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

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

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

Monday, 10 December 2012 Issue No: 4243

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Samaras says Greek bond buyback 'went well'
  • [02] PM: 'The worst is over, 2013 will be turning point'
  • [03] SYRIZA criticized PM's newspaper interview
  • [04] SYRIZA blasts PM's interview with German newspaper, gov't lashes back
  • [05] PM: National issues are not settled in haste
  • [06] Venizelos: Tax bill will be passed, bond buy-back will succeed
  • [07] Venizelos: Tough negotiation on new tax bill
  • [08] KKE blasts three-party coalition government
  • [09] KKE 19th Congress in April
  • [10] Foreign ministry denies Skopje press allegations on Nimetz 'ideas' on name issue
  • [11] FM Avramopoulos to attend EU General and External Affairs Council
  • [12] Justice Minister unveils 4-point solution for judicial functionaries
  • [13] GEETHA Chief officially visits Israel
  • [14] Turkish corvette sails in Greek territorial waters
  • [15] Greece-China meeting on boosting agricultural cooperation
  • [16] Agriculture Minister visits Tripolis, Vytina
  • [17] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday
  • [18] Three siblings burn to death in fire
  • [19] Dairy firm production manager kills himself
  • [20] One of four armed robbers in Nea Erythrea shoot-out arrested
  • [21] Greek under-18 women's water polo team wins World Youth Championship
  • [22] Pres. Papoulias congratulates Greece's youth water polo team for gold medal
  • [23] Super League results
  • [24] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

  • [01] PM Samaras says Greek bond buyback 'went well'

    MUNICH (AMNA/F.Karaviti)

    Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras expressed here on Sunday evening satisfaction over a Greek bond buyback programme, which is part of the country's bail out, saying it had gone "very well".

    Speaking to reporters after a working dinner with Bavarian Minister President (local prime minister) and leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU) party Horst Seehofer at Prince Charles Palace, Samaras said that the procedure, which ended last Friday evening, "went very well".

    He also underlined that "with the 10 billion euros from the EFSF to cut down our debt bt 20 billion euros and so to reduce the debt/GDP ratio...by Monday or Tuesday, one would be able to say with certainty that things have gone well."

    According to the Greek premier, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, who accompanies him in his Bavaria visit, was in contact with Brussels over the results of a meetimng of the Euro Working Group.

    Samaras expessed satisfaction over his talks with the Bavarian Minister President Horst Seehofer. He was warmly welcomed earlier in the day, by Seehofer at Prince Charles Palace.

    Samaras, who signed the visitors book, is accompanied by Stournaras and Development undersecretary Notis Mitarakis.

    [02] PM: 'The worst is over, 2013 will be turning point'

    The worst is over for the Greek people, 2013 will be a turning point year, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said in an interview with Ethnos newspaper appearing on Sunday.

    "From the start (of the year) there will be some relief, and in the second half the first signs of recovery will appear," Samaras said, noting that by "changing the policy mix -- more money coming in (to the economy) than that going out -- and putting emphasis now on the structural changes, the trend of the economy will also change".

    He also said that "the worst is over" for the citizens, "but this doesn't mean that tomorrow we will return to where we were three years ago", adding that the state will be reduced but not dissolved.

    "For years the public sector razed both the citizens and its best people. The new public sector to arise will serve the citizen but also distinguish the worth civil servant. It will be smaller, of course, but it will be much more efficient," Samaras said, and on the prospect of layoffs said that nothing more is being done than that which has been already announced, noting that the "reduction of personnel is not affected only with layoffs but also with the hiring of fewer people than those retiring."

    On the new tax bill, he said that an effort is being made to reduce the tax burden on the salaried and on businesses by clamping down on tax evasion.

    "It is much simpler, more development-oriented, it can take advantage of new technologies and remedies to a great degree some of the injustices that existed before, such as reinstating the large-family (four or more children) benefits," he said.

    On the uproar created by leaks on the new tax bill, Samaras said that a technical plan was initially made public which did not express the views of the coalition government or any of the three parties supporting it, noting that "it is not the first time that great extent is given to rumors that do not correspond to reality, nor the intentions of the government".

