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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-03-19
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 19 March 2013 Issue No: 4313
 PM Samaras: Prosperity will soon return in Greece, CyprusIn a statement on latest developments in Cyprus, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said on Monday that "Greece has been and is standing by Cyprus at this tough time."
The premier's statement adds that "Greece is also experiencing a tough time over the past three years. But you must remember: Prosperity and growth will return soon. In both Cyprus and Greece."
Samaras further said "the ability of Hellenism to withstand difficulties and achieve progress has been proved many times. It will be proven again."
"Provided that we do not lose faith in ourselves and stand on our feet. We shall emerge stronger and more united from the crisis."
 FinMin Stournaras: Eurogroup gives flexibility to CyprusGreek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said a Eurogroup finance ministers teleconference on Cyprus decided late Monday evening that "more flexibility be given to Cyprus to put together the amount required, which means that Cyprus itself is to decide the kind of levy to be imposed" on bank deposits.
With regard to Greece, Stournaras said that "I underlined to Eurogroup that we are ready to acquire the assets and liabilities of Cypriot banks' branches in Greece. I'd like to say that these branches will remain closed (on Tuesday and Wednesday) by decision of Cyprus authorities, and needless to say, all other Greek or foreign banks' branches will operate as normally."
Stournaras firmly reassured that there was absolutely no risk for Greek depositors both with Cypriot banks operating in Greece and with Greek banks.
 Systemic Stability meeting concludedA number of Greek credit institutions have already expressed interest in acquiring Cypriot banks' branches operating in Greece, as confirmed by reliable sources following the end of a meeting on Monday evening by the Council of Systemic Stability at the Greek Finance Ministry.
At any case, developments on the issue are not expected before a Cyprus House of Representatives decision on whether to endorse Saturday's Eurogroup decision to apply a haircut on Cypriot banks' deposits in exchange of an economic aid package.
The final approval of such acquisition lies with the Bank of Greece.
Cypriot banks operate an extensive network across Greece, amounting up to some 330 branches. Bank of Cyprus operates 160 branches, followed by Cyprus Popular Bank with 130 and Hellenic Bank with 30 branches.
 Cyprus banks' braches in Greece closed on Tuesday, WednesdayCyprus banks' branches in Greece - Bank of Cyprus, Cyprus Popular Bank and Hellenic Bank - will remain closed on Tuesday and Wednesday, as decided by Cyprus authorities, an announcement by the Greek Finance ministry said on Monday evening.
As agreed by the Eurogroup on March 16, 2013 the branches operated by Cyprus banks in Greece will be transferred to a Greek banking group in order to fully safeguard deposits and financial stability.
The finance ministry also said that certain Greek banks have already expressed interest to obtain the branches of Cyprus banks. The final approval lies with the Bank of Greece.
According to reliable information, any developments on the issue will take place after a Cyprus House of Representatives decision on whether to endorse Saturday's Eurogroup decision to apply a haircut on Cyprus banks' deposits in exchange of an economic aid package.
 Gov't unveils plan to transfer Cypriot banks' assets in Greece to domestic bankGreek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras offered full reassurances that deposits in Cypriot banks' branches in Greece were not at risk and said that a plan was examined to transfer all assets by Cypriot banks operating in Greece to an existing Greek financial institution.
Speaking to reporters, after a meeting of the Council of Systemic Stability on Saturday evening, Stournaras said the council unanimously agreed on the plan along with a mandate to the Bank of Greece to examine the interest of Greek commercial banks on the plan.
"The Council of Systemic Stability convened to discuss a decision reached by the Eurogroup over a political agreement between Eurozone finance ministers and CyprGreek Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras offered full reassurances that deposits in Cypriot banks' branches in Greece were not at risk and said that a plan was examined to transfer all assets by Cypriot banks operating in Greece to an existing Greek financial institution.
Speaking to reporters, after a meeting of the Council of Systemic Stability, Stournaras said the council unanimously agreed on the plan along with a mandate to the Bank of Greece to examine the interest of Greek commercial banks on the plan.
"The Council of Systemic Stability convened to discuss a decision reached by the Eurogroup over a political agreement between Eurozone finance ministers and Cyprus authorities over developments in the Cypriot banking system. The agreement fully safeguards depositors in Cypriot banks operating in Greece, safeguards Greek state interest and financial stability and does not burden the management of Greek public debt. In the framework of the agreement, the Council unanimously recommends the transfer of all Cypriot banks' assets in Greee to an existing Greek financial institution. The Bank of Greece will examine the interest of Greek banks in buying these assets".
