|Saturday, 24 February 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-06-14
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 14 June 2011 Issue No: 3811
 PM in 'To Vima': 'No doubts, only determination'Just hours after announcing the measures of the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy, Prime Minister George Papandreou underlined in an interview with the newspaper "To Vima" on Sunday that he had no doubts or dilemma about making the necessary changes, "only determination that Greek families will never have to live with the consequences of default".
He also stressed that if there had been any other choice, he would have taken it.
"I wouldn't wish what I am going through on my worst enemy. In war you also make mistakes. You are wounded, you bleed, you may lose battles. But the requirement is that you win the war for saving and changing the country. But we will win the war," he stated.
Anyone claiming that the country could escape such a crisis in an easy, painless manner was probably unaware of its size and depth, he added.
Questioned about the attacks on Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou, Papandreou underlined that decisions were taken by the government collectively. To those criticising the premier for his choice of people to work with, he replied that his only criteria were how to best promote the public interest.
Defending the government's work, the prime minister said some people seem not to have understood that in the past months he had been striving to impose a new culture of dialogue and debate on all levels.
"I do not like collective organs such as the cabinet to be sidelined with 'operetta-style' meetings lasting a few minutes, as was the case with the previous government. I want to listen to everyone and for them to listen to me. In the end we take well founded decisions, historic decisions," he replied.
In yet another overture to the opposition parties for consensus, he noted that he had not ruled out putting persons of broad acceptance, or even came from other parties, in crucial positions.
Papandreou rejected the idea of seeking an enhanced majority vote of 180 MPs for the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy and repeated his invitation to the opposition for national consensus.
"We political forces must send a message that we have understood what is at stake for our country," he said, while expressing understanding for those that joined the daily protests outside Parliament.
According to the prime minister, they were right to be angry since they could not tolerate a political system that had led to waste and corruption.
 Health minister talks to Greek-American media, positive about economyNEW YORK (ANA-MPA - P. Panagiotou)
Addressing journalists working for the Greek-American media here on Friday, Health Minister Andreas Loverdos relayed a message of optimism concerning the future of Greece, the course of the Greek economy and the stamina of the Greek people.
Loverdos was in New York to represent Greece at a United Nations conference on HIV/AIDS that ended on Friday.
The minister assured reporters that Greece will overcome the crisis, saying that the worst would be over around May-June next year and that the first signs of Greece's recovery will begin to emerge in December 2011.
"There will of course remain difficulties, such as the difficulties of unemployment and the reduction of incomes. But the country will have found itself again and have a future and it will be apparent that the citizens' problems will come to an end," he added.
According to the minister, the two summer months after the Medium-Term programme was passed would be crucial since it would have to be implemented rapidly and this would be the time when the basic changes would be carried out.
From September, the country will need to transmit positive news abroad and with a decisive stance, from May-June 2012 everything would be back on course for recovery, credibility and the prospect of prosperity, he said.
During his address to the UN conference on HIV/AIDS, Loverdos had expressed Greece's support for the position of the UN Secretary General to work on eradicating HIV infections within a decade. He had also highlighted the role of illegal migration and prostitution as factors that significantly contribute to an increase in HIV/AIDS patients in Greece.
 Hania voters send solicitor's letter to MPs over Medium-Term programmeTwenty-nine Hania voters have sent a solicitor's letter to three ruling PASOK MPs for their constituency, demanding that they do not vote for the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy unveiled by the government.
"We expect those that we elect to the Greek Parliament to defend the interests of the Greek people and not the interests of bankers and big capital," they write in the letter sent to PASOK MPs Sifis Valyrakis, Eftichis Damianakis and Evangelia Kouroupaki, with a copy also sent to MP Christos Markoyiannakis.
According those responsible for the initiative, in addition to the 29 listed as senders the letter has also been signed by dozens more Hania citizens.
 ND takes lead over ruling PASOK in latest pollMain opposition New Democracy (ND) has overtaken the ruling PASOK party in voter preference, according to a 'Public Issue' opinion poll published by the newspaper "Kathimerini" on Saturday.
