|Thursday, 14 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-03-01
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 1 March 2010 Issue No: 3433
 EU Commissioner Rehn in Athens on Mon.BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA)
European Commissioner for economic and monetary affairs Olli Rehn will arrive in Athens on Monday for talks with Greek leadership on the current state of the Greek economy and the country's public finances, a European Commission announcement stated.
Rehn is scheduled to meet with government vice-president Theodoros Pangalos, FinMin George Papaconstantinou, Labour & Social Insurance Minister Andreas Loverdos and Bank of Greece Gov. George Provopoulos.
A spokesman for the Commission said Rehn will hold a press conference after these meetings at the European Commission's offices in downtown Athens at roughly 18:15 local time (16:15 GMT).
According to reports, Rehn will focus on the latest austerity measures announced by the Greek government to slash a double-digit budget deficit (12.7 percent) and a ballooning public debt. The Finnish Commissioner has already been briefed by a delegation of experts that met with Greek government officials last week.
 White House on Obama-Papandreou meetingWASHINGTON (ANA-MPA)
The White House released a statement on Saturday announcing a March 9 meeting here between US President Barack Obama and visiting Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou.
"The President will welcome Prime Minister George Papandreou of Greece to the White House on March 9. Greece is a long standing ally of the United States in our shared efforts to promote stability and prosperity both in its region and around the world. As the birthplace of democracy, Greece and the United States share deep cultural and historic ties. The President looks forward to consulting with Prime Minister Papandreou on a broad range of strategic issues," the statement read.
In a related development, the White House said Obama touched on the Greek debt crisis in a video teleconference with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the issue was discussed on Friday morning. Moreover, he reiterated that the Obama administration considers that the European Union "can and will act appropriately" to deal with the crisis.
 Alternate FM interview to Austrian radioVIENNA (ANA-MPA / D. Dimitrakoudis)
Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas spoke to Austrian radio on Saturday, where he expressed the Greek government's confidence that the country will be able to exit from the current debt crisis, supported by its own powers and via the imposition of what he called "just measures through a dialogue with the people".
Droutsas underlined that Athens has not asked for financial assistance from no one, only political support.
 KKE's Papariga calls for resistance to EU, IMF demandsCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga on Sunday called for the working class to rise up against the dictates of the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), saying this struggle should take the form of a collective counter-attack.
"Either the plutocracy will go bankrupt or the Greek people will go bankrupt. There is the Greece of the rich and the Greece of the people. We are with this last Greece, the one that must not go bankrupt: the Greece of the working people".
Papariga was speaking at an event marking the 67th anniversary since the foundation of EPON, the youth group founded during the Nazi occupation of Greece by the National Liberation Front (EAM), the resistance movement affiliated to KKE.
 Tsipras and European Left's Bisky on crisisThe government's measures were leading to a violent redistribution of wealth in favour of the powerful, Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliament group leader Alexis Tsipras asserted on Sunday, during a press conference with the Party of the European Left President Lothar Bisky on the actions they plan to take to combat the crisis and resist the planned measures.
According to Tsipras, the government and Prime Minister George Papandreou were engaged in 'secret diplomacy' and Papandreou was dropping hints in Parliament, instead of informing the Greek people about the measures that he intends to take.
"Even if we were in a state of war there would not be this much secrecy," Tsipras claimed, calling on the prime minister to lay his cards on the table or to postpone the discussion in Parliament until the following week, after he had completed his visits to the U.S. and Germany.
He also stressed that the government had been elected on the basis of a programme that was very different from that actually being carried out.
On the actions being planned by the European Left Party, Tsipras noted that they had discussed joint action on a national but also European level over the past two days. He pointed out that the crisis did not just concern Greece or the European south but all of Europe.
He said the first milestone in this effort will come on March 24, which Leftist forces throughout Europe would try to make a day of coordinated strikes and other events, followed by Labour Day, when there would be joint action by the Leftist forces of the European south.
Tsipras also warned that the measures being adopted by the government would fail to tackle the crisis but instead trigger an even deeper depression.
