|Friday, 20 July 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-08-21
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 21 August 2012 Issue No: 4153
 Westerwelle reiterates support for Greece in eurozone; meeting with Greek FMBERLIN (AMNA - F. Karaviti)
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, speaking after his meeting here with visiting Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on Monday, stressed that "the German government desires that we all remain united in the eurozone. We are working in the direction of Greece staying in the eurozone".
Westerwelle reiterated that "the key to success is in Athens" and stressed that implementation of what has been agreed to, along with reforms, is essential, although he clarified that whatever decisions cannot be taken before the release of the EC-ECB-IMF troika's report. He also cited the German government's steadfast position that changes to the Memorandum's "essence" are not possible.
Additionally, he emphasised his government's support towards the Greek people for the burdens they have shouldered and called on all sides, in Germany, Greece and elsewhere, to speak with a sense of responsibility and to avoid manifestations of populism.
"We are aware of what you are shouldering in the present phase. We are aware of what the ordinary individual is going through in Greece; what it means for young people seeking employment, what it means for older people to have their salaries cut and for pensioners, who fear for their future," he said.
Referring to the Mediterranean EU member, the German foreign minister referred to the "cradle of democracy" and the "source of European culture", stressing that Europe is a community of countries that relate to each other not with cliches and prejudices but with appreciation and respect.
On his part, Avramopoulos assured his counterpart that Athens is determined to proceed with the full implementation and promotion of necessary reforms, while he added that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will soon announce a new package of fiscal measures amounting to 11.5 billion euros, ones which will "confirm in the clearest manner the determination of Greece to achieve targets, with special care, however, for the weaker social classes, which are in the whirlpool of a social crisis due to the fiscal crisis".
Avramopoulos also referred to the need for solidarity to be shown between European countries, "even at the level of statements and impressions" and warned of the risk of social instability and of its spreading.
"Social instability, provided it appears, knows no borders," he said characteristically, and called on all to be very careful, while terming populism as the greatest threat for the cohesion of Europe.
Lastly, referring to the relations of the peoples of Greece and Germany, he focused on the two million German tourists who visited Greece this year, despite what he said were unfavourable predictions.
Earlier, former German vice chancellor and foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher expressed his conviction that issues "bearing down on all of us in Europe" will be solved jointly "because we have awareness of the importance of German-Greek relations for the internal cohesion of the European Union", speaking during his private meeting on Sunday evening with Avramopoulos.
Before the reception in Genscher's honour at the residence of the Greek ambassador in Berlin, the veteran politician of the German Liberals (FDP) expressed his satisfaction with the Greek minister's visit to Germany, terming it as "corresponding to the good level of relations" between the two countries. As regards his meeting with Avramopoulos, he spoke of a "private meeting between old friends from friendly countries".
In a later response, the Radical Left Coalition's (SYRIZA) press office on Monday termed the meeting between Avramopoulos and Westerwelle in Berlin as no more than a "communication fiasco", saying that the German FM confirmed Berlin's steadfast position on the absolute implementation of the Memorandum, while Avramopoulos merely registered the point.
"Expectations being cultivated over the slackening of the Memorandum collapsed completely, as was expected, in any case, since the government with its stance of a blind acceptance of the Memorandum's provisions prepared the ground".
 PM holds meeting with top economic staffA meeting between Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and the government's top economic staff ended on Monday evening, ahead of a finalisation of a package of measures amounting to 11.5 billion euros in extra revenues and cuts, as well as contacts the prime minister will have in France and Germany this week.
According to what Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said upon leaving the Maximos Mansion, where the meeting took place, the package of measures will be finalised and announced shortly before the arrival of the EC-ECB-IMF troika representatives in Athens in September.
He did not comment on the prospect of a highly controversial labour reserve measure for the wider public sector.
 ND steps up attack on SYRIZA cadresAn announcement on Monday by the New Democracy party's press office, on the occasion of statements by Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) MEP Nikos Hountis to state television, emphasised that "unfortunately, SYRIZA's economic policy is focused on the encouragement of tax evasion, the country's default and a return to the drachma".
According to ND, Hountis "... stated in comments today that the country's default constitutes a 'negotiating card' and a 'weapon of the weak'."
