That’s how the Index of Despair was created in Greece. Such a lack of interest for tax transparency, by Samaras’ government, said Switzerland

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       46586671.cmsSwiss Bank Account Spaniards

German newspaper Die Welt recently accused Greece, -but mainly the ex Greek government this time-, of not acting on opportunities to recover billions in lost tax,“The Greek government has done nothing for a year to recover supposedly untaxed assets of Greek citizens in Switzerland. There is an invitation extending from 2014 by the Swiss Secretariat for International Financial Matters (SIF) to track the money and transfer it to Athens,”

 The Swiss authorities expressed their wonder, Greek government sources have said, for the lack of interest of the previous government for the revised double taxation agreement between Switzerland and Greece that has been in place since 2012,
as only fifteen requests had been received for the transfer of tax-related data.
Greece’s new government has committed to fighting tax evasion and corruption in a bid to raise funds for the state and to spread the burden of the crisis…

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Fat -Tax me Urgently, could say the Greeks

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Fat tax was among the reforms list proposals that Greece sent to Brussels on Friday , March 27, among 20 more other reforms and that were discussed on the Brussels group during past weekend, on a tough, but ” in positive atmosphere” negotiations rally that again took place between Greece and its creditors .
In Greece, the first calculations for the fax tax indicate that the state will manage, -apart from reducing obesity rates-, to raise €640 to €800 million per year from collecting the new tax. The proposal is not new in European countries, not even in Greece, since Troika, had proposed the fat tax to the previous Greek governement since February 2014.
Fat tax in Europe 
    • The first ever fat-tax in Europe was imposed by Denmark in September 2011, oblidging Danes to pay an extra 0.41 euros on each pack of butter, 0,11 euros on a pack of crisps, and an extra 0,18 euros on a pound of mince, as a result of the tax. The tax  was levied at 2.5 per Kg of saturated fat at the point of sale from wholesalers to retailers.
  • France, since then, also applied the fat tax, with taxing, also, sauces (ketchup and mayonnaise), as well as soft-drinks with high sugar concentrations, exempting light and zero-percent-sugar soft-drinks.
  • Hungary on October 2011, imposed a tax is on all packaged foods containing unhealthy levels of sugar, salt, and carbohydrates, as well as products containing more than 20 milligrams of caffeine per 100 milliliters of the product.
  • Hungary and France are taxing foods that have more than 2.3% saturated fat.

In those countries, the tax was said to be imposed so as to protect the citizens against obesity. A study by Mike Rayner’s group at the UK, Director of Oxford University’s Health Promotion Research Group, had said since the year of 2007 that a combination of taxes on healthy foods and tax breaks on fruit and vegetables could save 3,200 lives a year in the UK.

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Greece, welcome your perfect olive oil .So cheap in here, so expesnive abroad

But Greece does seem to urgently need the tax, not only for the apparent two reasons, of the protection of citizens’ health and the collection of some hundreds millions. It is the (almost) forgotten asset of the Greek olive oil, that is ideally boosted by this tax to be promoted more and more, by its usage within the households and also on the Greek restaurant industry.This could make the popular Greek food even more valuable to all tourists and visitors, making more clear  that restaurants will be “clean of trans fats and have their menus based on olive oil”. And also, it gives a chance to protect the malnourished Greek mass from -cheaper coming to the stores otherwise-, unhealthy trans fat based products. Let’s not forget the 2006 NYC ban of the use of artificial trans fats in foods in restaurants and other eateries as well as required chain restaurants to post the calorie amounts in their food.

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Third reason that we urgently need this tax is coming from the obesity rates in the Greek popuation in comparison with the average European rates , which multiply threatens the Health of the Greeks under the Greece’s Great Depression Times.

According to OECD, 1 in 10 Danes are obese, when in Greece the percentage reaches 22%, while the EU average stands at 15%.

Greece, is not only of the most stressed countries in the world and Europe, by the augmented austerity- stress level causing thousands of deaths yearly, but faces due to austerity also, the Health servises degradation that contributes to the increase of cardiovascular deaths.

