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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-08-31

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

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

Friday, 31 August 2012 Issue No: 4162

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM: 'Drachma lobby' the rival of the country, 'this will be the last package'
  • [02] SYRIZA: PM ' bankruptcy lobby's representative'
  • [03] PM receives European Commissioner Damanaki
  • [04] IMF mission to return to Athens next week
  • [05] Greece can succeed, and Europe is at its side, chief of European Commission representation in Athens says
  • [06] Finance Minister in Berlin on Tues.
  • [07] DM holds meeting with Cyprus President Christofias
  • [08] Minister calls for explanations into charges of extravagant spending by Thessaloniki univ.
  • [09] Municipalities to remain closed on Sept. 12-13
  • [10] Kefaloyannis elected ND political com't secretary
  • [11] Tsipras to address 'Liberazione' festival in Venice
  • [12] PASOK leader Venizelos visits ministry of health
  • [13] G. Papandreou re-elected as SI president
  • [14] KKE criticises riot police confronting invalids outside ministry
  • [15] ASE suspends trading in Hellenic Postbank's shares
  • [16] PPC reports sharply lower profits in H1
  • [17] SDOE ascertains 54.9% tax delinquency rate in country's tourist regions in latest checks
  • [18] Development minister receives Belgian ambassador
  • [19] GEK Terna reports mixed H1 results
  • [20] Viohalco reports higher H1 losses
  • [21] MIG reports higher H1 losses
  • [22] Ionian Hotels reports losses in H1
  • [23] Stocks end 1.83 pct down
  • [24] ADEX closing report
  • [25] August full moon to be marked at archaeological sites and museums throughout Greece
  • [26] Stanford Summer Theater (SST) presents "Wanderings of Odysseus" at Cacoyannis Foundation
  • [27] Reports: Stockbreeder, wife assaulted in Albanian village when claiming stolen animals
  • [28] Man dies after learning home searched by police
  • [29] Three arrests for crystal meth
  • [30] Two foreign nat'ls arrested for 90-year-old's mugging
  • [31] Two foreign nat'ls arrested for theft, receiving stolen goods
  • [32] Wildfire in Neos Voutzas
  • [33] Fair on Friday
  • [34] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

  • [01] PM: 'Drachma lobby' the rival of the country, 'this will be the last package'

    Greece must avert a return to the drachma currency, prime minister Antonis Samaras told a meeting of his New Democracy (ND) party's political committee on Thursday, adding that the 'drachma lobby' is the rival of the country and the party.

    He stressed the need for taking the painful' 11.5 billion euro measures, and said that "this package will be the last".

    Samaras said that the package is necessary in order for Greece to receive the next tranche of the EU/IMF bailout loan, which he said would go entirely to "the interior" of Greece so that the economy may 'move', and placed combating the spiraling unemployment as the top priority.

    He expressed optimism that "if all goes well, in two years Greece will be very different and soon it will be moving at impressive growth rates".

    Opposite to the drachma lobby, "our own lobby is being created, which wants Greece to achieve its targets", he said, adding: "These are the alliances we are building".

    On his recent trip to Berlin and Paris and talks with German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Francois Hollande, Samaras said that "we changed the climate (towards Greece) in Europe, which is the first prerequisite for our remaining in the euro".

    "If we want recovery to come about, we must remain in the euro and there needs to be liquidity in the economy. Our credibility has fallen to zero. We regained a part of our credibility and told the European leadership that we need recovery. We asked that the toxic statements against our country stop," Samaras continued.

    "We are keeping our commitments," he said, elaborating: "We promised to do everything so that our country will not exit the euro, and this is already being acknowledged. We promised to place emphasis on development. Tax evasion and bureaucracy will be tackled mercilessly, which is necessary for growth. This is the quintessence of our strategy. Some maintained that we should have led things to an impasse. That, however, would not have strengthened the country's negotiating position but would have benefited those who wanted Greece out of the euro. Those inside Greece who maintained that we should have reneged our commitments are playing the game of those outside Europe. Some wanted the country in the role of an Iphigenia. We must act fast and decisively."

    Turning to everyday affairs, he said that the ongoing police clampdown on illegal migration code-named 'Xenios Zeus' has "started to change the picture in the centers of the cities", adding that "soon, Greece will once again be a safe country". He further spoke of the need to restores ocial justice through the elimination of the privileges of certain social groups and stamping out tax evasion, stressing that "the sense of justice also forges the unity of society".

