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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-08-25

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

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

Thursday, 25 August 2011 Issue No: 3872

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM on econ crisis; Libya situation
  • [02] PM chairs meeting on combatting tax evasion
  • [03] Draft bill on higher education ratified in principle by extended parliament majority
  • [04] PM discusses higher education draft bill with ND leader
  • [05] ND on political party affiliated student groups
  • [06] KKE leader on higher education draft law
  • [07] PM Papandreou to hold meetings with Infrastructures, Environment ministers on Thursday
  • [08] Ministers on public sector pay scale
  • [09] Gov't to eliminate 'secret funding' code at former press ministry
  • [10] Methadone units approved in military hospitals
  • [11] FinMin on Fiscal Stability Fund
  • [12] Tax offices' activity sinks in June
  • [13] Stocks fall to 15-year low
  • [14] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday
  • [15] Pregnant woman stabbed on Kos
  • [16] Suspects arrested for string of burglaries
  • [17] Wildfire in Lefkimi, Evros
  • [18] Paleokastritsa's fabulous 'deep blue'
  • [19] Fair on Thursday
  • [20] The Wednesday edition of Athens' newspapers at a glance

  • [01] PM on econ crisis; Libya situation

    Prime Minister George Papandreou, addressing a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, stressed that "we have an extended crisis in the EU, as well as worldwide, over the issue of debt, particularly in developed countries."

    The prime minister referred, in particular, to the need for a coordinated Eurozone response, the need for arrangements with markets and in the financial sector, as well as a proposal for a tax on fiscal transactions in order to back the banking sector's participation, which "holds great responsibilities for the crisis in 2008". He also said such funding would be a way of finding resources for the EFSF mechanism.

    Papandreou also referred to the credit rating firms and to the Eurozone's problems, such as the lack of appropriate supervision, "of which we were also a victim with the previous government, which if it had correctly faced such problems we would not have reached the point of having such a debt and deficit."

    He further referred to eurobonds issue, saying that such a tool would offer "greater depth to the bonds market itself and even more so value to the euro itself.

    Libya

    Papandreou went on to refer to developments in Libya and noted that "the stance we observed from the beginning of this process, regarding the struggle of the peoples of the Arab countries, was a stance of support of the citizens and the movements, that were calling for more democracy, rights, justice, such as of course peaceful, democratic and a smooth transition to democratic regimes as well, something that is still being called for in Eguypt and in other regions of the Arab world.

    "We struggled from the beginning, as regards Libya, for an end to hostilities. We supported efforts for democratic and peaceful developments, we supported actively the operations for the protection of the non-combatants."

    [02] PM chairs meeting on combatting tax evasion

    Prime Minister George Papandreou chaired a meeting at his office in Parliament on Wednesday, with the focus on cracking down on widespread tax evasion in the country.

    The meeting was attended by government Vice President and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Citizen's Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis, Justice Minister Miltiades Papaioannou, finance ministry secretary general responsible for tax affairs Yiannis Kapeleris and the special secretary of the economic crime squad corps Yiannis Diotis.

    [03] Draft bill on higher education ratified in principle by extended parliament majority

    Appeals by the main opposition New Democracy party for consensus, combined with a proposal for a roll-call vote requested by the Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.O.S) party and compromise proposals by two high-profile PASOK deputies led to a clause for rectors' elections.

    The amendment agreed to by Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulos led to final consent by ND, following earlier stated support by LA.O.S and deputies of affiliated with the new Democratic Alliance grouping.

    Following the final reading, the rectors of tertiary education institutions will be elected by all the members of the academic faculty and from a list of 2-3 people that will be set up by a relevant council on each occasion. Students' participation in the election of rectors will not be anticipated.

    After a statement by ND that it votes in favour of the bill, in principle, the LA.O.S party withdrew its proposal for a roll-call vote.

    A willingness by the main opposition party to support the bill on conditions, as was expressed on Tuesday by the party's rapporteur Aris Spiliotopoulos.

    Moreover, the education minister accepted ND's proposal regarding the election of rectors by the faculty senate, but not the part regarding student participation.

    As regards the university asylum status, she merely reiterated that "with the present clause, asylum is abolished ... Of course, a proclamation that academic freedom constitutes a basic principle of the operation of universities remains."

    Radical Left Coalition leader Alexis Tsipras decried that "what happened will be written in the annals: deputies of ND backing SYRIZA's unconstitutionality objection and in the end voting in favour of the bill, in principle."

    Tsipras reiterated that the bill is "clearly rightwing orientated and neoliberal".

    Democratic Alliance leader Dora Bakoyiannis said her party had already committed to voting in favour of the bill, stressing the necessity for the message of the lifting of the situation consolidated in universities with the framework law of 1982, mainly with the establishment of the student asylum and the introduction of petty politics into academic life.

