|Thursday, 18 January 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-06-29
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Friday, 29 June 2012 Issue No: 4108
 PM Samaras: Greece determined to fulfill bailout obligationsBRUSSELS (AMNA)
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, in a letter to the European Union's heads of state and government, re-asserts Athens' volition to fulfill commitments resulting from the country's bailout agreement.
The new Greek prime minister also raises the issue of certain necessary "modifications" to check the unprecedented unemployment and a disastrous recession plaguing Greece.
The letter's contents were unveiled here on Thursday.
President Karolos Papoulias will head a delegation at Thursday and Friday's EU Summit, in place of Samaras, who is recuperating from an operation on his right eye.
"With this letter I would like to reassure you that Greece is absolutely determined to fulfill its obligations emanating from the recent bail-out agreement. The new Government of Greece accepts ownership of the adjustment Programme and is fully committed to its targets, its objectives and all its key policies.
"I will speed up the implementation of the programme with special emphasis on the Privatisation agenda.
"Of course, there is a question of some necessary modifications to the programme in order to control unprecedented unemployment and halt the devastating recession Greece is going through for the fifth consecutive year. This would also ensure that all targets are met ... I am looking forward to meeting you, as soon as my medical doctors allow me to travel," Samaras concludes.
 President Papoulias says development policy and combatting recession Greece's main targetsBRUSSELS (AMNA/M. Aroni)
Greek President Karolos Papoulias stressed during his address at the European Council in Brussels on Thursday that the development policy with a scale of expenditures and the combatting of recession are Greece's main targets, according to government sources.
Papoulias held a brief conversation on the sidelines of the conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron. Papoulias also held a private meeting with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and was expected to meet with European Commission President Jose Barroso.
Papoulias stressed during his address that the funds provided for growth must be adequate and added that for the targets of political cohesion to be achieved "a fair distribution of the funds" is necessary. He further said that the challenge for Greece, as well as for other countries, is how the losses from EU funds will be minimised. He added that for this reason the assessment that will take place on the allocation of the funds must be based on the Greek economy's most recent data that reflect the real situation.
Papoulias also referred to the high unemployment rate, particularly for young people in Greece.
Lastly, he said that the member-states that are called on to implement fiscal discipline measures are subject to intolerable pressures.
 Papoulias meets with RompuyBRUSSELS (AMNA/M. Spinthourakis)
Greek President Karolos Papoulias met with European Council chief Herman van Rompuy on Wednesday night in Brussels, ahead of a crucial EU Summit that begins in the Belgian capital on Thursday.
According to diplomatic sources, the meeting was held in a "good climate", and the President's impression is that the Greek economy will not be a main subject of discussions at the Summit on Thursday and Friday, given that the Troika has not returned yet to Athens for its next report.
The main issue of discussions is expected to be the economic problems of other EU members, such as Spain, Cyprus and Italy, as well as eurozone economic governance.
Papoulias pointed out to Rompuy that Greece now has a new government capable of managing the problems of the Greek economy, but also the liquidity problems faced by the country.
The Greek President further warned of the dangers entailed by a prospective partition of Europe into 'north' and 'south'.
Papoulias will have separate meetings on Thursday with European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and Cyprus President Demetris Christofias.
 Venizelos: We have a reliable gov'tBRUSSELS (AMNA/ V.Demiris)
"We have a reliable government that believes in Greece's European course and we are aware of our commitments" said PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos on Thursday before entering a meeting of the Eurooarliament's European Socialist Party in Brussels.
Venizelos underlined that the European socialists are willing to adopt a joint announcement on growth and the need for the creation of new jobs, something that will be the key for Greece in order to halt the vicious cycle of unemployment and recession.
"We wish to act in cooperation with our partners," stressed Venizelos, who added that the revision of the loan contract conditions is necessary. "We must give hope and a prospect to the Greek people and in this framework we believe that with the help of the European Socialists we can succeed," concluded Venizelos.
 Development Minister Hatzidakis attends EPP conferenceDevelopment Competitiveness, Transport, Infrastructures and Networks Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, arriving Thursady at the European People's Party's (EPP) conference in Brussels, where he represented Prime Minister and New Democracy party president Antonis Samaras, said "the government is determined to forge ahead for a decrease of the deficits and the public debt. As well as to work together with our partners so that the economic programme for the country can become more fair and workable."
