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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-03-13

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

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

Tuesday, 13 March 2012 Issue No: 4020

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece completes 177.252-bln-euro bond swap programme
  • [02] Greece's target return to growth, FinMin Venizelos says
  • [03] FinMin on CNBC: Greece has new starting point
  • [04] Rompuy on Greek econ crisis
  • [05] Government spokesman on Papademos government
  • [06] PASOK secretary holds meeting with German EU Foreign Relations director
  • [07] Tsipras: Election dilemma is Samaras-Venizelos co-governance or strong SYRIZA
  • [08] President optimistic on tourism
  • [09] March 25 parades to go ahead as planned
  • [10] Albanian PM Berisha holds meeting with alternate regional governor of Central Macedonia
  • [11] New education minister addresses letter to educators
  • [12] 9,502 employees leave civil service under reserve labour law
  • [13] Greek banks focusing on recapitalisation terms
  • [14] New Greek bonds began trading in secondary market on Mon.
  • [15] Eurobank opens new branch in London
  • [16] Exports up 3.2pct, Imports down 14.8pct in January 2012
  • [17] Seamen's union warns of strikes
  • [18] Bussiness Briefs
  • [19] Stocks end 2.45 pct lower
  • [20] Greek bond market closing report
  • [21] ADEX closing report
  • [22] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [23] Greek archaeologists launch global campaign to protect monuments
  • [24] DM Avramopoulos inaugurates Molecular Biology Centre
  • [25] Ecumenical Patriarch reveives members of Greek national athletics team
  • [26] Exchange of fire between police, suspects in Kallithea
  • [27] Court rejects extradition of Georgian man accused as criminal kingpin
  • [28] Court hands down guilty verdicts in ship-owner's abduction
  • [29] Baby trafficking ring uncovered in Kavala
  • [30] Distressed cargo ship
  • [31] Fire on board ship at Piraeus anchorage
  • [32] Immigrant dies after being run over by truck in Patra southern port
  • [33] Rainy on Tuesday
  • [34] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Greece completes 177.252-bln-euro bond swap programme

    Greece on Monday announced the completion of a state bond swap process, including Greek state bonds with a nominal value of 177.252 billion euros, in the framework of a PSI programme.

    A finance ministry announcement said the exchange covered bonds issued by banks, pension funds, public sector enterprises and individual investors, under the Greek law, while for Greek bonds issued under foreign law the deadline for the exchange ends in March 23.

    The ministry has said it will compensate individual bondholders for losses suffered in their bond portfolios as they were included in a PSI programme after the Greek government enacted a Collective Action Clauses legislation. These investors are estimated at around 11,000, of which 9,500 have a bond portfolio of around 100,000 euros each.

    [02] Greece's target return to growth, FinMin Venizelos says

    BRUSSELS (AMNA/M. Aroni/V. Demiris)

    Government Vice President and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, arriving at the Eurogroup Council on Monday, expressed his conviction that there shall be total participation in the PSI, while stressing in parallel that Greece's target is the programme's full implementation and the return to growth.

    "We are expecting the response of the markets to the extension of our offer to the remaining 4 percent of the holders of Greek bonds of foreign law. The market is well aware that the acceptance of our offer is a clever and productive solution. I am very optimistic that there shall be total participation in the PSI. On our part, the target now is the full implementation of the programme and the return of Greece to growth," the minister said.

    Also arriving at the meeting of the euro member-states in Brussels, Eurozone head Jean-Claude Juncker expressed certainty that Greece's new loan contract will be approved by Monday's Eurogroup.

    Juncker clarified that the programme's basic principles will be scheduled on Monday and that the final decision will be taken by the Eurogroup's task force on Wednesday.

    Also asked whether be believes that there is danger of the reforms in Greece being delayed due to the elections, the Eurogroup president replied that he does not believe that such a thing will happen.

