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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-06-24

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Friday, 24 June 2011 Issue No: 3820


  • [01] PM Papandreou says Greece remains adherred to economic programme
  • [02] ND leader at EPP's summit
  • [03] FinMin Venizelos on medium-term fiscal strategy measures
  • [04] FinMin meets with Troika chiefs
  • [05] FinMin briefs PASOK parliamentary committee on negotiations with Troika
  • [06] PM Papandreou holds meeting with fYRoM counterpart
  • [07] Name dispute remains key issue, Fule says
  • [08] Gov't on reform efforts in pro football; match fixing furor
  • [09] Authorities name 15 suspects in match-fixing scandal
  • [10] Million-euro stash of 'secret' supplies found at Ippokratio hospital
  • [11] President Papoulias visits Underwater Destruction School
  • [12] Greek military chief on formal visit to China
  • [13] LAOS leader meets with Dutch ambassador
  • [14] Development minister on loans, investments
  • [15] Greek banks' dependence on ECB borrowing increased in May
  • [16] Deputy Culture Minister on ports, airports privatisations
  • [17] General strike called for June 28-29
  • [18] Aegean Airlines declared best regional airline in Europe
  • [19] ASE to hold carbon-rights auction on June 29
  • [20] ASE plummets below 1,250-point barrier
  • [21] Greek bond market closing report
  • [22] ADEX closing report
  • [23] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday
  • [24] Athens mayor announces drive to boost convention tourism
  • [25] Exhibition of Hungarian modern art in Athens
  • [26] Shootout between police and drug traffickers, one arrested
  • [27] Contraband cigarettes cargo
  • [28] Rare book resurfaces at Thessaloniki university
  • [29] Portable digital seismograph network tested on Santorini
  • [30] Belgian arrested for drug-dealing in Kranidi
  • [31] Three migrant traffickers arrested on Evros River
  • [32] Fair on Friday
  • [33] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM Papandreou says Greece remains adherred to economic programme

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / Special contributor I. Karanassopoulou)

    Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said here on Wednesday that Greece remained absolutely adherred on the continuation of the programme that will make the Greek economy viable despite the difficulties it has.

    Arriving at the European Union Summit and after attending an extraordinary "mini summit" with the participation of European Council President Herman van Rompuy, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, European Central Bank (ECB) President Jean-Claude Trichet, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Papandreou said: "We have a battle ahead of us, a battle, a battle for the Greeks, for Greece, for Europe. We hope that the EU as well will create the suitable framework. With the EU's strong commitment there shall be the approval of the programme by the Parliament as well as our commitment."

    The "mini summit", according to reports, focused on the preparation of a text concerning Greece, to be included in the EU summit conclusions.

    [02] ND leader at EPP's summit

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras remained steadfast on his position on the need for a different economic policy mixture for the exit from the crisis, despite intense pressures exerted on him during the summit meeting of the European People's Party (EPP) in Brussels on Thursday.

    The ND leader reiterated to his counterparts that he agrees with the targets and the fiscal restructuring means, meaning with the elimination of the deficit, the curbing of the debt, the decrease in state extravagance and the structural changes.

    He pointed out that all these constitute proposals of his party, proposals that ND has supported and will continue to support in the Greek Parliament as well.

    Samaras clarified that he is demanding much more than the government can do both in privatisations and in the state's property utilisation, but he clarified that ND disagrees with the policy mixture that has already led to a deep and prolonged recession, that has paralysed the economy and has annulled the restructuring programme.

    He admitted that "most of the European leaders remained steadfast to their positions" but made it clear that he will not vote for the Medium-term programme.

    Samaras concluded that "however, the judge of every economic programme are its results. And the judge of all of us are the Greek people."

    [03] FinMin Venizelos on medium-term fiscal strategy measures

    Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Thursday stressed that "within the framework of the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy a finalisation of certain choices that are fair and acceptable to our partners are being made."

    Speaking during a press conference, Venizelos stated that "our goal is to regain our credibility and create the preconditions for a more effective negotiation on our fiscal problem and in particular, the long-range sustainability of our debt."

    "It is crucial that the medium-term programme and the law executing it will be voted in Parliament by June 30, because the medium-term programme is the precondition for the fifth aid instalment," he said.

