|Monday, 11 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-10-29
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 29 October 2012 Issue No: 4209
 FinMin: Big progress on 'prior actions'Big progress has been made on the so-called 'prior actions' demanded by the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Troika of Greece's international lenders for the disbursement of an outstanding 31.5 billion euro tranche of the EU/IMF bailout loan to Greece, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said Saturday evening after a broad meeting of all the government ministers involved with the "prior actions" chaired by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, adding that all outstanding matters concerning the prior actions were discussed so that Greece would be ready by Wednesday's remote conference of the Eurogroup.
Stournaras said after the lengthy meeting that he is optimistic that there will be consent among the three parties of the coalition government.
Asked whether the new package of measures would be tabled in parliament in a single draft law, given that junior partner Democratic Left (DIMAR) insists that the measures be tabled in two separate bills -- one on the fiscal measures and a separate bill for the labor regime changes -- he replied: "I believe the government's decision is to table them on a single bill".
According to an official announcement the Eurogroup comprising the eurozone's finance ministers will hold a remote conference on Greece on Wednesday.
The teleconference was confirmed by Eurogroup president Jean-Claude Juncker, who added that for the time being no other meetings have been planned.
Asked what Greece would present to the Eurogroup, Stournaras said: "We will present the progress that has been made. I imagine some kind of introduction will be made by the Troika and that the progress that has been made on the policies will be presented."
To another question on the list of 89 prior actions, Stournaras said that very great progress has been made, and that they should be tabled in parliament in the coming days.
Also speaking to reporters after the meeting, Labor, Welfare and Social Security minister Yannis Vroutsis said that his ministry, which has assumed the greatest part of the fiscal adjustment, also has the task of materializing the greatest part of the legislative work.
He said that every possible effort is being made to complete this task in a very narrow time margin, adding that the Greek government will be totally consistent and credible in this, too.
 FinMin Stournaras says difference with troika on labour issue remainsFinance Minister Yannis Stournaras, in a statement following a broad ministerial meeting held at the Maximos Mansion under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Sunday evening, said that the disagreement with the EC/ECB/IMF troika over the labour issue still remains.
Sunday's meeting focused on actions and details concerning the omnibus bill that would allow the disbursement of an outstanding 31.5 billion euro tranche of the EU/IMF bailout loan to Greece.
"We have completed coordination on the prerequisites. As regards the labour issue the troika was negative on both the marriage bonus and on the extensibility of contracts. As regards the former it says that it is something that has been ratified while the latter is not valid in any part of the world. The troika also refused the ratification of privatisations by Parliament and rightly, in my view, since no investor would come if every privatisation had to pass through Parliament," Stournaras said.
Speaking earlier, Health Minister Andreas Lykourentzos said that a general discussion took place on the prerequisites and added that everything is going well and that soon in the coming days the omnibus bill will be tabled in Parliament for ratification.
According to government planning, the relevant ministries will be sending the arrangements in the coming days to the secretariat of the government which will unify the omnibus bill's text. The package of measures will be coming to Parliament for ratification next week, on November 5. It will be discussed and ratified in an urgent process by the 7th of the month. The government has decided so far to bring all the arrangements in one article.
Earlier, on October 31, the budget will be tabled in Parliament that also includes the part of the 13.5 billion for 2013. The government's aim is for all the procedures to be completed so that the Eurogroup on November 12 will decide the disbursement of the tranche for 31.5 billion and the amounts to enter the account on the 16th of the same month.
Meanwhile, the discussion between the IMF and the EU is still open on the extension of the programme for the country.
 PM issues message of unity to overcome crisisPrime Minister Antonis Samaras issued a message of unity "in all directions" so that Greece may overcome the crisis, speaking at the opening ceremony of an exhibition titled "Liberation Heirlooms 1912-1913" in Thessaloniki on Friday, in the context of celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the city's liberation from Ottoman rule.
President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias and Samaras attended a doxology in the morning at the church of Aghios Dimitrios (St. Demetrios), the city's patron saint, whose feast day is celebrated on October 26 (Friday).
Afterwards they went to the Ministry of Macedonia-Thrace, where Papoulias inaugurated the exhibition "Heirlooms of the Liberation 1912-1913" and "Celebration of the Flag: In the footsteps of the liberators".
Three-day events opened in Thessaloniki on Friday marking the triple celebration of St. Demetrios' feast day, the 100th anniversary of the city's liberation from Ottoman rule, and the October 28 OCHI Day national holiday.
Samaras said "no to fatalism" and "no to suspicion", noting that "the only enemy that can defeat us is division".
"We have shown a lot, but we have not yet achieved all the targets," the prime minister said, and expressed optimism that Greece will succeed once again.
"On Sunday, we will celebrate the 'ochi' ('no') to fascism. Patriotism is not a flag of convenience but a virtue. It is not hatred for all the others," Samaras said, in an indirect but clear reference to the ultra-right Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn) party.
The October 28 "Ochi Day" national holiday commemorates the anniversary of Greece's resounding "Ochi" (no) to then Italian dictator Mussolini's demand for free passage to invade Greece during World War II, which brought Greece into the war on the Allied side. On Oct. 28, 1940, fascist Italy presented Greece with the ultimatum, but Greek leader Ioannis Metaxas tersely refused, and the country not only denied Mussolini's forces free passage, it went on the offensive in mid-November and drove the opposing forces back through part of southern Albania.
Today, Greece is faced with another crisis "and we are waging another struggle for survival, but this time to liberate our people from to kind of shackles," Samaras continued: "From the shackles of underdevelopment, so as to win the battle of competitiveness, prosperity and progress, inside Europe, of which Greece is an indivisible member, and will remain so. And from the shackles of overindebtedness, which has led us to unbelievable humiliations and to a vicious circle of recession, unemployment, adversity and despair."
