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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-07-09

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 9 July 2012 Issue No: 4116


  • [01] 179 MPs give Samaras coalition gov't vote of confidence
  • [02] Samaras sharply criticism Tsipras, SYRIZA party
  • [03] Tsipras: SYRIZA not a threat to euro, but to markets and banking lobby
  • [04] FinMin meets again with EC,ECB,IMF troika reps
  • [05] FinMIn: Negotiations need both parties at the table
  • [06] Public order minister: Unbelievably high number of foreign nat'ls involved in serious crime
  • [07] 40 of 56 obligations have been met - Troika meeting with Development minister
  • [08] Venizelos accuses Tsipras of opportunism and tactics "beneath the circumstances'
  • [09] Venizelos: Framework for entire econ programme 2013-2014 should be determined from now, not step-by-step
  • [10] Tsipras: 'For sale' sign placed on Greece
  • [11] Papariga: Demand for Memorandum abolition objective, fair
  • [12] Coast guard returned to jurisdiction of merchant marine ministry
  • [13] LyrAvlos concert of Ancient Greek musical instruments
  • [14] Illegal migrants, traffickers arrested in Thessaloniki.
  • [15] Wildfire in Varnavas site under control
  • [16] Injured climber retrieved from Mt. Olympus by chopper
  • [17] The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

  • [01] 179 MPs give Samaras coalition gov't vote of confidence

    The Samaras coalition government on Sunday expectedly received a vote of confidence just after midnight on Sunday, picking up 179 votes out of a possible 300 MPs in Greece's Parliament.

    New Democracy (ND), with the largest bloc of MPs, at 129, followed by 33 PASOK deputies and 17 from the Democratic Left (DI.MAR) party gave the vote of confidence to Antonis Samaras' government. The latter is also ND's president.

    Deputies (71) of the main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) government, along with the Independent Greeks party (20 MPs), Chryssi Avgi (18) and Communist Party (12) voted against.

    The late-night Parliament procedure concluded three days of debate, culminating in the addresses of party leaders.

    All 300 deputies voted, either for or against.

    [02] Samaras sharply criticism Tsipras, SYRIZA party

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras launched into a scathing attack against main opposition Radical Leftist Coalition (SYRIZA) party late Sunday evening from Parliament, moments before his coalition government received a vote of confidence by 179 out of 300 MPs.

    Samaras responded to previous criticism by SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, at times directing his comments to the main opposition leader himself, especially in rebuttal to the latter's statement against privatisations.

    "... lose the talk, the threats and the fairy tale of fear, Mr. Tsipras; if you want put me in jail, I am ready and am waiting for you. This is the first time this has been aired (in Parliament) since 1977. You're terrorising anyone that wants to invest in Greece. You are cheerleaders for the drachma lobby," he said, adding:

    "You're playing the same game as those that want to throw the country out of the eurozone ... We are determined to continue, the three parties supporting the government, and we have unity."

    He also referred to the "intense resistance by parties expressing the 'old'. No one is without sin, all of the parties have responsibilities. Who has the most responsibilities was judged by the people before the election," he concluded.

    [03] Tsipras: SYRIZA not a threat to euro, but to markets and banking lobby

    "The Memorandum was a political and economic crime imposed by the troika, with the responsibility of those that are governing us," main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said from Parliament's podium late on Sunday evening, before the start of a vote of confidence procedure for the new Samaras government.

    In a reply directly to new Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, he charged that he was now a minister and not the head of a NGO responsible for the sell-off of public property.

    He also warned that his party would "stop this crime, which in the upcoming period means default. SYRIZA is not a threat to the euro; SYRIZA is a threat to the markets and the banking lobby," he stressed.

    [04] FinMin meets again with EC,ECB,IMF troika reps

    Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras met on Sunday with the heads of the EC-ECB-IMF troika delegation at the ministry.

    The top representatives of the troika were briefed over the government's policy statements by the minister, following a round of meetings with several other relevant ministers.

    Moreover, the representatives will brief the Eurogroup on Monday on the updated condition of the Greek economy.

    [05] FinMIn: Negotiations need both parties at the table

    Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Saturday touched on the government's closely watched policy statements for the economy, speaking in Parliament ahead of a vote of confidence on Sunday at midnight.

    "Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said truth is our first principle. I heard some people say that the Memorandum is responsible for the crisis. This is wrong and not true. The Memorandum is a repercussion of the crisis in Greece," he said, adding that without the loan agreement the country's economy would have collapsed.

    Nevertheless, he noted that "we could have had a better Memorandum if Greece had proceeded with constructive reforms."

    He also reminded that in order to negotiate, the other side must also want to sit down at the negotiating table, other "you wait".

    Stournaras said an immediate need is for the country to implement agreed to measures, adding that the extension of the loan agreement is mandatory due to major recession in order for an adjustment to be completed in a smoother way.

