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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-04-07

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

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

Saturday, 7 April 2012 Issue No: 4041

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM sends clear message to Ankara
  • [02] Election date to be announced in coming week, PM says
  • [03] PASOK leader's interview with Der Spiegel
  • [04] PASOK leader Venizelos addressed party's nat'l council
  • [05] Former minister returns to PASOK
  • [06] Photojournalists protest at riot police attack on union president Marios Lolos
  • [07] EU television spot will cease airing during campaign period
  • [08] DM reviews military exercise
  • [09] Evaluation for teachers postponed for four months
  • [10] US ambassador visits Patras town hall
  • [11] British ambassador: British companies interested in investing5bln euros in Greece
  • [12] Seamen's strike to go ahead as planned in middle of Holy Week
  • [13] LA.O.S on PNO strike
  • [14] Greece to auction 1.0-bln-euro 6-month T-bills on Tues.
  • [15] First lawsuits against PSI tabled before Council of State
  • [16] Greek bond market closing report
  • [17] Akrotiri archaeological site on Santorini reopens next week
  • [18] Four dead in Kryoneri car-train collision
  • [19] Lawyer alleged to be owner of weaponry arrested
  • [20] Cyprus company dealer remanded for overpricing charge
  • [21] Suspected bomb at ATM a burglary tool
  • [22] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM sends clear message to Ankara

    NICOSIA (AMNA/CNA)

    Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos made it clear on Friday that partition is not an option as far as a political settlement in Cyprus is concerned, reiterating that a solution must be in line with UN decisions and provide for a bizonal, bicommunal federation with a single international personality, one sovereignty and one citizenship.

    Addressing the House plenary, during his two-day official visit to Cyprus, he also said that the solution must provide for the evolution of the Cypriot state and not its dissolution.

    Papademos called on Turkey to undertake "decisive initiatives" towards the Turkish Cypriot side, if it really has the political will to work for a settlement in Cyprus.

    "We believe that Cyprus' EU membership and exploitation of natural gas reserves can be positive factors towards a comprehensive and agreed settlement in Cyprus to the benefit of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots," he said.

    In his address, the Greek PM reaffirmed his unwavering and long-standing support of the Greek political leadership to efforts aiming at ending Turkey's occupation of Cyprus northern part.

    "Support to Cyprus unites Greece," he noted, adding that he also supports the ongoing UN-led peace talks between Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu. The solution must comply with Cyprus' status as an EU member and must restore the fundamental freedoms of all Cypriots.

    On attempts to convene an international conference on Cyprus, Papademos stressed that unless the internal aspects of the question of Cyprus - territory, property and the issue of Turkish settlers - are resolved, there can be no constructive discussion on such a conference.

    He criticized Ankara's approach on this, saying it has to contribute towards the resolution of these issues by acting on the Turkish Cypriot side.

    "Greece looks forward to full normalization of Greco-Turkish relations. This however can only happen once a mutually acceptable solution in Cyprus is achieved, which will also give an impetus to Turkey's European aspirations, provided this candidate country meets EU criteria," he added.

    Referring to the forthcoming EU presidency which Cyprus will hold in the second half of the year, he said it is high time that EU principles are applied throughout the territory of the Republic of Cyprus. Now implementation of the acquis communautaire has been suspended in the areas of the Republic under Turkish occupation, where the legal government of Cyprus is prevented from exercising its jurisdiction, as provided by protocol 10 of the accession treaty.

    The Prime Minister criticized Turkey's unacceptable threats and other hostile moves with regard to Cyprus' sovereign right to explore its natural gas deposits in its exclusive economic zone. Large deposits have been discovered following exploratory drilling by US based Noble energy.

    Concluding his address, he thanked Cyprus for its support during the trying times the country is facing as a result of the financial problems Greece it has to tackle.

    Earlier today, Papademos met with House President Yiannakis Omirou.