Samaras said that Greece will win the wager of credibility, saying: "We are rendering Greece worthy of respect once again. And we are struggling, in very difficult conditions, to break the vicious cycle of austerity and enter a path of growth so that in the future we will never again have need of 'memorandums', dependences, lenders."
"Up until a few months ago, few believed that Greece will remain in the eurozone. Now they are all coming out, one by one, and acknowledging it - leaders and international organizations. Many who had us 'written off' but today are betting on our success. And all realize that the crisis in Greece led to a crisis in all of Europe, and thus Greece's success from this point on will prove to be also a great success for all of Europe," the prime minister added.
 President: Optimism Greece will overcome crisisPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias expressed optimism that Greece will finally overcome the crisis, speaking on Friday in Thessaloniki where he and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras attended celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the city's liberation from Ottoman rule and the October 26 feast day of Thessaloniki's patron saint Aghios Dimitrios (St. Demetrios).
"It is a great day for this proud people, the people who always overcame the big crises with their bravery, morale, self-denial and love for the great ideal of freedom and progress," Papoulias said, adding: "Today there are great similarities (with then), that is why I am optimistic that such a people can never be defeated. No matter how big the tribulations it is going through, it will emerge the victor, as it did in the period of the Balkan Wars."
Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos, who is also in Thessaloniki for the three-day events marking the triple celebration of St. Demetrios' feast day, the 100th anniversary of the city's liberation from Ottoman rule, and the October 28 OCHI Day national holiday, said that the 'ochi' ('no') of the Greek people must be heard once again.
"No to those who come as conquerors, with financial weapons, to abolish the national sovereignty of our country. I hope that soon Greece will celebration its liberation from the lenders who act as leaches, drinking the blood of the Greek people. It is the duty of the Greek people to resist the effort to surrender the country's national sovereignty," Kammenos said.
Thessaloniki Mayor Yannis Boutaris said the 100th anniversary of the city's liberation was of great symbolism and "makes us look to the future with optimism".
Papoulias inaugurated an exhibition titled "Liberation Heirlooms 1912-1913" and earlier he and Samaras attended a doxology in the morning at the church of Aghios Dimitrios (St. Demetrios), the city's patron saint.
Papoulias will remain in Thessaloniki until Sunday for the traditional military parade marking OCHI Day, commemorating the anniversary of Greece's resounding "Ochi" (no) to then Italian dictator Mussolini's demand for free passage to invade Greece during World War II, which brought Greece into the war on the Allied side. On Oct. 28, 1940, fascist Italy presented Greece with the ultimatum, but Greek leader Ioannis Metaxas tersely refused, and the country not only denied Mussolini's forces free passage, it went on the offensive in mid-November and drove the opposing forces back through part of southern Albania.
 OCHI Day commemorated - President: One cannot ask more from the people, who have given everythingThe October 28 national holiday was celebrated with parades throughout Greece on Sunday, with the main commemorations of the 72nd anniversary of "Ochi" Day being the military parade in Thessaloniki and the pupils' parade in Athens.
President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, who traditionally inspects the military parade in Thessaloniki on Ochi Day, said after the parade that Greece must come out of the crisis quickly "because one cannot ask more from this people, which has given everything".
The parade took place under stringent security measures and light rainfall, and was the culmination of three-day events in Thessaloniki that opened on Friday marking the triple celebration of St. Demetrios' feast day (September 26), the 100th anniversary of the city's liberation from Ottoman rule, and the October 28 OCHI Day national holiday.
The October 28 "Ochi Day" national holiday, commemorating the anniversary of Greece's resounding "Ochi" (no) to then Italian dictator Mussolini's demand for free passage to invade Greece during World War II, which brought Greece into the war on the Allied side, was also celebrated throughout the rest of the country with students' parades. On Oct. 28, 1940, fascist Italy presented Greece with the ultimatum, but Greek leader Ioannis Metaxas tersely refused, and the country not only denied Mussolini's forces free passage, it went on the offensive in mid-November and drove the opposing forces back through part of southern Albania.
The Thessaloniki parade was also attended by political party representatives, the Armed Forces leadership, MPs, and foreign diplomats.
OCHI Day was also marked in Athens with the traditional pupils' parade, also under strict security measures and with the participation of fewer schools than in past years. Ten High Schools -- of which the six were private high schools -- seven junior high schools and four grammar schools took part this year from the 30+ schools participating in the previous years.
Central Syntagma Square off parliament was closed off to spectators, who watched the parade from a distance, while the space across the dignitaries' seats held only cadets of the Police Academies.
In a symbolic gesture against the crisis, the flag-bearer of one of the schools paraded barefoot.
Education Minister Costas Arvanitopoulos said after the Athens parade the he is certain that Greece will succeed in overcoming the present crisis, too.
"Today we must manifest the same unanimity, self-denial and heroism (as then) to overcome the crisis. It is our historic duty to turn over (to the next generation) a homeland rid of the mistakes and subjugation of the past," he said.
Students' parades were held in many other cities throughout Greece, with a handful of minor scuffles between spectators and police when the spectators tried to break through police barricades to get closer to the parades.
Torrential rain in Ioannina and Komotini resulted in the cancellation of the local parades.
President Papoulias expressed optimism that Greece will exit the crisis, but added that his must happen quickly because the Greek people have given everything and more cannot be asked of them, speaking on Sunday after the traditional October 28 OCHI Day parade in Thessaloniki.
Papoulias, who traditionally inspects the main military parade in Thessaloniki on Ochi Day, said afterwards that Greece must come out of the crisis quickly "because one cannot ask more from this people, which has given everything".
The President noted that something is changing in Europe vis-a-vis Greece, with the acknowledgement that the country has achieved more than Ireland, Spain and Italy, and expressed conviction that the coming months will instill hope in the Greek people that the "we have overcome the crisis".
He charged that some, today, wish to forget what Greece contributed by delaying Hitler's troops on the Greek front "because they don't want to acknowledge what Europe owes to small Greece".