    On another note, referring to Greece's geostrategic position, Samaras said that "now that Syria is in flames, Greece should be Europe's bastion in the region. We say to them (Europe) that they cannot leave Greece helpless".

    [02] SYRIZA: PM ' bankruptcy lobby's representative'

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) on Thursday responded to the content of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' speech, delivered before his New Democracy (ND) party's political committee earlier in the day ,stressing that "Mr. Samaras has given the name 'societal and national unity' to the acceptance of new measures of billions of euros, which will demolish economy and society".

    A SYRIZA press office comment added that "the blackmailing correlation that the country's presence in the eurozone is directly linked with the implementation of the memorandum has lost its power to convince audiences."

    SYRIZA underlined that the prime minister "being a worthy representative of the 'bankruptcy lobby' cannot realise that the interests of the majority of society for economic growth and a social state in a democratic country are in complete conflict with the interests of creditors and capital holders represented by his government."

    [03] PM receives European Commissioner Damanaki

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Thursday received European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs & Fisheries Maria Damanaki at his office, as the latter underlined that the next few months will be crucial for the "future of the euro and Europe".

    The former leftist party leader added that "the European Commission will make very important decisions on Europe and the European south and, of course, Greece."

    Referring to the meeting she had with the prime minister she said that they had a "very interesting discussion" and exchanged views on European developments.

    Damanaki stated that they discussed issues related with her portfolio, the creation of new jobs and the absorption of Community funds.

    [04] IMF mission to return to Athens next week

    An IMF mission will return to Athens next week to complete the first review of the country' s economic program?? and to discuss with Greek authorities the facts and prospects of the current situation and to plan the next steps, IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters on Thursday.

    Rice said he was not in a position to determine the time of the troika's stay in Athens adding that this would depend on the discussions and progress made.

    He noted he was unaware of when the troika's report would be ready to publish, adding that this was always a policy followed by European partners. Rice reiterated that the IMF will continue to support Greece, adding that the Greek government was working towards presenting fair and balanced measures.

    Rice said the mission, which will include the European Commission and ECB, would focus on reducing Greece's deficit and structural measures to boost employment, and ensure lasting and higher growth.

    [05] Greece can succeed, and Europe is at its side, chief of European Commission representation in Athens says

    Greece can succeed and Europe is at its side to support it both in its fiscal adaptation and in the structural changes and developmental efforts, the head of the European Commission representation in Athens, Panos Karvounis, said Thursday in exclusive statements to AMNA.

    Karvounis also noted a "positive" aftermath of Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras' recent talks with German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin and French president Francois Hollande in Paris, saying that a positive climate has prevailed in Europe after the premier's visits to the German and French capitals.

    He stressed the importance of the Greek government keeping up that momentum so that its efforts will be mirrored in a positive assessment by the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) troika, which would in turn give the 'green light' for disbursement for the next tranche of the bailout loan, worth 31 billion euro, to Greece.

    A positive report by the troika would also be a negotiating trump card for the Greek prime minister in seeking a time extension for a milder fiscal adjustment, which would give Greece a much-wanted 'breather' and the first ray of hope for an exit from the tunnel, Karvounis added.

    He noted that the 11.5 billion euros in measures for reduction of the deficit is a commitment undertaken under the second Memorandum and should have been taken in the first half of 2012, and explained that the fiscal measures are of short-term performance, whereas the structural measures concern the future of the country and are of multiple returns fiscally.

    The structural measures include liberalization of the closed professions and markets, efficient collection of taxes, privatizations and improvement of the business climate, all of which will be taken into account in the troika's assessment report, Karvounis added, noting that Merkel, replying to questions during Samaras' visit, had said that she wants to see what the troika has to say.

    Karvounis said that the climate in Europe (vis-a-vis Greece) started to change with Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso's recent visit to Athens, his first in three years, followed by the visit of eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker, who called himself "an old friend of Greece", ahead of Samaras' trip to Berlin and Paris.

    [06] Finance Minister in Berlin on Tues.

    Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras will go on Tuesday to Berlin, where he will meet with his German counterpart Wolfgang Schauble.

    Moreover, Stournaras will meet with the heads of the troika delegation (EC, ECB, IMF) on Sunday 9 September. The troika will arrive in Athens on Sept. 7.

    [07] DM holds meeting with Cyprus President Christofias

    NICOSIA (AMNA - A. Viketos)

    Defence Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos began a two-day official visit here on Thursday afternoon and reassured of Athens' determination to stand by the side of the Republic of Cyprus.

