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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-01-04

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

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

Wednesday, 4 January 2012 Issue No: 3965

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM to begin lightning round of talks with social partners on labour-pension issues
  • [02] PM and finance minister discuss crucial economic issues
  • [03] Commission: Completion of PSI negotiations a top priority
  • [04] Government spokesman: No Cabinet reshuffle, elections 'approximately in April'
  • [05] Talks on second aid package to resume in January
  • [06] Foreign ministry meeting on energy policy
  • [07] Foreign minister Dimas on cooperation with Russia
  • [08] Matthew Nimetz to have meetings in New York with Greece and FYROM representatives
  • [09] PASOK party leader to chair Political Council meeting on Wednesday
  • [10] Overdue update of fuel sales system not illegal trading, embattled foreign head says
  • [11] New coast guard facilities inaugurated in Thessaloniki
  • [12] Gov't: Oil rigs in three regions by end 2012
  • [13] Commission demands return of farm subsidies worth 424.8 mln euros
  • [14] MSC Magnifica's arrival opens cruise season at Piraeus
  • [15] Ministry clarifications on sale of 4 disused passenger jets
  • [16] Hellenic Steel negotiations hit deadend
  • [17] Bussiness Briefs
  • [18] Stocks end 1.20% down
  • [19] ADEX closing report
  • [20] Greek bond market closing report
  • [21] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday
  • [22] Quadrantids, the first meteor shower of 2012, to put on spectatular cosmic fireworks display pre-dawn Wednesday
  • [23] Floating museum for Mediterranean Sea antiquities mulled
  • [24] 20.1 percent of country's population threatened by poverty, according to Greek Statistical Authority
  • [25] Burglars make off with 300,000 euros in gold votive offerings from monastery
  • [26] Five arrested in incident in Exarchia
  • [27] Suspect wanted in Greece for homicide arrested in Paris
  • [28] Legal rep of company owing 19.5mln euros to state arrested in Thessaloniki
  • [29] Four injured in violence between two groups of foreign nationals in Markopoulo
  • [30] Super League results
  • [31] Fair on Wednesday
  • [32] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM to begin lightning round of talks with social partners on labour-pension issues

    Prime Minister Lucas Papademos will begin a lightning round of talks with trade unions and employers on Wednesday, in order to discuss reforms concerning wages, pensions and labour relations in view of the advent of EU-IMF troika inspectors on January 16.

    He is scheduled to hold talks with the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE), Greece's largest umbrella trade union organisation, the Federation of Greek Industry (SEV), the association of small manufacturers and traders (GSEBEE) and other major employer associations on all outstanding issues concerning pay and pensions.

    Commenting on the upcoming talks, Labour and Social Solidarity Minister George Koutroumanis noted on Monday that there were no "taboo" measures and that it would be best on all sides if there could be agreement on issues concerning wages.

    Koutroumanis said that a reduction in the minimum wage was not a top priority for either the government or for businesses, which were primarily interested in reducing the cost of social insurance contributions and VAT.

    Conversely, according to Koutroumanis, troika representatives were insisted on both a reduction of the minimum wage and the abolition of the 13th and 14th wages in the private sector.

    Employer associations oppose the abolition of the minimum wage under national collective labour agreements but agree with a freeze on wage increases for the next three years and the reduction of non-wage-related costs, including a 10 percent reduction in social insurance contributions that now account for 45 percent of total payroll costs.

    The total payroll cost for the private sector is estimated at 45 billion euro per year, meaning that a 10 percent reduction of social insurance contributions will amount to savings of 2.0 billion for private enterprises.

    They propose that businesses instead pay 0.1 percent of turnover, offset against taxation, to cover the shortfall in revenues to social insurance funds. SEV is pushing for greater flexibility in the labour market in line with European standards and the abolition of restrictions for laying off staff for businesses that hire OAED-subsidised unemployed.

    GSEE has warned that it will not accept any measure that further increases the burdens on wage-earning employees, noting that the minimum wage is already extremely low compared with the cost of living. They also point to OECD figures showing that labour costs in Greece decreased 2.8 percent in the last year, the sharpest reduction in the Eurozone, while productivity increased by 2.4 percent.

