|Saturday, 24 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-04-10
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 10 April 2012 Issue No: 4043
 Renewable energy projects up 74% in 2011The power of photovoltaic systems operating in Greece more than tripled in 2011, compared with 2010, while the capacity of renewable energy sources grew by 74 pct last year, the Envrionment, Energy and Climate Change ministry said on Monday.
A report, presented by the ministry, showed that total power capacity of renewable energy sources grew by 770 MW in 2011 to surpass 2,500 MW in the year. Photovoltaic systems recorded the biggest growth rate (from 198 MW in 2010 to 626 MW in 2011, for an increase of 215 pct).
Windpower parks remained the dominant technology with a total power capacity of 1,636 MW in 2011, from 1,300 MW in 2010, while small hydroelectric power units grew by 5.0 pct to 206 MW.
The ministry stressed that energy projects, with a total power of 2,530 MW were currently in contracting process (up 185 pct from 2010), creating hopes of a rapid growth in power capacity next year, while installation licenses grew 10 pct in 2011 and production licenses rose by 51 pct over the same period.
 Gov't promises Athens inner city regenerationDevelopment, Competitiveness & Shipping Minister Anna Diamantopoulou and Labour Minister Giorgos Koutroumanis on Monday signed an agreement with Athens Mayor George Kaminis for the regeneration, as the plan is called, of several inner city districts.
The "Athens Again" project, which has the approval of the European Commission Task Force for Greece, is an attempt to breathe new life into the city of Athens over the next decade via 2014-2020 National Strategic Reference Framework (ESPA) funds of more than one billion euros, money to be managed by the municipality.
The immediate measures and actions included in the project focus on the strengthening of local entrepreneurship and competitiveness, upgrading of the quality of live for urban dwellers, managing the social crisis effectively and ensuring the project's implementation and sustainability.
Certain parts of central Athens have been plagued over recent years by the congregation of thousands of illegal immigrants, practically all from Third World countries, along drug addicts, street peddlers hawking bootleg goods and the petty or serious crime often generated by such conditions.
 State funding of political parties approved by Parliament majorityA legislative clause allowing the release of the last installment for 2011 and two 2012 installments of state funds allocated to political parties was passed in Parliament on Monday, with 155 votes in favour and 56 against, while three MPs voted "present".
The main characteristic of the roll-call vote, requested by the Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.O.S) party, was the absence of 86 MPs.
MPs of LA.O.S, the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), the Democratic Left and various other independent deputies voted against. The clause also also was opposed by three PASOK MPs: Giorgos Charalambopoulos, Anna Dalara, Olga Rentari-Tente.
 PASOK leader meets with top cadresPASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos on Monday held separate meetings at his office in Parliament with Environment, Energy & Climate Change Minister George Papaconstantinou, followed by Alternate Defence Minister Yiannis Ragoussis.
The meetings reportedly focused on the overall political situation and exchanged views on the party's election campaign.
Announcements on the names of PASOK candidates to run in the imminent general elections will be made during the party's national council meeting on Wednesday.
 Samaras reiterates need for ND absolute majorityNew Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras insisted on Monday evening that general elections should be held on May 6, while calling for an absolute majority for his party.
Speaking in an interview with the MEGA TV private channel, Samaras reiterated his intention to change aspects of the policy being followed at present.
"Elections will be held on May 6 despite the fact that some do not want it. If a majority government will not be formed, then new elections will forcibly follow, because the country cannot remain unruled. All those, within Greece and outside Greece who represent a vicious system, do not want a powerful government," Samaras added.
"I want to have my hands free in order to take the necessary decisions," the ND leader said, adding that there was no question for him forming a coalition government with currently ruling PASOK party.
He also said that if elected, he would proceed to some changes regarding current policies, a possibility that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recognises, as he said.
 KKE rejects SYRIZA proposal for cooperation in single-seat constituenciesThe Communist Party (KKE) on Monday flatly rejected a Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) proposal for cooperation in the single-seat constituencies.
In a press conference, KKE head Aleka Papariga reminded that a similar proposal was made by PASOK in 1981 and was rejected too adding that she is doubtful of SYRIZA's true intentions.
Papariga rejected the likelihood of cooperation with other political powers, adding that KKE should come out of the general elections reinforced as opposed to the political parties of PASOK and New Democracy (ND), which should be weakened.
 New envoy on Bulgarian-Greek economic cooperationSOFIA (AMNA / B. Borisov)
The president of the Bulgarian Commerce and Economic Chamber (BEOE), Tsvetan Simeonov, met on Monday with the newly appointed Bulgarian ambassador to Athens Emilia Kraleva.
Cooperation between BEOE and Greek partners is continuing with unabated dynamism both on a bilateral level and on the international levels, in the Balkans, the EU and the Black Sea Cooperation Pact, Simeonov told the new envoy, according to a chamber press release.
