|Monday, 19 February 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-09-29
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Thursday, 29 September 2011 Issue No: 3902
 Barroso: Greece is and will remain in eurozone"Greece is and will remain a member of the eurozone and the EU", European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said on Wednesday, addressing the europarliament plenum. "However, Greece must fulfill its commitments and within the period it has pledged," he added.
"We must support Greece and the other countries that are facing problems until they stand on their own feet and return, on their own, to the markets," concluded Barroso.
 Troika to return to Greece on Thursday, Rehn spokesman announcesThe European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) troika will return to Athens on Thursday, a spokesman for European economic and monetary affairs commissioner Olli Rehn said in Brussels on Wednesday.
"I am in the pleasant position of announcing that the troika has decided to resume its mission to Greece," said Amadeus Altafaj during a press conference in Brussels, adding: "This decision was taken following the Greek government's recent announcement of fiscal stabilisation measures".
 Ministerial meeting on education issues chaired by PMA ministerial meeting on education issues, with Prime Minister George Papandreou chairing, was held at the prime minister's office in Parliament on Wednesday afternoon. Papandreou called the meeting immediately after his return from Berlin.
The meeting was held to discuss the progress in implementing the recently amended law on tertiary education, which is experiencing continued resistance from certain academics and has triggered student "sit-ins" at universities, colleges and high schools.
Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou briefed participants on the incidents that occurred in various schools in the country. According to reports, the minister asked for a renegotiation with the EC/ECB/IMF troika on restrictions imposed on academic hirings.
After the ministerial meeting, Papandreou held a meeting in private with Diamantopoulou.
 PM to chair cabinet meeting on ThursdayPrime Minister George Papandreou will chair a cabinet meeting on Thursday morning focusing on measures the government is currently taking to handle the country's economic crisis.
The cabinet will also approve four government bills.
 PASOK rapporteur on clarification of labour reserve criteriaRuling PASOK party parliamentary spokesman Christos Protopapas on Wednesday underlined that the criteria based on which the labour reserve measure will be implemented must be clarified.
Speaking to the state-run radio, Protopapas stressed that criteria should be announced as soon as possible to put an end to the "widespread insecurity" among the public sector employees.
He pointed out that they should be objective and stressed that the government is trying to avoid layoffs despite the pressures exerted by the troika (EC-ECB-IMF).
 Taxi owners pledge to fight to 'bitter end'Taxi owners will fight "to the bitter end" in order to foil the government's plans to liberalise the taxi sector warned the head of the Attica taxi owners' association (SATA) Thymios Lymberopoulos on Wednesday, during an otherwise peaceful protest held by striking taxi owners and public transport workers outside the transport ministry.
Having received the ministry's assurances that dialogue on the details of the proposed deregulation will continue, Lymberopoulos said that he hoped that "they are telling the truth this time" and stressed that taxi owners have a series of "non-negotiable" demands.
These include the right to legally sell taxi licences, that there be no reduction in the districts, that no new licences are issued and that any companies formed are created based on the existing licences.
Lymberopoulos warned that taxi owners will also fight hoteliers that attempted to set up their own taxi firms that "they would be fored to leave Greece and be unable to run them" and said the minister would have to "pass over 50,000 dead bodies" in order to pass the draft bill in its present form.
The federation would seek to join forces with other professional groups such as lawyers, pharmacists and engineers that were faced with the deregulation of their profession in order to create a single, powerful front against the government's plans or to overthrow the current government, he added.
In recent statements concerning the deregulation of transport sectors, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Yiannis Ragoussis had underlined the government's determination to fully deregulate all road transport, including taxis and hired trucks, with rules that would discourage the formation of cartels.
The protest outside the ministry coincided with an all-day strike by taxis, Greek railways and all Athens public transport, except privately run intercity buses (KTEL).
 ND lashes out at FinMin over receipts measureMain opposition New Democracy (ND) on Wednesday lashed out against finance minister Evangelos Venizelos over his latest announcements on the revised measure concerning collection of receipts by taxpayers.
"Mr. Venizelos decided and ordered: Apart from co-owner of our homes, he now also becomes the manager of our money and, indeed, imposes heavy fines on those who save and do not spend money," ND alternate shadow finance minister Yiannis Vroutsis said.
