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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-04-23

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

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

Tuesday, 23 April 2013 Issue No: 4342

CONTENTS

  • [01] Omnibus bill containing measures agreed with troika to be tabled in parliament on Thursday
  • [02] SYRIZA-EKM slams new omnibus bill as 'memorandum play re-run'
  • [03] Premier thanks shipowners for patrol boats to Coast Guard
  • [04] Prime Minister Samaras meets with visiting AKEL secretary general Kyprianou
  • [05] AKEL to consider "alternative plan" leading Cyprus out of the eurozone
  • [06] fYRoM 'backsliding in democratic institutions', FM Avramopoulos
  • [07] FM to meet with US Secretary of State on sidelines of NATO spring meeting of FMs in Brussels
  • [08] US Sec. of State: US strongly encourages reopening of Halki seminary
  • [09] Aleppo Metropolitan Pavlos abducted, reports
  • [10] Public Order Minister Dendias meets with visiting Swiss Justice Minister Sommaruga
  • [11] Interior Minister Stylianidis' interview with ANA-MPA WebTV
  • [12] Supreme Court Prosecutor grants protected status to Manolada shooting victims
  • [13] European Commissioner calls for investigation into Manolada shooting of workers
  • [14] Testimonies of three on Nea Manolada incident result in custody
  • [15] SYRIZA delegation attends European Left con'f in Sofia
  • [16] Independent Greeks congress opens Saturday
  • [17] New KKE leader warns of coming EU-based restrictions to people, parties
  • [18] KKE stages anti-dictatorship march in Thessaloniki
  • [19] Trial of former defence minister Tsohatzopoulos opens in Athens
  • [20] Greek FinMin says economy to grow in 2014
  • [21] Piraeus Bank acquires Millennium Bank Greece
  • [22] Eurobank seeks full recapitalization from HFSF
  • [23] Emma Delta asked to improve bid price for OPAP
  • [24] Greece to facilitate long-term visa issue for investors from May
  • [25] Finance ministry decision facilitates real estate transactions to repay debts owed to the state
  • [26] Minister: Tourism is a national cause'
  • [27] Third age tourism to be focus of new Greek campaign, tourism minister says
  • [28] Greek current account deficit down 59 pct in Jan-Feb
  • [29] Greek public debt fell to 156.9 pct of GDP in 2012
  • [30] Cosco Shipping & Broking Hellas reports improved 2012 results
  • [31] Sources: Employment minister asks for OAED director's resignation
  • [32] Seamen's union calls 24-hour strike on May 1
  • [33] ASE suspends trading in Coca Cola Hellenic
  • [34] Business briefs
  • [35] Greek stocks end significantly higher
  • [36] Greek bond market closing report
  • [37] ADEX closing report
  • [38] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [39] President meets Ministerial Committee on Road Safety
  • [40] Ioannina mayor presses charges over missing 1.0 million-plus euros
  • [41] Trikala Prison escaped convict involved in Mandra shootout, police said
  • [42] Ottoman-era monuments in northwest Greece attract interest of Turkish tour operators
  • [43] Illegal migrants arrested on the island of Samothrace
  • [44] Man injured in tanker-truck explosion
  • [45] Unexploded hand-grenade found outside pawnbroker's shop in Galatsi
  • [46] Sun and showers forecast on Tuesday
  • [47] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Omnibus bill containing measures agreed with troika to be tabled in parliament on Thursday

    An omnibus bill containing the measures that have been agreed with the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) troika of Greece's international lenders will be tabled in parliament on Thursday, and according to Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras needs to be passed by Sunday, after which the parliament recesses for the Orthodox Easter holiday.

    Stournaras met Monday with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, and clarified that there will be no problem with the disbursement of the tranche of the EU/IMF bailout loan, anticipating the disbursement in mid-May.

    Stournaras will brief the representatives of the parties participating in the three-party coalition government on Tuesday, wishing to ameliorate the disgruntlement in the two junior partners PASOK and Democratic Left (DIMAR) that they have had no briefing on the omnibus bill to be tabled, what it contains and what measure have been agreed with the troika, sources said.

    According to Stournaras, there is a constant, open channel of communication between ministry officials and the associates of PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and DIMAR leader Fotis Kouvelis.

    [02] SYRIZA-EKM slams new omnibus bill as 'memorandum play re-run'

    Main opposition SYRIZA-EKM on Monday slammed the new omnibus bill tabled in Parliament by the government, saying it failed to provide answers to problems such as Greece's rising unemployment, slashed available incomes and yawning pension fund deficits that the party said neared 4.0 billion euros.

    "Watching a re-run of the same austerity-memorandum play, the government is tabling the new package of measures it agreed with the troika as urgent. Before the end of the celebrations for the new major national success of completing the negotiations and the prime minister's promises of recovery, the harsh memorandum reality of dismissals, the PPC head tax, callousness in the face of household and business debt, returns in force," a party announcement said.

    SYRIZA-EKM stressed that Greek society's endurance had long ago been exhausted and that "the way out for the economy and for society can only come about through the overthrow of memorandum policies and shaping a new strategy for growth, investments the social state and a redistribution of wealth".

    [03] Premier thanks shipowners for patrol boats to Coast Guard

    Greek shipowners understand the difficulties the nation is facting and responded fully to the government's invitation to support the Greek society and economy, said Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Monday evening, at the presentation of a gift of two high-speed boats for the Coast Guard's underwater missions.

    The 700,000- euro gift by the Union of Greek Shipowners was presented to the government at the Ministry of Shipping and the Aegean at the Vassiliadis section of Greece's main port of Piraeus.

    Samaras affirmed his commitment to the Shipping and Aegean Ministry, and noted that "for Greece not to have a Shipping Ministry is like Saudi Arabia not having an Oil Ministry."

    "Today I am at the headquarters of Greek shipping which we built after great effort and whose reconstitution was affirmed two days ago by the drafting and voting of the relevant draft bill," he added.

    Prior to his speech, the premier was given a tour of the search and rescue centre at the Coast Guard and briefed on its operations, including those dealing with illegal migrants in the eastern Aegean.

    Theodore Veniamis, president of the Union, said the two boats would assist the unit of underwater missions with eradicating any illegal acts in Greek waters. Shipping and Aegean Minister Kostis Moussouroulis said the gift would help the Coast Guard in its "systematic and arduous efforts of patrolling the sea borders of Greece."

    [04] Prime Minister Samaras meets with visiting AKEL secretary general Kyprianou

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Monday received visiting secretary general of Cyprus' left-wing AKEL party Andros Kyprianou, focusing on economic developments.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Kyprianou said that he "expressed strong concern about the decisions imposed on Cyprus by the European Union," adding that "they show a change in its stance as regards the way in which banking sector problems are solved, a fact that should raise concerns in all countries that have similar problems and not only Cyprus".

