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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 11 July 2015
24 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 11 JULY 2015 GREECE IN CRISIS Who is Euclid Tsakalotos? Alexis Tsipras is banking on Greece’s new finance minister to reach consensus with his eurozone counterparts After being sworn in, Euclid Tsakalotos made no secret of his anxieties regarding his new position during this critical time in the country's history. Wish you were here: Young tourists last week at the Acropolis in Athens. PHOTO: AP PHOTO/DANIEL OCHOA DE OLZA. Tourism’s light shines in the darkness Latest data shows visitors undeterred Tourism is the only engine powering the economy at the moment, as virtually all other sectors have slipped into a stagnation that is dragging the country back into recession. Evidence of the sector's strength could be seen in data issued on Thursday that showed an increase in tourism traffic and car registrations as well as a drop in the unemployment and consumer price indices in recent months. Deflation persisted for a 28th month, with prices dropping 2.2 per cent year-on-year in June, the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) reported, adding that service prices went down and food grew more expensive. It also said that unemployment fell to 25.6 per cent in April from 25.8 per cent the previous month, as seasonal jobs flourished. The Bank of Greece reported 45.6 per cent annual growth in tourism arrivals in the first quarter of the year, and a 9.5 per cent increase in revenues, while Athens International Airport yesterday announced a 21.4 annual rise in last month's passenger traffic. Tourism growth also led new car registrations to increase 21.7 per cent in June year-onyear, according to ELSTAT. Source: Kathimerini Subverted banknotes a sign of the times SCOTT ANTHONY A Greek artist who calls himself Stefanos has been hacking euros, sketching images of the economic crisis in Greece onto banknotes. "Over the last five years the economy has hatched violence and social decay," he says. "I'm using a European document, that is in cross-border circulation, to bomb public property from the comfort of my home." The notes depict lynchings, people collapsing and mass hysteria, while the project was kickstarted by news of a suicide. "I always use black ink ballpen and draw human figures A ‘hacked’ euro banknote by Stefanos. using headlines from the media, whenever violence or poverty is reported, I transfer the message on the medium." Stefanos scans the notes, posts the images on his website and then puts them back into circulation, messages in bottles that may wash up on the shores of northern Europe. "A currency should reflect the reality of the era it represents," he says. Stefanos' day job is in a design consultancy. Many of his Greek clients export high-end food and beauty products to Western Europe and the US. There are big brands among his European clients. He apparently worked on the redesign of Piraeus Bank's corporate identity. As he admits, his 'bombs' are thrown from relative comfort. "I didn't vote for SYRIZA," he says, "but I do, to some extent, agree with some of their positions. The media is oppressive and misinforms. It would be wrong to talk about SYRIZA's actions without considering our lenders' position." Source: London Review of Books blog "I cannot hide from you that I am quite nervous. I am not taking on this job at the easiest point in Greek history," he said with a degree of understatement. The 55-year-old received a private school education at London's St Paul's, after which he went on to study at Oxford University. There he pursued his undergraduate studies in politics, philosophy and economics, returning to the institution in 1989 to complete his PhD in economics. A member of SYRIZA for almost a decade, Tsakalotos has served as an MP in the Greek parliament since 2012. So far he has pushed the notion of debt relief and sustainable structural reforms as fiercely as Varoufakis, but avoided his predecessor's predeliction for enraging other eurozone ministers. "We want to continue discussions, to take this mandate given to us by the Greek people for something better ... for all these people who have been suffering so much," he said. Source: The Telegraph, ABC News Retail affected by capital controls Hopes pinned on credit cards to snap up bargains DIMITRA MANIFAVA The summer sales period in Greece begins this Monday in what is shaping up to be a perfect storm for retailers. For some days now, retail stores have been offering discounts of up to 50 per cent in an effort to attract consumers who, due to the imposition of capital controls and uncertainty regarding the financing of the Greek economy, are almost exclusively keeping spending to food and fuel supplies. It's no coincidence that most retail stores have since last week been encouraging consumers to keep shopping using credit and debit cards. The National Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ESEE) did likewise in a statement issued yesterday. Despite the difficult financial situation, ESEE is keeping its fingers crossed that this sales period, which ends on August 31, will be even more successful than conditions would indicate. ESEE is inviting consumers to ignore the fact that buyers have limited access to their bank accounts, and to use their credit or debit cards "to make the most of the offers that will doubtlessly come their way..." On July 19, shops in Greece will be allowed to open from 11.00 am to 8.00 pm due to it being the first Sunday of the sales period. According to a law passed two years ago, shops can open on seven Sundays per year. Source: Kathimerini DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Greek shoppers being encouraged to use plastic. PHOTO: AP/THANASSIS STAVRAKIS.
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