|Tuesday, 10 December 2013|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-07-13
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 13 July 2011 Issue No: 3836
 'Europe must now make decisions of historic importance', PM tells cabinetEurope must now make decisions of historic importance, Prime Minister George Papandreou stressed on Tuesday while addressing his cabinet.
He also announced his intention to take continuous initiatives for a final and viable solution to be given to the country's debt problem, in the interest of Greece and Europe.
He stressed that Greece must constantly be on the alert and consistently meet the obligations it has taken on.
The Greek government had warned from the start that the crisis was not confined to Greece and had proposed specific ways in which Europe might intervene that had not been heard by the conservative majority, Papandreou noted. Now, he added, more and more people were coming to realise what was happening.
In the period when Greece was trying to convince about the extent of the problem, the profiteers were acting unobstructed and the credit rating firms were exceeding, as is the case today as well, the jurisdictions and the authoriuty of national parliaments, the prime minister also pointed out.
Papandreou further reminded that he had said from the beginning that an overall European solution is necessary, placing as first issue the managing of the debt, secondly the need for restructuring and of the participation of the banking and monetary system in the solving of the crisis and thirdly there should be a wide European growth programme.
He also remined that he had proposed the issuing of eurobonds, a position that the European Parliament adopted, as well as the "Tobin" tax on monetary transactions.
Commenting on the draft bill for universities, Papandreou stressed that this contained reforms of historic scope for a deep democratic and progressive change.
On the bill dealing with corruption of politicians and state officials, the prime minister stressed that a new legislative initiative was being launched in order to ensure that the more serious cases went to trial within a reasonable space of time.
 FinMin satisfied with Eurogroup's 'clear message'Brussels (ANA-MPA / V. Demiris)
Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Tuesday expressed satisfaction over what he called a "very clear message" from Monday's Eurogroup meeting.
Speaking to reporters here, the minister said Monday's Eurogroup decision placed the Greek debt issue within a wider framework of a debt crisis in the Eurozone, as well as uncertainty in international markets. He welcomed the decision, saying it was sending a message that the Eurogroup was ready to take all necessary measures to ensure its financial stability, a development which included Greece as a member of the Eurozone.
The Greek finance minister stressed "we must do our job, implementing a programme in a climate of national unity, social cohesion, because implementing the programme is a precondition for strengthening our negotiating position and facilitating every Greek citizen".
Venizelos noted that Athens must restore its fiscal independence and dignity, while he noted that it was very significant that Eurogroup ordered an examination of all possible partnership solutions with the private sector. "This includes a more flexible and operating participation of the European Support Mechanism," he said, adding that this includes lower interest rates and an extension of the loan repayment period, "with the aim to ensure the country's debt sustainability and a reduction of the cost of servicing its public debt".
These issues are of vital importance for Greece, Venizelos said, adding that an invitation to opposition political parties to negotiate a new programme together was still valid.
Finally, Venizelos said the climate in the Eurogroup has changed because the Greek government timely approved the closely watched mid-term fiscal strategy programme.
 Greece wants debt solution plan ready by September 15, FinMin saysThe Greek government is seeking a permanent solution which would ensure the long-term sustainability, lower interest rates and an extension of the country's public debt before September 15 and the release of a sixth tranche of an 110-bln-euro loan agreement signed with the troika, Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters, the Greek minister stressed that the government was "open" to all issues within this framework. Venizelos underlined that the term "selective default" should not scare people.
"It is not a real bankruptcy, not a real financial event. It is an evaluation of three credit rating agencies on state bonds. If we are calm, prudent and we implement our plan, we can take advantage of everything to our benefit. The term guarantees included in an official statement issued by the Eurogroup does not refer to Greece but the assault on the euro currency," the minister said, adding "if we face any issue of guarantee mechanisms, we must do it, on the precondition that there will be a cut in interest rates, longer debt repayment and bond repurchase."
Venizelos stressed that Greece wants a "crystal clear" and strong message combined with a full coverage of the country's financial system either from the European Central Bank, other EU member-states or the EFSF.
Commenting on the country's banking system, the Finance minister said that a stress test will have a positive impact on the banking system and will help to the stabilization of the market.
