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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-05-13

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

Thursday, 13 May 2010 Issue No: 3491

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM sees resurgence in investor interest
  • [02] Gov't on Erdogan visit to Greece
  • [03] Droutsas: Erdogan visit the start of new effort for closer Greek-Turkish ties
  • [04] Alternate FM interview to Austrian radio
  • [05] 'Fantasia' demolition a first step to freeing access to Attica beaches, gov't says
  • [06] High-profile demolition of illegal structure
  • [07] Papandreou's message for event on Pontian Greek genocide
  • [08] Minister unveils plan to complete Athens archaeological unification
  • [09] KKE's Papariga addresses AUTH students
  • [10] KKE leader at event against drugs
  • [11] Gov't: PAME actions causing loss of revenue, jobs
  • [12] Holy Synod discusses cremation issue
  • [13] Gov't unveils new draft development law
  • [14] Greek economy shrank 2.3 pct in Q1
  • [15] Hellenic Telecoms says net profits down 75.5 pct in Q1
  • [16] Hellenic Telecoms to delist from NYSE
  • [17] Industrial import price index up 9.6 pct in March
  • [18] Farmers accused of false statements referred to prosecutor
  • [19] GSEE, ADEDY unions hold protest rally in Athens
  • [20] Unions call general strike for May 20
  • [21] Stocks end 0.82% higher
  • [22] Greek bond market closing report
  • [23] ADEX closing report
  • [24] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday
  • [25] Grass-draped and solar buses at 1st Thessaloniki 'Future City' Innovation Festival
  • [26] Convicted satanist cult killer involved in sexual harassment of minors by phone from prison
  • [27] Greek-owned cargo ship seized by pirates in Gulf of Aden
  • [28] Body found in garbage receptacle in Kallithea
  • [29] Super League playoff results
  • [30] Fair on Thursday
  • [31] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM sees resurgence in investor interest

    The activation of the European support mechanism for Greece has led to a resurgence of interest by investors, Prime Minister George Papandreou told members of his cabinet during an informal meeting held on Wednesday to discuss ways to boost economic growth.

    Papandreou stressed that this interest had been expressed mainly after the rescue package for Greece was approved, showing that this had created a sense of security and stability for investors, who considered Greece protected by the support of the European loan mechanism.

    Regarding ways to revive growth, the prime minister stressed that developmental legislation was not a panacea but only part of an overall effort that must strive to create a viable and competitive model for growth.

    He stressed that Greece must take advantage of the present opportunity in two ways: firstly by facilitating enterprise and abolishing all bureaucratic obstacles, such as those required in order to found or operate a business; and secondly, by creating conditions that will help the country, inviting the kind of investment that will give another type of developmental prospect and another growth model.

    The prime minister repeated that social justice was among the priorities of the government, which would take all possible action to support the weaker sections of society. He stressed that the PASOK government was part of the solution and not part of the problem that offended the electorate's sense of justice, though it still had to prove this.

    The Greek people can daily see that there is justice and that this takes tangible form in anything related to cases of corruption, he added.

    Papandreou stressed that the government was making changes to a political system that was currently held in thrall by interests that were often extremely powerful. He emphasised the need to strengthen the political system, separate the powers, have an efficient government, transparency, systematic function of independent authorities along with protection of citizens and their rights.

    Among such changes he listed the 'Kallikratis' plan for local government reform, whose progress was outlined by Interior Minister Yiannis Ragoussis.

    The prime minister underlined that the support mechanism decided on by European leaders was a success for Greece, which would now have the time and space to carry out its programme while shielded from the worst excesses of the markets.

    He also highlighted that the decision made by the European Union had been delayed but was actually very fast compared with similar decisions in the past. He noted that the mechanism created was temporary and would apply for three years but that foundations had been laid for more serious changes to EU institutions relating to the economic coordination of the Eurozone.

    The Greek premier said his government and himself personally as president of the Socialist International would continue to strive for ways to control markets and tackle speculators, stressing that these were vital issues for the global economy.

    According to Papandreou, the majority of the electorate accepted the austerity measures taken by the government, even if they were unpleasant, but only on condition that the government succeeded in other areas. He emphasised the need for the stability programme to succeed, and to continue and make deeper changes capable of generating savings.

    Among the difficulties, he cited the way the public sector worked as a whole, stressing the need to find ways to save money and strike at waste and graft.

