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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-08-06

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

Monday, 6 August 2012 Issue No: 4140

CONTENTS

  • [01] Finance Ministry, Troika, agree 'substantial percentage' of measures
  • [02] EC/ECB/IMF troika statement on Greece
  • [03] Coalition government leaders to resume deliberations on privatizations, reforms, on Monday
  • [04] SYRIZA warns 'list of measures has no end'
  • [05] Israeli President due in Athens on Monday
  • [06] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday
  • [07] Foreign national illegally residing in Greece confesses to assault on teen girl on Paros after arrest
  • [08] Sweep operation in central Athens
  • [09] Left parties slam police sweep operation
  • [10] Deportation of 88 illegal migrants
  • [11] 16 arrested on Santorini in migrant-smuggling ring
  • [12] Annual 'Star Night' in Serres as spectacular Perseid meteor shower peaks
  • [13] Fire breaks out on Cephalonia
  • [14] Greece wins Olympic bronze in Women's Lightweight Double Sculls
  • [15] Hot, windy on Monday
  • [16] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance Politics

  • [01] Finance Ministry, Troika, agree 'substantial percentage' of measures

    The Greek finance ministry and the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Troika representing the country's lenders have agreed on a substantial percentage of the policies of a package of measures for cutting state spending by 11.5 billion euros in the next two years (2013-2014), ministry sources said on Sunday after a meeting between finance minister Yannis Stournaras and the Troika.

    The sources, who were also in attendance at the talks, said the meeting took place in a positive climate.

    They said that the discussions with the Troika will continue and at by the end of the coming week, in collaboration with the government's economic staff, some of the so-called 'equivalent measures' proposed by the Greek side for inclusion in the 2012 budget and the 11.5 billion package will be finalized.

    In all instances, the ministry sources said that everything will have been finalized in early September, ahead of the scheduled Eurogroup meeting.

    Following the conclusion of Sunday's meeting, The Troika will leave Athens, to return in early September to conclude the negotiations.

    Ministry sources said after the meeting with the Troika that the procedure for closing the 2012 budget is progressing, and within the coming week it will be decided what will be implemented and how, and also which fiscal equivalent measures are acceptable.

    As for the measures for 2013-2014, the sources said that over the past 10 days, the ministries have worked methodically with the technical teams of the Troika, "and so we have today very good percentage" of the 11.5 billion euro measures. "We have agreed - and this is important - on a series of policies," the sources said, adding that some new proposals will be forwarded to the Troika at the end of the week.

    "This process must be completed by early September, so that we will be ready for the Eurogroup, the budget and everything else that is outstanding. Therefore, the process is going well, it is progressing systematically. I believe that the same climate exists on the side of the partners, too," one member of the economic staff told AMNA, and clarified that there is no problem with the issue of the pending tranche of the bailout loan.

    "What Mr. Juncker (Eurogroup president Jean-Claude) said, that a solution will be found, stands," he said.

    [02] EC/ECB/IMF troika statement on Greece

    The European Commission/European Central Bank/International Monetary Fund troika for Greece said in a statement on Sunday that Greek authorities were committed "to proceeding with determination in their work over the next month, and the EC/ECB/IMF staff teams expect to return to Athens in early September to continue the discussions."

    "Staff teams from the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded today (Sunday) a visit to Greece to discuss with the new authorities the economic policies needed to restore growth and competitiveness, secure a sustainable fiscal position, and underpin confidence in the financial system in line with the objectives of the economic adjustment program that is being supported by the three institutions," the statement said.

    "The discussions on the implementation of the program were productive and there was overall agreement on the need to strengthen policy efforts to achieve its objectives. The Greek authorities are committed to proceeding with determination in their work over the next month, and the EC/ECB/IMF staff teams expect to return to Athens in early September to continue the discussions," it added.

    [03] Coalition government leaders to resume deliberations on privatizations, reforms, on Monday

    Prime minister Antonis Samaras, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis, will hold new discussions early next week, it was announced on Friday.

    The leaders of the three parties supporting the coalition government will meet at 16:00 on Monday and 18:00 on Tuesday to discuss privatizations and reforms.

    [04] SYRIZA warns 'list of measures has no end'

    Main opposition SYRIZA charged on Sunday that the meeting earlier in the day between the government' economic staff and the EU/IMF troika had the 'expected results', namely a new reduction in salaries and pensions, further cutbacks in social spending, dissolution of the social state, with health the main victim, "and the list of measures has no end".

    SYRIZA said in an announcement that the supposed 'tough' negotiations never existed and indeed were never in the intentions of the coalition government which, in smooth cooperation and co-responsibility with the Troika, continues on the path of faithful and strict implementation of the catastrophic Memorandum, thus sealing the crime against society and the economy.