He said that the country today is celebrating two anniversaries of recent Greek history.
The first anniversary is the 100 years since the liberation of Thessaloniki, when the Greek army realized the dreams of Hellenism.
The second landmark, he said, was "written in the mountains of Albania and of particular importance, as everyone admits".
"The delay of Hitler's troops at the Greek front resulted in the upset of Hitler's plans because he was unable to take over Moscow in the winter of 1941, and his plans collapsed. This was admitted by everyone then. Today, there are many who wish to forget this, because they do not want to acknowledge what Europe owes to this small Greece," the President said.
'We, however, forge ahead. The Greek people are sorely tried today, but they have the same spirit as the people in the Balkan Wars and the 1940 epos. I am optimistic that despite the tribulations of the Greek people we will come out of the crisis, and we must come out of the crisis...But we must come out of the crisis quickly, because one cannot ask more of this people. They have given everything. And I think that something is changing in Europe. Something is changing with the acknowledgement that the Greek people have achieved much more than Ireland, Spain, Italy and all these countries undergoing tribulation have achieved. May the coming months be months that will instill in our people the hope that we have overcome the crisis. This will be a great achievement," Papoulias said.
"It is my wish that quickly this hope, which we all have inside and have not been brought to our knees, will materialize all that which once considered, and consider today, impossible," the President concluded.
 Venizelos optimistic after DC talks with IIF, IMF officialsPASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos expressed optimism over the outcome of the Greek government's and people's efforts, expressing hope that when the new package of measures is finalized in a few days' time "there will be a positive reaction internationally and support for Greece", speaking in Washington where he is currently on a visit at the invitation of the Brookings Institution, which he is to address on Monday.
Speaking after the completion of a round of "interesting and substantive" contacts on Friday with Institute of International Finance (IIF) an International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials, he said the main topic of discussion had been the sustainability of the Greek debt, adding that he underlined "the governmental stability, because we must convince internationally that we have a stable government".
On the first day of his brief visit to the US capital, Venizelos met with IIF managing director Charles Dallara and senior director for European Affairs Jeffrey Anderson, with whom he discussed the crisis in the eurozone and in Greece, the political and social situation in Greece, the country's negotiations with its partners and the sustainability of the Greek debt.
The IIF, in a press release, said that Venizelos and Dallara held "informal" talks in Washington on Friday. "They had a cordial exchange of views on the progress Greece is making on adjustment and reform and what remains to be done, both in Greece and in Europe more generally, for the Eurozone to emerge from the sovereign debt crisis," the IIF said.
Venizelos also met with IMF first deputy managing director David Lipton, who is stepping in for managing director Christine Lagarde who is currently away from the US, for a discussion that focused on the sustainability of the Greek debt. Venizelos briefed Lipton on the political situation in Greece and the conditions in the Greek society, which has undergone immense sacrifices, as Venizelos pointed out.
On Monday, the last day of Venizelos' visit, he will meet with US Treasury Department Under Secretary for International Affairs Lael Brainard, Deputy Assistant Secretary Christopher Smart, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Eric Rubin.
He will later be the main speaker at a round-table discussion at the Brookings Institution think tank on the theme "The crisis in the eurozone and the role of the US".
Asked by reporters on his talks in Washington, Venizelos said that the "common denominator" of his talks with key people from the IIF, IMF and US State Department and Department of the Treasury, was the sustainability of the Greek debt "because that is where everything begins".
Whether Greece will have an integrated, definitive package that will convince both the Greek society and the markets depends on the sustainability of the debt, he explained. "This will help us solve all the other problems too. The open problem concerning the labor regime and everything else depend on it. That is why I am devoting my efforts to this critical aspect," he added.
To another question, Venizelos said he answered their questions on the political situation in Greece, the governmental stability, "because we must convince internationally that we have a stable government".
"I explained to them the great social problem faced by the country, society's reaction, the problem of social cohesion, the rise of the ultra-right and pro-fascist forces in Greece. And naturally I explained to them that if we do not give an integrated response and do not present a full potential of hope and prospect we will not have the society with us, which is exceptionally crucial for overcoming the problem permanently, for making the big turn-about for an exit from the crisis," Venizelos continued.
Asked if, after those contacts, he believes that the problem will be overcome, the PASOK leader replied: "These contacts help, I believe. And we are trying to help actively. We won't know till the end, but I am optimistic that when we formulate this package in a few days, there will be a positive reaction internationally and support for Greece".
 Hurricane Sandy hastens Venizelos' return from DCPASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos will return to Athens from his trip to Washington, where he met with Institute of International Finance (IIF) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials, a day earlier than scheduled due to Hurricane Sandy, which is expected to hit Washington DC, peaking on Monday and Tuesday.
US authorities have not ruled out a shutdown of Washington's airport as a result, which would mean a delay of the PASOK leader's return. Venizelos decided to cut short his visit in order to be in Athens for the final state of the negotiations for agreement with the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Troika of Greece's international lenders ahead of Wednesday's Eurogroup teleconference exclusively on the Greek issue.
 Tsipras: Greece being turned into 'economic protectorate' within eurozonePARIS (AMNA/O. Tsipira)
Main opposition leader Alexis Tsipras expressed his belief that a political change in Greece could push the rest of Europe for more social justice, addressing a press conference in Paris on Saturday after a meeting of the parties of the European Left on alternative solutions to austerity.
Tsipras criticized the political leaderships thus far, speaking of a "mafia of economic, business and media oligarchy", adding that the heavy blame belongs to all those in Europe who accept the abolition of democracy in Greece.
The critical political stake in Europe is the retreat of democracy in order for a plan of violent application of the liberal policies to proceed. The persistence of the political leaderships in Europe on policies of austerity annuls and abolishes democracy itself, he said, adding that this persistence is not an answer to the crisis but is the crisis itself, and that is why all the democratic citizens of Europe need to stand in solidarity with the struggle of the Greek people.
