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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-07-16

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 16 July 2012 Issue No: 4122


  • [01] Athens temperatures hit 40C as heatwave continues
  • [02] SYRIZA's Tsipras slams gov't in opening remarks at European Left conference
  • [03] SYRIZA: Government planning new measures
  • [04] Ind. Greeks party slams PM's u-turn on property surtax
  • [05] Opinion polls one month after elections
  • [06] Annual summer sales open on Monday
  • [07] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday
  • [08] Hit-and-run twins, mother still in hospital; driver released on bail
  • [09] Road accident on Egnatia Odos highway; four dead
  • [10] Thessaloniki police arrest two migrant traffickers, six illegal migrants
  • [11] Traffic restrictions in central Athens 'ring' lifted for summer
  • [12] Two lightly injured, one arrested during armed robbery on Crete
  • [13] Document forging workshop discovered in Athens, one arrested
  • [14] Thessaloniki police make counterfeit goods bust, arrest 13
  • [15] Foreign national arrested for illegally photographing airport installations
  • [16] Four arrested for drug dealing and fencing
  • [17] Seich Sou Forest fire fully contained
  • [18] Pikermi fire partiallly contained, new blace in Ritsona
  • [19] Fraud targeting IKA-ETAM uncovered by electronic crime squad
  • [20] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

  • [01] Athens temperatures hit 40C as heatwave continues

    Temperatures in Athens hit a blistering 40C average on Saturday and Sunday, while they were not expected to fall below 35C until after 9:00 p.m. at night. The heatwave is forecast to reach its peak on Monday, according to the Greek weather service, with average temperatures seen rising to 41-42C or even higher in built-up areas and not abating until next Tuesday, when they will drop by some 6 degrees centigrade.

    The coolest regions around the capital were the coastal suburbs in the south and east, where temperatures are 3-4C lower on average, and the municipalities of north and northeast Attica, where temperatures are up to 6C lower.

    On Tuesday, the temperature is seen plunging to an average of 34C and gradually dropping further on Wednesday and Thursday before another plunge to 25C on Friday.

    Elsewhere in the country on Saturday, the highest temperatures were on Lindos, Archangelos, Sparti and Agrinio, where they ranged from 38C to 40C, and the lowest were on the islands of Skiathos, Skyros, Skopelos, Kymi and Andros with temperatures at 28-29C. On Sunday the weather service warned that they may climb even higher, reaching up to 42C in some locations.

    Over the weekend, temperatures in northern Greece will range from 19C to 36C, in central Greece from 22C to 36C, in southern Greece from 24C to 39C and in western Greece from 21C to 37C. The islands of the Aegean and Crete will experience temperatures from 22C to 34C but southern Crete and the eastern Aegean islands, in particular, will see much higher temperatures between 37C and 38C.

    [02] SYRIZA's Tsipras slams gov't in opening remarks at European Left conference

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras, also vice-president of the European Left, strongly attacked the three-party "Memorandum government" ruling Greece as he opened a two-day conference of the European Left Executive Committee taking place in Athens over the weekend. The conference will focus on developments in Greece and Europe, especially after the latest EU summit.

    Slamming a plan for privatisations and other measures that have been announced, Tsipras stressed that additional austerity amounting to at least 15 billion euro meant that the economic programme could not work.

    "The equation has no solution," he insisted and stressed that if the coalition government consented to the irrational demands of its creditors, then at the end of the next two years an exhausted and bankrupt Greek economy would be forced to voluntarily beg to exit the Eurozone.

    He predicted that the government would do this and seek to present it as a major success, as it had done with the PSI bond 'haircut' since, he said, "this government proclaims the interests of the creditors as supposedly international targets".

    Tsipras was harshly critical of the junior Coalition party Democratic Left (Dem.Ar), noting that we "have no expectations of our former comrades at Dem.Ar that have got to the point of dubbing the coalition government's memorandum programme 'progressive'."