Sources said that Bank of Greece has already begun talks with Greek banks with the aim to reach an agreement by Tuesday, if possible. The same sources, however, said that foreign banking groups were not excluded from this process. In any case, Greek authorities will choose the best solution.
Finance ministry officials were reassuring that there will be no possible negative effects on the domestic banking system, following Eurogroup's decision to impose an extra duty on deposits in Cyprus, nor any mass withdrawals of bank deposits.
Three Cypriot banks operate in Greece, Cyprus Bank, Laiki Bank and Hellenic Bank with a branch network of more than 300 units and a workforce of around 5,000.
 Stournaras: Eurogroup decision for Cyprus excludes deposits in Cyprus banks' branches in GreeceA decision by Eurogroup to apply a special tax on Cyprus bank deposits, as part of the country's bailout programme, will in no way apply to deposits kept with branches of Cyprus banks in Greece, Finance minister Yannis Stournaras said on Saturday.
"The Eurogroup decision on Cyprus expressly excludes branches of Cyprus banks in Greece, and stability of the Greek baking system is fully safeguarded," Stournaras said in a statement.
 FinMin says deposits in Greece fully securedFinance Minister Yannis Stournaras, speaking on emerging from the Maximos Mansion on Sunday evening where he met with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, once again reassured that deposits in Greece are fully secured, including those in the three Cyporiot banks that are active in Greece.
Stournaras said he briefed the prime minister on Eurogroup's decision regarding Cyprus and that they examined the wider developments on this issue.
As regards the three Cypriot banks that are active in Greece, Stournaras stressed that consultations are continuing on this issue.
"The deposits at the branch offices of the Cypriot banks in Greece are excluded explicitly from Eurogroup's decision concerning Cyprus and the stability of the Greek banking system is fully secured," Stournaras said.
 DIMAR: Eurogroup decision for Cyprus a 'harsh measure'"Eurogroup's decisions for Cyprus bring the country's political leadership and people before crucial choices," the Democratic Left (DIMAR) party said in a written statement issued on Monday evening.
"The imposition of a levy on small deposits is a harsh measure," said DIMAR, adding that "the specific decision should be amended to allow more tax brackets aimed at reducing the burden on such deposits."
According to the party, it is highly crucial that a European aid package does not include measures which would lead Cyprus economy to recession, such as reductions to wages and pensions.
 SYRIZA criticises government over its stance on Cyprus problemThe Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), in an announcement on Monday launches a new attack on the government over its stance on the problem of Cyprus. SYRIZA stresses that the Eurogroup's decisions on Cyprus show the political deadlcok of the neoliberal governments of the EU and their insistence on the disastrous strategy of memorandums of austerity and default.
SYRIZA further underlines that the deposits haircut constitutes a criminal option, socially unfair, as well as destabilising for the European banking system and for the eurozone in its entirety and that it is the heightening of the European memorandum serial of fragmental solutions for each country, that produce a disastrous result, while adding that "the criminal silence of the Greek government constitutes a provocation".
 SYRIZA leader demands special session of parliamentMain opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party leader Alexis Tsipras on Monday demanded an extraordinary session of the Greek Parliament's plenum on Tuesday, March 19, to discuss recent developments regarding Saturday's Eurogroup decision for Cyprus.
In a letter he sent to Parliament President Evangelos Meimara-kis, Tsipras says "the latest criminal decisions taken by the Eurogroup have historical dimensions, while they entail huge and negative consequences for depositors in Cyprus. In addition, they create a negative fait accompli, as they include a haircut on deposits, something that was inconceivable until yesterday."
 SYRIZA condemns Eurogroup for decision on CyprusEurogroup's decision for Cyprus is "an apotheosis of the criminal austerity policy backed by Europe's neoliberal leaderships," main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) said in a written statement on Saturday, adding that the decision just shows the direction in which the supporters of the markets' omnipotence and the capital are moving to by policies that are loading the burdens of the crisis onto the people.
In addition, SYRIZA raises a question as to the stance kept by the Greek government on the Cyprus plan, and whether it agreed with a special tax -or haircut- on Cyprus bank deposits.
 SYRIZA leader holds telephone conversation with AKEL party sgRadical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras held a long telephone conversation on Monday with the secretary general of the Cypriot AKEL party Andros Kyprianou, focusing on the crisis in Cyprus and the consultations taking place following the decision taken by the Eurogroup.