    Early, a protest took place outside Parliament by opponents of the draft law, mostly leftist and out-of-Parliament leftist groups.

    [04] PM discusses higher education draft bill with ND leader

    Prime Minister George Papandreou on Wednesday had a phone contact with main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras, with the conversation focusing on the recently tabled draft bill envisioning major, by Greek standards, changes to the country's higher education system.

    According to reports, the ND leader set out two conditions in order to provide the party's support, and votes, for the new bill, namely, abolition of the unique university asylum status enjoyed by university campuses in the country and the election of rectors by the academic community after proposals by a relevant education council.

    [05] ND on political party affiliated student groups

    In a later statement, main opposition New Democracy party spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis emphasised that when ND comes to government it will reconsider the abolition of political party affiliated student groups.

    Mihelakis said that "on the bill on tertiary education, we submitted specific positions and proposals and we struggled in Parliament until the last moment for their adoption by the government. And we achieved it finally. We are not PASOK."

    [06] KKE leader on higher education draft law

    "We wish this bill is not voted on and implemented, and we will do whatever we can towards this course, under the condition that conditions exist and the majority of the university community agrees" Communist Party (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga was quoted in Parliament on Wednesday, speaking on the recently tabled draft bill on higher education reforms.

    Papariga said education sector is an extremely serious matter, "as important as the abolition of public education".

    She also criticised the PASOK and ND governments for the prevailing condition in the country's universities. Finally, the communist leader reiterated that her party is against the abolition of the university asylum regime.

    [07] PM Papandreou to hold meetings with Infrastructures, Environment ministers on Thursday

    Prime Minister George Papandreou will meet in Parliament on Thursday with Infrastructures, Transport and Networks Minister Yiannis Ragoussis and Environment and Climatic Change Minister George Papaconstantinou for talks on issues concerning their ministries. The meetings will take place at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. respectively.

    The prime minister will also chair two meetings, the one on the National Organisation for Providing Health Services and the other on electronic prescription registration.

    [08] Ministers on public sector pay scale

    A meeting between Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Administrative Reform Minister Dimitris Reppas was concluded after three hours on Wednesday, with the new civil servants' unified payscale dominated discussions.

    No statements were made after the meeting.

    An announcement will be issued later on Wednesday.

    [09] Gov't to eliminate 'secret funding' code at former press ministry

    Minister of State Ilias Mosialos announced on Wednesday that "secret funds" registered in the budget of the General Information and Communication Secretariat are being abolished.

    "In the framework of the government's policy on the drastic decrease of operational expenditures, in every aspect of public administration, as well as the abolition of every pocket of untransparency, that averts necessary publicity and accountability to the providing of public money, we are proceeding today with the immediate abolition of Code Number Expenditures 0896 "Classified expenditures" of the General Secretariats of Communication-Information and Media and the transfer of the entire amount to the State Budget," the minister announced.

    [10] Methadone units approved in military hospitals

    Methadone units will be created at the 414 military hospital and the Varytis army camp of Goudi, the 424 military hospital of Thessaloniki and the 404 military hospital of Larissa.

    This was announced by Health Minister Andreas Loverdos and Defence Minister Panos Beglitis.

    Financial News

    [11] FinMin on Fiscal Stability Fund

    Government Vice President and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, replying to a press question after a Cabinet meeting, where the bill on the supervision and restructuring of credit institutions was approved, said a Fiscal Stability Fund will participate with common shares, as is predicted in the memorandum, and not with preferred shares.

    The fund aims to support banks in need of boosting of their capital adequacy.

    [12] Tax offices' activity sinks in June

    The country's 34 biggest tax offices, which receive about 70 percent of total tax revenues, presented almost no activity in June. This appears from figures gathered from the 34 biggest tax offices, posted on the internet by the finance ministry's general informatics secretariat.

    The data concerns the number of preliminary inspections of each tax auditor, progress of such inspections and the promotion of cross-checking. They also concern collected revenues, and the number of confiscations in relation to the number of outstanding debtors.

    According to figures, in 28 of the 34 tax offices, each employee carried out less than one inspection. Moreover, the 12 biggest tax offices did not carry out even one inspection.

    [13] Stocks fall to 15-year low

    Stocks lost ground for a third straight session this week at the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, dropping below the 900-point level -- a 15-year low -- from concerns over the repercussions any bond exchange will have on banks' portfolios.

    The general index lost 1.99 pct to close at 892.96.

    Turnover was a moderately low 64.12 million euros.

    The Big Cap index dropped 2.03 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 1.11 pct lower and the Small Cap index dropped 2.36 pct.