    The minister was received by Cyprus President Demetris Christofias.

    Speaking after the meeting, which lasted about an hour, Panagiotopoulos said:

    "I am here as the defence minister of Greece to send a message in every direction, that whatever problems Greece may have, whatever the fiscal or economic difficulties may be, we are determined to be by the side of Cypriot Hellenism, and Greece to remain the power that guarantees the independence, the sovereignty, the freedom of the Republic of Cyprus and of the Hellenism of Cyprus".

    After the Presidential Mansion, the Greek minister visited the military cemetery of Tymvos Makedonitissas and to the prison cemetery, where he laid wreaths for the fallen Greeks and Greek Cypriots.

    [08] Minister calls for explanations into charges of extravagant spending by Thessaloniki univ.

    Education Minister Costas Arvanitopoulos on Thursday held a two-hour meeting with Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) Rector Yiannis Mylopoulos, who was called on to give explanations in response to recent press reports alleging extravagant spending and mismanagement of university funds.

    Mylopoulos rejected the press reports as unfounded and stated afterwards that all economic figures mentioned by the press are "untrue, inaccurate and distort reality". He also said he will give a press conference on Friday in the presence of the university's administrative board.

    According to a news report published in the "Eleftheros Typos" daily, the AUTH administration spent 1.3 million euros in 2011 to renovate the university camp site in Halkidiki; 235,000 euros to reconstruct the university store "Logotypos" and no less than 30,000 euros to renovate of a lavatory in the university administration building.

    A preliminary investigation into the allegations has been ordered by the Thessaloniki First Instance Court.

    [09] Municipalities to remain closed on Sept. 12-13

    The union representing municipalities' leadership (KEDE) held an extroardinary session on Thursday and decided to proceed with a two-day closure of municipalities on Sept. 12 and 13. The majority of mayors addressing the session said they were not satisified with the government's promises nor with the 35 million euros that the finance ministry disbursed a few hours before the session.

    [10] Kefaloyannis elected ND political com't secretary

    Former minister Manolis Kefaloyannis on Thursday was elected secretary of New Democracy's (ND) political committee. Kefaloyannis collected 301 votes, followed by one-time Athens mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis with186 votes. Theofanis Lambropoulos was third with 13 votes.

    [11] Tsipras to address 'Liberazione' festival in Venice

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader and European Left party Vice President Alexis Tsipras will travel to Venice on Sunday to attend the annual festival hosted by the newspaper "Liberazione", as the main speaker.

    [12] PASOK leader Venizelos visits ministry of health

    PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos on Thursday visited the ministry of health and discussed with Minister Andreas Lykourentzos issues concerning the preparation of a national plan necessary for the ministry's fiscal adjustment, administrative reform and the pressing needs in the health sector.

    Commenting afterward, Venizelos said "we are aware of the situation in the sector of health," and that "the people should feel safe and dignified," adding that "every possible effort is being made toward this direction."

    On his part, Lykourentzos said "the people should have immediate and easy access to high quality healthcare services," adding that patients should have access to the medicines they need.

    Referring to mobilisations announced by pharmacists nationwide, the health minister said coordinated efforts are being made by the National Organisation for Healthcare Service Providers (EOPYY) leadership to reach the best possible solution and prevent the sector mobilisations.

    [13] G. Papandreou re-elected as SI president

    Socialist International (SI) President and ex-premier George Papandreou on Thursday was re-elected to the post by show of hands during the organisation's 24th congress in Cape Town, as he was the only candidate in the running.

    Addressing the SI congress, Papandreou said the political will for the introduction of what he called "progressive reforms" is absent in Europe and on the international level, saying that he speaks from experience.

    He said he he gave a fight for reform and that inaction continues to "cripple" the global economy.

    Papandreou said he faced "ideological dogmatism, incorrect assumptions and special interests represented by conservative powers ... an oligarchy of bankers is now more powerful than elected governments, prime ministers and even nation-states."

    [14] KKE criticises riot police confronting invalids outside ministry

    An announcement by the Communist Party's (KKE) press office on Thursday said it was a "shame" for the government to "welcome" hundreds of invalids and disabled protesters outside the finance ministry with riot police.

    Papoulias to inaugurate events marking centennial of Thessaloniki's liberation

    President Karolos Papoulias on Thursday received Macedonia-Thrace Minister Thodoros Karaoglou at the presidential mansion and discussed ministry related activities. The president accepted an invitation to formally open celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the liberation of the city of Thessaloniki.

