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A Savonarola for our own times

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He appears on our television screens wearing a hood, looking like a medieval Franciscan monk. In fact, he even talks like Girolamo Savonarola: «There won't be any fish left in the sea. The rain forests and clean air will be a thing of the past. The polar ice caps will be gone, oceans will rise,...

Two-party system and a large state

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Certainly a simple proportional electoral system would free many voters from the grip of the two major political parties, enabling them to pick a party more suited to their own world views. The two major parties have become nothing but alliances of ideas and people and their cadres struggle with...

Makeshift solutions perpetuate our ills

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If we want to get to the root of all the ills of the past few days, we need only consider our national maxim: «Something will get us out of this mess.» This is what goes through our minds every time we are faced with seemingly impossible situations, whether these relate to the economy or the...

The eighth wonder of the world

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It is unclear exactly what the criteria were in the recent competition for the selection of the «new seven wonders of the world» - an online poll that attracted such worldwide interest. Was it the size of the monuments that influenced the vote? Was it how imposing those monuments were deemed to...

Solutions for power production

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One cannot really criticize the government's decision to cut short the hours worked by civil servants over the past few days. In fact, some have praised the initiative. In view of the current state of the Greek civil service, the less it operates, the better. That way, at least it spends less...

The medias abuse of a basic right

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The presumption of innocence until proven guilty applies everywhere. No democratic country withholds the names of those facing prosecution because everyone knows that it is one thing to be charged with something and quite another to be convicted. The principle according to which any citizen is...

No limits to police arbitrariness?

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Every time the issue of the arbitrariness of the police comes to the fore again, we learn new and interesting things. For example, when a special guard fired his service weapon into the air to warn off aggressive protesters earlier this year, we discovered that the Aegean Ministry - which he had...

The same excess, but in reverse

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The score of last Saturday's soccer game between the Greek and Turkish national teams, which upset so many people here in Greece, was not something to be ashamed of. It is the nature of soccer, and other games, to sometimes bring us joy and sometimes sorrow. What was shameful was the way that our...

The polices lies help no one

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The protest against the education bill in Athens last Thursday was marred by a regrettable incident. A police officer fired his gun into the air to disperse a group of protesters who had been causing damage to the Ministry of the Aegean. But what was worse than the actual firing of the shot was...

Evolution or just a confusion of ideas?

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During the visit to Athens last May by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Greek Communist Party (KKE) deputy Liana Kanelli made televised remarks criticizing the country's journalists. Virtually all prominent Greek reporters secured an interview with the visiting US politician but no one...

Multiple failings of our health system

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In Greece the health and social welfare system has multiple failings. It funds its own bureaucracy excessively and underfunds the needs of sick citizens. It is illogically and inefficiently organized: I cannot imagine that there is any other country where fundamental medical care is provided by...

Averting violence is the job of the police

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In an interview with Skai Radio on Monday, Deputy Health Minister Giorgos Constantopoulos raged against «social hypocrisy.» Where were all those who now blame the government for a non-existent welfare policy when a 57-year-old man was murdered by his 19-year-old son in Nikaia, he exclaimed? Why...

The right to want, or reject, cremation

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Until now, we had been fighting for the separation of the Orthodox Church from the state. In the future, it looks as if we are going to be fighting for the opposite. At least, this is the only conclusion one can draw from the debate about the cremation of the dead that has followed a decision by...

The time is ripe for general elections

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Eventually the whispers and the speculation became a reality. Following Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis's declaration that «elections will be held when appropriate,» the only thing that remains to be clarified is when exactly this is to be, in May or in the fall? Opinion polls will no doubt help...

Clear messages of public disapproval

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The results of an opinion poll published in last Sunday's Kathimerini reveal some very important messages which are quite clear and indisputable. For example, an overwhelming majority of the Greek public (99 percent) believes that destroying public property and going on destructive rampages are...

The dangers of living in the past

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The Americans have a saying: «If it ain't broke, don't fix it.» It would be useful if we were to apply this to the Greek state, which has hardly proved itself to be a paragon of efficiency. One of the few state services which was actually successful was the Greek police's anti-terrorism unit,...

A black hole in law and order

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In Greece there is the rule of law. This means that, ostensibly, laws are enforced and violations invite punishment. But all this is theoretical. Apart from the problems linked to the dispensation of justice, in some areas law enforcement is actually seen as a deviation from democracy. The laws...

The challenges OTE faces in a new era

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Unfortunately, it looks as if the debate about the privatization of state telecommunications operator OTE will go the way of the review of Article 16 of the Constitution, which foresees the creation of private universities. The public debate about OTE has become trapped in all-too-familiar...

The chaos theory in full effect

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Do we really know what is going on at our ports? If we believe what various representatives of our production sectors have been saying, then we should be very worried indeed. This is not only because of the 15-20 percent price hikes on goods that the current situation is likely to provoke by...

The dream of a Christian Europe

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We were justifiably cheered by Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Turkey and his acknowledgement of the ecumenical nature of the Istanbul-based Orthodox Patriarchate. But we should not forget that these gestures are nothing more than a means for the pope to achieve an ambition he had when still...

Protectionism a major problem

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One conclusion can be drawn from the survey, cited on this page, by GSEE's Labor Institute: The more jobs are protected, the higher the unemployment rate will rise. In Greece, the privileges of specific professional groups are protected at all cost. As a result, the country has the highest...