 In the States, “Sin-tax ” of tobacco

This type of “sin tax”  first worked in reducing the consumption of tobacco products over the last decade. High tobacco taxes significantly reduced cigarette smoking and other tobacco use. When President Obama raised federal tobacco taxes by 62 percent days after he took office, the numbers of smokers have since decreased by 3 million, and the US Treasury raised more than $30 billion in new revenue.

In the States, Fat- tax since 2015 , trans-fat ban since 2006

In the USA, California is the first of the United States  who applied ‘fat’ tax since the start of 2015,  to purchases made of butter, milk, cheese, pizza, candy, soda and all processed food if the item contains more than 2.3% saturated fat.

Lobbyists with the Organic Consumers Association, crafted the ballot measure working closely with First Lady Michelle Obama’s #LetsMove program,, with the aim, a majority of taxes collected to go to obesity education, preventative counseling and support groups, and a  percentage of the funds to go to work and housing programs for the state’s exploding immigrant population.

The latest proposal involving a “fat tax” was made in Nevada, when legislation was proposed to impose a 5-cent tax on fast-food items containing more than 500 calories.

According to Oliver Mytton, a researcher for the British Heart Foundation’s Health Promotion Research Group, junk foods need to be taxed at least 20% to have a significant effect on obesity and cardiovascular disease.   Additionally, his studies have found that taxes on a wide range of unhealthy foods and ingredients are more effective than narrow fat taxes.

Secret Wermacht Archives, bought by Greece from Maryland, have been kept in drawer for fifteen years

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ΑΡΧΕΙΑ ΒΕΡΜΑΧΤ ΓΕΡΜΑΝΙΚΗ ΚΑΤΟΧΗ (1).JPG400,000 secret documents of  Wehrmacht, by 160 microfilms, bought by Greece from the National Archives US service in Maryland, as the Greek Minister of Defence recently revealed, have been kept for 15 years in the drawer in the Greek Minister fo Defence, said the credible journalist for Defense, Dimos Verikios on air  on Alpha TV NEWS .

In their majority, the files have now been digitalised and show, according to the Deputy Minister of Defense Costas Isychos-,  illegal archaeological excavations in the period 1941 -1945 from the German occupators in Greece, mining precious metals and minerals, the destruction of historical monuments, destruction of logistical infrastructure and so on.

Each microfilm containing a brief description on the front page, but not enough information to be able to make a first assessment.

“These documents not only document the historical truth, they are detailed notes, calendars,and reports of the officers of Wehrmachtbericht to…

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Australian tourist shot in down town Athens during terrorist Maziotis arrest, sues Greek government eight months later

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No tourist expects to be caught in the crossfire of an anti-terrorist operation and make the news after being visited in hospital by Greek government ministers. For Mr Uranie, who was aged 19 at the time, it was his first overseas holiday without his family and he was looking forward to seeing the sparkling blue beaches of Mykonos, Santorini and Ios emerge through the breathtaking whitewashed buildings.

Tourist Grant Uranie was relaxing in an outdoors cafe in the bustling shopping district of Monastiraki in Athens and waiting for his souvlaki.

The 20-year-old Australian, who was two days into a 15-day Contiki tour of Greece, saw a man who looked like a tourist running and holding something. He was being chased by four armed police, who were yelling. Then the man emerged one metre behind him.

What was supposed to be a leisurely lunch with friends in the European summer of July 2104 turned into a shoot-out between Nikos Maziotis, one of Greece’s most-wanted terrorists, and police in an operation by the counter-terrorism unit.

“We all just dropped to the ground,” Mr Uranie recalled. “I grabbed my chair and stuck it over my head and began to crawl.”
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Mr Uranie heard nine shots. One of them struck him in his left ankle. How painfully ironic that being in a country rich with Greek mythology, it was his Achilles tendon. “I went to sprint and my left leg just kind of gave way. I looked and I saw lots of blood. Originally I just thought it was a piece of glass.”

Amid the chaos of hooded police arresting the terrorist and leader of the Revolutionary Struggle guerrilla group who had been on the run for two years, Mr Uranie doesn’t know if he was shot by the terrorist or police.