Referring to the prospect of Brussels acquiring the ability to intervene in the national parliaments for the drafting of budgets, Tsipras noted the further dangers entailed for Greece by the "third memorandum".
What is being asked these days from Greece, with the third memorandum, is for the Greek governments to have no essential ability to determine the country's fiscal affairs, thus rendering the country an 'economic protectorate' within the eurozone.
This, he warned, was a precursor to what would follow in the future in the rest of the European countries, which was outside the context of the European acquis and beyond the fundamental principles of the European idea, dissolving democracy and the popular sovereignty.
Tsipras further noted the aggravated political conditions created by the policy of austerity and the rise in the influence of nazism, which he said could lead all of Europe to very dangerous paths, and underlined the responsibility that lay with all those in Europe who tolerate the abolition of democracy in Greece and those who insist on the dead-end policy of austerity that is already creating conditions of a humanitarian crisis in a eurozone member state.
He said that SYRIZA is prepared to undertake the great responsibility not only of keeping the Greek people standing tall but also on behalf of all the peoples of Europe who see that this dead-end policy of austerity threatens decades of conquests and the European idea itself.
 Tsipras: Gloomy forecast for future of EuropeMain opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras made gloomy forecasts for the future of Europe, due to the austerity policies being followed, with the first implementation made in Greece, in an article in the Spanish newspaper Les Echos on the weekend.
Tsipras wrote that in 2010 Greece was the first European country in which an extreme programme of recession was imposed as a supposed solution to the debt crisis, which has spread today to a series of countries and is penetrating increasingly deeper into the hard core of the eurozone.
The recipe with which the supposed "salvation" of Greece is being promoted is a recipe of sure failure, and its export to other countries of Europe is a deadly mistake, he wrote, noting a vicious circle of measures, recession and constant fiscal diversions that are used as a pretext for even more and tougher fiscal measures "that cause unbearable misery".
The response, he continued, was given at the last EU summit: the European political leadership showed once again that it has neither the volition nor the ability to give answers to the immense problems faced in an increasingly tragic way by the peoples of Europe. Dragged by the German government, the EU is treating the debt crisis as an obligation of the peoples to pay the cost of saving the bankers with harsh sacrifices. "The Spanish people have a lot to say on this. So do the taxpayers of all of Europe," he added.
Tsipras also accused Germany that it was advancing the idea of a European super-commissioner for austerity, with a right of veto to the national budgets and aspiring to consolidate permanent austerity and the surrender of European democracy. He added that although the experiment had failed in Greece, paradoxically it was spreading in Europe, while the permanent demolition of the post-war social contract was being consolidated.
Tsipras noted that the implementation of this policy goes hand-in-hand with a constant backslide into authoritarianism and undemocratic practices, and harbored a rekindling of the hatred and violence of the neo-nazi ultra-right, and put the blame for what is happening on those in Europe who dogmatically insist on the implementation and extension of the bankrupt Memorandum austerity. They are playing with fire, he warned.
The solution for Europe, according to Tsipras, is its disengagement from the neo-liberal rationale, because the working people of Europe are not the chattels of the private banks, nor obligated to pay the banks losses. What is needed is a comprehensive answer to the debt problem, with an international conference similar to that in London in 1953, that rid Germany of the noose of the debt and paved the way for the post-war economic success of West Germany. The subject of such a conference should be "shielding Europe against speculative attacks", with measures such as the collective management of the debt and guarantee of the bank deposits, the write-off of a substantial part of the nominal value of the state debt of the southern countries of the eurozone, and repayment of the remaining sum with a "growth clause".
"A development boost, with a 'New Deal' for Europe," Tsipras concluded.
 Tsipras: Measures must be annulled at all costMain opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras called on the people to rise up and halt the austerity measures, in an interview appearing on Saturday in RealNews newspaper.
"The measures must be cancelled at all cost," Tsipras said, and accused Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis, a junior partner in the three-party coalition government, of reacting against changes to the labor regime "because he saw that he is heading for political disappearance".
"If DIMAR has returned to the anti-Memorandum camp, it must vote against the measures," Tsipras said, and predicted that reactions against the Memorandum "will cause seismic reorganization of the political scene."
 KKE calls for escalating action against austerity measuresThe Communist Party of Greece called on the people to launch a "constant and escalating struggle, with strikes as the first step", in a statement issued on Saturday regarding the austerity measures.
"The working class and the poor popular strata must in no way be deluded by the trickery being played at their expense by the partners of the co-governance and not only, because the measures that have already been decided and the next measures to come will totally devastate the people," the KKE said, adding that the people "have only one way to see a better tomorrow: to organize their alliance, believe in their strength and go on the counter-attack in order for Greece to exit the EU, with a popular rule that will unilaterally write off the debt and organize production based on the human needs and not the capitalist profits".
 KKE calls for strikes, mobilizationsThe Communist Party on Greece on Friday called for strikes and multi-faceted action in the workplaces and in neighborhoods, against the new austerity measures and in order to topple the anti-popular policy.
The KKE press office, in an announcement, said that a popular alliance is necessary against the domestic plutocracy, the EU and the co-governance.
It said that it is in the interests of the people to turn their back on the slogans of national unanimity and occupation of Greece. Both are aimed at subjugating the worker to the capitalist, the bulldozer of the governmental policy, it added.
 Papaconstantinou barbs against Venizelos, SDOE, on 'Lagarde list'Former Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou indirectly accused current PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, who took on the ministry after him, and the ministry's financial crimes squad (SDOE) over the 'non-utilization' of the so-called 'Lagarde list' containing the names of 1,991 Greek citizens holding large bank accounts abroad, in statements to RealNews newspaper appearing on Saturday.
"Since the day I left the ministry, every effort to act on the list was halted," he said.
Papaconstantinou categorically rejected any possibility of alteration of the list during his tenure at the ministry.
