|Wednesday, 21 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-09-30
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 30 September 2009 Issue No: 3310
 Tsipras addresses Athens rallyCoalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) President Alexis Tsipras, addressing a rally of the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) in Athens on Tuesday evening ahead of Sunday's general elections, expressed his optimism that on October 5 SYRIZA will be more powerful, more effective, more mature and strong and always in the front line of social struggles.
Tsipras said that on the day after the elections SYRIZA will be present on every social front, whether big or small, and have even greater self-confidence and accused the two mainstream parties of refusing to discuss programme issues.
Tsipras also said that the question on October 4 is not for the party in power to change but for the policy that will be implemented to change and this can only be guaranteed by a strong Left, a strong SYRIZA.
 Tsipras: ND government a 'dismal failure'Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party leader Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday criticised the government of ruling New Democracy as a 'dismal failure' after a meeting with the Federation of Insurance Employees of Greece and the employees' union of the insurance firm "Aspis Pronoia" that was recently closed.
According to Tsipras, who was at the meeting as representative of the left-wing alliance Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), the New Democracy government had created prospects that were particularly grim for Greek society.
He stressed that in the space of three days, during the heart of the pre-election period, there had been losses of nearly 3,000 jobs at the Skaramangas shipyards, in shipping and from the closure of Aspis Pronoia. Tsipras also expressed solidarity with the employees laid off and said he would support their just demands.
 PM Karamanlis addresses rally in LivadiaPrime Minister and ruling New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis addressed a rally in the city of Livadia on Tuesday night, in light of Sunday's general elections, calling on citizens to take developments into their own hands and not to waste even one vote, while expressing optimism over the party's victory.
Karamanlis accused main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou of avoiding dialogue and face-to-face interviews with journalists.
"This practice is unheard-of. He is avoiding because there are questions that he cannot answer," the prime minister said and added "where will he get over 10 billion euros that the irresponsible promises and grants cost."
The prime minister further said that the main issue in the elections is the economy, that is being pressured by the crisis and that is facing difficulties from the past.
Karamanlis further stressed that "we told the citizens the whole truth, we submitted a full plan on the future and the timetable. We want the citizens to know the difficulties and the possibilities of the economy. We don't want time to be lost."
Referring lastly to PASOK, Karamanlis said "they are not presenting any proposal, they are not ready for anything, they are unprepared. PASOK's programme is a vacuum and a vacuum means an ordeal."
 PM Karamanlis holds dialogue with people in PeristeriPrime Minister and ruling New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis held a dialogue with people in the Athens district of Peristeri on Tuesday afternoon, replying to their questions and clarifying that the freezing of salaries for two years only concerns employees in the public sector.
"Collective agreements are applied in the private sector and last year a 5.5 percent increase was anticipated," he said, adding that "when we say a freeze in salaries, we only mean the salaries in the public sector and indeed from a certain amount and above."
Referring to the deficit and to the position of other European Union countries on the problem, the prime minister said that it is not pleasant for him to propose difficult recipes, but an agreement exists with the EU on rules concerning the deficit.
"However, we are not doing it because it is being imposed on us. We are doing it to tidy up our home. Certain EU countries have indeed a very big deficit. However, in our case a burdening factor exists, the huge public debt," he said.
Karamanlis accused the main opposition PASOK party of attempting to solve problems with wellwishing and assessed that the problem will worsen.
"The debt was created with the PASOK governments" he stressed and added that "PASOK's recipe is wait and see."
Commenting on the social security issue, the prime minister said that "so that there will be no problem, all that is necessary must be done now" and clarified that "the state guarantees pensions, but the reforming of the system must continue."
Karamanlis mentioned the unification of 250 agencies in the public sector and the decrease in ministries' flexible expenditures and assessed that the monetary problem will not be solved only with a freeze for big salary earners in the public sector, but with a series of interventions, with a decrease in expenditures and structural changes and all this must be done over a two-year period.
The prime minister reiterated that "he who provides benefits now will cause economic adventures later" and, referring to the public debt, underlined that "we have a 'condition' and we must cure it."
Lastly, he called on PASOK leader George Papandreou to provide explicit replies on what he means by medium-level income, what the unified tax scale will be and what will he do with the civil servants' benefits.
 PASOK leader addresses rally in ThessalonikiMain opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou addressed a rally in Thessaloniki on Tuesday evening, ahead of Sunday's general elections, stressing that "on this coming Sunday, Greece has a unique opportunity to gain its future."
