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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-01-17

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

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

Monday, 17 January 2011 Issue No: 3696

CONTENTS

  • [01] FinMin newspaper interview
  • [02] Samaras: Government's econ policy 'killing growth'
  • [03] Pangalos: Measures, taxation, need to be more development-oriented
  • [04] Greek-Turkish regional economic forum in Komotini
  • [05] Police: Arrests averted series of terrorist attacks
  • [06] German authorities: Arrested woman not linked with RAF fugitive
  • [07] Opinion polls on Evros fence, econ measures
  • [08] UN chief on FYROM name talks, Cyprus negotiations
  • [09] Illegal landfills dominate meeting with EU Commissioner
  • [10] Embassy in contact with Greeks in Tunisia
  • [11] Chryssohoidis: New growth model needed
  • [12] Italy-bound vessel loaded with illegal migrants sinks; 22 missing
  • [13] Clashes between anti-racism, anti-migrant demonstrators
  • [14] Bus, trolley, train stoppages this week
  • [15] Rare coins of antiquity on display at Hellenic Cosmos
  • [16] Antiquities arrest
  • [17] Arson attacks
  • [18] Slight earth tremor in Thessaloniki region
  • [19] League leaders win
  • [20] Athens Newspaper Headlines Politics

  • [01] FinMin newspaper interview

    The solutions put forward, such as the euro-bond, help but do not aim at postponement of today's difficult decisions, finance minister George Papacon-stantinou stressed in a newspaper interview appearing on Sunday, adding that the fundamental rule for achieving fiscal adjustment in Greece is succeeding with the deep and tough changes and radical reforms in the state in the next three years.

    On objections to the issue of a euro-bond, Papaconstantinou observed in his interview appearing in the Sunday edition of Kathimerini newspaper that the voices openly in favor, or at least of examining the matter, have increased, compared with the few voices just a few months ago.

    Regarding Monday's eurogroup meeting and the prospect of a decision being taken for extending the repayment period for Greece 110 billion euro EU/IMF support loan, the minister explained that this will require procedures that cannot be completed, nor even decided, in just one day.

    He said that the eurogroup's announcement -- practically, the political decision -- for the commencement of those procedures has been made. Consequently, when the European Commission and the eurozone member countries are technically and politically ready, the official decision will proceed, which will also mean its immediate materialisation, the minister added.

    Regarding a decision by the European bodies for increasing the capital of the European mechanism and the purchase of state bonds, Papaconstantinou said that "what everyone acknowledges is that we cannot wait for perpetuation of this situation of tension and anticipation of decisions that, when finally made, are one step behind the developments", and expressed belief that the necessary decisions will be taken at this week's eurogroup session or at one of the upcoming EU summit meetings.

    The finance minister further denied press reports that Greece has proposed a "mild restructuring" of its debt and, commenting on negative forecasts by analysts and markets, he said that the forecasts are not "divine law" and explained that, in the real economy, the human decisions reverse the facts and conditions and can radically alter the prospects.

    The dangerous accumulation of amortization payments in the first two to three years after 2013, resulting from the repayment of the support mechanism loans, that all the analysts 'see', is reversed with the understanding of the need for longer repayment periods, which was reflected in the Irish loan, and Greece will follow, thus substantially improving the profile of its repayments in the future, Papaconstantinou explained.

    Regarding the rating houses and Fitch's recent announcement on Greece, Papaconstantinou cited the positive quarterly assessment of the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, and noted that the decisions of the rating firms should be determined by real facts rather than forecasts for the future, which are based on many predictions that frequently are unfounded.

    On the fight against tax evasion, Papaconstantinou acknowledged that "we have not reached our targets on the matter of punishment of the tax dodgers", adding that the next target will be the creation of an effective and convincing system of penalties for tax evasion.

    Regarding the country's return to positive growth rates, the minister said he is more optimistic than he was a few months ago, adding that "we can believe in a gradual recovery in investments as a result of the incentives given for foreign investments and also due to the targeted actions of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) and the investment law, and new productive investments. Until the new investment guides are developed, the return to positive growth rates will result from a recovery in traditional contributing branches such as tourism, commerce and shipping, he added.