    Among the measures mentioned by the minister of finance are, the establishing the same price for diesel used for heating and other commercial uses for businesses, a higher special tax on heating oil for households, and a one-off 5 percent contribution for all public officials, such as parliamentart deputies and local government administrators, whether appointed and elected.

    The tax-free allowance for real estate property holdings will be reduced to 200,000 euros, an extra 'solidarity' tax ranging from 1 pct to 5 pct will be imposed on all incomes, a 'enterprise fee' of around 300 euros for all business people were other measures envisaged.

    There will also be a 10 percent tax on the section of personal income between 8,000-12,000 euros - exempting those under 30 years old, pensioners over 65, the disabled and possibly those in low-paid temporary employment as freelance workers.

    The 'solidarity levy' will range from 1 percent for incomes between 12,000 and 20,000 euro, 2 percent for incomes over 20,000 euro to 50,000 euro, 3 percent for incomes over 50,000 until 100,000 and 4 percent for all incomes greater than 100,000 euro a year.

    [04] FinMin meets with Troika chiefs

    Finance minister Evangelos Venizelos met on Thursday morning with the heads of the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) 'troika' for finalisation of the measures and interventions contained in the government's Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy Framework programme and its application law setting out the specific tax measures, denationalisations and structural changes.

    Parliament's Standing Committee on Economic Affairs will convene on Friday morning for the second reading of the Medium-Term programme, while the text of the programme's application law will be released to the political parties the same day, ahead of the relevant parliamentary debate and vote.

    A two-day debate on the Medium-Term programme opens Monday, ending on Tuesday with a vote in the parliament plenary.

    Also on Tuesday, the parliamentary Standing Committee on Economic Affairs will begin discussion of the application law, which must be voted on in the plenary by June 30.

    [05] FinMin briefs PASOK parliamentary committee on negotiations with Troika

    Finance minister Evangelos Venizelos briefed the ruling PASOK party parliamentary group's committee on the economy on his talks earlier with the EU-IMF troika leaders on Thursday.

    The parliamentary group committee was in session since Thursday morning to discuss the government's Medium-Term fiscal programme and its application law.

    Venizelos described the climate as "gloomy".

    Venizelos' efforts are focusing on how to ensure the required revenues but with measures that will maintain a social nature without putting at risk the government's agreement with its lenders regarding the Medium-Term programme, which the lenders consider a prerequisite for disbursement of the 12 billion euro 5th tranche of the 110 billion euro EU-IMF bailout loan to Greece, according to sources.

    The sources said that Venizelos briefed the MPs on some changes being made to the programme, such as reduction of the tax-free ceiling on incomes to 8,000 euros from the present 12,000 euros.

    Pensioners over 65, young people up to 30 years of age and people with disabilities will be excluded from the tax-free ceiling reduction. Also, the 200,000 euros tax-free ceiling per capita on real estate will also be maintained, while a previously planned tax of one euro per square meter will not be added to electricity bills. Further, the price of heating oil will be increased by 5 percent per year until its gradual equalisation with vehicle fuel by 2013, the sources said.

    [06] PM Papandreou holds meeting with fYRoM counterpart

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V. Demiris)

    Prime Minister George Papandreou and his counterpart of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM) Nikola Gruevski held 30-minute talks here on Thursday, in the framework of his initiative for regular contacts at the highest level, for a suitable climate to be created in bilateral relations that can function in an assisting manner in the process of negotiations under the UN.

    According to reports, the Greek prime minister stressed that the decision by the Skopje government to place statues of historical personalities of Greece in various locations in the country raises an issue of credibility and real adherrence of fYRoM's leadership to the effort to achieve a solution.

    Papandreou reiterated Greece's steadfast will for progress in negotiations and clarified that he expects specific steps from the other side so that they will reach an agreement. He stressed that Greece does not intend to participate in "communication mobility" around the issue of the name, but looks forward to substantive negiotiations, reiterating that achieving a solution is feasible provided that fYRoM's leadership has indeed the political will for such a thing.

    [07] Name dispute remains key issue, Fule says

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - V. Demiris)

    European Commissioner for enlargement Stefan Fule, in a written statement issued on Thursday, said that resolving the name dispute remained a key issue for the accession prospects of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). The Commissioner's statement was issued after a meeting here with FYROM Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.