    Linking the return of the EU-IMF troika to Greece on July 24 with the anniversary of the fall of the 1967-1974 junta in Greece, Tsipras said the troika was coming "to give us the opportunity to select the rope to hang ourselves with".

    Commenting on the government's programme, he said the government will seek to find the 11.6 billion euro in additional measures demanded by the EU-IMF troika over the next two years by cutting public spending, especially on welfare benefits, health, education and other social spending and by further slashing wages and pensions.

    He counterproposed progressive tax reforms that raised the tax free allowance for those on low and medium incomes while widening the tax base and increasing the tax burden on the wealthy in order to increase revenues.

    SYRIZA's leader was also scathing about the ambitious privatisation programme backed by the coalition government, saying that attempts to present this as the antidote to austerity had already failed, with the selling-off of public wealth and austerity measures going hand in hand.

    "Greece is being essentially sold off to its creditors," he underlined, noting that austerity had not only caused the collapse of wages and pensions but also the stock market value of public utilities, allowing privatisation at bargain basement prices. He also accused the government of using the same tactics as Margaret Thatcher to methodically undermine the resistance from trade unions.

    Tsipras asserted that the Eurozone's obsession with neoliberal ideology had guaranteed failure and repeated SYRIZA's positions for breaking free from austerity, proposals that he included in the European Left Executive Committee's policy plan to be discussed over the two-day conference.

    The proposals include giving the European Central Bank the role and powers of a real central bank, political measures to control Europe's financial sector, supervision and recapitalisation of national banks on a Eurozone level, the issue of Eurobonds and establishing a European Fund for Social Development and Solidarity.

    He noted the process of converting SYRIZA-EKM into a single political force, saying this would also strengthen the political momentum of the European Left party and perhaps act as the spark for a process of political overthrows throughout Europe.

    [03] SYRIZA: Government planning new measures

    Main opposition SYRIZA warned on Sunday that the three-party coalition government was planning "new reactionary measures".

    In an announcement, SYRIZA said that the only difference between the present government and the preceding Papandreou and Papademos governments was the "endless audacity of the new continuers of the Memorandum, who have baptized the barbarous measures as 'disengagement' and 'renegotiation'," SYRIZA said.

    It said that "the new reactionary measures planned by the governmental troika have nothing to do with either the infamous renegotiation or with growth and an exit from the crisis or with all that the continuers of the Memorandum announced pre-electorally to grab the vote of the Greek people".

    Also, SYRIZA said, "the privatisations, reductions in salaries and pensions, cutbacks in public expenditures that were not mentioned pre-electorally are synonymous to the social and economic razing of the country, deepen the crisis and distance the country from the eurozone".

    SYRIZA reiterated its position that the exit from the crisis presupposes reversal of the Memorandum policy and a new strategy for boosting growth and supporting the social state and labour.

    [04] Ind. Greeks party slams PM's u-turn on property surtax

    Independent Greeks party spokesman Christos Zois on Sunday attacked Prime Minister Antonis Samaras for going back on a promise to abolish a special property surtax attached to electricity bills, which resulted in several poorer households having their electricity cut because they were unable to pay both the bill and the tax.

    "Antonis Samaras's pre-election pledge to abolish the special surtax on property has been converted into full implementation of the Venizelos decision," Zois noted.

    "The express commitment has been postponed to 2013. The citizens are financially squeezed dry and the Public Power Corporation is being devalued before it goes under the 'hammer'," Zois added, stressing that the last "fig leaf" had fallen from a government that promised one thing in June and did another in July.

    [05] Opinion polls one month after elections

    New Democracy (ND) maintained its lead in two opinion polls conducted just one month after the June 17 repeat general elections and the formation of a coalition government under prime minister and ND leader Antonis Samaras, with the backing of the PASOK and Democratic Left (DIMAR) parties.

    A Kapa Research poll appearing in To Vima newspaper on Sunday indicated that the voters are disappointed with the coalition parties and indifferent to the negotiations with the Troika.