Papandreou added that "now is the time for the most crucial decision, we are deciding now whether we shall remain a captive of the past or whether we shall forge towards the future."
The PASOK leader said that the leadership of the New Democracy party "remains unrepentent, it is continuing to deceive, to mislead and to try to intimidate the Greek citizen."
Papandreou further accused ND of responding with "lies, subterfuge and accusations, as if they did not rule Greece over the last 6 years."
He promised a recovery of the economy, underlining that "the economy is not figures, but people" and added that with the five bills that the PASOK government will ratify during the first 100 days "we shall give oxygen to the economy, to protect the consumer and give the market a breather.
 Papandreou visits Employment Inspection CorpsMain opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou pledged on Tuesday that one of the measures of his party's first 100 days in office, if elected in Sunday's general elections, will be for the protection and support of private employees in order to "deal a blow to the labor Middle Ages" of exhausting working hours, undeclared and uninsured work, uncontrolled mass layoffs, and work contracts with "services provided" receipts "that 'conceal jobs and the renting of employees".
During a visit to the Labor Inspection Corps, Papandreou also said his government would immediately begin dialogue with the social partners in order to give both financial and institutional incentives and reward the small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) for modernisation and humanisation of labor relations in order to "break the labor Middle Ages".
Papandreou further said that the Corps would also be reinforced, so that the private employee can feel that his rights are protected by the state, stressing that development requires proper labor relations.
"For all of this to take place, a strong mandate is needed on October 4 (election day)," Papandreou said, expressing optimism that his party will win.
 LAOS leader meets with interior ministerPopular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party leader George Karatzaferis met on Tuesday with caretaker interior minister Spyros Flogaitis to discuss procedural matters pertaining to the upcoming general elections on Sunday.
 EcoGreens propose measures to combat graftGreece doesn't just need a change in government but a radical change of course and method of government, the head of the Ecologists-Greens election campaign Nikos Chrysogelos stressed in a press conference on Tuesday.
"The country cannot hand another blank cheque to anyone," he underlined, presenting the proposals of the EcoGreens for deeper democracy, a changed model of government and for fighting corruption and graft.
The party's proposals in this direction included national referendums and legislative initiatives by citizens, greater powers of self-administration in regions and local governments, an election system using simple proportional representation, "transparent and open" legislative procedures and strong environmental governance by an independent environment ministry with institutional checks of arbitrary decisions by government.
Proposals to stamp out corruption included transparent and open procedures and controls, an independent justice system, less bureaucracy, measures to regulate political party funding, transparency in the mass media, changes to town planning departments and the tax system.
 Statement by FM Bakoyannis conveyed to UN General AssemblyNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis stressed in her statement before the UN General Assembly's 64th session that the insistence of the leadership of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to seek exclusiveness over the name by refusing a geographical qualifier and anachronistic rhetoric and policy that are incompatible with the principle of relations of good neighbourliness raise serious questions as to its real motives. Her statement was conveyed by Greece's permanent representative Ambassador Anastasis Mitsialis.
Bakoyannis referred to a series of issues concerning Greece, the region and the planet in general. On the issue of Cyprus, she said that "Turkey, that has the key to the solution to the Cyprus issue in its hands, is well aware that such a solution will speed up its course towards the EU."
As regards Greek-Turkish relations, the foreign minister stressed, among other things, that "Greece would hail a decision by Turkey to follow the example set by the remaining 160 UN member-states that have ratified the Treaty on sea law. Such a move combined with a clear political will by Turkey to invest in friendly relations with Greece could bring a final end to tensions and the lack of trust in our bilateral relations and contribute to the promotion of peace and stability in our entire region."
Commenting on the international situation, Bakoyannis pointed out that "our interest in the protection of human rights must be genuine and human-focused," adding that "protection must be provided with full compliance with the fundamental principles of international law and the UN Charter."
 President Papoulias meets with caretaker interior ministerPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday received caretaker Interior Minister Spyros Flogaitis in a meeting held in view of the Oct. 4 general elections.
Flogaitis paid a courtesy call to the President and assured him that all election preparations were proceeding smoothly, while he also handed him a one-volume manual outlining the procedures followed.
The meeting lasted roughly an hour and no statements were made afterwards.
 Latest Turkish radar interference reported in east AegeanGreece's military general staff on Tuesday reported yet another instance of radar interference over the eastern Aegean islet of Farmakonissi, the apparent "modus operandi" of a specific Turkish radar unit on the opposite Asia Minor coast that has attempted to ward off aircraft by claiming they are flying within Turkish airspace.
