2008

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Events

January

February

March

  • March 3: NATO secretary-general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer comes to Athens to discuss Greece's threat to veto the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) bid for NATO membership. NATO member Greece has vowed to block FYROM's bid to join the alliance unless the name issue is resolved.
  • March 3: Georgi Vasilev resigned as coach of Greek Super League club Levadiakos - a day after his team slumped to a 3-0 home defeat by fellow struggling team OFI Crete.
  • March 6: NATO foreign ministers debated whether to invite three Balkans countries (Albania, Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to join the military alliance, as Greece threatened to veto the entry of FYROM because of the Macedonia name dispute.
  • March 8: A train derailed near Larisa causing injuries to 23 persons.
  • March 11: Greek electricity utility unions vowed to extend their strike in protest against a pension reform bill with more power cuts, and council workers joined a strike over the bill that unions say cuts benefits.
  • March 11: Olympiacos CFP parts company with head coach Panagiotis Lemonis despite the club lying in second place in the Super League.
  • March 13: The tourist ship "Giorgis" runs aground 3 nautical miles from Poros.
  • March 19: Millions of Greeks walked off the job in the third general strike since December, causing the cancellation of dozens of flights, stranding ships at ports and shutting down public services including schools, ministries and banks. Tens of thousands of people took part in a march through the Greek capital Athens to protest the conservative government's plans to overhaul the country's debt-ridden pension system, which risks going bankrupt in 20 years.
  • March 20: Greece's parliament has narrowly passed the conservative government's controversial pension reform bill that triggered mass public protests. The bill passed with 151 votes in favor, 13 against and 136 abstentions.
  • March 25: Republic of Macedonia (Skopje) is the latest name proposal in the UN-led talks between the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece. The proposal was presented by United Nations envoy Matthew Nimitz in New York.
  • March 26: Greece's opposition Socialist party submitted a censure motion against the government over pension reforms, raising the possibility that the government could fall by the end of the weekend.
  • March 31: The IAAF, track and field's international governing body, awarded Katerina Thanou with Marion Jones's 100-meter silver medal from the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton.
  • March 31: Apostolos Vavilis, a mysterious character who became a confidant of high-ranking Church of Greece figures, including the late Archbishop Christodoulos, and was implicated in a series of church scandals, posted bail of €10,000 and walked out of Korydallos Prison, where he had been kept in custody for two years. Three years ago, Apostolos Vavilis was Greece's most wanted man. He was released because there was "not enough evidence to try Vavilis for breaching state secrets or for fraud."

April

  • April 2: Greece stands by its threat on Wednesday to veto NATO membership for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia despite pressure from U.S. President George W. Bush.
  • April 4: Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis's popularity has received a boost after Greece stopped the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) from joining NATO; most Greeks agree that ties between the two countries need to improve.
  • April 7: Greek media reported that 11 members of the weightlifting team tested positive in a surprise inspection by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
  • April 9: Suspended national weightlifting coach Christos Iakovou protested his innocence, insisting that he did not knowingly give 11 weightlifters banned substances. He blamed a Chinese company that allegedly supplied what he thought were approved food supplements for the mix-up.
  • April 10: Greek police asked Interpol to help shed light on a doping case involving positive tests from 11 of the country's top weightlifters.
  • April 11: Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, used the newly-opened Ledra Street crossing to visit the Greek side of Lefkosia. Talat called his impromptu visit a "message of friendship".
  • April 20: Strawberry farmers clash with their workers in Nea Manolada, Elis.
  • April 20: Olympiakos beat Iraklis in the final game day of the Greek Super League to claim the championship title, pending a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland for the outcome of game Apollon Kalamaria-Olympiakos
  • April 21: The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland turns down the appeal by Apollon Kalamarias against their point deduction for fielding Roman Wallner in an Apollon Kalamaria vs Olympiakos game.

