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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-03-19

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 19 March 2012 Issue No: 4025


  • [01] Evangelos Venizelos elected new PASOK leader
  • [02] Venizelos receives 96.78 pc of vote at 25 pc of polling stations
  • [03] Venizelos: 'PASOK finding its soul once again'
  • [04] Papandreou: PASOK must carry on as 'pylon of stability'
  • [05] PM Papademos to meet newly-elected PASOK party president Venizelos on Monday
  • [06] PASOK party leader Venizelos holds telephone conversation with European Parliament president
  • [07] PM meets with outgoing PASOK leader
  • [08] Papariga: PASOK-ND leading people to elections with 'terrifying quandaries'
  • [09] SYRIZA leader: 'Us or them'
  • [10] Karatzaferis sees coalition government after elections
  • [11] Seamen to go ahead with planned strikes after talks with development and shipping minister collapse
  • [12] NAT pensioners have suffered severe cuts of up to 500-600 euro per month.
  • [13] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday
  • [14] 14th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival
  • [15] Arrest for alcohol smuggling
  • [16] Businessman snatched, abandoned after abductors make away with 12,500 euros
  • [17] Major heroin bust on Rhodes, three foreign nationals arrested
  • [18] Five arrested in Sparta for counterfeit money
  • [19] Super League results
  • [20] Fair on Monday
  • [21] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

  • [01] Evangelos Venizelos elected new PASOK leader

    Evangelos Veniselos, currently serving in the Lucas Papademos government as deputy prime minister and finance minister, and sole candidate for the PASOK leadership, announced his election as party leader one and a half hours after the closure of ballot boxes on Sunday evening, following internal party elections throughout Greece.

    "PASOK's relation with the citizens has been re-estasblished today," Venizelos said in a televised statement, while declaring that he was moved by the participation of the party's members, cadres and friends in the intraparty procedures for the election of a president by the grassroots.

    He said he was particularly moved by the participation of ordinary citizens, adding that these people who are feeling the crisis in their skin are aware that PASOK has waged a struggle of national survival and now it is waging the struggle for the country's recovery and its exit from the crisis.

    The new PASOK president thanked all who participated, the overseas Greeks and former party leader George Papandreou for his contribution to the party, as well as Sunday's statement of support for the party's new leadership.

    Venizelos said that Sunday's intraparty procedures, which he termed a "big exercise of policy and organising readiness", sent the message that "PASOK is here" and that the target of "first place" in the national elections is feasible, so that the party will have a catalytical say in the developments.

    He added that the people "want security and stability, knowledge of the truth and a feeling that the sacrifices are being distributed fairly," while noting that the people "want a strong progressive governance".

    The new PASOK president said that he "is fully aware of the mistakes committed" and that he "is aware of the dissatisfaction and of the difficulties that the citizens are facing," adding on the other hand that Greece "has hope again on condition that a lot of work will be done by all."

    Lastly, Venizelos said that he is assuming the responsibility of a collective effort, from which no one will be left out, for the restructuring of the party and of the country.

    Venizelos had lost to outgoing PASOK president George Papandreou in party elections in November 2007.

    He is expected to tender his resignation from the government on Monday.

    [02] Venizelos receives 96.78 pc of vote at 25 pc of polling stations

    Participation in the electoral procedure for the election of a new leadership in the PASOK party was expected to exceed 200,000, according to initial assessments by the party's Charter and Certification Committee (EKAP).

    According to data provided by EKAP president George Anomeritis, at 25 percent of polling stations counted, 49,742 people voted, of whom 48,142, meaning 96.78 percent, voted for Evangelos Venizelos, who was sole candidate.

    Based on this data, EKAP assesses that the figure of 200,000 must be considered a foregone conclusion while, in parallel, it is noted that there was an upward trend that might give an even greater participation.

    [03] Venizelos: 'PASOK finding its soul once again'

    Polls opened throughout Greece on Sunday morning for internal elections in mainstream PASOK party for the election of a new party leader, with deputy prime minister and finance minister Evangelos Venizelos the sole candidate, stating that PASOK is "once again finding itself and its soul" after casting his vote in the Nea Filadelfia district of Athens.