    [02] Gov't on Erdogan visit to Greece

    Government spokesman George Petalotis stressed on Wednesday that the country's foreign policy is well-defined and "with clear-cut positions," adding that visits are being exchanged when necessary, referring to this week's visit by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Athens.

    "The visit will be held based on a specific framework and there is no question of misinterpretation as far as our positions are concerned; neither in Greek-Turkish relations nor in any other aspect of our international relations," he said.

    "It would be a mistake and our national interests will be hurt if we choose to avoid (meetings) because we have economic problems," Petalotis underlined, adding that "the government is implementing an aggressive policy and defends the country's rights at all levels and fora."

    On whether a discussion will be held on the joint exploitation of oil deposits that "certain ones" believe that exist in south Aegean, Petalotis stated that the framework of the discussions that will be held and the agreements that will be signed will be made public.

    "In theory, armaments reduction is a very positive doctrine for both sides," Petalotis said, responding to a press question on whether the government is open to a discussion on defence cuts.

    "Turkey should proceed with certain actions before we can speak about armaments' reductions," he said.

    [03] Droutsas: Erdogan visit the start of new effort for closer Greek-Turkish ties

    VIENNA (ANA-MPA - D. Dimitrakoudis)

    Greece's Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas on Wednesday hailed an upcoming visit to Greece by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as the start of a new effort for closer relations between Greece and Turkey.

    "It is a new effort, the start of this effort, which is happening with very careful steps, with very good preparation for a step-by-step approach," Droutsas said in Vienna, where he was attending an international seminar on the European prospects of the western Balkans.

    He appeared confident that the Turkish premier's visit, which he said had been "carefully and intensively prepared", would help in this direction.

    [04] Alternate FM interview to Austrian radio

    VIENNA (ANA-MPA / D. Dimitrakoudis)

    Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, who served as the main speaker at an international seminar here on the subject of Europe's perspective of the Western Balkans, emphasised on Wednesday that he is certain Greek citizens will also show the necessary realism and work together for country's future.

    Droutsas added that the Greek government showed from the start that it faces, with absolute seriousness, the debt crisis challenge and its consequences, whereas polls show that Greece's public opinion continues to back the government and PM George Papandreou.

    His comments came during an interview with the Austrian public radio.

    [05] 'Fantasia' demolition a first step to freeing access to Attica beaches, gov't says

    The prime minister's decision to be present at the demolition of an unauthorised nightclub on an Athens beach was "directly related to our thinking on open beaches," government spokesman George Petalotis commented on Wednesday.

    Earlier, Prime Minister George Papandreou and Environment Minister Tina Birbili had both been present at the much-publicised demolition of the former Greek nightclub 'Fantasia' on the Agios Kosmas beach, which had been unused for roughly a year.

    The spokesman stressed that Wednesday's demolition had "knocked down all the obstacles that prevented citizens of Attica from having access to a beach very close to their home" and stressed that this was only the start, with Birbili planning to immediately "liberate" some 2000 kilometres of coastline in the same way.

    Petalotis said that giving citizens free access to beaches was linked with protecting the rights of the less powerful citizens. He clarified that where beaches were leased for private exploitation and money paid to the state for this right, they had a different status. The spokesman stressed, however, that the government will no longer tolerate any hotel or entertainment venue closing access to the beach for private use.

    He also announced plans to locate undeclared swimming pools through the use of satellites in order to also pick up those evading taxes, since swimming pools were now considered income indicators for tax purposes.

    Commenting on Wednesday's demolition, Birbili said the immediate aim was to open access to three beaches approximately 2km in length that were very near to Athens, which would be free for the use of families without any payment in 15 days time.

    Providing access to the beachfront will be carried out in two stages, beginning with the stretch between Fantasia to Akrotiri and then from Akrotiri to Ippokambos. The work will include the removal of all obstacles currently blocking access, including railings, barbed wire and concrete barriers that extend across the beach and enter the sea.

    "We hope to continue with a very large section that is in Glyfada," the minister said, noting that Wednesday's initiative implemented the premier's pre-election pledge to give local residents access to the beaches.

    [06] High-profile demolition of illegal structure

    Prime Minister George Papandreou was present on Wednesday morning at the demolition of an illegal structure on the southeastern Athens coast of Alimos, a structure that housed a well-known summer nightclub.

    Papandreou and Environment Tina Birbili were on the spot as bulldozers razed the "Fantasia" nightclub, judged as a highly symbolic gesture in the campaigm to demolish whatever illegal structures and illicit business blocking access to Athens' closest beaches.

