|Sunday, 25 February 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-11-26
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 26 November 2012 Issue No: 4231
 Crucial Eurogroup meeting on Greece Monday; Greek PM continues contactsGreek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras completed on Sunday evening another round of telephone conversations with European Union counterparts and officials in view of Monday afternoon's crucial Eurogroup meeting on a long-awaited solution to the Greek debt problem.
Non-confirmed reports said on Sunday night that Samaras has been holding talks, over the past few days, with International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde, in the search for common ground between the IMF and Berlin over the sustainability of the Greek debt.
The finance ministers held telephone talks on Saturday evening, while a Eurozone working group held consultations over the weekend, preparing the final stages of a solution.
Addressing reporters at the end of an EU Summit on the 2014-2020 European Union budget in Brussels on Friday, Samaras had stressed the efforts underway to secure disbursement of the next tranche of EU-IMF financial aid to Greece, saying that he had had a succession of talks with his European counterparts and EU officials and that talks would continue up until Monday's Eurogroup meeting on Greece's debt.
 Alternate FinMin calls for 'clean and effective' solutionAlternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras calls for a "clean and effective solution" to the Greek debt problem, in an interview with RealNews newspaper appearing the paper's Sunday edition, adding that only this way will the solution also be convincing.
He also expresses hope that German chancellor Angela Merkel will finally take a "macro and micro approach" to the issue, noting that he expects Monday's Eurogroup meeting to give answers to the problem of the outstanding tranche of the EU/IMF bailout loan to Greece, since "the lenders have no alibi after the consistent stance of the cooperation government".
 Venizelos in constant contact with PM, finmin ahead of Eurogroup, PASOK sources noteThere has been constant communication over the weekend between Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras and PASOK President Evangelos Venizelos in view of Monday's crucial Eurogroup meeting, sources within the PASOK party said on Sunday.
They said that Venizelos had placed himself at their disposal for "all contacts, opinion, assessment of proposals, with the aim of arriving at a final solution and decision on disbursement of bailout aid".
In addition, PASOK's president had spoken on the telephone with the leaders of European socialist parties that were able to affect their country's stance, either as ruling parties or the opposition.
KKE: EU-IMF compromise on tranche possible, disbursement and restructure of Greek debt without new Memorandums impossible
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) opined that a compromise between the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over the outstanding tranche of the EU/IMF bailout loan to Greece is possible, but disbursement of the tranche and extension of Greece's and a restructure of the Greek debt without new Memorandums for the working people is impossible.
 Tsipras: Government suffered defeats at EU SummitThe Greek government "suffered defeats" at the recent EU Summit, main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said on Saturday, accusing Prime Minister Antonis Samaras of being the only EU leader not setting out conditions, not negotiating and not demanding, and of being incapable of safeguarding the national interests.
Speaking in Peristeri, Tsipras said that Europe was reaching its limits with its consecutive failures to take decisions, and opined that the hour has come for the Greek people to take into its own hands the dynamic negotiations for the country and to rise to the forefront of a major upset in all of Europe.
 Event on PASOK's reconstitution held in ThessalonikiThe first in a series of events to reconstitute the PASOK party was held in Thessaloniki's Kalamaria district on Sunday, with PASOK MP Odysseas Constantinopoulos addressing the assembly.
The MP expressed support for proposals made by PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos before the elections, describing them as "realistic" and noting that there was "consistency between his pre-election and post-election speech".
Regarding the EU-IMF troika, the MP noted that all its predictions had been proved wrong, while he accused the main opposition SYRIZA party of "having the old PASOK logic" and wanting to create its "own caste of business people".
 DIMAR: Economic and political unification of Europe only way to positive prospect for EU member statesThe European Union is trapped in "national egotisms", and the only way to a positive prospect for the EU member states is the economic and political unification of Europe, junior Greek coalition government member party Democratic Left (DIMAR) said in a statement on Saturday on the failure of the Summit of the 27-member bloc to agree on the distribution of community funds for the 2014-2020 EU Budget.
"The conservative governments, which are the majority in the European bodes, have neither a comprehensive plan nor a vision for dealing with a Europe-wide crisis. A generous increase of the Community Budget is one of the important prerequisites for the EU to strengthen its common policies to the benefit of the weaker states and social groups," DIMAR said, adding that the community funding should "take into consideration the adverse economic situation in Greece and other (member) countries".
'Particularly for the EU countries facing special problems, such as Greece, the financing should keep in mind the downgrading of the economic situation due to the crisis," it said, adding that only the economic and political unification of Europe is the path with a positive prospect for all the member states.
