|Sunday, 17 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-04-01
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 1 April 2013 Issue No: 4323
 Feverish preparations ahead of troika's return to AthensThe government continued feverish preparations for the arrival next week of experts representing Greece's troika of lenders (the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund), in a succession of meetings chaired by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras before Sunday. Meanwhile, a meeting of the three party leaders in the coalition government to discuss the troika's return is to take place next Wednesday.
The prime minister had yet another meeting with government officials on Saturday at his offices at Maximos Mansion, meeting Minister of State Dimitris Stamatis and the premier's office director Kostas Bouras to schedule the coming week.
At noon the prime minister had also chaired a meeting with the head officers of the state privatisation agency  Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) to discuss the progress of privatisations and action to exploit state assets.
The Saturday meetings had been preceded by marathon sessions with the government's economic team on Thursday and Friday, with central Bank of Greece (BoG) governor George Provopoulos participating.
Emerging from the second such meeting chaired by the premier late on Friday, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras assured reporters that the government was ready for the upcoming troika visit.
"We continued and completed yesterday's (Thursday) meeting on the budget, the better payoff of overdue debts, and, of course, the coming of the troika," he said.
In earlier statements to reporters, Stournaras had denied that there was any "black hole" in state revenues and said that a single tax on real estate was still under discussion, while there would be no extension for the recapitalisation of banks.
The Friday morning meeting of the government's economic staff came on the heels of marathon session chaired by Samaras on Thursday evening, lasting more than four hours, and concluded discussion on the recapitalisation of the banks, mergers, and the repercussions of the economic crisis in Cyprus.
The prime minister is now scheduled to hold talks next Wednesday evening with the leaders of the two junior partners in his three-party coalition government, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis, ahead of the return of the troika to Athens and a new round of inspections by Greece's creditors later the same week.
Samaras' intention is that solutions will have been found by that time to all the outstanding issues between the Greek government and the troika, especially a controversial mobility programme for public sector staff and the collection of the real estate surtax.
 PASOK to call for reshuffle, sources sayFor the first time since entering the three-party coalition government, PASOK will attach terms and conditions to its proposals when the three coalition partners meet next Wednesday, sources within the party said. PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos intends to raise a series of important issues at that meeting, including that of a government reshuffle immediately after a visit by experts representing the troika of Greece's lenders, the sources revealed.
Venizelos will seek a greater role for the coalition partners in decision making, so that the party leaders' meeting essentially coordinates government action.
According to PASOK sources, an update of the three parties' convergence policy platform is urgent and essential, noting that there were a number of issues on which the three coalition partners must agree. Among these they mentioned public sector reform and the property surtax levied through electricity bills.
Among others, they warned that PASOK will insist on the proposed draft legislation it has tabled for over-indebted households and vulnerable social groups while accusing unidentified ministers of ignoring the party's proposals and presenting their own objections as demands of the troika of lenders.
 DIM.AR calls for measures to relieve household debtIt is necessary to introduce measures that will relieve the financial burden of citizens and contribute to the collection of the most revenues possible, said the Democratic Left (DIM.AR) party on Saturday.
In an announcement prior to the arrival of the troika of lenders to Greece this coming week, DIM.AR said that the measures should include a replacement of the property tax (collected through electricity bills) by a single, reduced property tax, lower fees on debts incurred by financially struggling families, negotiation of outstanding debts through additional installments and a reduction in Value-Added Tax (VAT) in food services.
 SYRIZA: Gov't receives the troika with hands downMain opposition SYRIZA on Sunday charged the government was once again" receiving the EC, ECB, IMF troika with "its hands down, helpless to demand any differentiation from the memorandum plan of cutbacks in pensions and salaries, layoffs, the dissolution of the social state, and privatisations".
According to an announcement, SYRIZA noted that "despite the weight of the clear failure of the memorandum programme, the search for new and more devastating measures indicates the troika's and government's determination to continue on the same disastrous course, regardless of the repercussions this has on the economy and society.
The government shuts its eyes to the collapse of the economy, the unprecedented unemployment and the thousands of closures, and continues to implement the same policy.
SYRIZA also said that the government's "only compass is the lenders' interests, and will stop nowhere in order to satisfy them".