ND believes that the citizens can no longer endure "the tax-collection policy followed by the government", and accused the PASOK government of "inadequacy and incompetence in the management of the economic crisis".
"Apparently, the only thing that does not require receipt/proof is the government's inadequacy and incompetence, at the expense of a society that has long exhausted the limits of its endurance," Vroutsis said.
He added that the government has so far taken measures that exceed 52 billion euros in order to reduce -- if it indeed has reduced -- the deficit by only 19 billion euros.
 Pangalos: Deficit must be crushed with all meansGovernment vice president Theodoros Pangalos said that the deficit must be crushed with all means, while also stressing that the taxpaying ability of the Greek citizens has been exhausted and the government must turn to a drastic reduction of expenditure, in a statement on private MEGA television station on Wednesday.
Pangalos called for dialogue inside the government as well ahead of the revision and implementation of the new receipt collection measure, noting that the issue has not been discussed by the Cabinet.
"I am in favour of receipts. I consider that the collection of receipts, when done systematically, can limit the phenomenon of tax evasion, obliging those who do not give receipts to issue them, at the same time creating an incentive for the one who collects the receipts with a reduction of his own tax burden," Pangalos said.
The government vice president stressed that it is prime minister George Papandreou who achieved the plan for saving Greece, while second government vice president and finance minister Evangelos Venizelos 'is in the eye of the hurricane' due to the economy.
He attacked main opposition ND and its leader Antonis Samaras for their repeated calls for renegotiation with the EU-IMF troika, adding "I hope we do not live the moment that he goes to renegotiate", and warning that "we cannot play bully to the troika".
Pangalos further accused ND of inciting the taxi strikes and mobilisations while, with respect to the trade unions, he said that "only in Greece, those who want to work are intimidated during the strikes and the trade unionists prohibit them from doing so".
Asked to comment on speculations of early elections, Pangalos said that this should be discussed and that "one cannot easily rule them out". He added, however, that is firm position is that elections should take place at the end of a government's four-year term in office and that governments should exhaust their entire term.
 Athens Bar Association strips government vice president Pangalos of title of Emeritus LawyerThe Athens Bar Association has stripped government vice president and retired lawyer Theodoros Pangalos of the title of Emeritus Lawyer over the latter's "slanderous and denigrating" statements of tax evaders with respect to lawyers.
The Athens Bar Association's board of directors late Tuesday unanimously adopted a proposal by Bar president Yiannis Adamopoulos, and stripped the title of Emeritus Lawyer "from the government vice president and retired lawyer Theodoros Pangalos due to the slanderous and denigrating statements concerning tax evaders he has repeatedly made with respect to lawyers, at a time that lawyers, and particularly young lawyers, are hard hit by profession inflation, reduction of lawyer-related work, the slowness in the attribution of justice and the bleak economic situation that the country has sunk into, and when it is the only professional class that immediately attributes to the Greek State the tax that is withheld from representations".
In an written statement, Adamopoulos noted that "this is not the first time that Mr. Pangalos attacks the lawyers' corps with denigrating characterisations", adding: "It appears that he has in no way appreciated the bestowal upon him of the title of Emeritus Lawyer by the Bar Association".
 SYRIZA head accuses gov't of catastrophic policyOpposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday termed the government's policy as "catastrophic", stressing that the "government is leading the country and the economy to bankruptcy."
Tsipras said the Greek people and democracy are experiencing an unprecedented diversion, adding that everybody "has an obligation to resist and claim social justice and democracy."
Referring to Germany, he accused German leadership of implementing "a catastrophic policy supposedly for the good of Europe and Greece."
 Cyprus' right to explore EEZ inalienable, Greek envoy stressesNICOSIA (AMNA/A.Viketos/CNA)
Cyprus has the inalienable right to explore its Exclusive Economic Zone to locate any oil or gas reserves, Greek Ambassador to Cyprus, Vassilis Papaioannou, underlined here on Wednesday.
In his statements, following a meeting with Cyprus House Speaker Yiannakis Omirou, during which they discussed Greece's initiatives to address the economic crisis, as well as the latest developments in the region, Papaioannou reaffirmed Greek commitment to international law and its full engagement to defending Cyprus' sovereign rights.