Hatzidakis added that "we are pleased that growth is an issue of the European Council, for whose strengthening repeated remarks had been made by New Democracy and its president over the past two years."
 KKE party says people must expect nothing good from EU summitA statement by the Communist Party of Greece's (KKE) Central Committee press office on Thursday said that "the people must expect nothing good from the European Union's summit where the superpowers of the Commission that will strengthen the doctatorship of monopolies are being discussed," adding that "talk of 'good and 'bad' renegotiating constitutes a mockery against the working people."
KKE streses that "there can be no popular policy in the framework of the imperialist alliance, whose partners are slaughtering each other for supremacy, but all together crush peoples" and that "there can be no popular policy as long as the monopolies and their power are dominant."
 Italy's Romano Prodi on AMNA Web TVIn an exclusive interview on AMNA Web TV on Thursday, former European Commission president and prime minister of Italy Romano Prodi stressed that "Greece should not be the only one to renegotiate; all of us should...we are all Greeks."
Speaking from Brussels, Prodi warned that "Greece is beyond the poverty line and if this policy mix continues unchanged, the entire Europe will become Greece."
He said that in the past, Greece has been deceitful as regards its financial figures but now it has done everything it can to get in line, adding that a solidarity policy is necessary. "We should not embrace the view that if we cast Greece out we will be fine," he said.
Prodi said that the EU Summit will not be decisive, adding that decisions will be made toward the right direction but will not be enough to solve the problem. "In time, within a few months, everybody will realize the disaster that would be caused if euro collapsed. Therefore, in the long-term I am less pessimistic and I believe that a solution will be found," he said.
He pointed out that "we should remember that the idea of north and south and playing with the countries defining their policy as if they were puppets, is wrong. If there is no union, Europe will fall apart."
 New parliament sworn inGreece's new 7-party parliament that emerged from the June 17 repeat general elections was sworn in on Thursday.
Missing from the ceremony were prime minister Antonis Samaras, who is recovering from recent eye surgery and has been confined to bed, and several members of Greece's negotiating committee that are in Brussels for a crucial EU Summit that begins on Thursday, as well as President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias who is heading the Greek delegation to the Summit, replacing Samaras.
A separate swearing-in ceremony will be held for those absent after their return to Greeece.
 Parties name candidates for Parliament presidiumThe political parties in Parliament on Thursday submitted their proposals for the Parliamentary presidium, with a secret ballot to elect the new Parliament president or speaker scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on Friday. So far, the sole candidate for speaker is New Democracy's Evangelos Meimarakis. Immediately after the election of the speaker, there will be another secret ballot to elect the seven deputy speakers, three deans and six secretaries.
ND's proposals for the deputy speaker posts are Ioannis Tragakis for 1st deputy speaker, Thanassis Nakos for 2nd deputy speaker and Christos Markoyiannakis for 3rd deputy speaker. The ND MPs Kostas Koukodimos and Nikos Panagiotopoulos have been put forward for the leading party's two deans, while the youngest ND MPs Yiannis Kefaloyiannis, Christos Dimas, Costas Katsafados and Maximos Senetakis have been proposed as secretaries.
The main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party has proposed its MP Yiannis Dragasakis for the post of 4th deputy speaker, Nasos Athanassiou for the main opposition's single dean and Maria Bolari as secretary.
The secretary of SYRIZA's Parliamentary group will be MP Nikos Voutsis and the party's Parliamentary representatives will be the MPs Panagiotis Lafazanis, Dimitris Papadimoulis and Panagiotis Kouroublis.
PASOK, which is the third-largest party in Parliament, has proposed the MP Lefteris Grigorakos of the post of 5th deputy speaker.
The Independent Greeks have proposed the MP Maria Kollia Tsaroucha for the post of 6th deputy speaker, while the fifth-ranking party Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) has not yet officially announced its proposed candidate for the 7th deputy speaker.
According to Greek Parliament's website, the presidium's 1st, 2nd and 3rd Deputy Speaker, two of the deans and four of the secretaries are affiliated to the governing party; the 4th deputy speaker, one dean and a secretary belong to the main opposition party; the 5th deputy speaker and one secretary are members of the second-biggest opposition party; the sixth deputy speaker is affiliated with the third-largest party of the opposition, and the seventh deputy speaker belongs to the fourth. A member of the Presidium, who must certainly be an elected MP, cannot be a Cabinet member (Minister or Under-Secretary). Should a Presidium member agree to assume ministerial or Undersecretarial duties, then ipso facto he/she has to step down from the post.