    He noted that "the decisions made have virtually destroyed the Cypriot economy, the island's entrepreneurship, and huge efforts will have to be made to overcome the difficulties".

    Kyprianou said that he briefed the prime minister on the situation and the concerns expressed by his party. He said that "an alternative option is being sought to allow the country to free itself from the memorandum's suffocating embrace".

    The Cyprus issue was also discussed, "an issue that concerns the people's survival on the island," Kyprianou said, adding that he expressed "strong concern about efforts that are likely to be made by different sides for a hasty move that will lead to the imposition of a solution to the Cyprus problem which will be in conflict with everything already decided."

    He underlined that it was useful to exchange these views with the prime minister, noting that "Greece, despite its difficulties, still is the main supporter of the Cypriot people in their struggle for liberation and reunification."

    [05] AKEL to consider "alternative plan" leading Cyprus out of the eurozone

    A well documented study examining an "alternative plan" involving Cyprus' exit from the eurozone will be discussed by the Political Office and Central Committee of the left-wing AKEL party, its secretary general Andros Kyprianou said on Monday, during his visit in Athens.

    Speaking at a press conference, he said that if the "alternative plan" is adopted, the party will table a request for a referendum.

    [06] fYRoM 'backsliding in democratic institutions', FM Avramopoulos

    The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM) has a democratic deficit, that negatively affects its EU accession process, according to an announcement by Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on Monday.

    Responding to the European Commission's spring report on progress the Skopje government is making towards its European membership, Avramopoulos said, "During the period of time covered by the European Commission's spring report on fYRoM, significant backsliding was seen in Skopje. This backslide is due, to a large extent, to the political crisis that began this past December."

    "But essentially," he added, "this situation is due to, and is a crisis in, the functioning of democratic institutions. In other words, there is a democratic deficit."

    The minister said that in its intervention, Greece "pointed up the serious shortfalls in Skopje on issues of the freedom of the news media, separation of powers, and political pluralism. Shortfalls and factors, that is, that concern the Copenhagen political criteria and the core of the conditionality of the accession process," he explained referring to fYRoM's European Union membership application talks.

    Avramopoulos added, "Regarding good neighbourly relations, we made it clear to everyone that the problems continued and worsened," and warned that "The bar of the European criteria must not and will not be lowered. Europe's message must be clear. Otherwise, we should be certain that we can expect further negative developments. And that is not in Europe's interest, it is not in Greece's interest, and it is not in the interest of our neighbouring country itself."

    [07] FM to meet with US Secretary of State on sidelines of NATO spring meeting of FMs in Brussels

    Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos will meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday morning in Brussels on the sidelines of the Spring meeting of NATO foreign ministers.

    During the meeting taw two men will discuss matters of bilateral cooperation and current developments in southeastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean.

    [08] US Sec. of State: US strongly encourages reopening of Halki seminary

    ISTANBUL (ANA-MPA/A. Kourkoulas)

    US Secretary of State John Kerry visited the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the Phanar on Monday and discussed the reopening of the Halki seminary and matters concerning religious freedoms in Turkey with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

    After the meeting, Kerry said: "It's such a privilege to talk with somebody who has been such a voice for tolerance, a voice for interfaith understanding, who most recently visited with His Holiness Pope Francis and was at his investiture, and who has consistently talked out about protecting rights of minorities, protecting religious rights, and who is struggling for larger understanding in the world".

    "He is also an ardent environmentalist and has been honored by any number of universities, including our great University of Tufts in Massachusetts, with honorary degrees. He has a great following. I have many, many of his flock that I was privileged to represent for years in Massachusetts and have attended Orthodox services in Lowell, Massachusetts and other places, in Boston," the US official continued.

    "So for me to visit here with this protector of the rights of people to practice their religion and to try to bring people together in interfaith understanding is a great, great privilege for me. And I want to thank you so much, Your Holiness," Kerry added.

    During a briefing on the airplane that brought Kerry to Turkey, an accompanying State Department official said that one of the issues that Kerry would raise with the Turkish government is the Halki seminary, noting that the "Halki seminary was closed in 1971", and adding that ". And we have been strongly encouraging the Turkish Government to reopen Halki seminary" which, he said "would be an important step forward in terms of signaling Turkey's accord for openness, religious freedom, and tolerance?.

    As for Kerry's meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch, the State Department official said "clearly just the Secretary's presence there signals our support for the important issue of reopening Halki seminary and our commitment to religious freedom".

    Bartholomew, in turn, said in the recent months and years " we have positive progress in the attitude of the (Turkish) government towards our Patriarchate and 9n general toward the minorities, and obviously we look forward to the resolution of our existing problems, such as the reopening of the Halki seminary, which is a great need for or Patriarchate, at present and for its future," the Ecumenical Patriarch told Kerry at the start of their meeting.

    "We do not have the ability to have better-trained young people and we do not have any other means outside the seminary, which was established in 1844 but unfortunately closed in 1071 and despite our efforts the government has not reopened it to date," Bartholomew said, adding that "we are optimistic, we are convinced that there is good will on the part of Prime Minister (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan".

    [09] Aleppo Metropolitan Pavlos abducted, reports

    Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Pavlos of Aleppo was abducted by unknown individuals earlier Monday, the official Syrian news agency reported.

    Greek diplomatic sources said that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos from Brussels, where he is due to attend the Spring meeting of NATO foreign ministers, have contacted Patriarch Ioannis of Antioch, brother of Metropolitan Pavlos.

    The same sources added that the Foreign Ministry is on alert.

    [10] Public Order Minister Dendias meets with visiting Swiss Justice Minister Sommaruga

    Migration and asylum issues, as well as closer bilateral cooperation between Greece and Switzerland, dominated a meeting on Monday between Public Order & Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Dendias and visiting Swiss Justice & Police Minister Simonetta Sommaruga.

    The Swiss minister, who visited the northeastern Greek region of Evros on Sunday, visited the Orestiada Center of Operations, the Land Border Control Center in Nea Vyssa and Filakio Reception Center.

    Dendias briefed Sommaruga on the moves made by Greece within the framework of a National Action Plan on migration and asylum, the measures approved by the EU and the establishment of 20 committees to examine asylum requests for the purpose of processing all pending cases by mid 2014.

    He also underlined the enormous burden shouldered by Greece as a result of the inflow of migrants who cross into the country from the Evros region's borders. Referring to the readmission issue, he noted the difficulties faced by Greece in securing the cooperation of consular authorities of the countries where most illegal migrants originally hail from, such as Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    He referred to the situation in Syria and the greater region (North Africa, Sahel region, Iraq and Afghanistan), which raises great concerns as regards the migration pressures exerted on Greece.

