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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-02-28

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

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

Thursday, 28 February 2013 Issue No: 4298

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM: We're still on red alert, but country is moving upward
  • [02] Business mission to accompany PM to Istanbul for Greece-Turkey High Cooperation Council
  • [03] FM in Canada, has talks with Senate Speaker Kinsella, Montreal Mayor
  • [04] FM Avramopoulos holds talks with Canadian counterpart Baird
  • [05] Greek-Canadian agreement on youth mobility goes into force in Feb.
  • [06] Dep. Foreign Minister Kourkoulas wraps up visit to Lisbon
  • [07] PM Samaras addresses 'Re-think Athens' event; winning bid announced
  • [08] Russian investment interest in Greece is high, gov't spokesman
  • [09] Court hands down life sentences to Thessaloniki former Mayor, secgen and treasurer in embezzlement scandal
  • [10] Court rules former Thessaloniki Mayor, officials, guilty of embezzlement
  • [11] Thessaloniki life sentencing prompts party responses
  • [12] French Defence Minister on official one-day visitThursday
  • [13] Opinion poll gives marginal lead to SYRIZA, but Samaras 'most suitable' for PM
  • [14] SYRIZA leader express support to BIOME workers' efforts
  • [15] ND criticizes SYRIZA's Dragasakis for comments on currency
  • [16] State to settle outstanding health bill by mid-year, following bill vote
  • [17] President Papoulias receives PASOK leader Venizelos
  • [18] Troika report blasts tax administration's weaknesses
  • [19] Admin Reform Ministry ready for troica meeting Monday
  • [20] PASOK party leader addresses Youth conference
  • [21] Economic crime prosecutors on 'Lagarde list' case
  • [22] SYRIZA leader blasts 'Athena' education restructuring plan
  • [23] Parties criticise Golden Dawn 'indoctrination of children'
  • [24] Draft law against illegal tree-cutting tabled in parliament
  • [25] Farmers in Serres end roadblocks
  • [26] Gov't delegation in Moscow for investment talks
  • [27] Labour Minister in Brussels for meeting Wednesday
  • [28] Greece to participate in 'CeBIT 2013' IT and telecommunications exhibition
  • [29] Hydrocarbon exploration ends successfully, PGS official
  • [30] Bank lending to private sector unchanged at 4.0 pct in Jan
  • [31] Troika experts demand full liberalisation of coastal shipping services
  • [32] Philip Morris signs major agreement on Greek tobacco
  • [33] Private sector saving deposits slightly down in Jan
  • [34] Ryanair adds more destinations connecting Corfu
  • [35] Greek stocks end 0.70 pct higher on Wednesday
  • [36] ADEX closing report
  • [37] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday
  • [38] Peloponnesos promoted as tourism destination in Norway
  • [39] Man dismembers victim and throws it to river
  • [40] Horse meat traces found in Greek frozen beef
  • [41] Companies sponsor boat to keep Thermaikos Bay clean
  • [42] Black Sea Greeks genocide commemoration event on May 19
  • [43] Armenian protest at Azerbaijani consulate
  • [44] Rescue operation for trapped stray dog
  • [45] Rainy on Thursday
  • [46] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM: We're still on red alert, but country is moving upward

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said that Greece is still on 'red alert', but the country is now moving upwards, taking the podium for the second time late Tuesday night during a parliamentary plenary debate on the problems faced by farmers and the agricultural sector.

    "Nothing is finished. We are on red alert but the country is heading upwards, not downwards," Samaras said.

    The premier said that 44 billion euros will be channeled to the Greek economy in the period 2014-2020. He elaborated that Greece had secured 35 billion euros on the basis of the decisions of the last EU Summit, and together with the funds that have yet to be absorbed from the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) the sum would reach 44 billion euros, which he said are sufficient to spur growth.

    Although there indeed was a shortfall in state revenues in January, nevertheless "we have done much better with respect to (reducing) expenditure, resulting in a primary surplus", Samaras said.

    He warned that "nothing is finished, we are on red alert", but added that "the country is heading upwards, not downwards", and accused main opposition SYRIZA of "political amoralism" because it "wagers on the destruction of the country".

    Samaras further cited the political developments in Italy, and called on the MPs to think what would have happened today, with the generalised sense of insecurity, if Greece had not secured its smooth financing "now that may estimate that multiple the money will be required for other countries" in the EU.

    The premier further assured that the process of denationalisation for the State Natural Gas Company (DEPA) and its subsidiary distributor Hellenic Gas Transmission System Operator (DESFA) will be "absolutely transparent".

    [02] Business mission to accompany PM to Istanbul for Greece-Turkey High Cooperation Council

    The Panhellenic Exporters' Association has invited business associations and member companies to submit applications for participation in the business mission that will accompany Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to Istanbul in early March in the context of the Greece-Turkey High Cooperation Council that will take place in the Turkish capital on March 5, co-chaired by the prime ministers of the two countries.

    According to the Association, eligible for inclusion in the business mission are all businesses-members of the Association.

    Organisation of the business mission has been undertaken by the Foreign Ministry's general secretariat for international economic relations. The representatives of Greek business associations and companies that will take part in the mission will have the opportunity to attend a business forum being organised in tandem by the Federation of Greek Industries' (SEV) Greece-Turkey Business Council and Turkey's Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK).

    One-on-one meetings will be scheduled for the companies' representatives with representatives of Turkish companies. The aim is the representation of the Greek business community at the highest level so that the new momentum to be created by the meeting of the High Cooperation Council, in which ministerial delegations from Greece and Turkey will participate, may be utilised in the best possible manner for the Greek enterprises and, by extension, for the Greek economy.

    [03] FM in Canada, has talks with Senate Speaker Kinsella, Montreal Mayor

    OTTAWA (AMNA/I. Fragouli)

    Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, in Canada on an official visit in the framework of celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Greece and Canada, met on Wednesday at the Canadian Senate with Senate Speaker Noel Kinsella, who note the close ties with Greece which, he said, are founded on mutuality and cooperation, but also the large and flourishing Greek community in Canada.

