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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-08-23
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Thursday, 23 August 2012 Issue No: 4155
 Samaras receives Juncker; 'those counting on exit will be proved wrong'Prime Minister Antonis Samaras reiterated on Wednesday that Greece will achieve the targets that it has set and will exit from the economic crisis, speaking during a closely watched joint press conference with visiting Eurogroup head Jean-Claude Juncker.
"Very soon all those, inside and outside Greece, who are counting on the country's exit from the euro, undermining our efforts and ignoring the sacrifices of the Greek people, will be proved wrong. ... we shall prove them wrong with actions not words," the prime minister said at a press briefing with Juncker at the Maximos Mansion.
Samaras said the main goal of restoring the country's credibility will soon be achieved. "And when this is restored, it will also change the psychology in both the private sector and international markets, inside and outside Greece".
Thanking Juncker for his solidarity to Greece and its efforts, he noted that "many things have changed over the past two months and many more will change in the coming period ... I explained to him that we have broadened the agenda of privatisations, speeding up necessary structural changes and that in the coming weeks a package of 11.7 billion euros (in spending cuts and extra revenues) will also be ready," the prime minister said, while underlining what he called the "serious efforts ... to curb tax evasion and to protect the security of the citizens, by dealing with the scourge of illegal immigration".
"I also told him (Juncker) of the significance that support for this policy has by the three parties comprising the government. Greece is turning a page -- politically, economically and socially".
Samaras repeated his leitmotif of needing to jump-start growth in the country.
"The only thing that the government, the people and common sense demand is for us to achieve growth as soon as possible. Because an economy in continuous recession and with huge unemployment, particularly among young people, cannot stand on its feet."
"The Greek people decided in the last elections that the country will remain in the euro ... That the sacrifices of the people have an impact," the Greek prime minister concluded.
On his part, Juncker said he is absolutely against the possibility of Greece's exit from the eurozone, stressing that this entails great risks for the European structure, while adding that all those who are referring to such a prospect are causing harm.
In statements after his meeting with Samaras, Juncker, who stated that he arrived in Athens as a true friend of the country, stressed that Greece is making a major effort to restructure its finances, although this has not become evident by some in the rest of Europe.
Pointing out that there is a problem of the credibility, he said restoration of the country's credibility must be a top priority, although he stated that he is convinced that the Greek government and people are making efforts in this direction.
Referring to the issue of an extension of the Greek economic programme, Juncker stressed that this will depend on a latest report by the EC-ECB-IMF troika, noting that the measures that will be taken must be reliable and verifiable, adding that low-wage earners must not be burdened further, but that other social groups to contribute more.
Lastly, he said he's convinced that Greece will do all that is necessary for the next tranche of its financing to be allocated.
The main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), commenting on statements made after the Samaras-Juncker meeting, accused the former of "submission" to the interests of creditors.
An announcement by by SYRIZA added that "the only thing certain that emanates from today's meeting of the prime minister with Mr. Juncker is that the path that the government is walking along with determination is that of full submission to the interests of the creditors and the policy of recession and austerity".
Additionally, PASOK party leader Evangelos Venizelos held a lengthy and detailed phone discussion with Juncker, saying he supports the positions of the Greek government, according to an announcement by PASOK.
According to party sources, Venizelos stressed the need for there to be an extension of the adjustment period so that the package of measures will be able to be implemented over a greater period of time, stressing that the extension does not require additional financing, approvals by Parliaments and a third programme.
A statement by the Communist Party's (KKE) press office on Wednesday stated that "the prime minister's meeting with Juncker and their provocative statements confirm that there shall only be an intensification of the anti-popular storm regardless of whatever negotiation, regardless of the extension or not of the fiscal adjustment".
KKE stressed that "the working people and the poorer popular classes have an interest in saying a resounding 'enough with the mockery' of the government and the parties of the 'euro-oneway'."
 SYRIZA accuses gov't as being behind eurogroup chief's refusal to meet with TsiprasMain opposition SYRIZA on Wednesday accused the government of having a hand in eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker's refusal to meet with party leader Alexis Tsipras during the former's brief visit to Athens, and called the refusal a "diplomatic impropriety".
"It is at the least a diplomatic impropriety and slip on Mr. Juncker's part," SYRIZA press spokesman Panos Skourletis said on state NET television, charging that "this decision is the result of pressure and interventions of various circles both on the part of the government and of Mr. Poul Thomsen", the IMF chief representative in the troika.
Skourletis said that Juncker "does not comprehend his role", adding that the Greek government should lodge a "strong demarche" because "it is an act that concerns not only the main opposition, but more generally".
It appears that the government is more inclined towards the position of the German magazine Der Spiegel that Alexis Tsipras is one of the most dangerous European politicians, Skourletis said.
In a press release, SYRIZA also charged that Samaras has abandoned the renegotiation of the Memorandum and was now seeking a simple breather, at the same time that the Greek society has been left without breath and was suffocating from the social bankruptcy, commenting on prime minister Antonis Samaras recent interview with the German newspaper Bild.