It also refers to ND's announcement that "yesterday, another deputy of SYRIZA, Mr. (Thodoris) Dritsas, expressed support for tax evasion".
 SYRIZA: New measures are loot for 'troika'Main opposition SYRIZA party on Monday, in an announcement, charged that the goverment remains "faithful" to the Memorandum's conditions, while it is expected to offer up new measures against the working people of the country, "as loot to the (EC-ECB-IMF) troika".
"Cutbacks in salaries, pensions and in social benefits, the sell-off of state wealth and the privatisation of public property will further sink the economy in recession, will skyrocket unemployment and will devastate society," a SYRIZA announcement stated.
 Gov't spokesman: VAT in hotels, restaurants will be reducedGovernment spokesman Simos Kedikoglou on Monday said the government's intention is to reduce VAT rates in restaurants and hotels, stressing that "it is the government's priority and we will do it as soon as possible".
Referring to tax evasion, especially in light of a high-profile incident on the island of Hydra days ago, he pointed out that the "law will be applied in every direction. From wherever tax evasion comes, it will be detected and punished. Especially in these times, tax evasion is not only anti-social but is hostile to society. You steal from the one next to you. What we should all understand is that the tax evader does not steal from someone else's basket."
A Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) unit was violently confronted by local store owners and supporters on the popular isle after slapping a fine on a local tavern for not issuing legal receipts to customers.
The incident generated widespread media coverage.
 Minister receives Commission's airspace blocks coordinatorIssues related to the Greek and European air space and cooperation between the countries of the southeast Mediterranean in these sectors were examined during a meeting on Monday between Development, Competitiveness & Infrastructures Minister Costis Hatzidakis and the European Commission's coordinator for functional airspace blocks Georg Jarzembowski.
Completion of the second phase of the BLUE MED programme -- initiated by Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Malta -- concerning increased cooperation between countries in region on air transport issues was discussed, amongst others.
 SYRIZA's Papadimoulis indirectly criticises quips by fellow MP over Hydra incidentSYRIZA MP Dimitris Papadimoulis, distancing himself from high-profile statements by fellow MP Thodoris Dritsas on tax evasion and a near riot on the island of Hydra by local shop owners and residents against tax inspectors, said on Monday: "I do not wish to make any public comment on the personal statement by our local deputy (Dritsas). When we meet with Thodoris Dritsas, who is not the relevant spokesman for our economic policy, I have several remarks for him".
Speaking to a local radio station, he added: "I think that criticism is correct on the PR show, the exaggerations on the part of state and the government's handling. I think that in all our announcements and in all the statements of all the members of SYRIZA, what we are saying in our programme against tax evasion and in favour of tax justice must appear and be stressed. I do not wish to say anything more".
 Ecumenical Patriarch, accompanied by Archbishop Ieronymos, to attend major Imvros feast dayArchbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos arrived on Monday in Istanbul, a day before he is set to accompany Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the latter's ancestral home, the island of Imvros, in the northeastern Aegean.
The two ecclesiastical leaders will officiate at a major Orthodox Christian religious holiday on the island (known as Goek?eada in Turkish since 1970), which also coincides with the feast day of the biggest town on Imvros.
 Chinese delegation visits NafplioA delegation from the Jilin province of northeastern China -- headed by the Secretary-General of the province's Provincial Committee, Fang Li, visited the city of picturesque harbour town of Nafplio on Monday.
The Chinese delegation met with the vice-regional governor of Argolida prefecture and discussed the development of bilateral relations, underlining mutual interest in the sectors of tourism, trade, agricultural development and renewable energy sources.
 BoG discloses balance of payments report for June 2012The Bank of Greece (BoG) on Monday announced that the current account balance showed a deficit of ? 274 million, down by ? 1.3 billion or 82.8 percent year-on-year.
The trade deficit narrowed by ? 356 million, as a result of a ? 375 million decrease in the trade deficit excluding oil and ships, as well as a ? 200 million decline in the net import bill for ships. By contrast, the net oil import bill increased by ? 219 million or 40.7 percent, partly offsetting this improvement. The trade deficit excluding oil and ships shrank due to the considerable reduction of the import bill by ? 368 million or 16.2 percent, whereas export receipts rose by a mere 0.7 percent.
