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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-01-14

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 14 January 2013 Issue No: 4269


  • [01] PM: No relaxation, danger of relapse lurking
  • [02] Tsipras adresses Die Linke party event in Berlin
  • [03] Neoliberal policy of austerity dangerous, Tsipras tells Berlin meeting
  • [04] Tsipras interview to Deutsche Welle
  • [05] Fiscal policy bill passes committee vote, heads for plenary session
  • [06] Opposition parties walk out at fiscal bill introduction
  • [07] Government and parties condemn arson attack on Kedikoglou home and office
  • [08] ND, PASOK offices sustain slight damages from attacks
  • [09] PPC rates increase as of this month, gov't announces
  • [10] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday
  • [11] Young female terror suspect to testify this coming week
  • [12] Three migrants' bodies found on Chios island beaches
  • [13] Wild boar fatally injures hunter
  • [14] 4.9R quake NE of Limnos island
  • [15] Super League results
  • [16] Overcast on Monday
  • [17] The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM: No relaxation, danger of relapse lurking

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras called for a wider alliance among political parties and figures in order the reforms policy to be supported, in an interview with Sunday newsparer "To Vima".

    "We are open to everyone" said Samaras who warned that the difficulties are ahead of us and clarified that we have "survived the 'drachmophobia' ". Samaras also stressed that there must be no relaxation of the effort because the danger of relapse is lurking.

    The premier noted that the "changes can already been seen, other small and other larger" adding that the government has met its targets regarding the reduction of the debt .

    [02] Tsipras adresses Die Linke party event in Berlin

    BERLIN (AMNA/F.Karaviti)

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras said here on Sunday that his party was "ready more than ever" to support the Greek people in their "struggle for a big and democratic political change" in the country.

    Addressing an event organised by Germany's Left Party (Die Linke) at the Volksbuehne Theatre, Tsipras charged that the Antonis Samaras coalition government was trying to save PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos in "the scandal of providing immunity to tax evasion", as he called it, while claiming that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Venizelos "are trying to turn the focus away from austerity's bankruptcy and tax raids on the weak towards a strategy of tension and division which opens the road to the strengthening of the extreme right forces in Greece, of the neo-Nazis of the Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) party."

    Tsipras was referring to the leader of PASOK, a junior partner in Greece's coalition government, who was finance minister in two governments.

    "We want to change Greece and we are the only ones that can achieve it. Because we are not those who shaped the past, and because we are not bound by the economic oligarchy which aims at preserving its privileges," the SYRIZA leader added. Referring to tax evasion in the country, Tsipras said that "it is not the exemption but the rule of a system of kleptocracy that led to bankruptcy."

    Referring to the 'Lagarde list' issue, Tsipras said that the list was not "concealed by corrupt Greek political personnel by accident" and neither did the "European leadership allow, without checks and controls, the Greek political leadership to protect its elect people by accident."

    The SYRIZA leader also reiterated his party's proposal for the holding of a European Conference on the Debt, like the 1953 London Conference on the German debt, aiming at "resolving definitely and collectively, the Eurozone debt crisis."

    He accused German Chancellor Angela Merkel of having "imposed in Greece and the entire European south the failed and disastrous austerity policy which, through the recession it creates, has rendered Greece's public debt non sustainable."

    Die Linke chairman Bernd Riexinger, together with co-chairman Katja Kipping, handed over to Tsipras a cheque of 40,000 euros in the framework of the "Solidarity for All" programme. Party founder and former German finance minister Oskar Lafontaine also addressed the event, expressing his solidarity to Greece and denouncing the German chancellor's policies.

    [03] Neoliberal policy of austerity dangerous, Tsipras tells Berlin meeting

    BERLIN (AMNA/F. Karaviti)

    The neoliberal policy of austerity currently in use is dangerous both to Greece and all of Europe, Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras said, at the European Left party's Executive Committee meeting on Saturday.

    Tsipras spoke of a "dead-end program" and of Greece serving as an experimental case, adding that the restructuring of the debt was "a shaving of the Greek people, not of banks."