    Kinsella also stressed that the Canadian MPs and Senators morally support their Greek colleagues "who are working hard to deal with the debt crisis in Greece", adding that the Europeans were late in seeing it, but are slowly realizing it.

    Avramopoulos, in turn, stated Greece's deep appreciation to Canada, which he said had been the first country to manifest confidence in Greece during the crisis by proceeding with investments in our country.

    He said that Greece and Canada are bound with long-term ties of friendship founded on respect for democracy and human rights.

    He also noted that Greece is changing with respect to institutions and infrastructures and called on Canadian entrepreneurs to carry out investments in a country that is rapidly adjusting to the contemporary times, and also expressed pride for the Greek community in Canada as well as Greece's gratitude to the country hosting the Greek immigrants.

    Avramopoulos further announced that the youth mobility pact signed between Greece and Canada by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper during his visit to Greece in the spring of 2011 has been ratified by the Hellenic parliament and thus the young people will have the ability to create substantive bridges of relations and experiences.

    During a reception at the Canadian parliament in honour of Avramopoulos hosted by Kinsella the foreign minister held discussions with several MPs and Senators as well as with distinguished members of the Greek community in Ottawa.

    On Tuesday evening, Avramopoulos met with the leaders and members of the Greek community in Montreal, to whom he admitted that Greece's image in the last three years has hurt the Greeks abroad and the injured the country's dignity, but assured then that the situation is changing, as the three-party coalition government reflects the climate of unity in the country and was proceeding with rapid changes to modernise its infrastructures and set the foundations for "the new Greece that will make us all proud and will regain the place it deserves in the world". He also said that optimistic messages were being received from the international field and that Greece has secured its position in the eurozone and is regaining the confidence of the markets.

    United, he continued, the Greeks will emerge from the crisis, and noted that the Greeks abroad will play a significant role in the country's recovery, and urged Canadian and Greek-Canadian investors to invest in Greece which, despite the debt crisis, remains a factor of stability in the wider region of the Mediterranean.

    On the sidelines of Avramopoulos' visit, a Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between the Greek-Canadian Chamber and the Hellenic Chamber in Montreal.

    Earlier Tuesday, Avramopoulos met with Montreal Mayor Michael Applebaum.

    Avramopoulos is also scheduled to meet later Wednesday with his Canadian counterpart John Baird for talks focusing on the latest developments in Europe and the efforts to deal with the economic crisis, EU-Canada relations and the developments in Southeastern Europe and the region of the Eastern Mediterranean.

    [04] FM Avramopoulos holds talks with Canadian counterpart Baird

    OTTAWA (AMNA/I. Frangouli)

    Issues pertaining to bilateral relations, economic challenges facing Greece and Europe, Greece's role as a stabilising force in the region of the Mediterranean and the potential for Canadian investments in Greece were on the agenda of a meeting between Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos and his Canadian counterpart John Baird here on Wednesday.

    The Canadian minister underlined the common values linking the two countries, noting that Greece is an ally of Canada playing a considerable role in securing stability in the Mediterranean.

    Baird referred to the potential of Canadian investments in Greece and the importance of the new Canada-EU free trade agreement that is in its final stage, and stressed that Greece must soon enter a growing phase after its fiscal consolidation.

    Avramopoulos underlined the good bilateral relations existing between Greece and Canada, expressing his thanks for Canada's support for Greece.

    The Greek Foreign minister briefed his Canadian counterpart on the deep changes that are taking place in Greece andwhich shall place the country in the path to recovery. Discussion between the two men also touched upon the new possibilities in Canadian-Greek business relations in the sector of energy, mineral wealth, trade and tourism.

    [05] Greek-Canadian agreement on youth mobility goes into force in Feb.

    A Greek-Canadian Agreement on Youth Mobility, signed during Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's visit to Greece in May 2011, has been ratified by Canada and will go into force this month, according to a statement issued late Wednesday by Greece's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    The agreement provides simplified procedures to allow young Greek and Canadian citizens, aged 18 to 35, to travel, reside and work for up to 12 months in each country, respectively.

    Greece's Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos and his Canadian counterpart John Baird, who met Wednesday in Ottawa, Canada, said the agreement is an offer to the young people in both countries and, in this sense, an investment for the future.

    [06] Dep. Foreign Minister Kourkoulas wraps up visit to Lisbon

    Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas met with his Portuguese counterpart responsible for European Affairs Miguel Morais Leitao during his three-day visit to Lisbon that wrapped up on Wednesday.

    The meeting focused on issues concerning preparations for the Greek EU Presidency in the first half of 2014 and the procedure for the specification of recent European Council decisions.

    Kourkoulas was the keynote speaker in a conference hosted in Portugal by the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) entitled "The Future of Mediterranean Europe: Between the Euro Crisis and Arab Revolution".

    The deputy foreign minister described the course of fiscal stabilisation for the Greek economy and the major challenges of economic growth and employment. He underlined the importance of the implementation of the European decisions on economic governance and the need for new development-boosting initiatives on European level.

    [07] PM Samaras addresses 'Re-think Athens' event; winning bid announced

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Wednesday underlined the symbolic nature of the plan to revamp downtown Athens in his address at an event to present the results of the architectural design competition "Re-Think Athens" organised by the Onassis Foundation.

    The competition "shows that there are live forces in our society that can envision a different Greece and a different Athens through the darkness of the crisis," he said.

    "The revamping of Panepistimiou Street, the intervention at the bay of Faliro and the real estate development at Ellinikon, where a large metropolitan park will be created, constitute the triangle of this rebirth," he said, stressing that "the coastal front stretching from Faliro to Sounio" will also be developed soon.

    The Dutch architectural firm OKRA won the competition with a proposal described by Onassis Foundation president Antonis Papademetriou as "simple but not simplistic, absolutely applicable, functional and true to the spirit of Athens, taking under consideration the city's prospects and potential while focusing on its citizens and their needs."

    The architectural, bio-climatic and technical studies of the competition were funded by the Onassis Foundation.

    The presentation of the winner was also attended by PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, Democratic Left (DIMAR) president Fotis Kouvelis, Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis, SYRIZA spokesman MP Dimitris Papadimoulis, Communist Party (KKE) Political Bureau member Nikos Sofianos and Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis, among others.

