|Friday, 23 February 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-01-22
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 22 January 2013 Issue No: 4276
 Government determined to speed up privatisations, minister stressesPrime Minister Antonis Samaras on Monday chaired a broad government meeting focusing on the country's privatisations programme and the coordination of efforts between Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED) and the competent ministries.
Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis stressed that the prime minister is closely monitoring the progress of government work for privatizations.
"We want better coordination; we are interested in results and the production of measurable work," Hatzidakis noted.
The prime minister's orders include pushing ahead with the relevant procedures. An emphasis will most likely be placed on the state-run lottery and betting pools agency, OPAP, the Hellenic Public Gas Corp. S.A. (DEPA) and the Hellenic Gas Transmission System Operator (DESFA) considering that these cases are the most "mature".
Hatzidakis will be in Brussels on Tuesday for meetings that will focus on unblocking the construction of national motorway projects.
 PM to meet representatives of judges' associations; administrative court judges suspend mobilizationsPrime Minister Antonis Samaras will meet with representatives of all judges' unions at Maximos Mansion, the government headquarters, on Thursday, it was announced on Monday.
The meeting will be held at the request by the court judges' unions to discuss justice sector issues, including wage scale issues.
The administrative court judges, following the example of their colleagues in criminal and civil courts, have decided to temporarily suspend mobilizations launched on Sept. 17, 2012.
 Eurogroup approves 9.2-billion-euro loan tranche to GreeceBRUSSELS (AMNA - M. Spinthourakis)
The Council of euro zone Finance ministers on Monday evening approved the disbursement of January's bailout loan tranche to Greece, totalling 9.2 billion euros. Of these, the banking sector will receive 7.2 billion euros and the remaining 2 billion euros will go to state coffers.
According to sources, Eurogroup ascertained that Greece is okay in relation to the commitments undertaken and gave the 'green light' for the disbursement.
Discussion at the Council on Greece lasted a mere 10 minutes and had a rather typical nature, with the overall atmosphere being positive about Greece, the sources said.
 "Greece cannot withstand new measures," Venizelos saidThe first half of 2013 will be decisive for the country's course, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos stressed on Monday. The head of the second-largest party in Greece's coalition government, Venizelos had just emerged from a meeting with the development ministry's leadership where he suggested the adoption of a "crisis" National Strategic Reference Framework (ESPA).
After talks with Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, he referred to a recent IMF report and noted that "Greece's society and economy cannot withstand more fiscal measures."
He said, however, that "reports are not binding as opposed to the loan agreement," and added that there should be "no divergence from the fiscal goals. The battle should be fought on the front of finances and revenues as planned. We have the legislation and the mechanisms."
Venizelos underlined that "the monetary risk has been thwarted, while the threat the country was facing has been reduced and Greek citizens should feel that something is changing." He pointed to liquidity and employment as the two key goals and said that improving them required a more investment-friendly environment.
Referring to the major public works, he said that they should be unblocked, adding that the same should be done in the ship building sector in order for this to be salvaged. Venizelos called on the business sector to undertake initiatives and meet the demands of the times.
As regards the recent incidents of violence, he said that their "escalation is unjustified," adding that certain circles do not want Greece to change direction.
 Gov't spokesman: 'We are all terrorism's targets'"Democracy cannot be terrified," government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said on Monday, referring to the recent terror attacks while speaking to the private radio station ANT1.
Kedikoglou noted that terrorists were not only targeting politicians or journalists, as in the previous days, but that everyone was now "terrorism's target".
Moreover, commenting reports that linked the recent terror attacks with restoring legality in illegally occupied buildings, Kedikoglou stressed that it was "inconceivable to connect the application of the law with terror attacks."
"In every democracy, implementing the law is above all else and the government is determined to continue to the end," he added.
 SYRIZA objections delay announcement of Parliament preliminary investigation committeeObjections raised by main opposition 'Coalition of the Radical Left' (SYRIZA) on Monday delayed the announcement of the 15 MPs that will make up a Parliamentary preliminary investigation committee for former finance minister George Papaconstantinou, in relation to his handling of the so-called 'Lagarde list'.
SYRIZA has queried a decision to allot two places on the committee to MPs selected by PASOK - the second-largest party supporting the coalition government - when SYRIZA as main opposition will be alloted just three.
Main opposition MP Zoi Constantopoulou said her party wanted to see "Parliamentary procedure observed" and pointed out that on the basis of its relative strength in Parliament, PASOK could not be represented by two MPs on the committee.
The matter has been referred to Parliament President Evangelos Meimarakis, who promised that the issue will be discussed anew with the representatives of the political parties to find a compromise solution.
