Archive October 2016

 - - - - N e w s   S n i p p e t s - October - - -

Kastania Church Europa Nostra 2016: local award ceremony for the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage, Europa Nostra 2016 in the category "Restoration", which was awarded for the Byzantine church restoration project of St. Peter Kastania, is organized by the Antiquities Messinia and Greek Environment and Cultural Heritage (Project details see ArchiveSept) The ceremony will take place Saturday, November 5, 2016, at 13.30, in this church in Kastania, West Mani. "Despite the problems facing our country and despite the general "nagging" that plagues us, cooperation between private & public services delivers exceptional results." Tharros (27-10-16)

Autumn discount period & Sunday opening: The 'Intermediate Autumn disvcount period will be November 1st to 10th. Also shops of all kinds and in all areas of the country may optionally operate Sunday, November 6, from 11.00 to 20.00. Tharros  (27-10-16)

UK Veterans donate € 2000 for Kalamata flood victims: The Brotherhood of Veterans of Greek Campaigns 1940 - 1945, in Great Britain, sent a donation of € 2,000 to the Municipality of Kalamata, " help the recovery, which follows recent flood in Kalamata, " The Mayor sent a letter of gratitude to the Brotherhood. The Municipality of Kalamata organizes a memorial ceremony on the anniversary of the Battle of Kalamata, in May each year. The donation will be used to carry out specific restoration projects, in playgrounds areas particularly affected by the flood. kalamat gr ( 19-10-16)

New evidence supporting the health benefits of EVOO : Greece has over a thousand extra virgin olive oils (EVOOs) tested by NMR that meet and exceed the EU criteria for health-promoting phenolic compounds. A new category of High Phenolic Extra Virgin Olive Oil is being researched, as it seems these phenolic compounds are particularly beneficial for preventing the development of Alzheimer's disease . YouTube Alzheimer's disease: how extra-virgin olive oil can prevent it (in English). Since 2012, testing of olive oils from countries around the globe have revealed that early harvest green olives yield the highest levels of phenolic compounds and that olive oils high in healthful phenolic compounds stay fresh and vital longer. Huffington Post (19-10-16)

New web portal for the Greek Police : The "Electronic Police Department" has just been launched. This platform enables citizens, businesses and operators to submit requests for administrative and legal information, as well as make complaints about cybercrime cases. The input for users is via the electronic address and their identification through the system «TaxisNet» General Secretariat for Information Systems. For details of what you can do (in Greek) see Tharros (19-10-16)

Fig harvest halved by September 7th disaster: Figs producers in Messinia are desperate. The damage suffered by the disaster of September 7th is much larger than originally thought. A typical example of fig producers is one who usually gathers 2500-3000 tons figs every year, but this year the production does not exceed 1,500 tons. They hope to get some compensation because of  ' the natural disaster', but prices have remained unchanged. Tharros (17-10-16)

EU students still eligible for UK student loans: The UK government announced on Oct 11 that EU students applying to UK universities in 2017–18 will continue to be eligible for student loans and grants in the normal way, and will be for the duration of their course. The decision will mean that students applying to study from 2017 to 2018 will not only be eligible for the same funding and support as they are now, but that their eligibility will continue throughout their course, even if the UK exits the European Union during that period. For full details, visit: (17-10-16)

NOMAD International October Newsletter: Discounts until Christmas on parcels to Greece & Italy, a new UK grocery delivery service to Crete and Patra, advice on transferring money from their partner KEY CURRENCY, and advice on packing fragile items in boxes NOMAD NEWS OCTOBER 2016 (15-10-16)

'Greek Shipping Miracle': An Online Maritime Museum (English & Greek) Greek Shipping has for along maintained global leadership in the international shipping industry. At present, shipping is the country's most important industry, worth €251.1 billion in 2015. It employs about 290,000 people (7% of the workforce) In 2015, the Greek Merchant Navy controlled the world's largest merchant fleet in terms of tonnage and a fleet of 5,226 Greek owned vessels, according to Lloyd's List. Greece is also ranked in the top for all kinds of ships, including first for tankers and bulk carriers. Now, the first online Maritime Museum, 'Greek Shipping Miracle' has been created. A YouTube video explains the content. Greek Shipping Miracle - EN Edition. This pioneering online museum takes its travelers on a virtual journey of Greek Shipping in time through rare photos and historical documents, aiming to highlight the admirable journey of the Greeks in the international shipping arena over the past 150 years Greeknewsagenda (15-10-16)