The latest instance, following similar radar warnings conveyed by radio to Frontex border security patrols recently, was recorded by three Hellenic Air Force F-16s on a routine training flight over the Greek isle.
The message was transmitted at 13.32, according to the general staff, while the pilots continued their training flight at 3,000 feet before returning to a base on Crete after the exercise's conclusion.
 Italian ambassador on RhodesItalian ambassador to Greece Gianpaolo Scarante on Tuesday continued his tour of the major Dodecanese island of Rhodes, where he met with local prefectural and municipal officials.
Specifically, a proposal for the organising of a scientific conference focusing on promoting the Dodecanese islands' noted architectural heritage was discussed, while Scarante also inaugurated the "Italian Week on Rhodes" series of events, dedicated to Nino Rota, sponsored by the Italian consulate on Rhodes in collaboration with local authorities.
Additionally, the Italian envoy announced the commencement of works to restore and preserve the Italian military cemetery on the eponymous holiday island, which contains the graves of 200 Italian servicemen.
 Energy watchdog has approved more than 5,000 projectsGreece's energy regulatory authority on Tuesday said it has given the "green light" for the implementation of more than 5,000 investments in photovoltaic electricity production units so far in the country.
In a report, published on Tuesday, the energy watchdog said it has approved 117 investment applications for production units with a power of more than 150 KW, another 49 have secured a positive recommendation, other 391 were currently awaiting environmental license and for 313 projects the watchdog have made negative recommendations. The report showed that around 35 pct of applications for projects with a power of more than 150 KW were rejected in the early stages of the procedure.
The watchdog said a total of 6,840 applications have been made for photovoltaic projects with an energy power up to 150 KW around teh country.
The energy regulatory authority said it has approved 527 wind power investment projects with an energy power of 7,297 MW, 301 hydroelectric power stations with a total energy power of 671.5 MW and 24 biomass stations with a total power of 110.3 MW.
 Transport ministry on Istanbul flights by AegeanThe transport ministry on Tuesday denied giving its approval in advance to Aegean airline flights to and from Istanbul, in an announcement replying to a press release issued by the former head of Greece's Civil Aviation Authority on the issue.
"In the transport and communications ministry and in all other ministries, it is not the managing executives of the supervised bodies that decide and formulate policy but the political leadership. In the specific case, therefore, the political leadership of the transport and communications ministry did not approve in advance nor decide anything of the kind. It was informed after the fact and therefore acted accordingly," the announcement said.
 Greek producer's price index down 7.8 pct in AugustGreece's Producer's Price composite index (measuring both the domestic and external markets) dropped 7.8 pct in August, compared with the same month last year, after an increase of 13.3 pct recorded in August 2008, the National Statistical Service said on Tuesday.
The statistics service, in a report, said the producer's price index rose 1.7 pct in August from July, after a decline of 1.8 pct recorded in the corresponding period in 2008.
 OPAP signs contract with network agentsOPAP - Greece's lottery and gaming operator -- on Tuesday signed a contract with its 5,000 agents, referring to what it calls strict adherence to the principles of respecting consumers, gaming services and combating money laundering.
The contract, approved by the agents' general assembly in June 29, 2009, finally ends a 50-year pending relationship between OPAP and its agents, by cementing agents' financial rights. The signing of the contract was one of the four main priorities set by OPAP's management, along with an internal reorganisation of the company, ensuring efficiency of technological infrastructure, a gradual renewal of games and more transparency in financial support and sponsorships.
Commenting on the news, Christos Hatziemmanouel, OPAP's chairman, said the signing of the contract would strengthen the organisation as it attempts to expand into foreign markets.
 Court hearing on one-off tax levy postponed until after electionsThe Athens Administrative First-instance Court on Tuesday postponed the first hearing of a suit against a tax levy imposed by the government earlier this year until after the elections, setting a new date for the hearing on October 27, 2009 in accordance with a request by the Greek State.
The hearing, whose outcome will set a precedent for the remaining suits filed against the government levy, was originally set to begin on Tuesday. The one-off tax levy on higher incomes, based on income tax declared in 2007, was announced by the government earlier this year in a bid to boost flagging state revenues.
 New programme to retire older vehicles into effect WednesdayThe new programme to retire old technology vehicles will enter into effect on Wednesday, the environment, town planning and public works ministry announced..