    Only Trade (5.57 pct) followed by a distant Personal Goods (1.07 pct) posted the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Utilities (-5.70 pct), Telecoms (-2.50 pct) and Banks (-2.37 pct) recorded the biggest losses of the day.

    Broadly, advancers trailed decliners by 34 to 105 with another 44 issues remained unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: Unchanged

    Industrials: -1.59%

    Commercial: +5.57%

    Construction: -1.60%

    Media: Unchanged

    Oil & Gas: -1.63%

    Personal & Household: +1.07%

    Raw Materials: -1.39%

    Travel & Leisure: -1.01%

    Technology: -1.36%

    Telecoms: -2.50%

    Banks: -2.37%

    Food & Beverages: -2.36%

    Health: -1.21%

    Utilities: -5.70%

    Chemicals: -0.92%

    Financial Services: -1.44%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP and Alpha Bank.

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

    Alpha Bank: 2.20

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 5.50

    HBC Coca Cola: 14.20

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.25

    National Bank of Greece: 3.16

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 1.95

    OPAP: 8.40

    OTE: Piraeus: 0.60

    Titan: 12.66

    [14] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.464

    Pound sterling 0.890

    Danish kroner 7.561

    Swedish kroner 9.260

    Japanese yen 112.17

    Swiss franc 1.157

    Norwegian kroner 7.960

    Canadian dollar 1.448

    Australian dollar 1.397

    General News

    [15] Pregnant woman stabbed on Kos

    An unknown perpetrator on Wednesday repeatedly stabbed a pregnant 39-year-old mini market employee on the Dodecanese island of Kos.

    The victim, in the ninth month of her pregnancy, was taken to a local hospital and reported as not in any danger.

    The reasons for the attack are yet unknown.

    The perpetrator entered the store and lunged at her with a bayonet without exhanging a word.

    [16] Suspects arrested for string of burglaries

    Two Albanian nationals, aged 23 and 24, were accused of 32 burglaries in regions of northern Attica, while their alleged participation in other offences is also being examined.

    Over the past two months, the two are accused of targetting residences in the northern suburbs of Anixi, Aghios Stefanos, Nea Erythrea and Kifissia.

    [17] Wildfire in Lefkimi, Evros

    A wildfire extending for about six kilometres was reported on Wedneday afternoon in the Lefkimi district, Evros prefecture. The wildfire has so far laid waste to some 300 hectares of forestland and crops.

    [18] Paleokastritsa's fabulous 'deep blue'

    The crystal-clear waters, the underwater caves and trenches, all amid the prism of innumerable colours created when sunlight penetrates the sea, come together in Paleokastritsa, on the Ionian island of Corfu's western coast.

    For aficionados of the "deep blue", a dive club was first founded in 1963, as the Barracuda Club Korfu, by Joachim Bergan. The club's legendary dive boat, the Barracuda III, still operates today, even if the club's name and management has changed over the years.

    The most spectacular dive spots lie between five and 20 minutes from the coast, including the Kolobri trench, replete with arch-like rock formations, small underwater caves and deep rifts. Other highlights are the Hermones shipwreck, a British mine-sweeper that sank in 1945 when it struck a mine; the Skeloudi site, located beneath the huge cliffs where the Paleokastritsa Monastery is perched, and where divers below can swim amongst various kind of sealife.

    Paleokastritsa and its eponymous cove are located 15 kilometres northwest of the town of Corfu. The village itself is situated amid characteristic scenery of olive trees and small ravines leading to the crystal clear waters.

    The turquoise waters of the sea and the sandy beaches along with the cove make Paleokastritsa one of the best known sites on cosmopolitan Corfu.

    Weather Forecast

    [19] Fair on Thursday

    Fair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday, with wind velocity reaching 3-8 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 17C and 37C. Fair in Athens, with northerly 5-7 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 26C to 36C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 23C to 34C.

    [20] The Wednesday edition of Athens' newspapers at a glance

    Speculation over whatever changes in the tax system, a unified payscale for civil servants' and the draft bill on higher education mostly dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "23,137 teacher hirings".

    AVRIANI: "Germans demand guarantees in gold while Finns insist on cash deposits".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Lenders' appetite opened for guarantees".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Cutbacks in tax exemptions for self-employed professionals".

    ESTIA: "Political solution imperative".

    ETHNOS: "Popular university schools' entry ceilings drop".

    IMERISSIA: "Everything changing in tax system".

    KATHIMERINI: "First reform steps in pro football".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Seeking a political solution for disbursement of 6th loan tranche".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Government an accomplice in crimes against Libyan people".

    TA NEA: " Civil servants' payroll and promotion system on table".

    VRADYNI: "Four billion euros to intercept unemployment's tsumani".

    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


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