    Papaconstantinou further assured that the actions contained in the Memorandum "are not law, but contractual commitments and, in their overwhelming majority, are subject to parliamentary approval".

    [02] Samaras: Government's econ policy 'killing growth'

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras renewed his attack on the government's economic policy on Saturday, at the same time pledging that he will continue his "anti-Memorandum" policy line, based on the principles of social liberalism.

    "If we are a popular party, it is because we look out for the poor classes," Samaras said, opening a meeting of the central committee of the ND-affiliated DAKE labor organisation in the private sector, and underscored the "triptych of Growth, Competitiveness and Social Cohesion" as "the only road for the country to exit the crisis".

    He said ND was showing its "new face", which was being well received by the Greek people, as indicated by the fact that in just one year -- and coming from a heavy defeat (in national elections) -- it has managed to eliminate the difference from its opponent (ruling PASOK).

    Greece can exit the crisis only with development, Samaras reiterated, and strongly opposed the government's across-the-board cutbacks in the public sector and reduction of the low incomes.

    "Most everyone inside and outside Greece believes that this 'policy of the Memorandum' cannot bring us out of the current situation, and that it has indeed led Greece to an impasse," Samaras said, adding that ND has been vindicated for the determination it manifested with its 'no to the Memorandum'.

    Samaras further maintained that the "alternative proposal for exiting the crisis with growth and recovery, rather than recession" that he has proposed "will take us out of the present impasse", adding that an ever increasing number of people agree with it.

    Quite the opposite, he continued, "the government is killing growth with the asphyxiation it is imposing, torpedoing competitiveness with a vertical increase in taxes, and destroying the social cohesion through the downgrading of the incomes, and chiefly of those who are not to blame for the present crisis", while the climbing unemployment "has now affected each and every family in Greece".

    Samaras also outlined the negative prospects for 2011, saying that unemployment was already running at 13.5 percent and would overshoot the Memorandum's prediction of 14 percent at the end of the year.

    In addition, the government has cut back the Public Investments Program to a "desperate degree and consequently there is no private demand, there is no public demand, there are no new investments, and this has dried up, stifled, the market", while the cuts in the low incomes have aggravated the vicious cycle of recession, Samaras said, charging that the PASOK government "cannot understand that, apart from the fact that this money does not go into the market, this money is not spent, and creates the biggest injustice, because it has been taken away from the poorer classes".

    [03] Pangalos: Measures, taxation, need to be more development-oriented

    Government vice-president Theodoros Pangalos called for the government's policy and taxation to be more development-oriented, in a newspaper interview appearing on Sunday.

    It is something that has begun with a series of legislation, Pangalos said in an interview with the Sunday edition of Kathimerini newspaper, and admitted that "we have delayed a bit on this", but added that "it is not that simple, like pushing a button and commencing development, in other words convincing businesspeople to make investments".

    On economic developments, Pangalos confirmed that "we have not asked, nor intend to ask" a restructuring of the country's debt, and also defended the government's measures, noting that "we didn't have time for experimentation".

    He also appeared confident that Greece can achieve a primary surplus, "in other words to bring down the deficit to under 3 percent (of GDP) in order to halt the rise in the debt" by 2012-2013.

    This, however, "does not save us from the problem, and that is why we must turn our attention to growth", Pangalos stressed.

    [04] Greek-Turkish regional economic forum in Komotini

    Greek government spokesman George Petalotis and Turkish industry and trade minister Nihat Ergun said that Greece and Turkey have the opportunity to further develop cooperation if they rid themselves of the remnants of the past and overcome past prejudices, in their addresses at a Greek-Turkish regional economic forum taking place in Komotini.

    Addressing the forum on Friday night, Petalotis said that "Erzurum shows the way and the road to ridding ourselves of any remnants of suspicion", referring to Greek prime minister George Papandreou's recent visit to the Turkish city, where he met with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan and addressed the annual session of Turkey's ambassadors abroad.

    He also acknowledged that bureaucracy, which encumbers investments, "existed and exists" in Greece.

