|Monday, 19 February 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-07-25
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 25 July 2011 Issue No: 3846
 President: Eurozone summit decisions a step towards European integration, but delayedA step towards European integration was made, but with a delay, at last Thursday's special eurozone summit, Greek President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias said on Sunday at the annual reception he hosted on the 37th anniversary of the restoration of democracy in Greece after the fall of the 7-year military dictatorship in 1974.
He also spoke of the "enduring, but not in vain" struggle for "bread, education, freedom" of the anti-dictatorship movement and for the need for "those who are concealing their revenues" to pay, but also of Friday's terrorist attack in Norway.
Addressing representatives of the anti-dictatorship struggle, the President said that the country owes them a lot, noting however that their generation, although sorely tried, had a "horizon" before them.
"The same does not hold true today, though. The young generation, which grew up in conditions of relative or greater prosperity, is the first that will go through tougher times than the preceding generation. Because it carries on its backs the unbearable debt. We owe it to this new generation to doe the impossible in order to ensure that its own 'stone years' will be as few as possible," Papoulias said, adding that the demands of the anti-dictatorship struggle remain timely today: "For 'bread' in an economy that enables a dignified life to all the citizens, for 'education' in an open society with rules of meritocracy and ability of taking advantage of the creativity of its citizens, and for 'liberty' in a country that does not live on borrowed money".
On the decisions taken at Thursday's eurozone summit, Papoulias noted that "with great delay, a step was taken towards European integration, but the road is a long one", adding that the cementing of rules of economic democracy are a national wager.
"The hour has come for those who conceal their revenues to pay, whether they are large-scale tax-dodgers with heavy accounts in banks abroad or are a part of the untaxed middle class. I do not accept that the black economy is invincible. Let us all agree that tax evasion is the most anti-social attitude, creates the conditions for breaks in the social cohesion, undermines the national future," Papoulias said, and called for reinforcement of the provisions dealing with money laundering with a lifting of the secrecy of bank accounts when assets disproportionate to the declared income is discerned.
He further stressed the need of dealing with unemployment and stamping out bureaucracy in order to attract foreign investments and develop healthy entrepreneurship so that "we will not remain at the mercy of eternal borrowing", and warned against turning the economic crisis into a crisis of politics and the institutions.
"Some seek to turn it into a crisis of democracy," the President warned, stressing that "in a state that functions with a political system with self-respect, the outcome of the battle for social justice averts the nightmarish prospect of uncontrollable social tensions".
In that context, he called on the politicians to speak more, intervene and not leave "the entire social sphere to those who speak a lot without reason or for their own purposes".
Papoulias further expressed abhorrence over Friday's terrorist attack in Norway, which "reminds us how much darkness human nature may hide and which could lead to indoctrination to hate".
 PM: Critical turning point for GreeceThis year's anniversary of the restoration of democracy in Greece finds the country in an extremely critical turning point in its history, prime minister George Papandreou said in a message on Sunday.
The international economic crisis, combined with Greece's own chronic weaknesses and long-standing problems and harmful policies and practices of preceding years, brought the country face-to-face with the biggest threat it has experienced in recent decades, that of default," he said.
In a written message on the 37th anniversary of restoration of democracy in the country after the collapse of the 7-year dictatorship, Papandreou said that: "Over the past 21 months we have all together been working hard to exit the crisis but also to reverse the long-standing problems and weaknesses that brought us here: To restore our autonomy, our dignity and, above all, the prospects for our future and the future of the following generations."
"We have the strength to succeed. And the struggle has already borne the first fruits. Step by step we are regaining our credibility, our strength and our autonomy, to rid ourselves of lenders and dependencies".
Now, he said, is the hour to create a stronger and more substantial democracy in Greece, freeing the citizens and the creative forces of the country, implementing everywhere the principle of transparency and creating a just state with equal opportunities and rights for all its citizens.
"We still have a long way ahead of us, but we are moving forward. History has shown that when we stand united, overcoming differences and disagreements, and rally together in a common cause, no obstacle is insurmountable and no sacrifice goes to waste," Papandreou stressed.
The premier expressed certainty that this collective effort will lead to the creation of a better and more substantial democracy, which will be the legacy to the coming generations.
 Samaras: Only criterion is the collective, national interest"In these difficult hours, the only criterion is the collective, the national, interest," main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras said Sunday in a message marking the 37th anniversary of the restoration of democracy in Greece.
