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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-02-19

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Friday, 19 February 2010 Issue No: 3426


  • [01] Environment minister pledges 'comprehensive' policy; Parliament ratifies new road tax fees
  • [02] Draft bill on RES to Parliament this week, environment minister announces
  • [03] PM Papandreou visiting London
  • [04] Gov't: Priority lies in implementing Stability Pact; no new measures cited
  • [05] ND spokesman on Samaras meeting with Barroso, consensus
  • [06] ND unveils proposals to boost economy
  • [07] KKE leader on economy
  • [08] Alternate FM in Zagreb for swearing-in of new Croatian President
  • [09] Justice minister requests priority handling of structured bonds, Aspis Pronoia cases
  • [10] Tsipras meets leaders of Spanish Left
  • [11] FinMin confirms government's intention for fact-finding commission on the economy
  • [12] Gerekou inaugurates Greek pavilion at BIT in Milan
  • [13] Interview on Greek tourism
  • [14] Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry president on economy
  • [15] Greek per capita GDP at 92.8% of EU average in '07
  • [16] Greece's harmonised CPI at 2.3% in Jan.
  • [17] Emporiki Bank reports 582.6 mln-euro net loss in 2009
  • [18] Checkpoints closed due to customs employees strike
  • [19] Stocks rebound strongly on Thurs.
  • [20] Greek bond market closing report
  • [21] ADEX closing report
  • [22] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday
  • [23] Lake Kerkini buffalos in northern Greece.
  • [24] Woman arrested in newborn's abduction from maternity ward; baby unharmed
  • [25] Explosive device outside Citizens Protection minister's office unclaimed
  • [26] Athens Academy to hold philosophy conference at Alexandria Patriarchate
  • [27] March on Saturday for migrants
  • [28] Drug dealer arrested in Thessaloniki
  • [29] Cloudy on Friday
  • [30] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Environment minister pledges 'comprehensive' policy; Parliament ratifies new road tax fees

    Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili on Thursday pledged that the government will soon unveil a comprehensive policy proposal for vehicles, which would be fairer, more effective and friendlier toward the environment.

    "We must find ways to give incentives for the replacement of energy-hungry, polluting vehicles with those having improved performance in terms of pollution emissions, combined with disincentives for driving on roads with a high environmental load," Birbili said in Parliament during a discussion to ratify a draft bill containing amendments relating to road tax and the withdrawal of older cars from circulation.

    Birbili explained that from 2011, the road tax due will be calculated based on the technology, age and engine size of cars.

    "Vehicles that are registered will have carbon dioxide emissions data and their road taxes will be determined based on this purely environmental criterion," she said, noting the need to upgrade the system for technical inspections of vehicles in order to take very old, very polluting and dangerous vehicles out of circulation.

    She also noted that cycling and walking had to become viable alternative modes of transport in Athens.

    Birbili said the ministry was working on a comprehensive policy for cars in conjunction with an improvement in public transport infrastructure and its coordination, such as extra rail services and extending bus lanes, as well as encouraging the public to have more passengers in each vehicle through price policy or prohibitions.

    The government's proposed measures were criticised by the entire opposition are purely revenue-raising and an additional burden for low incomes. The amendments were passed with the support of only ruling PASOK MPs.

    [02] Draft bill on RES to Parliament this week, environment minister announces

    Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili on Thursday announced that a draft bill on Renewable Energy Sources (RES) will be submitted to Parliament's Scientific Council next week. Speaking during a press conference about investments in green development, the minister said that the public debate on the draft bill had now been completed and that it was now a matter of weeks before the draft bill became law.

    Replying to demands by investors in photovoltaic installations for a new way of pricing power, Birbili said that this matter was up for public debate and that the ministry continued to be in favour of supporting investments in photovoltaics via pricing policy.

    Earlier, a Greek photovoltaics firms association had criticised the environment ministry for backing down on its original announcements and greatly reducing the price at which the power produced by photovoltaics would be bought, saying that this undermined the viability of thousands of investments in photovoltaics.

