|Tuesday, 20 February 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-07-30
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 30 July 2012 Issue No: 4134
 Troika says will stay in Athens until package of measures is finalizedThe European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) troika will stay in Greece until a credible package of measures is drafted, in collaboration with the Greek government, IMF delegation chief in the troika Poul Thomsen told finance minister Yannis Stournaras, it was made known on Sunday.
Ministry sources said Thomsen informed the minister on this change of plans during a working dinner on Friday.
The same sources said that the climate at the dinner was "exceptionally good" and marked a change in the attitude so far of the representatives of Greece's creditors', with Thomsen cited as telling Stournaras that "we want to help and will stay as long as needed for you to prepare the package".
According to the initial itinerary, the Troika was to depart Greece at end-July and return end-August to see the progress made in the package of measures to cut state spending by 11.5 billion euros over the next two years and in the execution of this year's budget, which timetable would have resulted in a large delay in the disbursement of the outstanding tranche of the bailout loan to Greece.
Stournaras will meet on Monday with the representatives of the three parties supporting Greece's new coalition government in order to finalize the measures still outstanding for the 11.5 euros package, which will be put to a meeting of the three party leaders on Monday afternoon.
 FinMin Stournaras: Long road aheadThe road ahead is long and requires patience and persistence to regain the time lost, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras warned in an interview appearing in an Athens newspaper on Sunday.
Achievement of the targets of this year's budget and credible fiscal policy measures for the following years, combined with denationalisations, the opening of the 'closed' markets and professions, improved absorption of the ESPA (National Strategic Reference Framework-NSRF) funds, unblocking the funds earmarked for Greece from European Investments Bank (EIB) and speeding up the licensing process for investments could boost the fiscal adjustment and growth and put the Greek economy on a recovery course, Stournaras said in an interview with the Sunday edition of Kathimerini newspaper.
 Kouvelis: Risk of default will be distanced as soon as economy is stabilizedThe renegotiation is contained in the policy agreement of the three coalition government parties, which will be applied in full, coalition junior member Democratic Left (DIMAR) party leader Fotis Kouvelis said in an interview appearing in the Sunday newspaper Proto Thema.
"We will neither play the role of 'good pupil' towards our partners, nor that of someone who only demand but does not contribute with his stance towards advancing a solution," he said, and expressed conviction that "we will achieve both extension of the fiscal adjustment and other things that will loosen the pressure on the country".
Kouvelis said that the threat of Greece's default will be distanced as soon as the economy is stabilized and Greece starts climbing "the first step on the growth ladder", adding that "there is no point in big words, or fears, that magnify dangers and end up in danger-mongering".
He further did not rule out the prospect of problems arising in the cooperation of the three coalition government partners, but added that "problems were never lacking in the supposedly strong single-party governments".
Questioned on the possibility of a social explosion, Kouvelis warned: "If Europe, as a whole, does not give convincing responses to the multi-faceted crisis it is facing, this cannot be ruled out. And the countries of the south -- and obviously Greece -- have a high level of risk. I say risk because, contrary with others who think that a brighter future will result from a social explosion, I believe that social unrest directly serves the more conservative and obscurant forces".
 Tsipras calls for immediate discussion in parliament on ATEbank 'healthy' division saleMain opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras on Saturday called for an immediate off-the-agenda discussion in parliament, at party leader' level and before the House recesses for summer, on "the process of recapitalization of the banks" and particularly on the decision to separate ATEbank (Agricultural Bank of Greece) into two pieces -- a 'good' (healthy) and a 'bad' piece -- and the sale of the 'healthy' section to Piraeus Bank" which was announced on Friday.
In a letter to parliament president Evangelos Meimarakis, Tsipras said that the separation and sale of the 'healthy' part of ATEbank took place despite the fact that ATEbank is profitable and viable, at least on a three-year horizon.
He noted that ATEbank participated in the PSI after receiving assurances that its losses from the bonds exchange programme would be made up through its recapitalization from the Credit Stability Fund.
Paradoxically, he added, ATEbank, the only 100 percent state-owned bank in Greece, was left out of the recapitalization and is the only bank without state reinforcement, through preferential shares, at this time.
Tsipras pointed out that the capital that ATEbank needs exclusively concern its losses from the haircut of state Bonds, contrary with the four major private banks that require coverage to survive and their immense operational losses.
He said the sale of part of ATEbank announced on Friday was conducted without transparency and clear terms.
 SYRIZA, PASOK condemn Golden Dawn attack on Corinth mayorThe main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party on Sunday strongly condemned acts of "physical violence" targeting Corinth Mayor Alekos Pnevmatikos, allegedly carried out by members of the ultra-right-wing Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) party.
