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One this page we put small items of news/information that may be of interest. They will be in order of receipt with the most recent first. If you have any news/links you would like to share, send them to

Extension of time for Forest Map amendments : Originally the public had 60 days to lodge protests about the new maps. However, in view of the huge outcry about the maps, the Government has approved the Ministry of Environment and Energy's request for an extension to 105 days. tharros  (25-3-17)

The process for the identification of uninsured vehicles will not begin before mid-May,as the Finance Ministry will first try to locate the vehicles with debts from road tax due for the years 2013-16. This emerged from a meeting between the president of the Athens Professional Chamber (EEA), , and the head of the Independent Authority for Public Revenue.  According to 2015 figures, of the 6.4 million registered vehicles, only 5.5 million have been insured. However, registered vehicles also include thousands that are off the road, have been stolen or are missing ekathimerini (25-3-17)

New luxury hotel planned for Kardamili : An increasing number of foreign newspapers and major tourist guides are including Messinia in their publications for European destinations.A further, reason why the general tourist image is favorable for Messinia is the number of luxury hotels which are being developed or are under construction. This includes Stone Village Resort AE company plans to build a five star hotel, with a capacity of 90 beds in the Kardamili area of West Mani. The unit will be constructed in an area of 21 acres. According to the design, the number of new employment positions to be created after the second year of operation is 31. tharros (25-3-17)

How millions in refugee funds were wasted in Greece: For a story of waste and suffering, it’s notable that some of the worst decisions in response to the refugee crisis in Greece were born of good intentions. An archipelago of some 50 small refugee camps was scattered over Greece in preference to concentrating asylum seekers in larger ghettos. As an idea it had merits. In practice it was disastrous. Many of these sites, which are in various states of closure, were clearly unfit for human habitation in the first place. CHART >  An ocean of funds for an archipelago of camps
The relationship between the government and its international partners has been soured by mistrust. And somehow a government that was, on paper at least, the most refugee friendly in Europe has presided over this ekathimerini (20-3-17)

Save the Children finds rising self-harm, depression in Greek camps: Children stuck in Greek migrant camps are cutting themselves, attempting suicide and using drugs to cope with “endless misery,” international charity Save the Children said on March 16th. Save the Children described conditions in overcrowded camps as “degrading” and “detention-like,” forcing asylum-seekers to fight for basic necessities such as blankets, a dry place to sleep, food, warm water and access to healthcare. ekathimerini (20-3-17)

Thousands of empty properties face the prospect of demolition: Hundreds of thousands of properties around Greece are at risk of seeing their value plummet even if the economy returns to steady growth in the coming years. Consequently, these properties may even be put up for demolition, property valuators and market professionals tell Kathimerini. The Hellenic Valuation Institute (ELIE), estimate that the number of empty properties of all forms is close to 500,000 around the country. This is expected to continue hampering the future recovery of the real estate market. Population decline, combined with the significant decline in household incomes, high unemployment, tax hikes, and pension and salary cuts, mean that construction activity is unlikely to recover any time soon, having already shrunk by 95 % since 2007. Prices have declined 42 % on average, in the last nine years. ekathimerini (20-3-17)

New road axis Patras - Pyrgos, (hopes to be!) open before Easter : MAP "...finally, after over a decade, and delays in the construction, people will be able to go to Patras a new way.... " tharros (19-3-17)

Maniots are different - DNA proves it! A recent study by the University of Washington in Seattle, of the DNA from 241 people from across the Peloponnese, most aged 70 to 90 years (the oldest 107 years old), whose grandparents were born between 1860-1880, shows results significantly different from the view of historians. According to the analysis of genetic material, there is a clear distinction between the Peloponnesian and the current Slav population. Instead, the Peloponnese appears to have significantly more common genetic heritage with the French (39-42%), Spaniards (53% to 62%) and Italians (85% to 96%), than with the Slavs ( less than 15%). Therefore, according to the researchers, the Peloponnesians are genetically very different from the Slavic populations and much more similar to the Southern European populations. Also, the new study confirms that genetic Mani and Tsakones differ from other Peloponnesians, and each other. In Deep Mani and South Tsakonia Slavic genetic origin does not exceed 1%, while the Italian is between 14% to 25%. Peloponnesians generally are genetically very close to the Sicilians and Italians. The Slavs are genetically as far from the Peloponnesians, as the populations of the Near East. Tharros (13-3-17)

Cremation in Greece a step closer: Unlike other countries, priests are public servants, like the military, the police, but the Church is still very much against cremation, even though it is legal in Greece. However, all the Greek-speaking Orthodox priests abroad offer the funeral service, knowing that then the deceased will be cremated. And now, Interior Minister Panos Skourletis, recently answering the question from SYRIZA MP Anna Vagena, announced legislation which will allow individuals to have cremation. The decision enables relatives, after the exhumation of the deceased, to incinerate the bones instead of paying every year, for the bones to be kept in ossuaries. tharros Note: for more information see Death & Dying in Greece (10-3-17)