    [03] PM Papandreou visiting London

    LONDON (ANA-MPA/G. Milionis)

    Prime Minister George Papandreou arrived in London on Thursday evening and will be participating on Friday in the Conference on Progressive Governance on the theme "Growth strategies after the crisis," while he will be speaking on the chapter "After the crisis:A strategic role of the government" together with his British counterpart Gordon Brown, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero and Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

    Earlier, at 1 in the afternoon (local time), the prime minister will be having a working luncheon with the British prime minister in Downing Street, while at 16:30 he will be meeting British Foreign Minister David Milliband.

    On Saturday morning, the Greek premier will be giving an interview to the BBC and will be holding a meeting with the administrative officials of the Economist.

    [04] Gov't: Priority lies in implementing Stability Pact; no new measures cited

    The Greek government spokesman on Thursday fielded a barrage of press questions focusing on the economy, the debt crisis and closely watched measures announced by the government, reiterating that Athens' "primary priority" is to absolutely meeting provisions in the recently approved Stability and Growth Programme.

    Spokesman Giorgos Petalotis nevertheless added that "necessary time is required for the programme to be applied and for it to start producing ... (the government) will not tolerate any deviation; this is something for which we need to prove to our (EU) partners."

    Asked about the prospect of "additional measures", Petalotis was adamant that there is "no decision, no thought" about slapping new austerity measures. He also said the goal is for figures up until March 15 to provide picture on whether implementation of the Stability Programme has begun.

    In reference to a press question on whether Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou will bring up the issue of at least six international financial institutions speculating against Greece and the eurozone, during his upcoming meeting in London with his counterpart Gordon Brown, the spokesman said such discussions are conducted at a pan-European level.

    "We're simply watching, and we're not going to take a position at this moment," he said.

    Finally, the spokesman was asked about recent sharp criticism by the main opposition New Democracy party over a government decision to establish a Parliament fact-finding committee on the economy, something ND charges will dynamite the current political consensus by the two mainstream parties in dealing with the deficit and debt crisis.

    Petalotis underlined that ND bears a major responsibility for the current state of the economy and Greece's dire situation vis--vis international lenders.

    [05] ND spokesman on Samaras meeting with Barroso, consensus

    New Democracy is undertaking initiatives designed to reverse the negative climate against Greece abroad, the main opposition party's spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos told reporters on Thursday regarding a meeting next week between ND leader Antonis Samaras and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

    Regarding Samaras' meeting with Prime Minister George Papandreou on Wednesday night, the spokesman said the main opposition had not changed its stance on the need for consensus but had a duty to criticise the government when it considered that the country was on the wrong course.

    "Mr. Samaras has said that if new measures are demanded, the government must have taken them by 16 March and not wait until later. At the same time, unilateral recourse to the International Monetary Fund must be avoided since it is not a European Union body," he added.

    [06] ND unveils proposals to boost economy

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party on Thursday unveiled 23 proposals as part of a package to revive economic growth, as it said.

    The measures carry a low or zero budget cost, according to the party, and aim to support the real economy of the country and to avoid deep recession and rising unemployment.

    One of the measures includes a request by Athens towards the European Commission to roll over the country's national participation at the end of the existing 4th Community Support Framework (CSF) period. It also calls for accelerated funding for major infrastructure projects, joint projects between the private and public sectors, a boost in European Investment Bank (EIB) lending as well as the upgrading regional airports around the country. The plan also calls for examining new ways of paying off state debt to the private sector, a draft bill for business parks, simplifying licensing procedures for new enterprises and abolition to whatever hurdles in domestic competition. The plan also envisages measures to support small- and medium-sized enterprises, building activity and tourism.

    Presenting the proposals, ND deputy and party spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos called for the urgent implementation of the measures by the government, "without any delay to avoiding any risk of a squeeze in the market."

    [07] KKE leader on economy

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga said on Thursday that "the government is utilising the positions and the directions of the European Union to take longterm measures that have no relation with the immediate covering of deficits."

    Papariga added that "they are measures that concern labour relations, pensioning, social rights."

    The KKE leader further said that "the government found a big opportunity, as well as the (main opposition) New Democracy party, to take revenge for the achievements that the working people had after the war and the post-junta years."

    [08] Alternate FM in Zagreb for swearing-in of new Croatian President

    Zagreb (ANA-MPA/M. Savva) -- Alternate foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas was in Zagreb on Thursday to represent the Greek government at the swearing-in of Croatia's newly-elected president Ivo Josipovic, by whom he will be received in the afternoon.