    Ergun, also addressing the forum on Friday night, said that Greece and Turkey, "two neighboring countries", do not have the "luxury of returning to problems of the past".

    He said that if the Aegean becomes a "sea of peace", there should be no war vessels and aircraft but merchant ships, adding that the responsibility of improving bilateral relations lies not only on the representatives of the respective governments but also on the enterprises and on the media, and noting that "some small steps" have been made towards achieving that goal.

    Ergun urged Turkish entrepreneurs to make more investments in Greece, and on the Greeks to improve the business environment.

    Greek-Turkish Chamber president Panagiotis Koutsikos noted that Greek investments in Turkey were estimated at 6.2 billion euros, with 80 percent of the Greek investments in Turkey focused in Istanbul and 10 percent in Izmir.

    Rifat Hisarciklioglu, Chairman of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), stressed that the development of trade relations between the two countries is a "one-way street", since "we are doomed to be partners".

    Chairman of the Union of Chambers of Greece, George Kassimatis, underlined the prospect of mutual cooperation opening up, stressing that, in bilateral external trade, Greece and Turkey have been long-standing strategic partners.

    The forum was attended by 350 Greek and Turkish businessmen.

    [05] Police: Arrests averted series of terrorist attacks

    Counter-terrorism police, with the arrests of five terror suspects on Thursday and Friday in three Athens districts, averted a series of attacks ahead of the trial of suspects in the "Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire" urban terror group that opens on Monday, police officials said on Saturday, based on evidence found in a house in the district of Vyronas that had been rented by the four suspects arrested on Thursday.

    Four suspects, local men identified as as Haralambos Tsilianidis, 23, Dimitrios Fessas, 23, Dimitrios Dimtsiadis, 23, and Socrates Tzifkas, 21, were arrested on Thursday in the Vyronas and Tavros districts, and an assault rifle and an automatic handgun, along with ammunition, were recovered from two residences searched by the police.

    The fifth suspect, a 27-year-old German woman, was arrested on Friday in the Perissos district.

    The five face felony charges including establishment of and participation in a terrorist organisation and with weapons possession, while arrest warrants were outstanding for the four men in connection with the October 13, 2010 home-made bomb attack against the Public Power Corporation (PPC) offices in Thessaloniki.

    The woman, identified as Marie Fee Meyer, was arrested in the Athens district of Perissos on Friday and according to police is the daughter of a 55-year-old female former "Red Army Faction" (RAF) operative, Barbara Meyer (a German national) who herself was the subject of a 1993 international warrant by German authorities for participation in the ultra-leftist terror group and surrendered to the Lebanese authorities in 1999.

    Police said the woman, a German citizen, had contacts with all four of the suspects who were arrested in Vyronas and Tavros.

    The names and photographs of the five suspects were released by police.

    Police on Saturday said that evidence arising from the finds in the Vyronas residence, which had been rented by the four men, indicated that a series of attacks were planned in view of the trial opening on Monday.

    They said that the hard drive of a PC seized from the Vyronas apartment included a "draft, 16-page proclamation in electronic format", according to the contents of which: a) A new organisation, the name of which was not satisfied, was to assume responsibility for a series of explosions b) The attacks would be made as a "show of solidarity" before the trial of the Conspiracy of Cells suspects that begins on Monday, January 17 c) Participation in an international organisation of organisations of violence would be claimed

    The draft proclamation further contains extensive references and theoretical approaches attempting to justify acts of violence and terrorism, and points of dispute with the Revolutionary Struggle terrorist group on aspects in which it differentiates its position with respect to the action of the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire.

    The hard drive also contained compositions of the Judicial Councils throughout the country with evaluations, addresses of police departments, diagrams of regions, and photographic material of weapons systems.

    [06] German authorities: Arrested woman not linked with RAF fugitive

    German authorities on Sunday reportedly confirmed that a 27-year-old German woman, arrested days ago in Athens during an urban terrorism-related sweep, is not related to 1990s fugitive Barbara Meyer, a one-time cadre in the German terrorist gang "Red Army Faction".

    According to reports, German officials said the detained 27-year-old's mother has no relation whatsoever to Meyer.

