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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-10-31

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

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

Wednesday, 31 October 2012 Issue No: 4211

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM announces completion of negotiations, says substantial improvements achieved at last minute
  • [02] Venizelos: PM's announcement 'rushed' and 'unfortunate'
  • [03] Venizelos urges PASOK MPs to vote for latest austerity package
  • [04] PASOK party leader satisfied with Parliamentary Group discussion
  • [05] DIMAR still disagrees with labour relations measures, opposes end to negotiations
  • [06] SYRIZA to PM: 'negotiation can't end because it never began'
  • [07] Ind'p Greeks party: 'negotiation show is over'
  • [08] Swoboda: Gov't collapse would be catastrophic for Greece
  • [09] Swoboda, FinMin express optimism for restoration of confidence in Greek economy
  • [10] Swoboda: 'Europe needs Greece and vice -versa'
  • [11] Agreement at SYRIZA meeting with Swoboda
  • [12] Tsipras'meeting with Swoboda cancelled
  • [13] KKE on gov't partners' deliberations, package of measures
  • [14] Tsipras tables question on 'Lagarde list'
  • [15] Ex-chief of financial crimes unit contradicts one-time FinMin's statements over 'Lagarde list'
  • [16] Dendias submits list of charges of violence against Chryssi Avghi MPs
  • [17] Gov't sharply condemns desecration of Holocaust monument on Rhodes
  • [18] Former PM attends Berlin con'f
  • [19] Archbishop Ieronymos: 'Church needs no protectors'
  • [20] Turkish Embassy marks anniversary of founding of Turkish Republic
  • [21] High court chief prosecutor receives Ukrainian envoy
  • [22] Military helicopter makes forced landing, crew safe
  • [23] PM offers condolences to main opposition leader
  • [24] AMNA strike on Wed.
  • [25] Parliament will have right to ask for ratification of privatisations, finmin says
  • [26] DIMAR leans towards 'present' vote for privatisation bill
  • [27] Roll call vote on privatizations bill postponed for Wed.
  • [28] Parliament budget decreasing by 22 million euros in 2013
  • [29] ADEDY criticises abolition of 127 tax offices
  • [30] Business Briefs
  • [31] Stocks end lower on political worries
  • [32] Greek bond market report
  • [33] ADEX closing report
  • [34] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday
  • [35] Police violence against detainees being investigated in context of ongoing Sworn Administrative Inquiry
  • [36] Ferry line owner gets suspended sentence for debts to NAT pension fund
  • [37] Five Energa, Hellas Power execs arrested
  • [38] Finance Ministry site hacked, investigation ordered
  • [39] Man claimed to be strapped with explosives arrested
  • [40] 'Sea Diamond' trial opens on Wednesday
  • [41] National Organ Donor Day observed
  • [42] Intelligence service (EYP) staff protest outside public order ministry
  • [43] Another group of illegal migrants repatriated
  • [44] Rainy on Wednesday
  • [45] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM announces completion of negotiations, says substantial improvements achieved at last minute

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras announced completion of the negotiation on the measures and the budget, in a written statement on Tuesday, adding that significant improvements were achieved up to the last minute.

    "We completed today the negotiation on the measures and the budget. We did everything possible. We exhausted all the margins for pressure and of time. We achieved substantial improvements, even at the last minute," he said.

    "Provided this agreement is approved and the budget is passed, Greece will remain in the euro, and it will come out of the crisis," he added.

    "Beyond the agreement, I am already trying for more than 31 billion Euros to be given to Greece, so that there will be a tangible result in the real economy. The problem from here on is not this or that measure. The problem is precisely the opposite: what could happen if the agreement is not ratified and the country is led to chaos. And how much more painful such a development would be for the entire Greek people, from the economic aspect and -- even worse -- from the political aspect," Samaras continued.

    "These dangers must be avoided. And it is now up to the sense of responsibility of all the parties and each MP individually," the prime minister concluded.

    [02] Venizelos: PM's announcement 'rushed' and 'unfortunate'

    The head of the PASOK party Evangelos Venizelos, leader of one of the three parties supporting the coalition government, on Tuesday criticised as "rushed" and "unfortunate" the prime minister's announcement that negotiations on the austerity package for Greece had ended.

    Addressing a meeting of PASOK's Parliamentary group, Venizelos said that the "crucial political stage of the negotiations" was far from over but only now "fully underway".

    He was replying to an announcement issue earlier on Tuesday by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras saying that "the government has done all it can do, it is pressing ahead and anyone that wants can follow".

    Venizelos called on the government to "do its utmost, utilise all national forces and seek the best possible result up to the end of the crucial Eurogroup meeting". Concerning the premier's announcement, Venizelos said that Samaras must be "referring to talks on the level of the [EU-IMF] troika".

    PASOK's leader said that those things "relating to the internal balance of the fiscal measures depend on a series of crucial special regulations that will be clarified in the implementing law" and that until this was voted on in Parliament, there existed margins for further improvement without changing the fiscal targets.