Based on its findings, ND is now in the lead with 31 percent, PASOK follows with 27 percent, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) has 11 percent, the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) 8 percent, the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) 6.5 percent, the Ecologists-Greens with 3.5 percent, the Democratic Left with 3 percent and the Democratic Alliance with 2.5 percent.
The 'winner' is actually abstention, with 38 percent of those asked saying they would not turn out for the next elections.
Only one if four people believe the government will reach the end of its four-year term while the popularity of Prime Minister George Papandreou is in decline. Asked who was most suitable for premier, both Papandreou and main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras received 23 percent of the vote and 55 percent of those asked voted for neither.
Nearly three quarters (74 percent) believe that neither PASOK nor ND are capable of governing the country properly and 59 percent believe that snap elections are unnecessary at the present time.
An overwhelming majority of 82 percent said they were not satisfied with their lives and an even larger majority of 87 percent believes the country is moving in the wrong direction.
 LAOS leader repeats call for 'shared responsibility'The head of the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party George Karatzaferis on Saturday repeated his appeal for consensus between the political parties on the economic measures to end the crisis.
"Shared responsibility is needed. All else is unnecessary and unproductive," he stressed in a statement concerning the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy unveiled by the government.
"It is time that [Prime Minister George Papandreou] and [main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras] face raw reality. Everyone is trying to elicit an 'a la carte' consensus. Samaras went to Europe on his own and fell flat on his face," Karatzaferis added.
He appealed to the leaders of the two main parties "not to put their parties and their 'chairs' above the interests of Greece", noting that the country was heading straight off a cliff.
According to Karatzaferis, the Medium-Term programme could not be carried out when implemented by a "non-existent and disjointed government".
"If we want a result, if we want to help the Greek people, if we want to give hope and a vision we must decide all together to go to a new programme for a new start that will bring Greece out of its lethargy and give everyone the right to have a dream as an action".
 Parliament president hospitalised with pneumoniaParliament President Philippos Petsalnikos is suffering from pneumonia and low blood oxygen levels, according to a medical bulletin released by the chief of the Kastoria Hospital Medical Service on Monday.
Petsalnikos was rushed to the hospital on Sunday afternoon and later flown to a larger Athens hospital on Monday morning but there had been no announcement concerning his state of health.
The hospital's press release said that Petsalnikos was admitted to the hospital with a high fever at 3:50 p.m. but his clinical condition did not improve and it was judged necessary to transfer him to a hospital in Athens.
The transfer was carried out by the ambulance service EKAB and the Parliament president was taken to Athens in a military transport plane and then admitted to Sotiria Hospital in the capital.
 Health minister visits hospitalised Parliament PresidentHealth and Social Solidarity Minister Andreas Loverdos visited Parliament President Filippos Petsalnikos, who is being treated at the "Sotiria" hospital in Athens.
"The Parliament President was taken to the Sotiria hospital at noon today with symptoms of pneumonia. As the attending doctors informed me, the scan is clear and the Parliament President is responding positively to medication. I wish him all the best and a speedy recovery, so that he can return to his duties soon," Loverdos said afterwards.
 Parliament president on newspaper reportParliament President Filippos Petsalnikos made the following statement regarding a report appearing in the newspaper "To Proto Thema": "As I had also stated last March, when some had tried to create impressions, I repeat once again, that neither I nor my family have concealed or are aiming at concealing anything. It goes without saying that my assets are declared in both my tax statement and in the declaration of sources of income."
 'Indignant Citizens' plan new rally on Tuesday morningAfter another strong turnout at Syntagma Square on Sunday, in spite of the earlier rain and a three-day weekend that many Athenians used to get away, the 'Indignant Citizens Movement' of Athens is now planning to gather outside Parliament on Tuesday morning at 7:00 a.m.
