|Monday, 18 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-12-06
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 6 December 2010 Issue No: 3662
 Six terror suspects formally chargedSix suspects were formally charged with three felonies -- participation in a terrorist group, aggravated arms possession and acquisition and possession of explosive materials -- on Sunday night, after coordinated operations in suspected terrorist hideouts in wider Athens and other parts of the country the previous day.
The six, who were led before public prosecutors under draconian security measures on Sunday, will appear before an examining magistrate where they are expected to ask for, and receive, an extension for their testimonies. According to sources, all six claimed that they have not been advised of the charge sheets against them and that their rights have not been observed.
Earlier, Greek Police (ELAS) chief Lefteris Economou announced that the six, including a woman, would be remanded on charges of participation in a terrorist organisation, Greek Police (ELAS) chief Lefteris Economou announced on Sunday, and also confirmed that police hastened the arrests of suspects who were under surveillance after evidence turned up that a terrorist hit was being planned.
According to the announcement, two people -- identified as Constantine Sakkas, 26 and Alexandros Mitrousias, 21 - were arrested on Saturday afternoon at a safehouse on Kessarias street in the Athens district of Nea Smyrni. A short while later, in simultaneous operations, 30-year-old George Karayiannidis was arrested at a safehouse on Pylis street in Piraeus and 31-year-old Christos Politis at a safehouse in Themistokleous street in the Athens district of Exarchia, 26-year-old woman Styliani Antoniou at a hideout on Platonos street in the Athens district of Kallithea, and 26-year-old Dimitrios Michail in Siteia, Crete.
Police said that Sakkas and Mitrousias, at the time of their arrest in Nea Smyrni, were carrying a knapsack in which police found and confiscated two Glock pistols, a Scorpion submachine gun, a second unidentified submachine gun, a handgrenade, ammunition of various sizes, two cell phones and a USB stick while Karayiannidis, who was arrested in Piraeus, had a forged police identity card on him.
Police searches of a warehouse on Kessarias street in Nea Smyrni, an apartment on Praxitelous street in Piraeus and an apartment on Platonos street in Kallithea, conducted in the presence of prosecutors, turned up three Kalashnikov rifles, a Scorpion submachine gun, five pistols, three handgrenades, a bulletproof vest, a large number of laptop and desktop computers, five kilos of the explosive ANFO, 200 grams of the explosive material TNT, three pairs of traffic signs -- one pair of which had been reported as stolen -- rifle magazines, wigs, full-face hoods, cell phones and a large number of bullets of various diameters, all of which were seized, Economou said.
He said that ballistics tests on the above weaponry did not identify the weapons with past terrorist actions, while testing was continuing for identification with other criminal actions, as well as on the other pieces of evidence seized.
Meanwhile, a search of another hideout in Agrinio, central Greece, revealed a Kalashnikov war rifle, another unidentified war rifle, a Zastava revolver, a bulletproof vest, rifle magazines and bullets of various diameters, a small quantity of cannabis, a female wig, two motorcycle helmets and a cell phone, while in the same vicinity police found and seized a NISSAN car that had been reported stolen in December in Agrinio. The car was found covered with a car hood that had been purchased by one of the arrestees from a shop in Athens on November 29.
Economou noted that there are outstanding arrest warrants against Mitrousias and Karayiannidis on charges of terrorist actions, causing an explosion, acquisition, construction and possession of explosive materials and of setting up and participation in the terror group "Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire". Also, Politis had been summoned before an examining magistrate on December 2 in connection a May 22 arson attack behind the Athens Appeals Court and had been released with restrictive conditions. The attack had been claimed by the organisation "Christos Tsoutsouvis Commandos" in a proclamation.
Asked by reporters what the charges were for the other four arrestees -- apart from Mitrousias and Karayiannidis who were wanted in connection with the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire -- Economou said they were being remanded for participation in a terrorist organisation, clarifying that the relevant evidence will be contained in the charge sheet.
To another question, he confirmed that the arrest of the suspects under surveillance had been sped up due to evidence that a terrorist hit was being prepared.
