|Thursday, 14 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-04-02
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 2 April 2012 Issue No: 4036
 Immigration problem a 'health bomb ready to explode'The immigration problem is a "health bomb ready to explode" and needs to be dealt with seriously, responsibly and apart from all kinds of populism, health minister Andreas Loverdos and citizens protection minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis warned during a joint press conference on Sunday.
They said that the situation that has arisen with the approximately one million immigrants in Greece -- others legally but most of them illegally -- has created immense problems with respect to the public health and to safety.
The two ministers noted, for example, that AIDS cases have risen 1000 (one thousand) percent, while 620 brothels lacking permits have been recorded and only six with permits.
Also, communicable diseases are on the rise, in tandem with crime which, in certain areas has created "explosive" problems.
They announced that health/hygiene inspections will commence immediately among the entire migrant population, while residences where immigrants are living illegally and in large numbers will be sealed and their owners will be prosecuted.
Further, they announced that within April the first reception centre for illegal migrants will begin operation, while a total of 30 such centres will be created, three in each of the country's administrative peripheries, and will be able to host up to 1,000 individuals.
The illegal immigrants will be put up at the centres for a limited period of time, until the procedures for their deportation are completed, they said.
 Health certificate a requirement for immigrant work permit, ministers announceHealth certificates will from here on be a requirement for the acquisition of work permits by immigrants in Greece, according to a new Health Regulation announced by Citizens Protection Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis and Health Minister Andreas Loverdos during a joint press conference on Sunday on illegal immigration and the public health.
The new Health Regulation, titled "Regulations concerning the containment of infectious diseases", underlines the need for measures to be taken to protect the public health, citing as infectious diseases that are hazardous to the public health as those listed in the International Health Regulations and infectious diseases that are prevented by vaccinations.
More specifically, the regulation cites diseases requiring quarantine such as pandemic flu, SARS, viral hemorrhagic fever, cholera, diphtheria, active tuberculosis, plague, smallpox and yellow fever, as well as malaria, wildtype (type 1) polio, active syphilis, active leprosy, lymphogranuloma Venereum (Durand-Nicolas-Favre disease), granuloma inguinale/Donovanosis and chancroid (soft chancre).
Obligatory testing is introduced for the above diseases for all immigrants seeking asylum.
Also, obligatory testing for HIV, HBV and HCV is introduced for all individuals providing sex for pay who lack the required health book, and for individuals taking narcotic substances intravenously, as well as for individuals living in residences or other spaces where the elementary health conditions are adhered to (including the homeless).
All immigrants will be tested for the above diseases, and provided they are not suffering from the diseases or have been cured, special health certificates will be issued to them stipulating their nationality, name, surname and father's name, exact date of birth, photograph, fingerprints, and address of residence. This particular measure will be applied three months from its enactment.
 420 arrests in Athens 'sweep' operationA total of 420 arrests have been made in a major police crackdown on illegal immigration and illicit trade in the wider Athens area launched on Wednesday, the Attica Police Headquarters (GADA) announced on Sunday.
GADA said that since the 'sweep' operation was launched on March 28, a total of 1918 foreign nationals were taken in for questioning, of which 420 evolved into arrests.
Of the 420 arrests, 186 were for narcotics, thefts, burglaries and outstanding court convictions, and 234 for administrative deportation as the arrestees lacked legal residency documents for Greece.
A further 63 instances concerned prostitution by women from foreign countries.
 Amendment for creation of migrant reception facilities to be tabled MondayCitizens Protection Minister Michalis Chryssohoidis will on Monday table in parliament an amendment providing for the creation of three illegal immigrant reception facilities were mainland periphery, Chryssohoidis himself announced on a private television station on Saturday night.
The minister reiterated that the illegal immigration problem is critical, and appealed to the political parties to not exploit it for pre-election purposes.
He also said that all illegal immigrants will leave Greece gradually.
Chryssohoidis and health minister Andreas Loverdos will hold a joint press conference at noon on Monday on matters of illegal immigration in Athens and health hazards arising.
