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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-08-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

Thursday, 4 August 2011 Issue No: 3855

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece to earmark 3.9 bln euros to support employment
  • [02] FinMin: "August and September should be exemplary in terms of swiftness"
  • [03] FinMin briefs LAOS leader on eurozone summit, DC visit
  • [04] Justice minister on de-criminalisation of drug use
  • [05] KKE strongly attacks plan to de-criminalise narcotics use
  • [06] ND accuses government of enlarging state sector
  • [07] Tsipras lashes out over planned privatisation of Hellenic Defence Systems
  • [08] Angelos Tolkas sworn-in as deputy minister of state
  • [09] Taxi owners decide to continue their strike; ND reaction
  • [10] Rhodes taxi owners suspend strike
  • [11] Thousands of taxi owners facing charges over protest-related action
  • [12] Taxi owner sentenced to 10 months jail for attack on MP offices
  • [13] Budget revenues up 3pct in July
  • [14] Moody's cuts rating of Athens municipality, upgrades outlook
  • [15] Doctors react to liberalisation of medical profession
  • [16] Business Briefs
  • [17] Greek stocks plunge to new 15-year lows
  • [18] ADEX closing report
  • [19] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday
  • [20] Upgrade of Plato's Academy site approved
  • [21] Fires raging in Hania, Crete and Vravrona, Attica
  • [22] Corfu wildfire receding, operations continue
  • [23] Syntagma Square fully restored after removal of camper demonstrators
  • [24] Two Greeks remanded in custody for cocaine haul
  • [25] Two Bulgarian tourists killed, 2 others seriously injured, in car crash on Corfu
  • [26] Iranian man arrested for running forged document workshop
  • [27] Elderly man stabs 26-year-old for trivial reasons
  • [28] Dozens of archaeological sites, museums to be open for August Full Moon
  • [29] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [30] Government Spokesman: Cabinet reshuffle imminent Politics

  • [01] Greece to earmark 3.9 bln euros to support employment

    The Greek government on Monday agreed to earmark 3.9 billion euros in funds to supporting employment in the period from early September 2011 to August 30, 2012. The decision was taken during an inner cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister George Papandreou, which set the basic priorities of a government plan to deal with rising unemployment in the country.

    Under the plan, the government will earmark 2.7 billion euros, 55 pct coming from a National Strategic Reference Framework (community funds) and 45 pct from national funds. The plan also includes a series of active policies, such as sustaining job positions and strengthening employment and vocational training.

    [02] FinMin: "August and September should be exemplary in terms of swiftness"

    "The long-term sustainability of public debt should be ensured in cooperation with our partners during the transitional period between July 21, when the Eurozone decisions were made, and early October," Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos stressed on Wednesday.

    Speaking before Parliament's plenary session, Venizelos referred to the finance ministry's draft bill stressing that "the scenery should change" and underlined that "this transitional period will have to be managed with prudence, professionalism, caution, consensus and a sense of responsibility."

    "The months of August and September should be exemplary in terms of swiftness," he said, responding to criticism by opposition parties regarding the procedures followed.

    "We are caught in an worldwide vortex and we have to utilize the opportunities created by us for us. We should be reliable as regards our obligations towards our lenders and meet our commitments," he stressed.

    The finance ministry's draft bill will allow the government to show its creditors that there is progress on August 22, he pointed out and explained that the supplementary tax regulations will boost revenues and provide tools in the battle against tax evasion and black market. He stressed that important structural reforms are being prepared for months and they will have be passed into laws.

    Venizelos also promised new regulations focusing on the financially vulnerable, bank liquidity and bank guarantee notes.

    Responding to a relevant question by opposition Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.O.S) leader George Karatzaferis, the minister of finance said that "there is no issue as regards the financing and liquidity of the Greek banks or their capital adequacy."

    [03] FinMin briefs LAOS leader on eurozone summit, DC visit

    Government vice president and finance minister Evangelos Venizelos on Wednesday briefed opposition Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis on the recent eurozone summit decisions on Greece and on the minister's recent talks in Washington.

    In a statement after the meeting, Venizelos stressed the need for Greece to take to the fullest advantage the "window of opportunity" opened up by the eurozone summit decisions.