"I stressed Cyprus' inalienable right to proceed with the drilling currently underway within its EEZ", the Greek ambassador said, adding that Cyprus and Greece send the message that they do not wish to cause tension in the region, but they wish to maintain stability and security.
Replying to a question, Papaioannou pointed out that Cyprus and Greece coordinate their moves on all levels. "We monitor the situation and developments", he said.
Turkey, whose troops occupy Cyprus' northern part since they invaded in 1974, does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus. Following a decision by Nicosia to begin natural gas and oil exploration in its exclusive economic zone, Ankara has deployed warships in the Eastern Mediterranean and has signed an illegal agreement with the Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus to delineate what it calls continental shelf. Drilling has already begun by Houston-based "Noble Energy", off Cyprus' south-eastern coast.
The government of Cyprus has protested to the UN and the EU Turkey's moves, saying it has a sovereign right to exploit its natural resources, pointing out that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will benefit from any benefits that may come from oil drilling.
Cyprus has signed an agreement to delineate the Exclusive Economic Zone with Egypt and Israel with a view to exploit any possible natural gas and oil reserves in its EEZ. A similar agreement has been signed with Lebanon but the Lebanese Parliament has not yet ratified it.
 Greek National Defence Minister to visit CyprusNICOSIA (AMNA/A.Viketos)
Greek National Defence Minister Panayiotis Beglitis will pay a one-day official visit to Cyprus on October 1st, it was announced here on Wednesday.
The Greek minister will watch the military parade to take place on the occasion of Cyprus' Independence Day.
During his visit, Beglitis will be received by President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias.
Cyprus became an independent state in 1960 after a four year anti-colonial struggle from 1955 until 1959 against British rule. Cyprus was a former British colony between 1878 until 1960. Fourteen years later Turkey invaded Cyprus and since 1974 it occupies 37% of the island's territory, refusing to withdraw its troops as called for by the United Nations.
 Parliament passes bill on handling of political, state corruption casesParliament on Wednesday passed a justice ministry bill amending laws on the handling of cases of corruption by politicians, state officials and cases of major public interest.
The bill was passed with the backing of the ruling PASOK, main opposition New Democracy and Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) parties.
During the preceding discussion, Justice Minister Mihalis Papaioannou said the bill sought to address problems arising from the slowness of the political system to apportion blame and accelerate the processing of such cases, as well as the inability of Greek justice "to overcome the various obstacles and underground commitments and its inertia under the tight embrace of the tentacles of political power".
 500-mln-euro EIB financing plan for Greek SMEsEuropean Investment Bank (EIB) Vice-President Plutarchos Sakellaris on Wednesday announced a 500-million-euro programme to guarantee EIB loans for SMEs through Greek banks.
The plan was announced by European Commission President Barroso on the same day, in order to allow further EIB support to Greek SMEs.
"There is an urgent need for clear and long-term financial support, so that viable investment projects can materialize. Investments that will not only pull us out of the crisis, but that will open the road to competitiveness and long-term development. Such investments exist," Sakellaris said.
 AIA photovoltaic plant inauguratedThe photovoltaic park at Athens International Airport (AIA), formally inaugurated on Wednesday, is the world's largest photovoltaic (PV) power plant operating at an airport.
The 20-million-euro, 8 MWp PV plant was inaugurated by Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister George Papaconstantinou. It was completed in six months and will contribute decisively to AIA's goal to considerably reduce its carbon footprint.
According to estimates, the AIA PV will generate 11 million KWh of electricity annually reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 10,000 tons/year.
 Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) submits PEIA to Greek authoritiesThe Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) has submitted a Preliminary Environmental Impact Assessment (PEIA) to the Greek Ministry of Environment.
This application is an addition to the scoping documents that TAP submitted earlier this year in preparation for its full Environmental & Social Impact Assessment (ESIA). In addition to complying with Greek law, TAP has also decided to carry out its impact assessment in accordance with the stringent international guidelines from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to ensure that the project optimises environmental and social performance.
The PEIA gives further detail on the location of TAP's routing, as well as the evaluation of the alternative routes analysed by the TAP team. This includes more information, for example, on modelling of the preliminary air emissions and on the previously undeveloped sections along the pipeline route.
