|Monday, 22 January 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-06-09
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Thursday, 9 June 2011 Issue No: 3808
 PM Papandreou addresses PASOK Political CouncilPrime Minister and ruling PASOK President George Papandreou, addressing his party's Political Council on Wednesday evening, stressed that the time has come "for us to proceed with greater boldness," terming the moments being experienced by the country as "historic".
Papandreou stressed the need for great changes to take place in the country which, as he said "will not be brought by any saviour, will not be brought by any magical recipe, will not be brought by the abolition of the Greek Parliament, that is, the dissolution of democracy."
He added that PASOK must be the catalyst of these changes, while also defending the political parties that are sustaining attacks, stressing that "the parties are an inseparable part of democracy."
The prime minister said that a precondition for the promotion of the big changes the country should be "able to exist, to satisfy its needs at home as well as its commitments to its creditors."
He also pointed to three issues which must be taken into consideration in the discussion. Firstly, "to stay on the fiscal targets of the decrease in the deficit", secondly "to take measures that will strengthen the common sentiment of justice", with protection of the weak and the distribution of burdens in a fair way and thirdly care to be taken so that "these decisions not to suspend the ray of light in our growth course."
Papandreou also said that the government will continue to do the self-evident in order "to deal a blow at those who have been perjuring unpunished and to bring to light whatever arbitrary act exists in the political system and not only."
He also insisted on the policy of national understanding, stressing that "it is not only words for us, we mean it", adding that "we are expecfting from all the political forces to rise to the occasion and to place the national interest above that of the party."
 Telephone conversation between Greek FinMin and US treasury secretaryGreek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou had a telephone conversation with US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner last Monday, during the informal cabinet meeting.
According to reports, Papaconstantinou explained to Geithner how the balances are in Europe regarding the Greek economic issue. During their discussion, that took place before US President Barak Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meeting in Washington, and on the question by Geithner if something can be done on the part of the US, Papaconstantinou noted that a similar initiative by the President of the US could help as in the past.
 PM Papandreou supports second Ban Ki-moon tenureGreek Prime Minister George Papandreou, in a relevant letter, expressed Greece's support for a second tenure by Ban Ki-moon at the post of UN secretary general.
Papandreou noted that Ban has achieved "the promotion of the role of the UN, helping in particular the most vulnerable, as well as enriching the international agenda of the Organisation with new ambitious targets."
The prime minister added "you have the wholehearted support of my country for a second tenure," wishing him every success in his difficult task.
 Euro leaders press for 'consensus'; Samaras outlines ND's policyBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA)
Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras arrived here on Wednesday for a series of high-level meetings with European officials, including European People's Party (EPP) President Wilfried Martens and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
After the meeting with Martens earlier in the day, Samaras attended a working dinner with Martens and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, where he was accompanied by ND vice-president Stavros Dimas, formerly Greece's European Commissioner.
During a meeting with Barroso, the later called on Samaras to support a new round of austerity and reform measures demanded by the EC-ECB-IMF "troika" in order to continue financial support for Greece, requesting that he show a commitment to reach a broad national consensus.
Speaking after his meetings, Samaras emphasised that "we brought to their attention all the available data, which show, beyond any doubt, that the current economic policy in Greece is not successful and must change."
"... we presented them with the main points of our alternative proposal and we stressed that it can bring Greece out of the crisis ... we stressed that we agree with the main targets - meaning the decrease of the deficit and of the debt - but that the policy being implemented must change through the renegotiating of the terms of the Memorandum."
He emphasised that the ND plan anticipates extensive cutbacks in the "extravagance" of the public sector.
"But at the same time it includes necessary measures that boost the economy, so that the deep recession can be combatted together with the deficit. And social cohesion to be backed, without which no restructuring plan can succeed until the end ... and, of course, we confirmed our absolute support for the need for privatisations and for the utilisation of public property. In any case, both constitute proposals on which we are insisting from the beginning."
Lastly, Samaras concluded by saying "these two days had a double result: We contributed to the national effort for Greece's speedier exit from the crisis and our views were heard attentively by the leadership of the European Union."