The speaker and the deputy speakers are elected at the beginning of each term for the entire duration of that term. Deans and secretaries' terms last for as long as the regular session period for which they were elected lasts.
 Rehn's spokesman: Troika will arrive in Athens next weekA troika (EC, ECB, IMF) delegation will arrive in Athens in the first days of next week, said on Thursday European Commissioner for Monetary Issues Olli Rehn's spokesman Amadeu Altafaj.
When queried on how long this visit will last, Altafaj said that it is always difficult when it is for Greece to predict how long the checks will take to be completed.
The troika was initially scheduled to arrive in Athens last Monday but the visit was cancelled given that prime minister Antonis Samaras underwent surgery in his eye and Finance Minister-designate Vassilis Rapanos at the time was hospitalised.
Samaras has been ordered to remain bedridden for the whole week and Rapanos resigned after leaving from hospital.
 FM to visit Cyprus on SundayForeign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos will be on a two-day visit to Cyprus on July 1-2, where he will be received by Cypriot President Demetris Christofias, it was announced on Thursday.
The visit to Cyprus will be Avramopoulos' first formal trip abroad under his capacity as foreign minister.
He will also meet with House of Representatives President Yiannakis Omirou, Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis and political party leaders.
 SYRIZA Parliamentary group elects secretary, representativesThe Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party's Parliamentary group on Thursday elected the MP Nikos Voutsis to act as its secretary, at the recommendation of the party's leader Alexis Tsipras.
The MPs Panagiotis Lafazanis, Dimitris Papadimoulis and Panagiotis Kouroublis were elected as the party's Parliamentary representatives, while Kostas Athanassiou was chosen as the director of the Parliamentary group.
SYRIZA will propose 2nd Athens constituency MP Yiannis Dragasakis for 4th deputy speaker in the Parliament presidium, Attica MP Nassos Athanassiou for dean and 1st Athens constituency MP Maria Bolari for secretary.
The party's Parliamentary group intends to hold a meeting on July 3 in order to determine which of its members will be assigned to various committees monitoring the government's work.
In an announcement, meanwhile, SYRIZA MPs expressed their disapproval of the candidate proposed by the Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) party for the 7th deputy speaker position on the Parliament presidium.
 Independent Greeks party leader calls on MPs to vote according to conscienceIndependent Greeks party leader Panos Kammenos on Thursday addressed his Parliamentary group and called on MPs to always vote as dictated by their conscience.
Shortly after the swearing-in ceremony of the new parliament, he stressed that the Independent Greeks party will "be on the people's side, both in and out of Parliament," adding that expectations for his party's performance are high.
 Pharmacists call off action against EOPYY, resume giving drugs on creditPharmacists on Thursday decided to resume supplying drugs on credit to those covered by the state's health insurance provider EOPYY after the first payments for outstanding debts in April started to be disbursed. The news was greeted with relief by thousands of people in Attica and other areas around the country, many of whom had been unable to cover the cost of medication vital for their health.
According to new Health Minister Andreas Lykourentzos, the settling of EOPYY's outstanding debts to pharmacists will be completed by July 5. The management of EOPYY on Wednesday earmarked 127 million euro to settle its debts to pharmacists in April, prompting the Attica Pharmacists Association to suspend its refusal to fill EOPYY prescriptions on credit from Monday.
Lykourentzos was notified of the decision by the head of the Attica pharmacists' association Constantine Lourantos during a meeting at the health ministry on Thursday evening. Afterward, Lourantos said he was satisfied that the ministry had upheld its promises and expressed hope that a solution would be found quickly for the outstanding debts of 2011.
The minister said that he understood the problems faced by pharmacies, including a major credit squeeze as a result of the delays in payment, and promised that EOPYY would soon be financed so that it could meet its obligations.
The head of the national pharmacists association also contacted the 54 local associations around the country, asking their heads to also stop their mobilisations.
He nevertheless warned that pharmacists might soon be forced to stop supplying drugs on credit once again, since the money available for EOPYY in the next month was minimal and it was unclear where the money to pay them would come from.