The shareholder structure of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline project comprises of Swiss EGL (42.5%), Norwegian Statoil (42.5%) and German E.ON Ruhrgas (15%).
 End to benefits for large families earning more than 55,000 a yearA new amendment attached to a draft bill for reforming the health care system on Wednesday will abolish large-family benefits for households earning more than 55,000 euro a year. The benefits were previously received by all families with three dependent children, while higher benefits were paid to families with four or more children.
The draft bill is currently being discussed by the appropriate Parliamentary committee.
Loverdos said that the minimum income for receiving the benefits will be increased by 5,000 euro a year for each additional child after the fourth.
Another amendment outlined new terms and conditions for adoptions and fostering children.
While tabling the amendments, Loverdos denied reports that nursing staff were being fire from hospitals as part of the labour reserve measure and stressed that, on the contrary, the government was hiring more nurses.
He also announced that university hospital doctors throughout the country would be given the right to receive patients at the private surgeries twice a week, after lengthy negotiation between doctors and the education and health ministries.
 Civil servants union federation to hold rally on ThursdayThe civil servants' union federation ADEDY on Wednesday urged all public-sector workers to participate in Thursday's rally and march, which will begin at Klafthmonos Square in central Athens at 6:00 p.m. and then make its way to Parliament.
In its announcement, ADEDY noted that millions of households were currently unable to meet even their basic bills at the same time as tax-evasion by the rich continued to be rampant.
 Shipping conference in AthensThe 2nd Shipping Conference entitled "Shipping Today and Tomorrow" continued for a second day on Wednesday, organised by the Hellenic Management Association (EEDE) Institute for Economic Management in cooperation with the British Hellenic Chamber of Commerce (BHCC).
Addressing the two-day conference, Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) CEO Giorgos Anomeritis stressed that the Greek economy should be based on the triptych shipping-tourism-culture to overcome the current crisis.
He referred to the importance of the seaport economy and to the privileged geographic position of the port of Piraeus in the eastern Mediterranean.
 Travel revenues up 16.9 pct in JulyTravel revenues grew by 16.9 pct in July this year, compared with the same period in 2010, for an increase of 14.2 pct in the January-July period, the Bank of Greece said on Wednesday.
The central bank, in a report, attributed this positive development to higher revenues from citizens from countries outside the EU-27 (29.3 pct) to 1.87 billion euros, while revenues from EU-27 countries totaled 3.593 billion euros in the January-July period, up 7.7 pct form last year. Revenues from Germany rose 7.4 pct, while revenues from the UK fell 3.6 pct. Revenues from Russia jumped 80.2 pct.
Incoming travel totaled 2.984 million travelers in July, up 7.2 pct from the same month last year, for an increase of 11.4 pct in the seven-month period between January and July (8.288 million).
 Lavrentiadis reaches out-of-court settlement with prosecutors in Proton Bank caseGreek business executive Lavrentis Lavrentiadis has reached an out-of-court settlement with the financial affairs prosecutor over an embezzlement case involving Athens-based Proton Bank.
According to sources, Lavrentiadis agreed to pay 51 million euros to the bank in return for all charges to be dropped.
The businessman has completed negotiations with prosecutors to return the sum of 51 million euros to Proton Bank to cover the losses suffered, although the agreement needs the approval by the Bank of Greece's commissioner, assigned to Proton Bank. It is the first such case to be resolved after the government revised a relevant criminal legislation.
 Georgian entrepreneur raises stake in Selonda to 25%Georgian entrepreneur Kahka Bendukidze on Wednesday announced it has raised its equity stake in Selonda Fish Farms to 25 pct. In an announcement, Linnaeus Capital Partners BV said it has raised its equity stake in Selonda to 25 pct, owning 7,320,385 shares and voting rights.
Linnaeus Capital Partners BV is fully owned by I.I.H.C Industrial Investments Ltd, in which Kahka Bendukidze has a 73.25 pct majority stake.
 Business briefs-- German-Hellenic Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DGIHK) president Mihalis Maillis on Wednesday cited what he called Germany's strong will to help Greece, while noting that the Greek people have a "historical responsibility to respond, regain their credibility and succeed."
-- The non-metal minerals production and processing sector suffered the largest production decline among the country's industrial sectors so far this year, with a decline of 33.8 pct in the January-July period, after falling by 9.9 pct in the corresponding period in 2010. Current production levels are 58.3 pct lower compared with 2005 levels.