    Shortly after his arrival in Zagreb, Droutsas met with Croatia's minister of foreign affairs and European integration Gordan Jandrokovic.

    "We had an open and friendly discussion, given that there are no open issues between our countries," Jandrokovic told reporters after the meeting, adding that both sides desire further enhancement of their bilateral relations.

    He further expressed his country's gratitude for Greece's strong backing of Croatia's request for completion of its EU accession negotiations and for NATO membership, adding that it is necessary for all the countries of SE Europe to seek a Euro-Atlantic prospect and gradually fulfill the accession criteria.

    Jandrokovic said it is very important for the citizens to believe that they will soon become members of the EU, and therefore Croatia and Greece were doing all they can in that direction.

    Droutsas, in turn, noted the important prospect given to the SE Europe citizens by Greece's initiative for 2014 to be the landmark date for the fulfillment of the EU criteria and their accession to the union.

    "It is important that we give our neighboring countries such a prospect," Droutsas said in a joint statement with Jandrokovic after their meeting.

    "We believe that EU participation is the best guarantee for stability and peace in our region, and with this prospect in mind we set 2014 as the symbolic date," he added.

    Droutsas noted that the EU can play a very significant role in that prospect, and that is why it is of primary importance that all the candidate countries, "to which we give this symbolic incentive", fulfill all the required criteria.

    Droutsas also met with Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov, Albanian President Bomir Topi, Polish President Lech Kaczynski, Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor and Swedish Foreign Minister Karl Bildt.

    Also in Zagreb is the European Union's Commissioner for enlargement issues who according to sources recognises the key role that Greece can play on the issue of Euro-Turkish relations, while on Friday he will be visiting the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    The Greek side ascertained in contacts with foreign officials the interest of all in the economic crisis, as well as in the ways with which Greece is handling this situation.

    [09] Justice minister requests priority handling of structured bonds, Aspis Pronoia cases

    Justice, Transparency and Human Rights Minister Haris Kastanidis on Thursday lodged a formal request that the judicial system speed up processing of two high-profile scandal cases: one involving over-priced structured bonds bought by social insurance funds and a second on the sensational collapse of the private insurance firm 'Aspis Pronoia'.

    In a letter to Supreme Court Prosecutor Ioannis Tentes, the minister asked that the two cases be given absolute priority and called for a rapid conclusion of the judicial investigation process, noting that there were strong indications that public money had been provocatively squandered and that the money of private citizens had been provocatively misused.

    He stressed that the long delay in processing the above cases "was contrary to every sense of smooth and rapid administration of justice".

    [10] Tsipras meets leaders of Spanish Left

    Visiting Madrid on Thursday, Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras said that the forces of the Left in southern Europe were at the start of a difficult but very important effort to "prevent the forces of capital from eroding the social gains that had been won in past decades through struggles and sacrifices".

    Reporting on his meetings with Portuguese and Spanish Leftist leaders, Tsipras said that they had arrived at the shared conclusion that there was an alternative way to emerge from the crisis, which did not require the "levelling of society". This prospect would give rise to joint actions in the near future, he added.

    Communist Party of Spain Secretary-General Jose Luis Centella, in a statement after his meeting with Tsipras, said he was certain that the two parties would fight together so that the working class would not have to pay for the crisis.

    The head of Spain's United Left political coalition, Cayo Lara, also appeared sanguine that the parties of the left will continue to work together to resist the crisis.

    Financial News

    [11] FinMin confirms government's intention for fact-finding commission on the economy

    Finance minister George Papaconstantinou on Thursday confirmed that the ruling PASOK party intends to table in parliament a petition for the establishment of a fact-finding commission on economic statistical data in the coming days, during a by-article discussion in the relevant parliamentary committee on the government's bill on "The Greek Statistical System and Establishing the Greek Statistics (service) as an Independent Authority".

    Commenting on the positions stated by main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras after his meeting on Wednesday with prime minister George Papandreou, Papaconstantinou said he considered a "big mistake" Samara's position of "using the government's decision for setting up a fact-finding commission as an alibi to revoke any consensus on the measures and policies that must be made to confront the deficit bequeathed to us by (the preceding government of) ND".

    "I would suggest to the ND leader, next week when he visits European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, that he puts to him the question on the Greek statistical data and ask his view on the data he received over the last 4-5 years from ND, and to make public the reply," Papaconstantinou added.