Bisky asserted that the banks of Germany and other countries were also engaged in the speculators' game targeting Greece and he also pointed out that Germany currently had the highest debt since WWII and that this was a problem for the German people. He stressed the need to tackle the causes of the crisis together and present alternative proposals.
On whether Germany should pay war reparations claimed by Greeks, Bisky said that he was not well informed on the issue but believed Germany owed restitution for the victims of the Nazis and the damage they had inflicted.
 Armed forces monitoring progress of Turkish frigate in AegeanThe Hellenic Armed Forces General Staff on Sunday announced that a Turkish frigate had been sighted sailing on a northward course toward a location just north of the Greek island of Andros in the Aegean. The frigate's course was being discreetly monitored by a Greek gun-boat, it said.
 Tourism minister at New York Times Travel ShowNEW YORK (ANA-MPA - P. Panagiotou)
Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos had a series of meeting during his visit to the United States, where he was visiting the 2010 New York Times Travel Show organised by the newspaper "New York Times".
In statements on Saturday, Geroulanos stressed that this New York travel fair was very important for the tourism sector and attracted a large number of visitors.
"Our job here is to promote Greece and its comparative advantages, its people and hospitality, its natural wealth and rich cultural heritage. All the things, in order words, that make our country special in these very difficult times," he told reporters.
According to the minister, the government was waging an "uneven battle" because there was a dearth of both money and technical support, but again stressed the importance of putting in an appearance at the specific travel show.
"Tourism is a strategic sector for the country's growth and it is extremely important to emerge from the crisis. And we are making our presence felt, both to the visitors that are here, to the international media, but also to our competitors and the markets that we consider crucial," he said.
Before his arrival in New York, Geroulanos had visited Boston on Friday, where he had met members of the Greek-American community and people involved in the tourism sector in Massachussetts and New Hampshire.
Among meetings held by the minister in New York on Saturday was one with the deputy tourism minister of South Africa Tokozile Xasa, whose country is also hosting the FIFA World Cup finals. On Sunday he is scheduled to meet several foreign delegations and representatives of travel agencies at the NYT Travel Show and to give several interviews with U.S. and foreign media.
Greece is a sponsor of the New York Times Travel Show - in which there are upwards of 500 participants and a minimum estimate of 30,000 visitors. This means that the country's tourism sector is also heavily promoted in printed matter issued by newspaper.
 Papoutsis on role of European Institutions in econ crisisRuling PASOK Parliamentary group spokesman Christos Papoutsis on Friday referred to European institutions amid the currrent Greek and European economic crisis, noting in Parliament that "if, and I strongly hope not, our country is forced to address the IMF, I want to make it clear to everyone that this will be the absolute responsibility of Mr. (Jean-Claude) Trichet, the European Central Bank, the European Commission, the European Institutions that deny to play their role, accept their responsibilities and cover the big gap that exists in the European Treaty."
Papoutsis, a former EU Commissioner, called for Europe to create a proper emergency financing mechanism and a support mechanism for euro and the European monetary system.
"... We have decided to take all the appropriate measures for the Greek economy. We have decided to fight for the enhancement of both Euro and EMU but on the other hand we have definitely decided to guarantee the potential and the future of Greek people. And this is what we'll do with great consistency" he said.
 Conference on climate change policy ends in AthensThe need for a fresh political outlook able to mobilise social forces and a global conference of civil society organisations before the UN Climate Change Conference in Mexico were stressed as necessary conditions for reversing the 'cuts' in policy to cut carbon emissions begun at Copenhagen, during the last day of a two-day conference held in Athens on "Copenhagen 2009: the environment in the wake of a global crisis" that ended on Sunday.
The conference was organised at Pantion University by the European Centre for Environmental Research and Training, under the aegis of the Environment, Energy and Climate Change ministry.