While not as large as the rally on the previous Sunday, the third European-wide protest was still quite sizeable and by 7:00 p.m. the Greek capital's central square had filled up and the protest starting to spill over into Amalias Avenue. Roads surrounding the square remained clear, however.
The new austerity measures announced by the government in the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy programme were the target of the protests, with protests planned on Wednesday, the day when Greek trade unions have declared a general strike, and the day that the Medium-Term programme is voted on in Parliament.
 Finance ministry on decision by Standard & Poor'sThe Greek Finance ministry stressed on Monday that the downgrading decision taken by the Standard and Poor's firm to cut its credit rating from "B" to "CCC", overlooked both the deliberations taking place by the EU, the ECB and the IMF, on the finding of a viable solution, and the efforts of the Greek government to continue unwaveringly its commitments on achieving its fiscal targets.
The ministry's announcement reads as follows: "The downgrading decision by the Standard and Poor's firm is taking place in the midst of strong rumours and statements (to which it also refers) by representatives of the EU and the ECB. It overlooks the intense consultations within the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund on the finding of a viable solution, that permits the continuing financing of our country and the coverage of its borrowing needs in the coming years.
"The decision also overlooks the government's moves, so that whatever problems will be avoided in relation to the contractual obligations of Greece, as well as the will of all us Greeks to plan our future in the Eurozone.
"The Greek Government has already achieved considerable fiscal targets and has tabled in Parliament the Mid-Term Fiscal Strategy Framework, which is expected to be ratified by the end of June, and with which it assumes even more specific commitments with the target of continuing the fiscal effort, as well as the releasing of the creative forces in society. In any case it remains steadfast on the path that it has set for the rescuing of the country."
 Future solutions should promote employment, Katseli tells ILCGENEVA (ANA-MPA - E. Nikolaou)
Addressing the 100th session of the International Labour Conference on Monday, Greece's Labour and Social Insurance Minister Louka Katseli stressed the need for leaders that can "look at the past with a critical eye and provide solutions for the future that enhance the legitimacy of the democratic process".
She stressed that such solutions would have to promote employment and social cohesion, so that people did not feel that they were "too small to matter".
Katseli noted that the world financial crisis of 2007 had now been converted to a liquidity, debt and employment crisis in many countries, one that had served to increase joblessness, inequality and political and social tensions.
She stressed the need for a collective and methodical effort to tackle global macroeconomic imbalances, effectively regulate international financial markets and fairly share out the benefits and costs of globalisation between developed and developing countries.
The minister also underlined the need to more fully understand the increased interdependence of financial markets and the real economy, reaching the appropriate conclusions for the planning and implementation of appropriate policies.
In the case of Greece, especially, which for the past year had been implementing an ambitious programme of fiscal adjustment and enhanced competitiveness, Katseli emphasised that moderating the rise in unemployment, preserving social cohesion and a stability policy were key conditions for success.
The minister identified four priority areas that needed immediate attention, saying these included a better coordination of fiscal policy and the policies for labour and social insurance, measures to actively promote employment - while improving work inspection to discourage abuses of greater flexibility - measures to provide enough liquidity to small businesses to allow them to preserve and increase jobs and, finally, an active social dialogue on innovative policies and governance reforms that would be able to deal with the new challenges created by globalisation.
Among others, Katseli pointed out that cutbacks in public spending and raised taxes also impacted on employment and growth, while employment and social insurance policies affected productivity and state revenues. While stressing that these policies should not be allowed to increase inequality and an unfair distribution of burdens, she also noted that employment benefit and welfare spending should not act as an incentive for undeclared labour and tax evasion.
On Monday afternoon, Katseli will participate in a discussion on employment and social justice in a globalised economy.
 Development minister believes country can recover in next 30 monthsDevelopment Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis, in an interview with the newspaper "Kathimerini tis Kyriakis", expressed the view that the country will be able to recover in the next 30 months.
The minister believes that with the policy being followed by the government the foundations have been laid for the economy's national recovery plan and stresses that on these foundations "we can now schedule the final release of the real economy from the state and its recovery."