    [08] Russian investment interest in Greece is high, gov't spokesman

    MOSCOW (AMNA-Th. Avgerinos)

    Russia is the first country to see the new investment law, in Parliament for discussion and ratification, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said on Wednesday.

    Following a meeting at the Commerce and Industry Chamber (CCI) of the Russian Federation, Kedikoglou said that Russia trusted the Greek economy and was interested in ventures in agricultural products, tourism, alternative energy sources, pharmaceuticals and rural housing for the Russian middle class.

    Accompanied by the Development Secretary General Serafim Tsokas and Invest in Greece representative Elias Eliadis, Kedikoglou also mentioned railway networks, key ports and pharmaceutical products as being of possible investment interest and contributing to the distribution of products in Russian and European markets.

    CCI Vice-President Georgy Petrov said Russian business was very interested in investing in Greece, as wre the 175 CCI member chambers, and committed to promoting information on the investment law and key investment plans.

    It is not a crisis of the Greek economy but of the EU, and Greece has been relegated to the role of its victim," Petrov said, mentioning that Russia is reviewing the EU's mistakes in order to avoid them during the development of the customs union and the unified area of Russia, Byelorussia and Kazakhstan among the three countries.

    Kedikoglou is holding a series of meetings in Moscow that include the assistant to Russian president Vladimir Putin on international issues, the alternate foreign minister, and the vice-president of Russian Railways.

    [09] Court hands down life sentences to Thessaloniki former Mayor, secgen and treasurer in embezzlement scandal

    Life sentences were handed down to Thessaloniki former mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, former municipal secretary general Michalis Lemoussias and former treasurer Panagiotis Saxonis over a sensational embezzlement case at the municipality by the Thessaloniki Criminal Court on Wednesday after a month-long trial

    The Court did not acknowledge any extenuating circumstances for the defendants, who were led directly from the courthouse to prison.

    Papageorgopoulos and Lemoussias were convicted to life sentences, while Saxonis was sentences to life plus nine years imprisonment.

    Two former directors of the financial registrar's office also charged in the case were given suspended sentences of 15 and 10 years, respectively, pending appeal, but were banned from leaving the country and ordered to appear at a local police station every month.

    Earlier Wednesday, the Court ruled former Thessaloniki Mayor Papageorgopoulos guilty of direct accessory to several counts of embezzlement of municipal funds totaling 17.9 million euros due to omission, and former municipal secretary general Lemoussias guilty of moral instigation.

    The charges, under the provisions of the law on embezzlement of state funds, carry heavy penalties including sentences of up to life imprisonment.

    The Court further found former municipal treasurer Panagiotis Saxonis and two former directors of the financial registrar's office guilty, but acquitted three former deputy mayors responsible for the municipality's finances, Mihalis Zorpidis, Anastasios Gerogiannis, and Theodoros Athanassaros, and another 12 senior administrative staff at the municipality who had also been accused in the affair.

    The trial of Papageorgopoulos and other high-ranking municipal officials and employees for a sensational embezzlement case at the Thessaloniki municipality, in which 51.4 million euro 'disappeared' from the municipality's coffers, began on December 19 and lasted one month. The money that was embezzled, through the use of forged documents, came from employee contributions that were not paid into social security funds for nearly a decade and the 18 defendants were accused of embezzlement, forgery, and of morally instigating and acting as accessories to these actions.

    In its ruling Wednesday, the Court set the sum of the embezzled money at 17.9 million euros, the amount in the city coffers when Saxonis assumed the post of treasurer.

    The Court went into recess after announcing its verdicts before resuming to announce the sentences of the accused.

    After the announcement of the sentences, Papageorgopoulos asked to speak and said: "With all due respect, I repeat that I have absolutely nothing to do with the case. I am certain that some people will die with a guilty conscience".

    The chief judge replied: "It will not be us".

    [10] Court rules former Thessaloniki Mayor, officials, guilty of embezzlement

    The Thessaloniki Criminal Appeal Court on Wednesday ruled former Thessaloniki Mayor Vassals Papageorgopoulos guilty of direct accessory in several counts of embezzlement of municipal funds totaling 17.9 million euros due to omission, and former municipal secretary general Michalis Lemoussias guilty of moral instigation.

    The charges, under the provisions of the law on embezzlement of state funds, carry heavy penalties including sentences of up to life imprisonment.

    The Court further found former municipal treasurer Panagiotis Saxonis and two former directors of the financial registrar's office guilty, but acquitted three former deputy mayors responsible for the municipality's finances, Mihalis Zorpidis, Anastasios Gerogiannis, and Theodoros Athanassaros, and another 12 senior administrative staff at the municipality who had also been accused in the affair.

    The trial of Papageorgopoulos and other high-ranking municipal officials and employees for a sensational embezzlement case at the Thessaloniki municipality, in which 51.4 million euro 'disappeared' from the municipality's coffers, began on December 19 and lasted one month. The money that was embezzled, through the use of forged documents, came from employee contributions that were not paid into social security funds for nearly a decade and the 18 defendants were accused of embezzlement, forgery, and of morally instigating and acting as accessories to these actions.

    In its ruling Wednesday, the Court set the sum of the embezzled money at 17.9 million euros, the amount in the city coffers when Saxonis assumed the post of treasurer.

    The Court went into recess after announcing its verdicts, and will resume to announce the sentences of the accused.

    [11] Thessaloniki life sentencing prompts party responses

    Responding to the life sentences of three Thessaloniki city officials on Wednesday, ruling New Democracy said that the party and its leader "respect all court decisions". It also said the former mayor's party membership would be suspended until a final decision was reached.

    The party also strongly criticised main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) for bringing up statements it said Samaras made in 2011 about Papageorgopoulos' honesty, and then for asking whether the former mayor was still a ND member. ND said it "would not accept any pointers on issues of lengthy or life sentences from SYRIZA - who are they, to speak? Those who publicly defend thieves, rapists, terrorists and long-term convicts?" and expressed the hope that SYRIZA would learn to respect the law as much as ND does.