    Secondly, he noted that major issues such as an extension of the programme, sustainability of public debt and others will be judged at the end of the crucial Eurogroup meeting on November 12 on a political level, between Greece and the other EU member-states, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Central Bank and the European Commission.

    Replying to Venizelos, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said the government could not go to Wednesday's Eurogroup meeting with no firm decisions concerning the package of austerity measures.

    "Nor can any decision be taken concerning the sustainability of the debt or an extension unless the measures have been decided on. And Mr. Venizelos is well aware of this," he added.

    [03] Venizelos urges PASOK MPs to vote for latest austerity package

    PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos urged his party's MPs to vote in favour of a new package of austerity measures, addressing a Parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday.

    Regarding what he termed a "dilemma of 'forwards or backwards', backwards is playing with fire," he warned, adding that the party has only one option: "To complete the strategy we have formulated to begin giving results".

    He said the package would be judged in its entirety, and must be ratified and implemented in order for the economic climate to change, and for a tranche of the EU/IMF bailout package to be disburse in order to generate a positive reaction from the markets.

    Venizelos noted that at Tuesday's meeting PASOK would finalise its position on the budget, the fiscal and structural measures and the privatisations, stressing that "the parliamentary group will decide, and we all have the duty to abide by our collective decision".

    He said two messages should be conveyed, namely, that the country has a stable majority government and that PASOK has reservations, objections and proposals for improvement, adding that the final package will be the product of compromise. He said domestic negotiation will continue until the enabling law is passed in Parliament, while the negotiation outside the country will last until the Eurogroup meeting ends in the early morning hours of Nov. 13. The labour issues will also be discussed there, he added.

    The PASOK leader also expressed conviction that none of the party MPs wants the government coalition to collapse and the country to be led to new elections.

    He said that PASOK is in favour of privatisations, adding that it has suggested that parliament should be briefed in the beginning and at the end of such a process. He also noted that the parliamentary ratification of contracts with strategic importance guarantees transparency.

    Referring to the so-called "Lagarde list" -- a list showing Greek citizens with deposits in HSBC Switzerland -- he said he is pleased that it was publicised, adding that it has been proven that PASOK has nothing to hide.

    [04] PASOK party leader satisfied with Parliamentary Group discussion

    PASOK party leader Evangelos Venizelos, concluding the meeting of his party's Parliamentay Group on Tuesday, expressed satisfaction over the discussion, both its level and content, as well as for the "unanimous" acceptance of his proposal, with one disagreement, regarding the issue of privatisations.

    No decision was taken at the Parliamentary Group's meeting on the stance that it will observe in Parliament, something that will take place when the finalised package of measures is presented at a new meeting.

    Referring to the political scene in general, Venizelos observed that the main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party was behaving as if it has won the elections and the government was ruling as if it has lost them.

    [05] DIMAR still disagrees with labour relations measures, opposes end to negotiations

    The Democratic Left (DIMAR) party, the smallest of the three parties supporting the coalition government, on Tuesday made it clear that it continues to object to proposed changes to labour laws, in spite of an earlier announcement by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras that negotiations on a package of austerity measures had ended.

    In a brief announcement, DIMAR said that "it does not agree with the ending of the negotiations" and that "it fought for labour relations, in order to protect already weakened labour rights".

    A meeting of DIMAR's Parliamentary group is now underway to examine the situation and decide the party's stance from here on.

    [06] SYRIZA to PM: 'negotiation can't end because it never began'

    Replying to the prime minister's announcement that negotiations on the package of austerity measures for Greece had ended, the main opposition 'Coalition of the Radical Left' (SYRIZA) party on Tuesday noted that the negotiations he referred to "had never begun in order to end today".

    "That which is being completed is the failed communications operation to deceive the people," SYRIZA said, adding that "chaos" was really the measures demanded in the memorandum.

    The main opposition party underlined that the measures must neither be passed by Parliament nor implemented and insisted that adhering to the austerity policy that was "demolishing Europe as a whole" would not ensure that the country remained in the euro.

    According to SYRIZA, the 31 billion euro tranche of bailout loans will have no impact on the real economy when it arrives because it will be used to recapitalise banks without any state control and to pay off bonds and interest.

    [07] Ind'p Greeks party: 'negotiation show is over'

    Opposition Independent Greeks party spokesman Christos Zois on Tuesday commented on the prime minister's announcement that negotiations on the austerity package ended, by saying that "what has ended today, is a show of a so-called negotiation".

    Zois accused Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his two predecessors, Lucas Papademos and George Papandreou, of committing blackmail to have the memorandums passed in parliament.

    [08] Swoboda: Gov't collapse would be catastrophic for Greece

    "They are bad economists and even worse psychologists," the visiting president of the European Parliament's Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group, Hannes Swoboda, said on Tuesday, referring to the EC-ECB-IMF troika's persistence on more austerity measures in Greece as part of the ongoing bailout package.