Further, in a separate statement ahead of Monday's Eurogroup meeting on Greece, DIMAR stressed the necessity of continuation of the financing programme with disbursement of the outstanding tranches of the EU/IMF bailout loan to Greece in full and without delay or in installments, so that the Greek society, which is lifting an immense weight, may see an agreed, realistic prospect for exit from the crisis, stabilization and recovery.
DIMAR also said that a special programme of developmental interventions and investments, with the co-financing of the European Investment Bank (EIB) is necessary so that the zeroing of the deficit may be founded on the advancement of growth instead of cuts to the incomes of the working people.
It continued that confirmation that the Greek debt is sustainable is a prerequisite for the country to be considered an investments destination and its return to the international markets.
"It is necessary that the eurozone and IMF agree, without delay, a framework for the drastic reduction of the debt burdens that will be convincing that there are no threats to Greece's stay in the euro," DIMAR concluded.
 KKE celebrates 94th anniversary of its foundingThe Communist Party of Greece (KKE), sworn enemy of capitalism, has forged its endurance on ties of blood with the working class, party leader Aleka Papariga said on Sunday at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Faliro, where the KKE celebrated the 94th anniversary of its founding.
"No party can survive for 94 years just because its cadres and members want it so," Papariga said. Instead, it must rely on two factors, "First, our unwavering faith in the revolutionary theory of marxism-leninism and the principle of proletarian internationalism.[...] We have been unwavering in [our support of] exploited peoples, and sworn enemies of capitalism. We have rejected compromise and Eurocommunism."
Second, she added, "the KKE is the conscious organised forefront of the working class, of the pioneering revolutionary class in an era of transition from capitalism to socialism. Its endurance was forged on ties of blood with the working class, the people."
The KKE led in great events of national and international significance and its ideals and sacrifices "inspired revolutionary scientists, intellectuals and artists" who left behind a cultural treasure for the younger generations, she said.
Referring to the party's refusal in May 2012 to support a coalition government "masquerading as a 'union of the Left' or 'a Leftist government'", Papariga attacked Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party for a double message of "not doubting the European Union's monopoly-capitalist nature, on paper, while in practice casting doubt only on Germany's domination in the Eurozone."
The KKE could never support or participate in a government that "trumpets national independence and dignity as the EU has decided that the imperialist European Community law overrules the national one; a government that believes that there are good monopolies and good capitalists and in a EU that officially supports an ideology that equates fascism with communism and supports Cuba's embargo," Papariga said.
 Speeches from Spanish and Turkish communist partiesStability, consistency of positions, ideological purity and the party's struggles make the KKE an example for communists the world over, said Julio Diaz, of the Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain, at the Stadium event.
Based on past experiences, the communists know that the class enemy will not give up power peacefully, thus the only solution is for the working class to take power along with its allies, and to break with imperialist organisations like the EU and NATO.
Communist Party of Turkey (KKT) representative Kemal Okuyan said that the ruling party in Turkey has begun a war against workers with a combination of capitalism and Islamism while nurturing neo-Ottoman delusions, and has declared war on the peoples of the area with the support of the United States. "Long live the brotherhood of the workers of Greece and Turkey, long live the brotherhood of KKE-KKT, long live revolution and socialism," he said.
 Greece's public prosecutors vote to extend strike action until December 9Greece's public prosecutors on Sunday made a unanimous decision to extend strike action until December 9, uncowed by threats to dock their pay, during a highly charged meeting of the Prosecutors' Union of Greece held at the premises of the Athens first-instance court.
After the meeting, the majority of prosecutors said they were determined to continue labour action, in spite of the Supreme Court chief prosecutor's order to dock the pay of those abstaining from duty. During the meeting, they were told that approximately 100 disciplinary proceedings had been launched against judicial officials that delayed the issue of rulings. However, it was also noted that these delays concerned outstanding cases of the past and not those since the judges and prosecutors began their mobilisations against pay cuts on September 17.
 December pensions to be paid without new cuts, labour minister saysPensioners will receive their December pensions and Christmas bonus without the latest round of cuts, Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance Minister Yiannis Vroutsis said in statements on 'Mega' television channel on Saturday night. The reductions in main and supplementary pensions will start to be implemented as of January, the minister added.
Vroutsis said that IKA pensions for January will be paid into pensioners' accounts on December 22 and that the new electronic system for the calculation and payment of pensions after the latest round of cuts, will be ready by mid-January.
According to the minister, the new reductions in the amount of pensions were imperative in order to make the country's social insurance system viable. He repeated that in 2013 the social budget will have a surplus of 2.9 billion euro for the first time.