    [07] Papandreou's message for event on Pontian Greek genocide

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - D. Riba)

    Preserving the memory of past events so as not to repeat the same mistakes in the future was "an obligation and duty of countries and their leaderships toward humanity today," Prime Minister George Papandreou stressed in a message read out in the European Parliament on Wednesday.

    The Greek premier's message was prepared for an event held in the European Parliament for the first time ever on "Human Rights in Turkey and Recognition of the Genocide of Pontian Greeks in 1915-1923", which was organised by Pontian Greek societies in Greece and abroad.

    "The Pontian Greek genocide was a black page not just for Greeks but for all humanity. How ever many years go by, we all have an obligation to preserve our historic memory by honouring the Pontian Greeks, honouring our ancestors that were unjustly lost and also those that were forced to uproot themselves," he said.

    In his message, Papandreou noted that the Pontian Greeks and their history were a very significant part of Greek history, who had contributed greatly to Greece's economic and social developments and in preserving the cultural heritage of Greeks.

    "Reconciliation and peaceful coexistence of people are necessary conditions for ensuring the peace, stability and prosperity that is our minimum obligation to the generations to come," the prime minister added.

    Messages to the seminar were also sent by the heads of New Democracy Antonis Samaras, the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party George Karatzaferis and Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party leader Alexis Tsipras.

    During a press conference held at the European Parliament, the Pontian Greek organisations asked that the European Parliament establish May 19 as a day for commemorating the victims of the genocide and stressed that the supported Turkey's European prospects and did not wish to stir up old passions and enmities, only that Turkey "be reconciled with its historic past".

    This request received the full backing of Greek MEPs from the PASOK, ND and the Ecologists-Greens parties.

    [08] Minister unveils plan to complete Athens archaeological unification

    Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili on Wednesday unveiled plans to complete the 'Archaeological Unification Project' and create a 'walk' linking all the major archaeological sites of Athens through improvements to Vassilisis Olgas Avenue, annoucing a tender to choose the project contractor within 2010.

    Speaking during a press conference, she said that this will be combined with an aesthetic and functional reclamation of the Platia Theatrou and Gerani areas, which she described as "exceptionally run down, both on a residential level and in terms of business activity".

    Birbili said the project called for the linking of Zappion and the National Park with the temple of Olympian Zeus site and the completion of a 4km archaeological walk of the city that will begin at the Panathenian or 'Kallimarmaron' stadium to Kerameikos Square in Gazi.

    The budget for the project has been tentatively set at four million euros and will receive funding from the Regional Urban Programme of Attica.

    Among the ministry's plans is to hold an architectural competition for ideas on improving the Platia Theatrou area and convert surrounding roads into pedestrianised areas with more greenspace, bioclimatic features etc.

    For Gerani there are plans for a programme called "Gerani, open area" to be begun in 2010, which will collaborate with local organisations and bodies to identify the problems of the area.

    The results of the programme and the ideas submitted in the architectural competition will help form the final proposal and the tender for the project held within 2010.

    [09] KKE's Papariga addresses AUTH students

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga addressing an event organized by the party's youth movement KNE at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) Polytechnic School amphitheater on Wednesday predicted that "more austerity measures and packages will be imposed on low income earners."

    Speaking in view of the upcoming student elections, Papariga stated that she is expecting "conspiracies" targeting the people's movement.

    She did not rule out regional conflicts or wars as a result of the economic crisis citing the 1929 crisis but, at the same time, she clarified that she is not expecting a new world war.

    Referring to the imminent visit to Athens by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the KKE general secretary expressed concern over the likelihood of an agreement that would legitimise Turkey's claims of so-called "gray zones" in the Aegean Sea.

    [10] KKE leader at event against drugs

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, speaking on Wednesday during an event of the party's central committee against drugs, stated that "in the period of the capitalist crisis that we are going through, it is certain that there will also be an expansion of the phenomenon of drug addiction."

    Referring to the programme on emerging from the crisis, Papariga said it "annuls achievements" and termed "the younger generation as being the target of the programme" that, as she claimed, "has a considerable distance timewise from the great struggles of our people."

    [11] Gov't: PAME actions causing loss of revenue, jobs

    The government spokesman on Wednesday directly criticised the Communist Party-affiliated PAME labour grouping, emphasising that "at some point we must all assume our responsibilities, and because all of these PAME actions are done in the name of a so-called protection of workers, all me to tell you that the exact opposite is achieved."