    Speaking at a press conference, he backed more balanced regulations on labour issues and responding to a relevant question he noted that he understands the objections raised by Democratic Left (DIM.AR) president Fotis Kouvelis.

    Referring to the discussion he had with Kouvelis focusing on labour relations' issues, he said that he pointed out to him that "the impact a negative stance will have on the government cohesion should be taken into account." He said that "a government collapse would be catastrophic for Greece," adding that "the appropriate conditions are not present yet for early elections."

    Swoboda said that the rest of the agreement should not be put at risk, adding that "the package should be passed in parliament as a message to the European partners" and labour relations' issues should be discussed later more extensively.

    The S&D group leader said that reforms and structural changes are absolutely necessary, particularly in the public sector, and characterised as absurd the views in favour of Greece leaving the eurozone. "I'm convinced that Greece will remain in the Eurozone," he said, adding that the mass media should not take seriously any absurd views suggesting that the country will leave the eurozone. "It would be a political disaster for Europe to not being able to find a solution for Greece," he noted.

    Swoboda stressed that the European Parliament wants the austerity policies, imposed on Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland, to end but "unfortunately, they have the backing of the majority of countries".

    [09] Swoboda, FinMin express optimism for restoration of confidence in Greek economy

    Optimism that the climate of confidence in the Greek economy will soon be restored and that Greece will attract foreign investments was expressed by visiting president of the European Parliament's Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group Hannes Swoboda and Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras after a meeting they had in Athens on Tuesday.

    According to the Ministry, the discussion focused on the state of the Greek economy and the efforts to tackle the crisis in Europe. They also discussed the new package of austerity measures and the necessity of completing as soon as possible the procedures for the disbursement of an outstanding 31.5 billion euros tranche of an EU/IMF bailout loan to Greece.

    The ministry said that Swoboda acknowledged the efforts being made by Greece and the progress that has been made.

    [10] Swoboda: 'Europe needs Greece and vice -versa'

    "Europe needs Greece and vice-versa," visiting president of the European Parliament's Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group Hannes Swoboda said on Tuesday, after a meeting with PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos.

    Swoboda stressed that it is important that the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Troika of Greece's international lenders manifest "flexibility" on some issues, adding that the "result" must arise from the discussions between the (coalition government) parties and the Troika, and not be imposed "from outside".

    The S&D group leader had expressed skepticism as regards the austerity package suggested by Greece's foreign lenders and underlined the importance of structural reforms in the taxation system, after a meeting on Monday in Thessaloniki with the city's mayor.

    In statements after his meeting with Swoboda, Venizelos said that PASOK acts as a guarantor of stability and the national strategy for a safe exit from the crisis and with a prospect for Greece.

    Welcoming the "friend of Greece", Venizelos asked Swoboda to convey to the European Parliament the "real situation" in Greece and to convince them that the country has reached its limits, that the sacrifices of the Greek people must be respected and that "we need real support, without asterisks and footnotes".

    Swoboda stated full support for PASOK for the formulation of a "rational" package of measures, and sent a 'clear message' that Europe needs Greece, and vice-versa.

    The S&D group leader will further have meetings in Athens with Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, main opposition SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) leader Alexis Tsipras, Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis, Athens Mayor George Kaminis, representatives of higher education universities and NGOs.

    [11] Agreement at SYRIZA meeting with Swoboda

    Members of the main opposition 'Coalition of the Radical Left' (SYRIZA) party said that a meeting with the head of the European Parliament's Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group Hannes Swoboda on Tuesday had ended with an agreement that the austerity programme being implemented in Greece had failed to meet its targets and had made the recession and economic crisis more acute.

    An announcement issued by SYRIZA said the meeting was held in a very good climate, with the participation of the main opposition party's Parliamentary rapporteur Dimitris Papadimoulis and the MP Rena Dourou, in charge of the party's committee for monitoring the foreign ministry, and Nikos Pappas, head of the political office of SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras.

    Swoboda, currently on a visit to Greece, said that the programme imposed by the EU-IMF troika in Greece had failed and was making the crisis and the recession in Greece and Europe worse, with neoliberal policies resulting in an increase in public debt, unemployment, disruption of the social fabric and social welfare.

    The two sides agreed to continue exchanging views through meetings and dialogue, while SYRIZA asked for cooperation on issues of democracy in Greece in light of a visit to Athens in December of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights to investigate reports of escalating racist attacks and reported links between the far-right Golden Dawn party and the Greek police.

    [12] Tsipras'meeting with Swoboda cancelled

    Main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras' scheduled meeting on Tuesday with visiting president of the European Parliament's Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group Hannes Swoboda was cancelled due to the sudden death on Monday night of Alexis Tsipras' father Pavlos at the age of 78.

    [13] KKE on gov't partners' deliberations, package of measures

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) in an announcement on Tuesday referring to the new package of austerity measures and the coalition government partners' deliberations, said that "behind the mockery, the games and the government partners' maneuvers is the already known dilemma/threat: subjugate yourselves to the new devastating measures in order for the country to remain in the eurozone and the EU".

