|Tuesday, 12 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-01-29
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Politics
 PM Samaras holds meeting with TAP representativesRepresentatives of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) on Monday welcomed the support expressed by the Greek government once again for the pipeline as a project of great importance for Greece and Europe's energy strategy, in a meeting they had with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras shortly before his departure for Qatar.
Participating in the meeting, apart from the prime minister, were Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, Deputy Development Minister Notis Mitarakis and Deputy Environment Minister Makis Papageorgiou and on TAP's part managing director Kjetil Tungland, Markus Brokhof, a member of the board of Axpo Trading, Oliver Giese, first vice president of E.ON's Infrastructures Management, Bjarne Bull-Berg, vice president of Statoil's Business Development, Rokard Scoufias, TAP's manager for Greece and Stathis Theodoropoulos, an adviser of TAP.
"We welcome the continuing support of the Greek government which is strengthening the possibilities of success of the Greek course, as the date approaches for the decision on the South Natural Gas Corridor. We wish to thank Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in particular for the priceless support that he has provided for us," said TAP managing director Kjetil Tungland.
Speaking on the part of TAP's shareholders, Markus Brokhof of Axpo Trading commented: "We are proud of the wonderful cooperation between Greece and TAP in the framework of a project that will contribute to the influx of Foreign Direct Investments, it will create jobs, and it will provide priceless economic advantages to the country".
With 1.5 billion euros, TAP will constitute one of the biggest foreign direct investments in Greece. TAP is participating in a tender for the transportation of natural gas from Azerbaijan to Europe, with the final selection of the transport corridor for the gas expected in June 2013 by the joint venture of Shah Deniz in Azerbaijan. TAP constitutes the only selection of a pipeline crossing through Greece.
TAP is a natural gas pipeline project. The pipeline will carry natural gas from the region of the Caspian Sea through Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea to Southern Italy and further on to Western Europe. The project aims at strengthening the security of supply, as well as the differentiation of natural gas supplies for the European markets. TAP will open a new, the so-called South Natural Gas Corridor to Europe and will create a new exit to the market for natural gas from the Caspian Sea.
 PM Samaras visits QatarPrime Minister Antonis Samaras left for Doha on Monday afternoon, aiming at attracting investments to Greece and rekindling Qatari investment interest.
Samaras will meet with the prime minister of Qatar, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, on Tuesday afternoon, while on Wednesday he will meet with the Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, after which he will attend the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Federation of Hellenic Enterprises (SEB) and the Qatari Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The Greek premier will also attend a lunch hosted by Arab businessmen.
Samaras will further visit the Museum of Islamic Art before departing from Qatar on Wednesday evening.
 Deputy FM Tsiaras in North Rhine-WestphaliaBERLIN (AMNA/F. Karaviti)
Germany acknowledges the substantial steps taken by Greece, Greek deputy foreign minister Constantine Tsiaras told AMNA on Monday, shortly before winding up a visit to North Rhine-Westphalia state, during which he met with state government representatives, representatives of the Greek communities of Cologne, Dusseldorf and Bonne, the Greek Church, the German-Greek Chamber and Deutsche Welle.
Tsiaras said that his visit took place at a time when the international climate vis-a-vis Greece has started to reverse, while it is also being acknowledged that Greece is making substantial efforts, with a heavy social cost, to advance the need reforms to contain the fiscal deficit and return to growth.
North Rhine-Westphalia was the first stop in a series of visits he will be making in Germany over the coming period "for the purpose of strengthening relations with the active Greek community in Germany but also with German officials".
"Regaining Greece's international credibility is a main priority," he explained, and underlined Germany's leading role in gaining the confidence of the European Union in the changes taking place in Greece.
On his contacts with the local Greek communities, Tsiaras said the discussions focused on practical matters concerning the Greek communities, as well as the effort to attract investments to Greece, while he also briefed then on the initiative to create a new Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) and the relevant draft law, which has been currently put to public deliberation.
"The new SAE gives the opportunity to every overseas Greek, wherever he may be, to participate substantively in a new body of vertical representation, better organised and efficient," he explained, adding that at this time Greece needs all the forces of Hellenism at its side. "The heart of such a large force beats here, in Germany. It is our duty to utilise it, building a two-sided relationship of credibility and confidence," he added.