Newsletter from ECREU: This self-help group was set up in August 2016, to highlight UK Citizen's Rights in the EU and ensure that Politicians at Westminster are aware of the possible implications for Expats after Brexit. Their October newsletter topics include:- MPs replies, Triggering Article 50 - High Court hearings , Healthcare after Brexit, Government to give Votes for Life. ECREU Membership is free and members are encouraged to get involved (13-10-16)

Serious threats to bananas: In January 2016 the BBC reported "...bananas on the brink - The imminent death of the Cavendish banana and why it affects us all. Buy a banana and it will almost certainly be descended from one plant grown at an English stately home. But now we face losing one of the world's most-loved fruits..." BBCnews Last year, a fungi ( Panama disease), had breached quarantine efforts and spread across South Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Australia, posing a serious threat to banana crops. Since then, scientists have sequenced the genomes of three other fungal diseases that currently threaten banana crops, and found something disturbing - the fungi have evolved to the point where they could wipe out the most popular banana crops in five to 10 years. sciencealert (13-10-16)

Legal concerns for UK Airbnb hosts : While renting via the website may seem as simple as posting property details online, the reality is more complex – and a recent court ruling** could further complicate matters for UK hosts. The judgment provides a clear legal precedent. “The implications are enormous.” says Nicole Rogers, a solicitor at DAS Law.Thousands of people who use the site to rent out their leasehold property are potentially breaching their leases, and could be in danger of losing their homes. Airbnb hosts who offer short-term lets without seeking permission from their mortgage lender are also “very likely” to be breaking their mortgage contract. But  even if you don’t have a landlord, a lease, a London property, a mortgage or an irate neighbour, you may still fall foul of your insurer. theguardianmoney (10-10-16)
** However, the ruling does not appear to prevent letting out single rooms in your home.

Athens International Airport Wins  Award : Athens International Airport (Eleytherios Venizelos) has received yet another distinction from World Routes, the biggest global airline networking forum! . Athens is the most awarded airport in the history of World Routes, one of the most important institutions in the industry, with 13 distinctions in 10 years. protothema (8-10-16)

Decline in Peloponnese population: In 2015, the Peloponnese had the second largest population decrease, after Attica. This is without taking into account the migration of  Greeks because of the crisis. According to the Greek Statistical Service, in 2015 births in the region amounted to 4320 and deaths 7548, reducing the population by 3228 (~ 42% fewer births). Nationally the figure for 2015 is 24% fewer births, and overall, there were 0.3% fewer births in 2015 than in 2014. The average age of mothers was 31.3 years. Deaths were up 6.6% compared to 2014. Average age of death was 76.1 years for men (from 75.5 years in 2014) and 81.6 years for women (from 81.2 years in 2014) tharros ( 8-10-16)

New regulations for unmanned aircraft (drones) : From January 1, 2017 there will be new regulations relating to flight safety issues, but also privacy, data protection, liability, protection of citizens, environmental protection. The structure of the regulations are formulated in accordance with the principles of the European Agency for Aviation Safety (EASA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), in order to make easy the full integration of European regulations expected to be in the future. The drones are divided into three categories, but all unmanned aircraft (drones) flying a distance of 50 meters from the operator, regardless of their reasons for using, and even amateur, must be reported through a simple declaration to be completed and sent electronically. Flights must conform to traffic rules and users will be fined if rules are violated. For details of the regulations see Tharros source   (7-10-16)

Flights from Kalamata : Olympic start flights K'mata-Thessaloniki on Oct 3rd. Flights & will be every Monday and Wednesday morning, arriving from Thessaloniki at 11.00 and departing from Kalamata. at 11.30, until winter times. Then routes will be operated on the regular winter schedule: Monday and Saturday  Kalamata arrival at 18:30 and departure at 19:00. Also, there will be a flight Thursday, which arrives at 10.30 am and departs at 11.00. Cost €19.30 each way. There will be no reduction in International flights from Kalamata during October, but Uk charter flights will be gradually ending. Flights to Vienna, Stockholm, Munich and Dusseldorf will continue until November 20th Tharros (3-10-16)