Among speakers on Sunday were Professor of International Law Grigoris Tsaltas, representatives of non-government environmental groups like Greenpeace, WWF Hellas and SOS Mediterranean Network and ANA-MPA Managing Director Nikolas Voulelis, who stressed the need for "new concepts, new words and a deep rechristening of classic meanings through a modern debate to mobilise citizens, simultaneous to the search for viable models for growth that are compatible with the protection of the environment."
Voulelis also forecast that environmental issues would contribute to creating new political correlations and new political concepts in Europe.
"I believe that the more advanced sections of the political spectrum, in other words certain forces of the Left and the ecological parties and movements can attempt to convert a renewed political speech on "common goods" to a motive force for huge social forces," he said.
 Education minister presents Mathematical Society awards to school childrenEducation Minister Anna Diamantopoulou on Sunday presented the awards of the Hellenic Mathematical Society to students from middle schools and high schools throughout the country at a special ceremony held at the Athens University ceremonial hall.
During remarks at the event, she underlined the need for major changes to primary and secondary education in Greece, citing serious problems with the curriculum but also teaching methods that tended to reward rote learning rather than encouraging children to develop critical ability.
 Police detain 18, arrest 11 after protest in VyronasEighteen people were detained during violent incidents that marked a demonstration held in the Athens district on Vyronas around midday on Saturday, which was held to protest against the death of a 25-year-old plumber shot dead by police fire during a shoot-out between two police officers and two Albanian fugitives on February 16. Eleven people were arrested and are to appear before a public prosecutor to hear the charges drawn up against them.
Police said that two demonstrations were held in Vyronas Square on Saturday, one organised by the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group and another by anti-establishment groups. The first also held a march to the Vyronas town hall, while some 200 individuals from the second rally broke up into groups that marched through the streets of Vyronas and Pagrati.
In the course of these marches, they attacked police with stones, lengths of wood and petrol bombs, while they also vandalised the offices of PASOK party offices in the area, three bank ATMs and seven police motorbikes.
An announcement by the central police headquarters in Athens said that 11 police officers were injured during encounters with the protestors and had to be taken to hospital for first aid.
 Police bust two for illegal trade in antiquitiesThe Thessaloniki Police Antiquities Smuggling department on Sunday announced that it had successfully busted a ring of illegal antiquities traders, who were negotiating with antiquities-trading circuits for the sale of important archaeological finds for very large sums of money.
Police said that an investigation lasting several months had culminated last Friday with the arrest of two Greeks aged 48 and 51 at the Kavala junction of the Egnatia Highway. In a spot search of their car, police found and confiscated a bronze statue dated to the 4th century B.C.
Further searches in the homes of the two suspects in Drama yielded more important archaeological artifacts that were in their possession, including the bronze head of a boy dated to the Roman era, a stone relief of a woman, two bronze coins, 11 gold coins, one silver coin and the bronze head of a youth.
Archaeologists examining the objects confiscated have confirmed that these fall under the statutes of the 'Protection of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage' act, while the bronze statue and head of a boy, in particular, are believed to be objects of unique archaeological, historic and commercial value. The two men were apparently negotiating the sale of the statue for seven million euros.
 Five police cadets suspended for brawlingPolice authorities on Saturday ordered that five police cadets be placed on suspension after they became involved in a bar brawl in the northern Greek city of Komotini. Four of the officers started a fight with a fifth that had visited the bar with another group of friends, taunting him over his racial background.
The four cadets were all from Lamia in central Greece, while the fifth cadet was an ethnic Greek from the former Soviet Union. None of the parties involved have filed a suit but an internal inquiry has been launched to consider whether they should be thrown out of the police academy.
 Incendiary bomb goes off outside Millenium bank branchA makeshift incendiary bomb exploded outside a branch of Millenium bank in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki during the early hours of Sunday morning, at 2:46 a.m.
Only one of the three gas canisters used to make the bomb actually exploded, causing minor damage to the glass exterior of the bank.
 Violence at Egyptian fishing boat workers rallyA demonstration held by Egyptian fishing boat workers in Nea Mihanionia, Thessaloniki on Sunday morning was marked by violence between protestors and fishing boat owners in the region. The demonstration had been organised by the trade union faction affiliated to the Communist Party of Greece, PAME, while order was restored after police intervention.
