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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-02-28

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

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

Tuesday, 28 February 2012 Issue No: 4008

CONTENTS

  • [01] Gov't spokesman to German newspaper: Agreement will bring stability and confidence
  • [02] Hardouvelis: Greece will take deep breath to forge ahead after completion of PSI
  • [03] Cabinet to convene on Tuesday
  • [04] Barosso- Papademos meeting on Wed.
  • [05] Samaras rules out ND-PASOK co-governance
  • [06] Minister resigns in order to run for PASOK presidency
  • [07] FM Dimas on situation in Syria; Belgrade-Pristina dialogue
  • [08] Unknown terror group assumes responsibility for neutralised bomb in metro
  • [09] Explosive mechanism found in train at Egaleo Metro station on Saturday was activated, police say
  • [10] ELPE denies report that Iran refused supply of oil to Greece
  • [11] Shrove Monday ushers in Lent
  • [12] Two arrestes, 122 kilos cannabis confiscated
  • [13] Cocaine bust, five arrests
  • [14] Body of foreign national found at spot where fishing boat capsized
  • [15] Human traffickers, illegals arrested at Igoumenitsa port
  • [16] Foreign national wanted on interntional warrant arrested in Florina
  • [17] Man attempts to burn woman alive inside car
  • [18] Major heroin bust, two foreign nationals arrested
  • [19] Train car derails, interrupts rail traffic
  • [20] Rainy on Tuesday
  • [21] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance Politics

  • [01] Gov't spokesman to German newspaper: Agreement will bring stability and confidence

    The agreement on Greece will bring stability and confidence, and soon the country's economy will grow once again, Greek minister of state and government spokesman Pantelis Kapsis said, in a statement to the German newspaper "Welt am Sonntag" appearing on Sunday in a dispatch from Athens.

    According to the newspaper, Kapsis anticipates that the Greeks will return to the banks the billions of euros they had withdrawn due to lack of confidence, and predicts that as early as next year Greece will repay its first debts after the recession is halted.

    As for how the Greek economy will return to a developmental orbit, Kapsis noted the "Helios" programme, the development of solar energy designed jointly with the Germans, and cited a study by IOBE economist Yiannis Stournaras estimating that the Greek economy, through the opening of the closed professions and reduction of bureaucracy, will be able to increase by more than one-tenth.

    The article also added statements by alternate defence minister Yianns Ragoussis that for the last two-and-a-half years everyone in Greece have been living with the fear of a coming default, and that is why no one is buying or investing, the people are withdrawing their deposits. Ragoussis also expressed fear that even the haircut of the Greek debt and the second loan package were not sufficient to change all that.

    "If we don't confront the fear, Greece will continue to sink (deeper) into recession and all the official forecasts, just as those before them, will be belied," Ragoussis said.

    [02] Hardouvelis: Greece will take deep breath to forge ahead after completion of PSI

    As soon as the public sector involvement (PSI) in the haircut of the Greek debt is completed in 10 days' time, Greece will take a deep breath to forge ahead, prime minister Lucas Papademos' economic aide Gikas Hardouvelis said in a newspaper interview appearing on Sunday.

    Also, the risk of default or the country's exit from the euro area is averted and the confidence of the investors, consumers and deposit holders will be restored said Hardouvelis, director of the prime minister's economic office, Professor in the Department of Banking and Financial Management at the University of Piraeus and former Eurobank Group chief economist, in an interview appearing on Sunday in To Vima newspaper.

    Reiterating that the country's salvation is the prime minister's "red line", Hardouvelis said that "we want to rebuild the country, and not to allow it to be looted by the cunning".

    "An exit from the eurozone would be a defeat of strategic significance," he warned, adding that if the economic programme for Greece is fulfilled, the situation will stabilise in 2013 and will be followed by growth.

    He said that, in the direction of growth, the government is working out a new programme to reduce unemployment through boosting entrepreneurship with resources from the European Social Fund and in close cooperation with the European Investment Bank (EIB).

    [03] Cabinet to convene on Tuesday

    A Cabinet meeting chaired by PM Lucas Papademos will convene on Tuesday at noon, with Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos expected to brief Cabinet members.

    The Cabinet will focus on issues referring to the implementation of the recently approved economic and bailout programme, and specifically, to finalise the date (March 1) when the latest round of cutbacks in salaries and pensions takes place.

    [04] Barosso- Papademos meeting on Wed.

    European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso will meet with Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos on Wednesday in Brussels, it was announced on Monday by a Commission spokeswoman.

    According to the same report, the two leaders spoke by the phone on Sunday, as the upcoming meeting will reportedly focus on implementation of measures foreseen in the second bailout programme, as well as the more rapid absorption of EU funds and boosting growth in the country.

