French news agency AFP, Coeuré  said that although the overwhelming majority of the Greek people are in favor of the euro, the Greek government has to take the necessary measures in order for this to be possible.

The negotiations between the two sides are difficult and slow, with the French official underlining that significant differences continue on a number of issues. The ECB board member was concerned that time for a solution for Greece was quickly running out.

And if that wasn't enough, VP of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis told German television network ARD on Wednesday that he does not expect an agreement in April and that the talks are most likely going to continue throughout May. He claims that the process of negotations have not been satisfactory and stressed that importance should force both sides to focuse on their commitments.


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FIFA & UEFA warn Gov't of a soccer Grexit

FIFA and UEFA sent an ultimatum to the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) on Wednesday, regarding a new draft bill that aims to address violence in sports, Both organizations literally threatened to expel all Greek national teams and clubs from their international competitions if the bill follows through.

The letter, which was signed by FIFA and UEFA officials, and which addresses a number of provisions that are included in the legislative initiative, apparently conflict with the principle of autonomy required from FIFA member associations (or so the two organizations claim). As such immediate sanctions could possibly be adopted, that would obviously include the expulsion of all Greek teams.

Commenting on MEGA tv, Deputy Minister of Sports, Stavros Kontonis, said that he is not going to "change the philosophy of the sports bill” and that he does “not accept ultimatums”. At the same time he said that FIFA and UEFA’s supervision over Greek soccer “has failed”.

Later on, Kontonis later issued a written statement slamming the soccer governing bodies for ”intervening in the operation of the Greek government and Parliament” and accused them of provocatively “attempting to indefinitely maintain the state of decay and corruption” in Greek soccer.

At the same time the Greek minister also called on all international federations wishing to actively participate in the constructive process of improving the situation to submit their proposals in regards to fans, refereeing, management and betting, before a scheduled discussion which is set to be held on April 30th.

In other related news, Kontonis would meet with the chairman of Panathinaikos Yannis Alafouzos on Thursday and is expected to also meet with the president of AEK Vangelis Aslanidis on Friday, in order to inform them on the latest developments.

The draft bill is going to be submitted for discussion at the relevant Parliamentary Committee on April 27-30th, before going up for a final vote by the Assembly on May 4th and 5th.

The bill was drafted Kontonis, in response to violent clashes between soccer fan clubs at various games. In addition, it was a response to the death of a 47-year-old soccer from Piraeus who was killed in Crete last September after being assaulted by violent fans.

POLICE RAID: Dozens detained in Roma camps in Zefiri

Police authorities raided Roma camps in the area of Zefiri (West Attica suburb) early on Thursday morning, with the detainment of dozens of suspects, some of whom were apparently arrested. Reports claim that the operation intended to address drug trafficking, illicit use of weapons and other forms of petty crime which are suspected of being quite common in this area.

Authorities investigated the area and the whole operation was supported by the riot police, as well as the Financial Police (in other words the source of revenue of specific suspects were also investigated).


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Samaras: Gov't has fooled society

The SYRIZA-ANEL government has fooled Greek society and the nation is now facing a dead end, main opposition leader Antonis Samaras told MEGA Tv on Wednesday.
     “We’re at a dead end; the government has fooled society. At this point it has to clash either with our creditors, or with itself,” the leader of New Democracy said.
According to him, the people’s mandate was to avoid a Grexit, but that uncertainty has returned after the elections.
     “If the government doesn’t pay what it owes to the ECB and the IMF the possibility of a Grexit returns,” he said.
The leader of the conservative party slammed the government on a number of issues, including the economy, migration, public order and especially on the way it handled the issue of convicted terrorist Savvas Xiros, noting that it jeopardized Greece’s relations with the United States which is the only power supporting the country in its negotiations with its lenders.

Moreover, he also said that since the February 20 agreement, the government has not tabled any proposals.


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Lafazanis: Russian pipeline does not compete with IGB-VGC

The Russian pipeline carrying natural gas via Turkey and Greece does not in any way compete with the Vertical Gas Corridor (VGC) which is planned by Greece, Bulgaria and Romania, Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis assured his counterparts in Sofia, Bulgaria on Wednesday.