    Cyprus has been divided since Turkish troops invaded in 1974. The latest round of UN-led peace talks began in September 2008 with a view to finding a political settlement that would reunite the country, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    [02] Election date to be announced in coming week, PM says

    NICOSIA (AMNA - A. Viketos)

    Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos on Friday told reporters that he will have an answer concerning the date of the next general elections in Greece when he returns to Athens during the week leading up to Orthodox Easter.

    Papademos, who is currently on a visit to Cyprus, made the statement in reply to an AMNA reporter, following his meeting with Cyprus Archbishop Chrysostomos in Nicosia.

    [03] PASOK leader's interview with Der Spiegel

    BERLIN (AMNA / F. Karaviti)

    PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos did not rule out the likelihood of more cuts aimed at meeting the terms of the bailout programme, in an interview with the German magazine "Der Spiegel", to be published in Monday's issue.

    Venizelos referred to painful reforms, pointing out that "we will not be able to implement them without the support of the people". He said that, hopefully, elections will be held in May and clarified that PASOK is not his property.

    Responding to a question on whether he intends to renegotiate the assistance package if he becomes prime minister, he said that the programme is being assessed every three months, adding that "we are willing to implement the terms but those terms can be adjusted."

    Asked if the troika (EC-ECB-IMF) demands are excessive, he responded that Greece should accept the terms set by its partners considering that it has made mistakes.

    He assured that Greece's lenders will get their money back, adding that "the German taxpayers are benefiting from the good placement of their money made by their government." He clarified that "the German finance minister can borrow virtually without a cost and lend the money to us with a certain interest rate". This way Germany has earned roughly 400 million euros from Greece in the past two years he said, underlining that Greece is not the biggest crisis hotbed because its debt corresponds to a merely 2.5 pct of the Eurozone debt.

    As regards the elections, Venizelos expressed hope that they will take place in May. Commenting on German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble's call to have elections in Greece postponed, he said that "everybody in the EU respects the sovereignty of the states. Holding elections is a national policy matter. No outside pressure is necessary. The majority of the Greeks accepts the need for reforms and wants the country to remain in the Eurozone."

    Responding to a question on whether PASOK will evolve from a "Papandreou" party to a "Venizelos team", he stressed that he is not a member of a political dynasty, adding that he is the president of the Socialists and the party is not his property.

    [04] PASOK leader Venizelos addressed party's nat'l council

    PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos on Friday addressed his party's National Council meeting and underlined that the Greek parliament cannot host fascism and Nazism sympathizers.

    "Greece, despite the difficulties, will follow its European course that offers a safe path for the return to economic stability or else it will follow a blind course towards some other direction that nobody says which will be, what its goal will be or the guarantees," Venizelos stated, pointing out that this is what's at stake in the general elections. He added that

    PASOK's goal is to win saying that it "is both realistic and attainable".

    Venizelos characterized as a challenge the New Democracy (ND) position for a "second election round" if no majority government can be formed.

    Referring to PASOK MPs who do not wish to run in the imminent elections, he said that this is a natural process of renewal, pointing out that over 60 pct of the party's candidates will be new faces.

    "All those who accept the party's strategy should join in," he said, adding that being recently elected to the leadership of PASOK he extends an invitation of unity. He added that the party's entire parliamentary group will be running in the elections and invited all those who recently parted ways with PASOK to return if they accept the political framework he has set.

    [05] Former minister returns to PASOK

    Former minister and PASOK secretary Mariliza Xenoyian-nakopoulou announced her return to the PASOK party on Friday, following her meeting with PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos the previous day.

    Xenoyiannakopoulou had resigned from the government of Lucas Papademos, where she was alternate foreign minister, following her refusal to vote in favour of the measures in the second memorandum for the loans to Greece. She was later also expelled from PASOK's Parliamentary group.

    After Venizelos' address to PASOK's National Council, the greater Athens MP said she had responded to the PASOK leader's call for universal participation and unity and the political framework he had outlined.

    Gov't pledges investigation into serious injury of Greek Photojournalists Union president by police in Athens violence

    The Greek government on Friday expressed its regret over the serious injury of the president of the Greek Photojournalists Union during violence in Athens on Thursday night, and pledged an investigation to shed full light into the circum-stances.