    The minister said that everyone has his criticism on how the public opinion of a country perceives the Greek problems, but the difference between ND and the government is that the latter is waging a battle, and waging it daily, and called on ND to shoulder its share of the responsibilities in that battle and to support the battle because, in that way, it will be supporting the entire country as well.

    Earlier, ND parliamentary spokesman Margaritis Tzimas noted that no one was saying that the political system was perfect, but ND could not be blamed for everything that was wrong, and asked that everything be "brought to light".

    [12] Gerekou inaugurates Greek pavilion at BIT in Milan

    Deputy Culture and Tourism Minister Angela Gerekou on Thursday inaugurated the Greek Tourism Organisation (EOT) pavilion at the BIT tourism exhibition in Madrid.

    The minister expressed confidence that the professionalism of Greece's tourism sector and crucial interventions on the part of the State would succeed in overcoming any difficulties created by the economic crisis.

    The aim was for Greece to become known as a sustainable business centre in the Mediterranean and a high-quality tourism destination, she added.

    During her visit to Milan, Gerekou met with a South African government official to discuss matters of mutual interest in view of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

    [13] Interview on Greek tourism

    MOSCOW (ANA-MPA/Th. Avgerinos)

    Ioannis Plotas, the Greek General Consul in Moscow, stated in this year's first interview on the promotion of Greek tourism that was hosted by the Interfax news agency, that a 14 percent decrease was registered in the issuing of entry visas from the Consulate in Moscow, a percentage reflecting last year's difficulties for the tackling of which a coordinated effort is being made to minimise the repercusions of the crisis.

    Plotas reminded Russian reporters that tourism was termed by Prime Minister George Papandreou, during his two-day visit to Moscow on Monday-Tuesday, as one of the priorities of national economic policy that aims at the greatest possible attraction of visitors from Russia.

    For this purpose, the Greek Consulate is among the first, if not the first, from Schengen Treaty member-states regarding the time of issuing visas for Russian citizens, that has been limited to 48 hours on average.

    [14] Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry president on economy

    Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Costas Mihalos, addressing the 6th tax conference organised by the Hellenic American Chamber on Thursday, spoke of the need for support for economic activity to enable the Greek economy to detach itself from recession and produce revenues for the state and the citizens.

    Mihalos said that on the basis of existing proposals certain positive points surely exist but the negative ones are more.

    He further said that certain terms that harm entrepreneurship and ignore conditions currently prevailing in European and global competition are very extreme, adding that measures of a growth character are absent, meaning those that will provide a momentum and an incentive for the rewarming of the Greek economy.

    [15] Greek per capita GDP at 92.8% of EU average in '07


    Greece's average per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) totaled 92.8 pct of the EU average in 2007, Eurostat said on Thursday.

    In a report, the EU executive's statistics agency, said that seven Greek regions were below the 75 pct average community per capita GDP, namely, Western Greece (59.7 pct), Eastern Macedonia/Thrace (62.1 pct), the Northern Aegean (66.6 pct), Thessaly (68.2 pct), Epirus (68.3 pct), Central Macedonia (72.4 pct) and the Ionian islands (73.9 pct).

    Attica prefecture (128.1 pct), the Southern Aegean (96.2 pct), Central Greece (83.9 pct), Crete (83.7 pct), Western Macedonia (75.8 pct) and the Peloponnese (75.7 pct) recorded the highest per capita GDP rates in the country.

    A total of 20 regions with the lowest per capita GDP were located in Romania, Bulgaria, Poland and Hungary, while a total of 66 European regions were below the 75 pct average per capita GDP in 2007. The City of London (334 pct), Luxembourg (275 pct), Brussels (221 pct) and Hamburg (192 pct) were the regions with the highest per capita GDP.

    [16] Greece's harmonised CPI at 2.3% in Jan.

    Greece's harmonised inflation rate rose 2.3 pct in January, up from 2.0 pct in January 2009, the National Statistical Service announced on Thursday.

    The statistical service, in a report, said the country's harmonised inflation rate, measured by the consumer's price index, fell 0.8 pct in January from December, after a decline of 0.5 pct recorded in the corresponding period last year.