 Alternate Interior Minister on murder of Pakistani nationalAlternate Interior Minister Haralambos Athanassiou on Monday sternly condemned the recent murder of a 27 year-old Pakistani national in Athens in a written statement.
"It is mandatory to show zero tolerance to such attitudes and criminal actions, as well as to racist attack phenomena, in order to safeguard democratic normalcy, peaceful co-existence and the social cohesion," he said. He stressed that "the heinous murder of the 27 year-old immigrant in Athens was utterly condemnable, along with racist violence wherever this may derive from.
The victim was stabbed to death last Thursday in the Athens district of Petralona. Two Greek men, a 29-year-old fireman and a 25-year-old private employee, were arrested in connection with the incident and admitted during questioning that they had an argument with the victim when he blocked their way with his bicycle while they were riding a scooter. In the ensuing argument, one of the two men stabbed the Pakistani in the chest and killed him.
 Transport minister threatens civil conscription for striking metro workersDevelopment, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Kostis Hatzidakis on Monday said he was considering a civil conscription order that would force striking metro, electric railway (ISAP) and tram staff to go back to work.
The minister also hinted that the ongoing strike action, now in its fifth day, did not comply with laws for calling strikes and that the workers were holding "dummy strikes" in which they were paid and did not work.
"There are limits and terms for strikes that I fear have been trampled on," the minister said.
Hatzidakis accused workers of using various methods, such as taking regular leave during strikes, and interfering with the metro system control centre. He presented figures showing that 33 percent of the workforce went on strike on January 17, the first day of the strike, rising to 48 percent of metro staff, 44 percent of ISAP staff and just 3.94 percent of tram staff on January 18. Participation dropped off to 16 percent of Saturday and 14 percent on Sunday, he added.
The management of the fixed-rail services operator STASY has resorted to the courts to have the strikes declared illegal, with a court ruling expected later on Monday evening.
 Electric railway, Athens Metro and tram mobilisations ruled illegalAn Athens court on Monday evening ruled illegal the labour mobilisations announced by unions on Monday and Tuesday in Athens' fixed-rail public transport system - the ISAP electric railway, tram and Athens Metro.
The board of STASY S.A. called on all employees to respect legality, take into account the inconvenience experienced by the citizens, as well as the repercussions on the city's economic life, and return to their work.
 PACE deputies object to accreditation Greek & Hungarian ultra-right MPsSTRASBOURG (AMNA / N. Roussis)
At least ten deputies from five national parliamentary delegations in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) have voiced objections to the accreditation of Greek ultra-right Chryssi Avgi (Golden Dawn) MP Eleni Zaroulia and Hungarian MP Tamas Gaudi-Nagy, on grounds that both belong to racist political parties.
Citing articles in the international body's founding charter and rules of procedure, Italian Democratic Party MP Fiamma Nirenstein rejected their accreditation, stressing that both belong to racist and anti-Semitic political parties and that this conflicts with CoE ideals and principles.
The issue will be examined by the PACE Institutional Affairs Committee, which will decide whether or not to ratify their accreditation. It could also choose to remove certain of their parliamentary rights in their participation or representation in PACE proceedings or institutional bodies.
If the committee recommends that their accreditation be refused or in any way restricted, the PACE plenum will be called to make a final decision on the issue by the end of the week.
 Former Diotis aide given extra days to prepare testimonyA woman lawyer that worked as an aide to former financial crimes squad (SDOE) chief Ioannis Diotis appeared before the two financial prosecutors investigating the Lagarde list case on Monday, summoned to answer charges of assisting in the alteration of an official document. The woman asked for and received a few extra days to prepare her testimony.
Diotis had named her as the person that he enlished to help him copy a USB flash drive containing the Lagarde list and that, on his orders, she had then deleted the copy she made.
Following her testimony, the two prosecutors are to decide whether they will summon additional witnesses or wrap up their investigation of the non-politicians involved in the case.
 Finance ministry issues circular on justifying origin of sums sent abroadThe finance ministry on Monday issued instructions to all tax offices and relevant government services on the ways in which tax-payers can account for sums deposited in banks abroad, in the cases where there is an apparent discrepancy between their declared income and savings.
The tax-payers in question have already been invited by the General Secretariat for Information Systems to justify these discrepancies or submit additional tax statements. If they fail to do so, they will be taxed at a rate of 45 percent on the sums that cannot be accounted for.
The ministry noted that the tax payers involved can use the TAXIS net system to declare the existence of capital from previous years that might account for the discrepancy between their deposits and declared income. If the sums cannot be accounted for, the tax payer will then have to submit an additional tax statements with full supporting documentation, including any other individuals to whom the sums may belong and previous tax statements dating back to 2004.