In a statement issued after meeting the New Democracy party leader in Brussels, Barroso said that he urged Samaras to reach such a consensus so that Greece might be able to face its present historical challenges and address the situation of its public finances in the most determined and effective manner.
Referring to the results of a recent EC-ECB-IMF mission in Greece to review and discuss the implementation of the adjustment programme, Barroso stressed that the Commission strongly believed that broad political and societal support of the reforms was critically important for restoring confidence in the future of the Greek economy.
Meanwhile, in a written statement issued shortly after meeting with Samaras, Van Rompuy stressed the need to give "broad and constructive political support" to resolve Greece's fiscal and economic problems, urging New Democracy's leader to "be cooperative".
Van Rompuy emphasised that Greece had to "continue with determination with its adjustment efforts" in order to restore the viability of its public finances and the country's competiti-veness in order to ensure fiscal stability.
Noting that the last year had seen significant progress, the European Council president stressed that more was needed to be done to ensure a sustainable recovery, with greater efforts in terms of both revenues and spending. He also noted that the Eurozone's willingness to continue to support Greece depended on an ambitious adjustment process as suggested by the troika mission.
"Efforts to put Greece back on track to a sustainable and credible fiscal path and to economic recovery require all parties to provide broad and constructive political support. I have urged Mr. Samaras to be cooperative in this respect," Van Rompuy said.
 ND on Samaras meeting with French PM; snap elections speculationMain opposition New Democracy (ND) party spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis on Wednesday referred to the calls for consensus in Greek politics, as reportedly ascribed to French Premier Francois Fillon, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker, stressing that the French premier "expressed a wish".
He underlined that what Fillon said "was not a precondition", adding that ND leader Antonis Samaras defended the party's positions and that he "does not give in to pressures".
Mihelakis stressed that in the meetings the ND leader will hold in Brussels, he intends to repeat ND's positions on how Greece can exit the crisis.
"The question is if the present government is able to rule. Our positions as regards the issues the country is facing are firm," Mihelakis said, pointing out that Fillon listened carefully to what Samaras had to say and realised that the Memorandum is not working.
"We are always ready for the likelihood of snap elections," Mihelakis added, calling on the government to state if it is capable of ruling. "If it isn't it should say so," he said, underlining that in that case there will be elections.
Commenting on statements made by ruling PASOK MPs during the meeting of the ruling party's parliamentary working group on the economy, held on Tuesday, during which the government's medium-term programme was discussed, Mihelakis said that in essence, PASOK MPs recognise that Samaras was right and agreed that the government is not telling the truth on the real state of the economy or the developments over the past 20 months since PASOK took office.
Mihelakis stressed that the government does not have the consensus of its MPs, pointing out that it calls for the consensus of the opposition to hide its ineffectiveness.
ND also accused the government of being incompetent in response to the low price in which Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) shares were sold this week to Deutsche Telekom.
 FM's talks in ViennaVIENNA (ANA-MPA/D. Dimitrakoudis)
Greek foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas, in Vienna for the 2011 World Economic Forum on Europe and Central Asia, met Tuesday evening with Austrian vice chancellor and foreign minister Michael Spindelegger for talks covering matters of interest to both countries.
He also attended a formal dinner hosted on Tuesday night by Austrian president Heinz Fischer for the foreign leaders attending the Forum.
The Western Balkans and their European prospect, the situation in the Middle East and Northern Africa, and the economic situation in Greece were at the focus of Droutsas' talks with Spindelegger.
Droutsas briefed his Austrian counterpart on the Greek government's efforts to overcome the country's economic crisis and the major structural changes being made, noting that, with many sacrifices by the Greek people, the effort has already generated positive results.
Spindelegger reaffirmed Austria's support for Greece and welcomed the efforts by the Greek government and citizens, and noted the Austrian coalition government's recent statements on the necessity of supporting Greece and giving it an opportunity for long-term fiscal streamlining, and reiterated Vienna's firm position on the importance of the euro's stability and the need to strengthen both the euro and the support mechanism.
