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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-01-28

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 28 January 2013 Issue No: 4281


  • [01] Economic programme leading to recovery, IMF's Thomsen says
  • [02] IMF's Thomsen on tax evasion, salary cuts
  • [03] Toughest part of austerity programme still ahead, ECB's Asmussen says
  • [04] DIMAR leader: No more cutbacks in salaries and pensions
  • [05] Two new opinion polls see ND lead
  • [06] Education minister to present 'Athena' plan to KKE leader
  • [07] Council of State rejects claim by Athens Metro employees
  • [08] PAME protest rally in Athens
  • [09] KKE deputy's house broken into, car stolen
  • [10] One of two Greeks unable to pay real estate taxes
  • [11] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday
  • [12] Industrial Gas Museum opens in Athens
  • [13] Remembering Thessaloniki's Jews
  • [14] Buses and trolleys extend strike through Tuesday
  • [15] Two arrested in Kallithea over drug possession
  • [16] Super League results
  • [17] Cloudy on Monday
  • [18] Athens Press Review Politics

  • [01] Economic programme leading to recovery, IMF's Thomsen says

    The government's economic programme will give the country the opportunity to recover, Poul Thomsen, IMF representative in the troika of lenders to Greece, told the Sunday paper To Vima.

    Thomsen was quoted as saying that "political stability is an element of substantial importance in recovery," but also added that the troika of lenders is not infallible in its predictions.

    The IMF official did not rule out the possibility of a new haircut of the debt, referring instead to the EU's commitment for "further lightening of the debt as long as Greece applies its economic programme fully."

    He also stressed the need for speeding up privatisations, as results in that sector had "fallen greatly behind in terms of the binding commitments." If delays continue to mid-year, he said, it will be suggested to the government that it contacts experts in global markets "who can maximize the benefits for all Greeks."

    [02] IMF's Thomsen on tax evasion, salary cuts

    International Monetary Fund (IMF) representative in the troika (ECB,EC,IMF) Poul Thomsen warned on Saturday that if the tax evasion is not tackled then salaries and pensions will be again in danger, noting that the government continues to meet its fiscal targets, however, said Thomsen "there is still a long way to go".

    IMF official in an interview with NEA newspaper on Saturday noted that "In order further cuts in salaries and pensions to be avoided, it is necessary for the government to continue with the organisation of the tax administration" and attributed the inefficiency in tax collecting to vested interests and insufficient political commitments that blocked the efforts for reforms"

    However, Thomsen said, that the government recognised that the lack of progress in the tax administration is a very serious problem and now its programme foresees actions to face it.

    Thomsen admitted that the IMF and EU were extremely optimistic in their initial forecast on the recovery of the Greek economy and noted "We understimated the fiscal multiplier. A series of other unexpected and irrelevant factors as well as the long lasting crisis in Europe and the political crisis in Greece made the investors hesitant and also created a credit suffocation which was deeper that the one predicted and delayed the reforms that were immediately necessary.

    "Europe for the first time acknowledged that the Greek debt is not sustainable without Europe's financing. Note, that the commitment was under the condition that Greece will continue to fully implement the programme and we are certain that the country will continue to meet its targets.

    [03] Toughest part of austerity programme still ahead, ECB's Asmussen says

    Greece has covered two-thirds of a Marathon-like race, Joerg Asmussen, the European Central Bank's executive board member, told Sunday Kathimerini referring to the austerity programme, but the last part is the toughest one of all.

    As quoted by the newspaper, Asmussen said that he recognises what Greece has accomplished - although more needs to be done - and that the first positive signs were already visible. "We must be truthful: people must have stamina this year as well because the programme must remain on target and it will need time before we see more results," he said. If there is adherence to the programme and positive annualised development from 2014 on, he added, then it will be possible to reduce the debt's ratio to GNP to 124 pct by 2020, "reaching viable levels without the need of a new haircut."

    The ECB official said that fiscal cleansing may affect development adversely in the short term, but it is obligatory "when a country loses access to markets because they doubt the viability of its debt." He pointed out that fiscal cleansing "must be accompanied by structural reforms that strengthen development. These are the two pylons of any adjustment programme."

