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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-01-08

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

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

Tuesday, 8 January 2013 Issue No: 4264

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Samaras to present Greece's prospects at German forum
  • [02] President Papoulias urges German investments in Greece
  • [03] Greece needs to win the fight for growth, President Papoulias says
  • [04] SYRIZA submits proposal on Lagarde list case
  • [05] Financial crime prosecutors examine two more witnesses in 'Lagarde list' case
  • [06] Two MPs expelled from DIMAR parliamentary group
  • [07] Meeting between Manitakis-Venizelos on administrative reform
  • [08] KKE party on PM's Berlin visit, statements by FinMin
  • [09] FinMin urges 'patience for one more year'
  • [10] Deadline for supplementary tax statement on money deposited abroad
  • [11] Capital markets authority approves National Bank-Eurobank merger plan
  • [12] Northern Greece enterprises remain pessimistic, survey
  • [13] Tax auditing of 1,750 individuals over business property sales ongoing, minister says
  • [14] Christmas season turnover down 21-30 pct, report
  • [15] OTE announces completion of voluntary retirement programme
  • [16] Two new toll stations off Tripoli-Kalamata highway open
  • [17] Greek stocks' rally extended
  • [18] Greek bond market closing report
  • [19] ADEX closing report
  • [20] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [21] Winter onslaught over coming days
  • [22] Missing mountainclimber found, well in health
  • [23] Up to 25,000 newborns without insurance in Greece annually, minister says
  • [24] Three migrant-smuggling ring members arrested over Saturday distressed boat incident
  • [25] Remittances sent abroad by immigrants total 194 million euros, Supreme Court judge says
  • [26] Gun licence applications rise 48 pct in four years, police data show
  • [27] Robbers using heavy arms to get life sentences, according to expected draft law
  • [28] 3.8R quake jolts Kozani
  • [29] Super League result
  • [30] Cloudy on Tuesday
  • [31] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM Samaras to present Greece's prospects at German forum

    BERLIN (AMNA/F.Karaviti)

    "Our discussion this evening will focus on a Europe of growth and solidarity," visiting Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told reporters here on Monday evening, upon his arrival at a forum organised by the newspaper Die Welt.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi are also attending the forum.

    Samaras said he will be expounding on the current condition of Greece's economy, but will also speak on "the solidarity now shown to Greece and its prospects by other countries."

    The Greek premier is accompanied to Berlin by Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis and deputy minister Notis Mitarakis.

    On Tuesday, Samaras will have an informal meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, which will be preceded by a private meeting with former German foreign minister and vice-chancellor Hans Dietrich Genscher.

    [02] President Papoulias urges German investments in Greece

    BERLIN (AMNA/F.Karaviti)

    Greek President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, on a visit to Berlin, urged German businessmen to invest in Greece, assuring them that they have only to gain from activity in Greece.

    After a meeting on Monday with German federal President Joachim Gauck, Papoulias expressed optimism that Greek-German relations will be characterised by the "sense of solidarity, which is a fundamental European value".

    "Much has changed in Greece, thanks to the sacrifices of the Greek people, who are paying a heavy price," he said, while on investment opportunities he said: "I want to assure you, personally, and the German businessmen that they have only to gain from their activity in Greece."

    Gauck, in turn, stressed that "Greece can rely on assistance from Germany in the future?, adding that "true friendship is affirmed in times of crises".

    "In times of crisis, we expect the two sides to rise to their responsibilities," Gauck said.

    The two Presidents were given a guided tour of the exhibition "Olympia: Myth-Cult-Games in Antiquity", which has been running since August at the exhibition premises of the 'Martin-Gropius-Bau', held under the auspices of the two Presidents.

    Papoulias said that the exhibition pays tribute to the Olympic Ideal and to the Ancient Greek civilization", while Gauck called it a "great give of the Greeks to Germany" given that many of the exhibits are being put on display for the first time.