The services surplus contracted by ? 69 million owing to lower net travel receipts. Over the same period there was only a small increase in net transport receipts and a small decline in net payments for "other" services. In more detail, compared with June 2011, travel spending in Greece by non-residents declined by 7.1 percent, while travel spending abroad by residents of Greece increased by 10.8 percent; as a result, net receipts fell by ? 116 million. In the same month, non-residents' arrivals dropped by 6.4 percent, according to data from the Bank of Greece's border survey. Gross transport receipts (chiefly from merchant shipping) fell by 7.4 percent and the corresponding payments decreased by 17.2 percent, resulting in net receipts rising by ? 18 million.
The entire announcement can be found at http://www.bankofgreece.gr/Pages/en/Bank/News/PressReleases/DispItem.aspx?Item_ID=4033&List_ID=1af869f3-57fb-4de6-b9ae-bdfd83c66c95&Filter_by=DT
 Industrial Production Index up 0.7% in June yr/yrIndustrial production in Greece rose by a marginal 0.7 percent in June 2012 against the same month in 2011, the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Monday.
ELSTAT, in a report, said the Production Index in Industry (IPI) in June 2012 compared with June 2011 recorded an increase of 0.7%. In June 2011, the annual rate of change of the IPI was -13.3%.
 Photovoltaics firms decry latest measures announced by gov't"The measures that the environment, energy and climatic change ministry announced for the photovoltaic sector will lead to elimination one of the few areas of the Greek economy that presents growth, without at the same time dealing with the root of the deficit of the operator of the power market," a letter by the Panhellenic Federation of Photovoltaic Investors stated on Monday.
Additionally, the federation said the changes will create a "most unsuitable climate" for whatever investment either by foreign concerns or local investors, "as it appears that the fundamental condition for whatever entrepreneurial effort is being ignored, namely, that in order to make an investment there must be a possibility of making a profit."
 Bourse begins week with lossesThe Athens Stock Exchanged ended lower on Monday, retreating from last week's gains.
The general price index is hit ended 2.04 percent down to end at 626.22.
The trading volume was a weak 15.44 million euros. Of shares traded, 64 declined, 47 ended higher and 101 were unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +0.29%
Personal & Household: +0.92%
Raw Materials: -0.34%
Travel & Leisure: -0.53%
Food & Beverages: -5.41%
Financial Services: -0.01%
The stocks with the highest turnover were OPAP, OTE, National Bank and Alpha Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 1,33
Public Power Corp (PPC): 2,55
HBC Coca Cola: 14,65
Hellenic Petroleum: 5,52
National Bank of Greece: 1,31
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0,68
Bank of Piraeus: 0,22
 Alleged terror suspect before magistrate on Wed.A 30-year-old man charged on Sunday with involvement in a recent high-profile bank robbery on the popular holiday island of Paros, which resulted in the fatal shooting of a local taxi driver who tried to intervened, on Monday asked and received an extension to testify before an examining magistrate.
The man will appear before judicial authorities on Wednesday.
Police on Sunday identified the man -- following a decision by a relevant prosecutor -- as Anastasios (Tassos) Theofilou, who was born in December 1982 in Thessaloniki. A picture of the suspect was provided to the media.
CCTV footage from the bank robbery was also released, a more-or-less rare occurrence for Greek law enforcement, ostensibly aimed to identify the suspects. The footage shows more than one of the gunmen during the incident.
Theofilou was arrested on Saturday in central Athens following the matching of his DNA on objects linked to the robbery, police said.
Immediately after the arrest, authorities charged that the suspect allegedly belongs to the so-called "anti-state", "anti-establishment" political movement in Greece. Along those lines, police said they are investigating whether Theofilou is linked with the ultra-left urban terror gang "Conspiracy of Cells of Fire".
The latest twist on Monday was a police announcement of a probe on whether the suspect was engaged in surveillance of a bank in the south-central city of Lamia as a possible robbery target.
The robbery took place on Aug. 10 when three gunmen stormed an Alpha Bank branch in the resort village of Naoussa, on Paros, while a fourth kept watch. During the course of the robbery, a 53-year-old taxi driver noticed the robbery and tried to stop one of the gunmen, who opened fire, fatally wounding him.