    Fule stressed that the two sides must remain dedicated to finding a solution, either under the auspices of the United Nations or through direct talks.

    The Commissioner said that Gruevski had briefed him on the latest developments concerning the name issue and noted that 2011 could be a "year of opportunity" for the accession course of western Balkan countries.

    He also underlined that the Commission wanted FYROM to be included in the nations of the regions that will play a leading role in efforts for European integration.

    Fule said that the recommendations adopted by the Commission in October 2009 for the start of accession negotiations with FYROM remained in force, as did the Commission's position that there must continue to be progress in reforms within the country.

    [08] Gov't on reform efforts in pro football; match fixing furor

    Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos on Thursday told the ANA-MPA on Thursday that Greek professional football is entering a phase of catharsis, pointing out that the first step made within the framework of this effort is aimed at reforming the sector to allow its healthy forces to emerge.

    Geroulanos said a match-fixing case is in the hands of justice and that the first decisive step has been made. He also sent a clear message to the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) that "the sports law should become stricter otherwise the next championship will take place without public financing, stadiums or public-run television coverage."

    The state will speed up the draft law on professional sports, which will include clauses for the prevention of violence in sports venues and measures against doping and other football plagues, he stressed, pointing out that early next month the relevant draft law will be brought to the cabinet for approval.

    Geroulanos said that "an investigation is underway by the financial crimes squad (SDOE) focusing on money-laundering and illegal betting," while police intensifies inspections in football fan clubs, stressing that the bad economic situation the country is in was directly linked with lawlessness.

    On the fate of the football championship in the new season, Geroulanos stressed that it is too soon to make any comments.

    [09] Authorities name 15 suspects in match-fixing scandal

    Greek authorities on Thursday announced the names of 15 people suspected for 'fixing' matches in the Greek first division 'Super League' championship, including club owner Makis Psomiadis and coach Yiannis Papacostas. The scandal was uncovered after the European soccer federation UEFA noticed irregular betting patterns involving first- and second-division club matches.

    First-instance court prosecutor Popi Papandreou released the names of those involved, including 10 people arrested on Wednesday night and another five for which arrest warrants were issued but are not in custody.

    The names released by authorities include those of Achilleas Beos, Giorgos Tsakoyiannis, Nikolaos Zamanis, Vassilios Karakoulias, Andreas Dimopoulos, Dimitris Zavantias, Athanassios Dotsis, Nikolaos Halkos, Nikolaos Pantelis and Stavros Psomiadis, all of whom were arrested on Wednesday. The five not currently in custody are Chrysostomos (Makis) Psomiadis, Ioannis Papadopoulos, Vassilios Geortsiakos, Mihalis Nikolopoulos and Yiannis Papacostas.

    The charges against them include forming a criminal organisation and running a criminal organisation, fraud as a habit and occupation, involving sums in excess of 15,000 euro, repeated counts of habitual and occupational extortion with the threat of harm to the career of the victim, bribery to alter the outcome of a match, repeated counts of illegal betting, repeated counts of participation in illegal betting, instigating the previous two offences and illegal weapons possession.

    After the charges were read out, the case was sent to the 9th examining magistrate, who is expected to call in an additional 70 people for questioning as suspects for which authorities do not currently hold sufficient evidence to justify their arrest in the act.

    Sources within the justice system revealed that the investigation into the case was originally launched in October 2010. The assistance of Greece' National Intelligence Service - but not the police - was sought in January this year after an anonymous report containing the specific names reached the Paleo Faliro police department.

    [10] Million-euro stash of 'secret' supplies found at Ippokratio hospital

    Health Minister Andreas Loverdos revealed in a press conference on Thursday that a stash of undocumented medical supplies costing an estimated one million euro had been found in a previously unknown storage room at Ippokration Hospital. The minister said that there were no records for either the supplies themselves, the storage room and no one knew who had the key for it.

    The health ministry believes that the supplies in the room were the result of suspect excessive procurements that greatly exceeded the needs at the hospital.

    During the same press conference, an official from the Attica Region Health Administration said that the suspected mastermind of the scam involving the 'secret' supplies will go before a disciplinary body on June 29 and he indicated that the majority of the surgical clinics at the hospital were involved in the case.