    "Touring the halls of this lovely exhibition venue and viewing the exhibits of unique value, one becomes immersed in the radiance of the Hellenic spirit and the Olympic ideal of 'eu agonizesthe' (fair play). At the same time this exhibition urges visitors to ponder the historic depth and roots of European civilization, which lie in Greece. The foundation stone of this civilization is found in the anthropocentric ideal that was the basis of the philosophy of the Hellenes. Ancient Greek civilization bloomed precisely for this reason, and consequently it shows us the way to Europe's future, adapted of course to the present day," Papoulias said, and thanked the 2.5 million Germans who visit Greece each year, assuring them that they will be received again this year with the same love and hospitality.

    Papoulias further invited Gauck to visit Greece, promising to personally give him a tour of Ancient Olympia.

    Later, President Papoulias will go to the Bellevue Presidential Mansion, where the German president will host a dinner in his honour.

    [03] Greece needs to win the fight for growth, President Papoulias says

    BERLIN (AMNA/F.Karaviti)

    German federal President Joachim Gauck expressed solidarity with the Greek people for the burdens of the economic crisis, saying he respected the Greek government's tough work, reports said here on Monday.

    Speaking during a dinner he hosted at the Bellevue Presidential Mansion in honour of visiting Greek President of the Republic, Karolos Papoulias, Gauck added he was convinced that Greece was an inseparable part of the euro zone.

    According to the same reports, Gauck said he was optimistic for Greece's recovery, while he reiterated Germany's continued support to Greece's efforts, referring in warm words to the presence of Greeks in his country and the excellent level of bilateral relations.

    Papoulias, on his part, placed emphasis on winning the fight for growth, stressing the sense of solidarity as a fundamental value between European partners. He also referred to Greeks' contribution to German reunification.

    [04] SYRIZA submits proposal on Lagarde list case

    Seventy-one deputies of Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), headed by Alexis Tsipras, submitted to Parliament the main opposition party's proposal on the creation of a preliminary investigation committee to examine the 'Lagarde list' and why it was not utilised by the government to track possible large-scale tax evasion.

    According to SYRIZA, the committee must probe possible penal responsibilities of former finance ministers George Papaconstantinou and Evangelos Venizelos "in relation to their actions and omissions concerning the managing of the Lagarde list". The party also attributes "great political responsibilities" to the prime ministers who supervised the two ministers - mainly George Papandreou, as well as Lucas Papademos and Antonis Samaras.

    SYRIZA also criticised another proposal for a committee voted by deputies of the coalition government parties, because it only focused on Papaconstantinou, saying "is nothing more than a crude trick by the present government so as to obscure the case in all its apects and to protect every other person involved, including in particular the useful Mr Venizelos".

    Both proposals are expected to be discussed in the parliament's plenary session by this coming Tuesday and must be approved by 151 deputies for the committee to be set up.

    [05] Financial crime prosecutors examine two more witnesses in 'Lagarde list' case

    Financial crime prosecutors are continuing to probe the route of the so-called Lagarde list after its being received on cd by former finance minister George Papaconstantinou, and on Monday examined another two witnesses from his ministerial office to find out what happened with the electronic file of depositors at the Swiss branch of HSBC.

    Reports from judicial circles say that so far no witness out of those examined by the prosecutors has testified that he received, transferred or was called on to change the controversial material by the former minister.

    Consequently, the investigation on what happened with the original cd is continuing with the summoning of more witnesses from the former minister's close associates to locate the person or persons who undertook the keeping or transfer of the original 'Lagarde list'.

    [06] Two MPs expelled from DIMAR parliamentary group

    Two MPs of the smallest of the three coalition government parties, Democratic Left (DIMAR), were expelled from the DIMAR parliamentary group on Monday by decision of party leader Fotis Kouvelis.

    In a letter to parliament president Evangelos Meimarakis, Kouvelis informed the House of his decision to expel Odysseas Voudouris and Petros Moutsinas, noting that "the two MPs have for some time, with their systematic and firm differentiation from all the positions and initiatives of the party, come to a full rift with the functions and directions of the DIMAR parliamentary group".