    [17] Emporiki Bank reports 582.6 mln-euro net loss in 2009

    Emporiki Bank reported a net loss of 582.6 million euros in 2009, up from 491.8 million euros in 2008, an increase of 18.5 pct, with net income rising 5.0 pct to 751 million euros and gross operation earnings jumping 41.4 pct to 104.2 million euros.

    Net losses reflected a continuous worsening of the macro-economic environment and the alignment of Emporiki Bank's risk management policy to the standards of Credit Agricole, its main shareholder.

    Main deposits rose 12 pct, reflecting a reverse of interest from time to saving deposits. Total deposits were down 16 pct to 14.9 billion euros, while the loan portfolio eased slightly to 22.7 billion euros in 2009, down from 22.9 billion euros in 2008. Provisions for bad debts fell 14 pct to 138.4 million euros.

    Emporiki Bank said net income was down 5.0 pct in the fourth quarter to 199.2 million euros.

    Alain Strub, the bank's vice-chairman and chief executive, said the results were a "clear confirmation" that Emporiki Bank was moving within its restructuring plan for the year 2009-2013, which envisages a return to profitability in 2011.

    [18] Checkpoints closed due to customs employees strike

    Evzoni and Doirani border posts were closed on Thursday due to customs employees' ongoing strike. Meanwhile six railway wagons are waiting for clearance of the products they are transporting at the Idomeni railway border pass in Kilkis prefecture .

    The customs houses at Nikaia and Krystallopigi in Florina prefecture are also not working while the customs checkpoint at Kipi in Evros prefecture is open.

    [19] Stocks rebound strongly on Thurs.

    Stocks recovered at the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday, with the composite index of the market rising 1.27 pct to end at 1,882.10 points, in line with a positive trend in other European markets. Turnover was a low 136.4 million euros.

    The FTSE 20 index jumped 1.58 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.15 pct down and the FTSE 80 index rose 0.93 pct. The Chemicals (8.68 pct) and Telecoms (4.49 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Insurance (0.86 pct) and Personal Products (0.81 pct) suffered losses.

    Thrace Plastics (17.72 pct), Aspis Bank (10.26 pct), Nakas (10 pct) and Nutriart (9.09 pct) were top gainers, while Klonatex (14.29 pct), Hellenic Fish Farming (8.33 pct) and Lamda Development (6.53 pct) were top losers. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 98 to 56 with another 72 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -0.86%

    Industrials: +2.23%

    Commercial: +0.71%

    Construction: +0.31%

    Media: -0.25%

    Oil & Gas: +0.51%

    Personal & Household: -0.81%

    Raw Materials: +0.13%

    Travel & Leisure: +0.76%

    Technology: +0.30%

    Telecoms: +4.49%

    Banks: +1.37%

    Food & Beverages: +1.79%

    Health: -0.22%

    Utilities: +1.12%

    Chemicals: +8.68%

    Financial Services: +1.67%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OTE, Eurobank and Alpha Bank.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 6.47

    ATEbank: 1.59

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.18

    HBC Coca Cola: 16.40

    Hellenic Petroleum: 8.30

    National Bank of Greece: 13.55

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 5.30

    Intralot: 3.45

    OPAP: 15.32

    OTE: 9.30

    Bank of Piraeus: 5.72

    Titan: 17.95

    [20] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened again to 332 basis points in the Greek electronic secondary bond market on Thursday, with the Greek bond yielding 6.55 pct and the German Bund 3.23 pct. Turnover in the market totaled 1.055 billion euros, of which 361 million were buy orders and the remaining 694 million euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 19, 2019) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 319 million euros.

    In interbank markets, interest rates moved lower. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.09 pct, the six-month rate 0.96 pct, the three-month rate 0.66 pct and the one-month rate 0.42 pct.

    [21] ADEX closing report

    The March contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -0.15 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday, with turnover at 79.203 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 14,717 contracts worth 67.934 million euros with 32,607 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 12,748 contracts worth 11.269 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (3,788), followed by Eurobank (1,040), OTE (1,415), Piraeus Bank (878), Alpha Bank (2,334), Cyprus Bank (307) and Hellenic Postbank (203).

    [22] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.367

    Pound sterling 0.877

    Danish kroner 7.502

    Swedish kroner 9.869

    Japanese yen 124.29

    Swiss franc 1.476

    Norwegian kroner 8.132

    Canadian dollar 1.429

    Australian dollar 1.523

    General News

    [23] Lake Kerkini buffalos in northern Greece.