"A new fascist attack by Golden Dawn in Corinth. After the attacks on famished migrants, the verbal exchanges with citizens and members of the local government and attempts to intimidate the mayors of Corinth and Nemea - they also now physically attacked - the mayor of Corinth Alekos Pnevmatikos. Verbal violence has now become physical and is no longer directed at helpless migrants but all society," a SYRIZA announcement said.
According to the same announcement, some 20 members of Golden Dawn surrounded the mayor in front of witnesses, led by their leader the MP for Corinth, and hurled abuse at him before throwing him on the ground. People that attempted to help were also accosted by the members of the party but by the time police arrived they had gone.
The incident was also condemned in an announcement issued by the PASOK party, a member of the coalition government, which "condemned in the most categoric way the incidents provoked by far-right supporters of Golden Dawn at the expense of elected local government officials in Derveni at an event for the anniversary of the historic battle."
PASOK noted the "continued and intensified far-right provocations" throughout Greece and called for a "democratic front that will avert the spread of such phenomena and practices".
 Hellenic Steel workers suspend 9-month-long strikeWorkers at the Hellenic Steel Industry's (Elliniki Halyvourgia) plant at Aspropyrgos on Saturday decided to suspend their strike, which has been ongoing for nine months.
With 115 votes for ending the strike, 14 against and 29 blank votes, the general assembly of the workers' union decided the full re-opening of the Aspropyrgos plant as of Monday, setting as the only condition the withdrawal of police from the entrance to the facility.
In a statement to AMNA, labour minister Yiannis Vroutsis expressed satisfaction with the decision, noting that the plant must open so that the employees will have work. He added that the ministry will contribute to the resolution of the problems that exist, adding that labor peace is a crucial element to securing more jobs. The entrance to the Aspropyrgos plan was forcibly reopened after nine months on July 20 with police intervention, on orders of a prosecutor, after a court in June declared the workers' strike illegal.
Altercations have ensued on several occasions between strikers, who had initially voted to continue the strike, and police that have been deployed at the facility's entrance.
 Foreign Exchange rates - MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.250
Pound sterling 0.794
Danish kroner 7.550
Swedish kroner 8.628
Japanese yen 97.73
Swiss franc 1.219
Norwegian kroner 7.585
Canadian dollar 1.259
Australian dollar 1.198
 Temperatures peak as Athenians quit capital for peak holiday seasonAthenians quit the Greek capital in droves over the weekend as yet another heatwave moved in to settle over the city and the peak holiday season in August started to draw near.
Traffic in the ports of Piraeus and Rafina was heightened, though not so much as to cause problems to travellers. Scores of ferry boats departed from Piraeus over the weekend, carrying thousands of passengers and vehicles to the islands of the Aegean and Crete.
Temperatures climbed steadily over the weekend to reach 39C on Sunday and will even reach up to 40C in some areas on Monday before starting to cool down on Tuesday evening. According to meteorologists, however, the heat will be less oppressive than previously due to the low humidity and a stiff northerly wind that will reach up to 7 Beaufort.
 Fire still blazing in Rethymno, Corinth blaze partially containedA fire that broke out Saturday near Rethymno, on the island of Crete, was receding on Sunday, while another blaze that also broke out Saturday in Solomos, Corinth prefecture, was partially contained.
The Solomos blaze, in a forest expanse, was reported at noon on Sunday as having been partially contained after all-night operations by seven crewed fire engines and two fire-fighting airplanes.
Meanwhile, the fire that broke out initially in a grazing area in Kerames, in the south of Rethymno prefecture but was quickly fanned by gusty winds to farming and forest expanses, was reported as receding on Sunday after having burned thousands of stremmas of forest, farmland and grazing ground, as well as livestock, and also causing damage to buildings and homes, and the village of Agallianou near Kerames was evacuated Saturday night after the flames reached the outskirts of the village, threatening homes.
The Kerames blaze was receding after an all-night operation by a strong team of firefighters, volunteers and locals.
Due to gusty winds in the area, 20 crewed fire engines, 46 firemen, municipal water tanker trunks, 34 forest firefighters and 21 conscripts were still battling the blaze.
The ground forces were struggling to prevent new active fronts from erupting, while two water-dropping helicopters resumed operation at first light of day, but are hampered by the strong winds.
The fire brigade is investigating the possibility of arson in the Kerames blaze.