    DIMAR, he added, has exhausted all margins for their continued stay in the party's parliamentary group "despite the disdain they have shown for our collective decisions".

    "What has become manifestly clear is that the two MPs do not simply express different opinions but support a different policy plan than that of DIMAR," Kouvelis concluded.

    In early November, the DIMAR executive committee had condemned the stance of Voudouris and Moutsinas in not following the party's line in the vote for the omnibus bill introducing a new package of austerity measures, while Kouvelis had warned them over their tactic of not observing the party's collective decisions.

    DIMAR is a junior partner in the Antonis Samaras coalition government. The party's line was to vote 'present' in the parliamentary vote on the austerity package, but the two MPs defied the party line and voted against.

    [07] Meeting between Manitakis-Venizelos on administrative reform

    Important steps that have been taken and that are taking place regarding reforms in the public sector, as well as the overall plan of the Administrative Reform ministry to enable the country to obtain a modern, flexible, effective and useful state for the citizen, as is backed by the ministry's leadership and the government in general, were presented by minister Antonis Manitakis to PASOK party leader Evangelos Venizelos on Monday.

    Manitakis focused on "the need for national understanding and the importance of close cooperation that the three parliamentary groups supporting the government have shown until today, while he thanked the president of PASOK and the party's Parliamentary Group for its determined and creative contribution to the reforms."

    On his part, Venizelos said that "now that the fiscal framework is safer and the ground more fruitful, now is also the suitable period for reforms and structural changes", stressing that "PASOK supports the administrative reform".

    [08] KKE party on PM's Berlin visit, statements by FinMin

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE), in an announcement on the visit to Germany by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, stressed on Monday that "the investments that Antonis Samaras is aiming at bringing with his allies in the EU aim at the profit-making of the big business groups only and will be carried out on starvation salaries, smashed labour relations and armies of unemployed," adding that "growth for the benefit of the people can only take place with disengagement from the EU and the socialisation of monopolies".

    Another announcement by KKE on statements by Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said that "the government's intransigence and insistence on the escalation of the savage measures, that condemn the labour class families to poverty, must make working people and the working class more determined to reject the extortions, the dilemmas, the sacrifices that are being imposed on them for the interests of the plutocracy and the 'euroonewaypath' to be protected".

    Financial News

    [09] FinMin urges 'patience for one more year'

    There are no fiscal abilities to expand the heating oil subsidy or for tax breaks, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said on private VIMA radio station on Monday, reiterating that 2013 will be a tough year, and urged "patience for one more year".

    He also said that the new tax bill, which will be unveiled in April or May, will contain a provision under which all those found to be tax evading will "either pay or go to jail".

    Asked if he entertained political aspirations, Stournaras said that they were not in his immediate priorities.

    To a question whether the Ministry was examining expansion of the criteria for tax rebates for heating oil, he replied: "I wish the fiscal ability existed, but it does not". He acknowledged, however, that the heating oil subsidy was "as yet unreliable, as many who are eligible for it have not submitted the required certification to receive it".

    Stournaras stressed the critical need for taxes to be paid and for the targets to be met, warning: "The next tranche will not come if we relax (the efforts)...we will lose the credibility we have begun to gain...we have set out major targets, which we must attain".

    [10] Deadline for supplementary tax statement on money deposited abroad

    The Finance Ministry has given to taxpayers found to have discrepancies between the amounts of the remittances they have sent to bank accounts abroad in the last three years and their stated incomes a deadline to the end of January to submit supplementary income tax statements to the Tax Bureau in the event that they are unable to justify those sums.

    The ministry's General Secretariat for Informatics Systems will send new letters to the above taxpayers informing them of the discrepancies between the deposits abroad and their declared incomes, and warning that they will be asked to pay a tax of 45 percent on the difference between the two amounts that is found to not have been declared to the Tax Bureau.