It said that the increase in the 11.5 billion euro package of measures by another 2 billion euros just hours before the premier's trip abroad for the "aspired" extension of the fiscal adjustment period "leaves no room for doubt over where the government's Memorandum policy is leading us: to the razing of the country and the de-structure of the EU".
 Gov't: 150,000 employees to leave public sector by 2015A target for the reduction of 150,000 employees or more in the core and wider public sector by 2015 was agreed upon by Finance Minister Yannis Stounaras and Administrative Reform Minister Antonis Manitakis, following a meeting on Wednesday on ways to effect cuts in state spending.
Both ministers said such a target will be achieved mainly through a different "reserve labour" scheme, namely, retirement of employees to close to retirement age.
"Let us not stay with the words that separate us, but with the procedures that unite us", the two ministers said, characteristically, after the meeting. It was clarified that evaluation of structures and public sector staff, along with a decrease in operational expenditures and costs aim at a more effective, smaller and better quality public sector.
The savings will result from the difference between salary and average pension, the latter being a portion of the salary. According to senior officials of the two ministries, a target of 15,000 less employees in the public sector remains valid for the current year.
Government officials stressed that everything is pending on approval by the EC-ECB-IMF troika, whose top representatives return to Athens on Sept. 5; a delegation of experts will arrive on Monday.
 DIMAR president reiterates support for gov'tDemocratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis reiterated his party's support for the government during a DIMAR parliamentary group meeting on Wednesday.
"We will do whatever possible in order for the government's work to proceed, with the society 'standing'. Our aim is that Greece remains in the eurozone with the least possible cost," he said and added that DIMAR is the guarantee that the austerity measures will bring the least possible repercussions to society.
Kouvelis informed his deputies that he has not received from the government's economic staff the text which contains the proposals for the new measures.
According to information, DIMAR deputy Odysseas Voudouris in a letter to his fellow deputies expressed his reservations on whether the proposed measures are in line with the agreement framework among the three parties that participate in the coalition government.
 DIMAR spokesman: No cutbacks in special payrolls in 2012Democratic Left spokesman Andreas Papadopoulos on Wednesday said that "the government plan on early retirement, which is proceeding rapidly, could replace the reserve labour measure", speaking on a public radio station.
He also noted that "we must immediately proceed with the reforms in public administration. Organisations and agencies must shut down or merge and the civil servants' evaluation process must accelerate in order to send a message to our European partners that something is moving in this country...".
Papadopoulos said there will not be any cutbacks in special payrolls, especially that of the Armed Forces, in 2012, without however a commitment on the Finance Ministry's part that this will not happen in the next years. "The Finance Ministry's only commitment is that for 2012 cutbacks will not be applied".
 Justice minister says ministry mulling tracking bracelets for inmates on leaveJustice minister Antonis Roupakiotis said Wednesday that his ministry is mulling the introduction of tracking bracelets for prisoners out on leave.
Speaking on private Mega television station, Roupakiotis said that the problem of over-population in the country's prisons was a complex one due to a surge in crime and illegal migration. Apart from keeping track of the whereabouts of the inmates while on leave with the bracelets, the ministry was also looking into community service as an alternative form of sentence so as to de-congest the jails, and in this respect stressed the importance of re-operation of the prison farms.
 Thessaloniki mayor receives mayor of Ankara district CankayaTourist and business cooperation, repercusisons of the economic recession in SE Europe and local administration issues were the focus of a meeting between Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris and Bulent Tanik, the mayor of Cankaya, a district of the capital Ankara, as well as the former mayor of the city of Didim, Mehmet Soysalan.
He also referred to the excellent communication that the municipaity of Thessaloniki has developed with the consular authorities of Turkey and to the efforts of the municipal authority aimed at attracting tourists from the neighbouring country.
 Regular budget shows net revenues shortfall in first 7 months of 2012The regular budget's net revenues are showing a shortfall of 2.241 billion euros over the first seven months this year, amounting to 25.84 billion euros compared to 28.081 billion euros that had been projected as the revised target. The specific shortfall in the revenues widened to 2.8 billion euros (revenues of 27.637 billion euros against a target of 30.438 billion euros) as regards the implementation of the state budget, in which the Public Investments Programme is included.
 New low cost airline from Jan. 2013The new low cost airline HellasAirlines will inaugurate its flights on January 13, 2013. The new airline's base will be the airport of Nea Aghialos, near Volos city, central Greece.
During the presentation of the new company on Tuesday at a Volos hotel, the company's president's captain Vassilis Rallakis said that the ticket fare will be very low and the transport from and to the airport will be free.
Indicatively the ticket price for a two-way ticket to and from Athens will be 50 euros, for Heraklio, Crete 80 euros and for destinations abroad such as Rome 120 euros.