Earlier, German MEP of Greek descent and president of the Hellenic Business Association of Germany (DHW) George Hatzimarkakis, noted an improvement in Greek-German relations and of Greece's image abroad, after a meeting with Tsiaras.
 KKE leader warns gov't: The time will come when the people will overcome their fear and confusionCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga on Monday warned the government that "the policy of 'law and order' has short legs and may appear to have some successes temporarily, but the time will come when the working people will overcome their fear, confusion and delusions".
Papariga told a press conference that concessions on the part of the working people does not mean that they are cowards, but that they have not yet believed that a different way to growth exists, which leads at the same time to their own rule of the people.
She added that there is also fear that there can be no prosperity and growth for the people outside the EU, given that all the political parties, with the exception of the KKE, have for decades championed the idea of the EU as the only path.
"If the people do not overcome this fear, it will hot have proof that it can win," Papariga said, adding that the three-party coalition government is another stumbling block that needs to be overturned, together with every other obstacle, so that hope will not be succeeded by disappointment.
Papariga voiced her party's support for the struggles taking place and called for greater participation while, replying to a question, she urged: "Tear up the requisition papers, the Tax Bureau papers and the surtax papers, otherwise the Memorandums will stay for many years".
 Farmers begin series of meetings with party leadersRepresentatives of the National Coordination Body of farmers begin on Monday a series of meetings with party leaders. On their agenda is a meeting on Monday with Democratic Left (DIMAR) party leader Fotis Kouvelis, with main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras on Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning, and with PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos.
Farmers throughout Greece held a meeting on Sunday, and sent a message that they are determined to 'paralyze' the country given that the taxation, VAT and the production cost in combination with the economic crisis lead them to' annihilation', said the president of the Imathia farmers' movement Costas Lioliopoulos.
Farmers from the region of Thessaly have already started to move towards the Nikaia interchange on the Athens-Thessaloniki national highway and will decide in the afternoon whether they will block the road, said Karditsa farmers' federation leader Vangelis Boutas.
In Imathia prefecture, the farmers continue to keep their tractor lined up at the Kouloura interchange on the Egnatia Highway and underlined that they will not block off the road before Wednesday and will await the outcome of the meetings in Athens with the party leaders.
A similar stance has been adopted by farmers in the rest of the country, who will also take their final decisions depending on the results of the meetings.
 Police intercept farmer convoy before PATHE highway; talks underwayProtesting farmers that came out in force on Monday to start their mobilisations along national highways in Thessaly found their way blocked by a strong police force that included five units of riot police and a public prosecutor.
The tractor convoy, which ran to several hundreds, was brought to a standstill on the old Larissa-Athens national road, about 200 metres from their destination at the Nikaia junction on the Patras-Athens-Thessaloniki national highway.
Negotiations between the farmers and police were underway on Monday, with farmers determined to park their tractors on either side of the national highway and authorities equally determined to prevent them.
Farmers are asking that the distance from the highway be reduced to about 50 metres and plan to hold a meeting to decide on their next course of action given the latest developments.
 DIM.AR President Kouvelis meets with farmer representativesDemocratic Left (DIM.AR) president Fotis Kouvelis, leader of a junior member of Greece's coalition government, on Monday had separate meetings with Panhellenic Confederation of Unions of Agricultural Cooperatives (PASEGES) President Janetos Karamihas and representatives of the Initiative for the Reconstruction of the Farmer Trade Unionist Movement.
Farmers in Greece warned on Sunday that they will stage mobilizations stressing that their sector is on the verge of collapse as a result of the economic crisis, combined with increased taxation and production cost.
Kouvelis noted that the problems faced by the farmers are real and should be resolved. "Indeed, there are issues related with production cost, fuel expenses, taxation and social insurance taking under consideration that the retirement age has increased," the DIM.AR president underlined.
He pledged that he will bring the issues up for discussion within the framework of the government policy to reach a solution.
 KKE's Papariga says farmer mobilizations are justifiedCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) general secretary Aleka Papariga on Monday expressed support for protesting farmers and said their mobilizations were absolutely justified.
