News and Notes

NPR on Greek identity and the politics of identity.

Athens experienced torrential rains last week that caused flash floods. Here’s a photo blog of several men rescuing a women from the waters.

Trying to escape from prison? Try using a helicopter. It’s the method of choice in Greece.

Economic data: output is down 20% since 2008 and the economy will shrink by 4.5% in 2013. Somehow, this a clear sign of improvement, according to the governor of the Bank of Greece. But the WSJ notes that foreign investment is increasing for the first time in years.

Former mayor of Thessaloniki and two top associates were given life imprisonment for embezzlement.

Pharmaceuticals are running low in Greece. Some drugs are being withheld by pharmaceutical companies because of unpaid state debts, but many are in short supply because of “parallel trading,” which is driven by the low price of medicine in Greece (some 20% below EU averages according to this article).

Background on the recent presidential election in Cyprus and the economic crisis there, which is rooted in its banking sector (as Ireland, e.g.). The troika is prescribing the same policies for Cyprus as it has for other European countries, apparently because they’ve worked so well so far. Nikos Anastasiades won; he’s a member of DISY, the conservative party.

Proposed new uniforms, inspired by Ottoman-era styles, have placed Turkish Airlines at the center of Turkey’s culture wars.

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