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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-01-09

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

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

Wednesday, 9 January 2013 Issue No: 4265

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Samaras, Merkel discuss Greek reforms progress, EU developments
  • [02] PM urges ministers to step up digital communication
  • [03] Main opposition leader accuses PM of cover- up in 'Lagarde list'; spokesman responds
  • [04] Tsipras 'undermines national effort,' spokesman
  • [05] Independent Greeks, Golden Dawn parties to vote motion on 'Lagarde list' committee
  • [06] KKE: PM seeking allies for the Greek plutocracy
  • [07] New round of investigations on armaments procurements
  • [08] SDOE calls for opening of 6,000 bank accounts
  • [09] Democratic Left party to hold event on political system's improvement
  • [10] Greece's new ambassador to Tirana visits Gjirokaster
  • [11] Unemployment climbs to 26pct in Sept 2012, Eurostat says
  • [12] Interest rates on new loans down in November
  • [13] National Bank unveils strategy for 2013, Eurobank merger
  • [14] National Bank, Eurobank asked for extension in Hellenic Postbank tender procedure
  • [15] Greece raises 2.6 bln euros from T-bills auction
  • [16] Shipping can help Greece exit the crisis, think-tank says
  • [17] Trade deficit with Spain down 38.5pct in nine-month period
  • [18] Business Briefs
  • [19] Foreign investors cut participation in ASE capitatlization in Dec
  • [20] Greek stocks extend rally for sixth consecutive session
  • [21] Greek bond market closing report
  • [22] ADEX closing report
  • [23] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday
  • [24] Greece in grips of snow, sub-zero temperatures
  • [25] Sharp, 'post-memorandum' increase in poverty
  • [26] Antiques, rare objects discovered in Piraeus City Hall
  • [27] Company manager arrested over 67 million illegal records on Greek citizens
  • [28] 5.9 earthquake shakes Limnos, Tenedos islands
  • [29] Cloudy on Wednesday
  • [30] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM Samaras, Merkel discuss Greek reforms progress, EU developments

    BERLIN (AMNA/ F. Karaviti)

    Progress in the reforms in Greece, bilateral issues, the general economic situation "which is very important for Germany, too", as well as developments in the EU "where we will have achieved a substantial degree of coordination by mid-June", were on the agenda of talks between German chancellor Angela Merkel and visiting Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the chancellor said on Tuesday, ahead of a meeting with Samaras in Berlin.

    Samaras, in turn, underlined the "great effort" being made in Greece "with sacrifices by the Greek people" in order for the country "to regain its credibility and the confidence of both the European peoples and the markets".

    "In that direction, we are taking systematic measures and have voted in a series of laws that ensure this course," Samaras said, adding that the priority is to secure liquidity, which he described as the "blood of the economy" which, together with investments, "can bring the much needed growth to a country ravaged by a huge problem, that of unemployment, and particularly unemployment among young people".

    Samaras added that the discussion with Merkel would also encompass issues pertaining to Europe which, he noted, "is proceeding decisively, evolving, with a new union being created in every sector".

    Sources said after the meeting, which was closed to the press, that Greek premier Samaras briefed Merkel on progress in applying reforms and stressed the importance of pursuing the revival of the economy and the creation of new jobs, something that will be achieved with liquidity and investments. He also noted the importance of dealing with tax evasion and treating all tax evaders on the basis of law without discrimination between citizens, to restore the public's sense of justice being met.

    Samaras told a congress organised by Die Welt newspaper on Monday evening, for which he was in Berlin, that it is necessary for Europe to take big and brave decisions, possibly beyond the usual, in the face of new global challenges. He also pointed out the geostrategic issues special to the European south that had to be taken into account in the union's planning for the future.

    [02] PM urges ministers to step up digital communication

    Ministries must step up their efforts on the electronic front to minimise bureaucracy, reduce operational costs and improve services to citizens, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told his Cabinet on Tuesday.

    In a letter to his ministers, Samaras said that technology should be applied immediately to help reorganise public administration and ministries would be assisted in this by the Committee on Coordination of Electronic Governance.

    The Committee will help prevent overlaps or conflicts of interest in targets of ministries. The latter will need to have completed a programme to exchange documents between central services digitally by June 2013.