    The region surrounding the dam lake Kerkini in Serres, northern Greece, is home to Greece's largest buffalo population.

    The Bubalus bubalis domestic water buffalo is an attractive animal that was domesticated for dairy production and is well adapted to wetland life.

    In the past, it was common in Macedonia, Thrace and Thessaly, but its population numbers dropped from 75,000 in the 1950s to about 600 in 1992. Apart from the Kerkini region, a small number of buffalos can still be seen near Lake Volvi, the Axios River delta and Lake Vistonida.

    A conservation program was initiated in the late 1990s to protect the remaining buffalo population, and the number has risen to some 2,000 animals today. Water buffalos from the Kerkini wetlands have been introduced into three other wetlands, those of Lesser Prespa Lake, the Amvrakikos Gulf and the Spercheios River delta.

    Lake Kerkini is Serres prefecture's most essential hydrobiosphere, and one of the most important and beautiful nature sites in northern Greece.

    Kerkini is a man-made lake flooded in 1932, with a small dam and a series of embankments, and is home to more than 220 species of birds and dozens of amphibian, reptile and insect species. Although man-made, it has become an important and successful natural habitat.

    The Strymon River is the Lake's primary tributary, and in 1982 the system of dams and levees was redesigned due to the build-up of silt from Strymon and other, smaller, rivers that flow into Kerkini.

    The Kerkini buffalos live side-by-side with pelicans, otters and ospreys. In the summer they cover their bodies with mud to protect themselves from the insects and the in the winter they pose for visitors who hasten to see them up close.

    The history of buffalos in the region is very old. Buffalos were domesticated to assist in farming and were part of everyday life, until the advent of farming machinery.

    Buffalos are very smart animals. If they don't know you well they won't allow you to milk them, if you hit them they won't forget it and will take revenge, according to breeder Vassilis Giartimidis who decided three years ago to become involved with buffalo breeding for the production of milk, butter and cheese.

    [24] Woman arrested in newborn's abduction from maternity ward; baby unharmed

    A newborn infant abducted from the Elena maternity hospital in central Athens at dawn on Thursday was found unharmed a few hours later in a woman's house in the west Athens district of Egaleo, with the 38-year-old suspect arrested at the scene.

    In a later press conference, police said another woman that baby-sitted the alleged abductor's two children, aged 10 and four, tipped off authorities that the suspect was possibly in possession of the kidnapped newborn. The break in the case, only hours after the abduction, came amid extensive media coverage throughout the country.

    Additionally, police said the woman had been feigning a pregnancy for the past six months after experiencing a miscarriage in her first trimester, while she also tried to get admitted to the same maternity hospital last week, only to be denied after an attending physician discovered she was not pregnant.

    The infant, which was born on Wednesday, was sleeping in a bassinette beside its mother, identified as an Albanian national, when at around 5 a.m. the latter heard someone leaving the three-bed room. She immediately realised that her infant daughter was not by her side and started screaming.

    The Elena, like most public maternity hospitals in Greece, allows the infants in the room with the mothers throughout the night. The hospital is not equipped with a CCTV system, although it does employ a private security firm.

    [25] Explosive device outside Citizens Protection minister's office unclaimed

    No organisation had, at noon Thursday, claimed responsibility for a home-made explosive device planted the previous night on the first-floor of a building housing a political office of Citizens Protection minister Michalis Chryssohoidis in the Athens district of Peristeri, which was neutralised by security police bomb disposal experts with a series of controlled explosions.

    The bomb, planted outside an office that was in use by the minister up until the October 2009 general elections, was detonated in the second controlled explosion, which caused serious damage to the building and shattered the glass fronts of a shop across the street, but no one was injured as police had cordoned off the street block.

    According to police, no warning call had been made, and the explosive mechanism was spotted by a passer-by who informed police of a "suspicious object".

    The syndesmology of the device included a cell phone, leading counter-terrorism officers to believe that the attack is possibly the work of the "Popular Will" (Laiki Thelissi) organisation.