    The prime minister further rejected speculation of early general elections, which he said no one ones, not even those who supposedly are demanding them.

    "To speak again about elections -- even to just discuss them -- is madness," he said, adding that "only as a scenario of catastrophe" could election speculation stand.

    He also launched a scathing attack on main opposition SYRIZA, accusing it of belonging to the "drachma lobby".

    "What does unilateral abolition of the Memorandum or its application laws mean? Just by saying it, it was butter on the bread of all those outside Greece who wanted to kick us out of the euro," Samaras charged, and blasted SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras personally over his statement that an exit from the euro is not 'taboo'.

    "Even if he (Tsipras) did not realize it when he said this, such statements create the impression that there is a danger of returning to the drachma," he added.

    On his collaboration with the junior partners in the coalition government -- PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis -- he said that "all of us, Vangelis and Fotis and I, realize that this is a big opportunity for all the reforms that were never done and which the country has always needed to be made", while on the prospect of PASOK and DIMAR participation in the government with "front-line" political figures, he said he could not reply on something that has not been put forward as an issue.

    Samaras also described his cooperation with Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras as "exceptional" and announced that the government is moving quickly to the materialization of the denationalizations, while at the same time criticizing the trade union organizations of the large public utilities and state enterprises (DEKO), accusing them of "acting as if the DEKO, which are public property, are their own property".

    "I say to them that the DEKO are not their property. They frequently act like forgotten 'soviets'," he added.

    Samaras further expressed disagreement with a prospective outlawing of the ultra-right Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn) party, saying that "they are succeeding on their own in making themselves repulsive".

    On speculation of a re-establishment of his New Democracy (ND) party, Samaras stressed that "at this time we are exclusively occupied with putting the country back on its own feet" and passed off the speculations as "behind-the-scenes discussions".

    [03] SYRIZA criticized PM's newspaper interview

    Main opposition SYRIZA on Sunday criticized Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' interview appearing in Ethnos newspaper earlier in the day, terming the premier's reference that growth is anticipated in 2013 as "brazen", given that "recession will continue, unemployment will increase further and the closures of shops and businesses will multiply" in the coming year.

    SYRIZA, in a written statement, said that Samaras was trying to "gloss over" the results of "his catastrophic policy on society and the economy".

    "The reality, however, sorely belies him and he cannot convince anyone," it said.

    SYRIZA charged that it is provocative that the government is once again mulling an increase in the tax burden on salary and pension earners and freelance professionals while at the same time reducing taxes on large businesses and shipping capital, while at the same time covering for tax evaders.

    It said that not much time remains for the lacking in credibility prime minister, his government and all who represent the "disaster lobby".

    "The people will hasten the processes for their democratic toppling," SYRIZA concluded.

    [04] SYRIZA blasts PM's interview with German newspaper, gov't lashes back

    Main opposition SYRIZA on Saturday said Prime Minister Antonis Samaras lacked credibility and called him dangerous, anticipating that the hour that he will leave is not far away, in a written commenting on Samaras' interview with a German newspaper appearing Friday, ahead of his visit to Bavaria.

    "Wherever he goes, the Prime Minister states his faith in the Memorandum policy, while his forecasts for growth next year prove that he is outside the realm of reality, as the repercussions of the extreme austerity are tragic for the Greek society and economy," the SYRIZA statement said.

    SYRIZA called Samaras' references "for respect of the laws and the democratic procedures" hypocritical, given that the prime minister himself and his government were daily issuing Legislative Acts, thus circumventing parliament and effectively abolishing the Constitution and judicial rulings, and covering those who were covering the tax evaders on the Lagarde list, and not only.

    The government, in a response by government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou, lashed back that "dangerous is to undermine your country as it attempts to stand on its own feet".

    "What is lacking credibility is the mish-mash of extreme components (that comprise SYRIZA). What is unethical is to want to govern with a populist delirium. The only consolation is that the Greeks understand all this, Kedikoglou concluded.

    Politics

    [05] PM: National issues are not settled in haste

    Nicosia (AMNA/A. Viketos)

    Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras paid tribute to the late former Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos as a "symbol of Hellenism", adding that Hellenism needs leaders like Papadopoulos to guide our steps, delivering the eulogy at a memorial service marking the fourth anniversary of the former president's death.