On her part, Kraleva underlined her intention to make every possible effort for the further development of Bulgarian-Greek economic relations.
 Seamen: Strike as planned on Tuesday and WednesdayShips will remain docked at ports throughout the country as of midnight Monday as the Pan-Hellenic Seamen's Federation (PNO) decided to go-ahead as planned with a 48-hour strike for Tuesday and Wednesday despite a flurry of meetings with the government over the past four days in a bid to avert the industrial action.
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.
The seamen's umbrella federation PNO announced the strike next week, and several rounds of talks were held with the government, including development, competitiveness and shipping minister Anna Diamantopoulou, health minister Andreas Loverdos and labor minister George Koutroumanis, amid appeals by trade and tourism associations.
PNO said that the federation's executive committee confirmed on Monday that the strike will go ahead as planned, beginning at midnight, noting that the sector's problems put forward to the government have not been resolved, and no proposals put to the relevant ministers have been satisfied.
The government, on its part, said it is determined to safeguard the public interest with all means.
 PASOK leader denounces seamen's union strikePASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos on Monday denounced a scheduled a 48-hour strike for Tuesday and Wednesday by the Pan-Hellenic Seamen's Federation (PNO), claiming that some parties "for political reasons, are behind the strike, which injures the tourism sector and the country's image."
"This makes me believe that there are political forces that aim at the country's dissolution, and are rejoicing when this happens," he added.
The PASOK leader called for all parties to "realise their responsibilities and stop playing games at the detriment of the national economy and Greek society.
Passenger ships will reportedly remain docked at ports throughout the country as of midnight Monday, as PNO decided to go-ahead as planned with a 48-hour strike for Tuesday and Wednesday, despite a flurry of meetings with the government over the past four days in a bid to avert the industrial action.
 Gov't blames KKE for seamen's strikeDevelopment, Competitiveness & Shipping Minister Anna Diamantopoulou on Monday commented on the Panhellenic Seamen's Federation (PNO) decision to go ahead with a 48-hour strike as of midnight on Monday, saying that it was dictated by the Communist Party (KKE) to serve petty political purposes ahead of the election.
In her statement, Diamantopoulou stressed that the PNO decision cancels any agreement that has been reached during the talks with the seamen's unionists, adding that the inflexible persistence displayed by some has cancelled out any commitments undertaken by the government toward the sector.
She underlined that the PNO mobilizations have a uniqueness, considering that "the damage caused to the public interest and society is being caused soon after they are being announced and not as much in their duration". Finally, the minister stressed that all the problems in the Greek coastal shipping sector that remain unsolved for decades should be put on the table immediately after the elections and become the subject of an honest dialogue.
 Striking Hellenic Steel Industry workers protest outside labor ministryStriking Hellenic Steel Industry workers staged a rally outside the labor ministry in central Athens on Monday.
The workers, who have been on strike for more than four months, are seeking a meeting with labor minister George Koutroumanis who, however, is in parliament at the present time.
Traffic in front of the ministry, on Stadiou street, has been disrupted.
 Greek inflation slowed to 1.7 pct in MarchGreek inflation slowed further to 1.7 pct in March, from 2.1 pct in February, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Monday.
The statistics service, in a monthly report, however said prices of basic products and services -comprising the so-called household basket- recorded significant increases in March reflecting higher oil and petrol prices, or higher taxes.
The consumer price index rose 1.7 pct in March compared with March 2011, after rising by 4.5 pct in the same month last year, while it rose by 2.8 pct in March from February 2012, after a 3.3 pct increase recorded in the same period last year.
The statistics service, attributed the March figure to a 2.4 pct increase in food and beverage prices, a 0.5 pct rise in alcohol/tobacco prices, a 6.9 pct increase in housing prices, a 3.8 pct rise in transport, a 2.7 pct increase in hotel/coffe/restaurant prices, an 1.1 pct rise in other goods and services. However, clothing/footwear prices fell 3.6 pct, health prices eased 0.9 pct, communication prices fell 1.0 pct and education prices eased 1.0 pct.
Greece's harmonized inflation rate slowed to 1.4 pct in March from 1.7 pct in February and 4.3 pct in March 2010.
 Occupancy in tourism destinations up to 50 percent downHotel owners, mostly of the Greek island, said on Monday that the seamen's strike on Holy Tuesday and Wednesday has given the final blow to the Greek tourism, underlining inter alia that the repercussions do not stop inside the Greek borders but also affect the foreign tourist markets, especially the important German and British markets.
The situation is anything but optimistic, the president of Zakynthos island Hoteliers Union Christina Tetradi told AMNA, noting that the decline in reservations on Zakynthos exceeds 50 percent. The same image prevails also on Corfu, the most popular tourist destination for the Easter holiday, where reservations have posted a 30 percent decline in occupancy.