    Spokesman George Petalotis said a looming decrease in tourism arrival does not only mean a decrease in businesses' turnover, but also in reduced jobs. Along those lines, he said several thousand bookings were cancelled over the recent period by foreign tour offices.

    [12] Holy Synod discusses cremation issue

    The issue of the cremation of the deceased was discussed by the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece on Wednesday, with the Church hierarchy standing by an earlier decision, according to which it recognises burial as the only canonical way of decomposition for the bodies of Orthodox faithful.

    Conversely, the Church of Greece said it has no objection to the cremation option for people of other faiths.

    Financial News

    [13] Gov't unveils new draft development law

    Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Louka Katseli unveiled the basic principles of a new development law, expected to be completed and tabled to Parliament by the end of June, during a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

    The strategic target of the new law is to boost competitiveness, technological upgrades, employment and regional convergence via dynamic and sustainable economy, and spearheaded by so-called "green development".

    The new development law introduces new evaluation criteria to support business and investment activity.

    The new law also envisions four incentive zones, with support rates ranging from 15 pct to 40 pct.

    The main forms of state support forms are: capital subsidies, tax exemptions, interest subsidy for loans with a maturity up to 10 years, subsidising lease contracts for machinery up to seven years. These support actions will cover all small-to-medium-sized enterprises, while for larger enterprises and large investment plans (more than 50 million euros) tax cuts will be offered.

    The new development law also envisages simplified, faster and transparent procedures for evaluating and approving investment plans, along with the monitoring of investment plans after their completion.

    The minister said a total of 13,486 investment plan applications were made under the previous development law, with 7,100 plans approved, budgeted at 14 billion euros, of which 5.8 billion euros were state support. The investment plans envisaged more than 32,700 new job positions.

    Katseli said from the 7,100 plans approved, 1,451 project have been completed, or 20.4 pct of the total, budgeted at 2.1 billion euros.

    State handouts for investment plans in the January-April period totaled 440 million euros, with another 700 million euros expected to be given to enterprises by the end of the year.

    [14] Greek economy shrank 2.3 pct in Q1

    The Greek economy shrank by 2.3 pct in the first quarter of 2010, compared with the corresponding period last year, the Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Wednesday.

    The statistics service said the country's Gross Domestic Product remained on negative growth rates, after shrinking 2.0 pct in 2009. The statistics service attributed this development to lower investments and a significant decline in public consumption, despite an improvement in the country's trade balance. The government expects the economy to shrink by 4.0 pct this year.

    The Greek economy shrank 0.8 pct in the first quarter compared with the fourth quarter of 2009, Eurostat said on Wednesday. In a report, published in Brussels, the EU executive's statistics agency said GDP in the Eurozone and the EU-27 grew 0.2 pct in the January-March period, on a quarterly basis, while GDP grew 0.5 pct in the Eurozone and 0.3 pct in the EU-27 on a year-to-year basis.

    [15] Hellenic Telecoms says net profits down 75.5 pct in Q1

    Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) on Wednes-day reported a 75.5 pct drop in its first quarter net profits to 65.8 million euros from 268.5 million euros in the corresponding period last year. Turnover fell 3.1 pct to 1.409 billion euros in the January-March period, from 1.454 billion euros in 2009, while EBITDA fell 34.5 pct to 478.7 million euros from 731.1 million euros over the same period, respectively.

    Panagis Vourloumis, the Group's chairman and chief executive, commenting on the results said: "Despite negative economic conditions in Greece and a harsh environment in other countries, OTE showed resistance during the first three months of the year, containing revenue losses to the lowest level in the last five quarters".

    OTE also announced its intention to delist from the New York Stock Exchange. A board meeting on Tuesday said delisting procedures were expected to be completed in the second half of 2010. OTE said this decision was taken as part of efforts to cut operating costs, reducing complexity of financial reports and concentrating trading of its shares in the Athens Stock Exchange.

    OTE said negative effects on consumption from austere measures to support the economy, intense competition in the telecommunications market and difficult conditions prevailing in all markets, were expected to affect its revenue growth in the remaining of the year and said the board would actively adopt initiatives to cut revenue losses and operating costs.