    He also said that the opposition parties must be fully informed so that "this historic, nationwide effort" for the country's exit from the crisis may be built.

    "We are at a very delicate phase, given that the conjuncture is very difficult not only for Greece but also for other countries of the eurozone," Venizelos pointed out.

    "We have taken a breath," Karatzaferis said in turn, stressing that the outcome of the effort depends on everyone, both "the government that must show seriousness and strength", and "the opposition, whose contribution is necessary".

    On LAOS' stance, Karatzaferis noted that it criticises when necessary, and lends support when it believes this will be to the country's benefit.

    [04] Justice minister on de-criminalisation of drug use

    The justice ministry is promoting reform of the legal framework on narcotics entailing de-criminalisation of use of drugs but strict penalties for traffickers, minister Miltiadis Papaioannou said on state radio on Tuesday.

    According to the minister, the user will be dealt with as a patient, noting that Greece has some 350 drug-related deaths annually, while 5,000 inmates in the country's prison system have been incarcerated on drug charges.

    The use of narcotics will be punished as a petty offence, rather than as a misdemeanour (indictable) as is currently the case.

    "We don't want to pass an overall message that there is no punishment - there will be a petty offence penalty for those who possess or cultivate...for their personal use," the minister said.

    As for traffickers and dealers, Papaioannou said that they will be separated into three categories.

    The first category concerns traffickers, which will entail a life sentence, without mitigating circumstances. A second category will entail 5-20 years imprisonment. The third category, that of a simple misdemeanour, will entail a prison term of up to 5 years.

    [05] KKE strongly attacks plan to de-criminalise narcotics use

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Wednesday strongly protested over an intended bill that would de-criminalise the use of soft drugs for personal purposes.

    The KKE, in an announcement, said it "categorically opposes" the bill that "legalises the use of drugs", and called on the working people, the youth and the entire Greek people "to react decisively against the destruction being prepared against your youth and children".

    The KKE warned that "the legalisation of narcotics pre-announced by the government, with supposed tears for the users who are imprisoned, aims only at the minds and souls of chiefly the young people, but also the entire people".

    "A youth in a semi-stupor with its head down is convenient for passing its policy. A youth that lacks the rights to education, health, culture and sport, but which has the 'right' to cultivate hashish in flowerpots, poses no threat to the system that they (government) are defending with tooth and nail," the KKE announcement said.

    The Communist Party charged that "narcotics are a result of the party being applied, they are not anyone's free choice, nor an illness".

    "Those who are shedding crocodile tears for the users are the same ones who are calling the users a problem that must be removed from the center of Athens and distributed among the hospitals, and are condemning them to be forever dependent on methadone, which will be distributed by the state itself, but also by private doctors and pharmacies," the KKE said.

    It said that the creation of an anti-narcotics front is and "imperative need", and "it is the imperative duty of all the working people and the public to not allow the new plan for liberalising drugs to come to pass".

    [06] ND accuses government of enlarging state sector

    Main opposition New Democracy on Wednesday accused the government of actually acting to enlarge the state sector and its operating costs, in spite of its announcements about pending lay-offs and abolition of state agencies to restrict state spending.

    Despite its promise to reduce the state sector, the government had in the last 20 months created 41 general and special secretariats, legal entities and independent services, ND spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis claimed. At the same time, it was constantly putting off the abolitions and mergers of organisations announced officially, he added.

    He said the government had abandoned a plan initiated by ND for the abolition of roughly 250 state-sector organisations, while abolitions of some 30 such organisations announced a year earlier had failed to materialise.

    "There is only one conclusion to be drawn. Those in PASOK cannot escape their bad old selves. They were the ones who created the top-heavy state of the trade unionists. Their own party interests have swollen the state. Their own party's interests are preventing its reform," he added.

    [07] Tsipras lashes out over planned privatisation of Hellenic Defence Systems

    In a harsh attack against the government on Wednesday, Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras accused it of "acting like a thief that breaks in over August, when people are away".