    [04] DIMAR leader: No more cutbacks in salaries and pensions

    Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis ruled out the possibility of new cutbacks in salaries and pensions at an interview published in "Parapolitika" newspaper on Saturday.

    However, Kouvelis underlined that all those agreed on the tackling of tax evasion as well as on the ministries expenditure must be followed in detail.

    Kouvelis said that there will be no layoffs in public sector stating that the law regarding civil servants' transferences must be implemented.

    On main opposition SYRIZA, he noted that the critisism from SYRIZA's part is now milder and expressed major reservations on the possiblity of a cooperation between DIMAR and SYRIZA "Under which policy? Which plan? Under which reforms policy is possible DIMAR to discuss a cooperation with SYRIZA? said Kouvelis.

    Kouvelis however, left open the possibility of a cooperation among the parties of the central-left but ruled out a direct cooperation with PASOK.

    [05] Two new opinion polls see ND lead

    New Democracy (ND) leads over main opposition SYRIZA, in two new opinion polls appearing on Sunday in RealNews newspaper and Proto Thema, while the ultra-right Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn) appeared to have risen to third place.

    According to the results of the opinion poll, conducted by MRB, ND was preferred by 23.1 percent of the respondents, against 22 percent for SYRIZA, 9.2 percent for Chryssi Avghi, 5.5 percent for PASOK, 4.9 percent for the Independent Greeks, 4.4 percent for Democratic Left (DIMAR), and 4.3 percent for the Communist Party of Greece (KKE).

    ALCO's poll gives a 24.9 percent lead to ND against 23.4 percent for SYRIZA followed by Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn) 9.7 percent, 8.6 percent for PASOK, 6.6 for Independent Greeks, 5.2 for Communist Party and 4.8 for Democratic Left (DIMAR).

    According to MRB, Prime minister and ND leader Antonis Samaras was preferred by 44 percent of the respondents as the most suitable for prime minister, followed by SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras with 26 percent, while 27.5 percent of the respondents said neither of the two.

    [06] Education minister to present 'Athena' plan to KKE leader

    Education minister Konstantinos Arvanitopoulos is to meet Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga on Monday to present to her the details of the "Athena" education streamlining plan.

    The project is a new map of the tertiary education system, providing for certain amalgamations and closures of departments in universities and technological institutes.

    The meeting is part of the coalition government's presentation of the "Athena" plan to parliamentary party leaders before it is put for public debate.

    Arvanitopoulos has already met with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, PASOK president Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis.

    [07] Council of State rejects claim by Athens Metro employees

    A claim by Athens Metro employees union requesting that the government's civil mobilisation order, be 'frozen' was rejected on Sunday by the Council of State (CoS). The order forcing striking employees back to work was issued last Thursday to cut short a strike that extended to nine consecutive days.

    The Metro employees were requesting that a temporary order be issued by the president of the Council of State to stop the civil mobilisation order from being enforced.

    However, the claim was rejected by CoS vice-president Athanasios Randos, as president Konstantinos Menoudiakis is on a trip abroad.

    Metro employees insist that their being forced back to work by a civil mobilisation order runs contrary to provisions in the European Convention of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Labour Contracts, as well as the Greek Constitution's article 23.

    [08] PAME protest rally in Athens

    PAME labour organisation affiliated to Communist Party (KKE) staged a protest rally on Saturday morning in downtown Athens Omonia square, in support to the "transport means employees struggle".

    The labour organisation called the workers to "decisively condemn government's order to metro employees to return to their work and to demand its lifting and expressed their support and solidarity to the metro employees and to all transport means employees.

    Moreover, PAME referred to "a new round of antisocial measures and of antisocial and authoriatorianism policies" and called "the labour and popular movement to be in red alert".

    [09] KKE deputy's house broken into, car stolen

    The house of Communist Party of Greece (KKE) deputy Liana Kanelli was broken into Saturday night in Ekali by more than one person who stole 800 euros, valuables and her car keys and used her car to get away, the police said Sunday.

    KKE called it "a warning invasion" and said "it had other purposes, which are being investigated by our party." In its announcement, the party demanded that police locate the perpetrators. "The political message of this invasion is bouncing back to those who inspired it. Whatever their goals, they will fail," it added.