According to Cephalonia Hoteliers Union president Spyros Galiatsatios, the damage has already been done, and he expressed the fear that the seamen's strike will have again severe repercussion on reservations from Germany, and reminded that the burning query put to Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos during his visit to the international tourist exhibition in Berlin, was regarding the strikes in Greece.
 Greek exports up 1.4 pct in FebGreek exports rose 1.4 pct in February, while imports continued falling in the same month, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Monday.
The statistics service, in a report, said that the value of import-arrivals -excluding oil products- totaled 2.349 billion euros in February, from 2.721 billion in February 2011, for a decline of 13.7 pct, while the value of export-deliveries -excluding oil products- totaled 1.251 billion euros in February, from 1.234 billion in February 2011, for an increase of 1.4 pct.
 Industrial production off 8.3 pct in FebIndustrial production plunged 8.3 pct in February, reflecting a 10.6 pct drop in manufacturing production in the country, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Monday. The statistics service attributed this negative development to a continuing decline in domestic demand and to higher fuel prices.
The industrial production composite index fell 8.3 pct in February, after falling by 4.3 pct in the same month in 2011. The statistics service, attributed this decline to an 11.5 pct drop in mining production, a 10.6 pct fall in manufacturing production (food -11.9 pct, beverage -17 pct, leather -33.5 pct, chemicals -18 pct, textiles -34.9 pct, clothing -32.2 pct and furniture -32.8 pct), an 1.8 pct fall in electricity production and an 1.4 pct fall in water production.
The industrial production average index for the period January-February 2012 fell 7.2 pct compared with the corresponding period in 2011.
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened further to 20.43 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, from 20.29 on Friday, with the Greek bond yielding 22.18 pct and the German Bund 1.75 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 rate 0.76 pct and the one-month rate 0.41 pct.
 Explosion outside government buildingA home-made incendiary device comprising small propane canisters went off in the first hours of Monday outside the ground-floor offices of a building housing the Special Secretariat for Administrative Reform and e-governance in the Neos Kosmos district of Athens.
The explosion, which occurred at 1:50 a.m., demolished the ground floor offices and three cars parked outside.
The fire was extinguished by a strong team of firefighters before spreading to other floors.
Police are conducting an investigation.
 Snowfall creates problems in NW GreeceUnseasonably cold weather with rain and snowfall has enveloped a portion of northern Greece on Monday.
Scattered drizzle was reported recorded in Thessaloniki with temperatures falling under 10 degrees Celsius.
Cloudy weather with scattered drizzle was recorded across the central Macedonia region, in northern Greece, where temperatures in the afternoon ranged between 5 and 11 degrees Celsius.
Single-digit temperatures were recorded in the western Macedonia region, with snowfall in the mountainous regions of Grevena, Kozani and Florina.
Due to the snowfall and icy conditions, snow chains were necessary for cars using the provincial road network leading to Metsovo, Samarina and Avdella, in the northwest.
 One arrest for illicit trade in fireworksA 32-year-old man was arrested after police raided a warehouse he owned near the south-central city of Lamia and confiscated 11,000 pieces of fireworks, 112 grams of hashish and various bottles of alcoholic drinks, it was announced on Monday.
Acting on a tip-off, undercover police officers set up a meeting with the suspect.
The meeting was held some 15 kilometers west of the city of Lamia and the suspect was arrested as soon as the transaction was completed.
The midnight mass on Easter Saturday is traditionally celebrated with fireworks outside churches and cathedrals in Greece, often resulting in injuries.
 Police rescue illegal migrants stranded on an islet in Evros RiverPolice rescued four illegal migrants who were stranded on an islet in the middle of the Evros River, in extreme NE Greece, while trying to cross over to Greece from Turkey, authorities said on Monday.
The four illegal migrants, three from the Dominican Republic and one from Sierra Leone, were located by a patrol and were brought to the Greek side of the river aboard an inflatable craft.
All four were led to a border guard station in Didimoticho.
 Human skeleton found in gorgeA human skeleton was found late Sunday in the area of Polychni near Thessaloniki, northern Greece.
The skeleton was found in a 20-30m deep gorge and according to initial estimations it is believed to belong to a woman. A woman's bag which contained clothing and other objects was found next to the skeleton.
A post mortem examination revealed wounds on the skull, possibly by a machine gun.
An investigation is underway.
 The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe seamen's strike on Holy Tuesday and Wednesday, the imminent general elections and the banks' recapita-lisation, mostly dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "25 taxes for municipalities alone!".
AVRIANI: "300,000 euro disappeared from insurance companies".
DIMOKRATIA: "PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos a servant of the troika".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Arrangement 'life boat' for future pensioners".
ESTIA: "The declaration of general elections".
ETHNOS: "Crucifixion with strikes and high prices".
IMERISSIA: "Rage over the seamen's strike".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Total reversal in banks' map on the brink".
TA NEA: "Greece of passions".
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