Speaking in Parliament she said that the mobilizations are not without substance as described by the government, stressing that "many farmers have lost everything. The future appears grim and mobilizations are absolutely justified."
Commenting on the agreement reached between the EU and Brazil, Papariga stated that the powerful industrialists and the monopolies with the help of the governments supporting them are interested in increasing the exports of machinery and industrial products to Brazil in exchange for larger imports of farm products - "a transaction that will definitely not benefit the poor farmers in Brazil".
Papariga said that the Greek farmers will have to face a reality in which "land will go to fewer owners, while they will also have to deal with bankruptcy and a new wave of imports. Therefore, they are justified to take to the streets. They need the support of the workers because without foodstuffs, we will not be able to survive."
 Athens bus strike continues as other public transport staff return to workAthens buses will not be running until drivers hold a general meeting on Tuesday morning at 10:00 a.m. to decide their next move, in spite of decisions by other public transport unions to return to work on Monday.
The bus technicians union OASA-OSY had also voted to end the strike but the head of the Athens Urban Transport
Organisation (OASA) employees union Leonidas Skoulos said strike action would continue until Tuesday's meeting was completed.
Other public transport unions, including those for the trolley buses, the Greek railways and the Proastiakos suburban railway had also decided to return to work, along with metro workers forced to return with individual 'back to work' orders.
Sources within the transport ministry expressed satisfaction at the transport unions' decision, saying that the "had heard the voice of reason" and expressed hope that bus drivers will also soon follow suit. They again stressed that the government would under no circumstances not implement the laws.
The president of the bus technicians union urged the start of sincere dialogue with the government on Monday, without conditions, on the signature of a new collective agreement for OASA.
OASA employees union president Leonidas Skoulos, however, noted that there were other forms of action that did not involve inconveniencing commuters and criticised the government for invoking 'emergency powers' to force strikers back to work, stressing that "extortion does not help in finding a solution".
He also called for sincere dialogue with the government, saying union proposals included a cheaper ticket and free travel for the unemployed while there demands were not exclusion from the uniform public sector pay scale but the signature of a collective labour agreement adapted to their working conditions.
The bus and trolley strikes were on Sunday declared illegal by a first-instance court that reversed an earlier court ruling in the workers' favour. The hearing was conducted in the absence of representatives of the workers, who said they had not been informed that it was taking place until late the previous night.
 KKE's Papariga briefed on education issuesCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) general secretary Aleka Papariga on Monday was briefed by Education Minister Costas Arvanitopoulos on reforms designed to be implemented in the sector of education within the framework of the "Athena" project sponsored by the government.
After meeting with the minister at her office in parliament, Papariga stressed that the government proposals will be studied adding, however, that "the students, their families and workers should not be the ones who will face any repercussions" as a result of the planned reforms.
On his part, the minister said that education issues are of "national importance".
 Greeks in Germany opposed to opening of ultra-right Chryssi Avgi party office in NurembergThe ultra-right Chryssi Avgi (Golden Dawn) party was declared "non grata" by the Federation of Greek Communities in Germany, which stressed that it will mobilize its members and use all legal means to block any attempt to open a party branch office in Nuremberg, it was announced on Monday.
The federation called on all Greek communities in Germany to isolate any attempt aimed at promoting neo-Nazism, ensuring that "efforts to propagandize in favour of violence, intolerance and social cannibalism will fail".
The opening of a Chryssi Avgi branch office in Nuremberg is characterized as "total insult" and "disrepute" for Greece and Europe.
 Cooperation in professional training between Greece-German state of HesseBERLIN (AMNA/F. Karaviti)
Justice, Incorporation and European Affairs Minister of the German state of Hesse Joerg-Uwe Hahn announced cooperation in the sector of vocational training between Greece and Hesse, following a meeting he held with Greek Interior Minister Evripidis Stylianidis in Wiesbaden.
According to Hesse Radio, Stylianidis said that "Greek businesses from the hotel sector and trade will participate in a foundation, through which 400 young people will be trained on an annual basis in 10 professions, such as cook, hotel official, confectioner, butcher, salesman" and added that a professional school will be established for this purpose.
 Meeting held on growth plan extending to 2020The government is preparing a growth plan extending to 2020 and its main elements were raised during a meeting held at the Finance ministry.