    Former Thessaloniki mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, one of three former city officials sentenced to life over embezzling state funds, said his sentencing came to "satisfy a climate that asks for the blood of politicians" and claimed that he was sentenced "at a political court case, without any proof," while the former treasurer, who had perjured himself, "was embezzling many years before I became mayor."

    He also said "no Thessaloniki resident nor Greek believes I betrayed them. I will await the decision of the second-degree court."

    Papageorgopoulos, former municipal secretary general Michalis Lemoussias and former treasurer Panagiotis Saxonis were handed life sentences over a sensational embezzlement case at the municipality by the Thessaloniki Criminal Court on Wednesday after a month-long trial.

    The Court did not acknowledge any extenuating circumstances for the defendants, who were led directly from the courthouse to prison.

    Papageorgopoulos and Lemoussias were convicted to life sentences, while Saxonis was sentences to life plus nine years imprisonment.

    Two former directors of the financial registrar's office also charged in the case were given suspended sentences of 15 and 10 years, respectively, pending appeal, but were banned from leaving the country and ordered to appear at a local police station every month.

    Earlier Wednesday, the Court ruled former Thessaloniki Mayor Papageorgopoulos guilty of direct accessory to several counts of embezzlement of municipal funds totaling 17.9 million euros due to omission, and former municipal secretary general Lemoussias guilty of moral instigation.

    The charges, under the provisions of the law on embezzlement of state funds, carry heavy penalties including sentences of up to life imprisonment.

    The Court further found former municipal treasurer Panagiotis Saxonis and two former directors of the financial registrar's office guilty, but acquitted three former deputy mayors responsible for the municipality's finances, Mihalis Zorpidis, Anastasios Gerogiannis, and Theodoros Athanassaros, and another 12 senior administrative staff at the municipality who had also been accused in the affair.

    The trial of Papageorgopoulos and other high-ranking municipal officials and employees for a sensational embezzlement case at the Thessaloniki municipality, in which 51.4 million euro 'disappeared' from the municipality's coffers, began on December 19 and lasted one month. The money that was embezzled, through the use of forged documents, came from employee contributions that were not paid into social security funds for nearly a decade and the 18 defendants were accused of embezzlement, forgery, and of morally instigating and acting as accessories to these actions.

    In its ruling Wednesday, the Court set the sum of the embezzled money at 17.9 million euros, the amount in the city coffers when Saxonis assumed the post of treasurer.

    The Court went into recess after announcing its verdicts before resuming to announce the sentences of the accused.

    After the announcement of the sentences, Papageorgopoulos asked to speak and said: "With all due respect, I repeat that I have absolutely nothing to do with the case. I am certain that some people will die with a guilty conscience".

    The chief judge replied: "It will not be us".

    [12] French Defence Minister on official one-day visitThursday

    French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will be on an official visit to Greece on Thursday, following an invitation by his Greek counterpart, Panos Panagiotopoulos. The meeting will focus on bilateral defence and military cooperation, ministry coordination issues and other issues of mutual interest.

    [13] Opinion poll gives marginal lead to SYRIZA, but Samaras 'most suitable' for PM

    Main opposition SYRIZA was leading over New Democracy (ND) by a marginal 0.3 percent, according to an opinion poll conducted by MARC for the private ALPHA television station.

    According to the poll results, SYRIZA was leading with 23.1 percent, followed by ND with 22.8 percent, Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) with 10 percent, PASOK with 5.3 percent, Independent Greeks with 5.3 percent, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) with 4.5 percent and Democratic Left (DIMAR) with 4.4 percent, while 6 percent of the respondents expressed support for other parties and the blank and invalid votes and abstention was 10.4 percent. The unspecified vote reached 8.2 percent.

    In response to who would be most suitable for prime minister, current Prime Minister Antonis Samaras was preferred by 50.5 percent of the respondents, followed by SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras with 30.5 percent, while 19 percent declined to answer.

    The geographic coverage of the opinion poll was nationwide and was conducted between 15 and 22 February 2013.

    [14] SYRIZA leader express support to BIOME workers' efforts

    Main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday expressed his support for the initiative of the employees of the Industrial Mining industry (BIOME) to re-operate the plant under their own self-management following the abandonment of the industry by its former management and the bankruptcy of the mother company Filkeram-Johnson.

    During a visit to the BIOME installations in Thessaloniki, Tsipras called on the government to satisfy the workers' demands and pledged that SYRIZA will table a draft law for reform of the institutional framework that will give 'hope and another prospect' to similar initiatives.

    "We intend within the coming period to table a draft law that will radically change the institutional framework and will provide incentives to workers' cooperatives in order that they will be able to assume the management of enterprises where the proprietor is ready to leave or has left and abandoned them by radically changing the bankruptcy law so to enable the seizure of the personal of employers who take off with the profits and leave the debts to the employees," underlined Tsipras.

    [15] ND criticizes SYRIZA's Dragasakis for comments on currency

    The New Democracy party issued a statement on Tuesday in which it criticised Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) deputy Yannis Dragasakis for comments he made in a television programme on the country's currency.

    "Once again, SYRIZA and Mr. Dragasakis are raising the question of 'drachma or euro'. And they are requesting a discussion to take place on what the country's national currency will be!"

    The announcement added that the specific discussion on the currency which SYRIZA is now opening again "is harmful to the country, as well as to the national efforts and the sacrifices of the Greek citizens.

    [16] State to settle outstanding health bill by mid-year, following bill vote

    The government will settle all outstanding debt incurred in 2011 by the Provision of Healthcare Services (EOPYY), the unified state health insurance provider, by the end of the first six months this year, Health Minister Andreas Lykourentzos told Parliament on Wednesday prior to voting on a health bill.

    All parties passed the bill, which was introduced under emergency measures, and which aims at consolidating debts incurred in 2011 by hospitals to pharmaceutical companies with the corresponding debts of companies to EOPYY (including a non-collected rebate).

    Lykourentzos said that the ministry is disbursing 300 million euros to hospitals within the next two months so they may settle and consolidate their debts to both pharmacies and other private procurers. The hospital debts total 700-800 million euros, whereas the debts of companies to EOPYY total about 150 million euros.

    The amassing of debt by the state had led private health providers earlier in the month to announce they were suspending credit to EOPYY, a move that forced patients to pay for the full medical tests and treatments in advance and then claim the money back from EOPYY.

