Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Greece cuts benefits to the dead and lying

Some things-with-a-twist we noticed this week. Get the top business stories on weekdays on BlackBerry or iPhone by bookmarking our mobile-friendly webpage.

Follow Michael Babad and Globe top business news on Twitter

Death and taxes Greece is getting tough with dead people, particularly when it turns out they're alive. An official at the Labour Ministry told Reuters that it has cut off benefits, including pension payments, to some 200,000 who lied, or were dead.

Story continues below advertisement

A nice place to visit When they're not playing dead, the Greeks are doing a really good job at keeping German tourists away. Many such tourists, Reuters also reports, are staying away because of crisis-related, anti-German feelings in some areas, TV images of anti-austerity protests, and concerns over ongoing strikes.

Gas pains Kyrgyzstan's eternal flame has gone out because ... the gas bill wasn't paid. The utilities company turned off the supply to the war memorial in the capital of Bishkek, The Associated Press reports, because the bill hadn't been settled for three years.

In need of an overhaul There are many, many reasons behind Europe's debt troubles. The money in this case is small, but it's also a case in point: The European Commission laid out the equivalent of about £300,000 to redesign its logo and replace it in various areas, The Telegraph reports. The similarity to the old design meant few noticed the changes for weeks.

What's in a name? I don't mean to make fun of the chronic pain suffered by millions of people. I just didn't know that there was a Canadian Pain Coalition or that it had plans for the first Canadian Pain Summit. Which sounds more like a political summit than a meeting of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and others.

What does poutine have to do with the loonie? A lot, according to Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert, in an amusing and enjoyable look at whether Iceland could adopt the loonie. Mr. Colbert had some fun this week with Canada's aspirations, saying he has never trusted "our poutine-sucking, health-care-addicted nemesis to the north."

Where was the teacher? According to the Bedford County Sherriff's Office, Michael Deel of Roanoke, Va., was at a firearms safety session when he he shot himself in the hand, the bullet then hitting his wife in the leg, The Associated Press reports.

Thank you, now please go away An IBM shareholder asked at this week's annual meeting whether, amid the Masters controversy, the Augusta National Gulf Club had yet given CEO Virginia Rometty a membership. Chairman Sam Palmisano thanked the man, and added that "we were all curious as to when that would come." The rest of us are still curious as to the answer.

Story continues below advertisement

How to get your series renewed Here's something really neat, from the Newfoundland and Labrador budget this week: "To drive growth in our cultural sector, we will invest $3-million in season four of Republic of Doyle, the largest original television or film project ever produced in Newfoundland and Labrador. We are making this investment because Republic of Doyle is sustaining 110 full-time jobs, returning 2.9 times our provincial investment in terms of GDP growth, and marketing our province to an international audience."

Tweets of the week From @maggiefox: "I belong to a CEO networking group (some of the biggest & best-known brands in the country) and I polled them today on hours: avg 60-80/wk"

From @anjeanettec: "If women aren't going to earn the same wages as men we should at least be allowed to come in 15 minutes late."

From @davidakin: "So the Star has Putin playing Harper in hockey on its front; the Post declares Wildrose the govt; and they make fun of the Sun?"

From @amaeryllis: "so bored today, guess it's a deposition hangover. can't wait to go to trial and kill people (metaphorically)."

From @RichardA: "Bernanke's press conference proves once again that economics journalists are hired purely for their raw sexual charisma"

Story continues below advertisement

From @jennakimjones: "You guys, I have a dream. And that dream is to send Anderson Cooper into a fit of giggles on national television. Let's do this!"

Crime pays someone Global crime is now worth more than $2-trillion (U.S.) a year, or more than 3.5 per cent of the world economy, the chief of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime told reporters at a conference in Vienna, Reuters reports.

Lighting theway Zippo is on track to turn out its 500 millionth lighter this year, according to The Associated Press, and hopes to do it on June 5, the birthday of its late founder.

Milking it for all it's worth Just east of Ottawa is a cow named Smurf that Agence France Presse says now holds the record for the most milk in a lifetime, just shy of 216,900 kilograms in 15 years. According to the cow's owner, that's more than 1 million glasses of milk.

Report an error
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to