    Trade unionists have grave reservations concerning a reduction of social insurance contributions, pointing out that the economic crisis has already resulted in a roughly 6.0-billion-euro reduction in social insurance fund revenues in 2011.

    Other issues to be examined are troika demands for a reduction in supplementary pensions and lump sums on retirement.

    [02] PM and finance minister discuss crucial economic issues

    Prime Minister Lucas Papademos had a meeting with government vice-president and finance minister Evangelos Venizelos on Tuesday to discuss crucial economic issues.

    These included the negotiations with the EU-IMF troika on the new loan agreement for Greece in mid January, the progress of PSI bond swaps and the finance ministry's omnibus bill for outstanding measures called for by the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy, such as the opening of closed professions.

    As he left the meeting, Venizelos said that there had been close consultation between himself and the premier since Monday, which would continue in coming days, on all the outstanding issues relating to the difficult negotiations that Greece was engaged in at the present time.

    [03] Commission: Completion of PSI negotiations a top priority

    There is no intention or plan for any member-state to leave the Eurozone in 2012 or later, a European Commission spokesman said on Tuesday.

    Olivier Bailly, speaking to reporters, said a priority for Greece is to complete negotiations over the participation of private investors in a Private Sector Involvement (PSI) programme and then reach a deal between Greek authorities, the Eurozone and the EC-ECB-IMF "troika" over a new lending agreement.

    Bailly noted that consultations over a second financial support programme would begin this month and expressed the hope that these negotiations would be completed the soonest possible.

    [04] Government spokesman: No Cabinet reshuffle, elections 'approximately in April'

    Government spokesman Pantelis Kapsis on Tuesday ruled out the prospect of a Cabinet reshuffle at the present state, while also putting the date of general elections at "approximately in April", warning that it would be 'dangerous' to call elections right now.

    "Everything will be decided in the next quarter," Kapsis said on private SKAI television, and stressed that the new bailout loan agreement needs to be signed so that Greece will not find itself outside the markets.

    He further noted that there were many business and political forces that desire Greece's return to the drachma, warning that the "danger of Greece's exit from the euro has not been overcome".

    "What comes first at this moment is the backing of the government and the effort of all three parties participating in it to iron out their disagreements"," the spokesman added.

    [05] Talks on second aid package to resume in January

    BRUSSELS (AMNA / V. Demiris)

    European Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly on Tuesday stated here that there is no "intention or plan" concerning the exodus of a member-state from the Eurozone in 2012 or at later date.

    Responding to a question on the state of the Greek economy in the first press briefing for 2012, Bailly stressed that the priority is to complete the talks on PSI and have an agreement between the Eurozone, the troika and the Greek authorities on the new loan package.

    Referring to the second aid package for Greece, he underlined that the bailout talks will resume this month and expressed the wish that they will be finalized as soon as possible.

    [06] Foreign ministry meeting on energy policy

    Greece's foreign ministry on Tuesday held a preparatory meeting chaired by Foreign Minister Stavros Dimas, attended by the ministry's political leadership and senior staff, in order to discuss the country's policies on energy.

    The meeting was held in preparation for a working meeting with officials from the environment, energy and climate change ministry to be held on Wednesday in order to hammer out an integrated and coordinated energy policy for the country in light of ever-changing international environment and the opportunities and challenges that arise.

    The discussion focused on the latest developments in the greater region that is of interest to Greece in terms of energy and the prospects of cooperation in the transfer of energy from Russia, the Caspian Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe.

    It also examined the progress of energy-related projects involving Greece and the prospects of prospecting and drilling for hydrocarbons on a national level.

    [07] Foreign minister Dimas on cooperation with Russia

    Foreign minister Stavros Dimas underlined in a document forwarded to parliament on Tuesday that the foreign ministry has received no Russian proposal for the exploitation of resources beneath the sea near Kastelorizo.

    The document signed by the foreign minister was put together in response to a relevant question addressed by New Democracy (ND) MP Nikos Nikolopoulos.

    Dimas stressed that "our relations with Russia are excellent and our cooperation with the Russian side continuous and unfailing," adding that this was confirmed in the recent meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov held within the framework of the OSCE ministerial council in Vilnius, Lithuania.

    He said that "Greece's policy includes the delimitation of all sea zones with all its neighboring states," adding that "Greece does not sell out its sovereign rights and therefore, the EEZ cannot be an exception to this fundamental principle and position of our foreign policy."