    "In the same fashion, they are staying in Parliament in order to pass laws that demolish society and sell off public wealth," he said while addressing the workforce at Hellenic Defence Systems, the company created by the merger of Hellenic Arms Industry and the state-owned munitions firm PYRKAL.

    "This September must be the last month when we have a government that acts counter to the majority of the Greek people," he said, stressing his categoric opposition to the planned privatisation of Hellenic Defence Systems.

    He urged staff to fight against this relentlessly, until the bitter end, stressing that Hellenic Defence Systems was the country's only domestic defence industry firm and accusing the two main parties of deliberately driving it into decline so as to sell it off "for peanuts".

    [08] Angelos Tolkas sworn-in as deputy minister of state

    Angelos Tolkas was sworn in on Wednesday as deputy minister of state and became the government's newest and youngest member. The swearing-in ceremony was held before the president of the republic and in the presence of the prime minister.

    Tolkas was born in 1978 in the northern city of Naoussa where he lives and exercises the legal profession.

    He was elected PASOK MP in the constituency of Imathia in October 2009.

    The post of deputy minister of state is a new one in the present government.

    [09] Taxi owners decide to continue their strike; ND reaction

    The confrontation continues between the government and taxi owners who decided on Wednesday to extend their strike action, already in its third week, protesting against the deregulation of their sector. The decision to continue their mobilizations was reached in a meeting of their union representatives, despite the voices that called for an end to the strike.

    According to the taxi owners' representatives, their decision was based on the fact that they have no information about the intentions of the ministry of infrastructure, transport and networks as regards the liberalisation of their profession.

    Meanwhile, the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party accused the prime minister of "provocative inaction" as regards the government's stance vis-?-vis the taxi issue.

    ND party spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis stated that the "incomprehensible" stance adopted by Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Yiannis Ragoussis apparently serves a central political plan of the government aimed at distracting people's attention from the urgent problems the country is faced with.

    Despite the hardline stance adopted on a national level, taxi owner associations at a local level were on Wednesday announcing an end to their strike action, including those on the islands of Lesvos except in the island's central town of Mytilene and on the island of Rhodes.

    [10] Rhodes taxi owners suspend strike

    Taxi owners on the island of Rhodes announced the suspension of their strike late Tuesday following a meeting of the local taxi owners' union.

    A few days earlier taxi owners on the island of Kos had reached to the same decision.

    Taxi owners throughout Greece are currently in the fourth week of strikes and other mobilisations in protest over the government's decision to immediately deregulate the profession.

    The federation's meeting follows a flurry of deliberations between federation delegations and ruling PASOK party and government officials, including transport minister Yiannis Ragoussis, who assured that the deregulation of the taxi profession will be effected through legislation, and not via the more speedy process of a Presidential Decree, which the owners consider will give them at least two months' time for dialogue with the government.

    The federation will examine all the new aspects in the issue and decide on whether to call off the mobilisations or continue them, and in the event of the latter, what the further action will be.

    [11] Thousands of taxi owners facing charges over protest-related action

    Police on Wednesday announced that a total of 7,568 taxi owners throughout Greece have been charged with obstructing traffic and transport or related offences, with up to 100 cases filed in court nationwide since the protests by taxi owners began on July 18.

    Thirty-six such cases involving charges against 5,574 individuals have already been submitted to the local prosecuting authorities, they said.

    In addition, police have forwarded 6,080 documents advising local regional general secretariats to impose the appropriate administrative penalties.

    [12] Taxi owner sentenced to 10 months jail for attack on MP offices

    An Ioannina Misdemeanours Court on Wednesday handed down a jail sentence of 10 months, suspended for three years pending appeal, to a taxi owner arrested for vandalising the offices of two ruling PASOK MPs in the city.

    He had been arrested with four other taxi owners that forced their way into the offices of the MPs in protest. The other four were acquitted because of lack of evidence to support the charges against them. In the case of the man sentenced, police had found his fingerprints in one of the two offices.

    Financial News

    [13] Budget revenues up 3pct in July

    Greece's net budget revenues rose by 3 percent in July, according to sources on Wednesday.

    More specifically, net revenues in July exceeded 5 billion euros, against 4.875 billion euros in the corresponding month in 2010.