    The RAF-linked Meyer was born in 1956, while the mother of the woman arrested in the Perissos district of Athens was born in 1958. The latter also lives permanently in Greece with another two sons, while the woman's father is permanently employed at a Berlin penitentiary as a musicologist.

    In a statement issued on Sunday, the woman's mother lambasted the arrest, charging that it was due to the fact that she, the mother, shares the same name with the RAF fugitive, i.e. "Barbara Meyer". (ANA-MPA) She also issued a stinging condemnation over the way certain media outlets reported her daughter's arrest, calling for "certain reporters to be led before justice".

    Beyond the now defunct RAF connection, Greek anti-terrorism authorities said they are focusing on the 27-year-old woman's links with four suspects arrested last week for a previous bomb attack against a power company worksite in the northern city of Thessaloniki.

    [07] Opinion polls on Evros fence, econ measures

    Three opinion polls appearing in Sunday newspapers indicated that a significant proportion of the public -- as measured by respondents' answers -- favours the construction of a fence along a section of Greece's border with Turkey in Evros prefecture.

    Polls also continued to give ruling PASOK a lead over main opposition ND, while pointing to widespread pessimism for 2011.

    According to a MARC opinion poll published in the Sunday edition of "Ethnos", a whopping 80.3 percent of respondents agree with the construction of the fence in northern Evros -- facing the 12.5-kilometre stretch of land west of the Evros River -- while nine in 10 respondents identifying themselves as PASOK and ND supporters believe that a "sweep operation" should be made in central Athens to detain illegal immigrants.

    On a different issue, 65 percent of respondents agreed that reforms being promoted by the government in the wider public sector, in labour relations and for opening so-called "closed-shop professions" are "unfortunately, mandatory and must be implemented", whereas 30.2 percent felt that reforms "must be obstructed with strikes and mass demonstrations".

    With regard to voter intent (which party they would vote for if elections were held the following Sunday), 27.7 percent of respondents opted for PASOK; 20.9 percent for ND; 7.8 percent for the Communist Party (KKE), 4.8 percent for Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) and 3 percent for the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), followed by the new parties Democratic Alliance (2.8 percent) and Democratic Left (2.2 percent) and the out-of-Parliament Ecologists-Greens (2.0 percent). Four percent preferred other, even smaller parties, 8.7 percent declared themselves undecided and 16 percent opted for abstention or a blank vote.

    Further, an overwhelming 81.2 percent of respondents said they were in favour of the present government completing its four-year term in office, while 15.8 percent felt it would be better for the country if early general elections were held this year.

    In a second opinion poll, conducted by ALCO and appearing in the "Proto Thema" weekly on Sunday, 73 percent of the respondents agree with the construction of the fence in Evros, while 18 percent disagree.

    Also, 75 percent of respondents reject new measures for the country to exit the crisis, while 63 percent consider the government's decision to open the closed professions as correct, against 20 percent who expressed opposition.

    Further, 71 percent of respondents are critical of government vice-president Theodoros Pangalos' attitude and feel it is incompatible with the image of the prime minister's governance.

    As for voter intent, 22 percent of the respondents prefer PASOK against 18.4 percent for ND, 8.0 percent for KKE and 5.3 percent for LA.OS. SYRIZA is given 2.5 percent; 2.6 percent for the Democratic Alliance and 1.9 percent for the Democratic Left, figures that would leave them outside Parliament.

    [08] UN chief on FYROM name talks, Cyprus negotiations

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stressed that "as a matter of principle, the imposition of any timetable is not desired," referring to the UN-brokered negotiations for resolving the FYROM name issue and the Cyprus issue during a press conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York on Friday.

    Replying to a press question on Cyprus, the UN chief expressed hope that the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus will have succeeded in making "greater progress on the essential issues of the talks, including property and security", by the meeting in Geneva on January 26.

    Ban Ki-moon noted that he is scheduled to meet with the two leaders in Geneva, and will become personally involved in the negotiations, as had been agreed in November. The meeting concerns issues that have been long outstanding, and "the negotiation is very difficult, but it is very encouraging that the leaders of the two communities have held direct talks 80 times". He reminded that he had invited the two leaders to New York for negotiations in November, but found that "more time was needed".