"We honor the restoration of democracy. We pay tribute to the champions of the restoration and the fighters against the seven-year dictatorship, while at the same time we commit ourselves to a new era that puts an end to the present political lack of credibility, the morose reality and the social despair," Samaras said in a written message.
"In these difficult hours, our only criterion is the collective, the national, interest. It is faith in the Greece of culture and history. It is the common struggle of the people of this land, for the rebirth of the lost hope through development and justice, with national self-confidence and dignity for all the Greeks," Samaras said.
 PM condolences to Norwegian counterpartPrime minister George Papandreou on Saturday sent a letter of condolences to his Norwegian counterpart Jens Stoltenberg over the terrorist attacks in Oslo and Utoya.
Papandreou said he was shocked by the bomb attack in the center of Oslo and the mass killings on Utoya, which cost the lives of innocent people and injured many others.
He said the description of the murderous attack against so many young people at the Labour Party's youth camp was terrifying.
Papandreou said that he fully shared the pain of the Norwegian people, who suffered such a violent terrorist hit, and conveyed the Greek government's and people's deep support.
The Greek premier further condemned such "heinous acts of violence" regardless of where they originate or their motives. "Our democratic societies and our culture cannot tolerate and will not tolerate methods and actions of terror and violence".
"In this difficult hour, we remember the solidarity you manifested in difficult times for the Greek people, when we in Greece sought refuge in Norway and found your support and your strong voice for democracy and justice in our country," the letter continued, adding that Greece remains devoted to the long-standing friendship between the two peoples "and our common struggle against terrorist actions".
"We stand at the side of Norway and its people in these difficult moments," Papandreou concluded.
 FM expresses abhorrence in letter of condolence to Norwegian counterpartGreek foreign minister Stavros Lambrinidis on Saturday expressed his abhorrence over the deadly attacks in Oslo and the islet of Ultoya, in a letter to his Norwegian counterpart Jonas Gahr Store.
In his letter, Lambrinidis said that "such actions target the very structures of our society and culture", and stressed that the condemnation of such actions is "absolute and categorical".
Lambrinidis also expressed the Greek people's support and solidarity for the people of Norway in these difficult hours, and his most heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims.
 FinMin in Washington on Monday, meetings with IMF chief, US officialsGreek government vice president and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos will visit Washington early next week, where he will have a series of meetings with top US and International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials.
Venizelos, who arrives in the US capital on Sunday night, will meet over the following two days with US administration officials and Congressional leaders, as well as with the senior officials of the IMF, while he will further give interviews to the American media.
On Monday, Venizelos has a scheduled meeting with the new IMF director general Christine Lagarde.
He will also meet with US government officials in follow-ups to recent talks in Athens with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US Treasury Department deputy assistant secretary for Europe and Eurasia Christopher Smart.
Venizelos will also meet with his US counterpart, treasury secretary Timothy Geithner. The Greek minister's itinerary further includes meetings with Institute of International Finance (IIF) managing director Charles Dallara, US Senator and chairman of the Senate standing Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Tim Johnson, and Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate's standing Committee on Foreign Affairs.
The Greek finance minister will further deliver an address at the Peterson Institute for International Economics on the theme "The Greek crisis: Challenges and Opportunities".
Tsipras announces he will not attend President's annual event marking anniversary of return of democracy to Greece
Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA parliamentary alliance) parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras on Saturday sent a letter to President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias informing the President that he will not be attending the annual event hosted by the latter celebrating the anniversary of the restoration of democracy in Greece.
He said that he will not attend the event marking the restoration of democracy, which "is suffering due to the fully and unconditional surrender of our country to the IMF by the government".
"So long as our people, who for months have been sending a resounding message from all the squares of the cities, is muzzled and remains in the margins, this celebration has no meaning or content," Tsipras said in his letter.
Greece's democracy "is not celebrating this year", Tsipras said, adding: "It is suffering due to the full and unconditional surrender of our country, by the government, to the International Monetary Fund, causing poverty, unemployment and desperation to the majority of our fellow citizens. It is hurting from the forceful blows resulting from the methodisations that circumvent the popular authority and set in motion painful developments, in absentia of the people. It is in tears due to the 3,000 teargas grenades that the police forces threw on June 29 against peaceful demonstrators, causing irreparable harm to our fellow citizens."
Tsipras ended his letter with the hope that "this is the first and last time that my conscience dictates such a decision" and that "democracy will not be the first victim of this horrendous crisis our country and people are going through".
 Alternate FinMin urges repatriation of deposits from abroadAlternate finance minister Pantelis Economou urged Greeks who have deposited their money abroad to repatriate the money, in an interview with a Sunday newspaper.