    [03] FinMin on CNBC: Greece has new starting point

    Greece has a new starting point after the PSI, finance minister Evangelos Venizelos said in an interview with US television network CNBC.

    "The Greek society now, after a very long period of sacrifices, needs something, a good word, a positive indication," Venizelos said, adding that "now, after the private-sector involvement (PSI) in the debt restructuring and after the beginning of the implementation of the new program, we have a new starting point".

    "This is my proposal for our people: to regain our institutional position within the European family," Venizelos said.

    The Greek finance minister further said that the second bailout programme was the only way to restore the country to economic health. "The first instrument of growth and prosperity is the necessary liquidity for the real economy and only through the new recapitalization we can achieve (this)," he added.

    Venizelos also said that the 'credit event', or 'technical default', declared by the International Association of Swaps and Derivatives (ISDA) is not important for Greece, and countered claims that Greece will need a third bailout programme.

    "The credit event and triggering of the CDS (Credit Default Swap) is something internal. This is a kind of dealing room between banks and financial entities. It's not important for us as a real economy," he said, adding that he is confident that Greece can secure "universal participation" in the bond swap.

    "For the first time, we are in a position to present a success story for Greece," Venizelos said.

    [04] Rompuy on Greek econ crisis

    BRUSSELS (AMNA / M. Aroni)

    An interview of European Council President Herman Van Rompuy with French-speaking newspaper L'Echo focused on the economic crisis in Greece and on what could be the alternative to the austerity measures implemented in the country.

    Rompuy stressed that Belgium went through a difficult period in the early '80s, pointing out that in 1981 the state budget deficit was 15 pct. He said that for four years consumer power was cut 10-15 pct and this brought results. "The same will happen in Greece, the only difference is that it will take longer than anticipated," he stressed.

    Called to comment on Europe's share of responsibility in the Greek issue, he said that "undoubtedly, we could have reacted more quickly if our predecessors, now clamoring in the background, had provided us with the tools over the past decade."

    "The European Commission now has powers that would have been unimaginable three years ago. It can force the member-states to tidy up their finances. It intervenes in the heart of economic decision-making of member-states to such an extent that certain ones feel uncomfortable. They do not realize that this is what they have agreed upon," he stressed.

    In response to a question on whether the European Council president should be elected by a vote, as opposed to his appointment that was the outcome of negotiations between the member-states, he said that "this would not have changed anything". He added that it "is an illusion to think that a social problem can be solved by one human being."

    [05] Government spokesman on Papademos government

    Minister of State and government spokesman Pantelis Kapsis said on Monday "the experiment of (Prime Minister Lucas) Papademos's government has a positive mark and constitutes a legacy on whether or not it will be necessary for their to be joint governance in the future."

    Speaking to the Real fm radio station, Kapsis said "reality will guide us" while when asked whether Papademos would like to be present in public life after the completion of his task he said that he is not authorised to speak about the issue, nor is he aware of anything relevant.

    The government spokesman explained that the June measures will be implemented by the next government and will concern cutbacks in expenditures, pointing out that Greece must decrease the deficit further by 5.5 units, to be able to pass on to balanced balance sheets and to a surplus.

    [06] PASOK secretary holds meeting with German EU Foreign Relations director

    PASOK party National Council secretary Mihalis Karhimakis discussed on Monday developments in Greece and other issues of political and economic interest in a meeting with the EU's Foreign Relations director and of Relations with the EU member-states at the German Federal Foreign Ministry, Dr. Peter Schoof.

    The meeting held at the party's head office focused mainly on developments in Greece, PASOK's contribution to the handling of the crisis, the course of the PSI and the promotion of bilateral Greek-German relations.

    PASOK's International Relations Sector secretary Polina Lampsa also participated in the meeting.

