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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-08-22

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Wednesday, 22 August 2012 Issue No: 4154


  • [01] Westerwelle's exclusive interview to AMNA
  • [02] PM orders immediate funding freeze to NGOs
  • [03] SYRIZA spokesman: Party cadres comments misinterpretated on purpose
  • [04] Minister: Arson suspected in several recent wildfires
  • [05] Probe ordered on salary cutbacks in public utilities, enterprises
  • [06] Greece's former IMF rep provides testimony over Papandreou gov't's recourse to Fund
  • [07] Registered unemployment 1.59 pct in July 2012
  • [08] Tax-related delinquency endemic in tourist resorts: report
  • [09] Paros hotel that employed Pakistani illegal migrant closed for 5 days
  • [10] Cyprus Popular Bank says articles on Marfin ungrounded
  • [11] ASE continues mini rally
  • [12] Police examines Paros murder suspect's apartment
  • [13] Notorious murderer again let out of prison on furlough, flees for second time
  • [14] Minoan-era 'villa' unearthed near Ierapetra
  • [15] Wildfire on Zakynthos
  • [16] Wildfires report
  • [17] Group of Turkish cyclists traveling from Munich to Antalya arrives in Patras
  • [18] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

  • [01] Westerwelle's exclusive interview to AMNA

    BERLIN (AMNA - F. Karaviti)

    German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, in an interview with AMNA this week, again stressed that his government wants the eurozone's unity and Greece in the common currency.

    The influential German foreign minister reiterated, however, that as far as Berlin is concerned a slackening in the essence of agreed to reforms is "out of the question", while he highlighted the need for fiscal stability combined with the strengthening of competitiveness, as well as adherence to solidarity between European partners.

    Shortly after his meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos and in light of the visit to Berlin this week by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Westerwelle warned of the risks plaguing the idea of "Europe", whereas he referred to a "mistaken tone" used by some in both Greece and Germany, a tone he said aggravates relations between the two countries.

    "Undoubtedly, the endeavour called 'Europe" is going through, with this debt crisis, a difficult ordeal. The way with which we now face each other will seal the image that each has for the other over a long period. This also applies to relations between Greeks and Germans where, unfortunately, a few (political) 'arsonists' on both sides sometimes chose a mistaken tone. Such deviations, which only burden the climate between the European partners, cause great harm," he said.

    Westerwelle further noted that "the federal (German) government wants Greece to remain a part of the eurozone. Germany is standing in solidarity on the side of Greece."

    "... the key to Greece's course is in Athens. We are now expecting a report by the troika. The German finance minister rightly indicated that Greece must fulfill its reform commitments. I have great respect for the people and sympathy for their difficulties, particularly for those with low incomes who have already made a substantive contribution to the stabilisation of Greece. The course of the reforms must be preserved - particularly for the benefit of the Greek citizens themselves."

    Beyond the punishing eurozone crisis and reforms in Greece, Westerwelle also touched on a couple of foreign policy issues.

    Also asked about developments in relations between the European Union and Turkey, the German minister pointed out that "the EU has been carrying out since 2005 accession negotiations with Turkey, with their outcome still open. Due to the fact that many of the accession chapters have been blocked, by isolated member-states at times, negotiations are now not proceeding. Further progress also depends on whether Turkey will implement the Protocol of Ankara. Turkey is for us an increasingly important partner, and not only as regards the managing of the situation in Syria".

    Finally, asked about the "name issue" involving the neophyte Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM) to Greece's north, he said: "the difference over the name must only be settled in the framework of a bilateral solution between Athens and Skopje. I expressly support the mediation efforts of the UN ... The lack of progress until now shows clearly that there can be no solution without mutual understanding and willingness for compromises by both sides".

    [02] PM orders immediate funding freeze to NGOs

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Tuesday issued instructions to all ministries, via the government's general secretariat, to immediately freeze funding to NGOs and and private societies.

    A letter signed by government general secretary Panagiotis Baltakos and addressed to Cabinet members, states that "following a relevant order by the prime minister and within the framework of implementation of the 2012 budget ... we request the immediate blocking of remaining and registered credit related to subsidies for non-governmental organisations and (private) societies ... and notification, within two days, of the general secretariat of the government as to the amount of funding that will be saved."