-- A new marina at Limenaria, on the northern Aegean island of Thassos, will be ready in three years, featuring facilities that will accommodate up to 70 private yachts and tourist boats, it was announced on Wednesday.
-- Hellas Online on Wednesday announced it was set a price of 1.15 euros per share in its share offering, as part of a share capital increase plan.
 Stocks end 2.37 pct higherStocks ended significantly higher at the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, helped by strong buying activity in bank shares.
News of a return of the EC-ECB-IMF 'troika' officials in Athens on Thursday, paving the way for the release of the sixth tranche of a loan to Greece, encouraged sentiment in the market. The composite index rose 2.37 pct to end at 809.94 points, with turnover rising slightly to 53.742 million euros.
The Big Cap index jumped 3.44 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.39 pct higher and the Small Cap index rose 1.41 pct. Alpha Bank (12.7 pct), Eurobank (10.11 pct), Marfin Popular Bank (9.09 pct), Piraeus Bank (6.52 pct) and National Bank (6.32 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while MIG (4.0 pct) and PPC (0.17 pct) were losers.
The Insurance (7.14 pct), Banks (6.51 pct) and Raw Materials (4.73 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Health (18.61 pct) and Financial Services (0.90 pct) suffered losses.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 81 to 58 with another 37 issues unchanged. Alpha Bank (12.7 pct), Vovos (11.43 pct) and Eurobank (10.11 pct) were top gainers, while Health (25 pct), Neorio (20 pct) and Sfakianakis (10 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +1.70%
Personal & Household: +3.19%
Raw Materials: +4.73%
Travel & Leisure: +1.08%
Food & Beverages: +1.26%
Financial Services: -0.90%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, EFG Eurobank Ergasias and Alpha Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 1.42
Public Power Corp (PPC): 5.86
HBC Coca Cola: 13.40
Hellenic Petroleum: 6.05
National Bank of Greece: 2.86
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.98
Bank of Piraeus: 0.49
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds fell to 15.96 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market, from 16.16 pct on Tuesday, with the Greek bond yielding 17.93 pct and the German Bund 1.97 pct. There was no transactions in the market.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 2.06 pct, the six-month rate 1.73 pct, the three-month rate 1.53 pct and the one-month rate 1.34 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 0.72 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover remaining a low 15.896 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 6,050 contracts worth 9.886 million euros, with 22,811 short positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 35,541 contracts worth 6.011 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (11,441), followed by Eurobank (4,180), MIG (704), OTE (944), Piraeus Bank (10,416), Alpha Bank (4,485), Marfin Popular Bank (518), Mytilineos (599), Hellenic Postbank (404) and ATEbank (183).
 Foreign Exchange rates - ThursdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.383
Pound sterling 0.884
Danish kroner 7.552
Swedish kroner 9.330
Japanese yen 105.78
Swiss franc 1.238
Norwegian kroner 7.932
Canadian dollar 1.418
Australian dollar 1.398
 Drive to enrich content in Greek WikipediaThe Open Source/Free Software Company on Wednesday announced that it is launching a new round of action to enrich and promote the Greek edition of Wikipedia, which currently has 65,015 articles and 89,273 registered users.
The group's initiative targets local libraries, cultural and educational bodies (such as schools and universities), organisations and networks that are interested in either increasing the Greek content of the freel online encyclopedia or want to organised events to promote it.
The new round of action is part of the mywikipedia.gr initiative and seeks to enrich the encyclopaedia with high-quality content that is already available on the Internet through other open-source sites.
It will include workshops on how to use the Greek Wikipedia and its use in education.
Those interested in organising events can submit their proposals at the site http://www.mywikipedia.gr.
A discussion on the new initiative will take place on September 30 at the National Research Institute, between 5:00-8:00 p.m.
 Concert at the ancient theatre of Kos on WednesdayThe ancient theatres of Maronia, Messini and Kos revived in September with a series of concerts. The Camerata, Orchestra of the Friends of Music performed excerpts of works by Greek composers of the 20th and 21st century as well as from Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons' on September 23 at the theatre of Ancient Messini. The same concert will be presented on the island of Kos, at the ancient theatre within the archaeological site, on Wednesday.