    "PASOK is finding its soul once again," Venizelos said in Nea Filadelfia where, accompanied by his wife Vassiliki and his daughter, he cast his vote in the internal party election.

    "It is my conviction that, with a broad turnout, we will belie all those who believed that our large democratic party cannot recover," Venizelos said, adding: "PASOK is here".

    He said that PASOK was finding again its self and the people that comprise it, adding satisfaction with the turnover so far by the members and 'friends' of the party.

    Venizelos said that specific and realistic things must be done in the country so that it will remain standing, with unity, frankness and solidarity, and in order for "us to show that hope exists, that the losses can be dealt with and that the injustices will be rectified".

    "Today, March 18, the anniversary of the death of (Greek statesman) Eleftherios Venizelos, PASOK once again meets with the Greek society and...welcomes our friends, our members, every citizen who feels that Greece needs a progressive, responsible political solution...The election of the new (PASOK) president is not my election, which under very difficult circumstances I am called on to lift that burden. It is a springboard," he said.

    "Today, we begin a great effort to speak to the people and, chiefly, to listen to the people and to speak responsibly to them and tell them specific, realistic things with the language of truth, because our country can stand tall only when we have unity, solidarity, but also when we agree amongst ourselves with very great frankness, when we understand how difficult the reality is but also that hope now exists, that the conditions have now been formulated for the cycle to turn in order for the country to once again enter a growth track, for us to be able to fill the voids, to make up the losses, to rectify the injustices," Venizelos continued.

    "This message is of significance for the entire Greek people, but especially for the weak, the low income strata, the middle class, which we must rebuild," he added.

    "Today, the 18th of March, just before the spring and the spring equinox, PASOK is refinding itself, its soul, the people that comprise it, because PASOK is not its leading officials, nor its organisational backbone, it is its social base, and that is why today is so important," Venizelos said.

    [04] Papandreou: PASOK must carry on as 'pylon of stability'

    "The country has not sunk and indeed is changing for the better," outgoing PASOK leader George Papandreou said on Sunday as he cast his vote in Nea Erythrea for a new party leader, adding that PASOK must carry on as a "pylon of stability".

    Polls opened throughout Greece on Sunday morning for internal elections in mainstream PASOK party for the election of a new party leader, with deputy prime minister and finance minister Evangelos Venizelos as the sole candidate.

    "The country has not sunk and, indeed, is changing for the better, and PASOK must carry on as a pylon of stability on the one hand and on the other as an agent of change", Papandreou said, and expressed hope that the "next leadership" will have "clear skies and sunny days, despite the many difficulties we have ahead of us".

    Papandreou said that he fought hard during his tenure as prime minister and PASOK leader, stressing that from here on "it is the hour of the citizen, it is the time for each of us to fight with all our strength to change the country, make it more optimistic, to get out of the collective cynicism and to go to collective strength".

    He promised that he, "as an ordinary citizen", will be there in the effort to change the country".

    Papandreou stressed that Greece has resources, wealth and immense prospects, while its young general in particular "has the ability to be a happy society, without the problems and depression we are living in now".

    [05] PM Papademos to meet newly-elected PASOK party president Venizelos on Monday

    Prime Minister Lucas Papademos will meet newly-elected PASOK party president Evangelos Venizelos at the Maximos Mansion at 1 p.m. on Monday.

    [06] PASOK party leader Venizelos holds telephone conversation with European Parliament president

    Newly-elected PASOK party leader Evangelos Venizelos, who left the party's head office on Sunday evening, held a telephone conversation with European Parliament President Martin Schulz.

    Delivery ceremony for PASOK's new leadership under Venizelos on Monday afternoon

    The ceremony for the delivery of the PASOK party's leadership to newly-elected president Evangelos Venizelos will take place at 3 p.m. on Monday.

    Outgoing PASOK president George Papandreou left the party's offices in Ippokratous street in central Athens at 9 on Sunday evening, after a meeting with Venizelos.