Speaking after the meeting, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras and Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis said that in essence three main questions were raised: "How do we want the economy to be in 2020 (on the basis of macroeconomic data), in what way shall we achieve growth and how will these be combined on the basis of the National Strategic Reference Framework (ESPA) and the new EU 2014-2020 support framework."
The government's aim is the changing of the growth model so that it will be based on the attraction of foreign investments in productive sectors of the economy and the boosting of exports and result in the strengthening of employment and the improvement of the viability of the public debt.
The participants in the meeting were also called on to submit integrated plans and proposals on the preparation of the National Plan.
 Decline in bank credit to private sector slowed in DecA decline in new credit extended to the domestic private sector slowed for the second consecutive month in December, with the annual growth rate of total credit remaining a negative -4.0 pct in the last month of 2012, from -4.6 pct in November 2012 and -4.8 pct in October 2012, the Bank of Greece said on Monday.
The central bank, in a monthly report, said that net flow of total credit to the domestic private sector was negative, amounting to 152 million euros (December 2011: negative net flow of 1,701 billion euros).
The net flow of credit to enterprises, in December 2012, was negative, amounting to 25 million euros (December 2011: negative net flow of 1.377 billion), and the annual growth rate of credit was less negative at -4.3%, from -5.4% in the previous month. In particular, the annual growth rate of credit to non-financial corporations was less negative at -3.3% from -4.1% in the previous month, while the net flow of credit was positive and equal to 204 million euros (December 2011: negative net flow of 767 million euros). The annual growth rate of credit to insurance corporations and other financial intermediaries was less negative at -20.9% in December, from -24.2% in November 2012.
The net flow of credit to sole proprietors and unincorporated partnerships was negative, amounting to 42 million euros in December 2012 (December 2011: zero net flow) and the annual rate of change of credit was more negative at -3.1% in December 2012, from -2.8% in November 2012.
In December 2012, the net flow of credit to individuals and private non-profit institutions was negative, amounting to 85 million euros (December 2011: negative net flow of 324 million), and the annual growth rate of credit to individuals and private non-profit institutions stood at -3.8% from -3.9% in November 2012.
 Greek bank deposits up 5.6 billion euros in Dec.Greek households and enterprises' deposits rose by 5.6 billion euros in December last year to 161.4 billion euros, from 174 billion euros in January 2012, the Bank of Greece said on Monday.
The central bank, in a report, said that a reversal of a capital withdrawing trend began in early summer after the June general elections in the country. In the July-December period, bank deposits grew by 10.8 billion euros (including interest), although restoring normal liquidity conditions in the Greek credit bank will need further time.
 GSEE calls for dialogue on transport sector collective labour agreementsThe General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE), the largest umbrella trade union organisation representing private-sector workers in Greece, on Monday urged the prime minister and government to begin dialogue with transport unions on a collective labour agreement for public transport workers.
GSEE stressed the need for a solution "to the serious, levelling and contradictory problems generated by the uniform public-sector pay scale," pointing out that labour mobilisations might otherwise escalate and that the government will bear full responsibility for the storm that ensued.
 Thessaloniki tourism authorities see potential for increase of arrivals from TurkeyThe Thessaloniki Hoteliers' Association sees potential for the attraction of tourists from Turkey, countries of the Balkan Peninsula, Russia, Ukraine, India, Israel, and countries of the Arab world as well as from China on the occasion of its participation in the 17th International Tourism Exhibition EMITT in Istanbul.
Association president Aristotelis Thomopoulos said to AMNA that "the prospects for further promotion on the Turkish tourist market are huge given that last year 46,000 overnight stays were recorded particularly, for so-called city breaks (2-3 day visits). Moreover, said Thomopoulos, we can develop the opportunities arising from our cooperation in the last 1.5 year with the Turkish Airlines to attract tourists from other destinations it serves, such as India, a country with a large population.
On his part, central Macedonia prefect Apostolos Tzitzikostas who also attended the exhibition, called on the Turkish tour operators to draw up tourist packages to Thessaloniki and the wider region of Central Macedonia.