May

June

Evangelia Vlami and Dimitris Tsabounis, address reporters during a news conference in Athens June 5, 2008.
  • June 2: Evangelia Vlami became the first woman to marry another woman in Greece, and Dimitris Tsabounis was the first man in the country's first same-sex marriages that were conducted on the tiny Aegean Sea island of Tilos. They said they went ahead with the weddings after being ignored by the state. The civil ceremonies, conducted by Tilos mayor Tassos Aliferis.
  • June 4: Panathinaikos BC win their sixth consecutive A1 Division basketball title.
  • June 4: Soap opera actor Nikos Sergianopoulos was found stabbed to death in his apartment in Pangrati, eastern Athens.
  • June 4: Custom authorities of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) prevent a Greek KFOR military contingent from entering the country on its way to Kosovo.
  • June 5: Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's president cancels a trip to Greece because Athens refuses to allow his plane to land due to the ongoing dispute over the name Macedonia.
  • June 7: Former Princess Alexia and husband Carlos Morales Quintana christened their seven-month-old daughter Amelia Morales in Lanzarote, a Spanish island, the easternmost of the Canary Islands. Amelia Morales was baptised in the Greek Orthodox ceremony.
  • June 8: A strong earthquake (6.5 on the Richter scale) rocks Andravida, causing 2 fatalities.
  • June 9: Police said three gunmen kidnapped Giorgos Mylonas, 49, as he drove up to his home in the northern city of Thessaloniki with his wife. They forced his wife out of the car and drove off. The vehicle was found abandoned shortly afterward about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) away.
  • June 10: European soccer champions Greece began the defence of the title won as outsiders during the last tournament with a disappointing 0-2 defeat at the hands of Sweden.
  • June 12: PASOK leader George Papandreou informed former Prime Minister Costas Simitis that he would no longer be considered a deputy of the Socialist party after publishing a letter criticizing his successor’s choices. Simitis responded by firing off another letter to Papandreou, highlighting the fact that PASOK has lost every election since he took control of the party.
  • June 14: Greece lose 1-0 to Russia and are eliminated from Euro 2008.
  • June 15: Goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis and defender Paraskevas Antzas both announced their retirement from international soccer after Greece's early exit from Euro 2008.
  • June 15: Aphrodite Skafida breaks the Greek pole vault record with a jump of 4.55m
  • June 15: Stella Papadopoulou breaks the Greek hammer throw record with a 71.80m performance.
  • June 15: Piyi Devetzi jumps 14.92 meters – a world best for this year – to win the triple jump final at Athens’ Olympic Stadium where the Greek championship was held.
  • June 18: Greece lose to Spain (1-2) in their 3rd and final game in the group stage of Euro 2008. Angelos Charisteas scores Greece's lone goal in the tournament, becoming the first Greek ever to score at two different final tournaments. The defending Euro 2004 champions, Greece, finish last in their group with an embarrassing three loses and zero points.
  • June 19: National volleyball team coach Alekos Leonis quit his post suddenly, to take over at Panathinaikos. He has agreed to manage the Greens for the next two years, according to the federation.
  • June 22: Three policemen, one of whom was shot in the head, were rushed to the hospital after being fired at as they approached a cannabis plantation near the village of Malades, 9 miles (15 kilometers) south of Heraklion, Crete. The incident revived memories of an ambush on police in the mountain village of Zoniana, in Rethymnon prefecture, last year.
  • June 22: Giorgos Mylonas, head of Greece's Alumil Aluminium company and Federation of Industries of Northern Greece (SBBE) president, who was kidnapped two weeks ago, was freed unharmed, after his family paid a ransom -- quoted police sources saying it was 12 million euros (£9.5m). Hours after his release, he announce his resignation from the post, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.
  • June 24: The European Court on Human Rights rules that Turkey must pay damages to the families of Cypriots Solomos Solomou and Tasos Isaak who were killed in 1996.