 Venizelos newspaper interviewNew PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos expressed optimism that his party is able to reverse the negative opinion polls and win the elections, in an interview with the Sunday edition of Ethnos newspaper.
He said the upcoming elections would be the most critical polls since 1974, and said a PASOK victory in the elections was a "realistic goal", adding that "if we want to remain in the eurozone and overcome the crisis with the fewest possible losses for society, PASOK must be in first place".
Commenting on speculation that the new government to emerge from the elections will be forced to take new, harsh austerity measures, he said that "our target and obligation is to avoid across-the-board cuts, and particularly cuts in salaries and pensions".
"Some say this with great ease, but we reply that this can truly be achieved," he added.
 Samaras newspaper interviewNew Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras called for a self-sufficient ND government to emerge from the upcoming elections, opining that if this was not the case Greece's exit from the crisis would be very difficult.
In an interview with the Sunday edition of Kathimerini newspaper, Samaras called ND the only coordinated force in a political system that is collapsing, and pledged that his government would be small in number.
He reiterated that in the event of no self-sufficiency emerging from the elections, a new recourse to the polls would be inevitable, adding that "the worst scenario is that the formation of a viable government will not be possible", and that this will inevitably lead to new elections "by necessity, and not by my own choice".
Samaras predicted, however, that a self-sufficient government would arise, given that ND "is the target of many, inside Greece too, because we want to change everything".
He intimated that he would exhaust all margins so that new, harsh measures will not be taken.
 Two opinion polls reflect voter intention ahead of electionsThe voters' intentions, ahead of the upcoming general elections, are outlined in two opinion polls appearing in an equal number of Sunday newspapers.
An 8-party parliament, a seven-point lead of New Democracy (ND) over PASOK, but also a 2.5 percent reduction in ND's popularity against the previous poll are indicated in a Public Issue opinion poll conducted on behalf of Kathimerini, appearing in the newspaper's Sunday edition.
In the poll, conducted in the second half of March, ND was preferred by 22.5 percent of the respondents against 15.5 percent for PASOK. They are followed by the three Left wing parties, with the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA parliamentary alliance) coming in at 12.5 percent and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Democratic Left (DIMAR) with 12.0 percent each. In fifth place is Panos Kammenos' "Independent Greeks" party with 8.5 percent, followed by the ultra-right Chryssi Avghi with 5 percent, and the Ecologists-Greens marginally gaining a seat in parliament with 3.0 percent. The Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party and Dora Bakoyannis' Democratic Alliance party, with 2.0 percent each, appear to be left out of parliament.
According to the poll results, ND and PASOK together secure a marginal majority of 154-155 seats in the 300-member parliament, collectively accruing 38 percent of the vote.
As for the party leaders' popularity, DIMAR leader Fotis Kouvelis was in first place with 51 percent of the respondent's preference, followed by SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras with 36 percent, ND leader Antonis Samaras with 31 percent, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos with 29 percent, KKE leader Aleka Papariga with 26 percent, and LAOS leader George Karatzaferis and Democratic Alliance leader Dora Bakoyannis with 19 percent each.
Regarding the most suited for prime minister, 34 percent of the respondents rejected all the political leaders, while Samaras and Venizelos were preferred by 18 percent of the respondents each, followed by Tsipras with 13 percent.
In the second opinion poll, conducted in Athens' B' constituency on behalf of To Paron newspaper appearing on Sunday, ND was leading with 4.5 points over PASOK, but the percentages of the two mainstream parties are much below their percentages in the constituency, Greece's largest constituency, in the 2009 general elections.
More specifically, respondents from the constituency put ND first with 14.7 percent, followed by PASOK with 10.2 percent, DIMAR with 10.1 percent, the KKE with 10.0 percent, SYRIZA with 9.8 percent, the Independent Greeks with 9.4 percent, the Ecologists-Greens with 4.6 percent, Chryssi Avghi with 3.7 percent, Democratic Alliance with 2.5 percent, the Citizens' Chariot with 1.5 percent, and LAOS with 1.49 percent.
