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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-11-19
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 19 November 2012 Issue No: 4225
 PM chairs mini cabinet meeting ahead of Tuesday's EurogroupPrime Minister Antonis Samaras on Saturday chaired a "mini" cabinet meeting at his offices to prepare for next Tuesday's Eurogroup meeting, at which Greeks hopes for a final decision on the disbursement of financial aid and an overall solution to its debt problems for the next two years. The meeting was attended by the ministers of finance, development, education, administrative reform, tourism, health and labour.
The agenda for the meeting covered all details that must be dealt with immediately under Greece's commitments to the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) troika of Greece's lenders, including small changes to aspects of the omnibus bill outlining austerity cuts and structural reforms passed by Parliament last week, in order to further clarify points on which the troika has doubts and objections.
Also discussed were a number of joint ministerial decrees that are to be tabled in the next few days for a series of issues. On Monday, the General Secretariat of the Government will table a legislative act including all these changes, so that there are no glitches in the talks with Eurozone finance ministers on Tuesday.
Briefing the meeting, Labour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis confirmed that the labour ministry was full prepared to immedately implement the measures agreed and that the Greek side fully complied with its commitments.
"We are 101 percent ready," he said, while AMNA sources said that circulars on implementing the new labour and social insurance measures will be ready for release at the start of next week. The circular on social insurance issues may possibly be issued on Monday and will include details on the operation of the Single Payments Authority and equivalent measures that will 'counterbalance' the cuts not made to disability pensions excluded from the measures.
 Juncker: ' We must show solidarity with Greece'BERLIN (AMNA)
Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker on Saturday reiterated that the eurozone and International Monetary Fund (IMF) are making progress to overcome disagreement over how to make Greece's debt sustainable, speaking at an event in northern Germany.
"We are working intensively on a compromise with the IMF on Greece and are making progress," he said, adding: "Threats in the Austrian, German or Bavarian press that Greece will soon leave the Eurozone do not do Greece any good ... We must show solidarity with Greece and watch our words."
 Venizelos: PASOK supports gov't programme as only way out of crisisThe three coalition partners comprising the Samaras government need to renew their collaboration, while the government must set out rules for its operation and its relationship with Parliament, PASOK party president Evangelos Venizelos, the leader of one of the two junior parties backing the government, was quoted in a newspaper article.
The coalition's future, Venizelos said, revolves around two urgent priorities: "First, an updated agreement between the three parties on their relationship and on national strategy, now that we are entering a new phase; and, second, application of very clear and strict rules in terms of the government's operation and of the relationship between the government and the parliamentary majority."
Future choices are either following government policy or ending up at a total impasse, he warned.
According to Venizelos, voting for the 2013 state budget (on Nov. 11) was a vote of confidence for the government, in order to apply new measures and to lead the country to a definite exit from the crisis.
The PASOK leader also attacked main opposition SYRIZA for being a party "without allies, unless it considers the Independent Greeks party and Chryssi Avgi as such. It (SYRIZA) has no strategic horizon, and it is not even trendy any more."
The interview was published on Sunday in the weekly "Proto Thema".
 DI.MAR: Sacrifices made, now European partners turn to actThe Democratic Left (DI.MAR) party, in an announcement on Sunday, stressed "that the Greek people's sacrifices bring our European partners before their own responsibilities".
Referring to the disbursement of a pending bailout tranche, DI.MAR said the disbursement of the 2012 loan installments must be combined with a package of positive measures for Greece in order for debt to become sustainable, and not by asking for additional sacrifices from the Greek people.
Greek society must see a tangible prospect for the end of austerity and an exit from the crisis as well as a turn towards progress, the party said.
DI.MAR proposes a drastic cut of the interest rate for loans Greece received since 2010, an extension of the payoff period, flexible financing of deficits during the fiscal adjustment period, a return of the profits made by institutional borrowers through Greek bonds, and the incorporation of the Greek banks in the European support mechanism's recapitalisation procedures.
 Tsipras: Spring will bring political developmentsMain opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras on Sunday opined that "we are before a very harsh winter, the toughest the country has experienced in the post-dictatorship period, but in the spring we will have a spring in developments."