    [03] Main opposition leader accuses PM of cover- up in 'Lagarde list'; spokesman responds

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras wants "neither cleansing, nor justice" in the so-called Lagarde list case, Alexis Tsipras, main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader, charged on Tuesday.

    Speaking at meeting between the party's parliamentary group and its secretariat, Tsipras referred to several other lists of Greek holders of large bank accounts abroad and said that during in his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Tuesday, Samaras should request the list of Greeks holding accounts in German banks, especially those involved in the Siemens bribing scandal. But the prime minister "wants neither cleansing, nor justice; he wants a conspiracy of silence and a cover-up, to continue as prime minister of a bankrupt country of scandals and collusion," he said.

    Commenting on PASOK criticism that SYRIZA was trying to destroy it, Tsipras noted that PASOK doesn't need any help from his party, "as they did a good job by themselves." He also blamed the "power system, which brought our country to the status of a colony of debt" and said his party would not contribute to "such a mindboggling attempt to cover up a long-term scandal of tax evasion and tax avoidance by large capital at the expense of the public interest."

    [04] Tsipras 'undermines national effort,' spokesman

    Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou accused Tsipras of trying to 'undermine national effort'. Kedikoglou said, "As the prime minister is fighting to build up the country's credibility, attract investments, and increase economic liquidity to open the path to development and create jobs, Tsipras is, like an opportunist, trying to undermine national effort."

    [05] Independent Greeks, Golden Dawn parties to vote motion on 'Lagarde list' committee

    The Independent Greeks party will table a motion in Parliament for a preliminary investigation committee over the so-called Lagarde list that will include examining possible penal liabilities of former prime ministers George Papandreou and Lucas Papademos, and former finance ministers George Papaconstantinou and Evangelos Venizelos, it said on Tuesday.

    Party leader Panos Kammenos said he would contact Alexis Tsipras, leader of main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), which has also tabled a motion, to ask for his support in ensuring the needed 30 deputies pass the proposal.

    Furthermore, Golden Dawn party will join Independent Greeks in voting for the motion, to make sure it makes its way to the Parliament's plenary session that has the final vote on whether such a committee will be set up. Party leader Nikos Michaloliakos said on Tuesday that it will pass such a motion "so that deputies face their responsibilities before the Greek people."

    [06] KKE: PM seeking allies for the Greek plutocracy

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Tuesday charged that the main thrust of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' efforts was focused on securing allies-partners for the Greek plutocracy, in the deepest and heaviest exploitation of the Greek working people.

    In a comment on Samaras' visit to Berlin and meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel, the KKE said that the growth sought by Samaras' coalition government, Merkel and the EU was founded on the monopolies, poverty, unemployment and the insecurity of the popular strata and looting of the country's mineral and natural wealth by the monopolies.

    It added that the popular strata must reject the alliances of the Greek plutocracy.

    Meanwhile, the KKE parliamentary group is planning on tabling two amendments to the tax bill calling for abolition of the special solidarity contribution and the special surtax on real estate (collected via electricity bills), as well as the VAT and special consumption levies on heating oil and natural gas, KKE leader Aleka Papariga announced on Tuesday.

    [07] New round of investigations on armaments procurements

    A new round of investigations on the armaments procurements concerning submarines and the TOR M1s missile system is opening with a request by investigators to Swiss authorities for legal assistance in opening of a specific bank account.

    The investigators in the case are requesting for data on a bank account allegedly used to launder money related to the procurement of submarines. They are trying to identify the beneficiary of Beeston Management SA, through an account of which 2.1 million euros were transferred.

    [08] SDOE calls for opening of 6,000 bank accounts

    The Economic Crime Squad (SDOE) said on Tuesday it has called for the opening of 6,000 bank accounts in relation to investigations on tax evasion, corruption, illegal accumulation of wealth and money laundering in the framework of checks it is carrying out to handle tax evasion and the paraeconomy.

    SDOE is also investigating another 9,620 cases regarding tax evasion, unjustified local government expenditures, illegal management of public money, discrepancies between tax statements and deposits or export of capital and administrative contributions. The investigation has resulted in over 1,039 prosecutor summons.