The six arrestees were led before public prosecutors on Sunday afternoon under draconian security measures. The six were transported in six separate jeeps with a massive police escort.
Counter-terrorism police carried out a coordinated swoop on at least four terrorist hideouts in Athens, Piraeus and the periphery on Saturday evening, while ballistic tests on weaponry found in the Athens and Piraeus hideouts did not identify the arms with past terror attacks.
According to police, ballistics testing was continuing to ascertain link of the weaponry with other criminal acts.
Police officials said at noon Sunday that the ballistics tests have been completed on various weapons found inside a garage in the Athens district of Nea Smyrni, where two suspects were initially apprehended.
Suspicion has focused on the so-called "Revolutionaries' Sect" group, one of a handful of self-styled anti-state urban guerrilla cells that mostly operate in central Athens.
The two suspects, Mitrousias and Sakkas, were carrying a knapsack with weapons when arrested.
Besides the Nea Smyrni (Kessarias street) hideout, another apartment in the port city of Piraeus (Praxitelous street) also yielded a cache of weapons, including handguns and hand grenades.
A third residence in the western Greece city of Agrinio and a fourth hideout discovered later in the Athens district of Kallithea also turned up weapons and printed material.
Specifically, police said they have recovered, from the Athens and Piraeus hideouts, three sub-machineguns (Scorpions), seven automatic handguns (Glock, CZ, Baikal), three assault-style rifles (AK-47s), silencers, ammunition, four hand grenades and up to 50 kilos of ANFO-type explosives along with 200 grams of TNT.
Law enforcement speculation is focusing on whether the armed suspects were preparing a terrorist attack to coincide with the two-year anniversary (Dec. 6) of the shooting death of a teenager in downtown Athens by police, an incident that led to unprecedented urban rioting in the country, much of it fueled by youths linked to anarchist circles.
The apartment in Piraeus had been leased a year ago by two men claiming to be college students from Cyprus, with several months of rent paid in advance.
Police believe the hideouts belong to the Revolutionaries' Sect, which emerged after the riots sparked by the shooting death of 15-year-old pupil Alexis Grigoropoulos during incidents in the Exarchia district of central Athens on December 6, 2008. The group has claimed the killings of investigative journalist Socratis Giolias in July and a counter-terrorism police officer.
 Droutsas: Greek foreign policy is one of vision and realismGreece's foreign policy is one of vision but also realism, and not a policy of impressions, foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas stressed Saturday in an interview on state television.
Questioned on Greek-Turkish relations, Droutsas said that Ankara's stance has not changed, but stressed that it is in Greece's interest as well for Turkey's European course to proceed, adding that "we need to create a different perception in Europe on its (Turkey's) accession course so that Turkey will realise it is in its interests to become an EU member, and for it to proceed in the right direction".
On the issue of hydrocarbon exploration and to a question whether Turkey is averting Greece from carrying out explorations in the Aegean, Droutsas said that the Greek government has made all the necessary preparations for the establishment of an authoritative body that will carry out the explorations, beginning with the areas in which older exploration has indicated that "something is there". He named the areas as the Ionian and Western Greece, in accordance with a briefing by the environment, energy and climate change ministry which is handling those matters.
To a question on the developments in the EU, the euro and Germany's role, Droutsas emphasised the Greek government's efforts for stability of the euro, noting that prime minister George Papandreou had been the first leader in Europe to speak of the necessity of a permanent support mechanism. "Now, everyone has ascertained that this need exists, and the determination of the final positions is underway in view of the European Council (EU summit)" later in December, the foreign minister added.
On French president Nicolas Sarkozy's positions, Droutsas said that the Greek government has close cooperation with the French government, and that Sarkozy personally has a close cooperation with Papandreou.
 Streamlining of public sectorThe number of civil servants in Greece will have been reduced by 200,000 by the end of the government's 4-year term in office, interior minister Yiannis Ragoussis said in a newspaper interview appearing on Sunday, while salaries at ministries, where "scandalous benefits" continue to exist, will also be trimmed down.