In an interview appearing in Proto Thema weekly newspaper, Economou opined that the recent decisions by the eurozone summit in Brussels and the opening up of opportunities for productive investments in Greece will lead to the return of those deposits to Greece, and reminded the undeclared income from interest may be declared to the Tax Bureau in a supplementary income tax statement without facing fines.
On the decisions taken in Brussels for Greece, Economou said that the risk of default has permanent been averted, while he also pledged that injustices that have arisen from the government's austerity measures will be corrected.
 Foreign Exchange rates - MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.460
Pound sterling 0.895
Danish kroner 7.565
Swedish kroner 9.214
Japanese yen 114.52
Swiss franc 1.196
Norwegian kroner 7.884
Canadian dollar 1.386
Australian dollar 1.343
 Fire from Albania crosses border into GreeceA fire that began in southern Albania passed over the border into Greek territory late on Sunday afternoon, in the regions of Haravgi and Ktismata in the prefecture of Ioannina. It spread quickly, burning through an area of forest.
Fire-fighting efforts are currently centred mainly on water-bombing by Canadair aircraft and a fire-fighting helicopter, assisted by a strong force of firemen on foot below.
This is the second fire 'imported' from Albania to have swept the same region since 2010, when flames blazed through local villages and caused the deaths of seven people.
According to the ANA correspondent in Gjirokastr, a number of fires have been blazing in the Greek minority regions of southern Albania in recent days, with one fire burning through thick forest south of Kakavia and two more near the Greek minority village Radati northeast of Kakavia. The flames had gobbled up tens of thousands of hectares of pasture, brush and forest while smoke spreading over an area of 30-50 kilometres was causing low visibility and an oppressive atmosphere.
Local fire-fighting forces lacked the necessary means to deal with the multiple fronts spreading over dozens of kilometres, making the fire-fighting effort difficult.
 More than 1 million euro in counterfeit banknotes confiscated, two foreign nationals arrestedTwo foreign nationals were arrested and counterfeit bills of more than one million euros were confiscated in an apartment in the Galatsi district of Athens, police announced on Saturday.
The two foreign nationals, from Rwanda and Cameroon, both 27 years of age, were arrested on Friday by Athens security police after a counterfeit 50 euros bill was found on each of them.
The two detainees led police to an apartment in Galatsi, which has been turned into a counterfeiting laboratory.
In the apartment, police found and confiscated a total of 1,115,190 euros in counterfeit banknotes of 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euro denominations, and a further 40,000 dollars in counterfeit banknotes of 50 and 100 dollar denominations.
The further found and confiscated fully equipped printers, a large quantity of isometric paper cut into banknote size, eight glass containers of chemicals used for the processing of bills, cutting equipment and three cell phones.
The two detainees were due to be led later Saturday before a public prosecutor on charges of multiple counts of money forgery.
 Taxi owners to continue strike 'more discreetly'Striking taxi owners decided on the weekend to continue their mobilisations, but in a more "discrete" manner so as to avoid prosecutable actions such as blocking roads, ports and airports, according to sources.
The sources said the taxi owners federation's coordinating committee held an extraordinary meeting on Saturday to examine the situation and decide further industrial action.
The taxi owners further decided to stage a large demonstration outside parliament on Tuesday to coincide with a meeting of the ruling PASOK party's transports committee, which has invited infrastructures, transport and networks minister Yiannis Ragoussis to explain his policy on deregulation of the profession.
Meanwhile taxi owners staged a "symbolic takeover" of the Acropolis's ticket office for a few hours on Sunday morning, during which tourists were allowed into the archaeological site without purchasing tickets.
Attica taxi owners' federation president Thymios Lymberopoulos took distances from the takeover, in a statement to ANA-MPA, explaining that there were groups of taxi owners who were acting autonomously, without an official decision on the part of the federation.
 'OurPark' multi-purpose recreation area opens in AthensA new multi-purpose park was inaugurated on Saturday in Athens, the country's first free open space utilising the free spaces of the city, and featuring green areas, a skateboard plaza, recreation spaces and a music agenda.
"OurPark" is situated in the Ambelokipi district of Athens, behind the old Panathinaikos stadium, and is the first project to be completed in an initiative teaming up the City of Athens and non-profit organisations, with more such spaces to follow in other neighborhoods of the Greek capital.
A skateboarding exhibition in the park's skateboard plaza and a rock concert featured at the opening ceremony on Saturday, lasting until 11:00 p.m., while similar three-day events have been scheduled for September.