    European Commissioner for Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn, Employment Commissioner Laszlo Andor, Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn and Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski are also expected to attend the meeting.

    A short press conference will take place afterward.

    [05] Samaras rules out ND-PASOK co-governance

    New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras on Sunday rejected any prospect of co-governance with PASOK, in reply to a press question.

    He said PASOK has already lost and has nothing more to lose. "It wants to make it seem as if we are together, in order to harm us as well. They are seeking co-culprits," he added.

    As for why his party voted in favour of the new Memorandum, Samaras explained that it won Greece time and a breather, "time because payments will be made only on the interest, and a breather from the haircut of the debt and because the interest rates will be reduced", whereas the first Memorandum gained neither time nor a haircut of the debt, raised the interest rates and above all, finally killed the economy.

    Nor was Greece at risk of finding itself outside the euro the, whereas now it has reached the last minute, he added.

    Samaras further noted that ND's programme places priority on growth, for an exit from the crisis, noting that "I was asking for development then, and today I again speak of a programme with priority on growth". He said that, then, ND was alone in that demand, but now, both inside and outside Greece, increasingly more sides were agreeing with ND.

    "We look ahead, and have a different code of values and a different programme: Our banner is growth in order to get out of the situation they brought us to," Samaras said, adding that this was his party's invitation to all, for unity and a national effort, in order for Greece to stand on its own feet again.

    [06] Minister resigns in order to run for PASOK presidency

    Citizens Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis on Monday tendered his resignation to Prime Minister Lucas Papademos.

    Papoutsis resigned from his post in order to be candidate for leadership of the PASOK party, according to a ministry announcement.

    [07] FM Dimas on situation in Syria; Belgrade-Pristina dialogue

    BRUSSELS (AMNA)

    Developments in strife-torn Syria in the wake of a "Friends of the Syrian People" meeting in Tunis, the political situation in Egypt, as well as recent progress in Belgrade-Pristina talks, continued conflicts in the south Caucasus and prospects for direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians were the main subjects discussed at Monday's EU General Affairs Council, where Greece was represented by FM Stavros Dimas.

    In reference to Syria, Dimas emphasised the need for an immediate ceasefire and protection of non-combatants, along with commencing a process to stabilise the country.

    He also said Athens supports efforts by the Arab League and considers cooperation by all international forces necessary to deal with the crisis, expressing a hope that the UN Security Council will continue relevant initiatives to achieve consensus towards managing the crisis. Dimas said Greece is ready to continue to participate in diplomatic initiatives towards defusing the crisis.

    Furthermore, Dimas praised the recent agreement between Belgrade and Pristina, noting the need to strengthen the European prospects of the entire region.

    The Greek FM said that Athens accepts Kosovo's membership in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), while clarifying that the Greek government's stance vis-a-vis Kosovo's declaration of independence remains unchanged.

    On the sidelines of the meeting, Dimas met with his Estonian counterpart Urmas Paet, as the two sides signed a MoC boosted political and institutional ties on several levels.

    [08] Unknown terror group assumes responsibility for neutralised bomb in metro

    An unidentified caller on Monday phoned a private Athens TV station to claim responsibility for a makeshift explosive device found in a metro passenger car on Saturday.

    The device was found and neutralised by authorities at the Egaleo station.

    The caller claimed that the up-until-now unknown "Antartiko Poleon" (urban guerilla war) was behind the action.

    The explosive mechanism comprised a four-litre container of flammable liquid, eight batteries, wire, a clock, a resistor and a switch packaged in a gift box that had been left on a seat in the train car.

    The booby-trapped gift box was found by the conductor as the train was parked at the Egaleo station with no passengers on board.

    Athens has long been plagued by self-styled anarchist or anti-state urban terror cells, although this was the first time the Athens metro was targeted.

    [09] Explosive mechanism found in train at Egaleo Metro station on Saturday was activated, police say

    A home-made explosive device found in a Metro train car at the Egaleo station on Saturday was an activated time-bomb, police said on Sunday.

    Police, who were alerted of a suspicious object on Saturday, immediately shut down the station and evacuated commuters, while a team of bomb disposal experts arrived on the scene and neutralised the object with a controlled explosion.

    An inspection revealed that the object, found beneath a seat in the train, was indeed an explosive device.

    The mechanism was taken to the police crime lab for further examination, while an investigation has been launched.

    Police said later Saturday that the explosive mechanism comprised a 4-litre container of flammable liquid, eight batteries, wire, a clock, a resistor and a switch packaged in a gift box that had been left on a seat in the train car.

    The booby-trapped gift box was found by the train's driver as the train was parked at the Egaleo station with no passengers on board.