July

August

  • August 3:In one of the most gruesome crimes in Greece in recent memory, Athanassios Arvanitis (31) decapitated his girlfriend, Adamantia Karkali (25), at the Santorini village of Vourvoulos and walked around the streets with her head. Previously he slaughtered their dog and threw it out of their home and on to the street. The suspect was shot during a dramatic car chase - in which he crashed into a motorbike and badly injured the two female doctors that were riding the bike. He was subsequently arrested. As the police fired at Arvanitis to stop him, a stray bullet hit a woman bystander, injuring her slightly.
  • August 3: Greece defeat Lithuania 57-50 to win the men's under-18 European basketball championship.
  • August 7: Sprinter Tasos Gousis tests positive for drugs and is barred from competing in the Beijing Olympics.
  • August 10: Sprinter Katerina Thanou is barred from the Beijing Olympics as the IOC refuse to accredit her.
  • August 13: Anorthosis Famagusta stun Olympiakos 3-0 in a UEFA Champions League 3rd qualifying round match.
  • August 13: Panathinaikos prevail in Prague winning over AC Sparta Praha by a score of 2-1 in a UEFA Champions League 3rd qualifying round match.
  • August 14: AEK surprisingly lose at home 0-1 to Omonia Nicosia in an UEFA Cup match.
  • August 14: The Greek National basketball team loses to the US "redeem" team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics by a score of 92-69. With this win the USA essentially avenged their 101-95 to the Greeks for the 2006 world championships in Japan.
  • August 17: Reigning women's 400-meter hurdles champion, Fani Halkia, tested positive for methyltrienolone, better known as M3, a banned steroid, at a Greek athletics team training camp in Japan before going to Beijing. Halkia was taken out of the athletes' village and sent home hours after the drugs test result became known.
  • August 17: Greece wins three medals, in a single day, in the Olympic Games of Beijing. Greece’s first medal, a third-place (bronze) showing, is in the women’s sailing in Yngling category. The three-woman crew featured Sofia Bekatorou, the skipper, along with Sofia Papadopoulou and Virginia Kravarioti.Vasilis Polymeros and Dimitris Mougios win the Men’s Lightweight Double Sculls Rowing silver medal. Chryssopigi Devetzi wins a bronze medal in the women’s triple jump after jumping 15.23 meters in her second attempt.
  • August 19: Kostas Douvalidis breaks the Greek record for the 110m hurdles with 13.46 as he qualifies for the Beijing Games semifinals.
  • August 21: Athanasia Tsoumeleka breaks the Greek record for 20,000m race walking with 1:27:54 finishing 9th in the Beijing Olympics final.
  • August 21: Fugitive criminal, Vasilis Paleokostas, is arrested for the kidnapping of industrialist, Giorgos Mylonas, on June 9.
  • August 23: Alexandros Nikolaidis wins an Olympic silver medal in Tae kwon do.
  • August 26: Panathinaikos defeat AC Sparta Praha 1-0 and qualify for the group stage of the Champions' League for the first time in three years.
  • August 27: Anorthosis Famagusta eliminate Olympiakos 3-1 in aggregate and qualify for the UEFA Champions League group stage - the first Cypriot side to do so.
  • August 28: A great day for Cypriot football as Omonia and APOEL advance in the UEFA Cup at the expense of AEK and Red Star Belgrade respectively.