    The foreign minister stressed that "the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea constitutes part of the European acquis. The adherence, signing and ratification of the convention are fundamental elements in the European prospect of all candidate states for EU accession, including Turkey."

    In his question that was tabled in parliament, ND MP Nikolopoulos had cited press reports according to which, Russia had made a specific proposal to the Greek government before the signing of the memorandum, suggesting the creation of a strategic relationship between the two countries focusing on the exploitation of hydrocarbon reserves in Kastelorizo. The MP also called on the foreign ministry to brief Parliament "on the reasons for the delay in the Greek EEZ delimitation as dictated by international contracts, thus failing to follow the example of Cyprus."

    [08] Matthew Nimetz to have meetings in New York with Greece and FYROM representatives

    NEW YORK (AMNA-P. Panagiotou)

    The UN Secretary General's personal envoy in negotiations between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Matthew Nimetz will be having meetings with the representatives of Athens and Skopje in New York.

    According to an announcement by the UN's Secretariat, ambassador Nimetz has called on the representatives of the two sides, ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis and ambassador Zoran Jolevski, to meet with him in New York on January 16 and 17.

    The announcement says that the two sides have accepted the invitation. Initially, Nimetz will have separate meetings with the two representatives and "will aim at developing a jointly acceptable approach for the revival of the talks" and with the purpose of achieving "substantive progress" towards a solution to the issue of the name, as it was stressed.

    [09] PASOK party leader to chair Political Council meeting on Wednesday

    PASOK party leader George Papandreou will chair a meeting of the party's 17-member Political Council at 16:00 on Wednesday and members as well as Papandreou are expected to examine a series of issues concerning PASOK.

    [10] Overdue update of fuel sales system not illegal trading, embattled foreign head says

    The resigned general secretary for tax and customs issues Yiannis Kapeleris on Tuesday underlined that "no fines were written off," adding that "in any case, overdue entries made to update the Hephaestus electronic system do not constitute illegal fuel trading."

    Kapeleris resigned his post on Monday at the request of finance minister Evangelos Venizelos after financial crimes prosecutor Grigoris Peponis ordered his prosecution on criminal breach of faith charges.

    Speaking to AMNA, Kapeleris underlined that the decision to "freeze" the fines was made to avoid having the operation licenses of a total of 3,700 heating oil dealers revoked. He said that the license removal measure would have been imposed in response to the fact that the violators had failed to update a problematic "Hephaestus" electronic system by entering on time the heating oil sales conducted, adding that alternate finance minister Pantelis Economou was aware of the issue.

    The specific electronic system was designed to trace possible illegal heating oil trading but there were problems with the process.

    Following an intervention by the Gas Station Owners' Association, the ministry of finance decided last August to "freeze" the fines imposed - as mentioned in a relevant circular signed by Kapeleris - until legislation was passed in parliament aimed at settling the issue.

    [11] New coast guard facilities inaugurated in Thessaloniki

    New facilities of the Hellenic coast guard in Thessaloniki were inaugurated on Tuesday in a fully renovated building granted by the Thessaloniki Port Authority S.A.

    In brief statements, Citizens Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis referred to efforts to reinforce the coast guard, noting the upcoming deployment of advanced equipment acquired through the EU External Borders Programme and the National Strategic Reference Framework (ESPA).

    Commenting on the course of a high-profile security fence along a stretch of the NE land border separating Greece and Turkey in the Evros prefecture, he said Tuesday marked the beginning of the construction phase.

    The tract of land in question has been targetted by migrant smugglers attempting to ferry mostly Third World migrants from the Near East, south Asia and even Africa into Greece from non-EU member Turkey.

    Financial News

    [12] Gov't: Oil rigs in three regions by end 2012

    Deputy Environment, Energy & Climatic Change Minister Yiannis Maniatis on Tuesday predicted that the first oil rigs will have been set up in at least three new three fields -- the Ioannina region, the Patraikos Gulf and off the coastal town of Katakolo -- after a briefing for Prime Minister Lucas Papa-demos on energy issues.

    Maniatis said he briefed the prime minister on oil exploration, procedures regarding surveys in the Ionian Sea and off southern Crete, as well as on an international tender issued on Monday for the three specific regions.