During his visit to Istanbul, Tzitzikostas met with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. The meeting focused on the social solidarity actions developing in the recent period. On his part the Ecumenical Patriarch referred to the Patriarchate's decision to designate 2013 the year of Human Solidarity and expressed his wish that a large part of humanity will become sensitive to the spreading problem of poverty.
 Greek private sector debt fell to 2007 levels in 2012Greek households' and enterprises' debt to banks fell to 2007 levels at the end of 2012, hit by a continuous decline in new credit to the private sector over the last few years, the Bank of Greece said on Monday.
The central bank, in a report, said that the outstanding debt of the private sector shrank to 227.7 billion euros at the end of 2012, falling around 2007 levels (215.8 billion euros). New lending to enterprises and households fell by 4.0 pct in December to a negative flow of 152 million euros. The electricity sector was the only one to record a positive new credit flow in 2012, with a growth rate of 4.5 pct, while the transport/shipping sector recorded the biggest decline in the year (-8.1 pct). The insurance sector recorded a 21 pct drop in new credit, while lending to self-employed fell by 3.1 pct in 2012.
Greek households' debt in mortgage and consumer loans fell to 106.6 billion euros last year, from 104 billion euros in 2007. Mortgage loans fell by 3.3 pct to 74.6 billion euros, while consumer credit recorded a 5.1 pct drop to 30.2 billion euros.
 S&B plans to exit ASES&B Industrial Minerals on Monday said its main shareholders were in exclusive talks with Rhone Capital IV L.P. and other related companies aimed at reaching an agreement under which Delphi Luxembourg Holdings SARL will present a public offer to buy all the shares of the Greek-listed S&B.
In an announcement to the Athens Stock Exchange, S&B said that Rhone Capital was an international private equity company with significant investment experience in a wide range of enterprises.
Under the plan discussed, if Delphi Luxembourg achieves in acquiring at least 90 pct of the total voting rights of S&B it will proceed with a squeeze out and request the striking out of S&B's shares from the Athens Stock Exchange. S&B will maintain its base in Greece. The public offer will be made at a price of 5.8 euros per share in cash.
The Athens Stock Exchange on Monday lifted a temporary suspension of trading in the shares of S&B and its derivatives products.
 PPC employees call 24h strike on ThursdayPublic Power Corporation (PPC) employees' federation GENOP-DEI on Monday called a 24-hour strike on Thursday in support for the public transport employees' mobilisations.
In an announcement, GENOP calls on the private sector umbrella labor organisation GSEE to "rise to the circumstances and assume their responsibilities, given that four days after our colleagues in the Athens metro were forced to return to work, it (GSEE) has not taken any substantial decision for reaction against the government's unconstitutional decision that abolishes their union struggles".
 Business Briefs-- Greece's Capital Market Commission on Monday announced a decision to ban short selling on bank shares trading in the Athens Stock Exchange for a period of three months (from February 1 until April 30, 2013).
 Greek stocks ease on profit takingGreek stocks ended slightly lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday as investors took profits after last week's heavy gains. Bank shares were at the focus of selling activity. The composite index of the market fell 0.07 pct to end at 1,013.79 points, at the middle of the day's narrow range of trading. Turnover remained a moderate 70.211 million euros.
The Big Cap index eased 0.34 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 0.21 pct lower. Frigoglass (9.91 pct), Mytilineos (5.66 pct) and MIG (2.69 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Piraeus Bank (5.14 pct), Alpha Bank (5.11 pct) and National Bank (2.52 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Industrial Product/Services: 3,890.81 +1.31%
Commerce: 1,962.56 +2.57%
Construction/Materials: 1,985.80 -0.08%
Oil/Gas: 3,228.59 +0.97%
Personal Products: 3,410.24 -0.93%
Raw Materials: 2,869.37 +3.75%
Travel: 1,195.27 -1.51%
Technology: 1,802.93 -1.36%
Telecommunications: 1,802.93 -1.36%
Banks: 206.84 -2.70%
Food/Beverage: 6,789.44 +0.36%
Health: 329.34 +0.96
Utilities 2,905.47 +0.68%
Financial Services: 1,606.92 +1.43%
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 95 to 69 with another 30 issues unchanged. Fieratex (29.37 pct), Perseus (19.70 pct) and HOL (17.46 pct) were top gainers, while Logismos (30 pct), Levenderis (23.08 pct) and Progressive (21.34 pct) were top losers.