    [07] Tsipras: Election dilemma is Samaras-Venizelos co-governance or strong SYRIZA

    Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA parliamentary alliance) leader Alexis Tsipras said on Monday that the "dilemma" in the upcoming general elections will be between a "Samaras-Venizelos co-governance for implementation of the horrific new measures of the Memorandum" and a "strong SYRIZA and strong Left for a new coalition of power that will relieve our country from the Memorandum, giving hope and prospect to this country".

    Tsipras accused New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras and the uncontested candidate for the PASOK leadership, Evangelos Venizelos of having "a common target of co-governance after the elections, in order to implement their commitments on the Memorandum".

    "This is why both are heavily attacking the Left, dredging up divisive lines from the past," Tsipras added.

    [08] President optimistic on tourism

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday expressed optimism that the number of tourists visiting Greece this year will be high, despite the adverse predictions.

    In a brief statement as he received culture and tourism minister Pavlos Geroulanos, Papoulias said that the negative climate for Greece that was cultivated in 2011 by the mass media globally did not stop 16.5 million tourists from visiting the country last year.

    Geroulanos, who visited Berlin last week, told Papoulias that the climate for Greece was not good in Germany and that many Germans were fearful of visiting the country because they do not know what their reception will be.

    [09] March 25 parades to go ahead as planned

    The parades commemorating the anniversary of the March 25, 1821 Revolution against the Ottoman rule will take place as planned, despite recent incidents of heckling and yoghurt throwing against government and political party officials, an inter-ministerial meeting chaired by prime minister Lucas Papademos decided on Monday, sources told AMNA.

    The meeting focused on increasing incidents of violence and crime, ahead of the March 25 commemorations.

    Government sources told AMNA that there is no question of the parades being cancelled and, quite the contrary, there will be an enhanced government representation.

    [10] Albanian PM Berisha holds meeting with alternate regional governor of Central Macedonia

    TIRANA (AMNA/I. Pacho)

    Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha met in Tirana on Monday with alternate Regional Governor of Central Macedonia Dionysis Psomiadis.

    According to an announcement by the Albanian prime minister's office, Berisha thanked Athens for its support for Albania's accession course to the EU.

    Psomiadis expressed his satisfaction over Berisha's considerable role in the strengthening of friendship and cooperation in the region.

    Berisha and Psomiadis discussed the two countries' economic cooperation and commercial transactions and referred to cooperation in education, where a large number of Albanian students are studying in Thessaloniki.

    [11] New education minister addresses letter to educators

    Newly appointed Education Minister Giorgos Babiniotis on Monday sent a message to all educators in the country, "thanking them for what they offer to Greece's children amidst unprecedented adverse circumstances."

    Babiniotis also referred to the wage reductions imposed in the sector, adding that education, which provides academic knowledge ... is the only means for a substantive recovery from the overall crisis plaguing the country.

    [12] 9,502 employees leave civil service under reserve labour law

    The number of civil servants who left the civil service in the context of Law 4024/2011 introducing reserve labor totaled 9,502 while a further 4,939 private law employees were on the way out, according to a document submitted to parliament by administrative reform and e-governance deputy minister Dinos Rovlias.

    Law 4024/2011 introduced reserve labor, layoffs pending pension and automatic pension, and the figures cited by the document concerned the above categories as well as resignations between October 10, 2011 when the relevant bill on reserve labour was tabled in parliament, and November 27 2011, which was the deadline for the personnel departments to issue the required acts for implementation of the law.

    Of those 9,502 employees, an overwhelming majority of 7,545 submitted resignations, most of which (4,135) from ministries, followed by 1529 from public law organisations, and 956 from local governments.

    Financial News

    [13] Greek banks focusing on recapitalisation terms

    The managements of the major domestic banks, which participated in a voluntary bond swap process, are now focusing on developments following a successful PSI program, with top priority remaining the process and technical details of a bank recapitalization program aimed at covering losses suffered by commercial banks from a bond swap program.

    Bank executives underline the need to maintain the private character of banks and are opposing any possibility of a nationalization of the domestic banking system.