    In its announcement, SDOE also publicised its results on extensive checks in the market, tollgates and the ports of the country, winter destinations, entertainment centres, cafeterias and restaurants carried out during the Christmas and New Year's holidays. The intensity of the checks, totalling 3,262, it said, contributed to the rate of violations being kept at low levels. The rate of violations did not exceeding 5 percent, as retail trade businesses issued the retail sale receipts anticipated by the law.

    [09] Democratic Left party to hold event on political system's improvement

    The Democratic Left party is scheduling a two-day event at the end of January (possibly on the 28th and 29th) on the issue of the modernisation and improvement of the political system, on transparency and on the electoral system.

    The event is central to the party's planning for the coming period and follows the recent successful completion of the coalition's efforts to achieve agreement with the EU over the country's fiscal course and funding.

    [10] Greece's new ambassador to Tirana visits Gjirokaster

    GJIROKASTER (AMNA/P. Barkas)

    Greece's new ambassador to Tirana Leonidas Rokanas visited Gjirokaster, where a part of the Greek minority in Albania lives, and held talks with mayor Flamour Bime and prefect Mimoza Como.

    Rokanas expressed to the Albanian local government officials Greece's determination to constantly improve relations between the two countries and Athens' readiness to contribute effectively to Albania's European course.

    On their part, both the mayor and the prefect stressed the need to strengthen cooperation both between countries and at European Union level, as well as the Greek minority's considerable role in the region's overall stability and growth.

    Financial News

    [11] Unemployment climbs to 26pct in Sept 2012, Eurostat says

    BRUSSELS (AMNA/V.Demiris/M.Aroni)

    Unemployment in Greece rose to 26 percent in September 2012, posting a 0.7 percent rise over the preceding month of August and 7.1 percentage points year-on-year over September 2011, Eurostat said on Tuesday.

    According to Eurostat figures released in Brussels, Greece had the second highest unemployment rate in the 27-member European Union, after Spain with 26.6 percent. The lowest rates were in Austria (4.5 percent), Luxembourg (5.1 percent) and Germany (5.4 percent), while the average unemployment in the 17-member eurozone was 11.8 percent and 10.7 percent for the entire EU.

    According to the same figures, Greece had the highest unemployment rate among young people in the EU, with 57.6 percent, while unemployment among men was 22.9 percent and among women at 30.1 percent.

    European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Laszlo Andor opined that 2013 could be a turning point for Greece, after a presentation of the Commission report on employment and social developments in Europe in 2012.

    Asked to comment on the spiraling unemployment in Greece, particularly among young people, Andor acknowledged that the unemployment rate in Greece was much worse that the European average, adding that the most worrisome element was the momentum in unemployment, but noted that "unfortunately, Greece is not the only country in which a continuous rise in unemployment is observed".

    Because of the unemployment, the social situation in Greece has worsened, and consequently greater weight must be placed on social policy measures, Andor said.

    He underlined that Greece has made very significant steps towards streamlining its public finances which, combined with the efforts to boost investments and improve the use of resources from the structural funds, could turn 2013 into a turning point for Greece.

    [12] Interest rates on new loans down in November

    Greek banks' average interest rate on new deposits remained unchanged in November, while the corresponding rate on new loans decreased in the same month, with the spread between loans and deposits falling by 13 basis points to 2.84 pct, the Bank of Greece said on Tuesday.

    Specifically, the central bank said in a report that in November 2012 the average interest rates on overnight deposits from households and on deposits from non-financial corporations remained unchanged at 0.47 pct and 0.41 pct respectively. The average interest rate on deposits from households with an agreed maturity of up to 1 year decreased by 4 basis points to 4.60 pct. The overall average interest rate on all new deposits remained unchanged at 2.79 pct.

    In the case of loans, the average interest rate on consumer loans without a defined maturity remained unchanged in November 2012, at 14.80 pct, while the average interest rate on consumer loans with a defined maturity at a floating rate or with an initial rate fixation period of up to one year increased by 7 basis points to 8.11 pct.

