|Sunday, 17 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-07-23
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 23 July 2012 Issue No: 4128
 PM meets with former US President ClintonPrime Minister Antonis Samaras met privately on Sunday with former US President Bill Clinton, who arrived in Athens for a lightning visit, while the two were later were joined by members of the Greek coalition government and prominent Greek-American business people for a wide-ranging discussion.
The 45-minute meeting between the two men focused on the state of the Greek economy and ways of finding solutions out of the crisis.
Samaras told Clinton that the new Greek government will proceed immediately with much-needed structural changes and reforms, pointing out that Greece is currently going through an unprecedented crisis and was already in the fifth year of an ongoing recession. He also noted that the target is to boost recovery with the support of the Greek people, and stressed that strong leadership and faith in the people are needed in order for the problems to be solved.
Calling Clinton a friend of Greece, Samaras thanked him for his participation in the effort of Greek-American business people for the establishment of a fund that will promote growth actions in Greece.
Clinton is in Athens for a few hours to address an event organised by a group of prominent Greek-Americans, through the Hellenic Initiative Programme backed by diaspora business executives, lawyers, scientists and others, aiming at the establishment of a fund that will promote foreign investments in Greece.
The former US President, in turn, said he believes in Greece's future, adding that he considers the country a rich land, rich in resources, and congratulate the new coalition government, adding that all over the world, when there are problems people must work together.
He also praised the government's reform efforts.
Clinton said he and the Greek-American leaders were here in Greece to lend their support, not because they believed they had the solutions but because they believe that together they can do something to help the country.
"People need something to look forward to when they get up in the morning. Young Greeks need something to believe in so they can stake their future out here," the former US President said.
 DM: Greece a safe country to invest inNational Defence minister Panos Panagiotopoulos reassured that Greece is a safe country to invest in, following a broad governmental meeting on Sunday with former US President Bill Clinton and a group of Greek American businessmen in Athens.
Panagiotopoulos said the general impression he had from the meeting was positive, adding that the expectations are justifiably many, adding his belief that this was the starting of a process that would progress quickly, and "that is why we were here, to help the prime minister in quickly moving beyond words to action".
Asked if interest was manifested for investments, Panagiotopoulos replied that the climate for Greece was slowly changing, adding that it was important that the country's international image changes and that everyone realizes that Greece is a safe country for investments and for applying ideas in the economy so that the entire effort wlll benefit the Greek economy and people who have been sorely tried in recent years.
 Leftist leader Tsipras predicts Greek defaultThe leader of the main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party, Alexis Tsipras, on Saturday was quoted as predicting the country's default, while also forecasting that the government will "soon present" a return to a national currency (drachma) as a national success.
In an interview published with an Athens weekly newspaper (Real News), Tsipras said any re-negotiation of a Memorandum signed by Greece with its EC-ECB-IMF creditors ended on the night of the June 17 election, while charging that any payment extension is "essentially a longer rope with which to hang ourselves."
He also criticised the government for abandoning, as he said, any discussion over restoring cuts made to retirees receiving low pensions, re-instituting collective bargaining talks increasing the tax-free ceiling for individual taxpayers.
Finally, he sharply attacked Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, saying he is the definition of a finance minister that the EC-ECB-IMF 'troika' would have chosen.
 Agreement ensures EIB funding of 1.4 bln euros for Greek SMEsThe first installments of a 1.4-billion-euro credit line by the European Investment Bank (EIB) for Greece-based SMEs are expected to commence in the autumn, following an agreement worked out on Saturday during a meeting in Athens between EIB President Werner Hoyer and the Greek government.
According to statements after the meeting by Hoyer and two top Greek ministers, FinMin Yannis Stournaras, and Competition & Infrastructure Minister Costis Hatzidakis, technical problems were overcome, with a further understanding for EIB funding towards prospective financing of privatisations in the country and public-private sector partnership projects.
In a telling statement, Stournaras emphasised that "today it was made clear that (loan) repayments will be made in euros; there was never a reference to the drachma, but this point was not (previously) made clear."
The agreement envisions funding up to the end of 2015.
In a reaction a day later, a deputy for the main opposition SYRIZA party charged that the agreement cited is the same one previously signed another two times.
MP Giorgos Stathakis also claimed that EIB "froze" funding to Greece after March 2011 in the wake of reactions to a "drachma clause" in contracts.
 Two Greek nat'ls die in traffic accident on Skopje-Veles roadSKOPJE (AMNA)
Two Greek citizens were killed in a traffic accident on Saturday in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM), and specifically on the Skopje-Veles roadway.