Droutsas, who will fly from Vienna to Abu Dhabi for a meeting of the Contact Group on Libya, further briefed Spindelegger on the contacts and efforts by the Greek side, Greece's dispatch of humanitarian aid to Libya and a foreign ministry team to Benghazi, and its firm position for a political solution in Libya.
The two ministers also discussed ways to advance the EU accession course of the Western Balkans and Greece's "Agenda 2014" initiative, which is backed by Austria.
Droutsas further briefed Spindelegger on the Greek government's intention, in the context of the next Greek presidency of the EU, to convene an EU-Balkans summit, a "Thessaloniki 2" summit similar to that held in the northern Greek capital in June 2003 during Greece's EU presidency at the time.
The Greek and Austrian foreign ministers have developed a close cooperation and coordination in the promotion of those efforts, in the context of the Agenda 2014 envisioning the EU accession of all the Western Balkan countries by 2014, provided that all the EU conditions for membership have been met, as Droutsas pointed out.
Droutsas is on Wednesday taking part in the World Economic Forum on Europe and Central Asia, which is attended by 14 heads of state and government and some 500 personalities from the fields of politics and economy. The Greek foreign minister will be a panel member in the session on "A Vision for a Sustainable Future".
 FM addresses the World Economic ForumVIENNA (ANA-MPA / D. Dimitrakoudis)
Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas addressed the World Economic Forum on Europe and Central Asia here, stressing that the Greek government is dedicated to the implementation of a reform programme into effect for the past year.
He pointed out that the programme is being implemented effectively by the Greek people that make major sacrifices in their daily lives.
In the discussion entitled "Vision for a sustainable future", the foreign minister referred to the structural reforms in Greece and unveiled the achievements made so far including deficit reduction, social insurance and tax reforms.
Droutsas pointed out that the Greek government focuses on the "Green development" policy which is based on sustainable development and renewable energy sources (RES), investing in the various comparative advantages Greece has in the sector.
On the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, Droutsas met with his Austrian counterpart Michael Spindelegger.
Later in the afternoon, he departed for Abu Dhabi to attend the Libya Contact Group meeting.
 Petalotis: Memorandum has not failedGovernment spokesman George Petalotis on Wednesday denied that the Memorandum had failed since the country had not defaulted on its debts in 2010 and the deficit was 5 percent lower.
"The only guarantee for the country's future is the work we are doing," he told reporters.
Asked to comment on the harsh criticism of the government from its own MPs during Tuesday's PASOK Parliamentary working sector for the economy meeting, the spokesman noted that aside from a few 'spicy' comments that made it onto news reports, the majority of PASOK MPs had displayed "responsibility and seriousness".
 Gov't on Obama statements, consensusCommenting on statements made by U.S. President Barack Obama supporting Greece, Greek government spokesman George Petalotis on Wednesday said that such references had value but the main priority was to "remain focused on the targets we have set, taking brave decisions".
In this way Greece could reverse the country's lack of credibility abroad, he added.
He also noted that the government's goal was to ensure the maximum social justice and fair distribution of the burdens since the insecurity of Greek citizens would be overcome when the crisis was overcome.
The spokesman insisted, also, that the government remained open to the possibility of consensus with the other political parties on the measures and said that measures proposed by main opposition New Democracy would be included in the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy.
He urged the opposition parties to tell people the truth, as the government was doing, and clarified that there were no plans at present for the prime minister to extend a new invitation to party leaders.
"Meetings of the political leaders are held when there is a reason. It is not a cabinet. It can be done individually or in a joint meeting chaired by the President of the republic," he added.
 UK Home Affairs Committee MPs briefed on illegal migration in EvrosThe chair of the UK Parliament's Home Affairs Committee Keith Vaz and other MPs on the committee, as well as British Ambassador in Greece David Landsman, were briefed on the problems resulting from illegal migration in the Evros region of northern Greece on Wednesday.
The briefing was given by Evros Regional Authority deputy chief Georgia Nikolaou, during a meeting held in the northern Greek city of Alexandroupolis. Nikolaou stressed that the problems did not exclusively concern Evros and Greece but also the rest of Europe, stressing that an overall solution had to be found.