    The average interest rate on corporate loans without a defined maturity remained unchanged at 7.49 pct, while the corresponding rate on loans to sole proprietors decreased slightly by 3 basis points to 10.05 pct. The average interest rate on corporate loans with a defined maturity at a floating rate or with an initial rate fixation period of up to one year decreased by 11 basis points to 7.39 pct for loans up to 250,000 euros, remained almost unchanged at 6.24 pct for loans above 250,000 euros and up to 1.0 million euros, and decreased by 8 basis points to 5.62 pct for loans above 1.0 million. Finally, the average interest rate on housing loans at a floating rate or with an initial fixation period of up to one year increased by 6 basis points to 2.94 pct. The average interest rate on all new loans to households and corporations in November 2012 decreased by 13 basis points to 5.63 pct. The decrease is, however, due to debt restructuring with a relatively low interest rate in the category of 'other loans to households'.

    In November 2012 the overall average interest rate on outstanding amounts of all deposits increased slightly, while the corresponding rate on all loans remained almost unchanged. As a result, the spread between loans and deposits decreased by 5 basis points to 2.94 percentage points. In particular, the average interest rates on outstanding amounts of deposits from households and on deposits from non-financial corporations with an agreed maturity of up to 2 years remained almost unchanged at 4.61 pct and 4.46 pct respectively. The average interest rate on outstanding amounts of loans with over five years' maturity remained basically unchanged at 3.22 pct for housing loans, at 4.68 pct for corporate loans and at 6.04 pctfor loans to sole proprietors. The overall average interest rate on all deposits (including overnight deposits) increased slightly by 3 basis points to 2.89 pct, while the corresponding rate on all loans remained basically unchanged at 5.83 pct.

    [13] National Bank unveils strategy for 2013, Eurobank merger

    Completion of a plan to create a new National Bank Group, successful conclusion of a bank recapitalization procedure and the offer of liquidity to the real economy are the three basic strategy priorities of National Bank's management this year, the bank's chief executive Alexandros Tourkolias said on Tuesday.

    Speaking to reporters, the Greek banker said the acquisition and merger plan with Eurobank will create a new bank with assets equaling the country's Gross Domestic Product. Tourkolias said the first stage of the merger process, a share swap, will be completed in February and will last between 5 and 7 weeks. After completion of the share swap process, Eurobank will become a subsidiary of National Bank and procedures will begin for completion of the legal merger of the two financial institutions - expected to be completed by mid-year. "It is a complex effort, facilitated by the strong will of the two banks to achieve this goal not only on an institutional level but on the operational integration," Tourkolias said.

    Commenting on a recapitalization plan, he said that National Bank focused its strategy on the creation of a armoured, fully restructured and international credible group, which will have easy access in international markets soon after the lifting of restrictive factors prevailing because of the country's fiscal situation.

    Tourkolias said that National Bank's priority was its active participation in economic development, the means to regaining real prosperity, while the new powerful group will become a pole of attracting new capital in the banking system.

    [14] National Bank, Eurobank asked for extension in Hellenic Postbank tender procedure

    National Bank and Eurobank have asked for an extension to the current deadline of January 11 to submit final binding offers in a tender to buy Hellenic Postbank, sources close to the two banks told AMNA.

    Under a government plan, Hellenic Postbank will be broken into a "good" and a "bad" part, as in the case of ATEbank, with the "good" part to be transferred to the bank with the best offer, while the "bad" bank will be put under liquidation.

    Four banks have already made non-binding offers so far: National Bank, Eurobank, Alpha Bank and Attica Bank. If the government does not give an extension, sources said, the National Bank was considering not submitting a binding offer as its priority was the successful completion of a public offer to acquire Eurobank. The same sources said that the integration of the two banks' branch networks will lead to a restructuring of the combined network by up to 25 oct. This restructuring will be accompanied by voluntary early retirement plans for their workforce.

    [15] Greece raises 2.6 bln euros from T-bills auction

    Greece on Tuesday successfully auctioned two Treasury bill issues raising 2.6 billion euros from the market at a slightly lower cost. The Public Debt Management Organization sold a four-week T-bill issue at an average yield of 3.95 pct, down from 3.99 pct of the previous auction of same securities, and a six-month T-bill issue at an average yield of 4.3 pct, down from 4.38 pct of the previous auction of same securities. The issue was 1.6 times oversubscribed.

    The organization also accepted non-competitive bids worth 600 million euros.