In another statement in the Sunday edition of Ethnos newspaper, he said that the CD containing the list "turned over to us by France was a copy, unlocked and without seals".
Responding to criticism, Papaconstantinou said he was in a much worse financial state than when he entered politics. "I don't have deposits in Switzerland, only loans," he said.
In a testimony before a parliamentary standing committee on institutions and transparency on Wednesday, Papaconstantinou had put blame SDOE regarding the handling of the so-called 'Lagarde list', and strongly reacted to press articles alleging alteration of the original list. "I will not tolerate claims of alteration of the list," he said, adding that "a copy of the electronic file, which came from France in CD format, was made. I asked that a copy be made in USB format because it is safer".
Papaconstantinou told the committee that he had given the USB to then SDOE chief Yiannis Diotis, and that he gave the original material together with the accompanying letter "for confidential safe-keeping in my office" but added that he does not know where it is. "I'm sorry, but I do not know where it is. We should ask from France to re-send the list in order to stop all this speculation," he said.
The list, sent to Papaconstantinou by the French finance minister Christine Lagarde contains the names of 1,991 Greek citizens that have sizeable bank accounts at the Geneva branch of HSBC bank.
The list had ended up in the hands of French authorities roughly four years ago when they seized digital evidence from the house of former HSBC employee Herve Falciani, who was wanted by the Swiss authorities and who had illegally copied details of bank accounts that belonged to roughly 20,000 people.
Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras last week confirmed in a letter to the two financial prosecutors investigating the so-called 'Lagarde-list' that there was no official record at the ministry that the list had been received.
Meanwhile a list of 2,059 names was published on Saturday in the Greek magazine Hot Doc, which it claims is the Lagarde list. The 'list' published by the magazine contains only names, with the size of the bank accounts maintained at HSBC.
 'Hot Doc' publisher arrested, charged for publication of supposed 'Lagarde list', SYRIZA protests'Hot Doc' magazine publisher, journalist Costas Vaxevanis, was arrested at his home on Sunday morning in the suburb of Drossia, in execution of a warrant issued ex officio by an Athens prosecutor on Saturday night for the publication of a list of 2,059 names alleged to be the so-called 'Lagarde list' in the magazine appearing on Saturday, and was later charged with violation of the confidentiality of personal data.
He will appear in court on Monday, and was released on his own cognizance after appearing before a public prosecutor.
The journalist/publisher announced the arrest himself on his Twitter social networking account, as a prosecutor and security police arrived to arrest him at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday.
Vaxevanis was briefly detained at the GADA police general headquarters on central Alexandras Avenue pending his appearance before the prosecutor.
A list of 2,059 names was published on Saturday in the Greek magazine Hot Doc, which it claims is the Lagarde list. The 'list' published by the magazine contains only names, without the size of the bank accounts maintained at HSBC.
According to the charge sheet, Vaxevanis faces misdemeanor charges for violation of personal data committed in the act of processing and publishing personal data of citizens.
Main opposition SYRIZA, in an announcement, called the ex officio action against Vaxevanis "provocative and unacceptable", noting that "justice hastened to act against those who reveal, whereas it displays sluggishness vis-a-vis those who conceal'.
SYRIZA, in the announcement, said: "The ex-officio prosecution against journalist Costas Vaxevanis is provocative and unacceptable. Unfortunately, justice hastened to act against those who reveal, whereas it displays sluggishness vis-a-vis those who conceal, who lost, forgot or did not see or hear".
"The prosecution is political, and as such should be faced by the entirety of the Greek people who are called on these days to suffer the consequences of the harshest and class-oriented policy ever known to Greece since the restoration of democracy, and also the consequences of the long-standing and systematic tax evasion by 'those who have'," SYRIZA charged.
In a similar statement, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) also called the action against Vaxevanis "unacceptable and provocative".
"The mockery and deception of the Greek people (with 'lists') by those who conceal them, hide them or use them according to their political and economic expediencies must stop," the KKE said, adding that "the economic system and prevailing political forces do not want the people to learn the truth, and it is in their interest to disorient and deceive them."
The so-called 'Lagarde list', sent to the Greek finance minister George Papaconstantinou by the French finance minister Christine Lagarde, contains the names of 1,991 Greek citizens that have sizeable bank accounts at the Geneva branch of HSBC bank.
The list had ended up in the hands of French authorities roughly four years ago when they seized digital evidence from the house of former HSBC employee Herve Falciani, who was wanted by the Swiss authorities and who had illegally copied details of bank accounts that belonged to roughly 20,000 people.
Papaconstantinou claims to have had the original list, sent in CD format, copied on a USB stick which he turned over to the ministry's financial crimes squad SDOE for investigation, and that he turned over the original CD and accompanying documents to his office for "confidential safekeeping" and is unaware of its current whereabouts. He has also charged that no action was taken by SDOE on the list.
 Interior Minister: Respect for Greece's effortsGreece is safeguarding the borders of Europe, interior minister Evripidis Stylianidis said in an interview with the newspaper "Stuttgarter Zeitung" appearing on Friday, noting the immense cost entailed for the country from the fact that 90 percent of illegal immigrants in Europe enter through Greece, which provides them with free healthcare and social assistance paid for from the Greek budget.
On the action being taken to bring the country out of the crisis, he asked for the Europeans' respect for the efforts being made by Greece, and underlined the government's determination to materialize the agreed reforms.
"In the preceding months, mistakes were corrected and structural reforms were made so as to have a better Greece and, by extension, a better Europe. In the previous years there were many difficulties in promoting the reforms. The previous government tried hard, but did not achieve enough and this, naturally, made the European partners edgy. However, the current government has from the first moment been determined to materialize the necessary reforms," he said, and briefly presented Greece's role in the history but also the future of Europe.