 New fire breaks out in IoanninaA new forest fire broke out Sunday in the area of Stavraki in Ioannina prefecture. A team of 22 firefighters and 8 crewed fire engines were battling the blaze, assisted by a 7-man team on foot and two firefighting planes.
 Wildfire in ArcadiaA wildfire was blazing on Sunday in the area of Pyrri, Arcadia prefecture.
A strong team of 20 firefighters and eight crewed fire engines, assisted by a team on foot and six water-dropping aircraft were battling the blaze, which was burning farmland and a forest expanse.
 Fire in Thessaloniki's Ano Neoi Epivates under controlA fire broke out at 5:25 p.m. on Sunday afternoon in a meadow in the Ano Neoi Epivates area outside the city of Thessaloniki. Five fire engines and 12 firemen responded to the call and the fire was reported to be under control by Sunday night.
 Wildfire in Kassandria, HalkidikiA large force of 20 fire engines and 50 fire men has been sent to put out a fire that started within a forest in an agricultural region of Kassandria, Halkidiki called Valta late on Sunday evening. Earlier on Sunday, two fire-fighting aircraft and one helicopter were also assisting in the fire-fighting effort.
According to the Polygyros fire brigade, the fire started in the local landfill site.
 Fire at Kazania, OlympusA wildfire broke out late on Sunday in forest at the area of Kokkinopylos at Kazania near Olympus. Six fire engines and eight fire men were sent to put out the flames, assisted by 21-man team on foot and two fire-fighting aircraft.
 14 arrests in child porn networkFourteen people have been arrested, including an army officer and a British tourist, in an ongoing investigation into a children's pornography ring on the internet, police said on Saturday.
Police have arrested 14 people, including an army officer and a British tourist on the island of Crete, two male hair stylists and a banking employee, a lawyer and 8 more individuals whose details have not been released.
A team from the Attica police directorate's electronic crimes squad went to Crete on Thursday to investigate information of a child porn network operating on the island.
The team initially arrested a man serving in an army unit on Crete, and investigations turned up hard-core pornographic material, including videos, involving minors, in the man's hard disc drive, which was confiscated, and subsequently led to the other suspects.
The investigation is continuing.
 Major cannabis plantation found, uprooted, on CretePolice in Rethymno, on the island of Crete, on Saturday found and uprooted one of the largest cannabis plantations in recent years, near the village of Agia Orinou in Mylopotamos municipality.
Police said the plantation was a "fully organized" cultivation in a difficult to access area, with lookout booths, automatic sprinklers and farming machinery.
No guards, workers or owners of the plantation were found at the site, however, police said, adding that the cannabis plants were fully grown.
 Four arrested for bicycle theft and resale in AlbaniaFour Albanian nationals were arrested on Sunday by Larissa police for stealing bicycles and smuggling by bus into Albania where stolen goods were then sold.
Police arrested four men aged 43 and 45 and two 19-year-olds, all Albanian nationals on charges of theft and fencing.
More specifically, the two 19-year-olds would steal the bicycles, which they would then give to the other two, at prices up to 70 euros, for transport to Albania and sale on the local market.
 Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glanceThe package of measures due to be finalized on Monday by the leaders of the three coalition government parties prime minister and New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis, and the pressure on Greece by its partners and creditors were the main front-page items in Athens' Sunday newspapers.
AVGHI: "Everything for sale, for nothing".
AVRIANI: "The banking scenery changing drastically".
DEMOKRATIA: "Why Frau Merkel (German chancellor) wants to wipe 'iniquitous' Greece off the map".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Greece and Eurozone at the razor's edge".
EPOCHI: "Heatwave in autumn - ND, PASOK and DIMAR are living in a parallel universe".
ETHNOS: "The 'Athena' plan for closure of 150 university Schools".
EXPRESS: "Tax 'amnesty' for undeclared property".
KATHIMERINI: "Samaras emergency plan for next 40 days".
KERDOS: "The measures put the cohesion of the governmental 'troika' to the test".
LOGOS: "Where the three leaders disagree - Samaras, Venizelos, Kouvelis new meeting on Monday".
NIKI: "Earn good money from time deposits".
PROTO THEMA: "Merkel wants Alexis' (main opposition SYRIZA leader) signature if Greece gets extension".
REALnews: "Secret report for new haircut - Burning IMF document to European Commission on the Greek debt".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Immediate measures for relief of the people against the governmental typhoon".
TO ARTHRO: "Venizelos-Kouvelis leading Greece to bankruptcy - Lack of realism in PASOK-DIMAR destabilizes the government".
TO VIMA: "Salaries, pensions, healthcare being swept away".
VRADYNI: "How to calculate your pension".
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