 Three migrant smugglers arrestedAn illegal migrant smuggling ring was disbanded by Thessaloniki and Alexandroupolis police on Saturday, and three people were arrested.
Three men were arrested as they prepared to transport 25 illegal migrants initially to Athens and from there to Germany.
After investigation of information on the ring's activities, in a coordinated operation on Saturday night police arrested the three migrant smugglers who arrived at a pre-determined site with two cars and a taxi to pick up the illegal migrants -- 13 men, 6 women and 6 minors.
The migrants paid 300 euros each to the ring for transport from Evros border prefecture to Thessaloniki, while they were due to pay another 700 euros each for the rest of the journey.
The detainees will be taken before a public prosecutor.
 Fine weather, local showers on MondayFine weather is forecast for most of Greece on Monday, with brief showers in Macedonia and possibly in the northern Ionian and Thessaly, with westerly winds of 6-7 beaufort velocity and a small drop in temperature.
Sunny in Athens, with westerly winds of 3-5 beaufort velocity and temperatures ranging from 21C to 35C.
Initially sunny in Thessaloniki, with local cloud in the afternoon and brief showers mainly on high ground, northerly winds of 3-4 beaufort velocity and temperatures of 21C to 32C.
 Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glanceThe next steps and challenges following the decisions of the recent eurozone summit dominated the front-page headlines of Athens' newspapers on Sunday.
AVGHI: "40 years in isolation".
AVRIANI: "Shock and awe from the deposits abroad of thousands of Greeks".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The life-raft can hold up only for 6 months".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Who will pay the 158 billion euros check".
ETHNOS: "Revving to growth with generous gift to the ESPA (National Strategic Reference Framework-NSRF) funds".
KATHIMERINI: "The challenges of a historic decision".
KERDOS (financial): "How the new...'Marshall Plan' will be activated".
LOGOS: "Did we find the 'bottom' of the Greek debt?"
NIKI: "Pensions in the 'red' - IKA (state Social Security Foundation) first on the list".
PROTO THEMA: "But what is changing for us?"
REALNEWS: "And now, govern!"
RIZOSPASTIS: "Counter-attack by the people, with the KKE, for exit from the EU and toppling of the rule of big capital".
TO VIMA: "Europe dealing with the debt, we with the deficits".
VRADYNI: "Five new programmes for youths and older ages - New job positions for 100,000 unemployed from OAED (state Manpower Employment Organisation)".
 UN concerned about Erdogan's statements on Cyprus, diplomats suggestUNITED NATIONS (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayiip Erdogan's statements during his recent illegal visit to Cyprus' Turkish occupied areas have caused concerns to the UN Secretariat, according to diplomatic sources.
UN Under-Secretary-General Lynn Pascoe has been assigned with the task of looking into what Ankara is aiming at, with regard to Cyprus, they note.
Pascoe, they indicate, is expected to summon Turkey's Permanent Representative to the UN Ertugrul Apakan during the coming days and before the UN Secretary General's good offices mission report on Cyprus is released.
Cyprus President Demetris Christofias has already sent letters to UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon and Security Council five permanent members, denouncing Erdogan's statements while Cypriot and Greek diplomats have made representations to the UN Secretariat, requesting that these statements are included in Ban's report.
UN Secretariat officials have assured the diplomats that they disagree with these statements.
The UN report is all but ready, and the final touches will be put with Pascoe's return to New York.
In his statements earlier this week, Erdogan questioned the existence of the Republic of Cyprus and threatened the EU that accession negotiations with Brussels will be put on halt if Cyprus assumes the rotating six-monthly presidency of the Union, in July next year, without a political settlement in Cyprus. The Turkish PM also said that he would not be returning Morphou and Karpass areas to the Greek Cypriots, as part of a negotiated deal on Cyprus.
President Christofias is engaged in direct talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, under the UN auspices, with a view to finding a negotiated settlement that will reunite the country under a federal roof. Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.
 President to pay working visit to FranceNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
President Demetris Christofias will pay a working visit to Paris on Tuesday, during which he will meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy, an official press release issued here on Sunday said.
President Christofias will attend on Tuesday a working lunch with members of the French Senate, including the Chairman of the Marc Massion as well as officials of the French government.
In the afternoon, President Christofias will have a meeting with President Sarkozy.
Christofias will leave Paris on Wednesday. He will be accompa-nied by Undersecretary to the President Titos Christo-fides, Foreign Ministry Permanent Secretary Nicos Emiliou and other officials.
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