The first event was held at Maronia theatre on September 4, featuring recitations of excerpts from Homer's epic poems.
 Psomiadis still wanted by police; prosecutor criticises examining magistrate's decisionThe stance adopted by the examining magistrate who was against taking into custody controversial football club executive Makis Psomiadis was strongly criticized by the prosecutor who was in favour of the measure, it was made known on Wednesday.
An appellate-level Council of Magistrates on Tuesday settled the dispute between prosecutor and examining magistrate ruling that Psomiadis (in the meantime he was released on bail) should be taken into custody for his alleged role in a massive match-fixing scheme. Psomiadis, who apparently has jumped bail, is now wanted by police.
In her proposal that was submitted to the Council of Magistrates, the prosecutor lashed out at the examining magistrate, stressing that he did not consider Psomiadis to be a high-flight-risk defendant despite the restrictive measures he had imposed on him based on incriminating evidence.
She also contradicted the arguments used by Psomiadis concerning the taped conversations in which he participated stressing that in his deposition dated Sept. 20, 2011 he had admitted that the conversations had indeed taken place.
The prosecutor is convinced that Psomiadis, despite his objections, is the real owner of Kavala FC and maintained that there are serious indications that the accused was involved in money-laundering.
The prosecutor also used specific excerpts of Psomiadis' taped conversations to overturn his plea that he was not involved in "match-fixing" and "referee selections".
 Police bust three gangs for robberies, theftAttica police on Wednesday reported the capture of three separate gangs of thieves and robbers operating in Attica, who were all caught on Tuesday.
The first arrest was of two Georgian nationals aged 32 and 31 years old, respectively, who were caught in the west Athens district of Ilion on Tuesday morning. The two had just attempted to burgle a house in the area but were spotted by the owner, who called the police and forced them into flight.
The gang operated chiefly in the early morning in Ilion, breaking into homes and stealing jewellery, money, electronic devices and other objects of value. Under questioning, they admitted to burgling 10 homes in the area during the last month.
The second gang targeted shops and was caught by the southeast Attica security police. Three Albanian nationals aged 20, 31, and 22 years old were arrested, along with a 38-year-old Greek man. The gang is suspected to be behind 10 armed robberies in shops located in Koropi, Spata, Kalyvia, Markopoulos and Agia Paraskevi, where victims were held at gunpoint with handguns and a Kalashnikov rifle.
During the arrest and subsequent raids on the suspects' homes, police found and confiscated a revolver, two replica handguns, seven cartridges, a bag of cannabis seeds, a can of pepper spray, a rifle butt, cell phones, electronic appliances and jewellery.
The third arrest was in Elefsina, where two 20-year-old Greek men were intercepted as they were removing two copper pipes used for natural gas with a total length of five metres.
A subsequent investigation showed that the two men arrested were behind a series of thefts of copper pipes from six apartment buildings in the Elefsina area, with a total value of 15,000 euro.
All the suspects arrested were led before an Athens first-instance court prosecutor.
 Sunny on ThursdayMainly sunny weather is forecast on Thursday, with winds reaching up to 8 Beaufort in the Aegean. Winds mainly northerly directions, from 3-8 Beaufort. Temperatures ranging from 11C to 30C. Sunny in Attica, with temperatures from 19C to 28C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures from 14C to 26C.
 The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel's message of support to Greece on Tuesday from Germany after her meeting with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, the new reduction of the tax-free ceiling and the abolition of tax reliefs as well as the strikes in all public transport means, dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Additional taxes for all".
AVGHI: "Beheading before the....haircut".
AVRIANI: "Only the drachma will resurrect Greece and will render its economy as one of the most competitive internationally".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Merkel and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble out of time and place".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "New bleeding via the receipts".
ESTIA: "Monumental incompetence".
ETHNOS: ?New tax penalty ".
IMERISSIA: "Merkel offers support".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "German message of support with capital and investments".
KATHIMERINI: "New surprise tax".
RIZOSPASTIS: "We are all protesting on Wednesday against the surtax and the antisocial policy".
TA NEA: "Absurdity with the receipts".
VRADYNI: "3.9 billion euros against unemployment and for preservation of working positions".
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