Kalmata shows great support for the Wheeling2help cyclists : On October 1st, local cyclists joined the Wheeling2help cyclists at the outskirts of the city and cycled with them into Kalamata. There, many people gathered in the central square to take part in a range of events including experiential activities prepared by the volunteer coordination team in cooperation with sports and social clubs and focusing on the life challenges of the disabled, answering questions like" .... Do you know how to play basketball on a wheelchair? - to walk, to run, to jump or to write without seeing? - to dance without hearing music? playing volleyball sitting? ...  lots of photos "a big celebration of volunteering, love, awareness and empathy!!" on   Wheelin2Help Kalamata .." tharros (3-10-16)

Museum of Greek Costumes opens: The permanent exhibition of the collection of Greek costumes (Victoria C. Karelia, the Lyceum of Greek Women of Kalamata) opened in Kalamata on October 1st. The Kalamata Municipality has granted a 99 year lease on the building on Stadiou Street, to house this European-level museum.  kalamata gr    It is in the restored building Vogopoulou - Plemmatia, Stadiou Street, which now serves as an exhibition space of traditional clothing and jewelry of the Lyceum of Greek Women ...Seeing the costumes one not only learns about the history, art and aesthetics of the people of a particular time but take life lessons in the lasting importance of issues such as social value .  kalamata journal (3-10-16)


Charge for plastic bags

In a bid to reduce waste the country produces, a 5 to 10c charge for disposable plastic bags will be introduced at supermarkets next month, the Environment Ministry has announced.

The measure comes in response to a circular approved by European Parliament in May, 2015, whereby European Union member-states are required to reduce the annual disposal of plastic bags to 90 per person by the end of 2019, or to ensure that a levy is introduced for plastic bags by the end of 2018.

In Greece, 242 bags are used per person on an annual basis. The measure has already been introduced as a pilot program on several islands, including Syros and Alonisos.

Violent storm in Mediterranean

But this time Messinia escaped the worst of the storms

A rare phenomenon  appeared in the Mediterranean in recent days, a cyclone with tropical storm characteristics. The eye of the storm followed the path forecast and passed just south of Messinia in the early hours, keeping Messinia a safe distance from this dangerous phenomenon.  The eye of the storm headed for Western Crete, where the effects were severe. tharros  

In Western Crete, flights were canceled and trees uprooted on Monday, after it was hit by a violent storm that caused torrential rain and floods in the wider region of Hania ekathimerini  (31-10-16)

Health Centre demonstration

On the morning of October 21st, foreigners joined Greeks in a demonstration outside the Ag Nikolaos Health Centre to protest about the staffing situation which may result in the centre no longer being able to offer 24-hour services.  Ag Nikolaos Health centre.

Greek recycling plans include fines for not recycling

At a recent meeting, a Kalamata alderman reported that although the national situation is not good, Kalamata is leading the way and recycles 400 tons a month. Much of the improvement is because an increasing number of residents are keen to recycle. September and October saw a record number of citizens participating in recycling. " ....I think the residents as time passes, systematise the management of their waste, and the Sorting Centre for Recyclable Materials (KDAYs) opened last August is upgrading its infrastructure in order to meet the increased needs. . " Every day three special garbage trucks for recycling are now in use, but there is still a need for an information campaign, to encourge more of the public to recycle and use the special bins for glass collection.

The poor record of recycling in Greece, has prompted the proposal of a new law, which is under consultation, and provides for fines up to €500 to anyone who does not recycle. Most municipalities will be able to impose a fine of up to €500 on citizens who do not implement the program that has been decided, while the the upgraded National Recycling Agency, will be able to impose fines and remove licenses from recycling systems that are handling waste illegally.