    He added that "I gave them nine more weeks" to resolve those important issues so that, when they would meet again in Geneva "we will be able to make further progress, tackling these essential issues, including property and security".

    Stressing that the support of all the sides is necessary, he noted that the European Union fully supports the UN's mission of good services, as well as the bilateral negotiations.

    To a question on the name issue between Greece and FYROM and whether he intends to put a timetable "like the nine weeks on the Cyprus issue", Ban stressed that "first of all, as a matter of principle, the imposition of any timetable is not desired".

    "I did not set a timetable of nine weeks on the Cyprus issue. The nine weeks were set so that they could come and meet with me in Geneva with a more improved agreement," the UN chief said while, regarding the FYROM name issue, he noted that his special envoy on the issue Matthew Nimetz will continue his effort and will have a meeting with the representatives of the two sides in New York on February 9.

    He said he was in the pleasant position of seeing the momentum created last year from the direct contacts between the prime ministers of Greece and FYROM, adding it was now time to move ahead to decisions that will resolve the issue in a mutually acceptable way, "and I have informed both prime ministers that the United Nations support a speedy achievement of that goal".

    "2011 is a year with many challenges," Ban Ki-moon stressed.

    [09] Illegal landfills dominate meeting with EU Commissioner

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / M. Spinthourakis)

    Interior Minister Yiannis Rangoussis and Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili expressed satisfaction over the outcome of their meeting here on Friday with Environment Commissioner G. Potocnik.

    The meeting focused on the handling of refuse in Greece, particularly the problem of uncontrolled landfills, for which the country is being threatened with yet more fines.

    [10] Embassy in contact with Greeks in Tunisia

    The Greek embassy in Tunis is in contact with the Greeks in Tunisia, who have not reported any problems, a foreign ministry statement said with regard to the explosive situation in the northern African country.

    The ministry noted that it will continue to keep close watch over the development of the situation in Tunisia, where a state of emergency has been declared, including a ban on gatherings of more than three people, and a curfew.

    Financial News

    [11] Chryssohoidis: New growth model needed

    The creation of a new growth model is a one-way path for Greece, Regional Development and Competitiveness minister Michalis Chryssohoidis stressed during a visit to Kozani on Saturday evening.

    The minister had lengthy meetings with representatives of the productive classes and agencies from all four prefectures of Western Macedonia, urging them to turn to investments oriented to the production of innovative products.

    The government's effort is not a rhetorical or propagandistic one, but a national effort, he said, and called for everyone's contribution to creating a new growth model and bringing the country out of the crisis.

    General News

    [12] Italy-bound vessel loaded with illegal migrants sinks; 22 missing

    Greek coast guard units, aided by air force planes, were scouring a sea region west of the Ionian island of Corfu on Sunday for survivors of a wooden vessel that reportedly sank while ferrying more than 250 Afghan illegal immigrants towards Italy.

    The incident occurred on Sunday morning some 30 nautical miles west of Corfu.

    Port authorities said that 22 people on the 30-metre vessel were still missing, while the other 241 illegals, all from Afghanistan, were picked up by the passing Dutch-flagged freighter "Momentum Scan" and have been transported to the port of Corfu.

    Thirty of the rescued Afghan migrants suffered minor injuries due to adverse weather conditions in the area and were taken to the island's hospital for first aid treatment.

    The search and rescue operation for the 22 missing migrants was continuing full swing on Sunday afternoon, with the participation of vessels sailing in the vicinity, a Super Puma all-weather military helicopter and a deep-sea vessel.

    [13] Clashes between anti-racism, anti-migrant demonstrators

    Two people were arrested and 13 taken in for questioning after clashes broke out between anti-racism demonstrators and a counter-rally in the Agios Panteleimonas district.

    Riot police used teargas to disperse the crowds at Aghios Panteleimonas square, where the two rallies met up on Saturday afternoon.

    An anti-racism rally was staged in downtown Athens, followed by a march through various neighborhoods heavily populated by migrants, that ended up in Aghios Panteleimonas square where a concert was to be held.