 Registered unemployment up 9.16 pct in DecRegistered unemployment grew 9.16 pct in December 2012, compared with the same month in 2011, and by 1.44 pct from November 2012, the Workforce Employment Organization (OAED) said on Monday.
In a report, OAED said that the number of registered unemployed people totaled 797,578 in December, with the Southern Aegean region recording the highest percentage increase (11.89 pct) in the month. The percentage of unemployed men was 42.28 pct (337,242) in December with unemployed women totaling 460,336 (57.72 pct). Long-term unemployment was 42.27 pct (337,100), while people seeking jobs in the Attica region accounted for 36.5 pct of total unemployment, followed by Central Macedonia with 19.53 pct.
Unemployed people receiving unemployment benefit rose to 234,455 in December, up 9.27 pct from November, although it was slightly down compared with December 2011.
Unemployed people in the 30-54 age group accounted for 64.24 pct of all unemployed, the below-30 age group accounted for 25.56 pct and the over-55 age group accounted for 10.21 pct.
New hirings totaled 49,494 in December, up 10.98 pct from December 2011, but down 27.07 pct from November 2012, while dismissals totaled 51,751, down 1.01 pct from December 2011 and down 36.26 pct from November 2012.
 Budget revenues up in first three weeks of JanuaryA reduction in heating oil consumption not only reduced state revenues but a 20 pct increase in budget revenues was recorded in the first 20 days of January, compared with the same period last year, Finance Alternate Minister Christos Staikouras said on Monday.
Speaking in parliament, the minister said that revenues from heating oil sales totaled 44.5 million euros in the first 20 days of January, up from 37.1 million euros in January 2012, reflecting a sharp increase in a special fuel consumption tax, as heating oil sales plunged more than 80 pct in the same period.
Revenues from heating oil totaled 38.9 million euros in the first 20 days of January, down 30 pct from the same period last year. Staikouras said a government plan to equating heating and diesel oil taxes resulted to only a small deviation from budget targets. "We set a goal of 1.34 billion euros and we collected 1.266 billion euros," he said.
 Mousouroulis sets cruise industry as main priorityFurther development of the cruise industry with high quality port services is among the government's main priorities, minister of Merchant Marine and Aegean, Kostis Mousou-roulis, told a special event on Monday held onboard Louis Cristal cruiser in the port Piraeus, on the occasion of the annual general meeting of the Association of Cruise Ship Owners.
Greek ports need to be viewed on a strategic basis, while their development should be carried out on the basis of a modern and sustainable operating model that will contribute to boosting employment, Mousouroulis said.
President of the Association, Theodoros Kontes, stressed the government needs to push ahead with the necessary arrangements and measures to support the industry in order to set the right conditions for competition and simplify bureaucracy. This, he said, would provide incentives for cruisers to return to the National Naval Registry.??
 GSEE expresses support for Shipyards employeesThe General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) on Monday expressed support to the industrial action taken by employees at the shipyards, who will be starting 24-hour rolling strikes as of Tuesday.
GSEE issued a statement calling on the government to take the necessary initiatives to resolve problems the employees are facing, as they have been unpaid over the past six months.
A solution needs to be found that would guarantee the viability of the Elefsina Shipyards and the Shipbuilding and repairs Sector in general viable, GSEE said.
 Business Briefs-- The Bank of Greece on Monday reported a spectacular increase in its 2012 profits to 318.6 million euros, from 96.6 million euros in 2011 and said it planned to pay a dividend of 0.672 euros per share to shareholders, down from 0.837 euros in 2011.
 Greek stocks edge higher on MondayGreek stocks edged higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, as buying interest for blue chip stocks, such as PPC, OPAP, MIG, Hellenic Petroleum and Coca Cola Hellenic was counterbalanced by continued selling pressure on bank shares.
The composite index of the market rose 0.18 pct to end at 975.67 points, off the day's highs of 990.98 points. Turnover was a moderate 66.222 million euros. The Big Cap index eased 0.38 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 0.13 pct higher. The Utilities (4.38 pct), Personal Products (2.42 pct) and Financial Services (1.83 pct) sectors scored gains, while Banks (5.39 pct) and Telecoms (1.83 pct) suffered losses.
