|Friday, 23 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-05-28
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 28 May 2012 Issue No: 4082
 ND leader Samaras addresses message of unityOpening the New Democracy party's national conference on Saturday, ND leader Antonis Samaras addressed a message of unity, struggle and radical renewal and said that there were moments in the life of a party "where difficulties are converted into strength".
"We are the only force that can keep the country on its feet. Today's message is that of unity, struggle and rebirth. A struggle to pull the country out of the mire and rebirth so that we can make the leap to the future and use the country's wealth. Standing against us are those who feed despair and are armed with lies," he said.
He urged members to feel pride in their role as "the shield for preserving the gains of the Greek people" and expressed confidence that ND would emerge as the government after the June 17 elections.
Samaras called on ND's supporters to rally and "win the battle door-to-door", stressing that the issue at stake was not just the fate of the parties but the fate of the country as a whole.
He attacked the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), ND's neck-to-neck opponent based on the latest polls, saying that it had worked with PASOK to turn Greece into a country without investments.
"They now want to dismantle the police and represent a complete lack of policy. On the one hand they say they will repudiate the loan agreements and then they say that they will change everything about them," Samaras said, adding that the taxes proposed by SYRIZA would cause a new round of recession and unemployment, while stressing that Greece's European partners would not continue to give loans to Greece if it backed out of the bailout agreements.
Letting Greece default would be costly for Europe, but if it paid for Greece then the other countries with bailout agreements like Spain and Portugal would follow and the cost would be greater, he pointed out. Repudiating the bailout agreements would result in Greece being pushed out of the euro and a return to the drachma would slash incomes, savings and fortunes while the size of the debt will increase.
"There is no society or economy that could withstand such a collapse in such a short space of time. The country will be left without food, without fuel, without medicine. We will live in a continuous blackout," he said, adding that even leftists in Europe rejected SYRIZA's proposals as "nonsense" and that in essence, they served the interests of those seeking the return of the drachma so that they could buy up Greek assets "for a song".
"How can he offer labour rights when he will increase unemployment? When businesses leave, what do labour rights mean?" ND's leader emphasised.
Outlining his party's policy, Samaras said the goal would be to stop unemployment rising by the end of the year and then create "hundreds of thousands" of new jobs, without any further cuts to wages and pensions and without imposing new taxes.
"We have called for renegotiation to restore injustices. Roughly half a million of our fellow citizens will receive immediate relief," ND's leader promised, as well as pledging measures to help those people that took out loans or bought Greek bonds.
Samaras also promised significant tax cuts in order to attract investments to Greece and noted that the country could not declare an Exclusive Economic Zone and exploit its energy reserves without the backing of the EU and NATO, since it would stand alone if Turkey reacted.
On other issues, he called for changes to the Constitution and complete separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers, with the public interest above all.
ND's leader emphasised that the party's underlying ideology was social liberalism, an ideology that expressed the views of households and the middle class.
He also attacked SYRIZA's positions concerning illegal migration, saying that the party did not want the repatriation of migrants but to keep them in Greece with full rights.
Among the speakers that followed Samaras was formerly ousted party rebel Dora Bakoyannis, who has suspended the operation of her Democratic Alliance party in order to rejoin New Democracy after 2.5 years. She praised Samaras for his decision to unite the forces of the pro-bailout parties, saying it was difficult but politically and morally correct.
"We have before us the mother of all battles, we must join forces," Bakoyannis underlined.
 Samaras: June vote will not be 'loose' like that of MayIn his rejoinder at New Democracy's national party conference on Saturday, ND leader Antonis Samaras stressed that votes in the upcoming election will be much more targeted than in May.
"Unlike what happened on May 6, this time on June 17 the vote will not be loose. The crucial choice for the country's future will predominate. And every citizen wants to see clearly what he will choose. Not just to send a message but in order to give the most crucial mandate, so that the country can be governed on the following day," Samaras said.
According to ND's leader, there were three dilemmas facing voters: the first concerned those that would lead Greece to exiting the euro and the return of the drachma, the second was whether the country would be led to destruction or growth and the third lay between those who represented an obsession with the old and those who represented the new.