    On the other side, some 200 local residents held a demonstration protesting the heavy presence of migrants in their neighborhood and aiming to have the concert cancelled.

    The violence broke out when the counter-demonstrators attempted to break through a police barricade and threw projectiles against the anti-racism demonstrators.

    [14] Bus, trolley, train stoppages this week

    Public transport employees have announced bus and trolley work stoppages for Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, and the ISAP trains on Tuesday, while the Athens Metro and Tram will operate normally.

    Buses will not be running from 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on all three days.

    Trolleys will not be running from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on all three days.

    The ISAP trains will not be running from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

    Metro and Tram employees have announced a suspension of strikes and mobilisations until completion of the ongoing public deliberation on a government bill to revamp mass transit companies.

    [15] Rare coins of antiquity on display at Hellenic Cosmos

    Rare coins dating may centuries back in time and representative of many parts of the ancient Hellenic world, with the focus on the Black Sea and Asia Minor regions, are on display at the Foundation of the Hellenic World (FWH), or "Hellenic Cosmos" as it is more popularly known.

    "The FWH numismatics collection is the fourth largest Asia Minor collection in the world, and reached Greece in 2007, from a German collector who wanted to sell it," Foundation managing director Dimitris Efraimoglou told ANA-MPA.

    He noted that only a part of the collection is currently on exhibit, but gradually the entire collection will be on display.

    The exhibition presents coins depicting gods and deities of antiquity, nymphs and heroes worshipped in the city or kingdom that minted the coin, depictions of temples and public buildings, statues that were found in sacred or public places, the region's flora and fauna, and even themes from Homer's Iliad.

    A total of 160 coins from the Collection of the Foundation of the Hellenic World, the fourth largest coin collection from Asia Minor in the world, are initially on display. Geographically the exhibition covers the largest part of the ancient Hellenic world, from Thrace to Mesopotamia, while it covers the time span between the 6th century BC and the 3rd century AD. Unique representations and inscriptions on the coins bring to light unknown information about every aspect of life during that period of time.

    The Coin Collection of the Foundation of the Hellenic World includes more than 13,000 coins and was purchased from the German collector Karl Eduard Reinhard Donat on the 29th of November 2007. It is the fourth largest coin collection from Asia Minor in the world. The rarest and most representative coins have been selected for the exhibition.

    The presentation of the coins is based in the illustrations on the coins, on the obverse (front side) and reverse (back side), as we all as to the information that can be drawn from these illustrations. The coins are exhibited in ten showcases, each one dealing with a specific subject matter.

    The newly acquired numismatic collection purchased from the German collector was built up by three generations of collectors from the same family in accordance with the European humanitarian ideals of the 19th and early 20th century. As relics of the past the coins have a close association with ancient Greek history and the civilisation of the Hellenic cities and kingdoms.

    The collection of 13,689 coins and objects consists of 12,854 ancient Greek coins, dating from the 6th century BC to the 4th century AD, 254 Byzantine coins, 320 Byzantine lead seals, 104 Arabo-Byzantine coins of the Artukid dynasty, 99 seals and weights and 58 small objects.

    The coins represent most of the regions of the ancient Hellenic world, from present-day France to Egypt, with emphasis on the Black Sea area and Asia Minor.

    The Foundation of the Hellenic World decided to purchase this collection not only to repatriate an important part of the country's cultural heritage but also because of the particular geographical focus of the objects, which coincides with the areas of Hellenism in which the Foundation aims to specialise.

    Most of the coins on display in the exhibition are rare, and they cover a geographical area from Thrace to Mesopotamia.

    A permanent exhibition of the collection at "Hellenic Cosmos" is in the course of preparation. The collection is already accessible to the academic community, and it will be published in full in the international numismatic series Sylloge Nummo-rum Graecorum.

    The exhibition will run through February 28.

    [16] Antiquities arrest

    A 60-year-old man has been arrested in Thessaloniki by the security police's antiquities division, charged with violation of the law on protection of antiquities and cultural heritage, after a trove of antiquities were found hidden in a cafe owned by his wife, police announced on Sunday.

