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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 173,000 132,834 117,200 27
GNI per capita
 US $ 13,720 11,660 11,430 45
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Greece


Update No: 125 - (25/10/07)

The Second World War lives on
Greece played a very important role in the Second World War. Mussolini invaded it in October 1940 and immediately got bogged down. Italian military performance throughout the conflict was lamentable.100,000 British troops under General Wavell, for instance, were able to sweep one million Italian troops out of their colonies in North Africa only a few months beforehand. Rommel and the Afrika Corps had to be sent out to save the day.

Germany found Italy more a liability than an asset throughout, having to pull the chestnuts out of the fire for Musso again and again, in a series of costly distractions. It is a huge irony that the other powers were vying for an Italian alliance right up to the outbreak of war.

None of Mussoloni's military escapades was more damaging than the invasion of Greece. German troops had to be dispatched immediately. It meant at least a month's delay in the German invasion of the USSR, which might have made all the difference between victory and defeat. Moscow would have probably fallen with another month before winter set in, with the enormous impact on Russian morale and organisation that would have made. 

Hitler himself thought so and reproached Mussolini in his last letter to him to that effect. Mussolini kept the letter in his pocket to the end. As AJP Taylor said, the incident is revealing of national character, the German penchant for a hard luck story and shifting the blame onto someone else for failure, the Italian that for conspiracy. For Mussolini was planning, if brought to court afterwards, to come out as the first resister! 

Greece last country to approve opening up of last vital Holocaust file
The Greeks had a terrible time in the war and there is a lot that they would prefer to forget about it. An estimated 60,000 Greek Jews, most of the country's prewar Jewish population, were killed during the conflict. This was not without some collaboration with the Nazis, albeit a fierce resistance movement existed too.

The last remaining hurdle to opening up access to a key Holocaust archive in Germany has been cleared with Greek approval and should be available by year's end, officials said on October 23.
Greece was the last of the 11 countries on an international commission governing the archive in Bad Arolsen, Germany - one of the largest collections of Nazi-era material in the world - to approve opening up public access to the storehouse. 

The Greek parliament unanimously approved amending the treaty on October 22, a senior U.S. official said on October 23. The massive archive overseen by the International Tracing Service now can be transferred digitally to national repositories on the Holocaust, and then gradually made available to the public via the Internet. 

Ambassador J. Christian Kennedy, the U.S. special envoy for Holocaust issues who has spearheaded efforts to open the archive, congratulated Greece. "We have now come to the end of the political and diplomatic part of the process," he said by telephone from the northern city of Thessaloniki, where he was meeting with Greek officials and representatives of the Jewish community. 

He said in the 1990s, the ITS took on the mission of providing proof for people seeking compensation for forced slave labour during the Holocaust. He said the next step is opening up the archive to the public. 

The harrowing trove of information - detailing life, and death, in World War II concentration camps through Gestapo reports, victim testimonials and other firsthand period sources - has been largely out of public view since the information was gathered in storehouses in Bad Arolsen after the war. The archives consist of up to 100 million digital pages of information divided into separate collections covering detention records, forced and slave labor, and displaced persons, as well as an index containing around 17 million names. 

The archives "have never been secret" but access had been restricted to survivors and their families. Now, archivists will begin processing public requests for information. "These are very complex files, and for the moment people will still have to rely on archivists," he said. "But it is a step toward searchable, digital databases that will be very important." 

France completed its parliamentary approval just before Greece, and the U.S., Israel, Britain, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Germany and Italy approved the change earlier. 
Time is fast running out for Nazi concentration camp survivors, but experts hope the information will help historians, and victims' descendants, piece together missing details of what happened during the Holocaust. 

Greece lagging behind in reforesting burnt areas: minister
Two months after one of Greece's worst fire disasters which consumed more than 150,000 hectares of forest, the agriculture ministry admitted on October 23 that reforestation efforts had still not taken off.

"We need to start taking decisions," junior Agriculture Minister Costas Kiltidis told the private Flash Radio amid reports that illegal developers had started encroaching on burnt land, a decades-old practice that has seen forests swiftly replaced by summer villas.

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis had repeatedly declared in past weeks that the state would "automatically" begin reforestation procedures on green areas lost in this summer's wildfires.
At least 67 people died in the August inferno that mainly raged in the Peloponnese peninsula south of Athens and on Evia island east of Athens, and also destroyed scores of homes and farms with livestock.

A new arrival to the cabinet after the September elections, Kiltidis said the agriculture ministry would employ satellite imagery to detect any illegal construction on charred forest land.
He also promised to enforce a hunting ban around fire-stricken areas after press reports that around 50 protected red deer were killed by poachers in Mount Parnitha National Park, which lost around a third of its trees in another fire in July.

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