The airline will carry out flights to and from Athens, Thessaloniki, Rhodes, Heraklio, Ioannina and Skiathos island. Flights to and from Rome, Madrid, London, Paris, Moscow are also foreseen.
 Stocks end downThe Athens Stock Exchange ended slightly lower on Wednesday as anxious investors mostly anticipated a late afternoon meeting between Greek PM Antonis Samaras Eurogroup president Jean-Claude Juncker in Athens as a guide for future sessions.
The general pice index ends 0.51 percent lower at 639.57.
Trade volume was a weak 27.63 million euros. Advancers led decliners by 70 to 51, with 151 shares remaining unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -1.23%
Personal & Household: +0.18%
Raw Materials: +1.30%
Travel & Leisure: -0.86%
Food & Beverages: -2.17%
Financial Services: +0.01%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, OTE and Alpha Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 1,44
Public Power Corp (PPC): 2,74
HBC Coca Cola: 14,34
Hellenic Petroleum: 5,45
National Bank of Greece: 1,4
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0,73
Bank of Piraeus: 0,24
 Greece's Electronic Crimes Squad averts suicide in AustraliaThe Greek Police's electronic crimes squad averted another suicide, this time in far-away Australia after the would-be suicide announced his intentions during a discussion via Skype with a Greek man.
During the live on-line conversation, the Australian man said he intended to put an end to his life due to personal problems he was facing.
The Greek officers, in collaboration with internet officials, quickly traced the man's electronic address, which was in Australia, and immediately informed their Australian colleagues via Interpol. The Australian authorities quickly intervened and rushed the would-be suicide to a hospital, where he was treated and psychological support was provided.
The Australian authorities sent a message of thanks to the Greek electronic crimes squad for their immediate action, which saved the life of the man.
 PM sent petition to keep Athens-Epidavros Festival artistic directorSeveral well-known performers and artists, in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Wednesday, express their disagreement with any idea to replace the current artistic director of the Athens and Epidavros Festival, George Loukos.
In the letter jointly signed by 80 performers, they called on Samaras to issue a "tangible reply" to speculation over such a development.
 New Acropolis Museum to celebrate August 31 full moonThe New Acropolis Museum will celebrate the full moon on August 31 with a concert of romantic melodies in its courtyard performed by the Volos musical school.
The Museum will be open to the public from 8:00 in the morning to midnight on that day, with free entrance to the public from 9:00 pm on, enabling visitors to walk around the exhibits and enjoy a view of the Acropolis monument in the light of the full moon, while the concert will begin at 9:30 pm.
 Drug dealer arrested in ThessalonikiA 51-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, charged with drug dealing. The man was arrested while attempting to sell 19.5 kilos of hashish to policemen who were posing as buyers.
A search in his house revealed a shot gun, a hunting gun and 353 shells of various types.
The suspect will be sent before a Thessaloniki prosecutor.
 649 kilos of cannabis seized, drug dealers arrestedFive men, three locals and two Albanians, alleged to be members of an international drug trafficking ring were arrested early Wednesday in Plataria, northwestern Greece.
Police found and confiscated 649 kilos of cannabis, two cars, a truck and a fishing boat. The alleged drug dealers brought the drugs into Greece by land and sea.
Igoumenitsa police are conducting an investigation.
 Foreign national arrested on European warrantA 53 year-old woman from Poland wanted on a European warrant was arrested on Wednesday in Kalamata, southern Greece. The woman is wanted in Poland on a Europol arrest warran on forgery charges.
The suspect will be sent before Kalamata prosecutor.
 Wildfire interrupts traffic on nat'l roadwayTraffic from the 30th to the 63rd kilometre of the Trikala-Ioannina national roadway was interrupted on Wednesday afternoon due to a wildfire at the site, with vehicles diverted to the Egnatia motorway and a provincial road towards the town of Grevena.
 Wildfire raging in Kalambaka regionAuthorities ordered a partial evacuation of residents in the village of Orthovouni as a wildfire raged near the central Greece city of Kalambaka is continuing to rage.
According to the fire brigade, residetns of the village gathered in its main square, while the blaze headed for the Kakoplevri site. About 60 firefighters, backed by 20 vehicles and a helicopter dispatched the scene.
 The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe government's plan on the new-style reserve labour, the prospect of a reduction in special payrolls and the request for a two-year extension of Greece's fiscal adjustment programme, dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.
AVGHI: "10,000 teacher positions vacant!".
AVRIANI: "Surgeries postponed because of the troika".
DIMOKRATIA: "Mercy! Government cuts benefit of 200,000 disabled persons".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Special payrolls in public sector to be sacrificed".
ESTIA: "The sacred cow in reserve labour!".
ETHNOS: "New reserve labour in public sector with incentives".
IMERISSIA: "Positive indications for the extension".
KATHIMERINI: "12 percent cutbacks in special payrolls".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Triple trial with reward Greece's stay in the eurozone".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Protection of the local production on Chios, no land use change".
TA NEA: "In arms over the special payrolls".
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