According to reports, the German-plated car in which the two victims rode, collided with a tourist coach from Serbia.
The two victims were described as a 44-year-man and a 57-year-old woman.
 Large quantity of cannabis found aboard abandoned speedboat after chase, two men wantedA large quantity of cannabis was found aboard a speedboat on Sunday southeast of Ithaca island after a chase, and the boat's two passengers were wanted, the Coastguard said.
A Coastguard patrol boat approached the speedboat on Sunday morning to conduct a random search, but the two men on board the speedboat ignored the Coastguard's instructions and sped off.
A chase ensued, with the assistance of two more patrol boats from nearby Zakynthos and Cephallonia.
The two men abandoned the speedboat near a remote beach in Ithaca and fled after dumping packages of cannabis overboard into the sea.
The island was being combed by authorities to locate the suspects, while the speedboat and narcotics were seized and transferred to port in Cephallonia.
 Foreign suspect arrested for attempted homicideA 27-year-old Afghani national was arrested on Sunday in the Messinian village of Krommydia and a second man was wanted for the attempted homicide of a 23-year-old Pakistani. The perpetrator and victim both are also charged with cultivating cannabis and illegally residing in Greece.
The Afghani and the wanted man went to the Pakistani's home early Friday and in a scuffle that broke out injured the Pakistani in the throat with a sharp object and fled.
The Pakistani was rushed to Kalamata Hospital, while police located and arrested the Afghani suspect. It turned up during the ensuing investigation that the Afghani and Pakistani were cultivating a cannabis plantation in a forested area near Krommydia, which authorities later found and uprooted.
Both men will be taken before a local prosecutor.
 Russian theology school group on CreteStudents and professors of the Moscow Theological Academy arrived in Crete over the weekend as part of an educational programme to promote the Greek language and Hellenic culture.
The Russian group, which is hosted in the coastal city of Aghios Nikolaos, met with the Crete regional governor on Saturday.
 2 wildfires in northern GreeceA major wildfire was reported on Saturday morning near the village of Variko, in northern Florina prefecture. Up to 150 hectares of pastureland was reportedly burned. A wildfire in the adjacent prefecture of Pella, outside the village of Zervi, was extinguished earlier in the day.
 Two airlifted to safety after their fishing boat sinks off HalkidikiTwo people were airlifted by helicopter from the sea near the Toronaio Gulf off Halkidiki peninsula on Sunday after their fishing boat took on water, for reasons as yet unknown, and sank.
The two were taken to a military hospital in Thessaloniki for precautionary tests.
 Mines found off Varkiza, neeutralized on SundayTwo old-type mines were neutralized early Sunday by the coast guard in southern Attica.
The mines were discovered on Saturday by swimmers at a distance of 100 kilometers from the coast of Varkiza, at a depth of 2.5 meters.
 Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glanceThe new package of measures, the imminent return of the Troika to Athens and the forced reopening, by prosecutor's order of the Hellenic Steel Industry (Elliniki Halyvourgia) plant at Aspropyrgos where workers have been on strike for nine months were the main front-page items in Athens' Sunday newspapers).
AVGHI: "The Samaras-Venizelos-Kouvelis co-governance with the eyes of the Troika".
AVRIANI: "Up to the neck in graft - 1,000 big names in public life".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The proposals for the new Middle-Term Programme - Package bomb of 6 billion euros in cutbacks".
ETHNOS: "The black list - The 255 state agencies that are closing".
EPOCHI: "The 'renegotiation' with MAT (riot police) against strikers".
EXPRESS: "Restructure of penal code for tax violations".
KATHIMERINI: "The first five big targets for growth".
KERDOS: "Lighter tax-penalties in order to bring money to the state".
LOGOS: "The arrangements being advanced for the overindebted households".
NIKI: "The 10 'commandments' that will save your money".
PROTO THEMA: "The state withdrawing from basic services - Tax offices to go to private concerns".
REALnews: "Loony bin - DEKO (public utilities) managements 'forgot' to reduce salaries and ministers 'forgot' to audit them and continue to subsidize them".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Primary healthcare to the benefit of the people".
TO ARTHRO: "Will PM Samaras uproot the parasitic State?"
TO PARON: "Greece could collect 12.5 billion euros in taxes from Greeks' deposits in Swiss banks".
TO VIMA: "The Troika is coming, pensions are going".
VRADYNI: "The opportunities and traps for those who retire this year".
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