She noted that the problems for Evros were now acute and were a threat to public safety, health and people's daily lives, adding that the region could not shoulder the burden alone.
Thanking Nikolaou for the briefing, Vaz invited her to attend the working meetings that will take place in the UK in September on the issue of illegal migration with the participation of Parliamentary committee from countries of Europe and the countries that the majority of illegal migrants come from.
 Air Force aircraft's engines catches fire, pilot safeThe engine of an Airforce F-16C Blk 52 aircraft caught fire on Wednesday immediately after take-off on a training flight from Souda airbase on the island of Crete.
The pilot of the single-seat aircraft followed the foreseen procedures and ejected the fuel tanks into the sea, then landed safely at Souda airport.
An Airforce technical committee is investigating the circumstances of the incident.
 'Indignados' arriving in Syntagma SquareHundreds of motorcyclists arrived in Syntagma Square in Athens on Wednesday afternoon, honking their horns, while more crowds of people were arriving as time passed despite the afternoon clouds.
The tents of volunteer work groups have multiplied in the square and two musical stages have been set up as well. Amalias avenue near the House of Parliament is closed.
 Commission: No issue of Greek debt restructuringBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / M. Aroni)
A fourth review of an economic adjustment programme in Greece by the EC-ECB-IMF "troika" will be examined by Eurogroup finance ministers in order to approve the release of a fifth tranche of a Eurozone loan to the country, Amadeu Altafaj, a spokesman for EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn said on Wednesday.
Commenting on the publication of the 'troika's' report, Altafaj said he did not know when the report would be published and added that the fourth review has been sent to the IMF council, to Eurozone member-states and to EU Commissioners, which will make its own recommendations to the Eurogroup for the release of the fifth tranche of a loan.
Altafaj reiterated that there was no issue of debt restructuring by Greece.
Commission sources said EU-27 finance ministers would meet next Tuesday to discuss economic governance in the EU.
 Greek economy grew 0.8 pct in Q1, EurostatBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V.Demiris)
The Greek economy grew by 0.8 pct in the first quarter of 2011 compared with the fourth quarter of 2010, Eurostat said on Wednesday.
The EU executive's statistics agency, in a report, confirmed its initial estimates of a positive growth of the country's Gross Domestic Product and said that both the Eurozone and the EU-27 economies grew by 0.8 pct in the January-March period.
Eurostat said, however, that the Greek economy shrank by 4.8pct in the first quarter of 2011 compared with the same period last year, while in the Eurozone and the EU-27 the GDP grew by 2.5 pct over the same period.
 PM, main opposition leader at 12th Thessaloniki forumPrime Minister George Papandreou, main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras and 10 government ministers are scheduled to attend the 12th Thessaloniki Forum on June 19-20, hosted by Federation of Industries of Northern Greece (FING) and the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce.
Papandreou will address the forum on June 20 and ND leader Samaras a day earlier, on June 19.
This year's event will be held at the Thessaloniki Concert Hall with the participation of 25 business representatives, with the focus on the country's provinces and their potential for economic growth.
 Greek unemployment shoots to 16.2pct in MarchUnemployment in Greece shot to 16.2 percent in March, up nearly five percentage points year-on-year over 11.6 percent in March 2010, according to figures released by the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) on Wednesday.
According to the Labor Force Survey for March 2011, the unemployment rate in March 2011 was 16.2% compared to 11.6% in March 2010 and 15.9% in February 2011. The number of employed amounted to 4,185,325 persons while the number of unemployed amounted to 811,340 and the number of inactive to 4,335,461.
The number of employed decreased by 238,574 persons compared with March 2010 (a 5.4% rate of decrease) and increased by 7,013 persons compared with February 2011 (a 0.2% rate of increase).
Unemployed increased by 232,617 persons (a 40.2% rate of increase) compared with March 2010 and by 24,111 persons compared with February 2011 (a 3.1% rate of increase).
 Court orders liens on properties owned by Aspis group founder PsomiadisAn Athens first instance court has ordered that liens be placed on properties owned by former insurance company executive Pavlos Psomiadis, the founder of the now defunct Aspis group of companies, following a motion filed by 147 Aspis Capital policy-holders.