 Dem.Ar party urges pharmacists to 'do utmost' to support patientsIn a message on Thursday, the Democratic Left (Dem.Ar) party, the smallest partner in Greece's three-party coalition government, urged the government to meet its commitments to pharmacists while at the same time appealing to pharmacists to "do their utmost" to support Greek citizens with health problems.
The party noted that the joint policy framework agreed by the coalition called for generous funding for the social insurance fund EOPYY and a solution of the health sector's long standing problems.
It also called to pharmacists to "exhaust all margins they have and once again stand at the side of our fellow citizens that are suffering".
 Pangalos raises leadership issue for PASOKFormer minister Theodoros Pangalos on Thursday raised a leadership issue for the party of PASOK in an interview with an Athens-based private television station, although his comments prompted no reactions on behalf of the party.
Pangalos, who has served as government vice-president under PM George Papandreou, said PASOK should hold a party congress to re-establish its identity and decide who will be its leader.
He also criticised PASOK president Evangelos Venizelos for his behaviour toward Papandreou, saying that the latter will be vindicated by history. Pangalos blamed Venizelos stressing that it was the MPs he "controlled" that "toppled" Papandreou despite the fact that he was among Papandreou's closest associates.
The former government vice-president said that Venizelos should be participating in the current government as vice-president, adding that leading PASOK cadres should have occupied government posts.
Pangalos lashed out at main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party saying that those who do not want to hear the truth they have chosen to hear what SYRIZA's leader Alexis Tsipras has to say, adding that SYRIZA's ideology is against democracy.
 Government general secretary sends letter from PM to ministersGovernment general secretary Panagiotis Baltakos on Thursday sent a letter to all the ministers in the government, in which he conveyed instructions from Prime Minister Antonis Samaras that they should submit their proposals for the distribution of responsibilities at the ministries they are in charge of.
Sources in the government said that the aim was to finalise the distribution of responsibilities with the course of the next week and not allow the issue to drag on at length.
 Turkish ambassador visits RethimnoTurkish ambassador to Greece Kerim Uras termed the city of Rethimno, on the island of Crete, "safe and clean with considerable monumental wealth and modern tourist infrastructures."
The Turkish ambassador arrived in Rethimno in the framework of a courtesy visit and met on Thursday with the mayor of Rethimno G. Marinakis with whom he had very a friendly and productive, as he termed it, cooperation.
Uras was briefed on the city's history, respect for the monuments left as a legacy by the peoples who passed and lived in Rethimno, including the Ottomans, and their accession to the city's functions, life in modern-day Rethimno and its future orientation.
The ambassador and the mayor pointed out that they will see that their actions will emit positive messages on the Turkish embassy's relation with Rethimno and all their initiatives will be for the benefit of the two peoples.
 Protests against Turkish nationalist party leader's visitCypriot students from the Pancyprian Students' Organisation and members of the Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn) party staged protests on Thursday outside the Turkish consulate in Thessaloniki against a visit by Turkish Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli.
Bahceli, heading up a 15-member delegation, visited the residence where Kemal Ataturk was born and was briefed by the Turkish consul on restoration works that are underway.
During a visit to the consulate, protestors gathered outside chanting slogans against Bahceli and against the ongoing Turkish military occupation of the northern third of Cyprus.
Scuffles broke out when demonstrators attempted to break a police cordon and approach the consulate and were repelled by riot police using teargas.
Police had cordoned off the area from earlier in the day.
 Greek exit from Eurozone catastrophic, National Bank CEOA Greek exit from the Eurozone would be catastrophic, Apostolos Tamvakakis, chief executive of National Bank of Greece said on Thursday. Addressing the annual regular shareholders' meeting, Tamvakakis warned that "no one has the right to let Greek people's sacrifices go wasted and they will not. Greece will change its productive model, remaining in the Eurozone. There is no alternative since any other development will equate with a disaster".
National Bank's CEO said that the Greek banking system was not responsible for the crisis, but a victim. He acknowledged, however, that banks made errors before the crisis erupted but generally, the banking system has played a significant role in the development of the Greek economy. Tamvakakis noted that a full implementation of a recent law on banks' recapitalization will offer the banking system the opportunity to play again its leading role in the development of the Greek economy, by maintaining its private character. He reiterated he was in favour of bank mergers, saying that synergies would lower the necessary capital needs and lead to a more competitive banking system.