    Despite the improvement in July, revenues still presented a substantial shortfall in the January-July period, which the sources said the government plans to cover with the additional measures contained in the Medium-Term Fiscal Programme.

    [14] Moody's cuts rating of Athens municipality, upgrades outlook

    Moody's Investors Service on Wednesday downgraded the municipality of Athens to Caa3 from Caa1 while it upgraded its prospects to "developing" from "negative". The credit rating firm said this decision followed a recent downgrade of Greece's rating to Ca and the close interconnection of the municipality's finances with the central government. The municipality's rating remains one notch above Greece's credit rating as Moody's believes that the municipality was not in a state of defaulting.

    [15] Doctors react to liberalisation of medical profession

    Medical doctors will respond to the government plans for the liberalisation of the medical profession with mobilizations and by seeking recourse to Greek and European courts, it was announced on Wednesday.

    The presidents of the Medical Associations of Athens, Piraeus, Thessaloniki, Patras, Messinia, Fthiotida and Larissa announced their intentions in their meeting with Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Health Minister Andreas Loverdos held in the parliament building.

    Earlier, they had briefed main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras.

    The Medical Associations demand the withdrawal of paragraph 1 in article 24 of the relevant draft law maintaining that it allows non doctors to open doctor's surgeries and essentially, "surrenders primary healthcare to speculators and major business interests".

    They announced mobilizations and underlined that they also intend to seek recourse to Greek and European courts in case the controversial regulation is not withdrawn, calling for clear-cut rules to regulate medical services in the private sector in compliance with medical legislation and code of ethics.

    [16] Business Briefs

    -- Mytilineos Group on Wednesday said its net after tax and minorities earnings totaled 30.5 million euros in the first half of 2011, from 25.1 million euros in the same period last year, despite a significant burden from regular and extra tax charges and a significantly increased financial cost as a result of rising interest rates.

    -- A First Instance Court on Wednesday rejected a petition for bankruptcy filed by the Athens daily "Apogevmatini" and essentially ruled that it is a viable enterprise. The court took under consideration the fact that the company's employees and most of its creditors were opposed to its bankruptcy.

    -- Autohellas Hertz on Wednesday said its consolidated after tax profits totaled 6.7 million euros in the first half of 2011, up from 4.3 million euros in the same period last year.

    [17] Greek stocks plunge to new 15-year lows

    Greek stocks suffered another heavy blow in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, hit by turmoil in European markets caused by a turmoil in the Italian and Spanish markets, with investors worried that the debt crisis in the Eurozone will continue to spread and the European Commission expressing its concern over developments in European bond markets.

    The composite index of the market dropped 3.76 pct to end at 1,101.31 points, a new 15-year low. Turnover remained a low 64.174 million euros. The Big Cap index plunged 4.12 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 3.01 pct lower and the Small Cap index fell 1.94 pct. Jumbo was the only blue chip stock to resist the downward pressure, ending unchanged at Tuesday's level, while Piraeus Bank (8.54 pct), Ellaktor (8.47 pct), MIG (7.14 pct), Marfin Popular Bank (6.38 pct) and Eurobank (5.91 pct) were top losers.

    All sectors moved lower with the Media (8.89 pct), Insurance (8.16 pct), Financial Services (6.92 pct) and Commerce (5.50 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 115 to 32 with another 33 issues unchanged.

    Douros (9.21 pct), Hatzikraniotis (8.70 pct) and Spider (8.33 pct) were top gainers, while Alapis (12.9 pct), Vovos (11.39 pct) and Boutaris (11.11 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -8.16%

    Industrials: -2.87%

    Commercial: -5.50%

    Construction: -4.07%

    Media: -8.89%

    Oil & Gas: -1.21%

    Personal & Household: -0.19%

    Raw Materials: -3.82%

    Travel & Leisure: -3.97%

    Technology: -1.56%

    Telecoms: -5.48%

    Banks: -4.32%

    Food & Beverages: -3.52%

    Health: -2.13%

    Utilities: -3.91%

    Chemicals: -3.24%

    Financial Services: -6.92%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, HBC Coca Cola, OPAP and EFG Eurobank Ergasias.