However, in times of economic crisis, Greece still buries two million tonnes of material that could be recycled and exploited to ensure a revenue of €150 million per year! In recent days deputy Environment Minister John Tsironis, presenting the bill for the alternative management of waste, which will be in consultation until 13 November, and revealed what the hidden economy thrives on ... some materials that have high sales prices eg lead present in batteries that can reach up to € 1,700 a ton, are 'lost'.

The government is also proposing more laws/schemes to increase recycling. Soon a bill is proposed, which would prohibit the use and import of plastic bags, which have serious ecological consequences.

'Green Points' are being set up in urban centers. Green Points, according to the new National Waste Management Plan, are now a key element in local management systems.  Users will be able to deliver useful materials such as paper or cardboard, glass and metal packaging, edible fats and oils, bulky materials, "green" waste electrical and electronic equipment etc, to these Green Points Thus, significant quantities of pre-sorted recyclable waste and useful materials can be collected and temporarily stored and then forwarded to reuse and recycling operations. The local Municipality of Kalamata waste management plan proposes the creation of several Green Points in Kalamata, including near the market Tharros(17/10/16)

Easyjet using Athens Airport satellite terminal

Recently, some passengers arriving at Athens Airport on an Easyjet flight were rather surprised when they discovered that they had to to walk 1.6km from the plane to the baggage carousel  - ok for the able bodied but an unpleasant surprise for anyone with limited walking ability. Easyjet offer special transport for anyone with handicaps, but you need to contact them before departure.

Although Easyjet usually use the main terminal**,  it seems that they are now using the satellite terminal some of the time, so if you have difficulty walking, it is worth checking which terminal they are using for your flight, and if uncertain, book assistance at the airport.
Note: Be aware that even if the flight is scheduled to use the main terminal, the arrival gate may be changed at the last minute, during the flight!

(Click on image below to enlarge)

** Athens (Eleftherios Venizelos -AIA) airport was opened in 2001 and was designed to allow for considerable expansion  beyond the needs of 2001. In 2015 after a few years of decline in passenger numbers, they reached an all time high of 18.1 million, and growth has been steady during 2016. The airport currently has two terminals, the main terminal (A and B halls) and the satellite terminal accessible by an underground link from the main terminal. It is designed to be extended in a modular approach over the coming years in order to accommodate increases in air travel of up to 50 million passengers/year.
The satellite terminal has two levels, one for arrivals and the other for departures but due to the seasonality of traffic increases at the airport, it is only used when the traffic needs warrant it, and then usually for charter flights. British Airways, Easyjet, Ryan and Aegean Airlines usually use Halls A or B of the main terminal.  wikipedia

Information summary from PsM - OCTOBER 2016

Bonfires : With rubbish building up it is tempting to burn some of it , BUT please remember that the fire season goes on until the END of October and until November 1st, it is illegal to have outdoor fires.

The storms/floods on September 7th, and their aftermath: It all came as a great shock. As the Mayor of Kalamata told REUTERS that morning "....I have never seen anything like it! About 140 millimeters of rain fell in an hour this morning ... It hasn't stopped raining since yesterday at lunchtime..." The impact was patchy, and some places locally were hardly affected, but Kalamata, much of the Messinian plain including Kalamata airport and Ancient Messine, Stoupa and Ag Nikolaos, were flooded, and many roads in the area were made impassable when large chunks were washed away by the torrents. Gaia's services were stretched almost to breaking point (Gaia snippets) The European Severe Weather Database that day recorded 8 areas of Greece affected (heavy rain causing major problems in Thessaloniki, Kalamata, Thouria, Skala, Stoupa, and Larisa, and tornadoes in Katakolon and Vartholomión ) snippets(9/9) For a time, many people were without power, water or phones, and unable to leave their villages in vehicles. Photos in the PsM Album After the storms/floods Fortunately only 4 people died in the floods, but the toll taken in damage to livestock, agriculture, property and personal belongings, is huge. The initial estimate of losses in the Kalamata region was 45million euros. 15 days after the event, the regional authorities said "... damage caused by the catastrophic floods is much larger than originally estimated. Several houses that face serious problems with subsidence, etc and are unfit to be occupied. 350 businesses have recorded damage and appealled for help, and the investigators have been overwhelmed...." snippets(22/9)