    On her part, the Swiss minister acknowledged the continuous migration pressures endured by Greece and praised the country for the progress made in the sectors of migration and asylum. She also expressed a wish for closer bilateral cooperation on a political and police level to tackle illegal trade and trafficking in humans.

    [11] Interior Minister Stylianidis' interview with ANA-MPA WebTV

    Interior Minister Evripidis Stylianidis referred to Greece-Israel cooperation on the level of local authorities during an interview appearing on ANA-MPA WebTV on Monday and given on the sidelines of a recent event organized by the Israeli embassy in Athens to mark the 65th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel.

    Stylianidis underlined that "the goal is to bring municipalities and regions in Greece and Israel closer, to exchange know-how and develop joint programmes that will be mutually beneficial".

    He announced that he will be carry out a formal visit to Israel soon, accepting an invitation from his Israeli counterpart, and added that local authority officials will also visit the country.

    Bilateral cooperation on local government level focuses on desalination projects, boosting the local economy and updating local administration.

    Referring to the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) issue, Stylianidis said that it is a high policy issue, noting that the necessary cooperation and exchange of views is taking place focusing on common interests.

    [12] Supreme Court Prosecutor grants protected status to Manolada shooting victims

    Supreme Court Prosecutor Ioannis Tentes on Monday issued an order granting a protected status to the 35 farm laborers fired upon by their foremen in Nea Manolada. At the same time, Tentes issued a circular giving guidelines to Courts of Appeal and First Instance Court Prosecutors designed to intensify inspections for the protection of local and foreign workers and their individual and social rights.

    The Supreme Court Prosecutor's order was in response to a recent incident on a Nea Manolada strawberry farm when foreign migrant workers were shot at during an altercation with the foremen, after demanding six months of unpaid wages. Tens of them were injured, some seriously.

    Tentes ordered the Amaliada First Instance Court Prosecutor in the southern Greek prefecture of Ilia in the Peloponnese to issue an act designating the 35 injured foreign workers to be "victims of human trafficking" granting them protected status and forbidding their deportation.

    Also, in a circular addressed to Courts of Appeal and First Instance Court Prosecutors, Tentes urges them to undertake dynamic action in cases where individual and social rights are violated, maltreatment of Greek and foreign workers and violations of labour law.

    [13] European Commissioner calls for investigation into Manolada shooting of workers

    BRUSSELS (ANA/MPA-M. Spinthourakis)

    European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom called on Greece to conduct a full investigation into the shooting on Wednesday of 28 migrant workers after they demanded six months of unpaid wages in Nea Manolada, northwest Peloponnese. The workers are still in hospital.

    Agence Europe news agency quoted Malmstrom, responsible for migration and security at the European Commission, after she tweeted on her official page, "Shocking news about shooting of migrant workers in Greece. I expect full investigation by the Greek authorities."

    The agency mentioned Greek media reports about the Bangladeshi workers living under inhumane conditions and mentioned the Greek government's intent to take immediate measures to fight such attacks and quoted parts of a report released last week by Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks. Following a visit to Greece earlier this year, the Commissioner said that attacks against migrants "have been linked to members or supporters, including parliamentarians" of the extreme-right party Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi). Furthermore, he added, "The authorities must firmly condemn all instances of hate speech and hate crime and lead by example in public, migration-related debates."

    [14] Testimonies of three on Nea Manolada incident result in custody

    Three men aged 39, 21, and 27 charged with shooting at 28 migrant workers in Nea Manolada, northwest Peloponnese, were remanded in custody on Monday following their testimonies before an investigating magistrate.

    A prosecutor in the main city of Amaliada has charged the three for illegal possession and use of weapons and causing grave bodily injury, among other charges. The migrant workers remain in hospital.

    Meanwhile, the owner of the strawberry business, from whom the migrant workers demanded back pay of six months before the shooting on Wednesday, is also expected to testify before an investigating magistrate on Monday.

    [15] SYRIZA delegation attends European Left con'f in Sofia

    SOFIA (ANA-MPA/B.Borisov)

    The rallying of the European Left through the promotion, support and coordination of the citizens' movements against the neo-liberal policy in Europe is a top priority, Greek main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party deputy Vassilis Hatjilambrou told ANA-MPA here on Monday.

    Hatzilambrou was speaking after a meeting of a SYRIZA delegation with Bulgarian Left party leader Ivan Genov and other leading party officials, in the framework of a two-day conference of the Executive Committee of the European Left in Sofia over the weekend.

    "There can be no Europe without a plan comprising Spain, Greece, Italy, the big countries of the South, which are now under strong attack from the various memorandums...There can be no Europe of memorandums," Hatzilambrou added.

    "The only thing that the neo-liberal policy can leave behind is ruins," he noted, adding that planning of special programmes was already under way the to handle the poverty of 120 million of European citizens, who are being threatened by social exclusion and isolation in the near future.

    Referring to the conference, Hatzilambrou indicated that it was an "important step towards the coordination of the European struggle, part of which is SYRIZA and the Bulgarian Left."

    On his part, Bulgarian Left party leader Ivan Genov told ANA-MPA that the "course of the European Left, the course of SYRIZA, is also the course followed by the Bulgarian Left party...We are waging a common struggle for a better tomorrow of the majority of citizens and all peoples."

    [16] Independent Greeks congress opens Saturday

    The Congress of the Independent Greeks party will open on Saturday, and wind up on Sunday, at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Faliro.

    The Congress was originally scheduled to open on Friday, but as the stadium will be in use for a basketball game that day, the opening of the Congress was postponed to Saturday.

    [17] New KKE leader warns of coming EU-based restrictions to people, parties

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) is "ever-ready and able to act under all conditions," said on Monday Dimitris Koutsoumbas in his first public address since being elected party secretary general on April 14, at the Eleftherias (Freedom) Park in Athens.

    Speaking at an event by the party's Attica branch on the anniversary of the dictatorship forty-six years ago, Koutsoumbas said KKE was always present "during both upswings of the movement and during times of difficulty for the people, workers and youth."

    Referring to the anniversary, he charged the Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) party with being "the natural and political offspring of the junta" and said that party's "love of dictatorship and Nazism affirms that it is the extreme voice of capital and of the system and plutocracy."

    The secretary general also charged that "the bourgeois parliamentary democracy, as we have known it after the dictatorship, is finished," and said that "the bourgeoisie keeps appearing more and more to be unable to compromise even with the bourgeoisie democracy it has established. Developments in the country seem to bode that a complete about-face to reaction can end up crystallised in a new revision of the constitution."