 Eurogroup reaffirms determination to overcome crisisBrussels (ANA-MPA/M. Spinthourakis/V. Demiris)
Euro area finance ministers reaffirmed their determination to overcome the crisis plaguing the eurozone and tasked the Eurogroup's Working Group to propose measures to reinforce the current policy response to Greece, and also urged the Greek government to sustain its ongoing efforts, during a marathon 8-hour meeting on Monday in Brussels.
In a statement issued after the meeting, the ministers reaffirmed their commitment to safeguard financial stability in the euro area, adding that their preparedness to adopt further measures to improve the euro area's systemic capacity to resist contagion risk, including enhancement of the flexibility and scope of the EFSF (European Fiscal Stability Fund), lengthening maturity of the loans and lowering the interest rates.
They further welcomed the decision by the IMF to disburse the latest tranche of financial assistance to Greece and proposals from the private sector to voluntarily contribute to the financing of a second programme for Greece.
The Statement issued by the Eurogroup follows:
"Ministers reaffirmed their absolute commitment to safeguard financial stability in the euro area. To this end, Ministers stand ready to adopt further measures that will improve the euro area's systemic capacity to resist contagion risk, including enhancing the flexibility and the scope of the EFSF, lengthening the maturities of the loans and lowering the interest rates, including through a collateral arrangement where appropriate.
Proposals to this effect will be presented to Ministers shortly.
Ministers discussed the main parameters of a new multi-annual adjustment programme for Greece, which will build on strong commitments to fiscal consolidation, ambitious growth-enhancing structural reforms and a substantial privatisation of state assets. Ministers welcomed the reinforcement of monitoring mechanisms of the programme of Greece, the nomination of the board of the privatisation agency, which comprises two observers representing euro area Member States and the European Commission, and agreed to provide extended technical assistance to Greece.
They called upon the Greek government to sustain its on-going efforts to meet these commitments in full and on time.
Ministers welcomed the decision by the IMF to disburse the latest tranche of financial assistance to Greece, as well as the proposals from the private sector to voluntarily contribute to the financing of a second programme, building on the work already underway. The ECB confirmed its position, reaffirmed by its Governing Council last Thursday, that a credit event or selective default should be avoided.
While the responsibility for resolving the crisis in Greece lies primarily with Greece, Ministers recognised the need for a broader and more forward-looking policy response to assist the government in its efforts to bolster debt sustainability and thereby safeguard financial stability in the euro area.
In this context, Ministers have tasked the Eurogroup Working Group to propose measures to reinforce the current policy response to the crisis in Greece. The Eurogroup Working Group will notably explore the modalities for financing a new multi-annual adjustment programme, steps to reduce the cost of debt-servicing and means to improve the sustainability of Greek public debt. This reinforced strategy should provide the basis for an agreement in the Eurogroup on the main elements and financing of a second adjustment programme for Greece shortly.
Ministers commit to continue negotiating with the European Parliament the legislative proposals to reinforce economic governance in the European Union in order to agree on an ambitious reform as soon as possible. The reinforced governance should be fully operational without delay."
 Gov't spokesman on privatisations"The laws have been ratified and will be totally implemented, and their implementation concerns all ministers, government spokesman Elias Mossialos said on Tuesday, asked to comment on a statement by Alternate Finance Minister Pantelis Economou to reporters that "I predict, and you'll see that I will be justified, that all those foreseen for privatisation will not be sold, but a lot fewer".
 Papoulias visit to Palestinian AuthorityRamallah (ANA-MPA / F. Karaviti)
Greek President Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday reiterated Athens' position for the establishment of a democratic and independent Palestinian state, one in peaceful co-existence with the neighbouring state of Israel and with secure borders, speaking here after a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Moreover, he said the Arab peace initiative remains a significant tool for the international community towards this goal.
Papoulias nevertheless expressed his concern over the current impasse in direct negotiations, while saying he is satisfied with the programme to boost state institutions and efforts by Abbas towards internal Palestinian rapprochement and the unity of the Palestinian people.
On his part, Abbas referred to Papoulias as a "great visitor and friend", while thanking him for Athens' efforts to solve the Mideast problem on every level.
The Palestinian leader also called for the lifting of a naval blockade against the Gaza Strip, "so that people can live a normal live; so that the area can be rebuilt and for economic prosperity to occur."
 President Papoulias addresses business forum in IsraelTel Aviv (ANA-MPA)
Greek President Karolos Papoulias, addressing participants in the Greek-Israeli Business Forum in Tel Aviv on Tuesday, expressed his conviction that despite the economic crisis in Greece real possibilities exist and opportunities for attracting investing interest.