"If we had not carried out the cuts we would have a deficit of 1.9 billion euro, which would mean that we would go to unplanned cuts," he clarified.
Referring to the lump sums received on retirement, Vroutsis left open the possibility of new cuts to these from 2014 and noted that from 2013 there would be new actuarial studies and new ways of calculating the lump sum. He also said that the payment of lump sums to roughly 60,000 public-sector retirees that had been on the waiting list for the last two years will largely depend on whether the bailout tranche of 31.5 billion euro is received.
The labour minister finally stressed that the government intends to correct injustices in the pension system by carrying out a "substantial and real general actuarial study of all funds, which will with great accuracy reflect the sought-after balance between contributions and benefits" within 2013.
 Foreign Exchange rates - MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.310
Pound sterling 0.822
Danish kroner 7.569
Swedish kroner 8.716
Japanese yen 107.78
Swiss franc 1.223
Norwegian kroner 7.438
Canadian dollar 1.305
Australian dollar 1.257
 Three arrested for Feb. Olympia Museum theft, two wantedThree people were arrested on Saturday in the western port city of Patras for the February theft at the old Archaeological Museum of Ancient Olympia in which some 65 exhibits were stolen, and two more individuals are wanted.
Two hooded thieves broke into the Archaeological Museum of Ancient Olympia on the morning of February 17 and made away with approximately 65 exhibits after attacking the woman guards she was turning off the alarm system to enter the building and take up her shift, holding her at gunpoint as they tied her to a chair and gagged her, then broke the glass of the display cases, grabbed the antiquities and fled.
The thieves fled with some 65-68 ancient bronze and clay artifacts, mostly votive offerings and all of great value, and also a gold ring.
The suspects were initially taken in for questioning on Saturday, after a large number of antique artifacts were found in their possession, and after the items were identified as stolen articles from the Museum the three were subsequently arrested.
Police arrested two residents of Patras aged 50 and 36 and a 41-year-old man from Athens, and two more Patras residents aged 58 and 33 are wanted, while police are continuing investigations for the possible involvement of others in the theft.
The arrests arose after police investigations of all antiquity smuggling cases they have solved, in the belief that antiquity smugglers were in contact with individuals wishing to sell ancient artifacts that had been stolen from the museum, sources said.
The same sources said that a police officer, posing as a prospective buyer, succeeded in approaching one of the perpetrators and setting up a meeting with him at a Patras hotel. When the suspect tried to sell the officer the gold ring stolen from the Museum for 300,000 euro, the policeman attempted to arrest him but the suspect pulled out and threatened him with a gun. Other police officers on hand intervened and arrested the suspect, while the two other suspects were arrested in the hotel premises.
During questioning the suspects revealed the spot where they hiding the stole artifacts in a rural area some two kilometers outside the town of Ancient Olympia.
After a count and identification of the artifacts found in the suspects' possession, archaeologists will ascertain whether any of the stolen objects from the Museum are missing, and in what condition the artifacts are. The artifacts have tentatively been dated to the Geometric and Classical Periods.
Alternate Culture Minister Costas Tzavaras later praised the "discovery and arrest of the perpetrators of the theft at the Museum of Ancient Olympic and the recovery of the stolen items" as "an important success that arose from the harmonious and efficient cooperation among the Ministry's services and the Greek Police (ELAS)".
In a written statement, Tzavaras congratulated all who took part in the effort and contributed to its successful outcome.
"In the critical hours our country is facing, this success sends two positive messages inside and outside Greece. It is proved once again that in nationally sensitive areas of the state's function, there are services that honor their mission and protect the public interest and safety of the citizens, in spite of those who let no opportunity go by to disdain and doubt their efficiency. At the same time this success affirms that the treasures of our cultural heritage are adequately guarded and protected by a network of capable and able state functionaries that collaborate both inside and outside the Museums and the archeological sites," the announcement added.
Later, police officials and Public Order and Citizens Protection minister Nikos Dendias told reporters that Patras Security Police had recently received a tip-off that five men were seeking buyers for the antiquities that had been stolen from the Museum at Ancient Olympia.
A police officer posing as a buyer succeeded in contacting the 41-year-old and negotiated the purchase of the stolen 15th century BC gold ring, bringing the original asking price of 1.5 million euro to 300,000 euro, and set up a meeting at a central Patras hotel for the transaction for noon Friday.
After several postponements the meeting finally took place at 1:00 a.m. Saturday, when the policeman posing as a prospective buyer went to the hotel room where the seller was waiting for him, and after showing the cash was given the ring.