"We will not toy with such serious things. We will not toy with Greece. We represent stayin g in the euro and a change in the economic recipe so that Greece can start to grow and attain its goals," he emphasised.
He made it clear that he intends to restore low pensions and benefits for large familes, while refusing further cuts to wages and pensions and without new taxes.
 ND's Samaras 'slandering' workers' struggle, KKE claimsThe Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Saturday attacked New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras and accused him of shamelessly "turning reality on its head" in response to Samaras' criticism of KKE's support for a steelworkers' strike at Halyvourgiki.
"He blames KKE and the struggles of workers for the closure of businesses that the capitalists are closing to seek higher profit in other countries, for the closure of small and medium-sized businesses shut down by monopolies and the capitalist crisis, and the membership and adjustment to the EU," a KKE Central Committee announcement said.
Samaras had similarly blamed a struggle by dock workers for work and decent wages for a drop in tourism caused by rising poverty in Greece and other countries, the same announcement said.
"ND's leadership reveals the reactionary demand of plutocracy that will be implemented by any government that arises, whether centre-right or centre-left: to crush, to forbid popular worker militant demand and action, first of all in places of work, to forbid striking. Because they know that only in this way can they permanent condemn workers to impoverishment," the announcement continued.
 SYRIZA's leader strikes back at PASOK, ND and SimitisIn a stinging attack on the two mainstream parties New Democracy and PASOK, but also former PASOK premier Costas Simitis, the head of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Alexis Tsipras on Sunday stressed that the "people are resisting, organising, fighting back and eventually will prevail".
In his statement, Tsipras accused the "domestic political forces of the bailouts" of outdoing even Greece's creditors in their attempts to threaten, blackmail and even lie to the electorate over the last few days, raising the spectre of a euro exit for the country, in their efforts to terrorise people into complete submission to the dictates of the bailout programmes. He noted that, at the same time, the head of the Institute of International Finance Charles Dallara, economists and EU officials were emphasising the need to stop talk on a possible Greek exit because of its dire repercussions for the Eurozone and the global economy.
Replying to harsh statements made by IMF managing director Christine Lagarde to the Guardian concerning the sympathy due to crisis-hit people in Greece that were unable to get access to basic services, Tsipras noted that the last thing that Greece wanted from Lagarde was her sympathy. He stressed that ordinary working Greeks paid their taxes and that these taxes were extremely heavy, while urging Lagarde to ask the mainstream PASOK and ND parties why they had failed to ensure that taxes were paid by big business but had only hounded ordinary salaried employees for the last two years.
Tsipras accused ND of "returning to the past" and said that ND leader Antonis Samaras was facing them "arm-in-arm with graft, banking interests and the forces of inertia, kleptocracy, selfishness and submission". He stressed that the political parties, the officials of EU institutions, foreign financial speculators, employers and the media were united in trying to make Greek people submit to the bailouts and retain the politicians responsible for the country's moral, political and economic bankruptcy.
Referring to an article by Simitis appearing in the Sunday 'Vima', Tsipras said that Simitis had omitted even the slightest self-criticism in his article and had failed to mention the kickbacks for both the Olympic Games and military spending, nor the infrastructure projects that cost 10 times more than in other European countries or the scandal with Goldman Sachs.
 Tsipras repeats 'pro-Euro' stance in 'Der Spiegel' interviewCoalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA-EKM) party leader Alexis Tsipras stressed in an interview published by the German magazine "Der Spiegel" on Saturday that his party intended to everything in its power to keep Greece in the euro.
He repeated SYRIZA's position that the destruction of Greece's economy as a result of unrelenting austerity placed the future of the entire eurozone at risk.
In the interview, Tsipras said that he wanted a leftist government in Greece and, while admitting the necessity of reforms in the country, emphasised that the policy austerity had failed.
He described France's president Francois Hollande as "bringing hope" and said that SYRIZA was trying to convince Greece's European partners that ending excessive austerity was in the interests of the EU as a whole, while outlining his position in favour of a policy that would "not destroy the Greek economy but allow growth to begin again".
"If austerity policies are not changed, this will results in a complete destruction of the Greek economy and this will really be a danger for the euro," he noted, adding that the economic systems of countries were so closely interlinked that it was hard to contain the crisis geographically.