Speaking one day after his meeting in Athens with Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller about the Russian pipeline project - which is to traverse Greece and supply gas to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Serbia, Hungary and the rest of central Europe - Lafazanis pointed out that the two pipelines would cross and supply different countries on their path. Lafazanis was in the Bulgarian capital for the first meeting of the high-level group on the VGC, attended by his counterparts from Bulgaria and Romania.

The minister presented a detailed report on the government's plans on energy connections, noting that Greece was in talks for its potential participation in the construction of the Russian pipeline "in accordance with European law and the third energy package." The project is intended to replace the existing Russian natgas route via Ukraine to central Europe, which will cease operating in 2019.

He noted that the VGC linking the natgas systems of Greece, Bulgaria and Romania was not only potential solution in the case of an energy crisis but promoted the interlinking of the region with "Europe's energy arteries, putting an end fo the isolation of our countries" and promoting a convergence in gas prices.

Referring to the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB), he said this would provide southeast Europe's most efficient access to new sources of natural gas, from various areas and not just the Caspian Sea. He also noted the possibility of supplying the Balkans through the Liquified Natural Gas station at Revythousa in Greece.

ANA - MPA

Suspicious parcel found outside Athens courthouse

Authorities prompted a quarantine after a suspicious envelope that contained a foreign powder was found outside an Athens courthouse. The bomb squad (TEEM) and fire brigade were called in right away. Reports claimed that a secretariat director as well as a judicial officer were given an anthrax antidote as a precautionary measure.

The envelope was addressed to Prosecutor Ilias Zagoreos, but did not contain a return address. It also contained documents and accusations against a health insurance director at IKA, but reports said that it did not include any threats and/or some sort of a declaration.

The powder was then sent for a chemical analysis.

April 22, 2015

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ND Ordered To Evict Offices At Syggroy Ave., Property Seized Due to Advertising Debts

The New Democracy party is being evicted from its headquarters on Syggroy avenue on account of debts to the banking system, as well as others to advertising agencies. Just like PASOK, the conservative New Demoracy party is up to its ears in debt; especially after moving its party headquarters to Syggroy avenue. It's position cannot be compared to the socialist PASOK party and ND is undoubtedly in a better position to pay back this debt to the Greek state, but nonetheless it is drowning in debt and has now come face to face with the law.

On Tuesday afternoon the party officially received a document that was issued by the owner of Spot Thomson, Dimitris Mavros, indicating that measures have been taken to confiscate all party accounts (or at least this is what a report on defencenet claims).

The reason behind the property seizure order concerns the party's outstanding debts to the particular company.

The order was not the only slap that was endured by the party on Tuesday since it had already received an eviction notice from the owner of the building where the ND offices are housed. Apparently the building originally belonged to a company owned by businessman Babis Vovos but after the company declared bankruptcy its ownership fell into banking hands, and the banks now want their money back.

Defencenet also claims that many ND workers have not been paid for a while, but HellasFrappe could not confirm this information. The only thing that is certain is that the eviction from Syggroy, as well as the seizure of property, is a huge blow to party leader Antonis Samaras (as well as his followers) who had initially decided to make the move from Rygilis St.

Source in Greek - Defencenet


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OPINION: Forget what you're being told: Germany is in a tighter corner than Greece

By John Ward (The Slog) - Blend mainstream Western media mendacity with ECB leaks about Greece, and what do you get? Answer: the opposite of the truth. Flying around the world and going viral on the internet as of Tuesday morning is the flash that Draghi is “putting pressure on Athens by tightening the rules on liquidity” and that “patience is wearing thin with Greece in the (EC) Governing Council”.

As for the first part, it isn’t at all what the ECB is doing. In reality, the ECB is (for once quite rightly) increasing the regulatory control over some of the more blatantly fraudulent things that Banks like Piraeus get up to on a daily basis. In doing this, the EU’s cental bank hopes to clear the decks for increasing the amount of emergency liquidity it can give to Athens in order to tide it over…. without any of it going into the wrong pocket as the say in the snooker world.