    The antiquities were discovered, and seized, during an early morning search on Saturday of the cafe premises in the Hortiatis district.

    The oldest of the artifacts date back to the prehistoric era, according to the archaeologist who examined them. The finds include a post-Byzantine icon of the Virgin, pottery and fragments, a part of a marble stele and other items.

    The man will be taken before a Thessaloniki prosecutor.

    [17] Arson attacks

    Arson attacks took place in the early hours of Sunday in the greater Athens districts of Vyronas, Moschato and Halandri.

    A home-made incendiary device made of small propane canisters exploded at the entrance of a Proton Bank branch in Vyronas, causing damage to the facade and a fire that was extinguished by firefighters.

    A second incendiary device exploded at the entrance of a ruling PASOK former local office in Moschato that had closed 10 days earlier. The explosion broke the office's windows.

    A third device exploded outside a construction firm in Halandri, causing external damage.

    Security police are investigating the three incidents.

    [18] Slight earth tremor in Thessaloniki region

    A slight earth tremor measuring 3.4 points on the Richter scale occurred in the wider region of Thessaloniki at 21:25 on Friday. According to a local university, the tremor's epicentre was located 36 kilometres northeast of Thessaloniki and 310 kilometres north of Athens.

    Soccer

    [19] League leaders win

    Olympiacos Piraeus downed a tough Panserraikos Serres team 4-2 at home on Saturday to retain its lead in the Greek Super League standings over the weekend. Second-place Panathinaikos Athens won by the same score on Sunday at home against Kavala, while and AEK Athens trounced Asteras Tripolis 3-0 away on Sunday.

    In other action:

    Atromitos Athens-Kerkyra 4-2

    Olympiacos Volos-PAOK Thessaloniki 0-3

    Larissa-Iraklis Thessaloniki 2-1

    Aris Thessaloniki-Panionios Athens 0-2

    Xanthi-Ergotelis Crete 0-1

    Standings after 18 weeks of play:

    1. Olympiacos Piraeus 45 points

    2. Panathinaikos 40

    3. PAOK 33

    4. AEK 33

    5. Kavala 24

    6. Ergotelis

    7. Xanthi 24

    8. Aris 23

    9. Olympiacos Volos 22

    10. Iraklis 22

    11. Atromitos 22

    12. Kerkyra 20

    13. Asteras Tripolis 19

    14. Panionios 19

    15. Panserraikos 16

    16. Larissa 14

    [20] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    Political and economic news, speculation over early elections and rumoured prosecution against a former PASOK minister mostly dominated the headlines in Sunday's papers.

    APOCALYPSES: "Burn Akis (former PASOK minister Tsohatzopoulos) now -- Order by George Papandreou for communications 'sacrifice'."

    AVGHI: "Unified front: Interview by (leftist leader) Alexis Tsipras".

    AVRIANI: "They're preparing new five-year super memorandum".

    CHORA: "Siege situation: Troika urgently coming to Athens for inspections".

    ?LEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Government planning election blackmail".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Operation 'handcuffs'."

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Papandreou against priesthood".

    EPOCHI: "Fear within PM's office".

    ETHNOS: "Opinion poll message - Austerity measures for public utilities, enterprises and labour sector a 'necessary evil."

    FREE SUNDAY: "Inklings of social explosion".

    KATHIMERINI: "?U decides; Greece hopes. Possible comprehensive solution to European debt crisis brings back snap election scenarios".

    PARON (weekly): "Catharsis a la carte with Siemens kickbacks with bipartisan agreement."

    PROTO THEMA (weekly): "Opinion poll: Strong message -- 73 percent say yes to fence (to keep illegal immigrants out); 80 percent say (government vice-president Theodoros) Pangalos unacceptable".

    REAL News (weekly): "They're investigating Akis (Tsohatzopoulos) in US, Cyprus"

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Popular disobedience to unpopular policy".

    VIMA (weekly): "European rescue plan against bankruptcy in exchange for German plan for fiscal discipline".

    VRADYNI: "Public sector: New reductions -- Ministries with the biggest losses".

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