President Papoulias referred specifically to the sectors of renewable energy sources, infrastructure projects, agriculture and research and technology, while noting the leading position held by tourism, the "heavy industry", as he said characteristically, of Greece and expressed satisfaction over the fact that about 400,000 Israelis will visit Greece this summer for a holiday.
Referring to the two countries' cooperation prospects, President Papoulias underlined the progress achieved by Israel in research and innovation and hailed the participation in the Forum of Greek businesses that are not only active in the traditional sectors, as well as companies from the sectors of informatics, automation and advisory services, seeking cooperation opportunities.
Concluding his official visit to the region, President Papoulias said he is convinced that the talks he had with the state and political leadership of Israel "confirmed the substantive progress that has been achieved in bilateral relations and highlighted the will of Greece and Israel to proceed effectively and with coordinated efforts to further cooperation, in all the sectors of mutual interest for the benefit of the two peoples."
 ND leader Samaras says elections may take place at any momentMain opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras, addressing his party's Executive Secretariat officials on Tuesday, issued an alert in light of political developments.
"We called for and we want the elections, they can take place at any moment, for this reason I extend a battle alert for all. There are no vacations this year," Samaras said. He added that "I shall not allow inertia and personal strategies. We are all together with society, by the side of the people. Our aim is to approach every citizen, whatever he had been voting until today and convince him. The moments are not usual nor the struggle alert I am extending."
Samaras appeared optimistic and certain that he will win the elections and said that "we shall rule to make a break with the past and correct the mistakes of the past. Greece possesses inexhaustible wealth, human and natural resources. It is not condemned to fail. Their policies failed, not Greece. Our views are finding recognition and international support. In the struggle alert there is no enemy except for our bad selves."
He criticised the government, accusing it that its predictions failed: "Instead of the deficit decreasing by 4 percent which they had predicted for the first six months, it registered an increase of 28 percent and if they did not curb the public investments programme it would be increased by 70 percent."
Samaras clarified once again that he would vote for the new loan contract only if it is combined with a change in economic policy in the direction of growth and insisted on renegotiating again, for the development of the Greek economy to be achieved.
Lastly, he said that he is in favour of the utilisation of public property and not a sellout and that for this reason ND is participating in the Privatisations Committee.
 Greece's PPC sends electricity power to CyprusGreece's electricity body, the Public Power Corporation, announced Tuesday it would send to Cyprus electricity power.
The decision was taken to enhance Cyprus' electricity production needs, after the destruction of the island republic's biggest power plant at Vassiliko, following the massive blast which occurred in the nearby Naval Base.
A PPC announcement says that the first 30 ?W will be sent the soonest possible, following consultations between the governments of Greece and Cyprus.
Moreover, the PPC expresses its condolences to the families of Monday's blast victims.
The power station of Vassiliko was destroyed on Monday by the shock wave caused by the deadly explosion at the Evangelos Florakis Naval Base, near Limassol.
Twelve people were killed, namely six firemen, four National Guard members and two sailors, by the huge blasts which rocked nearby communities and caused extended damage.
Chairman of the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) Charis Thrassou has described the damage to the nearby power station at Vassiliko as huge, noting that it may take billions of euros to restore.
 Infrastructures minister in the United StatesNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
Greek Infrastructures, Transport and Networks Minister Yiannis Ragoussis is participating in Tuesday's high level meeting in Washington, under the auspices of the UN, on the issue of open governance. It is an international initiative of the governments of the US and Brazil, of the two countries' Foreign ministers in particular, Hillary Clinton and Antonio Patriota respectively.
Tuesday's meeting has the main aim of securing commitments by governments, as is mentioned in a relative announcement, for the promotion of transparency, the strengthening of citizens and the combatting of corruption, as well as the utilisation of new technologies to back governance.
Ragoussis said that the United States and the international community more widely recognise Greece's initiatives over the past 20 months for the reformation of the state, the promotion of meritocracy, transparency, accountability and open governance.
 Education minister on third stage educationEducation Minister Anna Diamantopoulou said on Tuesday that the prime minister and the cabinet gave the green light for radical reform in the sector of third stage education.
"We are proceeding with passion and strength," she said and added that "we are waiting for proposals from the various agencies until the day the bill is submitted for ratification."