    Samaras, who was invited by the Papadopoulos family, said that "in these hard years Hellenism needs leaders and Tassos Papadopoulos lights our steps".

    Referring to the period of the referendum on the Annan Plan for Cyprus, Samaras noted that in 2004 some quarters had attempted to punish the Republic of Cyprus for the rejection of then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's plan on Cyprus, remembering Papadopoulos' statement that he had taken governance of a state and would not turn over a community, adding that he had been speaking then on behalf of all the Greeks.

    He also recalled that it was during Papadopoulos' tenure that Cyprus became a full member of the EU and Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) was declared, calling it a greatly inspired political move.

    Samaras arrived in Nicosia on Saturday night, and afterwards attended a dinner in his honor hosted by Cyprus President Demetris Christofias at the latter's summer home in Kellaki, near Limassol.

    Samaras had a series of meetings on Sunday with the leaders of the Cypriot parties, with talks focusing on the Cyprus issue and the economic crisis that was plaguing both Greece and Cyprus.

    An announcement by the Cypriot left-wing AKEL party said that Samaras and party leader Andros Kyprianou exchanged views on the economic crisis and ways in which Cyprus could more effectively deal with the consequences of the Memorandum.

    An announcement by the Democratic Party (DIKO) said talks with party leader Marios Garoyan focused on the common positions on the national issues, the economic crisis and the critical problems faced by the two countries and Hellenism.

    In an interview in the Cypriot daily "Simerini" (Today) appearing on Sunda6, Samaras stressed that the big, long-standing national issues "are not settled hastily", but "mature and are resolved", warning that those who hasten to "close" such issues under conditions of external pressure are most likely to reproduce them".

    He also stressed that Greece's economic difficulties were not left to lead the country to isolation and to losses on national issues.

    He expressed his conviction that Cyprus will manage to overcome the consequences of the economic crisis and its recourse to the support mechanism more quickly and with fewer losses than Greece.

    "My dream is that we will together unfold our virtues for the prosperity, security and glow of all of Hellenism, for the stability and security of our entire region," Samaras said.

    He also said that the populism in Greece did not succeed in destabilizing the country, adding that despite the recent difficulties, the opinion polls themselves showed that "the Greek people appreciate the work we have done and do not see another, alternative, solution existing".

    Samaras left Cyprus in the early afternoon for Munich, where he will meet on Monday with Bavarian Minister President (local prime minister) and leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU) party Horst Seehofer.

    [06] Venizelos: Tax bill will be passed, bond buy-back will succeed

    The tax bill will be passed because the three parties in the coalition government have agreed on the basic points, with only a few points left for discussion, the bond buy-back will be completed with success, Greece will get the next tranche of the bailout package and in the coming weeks the difference will be tangible as cash will be injected into the market, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos said, addressing a pre-congress event on Saturday.

    Greece is in a mine-field, but there is no better solution, Venizelos said, and accused the opposition of lying and concealing the truth when claiming that another solution exists, and cited the example of Cyprus, which he said did not succeed in finding capital from China, Russia or elsewhere.

    He said the opposition parties, and chiefly main opposition SYRIZA, were giving out promises of a return to the past or a solution without sacrifices and cutbacks, warning that they would find this ahead of them, as the people would demand explanations later. Even inside PASOK, there were and still are some who believe that another solution exists, but no one has proposed something different, Venizelos noted.

    On PASOK's stance in the three-party government, Venizelos said that PASOK was shouldering the support of the governmental majority and Greece's strategic exit from the crisis, and criticised Democratic Left (DIMAR) of wavering tendencies, which was not the case with PASOK.

    "Imagine what would have happened if PASOK had not voted for the measures in parliament, and the majority of 151 MPs had not been attained," he said, adding that "whoever hits at PASOK hits at the governmental and political stability, against the strategy of Greece's exit from the crisis".

