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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-02-09

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

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

Thursday, 9 February 2012 Issue No: 3993

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM's meets with party leaders on new bailout programme
  • [02] Papandreou chairs PASOK meeting on new bailout programme
  • [03] ND studies text of measures ahead of PM's meeting with supporting party leaders
  • [04] LAOS receives translated final draft of troika bailout programme
  • [05] Samaras 'no' to Merkel, Sarkozy proposal for special Greek debt repayment account
  • [06] Papoutsis: Europe's 'hypocricy, doublespeak' on illegal migration must stop
  • [07] UN envoy Matthew Nimetz to visit Greece and FYROM
  • [08] Defence minister briefs Dem. Alliance party on defence issues
  • [09] Minister announces plan to close down state vehicle testing centres
  • [10] Parliament to consider civil suit against minister for failing to clean up crime in Athens
  • [11] Injunction placed on pricey home of former minister Tsohatzopoulos
  • [12] Hellenic Foundation for Culture board members resign
  • [13] Nikos Papandreou tenders resignation as ISTAME board VP
  • [14] Poverty rate in Greece at 27.7 pct, Eurostat
  • [15] Greek consumer confidence plunged in Q4
  • [16] 50% of petrol stations in danger of closing, federation warns
  • [17] Public Power Corp. trade unionists hold sit-in protest in environment ministry building
  • [18] Minister criticises sit-in protest at ministry building
  • [19] KEP employees on strike until Thursday
  • [20] Business Briefs
  • [21] Greek stocks end up on heavy turnover
  • [22] Greek bond market closing report
  • [23] ADEX closing report
  • [24] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday
  • [25] Foreign ministry calls for protection of Greek, Christian monuments in Turkey
  • [26] Evros remains on high flood alert, embankments shored up
  • [27] Works by British artists to be displayed at Benaki Museum
  • [28] Distressed freighter anchors safely in Skyros island bay- Crew safe
  • [29] Global Summit of Women 2012 in Athens
  • [30] Female entrepreneur arrested for debts to the state
  • [31] Snow on Thursday
  • [32] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM's meets with party leaders on new bailout programme

    A meeting between Prime Minister Lucas Papademos and the leaders of the three political parties supporting his interim government, PASOK President George Papandreou, New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras and Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party leader George Karatzaferis, which began in Athens on Wednesday at around 5:00 p.m. local time, was still in progress after midnight.

    The repeatedly postponed meeting, which was originally scheduled to take place on Sunday, was focusing on the final draft of the new bailout programme proposed by the EU-IMF troika, which was sent to each of the parties earlier the same day.

    [02] Papandreou chairs PASOK meeting on new bailout programme

    PASOK president George Papandreou on Wednesday chaired a meeting of PASOK ministers serving in the present government at his offices in Parliament. The meeting was held to discuss the final draft of the new bailout programme sent to the parties to look at before the upcoming meeting between the leaders of the three parties supporting the government and Prime Minister Lucas Papademos.

    Papandreou's aides noted that since the final draft from the EU-IMF troika arrived on Wednesday morning, PASOK's members and MPs had been discussing the technical details of the programme.

    Participating in the meeting are government vice-president and finance minister Evangelos Venizelos, Labour Minister George Koutroumanis, PASOK party spokesman Panos Beglitis, Parliamentary group secretary Vassilis Exarhos, the Parlia-mentary spokesmen and the head of Papandreou's political office Nikos Athanassakis.

    [03] ND studies text of measures ahead of PM's meeting with supporting party leaders

    New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras and the party's economic staff were on Wednesday studying the text of the measures that will accompany the PSI agreement and a second EU/IMF bailout loan for Greece, ahead of a meeting between prime minister Lucas Papademos with the leaders of the three political parties backing his interim government in the afternoon, tentatively scheduled for 5:00 p.m.

    The 50-page text, which is in English, contains all the measures concerning the Greek economy on the implementation of which the party leaders will need to commit.