    KKE added that the workers and the youth must respond that the measures, memorandums and the EU go together, and are in the interests of the big capital.

    [14] Tsipras tables question on 'Lagarde list'

    Main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras tabled a question in parliament on Tuesday address to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, criticising the governments of the last two years of taking no action on the so-called 'Lagarde list', and charging an unprecedented effort at abolishing freedom of the press and free speech with the arrest of a magazine publisher for publishing what the magazine purports to be the 'Lagarde list'

    The so-called 'Lagarde list', sent to the then Greek finance minister George Papaconstantinou by the French finance minister at the time, Christine Lagarde, contains the names of 1,991 Greek citizens that have sizeable bank accounts at the Geneva branch of HSBC bank.

    Tsipras charged that the Greek governments and finance ministers over the last two years had the list of Greek depositors in Switzerland at their disposal but did not do the "self-evident', which was to give orders for the investigation of all the names on the list by the finance ministry's financial crimes squad SDOE and the latter's briefing of the parliamentary standing committee on institutions and transparency on the issue.

    "The result is that, at the time that the Greek people are deeply suffering from two Memorandums and the destructive, for the society, economic policy of the last two governments, others continue to enjoy impunity, protected by a shroud of silence and cover-up," Tsipras said in the question.

    As for the recent revelations (purported Lagarde list) by the magazine Hot Doc and former finance minister

    Papaconstantinou's testimony before the parliamentary committee and his admission that he and then prime minister George Papandreou had met in Switzerland with the HSBC president, he spoke of a "huge political issue".

    "Given that the (current) Samaras government is preparing to legislate the 'Memorandum number 3' and 13.9 billion euros in measures, at the same time that the big depositors (abroad) have not been investigated or have paid a single euro, and because it is bizarre that those politicians that kept the 'Lagarde list' secret are not being prosecuted, whereas the journalist that published the list is being prosecuted," Tsipras asks the prime minister what he intends to do with the recent revelations.

    '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.

    [15] Ex-chief of financial crimes unit contradicts one-time FinMin's statements over 'Lagarde list'

    The one-time head of the financial crimes unit (SDOE), Yiannis Kapeleris, on Tuesday denied he ever received an order to investigate a now controversial list of Greek citizens with deposits in HSBC Switzerland. He emphasised that he was not instructed to probe the list by his then immediate political boss, former PASOK finance minister George Papaconstantinou.

    Kapeleris told an investigating magistrate that he never received a written order to investigate the so-called "Lagarde list". In providing additional statements to the court under suspicion of appropriating state documents, he also contradicted statements by Papaconstantinou, who asserted before a Parliamentary committee last week he instructed the ex-SDOE chief to commence a "detailed investigation" of the names on the list. Kapeleris added that he had never received a CD with the alleged list of names.

    "During a meeting with Papaconstantinou in late 2010 or early 2011, he (Papaconstantinou) gave me a document with 10 names and an order to cross-check the data. From an unofficial check I conducted, I determined that their overseas deposits could not be justified by their tax returns," he said, adding:

    "A few days later, I briefed Papaconstantinou and handed him the unofficial results of my investigation and the document he had given me with the 10 names. However, I never received an order by Papaconstantinou for a further investigation. I also never received any formal document, internally, by the finance ministry requesting that SDOE begin an exhaustive investigation of these 10 cases," he said.

    [16] Dendias submits list of charges of violence against Chryssi Avghi MPs

    Public Order and Citizens' Protection Minister Nikos Dendias on Tuesday submitted to parliament a list of all the incidents of violence and punishable actions that have been made against MPs and cadres of the ultra-right Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn) party, in reply to a question tabled by New Democracy (ND) MP Dimitris Kyriazidis.

    Dendias notes in the lengthy document a recent circular issued by Areios Paghos (Greek Supreme Court) prosecutor that stipulates that "the arrest and prosecution of an MP is not allowed without the permission of parliament for actions carrying misdemeanor charges, but the conduction of investigations required to confirm the crime is allowed, as is the physical obstruction of the attacking MP with the normal means of prevention that are used for lawbreaking citizens by the law enforcement bodies of the State"

    [17] Gov't sharply condemns desecration of Holocaust monument on Rhodes

    The government on Tuesday condemned the desecration of a Holocaust Monument on the Dodecanese island of Rhodes, characterising it as unethical and an insult to Greece, the Greek people and the Greek Jews who perished in WWII.

    "The Greek government unequivocally condemns any act of intolerance and anti-Semitism. Such behaviour is incompatible with Greek culture and history. The relevant authorities are taking all necessary measures to find the culprits and lead them to justice," government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou stated.

    [18] Former PM attends Berlin con'f

    BERLIN (AMNA - F. Karaviti)

    Former Greek prime minister George Papandreou spoke here at a conference entitled "Council on the Future of Europe", where he referred to three deficits he and his government faced in 2009, namely, budget, current accounts and one of "credibility", as he opined.