"Greece is not only a member of the eurozone, but the foundation of the European ideals and values. Europe without Greece is a Europe without history, and also without a future. Europe is not comprised only of rich states, but is a community of rich and poor, East and West, big and small states," he said.
"This union forges the common identity," Stylianidis added, and spoke in favor of enhancement of Europe's political union and the direct election of the EU president so that the citizens may identify themselves with the structure. He also said that the politicians in Europe are co-responsible for the aggravation of egotism, as they did not adequately advance the European idea.
Stylianidis said that apart from financial assistance, moral and political support is also needed.
"When someone continues to shake the finger at the Geek citizens, despite their great efforts and the cuts, it is not good. It is a matter of respect he said.
The minister further pointed out that 90 percent of the illegal immigrants enter Europe through Greece, with whatever cost this entails for the country as free healthcare and social assistance is provided, which is paid for from the Greek budget.
"Greece safeguards the borders of Europe. When someone exercises criticism that not enough austerity measures are being taken, let him think about this situation," he added.
 Ecumenical Patriarch winds up visit to MacedoniaEcumenical Patriarch wound up an eight-day tour of Macedonia on Saturday evening, returning by plane to the Phanar from Thessaloniki.
Earlier in the day, he officiated over a doxology at the church of St. George of Eratyra and visited the ruins of the old episcopal church of Sisani, where he officiated at a liturgy, in response to a request by the local Metropolitan Pavlos that a liturgy be held there once a year.
Bartholomew also inaugurated the renovated building of the old St. Athanasios of Eratyra byzantine monastery and laid the cornerstone for an ecclesiastical museum in the monastery grounds.
During a special event on Saturday night, the Ecumenical Patriarch was declared an honorary resident of the town of Voios, Siatista.
 Ecumenical Patriarch in SiatistaVisiting Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on Friday attended religious services for the feast day of Aghios Dimitrios (St. Demetrios) in Siatista, accompanied by Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece.
Bartholomew spoke of the life and miracles of the patron saint of Thessaloniki, noting that "he did not desire the glory and honour of a brilliant military career, nor the favor of the 'earthly king', but that of the 'heavenly king', becoming a martyr for his faith, an example worth following.
 20th anniversary of Greece-Kazakhstan diplomatic relations celebrated with concertThe 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Greece and Kazakhstan was celebrated on Friday night at the National Opera and Ballet in Astana with a concert featuring works by renowned Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis, with the participation of Greek singer Kalliopi Vetta and Kazakh soprano A. Nivazova.
 Economist Elie Cohen: Greece must make speedy reforms, European partners should see to growth and extensionGreece must make fast reforms, and its European partners must see to the growth and extension of the fiscal adjustment programme, so that it will come out of the crisis, internationally renowned economist Elie Cohen, a research director at the French National Scientific Research Center (CNRS), said in an interview with AMNA ahead of a visit to Greece, while he also foresaw a restructure of the Greek debt.
Cohen will be in Athens on Monday to deliver a lecture at the French Institute on "Euro: A governance crisis", in the first of a lecture series at the Institute.
He also said that there was no "opposite side" to the German economic "philosophy", and that the EE is at this moment with one foot towards federalization and with the other foot towards a more loosely structured big market, the choice of which would be determined to a great degree by the crisis in the European south.
As for who is footing the bill for the crisis, Cohen said that there is a collective loss of wealth for the population, but to the degree that the role of the welfare state and the redistribution of income were shrinking, the bigger were the losses for the poorer strata.
Asked how beneficial Greece's stay in the eurozone is for the Greek economy, Cohen said that the Greek economy benefited from the beginning of its accession to the eurozone from the very auspicious financing conditions and the substantial transfers of capital from the EU. These were ideal conditions for Greece to develop economically and to shield itself, but it gradually wasted this advantage by not making structural reforms that would have enabled the modernization of the state and the markets.
If Greece exits the eurozone, he continued, it would lose its access to the markets and need to make a violent adjustment of its trade balance and fiscal affair.
Asked what Greece needs to lift itself out of recession, Cohen said the country must regain its growth momentum and break the vicious circle of deficit reduction, shrinking of economic activity and aggravation of the debt. The solution, he said, would come from a relaxation of the pressure for reducing the deficits, acceleration of the structural reforms and continuation of the effort to improve competitiveness.
He said that Greece has already improved its competitiveness with the reduction of salaries and imports and the increase in exports. It was also reducing state spending and the deficit to GDP ratio. This effort for structural adjustment will enable Greece to soon achieve a primary surplus, he said, adding that what is needed now is a two-year extension of the fiscal adjustment programme so as to achieve a balance in its public finances and at the same to put into application the aspect of growth that the EU has promised and to make the necessary reforms.
Asked if the measures of the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Troika of Greece's international lenders were appropriate for the country's recovery, given that they were leading to deeper recession and increasing the problems in the area of social justice, Cohen said that the Troika negotiated with the Greek government and appeared willing to relax the criteria and alter the dates for Greece's return to fiscal balance. It was not possible to keep the initial timetable, he said, adding that it will do the same when the time comes to deal with the issue of Greece's credibility, proceeding with a restructure of the debt. In the meantime, Greece must manifest its ability to carry out the announced structural reforms, he added.
On the prospects of the eurozone and whether it was heading towards a more cohesive Europe or a two-speed Europe, a Europe of the North and South, Cohen said that since June 2012 the EU has at its disposal a programme for the materialization of four unions -- fiscal, banking, economic and monetary, and political union. It remains to be seen, he said, adding that a prospect was opening up, however, for the eurozone to have its own structures for the taking of decisions and a special account, which would inevitably lead to a differentiation between the 17-member eurozone and the 27-member EU. The bottom line is that a choice has to be made between a confederation adventure of the eurozone and simple participation in a large market that is more loosely structured than the present EU, he said.