"If we continue to be pressed and blackmailed with an austerity programme that has so obviously failed, then Greece will soon no longer be able to pay its creditors. Then there will be a default of payments that will be forced into and this is dangerous, not just for Greece but for the whole European economy," he said.
Replying to an observation that he was promising voters the impossible, which was to keep the euro but backtrack on the agreements with the country's European partners, Tsipras denied that there was a contradiction and said he was trying to prevent European taxpayer's money being poured into a "bottomless barrel".
"We believe that these funds must be used correctly. Mainly on investments from which prosperity can arise. Only then can we really pay off our debt," he said. He also admitted that Greece was responsible for the current situation because its voters had for years put up with politicians that "destroyed our productive base and created a corrupt state", that sent their money abroad and who not only allowed tax evasion but actively promoted it, adding that all of this now had to change.
Asked which forces in Greece he would be prepared to work with after the elections in order to carry out his policies, Tsipras admitted that he wants a coalition of the Left and "would do everying so that the arithmetic is on our side, this time".
 Venizelos: Elections dilemma is not euro or drachmaThe dilemma facing voters at the June 17 elections was not a choice between the euro or the drachma but between a unilateral rejection of the bailout or its revision in the realistic manner his party has proposed, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos said in a televised press conference for all the media on Sunday.
He stressed that the proposal put forward by PASOK was the only "realistic and responsible" proposal put on the table by any of the political parties, since none of the others had a comprehensive plan. He also underlined that the path of unilateral rejection would be "blind" and "catastrophic" for the country, which would then become the scapegoat of Europe and the international community.
According to Venizelos, this 'blind' path would also strengthen extremist elements and work into the hands of the "drachma faction", which he identified as those investing in the prospect of buying up Greece cheaply, both in terms of its state-owned assets but also private property.
By contrast, he added, idea of a revision of the bailout conditions was already becoming accepted in Europe and an extension of the implementation of the bailout programme could be given until 2017.
"Everything that we propose is based on the provisions of the loan agreement and on the reduction of the debt, the recapitalisation of banks etc," PASOK's leader said, adding that he had proposed all of them on the day after he was elected to PASOK's leadership in the six-point proposal that he had unveiled.
Venizelos claimed that the conservative New Democracy party and its allies would be unable to carry out such a revision because they belonged to the same conservative European group that had imposed the specific harsh austerity on Greece. Similarly, European radical parties would be unable to support or promote a revision since they were campaigning on policies that opposed any more lending to Greece.
The election victory of Francois Hollande as French president had opened up a "glimmer of hope" since only the socialists were able and willing to help Greece, PASOK's leader added.
Concerning the result of the May 6 elections, Venizelos said that rage and rejection of the established parties had predominated while the next elections would be a time for a more positive vote and had to lead to a government that was mainly composed of the centre-left.
"The country needs a government that will unite the people and not divide them, that is able to revise the [loan agreements], that will revive the economy and restore Greece's prestige in Europe and the world," he emphasised.
During a tour of the northern Peloponnese on Saturday, with visits to Nafplion, Argos and other northeast Peloponnese towns, Venizelos had conveyed a message of "optimism and pride" to voters, and especially PASOK supporters. He said the 'harsh' message of the May 6 elections was that PASOK needed to be radically changed in order to become the party that its founder Andreas Papandreou had first envisaged, while stressing that its position in the centre-left was not an "artificial product linked to political coincidence".
Attacking the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), which is now second-largest party in the polls, Venizelos said that SYRIZA's leader Alexis Tsipras had been shown up as inferior to the task before him during his tour of Europe, while SYRIZA was falling daily into contradictions and seemed to be imitating "the worst aspects of PASOK".
He also criticised what he called an attempt to create a "barren political bipolarity" between a hardline, nationalist right on the one hand and a 'supposed Left' that he described as a "festival of populism, carelessness and irresponsibility".
During a talk in Argos, he referred to the advantages for Greece as a result of the PSI bond write-down, noting that he was one of the few Greek finance ministers that had reduced rather than increasing Greece's debt.
 PASOK's Venizelos: country cannot withstand third electionGreece cannot be lead to repeated elections because some political leaders were unable to understand that times were critical and were unable to agree on forming a government, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos stressed on Sunday, in reply to reporters' questions during a televised press conference.