    He noted PASOK's initiative against xenophobia and racism, saying that he will have meetings with various bodies and social institutions, and reiterated that Chryssi Avghi (the ultra-right Golden Dawn party) should be dealt with as an "unconstitutional formation", adding that the tendencies for the "fascismization of society" were not bred only by Chryssi Avghi but also by the prevailing attitude in society that is conducive to or tolerates such phenomena.

    Venizelos accused the main opposition SYRIZA party of a "rabid attempt" for nothing to change and of "supposed leftist conservatism", adding that SYRIZA was not convincing.

    [07] Venizelos: Tough negotiation on new tax bill

    PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos spoke of a 'tough negotiation' on the part of his party on the new tax bill, addressing a party event in Serres on Sunday.

    "On the tax bill, which is urgent, we made a very great effort, we made a very tough negotiation, to safeguard the most important targets we had, the families with children and protection of the families with low incomes, the young professionals who in the first three years will have an auspicious tax burden, and the farmers so that they will not be affected by the new tax regime of income and expenses ledgers," Venizelos said, stressing that "all these measures are corrections via a transitional regulation that is tied in with the crisis and is part of the package of difficult measures the country must present in order to be consistent with its obligations."

    Venizelos harshly criticized the European partners, noting also that Greece is heading toward an exit from the crisis.

    "Greece, unfortunately, is the laboratory of the failure of the way in which Europe attempted to deal with the crisis," he said, noting the "strict and tough perception" with which the Europeans demanded "harsh measures of immediate fiscal adjustment at a time when the countries of the south are in recession."

    Venizelos also harshly criticized the opposition and its role, saying: "Whoever thinks that he can sell false bravado in the negotiations with Europe should see how the negotiations have developed and how tougher they are from the preceding negotiations, because Europe does not think and react rationally", while he also criticized main opposition SYRIZA and its leader Alexis Tsipras, saying that "whoever claims that there is another solution is obliged to present it."

    He further underlined the political cost PASOK is shouldering with its participation in the coalition government.

    [08] KKE blasts three-party coalition government

    The co-governance is attempting, with conjuring acts, to present the black as white, when claiming that the new tax-looting measures that crush the popular strata will in actuality provide relief for the poorer, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) accused the three-party coalition government on Saturday, adding that the target is to turn one section of the working people against the other in order to make them easy victims of the theft by the big capital, which enjoys provocative tax exemptions.

    The working people, together with the popular strata of the cities and the countryside must react with a strong alliance of organized mass disobedience and counter-attack in order to repel and reverse the barbarous policy that serves the monopolies and the EU sham alliance, the KKE concluded.

    [09] KKE 19th Congress in April

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) will hold its 19th Congress on April 11-33, 2013 and made public the party's Central Committee positions on Sunday, accompanied by a Draft Programme of the KKE and a Draft Charter.

    The text of Positions comprises three parts, with the first containing a review of the KKE's actions since its 18th Congress and evaluation of the Central Committee that was elected at that time, as well as a general overview of the party's political duties up to the next, 20th, Congress.

    The second party includes the Draft Programme that was decided at the 15th Congress in 1996 and updated on the basis of the international and domestic developments in the subsequent Congresses, while the third party contains the draft Charter that was used in older and more recent experience.

    The prologue to the Positions briefly reviews the party's historic roots and stressed that "the KKE is an organized, pioneering and conscious division of the working class" that is "fighting for the toppling of capitalism and the building of socialism-communism" and is "devoted to the principal of proletarian internationalism".

    The KKE is working for the restructure of the international communist movement since the abatement of the crisis it went through, particularly after the victory of counter-revolution of 1989-1991.

    "The capitalist system in Greece, just as in every other country, will not collapse by itself because of its antitheses. The great aggravation of the social antitheses will lead to revolutionary conditions, to conditions of great aggravation of the class struggle, as it will have matured and risen, through daily struggles, to a powerful labor movement in alliance with the popular strata that are suffering," the prologue said.

    KKE leader Aleka Papariga will present the Positions for the 19th Congress at a press conference on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. at the party headquarters in Perissos.

    [10] Foreign ministry denies Skopje press allegations on Nimetz 'ideas' on name issue

    Greece's foreign ministry denied a report in a FYROM magazine on the content of the latest ideas of the UN secretary general's special mediator Matthew Nimetz on the FYROM name issue and Athens press speculation on the opening of EU accession negotiations with FYROM.