    According to sources, the agreement, reached with the troika late Tuesday, contains a 22 percent reduction of the minimum wage, which has been a thorn in the tough negotiations with the troika.

    [04] LAOS receives translated final draft of troika bailout programme

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party leader George Karatzaferis will make his way to the meeting between Prime Minister Lucas Papademos and the heads of the three parties supporting his interim government immediately after studying the translated version of the final draft of the new bailout programme prepared by the EU-IMF troika, one of his aides told AMNA on Wednesday.

    The aide explained that the official translation of the document by the foreign and finance ministries' translation services had arrived only at LAOS offices a very short while earlier.

    [05] Samaras 'no' to Merkel, Sarkozy proposal for special Greek debt repayment account

    New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras appears to rule out German Chancellor Angela Merkel's and French President Nicolas Sarkozy's proposal for a special account in which aid for Greek debt payments will be sequestered and from which the interest on the loans will be paid to its creditors.

    The ND president, replying to a relevant question by Dow Jones' agency, said "I have a problem with that" and called it an 'indirect German supervision in Greece'.

    Samaras is currently in a meeting with his close associates and ND's economic staff and are examining the troika's (EC, ECB, IMF) text before it is returned to the prime minister's office ahead PM Lucas Papademos' meeting with the leaders of the three political parties -- Samaras, George Papandreou (PASOK) and George Karatzaferis (LAOS) -- backing his interim government that will be held later on Wednesday.

    [06] Papoutsis: Europe's 'hypocricy, doublespeak' on illegal migration must stop

    Greek Citizen Protection Christos Papoutsis on Tuesday lambasted what he called Europe's "hypocricy and doublespeak" vis-a-vis the spectre of illegal immigration, hours after a spokesman in Brussels said the relevant EU Commissioner considers a fence along a tract of the Greek-Turkish border as "pointless".

    Papoutsis, himself a former EU Commissioner, inaugurated a project to build a high-tech 12.5-kilometre fence along a tract of land in northeast Evros prefecture that has emerged as the favourte "route" for illegal migrants trying to enter Greece from Turkish territory. Officially, the project has been budgeted at 3.16 million euros.

    "At some point, Europe's hypocrisy and doublespeak on illegal migration management has to stop. On the one hand, Europe denies a revision of Dublin II; puts suffocating pressure and threatens Greece with sanctions about the guarding of external borders. On the other hand, when measures are taken and works make progress, Europe keeps its distance and starts scoffing," an angry response by the minister read.

    "The European Commission had better remain within the framework of its own competences and respect the European Union's law and order ... The Regulation of the External Borders Fund undoubtedly permits the financing of the fence construction at the land borders between Greece and Turkey in the Evros region, in order to stop migration flows into Greece and Europe," a press release stated, adding:

    "The European Commission has never denied this legal basis of Greece's request. It kept, though, harbouring reservations, and has actually delayed the approval of financing for the overall Greek border management programme for the year 2012. As a result, the Greek programme, which included funding for the new asylum services and the first reception and detention centres for illegal immigrants was only approved on Nov. 25, 2011.

    Papoutsis also emphasised that varaious bureaucratic barriers were overcome to finally begin construction this week for the fence, as well as to inaugurate operation of a border surveillance operational centre with thermal cameras in Evros, which was financed by the EU's External Borders Fund.

    "The European Commission ought to show greater respect for the Greek government's efforts and refrain from politically assessing its choices and supporting views imbued with dogmatism and obsessions, while ignoring the serious problems that the Greek people face. Community solidarity is a commitment for all, resulting from the European Union Treaty in force. It also defines, though, the framework of political behavior and public function of the representatives of the Union's institutions," Papoutsis underlined.

    Hours earlier, Michele Cercone, a spokesman for EU Home Affairs commissioner Cecilia Malstroem, said "Commission did receive a request (from Athens) to co-finance the building of the fence ... Commissioner Malstroem has been very clear and the Commission has decided not to follow up on the request because it considers it pointless."