    [16] Shipping can help Greece exit the crisis, think-tank says

    The leading role of Greek shipping globally is an advantage Greece should use to help it exit the crisis, according to a report released Tuesday by the Foundation for Economic & Industrial Research (IOBE).

    In its special report, the think-tank said that Greek shipowners control more than 4,065 freighters, the majority of which are oceangoing vessels. Most Greek-owned vessels are registered under foreign flags, it said, and over 52 pct of shipping companies listed in the NYSE and NASDAQ are owned by Greek nationals. Water transport contributed over 4 pct of the Greek economy's gross value added, with the largest share held by oceangoing shipping. The sector is second to that of real estate in terms of value added per employee.

    IOBE warned that "An abrupt - and without due care - change of the taxation regime in the shipping sector may lead to reduction of the economic activity in the sector and across the economy, significant job losses and even lower net tax revenues," as maritime shipping contributed directly and indirectly more than ? 790 million of tax revenues in 2008, and it called for political and economic stability, the independence of the sector from the electoral cycle, and the adoption of a strategic development plan with a broad political and social support.

    [17] Trade deficit with Spain down 38.5pct in nine-month period

    Greece's trade balance deficit with Spain was reduced by 38.5 percent in the first nine months of 2012, according to figures from the Greek Embassy in Spain, which attributed the reduction exclusive to a 252.22 percent jump in Greek fuel minerals exports to Spain against the corresponding period in 2011, which represent 47.4 percent of overall Greek exports in the commodity.

    Spanish exports to Greece posted a 14.4 percent reduction in the same period, an Embassy document said.

    Greek exports to Spain also posted rises in the following categories: Measuring instruments (1,443 percent), plastic (22 percent), cereals (1,875 percent), processed fruits and vegetables (54.5 percent) and fresh fruits and vegetables (51.7 percent).

    Conversely, a decline was posted in the following Greek exports to Spain: fish (-19.6 percent), animal and vegetable fats (-47.6 percent), pharmaceuticals (29.6 percent), fertilizers (-72.8 percent), woven clothing (-39.2 percent), iron and steel (-21 percent), aluminum (-29.6 percent) and electrical machinery and equipment (-21.8 percent).

    [18] Business Briefs

    -- Cargo traffic rose significantly in the port of Piraeus in 2012, with container traffic up 27.5 pct compared with 2011 despite a deep economic crisis in the country, official figures showed on Tuesday.

    [19] Foreign investors cut participation in ASE capitatlization in Dec

    Foreign investors slightly cut their participation in the capitalization of the Athens Stock Exchange at the end of 2012 to 50.1 pct, from 50.9 pct a year earlier, while the market's capitalization jumped 29.24 pct in 2012 to 34.43 billion euros from 26.64 billion euros in 2011.

    Foreign investors cut their participation in the Greek market's capitalization to 50.1 pct in December from 51.4 pct in November, while Greek investors raised their participation to 48.3 pct from 47 pct over the same periods, respectively.

    Foreign investors were net buyers in December with capital inflows totaling 78.12 million euros, while Greek investors were net sellers with capital outflows totaling 80.97 million euros.

    The value of transactions totaled 967.47 million euros in December, down 31 pct from November, but up 62.1 pct from December 2011. Average daily turnover also fell in December to 53.75 million euros, from 63.72 million euros in November.

    The number of active investor codes fell to 30,076 in December, from 37,587 in November, but up from 24,675 in December 2011.

    [20] Greek stocks extend rally for sixth consecutive session

    Greek stocks extended their rally for the sixth consecutive session in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, pushing the composite index of the market closer to the 1,000 level. The index ended 1.14 pct higher at 980.25 points, off the day's highs of 992.34 points. The index is up 8.78 pct in the last six sessions. Turnover rose significantly to 84.182 million euros.

    The Big Cap index rose 1.04 pct and the Mid Cap index rose 0.89 pct. The Industrial Products (3.68 pct), Telecoms (2.52 pct) and Utilities (2.46 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Banks (0.21 pct), Food (0.20 pct) and Personal Products (0.13 pct) suffered losses.