 KKE's Papariga expresses opposition to university reformsCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga on Tuesday expressed her complete opposition to the reforms for tertiary education proposed by the government, during a meeting with the heads of Technological Educational Institutes.
"The new framework-law will crucially strike at the rights of students but also a large section of the faculty, both in universities and TEI," Papariga said.
She said its implementation during a period of crisis will lead to a reduction of the country's pool of academics and scientists, creating a wandering academic staff with "multiple-speed" degrees and opening the way for cheaper wages and "irregular" working relations.
 Cabinet names new judicial leadershipThe Cabinet on Tuesday named the three judges that will be promoted to the currently empty positions in the higher echelons of Greek justice, created when their occupants went into retirement at the end of June, 2011.
They include the posts of president and two vice-presidents in Greece's supreme court, the Areios Pagos, the vice-president of the country's supreme administrative court, the Council of State, two vice-president of the Court of Audit and the General Commissioner of State of Regular Administrative Courts.
At the recommendation of Justice Minister Miltiadis Papaioannou, the cabinet appointed Rena Asimakopoulou to president of the Areios Pagos, the first time that a woman has held this position in the history of the Greek judicial system.
Athanasios Koutromanos and Georgios Chrysikos were named vice-presidents of the Areios Pagos and Anastasios Gotsis was made vice president of the CoS. The vice-president positions at the Court of Audit went to Michail Zymis and Efrosyni Kramboviti while the position of General Commissioner to Eleni Diakomanoli, another historical first posting of a woman in this position.
 Minister comments on press reports of mass circumcision rite in Muslim minority villageHealth minister Andreas Loverdos on Tuesday denied that the assistance of doctors of a Xanthi hospital, in extreme northwest Greece, has been requested for alleged mass circumcision rite in a predominately Muslim minority village in the region.
The minister was replying in writing to a question tabled by Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.O.S) MP Kyriakos Velopoulos, who asked whether the ministry had been informed by the Turkish consulate in Komotini of the mass circumcisions of children of up to five years of age in the village of Drosero, while citing reports that a medical team from Turkey had arrived in the Xanthi-area community (Thrace province) to oversee the Muslim rite.
"Circumcision is a medical act that takes place in a surgery by a specialised urologist, in the presence of an anesthesiologist and doctors registered with the local Medical Association exclusively," Loverdos said in his reply, outlining the required procedure.
He also said that the Xanthi Medical Association was not aware of the exact time such a rite took place, nor any other details, beyond the information appearing in the local press.
As regards the ministry, Loverdos said no complaint or information regarding the issue has reached the ministry services, while the administration of the Xanthi Hospital was also informed of the event by the local media.
 State hospital mergers will erode quality of care, doctors assertState hospital doctors in Athens and Piraeus on Tuesday expressed fears that the planned mergers between clinics and hospitals being attempted by the government will erode the quality of care offered by Greece's national health system, "taking it 30 years back".
Speaking during a press conference about the proposed reorganisation plan, they predicted that gurneys doubling as sick beds would soon start to reappear in state hospital corridors.
The head of their union EINAP Stathis Tsoukalos said the plan would create "monster-clinics" where as many as 100 patients would be handled by just one coordinator, who would be completely unable to cope, especially on days when the hospital was on emergency duty.
Predicting that control of hospitals will be lost, he also raised question about how the new clinic supervisors will be selected and noted that many former supervisors in the old clinics might contest the choice in courts as politically or otherwise motivated.
Doctors additionally questioned the benefit of such mergers, pointing out that the ministry target was to make savings of 30 million euro a year when the overall cost of running the NHS was 13 billion euro a year.
Another issue raised by EINAP representatives were the chemicals used by police on June 29 in Syntagma Square to disperse crowds, repeating that these substances were especially toxic and have never been used so heavily and extensively in the past.
 Procedures for illegal migrants' deportation being speeded upExpulsions of illegal immigrants will now be taking place with speedy procedures, since Greece's legislation is being harmonised with EU directive 2008/115/EK, also following the validation of law 3907/2011.
According to a relevant circular by Interior Minister Haris Kastanidis, a harmonised procedure is being enacted, at the level of EU member-states, for the return of a citizen from a third country staying illegally, to end his illegal stay.