According to reports, Kyprianou briefed Tsipras on AKEL's position on the issue and the party's negative stance and vote in the Parliament of Cyprus. Kyprianou further revealed that the issue had also been raised during the presidency of Demetris Christofias, but the former President of the Republic had rejected the proposal for a haircut on deposits.
On his part, Tsipras stressed the need for the implementation of the Eurogroup's decision to be prevented so that it will not be considered a precedent and be implemented in other countries as well, but also because, as he said, it is a mistaken policy that can prove to be dangerous for the stability of the entire eurozone.
Tsipras and Kyprianou agreed to coordinate their parties politically over the coming days, while the SYRIZA leader expressed his absolute solidarity for the people of Cyprus.
 Kamenos blasts Eurogroup decision on Cyprus bailout"Brussels continues to follow a policy that leads to recession and poverty for working people, seeking at a later stage to achieve a federalisation of Europe," Independent Greeks party leader Panos Kamenos said on Saturday in a comment over a Eurogroup decision to apply a special tax on Cyprus bank deposits as part of the country's bailout programme.
Speaking on the island of Rhodes during a party pre-congress event, Kamenos said the recent developments lead to the conclusion that through a policy of internal devaluation Cyprus will be pushed to recession and unemployment, eventually leading to a collapse of its economy.
 SEV president on Eurogroup's decision for CyprusHellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) president Dimitris Daskalopoulos on Sunday in a statement regarding Eurogroup's decision for Cyprus called it a huge step backwards.
Daskalopoulos noted that Eurogroup's decision consists a huge step backwards for Europe now that we need bold steps forward because with this decision the centrifugal forces in the EU will intensify, the gap between the north and the south will broaden and the decisions for the European banking unification will be abolished.
The confrontation of the European crisis dictates the unity of policies and the stability of rules. Every opposite selection doesn't serve the EU" concludes Daskalopoulos' statement.
 PM Samaras to hold meeting with leaders of parties supporting government on TuesdayPrime Minister Antonis Samaras has called a meeting with the leaders of the parties supporting the government in light of the rapid developments in Cyprus.
The meeting between Samaras and PASOK party leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left party leader Fotis Kouvelis will be taking place at the Maximos Mansion at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
 Samaras concludes meeting with Administrative Reform ministerA meeting between Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Minister of Administrative Reform Antonis Manitakis concluded on Monday afternoon, which according to reports focused primarily on issues pertaining to government talks with the EC-ECB-IMF troika.
Upon his exit from the government building where the meeting was held, Manitakis declined to make any comment, but said that negotiations with the troika were continuing.
Samaras was later to meet with alternate Finance minister Christos Staikouras.
 Deputy FM Kourkoulas to hold meeting with Russian ambassador on TuesdayDeputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas will be holding a meeting with Russian ambassador to Athens Vladimir Chkhikvishvili at the ministry at 11 in the morning on Tuesday.
 Samaras: No tolerance to violence and racism"We will continue, as we have in the past, with legislation whenever needed, to show zero tolerance in dealing with incidents of violence and racism," Prime Minister Antonis Samaras stressed on Sunday, addressing the Synagogue of Monastarioton of Thessaloniki where a prayer in the memory of the 50,000 Greek Jews of Thessaloniki who perished in Nazi camps during WWII and marking the 70th anniversary of the departure of the first train from Thessaloniki for Auswitch.
Samaras said that the racist and neo-Nazi phenomena have re-appeared in Europe due to the crisis, adding: "Now, the front against neo-Nazism is more necessary than ever, now the front against anti-Semitism is more mandatory now, when we must not allow apathy and complacency to corrode the countries and the people of Europe. I reassure you that in Greece we will not allow it happen".
Messages against racism were also send by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and by main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, which were read out during the event. Netanyahu's message noted that "together we must face the danger before it is too late", and Tsipras' message underlined that "we must not allow another genocide, and not allow the snake's egg to hatch".
 WJC president makes plea to Greek parliament to outlaw Chryssi AvghiWorld Jewish Congress (WJC) president Ronald Lauder on Sunday made a plea to the Greek parliament to set out of law the ultra-right Chryssi Avghi(Golden Dawn) party, during his speech for the commemoration of the Holocaust victims at Monastirioton Sunagogue in Thessaloniki.
"Today, even if we have peace, everything is not peaceful. The Jews have reasons to be worried. Not of a possible extermination but of the extremism and of a fanatic ideology, an ideology that brought destruction seventy years ago. I am referring to 'Chryssi Avghi' party" he said.
Lauder said that Greece where democracy exists for centuries "could become an example and set out of law 'something like Chryssi Avghi'".