    Viohalco (5.30 pct), Hellenic Exchanges (4.17 pct) and Intralot (4.02 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while MIG (2.22 pct), Cyprus Bank (1.83 pct) and Mytilineos (1.80 pct) were top losers.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 116 to 59 with another 24 issues unchanged. Hatzioannou (29.41 pct), Audiovisual (29.12 pct) and Alfa Grissin (19.71 pct) were top gainers, while Technical Publications (19.88 pct), Ippotour (19.81 pct) and Douros (19.67 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: +3.68%

    Commercial: +2.45%

    Construction: +1.65%

    Oil & Gas: +0.40%

    Personal & Household: -0.13%

    Raw Materials: +0.34%

    Travel & Leisure: +2.06%

    Technology: +0.58%

    Telecoms: +2.52%

    Banks: -0.21%

    Food & Beverages: -0.20%

    Health: +1.62%

    Utilities: +2.46%

    Financial Services: +0.51%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were OTE, OPAP, National Bank and PPC.

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

    Alpha Bank: 1.61

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 6.29

    HBC Coca Cola: 17.93

    Hellenic Petroleum: 8.09

    National Bank of Greece: 1.40

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.71

    OPAP: 5.90

    OTE: 5.70

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.37

    Titan: 15.12

    [21] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds eased slightly to 9.75 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, from 9.76 pct on Monday, with the Greek bond yielding 11.23 pct and the German Bund 1.48 pct. Turnover was a thin 1.0 million euros, one sell order.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were mixed. The 12-month rate was 0.55 pct, the nine-month rate eased to 0.43 pct, the six-month rate rose to 0.32 pct, the three-month rate was 0.19 pct and the one-month rate was 0.11 pct.

    [22] ADEX closing report

    The March contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 0.91 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover rising to 26.836 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 9,599 contracts worth 16.476 million euros, with 31,019 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 40,738 contracts worth 10.360 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Piraeus Bank's contracts (8,169), followed by National Bank (6,872), Alpha Bank (6,725), Cyprus Bank (1,532), MIG (3,460), OTE (3,547), PPC (2,171), OPAP (1,827), Mytilineos (574), Hellenic Petroleum (215), Sidenor (254), Eurobank (1,098), GEK (1,036), Metka (333), Ellaktor (912), Intralot (1,028) and Hellenic Exchanges (311).

    [23] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.328

    Pound sterling 0.826

    Danish kroner 7.572

    Swedish kroner 8.705

    Japanese yen 116.28

    Swiss franc 1.227

    Norwegian kroner 7.435

    Canadian dollar 1.309

    Australian dollar 1.265

    General News

    [24] Greece in grips of snow, sub-zero temperatures

    Greece was in the grips of snow and sub-zero temperatures, with heavy snowfall in northern and eastern Attica, leading to the closure of schools in Dionyssos, Palea Penteli and Nea Penteli, and snowflakes making their appearance even in downtown Athens on Tuesday.

    Several parts of the Attica suburban road network were closed, while snow chains were required for others. The upper part of Mt. Parnitha has been closed to traffic since Monday, while temperatures in Athens were not expected to exceed 5C.

    Due to the extreme cold, the City of Athens has opened up three municipal buildings on a 24-hour basis to provide shelter and warm beverages to the homeless, and has activated a four-digit hot-line, 1960.

    Piraeus municipality has taken similar precautions, opening up all its senior citizen centers (KAPI) to provide warmth and shelter.

    Meanwhile, northern Greece was facing snow and sub-zero temperatures for a second day. In western Macedonia, the thermometer fell to -6C in Florina and -5C in Kozani on Tuesday morning, while in central and eastern Macedonia the temperature dipped to -5C in Polygyros, -4C in Kilkis and -2C in Serres and Veria, and to zero in Thessaloniki.

    The biggest dive, however, was in Nevrokopi, where the temperature plunged to -10C early Tuesday.

    The freezing weather is expected to continue on Wednesday, while a gradual rise in temperatures will begin on Thursday.

    [25] Sharp, 'post-memorandum' increase in poverty

    An upsurge in the number of citizens in the country facing the risk of poverty, as well as a sharp increase in the unemployment rate have been recorded following Greece's subjection to the 'memorandum,' or the bailout loan contract.

    According to a survey by the Greek Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) on "living conditions in Greece", the percentage of citizens facing poverty conditions increased from 16.3 pct in 2010 (the year of accession to the memorandum) to 22.9 pct of the population in 2011.