    "An extension means that someone will give us more money. And this means negotiations," he said.

    Finally, he referred to the four axis which the country should follow, namely, further fiscal adjustment, greater productivity, reinforcement of the growth and establishment of a modern social state.

    [06] Public order minister: Unbelievably high number of foreign nat'ls involved in serious crime

    New Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias on Sunday, speaking from Parliament, sent a clear message that the Samaras government will not allow any group to "assume" the work of police, an indirect reference to the Chryssi Avgi (Golden Dawn) party, which has in the past been accused of vigilantism.

    "Greece's democracy cannot accept either the questioning or whatever attempt to substitute Greece's security services," he said, while at the same time referring to what he called data showing "an unbelievable high number of foreign nationals involved in serious crime."

    Dendias says it was a major provocation for the country to deal with illegal immigration, especially in terms of procedures for repatriation of illegal migrants. "We are not at all satisfied with Turkey, towards which Greece has submitted 112,000 requests for repatriation (of third country nationals) but of which only 11,000 have been accepted, and of those, only 3,000 illegal migrants have been returned," he charged, referring to bureaucratic red-tape in the neighbouring country on the specific matter.

    He also said the government must transfer personnel to the asylum bureau and for the proper operation of migrant reception centres. Moreover, he said the government must negotiate for changes in the Dublin II treaty, described as a major problem for the country -- given that illegal migrants cannot be shared equally by EU member-states but remain congregated in Greece, after mostly illegally entering from neighbouring Turkey.

    According to Dendias, figures for the last two-year period show that the verified participation of foreign nationals in homicide attempts and armed robberies exceeds 51 percent. "This is an unbelievably high number of foreign nationals participating in serious crime." He further charged that an increase in violent crime increasingly violating the most private life of citizens, namely, their homes and work.

    "We have 55,000 police officers. We do not need more but better policing, via a new organisational framework," he said, while noting, nevertheless, that police officers are paid very little.

    [07] 40 of 56 obligations have been met - Troika meeting with Development minister

    Forty of a total 56 obligations Greece has undertaken vis-a-vis the EU/IMF 'troika' were fulfilled in the first half of the year, it was pointed out on Friday night in a meeting between Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks minister Costis Hadzidakis with officials of the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) 'troika' of Greece's international lenders.

    The problems in liquidity faced by the Greek economy were the main focus of the talks, and high-ranking ministry source told AMNA that the minister told the troika representatives that "we are doing what needs to be done, but you must help too", referring chiefly to unblocking the ECB funds.

    The same sources said the minister further told the troika that he will seek a speedier absorption of the NSRF (National Strategic Reference Framework) funds, while they also discussed the prospect of reforming some of the programmes, given that, as Hadzidakis said, "it is easier to build a new house than to repair an old one".

    The two sides further discussed the delays in the structural changes, such as the public procurements system and the state contracts.

    The troika delegation, which had its first "sounding-out" meeting with Hadzidakis on Friday, will return to Athens in late July.

    [08] Venizelos accuses Tsipras of opportunism and tactics "beneath the circumstances'

    PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos launched a personal attack against main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, retorting to the latter's accusations against the coalition government during a debate of its policy statements, accusing Tsipras of opportunism and of tactics that were "beneath the circumstances".

    "The country cannot tolerate a repeat of the pre-elections simplifications, more demagoguery and populism," said Venizelos, who took the podium immediately after Tsipras.

    "One cannot choose the easy way, to lie in wait for the country to fail and, even worse, to state in parliament that he will systematically undermine the government's work and dispute the continuity of the country. This is not only institutional undermining but also social and national development undermining. The Greek people did not give such a mandate on July 17 (general elections)," Venizelos said.

    [09] Venizelos: Framework for entire econ programme 2013-2014 should be determined from now, not step-by-step

    PASOK, a junior member in Greece's new three-party coalition government, insists on the necessity of determining the framework for the negotiation of the entire economic programme for 2013-2014 from now and not step-by-step, which position was conveyed by PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos to the representatives of the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) 'troika' of Greece's international lenders during a meeting at the party headquarters.

    It is necessary to agree "the general framework of the fiscal adjustment programme and a new, updated Middle-Term Fiscal Strategy Programme so that the individual steps that need to be made will refer to that integrated framework," Venizelos told the troika heads during a one-hour meeting on Saturday.

    A PASOK announcement said that "a first useful exchange of views" took place during the meeting, with Venizelos referring particularly to the new policy framework the country was moving in and to the tolerance of the Greek economy and society, putting forward the issue of a revision of the agreement under the procedures if foresees, beginning with an extension of the fiscal adjustment by three years.