Asked if he saw the future creation of a mechanism of real solidarity, such as a euro-bond, Cohen said that the euro-bonds "will not see the light of day" if the agreement for the four unions is not completed and the issue of the debts is not regulated. He said the compromise of June 2012 allowed us to believe that the European Stability Mechanism would lead to the direct recapitalization of the Spanish banks with European money. The solution we are headed to is the transfer to Spain of the weight of the recapitalization with a European loan, he added.
On whether France could play a stronger role so as to counterbalance Germany's role, Cohen replied in the negative, adding that Germany would exert all its weight, which is substantial. Germany certainly wants the EU and the eurozone to survive, he said, but with their sharing the German culture on fiscal stability and through the introduction of tools to avoid the fiscal consequences that were seen in the first ten years of the eurozone. One problem remains, he added: How to correct the North/South economic imbalances. There are two solutions, he continued: Re-industrialization of the South, or union of all the transfers.
Asked who was footing the bill of the debt crisis, the countries or the banks, Cohen replied that the crisis was being paid collectively by the entirety of the population, through the loss of growth. In other words, through the loss of the collective wealth, he said, adding that the losses for the poor would be greater to the degree that the protective and redistributing state grows weaker.
 Investment opportunities in Greece to be showcased in US, CanadaDevelopment, Competitiveness, Infrastructures, Transport and Networks deputy minister Notis Mitarakis is on a tour of the US and Canada to present investment opportunities in Greece.
On Sunday he is scheduled to attend a dinner hosted by the board and members of The Hellenic Initiative, in the context of coordinated action for the improvement of Greece's image abroad and the activation of oversees Greeks in the effort for the country's exit from the economic crisis.
On Tuesday through Thursday, Mitarakis will accompany foreign minister Dimitris Avramopoulos during his official visit to Canada for celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the inauguration of diplomatic relations between Greece and Canada.
The purpose of Mitarakis' visits to Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto is to boost business and economic cooperation with Canada, in the context of which Mitarakis will address an investment seminar organized by Invest in Greece, in collaboration with the Hellenic Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, the Hellenic Canadian Chamber and the Greek Embassy in Ottawa.
The conference aims to present investment opportunities in Greece in areas of priority for the country.
On Thursday Mitarakis will address a Business Forum organized by the Royal Bank of Canada, with the collaboration of the Hellenic Canadian Chamber of Commerce of Toronto and the participation of Invest in Greece.
 Trade balance deficit declines 22.2pct in AugustGreece's trade balance deficit posted a new decline of 22.2 percent in August, attributed to a further drop in imports and increase in exports, resulting in a 21.8 percent reduction of the trade deficit in the eight-month period January-August, the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Friday.
ELSTAT, in a report, said that the total value of imports-arrivals, excluding oil products, in August 2012 amounted to 2205.9 million euros (2727.1 million dollars) in comparison with 2410.2 million euros (3446.5 million dollars) in August 2011, recording a drop, in euros, of 8.5%. The total value of exports-dispatches, excluding oil products, in August 2012 amounted to 1203.8 million euros (1497.2 million dollars) in comparison with 1122.8 million euros (1615.3 million dollars) in August 2011, recording an increase, in euros, of 7.2%.
The deficit of the trade balance, excluding oil products, in August 2012 amounted to 1002.1 million euros (1229.9 million dollars) in comparison with 1287.4 million euros (1831.2 million dollars) in August 2011, recording a drop, in euros, of 22.2%.
The total value of imports-arrivals, excluding oil products, for the 8-month period from January to August 2012 amounted to 20015.6 million euros (25582.4 million dollars) in comparison with 21874.3 million euros (30743.1 million dollars) for the corresponding period of the year 2011 recording a drop, in euros, of 8.5%.
The total value of exports-dispatches, excluding oil products, for the 8-month period from January to August 2012 amounted to 11051.7 million euros (14203.6 million dollars) in comparison with 10407.7 million euros (14732.6 million dollars) for the corresponding period of the year 2011, recording an increase, in euros, of 6.2%.
The deficit of the Trade Balance, excluding oil products, for the 8-month period from January to August 2012 amounted to 8963.9 million euros (11378.8 million dollars) in comparison with 11466.6 million euros (16010.5 million dollars) for the corresponding period of the year 2011, recording a drop, in euros, of 21.8%.
 Dinos of Patagonia in AthensThe Dinos of Patagonia traveling exhibition is currently running in Athens, where it will be open to the public through end-March 2013, at the Olympic Center in Goudi, next to the Badminton facility, covering more than 1,000 square meters.
The Dinos of Patagonia are exhibited in thematic areas. The first area is dedicated to "evolution and dinos", and the evolution of dinosaurs is explained from the earlier, carnivore and tiny Eoraptor lunensis till the early birds of the Cretaceous period that survived the mass extinction. Also on display are a reconstruction of an excavation of a full dino skeleton, the only full nest ever found of the Mussaurus patagonicus, full skeletons and live reconstructions of the two dino groups, the ornithopods and sauropods, the early bird Buitreraptor gonzalezorum, as well as a presentation of the extinction theories.
The second thematic area presents the "Giants of Patagonia": Four giant and full skeletons of the second largest carnivore (larger than T Rex) Giganotosaurus carolinii, the 18 meters long, herbivore Rebbachisaurus tessonei, the horn-bearing carnivore Carnotaurus sastrei, the carnivore with the longest nail Megaraptor namunhuaiquii and an ichthyosaur.
Also of interest is the "Dinopedia", where young and older kids can play and learn through interactive games and displays, models, electronic games, photo-studio, painting areas, virtual excavation, 3-d displays, models for people with visual problems and much more.
Dinosaurs from Argentina are among the oldest species known and they generally had more extreme features than their North American relatives.
This exhibition contains the biggest carnivore dinosaur that ever inhabited the planet along with the smallest, the earliest alongside the latest, Cretaceous birds that could not fly, dinosaurs that would learn to fly, and much more.