    The measure affects 25,500 taxpayers who in the last three years have sent money to bank accounts abroad but which monies have been found not to be justified by their declared incomes, after cross-checks by the general secretariat.

    [11] Capital markets authority approves National Bank-Eurobank merger plan

    Greece's Capital Market authorities on Monday approved the terms of a National Bank's public offer to Eurobank-Ergasias shareholders.

    The offer envisages a swap rate of 58 new shares for 100 Eurobank's shares, at a price of 1.0 euros each. Eurobank's shareholders, representing 43.6 pct of the bank's equity capital, have pledged to commit their shares in the public offer. Following completion of the public offer, National Bank will merge with Eurobank creating the country's largest banking group.

    [12] Northern Greece enterprises remain pessimistic, survey

    Business climate in Northern Greece continued deteriorating despite positive decisions reached in Europe about the country's future, as businessmen remained pessimistic over any favorable impact on the real economy, a survey by Interview showed on Monday.

    Interview, which compiles the Northern Greece Business Index 500 (NGBI-500), said that companies' intentions of new dismissals rose sharply in December 2012, compared with November, plans for new hirings grounded to zero, while the percentage of enterprises which characterized their situation as "good" fell below 5.0 pct.

    "The NGBI-500 index for December is affected by the prevailing climate despite positive decisions for Greece...There is still a long way to go to see a positive impact on the real economy," Interview said in its survey.

    The index fell to -49 in December from -47 in November, -35 in October and -55 in December 2011 - its lowest reading ever.

    [13] Tax auditing of 1,750 individuals over business property sales ongoing, minister says

    The Finance Ministry is auditing 1,750 individuals to determine whether they have paid all taxes on the sale of business real estate, as part of a tax focus on large enterprises and high incomes.

    Forty-nine auditing teams have been set up to conduct such audits, while the 1,750 had been selected in the spring of 2011 based on a series of criteria determined by tax authorities, including the fact they had been assessed over 18 million euros in taxes but paid only 5.8 million. The information was in a document forwarded to Parliament by Deputy Finance Minister Giorgos Mavraganis on December 21, in response to a question by New Democracy deputy Antonis Bezas.

    [14] Christmas season turnover down 21-30 pct, report

    Christmas holiday shopping fell by 21-30 pct on average, putting further pressure to an already suffering retail sector in the country, a report by the National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce said on Monday.

    In the report, the vast majority of presidents of commerce groups (57 out of 58) were quoted as saying that Christmas retail turnover was significantly down compared with the same period last year. The report said that the busiest day for the commerce sector was Christmas Eve (December 24), which accounted for 40 pct of the holiday season, followed by December 23 (23 pct) and New Year's Eve (16 pct).

    The report showed that most consumers were not attracted by the opening of shops for the second Sunday during the holiday season and it noted changes in shopping habits of consumers, who focused on more affordable items, while they also spent less this Christmas.

    The clothing/footwear sector was the biggest loser of the season, as the vast majority of commerce groups (50 out of 58) reported a significant drop in the category's turnover. The food and toy categories were the biggest gainers, with three out of 10 commerce groups reporting an increase in turnover and another three reporting steady conditions in the market.

    Commenting on the report, Confederation president Vasilis Korkidis said the results of the Christmas season were very gloomy for the future of commerce enterprises.

    [15] OTE announces completion of voluntary retirement programme

    Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation SA (OTE) on Monday announced the successful completion of two voluntary retirement programmes which began in November 2012 as part of a transformation plan for the company.

    OTE said that 1,516 employees accepted the early retirement incentives offered by the company mostly to workers establishing retirement rights in the period 2013-2015. The company said the programme will offer net annual savings of around 80 million euros and noted that this plan will allow OTE to significantly reduce its operating expenses, strengthen its competitiveness and proceed with its modernisation.