    The president of Greek Photojournalists Union Marios Lolos was seriously injured during clashes on Thursday afternoon in Syntagma Square, downtown Athens, and was due to undergo surgery on Friday. According to information, Lolos was hit on the head with the metal grip of a police club, resulting in a skull fracture.

    Greek Police headquarters ordered an immediate administrative investigation into the circumstances of the incident as well as charges -- by journalists covering the protest and the clashes -- of police violent against media reporters.

    Government spokesman Pantelis Kapsis on Friday expressed the government's deep regret over Lolos' injury, adding that it is a self-evident obligation of the State to fully clarify the circumstances and attribute responsibilities.

    Meanwhile, journalists, photoreporters and other media workers staged a demonstration outside the citizens protection ministry at noon on Friday, responding to a call by their unions,

    The demonstrators are protesting violence by riot police against the media in two demonstrations in Syntagma Square on Wednesday and Thursday sparked by the public suicide of 77-year-old retired pharmacist Dimitris Christoulas opposite Parliament on Wednesday morning, who shot himself in the head in despair over financial problems apparently linked to the economic crisis.

    Journalist Rena Maniou was struck several times by riot police during Wednesday's demonstration, followed by Lolos during Thursday's demonstration.

    The attacks were condemned by the Greek Photojournalists' Union, which charged that "information is being targeted", and by the Pan-Hellenic Federation of Journalists Unions, which charged an attempt to muzzle freedom of the press.

    [06] Photojournalists protest at riot police attack on union president Marios Lolos

    Greek photojournalists on Friday staged a protest outside the conference centre where the PASOK party was holding its 14th National Council meeting, protesting against an attack on their union president Marios Lolos by riot police on Thursday evening.

    Lolos was seriously injured after being struck on the back of the head with a baton by an MAT riot policeman.

    He was admitted to a private clinic on Friday, where he underwent surgery to repair a skull fracture. According to an announcement issued by the clinic, the operation went well and Lolos appeared to be making a satisfactory recovery in a High Care Unit.

    He had been diagnosed with a skull fracture, cerebral contusion and subarachnoid cerebral haemorrhage.

    [07] EU television spot will cease airing during campaign period

    The television spot "Greece-EU-Together" will stop being aired as soon as the election campaign is officially declared, the head of the European Commission representation in Greece, Panos Karvounis, said on Friday, in response to a relevant letter addressed by Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras.

    The leftist leader underlined in his letter that the television spot in question should stop being aired and stressed that there should be no interference in the election process, citing statements allegedly made by European Commission official Matthias Mors.

    In response, Karvounis said he spoke with Mors, and that the latter had assured him that he never expressed a preference as regards any political party in the imminent general elections in Greece.

    [08] DM reviews military exercise

    Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on Friday observed the last phase of a military exercise, code-named"Pirpolitis", conducted by the national defence general staff.

    In statements afterwards, he underlined that the country's defence system can guarantee its territorial integrity, as well as stability in the greater region. He also stated that the country's deterrent force was highlighted "when some may want to believe that the economic crisis has weakened our defence forces".

    Speaking aboard the frigate "Psara", Avramopoulos watched a simulated reoccupation of a rocky islet by army helicopters, supported by air force and naval forces.

    [09] Evaluation for teachers postponed for four months

    Education Minister George Babiniotis on Friday obtained the government's consent to postpone the evaluation of primary and secondary school teachers for a period of roughly four months, saying that further dialogue on the issue was necessary.

    After consulting with the other ministries involved, it was decided that teachers would not be evaluated using the same procedure envisaged for other public sector staff.

    A presidential decree outlining the procedure for evaluation was originally envisaged to be issued by May 4 but, according to an education ministry announcement, the criteria for evaluating teachers were too dissimilar to those for other public-sector staff and further dialogue with teachers was necessary.

    An amendment extending the deadline for issuing the presidential decree was tabled on Friday with the development ministry's business environment bill.