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

    Alpha Bank: 2.83

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 7.65

    HBC Coca Cola: 16.40

    Hellenic Petroleum: 6.15

    National Bank of Greece: 4.30

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 2.39

    OPAP: 10.55

    OTE: 5.00

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.75

    Titan: 14.27

    [18] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 0.24 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover remaining a low 28.857 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 8,314 contracts worth 20.178 million euros, with 30,350 short positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 30,939 contracts worth 8,678 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (7,758), followed by Eurobank (2,418), MIG (3,652), OTE (2,306), Piraeus Bank (4,927), ATEbank (3,044), Mytilineos (515), PPC (480), OPAP (573) and Cyprus Bank (830).

    [19] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.451

    Pound sterling 0.885

    Danish kroner 7.560

    Swedish kroner 9.223

    Japanese yen 111.83

    Swiss franc 1.118

    Norwegian kroner 7.797

    Canadian dollar 1.393

    Australian dollar 1.351

    General News

    [20] Upgrade of Plato's Academy site approved

    A study of the museum storage areas and unification of parts of the Plato's Academy archaeological site in Athens has been approved by the Central Archaeological Council (KAS), and will be incorporated in the general blueprint for regeneration of the area.

    "This is an incredible project, which had greatly delayed," said culture and tourism minister Pavlos Geroulanos, who attended the last meeting of the KAS before the summer break, adding that "this is an area that maintains the characteristics of the old Athenian neighborhood.

    The study approved by the KAS involves the transfer of four old storage spaces currently situat3ed inside the archaeological site, which contain a plethora of finds from older excavations in the 1930s to the 1960s.

    The artifacts will be relocated to new prefab warehouses to be set up outside the archaeological site proper, while the old warehouses will be demolished and the spaces they occupy will be regenerated and will open to the public.

    Plans include a 50 sq.m. enclosed shelter where marble sarcophagi from the Hellenistic period from the site and other areas will be hosted. The surrounding area will be planted, while paths will be designated around the site, and informational signs will be put up.

    The site will be open free to the public, and will close at night.

    The project is estimated at one million euro, which will be covered under the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF).

    According to KAS, the project is a forerunner of a planned Archaeological Museum of Athens, which will be built following an international architectural tender in the same procedure as that followed for the New Acropolis Museum. Financing has already been secured, with a 2 million euro grant from the City of Athens.

    [21] Fires raging in Hania, Crete and Vravrona, Attica

    New wildfires erupted on Wednesday in Sfakia, Hania on the island of Crete and in the coastal region of Vravrona in Attica, even as fire fighters finally managed to bring a fire burning since Tuesday in Lagadakia on the island of Zakynthos partially under control.

    Fire-fighters remained on the scene in Zakynthos until the fire was fully extinguished, while 29 firemen, 11 vehicles, two teams on foot and a fire brigade helicopter struggled to put out the fire in Hania. The fire on Crete was not threatening inhabited areas at the latest report.

    The fire in Vravrona began in a region known as Hamolia and 30 firemen, 11 vehicles and a helicopter were deployed to fight the blaze. No residences were at risk and the fire brigade estimated that the fire would soon be under control.

    Also under control was a fire that broke out earlier on Wednesday in Keratea.

    [22] Corfu wildfire receding, operations continue

    A massive wildfire that broke out almost simultaneously on several fronts on Tuesday was reported as receding on Wednesday morning, as a strong firefighting team on land continued operations and water-bombing aircraft resumed efforts at first light of day.

    According to latest information, it was believed that the blaze will be contained during the day.

    Six firefighting airplanes and two water-dropping helicopters were continuing operations over the areas of Lakones, Alimatades and Vistonas to extinguish the fire, together with a ground crew of 30 fire engines and 200 firemen.

    A governmental delegation and the Fire Brigade chief are currently touring the villages that were endangered by the fire.

    The wildfire started in no less than 25 separate locations on the Ionian island of Corfu on Tuesday and led authorities to declare a state of emergency.

    The outbreaks, recorded in the north, west and south of the island, erupted almost simultaneously.

