|Friday, 15 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-07-04
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 4 July 2011 Issue No: 3828
 Eurozone OKs 5th loan tranche to GreeceThe council of Eurozone ministers on Saturday approved its portion of the fifth installment of an EC-ECB-IMF loan to Greece, worth 12 billion euros out of the total package of 110-billion-euros, following an afternoon tele-conference.
According to an ANA-MPA dispatch from Brussels, Eurogroup president Jean-Claude Juncker said the decision was positive for Greece, with the fifth installment formally being dispersed after approval by the IMF, whose board will probably convene next week.
Of the 12-billion-euro instalment, 8.7 billion will come from Eurozone countries, with the remaining 3.3 billion coming from the IMF.
"The Eurogroup decisions came about after the ratification, by the Greek Parliament, of the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategic Programme and the enabling law. This development boosted the country's international integrity. What is now crucial is the timely and effective implementation of Parliament's decisions, so we can gradually start to emerge from the crisis..." Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said from Athens.
 PM speaks by phone with Mahmoud Abbas; proposal for Gaza aid transportGreek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Sunday spoke by phone with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, with the latest Mideast developments, related European initiatives and the pending moves by the so-called "Quartet" dominating the conversation.
According to reports, Abbas positively viewed a Greek government proposal to assume the transport of humanitarian aid to Gaza, in cooperation with the United Nations, relevant authorities and, of course, in contact with the Palestinian Authority.
The proposal was confirmed on Sunday afternoon by the foreign ministry.
According to the ministry, the Greek side will immediately contact the UN and all interested parties in order to make the transport possible, within the framework requested by the UN general secretary for shipment of such aid.
The foreign ministry also detailed the reasons why Athens banned the sailing of vessels from Greek ports towards Gaza and the sea region off the Palestinian enclave, while at the same time stressing that the naval blockade of Gaza should be lifted. The ministry also reminded that Athens' positions regarding the humanitarian situation in Gaza are well known and standing.
"Greece's position of principle is well known, one in favour of respect for international law and the avoidance of violence. Greece, as is well known, actively backs the resumption of peace talks, which are the only path for a comprehensive and viable solution to the Palestinian issue, with the establishment of a Palestinian state, one that co-exists peaceful with the state of Israel," the ministry statement read.
 PM holds talks with foreign officials on Mideast, LibyaThe Middle East and developments in North Africa were the main issues discussed on Saturday afternoon at the conclusion of a SI summit meeting held in an Athens seaside resort.
Prime Minister and Socialist International (SI) president George Papandreou met separately with the leader of Israeli's Labor Party, Michael Harish, followed by a meeting with Fatah representative Nabil Shaath, talks aimed at working towards progress for a viable solution to the long-standing Middle East problem.
Israeli Labor Party international relations secretary and veteran ex-diplomat Colette Avital was also present at the meeting between Papandreou and Harish.
Other topics touched on the ongoing economic crisis plaguing Greece and efforts to exit the crisis, with foreign delegations expressing their support and willingness to assist the east Mediterranean country.
Moreover, the Greek premier met also with two representatives of the Libyan interim national council, namely, Fathi Baja, who is responsible for foreign affairs of the Benghazi-based provisional government, and with Ashour Hamed Bourashed, who represents the eastern Libyan port of Darna on the council.
Talks focused on the prevailing situation and latest developments in strife-torn Libya, as Papandreou reiterated his interest in the situation affecting the North African country as well as Athens' position that a solution to the ongoing conflict must be political.
Finally, Papandreou met with two young bloggers, from Egypt and Tunisia, respectively, who were invited to attend the SI meeting.
 Samaras: Snap elections now; time to renegotiate termsMain opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras on Saturday repeated his mantra of "renegotiation of everything", referring to Greece's commitments to its Eurozone partners and the EC-ECB-IMF "troika", as emanating from the Memorandum and the recently ratified Medium-Term Fiscal Strategic Framework.
Both agreements are part and parcel of the 110-billion-euro bailout granted to Greece last year in order to stave off sovereign default, as well as a more-or-less prerequisite for any future bailout.
In comments published on Saturday in an Athens weekly, Samaras noted that "now is the hour that the entire course of our economic policy, which was implemented as of last year, should be re-evaluated. This policy was proved wrong in everything. Never before has an economic policy been so miscalculated."