The order extends to Psomiadis' spouse and daughter, as well as to any properties owned by the group.
The liens were ordered on properties up to the figure of 17 million euros, with affected real estate in various upscale districts of the greater Athens area, as well as Thessaloniki and the island of Mykonos.
Psomiadis and his two family members stand accused of felony fraud and money laundering charges, with the former remanded in custody pending trial.
 Transport stoppages, strike on ThursdayA union representing Athens electric rail (ISAP) employees will participate with early shift work stoppages during a nationwide 24-hour strike called for Thursday by the country's two largest trade union umbrella groups, GSEE, which represents the private sector but also a handful of state-run utilities, and the civil servants' ADEDY.
ISAP trains will run as scheduled between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Unions at TrainOSE, the rail operator, and the suburban rail, Proastiakos, will also participate in the 24-hour strike action. Service will be disrupted in at least 20 scheduled destinations on Wednesday and Friday, the days before and after the industrial action.
 Tourism sector turnover plunges in Q1Turnover in the Greek tourism sector plunted by nearly 21 percent in the first quarter of the year against the corresponding period in 2010, according to figures released on Wednesday by the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT).
The turnover index in the Tourism Sector, during the 1st quarter 2011 as compared to the 1st quarter 2010, decreased by 20.6%, while the index for the corresponding period of 2010 as compared to 2009 increased by 2.9%.
The turnover Index in the Tourism Sector, during the 1st quarter 2011 as compared to the 4th quarter 2010, decreased by 23.1% against a decrease of 18.5% recorded when comparing the corresponding period of year 2010.
 Industrial production slumps 11pct in AprilIndustrial production in Greece slumped by 11.0 percent in April, compared with the same month in 2010, according to figures released by the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) on Wednesday.
The Production Index in Industry (IPI) in April 2011 compared with April 2010 recorded a decline of 11.0%. In April 2010, the annual rate of change of the IPI was -6.3%.
In the 4-month period from January 2011 to April 2011, the average rate of change of the IPI was -7.3%. In April 2010, the corresponding average rate of change of the IPI was -5.9%.
 Business Briefs-- Greece's finance ministry on Wednesday officially announced that an inter-ministerial restructuring and privatizations commission approved the sale of an additional 10 pct equity stake of Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) to Deutsche Telekom.
-- Foreign investors raised their participation in the capitalisation of the Athens Stock Exchange in May to 51.2 pct, up from 50.8 pct in April, while Greek investors slightly cut their participation to 47.5 pct from 47.9 pct over the same months, respectively.
-- Larco, a Greek iron and nickel industry group included in the government's privatization programme, on Wednesday said a sharp rise in the price of nickel in international markets, combined with decoupling from loss-making production pre-sale contracts, helped the group return to profitability in 2010.
-- Room occupancy rates in hotels located in Athens and the greater Athens area turned positive after a prolonged period of negative trends in April, reflecting a more attractive pricing policy, the Association of Athens-Attica Hoteliers said on Wednesday.
 Stocks end significantly downStocks remained under pressure in yet another session at the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday. The composite index of the market fell 2.94 pct to end at 1,258.97 points, with turnover remaining a low 80.196 million euros.
The Big Cap index dropped 3.83 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 2.06 pct lower and the Small Cap index eased 1.30 pct. ATEbank (9.09 pct), Alpha Bank (7.65 pct), Ellaktor (6.77 pct), Marfin Popular Bank (6.06 pct) and Viohalco (5.93 pct) were top losers among blue chip stocks.