    The majority of respondents want growth and new jobs, while renegotiation of the Memorandum falls to third place among their priorities, while 62.7 percent are in favour of the denationalisations.

    To a question on voter intent, meaning which party they would vote for if general elections were held the following Sunday 23.6 percent of the respondents selected ND, followed by main opposition SYRIZA with 20.7 percent, coalition partner PASOK with 11.1 percent, the ultra-right Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn) with 7.4 percent, Independent Greeks with 6.4 percent, coalition partner DIMAR with 5.7 percent and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) with 4.8 percent.

    One in four respondents said they trust no party, while 55.2 percent consider the ND-PASOK-DIMAR governmental cooperation as positive.

    In a second opinion poll, conducted by MRB and appearing in the Sunday edition of RealNews newspaper, ND came first with 23.5 percent among respondents with respect to voter intent, followed by SYRIZA with 21.7 percent, PASOK with 10.1 percent, Independent Greeks with 6.3 percent, Chryssi Avghi with 6.1 percent, DIMAR with 5.1 percent and the KKE with 4.1 percent, while the undecided vote was 18.5 percent.

    Financial News

    [06] Annual summer sales open on Monday

    The annual summer sales season debuts throughout Greece on Monday, with merchants promising major discounts and urging shoppers to take advantage of the reduced prices.

    The annual summer sales, which will run through August 31, provide consumers with the opportunity of purchasing products at discounted prices, with reductions reaching as much as 70 percent off the original prices.

    Shop owners are looking to the sales to generate much-needed revenues, which have dropped sharply as a result of austerity measures that have caused shoppers to restrict purchases to the bare necessities.

    [07] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. Dollar 1236

    Pound sterling 799

    Danish kroner 7550

    Swedish kroner 8703

    Japanese yen 98.05

    Swiss franc 1218

    Norwegian kroner 7552

    Canadian dollar 1257

    Australian dollar 1216

    General News

    [08] Hit-and-run twins, mother still in hospital; driver released on bail

    Two seven-year-old twins and their mother, who were run over by a 21-year-old junior Greek Navy officer on a motorcycle a few days ago, were still in hospital in serious condition on Saturday, with the young boy considered critical. The hit-and-run driver, who faces serious charges over the incident, was released on bail of 15,000 euro after testifying before a Piraeus naval court and forbidden from leaving the country.

    Doctors at the Aglaia Kyriakou childrens' hospital in Athens said the young girl was showing signs of improvement but were still concerned about the health of her brother. Their mother was also seriously injured and is recovering at Evangelismos Hospital, where doctors say she is now out of danger.

    [09] Road accident on Egnatia Odos highway; four dead

    Four people were killed, one of them a small child, and several more were injured in a road accident on the Kavala-Thessaloniki section of the Egnatia Odos highway on Sunday evening at 7:00 p.m. The crash occurred after the Ofrynio junction when the driver of a mini-van with Bulgarian licence plates lost control so of the vehicle, which veered off course and capsized.

    Ambulances from Thessaloniki, Kavala and Serres rushed to the scene and picked up an unspecified number of injured.

    According to Thessaloniki traffic police, there were nine people on board the mini-van when it capsized while the initial evidence showed that the accident occurred because the driver fell asleep.

    [10] Thessaloniki police arrest two migrant traffickers, six illegal migrants

    Thessaloniki Illegal Aliens Department police on Saturday reported the arrest of two migrant traffickers that attempted to smuggle six illegal immigrants into Greece and take them to Athens, among them three minors.

    The arrest was carried out late on Friday night as the smugglers were attempting to bring the illegal migrants in via road and rail. The migrants were all Syrian nationals who had paid 250 euro each for the issue of fake papers and their transportation to Athens.

    One migrant trafficker, aged 34, was arrested at a railway station as he attempted to get a man and a young girl onto a train, intending to accompany them to Athens. His accomplice was arrested in the Malgara region, transporting a couple and their two children in his car.