He said that the banking system has lost more than 90 billion euros as private savers withdrew their deposits, around one-third of the country's total savings deposit base, while he added that a deep economic recessions has raised the percentage of loans in delay to around 18 pct pushing banks to raise their bad debt provisions.
 National Bank elects new chairman, CEOGeorge Zanias and Alexandros Tourkolias on Thursday were elected at the helm of National Bank of Greece following the resignation of the bank's chairman and chief executive officer.
A board meeting elected Alexandros Tourkolias as chief executive of the group, while George Zanias was elected to take over as chairman of the group after his resignation as caretaker Finance Minister.
The board meeting also elected Petros Christodoulou, current International Activities Manager, as new board member.
Outgoing chief executive Apostolos Tamvakakis addressing earlier a board meeting, said his resignation was demanded by the government on Tuesday afternoon.
In a brief report of his two-and-a-half year term, Tamvakakis said National Bank strengthened its capital base by 3.5 billion euros in a period when interbank markets were completely closed for the country, while it also raised its bad debt provisions to 5.3 billion euros. The bank also supported its sustainable customers, along with enterprises and households suffering from a deep economic crisis based on strictly banking criteria with full transparency, he said.
Earlier, Leonidas Theoklitos resigned from his post as chairman of National Insurance, a member of National Bank Group.
 Greater Athens hotels' occupancy rates down 18% in Jan-MayHotels in Athens and the surrounding Attica prefecture suffered an 18-pct drop in room occupancy rates in the first five months of 2012, evidence of a crisis hitting the area's tourism sector, official figures showed on Thursday.
A report by the Athens and Attica Hoteliers' Association showed that occupancy rates fell 18 pct in the January-May period, while average room price was down 6.8 pct and revenue per available room dropped 23.5 pct over the same period for all categories of hotels, compared with the corresponding period last year.
Occupancy rates dropped 26.5 pct in May, while average room prices were down 10.7 pct and revenue per available room plunged 34.4 pct, the Association said. The report noted that Athens hotels were suffering accumulated losses of between 42-48 pct in the last few years.
 Business Briefs-- Motor Oil has no problem finding operating capital, for now, easily dealing with the company's capital needs, Vardis Vardinoyiannis, the chairman and chief executive of the group, said on Thursday.
-- Intralot Group said its subsidiary in Malta (Maltco Lotteries Limited MALTCO) has won a 10-year license for operating the national lottery in Malta.
-- Tasty Foods, a member of PepsiCo Group, on Thursday reported lower sales by improved profitability in 2011.
 Stocks end slightly lowerStocks ended slightly lower at the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursdsay in thin trading conditions as investors remained on the sidelines awaiting the outcome of an EU Summit.
The composite index of the market fell 0.24 pct to end at 578.31 points, off the day's lows of 570.41 points and after rising as much as 1.09 pct during the session. Turnover shrank further to 26.584 million euros.
The Big Cap index fell 0.88 pct and the Mid Cap index eased 0.63 pct. The Food (1.84 pct) and Raw Materials (1.33 pct) sectors scored gains, while Telecoms (3.63 pct), Personal Products (2.46 pct), Construction (2.28 pct) and Banks (1.98 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.
Coca Cola 3E (1.85 pct), Mytilineos (1.73 pct) and MIG (0.91 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Metka (4.28 pct), Cyprus Bank (3.73 pct), OTE (3.63 pct) and Ellaktor (3.63 pct) were top losers.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 64 to 46 with another 29 issues unchanged. Fintexport (20 pct), Sciens Holdings (20 pct) and Sidma (19.47 pct) were top gainers, while Intertek (20.59 pct), HOL (20 pct) and 3A (20 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -0.68%
Personal & Household: -2.46%
Raw Materials: +1.33%
Travel & Leisure: +0.90%
Food & Beverages: +1.84%
Financial Services: -1.27%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, OPAP and HBC Coca Cola.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 1.10
Public Power Corp (PPC): 1.69
HBC Coca Cola: 13.80
Hellenic Petroleum: 4.52
National Bank of Greece: 1.24
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.65
Bank of Piraeus: 0.23
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank to 24.82 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Thursday, from 25.17 pct on Wednesday, with the Greek bond yielding 26.32 pct and the German Bund 1.50 pct. There was no turnover in the market.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 1.21 pct, the six-month rate 0.92 pct, the three-month rate 0.65 pct and the one-month rate 0.37 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading around its fair value in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday, with turnover shrinking to 5.782 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 1,663 contracts worth 1.757 million euros. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 50,458 contracts worth 4.025 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Cyprus Popular Bank's contracts (18,933), followed by National Bank (13,695), Alpha Bank (12,656), OTE (781), Piraeus Bank (761), Cyprus Bank (2,096), Intralot (205), OPAP (314) and PPC (167).