    "The greatest problem in Greece is people's disappointment," he said, explaining that Greeks felt hopeless "over exiting the catastrophic program in the near future." National elections and the voting in Parliament on austerity measures did not succeed in overturning this policy, while the measures went through by slight majority.

    On Sunday, the SYRIZA leader will be meeting with party leaders, and on Monday he will be meeting with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, among others.

    [04] Tsipras interview to Deutsche Welle

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras, in an interview to Deutsche Welle radio on Sunday, focused on his expected meeting with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble on Monday and on SYRIZA's relations with the German government.

    "First of all, I do not usually meet only people I agree with," Tsipras said. "Secondly, I always hope, when talking with people, that I can convince them to change opinion." The SYRIZA leader, in Berlin to attend a conference of the Left, said that "it is necessary for there to be a normalisation of relations" between the main opposition of Greece and Germany's government, which is playing "a decisive role in European and Greek developments."

    He also said, "Tomorrow, it may be SYRIZA that governs Greece. The German side is aware of this. We cannot begin from a zero base. First of all we must see if there is a field to negotiate in. Therefore, the last thing I am interested in in these meetings is the image, the public relations impact. What I am interested in is the true political essence; in other words, trying to convince the person I speak with and the German government that it is necessary to change policy and maintain the eurozone, and, of course, Greece within it."

    Commenting on Tsipras' interview, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou criticised the SYRIZA leader's "Ovid-like transformations" and "his party's mutation" into a party with a double facet, one for Greece and another for abroad.

    Noting that the SYRIZA leader "is begging in his interview for a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel," Kedikoglou wondered if it is the same person who a few months ago was rallying against the chancellor's visit to Greece, calling her a persona non grata.

    "Today he declares that he wants 'the eurozone maintained, and, of course, Greece within it.' Is this the same person, or simply a person with the same name as someone who a few months ago was stating that the euro is not a fetish?" Kedikoglou asked.

    [05] Fiscal policy bill passes committee vote, heads for plenary session

    The fiscal policy draft bill made it through the Parliament's economics committee by majority vote on Saturday, and will be presented to the plenary session for final voting on Monday. The Independent Greeks, the only opposition party not to walk out, voted against the bill.

    Deputy Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said the measures provide a comprehensive and cohesive network of fiscal rules and practices that will contribute to bringing order to state finances. In his speech to the committee, he placed particular emphasis on the the issue of debt repurchasing, saying that the bill includes "a series of important regulations that have proved to be necessary for the continuation of the financial inflow by the support mechanism and the release of the loan tranche."

    He mentioned among others that a debt repurchase of 31.9 billion euros at an average 33 pct on the bond's face value meant the debt was reduced by 21.1 billion euros, bringing the remaining debt within the parameters set by the IMF in order for the debt to qualify as viable. "Because of the repurchase, the IMF is continuing its funding of the Greek program," he said.

    Staikouras added that the return on treasury bills dropped from the 15-17 pct interest before the repurchase to 9-10 pct now, shortening the time Greece will need to return to the markets again, and making investments in the real economy more attractive, either through privatization or direct investments.

    [06] Opposition parties walk out at fiscal bill introduction

    A bill on fiscal management was introduced to parliamentary committees on Saturday under heavy criticism from the opposition for being tabled under emergency procedures.

    The bill is expected to be approved on Saturday and put to vote at Monday's plenary session. It follows on the footsteps of the new tax law, which was also introduced under emergency procedures and passed in the early hours of Saturday.

    Opposition parties accused the government of abusing the usual parliamentary procedures and walked out, with the exception of the Independent Greeks party, which also accused the government of "a coup-like act that dissolves democracy" but decided to remain to prevent a unanimous vote.

    Justifying the procedure, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said the measures included were required before Greece could receive in January the recently approved loan tranche and had to be passed before the Euroworking group met on Monday. He also said the bill was not entirely new, since it incorporated measures already existing and published in the Government Gazette.

    [07] Government and parties condemn arson attack on Kedikoglou home and office

    Condemning the arson attack on the building housing his brother's house and office, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said on Sunday that "The the only thing supporters of violence achieve by targeting relatives and young children is to make us more determined."