    Koutsoumbas warned that new "Euro-unionist laws and processes are being prepared to restrict the right to strike, while the way is being paved to restrict parties' action and operation, by distinguishing between parties 'within and without the constitutional range', by interventions in parties' internal affairs and by targeting the KKE."

    [18] KKE stages anti-dictatorship march in Thessaloniki

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) staged a "memorial" demonstration and march in Thessaloniki on Monday to mark the 46th 'black anniversary' of the declaration of the April 21, 1967 declaration of the military dictatorship in Greece.

    A banner held by the demonstrators read: "We remember, we are taught by the past, and we are fighting for a popular alliance for the people in power and socialism".

    The march set off from the party's main Thessaloniki office and headed to Democracy Square, passed outside the building that housed the Security police during the dictatorship, where anti-dictatorship fighters had been detained and tortured. Afterwards, a KKE delegation laid a wreath at the spot, while central committee member Sakis Vardalis noted the lessons learnt from the 7-year dictatorship, noting that international history shows that the military dictatorships are always solutions for the plutocracy when it is unable through parliamentary means to advance it "anti-popular plans".

    He stressed that the labor movement and the popular movement in general must isolate the fascist, nazi ultra-right Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn), which he called the physical and political descendants of the dictatorship, "which the system utlises today to intimidate and suppress the labor movement".

    [19] Trial of former defence minister Tsohatzopoulos opens in Athens

    Appearing in court on Monday, along with another 18 defendants facing money-laundering and kickbacks charges linked to armament procurements programmes, former Greek defence minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos pleaded not guilty and denied all the charges against him. The trial began earlier that morning before an Athens criminal appeals court.

    "I absolutely and categorically deny the charges, with which there is a systematic attempt to give the impression that there was some illegal criminal organisation, a gang, whose purpose was to launder money and that behind this, supposedly, was the defence minister of Greece, when for six years we did the best that could be done for the country," Tsohatzopoulos said, looking stern and visibly irritated.

    The former minister said he felt insulted that he was obliged to constantly repeat the same things, claiming the existence of a "centrally guided course" behind his prosecution.

    "For 12 months I have been held on remand, myself and my wife and my daughter; it is unfair, there is state force exercised against us," he complained.

    He asked the court to release his wife Viki Stamati, who he said was in prison on his account.

    Unlike the minister, his cousin and long-term partner Nikos Zigras pleaded guilty to all the charges to which he had confessed in testimony to an examining magistrate, saying that he had been embroiled in the affair by Tsohatzopoulos.

    "I apologise to everyone and ask for your mercy," he told the court.

    Speaking through her counsel, the minister's wife said that her only crime was to marry the former government vice-president and she denied knowing any of the other defendants with the exception of Zigras, whom she claimed to know only on a social level.

    All the remaining defendants pleaded not guilty and denied the charges against them, while the lawyer representing Tsohatzopoulos' daughter and ex-wife said his clients were unable to be present in the courtroom due to their "psychosomatic condition".

    Earlier, there was tension in the court when the deputy public prosecutor Panagiotis Panagiotopoulos was reading out the charges. The defence protested that the public prosecutor's tone was "too intense" and that he appeared to be making an address rather than merely announcing the charges.

    Panagiotopoulos, on his part, countered that the court did not say anything other than the words used in the indictment.

    The defence has also petitioned that the Greek state be expelled from the court as a civil party, with a court decision on the request still pending.

    The trial has now adjourned and will resume after the Easter holiday, on May 8.

    Tsohatzopoulos and another 18 defendants are accused of taking kickbacks to grant Greek state armament contracts and of "political money laundering".

    The former minister, who is in custody pending trial, on Friday sent letters to 10 former members of the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA) of that period, asking them to appear in court and testify at his trial. All were in office when the purchase of the German submarines and the Russian-designed anti-aircraft missile system TOR M1 was approved but none of the witnesses proposed by Tsohatzopoulos attended.

    Those on the stand, apart from Tsohatzopoulos, include his wife Vicky Stamati, his daughter Areti Tsohatzopoulou, his German ex-wife Gudrun, a close aide and former armaments secretary general Yannis Sbokos and 13 other individuals, for whom there is incriminating evidence indicating active participation in the scandal.

    Tsohatzopoulos is accused of laundering money using offshore firms that he owned, which he used for real estate transactions or other investment activities to legalize the money he received as kickbacks from military procurement deals signed when he was defence minister. Based on the charges against, he was assisted in his actions by businessmen, lawyers, his former and present wife and his daughter.

    Other defendants include his brother-in-law, Vicky Stamati's brother Panagiotis, accountant Efrosyni Lambropoulou, land developer Asterios Economidis, businessman George Sahpatzidis, lawyer Talita Tsekoura, the representative of the Morelia offshore company Horatio Melas, alleged co-owners of the offshore company Torcaso Constantinos Antoniadis and Pantelis Zahariadis, alleged owner of the offshore company Nobilis Nicos Georgoulakis.

    The trial is taking place in the Areios Paghos (Supreme Court) building's ceremonies hall.

    Five defendants - Tsohatzopoulos' daughter Areti , his former wife Gudrun, Melas, Georgoulakis and Antoniadis - did not show up for the proceedings and were represented by state-appointed defence attorneys.

    The court went into recess for approximately one hour, while the court president informed all the witnesses present that they may leave, given that the first day will be taken up with procedural matters.

    Financial News

    [20] Greek FinMin says economy to grow in 2014

    For the first time, after six years, we forecast a small positive economic growth rate in 2014," Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said on Monday.

    In a radio interview, Stournaras said that a property tax -paid through electricity bills- will be reduced by 15 pct and noted that from 2014 this tax will be replaced by a new single tax. The Finance minister said the government's policy was to reduce tax factors from now on and noted that if the government achieved to present a primary budget surplus in the first half of the year, "then our arguments to reducing a VAT on tourism will become stronger".

    Stournaras reminded that the road ahead was difficult, but noted that "it seems that the situation has stabilized. The big bet we must win now is to combine a further fiscal adjustment with economic growth. Greece has sector which could become champions in growth. We are beginning to be more optimistic".

    Commenting on a reform in the public sector, Stournaras said an evaluation procedures of all public sector workers will help in upgrading the quality of the public sector.

    [21] Piraeus Bank acquires Millennium Bank Greece

    Piraeus Bank on Monday announced the signing of a final agreement with Millennium BCP (BCP) for the purchase of Millennium Bank Greece (MBG) and BCP's participation in a forthcoming share capital increase plan by Piraeus Bank.