Vasso Papandreou: Not running for re-election to parliament, sees PASOK's short-term future as 'not at all auspicious'
High profile PASOK founding member, former minister and current MP Vasso Papandreou said that she will not run for re-election to parliament in the coming elections, in an interview with RealNews newspaper appearing on Saturday.
She also opined that the "short-term future of PASOK will not be at all auspicious".
Papandreou, an economist, further warned that the Memorandum and the economic policy being followed cannot bring Greece out of the crisis, while she also severely criticised the preceding PASOK government under George Papandreou (unrelated), saying "we are not talking about mistakes, but about crimes", although adding that George Papandreou had "good intentions but catastrophic results".
She also said that the New Democracy may have been leading Greece to destruction, but it was the subsequent PASOK government that "finished it off".
As for PASOK's new party leader Evangelos Venizelos, she said that he is capable but has a very difficult task.
 Second group assumes failed bomb attack at Egaleo Metro stationA second group on Sunday claimed responsibility for a failed bomb attack at the Egaleo Metro station in Athens on February 25.
In a proclamation that was briefly uploaded on a website but subsequently taken down on Sunday, the planned attack was assumed by a previously unknown organisation calling itself the "12 February Movement", with the date in the group's name referring to violent riots in downtown Athens in which more than 45 buildings and shops were gutted by fire and at least 150 others were looted and damaged.
Since the proclamation was uploaded only briefly, police are trying to confirm the assumption and also trace its origin.
According to sources, the Citizens Protection Ministry considers the assumption to be serious, since the briefly uploaded proclamation contained a detailed description of the incident.
A home-made explosive device was found in a Metro train car at the Egaleo station on Saturday, February 25, beneath a train seat, and was neutralised with a controlled explosion by bomb-disposal experts. Police the following day confirmed that the device had been an activated time-bomb comprising a 4-litre container of flammable liquid, eight batteries, wire, a clock, a resistor and a switch, packaged in a gift box.
The booby-trapped gift box was found by the conductor as the train was parked at the Egaleo station with no passengers on board.
Two days after the incident, on February 27, an unidentified caller phoned a private Athens TV station and claimed responsibility on behalf of a previously unknown group called the "Antartiko Poleon" (urban guerrilla warfare).
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.
 German FM says no issue of war reparations to GreeceBERLIN (AMNA/F.Karaviti)
The German foreign ministry said on Sunday that for Germany there was no issue any more of German war reparations to Greece.
In an exclusive statement to AMNA, the ministry said that according to the official position of Berlin, Germany "acknowledges its responsibility" as regards World War II and "is deeply grieved over the pain of victims", nevertheless, the statement adds, Germany has already paid reparations in the framework of the 1946 Agreement, while it has also supported Greece's reconstruction in practice.
"The war reparations is not an issue any more," 65 years after the end of the war and after decades of "peaceful cooperation which was full of confidence" with Greece, on a bilateral as well as a European Union and NATO level, the statement noted.
 USS Enterprise marks last deployment with visit to greater Athens areaON BOARD THE USS ENTERPRISE
It took exactly 49 years for the US Navy's most distinguished aircraft carrier to return to the warm and blue waters of Faliro Bay - off coastal southern Athens - on its 22nd and last deployment before a scheduled decommissioning.
The arrival of the Enterprise (CVN-65) -- the US Navy's "Big E" -- late in the morning on Wednesday, March 28, during a brilliant spring day, brought television crews and onlookers to the Faliro coastline to marvel at the gigantic warship, anchored a few kilometres off the coast but visible from practically every peak in the greater Athens area.
Beyond its strictly military duties, the celebrated carrier later in the evening switched to "diplomatic mode" as it hosted a major reception in its spacious hangar, decked out with massive US and Greek flags. The high-profile event brought on board practically all of Greece's top military and law enforcement leadership, including Greek Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, along with top US and EU member-states' officers in the country and the commander of the US Sixth Fleet.