    In a statement on Saturday, foreign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras said that, regarding the "leak" in Saturday's Skopje press "concerning the content of the most recent ideas from Mr. Nimetz, we make it clear that Greece received no such ideas and we repudiate the contents of the article categorically".

    "The content of the Nimetz ideas bears no relation to what is reported in the article" he said, adding: "What's more, the ideas described in the article would be totally outside the framework Greece has set and could not be up for discussion."

    "As to the content of the article in today's (Saturday's) Athens press, alleging that Greece intends to consent to the opening of FYROM accession negotiations with the EU without the prior resolution of the name issue, we make it clear that this does not correspond to the reality of the situation. Greece's stance remains firm and consistent: that compliance with all the conditions and criteria that have been set by unanimous decisions of the EU is a necessary prerequisite for the opening of accession negotiations. Uppermost among these conditions is respect for good neighbourly relations, which means the finding of a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue," Delavekouras said.

    [11] FM Avramopoulos to attend EU General and External Affairs Council

    Greek Foreign Affairs Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos will be in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday to take part in the European Union General and External Affairs Council.

    On Monday, he will attend an External Affairs Council working lunch, which is to look into EU-Russia relations in view of the EU-Russia Council, to be held in Brussels on Dec. 21. Also on the agenda will be the peace process in the Middle East.

    On Tuesday morning, the General Affairs Council will examine a number of issues, including the preparation of the conclusions on the EU Council of Dec. 13 and 14. Later, the president of the Council, Herman van Rompuy will host a working lunch, while the EU enlargement policy conclusions will be on the afternoon meeting agenda.

    [12] Justice Minister unveils 4-point solution for judicial functionaries

    Justice Minister Antonis Roupakiotis unveiled a four-point solution for the country's judges, who have been staging strikes and other actions for more than 80 days.

    Roupakiotis told the general assembly of the Union of Judges and Prosecutors on Saturday that the government was seeking a four-point solution.

    The first point is the payment of retroactive pay of 2011 that the salary court had ruled in favor of for the judges, which will be in cash, and not in bonds, within January 2013.

    The second point is a more auspicious legislative arrangement for those judges who have taken out home loans and have suffered a more than 30 percent cutback in their incomes.

    The third point is that judges who have cashed in early the bonds they had received in lieu of cash for retroactive revenues of previous years will not be harassed by the banks.

    The fourth point is that the judicial branch's petition for one of their benefits to be incorporated into their minimum salary will not be rejected, but this cannot occur before the disbursement of the next tranche of the bailout loan.

    During their general assembly, the judicial functionaries decided, with a wide majority, to continue their mobilizations until January 19, but in milder form. Specifically, the judges will step down from their benches at noon to the end of their shift at 3:00 p.m., whereas currently they were stepping down at 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    A new general assembly will be held on that date to decide on further action.

    [13] GEETHA Chief officially visits Israel

    Chief of General Army Staff (GEETHA), general Michail Kostarakos, on Sunday arrived in Israel as part of his two-day official visit, ending on Monday.

    The visit was arranged following an invitation extended by Chief of Israeli Defense Forces, lieutenant-general Binyamin "Benny" Gantz.

    [14] Turkish corvette sails in Greek territorial waters

    A Turkish corvette entered Greek territorial waters on Saturday evening between the islands of Evia and Andros, sailed between the islands of Kea and Kythnos, and left Greek territorial waters some 80 minutes later southwest of Kythnos, the National Defence General Staff (GEETHA) said on Sunday.

    It said that the corvette subsequently followed a course in international waters west of Milos island, north of Crete, and on Sunday headed eastward of Crete.

    A Greek Navy vessel monitored the Turkish corvette throughout the duration, a GEETHA announcement added.

    Financial News

    [15] Greece-China meeting on boosting agricultural cooperation

    Visiting China's Agriculture undersecretary, Yu Xinrong, met on Friday with Agricultural Development Minister Athanasios Tsaftaris and alternate minister Maximos Harakopoulos, with their discussion focusing on the development of Greece-China relations in the rural sector, and boosting exports of Greek rural products.