It includes 25 skeleton replicas, 9 life-size reconstructions, 12 interactive stations, 15 giant illustrations, hands on displays for the blind, multimedia, complete lightning equipment and 25 backlight explanation panels, all together creating a friendly educational environment in a mystic and unique atmosphere.
Dinosaurios Argentinos "Giants of Patagonia" has the scientific support of the National University of Comahue, Patagonia Argentina, together with "Proyecto Dino", museums and institutions dedicated to the search, research, and outreach of the paleontological history.
 Probe ordered into police handling of racist attack chargeGreek Police (ELAS) chief Lt. Gen. Nikolaos Papagiannopoulos, acting on the orders of Public Order and Citizens Protection minister Nikolaos Dendias, on Friday forwarded to the prosecutors' office the transcripts and video-tape of charges made on a morning NET public television programme of police mismanagement in the case of immigrants that were the target of a racist attack.
The videotape shows a Pakistani national charging that a racist attack was made in July on a residence in the working-class district of Peristeri in which he was residing with other Pakistanis. According to the charges, a group of individuals stormed the residence and beat up the Pakistanis.
The man said that when the police arrived, instead of searching for the perpetrators they took four of the victims in for questioning.
A police headquarters announcement said that the transcript and video were forwarded to the prosecutors' office to investigate the validity of the charges and possible penal infringements.
 Justice Minister released from hospital after surgeryJustice minister Antonis Roupakiotis, who underwent surgery last week for a small hemorrhage in the head, was released from hospital on Friday, a ministry announcement said, adding that the state of his health is "very good".
 Body found floating in Corinth CanalThe Coast Guard on Saturday retrieved the body of a man that was spotted floating in the waters of the Corinth Canal (Isthmus) on Friday afternoon.
The body was spotted by passers-by, who immediately alerted the Isthmia port authority.
The Coast Guard said that the body belonged to a man aged 60-70 and weighing approximately 70 kilos, wearing a beige waistcoat and bermuda shorts with a brown belt, a light blue blouse and dark brown shoes.
The body was taken to Corinth Hospital for a post-mortem to determine the cause of death, while the case is being investigated by the Isthmia port authority.
 Super League resultsAEK Athens beat Platanias Crete 1-0 at home in games played for the Super League over the weekend, while those between OFI Crete-Panathinaikos Athens and Aris Thessaloniki-Olympiacos Piraeus will be played on Monday October 29.
In other action:
Levadiakos Livadia - Asteras Tripoli 0-0
Panthrakikos Komotini - Panionios Athens 1-2
Kerkyra - PAOK Thessaloniki 0-0
PAS Yiannina - Atromitos Athens 0-0
Veria - Xanthi 0-0
Standings after eight weeks of play:
1. Olympiacos 21 (7 games)
2. Panionios 18
3. PAOK 17
4. Asteras 14
5. Platanias 11
6. Atromitos 11
7. OFI 9 (7 games)
8. Kerkyra 9
9. Veria 9
10. PAS Yiannina 9
11. Panathinaikos 8 (7 games)
12. Aris 6 (7 games)
13. Panthrakikos 6
14. Levadiakos 6
15. Xanthi 6
16. AEK 5
NOTE: Panathinaikos has had two points deducted.
 Catamarans Cup International regattaThe Catamarans Cup International Regatta, which is currently taking place for the third consecutive year, winds up a week of competition on Saturday.
This is a unique sailing competition, as only catamarans may take part. Each catamaran can host a crew of 10-12 people, and some 250 'sailors' from all over the world are taking part.
The regatta set sail from the coastal town of Alimos, outside Athens, on October 20, for the itinerary that takes the catamarans to Egina, Poros, Porto Heli, Nafplion and back to Alimos.
Each day includes a competition event, while at every port of call local celebrations, award ceremonies for the winners of the daily competitions and various side events/competitions are held, such as a cook off (of dishes prepared by the catamarans' crews), show offs (of entertainment presentations by the crews, such as singing, dancing and comedy, complete with costumes), and a shoot off (photography)
The catamarans were in Nafplion on Friday, before setting sail back to Alimos for the competition's conclusion on Saturday.
This year's Catamaran Cup International Regatta is taking place under the aegis of the Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO).
 Rainy, windy on MondayRain and local storms are forecast in Greece on Monday, receding in the afternoon, with northerly winds of 7-9 beaufort velocity in the Aegean and a drop in temperatures.
Overcast and rainy in Athens, with sporadic storms chiefly in the west and north of Attica prefecture, receding in the afternoon, with northerly northwesterly winds of 5-8 beaufort gradually turning into westerly winds, and temperatures ranging from 20C to 24C.
Overcast and rainy in Thessaloniki with possibility of brief storm and improvement during the night, and northern winds of 4-6 beaufort, with temperatures of 16-20C.
 The weekend edition of Athens' newspapers at a glanceThe new package of austerity measures and the vote in parliament, and the outstanding 31.5 billion euro tranche of the EU/IMF bailout loan to Greece were the main front-page items in Athens' newspapers on the weekend.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "The 'expired' foods that the Greeks will be eating".
AVGHI: "Liberation from the shackles of the Memorandums".
DIMOKRATIA: "Papaconstantinou (PASOK former finance minister) in the snake pit".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Express solution for tranche and debt".
ETHNOS: "Rift in the (coalition government) parties from the 'no's and the 'yeses' to the measures".
KATHIMERINI: "Everything will be decided in parliament (in the vote on the measures)".
KERDOS: "The week that will determine the disbursement of the 31.5 billion euro tranche".
NIKI: "New tools erase debts on home loans and credit cards".
REALNEWS: "Behind-the-scenes agreement on the Greek debt".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Call for strike by labour federations and labor centres".
TO ARTHRO: "Government and economy returning to orbit".
TO PARASKINIO: "Bomb of invisible junta".
TO VIMA: "Russian roulette - The votes in parliament a thriller".
VRADYNI: "The size of the pension you will get - All the new arrangements per fund".
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