There was a great response from the communities affected, both the authorities and volunteers worked night and day to restore services, and the army helped to clear Kalamata beach. The airport was open again after a couple of days. The power company not only had many power supplies affected, they also had damaged water pumps which affected the water supply in a number of places, but most supplies were back within 3 days. The W Mani Dimos did a great job making temporary repairs to roads to enable (careful!) vehicular access within a matter of hours. Local volunteers were out within a few days, clearing the beaches of rubbish and debris. The weather was kind and by Sunday, most things were back to a semblance of normality. Septarchive But for many, the problems are far from over. Nearly 1000 people were made homeless in the Kalamata area, and the District of Messinia appealed for help and supplies from local people. A state of emergency was declared and the Government and the EU have been asked for 'natural disaster' aid to help businesses and farmers, but there has been criticism of the authorities saying flood protection in Kalamata was inadequate.snippets(11/9) Locally Gaia are collecting supplies for flood victims community support. No water bills will be issued for 2 months (11/9) ), and the deadline for business tax payments in the affected areas, has been extended by 6 months ( 15/9 )  If you still have problems see WHERE TO REPORT PROBLEMS in our  Septarchive

Rubbish problems continue: The large number of rubbish bins that were located at the back of the parking area by the big church in Stoupa, have been redistributed round the village in very public places. We have heard that this is because the church wants the space for other purposes. This, combined with the lack of anywhere to empty the bins, following the restriction of the temporary dump near Platsa, and the disruption caused by flooding in the area, meant that unsightly and smelly rubbish was building up in many places. Recently, another temporary solution has been found, so some of the rubbish is being cleared from the villages BUT the problem remains, that the Peloponnese wide waste management system, agreed last year,  has been on hold. However, recent news suggests we can be cautiously optimistic. With modifications to the original proposals, the scheme is now more acceptable, and there is hope that the scheme will go ahead before the end of the year. RUBBISH

Concerns about Ag Nikolaos dentist : Although he has many satisfied customers, concerns about Dr Pourrezaei Arzhang, were raised when it was discovered that in 2015, someone of a similar name had been struck off the UK dental register by the Professional Conduct Committee, of the General Dental Council. "....The Committee considered that the clinical failings identified in this case are serious and placed Mr Pourrezaei Akhlaghi’s patients at risk of actual and potential harm and in some instances caused avoidable harm...." Details of the evidence that this is the same person as the dentist still practising in Ag Nikolaos, are in SeptArch. He has been reported to the Greek Dental Authorites.

FACEBOOK virus : In early September dozens of people in Greece had already fallen "victim" and were trying to warn online friends via posts on their profile, about a new FACEBOOK virus snippets (13/9)
Crackdown on foreign plated cars : The police have increased their inspections, and people need to have proof that their vehicle has left Greece every 6 months snippets (13/9)

Heroic efforts from Gaia, and the price they paid : The whole community benefits from Gaia's efforts, either directly or indirectly, but the huge demands on their services during the storms/floods of September 6th/7th, and the clean up afterwards, took their toll. They rose to the challenge, but in the process suffered a lot of damage to equipment. This was in addition to having their own flood problems at the Gaia Base. Christina estimated that it will cost about €4000 to get back to their usual full emergency readiness. GAIA SNIPPETS. A separate REPAIR FUND has been set up at Mani Money, to collect donations for Gaia's repairs/replacement of equipment.

Anyone for cribbage? Are you interested in playing Cribbage or learning how to play whilst meeting other interested people over a few drinks etc Maybe even forming a crib league over the winter If so, contact either Mike, or Pat at the following emails or numbers Mike : : tel 07508527944 MESSAGES (4/9)

Calling all aspiring actors and anyone interested in backstage activities : After the success of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ the Neon Players are now gearing up for their next production in early December, which is a new Murder Mystery play written specially  by Theresa Stoker, who wrote their previous two Murder Mysteries. They are on the look out for new members to take part in the production, particularly women who would like to act. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have previous acting experience – they are a very supportive group and are very willing to help new members find their feet. The Neon Players