In an interview with the Sunday newspaper To Vima, Ragoussis spoke of mismanagement of the human potential in the public sector for decades, which he said has evolved into a mentality that is destructive to the public interest.
It was only a matter of time for such a public sector to go bankrupt, the minister said, and announced that a circular will be issued in the coming days asking for a list of staff shortages as well as one of capable employees whose abilities are not being taken advantage of in the services in which they are employed.
Ragoussis stressed that there will be no dismissals of tenured civil servants, explaining that the reduction in staff numbers will result from the freeze on hiring and the ratio of "one hiring per five retirements", the reduction in the number of contract employees after the expiry of their contracts, termination of the STAGE program, and the reduced needs in the local and regional governments resulting from the 'Kallikratis' public administration reform program.
 Spokesman denies reports of Interior Ministry relocationGovernment spokesman George Petalotis on Saturday denied press reports that the Interior, Decentralisation and e-Governance ministry is to be relocated.
Responding to a press question, Petalotis said that the relevant newspaper reports do not correspond to reality, noting that such a move has never been considered.
What is true, he added, is that the general secretariat to the prime minister's office, which is currently being set up and will contain all the supportive services to the premier's office, will be relocated to the Interior Ministry building.
 Tsipras: Radical change or collapse for EUThe European Union will either change radically or it will collapse, Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) leader Alexis Tsipras warned in a newspaper interview appearing Sunday, adding that Greece needs a long-term viability plan summarised in four key points: renegotiation of the country's debt at Europe level, redistribution of wealth, growth, and employment.
According to Tsipras, the course being followed by the prevalent political and economic establishment is leading the eurozone full speed to collapse and prospectively to the break-up of the European Union, at last as it has existed to today.
The critical question for the euro, but also the EU, is whether it will change radically or whether it will collapse, Tsipras said, adding: If the latter occurs, namely, collapse, which would mean simultaneous social disaster and bankruptcy, it will be of little significance with which currency it will be managed.
Consequently, of crucial importance is averting collapse and fighting instead for change, he said.
 Democratic Alliance's Administrative Committee meetsDora Bakoyannis, addressing Sunday the first session of the Democratic Alliance party's Administrative Committee, stressed that "the Democratic Alliance will have no problem in agreeing with whoever has proposals in the direction of sweeping changes and reforms" in the country.
The party leader kept an equal distance from the ruling PASOK party and the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party and pointed out that in the Democratic Alliance there is no agenda and that the party's strength are its ideas and proposals.
 Greece sends more reinforcements to IsraelGreece on Saturday evening sent a second dispatch of assistance to Israel to tackle a massive wildfire in Haifa that has claimed at least 42 lives.
A C-130 military helicopter departed from the Elefsina military airport carrying a team of 36 firefighters and equipment to help contain the blaze.
On Thursday, Greece dispatched five Canadair fire-fighting aircraft to Israel after a telephone call between Papandreou and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier in the day.
Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman later called Greek foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas to thank Greece, on behalf of the Israeli government, for its immeidate response to Israel's request for help in putting out the massive forest fire near Haifa, while he also praised the efficiency of the Greek forces.
 Greece sends rescuers, supplies to flood-stricken AlbaniaGreece on Saturday despatched two helicopters carrying rescuers and supplies to flood-stricket Albania.
A foreign ministry announcement said that a Super Puma all-weather helicopter carrying two crews totalling 11 people and a Chinook helicopter with another 3-member crew of rescuers were despatched after a telephone call between foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas with Albanian counterpart Edmond Haxhinasto.
The Albanian official informed Droutsas that the Albanian authorities wished to take Greece up on its offer of assistance.
Droutsas had informed the Albanian authorities earlier that Greece was prepared to immediately send assistance to the flood-stricken areas.
The aid crews will carry out search and rescue operations while supplies will be sent to areas that have been cut off by extensive flooding in recent days.