    [07] PM meets with outgoing PASOK leader

    Prime minister Lucas Papademos met on Saturday afternoon with outgoing PASOK leader George Papandreou.

    During the 90-minute meeting, the two men had a discussion on all matters related to the government's work, and thanked each other for the cooperation they had, according to sources.

    The same sources said that the two men also agreed to have regular contacts.

    [08] Papariga: PASOK-ND leading people to elections with 'terrifying quandaries'

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga warned that the two mainstream parties, PASOK and New Democracy (ND), were leading the Greek people to elections with "terrifying quandaries", addressing a party rally on the island of Crete.

    She called on the Greek people to reinforce the KKE in the general elections, adding that here party was waging its "battle with arguments".

    "Either we rise up, or we will be finished," Papariga told a party rally in Heraklion, adding that the country "is in the midst of a storm of (austerity) measures", warning that "up until the elections, the PASOK-ND co-governance will implement a new series of harsh measures, "not with dialogue", but with an "orgy of intimidation of the Greek people".

    Reiterating her arguments against the Memorandum, Papariga said that it was leading to the impoverishment of the people and referred to the new loan agreement, which will be debated in parliament on Tuesday, as a "guillotine for the people".

    "They're turning the working class and the popular strata back to the Middle Ages, for the sake of the big capital's profits. They're loading unbelievable hardship and poverty on the people, condemning the working people's children to unemployment or to work for 400 euros," Papariga continued.

    Warning that there will be "terrorism (of the people) up until the elections", Papariga noted that what can make the difference and create hope for the popular movement, and that which should "terrorise them" (the mainstream parties), is the electoral strength of the Communist party.

    [09] SYRIZA leader: 'Us or them'

    Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA parliamentary alliance) leader Alexis Tsipras called for strengthening SYRIZA in the upcoming general elections "in order to change our future" but also because this could positively impact the unity of the Left, addressing a party gathering on Sunday in Nikaia, near Piraeus.

    Formally launching the parliamentary alliance's election campaign under the slogan "Us or them, together we can topple them", Tsipras strongly attacked the mainstream PASOK and New Democracy (ND) parties, but also the mass media.

    "If the people want, one week after the elections, things to be as if the elections never took place, then let them vote for the Memorandum party, let them vote for the salary to be reduced to 300 euros," Tsipras said, adding: "But if the people want to change the future, let's topple them".

    Tsipras further intimated that his party would campaign against voter abstention, warning that this works in favor of both PASOK and ND.

    Noting that the policy of Memorandums has "failed completely", Tsipras accused the co-governance parties (PASOK and ND) of "thieving loan agreements that concede our sovereign rights, mortgage the country's public wealth, dissolve the social state and abolish every right to dignified employment".

    He said that the parties representing the political establishment want to impose their own interpretations on how the country reached the present point, while the "iniquitous triangle" of bankers, collusion and the political system "seeks to reign again the morning after": the bankers by giving loans to the "mass media of collusion", which in turn support specific 'centers' of the political system, which in turn supplies the banks with public money.

    [10] Karatzaferis sees coalition government after elections

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis predicted co-governance after the coming general elections, adding that it was highly possible that the two mainstream parties New Democracy (ND) and PASOK would not, together, succeed in amassing a majority in Greece's 300-member unicameral parliament.

    In an interview with RealNews newspaper appearing on Sunday, Karatzaferis asked for 'written' commitments in order to participate in the next government, and left open the issue of who would lead such a coalition government as prime minister, saying that "everything is fluid".

    Regarding PASOK, Karatzaferis said it would take Evangelos Venizelos -- current finance minister and sole candidate in Sunday's internal elections in PASOK for a new party leader -- will need "a lot of time" to "refill the vehicles tires" and, as for ND, its leader Antonis Samaras has not yet convinced him that he is ready (to undertake the responsibility of a prime minister).

    Karatzaferis also strongly attacked the small, ultra-right Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn), saying that "patriotism is incompatible with the nazism they believe in".

    He said that LAOS "bows to the Blue and White (the colors of the Greek flag), not to the swastika", and warned that a possible accession of Chryssi Avghi to parliament will "put a landmine to the country".