    [07] UN envoy Matthew Nimetz to visit Greece and FYROM

    NEW YORK (AMNA/P. Panagiotou)

    The UN secretary general's personal envoy on the issue of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM) Matthew Nimetz will be visiting Greece and FYROM, in the framework of his efforts for the finding of a solution to the name issue.

    According to an announcement by the UN, Nimetz will be having meetings with government officials of the two countries, on Monday February 20 in Skopje and on Wednesday 22 in Athens.

    [08] Defence minister briefs Dem. Alliance party on defence issues

    National Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on Wednesday received Democratic Alliance party leader Dora Bakoyannis and briefed her on issues concerning the country's defence system, the financial situation of armed forces staff and foreign policy, with emphasis on the rising tensions in the Aegean.

    In statements afterwards, Avramopoulos repeated that the policy followed by the defence ministry had ensured the readiness of the armed forces over an extended period of time, with equipment that was state-of-the-art on a global level.

    According to Bakoyannis, the minister informed her that there were no plans to change the special salary scale for the armed forces while strongly criticising the government's ministers for their failure to protect pensions.

    [09] Minister announces plan to close down state vehicle testing centres

    Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Makis Voridis, a member of the interim government from the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party, on Wednesday told reporters that he intends to shut down all state centres for testing vehicle road worthiness (KTEO) in the near future, turning the entire market over to the private sector.

    Asked whether he would have time to carry out the measure given that elections are due to be held in two months time, Voridis appeared confident that it was possible. He did not explain what would be done with the staff currently employed in such centres.

    Greece currently has 59 state-run KTEO and 130 privately-run KTEO that are preferred by many consumers in spite of their higher fees because they process cars more quickly and by appointment. Based on estimates, the annual turnover of private KTEO is around 40 million euro.

    The number of cars that have not passed the KTEO roadworthiness test continues to be a major problem, however, since an estimated one third of cars on the road or roughly 2.5 million has not been tested. This trend in tending to increase as the economic crisis deepens, leading to revenue losses of tens of millions for the public sector.

    Since private KTEO were introduced in late 2001, public-sector KTEO have been required to update their equipment and facilities in order to receive ISO certificates but so far nearly all of them have failed to make improvements allowing them to qualify.

    [10] Parliament to consider civil suit against minister for failing to clean up crime in Athens

    Supreme Court Deputy Prosecutor Athanassios Katsirodis on Wednesday forwarded to Parliament complaints and civil suits filed against Citizen Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis by private citizens and organisations based in Athens, accusing him and the police of failing to take the measures necessary to fight crime in the city centre.

    According to those suing the minister, Papoutsis and the senior police officers responsible did not take measures to prevent the centre of Athens from becoming run down and to reduce levels of crime.

    The prosecutor immediately forward the case to Parliament, in accordance with current laws on ministerial responsibility, without first making any assessment of the merits of the case against the minister.

    The suit against the leadership of the police, by contrast, has stayed at the Athens First-instance Court for further investigation.

    [11] Injunction placed on pricey home of former minister Tsohatzopoulos

    An appeals court judge on Wednesday issued an injunction on a pricey two-storey home owned by former minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, following testimony in a case against the latter alleging inaccurate declaration of sources of income.

    The property in question is located on Dionysiou Aeropagitou street, a pedestrian way directly across from the Acropolis in central Athens.

    Restrictions were also imposed on Tsohatzopoulos, namely, a prohibition of leaving the country and a bond of 150,000 euros.

    The former high-ranking PASOK party minister was summoned to testify after the declaration of sources of income he submitted in 2010, for the 2009 fiscal year, was considered "insincere". The decision came after a probe into Tsohatzopoulos' finances following the lifting of bank, tax and stock exchange confidentiality clauses.

    According to a report forwarded to relevant judicial officials, Tsohatzopoulos has a total income of slightly more than 250,000 euros of which 150,000 concern bank borrowing.