    Papandreou defended, amongst others, his controversial proposal for a referendum in late October 2011, which led in quick order to his resignation as prime minister amid a firestorm of criticism both inside the country and abroad.

    He explained his proposal by saying Greek voters would have had the opportunity to clearly respond to the dilemma on whether to remain or not in the eurozone, a decision removed from populism. He also said the constant debate at the time on Greece's membership in the eurozone had severely dampened economic activity in the country.

    Other speakers included another trio of former European leaders, including Spanish premier Felipe Gonzalez, former Belgian PM Guy Verhofstadt and one-time German foreign minister Joschka Fischer.

    [19] Archbishop Ieronymos: 'Church needs no protectors'

    The Church has no need of self-appointed "protectors", Archibishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece stressed on Tuesday while visiting a medical centre run by the Church charity "Apostoli", in response to questions about "political bodies that protect the Church".

    "In the first place, the Church loves all people, both black and white and non-Christians. All people. And, secondly, it follows its path and does not need protectors," Ieronymos said.

    Referring to the issue of poverty, the archbishop said that the Church will continue its work, in spite of the difficulties it was facing, expressing confidence that if everyone "fought together" the difficulties will be overcome.

    He visited the areas used for vaccinating children and praised the efforts of the doctors and others working at the medical centre, which offers medical care to those lacking health insurance and has so far examined and offered free medication to 13,500 people, with priority given to protecting the health of all children living in Greece.

    The archbishop said that the goal of the charity's campaign was to carry out more than 10,000 vaccinations in Athens and then carry on in more rural areas.

    [20] Turkish Embassy marks anniversary of founding of Turkish Republic

    The Turkish Embassy in Athens on Monday marked the 89th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey, at an event in the peristyle of the Zappeion Mansion hosted by Turkish ambassador Kerim Uras.

    The event was attended by Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, Defence Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos and Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni on the part of the Greek government, as well as MPs, officials, representatives of the Hellenic Armed Forces, a representative of Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece, ambassadors of various countries and businessmen.

    Ambassador Uras, in a statement to AMNA, said he looks forward to expansion of the cooperation between Greece and Turkey, and noted the preparations for the upcoming Greece-Turkey High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council, which has been scheduled in the second half of January 2013 in Turkey.

    He said he considered it very productive that Greek ministers will meet with their Turkish counterparts and sign documents of cooperation, many of which have already been drafted.

    Uras also said that the transfer of experience by Turkey concerning the period of the economic crisis the neighboring country faced a decade ago will be useful, adding that "we genuinely want Greece to recover from the crisis it is facing".

    He singled out commerce, tourism and cultural exchanges as dynamic areas of bilateral cooperation. As characteristic examples of such cooperation with great potential, Uras noted that 100 Greek university professors are employed in Turkish universities, while Greek companies faced with the crisis in Greece -- such as architectural firms -- were opening offices in Istanbul.

    Uras also said he found as very positive for the rapprochement between the two peoples the fact that six Turkish series' were currently being shown on Greek television, with a large viewership.

    The Turkish ambassador further expressed his conviction that the two countries can also resolve the big issues preoccupying them.

    [21] High court chief prosecutor receives Ukrainian envoy

    Greek Supreme Court Chief Prosecutor Ioannis Tentes on Tuesday received Ukrainian ambassador to Greece Volodymyr Shkurov at the former's office.

    The two men discussed results of Parliamentary elections in Ukraine, which were held on Sunday, Oct. 28, as well as general aspects of cooperation regarding the adaptation of Ukrainian legislation to European standards.

    [22] Military helicopter makes forced landing, crew safe

    A "Huey" military helicopter made a forced landing in an area near Stefanovikio military airport, central Greece, at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday.

    The forced landing was attributed to engine failure.

    The crew of the helicopter are well but were taken to the 404th General Army Hospital in Larissa for precautionary reasons.

    The helicopter was executing a trial flight after the conclusion of the maintenance work required after the completion of 150 hours of flight.

    Military authorities are conducting an investigation into the circumstances of the accident.

    [23] PM offers condolences to main opposition leader

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Tuesday telephoned the leader of the main opposition "Coalition of the Radical Left" (SYRIZA) party Alexis Tsipras, offering his condolences on the passing of Tsipras' father.

    [24] AMNA strike on Wed.

    Staff and journalists at the Athens News Agency (AMNA) will participate in 24-hour rolling strikes beginning on Wednesday Oct. 31., called by the Athens Journalists' Union. AMNA services will stop at 6 a.m. on Wednesday Oct. 31 until 6 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1st. No news items or dispatches will be disseminated during that period. Our apologies to our subscribers.