    Financial News

    [11] Seamen to go ahead with planned strikes after talks with development and shipping minister collapse

    Seamen and dockworkers decided on Saturday afternoon to go ahead with several 48-hour strikes, beginning on Monday as planned, after talks between the executive committee of the Panhellenic Seamen's Federation (PNO) and new development, competitiveness and shipping minister Anna Diamantopoulou earlier in the day ended in a deadlock.

    PNO secretary general Yiannis Halas told AMNA that "nothing different" emerged from the meeting, during which the various sides stated their views, adding that the conclusion reached was that there are no solutions at this time, and thus the strikes will be held as originally planned.

    Halas said that none of the PNO demands was accepted, and charged that "there is no planning" on the part of the government.

    The meeting was held in a bid to agree a compromise solution, and was also attended by labour and social security minister George Koutroumanis and the secretaries general of the labour and health ministries, while the PNO delegation included representatives from all 14 seamen's unions comprising the federation, representatives of the Panhellenic Union of Public Maritime Education (AEN-KESEN), the Union of NAT (Seamen's Pension Fund) Employees and Union of NAT Pensioners, and the Federation of Merchant Marine Employees.

    The strikes were announced on Friday in protest of pension cuts, but also the incorporation of their social security fund NAT in the new social security and health care organisation EOPPY. The PNO also demands that the NAT remain independent within the EOPPY, that a Collective Labour Agreement for 2012 be signed, that cabotage be maintained in coastal shipping, the establishment of a specific unemployment Fund for Greek seamen, and that the seamen's employment office not be abolished.

    [12] NAT pensioners have suffered severe cuts of up to 500-600 euro per month.

    Under the latest Troika demands, collective bargain agreements have been almost cancelled with the effect that salaries and wages can be sharply decreased with enforced private agreements between employers and employees.

    [13] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.331

    Pound sterling 0.841

    Danish kroner 7.547

    Swedish kroner 8.988

    Japanese yen 111.46

    Swiss franc 1.225

    Norwegian kroner 7.661

    Canadian dollar 1.318

    Australian dollar 1.258

    General News

    [14] 14th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival

    A Greek group that is inspired, creates and presents songs from the rich tradition of Lower Italy and two Italian friends who are sceptical as to whether they will stay in their country or leave and seek their fortunes abroad, were the themes of the two films (Greek and foreign of over 45'') that won the Audience awards at the 14th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival.

    They are the films "Encardia, the stone that dances" directed by Angelos Kovotsos and "Italia: love her or leave her" directed by Gustav Hoffer and Luca Ragazzi.

    The closing ceremony for this year's festival was held at the "Olympion" cinema in Thessaloniki on Saturday evening.

    More than 190 films from all over the world were screened at the 14th documentary Festival that started on March 9 and ended on Saturday evening.

    [15] Arrest for alcohol smuggling

    A 32-year-old man was arrested in Serres, northern Greece, on Sunday charged with smuggling distilled alcoholic beverages into Greece from neighbouring Bulgaria.

    The man was arrested after 173 canisters containing various types of spirits were found during a customs check at Promachonas.

    The spirits were seized and sent to the customs house for computation of the unattributed taxes and duties, while the detainee will be sent before a Serres prosecutor.

    [16] Businessman snatched, abandoned after abductors make away with 12,500 euros

    A fuel station owner was snatched on Friday night by three abductors, who drove him to a remote area and fled with 12,500 euros in cash.

    The three abductors were waiting outside the businessman's house, and snatched him at gunpoint, put him in a truck and drove him to a nearby farming area, where they took the cash he had in his possession, handcuffed him and abandoned him in the truck before fleeing in an unknown direction.

    Police are investigating the incident.

    [17] Major heroin bust on Rhodes, three foreign nationals arrested

    Police narcotics squad officers on the island of Rhodes arrested three Albanian nationals on Friday and Saturday and seized 840 grams of heroin in 'fixes' ready for use, while the 'mastermind' of the ring, a 34-year-old Albanian, is an inmate in a prison in Greece.