    In a statement, Piraeus Bank's management expressed its certainty that the acquisition of MBG will offer significant synergies in the expanded group and facilitated its forthcoming recapitalization. Mihalis Sallas, the Group's chairman, commenting on the deal said: "Following the acquisitions of the healthy part of ATEbank and Geniki Bank last year and a recent acquisition of Cyprus Popular Bank, Cyprus Bank and Hellenic Bank subsidiaries in Greece, Piraeus Bank continues playing a leading role in a restructuring of the Greek banking sector. The acquisition of MBG further improves our capital position and the possibility of creating profits, while BPC's investment in Piraeus Bank leads to surpassing a 10 pct of a forthcoming recapitalization -the minimum participation of the private sector to maintain the bank's private character".

    This deal is part of a framework set by the Bank of Greece (BoG) and the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF) aimed at the restructuring of the Greek banking system and strengthening of financial stability in the country. The terms and preconditions of the transactions have been approved by the HFSF. The transaction is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2013, pending approval by Greek market authorities.

    Under the terms of the transaction agreement, BCP will fully recapitalize Millennium Bank Greece, with 400 million euros. Piraeus Bank will pay 1.0 million euros for the purchase of MBG. MBG will repay its intra-corporate funding sum in two tranches: the first, 650 million euros at the date of completion of the transaction and the second, 250 million euros six months after completion of the transactions. Piraeus Bank will continue funding MBG after completion of the transaction.

    Piraeus Bank said the purchase of Millennium Bank Greece will further enhance its leading position in the Greek banking market, with a 29 pct market share in deposits and loans. Synergies are estimated at around 531 million euros annually, pre-tax, after a period of three years. The deal completes a 10 pct minimum requirement in the participation of the private sector in a recapitalization plan of the bank.

    Pro-forma assets totaled 103 billion euros, loans after provisions total 67 billion euros and deposits 55 billion euros. The Group' workforce totals 25,000 and operates a network of 1,765 branches in 10 countries, including Greece.

    Barclays Bank PLC, Deutsche Bank AG London Branch and Lazard Fr?res act as advisors to the deal.

    [22] Eurobank seeks full recapitalization from HFSF

    Eurobank's board on Monday said it will ask its shareholders to approve a plan for the recapitalization of the bank from the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund and said it planned to play its role as one of the four systemic banks in Greece by merging with other smaller non-systemic banks as part of a strategic restructuring of the Greek banking system.

    Eurobank, in a statement issued after a board meeting, said that if Greek authorities finally decided not to approve a merger plan with National Bank, then Eurobank will present an integrated business plan aimed at attracting private and institutional capital from Greece and abroad the soonest possible.

    The statement said that the board meeting discussed current conditions in the market and results so-far to attracting private capital in cooperation with Barclays Bank plc and Deutsche Bank and noted that after assessing conditions approved a plan for the bank's recapitalization with 5.8 billion euros from the Hellenic Financial Stabiilty Fund and to seek shareholders' approval for the bank's immediate and recapitalization. "This way, Eurobank will become, from next week, the first fully recapitalized systemic bank in Greece".

    The board statement said its goal was to safeguard the private character of Eurobank, strengthening its ability to support Greek households and enterprises, expanding its access in international markets and to financing the Greek economy as it tried to return to positive growth rates.

    [23] Emma Delta asked to improve bid price for OPAP

    Emma Delta, the only of two bids to be unsealed for a buy-out of a 33 pct stake in state gaming company OPAP, was asked by the state privatisation agency TAIPED to improve its offer.

    The only other bid, by US-based Third Point, was not unsealed because its offer was conditional, which consultants to TAIPED said was not allowed by the bidding terms, such as the option of selling OPAP shares, without a time limit.

    According to sources, Emma Delta offered 620-630 million euros, while the state includes in the final amount it will receive the dividends for 2012, which amount to 60 million euros.

    Emma Delta's major shareholders are Jiri Smejc (66.7 pct) and Melissanidis Group (33.3 pct), while sources said that Lottomatica Gorup was also included.

    [24] Greece to facilitate long-term visa issue for investors from May

    Foreign nationals from non-EU countries that buy property worth more than 250,000 euros in Greece will be able to obtain five-year renewable residence permits for themselves and their families as of May this year, Deputy Development Minister Notis Mitarakis announced on Monday. He was speaking at an event organised by the ministry in collaboration with Invest in Greece SA on incentives to facilitate investment in Greece, including greatly extended visa eligibility rules for those making large investments.

    Speakers at the event noted strong interest from Russian, Chinese, American and Arab nationals in the purchase of property in the country, either as a tourism investment or for use as a holiday home, and that the new visas extending to an investor's spouse and children would be a powerful incentive for such purchases.

    On the basis of ministerial decisions and circulars going into effect at the end of April, the five-year visas will be available for those that either purchase property and a ten-year property time-share worth in excess of 250,000 euros.

    The minister clarified that the aim of the special residence permits was to encourage longer-term investments in Greece and that they did not give the holder the right to work in the country, nor would they count toward the years of permanent residence needed to acquire Greek nationality.

    Mitarakis noted that changes are continuing in the macroeconomic environment, proving wrong predictions that Greece will exit the euro, adding that investors should take this into account. He pointed to changes such as reforms, recapitalisation, structural changes and attracting investments until the end of the year, that he said will bring a significant rise in fast-track investments.

    He announced that a Central Licensing Authority will begin operating within 2013 to speed up implementation of major investments, while privatisations and Public Private-sector Partnerships will continue, with the cruise ship dock at Piraeus and waste management the top priorities.

    Interior ministry general secretary Angelos Sirigos explained that the first reply to a visa application was usually issued in 15 days but, since these were Schengen visas and liable to re-examination, the ministry was looking into the possibility of also asking for the relevant deeds office document among the supporting documentation, allowing the issue of a 90-day permit until the bureaucracy was completed.

    Sirigos noted that under the previous system, for direct foreign investments exceeding 300,000 euros, only the investor was given a residence permit in the country. The modifications broadened the regulatory application of the law and allowed 10-year residence permits to also be given to third-country nationals essential for carrying out strategic investments, along with their spouses, minor children and even assistant staff if they were persons with special needs.

    For small to medium-sized investments exceeding 250,000 euros, those carrying out such an investment will be eligible to receive a five-year visa for themselves and their family, and a right to repeatedly renew this as long as they continue to own the property. These will be classed as type C visas giving right of abode and travel within the EU but not the right to work.

    Invest in Greece SA CEO Stephanos Issaias pointed to the massive interest that exists, especially in Russia and China, saying the measures came to "answer market demands".

    Union of Hellenic Chambers (UHC) and Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) President Konstantinos Michalos, on his part, said the country's credibility abroad had been largely restored and that this will help investments.