Chryssohoidis stressed that "with coordinated policies the economy can recover in the next 30 months, without relying on borrowing from abroad this time."
 Deputy Culture, Tourism minister concludes visit to United StatesNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
Deputy Culture and Tourism Minister George Nikitiadis stressed that an overall increase in tourism to Greece, mainly from Russia, is expected in the summer months, adding that "an increase is also being observed from America as well."
On the occasion of the conclusion of his visit to the United States, Nikitiadis gave a press conference at Greece's Press and Communication Office in New York, underlining that "tourism is an unbelievable goldmine for our country."
Replying to questions on domestic developments, Nikitiadis expressed the opinion that "elections will not take place. They will have no benefit for the country in this period. All the limits for consensus must be exhausted."
 General strike on WednesdayThe country may grind to a virtual standstill on Wednesday, when national unions have called a 24-hour general strike against the latest round of austerity measures and higher taxes.
The June 15 strike has been called by the country's two largest trade union federations, the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) representing the private-sector workforce and the civil servants' union federation ADEDY. It is expected to affect both the private and public sectors, including flights, health services and public transport.
Hospitals, health centres and the ambulance service will be operating on skeleton staff as doctors and nurses go on strike, while a strike by air-traffic controllers will disrupt flights.
Ferries and ships will remain anchored in ports as a result of the 24-hour strike decided by the Panhellenic Seamen's Federation (PNO) for all categories of ships, and all trains will be at a standstill, including the trains serving the Athens airport. Decisions are expected on Tuesday concerning the form of strike action to be adopted by staff on other forms of public transport.
As of the following Monday, June 20, the Public Power Corporation (PPC) staff union GENOP is scheduled to begin a series of rolling 48-hour strikes protesting against the further privatisation of the power utility. The strike is expected to have an impact on power supply throughout the country and may lead to scheduled rotating power cuts.
 Foodstores near Syntagma Square enjoying higher turnoversMany foodstores near Syntagma Square in downtown Athens, that has been under "occupation" by the "Indignados" since the end of May, are enjoying considerably higher turnovers due to the daily arrival of crowds of people.
"We have many people every day. Particularly on the two Sundays of the European mobilisations, the queue reached outside the store," said one waiter at a cafeteria in the area.
Shopkeepers in nearby streets speak of a relative increase in movement, without this entailing more revenues, stressing that their turnovers are following a continuous downward trend due to the economic conjuncture.
 International congress opens in AthensAn international congress on "Leadership and Administration in a changing world. Lessons from Ancient Eastern and Western Philosophy" inaugurated its sessions at the Roman Forum, central Athens, on Monday evening in the presence of President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias.
The congress is jointly organised by the Athens Economic University and Beijing's Economic University.
The congress, which will rap up its sessions on Tuesday, will focus on the usefulness of the ancient philosophers' teachings regarding modern times' challenges.
Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou also addressed the congress' inaugural session.
 Report: Greece ranks top for drownings in EUGreece has the highest number of drownings in Europe and ranks second in the world relative to its population, with roughly 400 deaths by drowning per year, experts told ANA-MPA reporters carrying out a special report. They particularly emphasised the high risk to young children, warning parents that child drownings tended to be "silent" as children did not understand what was happening to them.
"It only takes a few seconds for a child's life to be lost in the water," noted the head of the Greek Life Guard Academy Nikos Giovanidis, noting that by the time children realised that they were drowning, it was often too late.
He underlined that in most cases, simple but fundamental precautions had not been taken, such as keeping children under constant supervision and ensuring that they had not eaten before going swimming.
Giovanidis also highlighted the risks to older children, especially boys aged between 10 and 15 years old, who were prone to act impulsively and recklessly in the sea or around pools, leading to accidents that resulted in drownings.
Surveys carried out by the Life Guard Academy have also shown that many Greek children and adults do not know how to swim.
Doctor Antonia Moutafi of the Centre for Research and Prevention of Accidents to Children and Young People (KEPPA) said that 386 drownings were reported in Greece in 2009, of which 259 concerned boys and 127 girls.