    [26] Athens Academy to hold philosophy conference at Alexandria Patriarchate

    CAIRO (ANA-MPA - N. Katsikas)

    The Athens Academy and Alexandria and All Africa Patriarch Theodoros II have jointly sponsored an international philosophy conference to take place on March 4-6 at the Patriarchate's Library in Egypt. The subject of the three-day conference will be "The concept of the citizen in Greek philosophy".

    It is organised by the Athens Academy' Research Centre for Greek Philosophy, with the support of the National Bank of Greece and the Public Real Estate Service. Its aim is to explore the concept of the citizen in the philosophical systems of primarily ancient Greece, starting from Socrates and culminating with Philo and the early philosophical influences on Christianity.

    The start of the conference will be addressed by Patriarch Theodoros and Athens Academy President Constantinos Svolopoulos, among others.

    [27] March on Saturday for migrants

    A march with the participation of 55 anti-racism and migrants' organisations and unions is being organised for Saturday at 3:00 p.m. Syntagma Square in downtown Athens under the main slogans of "Citizenship to all children", "Not a step back on their self-evident rights" , "Legalisation of Migrants " and "Asylum to refugees".

    The Coaltion of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) and the Ecologists-Greens parties will also take part in the march.

    Representatives of participating organisations told a press conference on Thursday that the mobilisation is an action demanding all migrants and refugees' rights, ahead of a vote in parliament of a relevant bill tabled by the Interior Ministry.

    The demands include restoration of the legal status of 140,000 migrants who lost that status in the last years and a special regulation for migrants' children either born or raised in Greece and do not have documents from their parents. The aim is for these children to be given Greek citizenship upon reaching adulthood.

    [28] Drug dealer arrested in Thessaloniki

    A 24 year old Albanian was arrested late Wednesday in the area of Menemeni in Thessaloniki charged with drug dealing. Police found in his possesion and confiscated one kilograms of pure cocaine.

    According to police the suspect had turned his appartment into a makeshift drug processing lab. A police search in the suspect's house revealed equipment used for processing and packaging the drugs and a precision scale.

    Weather Forecast

    [29] Cloudy on Friday

    Cloudy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Friday, with wind velocity reaching 2-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 4C and 24C. Fair in Athens, with westerly 4-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 10C to 20C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 6C to 15C.

    [30] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The clash between government and opposition over Prime Minister George Papandreou's decision to set up a fact-finding commission on the manipulation of economic statistical data, the police-robbers shootout in Vyronas in which a civilian was killed, speculators' attacks on Greece and the EU's call for additional measures, dominated the headlines on Thursday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Government examining the possibility of financing enterprises with loans".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Samaras (main opposition New Democracy leader) accuses George (Papandreou) - ND leader put an end to the political consensus because the prime minister with his divisive policy harms the country's image abroad".

    AVGHI: "They 'executed' a 25-year-old and the talk about 'collateral damage'! - Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chryssohoidis justifies the killing of the 25-year-old man during a shootout between police and criminals in the Athens district of Vyronas".

    AVRIANI: "They will kick us out of the eurozone if the fact-finding commission reveals former Prime Minister (PASOK) Costas Simitis' audit frauds".

    CHORA: "Samaras severely attacks Papandreou: You are dividing the people, which will bring an uprising".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Papandreou's irresponsibility in the midst of a crisis - The establishment of a fact-finding commission on the economy torpedoes the consensus".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Turmoil over the establishment of a fact-finding commission - Tense climate in the Papandreou-Samaras meeting on Wednesday - Farewell to consensus".

    ESTIA: "How the state money is being squandered - Bureaucracy, useless public works and unnecessary services".

    ETHNOS: "Extension of the agony over the additional measures - George asks for a grace period on the first package of measures".

    IMERISSIA: "Six investment firms bring the country to its knees - The behind-the-scenes of the Greek tragedy".

    KATHIMERINI: "Clash in the midst of the crisis - Papandreou insists on the fact-finding commission, Samaras demands measures immediately".

    LOGOS: "End to consensus on the economy".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "The establishment of a fact-finding commission on the economy suspends the consensus".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "The February 24 strike: The working classes' response".

    TA NEA: "The speculators' colpo grosso - Ploy against Greece in the limelight".

    TO VIMA: "Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou's outburst in parliament: They (EU) are asking for additional measures and someone to be put in jail".

    VRADYNI: "Rift in the midst of the crisis - Government, main opposition clash over the establishment of a fact-finding commission".

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