    [05] Israeli President due in Athens on Monday

    Israeli President Shimon Peres arrives in Athens on Monday for a state visit at the invitation of his Greek counterpart Karolos Papoulias.

    During his official visit to Greece, Peres will have meetings with the state and political leadership, while on Wednesday he will go to the island of Hydra with Papoulias, before departing for Israel on Thursday morning.

    Peres will be met at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the Presidential Mansion in an official ceremony, and afterwards will have a private meeting with President Papoulias before being joined by the Greek and Israeli delegations for a broader discussion.

    The two Presidents will make joint statements to the press at noon.

    At 14:00 Peres will have a private meeting with Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras, followed by a working lunch.

    On Monday afternoon Peres will have separate meetings with main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras and PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, before attending an official dinner in his honor hosted by Papoulias.

    On Tuesday Peres will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in central Syntagma Square. He will then meet with parliament president Evangelos Meimarakis and be presented with the Gold Medal of the Hellenic Parliament.

    Peres will also meet with members of the Jewish community in Athens and visit the New Acropolis Museum, where a lunch will be hosted by culture minister Constantine Arvanitopoulos.

    The two Presidents leave for Hydra on Wednesday morning, accompanied by their official delegations, and return to Athens that same night.

    Peres will depart Athens for Israel on Thursday morning.

    Financial News

    [06] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.242

    Pound sterling 0.799

    Danish kroner 7.553

    Swedish kroner 8.403

    Japanese yen 97.29

    Swiss franc 1.219

    Norwegian kroner 7.480

    Canadian dollar 1.246

    Australian dollar 1.182

    General News

    [07] Foreign national illegally residing in Greece confesses to assault on teen girl on Paros after arrest

    A 21-year-old Pakistani national illegally residing in Greece that was arrested early Saturday by Athens security police for the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl found seriously injured on July 23 on a beach on the island of Paros, has confessed to the crime, police announced on Saturday night.

    The Pakistani was initially taken in for questioning early Saturday as a suspect, as the results of laboratory examinations were awaited, and officially arrested after DNA tests positively identified him as the perpetrator.

    A 15-year-old Greek girl was found seriously injured on July 23 at a beach on the popular island of Paros, one of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean.

    The girl, her mother and her sister were staying at the home of friends for a brief vacation, and after an afternoon swim at the Chryssi Akti beach the mother lost sight of the girl and searched her out, eventually finding the teen unconscious and injured behind an outcropping of rocks. The girl bore several wound to the head and face, while the lower part of her bathing suit was missing. Subsequent tests confirmed that the girl had been raped.

    The girl was initially taken to the Paros Health Centre but due to the gravity of her injuries was transferred by helicopter, still unconscious, to the Attiko Hospital in Athens, where she underwent surgery after sustaining serious head injuries.

    Genetic material belonging to an unidentified male was later detected on the clothing and body of the teen girl, as well as genetic material under her fingernails, indicating that she had fought with her assailant and bringing police to believe that the girl was sexually assaulted.

    The investigation spread to Athens after a young foreign male was reported as suddenly leaving the island on a ferry to Athens after the attack.

    The teenager is still being treated at Attiko Hospital, in the intensive care unit, where she is reported in critical condition.

    The suspect worked as a gardener at a Paros hotel near the spot where the girl was assaulted. The man was tracked down through his cell phone and was found in an apartment in Nea Halkidona.

    On Saturday night, ELAS (Greek Police) press spokesman Christos Manouras announced that ?the Greek Police, after a methodical and systematic investigation, has solved the case of the serous assault of a 15-year-old girl on the island of Paros".

    "The perpetrator is a 21-year-old foreign national, a citizen of Pakistan, who is in the hands of the police," Manouras said.

    He gave a detailed account of the case, including an investigation into all individuals who had departed the island in the days following the attack for various reasons, including three Pakistanis who were traced to an apartment in Nea Halkidona and taken to Attica Security Police headquarters, where one of them, the 21-year-old, confessed to the crime and described the assault in detail.

    Manouras said a DNA sample was taken from the 21-year-old and a DNA laboratory test positively identified him as the perpetrator, matching the samples taken from the victim. The 21-year-old will appear before the local prosecutor headquartered on Syros.

    The police spokesman further said that the alleged perpetrator was illegally residing in Greece, as were his two Pakistani apartment-mates, who would also be taken before a Syros prosecutor.

    [08] Sweep operation in central Athens

    More than 1,100 non-legal immigrants were arrested and another 4,900 brought in for questioning by police on Saturday in the context of a sweep operation code-named "Xenios Zeus" in the wider Athens area, the Attica Police General Directorate (GADA) announced on Sunday.

    Some 4,900 illegal aliens were brought in for questioning and 1,130 were arrested on Saturday during the sweep operation, which was launched on Friday in a clampdown on illegal migration.