    The case has also been reported to the first-instance court prosecutors office for investigation.

    [11] President Papoulias visits Underwater Destruction School

    President Karolos Papoulias attended an exercise of the Underwater Destruction Command at the installations of the Underwater Destruction School at Skaramangas on Thursday.

    "It was an impressive display that shows the high level of training, the group's high spirit, and in general of the Armed Forces, that operates deterrently for all who will think of something against our country," the President said at the end of the exercise.

    President Papoulias was accompanied by Defence Minister Panos Beglitis and Deputy Minister Costas Spiliopoulos.

    [12] Greek military chief on formal visit to China

    Greek national defence general staff chief Gen. Ioannis Giagkos on Thursday began a five-day formal visit to the People's Republic of China after an invitation by the Chief of General Staff of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), Gen. Chen Bingde.

    The talks between the two armed forces' chiefs will focus on issues of mutual interest and bilateral cooperation prospects.

    During his visit to China, the Greek military chief will be received by Defence Minister and State Councilor, Liang Guanglie. He will also visit military units, an air force combat simulation centre in Beijing and defence industry facilities.

    [13] LAOS leader meets with Dutch ambassador

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis met on Thursday with The Netherlands' ambassador in Athens Cees Van Rij at the party's offices and discussed bilateral issues, the illegal immigration issue and the Greek economic crisis.

    After the meeting the Dutch envoy expressed his satisfaction on the meeting and said that they discussed the political and economic situation in Greece. "It is very important for me as an ambassador to speak with Greek political party leaders, especially in this crucial period for the country."

    On his part, Karatzaferis stressed that The Netherlands is among the countries that have lent to Greece and thus his has the legitimate right to be interested in the Greek political parties' intentions. "We had a broad discussion on the economy and of course illegal migration, which is Europe's second largest problem," said Karatzaferis, adding that The Netherlands, which faces similar problems with Greece regarding illegal migration, is aware of the problem and in them we can find a supporter.

    LAOS sources told ANA-MPA that Karatzaferis also referred to bilateral trade between the two countries, noting Greeks spend twice the amount of money for meat and milk than for petrol. The same sources pointed that recently Karatzaferis during a speech in the Greek parliament had included the Dutch government among those with a negative attitude towards Greece.

    Financial News

    [14] Development minister on loans, investments

    Development, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis, speaking at the Emporiki Bank's "This is Greece" event, said there is a lack of investing boldness in the country and termed this trend "justified" since, as he said, "on a daily basis a big question looms over the country on whether we shall succeed or not."

    "We need less loans and more investments. We achieved this in our negotiations with the troika. This is and must be our basic political and strategic option in our negotiations with our partners in Europe as well," the minister said.

    Referring to existing problems, the minister reiterated the ascertainment that there is a big fluidity deficit in the market with thousands of businesses being unable to cope with daily needs.

    The minister mentioned that the institutional framework on the total lifting of bureaucratic obstacles in business will be ready in September, that the bill on shipping investments is being prepared, other big investments are being released quickly and the attraction of strategic investors is being intensified.

    [15] Greek banks' dependence on ECB borrowing increased in May

    Borrowing by Greek banks from the European Central Bank amounted to 97.5 billion euros in May from 86.8 billion euros in April, according to data publicised by the Bank of Greece.

    Earlier, National Bank managing director Apostolos Tamvakakis had pointed out that "the developments of the past months affected and continued to affect negatively the effort to stop the Greek banks' dependence on the ECB's fluidity."

    He expressed the hope that this development will have a temporary character.

    [16] Deputy Culture Minister on ports, airports privatisations

    Deputy Culture Minister for Tourism Giorgos Nikitiadis on Thursday from Thessaloniki, northern Greece, reassured that the government "obviously is not selling off anything", replying to reporters' questions on ports' and airports' privatisations

    However, Nikitiadis said, privatisation is a condition not only for the development but also the survival of many Greek airports, adding that the development of local airports requires major expenditures that the country cannot bear under the present circumstances.

    He clarified, however, that the government at all given times will have control of the ports and airports, and consequently "control is not lost in matters of national security and national policy".