He also repeated that no high-ranking PASOK members will be ministers in any government formed after the elections.
Venizelos stressed that the government that would arise would need strong legitimacy, because if the argument was used that it lacked legitimacy then nothing could be done.
PASOK had understood that the prospect of a single-party government did not exist for any of the political parties and was now campaigning for the people's vote, he said, adding that a debate between the two top parties did not have meaning in this context and should include all political leaders.
Commenting on the note written by Lucas Papademos and published in the Sunday Vima, he pointed out that Greece must carry out the bailout agreements for as long as it ran a deficit and needed outside help or else "run into problems".
In reply to other questions, PASOK's leader clarified that the additional 12 billion euro in measures that Greece was expected to come up with in June be achieved gradually by extending the period of fiscal consolidation by at least a year, adding that this was something that the EU appeared to agree with.
He was also strongly critical of those willing to take chances of a Greek exit from the euro in the belief that other countries would not allow this to happen because it would be too costly, saying that what they thought was a 'nuclear weapon' could well turn out to be a 'box of matches' that would set fire to Greece's hopes.
"We should not be primarily concerned about the repercussions that our country's exit from the euro might have for other countries but whether we'd rather be earning 700 euros or 700 inflationary drachmas, have the banking system collapse and deposits to evaporate," he added.
On the reductions to the minimum wage and the changes to collective bargaining legislated by his government, Venizelos said that he had chosen this course instead of abolishing the two holiday wages as the 'lesser of two evils' under pressure from the EU-IMF troika that believed this would boost competitiveness.
Concerning the candidates that the party will field in the June election, PASOK's leader said that the party was in transition and that these did not reflect the new face of PASOK.
 PASOK will be 'lynchpin' of June 18 government, Venizelos stresses"There can be no government on June 18 without PASOK," the leader of the PASOK party Evangelos Venizelos stressed on Saturday. He was speaking at a political event at the Corinth Chamber of Commerce, where he began a tour of Argos and Nafplio.
According to Venizelos, the only government policy that could be followed was PASOK's policy platform and the only solution was a government "with a responsible centre-left at its core". At the same time, he emphasised that PASOK was not prepared to be a "filler-in" for other parties and that its members would not be ministers in any government formed on June 18.
"If some believe that they can create a false impression of two poles, they are making a big mistake because it has been proved that people want collaboration," Venizelos added.
Concerning the repeat elections, he emphasised that the country had "paid dearly" for the dreams and ambitions of New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras to form a majority government, leading the country to elections and a social and economic impasse.
In this framework, he pointed out that the country could not be government by "majorities" of 17 or 20 percent, nor even 51 percent, and that people wanted a "national negotiating team" so that the country could become a truly equal partner in the eurozone and Europe that was able to sit at the table and negotiate.
Concerning the loan agreements and the Eurozone, Venizelos noted that these were an arena of "constant negotiation" but underlined that if a country was permanently having to borrow, it was not on an equal footing.
Venizelos outlined the six points in the loan agreements that PASOK would like to reviewed, with fiscal consolidation extended "for as long as necessary" in order to make it less painful. He added that Greece's European partners had already agreed to extend the consolidation period by about a year and the money for this had been found, while it was possible that money could be found for an additional two years.
Concerning the protection of labour rights, he claimed that the government had never wanted to change the regime governing collective agreements and that this was "imposed" by urgent pressure from business interests that came into direct contact with the EU-IMF troika.
He said that PASOK intended to renegotiate these points now that the election of Francois Hollande in France signalled a change in European balances in Europe. "In contrast to those who believe the country could weather unilateral actions, we call for an organised proposal to review some of the more unfavourable terms of the loan agreement," he said.
According to Venizelos, PASOK had opened a struggle on several fronts, fighting the "ultraconservative forces" that were the main support of New Democracy and "all versions of supposedly leftist populism". Alongside the election battle, he noted that PASOK would set in motion a plan for the 'rebirth' of the centre-left with PASOK as originally envisioned by Andreas Papandreou at its core.
"This is not the PASOK of 13 percent, it is the PASOK that expresses the soul of the Greek people," he concluded.