    According to the Attica Pharmacists' Association, EOPYY's accumulated debts to pharmacists included payments pharmacists had already made to their respective suppliers. Payment delays by the state had, according to the association, led to the closure of 200 pharmacies in 2012, 800 going on the Teiresias bad creditors' list and 300 having payment orders issued against them by December 2012.

    [17] President Papoulias receives PASOK leader Venizelos

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Wednesday received PASOK president Evangelos Venizelos at the Presidential Mansion in Athens. In their brief discussion they agreed that "omens are favourable" ahead of the party congress of PASOK, one of the junior partners in the coalition government. According to Venizelos, 110,000 party members attended the pre-congress on Sunday which voted for the delegates to the congress in March.

    [18] Troika report blasts tax administration's weaknesses

    The Greek tax administration has great weaknesses in its battle against tax evasion and collecting overdue tax debt, a report by the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission said on Wednesday.

    The report, on the country's tax administration condition, said there was a shortage of infrastructure, a large shortfall in personnel to conducting tax inspections and collecting overdue tax debt and a lack of incentives to mobilizing human resources.

    The report stressed that tax departments such as tax inspection and overdue tax collection were understaffed, most inspectors working in tax agencies for large enterprises did not have their own desk and computer, a wage for a fresh-comer inspector was just 700 euros, while it urged a strengthening of the responsibilities and independence of a public revenue secretary-general.

    The report noted that a tax inspection on 765 cases of large tax debtors confirmed an overdue tax debt of 16.4 billion euros in 2012, but tax agencies collected only 80.53 million euros, while the tax agency collected 1.099 billion euros in overdue tax debt last year, from a target of 2.0 billion euros.

    It also noted that a large part of overdue debt could not be collected as it was owed by enterprises which have bankrupted.

    The IMF/Commission report said a lack of personnel limited tax inspections to only 25 pct of scheduled inspections in the year. It also recommended stricter measures towards improving tax administration such as stricter penalties. The report noted that a significant problem was a large delay in VAT returns due to time-consuming inspections in the sector. The state did not return VAT sums worth 1.74 billion euros last year.

    [19] Admin Reform Ministry ready for troica meeting Monday

    The agreement with the troica of Greece's lenders to reduce the number of civil sector employees by 150,000 by the end of 2015 will be achieved without random layoffs, the Administrative Reform Ministry said on Wednesday.

    Ministry officials made the announcement right before a meeting with visiting officials in preparation of Monday's meeting with the troica (EU-ECB-IMF) representatives, when the changes in ministries' structure and staffing will be reviewed as part of the loan term agreement.

    According to the latest data (October 10, 2012) all civil service employees, from state to local agencies, armed forces, judicial personnel, agencies, and contractors to the state numbered 667,000, down from 760,000 at the end of 2010. Permanent staff have been reduced to 571,000, the ministry said. It forecast that attrition due to pensioning and to the removal of staff removed for perjury would further reduce staff by at least 150,000, the number required by the troica for end-2015, and could further drop by about 180,000, which would create problems in the state's administration.

    [20] PASOK party leader addresses Youth conference

    PASOK party leader Evangelos Venizelos termed the party's Youth conference as "the most dynamic and hopeful" prelude for PASOK's charter conference, "the conference of the party's restructuring, the conference that guarantees our country's recovery", inaugurating the two-day sessions at the Peace and Friendship Stadium, Neo Faliro, Athens.

    "PASOK is here, it is struggling, resisting, guaranteeing, shaping the future of the country," Venizelos said.

    [21] Economic crime prosecutors on 'Lagarde list' case

    Economic crime prosecutors Grigoris Peponis and Spyros Mouzakitis want to examine three testimonies given before the Parliamentary Investigating Committee on the so-called Lagarde list affair. The prosecutors are near completion of their own investigation on possible penal responsibilities of non-political persons in the case.

    The two prosecutors, who are probing whether there are responsibilities of state employees on the way of handling the controversial material of the depositors list at the Geneva HSBC bank, requested from Parliament the testimonies of Ilias Plaskovitis, former secretary general of the Finance ministry, Anastasios Banos, legal adviser of former finance minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou, and Christos Athanasiou, high-ranking employee of the finance ministry.

    According to reports, the prosecutors want to be informed on what the three witnesses testified before Parliament, as they believe that at the Parliament's Committee they were more detailed than when they testified before them. Therefore, after receiving and examining the testimonies from Parliament, they will judge whether it will be necessary to summon them for a new testimony.

    [22] SYRIZA leader blasts 'Athena' education restructuring plan

    The "Athena" education restructuring plan "will shrink and distort academic characteristics of higher education", Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) president Alexis Tsipras said late Wednesday while speaking at a party event on education in Thessaloniki. He added "Athena" was a "cheap accounting plan."

    Tsipras said that "nothing can stand in this sensitive sector of education, if it is not set up following exhausting dialogue, consensus through a constructive process of composition with the academic sector."

    "Therefore no "'Athena' can go ahead unless the university community, students and employees express their views first," he remarked.

    [23] Parties criticise Golden Dawn 'indoctrination of children'

    We cannot allow the poisoning of innocent children, and this is a responsibility we all share, PASOK party spokesman Fofi Gennimata said on Wednesday, responding to a feature in Ta Nea daily according to which the Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) party is "indoctrinating children as young as 6 years old" through after-school classes, calling them "young friends of the movement."

    "Chryssi Avghi is once again showing its repugnant face. Its victims now are innocent six-year-olds," Gennimata said. "Fascism is even more dangerous when it is expressed as a political organisation in neighbourhoods and daily life. We should all comprehend this and resist - zero tolerance to fascism and Golden Dawn."

    The right-wing party denied the allegations, saying "The role of propaganda is officially undertaken by the state, which is carrying out propaganda against Golden Dawn at schools." It also said that very soon the party was gong to be offering free history lessons at its local branches to cover what it claimed was "anything but Greek history" that schools taught.

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) on Wednesday lashed out at Golden Dawn noting that "unfortunately, we have reached the point where a criminal gang like Golden Dawn engages in brainwashing children with Nazi propaganda," and stressed that Golden Dawn enjoys scandalous immunity from judicial and police authorities.