"Illegal residence" is the characterisation for the presence in Greek territory of every citizen of a third country who "does not fullfill or no longer fulfills entry preconditions, as determined in article 5 of the Schengen's Border Code, or the rest of the preconditions for entry, residence or stay, of the existing legislation."
 POESY sues over police brutality targeting media on June 28-29The Greek journalists union federation POESY on Tuesday filed a civil suit against the leadership of the Citizens' Protection ministry and members of the police force for the incidents of police brutality targeting members of the media during the riots of June 28-29 in Syntagma Square.
The suit concerns both the extensive and unthinking use of chemicals in the centre of Athens, the infliction of injuries, serious bodily damage and disablement involving reporters, photo-journalists and media enterprise staff.
Among their number was Manolis Kypraios, who was rendered completely deaf with a flash grenade went off inside an arcade just centimetres from where he was standing, even though he had displayed his press ID to police.
"We were also among the 'collateral damage' of the unrestrained violence of the MAT riot police, which exceeded all precedent in the last two decades," said a journalist at a press conference held by POESY at the headquarters of the Athens Union of Journalists (ESHEA).
According to the head of the Greek photo-journalists union Marios Lolos, Athens was currently more dangerous for journalists than a war zone, since police were deliberately targeting photo-journalists and treated a camera as a weapon.
ESHEA board member Dimitris Trimis said a political order had been issued to evacuate Syntagma and accused the government of creating "conditions of civil war".
The Greek unions have also reported the incidents to the International Federation of Journalists and the European Federation of Journalists.
The suit will be filed at the Supreme Court public prosecutors' office on Wednesday.
 Stocks continue slideStocks continued losing ground for the seventh consecutive session at the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, but share prices ended off their day's lows. The composite index fell 0.19 pct to end at 1,216.51 points, after losing as much as 4.34 pct during the day. Speculation that the European Central Bank intervened in European bond markets and information that a vast majority of Greek banks have passed European stress tests offered support late in the session.
Turnover was low 99.885 million euros. The Big Cap index fell 0.52 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.08 pct higher and the Small Cap index ended 2.02 pct down.
Eurobank (2.41 pct), National Bank (1.58 pct) and Coca-Cola 3E (1.19 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while ATEbank (14.77 pct), Cyprus Bank (4.55 pct) and Motor Oil (4.12 pct) were top losers.
The Food (1.04 pct) and Travel (0.92 pct) sectors moved upwards, while the Oil (3.49 pct) and technology (2.20 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 113 to 38 with another 28 issues unchanged. Imperio (20 pct), Sato (14.29 pct) and G.E. Demetriou (11.11 pct) were top gainers, while Altec (20 pct), Tegopoulos (20 pct) and Akritas (17.46 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -3.49%
Personal & Household: -1.29%
Raw Materials: -1.06%
Travel & Leisure: +0.92%
Food & Beverages: +1.04%
Financial Services: -0.95%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Bank of Cyprus, Eurobank and Alpha Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 3.17
Public Power Corp (PPC): 9.10
HBC Coca Cola: 18.75
Hellenic Petroleum: 6.20
National Bank of Greece: 4.49
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 2.98
Bank of Piraeus: 0.92
 Greek bond market closing reportYield spreads remained under pressure in regional bond markets on Tuesday, as markets remained unconvinced over European plans to deal with a debt crisis in Greece and other European regional countries. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds fell to 13.74 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market after rising sharply during the day, with the Greek bond yielding 16.44 pct and the German Bund yielding 2.70 pct. Turnover in the market was a low 27 million euros, all sell orders. The five-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 22 million euros.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely down. The 12-month rate was 2.17 pct, the six-month rate was 1.81 pct, the three-month 1.60 pct and the one-month rate 1.43 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 1.29 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover rising to 44.725 million euros.
Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 13,252 contracts worth 34.343 million euros, with 29,699 short positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 41,754 contracts worth 10.382 million euros, with investment interest focusing on ATEbank's contracts (12,782), followed by Eurobank (5,182), MIG (945), Piraeus Bank (4,050), National Bank (10,297), Alpha Bank (3,205), Cyprus Bank (1,125) and Hellenic Postbank (569).
 Foreign Exchange rates - WednesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.418
Pound sterling 0.895
Danish kroner 7.569
Swedish kroner 9.347
Japanese yen 113.02
Swiss franc 1.182
Norwegian kroner 7.888
Canadian dollar 1.378
Australian dollar 1.338
 Robbers kill kiosk employeeArmed robbers shot and killed early Tuesday a 54 years-old kiosk employee from Albania in the Athens suburb of Metamorphosi.