 Tsipras delivers anti-austerity speech in LondonLONDON (AMNA/I. Karypidi)
"The first priority of our government will be to freeze wage and pension reduction measures and gradually restore the minimum wage to pre-memorandum levels," visiting main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) president, Alexis Tsipras said Friday evening here addressing an event organised by his party.
As he did in a speech at the London School Economics on Thursday, Tsipras once again strongly criticized the austerity policy followed by Greece and Europe. "Austerity drives the economy downwards. This is not an estimate, it is a fact," he stressed. "Austerity is not the only means to exit the crisis but the goal of those who impose it."
According to Tsipras, the objective of austerity was to provide cheap labour, which is achieved by "blackmailing people with large debt created by governments." He expressed the view that "should there was no crisis, they would have to invent it in order to pull off their plans."
The main opposition leader also strongly criticized the governments of the European south charging that so far there has not been not even on government to say 'no' to those who impose austerity policies." He said, "they accept any absurd measure imposed on them."
He also condemned the banking system, as "it does not serve the interests of citizens interests, but those of the capital," emphasising that his goal was to place banks "under public and social control", when his party came to power.
 Tsipras concludes visit to LondonMain opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras' three-day official visit to London was concluded on Saturday evening after his meetings with the Trades Union Congress (TUC)leadership and with members of the initiative Greece Solidarity Campaign and the Coalition of Resistance movement.
Tsipras met with the general secretary of the Trades Union Congress Frances O' Grady who expressed the British unions movement's solidarity to SYRIZA and to the Greek people's efforts to confront the austerity policy applied in Greece. Both officials agreed to have a closer contact in the future.
Later, Tsipras met with cadres of the Coalition of the Resistance movement and the Greece Solidarity Campaign, two movements that take part in events and mobilisations against the austerity.
Tsipras discussed with them the condition in Greece and the solutions that his party proposes to exit from the crisis and to stop the austerity policy.
 Patriarch Bartholomew to attend Pope's enthronementISTANBUL (AMNA/A.Kourkoulas)
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew departed late Monday afternoon for Rome to attend the enthronement of the new Pope Francis.
Church sources said that this is the first time since the schism between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church in 1054, that an Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is to attend a Pope's enthronement.
 Group assumes responsibility for triple arson attack on ND party deputies' officesThe self-styled group "Total deniers of rallying with the existing situation", in a proclamation posted in a known website of the anti-establishment sector, assumed responsibility for the triple arson attack that took place last Tuesday evening at the polical offices of New Democracy party deputies Stavros Kalafatis, Costas Gioulekas and George Orfanos in the northern city of Thessaloniki.
The proclamation said that the group's target was not to cause any injury, but to send a "message" and to spread "chaos and anarchy".
 Creation, satire and imagination dominate Patra Carnival paradeThousands of carnivalists paraded for over four hours during the Patra Carnival parade in this city in the Peloponnese on Sunday, providing joy and entertainment for the spectators of this spectacular event.
Creation, satire and imagination once again dominated the Patra Carnival, while uniforms and floats gave the parade a special aspect.
The Carnival parade, with which this year's events heightened, was spearheaded by the floats that were creations of the Carnival workshop of the Patra Municipality.
 Prison inmate Rizaj surrenders to policeThe ordeal of four employees at the Malandrinos prison ended on Sunday after Albanian national Alket Rizaj, who is serving a life sentence, surrendered to the police authorities, according to a report by police sources.
Turmoil prevailed in Malandrino jail, central Greece, on Sunday, where convict Alket Rizaj held six prison guards hostages, and demanded to be released.
Justice Ministry general secretary Marios Skandamis went to Malandrino jail and was keeping the Justice Minister abreast of the developments.
A large number of police officers assisted by EMAK emergency teams from Athens and Patras had surrounded the prison premises.
Albanian convict Alket Rizaj escaped Korydallos high-security prison by helicopter in February 2009 together with Greece's most wanted criminal Vassilis Paleokostas and, in a repeat of their Hollywood-style escape, again from the same prison in June 2006.
Rizaj was captured three months after the escape in the coastal village of Prodromos in Viotia prefecture.
 Mikis Theodorakis in hospital with respiratory infectionWorld renowned composer Mikis Theodorakis was on Saturday noon admitted to hospital with symptoms of dyspnoea and severe coughing.
His pulmonologist said Theodorakis has been affected by respiratory infection and will remain in hospital for treatment, at the Medical Centre (Iatriko Kentro) in Athens.