    Financial News

    [10] One of two Greeks unable to pay real estate taxes

    One out of two Greeks said that they will not be able to pay their real estate property taxes in 2013, according to a survey conducted by Kapa Research which was presented on Saturday at the Hellenic Confederation of Real Estate Owners (POMIDA) conference held in Athens.

    The citizens said that they will try to sell their real estate property even under its objective value or they will borrow in order to avoid the criminal liabilities foreseen for the public debtors.

    According to the survey 54 percent of the citizens said that they will not be able to pay the real estate taxes while 32 percent said that they will possibly pay but their are not certain.

    [11] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.367

    Pound sterling 0.864

    Danish kroner 7.574

    Swedish kroner 8.819

    Japanese yen 124.55

    Swiss franc 1.263

    Norwegian kroner 7.535

    Canadian dollar 1.375

    Australian dollar 1.311

    General News

    [12] Industrial Gas Museum opens in Athens

    A new museum, the Industrial Gas Museum, will open in Athens on January 27, nearly 30 years after the gas works shut down.

    The gas works were founded in 1857 to provide light in public spaces in Athens. It was the first energy plant in Greece; by the end of the 19th century the network gas had been expanded to provide gas to industries and households.

    The plant's administration came under the jurisdiction of the city of Athens in 1938, with the Athens Municipality Gas Company officially founded in 1952. The plant provided the Athenians with energy for 130 years before going out of operation permanently in 1984.

    A few years after the premises shut down they were designated a historical monument by the Culture Ministry, with the prospect of becoming a museum and recreation area. The gas plant provides characteristic examples of technological and industrial architecture of the 19th century, given that most of the buildings and the facilities, including much of the machinery, remain intact.

    The repair and restoration of the buildings and the design of the open areas were completed in 2004. By 1999, the Athens Municipality had opened the premises under the name "Technopolis" (art city) for the hosting of cultural and other events.

    The institution, the first industrial museum in Athens, was officially inaugurated on Saturday by Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis. It will be open to the public daily, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    [13] Remembering Thessaloniki's Jews

    Thessaloniki commemorated the "Memorial Day of Greek Jewish Martyrs and Heroes of the Holocaust" on Sunday, with speeches and an exhibition tracing the history of the Jews in Thessaloniki, through their synagogues, at the city's Jewish Museum.

    The event took place at Eleftherias Square, the site where in July 1942 Germans rounded up 9,000 Jewish males to humiliate them publicly. The first Jews from Thessaloniki were shipped to the Auschwitz concentration camp - where nearly 50,000 Jews of Thessaloniki or 96 pct of the Jewish population at the time were exterminated - in March 1943.

    Greece established the memorial day in 2004 by unanimous parliamentary decision; the date falls on the anniversary of Auschwitz-Birkenau's liberation by Soviet troops.

    Speakers at the event included the prefect of Central Macedonia, the minister of Macedonia-Thrace, the ambassador of Israel, the president of the Central Jewish Council of Greece and the Thessaloniki Jewish community, Thessaloniki's mayor, and others.

    [14] Buses and trolleys extend strike through Tuesday

    Trolleys and buses are to remain on strike through Tuesday, the employee unions decided on Sunday, despite a First Instance Court ruling the strike is illegal.

    The urban railroad (proastiakos) and the Hellenic Railways trains (OSE) are also on strike through Monday.

    The electric railroad and the tram will be running normally on Monday,while the metro will not be running the leg between Doukissis Plakentias and the airport.

    A union meeting for all transportation employees was held Saturday in a lot of tension and with charges against union leaders for mismanagement of the issue, but all agreed to fight for the revocation of the "back to work" order on Metro employees and in demand of collective bargaining agreements that would recognise the unique features of their work, without exempting them from the unified pay scale.

    [15] Two arrested in Kallithea over drug possession

    A 40-year-old woman and her 23-year-old male accomplice were arrested in the Kallithea neighbourhood of Athens on Saturaday during a drug transaction.

    The woman turned over to the man a bag containing eleven parcels of hashish weighing around 2.5 kg. She had another 20 kg at her home in Kallithea. The police also confiscated three mobile phones and a car used by the young man.

    The pair is scheduled to testify before a prosecutor of the misdemeanours scourt.


