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August 28, 2006

So, what did I miss?

Whilst I was back in the UK I tried very much to keep in touch with current affairs in Greece - but it turned out bizarrely that the biggest stories over here were all also reported back in London.

Elonamonastery Firstly there was the audacious theft of a 700 year old miraculous icon from the monastery of Elona. Like many a monastery or miraculous icon, Elona has a fascinating local folklore about how it came to be. The original icon is only on display once a year, and police believe that thieves hid in the cliffside monastery waiting for night to fall before stealing the artwork. They may not have been the criminal masterminds that everyone at first thought they had been however. Apparently the rope used in the robbery was purchased from a local shop, giving police vital descriptions of the suspects.

Then there was the story of the British Hogan family holiday to Ierapetra in Crete that ended with the tabloid-nicknamed "killer dad" plunging from a hotel balcony accompanied by his two small children. Whilst the press in the UK were incredulous that a father could be driven to do such a thing, the reaction here in Greece must have been even stronger - children and family life seem to be the absolute be all and end all here.

Finally there were the devastating forest fires that swept through Greece in the aftermath of the heat wave here. Fortunately the loss of human life was minimal, but the damage to wildlife has been severe. Indeed it is thought that several species, including some different types of terrapins, may have been completely wiped out of Greece, as their entire habitats have been destroyed. Once the flames died down, as you'd expect, the bickering about whether the government did enough to put the fires out started in earnest.

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Stealing old stuff from the Greeks? I suspect the British Museum.

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