According to initial information the motive of the murder was robbery given that the gunmen took the cash and fled.
The man was rushed to hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.
Police are conducting an investigation.
 Driver killed as truck crashes into houseA truck driver was killed on Tuesday when his vehicle swerved off course and crashed into a house along the Antirrio-Amfilohia stretch of the national highway.
The truck swerved into the opposite lane before crashing into the house, the residents of which were not at home at the time of the accident.
The driver, who was trapped in the wreckage, was pronounced dead after rescuers succeeded in disengaging him.
Police believe the driver had lost consciousness at the time of the accident, since no skid marks from braking were found.
 Two policemen injured by hooded youths in ExarchiaTwo policemen were injured when about 30 hooded youths attacked a patrol of five policemen of the Exarchia police station at the intersection of Themistokleous and Eressou streets at 19:35 on Tuesday. The attack was made with stones, sticks, hammers and other items.
The two policemen, one injured by a hammer on the head, were taken to the 401 military hospital for treatment. The hooded youths fled the scene, while police forces arriving at the scene searched for the perpetrators but without any arrests being made.
 Fire on Zakynthos still ragingA wildfire that broke out on Monday at Volimes on Zakynthos island was still raging on Tuesday. The entire Zakynthos Fire Brigade force was at the spot, assisted by five fire engines from Ileia prefecture, two teams on foot from the city of Patras and Athens, two firefighting airplanes and a water dropping helicopter.
The blaze is burning forestland, and the Fire Brigade is investigating the possibility of arson given that it is the fifth fire to break out in the same area in the last ten days.
 Fingers re-attachment operation successful?he totally detached fingers of a 54-year-old Serb who was working at the Serbian Monastery on Mount Athos were successfully reattached following a difficult surgery performed in Thessaloniki.
The man, who in the past had lost his right hand index finger in an accident, was chopping wood when three of the remaining fingers on his right hand were caught in a chainsaw.
The patient was initially taken to a state hospital and afterwards to the Interbalkan Medical Center where orthopaedic surgeon Constantine Ganatsios and vascular surgeon Constantine Gouvas successfully re-attached two of the three fingers.
According to the surgeons the third finger, the thumb, had been totally destroyed.
"This specific surgery is a very rare and difficult operation especially when the finger has been completely detached," noted Gouvas, who has successfully performed three similar surgeries in the past.
 Dramatic rise in prostitution, diseases, among illegal migrantsA dramatic rise in prostitution by young foreign women in central Athens and 10 other areas in Attica prefecture, as well as an increase in an aggressive form of tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS and hepatitis C and B have been recorded by the health ministry, which is stepping up its collaboration with other authoritative ministries, agencies and international organisations to deal with the problem, health and social solidarity deputy minister Michalis Timosidis told a parliamentary inter-party committee on migration on Tuesday.
He said an important tool in the effort to stem the problem was the "Street Work" Programme launched by staff of the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO).
Timosidis explained that, under the programme, specialised KEELPNO staff were visiting central parts of the city frequented by illegal migrants.
He said the staff appeared to be earning the confidence of the migrants, as an increasing number are visiting the Street Work programmes to be informed on the health problems they face, without fear of deportation. Thus KEELPNO, in collaboration with NGOs, was recording the most frequent diseases and providing the initial health services to the migrants.
"Hundreds of drug addicts, and chiefly prostitutes of a young age, come out in the area of Omonia Square as soon as it starts to get dark, and this problem is a central issue for us," Timosidis said, adding that the ministry also intensifying its cooperation with the City of Athens and the Periphery in order to seek solutions, and was also working closely with the other ministries concerned.
 Arrests for forged travel documents ringPolice arrested two Iraqi nationals on felony forgery charges on Tuesday, with one of the two men wanted in Turkey on a homicide warrant.
The two men, 32 and 33, were arrested after a tip-off and following an investigation. The pair stand accused of manufacturing forged travel documents for illegal migrants congregating in central Athens.
An international arrest warrant for willful homicide was pending against the 32-year-old in Turkey, while he is also accused of firing on a group of compatriots in a cafe in central Athens frequented by migrants.