    "Ideas of placing the banking system under state control, directly or indirectly, equal backtracking. The Greek economy does not need a jump back to its statist past, but towards a competitive future," Nikos Nanopoulos, Eurobank's chief executive, said recently.

    He added that a restructuring of the economy needed a private, healthy and functional banking system and stressed that the role of individual shareholders cannot and must not be devalued.

    Yiannis Kostopoulos, Alpha Bank's chairman, stressed that "banks must continue to be part of private sector of the economy even if they have to use, periodically, some state help to cover capital lost from a Greek bond haircut," adding it was necessary to change the climate in the country. "It is unthinkable to maintain a climate of uncertainty that leads deposits out of the country and makes borrowers unable to repay their debt."

    [14] New Greek bonds began trading in secondary market on Mon.

    A series of new Greek state bonds, issued to replace all older bonds, which were included in a successful PSI process, began trading on the Greek electronic secondary bond market on Monday.

    According to an official list released by the Bank of Greece, all older bonds have been withdrawn from the market, while trading continues on all Treasury bills issued by the Greek state, which were not included in a debt restructuring programe.

    The list includes 21 new bonds with maturities ranging from 11 to 30 years, with a total nominal value of around 34 billion euros, with a fixed-interest rate (coupon) of 2.0 pct.

    Early trading in these bonds saw their prices moving in very low levels compared with their nominal value. The 11-year bond is trading at 26-27 pct of its nominal value (or 26-27 basis points), yielding 19 pct. This new bond is value at 2.7 billion euros.

    [15] Eurobank opens new branch in London

    A strengthening of the Greek banking system is a key point in an effort towards restarting economic growth in the country, while a return to a virtuous cycle of stable and sustainable economic growth is the only way out of the crisis, Nikolaos Karamouzis, Eurobank's deputy chief executive, said on Monday.

    Addressing the inauguration ceremony on the occasion of the launch of Eurobank's newest branch in London, Karamouzis said the Greek economy needed to encourage and implement a new development plan, with basis preconditions of a new model opening up markets and healthy productive forces to regain international trust and credibility, based on bold reforms, flourishing business activity, public and private sector investments and export activity, in order that the Greek economy to be transformed into a competitive and productive power in the wide region.

    [16] Exports up 3.2pct, Imports down 14.8pct in January 2012

    The total value of exports, excluding oil products, rose by 3.2 percent in January this year against January 2011, while imports dropped by 14.8 percent, the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Monday.

    ELSTAT, in a report, said that the total value of imports-arrivals, excluding petroleum products, in January 2012 amounted to 2263.4 million euros against 2655.1 million euros in January 2011, recording a drop of 14.8%.

    The total value of imports-arrivals, excluding petroleum products, for the 12-month time period of February 2011 - January 2012 decreased by 13.2% compared to the corresponding 12-month time period of February 2010 - January 2011.

    The total value of exports-dispatches, excluding petroleum products, in January 2012 amounted to 1226.4 million euros against 1188.9 million euros in January 2011, recording an increase of 3.2%.

    The total value of exports-dispatches, excluding petroleum products, for the 12-month time period of February 2011 - January 2012 increased by 8.0% compared to the corresponding 12-month time period of February 2010 - January 2011.

    The total value of imports-arrivals in January 2012 amounted to 2625.7 million euros against 3916.4 million euros in January 2011. The total value of exports-dispatches in January 2012 amounted to 1580.2 million euros against 1437.3 million euros in January 2011.

    [17] Seamen's union warns of strikes

    The seamen's union PNO on Monday warned of repeated 48-hour strikes in the near future.

    A statement by PNO underlined that the seamen's union is determined to defend the labour and social insurance rights of its members. The union demands that the seamen's fund maintain its independence, while it is opposed to pension cuts and calls for a 2012 collective work contract.