"SYRIZA will neither be a power with marginal majority in Parliament nor will it only record the Left's support in Greece. It will reflect the majority of the Greek people's wish to get out of this vortex ... We will be a national salvation government that will change the political system and the state, and will reverse the huge injustices in the tax system. It is a major opportunity for huge institutional changes and reversals that never before took place in Greece," he said.
His comments were carried in a new Athens daily, "6 Days".
 DIMAR leader: SYRIZA policies will lead to drachmaDemocratic Left (DI.MAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis on Sunday called for the immediate disbursement of a 31.5-billion-euro installment and its disengagement of any decision regarding the Greek debt's sustainability, but in a way that will allow the country to avoid involvement in the disagreement between the IMF and Germany over the debt's sustainability.
His comments were carried in the weekly "Vima".
Kouvelis also sternly attacked main opposition SYRIZA party, which he described as the "Left of demagogy and vote-chasing", charging that its proposed policies will lead to a return to the drachma.
 Papariga: KKE prepares for end of 'anti-popular gov't'The Communist Party (KKE) is preparing the working classes to "overthrow the anti-popular" policies and rule, the party's secretary general, Aleka Papariga, again said in a latest newspaper interview.
"It is more than obvious that the old PASOK-New Democracy bipartisanship can no longer entrap the popular classes," Papariga said, while accusing the two parties of the ruling coalition of "using SYRIZA to cover up the vacuum left by PASOK and to resurrect, even if temporarily, the two-party trap, in order to buy time and prevent popular liberation and counter-attack."
The KKE leader also charged that the ultra-nationalist Chryssi Avgi party was "a golden reserve (force) of capitalism," used by various state mechanisms to instill fear and to suppress the working classes and the popular movement.
The interview was published on Sunday in the financial weekly Ependytis.
 March for 39th anniversary of 1973 student uprising held under stringent securityThe customary march to the U.S. embassy in Athens, which is held each year to mark the November 17, 1973 student uprising at the Athens Polytechnic that helped topple the seven-year military junta of that time, was taking place under draconian security measures and with a strong police presence on Saturday.
Students, chanting the national anthem and carrying the Polytechnic flag, led the march along Akadimias Street and Vassilisis Sofias Avenue until they reached the embassy, where the road was blocked by powerful contingents of police and MAT riot troops, dispersing up Soutsou Street.
The march began after a commemorative event held within the grounds of the Athens Polytechnic, which ended at approximately 3:00 p.m., while the bulk of the march formed of a number of left-wing organisations and independent protestors was gathered around Klafthmonos Square later in the afternoon.
Both the events and the march were marked by unprecedented security and the closing of roads throughout the city centre, even for those on foot.
Immediately after the march set off from the Athens Polytechnic, authorities cordoned off Patission Street from Halkokondyli street to Ioulianou street, even for pedestrians. On Alexandras Avenue, one of the key roads linking the major avenues of the city, access was given to pedestrians only in the lanes heading from Patission Street toward Kifissias Avenue, while the lane from Kifissias to Patission was also open to vehicles.
According to police, the measure was taken to protect the historic buildings of the Polytechnic that have been seriously damaged by rioters in the past.
Local residents around the Polytechnic faced serious problems getting to their homes, since the blockade around the area meant that they could only reach them with police permission. Around Syntagma Square and the Greek Parliament, police had cut off access to the area bounded by Filellinon street and from Zappion to Amalias Avenue.
Police also ordered the precautionary closure of metro stations in and around the city centre, with all stations closed between Ethniki Amyna and Monastiraki on line 3, as well as those of Panepistimio and Acropolis on line 2, from about 2:00 p.m. until further notice. Tram lines did not go as far as Zappio and Syntagma after 2:00 p.m.
Dozens of roads leading to the centre of Athens and within the city centre were cordoned off and closed to all traffic, including major arteries such as Kifissias Avenue after the junction with Katehaki, Messogion Avenue, Synggrou Avenue and dozens of others.