 Gov't ready to concede to new measures, SYRIZA chargesThe government plans to introduce more economic measures for the majority of the Greek people, charged the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party on Saturday, ahead of the troika of lenders' expected return to Athens this coming week.
In its announcement, SYRIZA charged the government with "abandoning the Cypriot people, by joining forces in the catastrophic decisions of the Eurogroup for Cyprus, in order to justify its own stance of endless concessions. But everyone has realised that applying the memorandum creates a foul cycle whereby every memorandum failure comes to be 'corrected' by newer, deadlier measures."
The main opposition party also criticised New Democracy deputy Kyriakos Mitsotakis for paving the way for new measures by the troika, "as he directly introduced today (Saturday) the issues of mass layoffs in the civil sector and of retaining the deadly and extortionist property tax collected through Public Power Corporation (DEI) bills."
 Independent Greeks leader attacks PM and FinMinIndependent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos, who is currently in Komotini, northeastern Greece, on Sunday sternly attacked Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras.speaking at a party pre-Congress event.
Kammenos accused Samaras that he gave false promises that turned out to be the biggest ' bubble' in Greece's modern history.
Referring to Stournaras, he said that the finance minister always smiles in parliament when he devastates the Greek people.
"Children are starving, the youth are leaving the country and he (Stournaras), who is not even elected by the people, smiles ironically and doesn't show up to answer to questions in parliament".
Regarding his party's relations with main opposition SYRIZA, Kammenos noted that the two parties have political differences and "particularly on the national issues, there are red lines that will not change for any reason", adding that "given that the country is being attacked with the continuous retreats by the 'internal troika' (three-party coalition government), the Greeks must unite to deal with those who come and violate the Constitution and the laws, devastating the Greek people, as foreign conquerors," said Kammenos, underlining that "we will cooperate wherever we agree, so that there will bea reaction from the Greek people against the desecration of democracy and the Constitution".
 Negotiating with EU brought the worst, KKE chargesNegotiating within the EU proved it could only bring the worst to the people both in Greece and on Cyprus, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) charged on Saturday, ahead of the visit to Athens of the troika of lenders (EU, IMF, ECB).
"The slaughter of wages, through the abolition of allowances, sector labour agreements and the national collective agreement now unfolding, along with the fees, the new and more unbearable taxes, privatisations and so on, continue to decimate the working-class families," the KKE said. The party called on workers not to show "any trust in the propaganda of the government and parties of the 'one-way-euro-way'," and to overturn the "antipopular policy".
 Foreign Ministry issues response to Turkish PM's interview"Greece has been hurt by terrorism and is therefore very sensitive to it, dealing with it effectively and decisively," the foreign ministry said Saturday.
The ministry responded to an interview in Turkish media Friday night by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who, it was reported, expressed dissatisfaction over the way Greece was handling terrorist suspects alllegedly trained in camps within its territory, claiming the courts had allowed the release of people caught.
"Greece's positions are clear and are based on the respect and application of international agreements and the principles of international right," the announcement said.
"We are beginning to wonder what interests are served by this insistence on such groundless rumour-spreading," it charged, adding that "dealing with people suspected of terrorist acts is done in the framework of law and order and with respect to the distinction between powers, a fundamental principle on which all European democracies stand."
The ministry said, "In the recent Highest Council of Greece and Turkey, we set the grounds for strengthening our collaboration in many sectors. Greece's stance will continue to be determined by sincerity, good faith, and honest diplomacy."
 Polls: ND and SYRIZA running neck and neckRuling coalition's New Democracy (ND) and main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) are running neck and neck in preference by voters, according to three polls to be published in Sunday newspapers.
Real News and Proto Thema newspapers gave ND a slim margin of 0.5 pct and 0.7 pct, respectively, while the Sunday Ethnos saw SYRIZA ahead with 0.1 pct.
Asked about who might be the best candidate for prime minister if elections were held, Prime Minister and ND leader Antonis Samaras led SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras in the two polls that asked - 40.5 pct over 24.5 pct for Real News, and 47.8 pct over 30.9 pct for Sunday Ethnos. Those polled in the latter poll however also said that SYRIZA would win the elections (46.6 pct of polled people), versus those who believed ND would (39.7 pct).