Piraeus Bank, Cyprus Popular Bank, MIG and National Bank were the most heavily traded securities of the day, while Folli Follie, OPAP and OTE the securities with the highest daily turnover. The market's capitalization eased to 38.074 billion euros.
Blue chip stocks ended as follows:
ALPHA BANK: 1.30
COCA COLA HELLENIC: 18.04
HELLENIC PETROLEUM: 8.81
NATIONAL BANK: 1.16
CYPRUS BANK: 0.24
MOTOR OIL: 9.00
PIRAEUS BANK: 0.30
MARFIN INVESTMENT GROUP: 0.53
PIRAEUS PORT: 19.80
HELLENIC EXCHANGES: 5.19
TERNA ENERGY: 3.65
EUROBANK PROPERTIES: 5.36
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds fell to 8.69 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, with the Greek bond yielding 10.38 pct and the German Bund 1.69 pct. Turnover was a thin 1.0 million euros, one sell order.
In interbank markets, interest rates remained largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 0.58 pct, the nine-month rate was 0.47 pct, the six-month rate was 0.35 pct, the three-month rate rose to 0.21 pct and the one-month rate was 0.11 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe March contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 0.35 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover shrinking to 14.171 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 3,035 contracts worth 5.243 million euros, with 36,648 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 31,091 contracts worth 8.928 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (8,003), followed by National Bank (4,558), Piraeus Bank (3,654), MIG (1,326), Cyprus Bank (744), Eurobank (816), OTE (2,800), PPC (2,209), OPAP (2,470), Mytilineos (1,507), Hellenic Exchanges (408), Ellaktor (427), GEK (779), Intralot (265) and Sidenor (137
 Foreign Exchange rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.364
Pound sterling 0.867
Danish kroner 7.572
Swedish kroner 8.788
Japanese yen 124.04
Swiss franc 1.265
Norwegian kroner 7.553
Canadian dollar 1.376
Australian dollar 1.312
 Acclaimed filmmaker Gavras to be honored by AUTHAcclaimed Greek-born filmmaker Costa Gavras was awarded an honorary PhD by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) at a special ceremony at the university on Monday evening.
Gavras, who came to Greece for the recent Athens premiere of his new film, the 2012 bank boardroom thriller "Capital", said during a lecture at the AUTH on Sunday night that: "We can all be the models for ourselves. I do not want to be a model. I think that we can all do many things. We've been told -- at least my generation -- that we are from a small country, we are small...what can we do...? The repetition of the sense of small is constant."
"Well, we are not small. We can do many things. Not only abroad, but here, too, in our 'small' country," Gavras said.
"I wanted to give a model to the students. A face, a personality, which will convince them that it is worth the effort to stay and carry on..." AUTH rector Yiannis Mylopoulos said earlier, prologueing a projection of the film 'Capital' at the university.
Addressing the audience later, Gavras said that: "I wanted to make a film about money, about the role it plays not only in politics but mainly in human psychology and how much it changes people. I began thinking about this a few years before the outbreak of the crisis. It took me about three years to complete the script and...the crisis broke out. Now we are in the midst of the catastrophe."
"Money is the new religion. We follow it as if we are drugged, like the protagonist of the film. We know that it leads to total destruction, but we continue," the director added.
A cynical phrase that "we gather money from the poor, which are many, and give them to the rich, which are few", by a Goldman Sacks executive, prompted Gavras to film "Capital", of which he is both director and screenwriter.
The plot centers on the stock market world through the adventures of a 'normal' man who evolves into a ruthless banker, played by Gad Elmaleh.
 Last surviving member of 1967-1974 Greek junta in prison dies of strokeThe last surviving member of the military junta that ruled Greece between 1967 and 1974, Nikolaos Dertilis, died at the 'Erythros Stavros' hospital on Monday. He had been transferred to the hospital in early December when he had a stroke, after spending 38 years incarcerated in Korydallos prison in Athens.
Dertilis, aged 92 at the time of his death, had been serving a life sentence for the murder of 20-year-old Mihalis Myrogiannis on November 18, 1973 during the events of the Polytechnic uprising.