    It was not yet known whether the device was planted purposely to explode in the train, which was due to depart en route to Athens Airport, or was left behind for a different purpose, either to be picked up by someone else or by mistake.

    Police sources said on Monday that the device has caused concern in the counter-terrorism unit given that it was activated and that the time display had already completed the countdown to explosion but did not explode.

    Authorities are also troubled by the fact that no warning telephone call was made, but rather the device was found accidentally by the train driver, given that under different circumstances there could have been victims, the same sources said.

    Police are examining footage from the surveillance cameras of the Egaleo and other stations to pinpoint the person who transported the package and left it beneath a seat in the train.

    Crime lab investigators are unable to determine the precise time that the explosion was planned, but surmise that the target was the Metro station where the train was parked until it set off for the airport. They are also investigating the device for fingerprints, DNA traces and other material that could help identify the perpetrator(s).

    The sources said that the syndesmology has similarities with other explosive devices used in the past, but are unable as yet to link it with certainty to a specific organisation.

    Financial News

    [10] ELPE denies report that Iran refused supply of oil to Greece

    Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) on Sunday denied a report carried by the Iranian semi-official Fars News Agency (FNA) that Iran refused to supply crude oil to Greece and sent away a Greek tanker empty-handed, in retaliation to EU economic sanctions on Iran, including an embargo on Iranian oil imports.

    ELPE public relations and corporate affairs director Evangelos Stranis, in a statement to AMNA on Sunday, denied the report.

    The report wa also denied later Sunday by the managing director of the Iranial Oil Terminals Company, Pirouz Mousavi, in a statement to the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA).

    According to an FNA dispatch from Tehran earlier on Sunday, "Iran refrained from supplying the 500,000-barrel cargo to the Greek tanker, which was due to deliver it to Hellenic Petroleum refinery" and "turned it away empty-handed".

    The EU on January 23 approved an embargo on oil imports from Iran over the oil producer's disputed nuclear programme, taking effect immediately and canceling any new or proposed contracts between EU countries and Iran, although existing contracts may run until the end of June, but must be suspended as of July 1.

    According to Reuters news agency, Swiss-based Totsa, the trading arm of French oil major Total, and trading house Mercuria were in separate negotiations with ELPE to help it replace Iranian crude, after Iran stopped selling crude to British and French companies last week following a February 4 statement by Iran's oil minister that it would cut its oil exports to "some" European countries.

    Glencore, a leading a leading Swiss-based commodities trader, may also boost supplies, Reuters added, citing trading sources.

    General News

    [11] Shrove Monday ushers in Lent

    The beginning of Lent commenced in Greece on Monday, as the day is marked by the religious holiday of Shrove Monday or "Clean Monday", ahead of Orthodox Christian Easter on April 15 this year. Traditionally the advent of Lent in the east Mediterranean nation is accompanied by an extended family dinner of seafood, flattened bread ("Lagana"), olives, pickled produce and other non-dairy and non-meat items -- in keeping with the 40-day fast followed by the faithful ahead of Easter, known in the Greek Orthodox faith as the "Great Lent".

    Additionally, the Shrove Monday custom calls for the flying of kites by young and old throughout the country. In Athens, the best-known spot for kite-flying is on the Filopappou Hill, to the south of the Acropolis.

    Different customs and rituals, however, are celebrated in Greece and Cyprus, depending on the region.

    [12] Two arrestes, 122 kilos cannabis confiscated

    Two men, aged 43 and 30, were arrested by Igoumenitsa narcotics squad police in Neochori, Thesprotia prefecture on Sunday for transporting a large quantity of drugs from the Greek-Albanian border destined for Athens.

    Police spotted two passenger cars moving suspiciously and stopped them for inspection. In the first car, driven by the 43-year-old, they found 93 packets of cannabis weighing a total 122.462 kilos, while the second car driven by the 30-year-old was acting as a lookout.

    The cannabis, the two vehicles and two cell phones were confiscated.

    The detainees will appear before an Igoumenitsa prosecutor, while a preliminary investigation is being conducted by the Igoumenitsa police narcotics squad.

    [13] Cocaine bust, five arrests

    Five persons were arrested in downtown Thessaloniki and in the Halastra area on Sunday, and approximately five kilos of cocaine were confiscated, Thessaloniki narcotics squad police said.

    Police found and confiscated two packets containing a total of 498 grams of cocaine in a spot check in a car in which the five suspects were riding and subsequently at the home of one of the detainees.

    Police also found and seized a precision scale, 575 euros in cash presumed to derive from drug sales, and seven cell phones used for illegal transactions.

    The five will be taken before a Thessaloniki prosecutor.

    [14] Body of foreign national found at spot where fishing boat capsized

    The body of a 42-year-old foreign national who was on board a professional fishing boat when it capsized was recovered on Saturday from the sea off the coast of Mantoudi, Evia.