    [16] Two new toll stations off Tripoli-Kalamata highway open

    Two new toll stations opened off the Tripoli-Kalamata highway on Monday.

    The Veligosti station will charge 0.80 euros for motorcycles and 1.20 euros for vehicles up to 2.20 metres in height. The Paradeisia junction rates are 0.50 euros for motorcycles and 0.70 euros for vehicles up to 2.2 metres. For two or more axles, vehicles are charged 3.10 euros in the first new station and 1.80 euros in the second new station. All prices incclude 23 pct VAT, including for owners of passes.

    [17] Greek stocks' rally extended

    Greek stocks extended their New Year's rally for the fourth successive session in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, pushing the composite index of the market to more-than-16-month-highs. The index rose 0.54 pct to end at 969.43 points, off the day's highs of 971.82 points. Turnover, however, remained a disappointing 54 million euros.

    The Big Cap index rose 0.28 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 1.95 pct higher. The Personal Products (4.0 pct), Commerce (2.96 pct) and Raw Materials (2.22 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Banks (2.33 pct), Health (1.48 pct) and Technology (1.12 pct) suffered losses. Mytilineos (3.74 pct), Jumbo (3.28 pct) and Folli Follie (2.93 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Piraeus bank (5.37 pct), Alpha Bank (3.05 pct) and Cyprus Bank (2.15 pct) were top losers.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 104 to 71 with another 19 issues unchanged. Audiovisual (30 pct), Teletypos (19.82 pct) and Alfa Grissin (19.65 pct) were top gainers, while Voyatzoglou (20.68 pct), Varvaresos (19.83 pct) and Pegasus (19.67 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: +1.18%

    Commercial: +2.96%

    Construction: +0.58%

    Oil & Gas: +0.67%

    Personal & Household: +4.00%

    Raw Materials: +2.22%

    Travel & Leisure: +0.67%

    Technology: -1.12%

    Telecoms: +2.02%

    Banks: -2.33%

    Food & Beverages: -0.05%

    Health: -1.48%

    Utilities: +0.52%

    Financial Services: +1.00%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 1.59

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 6.10

    HBC Coca Cola: 17.98

    Hellenic Petroleum: 8.02

    National Bank of Greece: 1.41

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.69

    OPAP: 5.80

    OTE: 5.56

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.37

    Titan: 14.86

    [18] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank further to 9.76 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, with the Greek bond yielding 11.28 pct and the German Bund 1.52 pct. There was no turnover in the market.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 0.55 pct, the six-month rate was 0.31 pct, the three-month rate was 0.19 pct and the one-month rate was 0.11 pct.

    [19] ADEX closing report

    The March contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 0.75 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover remaining a low 10.486 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 3,159 contracts worth 5.290 million euros, with 31,212 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 30,780 contracts worth 5.196 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Piraeus Bank's contracts (8,147), followed by National Bank (3,402), Alpha Bank (5,304), Eurobank (299), Cyprus Bank (1,774), MIG (2,369), OTE (1,963), PPC (948), OPAP (3,081), Hellenic Exchanges (309), Cyprus Popular Bank (134), Mytilineos (818), Sidenor (91), GEK (602), Ellaktor (288), Intralot (721) and Metka (134).

    [20] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.323

    Pound sterling 0.823

    Danish kroner 7.571

    Swedish kroner 8.642

    Japanese yen 116.2

    Swiss franc 1.226

    Norwegian kroner 7.415

    Canadian dollar 1.306

    Australian dollar 1.260

    General News

    [21] Winter onslaught over coming days

    The weather in Greece will take a drastic turn for the worse as of Monday afternoon with a sharp drop in temperatures and storm winds.

    Snow was falling as of dawn on Monday on Mt. Parnitha, requiring snow chains on the access roads, while snow was expected at night-time in the north of Attica prefecture, while slight chances of snowfall in the center of Athens on Tuesday.

    Northerly storm-force winds were blowing in most parts of the country, while the temperature was not expected to exceed 12C.