 Main body of Polytechnic uprising march reaches U.S. embassyThe main body of a protest march commemorating the November 17, 1973 student uprising at the Athens Polytechnic that helped topple the military junta of that time arrived outside the U.S. Embassy late on Saturday afternoon.
The head of the march was heading toward the Ambelokipi district in Athens, under a heavy police guard, while the bloc of the main opposition 'Coalition of the Radical Left' (SYRIZA) party was arriving outside the embassy, followed by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) bloc, which intends to continue marching to the Israeli embassy.
The protestors set fire to an American flag outside the embassy.
 SYRIZA leader visits Athens Polytechnic for Nov. 17 student uprising anniversaryMain opposition 'Coalition of the Radical Left' (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras paid a visit to the Athens Polytechnic shortly before noon on Saturday, the anniversary of the 1973 student uprising that is largely credited with helping to topple a military junta that ruled Greece at that time.
Paying his respects to the monument set up in honour of the students that risked their lives to defy the dictatorship, Tsipras noted that the "memorandum establishment" was investing in oblivion and, together with the far right, trying to retell the country's history of the last 40 years.
The aim of this attempt, he said, was to 'forge' a history and do away with the post-junta state, its gains and even its unfulfilled and unvindicated visions, Tsipras said.
According to SYRIZA's leader, the anniversary of the Polytechnic uprising reminded the younger generation that the people have only one path - that of resistance and disobedience.
Earlier on Saturday, wreaths were deposited at the monument by Parliament General Secretary Athanassios Papaioannou on behalf of Parliament President Evangelos Meimarakis and by a delegation from the Democratic Left (DIMAR) party and its youth group.
The gates of the Polytechnic remained open until 2:00 p.m. when the central commemorative event will begin, while the customary march to the U.S. embassy was expected to begin at around 3:00 p.m.
 KKE leader heads march to Israeli embassy, condemns Gaza strikesIsrael, which has occupied Syrian and Palestinian territories, is bombing Gaza in an attempt to establish a bridgehead "on the backs of the Palestinians", in order to strike at Syria and then Iran, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga asserted on Saturday, while taking part in a protest march to the Israeli embassy organised by her party.
Papariga also accused the Greek government of having entered into a "despicable military agreement with Israel" that essentially amounts to Greece having the intention to become involved in war through the bases on its territory or using additional means.
"We are radically opposed to this agreement that has nothing to do with the interests of the two peoples but with an active participation in the fight for the energy paths and oil routes," Papariga added as she headed the KKE march to first the U.S. and then Israeli embassies in Athens.
 KKE protests over closure of roads to Israeli embassyThe Parliamentary spokesman of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Thanassis Pafilis on Saturday lodged a protest with Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias, demanding that he open the road leading to the Israeli Embassy in Athens and allow protestors from KKE and other political forces to go through.
KKE and other groups had intended to extend a march commemorating the November 17, 1973 student uprising as far as the Israeli embassy to protest against the latest strikes Israeli against Gaza, instead of stopping at the U.S. embassy as in other years, but found their way blocked by a strong contingent of police that were not allowing anyone to go through.
 Defence minister's message for Polytechnic uprising anniversaryIn a message marking the 39th anniversary of the November 17, 1973 student uprising at the Athens Polytechnic, Defence Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos stressed the need for unity, solidarity and a united spirit in order to "get through the crucial conjuncture we are living in".
"We must overcome the disappointment, set our country back up, preserve our dignity and our independence and improve the operation of our public finances to the utmost. A universal, uniform, collective national effort is needed. This is what is asked of us by our young people, who are fearful and suffocating under the difficult problems of the present and we have an obligation to respond to this, honouring in this way the struggles and visions of those young people, the young people of the Polytechnic," he said.
Referring to the armed forces, Panagiotopoulos noted that the tireless contribution of the armed forces and their devotion to their Constitutional mission, holding high the flat of military virtue and national pride, "show us the path of optimism and prospects."
 Ind'p Greeks party in StrasbourgIndependent Greeks party leader Panos Kammenos will head a party delegation on a two-day visit to Strasbourg as of Monday.
The group will reciprocate the official visit to Athens paid by the representatives of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group in the European Parliament.