    [18] Bussiness Briefs

    -- Turnover in the domestic car/motorcyle market fell 16.9 pct in the fourth quarter of 2011, compared with the same period in 2010, after a 45.5-pct plunge recorded in the 2010/2009 period, the Hellenic Statistical Authority announced on Monday.

    -- Turnover in the domestic transport sector fell in the fourth quarter of 2011, the Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Monday. The statistics service, in a report, said the land and pipeline transport sectors turnover fell 3.7 pct in the October-December 2011 period, compared with the same period in 2010, after a decline of 32.3 pct in the last three months of 2010.

    -- A total of 15 candidates expressed non-binding interest in a tender to buy a majority stake in Dodoni Dairy Industry SA, ATEbank said on Monday. The bank, in an announcement said the 15 candidates will participate in the second phase of the tender which envisages submitting binding offers.

    [19] Stocks end 2.45 pct lower

    Stocks ended significantly lower at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday as investors put pressure on bank shares ahead of a recapitalization process by Greek banks as they try to cover losses from a PSI program and write offs related with a BlackRock report. The composite index of the market dropped 2.45 pct to end at 733.89 points, with turnover remaining a low 50.141 million euros.

    The Big Cap index fell 3.50 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 1.65 pct lower and the Small Cap index fell 2.25 pct. The Commerce (2.51 pct), Chemicals (1.98 pct) and Personal Products (0.87 pct) sectors moved higher, while Banks (7.31 pct), Financial Services (4.96 pct) and Health (4.60 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    Folli Follie (2.60 pct), Cyprus Bank (1.54 pct) and Jumbo (1.37 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Hellenic Postbank (12.45 pct), Alpha Bank (12.34 pct), Eurobank (10.91 pct), Piraeus Bank (9.07 pct) and National Bank (8.37 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 89 to 48 with another 23 issues unchanged. Ilyda (28 pct), Alpha Trust (26.67 pct) and HOL (19.80 pct) were top gainers, while Varvaressos (19.63 pct), Tegopoulos (18.75 pct) and Attica Holding (17.81 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: -1.68%

    Commercial: +2.51%

    Construction: -1.06%

    Oil & Gas: -3.21%

    Personal & Household: +0.87%

    Raw Materials: -2.95%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.90%

    Technology: -3.07%

    Telecoms: Unchanged

    Banks: -7.31%

    Food & Beverages: -0.09%

    Health: -4.60%

    Utilities: -1.52%

    Chemicals: +1.98%

    Financial Services: -4.96%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were Bank of Cyprus, Alpha Bank, National Bank and Eurobank.

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

    Alpha Bank: 1.35

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 3.22

    HBC Coca Cola: 13.91

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.10

    National Bank of Greece: 2.30

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.98

    OPAP: 7.19

    OTE: 2.43

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.41

    Titan: 13.44

    [20] Greek bond market closing report

    The new 11-year Greek bond yielded around 19 pct in the first trading day in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday. The market has still not set a new 10-year benchmark bond as the new bonds issued to replace old ones in the framework of a bond swap program did not include a 10-year bond. There was no turnover in the market.

    In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate was 1.52 pct, the six-month rate 1.19 pct, the three-month rate 0.88 pct and the one-month rate 0.48 pct.

    [21] ADEX closing report

    The March contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 0.06 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover rising to 42.869 million euros ahead of a contract rollover. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 17,136 contracts worth 25.490 million euros, with 25,451 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 127,623 contracts worth 17.379 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Cyprus Bank's contracts

    (44,907), followed by National Bank (30,396), MIG (5,747), OTE (1,519), PPC (1,564), Piraeus Bank (1,994), Alpha Bank (23,977), Marfin Popular Bank (4,534), Mytilineos (2,331), Motor Oil (1,259), Hellenic Postbank (1,493), GEK (4,052), Intralot (1,060) and ATEbank (627).