    The two sides agreed to step up their actions on further expanding agricultural cooperation to the mutual benefit of both countries.

    [16] Agriculture Minister visits Tripolis, Vytina

    Agriculture Minister Athanasios Tsaftaris toured Arcadia prefecture on Sunday, and met with Peloponnese regional chief Petros Tatoulis in Tripolis at noon, followed by visit to the Kandilas plain, where land improvement works are currently underway.

    He later visited the town of Vytina, and inspected the Triantafyllideio estate that had been bequeathed to the state and was recently renovated, where he discussed with local officials the exploitation of the estate for the creation of a Mediterranean Diet Center as well as the reopening of the state expanse in Vytina for the development of a forest-herb garden for educational and research purposes.

    [17] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.309

    Pound sterling 0.818

    Danish kroner 7.570

    Swedish kroner 8.747

    Japanese yen 107.78

    Swiss franc 1.225

    Norwegian kroner 7.440

    Canadian dollar 1.299

    Australian dollar 1.250

    General News

    [18] Three siblings burn to death in fire

    Three siblings aged 5, 9 and 15 burned to death at dawn Saturday in a fire that broke out, apparently from a woodstove, in their two-storey home in the village of Mesoropi, north-west of Kavala, plunging the local community into shock and mourning.

    Ten people were in the old wooden house at the time: the two parents, six children and two grandparents, who the family was visiting for the weekend.

    The three brothers were killed when the roof caved in from the fire, trapping them in the flames.

    The three other children, their parents and grandparents suffered burns and were initially taken to the health center in nearby Eleftheroupolis.

    According to the Fire Brigade, the fire started from a lit woodstove the family was using to heat the house and spread quickly, engulfing the building and spreading to nearby residences, also old wooden structures.

    The six children were sleeping in the upper floor while the parents and elderly couple slept in the ground floor. Panic erupted when the residents of the house got wind of the fire, and the parents managed to remove the three younger children, two girls and a boy, from the blazing building.

    The 15-year-old boy had initially exited the house but went back in to help his 5- and 9-year-old brothers, but the roof caved in and trapped the three brothers.

    The house was completely destroyed by the fire, which spread to nearby homes but was put out by firemen who rushed to the site.

    The family had 10 children, of which the four were away while the other six lived with their parents in Kavala, and would spend most weekends in the father's hometown of Mesoropi with the grandparents.

    The father is an employee of the local Public Power Corporation (PPC) branch in Kavala and the mother is a teacher of French at a Kavala junior high school.

    In a gesture of mourning, the municipality of Kavala cancelled inter-school mini-football championship qualifying games in which the grammar school attended by the 9-year-old who perished in the fire was participating.

    [19] Dairy firm production manager kills himself

    A 51-year old man was found dead by police in the town of Ioannina, NW Greece, on Sunday evening, after consuming a large quantity of pesticides.

    Police also said that the man - a production manager with Dodoni dairy firm - left a note explaining the reasons for committing suicide. Work colleagues said even though he recently seemed to be rather worried, he faced no obvious problems at work or home.

    [20] One of four armed robbers in Nea Erythrea shoot-out arrested

    Police on Saturday morning arrested one of the four armed robbers of a shoot-out in Nea Erythrea and Kryoneri a day earlier after which the suspects escaped in a jeep hijacked from investigative journalist Makis Triantafyllopoulos. Arrest warrants were issued against the other three culprits.

    The 26-year-old Albanian national who was arrested is facing charges of multiple counts of attempted homicide against police officers, theft and attempted theft, aggravated theft and violation of the gun law.

    The three accomplices still at large are also facing the same charges, and a police manhunt to track them down is continuing.

    Police found and confiscated a Kalashnikov machine gun in the Albanian's possession.

    Police launched a man-hunt on Thursday for four armed robbers who in the early morning hours grabbed a briefcase filled with cash from a house in the northern suburb of Nea Erythrea and after a shoot-out with police later took off in the car of investigative journalist Makis Triantafyllopoulos after forcing him out of his car as he was driving by.