    As regards the property, Tsohatzopoulos claimed the residence was declared in the sources of income documents for 2011, since it was acquired in 2010 and that he has placed at Parliament's disposal all the figures which, as he said, justify his assets.

    [12] Hellenic Foundation for Culture board members resign

    Culture and tourism minister Pavlos Geroulanos on Wednesday accepted the resignation of the board members of the Hellenic Foundation for Culture (HFC).

    In a statement issued by the minister it is stressed that "this is a time of responsibility for everybody."

    The resignations were accepted after the HFC board members said they were unable to guarantee the foundation's operation with a budget of 1.8 million euros for the current year.

    The HFC's aim is the international promotion of Hellenic culture and language.

    [13] Nikos Papandreou tenders resignation as ISTAME board VP

    Nikos Papandreou, the brother of PASOK leader and former prime minister George Papandreou, on Wednesday submitted his resignation from the post of vice-president of the board of directors of the Andreas Papandreou Institute of Strategic and Development Studies (ISTAME).

    In a brief letter of resignation, Nikos Papandreou said that at the present time, in which PASOK has commenced procedures for the election of a new party president, the position he holds in ISTAME should remain vacant and at the disposal of the new bodies, sources told AMNA.

    Financial News

    [14] Poverty rate in Greece at 27.7 pct, Eurostat

    BRUSSELS (AMNA - M. Aroni)

    A 27.7 pct of Greek citizens were on the brink of poverty and social exclusion, a report by Eurostat showed on Wednesday. The report, published here by the European Union's statistics agency, showed that Greece ranks seventh, in poverty levels, among the EU-27 member states.

    Romania and Bulgaria (41 pct each), Latvia (38 pct), Lithuania (33 pct), Hungary (30 pct), Poland (27.8 pct) and Greece (27.7 pct) recorded the highest poverty rates in the EU-27. More analytically, in Greece, the percentage of children up to 17 years old living in poverty was 28.7 pct, in the 18-64 age group the poverty rate was 27.7 pct and in the 65-plus age group the poverty rate was 26.7 pct. In the EU-27, these rates were 27 pct, 23.3 pct and 19.8 pct, respectively.

    [15] Greek consumer confidence plunged in Q4

    Consumer confidence in the Greek plunged in the fourth quarter of 2011, a survey by Nielsen showed on Wednesday. The survey said that Greek citizens see a prolonged recession in the country, with one in three saying he was running short of money after covering basic consumer needs. The consumer confidence index fell by 10 points to 41 in the October-December period last year, to new record lows, while the global index rose to 89 points. In Europe, the index fell in 24 out of the 27 countries in the EU.

    Ninety percent of Greek consumers believe that the country remains in recession, while a vast majority expects the crisis to continue in coming months. The state of the economy is the biggest concern in Europe, while Greeks are the most concerned among European consumers over the economy (42 pct) and their jobs (44 pct). A 93 pct of Greeks said they were forced to change their consumer habits because of the crisis, with 76 pct saying they have cut expenses for outdoor entertainment, 70 pct for new clothes, 67 pct for dining out and 60 pct for travelling.

    A 68 pct of Greeks said they switched to cheaper consumer products they can afford.

    [16] 50% of petrol stations in danger of closing, federation warns

    Almost half of the petrol stations operating in the country are in danger of closing down unless the government decides to forego all penalties imposed for formal and bureaucratic infringements in trading of heating oil, the Panhellenic Federation of Petrol Station Owners said on Wednesday.

    The representatives of petrol station owners stressed that fuel sales were down 30-40 pct in the past year, while sales of heating oil were down 50 pct over the same period. They attributed this trend to high fuel prices because of extra taxes - the highest in Europe - and lack of transparency in wholesale pricing policy. The Federation said that fines imposed against some 3,500 petrol stations ranged from hundreds of thousands of euros to more than a million euros and noted that these fines were imposed for infringements that had nothing to do with smuggling or illegal trading of fuel.