PPC (5.71 pct), Jumbo (2.89 pct), MIG (2.60 pct) and Hellenic Petroleum (1.83 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Eurobank (6.86 pct), National Bank (6.67 pct), Piraeus Bank (6.55 pct) and Alpha Bank (4.92 pct) were top losers.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 84 to 77 with another 23 issues unchanged. Levenderis (29.48 pct), Logismos (23.49 pct) and Technical Publications (19.42 pct) were top gainers, while Progressive (23.33 pct), Spider (19.51 pct) and AAA (16.99 pct) were top losers.
 ADEX closing reportThe March contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 1.42 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover remaining a low 15.702 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 2,451 contracts worth 4.074 million euros, with 35,338 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 56,647 contracts worth 11.628 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (16,254), followed by National Bank (8,390), Piraeus Bank (9,333), Cyprus Bank (2,142), Eurobank (1,249), MIG (5,538), OTE (2,989), PPC (3,270), OPAP (3,118), Intralot (757), Hellenic Exchanges (362), Mytilineos (515), GEK (865), Sidenor (230) and Cyprus Popular Bank (295).
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +0.22%
Personal & Household: +2.42%
Raw Materials: -0.59%
Travel & Leisure: +1.19%
Food & Beverages: +1.35%
Financial Services: +1.83%
The stocks with the highest turnover were Alpha Bank, National Bank, OPAP and OTE.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 1.16
Public Power Corp (PPC): 7.78
HBC Coca Cola: 17.60
Hellenic Petroleum: 8.35
National Bank of Greece: 1.12
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.60
Bank of Piraeus: 0.27
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank further to 9.34 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, from 9.63 pct on Friday, with the Greek bond yielding 10.93 pct and the German Bund 1.59 pct. Turnover totaled 4.0 million euros, all buy orders.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 0.58 pct, the six-month rate was 0.35 pct, the three-month rate was 0.20 pct and the one-month rate was 0.11 pct.
 Foreign Exchange rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.352
Pound sterling 0.851
Danish kroner 7.575
Swedish kroner 8.824
Japanese yen 121.16
Swiss franc 1.260
Norwegian kroner 7.555
Canadian dollar 1.342
Australian dollar 1.285
 Security cameras point to four suspects in mall terror strikeFour individuals whose faces cannot be clearly made out have been identified as the key suspects for the weekend terror strike at a shopping mall in the Athens suburb of Maroussi, based on witness accounts and footage from security cameras within the building and in the nearby train station Neratziotissa, police said on Monday.
Officers investigating Sunday morning's bomb blast at "The Mall" said the four are believed to have set the bomb that later went off on the mall's first floor but they cannot be readily identified because they were wearing hoods and baseball caps that concealed their features. Comparisons of their body type with that of individuals recorded in previous terror strikes indicate similarities that point to their being the same people, however. Police believed it likely that others were also involved in the terror strike, estimating their number between six and eight people.
They noted that the way the bomb was put together - using gelignite and a small quantity of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil (ANFO), two on-off switches and batteries in a cooking pot - was reminiscent of the terror group 'Conspiracy of Cells of Fire' but they did not rule out the possibility that an organisation under a different name would claim responsibility for the hit.
They are also seeking connections between this attack and that on the headquarters of the New Democracy party on Syggrou Avenue, though they consider it likely that the two attacks are by different groups acting simultaneously.
The bomb went off at 10:50 on Sunday morning at "The Mall Athens" shopping centre, lightly injuring two security guards who had been evacuating the public. It has been preceded by a warning telephone call to the newspaper Eleftherotypia at 9:55 a.m.
 Exhibition showcases the evolution of Thessaloniki seen through its architectureAn exhibition titled "Thessaloniki 100+ Architecture and City - Modernizations and Adaptations" is running at the Thessaloniki Concert Hall through January 31, showcasing the city's and its architecture's evolution over the past century that radically altered the urban landscape.
Thessaloniki, spanning a long historical lifetime, balances between East and West and develops its character through its geographic position at the intersection of sea and land networks and meeting points of historical civilizations and ethnicities. The uninterrupted urban functions and the Balkan hinterland constitute the main differentiation parameters making Thessaloniki unique among Greek cities, according to the organizers.
The exhibition presents the late and contemporary architecture heritage of Thessaloniki, while investigating its lifelong, multiple identities through the current city image. The main concept involves the highlighting of progressive trends that have been applied in successive transition phases towards the contemporary reality. The modernization and its adaptation to local idiosyncrasies are presented in a comprehensive manner both for laymen and specialized visitors. The exhibition aims at the creation of an architectural promenade through the actual city, while sections through time and space offer the possibility of discovering unknown perspectives of the contemporary city.
Featuring architectural projects and urban interventions of critical importance and global impact, the show focuses on the stratigraphy of the place and the way the implementations of the projects have shaped the contemporary image of the city.