    He stressed the need for re-assessing on a realistic basis the macroeconomic data and especially the recession for 2012, which is larger than anticipated, and stressed the need also for the entire discussion to take place in the context of the recent European Council decisions that provide explicitly for development-friendly fiscal adjustment and a new more dynamic role for the ECB and the EFSF/ESM.

    The announcement also said that the discussion extended to the relevant economic and political conditions, especially the financing of the fiscal adjustment extension and maintaining the viability of the Greek debt.

    The two sides further discussed acceleration of the structural changes and denationalizations, and the need for Greece's backing by the Commission and the EU member states in developing the absolutely necessary developmental but also social package.

    The contacts will resume in about 15 days, when the troika is due to return to Athens.

    [10] Tsipras: 'For sale' sign placed on Greece

    The parliamentary debate on the coalition government's policy statements, presented in the 300-member House on Friday by prime minister Antonis Samaras, began on Saturday evening with main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras harshly accusing the three-party government of putting a general 'for sale' sign on Greece.

    Tsipras accused Samaras of irresponsible campaign tactics, blatantly lying to the people in order to come into government.

    "The renegotiation (of the Memorandum) ended on the night of June 17 (general elections). Whoever believed it was deluded," Tsipras said, speaking of a co-governance of huge compromise that was leading to the most mistaken recipe.

    He said that acknowledgement by the prime minister himself that the convergence programme has derailed from its targets is an admission of absolute bankruptcy.

    "You put the continuation of the acceleration of domestic devaluation, in other words recession and the total destruction of the country as a prerequisite for the structural changes," he said, adding that the admission by the new finance minister that Greece can ask for nothing is the catastrophic dogma of the new government".

    Tsipras warned the three-party government that all who dare to sell off the public wealth will give account for their actions.

    "The Greek people have the right to not acknowledge agreements that will sell off the public property for peanuts," he warned.

    "We are not preparing to conduct opposition, but to assume the governance of the country when this parenthesis closes. And we will not be waiting with open arms for the ripe fruit to drop. Nor will we suffice ourselves with an opposition of crticism," Tsipras said.

    Accusing the government of placing a general 'for sale' sign on the country's wealth and real estate, Tsipras said that the co-governance would be no different from the preceding Papademos and Papandreou governments.

    Interpreting the policy statements, he said that contrary to the pre-electoral promise to renegotiate the Memorandum there would be instead an acceleration of the existing catastrophic model that has been applied the last years.

    [11] Papariga: Demand for Memorandum abolition objective, fair

    Communist Party (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga on Sunday again reiterated her party's complete opposition to the bailout Memorandum signed by Greece with its EC-ECB-IMF creditors.

    "We do not call this government a memorandum government, because it will continue the policies of previous governments, in fact, with even more law and order. Mr. (Antonis) Samaras spoke of law and order but he did not mean crime in society but law and order vis-a-vis the workers."

    Additionally, she said the vast majority of the Greek people on June 17 voted for remaining in the European Union, no matter what, but for a renegotiation of the Memorandum, "however, after taking a step back, in the wake of terrifying dilemmas launched by ND and SYRIZA, and afterwards, by the unmasked reversal by SYRIZA."

    She added that "negotiation, even if some elements are softened, such as (work) contracts and renewed collective labour agreements, cannot prevent citizens' degradation," while adding that the demand for abolition of the Memorandum is objective and fair.

    [12] Coast guard returned to jurisdiction of merchant marine ministry

    A presidential decree (85/2012) tabled by the Samaras government returns the coast guard to the jurisdiction of the recently re-established merchant marine and Aegean ministry, while at the same time delineating which services also fall under the new ministry's domain.

    Specifically, the legal brief for the relevant presidential decree was tabled in the fifth section of the Council of State, which modifies the overall bill dealing with the establishment and renaming of ministries, as well as the transfer and abolition of services.

    General News

    [13] LyrAvlos concert of Ancient Greek musical instruments

    A concert featuring Ancient Greek music played on exact replicas of ancient musical instruments will be held on Saturday, in the context of the Vravronia 2012 cultural events, staged by the "LyrAvlos" ensemble at the Vravronas soccer field, with free entrance for the public.

    LyrAvlos is the conjoinment of the words "lyra" (lyre) and "avlos" (flute). "From the lyre, which represents the mythical god Apollo, who symbolises harmony and measure, and from the 'avlos', which is represents Dionysus and symbolises strength, ecstasy, passion," LyrAvlos creator, musician Panayiotis Stefos, tells AMNA. "I believe that we all have an Apollonian and a Dionysian element inside, and our group tries to include both the merry-maker and the poet in our music.

    Ancient Greek music is one of the lesser known chapters in the wide field of study of Hellenic civilization.

    Although much has been said and written about its major role in everyday life, there is still very much to be investigated in this area of the arts in Ancient Greece.

    The absence of written remains of Ancient Greek music has, for centuries, created the impression that music was not a very advanced chapter of the arts in Ancient Greece, Stefos says.