    The fire-bombing incident occurred in downtown Athens late on Saturday evening, while Kedikoglou's brother, his wife and their 3-year-old child were home. Reported damages were minor in the building, which also houses his office.

    "All political parties must unequivocally and without exceptions condemn the attempt of diffusing terror in our society," the spokesman said. "Democracy cannot be terrorised."

    Parties "must abandon the foolish and dangerous tactic of turning directly against democracy," Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) said on Sunday, responding to the attack, and warned that "all political powers must put aside all efforts to exploit [the event] politically and to realise that democracy is in danger."

    In its announcement, main opposition SYRIZA said that "the concerted operation of violence and terror we are seeing the last few days is entirely condemnable, incompatible with the values and goals of the Left and the popular movement, and we oppose it."

    The statement concluded, "Unfortunately, the government and New Democracy are rushing to turn to political advantage the acts of blind violence to draw temporary political benefits over SYRIZA-EKM."

    Responding to SYRIZA, Kedikoglou said the party should "recognise the very serious responsibility it has with its rhetoric over 'good' and 'understandable' political violence, the threats of lynching its opponents and its theories of molotov cocktails and home-made crowbars. Let the people judge."

    All parties should unanimously condemn the new bombing attacks, ruling New Democracy said, adding that "the attempt to terrorise the parties is falling in a void."

    "What has also registered is that SYRIZA's targeting of press representatives was followed by bombing attacks against journalists; when it targeted New Democracy, hooded individuals targeted the party's offices; and from the moment he branded the government spokesman another Goebbels and his announcements those of an informant, it was the turn of a relative of (Kedikoglou) to be cowardly attacked," it said.

    In condemning the attack, coalition partner PASOK warned "whoever is playing with fire that the conflagration will extend to all directions."

    "It is urgently necessary for all social and political powers to create an unbreakable front of absolute and explicit condemnation of any form of violence," the party said, "by actions, not just words, with crystal-clear stances and without footnotes or minced words." It added that during these difficult times for Greece and its people, "establishing a climate of security and calmness is the uppermost duty."

    Condemning the attacks and "all violence," coalition partner DI.MAR. said the acts "traumatise democratic normalcy and threaten society."

    In its announcement condemning the attack, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said that the violent acts against politicians and party offices "offer useful services to those who want to disorient and terrorise the people, activate suppression mechanisms against the labour and popular movement."

    The KKE warned workers and the population "not to be trapped in the artificially heightened bipartisan-style confrontation, but focus on organising the struggle to deflect the barbaric antipopular measures," it added.

    [08] ND, PASOK offices sustain slight damages from attacks

    Party branch offices of New Democracy and PASOK and Eurobank ATMs were slightly damaged early on Saturday from attacks.

    ND branches in Argyroupoli, Glyfada and Kypseli were fire-bombed, while the PASOK branch offices in Glyfada were hit by bricks. Two ATMs belonging to Eurobank were also fire-bombed in Kaisariani. No further information was available as of Saturday afternoon.

    ND condemned all attacks on party offices at any time, which it said were acts "directly aimed against democracy itself and political normalcy." It added that "Nightwalkers should know they are scaring and terrifying no one; they are condemned by all Greeks. All political powers should universally condemn them - including SYRIZA, which has not done so until now."

    Financial News

    [09] PPC rates increase as of this month, gov't announces

    Public Power Organisation (PPC) household rates rose by 8.6-9.2 pct as of January 1, the Environment, Climate Change and Energy Ministry announced on Sunday.

    Industry and commercial rates have been raised by 10-12 pct.

    Moreover, the announcement said that further increases on PPC bills may be applied in the first six months of 2013, ahead of the rates' deregulation going into effect from June 1.

    As of January 1, a Renewable Energy Sources tax of 9 pct has been added to PPC bills.

