ATHENS: Athens has gained a new tourist attraction alongside its ancient Acropolis, as visitors flock to view the nearby upmarket home of a disgraced former minister that has become a symbol of corruption. “After the Acropolis museum, this has unfortunately become the second main attraction here — the home of a corrupt minister,” said one young Greek outside the mansion where Akis Tsochatzopoulos, 72, a former defence minister of the socialist party Pasok, lived before landing in jail.
On one of the most expensive parts of town, the opulent pale-yellow mansion where he lived in the penthouse apartment competes for attention with the Parthenon temple that sits atop the Acropolis citadel.
“It is shameful, the minister and all the Pasok people who embezzle money and put it in their pockets,” said one elderly woman, who crossed herself several times as she arrived at the black bars of the front gate.
The allegations against him include failing to declare his grand residence to the tax authorities, as well as links to controversial arms deals while he was defence minister from 1996 to 2001. The Greek state ended up paying surcharges of millions of euros.
China airport drink name stirs mockery
YIBIN: A decision to name an airport in Southwest China after a local spirits brand has provoked widespread derision online and controversy around the country. Authorities in Yibin, in Sichuan province, said their move to name the new airport ‘Wuliangye’ after a local liquor would have a positive impact on the city and the company.
A Yibin government spokesman said the State Council, China’s cabinet, had approved the decision. Wuliangye is a well-known top-end spirits brand in China. Its eponymous flagship product is a white spirit made from the distillation of five grains, including sticky rice and sorghum. Various experts quoted by newspapers said that christening an airport with a trademark contravened both the law and the custom that airport names should refer to their geographic locations.
Chinese internet users waded into the controversy with derision. “Ha, ha, another new example of the collusion between the government and the business world,” Wu Yupeng mocked on his Sina weibo microblog. Others mock-ingly proposed rechristening Beijing international airport as ‘Erguotou Airport’, after another famous Chinese liquor.