As for the second part, that’s not what I’m hearing. My feedback from Brussels is that, following Monday’s eurogroupe session with the Greek negotiators, “substantial” progress has been made between the two sides.

That may of course fall under the IABATO Rule*, but even if it does – perhaps especially because it does – the real news offers a totally different perspective on who has the face cards at the minute in this, the world’s most boring game of poker.

This is my reasoning:

Despite what the Troikanauts say, the spiralling rise in eurozone bond yields (and increasing weakness of the euro itself) suggest that the last thing Frankfurt needs within the next few weeks is a Greek default. Sending more ELA money under a smokescreen to the Greek banking system is a clear confirmation of this; and equally, leaking about ‘substantial progress’ between the two kaleidoscopic sides is an obvious attempt to inject some optimism into the bond markets.

Meanwhile, I’m once again indebted to the assist from Porosity in offering prompt analysis of the latest polls in Greece. The Sun headline is half the population fear Grexit has very real outcome potential, and the gap between those approving or disapproving of SYRIZA negotiation strategy has fallen further.

For me, the success of propaganda spin in convincing over 50% of Greeks that the impossible can be imposed upon them is truly terrifying; but the approval numbers on negotiation are based on empirical observation of what Varoufakis has or hasn’t achieved. The goodwill window is of limited size.

Also dwindling, of course, is the short amount of time Troika2 gave Greece to sort itself out last February 24th. To be precise, in two days SYRIZA will reach the halfway point.


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Those of Muslim faith must acknowledge the Armenian Genocide

by Tarek Fatah (meforum) - A hundred years ago this week, as British and French troops were bogged down facing Germany on the western front of World War I, the Kaiser's ally in the east, the Turkish Ottoman Caliphate, was preparing for a new kind of war. A war of extermination. The target of the Turks was their large Armenian Christian population living within the Caliphate, whom the Turks feared was loyal to Russia.

On April 19, 1915, Cevdet Bey, the Turkish governor of the city of Van, (today on Turkey's eastern border with Armenia) ordered the city's residents to furnish him with 4,000 soldiers under the pretext of conscription.

The Armenians, fearing for their lives, refused.

Bey accused the Armenians of "rebellion", and laid siege to the city, asserting his determination to "crush" it at any cost. "If the rebels fire a single shot", he declared, "I shall kill every Christian man, woman, and (pointing to his knee) every child, up to here."

The next day, April 20, the siege of Van began until a Russian military force intervened and rescued the Armenians. The Russian intervention in Van provided the Turks with the pretext to label the minority Armenians as traitors.

On April 24, the Turkish government rounded up and imprisoned an estimated 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Istanbul, sending them to holding centers near Ankara, where they were shot in cold blood. By the time 1915 came to an end, nearly 1.5 million Armenians were dead.

Many historians and scholars, as well as the governments of many countries, including Canada, have labeled the ethnic cleansing by Turks as the Armenian Genocide, commemorated annually on April 24.

Turkey, however is adamant. It refuses to acknowledge the crimes committed by the Ottoman Caliphate against its Christian Armenian citizens. In fact, when Pope Francis earlier this month referred to the Armenian Genocide as one of the "three massive and unprecedented tragedies" of the last century, Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, rebuked the Pontiff, warning him not to "repeat this mistake."

Turkey is not alone. Some Islamic groups in the United States have come together to echo the Turkish line, claiming the Armenian Genocide was just one event in "the painful history of over 30 nations fighting for over four years and the loss of over 37 million lives in World War I, including those of the Armenians."

The U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) said in a press release they "share the pain suffered by Armenians during this period" but oppose referring to it as genocide. Another reason USCMO gave for opposing the United States acknowledging the Armenian Genocide, was that Turkey was "the only Muslim-majority member of NATO."

In Toronto, where thousands of people gathered at Queen's Park on Sunday to commemorate the Armenian Genocide, a small group of Islamist men and women held a counter protest promoting the Turkish position.