A search of their residence in the west Athens working-class district of Peristeri led to the confiscation of numerous forged travel documents, passport-type photos of other foreign nationals, formal statements and other documents.
 Two arrested for forgery, attempted murder chargeThe West Attica Security police on Tuesday announced the arrest of two Iraqi document forgers, one of whom has been charged with homicide in Turkey and attempted homicide in Greece.
Acting on a tip-off and following an investigation, police arrested the two Iraqis, aged 32 and 33 years old, respectively, in Athens' Karaiskaki Square as they were handing over forged travel documents in exchange for a fee. They forged documents were supplied to illegal immigrants in the areas of Omonia and Egaleo.
The 32-year-old has an outstanding international arrest warrant for murder, carried out in Turkey, while on June 14 he fired shots at eight Iraqi nationals at an Athens coffee shop, with the result that one was injured in the leg.
The two Iraqis resisted arrest and tried to get away but were immobilised and arrested.
In their possession, police found and confiscated five cell phones, one motorbike, a telescopic night-stick, 2,038 euro and 200 US dollars. A subsequent search of their residence in Peristeri uncovered a large number of fake travel documents, a number of passport-size photos for numerous foreign nationals, declaration forms and other documents.
The two suspects were led before a public prosecutor and charged with forgery, insubordination, resisting arrest, illegally entering and residing in the country, violating laws on weapons and, in the case of the 32-year-old, attempted murder.
 Women's gang dismantled in ThessalonikiA gang of women burglars was dismantled by police in Thessaloniki, northern Greece. The four Roma women, aged 42, 36, 28 and 25, are charged with setting up a criminal gang and grand theft.
The perpetrators were posing as book sellers in order to gain access into apartment buildings, and then broke into empty apartments and burglarized them. According to police, last month the gang took from one apartment jewelry and 90 thousand euros in cash.
 Cache of explosives found?alamata, southwestern Greece, police acting on a tip off, searched the residence of a recently deceased man where they uncovered and confiscated a large number of explosive materials.
The explosives will be sent for examination to the police crime laboratory, while Kalamata police are conducting a preliminary investigation.
 Fair on WednesdayFair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 2-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 18C and 37C. Fair in Athens, with northerly 4-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 26C to 36C. Slightly cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 22C to 34C.
 The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe Eurogroup meeting and the explosion at the naval base in Cyprus, mostly dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Black July with tragedies".
?VGHI: "Greek economy the spark that threatens the eurozone".
AVRIANI: "4.5 billion euros black hole brings new package of harsh measures".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Confession of failure on deficit and privatisations".
ESTIA: "Unfeasible target for the economy".
ETHNOS: "Here and now decisions for euro and debt".
IMERISSIA: "Thriller at eurogroup meeting - All-night deliberations on the debt".
KATHIMERINI: "Stick and carrot in Brussels".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Crucial negotiations on eurozone's fate".
TA NEA: "Greece in agony.....Cyprus mourns!".
VRADYNI: "Tragedy - Criminal negligence or sabotage?".
 Government to proceed with criminal investigation over Naval Base tragedyNicosia (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Police investigations on the tragedy that took place on Monday at the Naval Base of Mari, under the direct supervision of the Attorney General, is the only process that can lead to conclusions regarding the existence of criminal liability, and according to the Constitution, the Attorney General has said.
According to a written statement of the Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou, issued here Tuesday, President of the
Republic Demetris Christofias and the Attorney General, as well as the Assistant Attorney General, held an afternoon meeting to advise the President as regards the handling of the investigation over the tragedy at the Naval base in Marie.
Besides the criminal investigation, the President will propose to the Cabinet, due to hold a meeting next Thursday, July 14, the appointment of a commission to carry out a prompt investigation on every aspect of the issue and impute responsibilities for the tragedy.
Twelve people lost their lives in a huge explosion at the Evangelos Florakis Naval Base, on Monday, and 62 were injured.
Due to the explosion and the shock wave caused by it, the Vassiliko power station has suffered huge damage and it may take billions of euros to restore.
 Government made efforts to get rid of 'Monchegorsk?s' cargo, Spokesman saysGovernment Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said that the Cyprus Government has informed the Security Council for a German proposal to handle the material on the cargo ship Monchegorsk but didn't get any reply.
Speaking to journalists, Stephanou said that the Cyprus Government handled the issue in close cooperation with the UN Security Council and fully implemented a relevant resolution prohibiting the export of certain materials from Iran. He added that the Government was praised for that from both EU and the Security Council.