 Air Force plane carrying humanitarian aid to Montenegro, TiranaAccording to the Air Force General Staff, an Air Force C 130 aircraft took off from Elefsina at 20:57, on Sunday, carrying humanitarian aid to Montenegro and Tirana.
 FinMin: Return to growth in 2012Finance minister George Papaconstantinou predicted that Greece will return to positive growth rates in 2012, in a newspaper interview appearing on Sunday.
"The changes we are making today in the state will produce visible results of better services to the citizens in the next 2-3 years," he said in an interview with the Sunday newspaper To Vima.
"The return to positive growth rates as of 2012 will have a tangible effect in the market and on job positions," the minister added.
Papaconstantinou further noted the seven structural changes planned over the coming quarter which, he said, will change the structure and operation of the economy.
Those changes, namely the opening of closed-shop professions, deregulation of services, simplification of licensing procedures for setting up businesses, abolition of obstacles to investments, new labor relations, denationalisation and restructuring of the DEKO (public utilities and organisations) and liberalisation of the energy market, "will shakeups and upsets in the sectors that need to change, but, chiefly, will result in new opportunities".
Papaconstantinou stressed that the country has no margins to delay, in the coming quarter or in any other quarter, as this would put the financing at risk and is also the demand of the social whole.
"The long-term effort needed for our country to become what it deserves to be, to take advantage of all its prospects,, and to rid our lives of those structures that are holding us back, does not mean long-term recession and lack of a prospect," he added.
 Central bank chief: Collective effort for economyA collective effort for restructuring of the economy is necessary if Greece is to remain a modern and prosperous country, Bank of Greece (BoG) governor George Provopoulos said in a newspaper interview appearing on Sunday.
"If we want Greece to remain a modern, prospering country, we have only one choice: acceptance of and active participation in a collective effort for the restructuring of the economy," Provopoulos stressed in an interview with the Sunday edition of Kathimerini newspaper, adding that immediate, sweeping changes in the public sector "are a one-way street".
The central bank chief called the Economic Policy Program being applied since May "a historic opportunity for the country", if applied in all the areas it covers, "with persistence, consistency and determination", adding that "phenomena of hesitance, timidity or administrative unpreparedness, wherever met, must be dealt with immediately".
Provopoulos reiterated that restructuring of the Greek debt is neither necessary, nor desired, nor likely, while the only open prospect is that of extending the repayment period for Greece's 110 billion EU-IMF loan.
He further said that Greece's return to the markets is feasibly by the end of 2011, provided the fiscal and structural targets are met and clear indications are given that the economy is on the threshold of recovery.
 Minister of State on structural problemsNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
Haris Pamboukis, Greek Minister of State responsible for the planning of strategic investments policy, told the ANA-MPA that "the Americans are ascertaining that the Greek government is determined to tackle the structural problems and to turn our country into a pro-investments one."
Pamboukis, who participated in the 12th Annual Investors Forum of the Capital Link company here, had a series of contacts with economic officials and visited Wall Street where he discussed issues of his competence with officials of the New York Stock Exchange.
Referring to the cooperation memorandum which Greece signed with Qatar, he stressed that "careful steps" are being taken. On prospects of investments being made by wealthy expatriates, Pamboukis said "there is no category of Greek American investors, but of investors," underlining that they can choose whether they wish to become "benefactors or investors."
Speaking about the present situation, he said that "Greece will emerge from the crisis, it will forge ahead, when our people believe in their strength and when we realise that in principle we are alone, the problems are ours and to the extent possible we will solve them by ourselves."
 GSEE: Crisis in presidiium following high-level resignationsThe secretary general and alternate president of the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) resigned from their posts on Saturday during a tension-filled meeting of the umbrella trade federation's presidium, in protest over handling and choices by GSEE president Yiannis Panagopoulos.
A furor erupted earlier in the week over reports that Panagopoulos was present at a meeting on Wednesday between the Federation of Hellenic Enterprises (SEB) presidium and the so-called "social partners" on labor relations.