Keyvan Soltany, a Kurdish Canadian from Iran who attended the commemoration told me, "I was disgusted to see Islamist women in burkas and hijab trying to insult the memories of the Armenians who the Turks killed."

Time and again, too many Islamic leaders have demonstrated that they represent the interests of global Islamism in the United States and Canada, not the values of universal human rights, individual liberty and freedom that make us who we are.

On the issue of the Armenian Genocide, too many Muslim leaders have failed their community, again.

The author, Tarek Fatah, is a founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, a columnist at the Toronto Sun, and a Robert J. and Abby B. Levine Fellow at the Middle East Forum. He is also the author of two award-winning books: Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State and The Jew is Not My Enemy: Unveiling the Myths that Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism.



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BUSTED - Authorities arrest L. Bobolas for tax evasion

Businessman (and one of Greece's most influential oligarchs) Leonidas Bobolas was arrested on Wednesday for tax evasion. The businessman, 53, who heads the ELLAKTOR company, was arrested by financial police after a Public Order was issued against him for tax evasion. (His family has a large share of MEGA tv, as well as other publications). Bobolas was then immediately led before a Greek prosecutor.

According to SKAI tv and reporter Ioanna Mandrou, the order was issued on Tuesday afternoon and concerns (possible undeclared) funds (13 million euros) that she claims were discovered on the Lagarde List as well as in other foreign accounts.

Leonidas Bobolas paid a 1.8 million euro bail after he was arrested on tax evasion and money laundering charges, in relation to the Lagarde list investigations. Reports said that the charges against him concern a sum of 4 million euros. He was contacted to pay 2 million euros, but never did.

That is why he was arrested and then taken before a Greek prosecutor, where he faced the examiner and responded to the charges.

His brother Fotis Bobolas (huge stake owner of Teletypos and MEGA channel) has also reportedly paid a 1.8-million-euro fine.

A news report at 13:00 on Skai Tv also said that Bobolas decided to pay his more than 1.8 million debt in taxes and hinted that charges would soon be dropped against him.

Leonidas Bobolas' father, George, has developed properties all over the Balkan region and the M.East for over the past 40 years. The family, which owns stakes in the TV channel MEGA, also has stakes in many publications. One of his sons, Fotis, is the director of Teletypos, or MEGA channel's holding company. His other son, Leonidas, is the chief executive and a major shareholder of ELLAKTOR, a construction giant founded by his father that has participated in multi-billion euro contracts with the state. The family as a whole also controls the Ethnos newspaper, other print media and/or  websites. Their publications always served the interests of the PASOK party, and were paramount in the information war during Costas Simitis' rule (1996-2004).

Bobolas' family "feels" the anger of society against all these austerity measures, but his multinational ELLAKTOR company is forcing drivers to pay hefty tolls on most of the country's motorways -which coincidentally are managed by him and even though the Greek state funded these works with taxpayer money!

Attiki Motorway costs 2.80 Euros, and is used by approximately 250,000 vehicles daily. Anyone who wants to travel to Thessaloniki, from Athens, by car needs to pay at least 25 Euros in tolls. When the initiative called the "I won't pay the tolls' movement made their appearance it apparently soured Bobolas' interests since they not only refused to pay the tolls, but reports have said that they also caused damages at the booths by sawing bars, etc.

It should be reminded that Bobolas' family belongs to a handful of powerful Greek families, which, for decades now, have formed the existing political, economic and social system in Greece reaping in huge profits. Now that Greece is standing at the edge of the cliff, these people continue to refuse to take any responsibility. Instead, businessmen such as Bobolas, are speculating on new state projects, while others lurk on opportunities arising from the privatization of state property. (Read more on Greece's oligarchs by clicking HERE).

Source: SKAI tv news, ProtoThema, Kathimerini, HellasFrappe archives

April 20, 2015

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Golden Dawn Trial Adjourned Until May 7th (VIDEOS)

The long-awaited trial of the far-right Golden Dawn party was adjourned for May 7th. The trial, which is expected to last anywhere from six months to two years, was scheduled to begin on Monday morning at  9:00 local (0600 GMT) but was called off because of many protests from local and far-left organizations and fears for unrest in the area.