Men on the run in Greece must read the Tony Mokbel disguise book because Maziotis was also bald and wearing a wig. There was a $1.4 million reward for his capture.

After being shot and going into shock, Mr Uranie waited 45 minutes for an ambulance and received a misdiagnosis from an Athens hospital that his injury was not serious. Upon returning to Australia, he was told he could have lost his leg because the wound was infected, there was a small blood clot and up to 70 per cent of his Achilles tendon was damaged.

After undergoing an operation, Mr Uranie has ongoing rehabilitation to strengthen his ankle and experiences pain and an occasional limp. The marketing and commerce student at Swinburne University is so far $25,000 out of pocket for medical bills, loss of income from part-time jobs and other costs. His football career as a contracted player for Scoresby in the Eastern Football League is in doubt due to the injury and it was a second income for him.

the lawer

Defteros Lawyers his lawer has sent a letter to the Greek government for “open information” about the incident and compensation for Mr Uranie but there has been no response. The law firm has briefed senior counsel to make a final petition to the Greek government and then commence proceedings in the Greek court system.

The Age contacted the Greek government for comment but there was no response before deadline.

Insurence coverage

His travel insurance reimbursed the cost of his cancelled Contiki tour and covered the cost of changing his flight. He was not reimbursed for the loss of income from his part-time jobs at Coles and Supercheap Auto while he was recovering.

Exclusions in his insurance policy don’t cover “a loss that arises directly or indirectly from an act or threat of terrorism”.

the Embassy help

During the ordeal, he was grateful for the help he received from the Australian embassy in Athens. After arriving home, Mr Uranie was treated at Casey Hospital, where an ultrasound discovered damage to his Achilles tendon. He then underwent an operation at Dandenong Hospital.

More on The Age article

Alexis Willkommen, by Bild , and the demostrators on the spot

“Willkommen in Deutschland, Herr Tsipras,”  said Bild in a front page banner headline published hours before the radical leftist was due to meet chancellor Angela Merkel over dinner later on Monday. And just to make sure the visitor got the message, the paper filled the bottom half of its front page reproducing the headline in Greek.

Inside, Bild listed no fewer than 50 reasons why “Greece is so beloved and dear to us”. Archimedes, Homer, Nana Mouskouri and Maria Callas are all there. So are the world’s coolest saga heroes, including Hercules and Odysseus. The marathon and the Olympic Games. Greece’s 2004 victory in the European football championship (albeit with a German manager). Greek yoghurt. Holidays in Greece

Is Bild going soft on Greece?, asks the Financial Times blog But there was live support, there on the spot of the meeting by a solidarity march of Greek and German people , whom Alexis Tsipras thanked personally from his twitter account before the dinner with Angela Merkel.

Alexis Tsipras twitted:

@atsipras

In Berlin we met with Mrs. . The solidarity march of the Greek and German people gave us so much strength 

8:26 PM – 23 Mar 2015

Guilty for tampering the Lagarde List, Clear of Felony Charges the Former Greek Tsar who said “he was thrown to the dogs”

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Greek Former Finance Minister of George Papandreou’s Giorgos Papakonstantinou, was found guilty by the Athens Court for tampering with the Lagarde list but his case sparked the outrage among crisis-hit Greeks all over again. He was cleared of felony charges.

The former high-profile political figure, who even faced 10 years to life imprisonment over the felony charges, was finally found guilty of doctoring a document ( what a document!) , but reduced the count to a misdemeanor. The Greek Court, whose synthesis was  set up solely for the case, found him guilty of removing the names of three relatives from the “Lagarde list,” but the court said there was not enough evidence to prove that his actions damaged the Greek state

Greece ‘s former Finance Minister had declared himself “innocent” in his apology  before the Special Court, and expressed his displeasure for his party’s (PASOK) stance over the case, saying that he has been isolated and “thrown to the dogs.”

The decision for the guilt of Former Minister Giorgos Papakonstantinou was announced on Tuesday March 24, while the Athens special court prosecutor had  recommended a guilty verdict on two felony counts related to his handling of the so-called “Lagarde list”. The two felony charges were falsification of a public document and breach of faith.

