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As shops reopen in Greece, owners fear second wave – and second lockdown

Most shops in Greece can reopen as the country gradually eases its lockdown measures, but some of th..

Most shops in Greece can reopen as the country gradually eases its lockdown measures, but some of their owners are now worried about what comes next.

They fear that if coronavirus infections rise again in the coming weeks or months, and restrictions are reinstated, their businesses would never recover.


“No one would stand this situation again. If this happens again, every shop would close permanently – that’s 99.9% certain. Everything would close,” says Paris Kouklogiannis, owner of a gift shop in Athens.

“At this point, we are just steps away from going into life support. We had to pay our rents without having an income. We didnt know how to cover these expenses. It wasnt because we didnt have quality products, but because we were shut down,” he explains.

Shopping malls and department stores will remain shut across Greece until June 1, but all other retail businesses, including clothing, hardware and beauty product stores, were allowed to reopen on Monday (May 11), with social distancing rules applying to prevent the spread of the virus.

Some shopkeepers used the nations nearly two-month lockdown to renovate their stores. Many spent the last couple of days cleaning their outlets from floor to ceiling, stocking up on hand sanitiser and masks and introducing new health and safety measures to welcome customers.

“We want to be and should be optimistic. We hope that people will go out and return to their daily habits,” says clothing shop owner Giannis Xenidis.

However, he complained: “We have missed at least half of the season.”

Last week, Greek restaurant owners staged “empty chairs” protests in central Athens and Thessaloniki, saying new social distancing rules will force them to operate well under capacity at a time when they desperately need income.

Steep recession ahead

Greece imposed a nationwide lockdown early in its coronavirus outbreak, a move that has been credited with keeping the number of deaths and severely ill at low levels. Former Prime Minister George Papandreou even told Euronews the country had emerged as an example to many other European states.

On Sunday, health authorities announced no new deaths and just six new confirmed infections, bringing the death toll over 150 and the confirmed infections to more than 2,700 in the country of nearly 11 million.

But while Greece has so far managed to weather the health crisis quite well, its expected to be one of the European countries to suffer the most from the pandemic’s economic fallout — even as it had finally showed signs of a recovery after a decade of recession, austerity and sluggish growth.

According to the International Monetary Fund’s latest forecasts, Greeces GDP is now expected to drop by 10 per cent this year. That would make the Greek economy the hardest hit across the entire Eurozone, largely because of its heavy reliance on tourism.

The European Unions Spring economic forecast is just as grim, predicting a 9.7 per cent drop in Greeces GDP this year before a 7.9 per cent rebound in 2021.

You can watch Michalis Arampatzoglou’s report in the player above.

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Madeleine McCann presumed dead, German prosecutor says

Issued on: 04/06/2020 – 14:59Modified: 04/06/2020 – 14:59

Madeleine McCann, the British girl who d..

Issued on: Modified:

Madeleine McCann, the British girl who disappeared in Portugal in 2007 aged just three, is assumed to be dead and an imprisoned German child abuser is the murder suspect, a German prosecutor said on Thursday.

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McCann vanished from her bedroom on May 3 during a family vacation in the Algarve while her parents were dining with friends nearby in the resort of Praia da Luz.

Her disappearance sparked an international search, with missing posters of the little girl's face papered across the world and celebrity appeals for information that could help track her down and bring her abductors to justice.

"We assume that the girl is dead," Braunschweig state prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters said. "The public prosecutor's office in Braunschweig is investigating a 43-year-old German national on suspicion of murder."

German police said on Wednesday the suspect, who had lived near Praia da Luz, had made a spontaneous decision to kill McCann during a break-in of the apartment where she was sleeping. They were treating the case as suspected murder.

No body has ever been found. But the German statements that the young girl was assumed dead were the most authoritative thus far on her fate. Family and supporters had always held out the hope that she might still be alive somewhere.

McCann's parents said they wanted to find peace but that the German suspect was potentially very significant.

"All we have ever wanted is to find her, uncover the truth and bring those responsible to justice," her parents, Kate and Gerry, said in a statement issued before the German prosecutor spoke.

"We will never give up hope of finding Madeleine alive but whatever the outcome may be, we need to know as we need to find peace."

Drugs and burglary

Prosecutor Wolters said the suspect was a sex offender with multiple convictions, including for sexual abuse of chiRead More – Source

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Covid-19 in Hungary: Are emergency powers being used against the opposition?

Issued on: 04/06/2020 – 12:36Modified: 04/06/2020 – 12:36

In Hungary, many opposition-run municipa..

Issued on: 04/06/2020 – 12:36Modified: 04/06/2020 – 12:36

In Hungary, many opposition-run municipalities accuse the government of taking advantage of the emergency decrees passed to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and using the legislation for political purposes. Many large cities, including the capital Budapest, elected an opposition mayor during the local elections of October 2019. The ruling Fidesz party is accused of using its new powers to curb the management of those opposition-run cities, whether it's bRead More – Source

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Putin declares state of emergency over Siberian diesel spill

Issued on: 04/06/2020 – 11:47Modified: 04/06/2020 – 11:47

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wedn..

Issued on: 04/06/2020 – 11:47Modified: 04/06/2020 – 11:47

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered a state of emergency and criticised a subsidiary of metals giant Norilsk Nickel after a massive diesel spill into a Siberian river.

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The spill of over 20,000 tonnes of diesel fuel took place on Friday. A fuel reservoir collapsed at a power plant near the city of Norilsk, located above the Arctic Circle, and leaked into a nearby river.

During a televised video conference, Putin lambasted the head of the Norilsk Nickel subsidiary that runs the power plant, NTEK, after officials said it failed to report the incident.

"Why did government agencies only find out about this two days after the fact? Are we going to learn about emergency situations from social media? Are you quite healthy there?" Putin asked NTEK chief Sergei Lipin in an unusually stern dressing-down.

Norilsk Nickel said in a statement that NTEK had reported what happened in a "timely and proper" way.

Krasnoyarsk region governor Alexander Uss told Putin he only "learned of the real situation" on Sunday after "alarming information appeared in social media".

Putin said he agreed that a national state of emergency was needed to call in more resources for the cleanup effort.

Russia's Investigative Committee, which deals with major incidents, announced that it launched three criminal probes over environmental violations and detained an employee of the power plant.

It released video footage shot on a mobile phone that appears to show fuel cascading down from the reservoir and under a fence.

World Wildlife Fund expert Alexei Knizhnikov told AFP the environmental group was the one who alerted cleanup specialists after confirming the accident through its sources.

"These are huge volumes," he said. "It was difficult for them to cover it up."

The volume of the spill is vastly larger than a major 2007 spill in the Kerch strait of the Black Sea that involved 5,000 tonnes of oil, the WWF expert said.

The Kerch spill, which at the time was the largest Russia had experienced, required the intervention of the military and hundreds of volunteers.

Troops could help clean-up

Knizhnikov said diesel fuel is lighter than oil, so it is likely to evaporate rather than sink, but it is "more toxic to clean up".

Environment Minister Dmitry Kobylkin said only the emergencieRead More – Source

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