In Proto Thema's poll, 58 pct also expected that the troika of lenders would take a tougher stance towards Greece in the future. In Sunday's Ethnos, 63.5 pct were in support of remaining in the eurozone, while SYRIZA voters seemed split, with 48 pct supporting a return to the drachma and 41.6 pct preferring to stay in the eurozone.
 Final offers in OASA telematic systems tender submitted, development ministry saysFinal binding offers have been submitted in a tender organised by the Athens public transport body OASA SA for telematic systems on Athens buses and trolleys, the development, competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport and networks ministry announced in a press release on Sunday.
The project will be public-private partnership and is now entering its final phase, in accordance with original deadlines set by the ministry, the announcement said. The bids will now be evaluated and, provided there are no objections, the financial offers will be unsealed and the contractor chosen in April.
According to the ministry, meanwhile, the process of submitting final offers will soon begin in a tender for an automated ticket control system using the latest technologies for pricing services and collecting tickets, including automated bars to discourage fare evasion. The system is expected to greatly improve services but also protect the public transport system against revenue losses.
 Athens Mayor in Beijing to drum up business for Greece's capitalAthens Mayor George Kaminis has led a large delegation from Greece on a lengthy visit to Beijing, in a bid to drum up Chinese business for Athens and help the Greek capital's transition to a more open economy. The Athens mayor has been in Beijing since last Wednesday, meeting Chinese officials and giving interviews to the Chinese media in order to highlight the city's advantages for potential investors, the Greek capital's many attractions as a tourist destination and also to encourage Chinese graduate students to study at the city's universities.
In an interview with the Chinese newspaper "China Daily" printed on Sunday, he additionally referred to the prospects for Greek-Chinese cooperation in the trade of agricultural produce.
Kaminis arrived at the head of a delegation including representatives of 20 Greek businesses and organisations, as well as 60 Chinese businesses operating in Greece in tourism, manufacturing, foods and construction.
He was received by Beijing Mayor Wang Anshun, the chairman of the Beijing People's Congress Du Deyin and addressed the first meeting of the Athens-Beijing Cooperation Committee.
The meeting with Wang was concluded with the signature of a bilateral cooperation memorandum in tourism, trade transactions and culture, as well as individual 'memorandums of shared understanding'. Both sides agreed that there were no more margins for "missed opportunities", Kaminis said, stressing the need for Athens to "come out of its shell" and unlock its great potential.
During interviews with the Chinese news agency Xinhua and the Chinese media, Kaminis outlined initiatives taken by Athens to make become an autonomous tourism destination and called for a direct flight between Athens and Beijing, as well as the city's intention to provide support for post-graduate courses for Chinese students in Athens.
In comments on the potential for attracting more Chinese visitors to the Greek capital, Kaminis said it was not inconceivable that the current 50,000 Chinese that visited Athens each year might be increased by as much as six times, if the appropriate groundwork was done by the various bodies involved.
 Young woman dies in crossfire during police chaseA 24-year-old woman died at Isthmia late on Friday night after being caught in a police chase crossfire.
Three masked men robbed a restaurant at the Paleokoundouras area in the old Athens-Thebes national road at gunpoint at 9:00 p.m. Thursday, and escaped in the owner's car. They were located at the Athens-Corinth national road by police, who chased them until they lost them at Isthmia.
The young woman was driving through Isthmia at 11:30 p.m. when a stray shot by the robbers went through the car and killed her. The bullet was fired from a Kalashnikov-type gun, according to autopsy results.
Police are still looking for the three and the stolen car, a black Subaru Forrester.
 Trikala prison fugitive identified as one of the armed robbers of restaurantPolice announced on Sunday that one of the three suspects of the armed robbery at a restaurant on the old Athens-Thebes national highway on Friday, that resulted in the death of a 25 year-oldwoman , is one of the eleven convicts that escaped from Trikala prison on March 22.
According to police the suspect is 36-year-old Marko Kola. So far, police have recaptured three of the escaped convicts.
Police have launched a manhunt to locate the perpetrators, while earlier they found, the restaurant owner's car, which the robbers had stolen and used to escape, abandoned in Solomos village.