    [17] General strike called for June 28-29

    Greece's two major umbrella labor federations representing the public and private sector on Thursday called a 48-hour nationwide general strike for June 28 and 29 to coincide with a debate and vote in parliament on the government's Medium-Term fiscal programme and its Implementation Law, which is a condition for disbursement of the 12 billion euros 5th tranche of the 110 billion euro EU-IMF bailout loan to Greece.

    According to the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and the civil servants' umbrella federation ADEDY, the 48-hour strike is an escalation of their recent industrial action comprising 24-hour nationwide strikes in protest of the Medium-Term programme.

    A main demonstration will be held on Tuesday, June 28, at the Pedion tou Areos park in central Athens at 11:00 in the morning, while on Wednesday another demonstration will be held in downtown Klafthmonos Square.

    A GSEE announcement said the central demands include rejection of the measures contained "in the Mid-Term programme and the Memorandums 1 and 2", and "rejection of austerity, halting the climate of layoffs and rising unemployment, the imposition of respect and implementation of the collective labor agreements, and halting the sell-off of public utilities and state organisations".

    ADEDY, in its own announcement, accused the government and the Troika of following a "destructive path" for the workers and society, and called on civil servants to participate in the strike mobilisation in order to obstruct the ratification of the Medium-Term programme and the new anti-popular measures.

    [18] Aegean Airlines declared best regional airline in Europe

    Greece's Aegean Airlines received the Best Regional Airline in Europe award at the Skytrax 2011 World Airline Awards, during a ceremony held within the framework of the Paris Air Show, it was announced on Thursday.

    Aegean Airlines is also the runner-up in the World's Best Regional Airline category and in Airline Staff Service Excellence in Europe category.

    The award received by Aegean Airlines was the result of a vote by over 18.8 million airline passengers of 100 different nationalities who selected the best airline out of a total of 200 airline companies based on customer satisfaction as regards 38 different items of airline front-line product and service.

    The World Airline Awards is the most prestigious and respected quality recognition of front-line product and service standards across the world airline industry.

    [19] ASE to hold carbon-rights auction on June 29

    The Athens Stock Exchange will conduct its first regular carbon emission rights' auction for European Union Allowance (EUA) units on June 29, using the OASHS trading platform.

    The quantity to be auction is 1.1 million EUAs from the Environment, Energy and Climate Change ministry's reserve of new rights.

    To assist participants and make the auction more effective, there will be a number of improvements compared with the first extraordinary auction held on June 15.

    This will include the option of modifying the sale price during the auction in order to ensure that the sale price is in line with current prices on international markets.

    A significant widening of the range for placing buy orders, with the ASE announcing the minimum and maximum prices in the morning of the day of the auction.

    In all, the Greek state will auction 10 million EUAs for the current year in the primary market, mainly to large industries. Plans are underway for the creation of a secondary market allowing the participation of private investors.

    The European Union, following ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, has allocated each member-state carbon emission rights based on the maximum quantity of greenhouse gases allowed to be freed up to the atmosphere, during the period 2008-2012. These rights are transferable and enterprises could used them to fulfill part of their obligations to cut greenhouse emissions.

    Regular auctions will be followed until the end of 2011 in the last Wednesday of every month, with the exception of August and December, while extraordinary auctions will be held as well.

    [20] ASE plummets below 1,250-point barrier

    Strong downward pressures triggered by a worsening climate in international markets sent stocks plummeting on the Athens bourse on Thursday, driving the ASE composite index 2.33 percent lower to close below the 1,250 barrier, at 1,241.82 points. Turnover was a low 57.282 million euro.

    The Big Cap index lost 2.8 percent, the Mid Cap index fell 1.37 percent and the Small Cap index ended 2.25 percent lower.

    All blue chip stocks lost ground, with Alpha Bank (-4.80 percent), National Bank of Greece (-4.55 percent), Atebank (-4.07 percent), TT Hellenic Postbank (-3.93 percent) and Piraeus Bank (-3.77 percent) the top losers.

    Individual sector indices were moving down across the board, with the greatest losses for Banks (-3.78 percent), Travel (-3.39 percent) and Technology (-3.41 percent).