September

October

November

December

Dec.8 - Large-scale rioting tears across Greece as thousands of protesters battle security forces, attacking banks and burning cars.
  • December 1: Former dictator Dimitrios Ioannides (86) asks for an amendment to the law that would allow some prisoners over 80 years old to be released from jail in the hope that his 33 years in custody at Korydallos Prison will also end. According to his lawyer, he has serious health problems.
  • December 1: Anorthosis Famagusta president, Andreas Panteli, resigns his position after accusations of embezzling 420,000 euros were brought against him.
  • December 1: Giorgos Kintis is elected president of AEK FC.
  • December 3: Takis Lemonis quits as coach of Super League side Panionios after just 21 days in charge.
  • December 4: Makis Katsavakis is to take over as coach of struggling Iraklis for the remainder of the season, the club announces on their website.
  • December 4: Panathinaikos BC defeat Zalgiris, in Kaunas, 80-69 for their 300th win in European cup competitions.
  • December 6: The health of former Cypriot President, Tasos Papadopoulos, seriously deteriorates. Papadopoulos had earlier been diagnosed with lung cancer.
  • December 6: The death of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos sparks widespread riots in Athens, the northern city of Thessaloniki and other Greek cities. Youths hurl firebombs, rocks and other projectiles at police, who respond with tear gas. Rioters set fires and smash storefronts and bank branches. The fire department said an initial assessment showed more than 20 stores, several bank branches and many cars were burned in the capital. According to a police statement, the shooting took place while two officers were targeted by some 30 youths — many of them hurling stones — while patrolling the central district of Exarchia.
  • December 7: Large-scale rioting tears across Greece as thousands of protesters battle security forces, attacking banks and burning cars. By late evening, large groups of students occupy campuses in the center of the capital and in the northern city of Salonika, with petrol bombs being hurled at Salonika police.
  • December 8: Violence clashes between police and protesters erupt for a third day in Greece as anger over the fatal police shooting of a teenager continues to rage through Athens, Thessaloniki, Veria, Larissa, Trikala and Corfu.
  • December 8: The Athens Stock Market index posts gains of 3.21%.
  • December 9: Violence continues for a fourth day in Athens, as the funeral was held for a teenager whose death has sparked rioting across Greece.
  • December 9: Panathinaikos beat Anorthosis Famagusta of Cyprus 1-0 at the Athens Olympic Stadium to win Group B and qualify for Champions League first knockout round. Despite some outstanding performances, the Cypriot club was eliminated from further European competition.
  • December 10: A general strike is called for throughout Greece as unions demand more public spending, higher wages and better pensions.
  • December 11: Vasilis Gagatsis resigns as head of the Hellenic Football Federation.
  • December 12: Cyprus declares three days of mourning for former president Tasos Papadopoulos who passed away at 13:05 local time. The Hellenic Parliament holds a minute's silence in his honour.
  • December 15: PM Kostas Karamanlis and PASOK leader Giorgos Papandreou attend the funeral of former Cypriot President Tasos Papadopoulos.
  • December 15: Chrysopigi Devetzi and Alexandros Nikolaidis are named top Greek female and male athletes respectively for 2008.
  • December 16: Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis pledges to tackle corruption after 11 days of violence triggered by the police killing of a teenager and fueled by public anger at scandals and a slowing economy.
  • December 18: Hundreds of youths once more bring parts of central Athens to a standstill amid violent clashes with riot police.
  • December 23: Shots were fired at a riot police van in the Goudi district of Athens, missing the 23 officers on board but hitting the engine. One of the van's tyres also burst. Some 2,000 students marched in protests; roughly a dozen youths toppled a police vehicle, with the officers inside escaping unscathed.
  • December 26: A Greek government official's car was firebombed in front of his house, while assailants threw a Molotov cocktail at a bank and another group attacked a police car, authorities said.
  • December 28: Labor union activists blockaded some shops in central Athens that were trying to open Sunday to make up revenue lost in three weeks of rioting that badly damaged the capital's retail district.
  • December 29: Riot police fire tear gas to repel about 300 Greek and Arab protesters hurling rocks at the Israeli Embassy in Athens, during a rally against the Jewish state's assault on Gaza that killed at least 315 people and reduced dozens of buildings to rubble.
  • December 31: The Athens Stock Market closes at 1,786.51. The 67% drop in the index during 2008 represents - by far - the greatest loss ever for the ASM in a single year.

Deaths

January

March

April

July

September

November

December