    "Additional actions will definitely be needed, so that this climate that has started to form can become established and more favourable conditions formed for exploiting opportunities; and assisting third-country nationals that want to invest in real estate is a goal of critical importance," he added.

    Michalos noted that this will help the development of tourist complexes such as condo hotels, in which foreign visitors and can buy apartments and lease these for the period when they are not in Greece.

    He also noted that the new measures will greatly facilitate potential investors from Russia, China, the United States and Arab countries, lifting bureaucratic obstacles and allowing them to avail themselves of opportunities in the Greek market and invest in high-value real estate. This will raise Greece's competitiveness relative to other EU countries offering similar incentives, such as Hungary, Spain and Portugal, he added.

    [25] Finance ministry decision facilitates real estate transactions to repay debts owed to the state

    A decision signed by Deputy Finance Minister George Mavraganis on Monday allows individuals to sell their real estate property in order to cover part of their debts to the state.

    The real estate property of state debtors can now be sold, even if the amount received from the transaction is lower than the total amount owed to the state under the precondition that the remaining debt is covered by other property assets or third party guarantees.

    Up until now, similar transactions were not allowed unless the debts to the state were fully covered by the amount in which the real estate property was sold.

    According to the finance ministry, the decision facilitates transactions and the repayment of debts to the state.

    [26] Minister: Tourism is a national cause'

    The government's target is to reduce the Value Added Tax (BAT on food services in such a way that Greece's tourism product will become more competitive, Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni said in an exclusive interview on ANA-MPA WebTV on Monday.

    Tourism, she said "is a national cause", and consequently "it is the duty of all of us to see to it that the quality of our services is the best possible and that which we offer is the best possible".

    The messages for tourism this year are "very encouraging" she said, but added that this does not mean that we should be complacent, "we must try even more because what is of importance is that all the visitors to our country this year will leave with the best impressions".

    "Therefore, Greece must put forward its most hospital, its best face. This concerns all those who will come into contact with our visitors, all those involved in the tourism sector and each and every Greek who may greet some visitor".

    Asked if Greece is competitive vis-a-vis its neighboring countries, Kefalogianni replied: Greece is "absolutely competitive, and we see this. A very great effort has been made on this, and naturally some more steps need to be made, such as reduction of the tax rates, which is a target of the government".

    Asked to clarify whether he was referring to the VAT on food services, the minister replied in the affirmative. As for whether this will be done now, ahead of the summer season, Kefalogianni explained that the government's target is to reduce the VAT on food services in such a way that our tourism product will become more competitive.

    [27] Third age tourism to be focus of new Greek campaign, tourism minister says

    The Greek tourism ministry is examining strategies for boosting 'third age' tourism specifically catering for older adults with a targeted promotional campaign, Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni said on Monday, addressing an event organised by the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels (HCH).

    "Increasing third age tourism is a strategic target," Kefalogianni said, outlining the changes necessary to hotel and public infrastructure to cover the greater needs of this age group.

    The event was organised to discuss a study by the Institute of Tourism Surveys and Forecasts (ITEP), which highlighted the importance of senior tourism as a means of extending the tourism season in Greece.

    HCH President Giorgos Tsakiris noted that Greece's penetration of the specific client group was exceptionally low and, as a result, no hotel adapted to the needs of senior tourist had yet operated.

    As baby-boomers reach retirement age, seniors are expected to comprise 24 percent of the tourism market by 2030. According to ITEP's study, this age group is less interested in sea-and-sun holidays and travels more often for cultural purposes.

    [28] Greek current account deficit down 59 pct in Jan-Feb

    Greece's current account deficit shrank by 59 pct in the first two months of 2013, to 1.1 billion euros, the Bank of Greece said on Monday. The central bank, in a monthly report, said this development mainly reflected a significant reduction of the trade deficit, by 984 million euros and the incomes deficit by 316 million euros, along with an increase of the current transfers surplus by 246 million euros in the January-February period this year.

    In February 2013, the current account balance showed a deficit of 716 million euros, down by 410 million (or 36.4%) year-on-year. This development is mainly due to a decline in the trade deficit.

    The trade deficit contracted by 296 million euros, as a result of decreases in all of its components, most notably a 168 million decline in the net oil import bill. Net payments for purchases of ships dropped by 65 million and the trade deficit excluding oil and ships shrank by 62 million on the back of a rise in export receipts, while the corresponding import bill increased slightly (by 20 million or 1.2%).

    The services surplus narrowed by 36 million euros. Travel spending in Greece by non-residents rose by 13 million euros, while travel spending abroad by residents fell by 8 million; as a result, the travel balance showed a 27 million euros surplus in February 2013, up by 21 million year-on-year. Net transport receipts fell by 43 million euros, mainly on account of lower net receipts from "other" transport services.

    The income account deficit shrank by 27 million euros, principally owing to a decline in net interest, dividend and profit payments.

    Finally, the current transfers balance showed a 122 million euros higher surplus than in February 2012, reflecting an increase mainly in general government net receipts (chiefly from the EU).

    First two months' figures

    In the January-February 2013 period, the current account deficit narrowed by 1.5 billion euros or 59% year-on-year, to ? 1.1 billion. This development principally reflects significant declines in both the trade deficit (E 984 million) and the income account deficit (E 316 million), as well as an increase in the current transfers surplus (+246 million), while the services surplus contracted by 35 million euros.

    In more detail, the trade deficit narrowed on account of a 435 million euros (or 25%) decline in the trade deficit excluding oil and ships, lower net payments for purchases of ships (down by 83 million, or 27%) and a lower net oil import bill (down by 467 million, or 22%). Receipts from exports of goods excluding oil and ships rose by 10%, while the corresponding import bill fell by 5.8%.

    In the January-February 2013 period, non-residents' arrivals rose by 6.9%; as a result, travel spending in Greece by non-residents increased by 2.9% year-on-year, while travel spending by residents abroad fell by 25%, hence a 52 million EUROS surplus was recorded, against a 23 million deficit in the same period of 2012.

    The income account deficit fell by 316 million euros year-on-year, mainly owing to a sharp decline in net interest payments on Greek government bonds held by non-residents (following the PSI).

    Finally, the current transfers balance showed a surplus of 1.6 billion euros, up by 246 million year-on-year.

    In February 2013, the capital transfers surplus fell to 641 million euros, reflecting a decline in net transfers to general government. In the January-February 2013 period, the capital transfers balance showed a surplus of 631 million euros.

    In February 2013, non-residents' direct investment in Greece showed a net inflow (increase) of 35 million euros (against a net outflow of 151.5 million in the same month of 2012).