    [22] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.331

    Pound sterling 0.851

    Danish kroner 7.546

    Swedish kroner 9.065

    Japanese yen 109.41

    Swiss franc 1.223

    Norwegian kroner 7.591

    Canadian dollar 1.322

    Australian dollar 1.268

    General News

    [23] Greek archaeologists launch global campaign to protect monuments

    The Association of Greek Archaeologists (SEA) are making an international appeal directed to their colleagues and people in Europe and worldwide to defend cultural heritage and historical memory through a global campaign with the slogan "monuments have no voice, they have us".

    The public awareness campaign, focusing on the threats with which monuments are faced as a result of the cuts imposed within the framework of the austerity measures into effect, will be formally launched with a press conference to domestic and foreign media scheduled to take place in Athens on Wed., March 14.

    The archaeologists, in an urgent appeal, underlined that "the peoples of Europe share the same destiny," adding that "the same austerity packages and authoritarian measures, that now tear Greece and its monuments apart, are going to be imposed across Europe".

    [24] DM Avramopoulos inaugurates Molecular Biology Centre

    Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos inaugurated on Monday the Molecular Biology Centre, that provides the possibility of the identification of the dead of the Albanian front (1940-41) and of Cyprus (1974), at the 401 Athens General Military Hospital.

    It is an ultramodern infrastructure that will upgrade services in the sectors of both molecular control for the identification of people sacrificed, either on the Albanian front or in Cyprus, and research for the combatting of every illness, Avramopoulos said, among other things, in addressing the hospital's officials and staff.

    [25] Ecumenical Patriarch reveives members of Greek national athletics team

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos received in Istanbul on Monday the members of the national athletics team that participated in the World Indoor Championships.

    The Patriarch, who was aware of the gold medal won by Dimitris Hondrokoukis in the high jump event, as well as the performances of the rest of the Greek athletes, received the members of the team cordially and gave his best wishes for the tournaments that will follow. In parallel, he called on them to remain adherred on their goal and to resist the difficulties of the times.

    [26] Exchange of fire between police, suspects in Kallithea

    Police exchanged fire with two suspects in the Kallithea district of Athens shortly before noon on Monday, resulting in the injury of one officer and one of the suspects.

    According to early information, DIAS motorcycle police spotted two men wearing wigs and considered them suspicious. They immobilized and arrested the one suspect, and gave chase to the second suspect who attempted to flee on a motorcycle.

    The fleeing suspect opened fire on the police with a pistol, injuring one officer in the leg. Police returned the fire and injured the second suspect, who was taken to hospital.

    The uninjured suspect was taken to Security Police headquarters for questioning.

    Police are examining the possibility that the two armed suspects were planning to commit a robbery, given that the local ELTA post office was just one block away.

    [27] Court rejects extradition of Georgian man accused as criminal kingpin

    A Court of Appeals council in Athens on Monday rejected an extradition request by Spanish authorities concerning a 51-year-old Georgian national wanted on a European arrest warrant as the leader of an alleged international criminal ring.

    The man is accused of controlling organised crime rings in various European country.

    He was arrested on Jan. 21, 2012 in a luxury hotel in Athens' coastal resort of Vouliagmeni. A European arrest warrant issued by the Spanish authorities and an Interpol "red notice" were outstanding against the suspect accused of setting up a criminal organisation, money laundering and of attempted homicide, all allegedly committed in Spain in 2009.

    The judicial council in Athens decided against his extradition to Spain after finding that the acts for which he faces charges were committed in Greece and therefore, he should be tried in Greek courts. A Thessaloniki examining magistrate issued a warrant for his arrest last Friday and within the next hours the suspect is expected to appear before a prosecutor in Thessaloniki.

    A large number of Russian and Georgian organised crime members were arrested in March 2010 within the framework of a major police operation launched by Spanish authorities across Europe.