 Papariga: parties vying for power only concerned about big capitalThe people should not expect support from any of the parties now seeking victory in the June 17 elections, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga warned on Saturday, in a statement concerning the upcoming elections.
"The pre-election concern of the other parties about what will happen on and after June 18 has only one purpose: how to serve the profits of big capital alone. After June 18 it will also be proved that the whole debate on whether modifications can be made to the bailout agreements and what modifications the EU will accept or not is "outdated": for the simple reason that a chaotic default faces the Greek people in the coming months," Papariga said.
In such a case, both a centre-right and a centre-left government will be the "opponent" and will not support the people at all, she said.
"On the contrary, the people during the pre-election period and immediately afterward must be absolutely prepared and organised because they will need to demand their very bread with their own hands. No one above will give them anything. This is why the KKE must be powerful, strong," Papariga added, since it was prepared to "do anything to ensure that the people were the protagonists of developments" noting that otherwise they will be "led to tragedy".
 KKE leader visits Makronissos, says voters must 'look forward' on June 17Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga on Sunday urged voters to "look forward" when they vote on June 17 and "not just at what will happen on June 18".
She made the statement from the port of Lavrio, where she was boarding a boat to the island of Makronissos, a one-time camp for political prisoners, in order to attend an event being organised by the Hellenic Union of Makronissos Prisoners Fighters.
"Makronissos might be considered a monument to the past but heroism, going against the flow and seeing the day after that has an alternative solution is the most important of all. The people have a 'yesterday', a 'today' and a 'tomorrow'," she said.
 DEM.AR leader urges voters to support his party in order to avoid third electionDemocratic Left (DEM.AR) leader Fotis Kouvelis on Saturday urged voters to back his party without hesitation, so as to avoid leading the country to a third election. Speaking at DEM.AR's Central Committee, he stressed that the country must have a government in order to negotiate and gradually disengage from the bailout agreements.
He also made a list of immediate measures that will be taken, while a renegotiation was underway; these including four billion euro in cuts to public spending on military expenditures, hospital and pharmaceutical costs, fighting corruption through a new system of checking public spending and tenders in order to cut public procurements by two billion, fighting tax evasion which corresponded to an estimated 30 percent of GDP in order to arrest one third and raise a further six billion in revenues, extending the time period for fiscal consolidation until 2017 and abolishing laws on reducing the minimum wage that would drag all wages downward, while restoring collective labour agreements and their residual validity.
Kouvelis promised that DEM.AR was firmly committed to Europe and the euro while wanting a gradual disengagement from the bailout loan agreements and that as a "third pole" in political life it could liberate voters from "worn formations and unreliable persons". He also spoke of attempts to create a "false" political bipole with the neoliberal right "dressed up" as pro-European juxtaposed to a "populist and in essence anti-European left".
He accused the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) of having decided to drag the country to repeat elections after May 6, not in order to rule but in order to remain an opposition party.
 New Democracy takes lead in four opinion polls to be published on SundayThe New Democracy party is in the lead with the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) a close second according to four separate opinion polls that are due to be published in the Sunday press.
ND's lead over SYRIZA ranges from 1.1 perent to 5.7 percent in the four polls, while its percentage of the vote is between 23.3 percent and 25.8 percent. SYRIZA comes second in all four polls, with percentages ranging from 20.1 percent to 23.2 percent, and PASOK third with percentages ranging from 12.6 percent to 14 percent.
The other parties seen entering Parliament include the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), Independent Greeks, Democratic Left (DEM.AR) and ultra-right Golden Dawn, while some polls also show the Drasi-Recreate Greece coalition just squeaking in with a percentage marginally above 3 percent.
The percentages of all the remaining parties are lower in relation to the May 6 polls, none of them exceeding 7 percent, especially KKE which in two polls has slipped to sixth place behind Independent Greeks and DEM.AR.
ND also polls higher as the party voters consider most likely to win the elections regardless of their own personal preference, rising to 42.9 percent from 33.1 percent last week, while ND leader Antonis Samaras is also seen as the leader better able to ensure Greece's position in Europe, with 42 percent choosing Samaras against 24 percent choosing SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras.
The percentage of those polled that want the country to remain in the eurozone is still a very high 87.8 percent, while 64.8 percent want to see a tough renegotiation of the terms of bailout agreements and 21.1 percent want the cancellation of the agreements and rejection of the Memorandum.