He again underlined that three things are necessary: "an alternative plan; another government to implement it, and a smooth transition from the wrong initial plan to the alternative one».
Samaras insisted that if the current economic mix does not change then ND will not vote the new loan agreement, even if the ruling PASOK governments requests 180 votes in Parliament to pass the legislation.
Last week's mid-term programme was passed by a simple Parliament majority of 155 MPs out of the 300-deputy legislature.
Moreover, Samaras emphasised that various "injustices" recently enacted via tax hikes and pension cuts affecting the lower-income sections of Greek society will be overturned "as soon as a drastic cut in the (annual budget) deficit allows this ... If our policy is fully implemented then this will happen in three to four years"
Finally, he rejected the idea of a referendum in the autumn -- a proposal being floated by the government -- and reiterated that he wants snap elections.
His comments were carried in the weekly "RealNews".
 German FM: I can't imagine Greece outside EuropeGerman Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle ruled out the possibility of Greece exiting eurozone or leaving a united Europe, in comments carried by an Athens weekly on Saturday.
He added that he has never considered Greece's expulsion or exit from the eurozone, "how could I ever want one of the sources of European civilisation to be outside Europe?"
Westerwelle supported the Greek government's policy over a boost in competitiveness, underlining that "the best medicine most of the times has a bitter taste".
The top German diplomat was also queried on the stance of main opposition New Democracy and ND leader Antonis Samaras, stressing that "I recognise his privilege to have a different option, but I have the right not to accept it, and to warn him of the danger that will arise if reforms are overruled."
Moreover, Westerwelle noted that German politicians had recently referred to Greece in an arrogant manner, calling such statements improper. Conversely, he said many anti-German banners and slogans aired during protests in by certain Greek media "left a bitter taste".
Concluding he noted that the debt cannot be ameliorated with new debts, but only by fiscal discipline and reforms.
 Turkish main opposition leader concludes visit to Thrace provinceTurkish main opposition CHP party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu on Saturday visited the northeastern Greek cities of Xanthi and Komotini, in the Thrace border region.
Kilicdaroglu met with representatives of the local Muslim minority in Xanthi and in the town hall of Iasmos, Rhodopi prefecture, followed afterwards with a visit to the Turkish consulate in Komotini.
He also briefly stopped in the village of Mesti, near the border city of Alexandroupolis, where relatives of a CHP Parliamentary candidate reside. The Turkish politician returned by car to the neighbouring country.
 Turkish CHP leader Kilicdaroglu in ThessalonikiTurkey's main opposition political leader, CHP president Kemal Kilicdaroglu, on Saturday toured the landmark residence in Thessaloniki where Turkish republic founder Kemal Mustafa Ataturk was born.
Kilicdaroglu also visited the adjacent Turkish consulate in Thessaloniki, following his visit to Athens, where he participated in a Socialist International (SI) summit.
The general consul of Turkey in Thessaloniki, Hussein Ozdemir, received Kilicdaroglu.
 US skipper in Gaza vessel flotilla arrestedPort authorities on Saturday arrested the 60-year-old skipper of the US-flagged vessel "Audacity of Hope", which was intercepted a day earlier just off the Perama dockyards as it headed for Gaza in the eastern Mediterranean.
Coast guard vessels stopped the ship two nautical miles from Perama -- a coastal industrial district west of Athens proper -- and forced it return to port.
The American skipper of the ship was sent before a Piraeus prosecutor hours after his arrest -- a flangrante delicto process -- who slapped him with felony charges. The defendant requested and received a 48-hour stay to provide a statement. He remained in custody.
The ship is part of a nine-vessel flotilla, carrying activists and aid to Gaza, which aims to breach the Israeli navy's sea blockade of the Palestinian enclave.
On Friday, Citizens Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis announced that vessels registered under the Greek or a foreign flag are banned from leaving Greek ports if destined for the sea region of Gaza, a decision that drew sharp criticism by the flotilla's activists and supporters.
 Rockwave festival opensThe annual Rockwave Festival opened on Friday at the Terra Vibe Park, in Malakassa, 38km north of Athens.