All sector indices ended lower with Constructions (5.26 pct), Banks (4.69 pct) and Travel (4.61 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 95 to 36 with another 33 issues unchanged. Dionic (10.53 pct), FHL Kyriakidis (9.43 pct) and Medicon (8.63 pct) were top gainers, while NEL (12.5 pct), Attica Publications (9.76 pct) and Euromedica (9.68 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -1.92%
Personal & Household: -1.70%
Raw Materials: -2.76%
Travel & Leisure: -4.61%
Food & Beverages: -0.01%
Financial Services: -3.67%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, PPC and HBC Coca Cola.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 3.14
Public Power Corp (PPC): 9.40
HBC Coca Cola: 18.00
Hellenic Petroleum: 6.75
National Bank of Greece: 4.75
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 3.04
Bank of Piraeus: 1.01
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 13.01 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Wednesday, from 12.75 pct on Tuesday, with the Greek bond yielding 16.06 pct and the German Bund 3.05 pct. Turnover in the market was an improved 36 million euros, of which 30 million euros were sell orders and the remaining 6.0 million euros were buy orders. The five-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 11 million euros.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 2.15 pct, the six-month rate 1.73 pct, the three-month rate 1.45 pct and the one-month rate 1.23 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 0.34 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover remaining a low 37.720 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 11,130 contracts worth 31.523 million euros, with 34,798 short positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities focused on National Bank's contracts (5,314), followed by Eurobank (1,176), OTE (668), Piraeus Bank (3,015), Alpha Bank (1,464), Ellaktor (406), Cyprus Bank (43), ATEbank (2,874) and Hellenic Postbank (315).
 Alleged teen hacker of FBI, Interpol systems chargedAn 18-year-old suspected of hacking into the websites of Interpol, the NSA, FBI, Greek Police and U.S. Pentagon at the age of just 15 was on Wednesday led before an Athens first-instance court prosecutor and charged with criminal offences that included possession of an explosive device, possession of weapons and forgery.
Described as a 'genius', 18-year-old Alexander was arrested at his home in Agios Dimitrios, based on an international arrest warrant issued in 2008. The charges against him are based on evidence uncovered by police while searching his home and indicate that he may be actively involved with militant anti-establishment groups or even a domestic terrorist organisation.
The main body of charges against him has not yet been sent to Greek courts, however, and concern his activities as a cracker under the alias 'nsplitter'. These include the 'cracking' of Interpol's website in February 2008 - when he was just 15 - that was the first hit that made 'nsplitter' known in cracking circles. There followed attacks on the webpage of the National Security Agency (NSA), FBI and Pentagon in February 2009.
Greek police have indicated that U.S. authorities are likely to seek his extradition while a team of FBI agents is due to arrive from Washington in order to meet him.
Police said the 18-year-old used his home in working-class Agios Dimitrios as his headquarters and that he was possibly also involved in credit-card fraud. Apart from managing a portfolio of 48 companies listed on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), authorities say that he may have made more than 500,000 euros by stealing the data of credit-card holders.
In a specially designed hiding place cut out of the pages of a book, police found the sum of 7,850 euro and 300 dollars, cheques from foreign banks made out to the sum of 20,000 euro and 130 credit cards that the young man used using different names each time.
 Citizens' group: Crime, illegal migration plague Athens inner cityIncreased crime and growing sense of insecurity was confirmed in a study on Athens' inner city districts prepared on behalf of a new citizens' movement, comprised mostly of local business representatives in the Greek capital's centre.
In a special event on Wednesday, Varvara Vernikou, the president of the new group (KIPOKA), underlined that "the state is unable to enforce the law", while Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis stressed that "restoring a sense of security among the people is of major importance".
He also pointed out that the flow of illegal migrants into the city should be curbed, adding that interventions that will have a rejuvenating effect on the city are also important.
Hellenic Chamber of Hotels president Giorgos Tsakiris underlined that "this is primarily a law enforcement problem", while Supreme Court prosecutor Ioannis Tentes stressed that illegal migration is even more serious than the country's fiscal problem. "If it is not faced we will have an existential problem as a nation and as a state?Police is not enough. The Greek state as a whole will have to take action," he stressed.
Attica Regional Governor Ioannis Sgouros said that he has long described the situation as a "public health time-bomb", referring to abandoned or illegally occupied buildings and added that "a problem of survival has evolved into a safety problem for local residents".
Former Athens Mayor and Democratic Alliance founder Dora Bakoyannis, a current independent MP, pointed out that "the state has no plan".
The event was also addressed by Deputy Interior Minister Theodora Tzakri, Deputy Labour Minister Anna Dalara and Greek Police (EL.AS) deputy chief Yiannis Rahovitsas among others.