    [17] Public Power Corp. trade unionists hold sit-in protest in environment ministry building

    Employees and trade unionists of the Public Power Corporation S.A. (PPC S.A.) on Wednesday occupied the environment, energy & climate change ministry building in Athens demanding the immediate withdrawal of a legislative act that "clears the way for the privatization of PPC's Independent Power Transmission Operation (ADMIE)".

    The protesters stressed that they are determined to continue the sit-in until the legislative act in question is withdrawn.

    Tens of PPC employees remain outside the ministry building which is surrounded by a strong police force.

    ADMIE is the Transmission System Operator for the Hellenic Electricity Transmission System and performs the duties of system operation maintenance and development to ensure Greece's electricity supply in a safe, efficient and reliable manner. A subsidiary of PPC S.A., ADMIE is entirely independent from its parent company.

    [18] Minister criticises sit-in protest at ministry building

    Environment, Energy & Climate Change Minister George Papaconstantinou on Wednesday called on the Public Power Corp. S.A. (PPC) trade unionists to "assume their share of responsibility in this crucial moment for the country," in response to the sit-in protest at the ministry building,

    PPC employees and trade unionists proceeded with the sit-in earlier in the day, demanding the immediate withdrawal of a legislative act they claim clears the way for the privatisation of PPC's independent power transmission operation (ADMIE).

    The move has already won approval of the Cabinet, and has been published in the official Government Gazette. It awaits Parliament ratification.

    [19] KEP employees on strike until Thursday

    Employees at Citizen Service Centers (KEP) nationwide are on a strike scheduled to last until 07:00 a.m. on Thursday. They demand that their previous years of service be recognized and taken into account in wage scales.

    The federation of KEP employees called on the ministry of administrative reform to safeguard the institution's prestige.

    KEP centers operate throughout Greece to assist the public in their transactions with state services.

    [20] Business Briefs

    -- Greece's pharmaceutical market is shrinking as a result of a deep economic recession in the country and lower pharmaceutical prices, after a long period of advance, a report by ICAP Group showed on Wednesday.

    -- Greece's competition watchdog on Wednesday announced the imposition of a fine worth 16,177,514 euros against Tasty Foods, a snack producer and distributor, for abusing its dominant role in the domestic market. The Competition Commission said Tasty Foods adopted multiple practices and methods in the framework of a single and long-term strategy of excluding competitors in the market.

    -- The non-metal minerals industry, servicing the building and construction activity in the country, suffered the biggest percentage decline in production and turnover among all significant sectors of the Greek manufacturing industry in 2011, a report showed on Wednesday.

    [21] Greek stocks end up on heavy turnover

    Greek stocks continued moving higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, overcoming nervousness in the market in anticipation of an agreement by Greek political leaders over a new lending program for the country. The composite index rose 0.86 pct to end at 809.12 points, off the day's highs of 830.97. Turnover was a strong 111.756 million euros.

    The Big Cap index rose 0.21 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 2.32 pct higher and the Small Cap index rose 1.76 pct. The Media (8.74 pct), Utilities (6.02 pct), Technology (4.32 pct) and Raw Materials (3.64 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Banks (1.42 pct) and Financial Services (0.91 pct) suffered losses.

    PPC (7.07 pct), Viohalco (5.65 pct), Titan (4.60 pct) and Eurobank (4.54 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Piraeus Bank (7.55 pct), Alpha Bank (4.07 pct) and Cyprus Bank (2.20 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 112 to 58 with another 25 issues unchanged. Pasal (21.74 pct), Korinth Pipeworks (21.35 pct) and HOL (19.80 pct) were top gainers, while Ilyda (30 pct), Koumbas (19.38 pct) and Mathios (16.67 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: +3.09%

    Commercial: +2.93%

    Construction: +4.10%

    Oil & Gas: +1.92%

    Personal & Household: +0.75%

    Raw Materials: +3.64%

    Media: +8.74%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.08%

    Technology: +4.32%

    Telecoms: +1.08%

    Banks: -1.42%

    Food & Beverages: +0.07%

    Health: +0.06%

    Utilities: +6.02%

    Chemicals: +2.18%

    Financial Services: -0.91%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 1.65