    Under portfolio investment, a net inflow of 553 million euros was recorded (against a net outflow of 1.5 billion in February 2012).

    Under "other" investment, a net outflow of 1.4 billion euros was recorded (against a net inflow of 2.4 billion in February 2012)

    In the January-February 2013 period, direct investment showed a net inflow of 1.3 billion euros (against a net outflow of 383 million in the same period of 2012).

    [29] Greek public debt fell to 156.9 pct of GDP in 2012

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V.Demiris)

    Greece's fiscal deficit totaled 10 pct of GDP in 2012, while the country's public debt fell to 156.9 pct, Eurostat said on Monday. The EU executive's statistics arm, in a report published here, here that the Greek fiscal deficit was the second largest in the Eurozone after Spain (10.6 pct) and the highest in the EU-27 last year.

    Estonia (-0.3 pct) recorded the lowest fiscal deficit in 2012, followed by Sweden (-0.5 pct), while Germany recorded a fiscal surplus of 0.2 pct. A total of 17 member-states recorded a fiscal deficit above the 3 pct threshold, while 13 recorded a lower deficit, 12 an increased deficit and two member-states recorded an unchanged deficit.

    A total of 14 member states recorded a public debt above 60 pct of GDP last year, six recorded an improvement and 21 a deterioration in the public debt levels.

    In a quarterly basis, Greece's public debt grew to 156.9 pct of GDP, from 151.9 pct in the third quarter, an increase of 5.0 pct -the highest quarterly increase after Spain (+6.8 pct). The Greek Gross Domestic Product fell to 193.7 billion euoros in 2012, from 208.5 billion in 2011, while its public debt fell to 303.9 billion euros or 156.9 pct of GDP, from 355.9 billion (170.3 pct) in 2011.

    [30] Cosco Shipping & Broking Hellas reports improved 2012 results

    Cosco Shipping and Broking Hellas, one of the around 300 subsidiaries of China Ocean Shipping Company (Cosco), reported a 20.8 pct increase in its 2012 income to 13.79 million euros, from 11.42 million euros in the previous year. Pre-tax earnings rose 19.3 pct to 3.65 million euros, from 3.06 million euros in 2011, while net profits -after taxes- jumped 21.1 pct to 2.87 million euros. The company was founded 17 years ago, long before the Chinese group invested in the port of Piraeus. The company is run by Fu Haichao and Sun Zhanbo, chairman and chief executive, respectively.

    [31] Sources: Employment minister asks for OAED director's resignation

    Labor, Social Security and Welfare Minister Yiannis Vroutsis has asked for the resignation of Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED) director Elias Kikilias, sourced told ANA/MPA on Monday.

    [32] Seamen's union calls 24-hour strike on May 1

    The Panhellenic Seamen's Union PNO on Monday announced a 24-hour strike for all classes of ships on the May 1 Labour Day anniversary, which this year coincides with Holy Wednesday.

    Ships will remain in port from midnight on Holy Tuesday until midnight on Holy Wednesday.

    The seamen's strike is held in protest against the shipping ministry's omnibus bill, voted on by article in Parliament last week.

    Article 19, which allows ship owners to draw up individual work contracts with lower-ranking crew members on ocean-going ships and leisure craft, was not passed by Parliament since the two smaller parties in the coalition government demanded improvements. The ministry, however, has not ruled out an attempt to reintroduce the measure after consultation with the parties.

    PNO is demanding that the omnibus bill be withdrawn, considering that it demolishes the legal framework for those working on ferries.

    [33] ASE suspends trading in Coca Cola Hellenic

    The Athens Stock Exchange on Monday announced it was temporarily suspending trading in the shares of Coca Cola Hellenic and its derivative products until completion of a tender offer by CC HBC AG to buy the listed company's shares.

    According to a timetable announced by the company, Coca Cola HBC AG will replace Coca Cola Hellenic in the domestic market indices.

    [34] Business briefs

    -- Aktor, a subsidiary of Ellaktor, on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding with Alpha Bank and Piraeus Bank for the acquisition of AEGEK, a Greek construction company.

    [35] Greek stocks end significantly higher

    Greek stocks ended significantly higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, boosted by a 18.33 pct jump in the banking index. Traders said investors discounted a successful completion of a recapitalization plan by more systemic banks in the country, which would allow them to remain in private hands. Analysts, however, added that banks were trying to improve their share price average levels to achieve better prices ahead of their share capital increase schemes. The composite index of the market rose 1.79 pct to end at 943.33 points, with turnover remaining a low 50.305 million euros.

    The Big Cap index jumped 2.80 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 0.49 pct higher. The Banks (18.33 pct), Commerce (4.69 pct) and Industrial Products (2.99 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Health (1.88 pct) and Food (0.01 pct) suffered losses.

    National Bank (19.76 pct), Alpha Bank (19.25 pct), Piraeus Bank (15.58 pct) and Folli Follie (4.69 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Eurobank (4.17 pct) and Titan (0.28 pct) suffered losses.

    Hellenic Fish Farms (20 pct), Forthnet (19.91 pct) and National Bank (19.76 pct) were top gainers, while Kathimerini (19.92 pct), Kepenos Mills (19.63 pct) and NEL (19.57 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: +2.99%

    Commercial: +4.69%

    Construction: +0.22%

    Oil & Gas: +0.33%

    Personal & Household: +0.07%

    Raw Materials: +2.31%

    Travel & Leisure: +1.06%

    Technology: +1.60%

    Telecoms: +2.15%

    Banks: +18.33%

    Food & Beverages: -0.01%

    Health: -1.88%

    Utilities: +2.39%

    Financial Services: +1.32%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Bank of Piraeus, Alpha Bank, OTE and EXAE.

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

    Alpha Bank: 0.99

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 6.92

    HBC Coca Cola: 18.40

    Hellenic Petroleum: 8.36

    National Bank of Greece: 0.60

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.23

    OPAP: 7.08

    OTE: 6.18

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.23

    Titan: 14.26

    [36] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds rose slightly to 10.21 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, with the Greek bond yielding 11.43 pct and the German Bund 1.22 pct. There was no turnover in the market.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 0.52 pct, the nine-month rate was 0.43 pct, the six-month rate was 0.32 pct, the three-month rate was 0.20 pct and the one-month rate was 0.12 pct.

    [37] ADEX closing report

    The June contract on the FTSE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 4.07 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover remaining a low 14.567 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 5,158 contracts worth 8.246 million euros, with 35,039 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 57,469 contracts worth 6.321 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (26,091), followed by Piraeus Bank (20,674), Eurobank (2,687), OTE (2,149), OPAP (2,691), PPC (969), MIG (491), Mytilineos (301), Sidenor (126), GEK (223), Ellaktor (310) and Intralot (268).