    Financial News

    [15] ASE suspends trading in Hellenic Postbank's shares

    The Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday announced that it was temporary suspending trading in shares of Hellenic Postbank, following a bank announcement saying it was unable to publish its annual financial report for the year 2011 within set deadlines.

    Hellenic Postbank's shares suffered a 29.71-pct plunge in early trading in the market, in the aftermath of finance minister's comments on Wednesday, namely, that the mostly state-controlled bank is not viable, according to assessments made by the Bank of Greece and the Greek Financial Stability Fund.

    [16] PPC reports sharply lower profits in H1

    Public Power Corp. (PPC) on Thursday said net profits totaled 18.3 million euros in the first half of the year, down 85 pct compared with the corresponding period in 2011 (128.8 million euros).

    PPC said its results were burdened by extra taxes on fuel and higher production costs.

    Arthuros Zervos, PPC's chairman, said "a deteriorating economic environment in Greece and a dramatic decline in liquidity were further pressuring the group's profitability and cash flow".

    Demand for electrical power rose by 0.7 pct in the January-June period, compared with 2011, while PPC's sales rose 6.0 pct helped by the closure of alternative energy suppliers early in the year.

    Payroll costs fell by 93.3 million euros, to a total of 700 million euros in the period from 2009 to 2012. Average monthly wages in the company were 1,700 euros, while average payroll spending per employee fell by 36 pct.

    [17] SDOE ascertains 54.9% tax delinquency rate in country's tourist regions in latest checks

    The average rate of delinquency in checks carried out by the Economic Crime Squad (SDOE) in regions of the country with an extensive tourism sector reached nearly 55 percent during the period between 24-27 August.

    SDOE announced 638 checks, out in which 350 offenders were cited and 2,530 violations were ascertained.

    [18] Development minister receives Belgian ambassador

    Development & Competitiveness Minister Costis Hatzidakis on Thursday received Belgian ambassador to Greece Marc Van den Reeck, with talks focusing on 4th Community Support Framework and reforms in the Greek economy.

    Hatzidakis and Van den Reeck exchanged views on developments in the country and the course of the fiscal programme's implementation.

    The Belgian ambassador cited the traditionally close relations between the two countries and expressed the Belgian government's volition to back the efforts by Athens to overcome the crisis.

    [19] GEK Terna reports mixed H1 results

    GEK Terna, a listed construction group, on Thursday said its net after minorities results showed profits of 1.1 million euros in the first half of 2012, after profits of 500,000 euros in the same period in 2011, while consolidated sales dropped 26.4 pct to 304.4 million euros over the same period.

    EBITDA, however, rose 8.4 pct to 61.2 million euros in the January-June period, helped by positive performance in the energy sector, while operating earnings rose 34.1 pct to 33.3 million euros. Pre-tax profits fell 4.2 pct to 7.5 million euros, while net profits before minorities rose to 4.4 million euros from 4.1 million euros last year.

    Group investments totaled 146.9 million euros, mainly in the renewable energy sources sector, while net bank borrowing totaled 685 million euros.

    [20] Viohalco reports higher H1 losses

    Viohalco Group on Thursday reported widened losses totaling 26.3 million euros - or 0.1319 euros per share - in the first half of 2012, up from losses of 2.4 million euros - 0.0120 euros per share - in the corresponding period in 2011.

    Consolidated turnover fell 4.3 pct to 1.739 billion euros, while EBITDA fell to 82.9 million euros in the January-June period from 118.6 million euros in 2011.

    Parent pre-tax profits totaled 2.4 million euros in the first six months of the year, after losses of 300,000 euros in 2011, while net after tax results showed profits of 2.4 million euros (0.0119 euros per share), after losses of 300,000 euros (0.0015 euros per share) in 2011.

    [21] MIG reports higher H1 losses

    Marfin Investment Group Holdings (MIG) on Thursday said consolidated losses, after tax and minorities, totaled 148.5 million euros in the first half of the year, after comparable losses of 108.8 million euros in the same period in 2011.

    MIG said consolidated sales fell to 698.5 million euros in the January-June period, from 758 million euros last year, while gross earnings remained relatively stable at 95.6 million euros (96.8 million in 2011) helped by cost-cutting efforts. EBITDA was a negative 16.5 million euros in the six-month period, from 21.5 million euros last year.

    Parent losses totaled 29.2 million euros in 2012, after earnings of 1.0 million euros in 2011. The Group's net position was 1.56 billion euros at the end of the first half, or 2.03 euros per share, while cash reserves totaled 92.4 million euros.