The relevant joint ministerial decision outlining all necessary procedures thus giving the "green light" to the implementation of the measure was published in the Government Gazette on Tuesday.
 Stocks continue moving upStocks continued moving higher at the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, with the composite index of the market rising 0.59 pct to end at 2,667.62 points. Turnover was a strong 354 million euros of which 20.3 million euros were block trades.
Most sectors moved upwards, with the Media (4.01 pct), Financial Services (2.28 pct) and Banks (1.90 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Oil (3.41 pct), Construction (2.88 pct) and Chemicals (2.33 pct) suffered losses.
The FTSE 20 index rose 1.04 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.87 pct down and the FTSE 80 index eased 0.12 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 111 to 94 with another 57 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -3.41%
Personal & Household: -1.46%
Raw Materials: -0.76%
Travel & Leisure: +0.48%
Food & Beverages: +0.81%
Financial Services: +2.28%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, Marfin Popular Bank and Eurobank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 12.78
Public Power Corp (PPC): 14.65
HBC Coca Cola: 18.10
Hellenic Petroleum: 7.74
National Bank of Greece: 24.50
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 10.66
Bank of Piraeus: 12.42
 Foreign Exchange rates -WednesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.466
Pound sterling 0.919
Danish kroner 7.503
Swedish kroner 10.314
Japanese yen 131.96
Swiss franc 1.524
Norwegian kroner 8.583
Canadian dollar 1.598
Australian dollar 1.682
 Actress Sperantza Vrana passes awayPopular actress Sperantza Vrana died suddenly in the early morning hours of Tuesday in her home from a heart attack.
Vrana, who has a prolific filmography encompassing all genres, was born Elpida Homatianou in February 1932, in Messolonghi.
She also wrote several books, including her famous autobiography "Tolml" (I dare), and made a handful of soundrack recordings,
 National Opera gets cash injection of 2 millionThe Greek National Opera has received an emergency grant of two million euros to cover some of its running costs, according to an announcement released by the opera's management on Tuesday.
"In the midst of a financially very difficult time for the National Opera, during which its financial deficit has risen to roughly 10 million euros and the simultaneous resignation of the chairman Ulysses Kyriakopoulos, there has been the first positive action with an emergency grant of two million euros, following the personal intervention of the vice-president Athanassios Theodoropoulos," the announcement said.
The opera, which is in dire financial straits and was not due to receive its regular grant until mid-October, said the money would help cover the payroll for this month.
 New museum for Pella archaeological siteThe archaeological site in Pella has finally acquired a new museum covering an area of 6,000 square metres, which opened its doors to the public for the first time last week. Situated in the northeast corner of the site, near the contemporary town of Pella, the museum represents the culmination of efforts by archaeologists and local residents stretching back 40 years.
On display are archaeological artifacts found on the site, split up into five separate modules with different themes but not physically separated in closed galleries but visually connected with one another, with the exception of that devoted to grave artifacts found in cemeteries.
These start with exhibits illustrating daily life, such as floor mosaics or a reconstructed mural from a room used for symposiums in a local home. The exhibition then shifts to artifacts illustrating the economic and other public activity of the time, such as a reconstructed pottery workshop, before moving on to religion and finally, after following a steady upward route, the displays devoted to the royal palace and Alexander the Great.
The route ends on an upper balcony that gives visitors a panoramic view of the entire exhibition and may serve to house temporary exhibitions in the future.
In addition to the main galleries covering an expanse of 2,500 square metres, the new museum also possesses rooms for screening video and other uses, a gift shop, cafeteria, offices, laboratories and store rooms.
The new museum was built with funds from the 3rd Community Support Framework and had a total budget of 14 million euros, which included the installation of shelters covering the archaeological site, visitors' paths and unification of the site through the construction of an road going around the site for use by vehicles.
 Police confirm that Katseli's website was hackedThe police electronic crimes squad on Tuesday confirmed that the computer of main opposition PASOK candidate Louka Katseli was hacked into and that the hackers were responsible for posting a politically controversial statement attributed to Katseli about the arrest of four men in connection with an arms cache discovered in Halandri.
Attica Security police said that Katseli filed an official complaint about the incident on Monday, claiming slander defamation, deception of voters and illegal access to computer data. An investigation by electronic crimes squad experts confirmed that unknown parties had begun efforts to hack into the PCs used in Katselis' office on Saturday, seeking to gain access to her website.