He had for many years refused "on grounds of principle" to make use of a right given him under the law to apply for his release to prison. He insisted on this stance even when his 62-year-old son passed away earlier in 2012, refusing to apply to leave the prison to attend the funeral even though Justice Minister Antonis Roupakiotis had given instructions that he should be assisted in the matter if he wished to go.
 Locals clash with riot police over new toll posts at AiginioProtesting local residents clashed with riot police trying to force them back from a new toll post at Aiginio in northern Greece on Monday, after they tried to occupy the newly-opened facilities.
The Pydna-Kolindros Mayor Vaggelis Polyzos charged that police resorted to using their shields and truncheons in order to violently push back the protestors, arresting two deputy mayors and two young protestors.
MAT riot police remained on the scene, guarding the toll post from protestors that moved a small distance away but did not disperse.
Local residents are up in arms at the opening of the new toll post since no provision has been made for alternative access for those living in the area, who may be forced to pay tolls several times a day as they go about their daily business.
 22.5kg of hashish seizedA 23-year-old man and a 40-year-old woman were arrested on Monday in the Athens district of Kallithea charged with drug dealing.
The woman was arrested while attempting to hand over to the man a bag containing 11 packages with a total of 2 kilos and 240 grams of hashish.
A subsequent search of the woman's house revealed an additional 20 kilos and 165 grams of hashish.
The drugs were confiscated, as well as the car used by the man to transport the narcotic substances.
 Large quantity of contraband cigarettes seized, truck driver arrested in Patras portA truck driver was arrested and a large quantity of contraband cigarettes was seized Monday morning in the western port city of Patras, the Coast Guard said.
Port authorities said that cartons containing a total of 918,000 contraband cigarettes were found hidden among books and electrical appliances in a truck during a routine search at the main entry gate to the port.
The truck driver lacked the legal documentation justifying the transportation of the cigarettes and was arrested, while the contraband was seized. Authorities were investigating to ascertain where the contraband cigarettes were loaded from.
 Five arrested for cigarette smugglingFive Romanian nationals, aged between 30-43, were arrested for cigarette smuggling on Sunday afternoon and led before a prosecutor in the Cretan city of Rethimno on Monday.
The arrests took place following a check by police of a car belonging to a 30-year-old Romanian, that was also boarded by the rest of the foreign nationals, in the region of Aghios Vassilios. The ensuing search revealed 102 packets of cigarettes that lacked consumption tax markings and the amount of 710 euros, coming from cigarette smuggling.
The car was confiscated as being a means for the transfer of the smuggled goods and facilitating smuggling.
 Mountain-climber missing, search mountedA 30-year-old mountain climber was reported missing on Monday, while two others were spotted and are well in health as a search continued near the peak of Mt. Lapatos in the area of Papigo, Ioannina.
The three mountain climbers called authorities for assistance after becoming trapped on the mountain in heavy snow. Two of the hikers were located and are well in health, while the search was continuing by land and air for the third man, but efforts were hampered by rugged terrain, thick fog and heavy snow.
 Super League resultKerkyra and Aris Thessaloniki drew 2-2 in a game played for the Super League in Corfu on Monday evening.
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 18
15. Veria 16
16. Kerkyra 14
NOTE: Panathinaikos has had two points deducted.
 Rainy on TuesdayRainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday. Winds 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures between -3C and 15C. Cloudy with local showers in Athens with northerly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures between 6C and 14C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 0C and 9C.
 The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceDIMOKRATIA: "One of two real estate property owners unable to pay the taxes".
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: "Long-term requisition (of striking public transport employees)".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Bulldozers for 3,305 buildings lacking construction licenses"
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The new retirement ages for civil servants".
ESTIA: "Society praises Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' stance on metro strike".
ETHNOS: "Troika (EC, ECB, IMF) wants abolition of objective values in real estate".
IMERISSIA: "Two new challenges on Athens Stock Exchange's Big Board".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Development plan for 48 Greek marinas".
TA NEA: "Secret treasure from 'black' money".
VRADYNI: "Reversals in retirement ages".
6 DAYS: "The fire spreads to the plains (refers to farmers' mobilisations)".
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