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 3.94

    HBC Coca Cola: 14.93

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.80

    National Bank of Greece: 2.97

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.99

    OPAP: 7.08

    OTE: 2.80

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.60

    Titan: 14.10

    [22] Greek bond market closing report

    Bond yields remained stable in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Wednesday. There was no turnover in the market. In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate fell to 1.7 pct, the six-month rate eased to 1.37 pct, the three-month rate fell to 1.07 pct and the one-month rate eased to 0.65 pct.

    [23] ADEX closing report

    The March contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 0.54 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover at 39.533 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 14,110 contracts worth 24.575 million euros, with 26,652 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 66,208 contracts, worth 14.978 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (27,222), followed by Cyprus bank (3,913), MIG (792), OTE (1,133), PPC (1,798), OPAP (827), Piraeus Bank (5,978), Alpha Bank (19,518), Marfin Popular Bank (688), Hellenic Postbank (1,149) and GEK (850).

    [24] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.347

    Pound sterling 0.847

    Danish kroner 7.544

    Swedish kroner 8.960

    Japanese yen 103.64

    Swiss franc 1.229

    Norwegian kroner 7.743

    Canadian dollar 1.339

    Australian dollar 1.243

    General News

    [25] Foreign ministry calls for protection of Greek, Christian monuments in Turkey

    The foreign ministry issued a statement on Wednesday in response to relevant information that came to light expressing regret because "Greek and Christian monuments in Turkey are inadequately protected".

    The statement referred to instances of systematic looting by treasure hunters targeting a Byzantine era cemetery in Catalca district, near Istanbul, attributed to the inadequate protection of the monument despite the fact that it has been characterized as protected archaeological site.

    The foreign ministry also underlined that the conversion into a mosque of the historical Agia Sophia Cathedral in Nicea, which until recently operated as a museum, has caused concern because the monument in question is closely linked with pivotal moments for Christianity namely, the First and Seventh Ecumenical Councils.

    Cultural monuments "regardless of national or religious identity should be protected and respected", the foreign ministry statement underlined and concluded that "the Turkish authorities should make the necessary moves for the protection and promotion of the numerous Greek and Christian monuments in the country."

    [26] Evros remains on high flood alert, embankments shored up

    Huge volumes of water continued to flow into the Evros River on the Greek side from Bulgaria, estimated at 1,394 cubic metres per second, for the third consecutive day on Wednesday, increasing the threat of flooding in the central and southern parts of the border prefecture.

    Local municipal technical services were racing against time to shore up embankments and dig trenches to provide alternative diversions of the river's rising waters, including the controlled flooding of some 8,000 stremma (2,000 acres) of farmland in the riverside village of Pythio.

    An embankment in Praggi, near Didymoteicho, flooded over in the early hours of Wednesday and the water level of the Pythio River, a tributary of the Evros River, climbed to 6.20 meters, while the danger level was at 5.70 meters. The water level at another tributary, the Arda, also climbed to 5.30 meters, just above the danger level of 5.20 meters.

    Local fire brigade, EMAK emergency services, army and police contingents were on alert in Evros prefecture, which was put in a state of emergency late Monday night, ready to evacuate riverside villages if necessary.

    Operations were hampered by extreme weather conditions, including snow storms and freezing temperatures over the last 24 hours, which kept schools closed Wednesday in Soufli, Didymoteicho and Orestiada.

    Homes in the town of Ormenios, next to the Greek-Bulgarian border, were evacuated in the first hours of Tuesday for precautionary reasons after overflowing water from the Evros reached the town square. A total of 15 people were evacuated and put up by relatives or in hotels in the area.

    Authorities are also on alert to evacuate the nearby villages of Dikaio and Nea Vyssa, as well as homes in Marasia, old Sagini, Pythio and Praggio for precautionary reasons.