    [16] Super League results

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

    In other action:

    Panionios Athens-Levadiakos 2-1

    AEK Athens-OFI Crete 2-1

    PAS Yiannina-Veria 2-0

    PAOK Thessaloniki-Xanthi 0-1

    Platanias Crete-Asteras Tripoli 0-3

    Atromitos-Panathinaikos 1-2

    Kerkyra- Aris 28/1/2013

    Standings after 19 weeks of play:

    1. Olympiacos 51

    2. Asteras 37

    3. PAOK 35

    4. Atromitos 32

    5. Levadiakos 27

    6. PAS Yiannina 26

    7. Panathinaikos 25

    8. Panionios 25

    9. OFI 23

    10. Panthrakikos 22

    11. Xanthi 22

    12. AEK 19

    13. Platanias 18

    14. Aris 17 (18 matches played)

    15. Veria 16

    16. Kerkyra 13 (18 matches played)

    NOTE: Panathinaikos has had two points deducted.

    Weather forecast

    [17] Cloudy on Monday

    Locally overcast with rain possible in the morning throughout Greece. Westerly winds mostly between 3 and 5 Beaufort, rising to 6 Beaufort at sea. Temperatures from -5C in the north (6C on the Aegean islands and Crete) to 15C. In Athens, temporary cloudiness, variable winds 3 to 4 Beaufort, and temperatures from 4C to 14C. In Thessaloniki, overcast, with variable winds 2 to 4 Beaufort and temperatures from 0C to 9C.

    [18] Athens Press Review

    Sunday press focused largely on Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' government, particularly in the handling of the transportation strikes, and on tax collection measures.

    ANGELIAFOROS: "Salonica, two years with (Yiannis) Boutaris as mayor - reviewing his days and works"

    ETHNOS TIS KYRIAKIS: "A dogma of power: Samaras' zero tolerance for extreme social phenomena"

    ELEFTHERI ORA TIS KYRIAKIS: "Government 'on the rocks' - The worst wreck would be to save itself"

    VRADYNI TIS KYRIAKIS: "Guide to all health funds - What regulations you can use to get pension sooner"

    AVGI: "A 'clash to the final end' with society - The Samaras dogma as supported by (PASOK leader Evangelos) Venizelos and (DIMAR leader Fotis) Kouvelis"

    EPOCHI: "End the back-to-work order now - Samaras reminds us what the Right is all about"

    KATHIMERINI: "Using the 'Metro recipe' on labour unions, according to government officials, so the (austerity) programme does not derail"

    NIKI TIS DIMOKRATIAS: "Opportunities for good money with time deposits - A guide to high returns during times of crisis"

    KYRIAKATIKI DIMOKRATIA: "Terrifying tax with property seizures and handcuffs, under the aegis of (European Commission task force representative Horst) Reichenbach"

    KYRIAKATIKI ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "They got a whiff of 'profit pie' - Intense behind-the-scenes dealings to sell off public property - Samaras between a rock and a hard place over the sale of four desirable properties"

    KYRIAKATIKOS RIZOSPASTIS: " There is no people-friendly policy within capitalism - A Balkan meeting between Communist and labour parties"

    LOGOS: "Life for use of kalashnikovs," referring to the new laws on thefts and break-ins using heavy weapons

    PROTO THEMA: "Suspect ruling as soon as he got the 'Lagarde list' - Investigating who of the 2,062 possible tax evaders brought money back during the time in question only with 5 pct tax"

    ARTHRO: "An end to 'solidarity strikes' - Samaras to deal decisively with the state's dysfunction that is due to egocentric organised trade unions"

    VIMA: "The great turnabout: citizens call for decisive action and stability, revealing Kapa Research poll"

    PARASKINIO: "Fake call for tenders at the Port Authority - A 1 million euro procurement stays among 'the elect few'"

    PARON TIS KYRIAKIS: "At attention, everyone! Samaras orders the back-to-work order back to work."

    TYPOS TIS KYRIAKIS: "Reforms without discounts - The Samaras strategy following the Metro 'test'"

    FREE SUNDAY: "Polarisation to the end - The government inventing rifts to rally [partners] - Controlled disagreements among the coalition partners"

    REAL NEWS: "The troika [of lenders] wants the Greek government to seize bank accounts of the largest debtors to the state."

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