Presented in a chronological order, the main units of the exhibition cover the primary ottoman modernization (before 1912), the interwar radical urban reconstruction, the postwar/cold war modernization and the contemporary architectural and urban diffuse. The visitors' itinerary is linear while the inner organization of each unit is multifocal.
The exhibition is organized by the Technical Chamber of Greece/ Sector of Central Macedonia, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) School of Architecture at the Faculty of Engineering and the AUTH Interuniversity Postgraduate Programme of Museology, in collaboration with the Municipality of Thessaloniki and Thessaloniki's Concert Hall Organization. Chief curator of the exhibition is Prof. Nikos Kalogirou, AUTH Department of Architecture.
 Greece announces finalists for Eurovision entryThe Greek state broadcaster ERT and the private television channel MAD TV on Monday announced the names of the artists who will compete in the Greek national final for the selection of the act that will represent the country in the upcoming 58th Eurovision Song Contest in Malmo, Sweden.
The four participants are Thomai Apergi, Angeliki Iliadi, Alex Leon feat. Giorgina and Koza Mostra feat. Agathonas Iakovidis.
A formal presentation of the four participants and their songs will take place at a special event in the first week of February.
The Greek final will be held in mid February and will be broadcast live on ERT.
 Athens Metro not running on TuesdayThe Athens Metro will not be running on Tuesday as employees decided on Monday to extend their strike for antother 24 hours, despite their industrial action being rulled illegal by an Athens court.
In addition, employees of the blue buses and trolleys will be holding a work stoppage from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., while the electric railway and tram will be out of serivce between 12 noon to 4 p.m.
Public transport unions (STASY, OSY, OSE) to determine their further stance during a joint meeting on Tuseday at 11 a.m. at the offices at of the Panhellenic Railway Federation.
 Hunter found fatally injured on RhodesA 49 year-old hunter was found on Sunday fatally injured, shot in the legs, in a remote area on Rhodes island.
The man had gone hunting with two more persons from Archipolis village.
Police are conducting an investigation into the circumstances of the incident.
 State of alert in Evros as fears of flooding mountThe Evros River region was placed in a state of emergency on Monday as the water level was constantly rising in the riverbed on the Greek side due to inflow of waters from Bulgaria and Turkey posing a high risk of overflowing and flooding. Large volumes of water entered into the river which swollen by the intense rainfalls in southern Bulgaria, Turkey and Evros region over the last few days.
The directorate issued an urgent warning to the residents of the area to immediately remove agricultural equipment, livestock and personal goods from the danger zones, to stay away from the embankments and to avoid being alone on farms.
 Investigation ordered into death of female inmateAn initial disciplinary investigation was ordered on Monday into the circumstances of the death of a young female inmate at the women's Elaionas prison, Thiva, to be carried out by a public prosecutor.
The inmate, serving a 6-year term on violation of the narcotics law, was having certain health problems, as she suffered from lung disease. Her body has already been transferred to the Athens Forensic Service to ascertain the cause of death.
 Packages with 80kg of cannabis located on CorfuTwenty one packages containing 80 kilos of cannabis were located at Dassia beach on Corfu by a Narcotics squad patrol on Sunday.
An investigation by Corfu Narcotics Squad is underway
 Super League resultLevadiakos Livadia beat Veria 2-1 away in a Super League game played on Monday evening.
Standings after 18 weeks of play:
1. Olympiacos 48
2. PAOK 35
3. Asteras 34
4. Atromitos 32
5. Levadiakos 27
6. PAS Yiannina 23
7. OFI 23
8. Panionios 22
9. Panthrakikos 22
10. Panathinaikos 22
11. Xanthi 19
12. Platanias 18
13. Aris 17
14. Veria 16
15. AEK 16
16. Kerkyra 13
NOTE: Panathinaikos has had two points deducted.
 Rainy on TuesdayRainy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday. Winds 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures between 1C and 18C. Cloudy in Athens with southerly 4-5 beaufort winds and temperatures between 8C and 17C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 3C and 14C.
 The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceEFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: "Explosive escalation".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "SIEMENS again on the train".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Blind attack against normality".
ESTIA: "Electronic record of assets and liabilities".
ETHNOS: "Murderous attack targeting stability".
IMERISSIA: "European Central Bank's halt to new banks".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Battle against tax evasion with European 'hunters' ".
TA NEA: "New terror, old materials -Bomb at "The Mall" points at 'Cells of Fire' ".
VRADYNI: "Property titles the solution for illegal buildings".
6 DAYS: "Blind violence returned".
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