The suspect pulled a gun on the policeman as he tried to arrest him, hoping to flee, but police officers monitoring the rendezvous in a room next door intervened and arrested him, while two accomplices were also arrested in the hotel.
The 41-year-old led police to a rural area in Koskina village, where the stolen antiquities had been buried in a sack.
The artifacts were returned to the Museum after a count ascertained that all the stolen antiquities were accounted for.
The suspects, who are facing felony charges, will be led before a prosecutor.
Dendias said the solving of the theft and recovery of the stolen antiquities restores the unity of the exhibits at the Museum and also proves the efficiency of the Greek police.
Dendias also sent the message that despite Greece's adverse economic situation, it makes no discounts on matters of security or protection of the country's cultural heritage.
The antiquities will be put back on display in the Museum next week, to coincide with a digital exhibition on the ancient Olympic Games that will be ongoing at the same venue.
 Gorgopotamos bridge blow-up commemoratedThe 70th anniversary of the destruction of the Gorgopotamos bridge in south-central Greece by Greek resistance fighters and British commandos, the pre-eminent wartime act of resistance against the Nazi occupation of the country, was celebrated on Sunday at the site.
Attending the ceremony were representatives of the presidency of the republic, Parliament and the parties except Radical Coalition of the Left (SYRIZA), which laid a wreath at the statue of Aris Velouchiotis, one of the leaders of the Greek People's Liberation Army, in Lamia on Saturday. The government was also not represented at the event, for the first time.
The event was organised by the municipality of Lamia and the Region of Mainland Greece and attended by resistance fighters organisations, whose speakers called on people to show the same unity as that required for Gorgopotamos.
 Youths clash with riot police outside PASOK officesA band of about 50 youths attacked a platoon of riot police stationed near the PASOK party's offices on the corner of Ippokratous and Navarinou street in Athens in the small hours of Sunday morning, at around 1:30 a.m.
The youths attacked MAT riot police officers and threw approximately 25 petrol bombs that erupted in the street without causing injuries.
The attackers then fled and disappeared, with no one arrested or detained.
 Two robbed by latter-day 'highwaymen'Greek police on Sunday reported an armed robberies carried out on a Serres-Kavala country road near Aggista station, with two motorists aged 25 and 73, respectively, becoming the unsuspecting victims of two latter-day hooded "highwaymen" that threatened them at gunpoint.
The robbery occurred at around dawn and, according to the victims, the robbers managed to stop the vehicle by blocking the road with cardboard boxes.
When the driver got out to remove the boxes from the middle of the road, the two masked men jumped out and threatened their two victims with a gun, demanding their money and valuables. They got away with 400 euro and a cell phone, which they broke so that their victims could not contact the police.
The Serres police department has launched an search to locate the two perpetrators, who have so far eluded arrest.
 Migrant traffickers arrested in Alexandroupolis, KomotiniGreek authorities on Sunday announced the arrest of four individuals suspected of bringing illegal migrants into Greece, during an operation by Alexandroupolis security police and a Rodopi DIAS police team. The four arrested were a 22-year-old Syrian national, a 17-year-old Albanian national, a Greek man aged 19 and a Greek woman aged 20.
They are accused of bringing 10 illegal migrants into the country, five from Iraq and five from Pakistan.
The arrests were made after police flagged down two private cars moving along a country road near Alexandroupolis, one driven by the 19-year-old and the second by the 22-year-old.
The 19-year-old driver stopped the vehicle and both he and his 17-year-old accomplice got out and attempted to flee in order to escape arrest but did not succeed. Checking their vehicle, police found that the two perpetrators were carrying five illegal migrants into the country.
The second driver did not comply with the signal to stop and initially got away, whereupon police issued an area-wide alert and the car was spotted by a DIAS police patrol shortly afterward on the eastern Komotini intersection of the Egnatia highway, where authorities successfully arrested the 22-year-old driver and the 20-year-old woman. Another five illegal migrants being carried into the interior of Greece were found in the second car.
Police also confiscated the two vehicles, three cell phones and the sum of 515 euros and 500 dollars.
The four arrested will be led before a public prosecutor, while a preliminary inquiry is being conducted by the Alexandroupolis Border Police department in Feres.
 Two more members of international credit card counterfeiting ring arrestedTwo more members of an international credit card counterfeiting ring, both Malaysians, were arrested on Thursday at Athens' 'Eleftherios Venizelos' International Airport, police said on Saturday.
Two other members of the ring, which manufactures fake credit cars and uses them to make purchases of expensive products throughout the world, were arrested four days ago, again at the Airport.
Police spotted the two wanted Malaysian nationals, aged 29 and 58, on Thursday morning at the passenger boarding check and arrested them.