    According to SYRIZA, the goal of such practices is to "create fanatics" that can be used as "tools" by the Golden Dawn leadership and called for "the mass mobilization of the Greek society to put an end to the undermining of our freedom by Hitler sympathizers."

    The Democratic Left (DIMAR) party, a junion partner along with PASOK in the ruling coalition government, also criticised Golden Dawn for the article and the photos on the party's online site depicting six- and seven-year-olds participating in the history programme, charging it with "showing their real face, following practices and logic of junta regimes," and called on "all democratic forces in the country to raise a wall against Golden dawn and its offshoots."

    [24] Draft law against illegal tree-cutting tabled in parliament

    The Environment Ministry tabled a draft law in parliament late Tuesday against illegal tree-cutting, for which it foresees heavy penalties.

    According to the draft law, that every damage to the forest environment that exceeds 200 euros will be treated as misdemeanor, and in the event that the damage is over 10,000 euros it will be treated as a felony.

    [25] Farmers in Serres end roadblocks

    Farmers in the region of Serres in northern Greece ended their roadblocks on Wednesday morning after almost four weeks of roadside protests along national motorways.

    In the presence of a police force, local farmers withdrew roughly 500 tractors from the Lefkonas junction on the Serres-Thessaloniki and Serres-Promahonas national motorway. "We leave empty-handed but with our heads held high," they stressed, not ruling out their participation in the farmers' protest rally scheduled to take place in Athens on March 5.

    Protesting farmers also withdrew from the Kerdyllia roadblock on Egnatia Odos national motorway, stressing that they expect the prime minister to meet his commitments.

    Financial News

    [26] Gov't delegation in Moscow for investment talks

    A government delegation arrived in Moscow on Wednesday for investment talks in the Russian capital.

    The delegation, comprising deputy minister to the prime minister and government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou and development ministry secretary general Serapheim Tsokas, is due to meet with its Russian counterparts, as well as with advisors to and close associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    According to sources, the visit is part of a wider governmental initiative to attract investments to and showcase business opportunities in Greece, as well as for preparation of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' planned visit to Moscow.

    The delegation is scheduled to meet with Putin's deputy chief of staff and advisor on foreign policy and international economic issues, Ambassador Yuri Ushakov, the Russian President's press spokesman Dmitry Peskov, deputy foreign minister Vladimir Titov, Chairman of the Russian State Duma's (lower house of the Russian parliament) International Affairs Committee Alexei Pushkov and other officials.

    A meeting will also be held with the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry aimed at promoting business-investment plans and boosting the trade and economic relations between the two countries.

    [27] Labour Minister in Brussels for meeting Wednesday

    Labour, Social Security and Welfare Minister Yiannis Vroutsis will be attending an Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) meeting in Brussels on Wednesday.

    In an announcement, the Labour, Social Security and Welfare Ministry said the council would address the Europe 2020 strategy, which aimed at strengthening development and job creation at EU member-states. Included in the agenda was a presentation by the social investment package committee and preparations for the three-day summit meeting on March 14.

    [28] Greece to participate in 'CeBIT 2013' IT and telecommunications exhibition

    Greece is to renew its participation in the world's biggest information technology and telecommunications exhibition, CeBIT 2013, following many years of absence, with a national pavilion arranged by the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) - Helexpo.

    CeBIT 2013 is being held in Hannover, Germany on March 5-9 and 20 businesses and associations, as well as 10 state organisations will be participating in the Greek mission.

    According to data provided, the sector of IT and communications technologies is the most dynamic in Greece, with some 4,500 companies and more than 270,000 employees.

    It is estimated that should tax services were properly computerised, Greece could secure collection of revenues of up to 20 billion euros annually from tax evasion, given that the paraeconomy's turnover is estimated at 60 billion euros a year.

    Hannover's international CeBIT exhibition appeals to users of the IT and communications technologies industry, wholesale and retail trade, the services sector, government organisations and scientific agencies, as well as to the fanatics of new technology. It is regarded a springboard for the exchange of experience and expertise on modern trends.

    [29] Hydrocarbon exploration ends successfully, PGS official

    "The data collected during the geophysical research for the location of underwater hydrocarbon fields in the Ionian Sea and south of the island of Crete is very good," Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) executive vice-president Sverre Strandenes said on Wednesday upon the return of the Nordic Explorer research vessel to the southern port city of Patras.

    Strandenes also noted that based on the available data "we can say that the research was absolutely successful".

    "The data collected will now be analysed," he said, adding that "this phase will last for a while; most likely, the results will be ready in the last quarter of the year to be made available to the company that will take over."

    On his part, Western Greece Regional Governor Apostolos Katsifaras, who visited the research vessel and met with the PGS senior executive, stressed that "we have to be patient while waiting for the official results of the research," adding that the Greek economy will turn a new page if hydrocarbon fields are located.

    The Nordic Explorer left the port of Patras on Nov. 11, 2012 and proceeded to explore regions in the north Ionian Sea, between the islands of Kefalonia, Zakynthos and Kythera, south of Crete and also off the coasts of Kyparissia and Pylos.

    [30] Bank lending to private sector unchanged at 4.0 pct in Jan

    Bank lending to the private sector remained negative in January, with the annual rate of total credit extended to the domestic private sector remaining unchanged at -4.0% in the first month of 2013, the Bank of Greece said on Wednesday.

    The central bank, in a report, said that net flow of total credit to the domestic private sector was negative, amounting to 296 million euros in January (January 2012: negative net flow of 407 million).

    The net flow of credit to enterprises, in January 2013, was positive, amounting to 96 million euros (January 2012: positive net flow of 206 million), and the annual growth rate of credit remained unchanged at -4.4%. The central bank said that in particular, the annual growth rate of credit to non-financial corporations slowed to -2.6% from -3.3% in the previous month, while the net flow of credit was positive to 164 million euros (January 2012: negative net flow of 656 million). The annual growth rate of credit to insurance corporations and other financial intermediaries fell at a more rapid rate of -25.9% in January 2013, from -20.9% in December 2012.