    A manhunt for the arrest of the 51-year-old had taken place in Thessaloniki at the time, but he had managed to flee. After his capture last January, Spanish media reports alleged that he had bribed police officers with 800,000 euros to let him escape in the first place. An investigation into the allegations is currently underway by Greek Police.

    [28] Court hands down guilty verdicts in ship-owner's abduction

    Eighteen of the 20 defendants in so-called "crime syndicate" court case, mostly revolving around the high-profile 2009 abduction of shipping magnate Pericles Panagopoulos, were found guilty by a Court of Appeals on Monday after a trial that lasted for a year and a half.

    Two of the defendants were acquitted, while 10 were found guilty of a number of bomb attacks.

    The ransom of 30 million euros, which Panagopoulos' family paid for his release on Jan. 20, 2009, more than a week after he was abducted outside his southeast Athens home, is still missing.

    [29] Baby trafficking ring uncovered in Kavala

    Kavala police, acting on a tip-off, dismantled a baby trafficking ring after arresting a 71-year-old man, two women, aged 44 and 65, and the 12-year-old mother of a two-and-a-half-month baby that was up for sale, it was announced on Monday.

    Undercover police officers in the north-eastern port city posed as prospective buyers and agreed with the ring members to pay the sum of 12,500 euros for the infant.

    The ring members were arrested on Sunday after receiving the agreed sum in marked banknotes and handing over the baby to the undercover police officers.

    The infant was taken to the Kavala General Hospital.

    [30] Distressed cargo ship

    A Moldova-flagged freighter ship was running adrift Monday morning five nautical miles off the islet of Donoussa after suffering engine failure in high winds.

    The freighter "Pasca", with a 10-member crew comprising 7 Ukrainians and 3 Russians, was running adrift 5 nautical miles northwest of Donoussa in high winds of 6-7 beaufort velocity.

    The cargo ship had set sail from a port in Turkey destined for the port of Piraeus.

    Nearby vessels were on stand-by to provide assistance, while a tugboat has been dispatched from Piraeus.

    [31] Fire on board ship at Piraeus anchorage

    A fire broke out through unspecified causes on the deck of a special ship for carrying containers and vehicles (ro/ro) with a US flag, while it was at the anchorage in Piraeus, possibly for a security inspection.

    The ship, that is carrying cars for a port in Saudi Arabia, has 28 people on board, including Greeks.

    Firefighting and harbour vessels headed to the scene, as well as a tugboat.

    [32] Immigrant dies after being run over by truck in Patra southern port

    A tragic incident occurred in the wider region of the southern port of Patra, western Greece, on Monday afternoon, in which an immigrant was killed.

    According to reports, the immigrant attempted to hide under a truck that was going to board a ship heading for Italy. However, under unspecified conditions, when the truck started to move the immigrant was run over by the heavy vehicle, resulting in his fatal injury.

    Weather forecast

    [33] Rainy on Tuesday

    Rainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 4-8 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 0C and 14C. Cloudy with local showers in Athens, with northerly 5-8 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 4C to 8C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 3C to 8C.

    [34] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Deputy prime minister and finance minister Evangelos Venizelos' uncontested candidacy for the PASOK presidency, new austerity measures anticipated in June, and New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras' address to the ND Political Committee meeting were the main front-page headlines in Athens' dailies on Monday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Samaras: Give me the power to change Greece".

    AVRIANI: "Venizelos' absolute supremacy in PASOK".

    DIMOKRATIA: "Venizelos as...Ceausescu".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Venizelos' 'dive' into the Ippokratous street (PASOK headquarters)...sauna".

    ESTIA: "Immense blame for the unemployment".

    ETHNOS: "Beni (Venizelos)...alone in the succession race".

    IMERISSIA: "Battle in the markets - 'Operation' to change the climate".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "The bill of the post-haircut measures is expensive".

    TA NEA: "PASOK-Jump start - Venizelos' wager".

    VRADYNI: "The traps in the orders for payment - What the borrowers must be cautious of".

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