    Police said the ring had started operating in Greece in November 2011, headed by a 34-year-old Albanian inmate, with another 26-year-old Albanian acting as the supplier, and two Albanians aged 19 and 21 acting as the mules.

    They said the two mules and supplier were acting on orders by the inmate, moving a half kilo of heroin at a time for sale on the streets of Rhodes, according to police.

    The ring was uncovered on Friday afternoon when officers of the DIAS motorcycle squad spotted the two mules acting suspiciously, and a subsequent search of their residences turned up a precision scale and two plastic containers containing a total of 448.6 grams of heroin.

    The 26-year-old supplier was arrested at dawn Saturday in the city of Rhodes after a search in the surrounds of his residence turned up 393.8 grams of heroin in 40 plastic packets hidden in nine cigarette packs.

    The three detainees will be taken before a local prosecutor on Sunday.

    [18] Five arrested in Sparta for counterfeit money

    Five people were arrested in Sparta on Sunday for possession and trafficking in counterfeit money.

    Two men aged 48 and 32 and three women aged, 28, 29 and 39, were arrested after a search of their car turned up a total of 1,560 euros in counterfeit bills -- 28 bills of 50-euro denomination and 8 bills of 20-euro denomination". The counterfeit money and the car were seized.

    A further 1,340 euros in genuine bills was also seized as the product of crime, as well as a forged Greek ID card.

    The detainees will appear before a local prosecutor.


    [19] Super League results

    The match between Olympiacos Piraeus and Panathinaikos Athens at the Athens Olympic Stadium on Sunday evening was abandoned by the referee eight minutes from the end after fans started fires in the stands and as Olympiacos was leading 1-0 in games played for the Greek Super League over the weekend, while AEK Athens drew 1-1 away with Asteras Tripoli and PAOK Thessaloniki also drew 1-1 away with Panetolikos Agrinio.

    In other action:

    Aris Thessaloniki-OFI Crete 1-0

    Ergotelis Crete-Kerkyra 1-0

    Xanthi-PAS Yiannina 1-2

    Levadiakos Livadia-Atromitos Athens 2-2

    Panionios Athens-Doxa Drama 2-0

    Standings after 25 weeks of play:

    1. Olympiacos 58 points (24 games)

    2. Panathinaikos 54 (24 games)

    3. Atromitos 44

    4. PAOK 43

    5. AEK 42

    6. Asteras 38

    7. Aris 36

    8. OFI 33

    9. Xanthi 29

    10. Panionios 29

    11. PAS Yiannina 28

    12. Levadiakos 27

    13. Ergotelis 26

    14. Panetolikos 25

    15. Kerkyra 24

    16. Doxa 15

    Weather Forecast

    [20] Fair on Monday

    Fair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Monday, with wind velocity reaching 3-5 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 2C and 21C. Fair in Athens, with northerly 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 7C to 20C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 6C to 18C.

    [21] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

    The main 'prior actions' and measures for continuation of the flow of the installments of the second bailout loan, upcoming general elections and corruption in the public sector were the main front-page items in Athens' newspapers on Sunday.

    AVRIANI: "Recourse to elections again if New Democracy (ND) does not amass self-sufficiency (parliamentary majority)".

    AVGHI: "33d Memorandum from Venizelos-Samaras".

    DIMOKRATIA: "The true face of the would-be savior - Venizelos' (current finance minister and new PASOK leader) crimes since 1993".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "ND: Full lists (candidate tickets) - PASOK: Empty ballot boxes".

    ETHNOS: "The corruption mafias".

    EXPRESS: "Severe penal regime for fuel smuggling".

    KATHIMERINI: "The new government will have to make layoffs in the public sector".

    KERDOS: "Rain of measures and arrangements just before, just after, the elections".

    LOGOS: "What they are preparing to grab, even from our pockets".

    NIKI: "Four 'surtaxes' for the same real estate property".

    PROTO THEMA: "Huge salaries in ND-PASOK".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Everyone turn out for the KKE rallies on Tuesday against the loan agreement".

    TO VIMA: "PASOK internal elections: Polls of agony (and partition?"

    VRADYINI: "Shield for the new labour regime".

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

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