    [10] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.347

    Pound sterling 0.835

    Danish kroner 7.573

    Swedish kroner 8.754

    Japanese yen 119.95

    Swiss franc 1.233

    Norwegian kroner 7.459

    Canadian dollar 1.325

    Australian dollar 1.274

    General News

    [11] Young female terror suspect to testify this coming week

    A 25-year-old woman arrested in Athens on Friday over charges of belonging to the "Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire" terrorist group got an extension to this coming week to testify before a prosecutor. She is the second person, following a 29-year-old man, to be arrested over the same case. Both were traced through DNA samples left on an ammunition cache in the Zografou suburb of Athens.

    [12] Three migrants' bodies found on Chios island beaches

    The bodies of three illegal migrants were found on Chios island beaches on Sunday.

    Two of the bodies were found at 9 a.m. by fishermen on Kato Fanoi and Karinda beaches, and the third at 2 p.m. by Coast Guard officers at Vroulidia beach at 2 noon.

    Preliminary reports following post-mortems attributed the deaths to drowning.

    [13] Wild boar fatally injures hunter

    A 63-year-old hunter was fatally injured on Sunday when he was attacked by a wild boar.

    The victim had gone hunting with another 10 people in Milies village on Mt. Pilio, central Greece, when a wild boar attacked him and injured him seriously on the legs.

    The hunter died in the ambulance while being transported to the hospital.

    Police are conducting an investigation into the circumstances of the hunter's fatal injury.

    [14] 4.9R quake NE of Limnos island

    A light earthquake measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale was recorded at 10:55 on Sunday in the sea area northeast of the Aegean island of Limnos.

    This is the third quake over 4.5R recorded in the area in the last five days.

    According to Thessaloniki Aristotelion University Seismology laboratory the depth of the quakes are estimated between 5-15 km.


    [15] Super League results

    Olympiacos Piraeus beat Levadiakos 1-0 away, in games played for the Super League over the weekend, and retained its lead in the Greek soccer standings.

    In other action:

    AEK - Xanthi 1-0

    Panthrakikos Komotini - Platanias Crete 1-1

    PAS Yiannina - Panathinaikos 0-0

    Panionios Athens - Veria 1-1

    OFI Crete - Aris Thessaloniki 2-0

    PAOK Thessaloniki - Atromitos Athens 0-0

    Kerkyra - Asteras Tripoli - 14/1/2013

    Standings after 17 weeks of play:

    1. Olympiacos 45

    2. PAOK 35

    3. Atromitos 29

    4. Asteras 28 (16 games)

    5. Levadiakos 24

    6. PAS Yiannina 23

    7. Panionios 22

    8. Panthrakikos 21

    9. Panathinaikos 21

    10. OFI 20

    11. Platanias 18

    12 Xanthi 18

    13. Aris 16

    14. Veria 16

    15. AEK 15

    16. Kerkyra 12 (16 games)

    NOTE: Panathinaikos has had two points deducted.

    Weather forecast

    [16] Overcast on Monday

    Generally overcast, with rain expected in the north and eastern Aegean Islands, and thunderstorms in the northwest, including the northern Ionian Sea. Mostly southerly winds, 3 to 5 Beaufort, rising to 7 and higher late in the day at the Ionian Sea. Temperatures ranging in the single digits (-1C in the north), to 18C in most of Greece except Macedonia (10C). In Athens, overcast with southerly winds 4 to 5 Beaufort. Temperatures from 5C to 17C. In Thessaloniki, overcast with rain possible, southerly winds 3 to 4 Beaufort and temperatures ranging from 2C to 12C.

    [17] The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    AVGHI: "Crippled democracy with poverty, collusion and authoritarianism".

    EPOCHI: "Strategy of tension and trade of hope".

    ETHNOS: "105 mayors being investigated for financial scandals".

    KATHIMERINI: ?Justice 'Rambos' against the political corruption".

    KERDOS: "The 'privatisation' of taxes".

    LOGOS: "Tax storm on salary earners and pensioners".

    Realnews: ?This is how former Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou buried the "Lagarde list" ".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Government imposes measures that devastate the people for the recovery of profits ".

    TO ARTHRO: "SYRIZA in state of panic".

    TO VIMA: "Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' interview: No relaxation because there is danger of a relapse".

    TYPOS: " 'Lagarde list' cd's secret delivery"

    VRADYNI: "Who are eligible for unemployment benefit".

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