    [38] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.323

    Pound sterling 0.869

    Danish kroner 7.566

    Swedish kroner 8.641

    Japanese yen 131.95

    Swiss franc 1.237

    Norwegian kroner 7.723

    Canadian dollar 1.357

    Australian dollar 1.288

    General News

    [39] President meets Ministerial Committee on Road Safety

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday received the Ministerial Committee on Road Safety, as part of an initiative to reduce the number of traffic accidents.

    The meeting focused on all parameters of tackling the problem, which Papoulias stressed took on "national dimensions" with an exceptionally high death toll relative to population.

    "It is astonishing that in 2012 we had 984 dead and 1,422 injured, most of whom were rendered disabled. Our country cannot support the weight of such losses in blood. We must do something," Papoulias stressed.

    He asked all those involved to coordinate their efforts to restrict the problem through specific measures.

    National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) professor and committee member George Kanellaidis noted that the strategic road safety plan for 2011-2020 had as its goal, in line with European targets, the reduction of road accident deaths by 50 percent from 2010 to 2020 - or less than 640 people. He stressed, however, that the most important part of the plan was using education to raise awareness of road safety issues, underlining that accidents could not be reduced only by the traffic police but through the coordination of all ministries.

    Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Kostis Hatzidakis praised the president's initiative and said all involved had to speed up their actions and coordinate even more closely on this major issue.

    Other members of the committee included Public Order and Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Dendias, Health Minister Andreas Lykourentzos, Education Minister Constantine Arvanitopoulos, Alternate Development Minister Stavros Kalogiannis, Alternate Interior Minister Haralambos Athanasiou and Greek Police Chief Lieut. Gen. Nikos Papagiannopoulos.

    [40] Ioannina mayor presses charges over missing 1.0 million-plus euros

    Ioannina Mayor Philippas Philios on Monday suspended the head of the municipality's financial service and pressed charges of embezzlement against all parties responsible, after discovering that 1.039 million euros was missing from the municipality's coffers.

    His decision was based on a report, carried out by chartered accountants and the municipality's financial service, that was presented to the mayor on Friday. This report was also forwarded to all the appropriate inspection and auditing services and relevant ministries.

    In a press conference two days ago, the mayor said a discrepancy in the municipality's accounts was discovered after installing a new accounting programme and initially attributed to glitches caused by the transition. The company that installed the programme was called in to help and, after scrupulously checking the accounts, determined that the programme was not at fault. The municipality then appointed chartered accountants and enlisted the aid of outside accountants and the predecessor of the current financial officer to carry out a full audit, which revealed that upward of one million euros were missing from the municipality's coffers.

    [41] Trikala Prison escaped convict involved in Mandra shootout, police said

    Authorities on Monday announced that according to evidence, the Trikala Prison escapees involved in the bloody shootout with police in Isthmia, Corinth earlier in the month, in which a 25-year-old woman was killed when caught in the crossfire, were also the culprits in a recent shootout four days ago in Mandra, Attica.

    Genetic material, recovered from a stolen Citroen Xara private car used by the gunmen, belongs to Ilir Kupa, who was also identified as one of the four gunmen in the Isthmia shootout.

    On April 18, DIAS motorcycle police officers patrolling the region of Mandra signaled the driver of a private car with stolen license plates to pull over. Instead of complying, the driver sped off and the car's passengers opened fire on police with Kalashnikov assault rifles.

    The officers returned fire and pursued the car which, a day later, was found abandoned in the region of Agios Thomas, Viotia prefecture in central Greece.

    [42] Ottoman-era monuments in northwest Greece attract interest of Turkish tour operators

    The Ottoman monuments in Ioannina and Konitsa, northwest Greece, will see the first groups of tourists from Turkey in the next two weeks, according to the vice-president of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies TURSAB who visited the region with a delegation of 30 representatives of major Turkish tour operators and tourist media.

    During their two-day visit, at the invitation of the City of Ioannina, the members of the delegation were offered guided tours of Ottoman-era monuments and had contacts with local tour operators and hotel directors.

    [43] Illegal migrants arrested on the island of Samothrace

    Twenty one illegal migrants, arrested by the Coastguard as they disembarked from their dinghy on the coast of Angistro Cape on the island of Samothrace, northern Aegean, will be led before a public prosecutor in Alexandroupolis on Tuesday, authorities announced.

    The vessel, which sailed from the Turkish coast, was first spotted by the Coastguard near the rocky islet of "Zourafa" and followed. Authorities proceeded to arrest the illegal migrants as they disembarked on the coast of Samothrace.

    All of the detainees underwent a medical examination as a precautionary measure before they were taken to Alexandroupolis, where they are being held pending a hearing before a prosecutor.

    [44] Man injured in tanker-truck explosion

    The driver of a tanker-truck was seriously injured while delivering natural gas to a local hotel in Ammoudara, Iraklio on Crete, due to an explosion occurring at around 3:00 p.m. on Monday.

    The cause of the explosion and resulting fire is not yet known. The flames were put out by the fire brigade and the injured man rushed to hospital by the EKAB ambulance service.

    [45] Unexploded hand-grenade found outside pawnbroker's shop in Galatsi

    A hand-grenade was found Monday morning outside a gold pawnbroker's shop in the Galatsi district of Athens.

    The unexploded grenade was removed by a team of Army bomb-disposal experts called in by police.

    Attica security police are investigating the incident.

    Weather forecast

    [46] Sun and showers forecast on Tuesday

    Cloud and brief showers are forecast in many parts of the mainland on Tuesday, starting from the morning and continuing until the afternoon in the west, then moving on to central and northern Greece later in the day. Mainly sunny weather is expected in Attica and the islands of the Aegean. Winds will blow from mainly easterly directions, ranging from 3-6 Beaufort. Temperatures will range from 5C to 26C. Sunny in Athens, with temperatures from 8C to 24 C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures from 8C to 22C.

    [47] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    DIMOKRATIA: ?Shower of political favors from the 'green' OAED (Manpower Employment Organization)".

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: "10-day thriller".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "2.5 years of free work stamps".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: ?New cut to 1 million auxiliary pensions".

    ESTIA: "Political bravery is needed now".

    ETHNOS: "Everything for a single target of 12 billion euro from the troika".

    IMERISSIA: "Sign of optimism - The banks secure the 10 percent

    (in private participation in their share capital increases)".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "The tax bill with the seal of the troika".

    TA NEA: "He stole in 2001, and was dismissed in 2013".

    VRADYNI: "All revenues are declared (in the income tax statements)".

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