She said the ages most at risk from drowning were very young children between the ages of one and five years old and senior citizens aged 65 and over, who tended to drown as a result of health problems such as heart attacks.
"Whereas in most European Union countries there was a reduction in drownings, in Greece there has been a slight increase since 2006 from 1.71 per 100,000 population to 2.52 per 100,000 population. The average in the EU is 1.21 per 100,000 population," she said.
Even though drowning was the second cause of death after road accidents every summer, there was a lack of people willing or able to fill life guard positions, she added, despite the fact that it was a well-paid seasonal job.
 Doctor accused of robbing patients during examinationsPolice in the city of Iraklio, Crete on Saturday said they were investigating complaints against a local doctor accused of stealing money from his patients when they visited his private surgery. Three people, a man and two women, have filed complaints against the doctor with the Iraklio police.
They claim that the doctor took advantage of the time when they were undergoing examination in order to remove money from their bags and other personal effects.
The 50-year-old man reported that while he was under medical supervision at the doctor's surgery, the latter managed in some way to take 470 euros out of his bag, which contained a total 800 euro.
Similarly, two women aged 61 and 54 years old, respectively, said that the same doctor had taken 1600 and 100 euro from their purses.
The 51-year-old doctor was not arrested because the complaints were filed after the three-day period allowing immediate arrest and trial before a police court for those 'caught in the act'.
 Earth tremor 43 km west of ThessalonikiAn earth tremor measuring 3.7 points on the Richter scale occurred at 12:11 on Sunday, at a distance of 43 kilometres west of the city of Thessaloniki, near the city of Alexandria.
According to the Geophysics Institute of the Aristotelio University in Thessaloniki, the tremor was felt in regions of Thessaloniki, while no damage was reported. Seismologists consider the phenomenon as being isolated and of causing no concern.
 Police arrest ring of suspected drug dealers in AthensPolice on Sunday announced the arrest of three Albanians aged 26, 27 and 29 years old, respectively, for drug dealing in Athens.
At the time of their arrest on Saturday, the three suspects had 15.648 kilos of cannabis in their possession, a handgun, a sawn-off shotgun, five cell phones and a private car seized as evidence.
There was also an outstanding arrest warrant for the 26-year-old issued in Patras, who was wanted as an accomplice in repeated counts of murder, attempted murder, illegally carrying and using weapons and brawling.
 Arson attack on PAOK soccer club fans unionAn incendiary device composed of gas cannisters exploded outside a PAOK soccer club fans union in Toumba, in the northern city of Thessaloniki, at dawn on Sunday.
According to police, the device had been placed at the entrance to the union and two out of a total of five gas cannisters exploded, causing slight damage to the premises.
 Former referee's luxury jeep catches fireA luxury vehicle belonging to former referee George Daloukas caught fire at dawn on Sunday and, according to indications, the fire was an act of arson. According to the Magnisia Fire Brigade, the luxury Porsche Cayenne jeep was parked outside the former referee's home in Kato Lehonia in the Magnisia prefecture. The fire broke out at 03:05 and firemen managed to extinguish it two hours later. Damage caused to the vehicle has been estimated at 50,000 euros.
 German woman reports rape in RethymnoA 29-year-old German woman on Monday reported that she was the victim of a rape and robbery by two unidentified men in a beach of Rethymno, Crete on Sunday night.
The woman said she had been jogging down the Platania beach when two unknown men approached her and used physical force to drag her to a nearby abandoned building, where they tied her up and both raped her.
They then left her and headed off in an unknown direction, after they had first taken her cell phone and 30 euros that she had on her.
The women managed to get to a taverna in the area, where she called the police.
A search has been launched for the culprits around the area she indicated and a medical report has been ordered to collect evidence of rape.
 Man arrested for distributing child pornA 31-year-old Greek man has been arrested by the Athens police computer crime department for distributing child pornography using the Internet. The arrest was announced on Sunday.