 Young man arrested for Mt Athos robberyA 21-year-old foreigner was arrested at the Mt Athos monastic community, nortern Greece, on Friday for stealing 220 euros after breaking into a monk's cell.
Another monk saw him and notified the police, who also confiscated 95 narcotics in pill form and another 28 pieces of unidentified pharmaceuticals that they found on him.
 17 immigrants arrested on Crete after police sweepPolice on Crete arrested 17 immigrants for begging and assistance in illegally exiting the country.
Fifteen citizens of Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Palestine and Romania, aged 23 to 57, were arrested for begging in the centre of Iraklio, the main city on the island, and ordered held.
Two Afghan nationals, 34 and 39 years old, were arrested at the Hania port during a police check after the former was assisting the latter in leaving Greece for another EU country.
 Bus with Greeks from Alexandria overturns near CairoA bus with 19 passengers, among them 16 Greeks from Alexandria, overturned on Sunday morning on the 55th km of the Alexandria-Cairo highway.
According to a Greek foreign ministry announcement, 12 of the passengers were injured and taken to Sheikh Zayed hospital in Cairo. The Greek ambassador to Egypt and officials of the Greek embassy and the Greek Consulate hastened to the site of the accident and transferred the other seven passengers of the bus to the hospital for precautionary reasons.
According to first estimations none of the injured passengers are in a life-threatening condition.
 Historic bookshop 'Estia' shuts down after 128 yearsAthens's historic bookshop "Estia" shut down on Saturday, after 128 consecutive years in business, unable to weather the current economic crisis in Greece.
The bookshop, which was located at 60 Solonos Street in central Athens, had been an important cultural hub through the years, attracting writers, artists and politicians.
The publishing house under the same name will continue its activities, according to an announcement.
 Gun fired in Exarhia; investigation underwayAn unidentified individual fired a gun at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday night on Metaxa Street in the Athens district of Exarhia, police reported. The shot was heard and police investigating the incident found that a bullet had gone through the windscreen of a parked car, whose driver had just gotten out.
Authorities have launched an inquiry but not yet ascertained from which location the shot was fired.
 Super League resultsOlympiacos Piraeus drew 0-0 with PAOK Thessaloniki at home in a game played for the Super League over the weekend.
In other action:
OFI Crete - PAS Yiannina 2-1
Aris Thessaloniki - Panthrakikos 0-0
Panathinaikos - Platanias Crete 0-1
Xanthi - Atromitos Athens 0-0
Veria - Kerkyra 2-0
Levadiakos - AEK Athens 0-0
Panionios - Asteras Tripoli - Monday 01-04-2013
Standings after 27 weeks of play:
1. Olympiacos 70
2. Asteras 53 (26 matches played)
3. PAOK 53
4. Atromitos 42
5. PAS Yiannina 38
6. Panathinaikos 35
7. Xanthi 35
8. Platanias 33
9. Panionios 31 (26 matches played)
10. OFI 31
11. Levadiakos 31
12. AEK 30
13. Veria 30
14. Panthrakikos 27
15. Aris 26
16. Kerkyra 20
NOTE: Panathinaikos has had two points deducted.
 Fair on MondayFair weather and southerly winds are forecast for Monday. Wind velocity will reach 6 on the Beaufort scale. Scattered clouds in the northern parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 5C-20C. Mostly fair in the central and southern parts, 7C-22C, cloudy in the islands, 11C-22C. Mostly fair in Athens, 10C-21C; the same for Thessaloniki, 7C-18C.
 The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceAVGHI: "Samaras' (Antonis, Prime Minister) government stands firmly at attention before the EC, ECB, IMF troika".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The banks' mysteries"
ETHNOS: "The Cyprus file".
NIKI: "Three secrets to secure your bank deposits".
KATHIMERINI: "Prisons unguarded".
PROTO THEMA: "Troika: Take back the pensions from those under the age of 60".
Realnews: "All the truth about bank deposits".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Seafarers strike on Wednesday".
TO ARTHRO: "Main opposition SYRIZA flirts again with the drachma".
TO PARON: "Dirty game with Cyprus".
TO VIMA: "The money war- How secure are the bank deposits".
TYPOS: "Haircut to Greek banks from the troika'.
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