    In addition, the survey sounds the alarm over the "explosive mixture" that may be created by poverty and unemployment, as the unemployment rate has skyrocketed from 7.6 percent in 2008 to 26 pct in September 2012.

    [26] Antiques, rare objects discovered in Piraeus City Hall

    Antique furniture and rare objects were accidentally uncovered in an unused and forgotten space on the 8th floor of the Piraeus City Hall building.

    The items are believed to have belonged to Piraeus benefactor Kriton Dilaveris and subsequently bequeathed to the municipality.

    Dilaveris, who was born in Piraeus in 1894 and died in 1972, bequeathed his entire fortune to the municipality. He had been elected as an MP for Piraeus in 1935, 1936 and 1946 and was married to Athena, the sister of the late Greek actress and tragedian Katina Paxinou.

    At a recent auction, the municipality sold Dilaveris' 1960 Mercedes 300 SL Roadster to a German entrepreneur for 400,000 euro, which money went to the re-landscaping of a park named after the benefactor.

    Piraeus Mayor Vassilis Michaloliakos pledged the finds will be showcased, just like "all the small and large 'treasures' of our city", adding that "we owe it to the memory of our great benefactor, we owe it to the historic continuity of our city".

    [27] Company manager arrested over 67 million illegal records on Greek citizens

    Over 67 million files and private records of Greek citizens were confiscated by the police during a raid at a company in Dafni, in the southeast area of greater Athens, and the company's 59-year-old general manager was arrested on Tuesday.

    Besides the general manager, who has a record of outstanding tax violations, the police are looking for the president and acting director, 31, and the head of the computer services, 35, on charges of violating personal data confidentiality.

    The records (names, addresses, phone numbers, tax ID numbers and information on assets) were compiled illegally from Finance Ministry and state agency files and sold to third parties. The case opened with an investigation by the financial fraud police, and led to a warrant by the prosecutor of the First Instance Court of Athens.

    [28] 5.9 earthquake shakes Limnos, Tenedos islands

    A strong earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale shook the islands of Limnos and Tenedos at 4:14 p.m. on Tuesday.

    The quake's epicentre was in the sea, at a depth of 29 kilometers, and 40 kilometres east-northeast of Limnos island.

    Geodynamic Institute professor Constantine Makropoulos told AMNA its intensity was normal for the area.

    Weather forecast

    [29] Cloudy on Wednesday

    Cloudy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday. Winds 3-7 beaufort.

    Temperatures between -5C and 12C. Cloudy with possible snow or sleet in Athens with northerly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures between -1C and 9C. Slightly cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures between -2C and 5C.

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

    AVGHI: "The omerta must be broken, justice must be attributed - SYRIZA tables motion for establishment of parliamentary preliminary investigation committee into possible penal ministerial accountability of Papaconstantinou (PASOK finance minister) and Venizelos (who succeeded Papaconstantinou as finance minister, and is now the PASOK party leader) over the handling of the Lagarde list".

    DIMOKRATIA: "Jail for debts (to state from taxes and surtaxes) of 1,000 euro".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Show of strength by Israel and Russia over our...heads".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The changes in transfers of professors".

    ELLADA: "Papaconstantinou fingers Venizelos".

    ESTIA: "Incomprehensible injustices in taxation".

    ETHNOS: "The tamperer of the Lagarde list left traces".

    IMERISSIA: "Strong interest in investments - PM Samaras' visit to Berlin".

    KATHIMERINI: "Perpetuating storm over the Lagarde list".

    LOGOS: "Referral of Venizelos (over Lagarde list) a cause of war".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Changes in transactions between businesses and tax bureau".

    NIKI: "Drop in commercial value benefits overindebted households, reducing their debt (to banks) by up to 58.9 percent".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Take measures to protect the people in light of the bad weather".

    TA NEA: "The memory stick (on which the original Lagarde list was copied) spoke - What its date of 'birth' shows".

    VRADYNI: "Public sector: How 15,000 civil servants will be 'moved' by June".

    6DAYS: "Head-on collision without mercy - Tabling of motion that includes Venizelos aggravates the war between SYRIZA and PASOK".

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