 Foreign Exchange rates - FridayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.260
Pound sterling 0.810
Danish kroner 7.544
Swedish kroner 8.932
Japanese yen 100.08
Swiss franc 1.219
Norwegian kroner 7.659
Canadian dollar 1.295
Australian dollar 1.254
 Shootout in Kifissia as robbers target home of PAOK coach, clash with policeA shootout between armed robbers and police outside the home of PAOK soccer team coach Giorgos Donis in Kifissia earlier on Thursday developed into a sensational pursuit and a second shootout later the same day. One policeman was injured during the first exchange, while the second exchange of gunfire between police and the robbers ended with one arrest. The second robber managed to escape by running through the yards of nearby houses and was caught later on Thursday evening, in a house where he had taken refuge.
The skirmishes began during a robbery at the home of the PAOK coach on Zitsis road, in the plush, upmarket suburb of Kifissia in north Athens. The two armed robbers were disturbed by a police patrol in the midst of the robbery, after they had entered Donis' home, immobilised his father-in-law, wife and one of his younger children and were about to make off with money and jewellery.
Unknown to them, however, Donis' 15-year-old son had also been in the house at the time they broke in and managed to get out without being spotted. The teenager had rushed next door, to the house occupied by former finance minister George Papaconstantinou, and asked the guards stationed there for assistance. The guards alerted the police and a patrol car was immediately sent out, arriving before the robbers had made their getaway.
Surprised by police, the two robbers nevertheless managed to get out by using the coach's father-in-law as a human shield. They then let him go and opened fire on the police patrol, injuring a police sergeant in the leg. The police returned fire and injured one of the perpetrators in the hand, after which the two robbers attempted to flee on foot.
There was a chase, with the assistance of more police that arrived on the scene, through the Kokkinaras stream bed, while police recovered jewellery and blood near the Panagia Eleftherotria church.
Police caught up with the two robbers at the junction of Heimaras and Ithaki streets in Kifissia and there was a second exchange of fire with with the suspects. The man injured in the earlier shootout was arrested here, while the second managed to escape once again but not before he was also injured by police fire.
He was eventually caught and arrested at 6:00 p.m. when police tracked him down to a house on Theotokopoulou street where he was hiding. A major operation set up with the assistance of special forces from the police counter-terrorism unit EKAM. The house was surrounded and some officers attempted to force entry through the front, at which point the culprit tried to flee by jumping over the wall in the back garden and was caught by officers that had circled to the back of the house.
The police sergeant that was shot was rushed to the 401 military hospital in an ambulance. The second of the two suspects has also been taken to hospital and his accomplice, the 27-year-old Albanian national arrested earlier, was being questioned at police headquarters.
 'Stories of Light' at the new Acropolis MuseumThe new Acropolis Museum is currently holding a 'Stories of Light' event, which runs through September 9.
The Museum invites visitors to discover artifacts in its collections that tell little stories about light. Stories about the light of the sun that so impressed ancient man that he deified it, but also about the light that he himself created. Stories about the daily light that dispels the darkness inside and outside his home, about the sacred light that burned in the temples of his gods and about the ritual light that accompanied the key moments of his life.
These stories show the relationship between the ancients and natural light. Stories about the age-old myths with which humans endeavored to interpret the perpetual succession of day and night. Stories about their faith in the power of sunlight to regulate human affairs. Stories about the transformation of this power into art.
They are stories about the light created by humans themselves: the light of oil lamps that banished the darkness inside a house, the torchlight that illuminated their way at night, the sacred light that burned in the temples of their gods, and the ritual light that accompanied them during all the significant events of their lives.
This activity is organized in parallel with the exhibition 'Light on light: an illuminating story' being presented at the Municipality of Athens Technopolis to 9 September.
 Ecumenical Patriarch inaugurates historic building in KozaniEcumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos inaugurated the Metropolitan House of Kozani, widely known as "Episkopio", in the presence of the local authorities and a large number of people.