    In northern Greece, very low and sub-zero temperatures were recorded on Monday in several cities, with snow and sleet expected later in the day. Temperatures dropped to 5C in Thessaloniki, 1C in Serres, Veria and Kilkis, while the thermometer plunged to -7C in Nevrokopi, -2C in Drama, -5 in Florina, -3 in Ptolemais, -2 in Alexandroupolis and -1 in Soufli, with snow chains required in many road axes.

    Meanwhile, the Greek weather bureau EMY issued an inclement weather warning, predicting snow in the afternoon in Macedonia, Thrace, the island of the northern and eastern Mediterranean and eastern Thessaly, spreading throughout the night to eastern Sterea (including Attica), Evia and the Sporades island complex, the eastern Peloponnese, the Cyclades Islands and Crete.

    [22] Missing mountainclimber found, well in health

    A mountainclimber who went missing in the Pieria Mountain Range on Sunday was found shortly before noon on Monday, exhausted but well in health, rescuers said.

    A search and rescue operation was launched on Sunday for a 58-year-old mountain climber who went missing in the Pieria Mountain Range. The 58-year-old, a member of the Kozani Mountain Climbing Club, fell behind the rest of the Club members near the village of Katafygio as the group was heading to the Avdelas refuge. The last time the missing man, an experienced mountain climber carrying full winter hiking equipment, contacted his group was when he was in the Kataresko region at an altitude of 1,500 meters earlier Sunday.

    Rescuers combed the area under adverse weather conditions marked by low temperatures, limited visibility and snow that has covered the entire area.

    The man was found by volunteers near Ano Milia at an altitude of 1,000 meters. He was reported well but in a state of exhaustion after having spent the night outdoors in the snow.

    [23] Up to 25,000 newborns without insurance in Greece annually, minister says

    Up to 25,000 children are born annually to parents without insurance in Greece, according to a document by Deputy Health Minister Fotini Skopouli sent to Parliament in response to questions by deputies.

    She added that the ministry immunises children for free as of November 2012, while it keeps in close communication with regional services to track cases of uninsured children.

    In another document, Labour and Social Insurance Minister Yiannis Vroutsis informed Parliament that the ministry was working on changing the criteria used for providing free hospital and pharmaceutical services to lower income citizens, in order to conform with the new taxation and salary factors related to the austerity measures.

    [24] Three migrant-smuggling ring members arrested over Saturday distressed boat incident

    Three men were arrested on Sunday night, believed to be members of a migrant-smuggling ring, over an incident on Saturday in which 37 illegal migrants were endangered in a distressed boat spotted off northern Crete.

    A 55-year-old local man from Heraklion (Crete) and two foreign nationals aged 27 and 64 were arrested, charged with being members of the ring that undertook the transport of the illegal migrants that was spotted in distress at noon Saturday near the islet of Dia, north of Heraklion, which was later led safely to port by the Coast Guard.

    An alert was sounded on Saturday at the Merchant Marine Ministry's operations center following a telephone call that a boat carrying a large number of people was in distress. An operation was immediately launched to locate the boat, and a helicopter combing the area off of northern Crete spotted the boat near the islet of Dia.

    The distressed boat, which was identified as the "Moonraker", had set off from Crete possibly headed for Italy and was carrying 37 illegal migrants, including a woman and a minor, who were all reported well in health.

    The three arrestees were taken before a Heraklion prosecutor on Sunday evening, facing felony charges, and are due to be taken before an examining magistrate on Monday.

    [25] Remittances sent abroad by immigrants total 194 million euros, Supreme Court judge says

    Remittances sent abroad by immigrants living in Greece total 194 million euros for the period between January and October 2012, according to deputy public prosecutor Panagiotis Nikoloudis of the Supreme Court.