Before the trial was adjourned, MPs Artemis Mattheopoulos, Polyvios Zisimopoulos and Stathis Boukouras took the stand – the later has “denounced” Golden Dawn since the launch of the investigation.

George Roupakias, the self-confessed murderer of rapper and far-left activist Pavlos Fyssas, was present at the courthouse and also took the stand.

Of the 69 defendants, some 24 apparently did not attend the proceedings (including GD's leadership), while one other has since passed away.

The trial is expected to be held at a specially adapted courthouse at the Korydallos prison.

No sooner had the session opened, Councilors for the prosecution complained that two witnesses were apparently assaulted by Golden Dawn supporters, as they were approaching the courthouse.

Obviously all these alleged accusations (which are then used by the Greek media to blow things way out of proportion) might also be used as an argument by those who want to literally crucify the GD party and force it to be held in a different location. In fact, weeks before the trial was due to begin, there were widespread calls to move it to another location.

There were fears that chaos would erupt because the extreme far-left (ANTARSYA-based) "Movement United Against Racism and the Fascist Threat" planned an antifascist rally, at 8 a.m. local (0500 GMT) just a few blocks from where the trial was being held.

Greek public servants, or civil servants' umbrella union ADEDY, -which encourages state workers to always jump at the opportunity to take a day off-  had also called its members to take part in the rally and announced a 4-hour work stoppage, from 7:30 am to 11:30, in order to allow its members to attend (or to sleep in). And if that wasn't enough, the Union of Merchant Marine Seamen (hard line supporters of the KKE party) also decided to take part.

Obviously hooligan and Soros-backed anarchist groups also decided to make their presence known and there were even reports claiming that they would force their way towards the Korydallos Prison, where the trial was taking place, but which was heavily blocked by police forces. (So they would have clashed with authorities)

The investigation against Golden Dawn began shortly after the September 2013 murder of anti-racist activist and rapper Pavlos Fyssas by Golden Dawn self-proclaimed member Roupakias.

Some of those accused face charges of membership of a criminal organization, while others are accused of murder, conspiracy to murder, possession of weapons and racist violence. Prosecutors will attempt to prove that the aggressive anti-immigrant group operated as a criminal organization under a military-style leadership that allegedly encouraged the beating, and possibly the killing of migrants and political opponents.

Even so, the Greek justice system cannot mimic the Minority report. As a democratic nation we cannot persecute a party because of a hypothetical situation. Let us not kid ourselves, Golden Dawn is being persecuted because of its ideology which has stolen many supporters from the conservative right. Anyone who claims otherwise is simply full of hot air. All those who until now attempted to present Golden Dawn as a criminal organization now this too well and are now attempting to place things in the right perspective by hinting that there is no factual evidence to support the -criminal organization- claim (especially the Greek media).