The historic building was constructed in 1744 and is the oldest building of the city after the Cathedral of Aghios Nikolaos, and was restored with the efforts Metropolitan Pavlos of Kozani and Servia and the local authorities.
Vartholomeos was given a tour of the halls of the Episkopio and expressed his admiration for the excellent restoration work, wishing that "God will keep it stable throughout the centuries".
 Repatriation of 101 illegal migrantsOne hundred and one illegal immigrants were repatriated on Wednesday. Specifically, 61 Pakistanis, 26 Bangladeshis, 5 Albanians, 4 Georgians, two Ukrainians, one Belarusian, one Libyan and one Nigerians were sent back to their native countries following a repatriation issue for illegal entrance into Greece.
The repatriation of all illegal migrants except the five Albanians was carried out with flights from Athens' International Airport "Eleftherios Venizelos". The five Albanians were sent back by road.
The repatriations of are conducted within the framework against illegal migration and the cost is covered by the European Fund for Repatriations, excluding the repatriation of Romanian and Polish citizens which cost is covered by their countries' national Funds.
 Two arrested, one wanted, for coin counterfeitingTwo people were arrested in Halkidiki on Wednesday night and another was wanted for counterfeiting coins of a two euro denomination.
Two men aged 59 and 41 were arrested in the town of Nea Kallikratia, and a 40-year-old accomplice was wanted, for turning the 40-year-old's house in a farming area in Epanomi into a coin counterfeiting laboratory.
Police said they were surprised by the near perfection of the counterfeit coins produced by the gang in the high-tech laboratory, which were exclusively of a two-euro denomination.
Police found and confiscated a hydraulic coin press and other state-of-the-art coin minting equipment, a precision scale, various types of ammunition and 4,200 2-euro coin cores.
A search of the car of the 59-year-old, believed to be the 'mastermind' of the counterfeiting gang, subsequently turned up 63,000 bronze internal cores and nickel external rings for 2-euro coins, a large number of coins of various eurozone countries which are being examined to ascertain whether they are genuine or counterfeit, several counterfeiting tools and hand-written notes.
Further, 2,000 euros in cash and six cell phones were found, and confiscated, in the possession of the 41-year-old.
The investigation also revealed that three convictions are outstanding against the 59-year-old for bounced checks, violation of the traffic code and causing bodily harm.
 Two Farsala priests arrested for forged payroll scam costing 690,000Two priests responsible for managing the payroll for clergy in the Thessaly and Farsala diocese have been arrested on charges of embezzlement and fraud to the amount of 690,000 euros in the first half of 2012. The two are accused of tampering with the amounts recorded on payroll documents in order to rake in large sums on their own behalf.
The two priests, aged 36 and 38 years old, respectively, were arrested in Farsala on Wednesday by Larisa security police. The charges against them include forgery, fraud, embezzlement and extracting false certifications.
Their activities were reported by the finance ministry's financial review board for Thessaly, which found suspicious looking intervention and alteration of sums in the documentation for the Farsala municipality clergy during an inspection carried out two weeks earlier.
Another inspection on June 25 showed that the two priests in charge of the payroll had submitted a forged payroll statement to the Farsala tax office, on which the state's share of payroll spending had been increased to 28,864 euros instead of 8,864. Police then lay in wait for the two priests at the bank branch where the money would be withdrawn, catching them in the act of taking the sum of 28,864 euro, of which only 8,864 euro was destined to be used for priests salaries.
Police confiscated the additional 20,000 euro, as well as a personal stamp found on the 38-year-old priest and a stamp of the Thessaly diocese that were used to collect the full amount. A search of the 36-year-old priest's home also revealed a number of original payroll documents. These showed that the two suspects had managed to embezzle a total of 690,000 euro using the same method since the start of the year.
 Man attempts suicide in jump off AcropolisA 42-year-old man who was seriously injured on Thursday morning in a suicide attempt from the Athens Acropolis did later in hospital, police said.
The man jumped from the back side of the Theatre of Dionysus at 9:30 in the morning as several tourists looked on.
One of the monument's guards reported the incident to the police and Fire Brigade.
A Fire Brigade rescue crew retrieved the man, who was rushed by ambulance to nearby Red Cross hospital with head and body injuries, where he succumbed to his injuries a few hours later.
Police are conducting a preliminary investigation into the circumstances of the incident.