Parea Walks - Autumn 2016: After the alterations to landscape in many parts of Mani, caused by the torrential downpours and flooding on Sept 6/7th, walking is a journey of discovery, with some paths altered/washed away. Fortunately Ursula and Walter have introduced a new format for the Parea walks, and had not planned an autumn program in advance. They did their first test walk round Tseria on Sept 23rd, before the proper Parea walk was announced. Anyone interested in being informed of future walks, which will only be decided a few days in advance should email Ursula & Walter . Parea Walks

What's new/changed
• Gaia has been given a Unimog truck with a water tank for fires, by the Athens fire Dept.
• Christos Manoleas insurance office has moved MESSAGES
Dance classes at the Neochori cultural centre restart on October 2nd DANCE
• More Chasamba classes in October MESSAGES
Art workshops are being offered in Riglia Other activities
• A new angiography unit is expected to be open by the end of the year, funded by donations snippets(18/9)
Patriko Cafe/Bar will close for the winter at the end of October PATRIKO
Stitch 'n Bitch will meet at Greggss in Ag Nikolaos while Patriko is closed. Stitch'n'Bitch
Leonardo da Vinci Gelateria closes at the end of September LEONARDO
• The last Asian Night at Vezuvios until next season, is Septemver 29th VEZUVIOS

Animal matters
• Advice on reporting Animal cruelty - translator wanted MESSAGES
• Recently, MIAO's 'clients' have included cats, dogs, horses, goats and turtles
• GAIA rescued 2 goats that had ben stuck on a cliff for 8 days GaiaSnippets
Tara (cat) missing from Lefktro since early September LOST&FOUND turned up on 25th!
Charlie(cat) returned home thin but otherwise OK after 6 weeks!
• Mystery cat with no back paws turned up in Kotroni MESSAGES (17/9)
• On a fine morning after the beach had been cleared, a young flamingo walked the lngth of K'mata beach snippets(18/9)


Stoupa Art Club Exhibition: In September, the Art Group held their annual exhibition in the garden of Patriko cafe/bar. It was postponed for a week because of the floods, but on 16/17th the sun shone and people came throughout the day and well into the evenings. The 13 members of the club who exhibited their work were from several different countries and included 5 Greek artists. Artists' Cafe

Stoupa Cultural Centre repairs: By September 1st, the four fund raising events to date had raised a total of €1049.40, and the SCC Action goup had €824 in hand after the installation of outside lighting. The Quiz at Greggs on Sept 28th is raising money for the SCC but many more events/donations will be needed to raise the estimated € 5000 required for outstanding maintenance work. Stoupa Cultural Centre

Award for Kastania church: The Byzantine church of St. Peter in Kastania, Mani, is one of the twelve 2016 winners of a Europa Nostra award for high quality restoration/conservation. The restoration of the church included the securing of the building’s structural issues and the conservation of the interior decoration. (The restoration was done over a period of 16 months between 2013 and 2014, coordinated by the former director of the 26th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities, Evangelia Militsi-Kechagia. ) The restoration also made visible certain parts of the masonry work, located just under the roof tiles, which had previously been obscured by later additions. The restoration was warmly welcomed by the local community who are very much aware of the cultural and economic dimensions of the project. SeptArch

Successful event promoting organ donation: With the slogan "Donate a chance for life: become a volunteer bone marrow donor and make leukemia a thing of the past" , more than 250 swimmers and runners gathered to compete for the 5th Volunteer Donor Cup, on the beach in front of the Elite hotel, on September 4th. The Cup was only one of the events organised to increase awareness and participation in the donor scheme snippets(6/9)

Kalamata 'White Night' a limited success for shopkeepers: While many people came from all over Messinian, and some even from Athens, just for the event, and this year's program of activites was rich and organizationally better than any other year, many retailers did not benefit from boosted sales as much as they had hoped. The general feeling seems to be that more people came to enjoy the event, but did not spend money on the sales, other than for things they particularly wanted. Some felt that after four years, perhaps a change of format is needed and it was suggested that it might be better in September, when the winter merchandise is available THARROS


Sea water temperature
Click image to find other places
- - - - - See local weather on the live WEBCAM at Asteria Apartments in Ag Dimitrios - - - - -