Plan to eliminate fishing subsidies: At a recent United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD, UNEP and FAO proposed a roadmap to eliminate harmful subsidies because there is growing concern that theses subsidies are encouraging overexploitation of fish stocks. In a  video A Man-made Tragedy: The Overexploitation of Fish Stocks, they highlight the global objective of '0 hunger by 2030'. Fish is an invaluable resource for food security, export and income generation. It is key to the livelihoods of millions of people, especially coastal populations. But although close to 90% of the world’s marine fish stocks are fully exploited, overexploited or depleted, many countries spend billions of dollars in subsidies that contribute to overfishing. Removing subsidies is not the only solution, but is a crucial step to stop the tragedy already happening in the seas.(10-3-17)

Extension of state of emergency in Messinia: On March 8th, following the request of the Mayor of Kalamata, the 'state of emergency' declared after heavy rain on 6th & 7th of September 2016 for the Municipality of Kalamata and other regions of Messinia, was extended for another 6 months, as the consequences of the damage caused by the event, have not all been dealt with.This extension is until September 7, 2017. This decision will significantly facilitate the integration of damage restoration projects, caused by the floods of September 7, 2016. kalamata gr (10-3-17)

Americans Might Have to Get a Visa for Europe, as soon as May :The European Union Parliament wants to reinstate visas for Americans traveling into the 28-nation bloc, arguing that the U.S. still requires citizens of five E.U. member nations to apply for an entry visa. Lawmakers passed a non-binding resolution on Thursday (March 2nd) calling for the E.U. Commission to impose visas on U.S. citizens by May, ahead of the summer tourist season. "The vote stems from a transatlantic dispute over the fact that the U.S. currently requires citizens of Croatia, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, and Poland to obtain visas before visiting." E.U. lawmaker Filiz Hyusmenova said in a statement seen by Deutsche Welle following the vote. The Commission says that it will pursue a diplomatic resolution, which makes it unlikely that they would act on the vote by the May deadline. Furthermore, if the visa requirement was introduced, it would be temporary, the E.U. says. time.com (8-3-17)

Athens International Airport now carbon neutral: Eleftherios Venizelos, was recently certified by the independent carbon management program Airport Carbon Accreditation as being carbon neutral. This makes the airport the 25th certified carbon neutral airport in Europe. Dr Yiannis Paraschis, the CEO of Athens International Airport. said “By achieving carbon neutrality, Athens International Airport continues to tangibly demonstrate its commitment to the fight against climate change. We are proud to be among leading airports,  through our reduced ecological footprint thanks to the environmental awareness and complementary efforts of our colleagues and partners across the airport community. greek reporter (8-3-17)

Fire on Taygetos (photos & video): Shortly before 7 pm Saturday,  Fire fighters managed to bring under partial control a large fire that started at noon. The uncontrolled fire that broke out just before 3pm Saturday, in the region of Alagonia Taygetos, near the Geha camps, continues to burn, and the firefighters are hampered by the wind blowing in the region. Sunday morning about 50 members of the Fire Brigade, and 16 vehicles from Messinia, Arcadia and Laconia are still fighting the fire. Tharros (5-3-17)

Events for the "Maria Callas" year in 2017, 40 years after her death: The Alumni Association of the Music School "Maria Callas" is planning a series of great events throughout the course of the year, while on March 19th, the premiere of the famous documentary ' Our Callas' director Babis Tsokas, will be held in New York. The tour will continue in Chicago, Boston, and Montreal and Toronto in Canada. April will launch the film tour in Greece, where April 22 will be played in Kalamata, and 23 in Athens, and after the tour planned for Europe, is one in Australia and efforts are being made for Russia .. George Iliopoulos will make an educational trip throughout Messinia with the purpose of encouraging children at primary school, to come to the opera, love music and to get to know the great Messinan, Maria Callas Tharros (5-3-17)

Lower prices at Athens Airport hotel: The hotel 'Pantheon' near Athens airport has lowered its prices! Zorbas    (4-3-17)

Kalamata air link with Belgrade: Another city with flight links to Kalamata. AirSerbia will fly from Belgrade to Kalamata from June 15th to September 27th. It was also announced that there will be a meeting with major tour operators in the Serbian market (Odeon World Travel, Filip Travel, Ponte Travel and Eurojet), to support the new flight from Serbia to the Peloponnese. On April 25th Serbs tourist editors (press trip) will travel to the Peloponnese. Tharros (4-3-17)

No toll payment required, if only using the Kalamata ring road : To use only the perimeter road of Kalamata the users are not required to pay a toll, so the perimeter road can be used by citizens free of charge, effectively relieving traffic in the city center. This is emphasized in response to the Ministry of Infrastructure, when the question was tabled in Parliament .  Tharros (1-3-17)


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