    The 1,130 were arrested for not meeting the legal conditions for residency in Greece, while 52 house searches were also conducted in the presence of prosecution functionaries.

    A police announcement said that the police checks would continue daily.

    Indeed, the operation was continuing in central Athens on Monday in the environs of Omonoia Square, Monastiraki, Vathys Square and the Pedion tou Areos park vicinity.

    Public Order and Citizens' Protection minister Nikos Dendias told a press conference on Saturday that "today is a good day for the Greek Police, regarding both the smooth development of the major 'Xenios Zeus' operation and the success in solving the hideous crime on Paros".

    He said that the living conditions of the illegal immigrants in the Athens center were a shame for civilization and for each and every person, noting that entire areas of Athens have been turned into a no-man's land rife with drug trafficking, prostitution, smuggling, theft, serious injuries, murders, and all other types of delinquent behavior.

    Dendias stressed that even what was once known as the noted "Athenian Trilogy" -- the area encompassing the famed Athens University, Athens Academy and Athens University Library buildings in downtown Athens -- has been turned into a "supermarket" for narcotics, while the environs of Omonoia Square, the 'crossroads' of the Greek capital, has become a center of lawlessness.

    The picture of the city centre creates fear and shame to the residents and abhorrence to the visitors and tourists, Dendias said, adding that the government, and he personally, could not shut their eyes to his and not act. Therefore, at prime minister Antonis Samaras' orders, the 'Xenios Zeus' operation was launched earlier in the week, the minister said.

    The purpose of the operation is to restore human dignity to the immigrants. "There is no racial criterion, we do not care about the color, nationality or religion of the illegal immigrants. Our only criterion is the observance of legality with absolute respect to the human rights and the European acquis," Dendias said.

    He added the operation to "take back" Athens and restore legality will continue, and legality in these areas was "coming to stay" and gradually expand. "We will not allow things to return to the previous chaotic and unacceptable condition".

    Dendias also said that beginning Monday, there will be a parallel operation by the financial crimes police to check the legality of the operation of shops, full checks on the issue of receipts, and a clampdown on imitation products.

    [09] Left parties slam police sweep operation

    Main opposition SYRIZA and the Communist Party of Greece over the weekend slammed the police sweep operation code-named "Xenios Zeus" clamping down on illegal immigration that has been ongoing in the wider center of Athens since Friday.

    SYRIZA public order and citizens' protection shadow minister, MP Dimitris Tsoukalas, noting that the operation was launched on orders of the prime minister, said SYRIZA opposed any "pogrom that insults human nature and human rights", adding that the operation was an insult to Greek civilization.

    The KKE, in an announcement, blasted the operation as a "display of inhumanity and barbarity by the co-governance against the victims of migration", in an attempt to conceal the fact that the country has turned into a "concentration camp for impoverished migrants" in order to keep them from moving on to the interior of the EU, on the basis of the Dublin 2 agreement.

    The KKE said that travel documents should be given to all migrants wishing to leave Greece for other EU countries.

    [10] Deportation of 88 illegal migrants

    Eighty-eight Pakistani nationals are scheduled to be sent back to their country late Sunday night on a special charter flight from Athens Airport to Lahore and Islamabad, following deportation orders issued against them for illegal entry into Greece.

    The return of illegal immigrants to their countries of origin is in the context of efforts to deal with non-legal migration, and the cost is covered by a special EU fund.

    [11] 16 arrested on Santorini in migrant-smuggling ring

    A migrant-smuggling ring has been broken up by the Greek Police (ELAS), and 16 people have been arrested on the island of Santorini, it was made known on Sunday.

    Initially, two Afghani migrant-smugglers aged 31 and 33 were arrested on Friday for facilitating the illegal entry of Afghani nationals into Greece.

    Another 14 Afghani nationals residing illegally in the country were also arrested.

    Two Afghanis and their small children were found on Friday in a transport vehicle driven by the 31-year-old on a rural road headed for the airport in Thira to board a flight to Vienna on forged travel papers.

    On that same day, the 33-year-old was arrested at the airport.

    It turned out that the two migrant smugglers were transporting illegal migrants from the ferry arriving at the island from Piraeus to the Thira airport for flights to other EU countries, supplying them with forged travel documents.

    Another 12 Afghani illegal migrants were found holed up in an apartment used by the smugglers to hide the illegal migrants until they were taken to the airport.

    [12] Annual 'Star Night' in Serres as spectacular Perseid meteor shower peaks

    This year's 6th Star Night event at the 'Serres Astropyli' (Stargate) in the town of Ano Vrontou, at an elevation of 1,100 meters, features a lecture on Saturday night by Thessaloniki Aristotle University (AUTH) scientist and astronomer Kleomenes Tsiganis, who since 2008 has a minor planet named after him.