"To visit this legendary ship has its symbolism," Avramopoulos said, while stressing the importance that Athens has attached to the recent statements of solidarity and friendship from the US leadership amid the current and serious economic crisis plaguing Greece.
While the civilian and military VIPs were boarding the vessel via a small flotilla of launches and private boats, many of its nearly 5,000 officers, sailors and Marines - including roughly 950 female service members - were boarding ferry boats for a short ride to the port of Piraeus for an eagerly expected shore leave.
"This is a unique opportunity for us to welcome our Greek guests and other foreign guests to the largest aircraft carrier in the world," Rear Adm. Ted Carter, the commander of the Enterprise carrier strike group, said later in the evening.
Carter, who had previously visited Greece and Piraeus as a junior officer (fighter pilot) aboard the USS Saratoga, emphasised that the Enterprise's visit is a symbol of cooperation and history between the two allies, the US and Greece.
The US warship is expected to sail through the Suez Canal in the coming period and then head for the Gulf and a passage through the Straits of Hormuz.
Shown the nearby strait between the Attica mainland and the island of Salamina (Salamis), and reminded of a milestone naval battle between the Greek city-states and the invading Persian fleet in the 5th century BC, Adm. Carter merely smiled and said "some things apparently never change".
Besides the standard fare of the Acropolis and its surrounding Classical monuments in central Athens, planned excursions for the Enterprise's personnel extend as far off as Cape Sounion, on the southeastern tip of Attica prefecture, the Mycenae archaeological site in the northeastern Peloponnese and even the Delphi oracle archaeological site, a two-hour drive north of Athens.
According to the Enterprise's Public Affairs Officer, Lt.-Cmdr. Sarah Self-Kyler, sailors and Marines have been meticulously briefed on the "do's and don'ts" of shore leave in the greater Athens area, given that this will be the biggest disembarkation of US military personnel in the area in recent memory. "Actually, the thing that most of your young sailors want is the Internet," Self-Kyler said.
The Enterprise was accompanied by the USS Vicksburg, a cruiser.
 HRADF: 17 investors express interest in DEPA-DESFA privatisationA total of 17 investors from 12 countries submitted expressions of interest in the privatisation of the Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) S.A. and its subsidiary Hellenic Gas Transmission System Operator (DESFA S.A.), the deadline for which expired on Friday evening, the Hellenic Republic Public Asset Development Fund (HRADF) announced on Saturday.
HRADF said that interest was expressed by 17 investors originating from 12 countries, seven of them outside the eurozone, adding that investors expressed interest in DEPA and DESFA separately, and also in the DEPA/DESFA Group.
HRADF further said that it will evaluate the fulfillment of legal and financial conditions by each candidate and will announce which qualified interested parties will be invited to submit their indicative offers.
The preselected parties will be asked to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement, prior to receiving the Information Memorandum in addition to the documents describing the procedure for the submission of indicative proposals.
DEPA Group is active in the wholesale, trading and supply of natural gas to large customers through the parent company DEPA S.A. Through DESFA S.A., the DEPA Group owns and operates the regulated high pressure gas transport network and LNG re-gasification facilities in Greece. Through its 51% ownership of the regional distribution and supply companies, the DEPA Group is also active in the distribution and supply of natural gas to residential customers and SMEs. The DEPA Group is also active in key international transit pipeline projects such as the Greece-Italy Interconnector, Greece-Bulgaria Interconnector and South Stream.
Costas Mitropoulos HRADF's Chief Executive Officer said: "This level of interest is a clear indicator of the value of Greek assets and a vote of confidence in Greece post PSI. The spread and quality of participants in the tender guarantees competition."
Other projects under tender at present include real estate projects Hellenikon in Athens, Afantou on Rhodes and IBC buildings in central Athens and the Greek Lottery.
Greece on February 29 launched an international tender for the sale of DEPA, the state-owned gas company- as part of an ambitious privatization programme.