The four opinion polls were carried out by Kapa Research for the Sunday 'Vima', ALCO for the newspaper 'Proto Thema', MARC for the Sunday 'Ethnos' and MRB for 'Real News'.
 Four cadres of Independent Greeks party and two from LAOS party announce accession to ND partyFour cadres of the Independent Greeks party and two from the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party announced their accession to the New Democracy (ND) party.
According to an announcement by ND, the cadres from the Independent Greeks party are Ioannis Vanghelis, Spyros Rompotis, Pavlos Sarakis and Nikos Hidiroglou.
The two from the LAOS party are Christos Makridis and Olympia Antypa.
 'Vima' publishes note with dire warnings from Papademos to party leadersGreece's former 'technocrat government' prime minister Lucas Papademos had stressed the dangers ahead if Greece did not receive the next installment of EU-IMF bailout loans, describing the country's financial situation in the blackest possible terms in an unsigned note that he presented to President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias and that was passed on to the political party leaders on May 11.
The note attributed to the former premier was published in Sunday's edition of the newspaper 'Vima' and warns the leaders of the parties that the country's public finances will drastically deteriorate from the middle of June, with the flight of bank deposits that would make the country vulnerable to even chance events.
Specifically, the note claims that the state's cash reserves will be one billion euro in the red from June 20 and the slump in tax revenues is even greater than expected, while a rise in spending is greater and the public sector will face great difficulty meeting its overall expenses from mid-June.
Papademos notes that after this date, the Greek state's ability to fund its needs will depend entirely on the next installments of the EFSF and IMF loans. He also points to a massive reduction in the banking system's liquidity levels in recent years, so that Greek banks were entirely dependent on the European Central Bank and the Eurosystem generally, while the environment in which the country found itself, the questions about whether it would be able to remain in the eurozone in combination with some possible chance event could have dramatic repercussions on bank liquidity, the financing of the economy and general economic activity.
Summing up, the former PM emphasised the need to intensify efforts to create conditions of stability and confidence.
 IMF's Lagarde urges Greeks not to expect sympathy, start paying taxesIn a tough, uncompromising interview with "The Guardian" on Saturday, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde made it clear that the IMF would not soften the terms of loans to Athens and stressed that Greeks should not expect sympathy. Instead, she suggested, Greeks should start to help themselves collectively by "all paying their tax".
Asked whether she is able to block out of her mind the Greek mothers unable to get access to midwives or patients unable to obtain life-saving drugs, Lagarde replied that she had more sympathy for people living in much more difficult and deprived conditions in much poorer countries, who needed even more help than the people in Athens.
Lagarde said that she also thought about all the people in Greece trying to avoid paying their taxes and said that Greek parents should take responsibility and start to pay tax if their children were being affected by spending cuts.
Asked if she was saying to Greeks and others in Europe that "they have had a nice time and now its payback time", Lagarde replied "That's right".
The IMF managing director said that Greece would not get softer treatment than a poor country in the developing world because it was a richer country, noting that this was the IMF's policy and that it was actually harder to impose public spending cuts on a country where people lived with 3,000-5,000 dollars a head per year, since these cuts had deeper ramifications.
 Foreign Exchange rates - MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. Dollar 1273
Pound sterling 812
Danish kroner 7542
Swedish kroner 9127
Japanese yen 101.3
Swiss franc 1219
Norwegian kroner 7664
Canadian dollar 1308
Australian dollar 1300
 Double homicide of father and son on EviaPolice on Sunday reported the arrest of a man in Lefkandi, Evia for the double killing of two neighbours, a 54-year-old father and his 25-year-old son. The double homicide occurred at 9:40 a.m. on Sunday for reasons not yet known. According to police, the culprit is a 40-year-old unemployed and divorced man that suffered from mental health issues and had been committed to a mental health institution in the past.
The crime was discovered after police investigated reports of gunshots at the victims' residence, where they found the elder man dead on the porch of his house and the younger man seriously injured beside him. The 54-year-old had a gunshot wound to his left chest. The 25-year-old was shot in the back and finally died in an ambulance taking him to the Halkida General Hospital.