SEB president Dimitris Daskalopoulos said on Thursday that the GSEE leadership had indeed been present at Wednesday's meeting with the social partners, and that negotiations with GSEE representatives lasted for six hours.
Earlier Panagopoulos had denied reports of an agreement between GSEE and employers for a reduction in private sector wages, calling reports "fabricated" and an "orchestrated vileness that serves the interests of employers' circles", while he also reiterated GSEE's demand for collective labour agreements and their universal application and extension.
On his part, Daskalopoulos said that while no agreement reached, a discussion with social partners was held regarding an agreement that will consolidate the flexibility and validity of collective work contracts. He also downgraded the proposals concerning a 6-day work week and overtime work contained in a list of 250 impediments to entrepreneurship released by SEB.
During a heated meeting on Saturday, GSEE secretary general V. Bouzoulas and alternate president George Gavrilis resigned in disagreement with Panagopoulos' management and choices.
Bouzoulas accused Panagopoulos of secretly negotiating with SEB without the knowledge of the federation's presidium.
Bouzoulas and Gavrilis clarified, however, that they will not resign from the other GSEE bodies, and called for the convening of an electoral congress, which was rejected by Panagopoulos, who said that the GSEE board was recently elected with a wide majority.
 New drilling at Prinos oil fieldEnvironment, energy and climate change deputy minister Yiannis Maniatis on Saturday inaugurated a new drilling at the Prinos oil field in Kavala bay aimed at increasing production from the deposit.
Maniatis said that a bill on setting up a national agency for hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation will soon be put to public deliberation, with the purpose of attracting investments in relevant research as was the case in all the neighboring countries.
The deputy minister said that exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons is a matter of high priority for the government.
The drilling is part of a 40 million dollar investment project by operator Energean that will increase production from the Prinos field to 5,000 barrels a day.
A total of one million barrels have been produced from the Prinos field this year, while the target for 2011 is to increase production by 50 percent, to 1.5 million barrels.
 Foreign Exchange rates - MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.335
Pound sterling 0.854
Danish kroner 7.512
Swedish kroner 9.199
Japanese yen 111.75
Swiss franc 1.324
Norwegian kroner 8.069
Canadian dollar 1.337
Australian dollar 1.361
 Traffic restrictions in central Athens on MondayExtraordinary traffic steps were announced by Athens police, effectively closing off the city center to cars, that will be in effect 10:00 a.m. Monday to 7:00 a.m. Tuesday due to planned events marking the 2nd anniversary of the shooting death of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos by a police bullet on December 6, 2008 that sparked unprecedented urban rioting in the country.
Central Athens will be closed to traffic from 10am Monday to 7am Tuesday while stopping and parking cars will be prohibited from 6am Monday to 7am Tuesday, police announced.
The traffic prohibitions affect the entire length of Alexandras Avenue in both directions and its sidestreets, as well as Stadiou, Academias, Vassilissis Olgas, Panepistimiou, Amalias, Filellinon, Sygrou, Patission, Pireos, Vassilissis Sophias, Rigillis, Ypsilantou, Kokkali, Marni, Stournari, Bouboulinas, and 3 Septemvriou streets and their sidestreets.
The restrictions also apply to Omonia, Syntagma, Kotzia and Kannigos Squares and their side-streets.
Drivers are asked to avoid the wider city center.
Public transport routes will also be subject to change in conjunction with the events.
 President attends celebrations of Lamia's patron saint VarvaraPresident of the Republic visited Lamia on Saturday to attend celebrations marking the feast day of the city's patron Saint Varvara (Barbara).
Papoulias visited the Dyo Vouna (two mountains) village, where he had a brief discussion with the local ELMIN mineworkers, after which he called for "absolute respect of the environment", which is "what we must pass on to the following generations".
The President further stressed that "united, we are waging the battle to overcome the problems".
Papoulias attended a doxology in the small church of Aghia Varvara, which was built by the miners and is located near the entrance to the local bauxite mine.