According to the author of the study Kyriakos Reres, "the goal is to produce wealth that will allow Athens to compete with other metropolitan centres. The city should offer culture, museums, opportunities and most of all quality."
The study on "the ghettoizing of part of the old city centre and its consequences on the local economy" was prepared by the Institute of Tourism Research and Forecasts.
 Eurostat estimates of Greek population in 2035, 2060BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - V. Demiris)
The population of Greece is expected to rise to 11.6 million people in 2035, up 2.7 percent relative to the 2010 population of 11.3 million, according to figures released on Wednesday by Eurostat. It is then seen falling off to 11.2 million in 2060 (-0.1 percent).
The figures were included in Eurostat population estimates for all 27 EU countries in the period 2010-2060.
Based on the forecasts, the percentage of the population over 80 will increase from 4.6 percent in 2010 to 13.3 percent in 2060.
Similarly, the population of the EU is expected to rise from 501 million in 2010 to 525 million in 2035 and then fall to 517 million in 2060.
The biggest population decline forecast by Eurostat is in Germany, whose population is expected to shrink from 81.7 million in 2010 to just 66.3 million in 2060 (-18.8 percent) while that of France is seen rising from 64.7 million in 2010 to 73.2 million in 2060.
The highest population increase within the EU is forecast in Ireland (46 percent), followed by Luxembourg (45 percent) and Cyprus (41.3 percent). The Cypriot population is seen rising from 803,000 in 2010 to 1.1 million in 2060, while the percentage of those over 80 will rise from 2.9 percent in 2010 to 9.2 percent in 2060.
 Cyclists allowed to use bus lanes on trial basisThe infrastructure, transport and networks ministry on Wednesday announced that cyclists will be allowed to use bus lanes on a trial basis during the summer months, after which period a decision will be made on whether to make the measure permanent.
Infrastructure Minister Dimitris Reppas has initially signed a decision opening bus lanes to cyclists from June 20 until September 18. Among the requirements is that cyclists keep to the right of the bus lane, next to the pavement, avoid manoeuvres into the lane in order to allow sufficient room for buses and other vehicles permitted to use those lanes.
Cyclists are also required to always give other vehicles in the lane the right of way, to wear the appropriate protective equipment and the necessary lights and reflectors to make them easily visible, especially at night.
 Speleology photo exhibition in old WWII bomb shelterA speleological photography exhibition is currently on display in an old WWII bomb shelter in the 40 Ekklisies district of Thessaloniki, featuring impressive photos of exploration expeditions carried out by the Thessaloniki Speleology Association "Proteus".
The bomb shelter, a large man-made cave which the local residents sought refuge in when the sirens rang during the war, had fallen into abandonment, but recently re-opened at the initiative of Proteus.
Visitors of the exhibition don helmets fitted with a lighting device to enter the cavity, which is lit only by small candles.
The cavity, located beneath Pavlou Mela square, was created with controlled explosions before the war and later served as a bomb shelter in WWII. It is a 22-metre long and 2.5 meter high corridor, with a steady temperature of 17 C and a relative humidity of 100 percent, Proteus general secretary George Sotiriadis told ANA-MPA.
 Vanessa Mae back in Greece on September 14Vanessa Mae and her electric violin will be back in Athens for one of her unique performances on September 14, in a concert taking place at the Herod Atticus Odeon beneath the floodlit Acropolis.
With a repertoire spanning classical composers like Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and Vivaldi but also Indian music, pop songs, ballads and works by Greek composer Vangelis, Athens audiences can look forward to what promises to be another unforgettable evening.
 Home of Theodorakis' father on Crete eyed as museumThe home of Mikis Theodorakis' father in the district of Galata, near Hania, Crete, was visited on Wednesday by Hania Mayor Manolis Skoulakis, who cited the prospect of the residence as a future museum to host and exhibit items related to the renowned composer.
An initial study was presented during the meeting on turning the residence into a museum.
According to the initial study, the residence will be turned into museum-exhibition premises, where there will be items related to the presence of the Theodorakis family in Galata.