Inquiries pointed to the victims' 40-year-old neighbour who was found and confessed to the double killing. A search of his house also revealed that he had a shotgun without a licence and two spent shells.
The suspect will be led to a Halkida public prosecutor and charged with two counts of murder, illegal possession of weapons and weapons use, while an investigation is continuing to determine the motives for the double killing.
 Air force warrant officer accused of sexually abusing minor found hangedA 34-year-old warrant officer in the Greek Air Force facing charges of sexually abusing a minor and distributing child pornography was found hanged in his cell at an air force police detention centre early on Saturday morning.
The accused had been arrested based on a report made by the father of the underage boy involved.
A team from the Greek police force has now been sent to investigate the scene and collect evidence concerning the case. An inquiry into the circumstances that led to the hanging has also been launched by a military court prosecutor.
 Romanian man arrested on international warrantA 30-year-old Romanian man wanted for the murder of his father was caught and taken into custody by Greek security police in Iraklion on Saturday, based on an international warrant for his arrest.
The suspect is accused for killing his father in 2000 and then burying his body in the garden of their family home. He fled Romania in 2002 after his crime was discovered.
He has been living on Crete for the past five years and, according to sources, has denied responsibility for the killing that he says was carried out by close family relations.
 Three arrested for possession, use of counterfeit moneyPolice in Kalamata on Saturday reported the arrest of three individuals for the possession and distribution of counterfeit euro banknotes.
Acting on a tip off, police searched a car belonging to one of the suspects and found 10 50-euro banknotes that appeared to be fake. They also discovered that the three men had carried out purchases at a chemist's using one of the fake bank notes, while they unsuccessfullyl attempted to make purchases at another two pharmacies in the city.
During their search, police also confiscated 375 euro believed to be proceeds of criminal activity and have charged one of the men with giving false ID details.
All three will be led before a Kalamata public prosecutor.
 Extensive damage to crops from freak storm in LarisaA freak rain and hail storm that swept over Larisa in central Greece has wreaked havoc on local agricultural production, with the first estimates on Sunday showing extensive damage to crops such as grains, cotton, corn and others in Kileler, Tyrnavos, Elassona and Nikaia.
The storm also resulted in the flooding of several basements and ground-floor businesses, while several people became trapped in lifts because of power cuts caused by lightning.
 Courts closed from June 14 to 19 due to the electionsCourt hearings, according to a Justice ministry circular, will be suspended two working days before the June 17 elections and two afterwards. More specifically, the suspension of hearings will be from 14 up to June 19 inclusive.
 Sweden wins Eurovision song contest, Greece ranks 17thThe song 'Euphoria' by Sweden, sung by Loreen, received 372 points to emerge as the clear winner of Saturday night's 57th Eurovision song contest in Baku. The Greek entry 'Aphrodisiac' sung by Eleftheria Eleftheriou came 17th overall with 64 points.
Greece's entry received points from 15 countries out of the 42 participating in the competition (Cyprus, Albania, Ukraine, Belgium, Turkey, Bosnia Herzegovina, Russia, Bulgaria, Germany, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Serbia, Romania, Moldova and Israel).
 Authorities intercept 70 non-EU nationals attempted to reach ItalyGreek authorities have intercepted a group of 70 foreign nationals from countries outside the European Union that were attempting to illegally travel to Italy.
The migrants were arrested in the Piraeus district of Rendi on Friday night, where they were waiting in a parked truck that was heading for the coast of western Greece, where they would be picked up by a boat heading for Italy.
Police from the Kaminia police station located and arrested the migrants based on information supplied by the Attica Aliens department, which discovered an outfit that was approaching migrants and offering to take them to Italy for a fee ranging from 2,000-3,000 euros.
The six suspected members of the migrant-trafficking group eluded arrest and are now being sought.
 Six arrested for selling contraband cigarettesAttica police have dismantled a ring selling contraband cigarettes in Athens, arresting six people and confiscating 11,860 packets of cigarettes that had no special tax tape.
The arrests were made during raids on apartments used by the gang in Athens and Menidi on Saturday, with three Greeks and three Bangladeshi nationals taken into custody.
Also confiscated were seven mobile phones, 510 euros and a private car while the six suspects will appear before an Athens prosecutor on Sunday.