    Nikoloudis, president of the authority on money laundering from criminal and terrorist acts, told Parliament in a document that immigrants living in Greece use mostly legal ways to send money abroad. The remittances are mostly in small amounts of 300-1,000 euros and go mainly to Asian countries like Iraq, Bagladesh and Afghanistan, and to African nations. He said he had no data about money leaving Greece illegally, besides customs arrests.

    He also said plans were under way to tax most of the legally-earned money sent abroad, in the case tax was not paid on it. He was resonding to a query by a Golden Dawn deputy.

    [26] Gun licence applications rise 48 pct in four years, police data show

    Applications for gun licences have increased more than 48 pct over the last four years, according to data by the Greek police quoted by Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias in a document he sent to Parliament on Monday.

    Responding to questions by deputies of the main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), Dendias said that in 2008 there were 1,700 applications (1,260 were approved), while for the January-November 2012 period they reached 2,624 (1,908 were approved).

    The numbers include those applying for renewals and involve pistols and revolvers, not hunting guns.

    [27] Robbers using heavy arms to get life sentences, according to expected draft law

    Robbers using Kalashnikovs or heavy arms will be given life sentences, according to a draft amendment to the narcotics code expected to be submitted to Parliament by the Justice Ministry within the next few days.

    The code is expected to update legislation related to drug sentences, and includes more favourable changes for prisoners in terms of leaves of absence, release on parole and transport to rural jails.

    [28] 3.8R quake jolts Kozani

    A minor earthquake measuring 3.8 on the Richter scale jolted Kozani in the first hours of Monday.

    The trembler was recorded at 1:22 a.m., with its epicenter 20 kilometers south of the town of Kozani, northern Greece.

    Although of a brief duration and small magnitude, the quake jolted residents throughout Kozani prefecture.

    Soccer

    [29] Super League result

    Xanthi beat OFI Crete 3-0 at home in a game played for the Super League on Monday evening.

    Standings after 16 weeks of play:

    1. Olympiacos 42

    2. PAOK 34

    3. Asteras 28

    4. Atromitos 28

    5. Levadiakos 24

    6. PAS Yiannina 22

    7. Panionios 21

    8. Panthrakikos 20

    9. Panathinaikos 20

    10. Xanthi 18

    11. OFI 17

    12. Platanias 17

    13. Aris 16

    14. Veria 15

    15. Kerkyra 12

    16. AEK 12

    NOTE: Panathinaikos has had two points deducted.

    Weather forecast

    [30] Cloudy on Tuesday

    Cloudy weather with snow or sleet and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday. Winds 4-8 beaufort. Temperatures between -5C and 10C. Cloudy with snow or sleet in Athens with northerly 5-8 beaufort winds and temperatures between 1C and 5C. Slightly cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures between -2C and 4C.

    [31] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    DIMOKRATIA: "Work for 460 euro monthly for 60,000 unemployed - Government to announce five programmes on Thursday aiming to halt the tsunami of unemployment".

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: "Venizelos' (PASOK leader) guards - Samaras (prime minister) and Kouvelis (DIMAR leader) provide shield of protection to Venizeos in order to keep the three-party coalition government in office at all cost, as main opposition SYRIZA is due to table a motion in parliament on Monday for the referral of the PASOK leader (in addition to former finance minister George Papaconstantinou) to a parliamentary preliminary investigation committee over the Lagarde list".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Four upsets in the social security regime".

    ELLADA: "Financial prosecutors (investigating the Lagarde list affair) Grigoris Peponis and Spiros Mouzakitis 'point the finger' at Venizelos".

    ESTIA: "Unacceptable vilification (by media) before incriminating evidence arises".

    ETHNOS: "The war over the Lagarde list raging outside of all boundaries".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Government rules out any margins for relaxation (of austerity in 2013)".

    TA NEA: "11 grey zones on the Lagarde list".

    VRADYNI: "Pensions: The reduction to main and auxiliary pensions in four installments".

    6DAYS: "9 DEKO (public utilities and organizations) and 79 state properties up for auction".

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