    The deceased and the ship's 78-year-old skipper had been reported as missing after they took the boat out for fishing, and a search and rescue operation had been mounted by the coast guard, including coastguard boats and a military Super Puma helicopter.

    The owner turned up on Saturday at the Mantoudi port authority and reported that the boat had capsized -- specifying the spot where the body was later found-- and that he had managed to swim to shore.

    The body was sent to the Athens Forensics lab for autopsy, while a preliminary investigation was underway by the Mantoudi port authority and divers were searching the area to locate the sunken boat.

    [15] Human traffickers, illegals arrested at Igoumenitsa port

    Two Afghan nationals, aged 46 and 29, both suspected members of a human trafficking ring, were arrested early Monday in the NW port city of Igoumenitsa.

    Moreover, 12 illegal migrants, all Afghans aged between 18 and 23, were arrested in the same incident.

    Police spotted the illegals in two cars at the port as the vehicles were readying to board an Italy-bound ferry boat.

    During the investigation it was revealed that the alleged traffickers were to receive 700 euros for each migrant ferried to Italy.

    The two cars as well as four mobile phones were confiscated.

    All of the suspects will be sent before a local prosecutor.

    [16] Foreign national wanted on interntional warrant arrested in Florina

    A 49-year-old foreign national wanted in Italy has been arrested in Krystallopigi, Florina prefecture, on an international warrant, police said on Saturday.

    The suspect was arrested on Thursday at the Krystallopigi border station on Greece's frontier with Albania during a passport check.

    An international arrest warrant was outstanding against him, issued by the Italian authorities, for complicity in rape and other crimes committed in 2000 in Italy.

    [17] Man attempts to burn woman alive inside car

    A 35-year-old local man in southern Messinia prefecture was charged with attempting to murder a 32-year-old Ukranian woman early Monday, after he set fire to his father car with the woman inside.

    The victim was saved by passersby and was transported to a local hospital suffering from serious burns.

    The suspect is being sought by police.

    [18] Major heroin bust, two foreign nationals arrested

    Police arrested two Albanian nationals and seized more than five kilos of heroin in the Patissia district of Athens on Friday night.

    Police said the two Albanians were supplying a large number of individuals daily with quantities of heroin in the wider Athens district.

    A total of 5.237 kilos of heroin, 2,300 euros in cash, three cell phones, a car and a motorcycle were seized by police.

    The suspects will be taken before a public prosecutor on Saturday.

    [19] Train car derails, interrupts rail traffic

    A train car, without passengers on board, derailed on the 203rd kilometre of the Athens-Thessaloniki rail line near the Asopos River station on Monday, interrupting rail traffic on the Athens-Thessaloniki line.

    According to reports, fallen boulders and debris on the tracks caused the derailment.

    Weather forecast

    [20] Rainy on Tuesday

    Rain, sleet and northerly winds are forecast for Tuesday. Wind velocity will reach 9 on the Beaufort scale. Sleet in the northern parts of the country with temperatures ranging from -3C-8C; the same in the southern parts, -3C-7C. Rain on the islands, 1C-9C. Clouds and rain in Athens, 2C-7C; the same in the Thessaloniki, -2C-6C.

    [21] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

    Pharmaceutical expenditure, the 'haircut' of corporate and household loans, the reductions in salaries and speculation of a PASOK-ND cooperation after the elections were the main front-page items in Athens' newspapers on Sunday.

    AVGHI: "Venizelos, Samaras, same party - Venizelos' right-hand man Loverdos sends message for co-governance, with Samaras as prime minister".

    AVRIANI: "The crisis Merkel rigged in Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy is sinking the German giants".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Locks on schools - End to hiring of substitute/alternate teachers".

    EPOCHI: ?Bottomless 'Salvation'."

    ETHNOS: "Secret report on 'haircut' of all loans".

    EXPRESS: "Plan for more flexible framework for VAT payment being mulled".

    KATHIMERINI: "The big Greek 'party' with the pharmaceutical expenditure".

    KERDOS: "The recipe for growth".

    LOGOS: "What to do with your money in 2012".

    PROTO THEMA: "Legislative arrangement for mortgage and consumer loans".

    REALNEWS: "You're still in danger of default - Explosive interview with Schauble advisor Clemens Fuest".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "The people, without fear, must sweep away government-troika-plutocracy".

    TO ARTHRO: "PASOK-ND pre-agreement for co-governance".

    TO PARON: "Thomsen (IMF mission chief in the troika) fixing new government".

    TO VIMA: "How the salaries of 4 million employees in the private sector will be reduced".

    VRADYNI: "Shield your deposits - How to secure your bonds".

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana.gr * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: ILIAS MATSIKAS


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