    The three-day Star Night event is once again scheduled to coincide with the peak of the annual Perseid meteor shower.

    The Star Night in Ano Vrontou has become an institution, being held for the sixth consecutive year, and attracts hundreds of visitors, including scientists and amateurs, and devoted stargazers, from all over the world.

    Tsiganis will explain how the asteroid belt of our solar system is a source of knowledge, life, but also danger.

    The "21775 Tsiganis" is a main-belt minor planet discovered through the Lowell Observatory Near-Earth-Object Search at the Anderson Mesa Station in Arizona, USA, in 1999.

    The 2012 Star Night will begin with the lighting of a large fire under the starry sky, and the cosmic fireworks display put on by the Perseid shooting starts.

    The three-day events will be accompanied by cultural activities hosted by the Ano Vrontou Cultural Club, the Serres Municipal Museum of Natural History, the Serres UNESCO branch, the UNESCO Touring Club, and the local radio-amateurs club.

    Inhabitants all over the planet, including Greece, will be over the next few days to the cosmic fireworks display put on by the Perseid meteor shower, which occurs every year as Earth passes through a trail of dusty debris left behind by the Swift-Tuttle comet, and is named after the northern constellation of Perseus from which it appears to radiate.

    Earth entered the stream of debris in late July, but the meteor shower peaks towards mid-August when Earth passes through the densest part of the debris stream.

    The meteor shower can be seen with the naked eye, while best viewing time is between midnight and 5:00 a.m. The early morning hours are the most optimum for viewing this year, due to a 55 percent waning gibbous moon, given that lunar glare reduces night vision and makes it harder to see the "stars" of the show, the Earthgrazers, which are meteors that approach from the horizon and skim the atmosphere overhead like stones skipping across the surface of a lake, dotting the display with colorful bursts.

    According to astronomers, the Perseids, the most famous of all meteor showers, are due to comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, which makes a full orbit around the sun every 130 years.

    The phenomenon is visible chiefly in the Northern Hemisphere, where the Perseid meteors can start being seen as early as July 23, when one meteor every hour or so may be visible. Over the following three weeks, there is a slow build-up to five Perseids visible per hour at the beginning of August and reaching a peak of 60-80 meteors per hour.

    [13] Fire breaks out on Cephalonia

    A fire broke out Saturday and was burning shrubbage in the region of Farsa on the island of Cephalonia.

    A team of 22 firefighters and 10 crewed fire engines were battling the blaze, assisted by four water-dropping planes and helicopters.

    Olympic Games

    [14] Greece wins Olympic bronze in Women's Lightweight Double Sculls

    Greece's rowers Christina Giatzidou and Alexandra Tsiavou won the bronze medal in the Olympic Women's Lightweight Double Sculls final in London on Saturday, with a time of 7:12.09.

    Prime minister Antonis Samaras sent a message of congratulations to the two athletes, saying "you made all the Greeks proud".

    This was Greece's second medal in the London 2012 Olympics.

    Greece won its first medal in the 2012 London Olympic Games on Wednesday, when Greek judoka Ilias Iliadis won the bronze medal after defeating Brazil's Tiago Camilo (-90kg).

    Weather forecast

    [15] Hot, windy on Monday

    Hot and windy weather is forecast for Greece on Monday with temperatures reaching 40 C locally and northerly winds of up to 7 beaufort velocity in the Dodecanese.

    Athens will be sunny and hot, with temperatures of 25C to 39C, and local winds in the east of Attica prefecture of up to 5 beaufort velocity.

    The same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures of 23C to 39C and variable wind of 2-4C velocity.

    [16] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

    The negotiations with Greece's lenders (troika) and the changes to salaries, pensions and one-off retirement benefit were the main front-page items in Athens' Sunday newspapers.

    AVGHI: "They're sealing the crime".

    AVRIANI: "The accounts of 5,000 big-time depositors being opened up".

    DIMOKRATIA: "Look, listen, be silent - The puzzle of the treason".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Troika again asks for more salary reductions in public sector".

    ETHNOS: "Retirement at 66, with ceiling of 2,300 euros for all".

    KATHIMERINI: "Everything for a positive evaluation".

    LOGOS: "Triple 'block' on all who did not submit income tax statement".

    NIKI: "The truth on the security of our deposits".

    PROTO THEMA: "30 percent in DEKO (public utilities) salaries - Arrangement of business loans".

    REALnews: "I want to resign - Finance minister Stournaras' verbal resignation and how it was averted".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "The only pro-people exit is disengagement from the EU and unilateral write-off of the debt".

    TO PARON: "New haircut of 120 billion euro the key to salvation".

    TO VIMA: "Retirement at 66 - Shock cuts to the social benefits".

    VRADYNI: "IKA (state social security foundation): Retire earlier - How women benefit".

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


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