The suspect was tracked down through his digital trace and the public prosecutor's office was informed so that a raid might be carried out on his house, where he was arrested.
Police said that the suspect used various aliases on the Internet in order to mislead prosecuting authorities and be able to distribute hard-core child porn, while he also downloaded and exchanged such material with other users.
During the raid, police confiscated four hard disks and a USB memory stick, which are now being examined by the forensics service.
The suspect has been led before a public prosecutor.
 Special Olympics Torch arrives in Hania, CreteThe torch relay for the Special Olympics arrived on the island of Crete on Monday, making its first stop in the prefecture of Hania where there will be 6 lighting ceremonies before nightfall.
The torch relay will traverse the entire island, carried by 43 police officers selected from countries throughout the world and three athletes of the Games.
 Cloudy on TuesdayCloudy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 16C and 29C. Cloudy with local showers in Athens, with northerly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 18C to 28C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 18C to 27C.
 The Sunday editions of Athens newspapers at a glanceThe economy with the new package of measures anticipated by the memorandum and political developments in light of the consensus being pursued mostly dominated the main front-page items in Athens' newspapers on Sunday.
AVGI: "He is buying time, he is sinking the country"
AVRIANI: "The extensive looting of public property is beginning".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Tax evaders on plumes".
EPOCHI: "The solution must be given outside Parliament-Daily resistance in squares and streets"
ETHNOS: "Reversals and sacrifices coming with new Memorandum".
KATHIMERINI: "Pressure from inside PASOK and from Europe on New Democracy".
LOGOS: "The big trick with the country's silverware".
RIZOSPASTIS: "In the strike with PAME on Wednesday June 15".
TO PARON: "Elections or chaos".
PROTO THEMA: "4 Venizelos bombs".
REAL NEWS: "No one wants to rule".
VIMA: "We shall not give an alibi to those wanting us out of the euro".
VRADYNI: "Be pensioned off and gain".
 President's aim at Geneva meeting to pave the way for solutionLIMASSOL (CNA/ANA-MPA)
The President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias will go to the meeting with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu in Geneva on July 7th aiming to pave the way for the solution of the Cyprus problem, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said in Limassol on Sunday.
Stephanou, who was replying to journalists' questions about the meeting, stressed that "the President's approach in the meeting will be constructive as always".
"President of the Republic will be as always well prepared for the meeting with an aim to pave the way for the solution of the Cyprus problem", he said.
This, he added, signifies that "we remain committed to the principles of the solution of the Cyprus problem and we demonstrate the necessary pragmatism which is required during these efforts, whilst at the same time, staying within the framework of the procedure agreed upon before the beginning of negotiations and always working on the basis of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation".
President Christofias, he said, has undertaken initiatives and has submitted proposals in order to facilitate the negotiations. An example of that, he said, is the President's proposal for discussing a combination of issues, which are connected such as the property issue, territorial adjustments and the issue of the illegal settlers.
He also said that President Christofias has undertaken initiatives for the creation of a momentum for a solution of the Cyprus problem, giving as an example the proposal about Famagusta.
Asked which procedure will be followed during the Geneva meeting, Stephanou said that the agenda of the meeting of July 7th is currently been discussed and the government has its views on the matter.
Cyprus was divided after the Turkish invasion of 1974. UN led negotiations have been underway between Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu with an aim to reunite the island under a federal roof.
In July 2010, the Cypriot President announced three proposals on the Cyprus issue. The first provides for linking discussions on property with discussion on territory and immigration, in a bid to facilitate the resolution of the thorny chapter of properties and expedite the dialogue.
The second proposal urges Turkey to apply UN Security Council resolution 550, which calls for the transfer of the fenced off area of Varosha, in Famagusta, to the administration of the United Nations. Part of this proposal is the opening of the port of Famagusta under EU auspices to benefit the Turkish Cypriots.
The third proposal is to convene an international conference when within range of an agreement on the internal aspects of the Cyprus problem.
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