The former Minister’s parliamentary immunity was lifted so he could stand trial on accusations that he removed the names of three relatives from a list of Greeks with deposits at the Geneva branch of HSBC, the top scandalous Lagarde List for Greece, where also, appart from the three Papakonstantinou Relatives, 86 other names have been found to be missing from the original list, by the years of the previous gevernments, without still, letting tannounced  the names of these 86.

The List that ad been officialy handled as the formal document contains some 2,000 names in total, but as recently has been revealed French FinMin and current IMF chief Christine Lagarde turned over a CD with the list of 2,062 Greek depositors to Papaconstantinou’s office. Papakonstantinou is charged for removing the three names of his relatives, by this trial that has lasted so far almost a month.

In his hearing during the last weeks,Giorgos Papakonstantinou  railed against current PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, both for his handling of the case and the fact that he did not defend him while, as he described, in other corruption cases he would do so in Parliament. Papakonstantinou stressed that he made no distortion and no interference on the list, characterizing the whole case as a setup.

 “I am being judged every day,” the former Minister said, explaining that populist attacks against him are an everyday phenomenon. “They are saying that the Minister who signed the Memorandum and cut salaries and pensions got hold of the list and did not collect money [from those in it],” he described. Regarding the investigation completed prior to the trial, Papakonstantinou said on court that his relatives and close associates, who have been cleared of all charges, were brutally reviled.

During the process, it was revealed that over the last three years, the Greek Financial Crime Unit (SDOE) had only audited 30 out of the 2062 people who were under investigation due to the List.

Following a SDOE investigation, it was revealed that Papakonstantinou’s relatives had failed to pay taxes on assets amounting to 6 million euros, which correspond to 1.93 million euros. However, the tax office had not yet issued any fines against them.

“We are planning on disclosing our findings to the people involved over the next few days,” said Dimitris Massinas, director of Taxation Audit Center for Great Wealth, who checked all the assets, adding that the tax accounting for the family’s income over the last 15 years reaches 8 million euros.

In regards to the audit process, he commented that it was a “lengthy process” since they were looking at data from a 15-year period. “We don’t have many qualified employees,” the Taxation Director said .

Furthermore, the judges were also interested in finding out how the Lagarde List CD went missing.

Papakonstantinou’s former office secretariat director Chrysi Hatzi testified that the former Finance Minister received a “confidential letter” containing the Lagarde List from the Greek embassy in Paris. He then proceeded to inform the SDOE head at the time, Yiannis Kapeleris, to carry out an investigation, as she said.

Greece’s suffocating pillow by a bullying of words, while Alexis meets with the bosses of Euro

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“What a negotiation could  that be, where one part says ‘I’m the boss’, under the photo of Angela Merkel and Wolfgag Schauble”,… said journalist  Akis Pavlopoulos on his News show on Blue Sky, commenting on the Greek Prime Minister talks on Brusselgroup  with the Europe’s heads

“We don’t dare to spell humanitarian crisis, they are bullying our right to survive”, the audience and viewers have kept saying live, the last days ,on News shows and on the radios.

May be this is the core of Greece’s drama for the moment, and this, apparently, has become the core meaning of today’s negotiations . Europe doubts the factor misery , doubts the meaning of  humanitarian,after all .

“A question for the flesh of the folks is the definition of Capitalism” said Lianna Kanelli in Greek Parliament, an MP of the Greek Communist Party, and a brilliant journalist all her life, who originated from the right link, though.

By doubting the Greek drama, the Greek society gets through, which has brought the misery and dispair in every Greek household, unfolds suddenly in the eyes of the West the true face of European politics, which finally appears  as a misunderstanding about misery and happiness in -between the Western world…

Is there any trace of political responsibility in Europe to avoid misery, is there a right for the European citizens for exit from misery, or ,simply, could there be a human right for Happiness, at the bottom line?

As it obviously comes out, no, there is no such right in Europe, contrary to the way the United States have constituted it. The right of happiness was included in the American Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson.