The Greek state has a 65 pct equity stake in DEPA while Hellenic Petroleum SA has the remaining 35 pct. Both shareholders and the State's Private Property Fund have agreed to jointly sell their stakes in DEPA. Under the terms of the tender, the interested parties submitted bids on a bundle or unbundle basis.
The state will retain 34 pct of DESFA, the gas grid operator.
UBS Ltd, NM Rothschild & Sons Ltd ??? Alpha Bank S.A. will act as financial advisers to the sale, while Clifford Chance LLP and Koutalidis Law Firm will act as legal advisers.
 Michalos elected Central Union of Chambers of Greece chiefAthens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA) president Costas Michalos was on Saturday elected as president of the Central Union of Chambers of Greece.
Michalos was elected with 63 votes against 50 votes for his opponent, Athens Small Industry Chamber (BEA) president Pavlos Ravanis, while one blank vote was cast.
 Foreign Exchange rates - MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.355
Pound sterling 0.846
Danish kroner 7.551
Swedish kroner 8.978
Japanese yen 111.2
Swiss franc 1.222
Norwegian kroner 7.718
Canadian dollar 1.351
Australian dollar 1.302
 Earth Hour observed in GreeceEarth Hour was observed throughout Greece on Saturday evening, with the lights switched off at 8:30 p.m. for one hour at the country's monuments and museums, as well as at state and local government buildings and in households across the country.
Earth Hour, a global initiative led by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), encourages individuals around the world to shut off their lights on Saturday, March 31, for one hour, beginning at 8:30 p.m. in each time zone, in an effort to raise awareness for comate change and to encourage support for environmentally sustainable action.
In Athens, the most impressive sight was the "lights-out" at the Greek capital's landmark monument, the Acropolis.
 Foreign driver transporting illegal migrants killed in crash during chase by policeA 19-year-old Syrian national transporting seven illegal immigrants in his car was killed on Friday night in Komotini when the car overturned during a chase by police.
The Syrian driver, carrying seven illegal migrants in his car -- five from Syria, one from Afghanistan and one from Iraq -- sped off when Sapes border police motion him to stop at the 18th kilometer of the Egnatia Odos-Mesti Komotini stretch of the national highway, and a police chase ensured.
The Syrian turned off the national highway in the direction of Xanthi via the old national highway, but about 6 kilometers down the road he lost control of the car, which overturned, and was killed.
Police found the seven illegal immigrants in the overturned car, one of which had been slightly injured.
All seven were taken to a nearby hospital, six of which were given first aid and the 7th, who had been slightly injured, was hospitalised.
An investigation is being conducted by the Sapes border police in Rhodopi prefecture.
 Arrest for 71 million euros debt to stateA 65-year-old man has been arrested in Drama for over 70 million euros in debts to the state, it was announced on Saturday.
The man, who owns a concrete manufacturing unit, was arrested for debts to the state totaling 71,177,316 euros.
He is due to appear before a local prosecutor.
 Arrests for counterfeiting documentsThree Albanian nationals have been arrested in Athens on charges of forging certificates and other official documents, police said on Sunday.
They said the three Albanians were located on the night of March 29 in a central Athens apartment that they had converted into a document counterfeiting lab.
Police discovered during an investigation that the three arrestees were making forged documents and supplying them to illegal immigrants.
A search of the apartment turned up a fully equipped document counterfeiting lab, 177 seals, thousands of Albanian and Greek work stamps, a plethora of forged travel documents, a variety of certificates, medical certificates and certificates of municipal authorities, drivers' licences, university certificates and other documents, all of which were confiscated.
A search of a second apartment turned into a lab and of a cafe used by the document counterfeiting ring for its illegal transactions turned up a large number of OPAP soccer poll payment receipts worth a total 186,122 euros that were used to 'launder' their illegal revenues, as well as 4,000 euros in cash, which were also seized, in addition to a car.
The three Albanians were taken before a local prosecutor.
 Three minor quakes recorded in Thrakomakedones, Attical prefectureThree minor earthquakes were recorded in early Sunday in the wider Athens area.