    [23] Syntagma Square fully restored after removal of camper demonstrators

    Repair works on Syntagma Square, performed by the City of Athens after the removal of a makeshift campsite set up by the so-called movement of the "indignants', will be completed on Thursday with the laying of lawn turf.

    The endeavour was launched last Monday after the damage caused to the square during the recent violent clashes between police and demonstrators were recorded and assessed.

    Repairs began two days ago with the replacement of the automatic watering system which was completely destroyed by the "campers" in order to be able to set up their tents.

    Athens deputy mayor Angelos Antonopoulos told ANA-MPA that the materials used for the repairs cost roughly 10,000 euros, adding that a request has been made for a 24-hour police protection of the square's restored section to prevent vandalisms.

    [24] Two Greeks remanded in custody for cocaine haul

    Two of three Greek nationals arrested in connection with last week's major cocaine bust in Florina were on Wednesday remanded in custody.

    The three were accused of belonging to an international drug-trafficking outfit responsible for bringing 123 kilos of cocaine from Bolivia to Thessaloniki port, having as their final destination the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    The two remanded in custody are a 45-year-old bank branch manager in Florina and a 50-year-old customs official at the Niki customs post.

    A 32-year-old bank clerk working in the same branch was released after it transpired that he was not linked to the drug-trafficking organisation. He said he had become embroiled in the affair by the bank manager, who had asked him to collect information from his father who was a police officer, but stressed that he had refused.

    According to a police investigation, the 45-year-old bank manager had arranged a fee of 500,000 euro in order to pick up the drugs from Thessaloniki port and transport them to FYROM. The customs official had links with other members of the ring and briefed them on developments.

    Both men were caught based on recordings of their phone conversations, after authorities received permission to tap their phones. The drugs were found at Thessaloniki port in a container containing agricultural equipment.

    The operation was coordinated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and another nine individuals, both Serbs and FYROM residents, were arrested in neighbouring countries.

    [25] Two Bulgarian tourists killed, 2 others seriously injured, in car crash on Corfu

    Two Bulgarian tourists were killed and two others seriously injured in a traffic accident early Wednesday outside the town of Kerkyra on the island of Corfu.

    A man and a woman, the driver and front-seat passenger, of the car were killed on the spot when their car veered into the opposite lane on a curve at 7:00 a.m. and rammed into a tourist coach.

    The bodies of the two tourists were recovered from the car, which was completely crushed when it wedged under the coach.

    Another couple in the back seat of the car, also Bulgarian tourists, was seriously injured, and according to information the woman was in critical condition.

    Corfu traffic police were investigating the circumstances of the accident.

    [26] Iranian man arrested for running forged document workshop

    Police on Wednesday reported the arrest of a 35-year-old Iranian national operating a fully-equipped workshop for producing forged documents in the district of Agios Panteleimonas in central Athens. For the sum of 300-400 euro, the culprit was able to supply illegal migrants with both fake passports and fake residence permits, allowing them to either remain in Greece or illegal travel to other European countries.

    The man was arrested on Tuesday by the Attica Aliens Coordination and Operations section, based on a tip-off. He was charged with forgery, possessing the passports of third parties and accepting and selling the products of crime.

    His workshop was equipped with three computers, a scanner, two printers and other equipment used to create official documents, as well as a device for detecting false documents.

    The equipment was confiscated, along with 62 passports, eight ID cards, four driving licences, a large number of passport photographs, 380 blank plastic cards including 250 with a microchip, five cell phones and 420 euro.

    The suspect was led before an Athens public prosecutor.

    [27] Elderly man stabs 26-year-old for trivial reasons

    A 70-year-old man stabbed three times his 26-year-old neighbour in Neo Skopo, Serres prefecture, northeastern Greece, late Tuesday after an argument.

    The perpetrator escaped and the victim was rushed to Serres General Hospital, where he was reported to be out of danger.

    According to eye-witnesses, the two men argued for trivial reasons, but things got out of hand and the older man took out a knife and stabbed the 26-year-old three times.

    [28] Dozens of archaeological sites, museums to be open for August Full Moon

    The largest full moon of the year on Saturday, August 13 will be celebrated with theatrical performances and other cultural events to take place in 75 archaeological sites and museums across the country that will remain open for the public until the early morning hours.