 Police make two arrests, confiscate kilo of cocaine in AthensPolice on Sunday announced the arrest of a 24-year-old caught with more than a kilo of cocaine in his possession, in addition to 88,000 euro of suspected drug money.
The drugs were found on the suspect when he was arrested on Friday in an apartment in the Athens district of Nea Ionia by police from the Agios Panteleimonas and Kolonos police stations. Also charged was a 21-year-old man that was in the apartment.
Acting on information about drug pushers selling large quantities of drugs in various parts of Athens, police located the apartment being used by the 24-year-old to stash the drugs. The younger man found on the scene was holding 30 grammes of cannabis that he had just bought from the 24-year-old.
 Loeb victory in Acropolis RallyWorld champion Sebastien Loeb won first place in this year's Acropolis Rally on Sunday and came one step closer to winning this year's world championship as well. The French driver for Citroen won the Acropolis Rally for the third time in his career (after 2005 and 2008) to reach a total of 71 victories in total.
Loeb's Finnish team-mate Mikko Hirvonen, also driving a Citroen DS3 WRC, came second and the Ford team came third with another Finnish driver, Jati-Matti Latvala, at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta RS WRC.
 Olympiacos Piraeus beats Panathinaikos Athens 84-72 in basketball playoffOlympiacos Piraeus beat Panathinaikos Athens 84-72 at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Piraeus on Sunday evening, in the third playoff for the basketball championship title, and is now leading 2-1. The next game will be played at the Athens Olympic Stadium on Wednesday May 30.
The 10-minute intervals had the following results: 29-18, 53-35, 69-51, 84-72.
 Rainy on MondayRainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Monday. Winds 3-6 beauforte. Temperatures between 9C and 27C. Cloudy with possible local showers in Athens with northerly 3-5 beauforte winds and temperatures between 14C and 27C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 14C and 23C.
 Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glanceThe challenges ahead for the Greek economy and new opinion polls ahead of the June 17 repeat general elections were the main front-page items in Athens' newspapers on Sunday.
AVGHI: "(Coalition of Radical Left) SYRIZA-EKM pledge - Country will be restored. G. Stathakis: The plan for fiscal stabilisation".
AVRIANI: "Why the media channels of the 'pimps' are mercilessly slamming Alexis [SYRIZA-EKM leader Alexis Tsipras]. War between Tsipras and corruption.
DIMOKRATIA: "Laliotis behind Tsipras. 'Bad' PASOK's Machiavelli trying to create the new Andreas Papandreou".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Tough derby until the polls. Vote-to-vote duel with New Democracy in the lead".
EPOCHI: "Panic in Brussels, hope in Europe. Elections in Greece and France highlight need for a radical policy".
ETHNOS: "Vote to vote battle for the top spot - MARC Poll: ND-SYRIZA 'derby', PASOK rises".
EXPRESS: "Danger... from the air for Greek tourism. Concern in tourism sector over airline pull-outs from Greece".
KATHIMERINI: "The good and bad scenarios - Concern over depression in country's real economy".
KERDOS: "Concern over deposits. Political uncertainty and dark scenarios. Money withdrawn at home and in German bonds".
LOGOS: "Workers ...hung out to dry. What private-sector workers must look out for".
NIKI: "Why everyone is daily casting fuel into the fire of 'drachmophobia'. The 'dirty game' with Greek deposits".
PROTO THEMA: "[ND leader Antonis Samaras] in first place, Tsipras has the trend".
REAL NEWS: "[IMF chief Christine Lagarde] opens window for renegotiation. IMF plan for changing bailout terms."
RIZOSPASTIS: "Sections of capital in Greece and EU setting up 'trap' scenario for the people".
TO PARASKINIO: "Bombshell testimony concerning kickbacks. Former gen. secretary for military procurements 'crucifies' cross-party 'jesters' and an earthquake is coming".
TO PARON: "German business people anxious about Greek euro exit - they want Greece as their colony. Report on closed meeting in Athens on Thursday".
TO VIMA: "Lucas Papademos' non-paper: the classified report on the banks and the state".
VRADYNI: "The 'trap-measures' for those that retire this year. In-depth guide for IKA and special funds".
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