The three tremblers were registered between 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., with their epicentre in the Thrakomakedones area in Attica prefecture.
The largest of the three quakes was 3.0 on the Richter scale and recorded at 8:18 a.m.
Seismologists were reassuring over the seismic activity, but did not rule out that more quakes could occur in the same area.
 Ethiopia's Metaferia wins 7th International Alexander the Great MarathonThe 7th International Alexander the Great Marathon was held in northern Greece on Sunday, with Teklu Geto Metaferia from Ethiopia placing first, finishing the 42.195 kilometer course in 2 hours, 18 minutes and 44 seconds.
The Marathon, which sets off from Pella, birthplace of Alexander the Great and finishes near the White Tower in Thessaloniki, the last capital of Ancient Macedonia, was first held in 2006.
The Alexander the Great Marathon received IAAF Bronze Label Road Race status in 2010, and is an AIMS (Association of International Marathon and Distance Races) certified race.
In addition to the Marathon, the day's events include 5km and 10km 'fun run' road races, as well as a 1,000 meter (1km) charity run for primary school pupils.
Second place in the Marathon was won by Dimitrios Tsiounis of Greece with a time of 2:36:38 and third place by Antonis Papadimitriou of Greece with 2:38:28, while the first woman to cross the finish line was Alina Nituleasa from Romania (12th in overall standing) with 2:56:33.
 Overcast on Monday, with local showers in the eastern Aegean and the DodecanneseThe weather will be partly cloudy and windy in most parts of Greece on Monday, with local showers in the eastern Aegean and the Dodecanese islands.
Partly cloudy in Athens, with winds of 4-6 beaufort velocity and temperatures ranging from 9C to 20C. The same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures of 6C to 18C.
 Greek Superleague resultsOlympiacos Piraeus, with its victory over Panetolikos Agrinio 1-0 away on Sunday, wrapped up the 2011-2012 Greek Superleague championship.
Xanthi - Doxa Drama 1-0
Asteras Tripoli - OFI Crete 2-2
Ergotelis Crete - Atromitos Athens 2-2
PAOK Thessaloniki - PAS Yannina 1-2
Panionios Athens - Levadiakos Livadia 2-0
Panathinaikos Athens - Aris Thessaloniki 1-0
Panetolikos Agrinio - Olympiakos Piraeus 0-1
Kerkyra - AEK Athens 2-2
The standings after 27 weeks of play
Asteras Tripolis 39
PAS Yannina 32
Doxa Drama 15
Panathinaikos has been penalised with -3 points and an elimination.
 Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glanceNewspaper interviews by the ND and PASOK leaders ahead of the general elections, speculation of a new storm of austerity measures after the elections, and the ongoing police 'sweep' operation to crack down on illegal migration and illicit trade in wider Athens were the main front-page items in Athens' newspapers on Sunday.
AVGHI: "Turn towards the Left".
AVRIANI: "Samaras: Consecutive elections until self-sufficient government (parliamentary majority) arises".
DIMOKRATIA: "New tricks - Exercises in manipulation with 'doctored' opinion polls on the way to elections".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "30-day war for the undecided vote".
EPOCHI: "Third Memorandum coming in June".
ETHNOS: "Venizelos: First place for PASOK (in elections) a realistic target".
KATHIMERINI: "Samaras: Free my hands in order to govern Greece".
KERDOS: "The next government's tax...menu".
LOGOS: "How the new pensions will be calculated".
NIKI: "65,000 pupils migrating abroad - Each year more students opt for universities abroad".
REALNEWS: "Cuts in salaries by 40 percent".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Crush PASOK-ND in the elections, fortify KKE".
TO ARTHRO: "Full lack of governance".
TO PARASKINIO: "Burning testimonies on the 2009 deficit".
TO VIMA: "Code 'Athens' for 800,000 illegal immigrants".
VRADYNI: "DEKO (public utilities and organisations), Banks: Retirement now in order not to lose your privileges".
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