    Financial News

    [25] Parliament will have right to ask for ratification of privatisations, finmin says

    Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Tuesday made it clear that Parliament will have an "inalienable right" to ask for the ratification of privatisation contracts and the provision of the necessary 'legal insurance', especially of public utilities, "whenever and if the need arises." The minister was speaking before Parliament's Committee for Economic Affairs processing the draft privatisations bill, that is due to be voted on by the Parliament plenum on Wednesday.

    Stournaras noted that there had to be careful evaluation of the next steps with respect to public enterprises running critical networks and infrastructure in the country. For this purpose, he explained, the draft bill expressly allows for Parliament's intervention with proposals and observations on proposed privatisations or planned tenders by the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRDAF) before this financially exploits companies listed in a legislative act on privatisations and that these observations and proposals must be taken into account by HRDAF when drawing up proclamations or inviting offers.

    [26] DIMAR leans towards 'present' vote for privatisation bill

    Democratic Left (DIM.AR) MPs are leaning towards a "present" vote during the debate in Parliament of a draft bill concerning the privatisation of public utilities, party official said on Tuesday.

    DIMAR MPs also considered voting against articles 2, 3 and 5 related to the percentage of state ownership in "strategic" utilities.

    The bill will be voted on in Parliament on Wednesday.

    The meeting took place without party leader Fotis Kouvelis. DIM.AR. participates in the Antonis Samaras coalition government.

    [27] Roll call vote on privatizations bill postponed for Wed.

    The roll call vote for the bill on privatizations and the percentage of the Greek state's participation, originally scheduled to take place on Tuesday in parliament, has been postponed for Wednesday at 11:00.

    The postponement of the vote was decided due to the large number of MPs who have listed themselves to speak on the bill in the preceding debate.

    [28] Parliament budget decreasing by 22 million euros in 2013

    Parliament's budget will decrease by 22 million euros in 2013, as is anticipated by the Greek Parliament's budget text that has been approved by the relevant committee. Parliament is contributing in this way to the national effort to contain state expenditures.

    More specifically, Parliament will be decreasing its budget in 2013 by 22 million euros (from 12 million euros that had been initially scheduled), reaching 148,751,000 euros from 170,972,000 euros that it was in 2012.

    [29] ADEDY criticises abolition of 127 tax offices

    The executive committee of the civil servants' union federation ADEDY on Tuesday expressed its opposition to plans to abolish 127 tax offices around the country, saying the measures would result in greater tax evasion and inconvenience for tax payers.

    The union suggested that the measures aimed to disrupt tax-collecting mechanisms and leading to the privatisation of taxation-related activities, expressing solidarity with tax office employees and their struggle to have these decisions overturned.

    [30] Business Briefs

    -- Public Power Corp. (PPC) - Greece's power utility - on Tuesday demanded a full deregulation of electricity rates and the freeing up of the market with the least possible interventions by the market watchdog.

    -- Greek enterprises remained pessimistic over future hirings, a report by Adecco revealed on Tuesday. The report showed that 65 pct of respondents said their company did not need any new staff, while the remaining 35 pct said they planned to proceed with new hirings, whereas 24 pct said new hirings will be made in the next month.

    -- Attica Bank on Tuesday announced the launch of procedures for a share capital increase plan.

    [31] Stocks end lower on political worries

    Stocks ended lower at the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday after nervous trading amid worries over political developments affected the market. The composite index eased 0.50 pct to end at 815.54 points, off the day's lows of 800.31 points.

    Bank shares remained at the focus of selling activity, although the market found support in buying interest for selected blue chips such as PPC, OTE and Titan. Turnover was a strong 106.673 million euros.

    The Big Cap index fell 0.88 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 0.78 pct higher. The Personal Products (4.48 pct), Telecoms (2.58 pct) and Constructions (2.52 pct) sectors scored gains, while Banks (5.37 pct), Health (1.87 pct) and Food (1.02 pct) suffered losses. Cyprus Popular Bank (7.55 pct), Cyprus Bank (5.30 pct), Jumbo (5.05 pct), Titan (3.56 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Eurobank (9.81 pct), Piraeus Bank (7.96 pct) and National Bank (7.54 pct) were top losers.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 85 to 48 with another 26 issues remaining unchanged. Elfico (18.18 pct), Mohlos (16.14 pct) and CPI (10 pct) were top gainers, while Newsphone Hellas (27.5 pct), Balkan (21.76 pct) and Aegek (19.11 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: +0.33%

    Commercial: +1.92%

    Construction +2.52%

    Oil & Gas: +0.47%

    Personal & Household: +4.48%

    Raw Materials: -0.40%

    Travel & Leisure: +2.45%

    Technology: -0.59%

    Telecoms: +2.58%

    Banks: -5.37%

    Food & Beverages: -1.02%

    Health: -1.87%

    Utilities: +1.92%

    Financial Services: +1.97%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were OPAP, National Bank, Alpha Bank and Bank of Piraeus.