The man was identified as an ATEbank (Agricultural Bank) employee. Police said the man arrived for work as usual at a downtown Athens branch of the bank, but a short while later told his colleagues he had an errand to make and left. Only a note with his identification details was found on the body.
 Road accidents causing fatalities or injuries down 13.3 pct in April 2012Road traffic accidents causing deaths and injuries fell by 13.3 percent in April 2012 relative to the same month in 2011, the Greek statistical authority ELSTAT reported on Thursday.
The total number of such accidents in the month came to 998 and resulted in 67 deaths (a 17.3 percent decline relative to 2011), 101 serious injuries (24.1 percent decline relative to 2011) and 1,172 lighter injuries (8.7 percent decline relative to 2011).
 Foreign nat'ls arrested for burglaries in ArgolidaFour Bulgarian nationals, aged 18, 27, 30 and 32, were arrested in Argolida prefecture, southern Greece, accused of forming a criminal gang to commit burglaries, police announced on Thursday.
In the past two days, the suspects had allegedly targeted six houses in the cities of Argos and Nafplio. Police found in their possession burglary tools and some of the items that were reported stolen by their owners, according to reports.
 Black market warehouse raided in ThessalonikiThessaloniki municipal police in cooperation with local police and the financial crimes squad (SDOE) on Thursday raided a downtown apartment that served as a warehouse for counterfeit brand name items.
A total of 800 pairs of shoes, 600 sunglasses, 100 handbags and wallets and roughly 200 prepaid mobile phone cards and handsfree units, as well as 230 watches, all knock-offs, were confiscated and will be destroyed.
 Two arrested for spate of burglarising vehiclesTwo Iraqi nationals aged 44 and 43 were arrested on Wednesday for breaking into cars in the coastal Athens suburb of Glyfada.
A police investigation revealed that the suspects are the perpetrators of more than 26 vehicle burglaries in Glyfada in the past three.
The suspects were sent to an Athens prosecutor.
 Contraband cigarettes ring dismantled in SantoriniA ring selling large quantities of contraband cigarettes has been dismantled on the island of Santorini and eight people have been arrested so far, six Romanians, one Greek and a Kazakhstan national.
In the yard of a home near the Pori beach in Santorini, about 10 kilometers southeast of the city of Fira, two trucks were detected containing boxes of contraband cigarettes.
An initial count in one of the two trucks revealed 102,000 boxes of cigarettes.
Two people were arrested at a beach in the region who, according to initial reports, were waiting for a dinghy with the six Romanians on board that was intercepted by a coast guard vessel in the open sea.
 Wildfires on Salamina; Ano GlyfadaA wildfire broke out on Thursday on the Saronic island of Salamina. Five fire engines and 16 firefighers were dispatched to the scene. According to the fire brigade the blaze is a low burning fire and does not threaten residential areas.
In a separate incident, a 40-year-old man was led before a prosecutor after being arrested on Wednesday for arson caused by negligence, in the southern Athens suburb of Ano Glyfada.
Finally, a wildfire broke out in an area next to the university hospital in the town of Rio, east of Patras, in SW Greece.
According to reports, the hospital is not in danger since firefighters succeeded in keeping the blaze at a distance.
 Presidential Mansion garden open to the public every SundayThe garden of the Presidential Mansion will be open every Sunday for citizens (except on holidays) from 10:00-14:00.
Entrance will be free and on a priority basis, from the Vassileos Georgiou Street entrance.
 The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe crucial EU Summit on the future of the eurozone, the increase of homeless in Greece and the change of authority in Public Utilities and Organisations, mostly dominated the headlines on Thursday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "The number of homeless in Greece has risen 25 percent".
AVGHI: "Poverty and despair sweeping over Greece".
AVRIANI: "Give a helping hand in order to exit from the crisis and get an extension for the stability programme".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "German Chancellor Angela Merkel's intransigence executes the euro".
ESTIA: "Europe at crucial turning point".
ETHNOS: "Civil war between 'North' and South' (Europe)".
IMERISSIA: " 'Authority' changes in Banks and Public Utilities and Organisations (DEKO)".
KATHIMERINI: "Europe deeply divided".
LOGOS: "Explosive increase of homeless".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Crucial EU Summit with division and clash".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Free kindergarten for all the working class families' children".
TA NEA: "Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' letter to our partners".
VRADYNI: "Measures for growth and euro-bonds for part of the debt".
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