Editor's Note: The only thing that this trial will successfully do is to detain GD from being in the public eye, nothing else (that is why we believe that it will last up to two years). Nothing will be revealed and we fear that this will probably soar their popularity even more; Greek citizens have always been more partial to underdogs -or the damned-. Unless this is the plan. Reports are already starting to note that there is only circumstantial evidence against GD, or of them acting as a criminal organization, and the weapons that authorities supposedly massed from their homes have already been reported to be contain licenses and/or were used for hunting, etc. Heck if they persecute GD as a criminal organization then shouldn't PASOK begin peeing in its pants as well? After all, most of its members have been accused of blackmail, money-laundering, extortion, etc. Anyone who has lived in Greece knows that PASOK operated a system that even the Cosa Nostra would have envied! Their network -which is still alive and kicking today but presents itself as SYRIZA- began at the top of the pyramid and went all the way down. Anyone who was not on their lists, was not a supporter, or in the past did not buy their party coupons, was shunned, ignored, left to die, or basically never EVER had the same opportunity, privileges or lifestyle that they did. They controlled everything. Should GD be persecuted by the Greek justice system for their ideology, and/or actions, then PASOK should also be persecuted and charged of running a criminal organization for the past 30+ years that allowed the Greek state to reach the state that it is today. One last thing, on Sunday night reporter Pavlos Tsimas on SKAI tv presented a report on the Golden Dawn party which we here at HellsaFrappe found quite entertaining. Those interviewed on the show are some of the strongest supporters of the anti-fascist movement, members of ANTARSYA and part of NGO's that are funded by the Soros foundation to protect migrants (which we all know actually exploit migrants but hey... who are we to doubt their intentions.) The report should be slammed by all, because it did not contain any objective reporting and relied solely on what propaganda channels such as MEGA and others have said over the last two years against the far-right party and the only opinions that were heard were those of GD's arch rival ANTARSYA. There was also no word about the two young GD supporters that were gunned down in front of the GD offices a short while after the rapper dies. It should be reminded that on November 1st, 2013, a terrorist attack took place at the Golden Dawn office of Neo Herakleio resulting in the death of two members of Golden Dawn, Manolis Kapelonis and Giorgos Fountoulis. The self-proclaimed organisation "Fighting People's Revolutionary Forces", claimed the responsibility for the attack, stating in its manifesto that it carried out as retaliation to the murder of Pavlos Fyssas. HellasFrappe decided not to post the video because we still believe in objective journalism and hate that channels such as MEGA and SKAI somehow forget that there were victims on both sides in this battle and not just one. Shame on them.



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Joint Greek & Australian naval exercises to mark Anzac Centenary

One of the Hellenic Navy's prized warships, the "Kountouriotis", along with with the Royal Australian Navy ships "HMAS Success" and the "HMAS Anzac" are going to carry out joint naval exercises in the months of April and May to commemorate the Anzac centenary. The event marks the 100th anniversary since Australian and New Zealand forces participated in World War I and the Gallipoli campaign that began in April 1915.

On Monday the crew of the "HMAS Anzac" would observe exercises carried out at the Souda base in Crete and also participate in another exercise taking place in the southwestern Aegean on May 5.

In order to mark the centenary and the special role that the island of Limnos played in these events, the "HMAS Success" is expected to take part in memorial ceremonies in Limnos and in Athens.

The ship has a crew of 235 and has been taking part in a mission in the Middle East since December. It will be open to the public on April 24 from 10:00 until 15:00.

Anzac Day is observed on April 25 each year, originally to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli against the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

ANA-MPA


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Russians begin inspections of Greek farming product suppliers - Exports to Russia to rise

The Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Rosselxoznadzor began its checks to future suppliers of farming products from Greece, Hungary and India.
     "Approximately twenty Greek companies will be inspected in Greece and another twenty in Hungary while only four to five companies in India. Cyprus has asked for a short extension and the inspection in Cyprus will start on April 27 in 6-8 companies," the representative of the Rosselxoznadzor Alexei Alekseenko told the Russian press agency RIA-Novosti on Monday.
He added that the inspections are expected to wrap up by April 30th.
In Athens, diplomatic sources told the state news agency ANA-MPA that the Greek companies that will be checked within the next two weeks are involved in the production of dairy, poultry, cured meat products and fish from fish farming. According to the report, the Russian side will import products only from units that have certification from Rosselxoznadzor and will not consider the EU certifications sufficient.

Sources: RIA-Novosti, ANA-MPA

Olympiakos secures 42nd league title - Champions for the 17th time!

The Reds, or the Piraeus-based Olympiakos soccer team clinched its 42nd Greek league title on Sunday, or the 17th in the last 19 seasons, with not one, not two but three rounds to spare. The Reds secured the title even before beating Levadiakos 4-0, when their long-time rival Panathinaikos lost 2-1 to Panthrakikos. Had Panathinaikos won, then the Reds would have needed at least a draw to clinch the title.

After losing to Panthrakikos, the Green team slipped to third place behind PAOK, which apparently beat host Kerkyra 1-0 on Saturday.

It should be noted that PAOK is only 13 points behind Olympiakos and one ahead of Panathinaikos.


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