 Wildfire on Hios still ragingThe wildfire on the island of Hios continued to rage on Monday for the third consecutive day and firefighters are battling the blaze at the Karyes site, with the main front being located near the region of Avgonyma-Anavato. The wildfire is being tackled by 120 firefighters backed by 50 vehicles and 11 water tankers, as well as by a number of volunteers and soldiers.
 Wildfires in Magnissia, Messinia under partial controlFirefighters have succeeded in controlling wildfires in Magnissia ang Magnesia prefecture as of early Monday evening. Crews will remains in at least two sites until the blazes are extinguished completely.
The wildfires in Laconia prefecture and on the islands of Zakynthos and Andros continued.
 Two arrested in Andros wildfireTwo French nationals, aged 32 and 29, were charged with arson on Monday on Andros, in the wake of a wildfire reported on the northern Cyclades isle.
The wildfire, which erupted on Sunday afternoon in the Kohylou site, was still in progress on Monday.
 Gunmen snatch prisoner in NafplioTwo armed individuals on Monday apparently snatched an Albanian national, incarcerated at the Nafplio jail, during his transfer to a nearby hospital.
The attack was report at 11 a.m. from the hospital's courtyard. The two suspects threatened the four prison guards at gunpoint and fired in the air. Afterwards, the took the prisoner and fled in a car.
The foreign national has been sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for setting up and running criminal gang as well as armed robbery.
 Alleged members of int'l human trafficking ring arrested in AthensPolice on Monday arrested two Iraqi nationals, both 26, on charges linked to an international human trafficking ring.
According to police, the two suspects are ring-leaders of an extensive criminal gang which reportedly "poached" illegal migrants in downtown Athens, promising transportation to western Europe countries. The price for each illegal migrant to be shipped to a west European destination was between 3,000-5,000 euros, reports state.
The two suspects were sent before an Athens prosecutor while a indictment for another 15 individuals has been filed.
 Illegal migrants, smugglers arrested along Egnatia motorwayTwo human traffickers and nine illegal migrants were arrested on Monday in a police operation on the Egnatia motorway near Alexandroupolis, extreme northeast Greece.
Police officers stopped a car and arrested the driver and co-driver of the first car ,aged 28 and 24, respectively. The driver of a car that followed noticed police and abandoned the vehicle with nine illegal migrants inside.
Another suspect, 35, was later arrested in Alexandroupolis. According to authorities, he provided the car to the alleged smugglers in order to transfer the migrants. Five of the illegal migrants claimed they were from Palestine, while the other four claimed they were from Syria.
 Armed robbery in Thessaloniki, one gunshot injuryAn armed robbery complete with one gunshot injury was reported late Sunday at an internet cafe in Ambelokipi district of Thessaloniki.
Two hooded individuals entered into the cafe, threatened customers at gunpoint and with knife and took an unknown amount of cash. While leaving the shop two employees together with several customers tried to stop them.
According to police, one robber shot a 44-year-old employee and injured him in the leg before turning his gun on customers, firing another round.
Customers managed to catch the second alleged robber. A 26-year-old Georgian national was arrested at the scene and charged.
The injured employee was hospitalised.
 Aegean Regatta race sets sail for OinoussesThe one hundred sailboats and 750 crew members participating in the international Aegean Regatta on Sunday set sail on from the port of Mytilene on the island of Lesvos, with the first stop being the nearby small island chain of Oinousses.
The race, organised for 12th consecutive year by the Aegean and Islands policy general secretary in cooperation with the Open Seas committee, the Hellenic Yacht Club and Hios Yacht club, will cover 107 nautical miles, with intermediate stops on Lesvos, Oinousses and Hios before concluding on Syros on Aug. 24.
 The Monday edition of Athens dailies at a glancePrime Minister Antonis Samaras' meetings with Eurogroup President Jean Claude Juncker, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande this the week and the arrest of a 30-year-old man on charges linked to a bank robbery and homicide on Paros mostly dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "A crucial week begins".
AVRIANI: " PASOK, DI.MAR (parties participating in coalition government) MPs mutiny over 11.5 bln euros package of measures".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Blood and money for terrorism".
ESTIA: "Optimistic article on Europe and Greece".
ETHNOS: "Terrorists behind deadly Paros incident".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Eight-billion-euro measures disappear in 'basket of recession' "
TA NEA: "Merkel outside, Hydra ... inside".
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