    [22] Ionian Hotels reports losses in H1

    Ionian Hotel Enterprises on Thursday reported losses totaling 2.5 million euros in the first half of 2012, after profits of 100,000 euros in the corresponding period last year.

    The company said its EBITDA fell to 100,000 euros in the January-June period from 3.2 million euros last year, while turnover fell to 11 million euros from 15.8 million euros over the same periods, respectively.

    [23] Stocks end 1.83 pct down

    Stocks resumed their downward trend at the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday, as a decision by market authorities to suspend trading in the shares of Hellenic Postbank - following the bank's announcement that it was unable to publish its 2011 financial report on time - undermined sentiment in the market.

    On the other hand, PPC's shares rose significantly as the market welcomed its six-month results, despite a 85-pct drop in profits. The composite index of the market fell 1.83 pct to end at 629.10 points, with turnover remaining a low 15.702 million euros.

    The Big Cap index dropped 1.84 pct and the Mid Cap index fell 1.50 pct. The Commerce (2.87 pct), Utilities (2.33 pct) and Raw Materials (2.22 pct) sectors scored gains, while the Food (4.49 pct), Banks (2.91 pct) and Financial Services (1.79 pct) sectors suffered heavy losses.

    Mytilineos (3.17 pct), PPC (3.07 pct) and Folli Follie (2.97 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Cyprus Popular Bank (4.26 pct), Coca Cola 3E (4.96 pct) and MIG (4.50 pct) were top losers.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 64 to 45 with another 25 issues unchanged. Geniki Bank (16.47 pct), Spider (10.47 pct) and CPI (9.70 pct) were top gainers, while Hellenic Postbank (29.71 pct), Athina (20 pct) and Selman (20 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: -1.22%

    Commercial: +2.87%

    Construction: +0.03%

    Oil & Gas: -1.41%

    Personal & Household: +0.64%

    Raw Materials: +2.22%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.72%

    Technology: -0.90%

    Telecoms: -0.38

    Banks: -2.91%

    Food & Beverages: -4.94%

    Health: +2.11%

    Utilities: +2.33%

    Financial Services: -1.79%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were OPAP, National Bank, Alpha Bank and Coca Cola 3E.

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

    Alpha Bank: 1,33

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 2,69

    HBC Coca Cola: 14

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5,57

    National Bank of Greece: 1,37

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0,68

    OPAP: 5,26

    OTE: 2,59

    Bank of Piraeus: 0,24

    Titan: 12,99

    [24] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading around its fair value in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday, with turnover remaining a thin 3.464 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 584 contracts worth 670,632 euros, with 22,638 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 22,349 contracts worth 2.794 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (7,304), followed by National Bank (4,472), Cyprus Bank (1,842), Piraeus Bank (2,443), OTE (651), PPC (1,469), OPAP (657), Cyprus Popular Bank (2,007), Hellenic Postbank (1,134), Coca Cola 3E (65), Mytilineos (31), Motor Oil (38) and Eurobank (112).

    General News

    [25] August full moon to be marked at archaeological sites and museums throughout Greece

    More than 125 archaeological sites and museums throughout Greece will remain open until late on Friday, with free entrance to the public, to mark the second full moon in August, the largest full moon of the year, while concerts and theatrical productions will be staged at 85 of those venues.

    The August full moon, which has become a tradition, enables visitors to enjoy the sites and museums under a different backdrop, the imposing end-of-August full moon.

    The 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.

    [26] Stanford Summer Theater (SST) presents "Wanderings of Odysseus" at Cacoyannis Foundation

    A three-year programme on ancient Greek drama implemented by Michael Cacoyannis Foundation (MCF) in cooperation with major foreign universities opens in Athens on Sept. 1 featuring seminars and workshops, entitled "Ancient Greek Drama: Influences & Contemporary Approaches".

    The programme will open with the Stanford Summer Theater (SST) of Stanford University, which will perform the "Wanderings of Odysseus" (based on Homer's Odyssey) at MCF's main theatrical hall on Sept. 12-15, translated by Oliver Taplin and directed by Rush Rehm.

    An intensive seminar and workshops focusing on epic dramatisation and staging will be offered at MCF by Stanford and SST instructors on Sept. 6-14.

    [27] Reports: Stockbreeder, wife assaulted in Albanian village when claiming stolen animals

    A stockbreeder and his wife from the village of Palabas, near Igoumenitsa, in extreme northwest Greece, were reportedly assaulted by a group of local residents in the Albanian border village of Janjari when they crossed the Greek-Albanian frontier to claim 32 cattle and 87 goats and sheep stolen from them several days ago.