    He also briefed the prime minister on the process of staffing the agency that will coordinate hydrocarbon exploration in Greece.

    [13] Commission demands return of farm subsidies worth 424.8 mln euros

    The European Commission is demanding the return of "illegal" state subsidies worth 424.8 million euros, plus interest, offered to Greek farmers in the period 2008-2009 through the Agricultural Insurance Agency.

    Conversely, Agricultural Development & Foodstuffs Minister Costas Skandalidis has ordered the state's legal council to seek an annulment of the Commission ruling in the EU's General Court and to apply for a suspension of execution of this decision.

    The European Commission's decision covers payments worth 415 million euros made to Greek farmers in early 2009, which reportedly breached EU law on state subsidies. The EU's executive arm also set a four-month deadline to Greece to take all necessary measures to collect this money -- including interest -- from farmers, warning it would take recourse to the EU Court against the country.

    On its part, the ministry said the national budget would be burdened by around 500 million euros, excluding sanctions, totaling more than 220 million euros and paid to the EU annually for irregularities from previous years.

    Community subsidies to Greek farmers exceed 2.5 billion euros annually, beyond national subsidies to the sector.

    [14] MSC Magnifica's arrival opens cruise season at Piraeus

    The 2012 cruise season opened in Greece on Tuesday with the arrival of the ship "MSC Magnifica" at Piraeus port, with 3,200 passengers and 1,100 crew members. It was greeted with an official welcoming ceremony held at the port, attended by Development, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis, the deputy development minister for shipping Adonis Georgiadis and port officials.

    "Greece has now become more business-friendly and more accessible for investments," Chrysohoidis said in statements on board the ship, stressing that Greece needs cruise tourism and the revenues this will bring in order to create jobs, especially for young people.

    He also stressed the need to "jump-start" the economy, noting that cruise tourism had increased by 35 percent in 2011 and brought 2.5 visitors to Greece. The more attractive a destination for cruises Greece became, the more revenue would flow into the country to help overcome the economic crisis, he added.

    Chrysohoidis again referred to a draft bill on sea tourism that would fully abolish cabotage, which he said would be presented to the cabinet on Wednesday and be tabled in Parliament within the coming weeks.

    He also announced work on improvements at Piraeus port were due to begin soon in order to make it more attractive to cruise tourism, including a new dock for the latest generation of cruise ships costing 250 million euro.

    "Every day that passes our country can attract investors and investments but cruises are very important because they help create the jobs we so greatly need at this time," he emphasised, noting that 2012 would be a difficult but also challenging year in which Greeks must prove themselves to their allies and partners and Europe but also to themselves and their history.

    Piraeus Port Organisation chairman George Anomeritis noted that this was the first of 800 cruise ships that were expected to visit Greece during 2012, adding that the port had new facilities and enhanced security that would strive to make 2012 an important year for Piraeus and cruise tourism in the country.

    After the official welcome and an exchange of gifts, passengers on board the vessel were invited to attend a show put on for their benefit at the Piraeus Port arrivals lounge.

    The 'MSC Magnifica' is part of the MSC fleet of 11 ships and is currently carrying out nine-day winter cruises in the Mediterranean, calling at Venice, Bari, Rhodes, Haifa and Piraeus.

    [15] Ministry clarifications on sale of 4 disused passenger jets

    Clarifications on the sale of four disused Airbus A340-300 jets that belonged to the fleet of Olympic Airlines, the former national carrier, were given on Tuesday by the Ministerial Committee for Privatisations and Restructurings (DEAA).

    In a statement DEAA underlined that the sale of the airplanes was made within the framework of the privatizations' programme provided by the medium-term fiscal strategy programme, stressing that move constitutes an obligation undertaken by the country in compliance with the cooperation memorandum signed with the troika (EC-ECB-IMF) which constantly checks if the relevant deadlines are being met.

    The four Airbus A340-300 were sold in August 2011 to Apollo Aviation Group for 40.4 million dollars, being the highest bidder.

    A previous open international tender announced in late 2009, was declared void after the highest bidder (Cirrus International), which had offered 97 million dollars, withdrew its interest due to inability to finance the transaction.