One of the Egyptian workers was injured during the attack, which PAME claimed was unprovoked and an attempt to intimidate the Egyptian fishing boat crews, who have been striking for the past two months demanding a pay rise.
The head of the Hellenic Union of Middle-size Fishing Vessel Owners Dimitris Taoultzis, however, denied that the fishing boat owners had provoked the incident and also denied that there was a strike, claiming that 80 of those Egyptian workers that took part in the legal strike had voluntarily returned to their homes in Egypt and the 15 that remained were back at work.
 Gang in hoods attack police in ExarhiaA gang of about 15 individuals in hoods attacked a contingent of police on duty in the Athens district of Exarhia in the early hours of Sunday morning, at around 1:30, using petrol bombs and stones.
No one was injured and the attackers fled and disappeared into Exarhia after their attack.
 Unidentified man fatally shot in KorydallosAn unidentified man around 30 years old was fatally shot in the Athens district of Korydallos on Saturday night. The victim was found in the street at around 9:20 p.m. after a call was made police emergency, with a bullet wound in the left side of his chest. He was still alive when discovered but died on route to Tzanio hospital.
An investigation has been launched by Piraeus Security police, who considered that personal differences are the most likely motive for the fatal shooting.
 PAO tops standingsPanathinaikos Athens kept its two-point lead atop the Greek Superleague standings on Sunday by downing a tough Panionios Athens team away 2-0. Earlier, Olympiacos Piraeus stayed in the championship hunt by edging lowly Atromitos Athens 2-0. PAOK Thessaloniki also shares second place with Olympiacos after thumping Xanthi away on Saturday 3-0.
In other action:
Asteras Tripolis - Iraklis Thessaloniki 0-4
AEK Athens - Ergotelis Crete 1-0
Panthrakikos Komotini - Kavala 1-3
Levadiakos Livadia - PAS Yannina 4-1
Aris Thessaloniki - Larissa 2-0
The standings after the 24th week of play
Asteras Tripolis 30
PAS Yannina 21
 Cloudy, warm on MondayCloudy with unseasonably high temperatures and northerly winds are forecast for Monday. Temperatures ranging from 5C to 16C in the north; 7C-23C in the south and 10C-23C on the islands. Mostly fair in Athens, 9C-21C; the same for Thessaloniki, 7C-16C.
 Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glanceThe economy and anticipated, even harsher austerity measures to curb the state deficit demanded by the EU were the main front-page items in Athens' newspapers on Sunday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Is [Prime Minister George Papandreou] playing the Americans' game?".
APOGEVMATINI: "Land register. [Tax office] Sallying forth for 200 million euros".
ARTHRO: "They're betting on our bankruptcy!"
AVGHI: "Euro-answer of the Left from Athens".
AVRIANI: "Two million Greeks at risk of losing their pensions".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "How much will the life-preserver cost us?".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Heil...measures! German umbrella but also German discipline in adhering to the stability programme".
EPOCHI: "They're worried! Workers on the streets once again".
ETHNOS: "They're 'roasting' the ...bonuses and trimming tax relief".
KATHIMERINI: "Athens seeks guarantees, Berlin expects measures"
LOGOS: "A big week for the Greek economy".
NIKI: "Oh, what a blast...The 'red lines' are being crossed and dramatic reversals are coming".
PARON: "They wiped out 807,000 souls during the [Nazi occupation of Greece]".
PROTO THEMA: "Special Audit Service raid on ship-owner with 130 real estate properties [and low declared income]".
REAL NEWS: "Citizens consider the measures inadequate and demand..End waste and tenure!"
RIZOSPASTIS: "Passion week on the way, with new pre-decided, anti-working class measures".
VETO: "They were paid mammoth kickbacks. Why don't they speak?"
TO VIMA: "Speculators hold 'secret supper' with Greece on the menu".
VRADYNI: "Farewell to the 14th salary. Final decision to scrap the 'bonus'".
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