    The incident, which occurred on Aug. 24, was disseminated by Albanian media and reported to authorities in the neighbouring country.

    According to reports, relatives of a suspect identified as Rushit Ismail or Ismaili, who was already in Albanian police custody and charged with stealing the animals in cross-border raid, attacked the Greek couple when they arrived in the Albanian village. The suspect's son, one Astrit Ismaili, is still wanted on the same charge and suspected of participating in the assault.

    The couple was brutally assaulted and for almost six hours, as reported by Albanian mass media.

    Albanian police, who had earlier informed the couple of the location of their animals, found the pair hours after the attack when the suspects had already fled.

    [28] Man dies after learning home searched by police

    A 40-year-old man collapsed and died in the village of Korakiana, on the Ionian Sea island of Corfu, soon after he was informed that police were about to search his house for drugs, it was announced on Thursday.

    The man was rushed to a hospital where he was declared dead from pathological causes. A post-mortem has been ordered.

    Five cannabis plants and a small quantity of the drug were found in the house of the deceased.

    Meanwhile, a police search of the adjacent house of a 55-year-old British national revealed 1,980 grams of cannabis and roughly 10,000 euros in cash. In a farm close to the house, police found and uprooted a total of 20 cannabis plants.

    The 55-year-old was led before an examining magistrate.

    [29] Three arrests for crystal meth

    Three young men aged 20-22 were arrested Wednesday night at a music party in Halkidiki, northern Greece, in possession of quantities of crystal methamphetamine, also known as "poor man's cocaine" that they intended to sell the narcotic substance.

    The three had set off from Athens for Kassandra, in the Halkidiki peninsula, to sell the narcotic -- also called "ice" among users -- which is a psychoactive recreational drug and is highly addictive and can cause cardiovascular damage.

    Police found the drug in 39 packets weighing a total 35.9 grams during a routine search of the suspects' car, hidden behind the car's stereo amplifiers

    The three will be sent before a Halkidiki prosecutor.

    [30] Two foreign nat'ls arrested for 90-year-old's mugging

    Two foreign nationals, a man from Ghana and another man from Sierra Leone, were arrested this week for the assault and robbery of a 90-year-old man in the central Athens district of Kypseli.

    According to reports, the elderly man was mugged in the elevator of his apartment house and robbed of 1,650 euros.

    [31] Two foreign nat'ls arrested for theft, receiving stolen goods

    Two Indian nationals, identified as owners of a mini market, were arrested this week on charges of theft as well as accepting and selling stolen, following an investigation at their shop in the northwest Athens working-class district of Menidi.

    A large number of electronic appliances allegedly stolen by the pair and a 28-year-old Pakistani accomplice from shops and offices in the surrounding district were found and confiscated. Additionally, a total of 800 packs of contraband cigarettes were also found and confiscated.

    [32] Wildfire in Neos Voutzas

    Two residences were burned and several more were in danger at the Neos Voutzas site of eastern Attica prefecture, after a wildfire erupted on Thursday afternoon.

    Smoke also created a thick atmosphere in the region, with surrounding areas also evacuated.

    No report was given on whether the buildings were illegally structures or licensed.

    Weather Forecast:

    [33] Fair on Friday

    Fair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Friday. Winds 2-7 beauforte. Temperatures between 14C and 35C. Fair in Athens with northerly 3-7 beauforte winds and temperatures between 20C and 33C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 18C and 31C.

    [34] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The prospective abolition of the summer holiday and Easter half-salary and Christmas full-salary bonuses in pensions and civil service salaries, and the rapid developments in the banking sector, mostly dominated the headlines on Thursday in Athens' dailies.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "5.4 billion euros from pensions".

    AVGHI: "500 euros by law the lowest salary".

    DIMOKRATIA: "Judges and doctors enraged".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "They are cutting the bonus from all pensions".

    ESTIA: "Radical changes in taxation".

    ETHNOS: "Express reversals in banks".

    IMERISSIA: " 'Fever' in the banks - Intense behind-the-scenes and reversals in market".

    KATHIMERINI: "The entire package of painful measures".

    LOGOS: "The gap between the three leaders".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Special payrolls and pensions block the package".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Rally for joint struggle for a pro-people exit from the crisis".

    TA NEA: "End to bonuses for all pensioners and civil servants'.

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


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