    The statement underlined that the international market for this type of airplanes is shrinking considering that they regarded as high maintenance, while their production has been interrupted by the Airbus company. Any further delay beyond the deadline set by the medium-term programme could bear the risk of being forced to sell the airplanes in question to an even lower price, the statement pointed out.

    [16] Hellenic Steel negotiations hit deadend

    A tripartite meeting held at the ministry of labour on Tuesday with the participation of steelmaker Hellenic Halyvourgia S.A.'s management, legal advisers representing employees and deputy Labour Minister Yiannis Koutsoukos proved fruitless.

    The management insisted in proceeding with the company restructuring, meaning that lay-offs are inevitable, while employee representatives remained firm in their positions, namely, demands for the rehiring of 50 recently laid-off workers and the restoration of 8-hour day without pay cuts.

    [17] Bussiness Briefs

    -- Greek olive oil exports to Russia surged by 134.1 pct in 2010, raising the country's market share by 8.1 pct in the same year, the Greek embassy in Russia announced in a report.

    -- Corinth Pipeworks SA on Tuesday announced the signing of an agreement with National Bank of Greece and National Bank of Greece (Cyprus) to issue a common bond loan worth 10 million euros. Proceeds from the three-year bond loan will be used to refinance part of the company's borrowing obligations.

    -- The Thessaloniki Port Authority S.A. on Tuesday announced the freezing of rates for cargo transport and space leasing at the Thessaloniki port facilities for the duration of 2012.

    -- Marak Electronics ABEE on Tuesday announced it has sought court protection from its creditors under the Article 99 of the bankruptcy code in the country. The company said its court case would be discussed on Jan. 25.

    [18] Stocks end 1.20% down

    Stocks continued moving lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, in sharp contrast with a positive trend prevailing in other European markets. The composite index fell 1.20 pct to end at 665.63 points, while turnover remained a low 18.921 million euros.

    Bank shares came under strong selling pressure amid reports of a larger-than-expected haircut of Greek debt. Eurobank (11.08 pct), Alpha Bank (10.20 pct), Marfin Popular Bank (9.18 pct), National Bank (7.59 pct), Cyprus Bank (7.54 pct) and Hellenic Postbank (7.27 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses among blue chip stocks, while Hellenic Petroleum (1.90 pct), PPC (1.34 pct), Viohalco (1.33 pct) and Titan (1.23 pct) scored gains.

    The Big Cap index dropped 2.52 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.37 pct lower and the Small Cap index fell 2.84 pct. The Health (2.10 pct) and Utilities (1.46 pct) sectors scored gains, while Banks (7.90 pct), Technology (5.0 pct) and Raw Materials (3.54 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 97 to 45 with another 21 issues unchanged. Elbisco Holdings (19.84 pct), HOL (19.75 pct) and Tegopoulos (18.60 pct) were top gainers, while Dionic (29.92 pct), Akritas (27.15 pct) and Alpha Trust Andromeda (25.66 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: Unchanged

    Industrials: -0.47%

    Commercial: +0.39%

    Construction: +0.26%

    Oil & Gas: +1.35%

    Personal & Household: -0.11%

    Raw Materials: -3.54%

    Travel & Leisure: -1.36%

    Technology: -5.00%

    Telecoms: Unchanged

    Banks: -7.90%

    Food & Beverages: -1.30%

    Health: +2.10%

    Utilities: +1.46%

    Chemicals: -0.12%

    Financial Services: -0.22%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Coca Cola 3E and Bank of Cyprus.

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

    Alpha Bank: 0.46

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 3.79

    HBC Coca Cola: 13.15

    Hellenic Petroleum: 6.44

    National Bank of Greece: 1.46

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.31

    OPAP: 6.64

    OTE: 2.80

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.24

    Titan: 11.53

    [19] ADEX closing report

    The March contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 1.77 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover remaining a low 6.170 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap indx totaled 3,728 contracts worth 4.736 million euros, with 15,587 short positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 10,816 contracts worth 1.434 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (6,132), followed by MIG (247), OTE (317), PPC (156), Alpha Bank (2,452), Marfin Popular Bank (487), Cyprus Bank (463), Hellenic Postbank (212) and OPAP (67).