 Eleven arrests in student dormitory occupied in ThessalonikiEleven young people linked to the double attack that occurred at dawn on Saturday on premises of the Aristotelio Univerrsity in Thessaloniki were arrested, following an operation in an occupied location in the University's second student dormitory in the region of 40 Ekklisies in Thessaloniki.
They are eight men and three women, aged between 19 and 27, including a foreign national, who are affiliated ideologically to the so-called anti-establishment and anarchist sector. Files of proceedings have been prepared against them for, among other things, the offences of a "criminal organisation", "robbery" and the "violation of the law regarding weapons."
According to an announcement made at a press conference by Thessaloniki Security director Athinagoras Pazarlis, two students and a pupil are among those arrested, while one of the defendants had been released from prison recently, having served a sentence for robberies in Thessaloniki.
 Vessels collide in LavrioMaterial damage was caused to the Saint Vincent-flag yacht "Amnesia" moored at the port of Lavrio, eastern Attica, on Sunday, when the tugboat "Egeas" collided with it due to mechanical failure. No injury or sea pollution occured as a result of the accident.
The Lavrio Central Port Authority, that is conducting a preliminary inquiry, has banned the sailing of the vessels involved until seaworthiness certificates are produced.
 Captain dies on freighterThe causes of the death of a 60-year-old captain on the Moldova-flag freighter "CARINA I", as it was sailing in the sea region near the port of Kalymnos en route to Syria, remain unknown. A harbour corps vessel and a tugboat reached the ship immediately.
When the ship arrived at the port of Kalymnos, the 60-year-old was taken in an ambulance to the island's general hospital, where his death was ascertained.
 Super League resultsPanathinaikos Athens beat Panseraikos Serres 2-0 at home in games played for the Super League over the weekend, while Olympiacos Piraeus subdued Kavala 1-0 away and AEK Athens drew 1-1 away with Atromitos Athens.
In other action
Iraklis Thessaloniki-Ergotelis Crete 1-1
Panionios Athens-Kerkyra 0-1
Xanthi-Olympiacos Volos 1-0
Aris Thessaloniki-Asteras Tripoli 1-0
Larissa-PAOK Thessaloniki 1-2
Standings after 13 weeks of play:
1. Panathinaikos 30 points
2. Olympiacos P. 30
3. AEK 20
4. PAOK 20
5. Kavala 19
6. Aris 19
7. Xanthi 17
8. Olympiacos V. 16
9. Iraklis 16
10. Kerkyra 16
11. Atromitos 15
12. Asteras 14
13. Panseraikos 14
14. Ergotelis 14
15. Panionios 13
16. Larissa 11
 Cloudy on MondayCloudy weather and variable winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Monday, with wind velocity reaching 2-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 0C and 19C. Cloudy in Athens, with variable 2-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 6C to 18C. Fair in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 5C to 14C.
 Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glanceThe corrective changes planned by the government, the economy, and anticipated reactions to planned higher education reforms were the main front-page items in Sunday's newspapers.
APOCALYPSEIS: "400 million euros looting in hospitals - Parliamentary fact-finding commission must be set up into the Colpo Grosso in health".
AVGHI: "They're cutting two salaries in the private sector - Layoffs to reach 850,000 in 2010".
AVRIANI: "They caught the Revolutionaries' Sect red-handed - The group's arms cache and operational branch in the hands of the police".
CHORA: "15 years in the dark - Unemployment, hunger, immigration".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Secret agreement between government, employers".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Burning front in education".
EPOCHI: "The Visitors in Black - Strauss-Kahn and Rehn political backing for Papandreou".
ETHNOS: "Troika blocks Katselis' agreement with social partners".
KATHIMERINI: "The four points of the consensus plan".
LOGOS: "Downhill in bank profits".
NIKI: "How to avoid the Tax Bureau's vise".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Government, employers, GSEE (General Confederation of Workers of Greece) plunging working people into poverty".
TO VIMA: "Reduction of salaries, or else layoffs..."
VRADYNI: "Survival guide: 10 ways to avert bankruptcy".
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