    [27] Works by British artists to be displayed at Benaki Museum

    The British Council's collection, part of which will be displayed at the Benaki Museum in Pireos street as of February 14, numbers over 8,500 works by British artists.

    It constitutes internationally one of the fullest collections of modern British art, in which 1,650 British artists from the '80s to our days are represented.

    The exhibition is being organised by the British Council and the Benaki Museum and includes about 150 works by a large spectrum of artists.

    [28] Distressed freighter anchors safely in Skyros island bay- Crew safe

    The Greek-flagged freighter "Alexandros", which late Tuesday issued an SOS as it was sailing 14 nautical miles northeast of the island of Skyros, central Aegean, safely anchored on Wednesday morning in Kalamitsa Bay in Skyros.

    The nine-member crew, seven Greeks and two foreign nationals, are all safe and well.

    The freighter, which was carrying a cargo of salt from Mytilene to Volos, ran into trouble at around 10:00 on Tuesday night due to gale-force winds of up to 10 Beaufort velocity.

    A rescue operation was immediately launched and a frigate, four ships sailing in the area and two 'Super Puma' helicopters rushed to the vessel's assistance, leading it to safe harbour via an alternate route.

    [29] Global Summit of Women 2012 in Athens

    More than 1,000 women leaders in business, government and civil society will be meeting in Athens on May 31-June 2nd in the framework of the 22nd Global Summit of Women 2012.

    The "Global Summit of Women, Athens 2012" aims at creating a network for the women of the global business community, strengthening their momentum, the exchanging of good practices, the creation of commercial and business joint ventures and promoting women's entrepreneurship to make them an equal partner of the economic growth and prosperity of countries.

    The summit will be attended by personalities of international prestige, functioning as examples of women at the top of important businesses that are dominant on the global business map. It is estimated that over 1,000 businesswomen from all over the world will participate in the summit.

    [30] Female entrepreneur arrested for debts to the state

    A 41-year-old woman, owner of a company active in the coffee and bottled water market, was arrested in Megara, greater Athens region, on Wednesday for overdue debts to the state amounting to 206,801.16 euros.

    She will appear before a First Instance Court prosecutor in Athens later in the day.

    Homeless and handicapped person found dead outside Patra University Hospital

    The elderly man found dead outside the University Hospital in the city of Patra on Wednesday, was handicapped homeless.

    According to initial indications, his death was due to the cold, however the precise causes of death will be ascertained with the medical examiner's report.

    Weather forecast

    [31] Snow on Thursday

    Snowy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday, with wind velocity reaching 3-9 beaufort. Temperatures will range between -8C and 12C. Cloudy with light snowfall or sleet in Athens, with northerly 5-8 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 2C to 5C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from -3C to 2C.

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

    Government's negotiations with the troika (European Commission, European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund) on additional harsh measures and Prime Minister Lucas Papademos' imminent joint meeting with the party leaders supporting his interim government, dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Public sector puts its employees up 'for lease'.

    AVGHI: "Nothing will pass".

    AVRIANI: "Immediate elections the only solution".

    DIMOKRATIA: "Today Greece will be hung on the cross".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Carnage in DEKO (public utilities and organisations) - Layoffs and cutbacks in salaries".

    ESTIA: "The repercussions of former prime minister George Papandreou's proposal for a referendum".

    ETHNOS: "End to tenure - Layoffs in Public Utilities and Organisations (DEKO)".

    IMERISSIA: "Painful agreement - What the new Memorandum will change in our lives".

    KATHIMERINI: "Poised between agreement and collapse".

    LOGOS: "The main pensions also on the negotiations table".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "They agreed on the haircut, the new measures to be sealed today".

    NIKI: "Greece drowning".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Sweep away the government and the troika that are devastating the salaries and pensions".

    TA NEA: "Nightly war for salaries and pensions".

    VRADYNI: "The night of the huge knives for our salaries and pensions".

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