    [10] US ambassador visits Patras town hall

    Patras Mayor Yiannis Dimaras on Friday received US ambassador Daniel B. Smith at the City Hall for talks on issues related to the economic crisis and its impact on society, hydrocarbon exploration scheduled to be conducted in the region, local infrastructure and illegal migration.

    The mayor of Patras referred to the actions and initiative undertaken by local authorities in support of the financially weaker.

    Among the issues discussed were prospects for the region's economic growth and existing infrastructure, a new harbour and tourism.

    Financial News

    [11] British ambassador: British companies interested in investing5bln euros in Greece

    British companies are interested in making investments of 5 billion euros in various areas of Greece, which will create 10,000 new jobs, British ambassador to Greece, Dr. David Landsman, told AMNA.

    Affirming undiminished interest for developmental investments in Greece, the British envoy, however, also noted the concern but also the expectations of the British enterprises for a simplification of the regulatory framework in the Greek market.

    Regarding the meeting he had on Monday with development minister Anna Diamantopoulou, Landsman noted that "meetings such as this are a significant opportunity in the direction of materialising projects that bring developmental benefits to both our countries".

    Speaking in impeccable Greek, the ambassador noted: "The projects we discussed, including some concerning high-level housing and tourism development, have been at the planning stage for years. Throughout all these years, the British companies providing the financing and knowhow for these projects have renewed their active interest in their investment and in Greece."

    Echoing what he told Diamantopoulou, Landsman told AMNA: "I hope that these projects will be approved and that they will pave the way for investments of more than five billion euros and for the creation of approximately 10,000 jobs in various areas of the country. The minister briefed me on the clear-cut orientation of the Greek government on matters of growth and especially on the fast track procedures. There is no reason why these projects should not proceed quickly."

    "We will continue our close and active cooperation with the Greek government on all these projects," the British envoy continued.

    Landsman said that during his meeting with Diamantopoulou he also brought up "the concern of some other British companies, including internationally-known names, which have for years been active in Greece and show interest in the Greek market remains undiminished".

    The ambassador expressed his conviction that "the reforms in the market regulatory framework will substantially boost growth and employment", as was seen in the experience of Britain and also many other EU member states, "and I am certain that this could be true in Greece as well".

    This is an important issue, Landsman said, adding that "we will continue to work together with the ministry on this matter".

    [12] Seamen's strike to go ahead as planned in middle of Holy Week

    Greek seamen have decided to go ahead with a 48-hour strike planned for the middle of the Orthodox Holy Week next week, after talks with the government on Thursday were deemed

    "unsatisfactory" by their umbrella federation PNO on Friday, and despite appeals and pressure by tourism and market organisations.

    The Pan-Hellenic Seamen's Federation (PNO) executive committee on Monday called a 48-hour nationwide strike on April 10 and 11, and the outcome of talks with development, competitiveness and shipping minister Anna Diamantopoulou was deemed unsatisfactory during a PNO meeting on Friday.

    The strike, which comes in the middle of the Holy Week before Orthodox Easter will create serious problems for Easter holidaymakers planning to spend the holiday on the Greek islands, but also to tourist enterprises who were looking to the long-awaited holiday to drum up revenues in the recession-hit country.

    [13] LA.O.S on PNO strike

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.O.S) on Friday lashed out at the seamen's federation (PNO) in response to a strike it announced for the Orthodox Easter Week.

    Spokesman Costas Aivaliotis stated that "the limits between striking and blackmail have become blurred by PNO's absurdities ... next week is a Holy Week for all Greeks and it is not the appropriate time for an exercise in inconvenience."

    He also called for a "measure of seriousness", referring to the election date, pointing out that from Feb. 19, which was the initial date suggested, "we are now talking about May and even later".

    [14] Greece to auction 1.0-bln-euro 6-month T-bills on Tues.

    Greece will auction a six-month Treasury bills issue next Tuesday, April 10, seeking to raise 1.0 billion euros from the market.