    However, our knowledge on the role and position of music in Ancient Greece has been enriched by systematic research and from literary sources, which contain a plethora of direct and indirect references, he adds.

    Stefos, together with his wife and children and friends that share his vision, has set up a group, "Lyravlos", that has undertaken the task of reconstructing the Ancient Greek musical instruments. The purpose of this endeavor is to construct precise, working replicas of the instruments that will give true renditions of the 'sheet music' from the long past that have been discovered.

    Lyravlos is recognised in Greece as well as abroad for a work not only of artistic and educational value, but also of important accomplishments in original research. From the Athens Hall of Music and the Warsaw Opera, from the Festival of Old Music in Stockholm and Corcoran Gallery in Washington, to the co-operation with the National Orchestra of Athens in the First Greek Musical Celebrations, to the participation in the festivities of the 2004 Olympic Games and with Universities such as Boston University, Sorbonne, Ionian University, University of Ioannina, also with more than 400 concerts and seminars in schools of all grades, Lyravlos has become identified with the most well documented effort towards the learning and promotion of the rich Ancient Greek musical tradition. A highlight was its participation in the ceremony for the lighting of the Olympic Flame in November 2001 for the Salt Lake City winter Olympics.

    The fundamental aim of Lyravlos ( is to revive in a scientifically documented manner and to properly promote the Ancient Greek music, by reconstructing the instruments which give life to the ancient sounds.

    Stefos, who for years was a top musician with the Athens State Orchestra, the National Opera and the Orchestra of Colours, but decided to follow a different path 15 years ago, tells us that just like today, in antiquity too music was all around, in theater, education, athletics, in the everyday joys and sorrows.

    Today, 61 ancient songs are saved in documents that are similar to today's sheet music, some on semi-ruined papyrus, or shards of stone surfaces and the like, says Stefos, adding that the best preserved piece is the Epitaph of Seikilos, which had been engraved on a circular stele circa 200 BC, which was discovered in 1883 in Aidin in Turkey.

    The Seikilos epitaph is the oldest surviving example of a complete musical composition, including musical notation, from anywhere in the world. The song, the melody of which is recorded, alongside its lyrics, in the ancient Greek musical notation, was found engraved on a tombstone, near Aidin, Turkey (not far from Ephesus).

    The musical notation of the ancient Greeks was alphabetical, using letters -- half, whole and slanted -- which today have been decrypted with the help of ancient manuscripts, so now we can decrypt these pieces with great precision.

    The members of the ensemble play more than 40 ancient and newer musical instruments, combining ancient melodies with traditional music, in an effort to not only acquaint the public with the ancient sounds but to also show the continuity in music.

    [14] Illegal migrants, traffickers arrested in Thessaloniki.

    Three foreign nationals, aged 25, 28 and 31, were arrested on Saturday and charged with migrant trafficking after police discovered four illegal migrants in a vehicle driven by the first suspect on a highway outside Thessaloniki.

    The illegal migrants claimed to have paid 150 euros each for transportation abroad.

    All suspects will be sent before Thessaloniki prosecutor.

    [15] Wildfire in Varnavas site under control

    A wildfire that erupted on Sunday at around noon in a remote area near the village of Varnavas, in extreme NW Attica prefecture, was under control by the evening, the fire brigade announced.

    The blaze burned crops, fruit trees and pine trees, footage from the area showed. A significant firefighting force was in place overnight -- with more than 60 vehicles on the scene, along with dozens of firefighters.

    The fire was visible throughout most of the northern part of the prefecture and in southern Evia.

    [16] Injured climber retrieved from Mt. Olympus by chopper

    A 46-year-old German hiker injured during a climb of Mt. Olympus on Sunday was safely transported by helicopter from a mountain refuge to the nearby town of Litohoro.

    [17] The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The debate on the government's policy statements and negotiations with the troika (EC,ECB,IMF) mostly dominated the headlines on Sunday in Athens' newspapers.

    AVGHI: "They're (government) accountable for looting", a headline by the SYRIZA party-controlled paper warning against any and all privatisations.

    AVRIANI: "SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos head-on collision in Parliament".

    DIMOKRATIA: "Elderly led to poverty".

    EPOCHI: "From renegotiation to everything for sale".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The less state plan".

    ETHNOS: "Battle over state's 'silver ware',"

    KATHIMERINI: "Troika's red cards".

    PROTO THEMA (weekly): "Up to 60 years extension for loan repayments".

    RealNews: "Troika to gov't: Sell to save!"

    TO PARON: "Samaras: We can!"

    RIZOSPASTIS: "New Democracy, PASOK, Democratic Left coalition governement intensify the war against the people".

    TO VIMA: "Everything for sale in order for taxes to be cut".

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: ILIAS MATSIKAS

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