    According to the decision, relative expenditures will be re-examined from a "zero basis".

    [03] SYRIZA spokesman: Party cadres comments misinterpretated on purpose

    A spokesman for the main opposition SYRIZA party, MP Panos Skourletis, on Tuesday again denied that any of the leftist party's deputies spoke in favour of a Greek exit from the eurozone or a sovereign default, an issue that generated extensive back-and-forth criticism between the party and parties backing the government.

    "None of our cadres which spoke, in one way or another over the past week, expressed support in Greece's exit from the eurozone," he said while speaking on public radio.

    "Our party's position is clear ... a reference to a 'fetish' (as in maintaining the euro) does not lead to a conclusion that SYRIZA supports Greece's exit from the eurozone, when this was clarified and stated before and after the general elections".

    [04] Minister: Arson suspected in several recent wildfires

    Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias on Tuesday said there indications that several of the wildfires that erupted over the few days around the country are the result of arson and has requested the assistance of the National Intelligence Service. (EYP).

    According to Dendias, in the last 10 days, 589 wildfires have been erupted, 16 of them on Tuesday.

    In a later response, Communist Party (KKE) general secretary Aleka Papariga called Dendias' statements "extremely provocative".

    "We do not have the right to doubt the reason behind the wildfires, but the minister and the government are attempting to cover up a fact for which they, and the former governments, are responsible, namely, the fact that on Hios fire detection and fire protection infrastracture is non-existent".

    [05] Probe ordered on salary cutbacks in public utilities, enterprises

    Economic crimes prosecutor Grigoris Peponis on Tuesday ordered a preliminary investigation into whether various public utilities and affiliated state-controlled enterprises implemented government-mandated salary cutbacks since 2011.

    The probe comes amid reports that several public utilities ignored a decision mandating a 35-percent decrease in salaries and the imposition of a 1,900-euro ceiling on average salary costs.

    The probe will investigate whether management and special categories of employees increased their salaries via the provision of special or extraordinary bonuses and compensation with false overtime work and travel expenses.

    [06] Greece's former IMF rep provides testimony over Papandreou gov't's recourse to Fund

    Greece's former representative at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Panagiotis Roumeliotis provide five hours of testimony to economic crime prosecutors Grigoris Peponis and Spyros Mouzakitis on Tuesday, in the framework of a probe regarding his high-profile statements that the country's IMF-mandated fiscal restructuring programme "was doomed to fail".

    His testimony is considered important and according to initial assessments paves the way for a preliminary investigation that the two prosecutors are carrying out.

    The prosecutor ordered a probe on the possible that high-ranking Greek government officials committed a breach of faith at the expense of the Greek state, as well as offenses related to the economy.

    According to judicial sources, the two prosecutors will continue the investigation, although according to assessments, the mere reference to former prime minister George Papandreou by the first witness (Roumeliotis) in the case could send the investigation's file to Parliament, thereby commencing a more wide-ranging investigation over the causes of the blistering Greek economy crisis.

    Speaking to the "New York Times", Roumeliotis was quoted in late July 2012 as saying that "... We knew at the fund (IMF) from the very beginning that this programme was impossible to be implemented because we didn't have any ? any ? successful example."

    He reportedly said that this observation drew the reaction of then prime minister George Papandreou. Testimony claimed that associates of Papandreou attributed to him a failure to notify anyone in this respect. Papandreou is also reportedly cited as not raising the issue even when relevant discussion was taking place at the IMF as he was obliged to do with the government of his country.

    IMF sources have indirectly dismissed Roumeliotis' previous statements, while the former later issued a written statement requested to know whether Papandreou was aware of the views of then IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn "regarding the problematic aspects of the programme drawn up by Greece".

    He also requested from Papandreou to clarify "why he (Papandreou) did not pursue the immediate restructuring of the Greek public debt as Strauss-Kahn suggesting to him ... why did he (Papandreou) accept such a borrowing interest rate from the eurozone and why did he agree to such a short period of time of fiscal adjustment..."

    Roumeliotis reiterated to prosecutors that he himself briefed Papandreou on these three issues.