    The net flow of credit to sole proprietors and unincorporated partnerships was zero in January 2013 (January 2012: negative net flow of 96 million) and its annual rate of change slowed to -2.4%, from -3.0% in December 2012. In January 2013, the net flow of credit to individuals and private non-profit institutions was negative, amounting to 392 million euros (January 2012: negative net flow of 516 million), and its annual growth rate stood at -3.7%, compared with -3.8% in December 2012.

    [31] Troika experts demand full liberalisation of coastal shipping services

    Troika experts reiterated their demand for a full liberalisation of coastal shipping services, abolishing all obligatory sea routes and deregulating maritime labour, during a meeting with Shipping Secretary General Athanasios Bousios and other ministry officials.

    Ministry officials told troika experts, in Greece to prepare the way for meetings with the troika heads expected in Athens Monday, that the geographical complexity of Aegean Sea did not allow full liberalisation of coastal shipping services and stressed that a new draft legislation - promoted by the ministry - would result in significant improvements for the competitiveness of the sector, which already operates under strict financial criteria. Talks between the two sides are expected to continue.

    Meanwhile, a round of negotiations between coastal shipowners and trade unions over signing a new collective labor agreement remained deadlocked after workers' unions rejected shipowners' proposals. A new round of negotiations is scheduled for next week.

    [32] Philip Morris signs major agreement on Greek tobacco

    Philip Morris tobacco company signed an agreement to buy 50 pct of the Greek production of the oriental tobacco type, Agriculture Minister Athanasios Tsatavris said on Wednesday.

    The signing at government headquarters in Maximos Mansion was also attended by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

    Tsatavris said the agreement was a stamp of trust in Greece by the company, said the minister, who added that quality products are the best passport for Greek exports and tobacco in particular was a high-revenue sector involving thousands of employees in cultivation and processing.

    [33] Private sector saving deposits slightly down in Jan

    Saving deposits by Greek enterprises and households fell slightly to 160.97 billion euros in January, from 161.451 billion euros in December 2012, the Bank of Greece said on Wednesday. The central bank, in a report, noted however that total deposits, including the public sector, rose to 176.6 billion euros in the January from 173.3 billion euros in December.

    Greek banks are recording a recovery in saving deposits since August 2012, helped by restored political stability in the country and diminishing fears that the country would exit the eurozone.

    [34] Ryanair adds more destinations connecting Corfu

    Ryanair low cost airline announced that it is increasing the air-link with Corfu from the current 8 to 13 destinations. The new flights will be launched at the end of March when the new tourist season opens.

    The three last destinations added to Ryanair's itinerary are to Frankfurt, Rome and Manchester. The first flight is scheduled for March 21 to Dusseldorf.

    [35] Greek stocks end 0.70 pct higher on Wednesday

    Greek stocks rebounded in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday but the composite index of the market was unable to regain the 1,000-mark level. The index rose 0.70 pct to end at 998.48 points, helped by a recovery in bank shares (with the exception of National Bank, which fell significantly). The index ended off the day's highs of 1,003.58 points. Turnover was a disappointing 50.186 million euros.

    The Large Cap index rose 0.77 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 1.02 pct higher. The Personal Products (2.91 pct), Food (2.39 pct) and Banks (1.26 pct) recorded the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Health (2.38 pct), Financial Services (1.82 pct) and Utilities (1.36 pct) suffered losses.

    Eurobank (18.26 pct), Piraeus Bank (8.71 pct) and Alpha Bank (6.21 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while National Bank (3.20 pct), MIG (2.05 pct) and Hellenic Petroleum (1.71 pct) suffered losses. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 75 to 74 with another 23 issues unchanged. Ideal (29.37 pct), Pasal (20.49 pct) and Kepenos Mills (19.26 pct) were top gainers, while ANEK (25.93 pct), Nutriart (18.99 pct) and Sidma (18.69 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: +0.96%

    Commercial: -0.01%

    Construction: +0.59%

    Oil & Gas: -0.47%

    Personal & Household: +2.91%

    Raw Materials: -0.45%

    Travel & Leisure: +0.19%

    Technology: +0.17%

    Telecoms: +0.98

    Banks: +1.26%

    Food & Beverages: +2.39%

    Health: -2.38%

    Utilities: -1.36%

    Financial Services: -1.82%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were Coca Cola 3E, OPAP, National Bank and OTE.

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

    Alpha Bank: 0.99

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 7.50

    HBC Coca Cola: 20.44

    Hellenic Petroleum: 8.62

    National Bank of Greece: 0.94

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.41

    OPAP: 6.78

    OTE: 6.16

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.26

    Titan: 14.48

    Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 9.83 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Wednesday, from 9.51 pct on Tuesday, with the Greek bond yielding 11.25 pct and the German Bund 1.42 pct. Turnover totaled 7.0 million euros, all sell orders.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate eased to 0.58 pct, the nine-month rate fell to 0.47 pct, the six-month rate was 0.35 pct , the three-month rate rose to 0.23 pct and the one-month rate was 0.12 pct.

    [36] ADEX closing report

    The March contract on the FTSE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 0.61 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover shrinking to 11.514 million euros.

    Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 2,441 contracts worth 4.077 million euros, with 33,552 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 43,951 contracts worth 7.437 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (24,351), followed by Alpha Bank (7,153), Piraeus Bank (2,527), MIG (1,153), OTE (1,848), PPC (1,364), OPAP (1,435), GEK (1,353), Eurobank (737), Intralot (436), Hellenic Exchanges (167), Mytilineos (215) and Cyprus Bank (533).

    [37] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.329

    Pound sterling 0.877

    Danish kroner 7.568

    Swedish kroner 8.561

    Japanese yen 121.86

    Swiss franc 1.236

    Norwegian kroner 7.579

    Canadian dollar 1.363

    Australian dollar 1.303

    General News

    [38] Peloponnesos promoted as tourism destination in Norway

    Peloponnese Regional Governor Petros Tatoulis outlined the comparative advantages of the southern Greek region as an international tourism destination in a special event in Oslo, Norway, to promote that region of Greece.