    [20] Greek bond market closing report

    The 10-year benchmark Greek bond yielded 29.58 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, with the German Bund yielding 1.88 pct, while the yield spread between the Greek and German benchmark bonds rising to 27.70 pct. There was no turnover in the market.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 1.93 pct, the six-month rate 1.59 pct, the three-month rate 1.33 pct and the one-month rate 0.98 pct.

    [21] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.320

    Pound sterling 0.847

    Danish kroner 7.547

    Swedish kroner 9.062

    Japanese yen 101.36

    Swiss franc 1.236

    Norwegian kroner 7.851

    Canadian dollar 1.336

    Australian dollar 1.278

    General News

    [22] Quadrantids, the first meteor shower of 2012, to put on spectatular cosmic fireworks display pre-dawn Wednesday

    The first meteor shower of 2012, the lesser known Quadrantid meteor shower, kicks off a new skywatching year as it peaks in the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday, putting on a brief but spectacular cosmic fireworks display.

    Unlike most of the meteor displays in 2011, which were washed out by a bright moon, the Quadrantids are anticipated to put on a spectacular show without lunar interference, thanks to a waxing gibbous moon.

    Given that the moon will set in Greece at 3:12 a.m. and the sky starts becoming bright around 6:30 a.m., with the sun set to rise at 7:41 a.m. and the peak anticipated at 9:00 a.m. (07:00 GMT), the best time for optimum viewing is between 3:12 and 6:30 a.m. at a spot as far away from city lights as possible.

    Like the Geminids, the Quadrantid meteors originate from the asteroid 2003 EH1, and were first seen in 1825. According to some studies, this cosmic body could be a piece of a comet that broke apart several centuries ago, and the Quadrantids are the small debris from this fragmentation, according to NASA.

    After hundreds of years of orbiting the sun, they will enter Earth's atmosphere at a blistering speed of nearly 145,000 kilometers per hour, burning up at about 80 km above the planet's surface.

    Most meteor showers get their name based on the constellations from which they appear to streak. When we look at the so-called radiants, we are looking down the paths of the meteors that strike Earth's atmosphere.

    Because of the location of the radiant, at the northern tip of the constellation Bootes, only northern hemisphere skywatchers will be able to see Quadrantids.

    The Quadrantids were named after the constellation of Quadrans Muralis, the wall quadrant, which was created by the French astronomer Jerome Lalande in 1795 and is located between the constellations of Bootes and Draco. Quadrans represents an early astronomical instrument that was used to observe and plot stars.

    Interestingly, the constellation is no longer recognized by the astronomical community, but was around long enough to give the meteor shower its name, which lives on with the January meteor shower.

    The Quadrantids can be quite impressive with a Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR) of up to 120 meteors per hour at their peak (under perfect conditions) and can sometimes produce rates of 60 to 200 meteors per hour. The peak is quite narrow lasting only a few hours, with activity either side of the peak sometimes being weak, but well worth observing, and this year promises a dazzling performance, without competition from the moonlight.

    [23] Floating museum for Mediterranean Sea antiquities mulled

    A floating museum on board a ship travelling between ports of the Mediterranean, which will include an exhibition on underwater archaeological discoveries of the Mediterranean Sea, was an idea examined during a meeting held at the Aegean and Island Policy General Secretariat on Tuesday.

    The idea was initiated in Venice by "Art Culture Med" and the General Secretariat for the Aegean and Island Policy has taken its implementation under its aegis. Interest in the project has so far been expressed by the Venice UNESCO office and the Council of Europe.

    There will follow a meeting of all the Greek and Italian organisations that have expressed interest in participating, to be held in Venice, where a bilateral agreement for the implementation of the project will be signed by Greece and Italy.

    [24] 20.1 percent of country's population threatened by poverty, according to Greek Statistical Authority

    20.1 percent of the country's population is threatened by poverty, according to a report by the Greek Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) on income and living conditions in 2010.

    According to the evidence, it appears that the financial limit of poverty reaches the annual amount of 7,178 euros per person and to 15,073 euros for households with two adults and two dependent children less than 14 years of age.

    Moreover, the average annual individual income amounts to 13,973.94 euros and the average annual available income of households in the country to 24,224.38 euros.