    The four armed robbers broke into a one-family house in Nea Erythrea at about 3:30 a.m. and fled with a briefcase containing an undisclosed amount of cash. The residents got wind of the break-in and immediately alerted the police.

    Officers in a police patrol car caught up with the robbers' car a short distance away, and the robbers opened fire on the police, who returned the shots while in pursuit.

    The robbers abandoned their car in the Ekali area, where they stopped Triantafyllopoulos, who was driving by at the time, forced him to get out of the car, a Porsche Cayenne, and attempted to flee in the journalist's car, but in nearby Kryoneri the car overturned and fell into a ditch.

    The robbers fled on foot under cover of the dark.

    Sports

    [21] Greek under-18 women's water polo team wins World Youth Championship

    Greece's national women's under-18 water polo team clinched the gold medal in the inaugural FINA World Youth Water Polo Championships on Sunday in Perth's (Australia) Challenge Stadium, beating their Hungarian rivals 9-5 in the final.

    Greece had won the gold medal at the 1997 Championships in Prague with 6-5 against the Australian team, but the championship at that time was for athletes under 19 years of age.

    This was the 1st under-18 FINA World Youth Water Polo Championship.

    Russia took home the bronze medal in a come-from-behind victory over the US.

    Greece beat the US 8-3 in a semifinal on Friday.

    Greece's Chryssoula Diamantopoulou was named the best goalkeeper, while Russia's Elvina Karimova was named most valuable player.

    [22] Pres. Papoulias congratulates Greece's youth water polo team for gold medal

    President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias, in a wire message sent on Sunday, congratulated Greece's national wo-men's under-18 water polo team for winning the gold medal in the inaugural FINA World Youth Water Polo Championships in Perth, Australia.

    "I sincerely congratulate you. Your success makes us all really proud at the current tough times the nation is going through, and fills us with hope and optimism", Papoulias said in the wire.

    In the FINA event, the Greek team beat their Hungarian rivals 9-5.

    [23] Super League results

    Olympiacos Piraeus drew 2-2 with Panathinaikos in a match played away over the weekend retaining its lead in the Greek Super League soccer championship.

    In other action:

    PAOK Thessaloniki - Levadiakos 1-0

    Kerkyra - PAS Yiannina 0-2

    Atromitos Athens - OFI Crete 3-2

    Platanias Crete - Veria 0-0

    Xanthi - Panionios Athens 4-0

    Asteras Tripoli - Aris Thessaloniki 1-1

    Panthrakikos - AEK Athens 10/12

    Standings after fourteen weeks of play:

    1. Olympiacos 36

    2. PAOK 28

    3. Asteras 25

    4. Atromitos 24

    5. Panionios 21

    6. PAS Yiannina 21

    7. Panathinaikos 20

    8. Levadiakos 18

    9. Platanias 16

    10. OFI 14

    11. Panthrakikos 14 - Thirteen matches played

    12. Xanthi 14

    13. Kerkyra 12

    14. Veria 12

    15. Aris 12

    16. AEK 11 - Thirteen matches played

    NOTE: Panathinaikos has had two points deducted.

    Weather forecast

    [24] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

    AGGELIOFOROS: "The ambiguities and the tricks of the new tax bill".

    AVGHI: "Derailment - ND, PASOK, DIMAR (the three parties of the coalition government) but also Samaras (prime minister) in free-fall".

    DIMOKRATIA: "Balance of terror in the government of the 'three'."

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Double trap for pensions, lump-sum retirement superannuities".

    EPOCHI: "Balance of terror in government".

    EXPRESS: "Wave of retirements of freelance professionals".

    KATHIMERINI: "They lost billions in wagering on Greece's exit from the euro".

    LOGOS: "Death penalty for the small and medium size enterprises (SMEs)".

    NIKI: "The market ruses lead to prison".

    TO PARON: "The new bosses are coming".

    PROTO THEMA: "A ''clean' Lagarde list is coming".

    REALNEWS: "Confidential report to the prime minister on the oil deposits".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "KKE 19th Congress - Strong party for social and political upset".

    TO ARTHRO: "Dangerous relaxation".

    TO VIMA: "Tax trap for the middle class".

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