    "Peloponnese has become easily accessible and recognisable in the international tourism market," Tatoulis stressed, adding that the region had to offer guaranteed quality services and products at competitive prices. He also mentioned that under a regional quality pact, the region would also promote local food specialities in its tourism.

    Greek Ambassador to Norway Antonis Vlavianos said in his address that the region provides an ideal link between mythology and history, as it gave birth to modern Greece.

    [39] Man dismembers victim and throws it to river

    A hideous crime with a 48 year-old man as the victim was revealed early Wednesday in the village of Keramates near the city of Arta, northwestern Greece.

    A 36-year-old man confessed that he killed and dismembered the victim and afterwards threw the dismembered body into a river.

    The victim was reported missing from his residence in Fillipiada on February 11 2013.

    Police were conducting an investigation to find the missing man and after making use of all information collected they tracked down the suspect, who subsequently confessed to the crime.

    A major operation is currently underway to find the dismembered body. According to information the two men had personal differences.

    The suspect later revealed details of the crime during questioning by police.

    According to police sources, the 36-year-old suspect is alleged to have shot the victim in the face and then dismembered him with a hatchet. Afterwards he boiled the soft parts of the body and minced them, and threw the head and the bones into a river.

    The same sources said that the victim, the suspect and the latter's 27-year-old girl friend were shooting heroin when an argument broke out. The 36-year-old is alleged to initially have fired shot in the air and afterwards pointed his gun at his friend with whom, as he told police, he had personal and financial differences.

    The 27-year-old woman told police under questioning that she left the house after the shooting.

    [40] Horse meat traces found in Greek frozen beef

    Horse DNA was found in frozen beef imported by a Greek company from Romania, the food safety administration (EFET) said Wednesday.

    Two samples were found on packages labeled "Frozen beef meat neck" and "Frozen beef meat topside", imported by the company Vassiliki Zikoudi.

    In checks conducted throughout Greece after a Europe-wide alert on horse meat included in beef products, a total of 76 samples have been sent to laboratories. Of 26 analysed so far, 2 were found positive. They were collected from meat processing plants, catering companies, freezer storages and stores throughout Greece by selective sample taking.

    [41] Companies sponsor boat to keep Thermaikos Bay clean

    A specially equipped cleaning boat will be removing floating garbage from the sea in Thessaloniki's Thermaikos Bay as of March 1, it was announced on Wednesday.

    The signing of a contract with four companies that agreed to undertake the project's entire cost as sponsors took place in the presence on Macedonia-Thrace Minister Theodoros Karaoglou. The boat will be in operation daily, from morning till night.

    "We have borrowed the environment from our children and it needs to be protected," Karaoglou said, adding that Thermaikos Bay has many problems and the Ministry of Macedonia-Thrace has decided to undertake a number of actions to resolve them.

    The four companies that undertook to sponsor the project until Dec. 31, 2013 are Thessaloniki Water Supply and Sewerage S.A. (EYATH S.A.), Lidl Hellas, Mamidol Jet Oil and Wind Hellas.

    [42] Black Sea Greeks genocide commemoration event on May 19

    The organisation of an event for the Commemoration of the Genocide of the Black Sea Greeks was the focus of a meeting Tuesday held between Attica Regional Governor Yiannis Sgouros and the president of the Pampontian Federation of Greece George Parharidis, who was accompanied by the president of the Pontians of Southern Greece, George Varythymiadis.

    During the meeting it was decided that the commemoration event be jointly organised by the Attica Region and the Pontians on Sunday May 19 2013, with a memorial service at the Athens Cathedral, the laying of wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where the gathering of the Pontians' associations will be taking place.

    [43] Armenian protest at Azerbaijani consulate

    Members of the Armenian community staged a protest at the consulate of Azerbaijan in Athens on Wednesday to commemorate the "25th aniversary of the massacre of Armenians in Sumgayit."

    Chairman of the Armenian National Committee of Greece Tavit Bedrosian told AMNA, "In 1988, as soon as the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic declared its indeependence, Azerbaijan attacked the city of Sumgayit, near the Caspian Sea, where the population was predominantly Armenian, and within two days killed at least 150 people as revenge for the Armenian movement for independence."

    Bedrosian said the committee held a protest annually "to remind the international public opionion that Azerbaijan's gas and oil will not bend the will of Armenians," and called for the Greek government to convey, in any contacts with the country, the Armenian anger.

    The participants also gave a memo to the consulate requesting that Azerbaijan come to the negotiation table "for a peaceful, just and final resolution to the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh."

    [44] Rescue operation for trapped stray dog

    A rescue operation for a stray dog was launched on Tuesday on Mt. Tyrnavos after the female dog was trapped on a rock in the Titarissios River amid rising torrential waters due to heavy rainfall over the last few days.

    The Fire Brigade and EMAK rescue team as well as Tyrnavos municipal employees took part in the rescue operation, but were hampered by the sweeping waters that did not allow to the rescue team's vessel to approach the distressed stray.

    Eight hours later and after Tyrnavos mayor Nikos Malakos ordered the dispatch of a municipal crane with a boom winch to the spot, and with the assistance of two men managed to rescue the animal.

    Weather forecast

    [45] Rainy on Thursday

    Rainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday. Winds 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures between 3C and 16C. Local showers in Athens with northerly 3-6 beaufort winds and temperatures between 5C and 13C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 4C and 10C.

    [46] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    AVGHI: "Main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras to parliament: Yes to investors, no to pirates".

    DIMOKRATIA: "Public sector: The...cat and the mouse".

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: "Righter than the Right".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: " 'Greekometer' for the nationality".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Merging of university schools brings explosion in base entry grades".

    ESTIA: "Negative lessons from Italy".

    ETHNOS: "Ala Italian historic compromise"

    IMERISSIA: "Debts arrangement or prosecution".

    KATHIMERINI: "Harsh negotiation over layoffs in public sector".

    LOGOS: "Handcuffs for 5,000 euros (in debts to the state)".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Prosecution and asset seizures for debts over 5,000 euros".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) an impasse for the poor farmers".

    TA NEA: "Catechism of hatred".

    VRADYNI: "Work for 400,000 unemployed".

    6 DAYS: "In jail for 5,000 euros debts".

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