    [16] Hellenic Telecoms to delist from NYSE

    A decision by the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) to delist from the New York Stock Exchange is following a similar move made by Deutsche Telekom and other European companies, not only from the telecommunications sector, analysts said on Wednesday.

    OTE listed its shares in the NYSE in 1998, when the drachma was still in circulation, while the number of shares trading in the market totaled only 1.5 pct of total shares. Delisting from NYSE does not end trading of OTE's shares in the over the counter market.

    OTE said it reached this decision aiming to cut operating cost, reducing complexity of financial reports and concentrating trading of its shares in the Athens Stock Exchange.

    [17] Industrial import price index up 9.6 pct in March

    Greece's import price index in the industrial sector rose 9.6 pct in March, compared with the same month last year, after a decline of 3.1 pct recorded in March 2009, the Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Wednesday.

    The statistics service, attributed this development to an 1.3 pct rise in the import price index from Eurozone countries and an 18.9 pct increase in the other countries' index.

    The import price index rose 1.5 pct in March from April, after a decline of 0.1 pct recorded in the same period last year.

    [18] Farmers accused of false statements referred to prosecutor

    The cases of 30 farmers from Viotia Prefecture, north of Athens, accused of submitting false certificates showing cotton cultivation on barren land, were conveyed to a prosecutor by the agriculture ministry on Wednesday.

    One of the 30 farmers in question was found to have 10 bank accounts, according to reports.

    An order has been issued demanding that they return any subsidies received based on the false statements submitted.

    [19] GSEE, ADEDY unions hold protest rally in Athens

    Workers, pensioners and young people held a protest rally in Klafthmonos Square in Athens and then marched to Parliament on Wednesday afternoon, responding to a call by the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and the Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY), that have called a new 24-hour nationwide strike on May 20 and a rally at the Pedio tou Areos Square in Athens at 11 in the morning on the same day.

    The strike action is directed against the "anti-labour and anti-social security reforms that the government is promoting without them providing social effectiveness and economic viability for the system," as the organisers stressed.

    Unionists condemned in their speeches the "unfair, one-sided and harsh measures that the government and the troika are imposing," demanding that they be withdrawn.

    They claimed that the social security system, an economic and developmental institution, is being handled exclusively as an economic problem of deficits and that the country is being led to the '60s with the drastic cutbacks in benefits.

    [20] Unions call general strike for May 20

    The civil servants' trade union ADEDY and the private sector union GSEE have called a 24-hour general strike on Thursday, May 20, in opposition to a government draft law on social security.

    GSEE President Yiannis Panagopoulos on Wednesday referred to a "socially unfair" social security system sponsored by the government, adding that opposition of the private and public sector will be expressed in the nationwide general strike.

    On Tuesday, May 5 the two trade unions will give a press conference to present their positions and demands.

    [21] Stocks end 0.82% higher

    Stocks ended 0.82 pct higher in volatile trading at the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday. The composite index of the market rose 0.82 pct to end at 1,749.59 points, with turnover remaining a low 150.339 million euros.

    The FTSE 20 index rose 0.73 pct, the FTSE 40 index eased 0.14 pct and the FTSE 80 index ended 0.47 pct higher. The Raw Materials (5.25 pct) and Utilities (3.15 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Telecommunications (1.99 pct) and Commerce (1.50 pct) suffered losses. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 93 to 67 with another 60 issues unchanged.

    Hellenic Sugar Industry (20 pct), Dionic (20 pct), Nafpaktos Spinn Mills (9.68 pct) were top gainers, while NEL (12.5 pct), Hellenic Fish Farming (11.11 pct) and Compucon (11.11 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +3.07%

    Industrials: +1.15%

    Commercial: -1.50%

    Construction: -1.16%

    Media: +0.91%

    Oil & Gas: +1.23%

    Personal & Household: -0.85%

    Raw Materials: +5.25%

    Travel & Leisure: +1.18

    Technology: +0.86%

    Telecoms: -1.99%

    Banks: +0.92%

    Food & Beverages: +0.61%

    Health: +0.35%

    Utilities: +3.15%

    Chemicals: +2.45%

    Financial Services: -0.98%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, Alpha Bank and DEH.