    Financial News

    [07] Registered unemployment 1.59 pct in July 2012

    The number of registered unemployed rose by 1.59 pct, in July 2012 in comparison with June 2012 totaling 794,924, of which 329,329 were men (41.43 pct) and 465,595 women (58.57 pct), official figures showed on Monday.

    The Workforce Employment Organization (OAED), in a monthly report, said that unemployment rate in Attica region was 37.48 pct followed by Central Macedonia with 19.34 pct.

    OAED said the 30-54 age group accounted for 63.41 pct of registered unemployment, followed by the below-30 age group (26.98 pct) and above-55 (9.61 pct). Greek citizens accounted for 92.52 pct of registered unemployment in July, third country citizens were 5.90 pct and EU citizens 1.58 pct.

    The total number of unemployed people receiving unemployment benefit was 187,273, down 0. pct from June.

    [08] Tax-related delinquency endemic in tourist resorts: report

    Tax-related delinquency in popular holiday destinations reaches levels of above 55 percent, according to the latest results of checks by the Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) around the country.

    The finance ministry announced on Tuesday that 4,067 checks were carried out in several resorts July 6 and Aug. 19. A total of 2,266 offenders were cited, while no less than 31,237 violations were reported.

    It is noteworthy that on Mykonos tax-related delinquency reached 64.5 percent; on Santorini 68.4 percent, on Paros-Antiparos 63.7 and on Naxos 73.9 percent.

    [09] Paros hotel that employed Pakistani illegal migrant closed for 5 days

    The labour ministry on Tuesday imposed a five-day closure on a hotel where a Pakistani illegal migrant, who was arrested and charged in the near-fatal head bashing of a 15-year-old girl last month, was illegally employed.

    The hotel is located on the popular Cyclades holiday island of Paros.

    In an announcement, the employment ministry said that securing legality in the labour market, the labour and social security rights of unemployed Greeks and of legal immigrants constitutes an immediate priority of its policy.

    In addition, the ministry said the protection of healthy competition between businesses as well as the discouragement of the entry and stay in the country of illegal immigrants is being pursued. Another hotel in the same region was also slapped with a similar reprimand.

    Employment, Social Security & Welfare Minister Yiannis Vroutsis signed the decision.

    The suspect, alternately described as 19 or 21, bashed the head of the girl on a remote beach on Paros after first ambushing and assaulting her.

    The 15-year-old girl remains in a coma.

    [10] Cyprus Popular Bank says articles on Marfin ungrounded

    Cyprus Popular Bank Public Co Ltd., in an announcement on Tuesday, flatly dismissed press articles claiming the bank is in talks to sell the Marfin Egnatia Bank.

    [11] ASE continues mini rally

    The Athens Stock Exchange reached a nearly two-month high point on Tuesday, boosted by a robust performance on other European markets.

    The general price index ended up 2.65 percent to end at 642.84.

    The trading volume was a significantly improved -- from recent sessions -- 74.98 million euros. Advancers led decliners by 89 to 37 with 146 shares remaining unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: +2.10%

    Commercial: +2.50%

    Construction: +2.61%

    Oil & Gas: +0.55%

    Personal & Household: +1.91%

    Raw Materials: +7.76%

    Travel & Leisure: +2.43%

    Technology: +0.61%

    Telecoms: +11.02

    Banks: +5.37%

    Food & Beverages: +0.08%

    Health: +3.93%

    Utilities: +4.80%

    Financial Services: +4.02%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were Eurobank Properties, OPAP, OTE and National Bank.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 1,42

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 2,67

    HBC Coca Cola: 14,66

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5,5

    National Bank of Greece: 1,39

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0,72

    OPAP: 5,4

    OTE: 2,62

    Bank of Piraeus: 0,23

    Titan: 12,9

    General News

    [12] Police examines Paros murder suspect's apartment

    A police investigation of an apartment in Lamia, central Greece, apparently rented by alleged urban terrorist and banker robber Tassos Theofilou, continued on Tuesday.

    Police reportedly found a bullet-proof vest, a laptop and printer, a laminating machine, a mobile phone and a bicycle fitted with a hidden video camera used by the suspect to videotape a National Bank branch in Lamia.