The Greek will become official members of the conservative group, which was refounded and renamed in 2009 from members of the former European People's Party-European Democrats delegation. It will join delegations from nine countries, including the British Tories, to the group.
 DM: Upgrading defence cooperation with US, Europe and Israel a priorityGreece's new defence strategy must be based on a single criterion, namely, that of serving the national interests of the people, Defence Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos was quoted as saying in a newspaper article.
Panagiotopoulos added that it was important to give priority to upgrading defence cooperation with the United States and European countries, like Germany and France.
He also said particular attention should be paid to upgrading the country's defence ties with Israel, without implying that the country should abandon its positions on Mideast issues or reverse its traditionally friendly relations with the Arab world -- especially with major countries such Egypt.
The interview was published in the Sunday weekly "Proto Thema".
 Draft decree proposes change in geographical distribution of MP seatsThe number of parliamentary seats assigned to geographical districts nationally will change to conform to the May 2011 population census, according to a draft presidential decree tabled with the Council of State for its legal judgement.
Twenty-five electoral districts will gain one seat, with the totals as follows: First (14) and Second (44) Athens electoral districts, and First (6) and Second (8) Piraeus districts, and the prefectures of Attica (15), Argolida (3), Arta (3), the Dodecanese Islands (5), Evrytania (1), Thesprotia (2), Ioannina (5), Kastoria (2), Corfu (3), Kilkis (3), Kozani (5), Cycladic Islands (4), Laconia (3), Lesvos (Mytilini) (3), Lefkada (1), Magnisia (6), Pieria (4), Preveza (2), Fthiotida (5), Florina (2) Hios (2).
The remaining seats in parliament will be distributed as follows: Aetoloakarnania 7, Arcadia 3, Achaia 8, Viotia 3, Grevena 1, Drama 3, Evros 4, Evia 6, Zakynthos 1, Ilia 5, Imathia 4, Irakleio (Crete) 8, First Thessaloniki 16, Second Thessaloniki 9, Kavala 4, Karditsa 4, Cephallonia 1, Corinth 4, Larissa 8, Lasithi 2, Messinia 5, Xanthi 3, Pella 4, Rethymno (Crete) 2, Rodopi 3, Samos 1, Serres 6, Trikala 4, Fokida 1, Halkidiki 3 and Hania (Crete) 4.
 Samos archaeological site promotion proposalMinor functional interventions needed at the Ancient Theatre of Pythagoreio on Samos island in order to develop it and keep it functional have been proposed by president of the DIAZOMA Association(Citizens for the Ancient Theatres) and former minister Stavros Benos, who together with noted archaeologist Petros Themelis visited the theatre and the archaeological site's protection zone of archaeological finds.
The two officials said they were impressed by the finds, which they said are of great archaeological value, and proposed the immediate creation of a coffer to collect 30 percent of the money needed for the research and restoration work.
The works will include the showcasing of the ancient quarries, which according to professor Themelis are similar only to those at the archaeological site of Syracuse in Italy, the burial monuments of inestimable value and of the mosaics.
 Three accused of attacking German consul to be tried on MondayThe two municipal employees and the trade unionist accused of attacking the German consul in Thessaloniki are to be tried before a Thessaloniki police court on Monday. Appearing before the court on Saturday, the three asked for an extension to prepare their defence and the court decided on their release until the hearing.
The three suspects, aged 39, 47 and 53 years old, respectively, appeared before a public prosecutor earlier on Saturday and were charged with illegal violence, disturbing the peace and attempting to cause grievous bodily harm. One of the three was also charged with insubordination because, according to police, he refused to have his fingerprints taken.
Throughout the process, dozens of their colleagues, trade unionists and MPs from the left-wing parties 'Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and ANTARSYA gathered outside the Thessaloniki court house to show their support. Scuffles broke out when some of them tried to enter the courtroom but were prevented by a strong police force.
Defence lawyers for the accused later claimed that authorities decided who would be admitted into courtroom "selectively" - a charge denied by the prosecuting authorities, who said the orders given were related to the number that could be seated in the courtroom.