    Of the stocks move, advancers trailed decliners by 36 to 92, with 45 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: Unchanged

    Industrials: -1.31%

    Commercial: -0.21%

    Construction: -2.18%

    Media: Unchanged

    Oil & Gas: -1.40%

    Personal & Household: -0.22%

    Raw Materials: -1.86%

    Travel & Leisure: -3.39%

    Technology: -3.41%

    Telecoms: -1.61%

    Banks: -3.78%

    Food & Beverages: -2.09%

    Health: -0.70%

    Utilities: -0.13%

    Chemicals: -1.37%

    Financial Services: -1.35%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Coca Cola 3E, DEH and Alpha Bank.

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

    Alpha Bank: 3.17

    ATEbank: 1.18

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 9.40

    HBC Coca Cola: 18.60

    Hellenic Petroleum: 6.29

    National Bank of Greece: 4.61

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 3.07

    OPAP: 10.79

    OTE: 6.10

    Bank of Piraeus: 1.02

    Titan: 16.30

    [21] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds increased slightly to 13.94 pct on Thursday, from 13.76 pct on Wednesday, in the domestic electronic secondary bond market. The Greek bond yielded 16.81 pct and the German Bund 2.87 pct. Turnover in the market was 9.0 million euros, all of which were sell orders. The five-year (20/08/12) benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 2.0 million euros and the ten-year (19/06/20) benchmark bond with a turnover of 3.0 million euros.

    In interbank markets, interest rates remained mostly unchanged. The 12-month rate was 2.14 pct, the six-month rate 1.7 pct, the three-month rate was 1.52 pct and the one-month rate 1.31 pct.

    [22] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount 0.34 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday, with turnover falling to 28.539 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 8,140 contracts, worth 22.672 million euros, with 28,057 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 18,902 contracts worth 5.868 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Piraeus Bank's contracts (8,920), followed by National Bank (4,642), Alpha Bank (1,486), Eurobank (1,292), Hellenic Postbank (553), OPAP (512) and ATEbank (288).

    [23] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.442

    Pound sterling 0.902

    Danish kroner 7.570

    Swedish kroner 9.302

    Japanese yen 116.3

    Swiss franc 1.214

    Norwegian kroner 7.92

    Canadian dollar 1.405

    Australian dollar 1.372

    General News

    [24] Athens mayor announces drive to boost convention tourism

    Athens Mayor George Kaminis on Thursday announced a series of actions designed to boost convention tourism in Athens, at an event organised by the Athens Convention Bureau at the Byzantine and Christian Museum in the city.

    Kaminis noted that Athens had the potential to become a major centre for conventions, listing the actions taken by the ACB and noting that the Athens City Pass allowing visitors free access to all public transport was near its launch and could become a major tool for travel agents and tourists.

    [25] Exhibition of Hungarian modern art in Athens

    Greek entrepreneur Nikolaos Karavasilis, a noted collector of Hungarian modern art, has organised an exhibition of contemporary Hungarian paintings from his private collection, according to a press release by the Hungarian embassy on Thursday.

    The exhibition was inaugurated on Wednesday by Hungarian State Secretary J?nos Hal?sz and Hungarian ambassador to Greece J?zsef T?th at the Newplan exhibition centre in downtown Athens, part of the series of cultural events during the ongoing Hungarian EU presidency.

    The exhibition will be open to the public until July 20.

    [26] Shootout between police and drug traffickers, one arrested

    Three Albanian nationals collected 40 kilos of hashish in their car at the Greek-Albanian borders, with the city of Patra as their destination.

    Shadowed by police, who had been informed of their activities, they tried to speed away in the region of Anatoli when police tried to stop them. On the Ioannina-Athens motorway, the Albanians fired on police and an exhange of fire followed. Police patrol cars and motorcycles blocked all the roads and at some point the Albanians abandoned the car and tried to run away. One of the car's occupants was arrested while the other two are being sought.The drugs and the car were confiscated.

    [27] Contraband cigarettes cargo

    The Comoros-flagged freighter INA that was spotted on Wednesday in the Saronic Gulf with approximately 3,000 boxes of contraband cigarettes on board was led to Elefsina port by coast guard vessels on Thursday.

    The coast guard spotted the ship on Wednesday as it was sailing 3.5 nautical miles off Spetsopoula island in the Saronic Gulf.

    According to available information, the freighter's destination is unknown, while the nine member crew (a Russian, two Ukrainians and six Bulgarians) have been detained by Piraeus port authorities and will be later sent before a prosecutor.