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

    Alpha Bank: 5.22

    ATEbank: 1.42

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 13.26

    HBC Coca Cola: 18.69

    Hellenic Petroleum: 8.00

    National Bank of Greece: 11.60

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 5.29

    Intralot: 3.18

    OPAP: 13.70

    OTE: 7.89

    Bank of Piraeus: 5.20

    Titan: 18.42

    [22] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary market improved slightly to 83 million euros, of which 48 million were sell orders and the remaining 35 million euros were buy orders. The three-year benchmark bond (March 20, 2015) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 17 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank to 441 basis points, with the Greek bond yielding 7.34 pct and the German Bund 2.93 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.22 pct, the six-month rate 0.95 pct, the three-month rate 0.64 pct and the one-month rate 0.40 pct.

    [23] ADEX closing report

    The June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -1.61 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover a low 65.801 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 12,560 contracts worth 53.275 million euros, with 24,895 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 14,089 contracts worth 12.526 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (6,314), followed by Eurobank (707), MIG (300), OTE (791), OPAP (564), Piraeus Bank (808), Alpha Bank (1,142), Mytilineos (310), Cyprus Bank (592) and ATEbank (257).

    [24] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.278

    Pound sterling 0.856

    Danish kroner 7.501

    Swedish kroner 9.654

    Japanese yen 119.0

    Swiss franc 1.417

    Norwegian kroner 7.848

    Canadian dollar 1.299

    Australian dollar 1.425

    General News

    [25] Grass-draped and solar buses at 1st Thessaloniki 'Future City' Innovation Festival

    Visitors to Thessaloniki this week were taken by surprise as a bus covered entirely in lawn grass took to the streets.

    The bus, covered in real gas, and a solar-powered bus are among the environmentally friendly ideas presented at the 1st Innovation Festival running at the Thessaloniki Exhibition Center through May 16.

    The Thessaloniki "Future City" Innovation Festival, organised by the Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce and Industry, hosts a wealth of entries from around the world, including the participation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

    The main event, on the theme augmented reality and titled "The future belongs to those who prepare it", will be held at the Vassiliko Theater foyer on Thursday evening, with the participation of MIT and international guests, who will present international practices and Greek innovations in digital and green development.

    An exhibition of innovative products and applications and an Idea Factory will also be on display from Thursday to Sunday (May 16) in the Port of Thessaloniki's Warehouse D, open from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

    A Thessaloniki urban bus draped completely in real grass, which showcases the festival, will be parked every day in a different part of the city. Visitors will be provided with informational material on environmental protection, alternative forms of energy, green development and other related topics.

    The bus also hosts a selection of exhibits, such as an award-winning, 100 percent environment-friendly wooden bicycle for children as well as model systems explaining how aeolic (wind) and solar energy work.

    The grass-bus aims to increase public awareness on environmental and energy conservation topics, according to Chamber president Dimitris Bakatselos, who adds that the Innovation Festival hopes to bring a note of optimism in this period of crisis.

    Besides, he stresses, "innovation can be the industry of the future for Thessaloniki".

    The Festival proper opens on Thursday with the presentation of awards to personalities who have excelled in the field of innovation during an evening ceremony at the Vassiliko Theater.

    [26] Convicted satanist cult killer involved in sexual harassment of minors by phone from prison

    Two inmates in Malandrinos prison, one of whom is serving two life sentences for two 1992 satanist cult killings that had shocked the country, were charged on Wednesday with sexually harassing 10-11 year old girls by telephone, according to police sources.

    The case was revealed in an investigation following complaints filed by the parents of two young sisters to the police electronic crimes squad.

    The parents told police that an unidentified man was calling their young daughters on the telephone, claiming to be a policeman, and sexually harassing them, asking them to engage in explicit acts on the pretext of conducting a DNA test on them over the telephone.

    An ensuing investigation revealed that the telephone calls were coming from a card-phone in Malandrinos prison, from the phone cards belonging to convicted cult killer Assimakis Katsoulas and another inmate, who was serving a sentence for attempted homicide and has been recently released.

    New case files have been opened against the two, and have been forwarded to the prosecutor's office.

    Assimakis Katsoulas, now 36, the leader of a 20-member satanic cult, was convicted and sentenced to prison in 1995 together with two other cult members for the ritual murders that shocked the country, including that of a 15-year-old girl.

    Katsoulas is serving out two life sentences plus 20 years for the ritual killings, which were uncovered shortly before Christmas 1994. His second-in-command Manos Dimitrokallis is also serving two life sentences plus 15 years, while Katsoulas' ex-girlfriend and cult member Dimitra Margeti was sentenced to 18 years and four months imprisonment as an accessory.