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

    Alpha Bank: 1.85

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 4.76

    HBC Coca Cola: 16.10

    Hellenic Petroleum: 6.52

    National Bank of Greece: 1.84

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.96

    OPAP: 4.85

    OTE: 3.58

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.45

    Titan: 15.40

    [32] Greek bond market report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 16.12 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, from 15.88 pct on Monday, reflecting renewed pressures in the bond markets on regional Europe. The Greek bond yielding 17.59 pct and the German Bund 1.47 pct. There was no turnover in the market.

    In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate was 0.62 pct, the six-month rate was 0.39 pct, the three-month rate eased to 0.19 pct and the one-month rate was 0.11 pct.

    [33] ADEX closing report

    The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 1.23 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover remaining a strong 30.928 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 9,255 contracts worth 14.161 million euros, with 30,940 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 106,900 contracts worth 16.767 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (30,993), followed by Cyprus Bank (16,336), MIG (1,092), OTE (2,191), PPC (2,717), OPAP (4,399), Piraeus Bank (22,029), Alpha Bank (17,224), Cyprus Popular Bank (2,453), Mytilineos (1,158), Eurobank (2,426), Intralot (1,112), Ellaktor (695), Hellenic Petroleum (339) and GEK (1,112).

    [34] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.315

    Pound sterling 0.818

    Danish kroner 7.571

    Swedish kroner 8.744

    Japanese yen 104.55

    Swiss franc 1.226

    Norwegian kroner 7.549

    Canadian dollar 1.315

    Australian dollar 1.267

    General News

    [35] Police violence against detainees being investigated in context of ongoing Sworn Administrative Inquiry

    Charges of beatings of detainees by police at the Attica police headquarters (GADA) are being investigated in the context of an ongoing Sworn Administrative Inquiry (EDE), Public Order and Citizens' Protection Minister Nikos Dendias said in a document submitted to parliament in response to a question tabled by main opposition SYRIZA deputies on ?beating and torture of arrested anti-fascists at the GADA".

    He also announced the planned set-up of a mechanism to record incidents of racism.

    Dendias noted five injuries of police officers, damage to police motorcycles and an EDE into charges of beating of arrested anti-racists at GADA on 30 September, in his document, which was submitted on Friday and uploaded on parliament's internet portal on Monday.

    The document also announces the planned set-up of a single mechanism to document incidents of racism, and the creation of a uniform data bank for the purpose of immediate notification of international organizations and monitoring the development of the cases.

    In their question, the SYRIZA deputies asked for parliament to be informed on whether an investigation will be conducted into the "abuse" suffered by the arrestees who had taken part in an anti-fascist motorcycle protest on September 30.

    Referring to the motorcycle protest events, Dendias cited a briefing by the Chief of Police, according to which five policemen were injured and damage was caused to four police motorcycles, adding that in order to deal with an attack, police made use of sound and light grenades and arrested 15 participants in the protest, and a case file was drawn up and the arrestees appeared before a public prosecutor, while an EDE was ordered into the circumstances of the injury of the police officers and damage police motorcycles and to public property during the violence on September 30.

    The charges of police brutality will also be investigated in the context of the EDE, he added.

    In addition, the EDE will further investigate an anonymous charge via email and relevant reports in the newspaper The Guardian and on a Greek website.

    He also underlined that racist violence is a grave insult to human dignity and given its dangerous consequences the police force uses every lawful means at its disposal proved under the current legislation to combat the phenomenon.

    Noting that the staff of the police services respect the differences of views, ways of life and cultural uniqueness of all people without exception, he said that detention of individuals are conducted exclusively on the basis of individualized indications arising from their actions that render them suspects of criminal actions, and not on the basis of discrimination against vulnerable population groups such as immigrants, refugees or Roma or people of different religious beliefs to the prevalent religion in the country.

    Dendias said in his reply that the public order ministry has made clear its determination to stamp out phenomena of racist violence, and in the direction of fully and efficiently dealing with such phenomena the establishment of a single mechanism to record incidents of racism and the creation of a data bank for the immediate notification of international organizations and monitoring the developments in such cases is being attempted, while the process of recording such incidents has already been set in motion.

    He further noted that a Bureau to deal with incidents of police violence for cases of racist and xenophobic violence has also been set up, reporting directly to the minister, to send evaluate the relevant charges and forward them for investigation.

    [36] Ferry line owner gets suspended sentence for debts to NAT pension fund

    The owner of the ferry line consortium GA Ferries, Gerassimos Agoudimos, was on Tuesday given a suspended sentence of four years in jail and ordered to pay a bail of 15,000 euro by a Piraeus first-instance court that found him guilty of not paying overdue debts amounting to 970,000 euro to the seamen's pension fund NAT for payments due between May 1, 2007 and December 30, 2007.

    According to NAT, Agoudimos' total debts to the seamen's fund amount to roughly 20 million euro.

    The specific trial concerned money owed by GA Ferries for the year 2007, amounting to 1.63 million euro in total, but the part of the debt from January 1 until April 30 in that year (660,000) euro was not taken into account by the court, which imposed no penalty for that portion and dropped the relevant charges against Agoudimos, because it was already statute barred.