    The archaeological sites of the Acropolis and Sounio will be closed due to restoration works currently underway and people in Athens can watch the full moon from the Acropolis Museum. A music concert by composer Mimis Plessas will take place at Dionyssiou Areopagitou street.

    [29] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The OECD report on the Greek economy, the govern-ment-taxi owners clash and the de-criminalisation of use of soft drugs, mostly dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.

    AVGHI: "Descent into authoritarianism".

    AVRIANI: "The government has plunged the country into chaos".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Labour Middle Ages - 55,000 hirings via NGOs to work as municipal sanitation workers - 5-month contracts with 625 euros salary for youths under 35".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "When the minister circumvents legitimacy".

    ESTIA: "Addiction to absurdity".

    ETHNOS: "Municipalities' payrolls under the microscope".

    IMERISSIA: "OECD: Greece can, if it dares".

    KATHIMERINI: "OECD's message of hope".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Exit from the recession but with additional measures".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Government, main opposition New Democracy and Popular Orthodox Rally demagoguery on tourism while at the same time they deprive the people of vacation".

    TA NEA: "Drugs legislation: Everything changes".

    VRADYNI: "Tax returns on donations and parental gifts".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [30] Government Spokesman: Cabinet reshuffle imminent

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou has said President of the Republic Demetris Christofias will proceed with a government reshuffle, following the collapse of the coalition government.

    In statements to reporters after the leader of the Democratic Party (DEKO) Marios Garoyian announced Tuesday his party would pull out of the coalition government, citing serious differences on the Cyprus issue, Stephanou expressed the government's regret.

    He said in the next few days, the cabinet will reshuffle.

    Stephanou also acknowledged that there was an issue with the Cyprus issue.

    In his remarks, Stephanou said that unfortunately, it was not possible to secure an agreement on all issues examined "therefore cooperation on a government level cannot continue".

    He conveyed the President's regret, noting that at the same time, the "President continues to extend a hand of friendship and common effort to DEKO to handle the challenges and problems that the country is facing, for the good of the country, even without DEKO participating in the government".

    Stephanou said unity, prudence and consensus from all political forces is required at these moments, and the President will continue to work towards this.

    The spokesman also announced that in the next days, the President of the Republic will announce the cabinet's new composition.

    Asked if the aim is the new cabinet to comprise people of broader acceptance from other political forces, Stephanou said that the aim will be the new government to be able to handle more dynamically and effectively the challenges that arise. "The composition of the new cabinet is the President's choice and will be announced very soon, and everyone will be able to judge the result".

    Stephanou said that the President is already in communication with the ruling left-wing AKEL party since it participates in the government.

    He said it is necessary, the requirements are pressing and there is also the issue of the economy where a package of measures is being promoted, while more measures will have to be examined to handle the consequences created after the July 11 fatal naval base blast.

    For this reason, the President will meet Thursday afternoon with the trade unions leaderships.

    Asked where there was a disagreement, Stephanou cited the Cyprus problem, noting that the withdrawal of the President's proposals depended on the course of the negotiations, adding that currently, "we are in an intensified stage of the talks which is dealing with core issues."

    To a remark whether President Christofias is concerned that he began his term in office with the support of the Social Democrats Movement EDEK and the Democratic Party and the tolerance of the main opposition party Democratic Rally, and is now left with only AKEL's support, the spokesman said each party's decision is respected.

    "It is not the first time a government is supported by a single party. What is primarily important at the moment is not to look into why this has happened". He repeated the President's position that he will continue efforts for unity, prudence and consensus from all political parties on the fundamental issues to be handled in the best possible way.

    Asked if the President feels isolated either on the Cyprus problem or on governance issues, the spokesman replied in the negative, adding the least amount of unity is necessary on the internal front on fundamental issues. For this reason, there is the National Council to examine the Cyprus problem, and the meetings on the economy, to achieve consensus on important issues.

    President of the Democratic Party Marios Garoyian, speaking to reporters after his third meeting in the last few days with President of the Republic Demetris Christopfias said they did not manage to achieve the desired understanding, as there are serious different approaches on the Cyprus issue.

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