    The first victim, 15-year-old Dora Syropoulou, was murdered in August 1992 after the three allegedly drove her to a deserted area outside Athens where the two men raped and tortured her before killing her and then burning her body.

    Later that month, the three abducted and killed a 30-year-old hotel maid, Garyfallia Yiourga, while a third victim, 30-year-old Sultana Kriskian, was found dead around Easter 1993, and a medical examiner said she had been raped before her head was smashed with a stone.

    The three detainees told police after their arrest in 1993 that they had conducted animal and human sacrifices at deserted buildings on the outskirts of Athens over a period of three years

    The three defendants were found guilty in the cases of Yiourga and Syropoulou, while the charges in the case of Kriskian were dropped due to lack of sufficient evidence for a conviction.

    While on a 5-day leave from Malandrinos prison in 2005, Katsoulas had been again arrested on charges of attempted assault and rape of a young woman.

    [27] Greek-owned cargo ship seized by pirates in Gulf of Aden

    A Greek-owned cargo ship was seized by pirates in the Gulf of Aden early Wednesday off the coast of Somalia, the EU's naval force (EUNAVFOR) Somalia confirmed later in the day, noting it was the second ship hijacking in 24 hours, after the Bulgarian-flagged MV Panega was seized in the same area.

    The Liberian-flagged dry bulk carrier "Eleni P", carrying a cargo of iron from Ukraine to Kandla in India and a 26-member crew on board, was hijacked 250 nautical miles off the coast of Oman.

    The crew are reported to be safe, and EUNAVFOR is closely monitoring the situation.

    The Eleni P is owned by the Euroseas Ltd. subsidiary Eleni Shipping Ltd., and is managed by Euroseas affiliated company Eurobulk Ltd.

    [28] Body found in garbage receptacle in Kallithea

    The dismembered body of a man was found in a garbage receptacle in the Athens district of Kallithea on Tuesday night.

    According to police, the body was spotted in a trash bag in the receptacle by a local resident, who immediately alerted the police.

    Police said the body was of a man of approximately 25 years of age.

    Soccer

    [29] Super League playoff results

    PAOK Thessaloniki subdued Olympiacos Piraeus 1-0 away and Aris Thessaloniki drew 1-1 at home with AEK Athens on Wednesday on the fourth day of the Super League playoffs, leading to a position in the European Champions League qualifying rounds. PAOK has secured first place in the playoffs and will participate in the Champions League's third qualifying round.

    Standings:

    PAOK 13 points

    Olympiacos 7

    AEK 6

    Aris 4

    Weather Forecast

    [30] Fair on Thursday

    Fair weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday, with wind velocity reaching 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 11C and 33C. Fair in Athens, with southerly 4-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 16C to 31C. Slightly cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 15C to 29C.

    [31] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The first disbursement of 20 billion euros for Greece on Wednesday from the EU support mechanism, the rise in unemployment to 15 percent and additional austerity measures which the IMF foresees for Greece in the next two years, mostly dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Twenty one teachers and parents sent to court - Major scandal in private schools".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Reversals for 10 categories of insured - The great losers of the new social security system".

    AVGHI: "IMF: Dark decade - IMF predicts skyrocketing of unemployment and state debt until 2020 and reveals that new consumer taxes and taxes for professionals are on the way".

    AVRIANI: "All politicians and their relatives' bank accounts will open as well as of those who participated in committees that handled SIEMENS and C4I contracts".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The secret agreement - IMF uncovers George (prime minister Papandreou)".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Outcry over the double 'bleeding' - Abolition of Christmas bonus shrinks the pensions".

    ESTIA: "Society seeking hope - Country's political leadership disappoints".

    ETHNOS: "The losers from the changes in pensions - Deluge of changes starting this year, which will be concluded after 2018".

    IMERISSIA: "Epidemic of measures in EU - Tax increases and curtailment of expenditures everywhere".

    KATHIMERINI: "IMF forecasts and fears - The nine difficult points".

    LOGOS: "Bad news for salaries in private sector - IMF preannounces additional measures".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "The country's operational model is bankrupt".

    NIKI: "Mass retirements in Armed Forces".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Purification and changes in urban system a political deception".

    TA NEA: "Financial Crime Squad shuts down 60 nightclubs".

    TO VIMA: "Tax Bureau will retroactively review loans taken for acquisition of first home".

    VRADYNI: "Main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras charges: IMF's medicine is poison".

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