A total of 45 forged credit cards and a large number of cell phones, articles of clothing, perfumes and jewelry that had been purchased with the fake cars were found in their possession and confiscated.
 Manhunt for perpetrators of armed robbery at Aspropyrgos refineriesPolice on Saturday launched a manhunt for five suspects after a morning robbery at two oil refineries in Aspropyrgos in which a guard was slightly injured and the robbers made off with 115,000 euros in cash and escaped after a shootout with police.
According to police, the robbers broke through the entrance bar of the Aspropyrgos refineries with a stolen car, in which four of the suspects were riding, while a fifth man followed on a motorcycle, while one of them broke the window of the guard post with an axe, lightly injuring the guard.
The robbers, armed with automatic pistols, then stormed into the offices of the ETEKA and SILK OIL petrol companies and at gunpoint grabbed 100,000 euro and 15,000 euro respectively, after which they re-boarded the car and fled.
Their car was spotted by police on the old National Highway and began chase, but the suspects opened fire against a patrol car, riddling it with bullets but causing no injury.
The suspects abandoned the stolen car a short distance away and fled in two other getaway cars they had left at that spot.
One of the getaway cars was subsequently found abandoned in nearby Nea Peramos.
 Burglary ring arrestsAttica police on Saturday arrested three Albanian nationals aged 22, 34 and 30, and another 31-year-old Albanian was wanted, for participation in a burglary ring that has recently terrorized residents of Penteli, Halandri and Vrilissia, which in the past three months had been breaking into homes, tying up the residents and looting the homes.
The ring has been linked to 12 burglaries and two break-ins of homes in the above suburbs, taking money, jewelry, electronic devices and other valuables from the homes after breaking in through front doors or windows and immobilizing the residents with the threat of knives or guns.
A search of the suspects' residences and vehicles used in the burglaries turned up jewelry, watches and burglary tools, which were confiscated.
 Super League resultsOlympiacos Piraeus drew 1-1 with PAOK Thessaloniki in a match played away over the weekend, retaining its lead in the Greek Super League soccer championship.
In other action:
Atromitos Athens - Xanthi 1-0
PAS Yiannina - OFI Crete 1-0
AEK Athens - Levadiakos 0-1
Kerkyra - Veria 1-1
Asteras Tripoli - Panionios Athens 2-1
Platanias Crete - Panathinaikos 2-1
Panthrakikos - Aris Thessaloniki 26/11
Standings after twelve weeks of play:
1. Olympiacos 32
2. PAOK 24
3. Astera 23
4. Panionios 21
5. Atromitos 20
6. PAS Yiannina 18
7. Panathinaikos 16
8. Levadiakos 15
9. Platanias 15
10. OFI 13
11. Kerkyra 12
12. Aris 10 - Eleven matches
13. Xanthi 10
14. Panthrakikos 10 - Eleven matches
15. Veria 10
16. AEK 8
NOTE: Panathinaikos has had two points deducted.
 Dry and cool, with some scattered cloudGenerally dry weather is forecast throughout Greece on Monday, with some cloud cover and mist in parts of the country but no rain. Winds variable, from 3-6 Beaufort. Temperatures will be between 4C and 21C. Scattered cloud in Athens, with temperatures from 11C to 18C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures between 10C and 17C.
 The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe Eurogroup meeting to discuss Greek debt on Monday and the latest round of cuts in wages and pensions dominated the headlines on Sunday in Athens' newspapers.
AVGHI: "Viable solution now with political shake up".
DIMOKRATIA: "Greece in a fog".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Taxation, the changes to penalties, fines".
EPOCHI" : "Europe in intensive care".
ETHNOS: "The great compromise, American intervention at the '11th hour' for the tranche".
FREE SUNDAY: "Memorandum and anti-memorandum myths collapse together"
KATHIMERINI: "The hopes and fears for tomorrow's Eurogroup".
LOGOS: "Stop the mockery and have a 'haircut' for people's loans"
NIKI: "New poverty wages throughout the private sector".
PARON: "Which Greece do we want, Antonis Samaras?"
Realnews: "Cry of anguish from the leader Admiral Christidis".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Everyone to the celebration for the 94th anniversary of KKE".
TO ARTHRO: "Chinese water torture up to the German elections".
TO PARASKINIO: "EYP bugs have 'hamstrung' rich and famous"
TO THEMA: "Another 25,000 employees go into labour reserve".
TO VIMA: "Greece in the red zone. A victim of EU-IMF number fetish!"
VRADYNI: "Pensions: major changes for those insured by special funds".
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