He added that the position of the Government in this difficult and delicate diplomatic issue was the material not to be kept in Cyprus, so it made specific proposals to the Security Council and other countries involved. He said that the Government suggested the cargo to be given to the UN force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to handle it, a proposal that was not accepted.
Stephanou also said that the Government suggested the cargo to be transferred to Malta, a suggestion for which there was no answer.
He also said that there was also a proposal from Germany and the government sought a mandate from the Security Council because it was a matter of security and didn't get any response.
As he said, the Government had tried, always in cooperation with the Security Council to channel the cargo to other directions, without any success. He said the only choice left before the Republic was toconfiscate the material and store it for further handling.
The Government spokesman also announced that the Cabinet will decide Thursday on appointment of an expert to investigate the events that led up to the blast at the "Evangelos Florakis" Naval Base in Mari.
He added that the Cyprus Police in cooperation with the National Guard had already undertaken investigation in the area of the blast and that Greece and France had already sent experts to assist the investigation
Asked if the Government had the power to take any action, the spokesman replied that it could only confiscate the cargo.
Twelve people were killed, namely six firemen, four National Guard members and two sailors, by the huge blasts which rocked nearby communities and caused extended damage. Nearby Mari village suffered most of the damage.
The massive explosions occurred Monday at the Naval Base "Evaggelos Florakis", in Zygi, near Limassol, few minutes before 0600 local time.
The blast occurred in the containers, full of munitions, which Cyprus had confiscated from ''Monchegorsk'', a vessel sailing from Iran to Syria in 2009.
 Greece and Israel to supply Cyprus with electricity after Naval Base TragedyThe Government of Cyprus and competent authorities of the country are in contact with Greece and Israel aiming at meeting Cyprus' electricity production needs, after the destruction of the island's biggest power plant, following the massive blast which occurred in the Naval Base near the Vassiliko power plant.
In his statements, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Antonis Paschalides said that he had a telephone conversation Tuesday with the
Greek Deputy Prime Minister Theodoros Pangalos during which they discussed about the situation electricity generation in Cyprus following the deadly blast, killing 12 people and injuring many more.
Paschalides said that the issue was discussed during a cabinet Council meeting held Tuesday in Greece, adding that Greece's help on the issue is very important.
The minister said that the final aim of the consultations underway is power generators to be dispatched from Greece to Cyprus as soon as possible, noting at the same time that power generators bids would also be sought from the private sector.
A request for Expressions of Interest for the supply of power generators as soon as possible is expected to be released, according to Paschalides.
The Government spokesman said that President of the Republic Demetris Christofias chaired Tuesday a meeting on the issue of energy production, which was attended by the Minister of Commerce and the representatives of Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC), the Energy Regulatory Authority and the Transmission System Operator providing a briefing on the situation.
He said that the briefing included both the issue of electricity generation and its management, adding specific decisions had been taken "on how to utilize all offered energy sources, of course, adhering to all legal procedures.''
He noted that the consultations with Greece are at an advanced stage, adding that consultations are also underway with Israel. He also said that bids were also sought from private citizens.
He said that help had also been offered from the Turkish occupied areas illegal authorities, adding that this is something which is being reviewed, provided that Cyprus sovereignty would not be violated.
''The Government along with the competent authorities is making every effort to increase electricity generation capacity, within a short period of time, in order to reduce as much as possible the inconvenience suffered by consumers'', he noted.
The Government spokesman expressed the sincere thanks and recognition of the government to the citizens which show, as he said, a great understanding while responding to calls to reduce energy consumption in order to address the situation.
Moreover, Paschalides said that a huge effort is currently underway by all stakeholders to restore the power generation at the Vassiliko power station, something that can't not be easily and quickly achieved.
He also said that a Decree had already been issued that mandates the use of emergency power generators, which are owned by businesses, institutions and hotels, urging everyone to abide by the Decree.
On the issue of water, the minister said that there had been an arrangement concerning desalination plants so that there will be a continuous flow of water.
The blast knocked out the island's main power station, causing widespread power cuts throughout the day.
The Electricity Authority said the station won't immediately come back online, while officials appealed to the public to reduce electricity and water consumption as capacity at desalination plants had been scaled down.
36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana-mpa.gr * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: ILIAS MATSIKAS