    [13] Notorious murderer again let out of prison on furlough, flees for second time

    Police on Monday have launched a manhunt to locate notorious criminal Mihalis Makriyannis, who failed to return from a Larissa prison after a five-day furlough. His disappearance was the second time that the convicted felon left a prison on leave but did not return.

    The Greek judicial and correctional system continues to allow convicted felons, including ones incarcerated for violent crimes, the opportunity to receive furloughs.

    Makriyannis was serving five life sentences for murder, three attempted murder convictions and armed robbery. He was due to voluntarily return to his cell on Saturday.

    His first furlough / escape came in July 2006 when he did not return to a prison in Crete. He was located and arrested 15 months later in Athens, driving a stolen vehicle, coincidentally.

    He was convicted in the early 1990s for the murder of a waiter in Trikala, central Greece, a girlfriend in the east Attica municipality of Keratea, a postman in the coastal resort of Legrena, SE of Athens, and the armed robbery of a nightclub in October 1993, where he killed his friend's brother, the nightclub's cashier, and injured two more people.

    [14] Minoan-era 'villa' unearthed near Ierapetra

    A Minoan-era building dating from 1,600 to 1,400 BC was unearthed at an altitude of 900 metres at the Gaidourofas site, near Ierapetra, in eastern Crete.

    According to initial assessments, the building served as a late Bronze Age (Neopalatial period) "mansion".

    The structure retains all of its walls and has not been pillaged. It is believed that its residents abandoned the building after a catastrophe without taking with them personal and household objects. The nature of the catastrophe has not been clarified and will be the subject of further excavation and research.

    The excavation was part of a five-year research programme implemented and funded by the University of Athens, with the financial backing of several institutions in Greece and abroad. The programme is headed by Yannis Papadatos, a professor of prehistoric archaeology at the University of Athens, and Costas Halikias, a lecturer at the Heidelberg University.

    Archaeologists said similar structures exist at other sites on Crete, but only in the plains or at a lower altitude, often linked with the farming sector of the period in which they were built.

    "Buildings at such a high altitude help us understand the role of mountainous regions in the Minoan economy, their natural sources and wealth-producing resources," prof. Papadakis said.

    [15] Wildfire on Zakynthos

    A wildfire was reported in a forested area at the Korakonissi site on the Ionian island of Zakynthos on Tuesday. A force of 10 firefighters, backed by five vehicles and two firefighting aircraft, was fighting the blaze.

    [16] Wildfires report

    The situation on the wildfire fronts in southern Greece was reported as improved on Tuesday morning.

    However, the fire fronts in Trizina, Argolida, and Solomos, Corinth prefecture, were in full progress. A large team of firefighters assisted by airborne means were battling the blaze.

    Wildfires in Laconia and Arcadia prefectures were finally extinguished.

    [17] Group of Turkish cyclists traveling from Munich to Antalya arrives in Patras

    A group of Turkish cyclists that began a journey from Munich with a final destination being in Antalya, from where they hail, was greeted on Tuesday in Patras by Western Greece regional governor Apostolos Katsifaras in his office.

    The four cyclists rode to Venice from Munich, arriving in Igoumenitsa by ferry and then riding down western Greece to reach Patras.

    Their nex stops in Greece are Crete and Rhodes.

    Katsifaras praised the group and referred to the significance of boosting so-called "cycling tourism".

    [18] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The Finance ministry's proposals for 11.6 billion euros worth of measures to be finalised in September and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' meeting this the week with Eurogroup president Jean Claude Juncker, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande as well as the major wildfire on Hios, dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "900 more public agencies through sieve".

    AVGHI: "Hios' catastrophe".

    AVRIANI: "German multinational Hochtief (which operates the Athens airport) owes 500 million euros to Greek state".

    DIMOKRATIA: "New memorandum, third and the most ...venomous".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: " 'Lifting' in pensions and benefits package".

    ESTIA: "Tax evaders' double theft".

    ETHNOS: "The bill reaches 13.5 billion euros".

    IMERISSIA: "Crucial battle begins - Samaras to Merkel with package of measures".

    KATHIMERINI: "Greece exit from eurozone speculation abates".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Berlin 'scissors' Greek expectations".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "The people will say 'no' to more sacrifices for euro and profits".

    TA NEA: " 'Merkel package' - What it seals for pensions, salaries".

    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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