    [37] Five Energa, Hellas Power execs arrested

    Five senior executives of two now defunct private electricity providers, Energa S.A. and Hellas Power S.A., were arrested on Tuesday on a warrant issued against them by the special examining for corruption issues.

    In January DESMIE, the country's electricity transportation system management body, suspended the contracts with the two companies and wrote them off the registrar of electricity providers citing overdue debts by Hellas Power S.A. amounting to 44 million euros and by Energa S.A. amounting to 40 million euros. In addition PPC claims other 67 million euros from the two companies.

    The five were additionally charged by prosecutor Popi Papandreou with felony charges of legalisation of earnings from criminal activity (money-laundering) in the context of the actions of a criminal organisation, and the release of their names has been allowed.

    The five, identified as Aristides Floros, Achilleas Floros, Vassilis Milionis, Stefanos Siafakas and Haralambos Smyrliadis, are also facing earlier felony charges of embezzlement at the expense of the state for not attributing to the state the money from the extraordinary real estate surtax collected via electricity bills, as per their contracts, resulting in a loss of revenues to the state of approximately 200 million euros.

    The five are currently detained at the GADA Attica police headquarters pending their appearance before examining magistrate Spyros Georgouleas.

    [38] Finance Ministry site hacked, investigation ordered

    An Athens prosecutor on Tuesday ordered a speedy investigation into a cyber-attack on and interception of documents from the Finance Ministry.

    The cyber attack is attributed to hackers associated with the "Anonymous" organization, and several confidential documents were accessed.

    Prosecutor H. Lakafosis ordered a speedy investigation by the police electronic crimes squad, and asked that the electronic traces of the perpetrators be pinpointed and a case file be forwarded to him immediately, and within the day if possible.

    [39] Man claimed to be strapped with explosives arrested

    A 40-year -old man who claimed to be strapped with explosives on Tuesday in downtown Athens gave himself up to police and was arrested.

    According to information, police found on his possession a remote control and a battery. A body search will follow.

    [40] 'Sea Diamond' trial opens on Wednesday

    The court trial on the circumstances and causes that led to the sinking of the cruise ship "Sea Diamond" opens on Wednesday, five years after the vessel ran aground and sunk near the Aegean island of Santorini on April 6, 2007, resulting in the death of two French tourists, father and daughter.

    A total of 1,500 people, passengers and crew, were on board.

    The court will hear a total of 13 defendants, including 7 crew members, 5 members of the parent company and a representative of the Norwegian ship registry. It will also determine whether all necessary precautions were taken to prevent fuel leakage from the ship, which rests on the seabed of Santorini's caldera.

    Company officials attribute the accident to erroneous sea charts, which they said did not show the precise location and depth of the reef struck by the ship.

    [41] National Organ Donor Day observed

    Organ transplants reportedly rose in 2011 and 2012 in Greece, according to the National Transplant Organisation. So far this year, organs from 67 donors were transplanted in 174 patients, EOM said ahead of Nov. 1, the day designated as the annual National Organ Donor Day.

    An event will be held on the occasion of the event at the Athens Concert Hall on Thursday, where EOM will honour juvenile donors and recipients of organs as well as medical specialists who have contributed to the transplant programme's success.

    [42] Intelligence service (EYP) staff protest outside public order ministry

    Roughly 200 employees of Greece's National Intelligence Service (EYP) gathered in protest outside the country's public order ministry on Tuesday evening, demanding a solution of financial issues linked to their work.

    [43] Another group of illegal migrants repatriated

    Seventy Pakistani nationals, who had entered Greece illegally, have been repatriated to their home country, within the framework of a Greek Police (EL.AS) operation, it was announced on Tuesday.

    The group of deported third country nationals departed for the cities of Lahore and Islamabad on board a chartered flight that took off from Athens' International Airport on Monday.

    The readmission programme for illegal migrants is financed by the European Return Fund.

    Weather forecast

    [44] Rainy on Wednesday

    Rainy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday. Winds 3-7 beauforte. Temperatures between 8C and 23C. Slightly cloudy in Athens with variable 3-4 beauforte winds and temperatures between 11C and 23C. Cloudy with possible local showers in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 9C and 20C.

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

    The ongoing deliberations over the package of new austerity measures and the imminent changes in the pension regime, mostly dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Prime Minister Antonis Samaras open line with EC, ECB, IMF troika and party leaders participating in his coalition government".

    AVGHI: "Diversion rehearsal".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Sudden changes to lump sum retirement superannuities and pensions".

    ESTIA: "State 'operetta' and lists".

    ETHNOS: "Ministers under supervision for the expenditures".

    IMERISSIA: "Political 'torpedo' in Athens Stock Exchange".

    KATHIMERINI: "Automatic scissoring of expenditures".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Governmental ordeal over the privatisations".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Heavy surcharge on hospital fees".

    TA NEA: "The new social security system - The cuts in pensions".

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