Twenty five Greek and foreign artists will perform on two stages, the main Terra Stage and the smaller Vibe Stage, during the three-day rock festival. The festival opened at 11.15 with the group "Go Over" and afterwards on the scene performed the 'Stranglers'. while later 'The Editors', main act of the day appeared on stage.
The Rockwave Festival hosts every year noted artists and bands from all over the world and has been established as the total music summer fest.
More than 200 artists have performed at Terra Vibe over the last fifteen years.
 Moroccan royals on Corfu for holidayThe first lady of Morocco, Lalla Salma, the wife of King Mohammed VI of Morocco, arrived on Saturday afternoon on the popular Ionian holiday island of Corfu aboard an executive jet.
Princess Salma who was accompanied by her eight-year-old son, Crown Prince Moulay Hassan.
 Traffickers, illegals intercepted; forged Romanian documents seizedA 36-year-old Afghan man and a 32-year-old Iraqi were arrested on Saturday on the Igoumenitsa-Preveza highway on charges of transporting in two Iraqi illegal migrants and two children in separate vehicles.
According to police, the two alleged traffickers drove the would-be migrants from Athens to Igoumenitsa in order for the latter to try and board an Italy-bound ferry boat. All four migrants possessed forged Romanian passports, while claiming to have paid 10,000 euros each to an unknown man in Iraq for eventual passage to Germany.
One of the traffickers also possessed a forged Romanian passport and a driver's licence, whereas the car's plates were stolen.
The group of arrestees was led before a local prosecutor.
 Major heroin bust in Crete prisonPrison guards at the Nea Alikarnassos correctional facility on the island of Crete island on Sunday discovered nearly 39 grams of heroin in a 28-year-old inmate's cell.
The significant amount of heroin was found in a loaf of bread.
 Arson attack in Nea SmyrniUnknown individuals torched four vehicles belonging to the central Athens' area Nea Smyrni municipality early Sunday.
The perpetrators threw a flammable liquid on the cars and set them on fire. The two of vehicles were destroyed completely while the other two were seriously damaged.
 Armed robbery of petrol stationAn armed robbery was reported late Friday outside the village of Spathovouni, in Corinth prefecture.
Three masked gunmen entered into a gas station and held up two employees and a customer at gunpoint. They reportedly made off with 1,300 euros from the cash register and fled in a stolen vehicle.
 Two wildfires reportedÁ wildfire erupted on Sunday in a rural area at the Vardali site, near the town of Domokos, in south-central Greece.
According to the fire brigade, the blaze does not threaten residential areas.
Twelve fire engines 42 fire-fighters were dispatched to the scene, along with two fire-fighting airplanes.
Another wildfire was reported earlier in the Acharnes district of extreme northwest Athens.
 Fair on MondayFair weather and northerly winds are forecast for Monday. Wind velocity will reach 6 on the Beaufort scale. Scattered clouds in the north with temperatures ranging from 16C-33C; fair in the south, 17C-33C; the same on the islands, 18C-31C. Sunny in Athens, 19C-32C; the same in Thessaloniki, 19C-29C.
 The weekend edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe ratification of the Mid-Term Fiscal Strategy Programme and the affiliated enabling law, disbursement of the fifth tranche of the bailout loan as well as the new tax bill mostly dominated the headlines on Saturday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Layoffs begin and in Public Utilities and Organisations".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "State health sector: Reduction in hospital beds".
EPOCHI: "Indignados movement persists, people resist.
ESTIA: "Irresponsible political system".
ETHNOS: "Tax bureaus shut down, revenues to be collected by private companies".
IMERISSIA: "Signal for PPC plant sales".
KATHIMERINI: "Next day's 10 fronts".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Course towards deep recession in second half of year".
PROTO THEMA: "Foreigners: come and build wherever you want".
REAL NEWS: "Be courageous until 2025 - Berlin, Brussels' secret plan for new loan".
RIZOSPASTIS: "With intensity in battle for working classes' development".
TA NEA: "And now? What's after the Mid-term storm".
TYPOS: "Europe seeking emergency exit from Mid-term".
VIMA: "German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle: Greece outside eurozone unimaginable".
VRADYNI: "When's the best time for self-employed professionals to retire".
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