Using special software, they finally managed to obtain the e-mail passwords used by one of the site managers on Sunday night and, armed with these, they succeeded in posting the text that was appeared on the same day at the website Athens.indymedia.org at 22:49.
Police have tracked the hackers to servers based in the United States, which were used to hack into the website. Greek police had therefore contacted U.S. authorities and Interpol in order to request their assistance in finding the culprits.
 US Consul General in Thessaloniki visited GrevenaUS Consul General in Thessaloniki Catherine E. Kay on Tues-day visited Grevena, northwest Greece, following an invitation by the city mayor.
The US diplomat, who expressed optimism for further cooperation in the cultural, scientific and business sectors, attended a performance by Elisa Monte Dance, one of New York City's most respected contemporary dance companies, at the city's Municipal Culture Centre on Monday evening.
 Physician arrested for illegal imports of anabolic substancesA physician at Tzanio Hospital in Athens is accused of allegedly importing anabolic substances from Spain using an organic products company as a front and subsequently distributing at least part of them to Germany.
An investigation conducted by the Special Audit Service, Attica Weapons and Drugs Division, in cooperation with the National Organization for Medicines (EOF) revealed that the doctor in question imported 130,000 euros worth of anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) which were stored in the region of Keratsini. According to his testimony, the anabolic substances were destined for his partner in Germany.
The investigation also revealed that he had engaged in illegally importing anabolic substances again in the past.
 Drug arrests in Kalamata, TrikalaA 42-year-old woman and a 31-year-old man were arrested in a village near Kalamata, southern Greece, police said on Tuesday.
Police found 943 grams of hashish and two precision scales in the woman's house, while in two farms owned by the male suspect they found and destroyed 11 cannabis plants.
In Trikala, central Greece, three people were arrested accused of cultivating 24 cannabis plants in the greater region of Kalambaka, while a 27-year-old from Kalambaka was arrested on cannabis possession charges.
In a separate incident, a 31-year-old was arrested in a wooded region in Kalambaka where he had created a small cannabis plantation.
 Cloudy on WednesdayCloudy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-5 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 9C and 29C. Fair in Athens, with light and variable winds and temperatures ranging from 15C to 29C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 15C to 27C.
 The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe final stretch to Sunday's general elections and the state of the Greek economy were the main front-page items in Athens' dailies on Tuesday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Greece the most corrupt country in Europe under the (preceding) PASOK government, Transparency International revealed in 2002".
APOGEVMATINI: "We can win - Prime minister Karamanlis' reply to all those who hastened to anticipate a New Democracy (ruling ND) defeat in the elections".
AVGHI: "SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left parliamentary alliance) for a strong Left opposition - Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN, which heads the SYRIZA alliance) party leader Alexis Tsipras campaign rally tonight (Tuesday night) in Dimarchiou Square (formerly Kotzias Square in central Athens)".
AVRIANI: "Mammoth fine of 32.5 million euros imposed on four insurance companies by the Competition Commission".
CHORA: "The raid by the hackers - In just one day, successive 'explosions' (in the political and social life of the country) reported on the internet", adding that hackers spread panic on the internet by uploading fake statements by politicians as well as personal data of politicians, causing confusion, insecurity and bizarre situations just five days before the elections.
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Zagoritis (ND party secretary) calls on the voters to 'clear' the ND ballots from the 'barons'."
ESTIA: "What a return of PASOK to power will mean: Big state, taxes and debt".
ETHNOS: "Games with black propaganda - ND launches mud-slinging and disinformation operation".
KATHIMERINI: "4 billion euros 'secret' loan - Papathanassiou (economy and finance minister): The state deficit could possibly reach 8 percentage points of GDP".
LOGOS: "Hackers set fire to the political climate - Heavy clash between ND and PASOK over a 'statement' on terrorism", referring to a statement on the recent terrorist arrests appearing on the website of PASOK shadow economy minister and MP candidate Louka Katseli, which PASOK attributed to hackers.
NIKI: "The people returning to power - Invitation of unity by George (main opposition PASOK leader Papandreou) to the Greek people".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Strong KKE (Communist Party of Greece) and strong people go together".
TA NEA: "Vote them (those who disgruntled the party supporters) out, says the ND secretary - Unprecedented exhortation by Zagoritis to the voters".
TO VIMA: "They (government) secretly borrowed 20 billion euros, PASOK charges".
VRADYNI: "Karamanlis, five days before the elections: Not a single vote must be lost".
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