    [25] Burglars make off with 300,000 euros in gold votive offerings from monastery

    Burglars broke into a monastery in Heraklion, on the island of Crete, and stole votive offerings valued at some 300,000 euros, police said on Tuesday.

    The perpetrators broke the Aghia Irini Chryssovalantou monastery's main entrance and rushed to the abbot's cell on the third floor, behind the door of which the icon of the monastery's patron saint was kept.

    They took down the icon and broke its glass covering, taking all the gold jewelry -- all votive offerings -- it contained.

    According to estimates, the gold did not weigh more than 10 kilos.

    [26] Five arrested in incident in Exarchia

    Five people were arrested in the Exarchia district of downtown Athens on Monday night after a group of hooded troublemakers attacked a fast food restaurant.

    Some 15 individuals, wearing hoods over their faces, threw rocks and other objects at the restaurant at about 10:50 p.m., breaking the glass facade, before fleeing.

    Police patrolling the area chased the group and managed to arrest five of them, who will appear before a public prosecutor on Tuesday.

    [27] Suspect wanted in Greece for homicide arrested in Paris

    A 24-year-old Albanian wanted by the Greek authorities and against whom an international warrant was issued for the 2010 homicide of an 80-year-old woman in Argostoli, Cephallonia island, was arrested on Tuesday in Paris.

    The suspect was arrested by French police on charges of sexual abuse and, during the investigation, it turned up that he was one of the two perpetrators of the elderly woman's homicide on May 1, 2010.

    According to police the suspect and his accomplice, also Albanian, had broken into the residence of the woman, muzzled her, and covered her head with a nylon bag resulting to her death from asphyxiation. Afterwards they took all the cash and other objects from the victim's house and fled.

    The second Albanian is still at large and wanted.

    [28] Legal rep of company owing 19.5mln euros to state arrested in Thessaloniki

    A 66-year-old legal representative of an S.A. dealing in bathroom fixtures, headquartered in eastern Thessaloniki, was arrested on Tuesday for overdue debts of the compay to the state of some 19.5 million euros.

    According to police, the 66-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday morning in Thessaloniki. The exact sum of money owed by the company is 19,333,927.62 euros.

    [29] Four injured in violence between two groups of foreign nationals in Markopoulo

    Four people were injured in violence between a group of Albanians and a group of Pakistanis in the Varamba region of Markopoulo, Attica prefecture, on Monday night.

    Two Albanians, armed with knives, stormed into an abandoned house where five Pakistanis were living, and attempted to rob them, but the latter put up a strong fight and injured the two robbers. The Pakistanis, two of which were also injured, alerted police and the two perpetrators were arrested.

    Soccer

    [30] Super League results

    Games played for the Super League on Tuesday had the following results: Panionios Athens-Asteras Tripoli 2-0, PAS Yiannina-OFI Crete 0-0 and AEK Athens-Doxa Drama 0-0.

    The games between Ergotelis Crete-Xanthi, Kerkyra-Aris Thessaloniki, Panetolikos Agrinio-Panathinaikos Athens, PAOK Thessaloniki-Levadiakos Livadia and Olympiacos Piraeus-Atromitos Athens will be played on Wednesday January 4.

    Weather forecast

    [31] Fair on Wednesday

    Fair weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-5 beaufort. Temperatures will range between -4C and 15C. Fair in Athens, with southerly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 3C to 14C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from -2C to 9C.

    [32] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The government's new package of measures ahead of the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) troika's arrival on January 16, the resignation of Finance Ministry secretary general for tax and customs matters Yannis Kapeleris after being charged with breach of duty, mostly dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "2012: The Age of Oil for Greece".

    AVGHI: "Flurry of extortion".

    AVRIANI: "President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias out of control".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Government sends Finance Ministry's secretary general Yannis Kapeleris to the pyre in order to save Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos".

    ESTIA: "Government reshuffle desired".

    ETHNOS: "Explosive prosecution ...for the hunter of tax evasion".

    IMERISSIA: "Everything will be determined in 90 days - Country's future hanging on a thread".

    KATHIMERINI: "Crucial month for Greece".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Government preparing packages of painful measures".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Resist the blackmail of the co-governance of the EU's big capital".

    TA NEA: "Prosecutors vs Kapeleris".

    VRADYNI: "All you need to know about structures lacking building permits".

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