This seems to explain more clearly the interaction, from the very first moments of Tsipras election, of President Obama with Europe’s heads for a ” humanitarian” oriented solution on the Greek crisis issue, the term that Europe isisits still not to understand

The right of happiness (well-being) is non-existing in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, underlines the documetnation of the Declation of the Right of Happiness in the EU , an initiative which started last year from Greece and aims to remind again to Europeans the origin of this right which is absolutely Greek

epicurus

The right of happiness for every human being was first supported by the philosopher Epicurus, followed by Thomas Jefferson, the Epicurean author of the American Declaration of Independence, in which he included it. In 2012, the United Nations recognized that happiness is a fundamental human goal and right.

The European play of bullying Greece….

On a constant play of words, messages, but also technical details, nothing, as served by eurozone’s part, seemed to make any difference, since the new Greek elected government started demanding a rescue of the Greek drama.

Greece, since the January 25 Greek elections, was judged not good enouph for any of the new government’s initiative, proposal or statement, Yianis Varoufakis especially, was judged, unstoppably, as inadequate to them. The atrocity of social injustice imposed to the Greek people by their “non-successful” austerity  program, is simply, for the eurozone talks out of any interest.

People and human life , in the end, seem to  be out of question since human pain seems not to make any sense. This has been the crisis management for Greece in the heart of the West, Europe, by leaders to leaders .

“First we bombard Athens, then we keep Madrid…”

The common slogan “First we take Athens, then we take Madrid” that Alexis Tsipras and Podemos had launched, before even Greece’s recent elections, had been strong enough, as it comes out, to help Eurozone prepare an impressions orchestrated play just the opposite way by tumbling down any victory image of Greece as to withold any possibily of similar develoment underway in Madrid.

“We do not surrender, had said by then Alexis Tsipras on some of his speeches,  emphatically

Guarding the Gate of Eurozone’s dominance on the stronghold Madrid, Rajoy had been the harshest and most uncompromising stance against Greece, since the first critical meetings of the Eurogroup, days after Alexis election, even towards the proposal to dissolve the Troika.

“Greeks  you are our strength”

  • “Heads up , Greeks! had said Alexis Tsipras since early days of his election, after the first round of the negotiations with Eurogroup .We do not surrender” 

Not forgetting, also,  to answer emphatically also to the German Finance Minister who had said he was feeling sorry for the Greeks’ new gov,

  • ” Mr. Shauble, better feel sorry for the people who walk with their heads bowed….”

But the strength of the new government during the tough negotiations for Greece’s survival on Europe’s table, was, since the early days, PM said,  that impressive chain of unity for A Chance for Greece, of these huge peaceful demonstrations that took place all around Greece, and also around the world .

A night before his first meeting with Angel Merkel in Brussels, on Feb 11, Prime Minister @Tsipras  tweeted a picture of the Athens protest, saying:

 “In the cities of Greece and Europe the people are fighting by the most uniting peaceful demonstration to support our negotiation battle. They are our strength.”

“These pictures gave us so much strength, while being abroad, during the critical moments of the eurogroups”, said Gabril Sakellaridis, Alexis Tsipras spokesman, on Friday the 13th, morning , talking on air to Nikos Hatzinikolaou

No matter the white cold days of the early February, thousands of Greeks had taken the streets of Athens ,in the Greek big cities, and also in the world’s metropolis, to send their wish and message to the tough negotiations of this government with eurozone partners in Brussels, by synchronizing  the solidarity marches with the moments of the  critical talks.

No poliical plakats, no policemen, no vince, just smiles by the Greeks, feeling proudly they could hope again, after five years of poverty and despair . Smiles that froze over and over again since then, every single day, by the cruel and tough messages delivered from Europe’s headquarters and think-tanks, on a constant daily basis .

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In a few moments the meeting of Alexis Tsipras with the Seven “bosses” of Europe will take place. Journalist George Houdalakis on his air show on Real fm, since early morning, gave the lead:

” Seven the miracles of the world, Seven also the plagues of Pharaoh”…