    The Public Debt Management Organization, in a statement, said the settlement date for the new issue will be April 17 and noted that the auction will be made with the market's primary dealers. The Organization will also accept non-competitive offers at a cut-off price up to 30 pct of the asked sum. The organization will pay no commission for the issue.

    [15] First lawsuits against PSI tabled before Council of State

    The first two lawsuits asking for a cancellation of the PSI bond swap by two small-scale private investors have been filed before the Council of State, Greece's supreme administrative court for Constitutional and other issues.

    The two bond holders each ask that the court rule the cabinet decisions that activated Collective Action Clauses and forced investors to accept the PSI bond haircut illegal and unconstitutional.

    The two plaintiffs are a widow that filed on behalf of her 76-year-old sister, who owned Greek state bonds worth 433,000 euro and was forced to exchange these for bonds with a face value of 231,665 euro, and a pensioner that had 9,000 euro in state bonds that were now worth 4,825 euro. Each of them sustained losses of roughly 53.5 percent.

    They argue that the forced bond swap violated articles of the Greek Constitution relating to equality, democracy, property and fair trial, as well as sections of the European Convention on Human Rights for the protection of property and the right to fair trial.

    [16] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds remained above 20 pct, at 20.29 pct, in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Friday, with the Greek bond yielding 22.02 pct and the German Bund 1.73 pct. There was no turnover in the market.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 1.40 pct, the six-month rate 1.06 pct, the three-month eased to 0.76 pct and the one-month rate was 0.41 pct.

    General News

    [17] Akrotiri archaeological site on Santorini reopens next week

    The Akrotiri archaeological site on the island of Santorini will reopen next week, after remaining closed for more than 6 1/2 years following the collapse of a steel roof that claimed the life of a British tourist and injured six other visitors.

    In September 2005, a steel roof in the archaeological site collapsed, killing a tourist from Wales and injuring another six -- two Slovenian tourists, two Americans, a German and a Greek -- three of them seriously.

    A new roof of stainless steel and wood has replaced the collapsed roof, and the prehistoric settlement will open again to the public next week, which is the Holy Week leading up to Orthodox Easter.

    The culture ministry at the time had blamed the collapse on "wrong technical choices", and three engineers involved in the construction of the roof over the site were charged.

    The original steel roof was built by a consortium comprising J&P Joannou Paraskevaidis (Greece), Avax Group, Gnomon, and Impregilo SpA, which won an international tender for the project in 1999.

    A contract between the archaeological society and the culture and tourism ministry will be signed at noon on Sunday, as decided during an extraordinary meeting called at the ministry on Thursday night by culture and tourism deputy minister Petros Alivizatos.

    Akrotiri is one of the most important prehistoric settlements of the Aegean.

    The first habitation at the site dates from the Late Neolithic times (at least the 4th millennium B.C.). During the Early Bronze Age (3rd millennium B.C.), a sizeable settlement was founded and in the Middle and early Late Bronze Age (ca. 20th-17th centuries B.C.) it was extended and gradually developed into one of the main urban centres and ports of the Aegean.

    The large extent of the settlement (approx. 20 hectares), the elaborate drainage system, the sophisticated multi-storied buildings with the magnificent wall-paintings, furniture and vessels, show its great development and prosperity.

    The various imported objects found in the buildings indicate the wide network of its external relations. Akrotiri was in contact with Crete but also communicated with the Greek Mainland, the Dodecanese, Cyprus, Syria and Egypt.

    The town's life came to an abrupt end in the last quarter of the 17th century B.C. when the inhabitants were obliged to abandon it as a result of severe earthquakes. There followed the devastating eruption of the island's volcano, known as the Minoan or Thera (Santorini) eruption, one of the largest volcanic events on Earth in recorded history. The volcanic materials covered the entire island and the town itself. These materials, however, have protected up to date the buildings and their contents, just like in Pompeii.

    [18] Four dead in Kryoneri car-train collision

    Four people were killed and one person injured in a collision between a car and a train at 12:30 p.m. on Friday in Kryoneri, Attica.