    The suspects will be taken before a Thessaloniki Misdemeanours' Court prosecutor.

    [11] Traffic restrictions in central Athens 'ring' lifted for summer

    The traffic restrictions applying to the central Athens 'daktylios' - a roughly circular zone around the city centre - were temporarily lifted on Saturday for the peak summer season, when many Athenians quit the capital on holiday. The normal restrictions that allow vehicles into the city centre only on alternate days, based on the date and whether their number plate is odd or even, will not apply until a new ministerial decision is issued regulating the restrictions for 2012-2013.

    [12] Two lightly injured, one arrested during armed robbery on Crete

    Two people were lightly injured and one man was arrested during an armed robbery targeting a goldsmith's workshop in Iraklio, Crete on Saturday morning. The hold-up occurred when the owner of the workshop and a client were on the premises.

    The two armed men attacked them and took a quantity of jewellery of unknown value before attempting to flee. In their effort to get away, however, they dropped the jewellery onto the street and a neighbour was able to immobilise one of the thieves and hand him over to the police.

    There was also a pursuit of the second culprit by police.

    The man in custody was a 33-year-old gypsy that has been taken to the Iraklio police headquarters, while his accomplice has been identified as an Albanian national.

    [13] Document forging workshop discovered in Athens, one arrested

    Police on Saturday reported the discovery of a workshop making fake passports and other forged documents used by illegal immigrants in the Agios Panteleimonas district in central Athens. They also announced the arrest of a 24-year-old Iranian national caught in possession of five fake passports.

    The arrest was made on Friday afternoon, when the workshop was found, while a search is on for another Iranian national believed to be the suspect's accomplice.

    During the raid on the 5th-floor apartment on Makedonias Street, police found a fully equipped workshop and a number of fake identification documents of various types. These were sold for prices ranging from 500 euro to 1,500 euro depending on their quality and country of origin.

    The forged documents confiscated included 40 fake EU member-state passports, 31 fake EU ID cards, 10 fake driving licences of various countries, five fake asylum application cards and five fake residence permits. There was also equipment for making the forged documents, a large number of photographs, five mobile phones and 350 euro.

    The man arrested was taken before an Athens first-instance court prosecutor.

    [14] Thessaloniki police make counterfeit goods bust, arrest 13

    Thessaloniki police on Saturday reported that large quantities of counterfeit goods destined to flood the beaches of Halkidiki had been confiscated in two raids targeting hawkers in the coastal villages of Neon Flogiton and Neon Plagion. A total of 59 people were detained during these raids, mainly Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Nigerian nationals, of which 13 were arrested for violating immigration laws as they lacked residence permits allowing them to live in Greece.

    Authorities have also drawn up charges against the six landlords of the apartments in which they hawkers were staying for leasing their property to illegal immigrants.

    The raids were carried out following complaints made by local residents.

    [15] Foreign national arrested for illegally photographing airport installations

    A 34-year-old German national was arrested by security police at noon Sunday while illegally photographing the installations of the old Maritsa airport on the island of Rhodes.

    The man had trespassed the airport from the southern side.

    Police are conducting a preliminary investigation.

    [16] Four arrested for drug dealing and fencing

    Three women aged 19, 24 and 26 and a 32-year-old man were arrested in Thessaloniki on Saturday night for drug dealing and fencing, while a second man, aged 21, was wanted.

    The arrests were made after a search of an apartment in the district of Kordelio, which the detainees used as a hide-out, turned up seven packets of heroin weighing 739.3 grams, a total of 2,075 euros in cash and 11 cell phones, as well as a large number of electronic devices -- including cameras, radio-cd's and laptops.

    The suspects will be taken before a local prosecutor.

    [17] Seich Sou Forest fire fully contained

    A huge wildfire that broke out in the Seich Sou forest near Thessaloniki on Saturday was reported as having been fully contained by Saturday night.