    Port authorities said that the contraband cigarettes would be probably unloaded at Ermioni, southern Greece, where seven persons where arrested on Wednesday and two suspicious trucks were spotted.

    Port authority officers found 50,600 euros in cash in the detainees' possession.

    [28] Rare book resurfaces at Thessaloniki university

    A valuable rare book that disappeared from Thessaloniki's Aristotle University (AUTH) eight years ago has surfaced.

    The volume, entitled "Geschichte und Denkmaeler des byzantinischen Emails", written by N. Kondakow, had been stolen from the history and archaeology faculty in 2003. It was found last Monday abandoned on the 7th floor stairway in the university administration building.

    The leather bound book is one of 200 numbered copies printed in Frankfurt in 1892 and refers to the history and monuments of Byzantine enamels.

    [29] Portable digital seismograph network tested on Santorini

    A new portable digital seismograph network recently acquired by the National Observatory of Athens is being tested on the southern Aegean island of Santorini.

    The third station of seismographs, featuring equipment that operates via the mobile phone network, was installed on Thursday, allowing the transmission to Athens in real time of seismic data received from anywhere in Greece.

    The head of the Geodynamic Institute's portable network, seismologist Gerassimos Houliaras, told the ANA-MPA that "Santorini is a quiet place that has no industrial noise and, therefore, allows us to test the data transmission to Athens."

    [30] Belgian arrested for drug-dealing in Kranidi

    A Belgian man was arrested by Nafplio police in Kranidi for drug-dealing and possession of weapons, authorities reported on Thursday.

    In a search of the suspect's house, police found and confiscated nylon-wrapped packets of cannabis weighing 47.1 grammes in total, four nylon bags containing 4.3 grammes of cocaine, a starting pistol, an air gun and a long knife. In his garden, the suspect also had a pot containing three cannabis plants.

    In statements to police, the suspect said that he bought the drugs 15 days before from a Greek resident of the area but nothing was found when police searched the home of the man he indicated.

    The Belgian will be led before a Nafplio public prosecutor on Thursday.

    [31] Three migrant traffickers arrested on Evros River

    The Orestiada Police illegal migration unit on Thursday reported the arrest of three migrant traffickers during a raid on the shores of the Evros River.

    The arresting officers initially caught two foreign nationals from Myanmar and Afghanistan as they were climbing into a boat in order to transport 50 illegal migrants from the Turkish shore to the Greek shore of the river.

    Further down, in the area of Marasion, they arrested one more migrant trafficker of Lebanese nationality as he was transporting 12 illegal migrants across in a plastic dinghy.

    Orestiada Police commander Giorgos Salamangas said his men were working on the base of a special plan and been issued with specialised equipment such as thermal cameras, increasing their arrests of migrant traffickers to 32 since the start of the year.

    Weather Forecast

    [32] Fair on Friday

    Fair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Friday, with wind velocity reaching 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 17C and 36C. Fair in Athens, with northerly 4-7 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 20C to 35C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 21C to 32C.

    [33] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The Greek government's negotiations with the Troika on the Medium-Term fiscal programme's measures and the arrest of prominent names in soccer in a match-fixing probe dominated the headlines in Athens' newspapers on Thursday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "The public sector 'emptying' - 110,000 redundant employees to be put in reserve labor".

    AVGHI: "Austerity threatening the global economy".

    AVRIANI: "Illegal pensions given to 250,000 foreign nationals".

    DIMOKRATIA: "Measures without mercy".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Prominent arrests for 41 fixed matches".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Berlin-Athens race".

    ESTIA: "Hope exists for salvation".

    ETHNOS: "Betting 'barons' in 'center field'."

    IMERISSIA: "Developmental package from the EU - Emergency support plan for Greece".

    KATHIMERINI: "Overnight thriller with the Troika".

    LOGOS: "Mammoth measures with express vote".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Troika objections to relaxation of measures".

    NIKI: "5 truths about the Greek crisis".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Unanimous 'no' with general strike to the nightmarish 'Medium-Term fiscal programme'."

    TA NEA: "Bargaining to the end with Troika and ruling party PASOK".

    VRADYNI: "Black market in IKA (state Social Security Foundation) waiting lines".

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