    Two of the people killed, as well as the man that was injured, were Pakistani nationals who were possibly hit while attempting to help the passengers in the car.

    The accident occurred at a level crossing at the end of Anixi road when the car driven by an elderly couple veered off course and onto the rails, where it became stuck as the Athens-Thessaloniki intercity train was coming down the track.

    It is possible that the three Pakistanis that witnessed the scene and attempted to help the elderly couple trapped inside but were unable to get them out in time.

    The fire brigade had to be called in to free the bodies of the dead passengers inside the car and the bodies of two Pakistani men that were trapped between the car and the train.

    The injured man was taken to a hospital to receive first aid.

    An investigation into the causes of the accident are being carried out by the Malakasa traffic police while the railway was closed for several hours on Friday afternoon.

    [19] Lawyer alleged to be owner of weaponry arrested

    A 50-year-old lawyer, against whom a prosecutor's warrant was pending, was arrested late Thursday in downtown Athens. The lawyer is alleged to be the owner of a cache of weapons found on Tuesday in a vacant condo in the coastal city of Artemida, near Athens.

    The lawyer's wife and the apartment's proprietor have been already arrested.

    According to police the suspects were involved in weapon trading.

    The suspect will be sent on Friday to prosecutor.

    [20] Cyprus company dealer remanded for overpricing charge

    A dealer representing a Cyprus company that sold an allegedly overpriced phone surveillance system to the Greek intelligence service EYP four years ago was on Thursday remanded in custody on charges of fraud and money-laundering, after appearing before an examining magistrate.

    Based on an investigation by the Greek financial crimes squad (SDOE) and an internal inquiry carried out within EYP, the dealer greatly inflating the cost of the system, which was sold to both EYP and Greece's counter-terrorism service in 2008.

    The Cypriot company was set up by a representative of the Greek dealership, which was in charge of the supply contract for the surveillance system as the official dealer for the German company that won the contract.

    The inquiry showed that the Cypriot 'dummy' company was assigned the job of upgrading the system in question in order to justify additional charges and greatly increase the amount paid relative to the original budget of approximately two million euro. The final cost for the supply and installation of the system finally came to seven million euro.

    [21] Suspected bomb at ATM a burglary tool

    A suspected bomb reported early on Friday morning at a Emporiki Bank ATM cashpoint machine in the port of Agios Nikolaos in Lasithi, Crete was in fact a sophisticated burglary tool, police said.

    Following the bomb scare, police had cordoned off the area but closer inspection proved that the device was a home-made system for generating ultrasounds in order to deactivate the ATM alarm, along with oxygen tanks and acetylene blow torch that were abandoned by the burglars.

    [22] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The negotiations for the banks' recapitalisation, the pharmacists' suspension of giving medicine on credit, the arrangement for SIEMENS and the parties' campaign ahead of the general elections, mostly dominated the headlines on Friday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Ownership-occupancy tax, too!".

    AVGHI: "Seisachtheia (set of laws instituted by ancient Athenian lawmaker Solon) for farmers and small and medium size enterprises".

    AVRIANI: "New Democracy (ND): No cooperation government".

    DEALnews: "Two currencies".

    DIMOKRATIA: "Antonis (Samaras), have mercy on us".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Social Agreement for Greece in Europe (new party) co-president and former PASOK minister Louca Katseli points the finger at PASOK's leadership".

    ESTIA: "Scandinavia-level taxes and banana republic services".

    ETHNOS: "Patients' Golgotha at pharmacies".

    IMERISSIA: "One out of three stocks in status of surveillance or trade suspension".

    KATHIMERINI: "IMF head Christine Lagarde: Greece has not yet avoided bankruptcy".

    LOGOS: "They 'washed away' SIEMENS 'sins'."

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Course of total disdain for the new Greek bonds'.

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Weak PASOK and ND in elections and strong Communist Party (KKE)".

    TA NEA: "They are now taking their money out of Switzerland, too".

    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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