 Decline in visitors, revenues, for museums/archaeological sites in FebruaryThe number of visitors to museums throughout Greece dropped by 16.2 percent in February this year, while revenues declined by 20 percent, compared with the same month in 2010, the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Wednesday.
A similar picture prevailed in archaeological sites around the country, with an 11.3 percent decline in visitors and 7.7 percent drop in revenues during the same period.
ELSTAT also said that in the first two months of the year, the number of visitors to museums fell 22.8 percent and revenues were down 26.1 percent against the same period in 2010, while visitors to archaeological sites declined by 6.4 percent and revenues were down by 4.9 percent.
 Illegal migrants attack police car with rocks in IgoumenitsaA group of illegal migrants attacked a police patrol car late Tuesday night near a migrants' camp in Igoumenitsa, causing damage to the patrol car but no injuries.
The illegal migrants threw rocks at the patrol car, breaking its windshield and causing other material damage, but the two policemen inside the car were not injured.
This was not the first time that illegal migrants have attacked police cars with rocks in the area, but tension has recently been mounting due to a 'sweep' operation by Igoumenitsa police.
 Search on for missing diver at ThiraAuthorities on the island of Santorini on Tuesday continued a search at sea for a missing 40-year-old freediving champion from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The search is centred around the area 'Apothikes Akrotiriou' near Thira.
According to the local coast guard, the 40-year-old had gone out in a boat with a U.S. national, a Dutch national and two Greeks in order to carry out free diving to a depth of 70 metres. At some point, the 40-year-old performed a record-breaking dive to a depth of 80 metres, during which the rest of the team lost visual contact with him, and has been missing ever since.
Officials from the UAE embassy in Greece are now in Thira to monitor the search.
According to fishermen in the area, the depth of the sea at the location where the group was free diving exceeds 100 metres.
 'Black market' warehouse raided in central AthensGreek Police (EL.AS) along with Athens municipal crews and financial crimes squad (SDOE) officers raided a large "black market" warehouse in downtown Athens on Wedneday containing thousands of counterfeit brand name items.
More than one million items, outerwear, footwear, bags, wristwatches, all knock-off brands, were found in the warehouse, the 19th uncovered in downtown Athens since the beginning of the year. Authorities said it will take days to assess the street value of the confiscated goods.
The street value of the items discovered in the rest of the warehouses is estimated to more than 110 million euros.
 Harokopio petrol station robbery solvedPolice have solved the robbery that took place at a petrol station at Harokopio in Pylos, in the Peloponnese, on Monday night.
The perpetrators are three 20-year-old Albanian nationals, one of whom was arrested on Tuesday night by Kalamata police and confessed his act, while the other two are being sought by the authorities.
 Contraband cigarettesA cargo ship loaded with an estimated 3,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes was spotted north of the coast of Evia on Wednesday, following a coordinated operation by the Coast Guard.
The Sao Tome-flagged freighter, with a seven-member Ukrainian crew on board, ignored a call for inspection and was chased by coastguard vessels, which escorted the vessel to safe harbor where the contraband will be counted and legal procedures will be set in motion.
The ship was sailing from the Turkish port of Mersin, destined for Montenegro.
 Cloudy on ThursdayCloudy weather and westerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 16C and 35C. Fair in Athens, with westerly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 19C to 35C. Cloudy with local showers in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 17C to 30C.
 The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceCriticism on the government's economic policy and the mid-term programme and further revision of the measures mostly dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Turmoil in government".
AVGHI: "Black out on government and in Squares".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "70 ruling PASOK deputies take Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou to task".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Back and forth over public sector and taxes".
ESTIA: "The lies continue".
ETHNOS: "German Finance Minister Wolfgang Shauble: Support to Greece right now".
IMERISSIA: "Obama's and Merkel's support".
KATHIMERINI: "US President Barack Obama: Greece must not go bankrupt".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "PASOK deputies' harsh criticism against economic policy".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Popular movement against capital, its political parties and the EU".
TA NEA: "Obama to German Chancellor Angela Merkel: Take care of Greece".
VRADYNI: "Up to 50 percent cuts in pensions".
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