    A major fire broke out at around 2:30 p.m. on Saturday within the Seich Sou forest near the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, starting at the Neapolis junction of the ring road around the city and heading toward Retziki.

    Two aircraft, one helicopter and a large force of firemen with 13 fire-engines were originally deployed to put out the flames, while the arrival of reinforcements raised the forces ranged against the fire to six airplanes, one helicopter, 20 fire-engines and 90 firemen, as well as large numbers of volunteers.

    The fire brigade was able to bring the blaze under control by Saturday night, since there are no strong winds blowing in the area.

    Initial reports said the fire was started by someone throwing a lit cigarette from a passing car but this has not been officially confirmed at present.

    Traffic along the road bypassing Thessaloniki is continuing as normal but police urged drivers to avoid the road as far as possible in order to facilitate the fire brigade's work.

    An estimated area of 13 acres of forest was burned before the blaze was placed under control.

    [18] Pikermi fire partiallly contained, new blace in Ritsona

    A fire that broke out early Sunday afternoon in a forest area in the town of Pikermi, east of Athens, was partially contained several hours later, firefighters said, but added that a new fire broke out in a forested expanse in Ritsona, Halkidiki, in northern Greece.

    The Pikermi fire, which broke out in close proximity to homes and was burning pine forest and brush, was partly contained by a strong team of 44 firefighters with 14 fire engines and a large team on foot.

    A team of 20 firefighters with 7 fire engines, assisted by two water-dropping planes, were battling the Ritsona blaze.

    [19] Fraud targeting IKA-ETAM uncovered by electronic crime squad

    Another case of Internet fraud targeting the state insurance foundation IKA-ETAM has been uncovered by the police electronic crime squad, which has identified the 42-year-old owner of an accountants firm in Ptolemaida as one of those involved.

    In an announcement on Sunday, police said the case involved the fraudulent declaration over the Internet of wages paid to mainly foreign nationals who were credited for days worked and the resultant benefits, including eligibility for work and residence permits, without the necessary contributions being paid.

    The investigation was launched after two IKA-ETAM branches in provincial towns reported that unknown individuals with a total of eight electronic traces had submitted false Detailed Period Statements via the Internet, claiming that a series of foreign and Greek workers had been employed in building work for a number of days but not paying the corresponding employer contributions.

    The total damage to IKA was estimated to be at least 40,000 euro.

    [20] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

    AVGHI: "Arsonists with 15 billion euros in measures - Decisions by September".

    AVRIANI: "Gigantic tapping scandal in mobile telephony networks".

    DIMOKRATIA: "New middle-term programme on the horizon - 'Code 24 July'."

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Will they bring Tsipras to 'finish' the Left?"

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "First dam against recession with new middle-term programme - The Samaras framework for the renegotiation".

    EPOCHI: "Taxation 'settlement' - Households hit by unemployment and unemployment in despair".

    EXPRESS: "'Raid' for overdue debts against 78,108 debtors".

    KATHIMERINI: "Expensive prices under Troika's microscope - Warning to ministries over energy, fuel, food, private schools, etc".

    KERDOS: "New taxation scale - What the services recommend for relief of taxpayers".

    LOGOS: "August's 'storm' will sweep the households".

    NIKI: "Earn good money with 'smart' deposits".

    PROTO THEMA: "All double pensions being cut - What the government's 'equivalent measures' contain".

    REALNEWS: "Finance Minister to coalition government's three party leaders: The government would have fallen if I had put forward the issue of extension".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "KKE draft law a contribution to the people's battle".

    TO ARTHRO: "Venizelos the new Karatzaferis?"

    TO PARASKINIO: "Shocking names in the hands of EYP (National Information Service) - Revelation of the CDS a matter of time and determination".

    TO PARON: "Surprising RASS opinion poll: 41.6 say 'yes' to privatisations so that new measures will not be taken".

    TO VIMA: "Declare and save your bank deposits before the 'source of wealth' is applied for everyone".

    VRADYNI: "Retire earlier with smaller pension from IKA".

    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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