In a later announcement concerning the arrest and trial of the three, KKE said that "the arrest of the workers in Thessaloniki and their arraignment to be tried like common criminals shows that the government and the plutocracy are determined to implement the barbaric policy against the people by fire and sword, with brutal repression and utilising the entire reactionary legal framework."
 Patras municipality to close for three days in protest against lay-offs, cutsThe municipal council of Patras, the third largest city in Greece, decided in a session ending late on Friday night to close all municipality services for three days in protest against staff lay-offs and cutbacks imposed under the austerity programme demanded by Greece's creditors.
The municipality will therefore remain closed from next Monday until Wednesday, while a decision was also made to refuse to give lists of the staff to the administrative reform ministry. The municipality's legal service, meanwhile, will ask for the law to be declared unconstitutional and take action in support of the workers affected at every court and competent administrative authority, immediately filing for the suspension of measures pending trial.
Municipal staff that attended the councillors' meeting declared their determination to continuing fighting the measures.
 Rescue operation to locate missing illegal migrantsRoughly 120 illegal migrants, all reported as Third World nationals, were spotted on the island of Kythira on Sunday. According to authorities, a sail boat that transported the migrants sank near the coast of Kythira and 120 swam to shore.
A coast guard vessel was in the area to check whether other would-be migrants were still in the water.
In a separate incident, an illegal migrant from Egypt was located on a beach near the village of Viannos on Crete, reported a part .
The man told to authorities that another 15 illegals were on board a vessel when the skipper threw them in the sea near the island. The vessel had sailed from Egypt.
A rescue operation was underway.
 Argos police arrest two foreign nationals for unidentified migrant's murderArgos police on Saturday announced that two Polish nationals have been arrested and a third is being sought for the murder of a man found clubbed to death in an abandoned cheese workshop near Argos early on Friday morning.
The two Polish men, aged 54 and 29 years old, respectively, have been charged with collaborating to commit a murder and will be led before a Nafplio public prosecutor. A search continues to find and arrest the third accomplice.
The victim's identity is unknown, though he may be a Bulgarian national. According to a police description, he was a man of aged 45 to 50 years old, between 1.75-1.80 metres in height, dark and of slim build. Authorities have appealed for anyone with information about the victim's identity or anything relating to the case to come forward and contact the Argos security police.
 Teen involved in Lasithi criminal organisations remanded in custodyA 16-year-old boy suspected of being involved with criminal organisations uncovered on the island of Crete was remanded in custody late on Friday night, by order of a Lasithi examining magistrate and public prosecutor. The teenager will be incarcerated in the Avlona juvelines' prison, while a 17-year-old also accused in the same case will be taken to the juveniles' prison in Volos to continue his classes for the final year of school.
Both have denied charges of being direct accomplices in the activities of criminal gangs, of which their fathers are the alleged leaders.
 Attack against Chryssi Avgi officeUnknown individuals threw a firebomb outside a building housing an office of the ultra-nationalist Chryssi Avghi party in the town of Karditsa, in the early morning hours on Sunday.
Minor damages were reported.
 Rain on Mon.Local rain in the west spreading gradually to most of the country for Monday, with thunderstorms developing in the west and south.
Easterly winds 4-6 Beaufort, reaching 7 on the Ionian. Temperatures will range from 7C in the north and 15C in the south to a high of 21C. Rainy with thunderstorms possible from midday on and temperatures ranging between 14C and 19C in Athens. Same for Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 11C to 16C.
 The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glancePresumed debate and disagreement between Europe and the IMF over the Greek debt and a Eurogroup meeting on Tuesday dominated the headlines on Sunday in Athens' newspapers.
AVGHI: "Brussels shuts door to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The new social security system with all retirement age limits".
EPOCHI" : "German Chancellor Angela Merkel and IMF in millstones".
ETHNOS: "Europeans' 'cocktail-solution' for Greece".
KATHIMERINI: "Government in nervous crisis".
Realnews: "Financial Crimes Squad burning document to parliament".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Dispute movement against the monopolies power".
TO VIMA: "Troika (EC,ECB,IMF) does business!"
VRADYNI: Final regulation for over-indebted households".
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