 Group of students return to Larisa safe and soundA group of high-school students form Ambelonas, central Greece, are all safe and sound and on their way back to Larisa, after their motor coach was caught in a severe snowstorm near the Austrian city of Gyor, in the border with Hungary.
The students were on a five-day trip to Austria and Hungary and were on their way to Budapest from Vienna.
Foreign minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, who was immediately informed of the incident, contacted his Hungarian counterpart and requested the assistance of local authorities to transfer the students to safe accommodation.
A group of officials of the Greek embassy in Budapest, headed by Greek Consul Yiannis Stamatelos, drove six hours to reach the area where the motor-coach and other vehicles were stranded, and when the weather conditions allowed it they escorted the students to a nearby hotel to spend the night.
 390 kilos of hashish seizedCoast Guard officers located late Saturday 390 kilos of hashish in a truck at the port city of Igoumenitsa.
The drugs were hidden in plastic barrels with olives that were destined for Italy. According to information the truck had left from Komotini, northeastern Greece.
The truck driver was arrested. The truck and the drugs were confiscated.
 EPO bands for life Katidis from all Greek national teamsGreek Football Federation (EPO) on Sunday in an annnouncement banned for life AEK's midfielder Giorgos Katidis from all Greek national teams.
On Saturday, Giorgos Katidis after scoring the winning goal at the match for the Greek superleague AEK-Veria turned to the supporters at the Athens Olympic Stadium and appeared to give a nazi salute.
AEK called the player on Tuesday to explain himself before the club's board before it decides on his future. Meanwhile the team's fans demand Katidis' immediate expulsion from the team.
 PASOK party on Nazi salute by soccer playerAn announcement by the PASOK party regarding the Nazi salute by a soccer player during a Super League match in Athens on Saturday evening, said, among other things, that "the Nazi salute by the young soccer player George Katidis will illustrate one of the blackest pages in the history of Greek soccer, as the greatest offence to human and athletic values and as a provocation for our collective memory," adding "and this on the memory day for the Greek Jews who were lost in the Holocaust".
 Super League resultsOlympiacos beat Kerkyra 1-0 away in a game played for the Super League over the weekend.
In other action:
PAS Yiannina - Aris Thessaloniki 2-0
Levadiakos - OFI Crete 1-1
AEK Athens - Veria 2-1
Atromitos Athens - Asteras Tripoli 0-2
Platanias Crete - Panionios 2-1
PAOK Thessaloniki - Panathinaikos 2-0
Panthrakikos - Xanthi 0-2
Standings after 26 weeks of play:
1. Olympiacos 69
2. Asteras 53
3. PAOK 52
4. Atromitos 41
5. PAS Yiannina 38
6. Panathinaikos 35
7. Xanthi 34
8. Panionios 31
9. Levadiakos 30
10. Platanias 30
11. AEK 29
12 OFI 28
13. Veria 27
14. Panthrakikos 26
15. Aris 25
16. Kerkyra 20
NOTE: Panathinaikos has had two points deducted.
 Rainy on TuesdayRainy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday. Winds 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures between 2C and 18C. Slightly cloudy in Athens with southerly 4-6 beaufort winds and temperatures between 6C and 18C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 6C and 14C.
 The weekend editions of Athens' dailies at a glanceSunday ETHNOS: "Reshuffle pushed forward. Which ministers are to be suspended"
Sunday ELEFTHERI ORA: "Should (Samaras brother-in-law) Sekeris speak out, the government will fall"
ESTIA: "Single tax as of 2014"
Sunday VRADINI: "Retirement now at 60. The prerequisites for men and women"
AGVI on Sunday: "Wave of anger over austerity"
KATHIMERINI: "Samaras adopts change of line to troika"
Sunday DIMOKRATIA: "Raid on black money in Internet 'shops'"
Sunday ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Favour orgy at Inspectors Squad"
Sunday RIZOSPASTIS: "The exclusive economic zone and Greek-Turkish relations"
NIKI tis Dimokratias: "Loans haircut by 50%-80% by 5 super-weapons"
Sunday LOGOS:"Hiring 1,400 physicians"
PROTO THEMA: "Judges movement gets rough. 'Even if Peponis is knocked off, another 1000 will be found'"
TO VIMA: "Special tax and layoffs create crisis scene"
Sunday TO PARON: "Troika wants new memorandum"
Sunday TYPOS: "Interview - Antonis Samaras speaks out: My plan for recovery in the coming months"
REALNEWS: "Blackmail clause - Troika threatens with automatic measures"
AGGELIOFOROS: "Public hospitals going down - 1,200 patients on each emergency"
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