|Tuesday, 23 January 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-05-02
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Thursday, 2 May 2013 Issue No: 4350
 Greece accepts improved offer by Emma Delta to buy 33 pct of OPAPHellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) on Wednesday accepted a new improved offer by Emma Delta Ltd to buy a 33 pct equity stake in OPAP.
Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, in a statement welcomed the deal saying "the first large privatization was successfully completed today, with multiple benefits for the Greek state." The Greek FinMin said the deal "offered evidence of investment capital's confidence in the Greek economy while at the same time safeguarded for the first time that beyond the selling price the state will also receive proceeds from a 30 pct tax on gross earnings annually".
Stournaras noted that the government's privatization programe will move forward with determination in order to accelerate the country's exit from the crisis at the fastest possible time and with the most beneficial terms for the national economy.
The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund in an announcement said that Emma Delta has raised its initial offer of 622 million euros to 652 million euros.
 SYRIZA heavily criticizes OPAP sale; gov't reaction"The planned sell-off of the profitable organization OPAP is a major scandal that will bring losses to the Greek state and Greek citizens," main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) said in a statement on Wednesday, as the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) accepted a new improved offer of 652 million euros by Emma Delta Ltd to buy a 33 pct equity stake in state?gambling?firm OPAP.
SYRIZA referred to what it called "a mockery of a tender to sell OPAP," which led to "a depreciated offer from a proposed buyer, that demonstrates that public property is not simply sold but given away to 'clientele'."
OPAP is the property of the Greek people and should remain so, with profits being directed to the pension funds, said SYRIZA, stressing that growth and the reconstruction of production cannot be done "over the ruins of privatization".
Replying to SYRIZA's comments on the OPAP sale, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou wandered why the main opposition party does not want any privatisation and what interests it serves.
"After having tried in every way to thwart the privatization of OPAP, and failed, SYRIZA now breaks out in a delirium," Kedikoglou said.
 KKE opposes OPAP privatisationThe Communist Party of Greece (KKE) condemned in a statement on Wednesday the sale by the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) of a 33 pct equity stake in state?gambling?firm OPAP to Emma Delta Ltd.
"The privatisation of public enterprises and organisations promoted by the coalition government as well as their partnerships with other investors of the so-called 'healthy enterpeunership', which (the main opposition) SYRIZA speaks of, not only cannot relieve the people from the antipopular measures and reduce unemployment, but instead lead to new tragic consequences for the people," the statement noted.
 Greek, Azeri FMs promote energy cooperationGreek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos met with his Azeri counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov as well as with President Ilham Aliyev and prime minister Artur Rasizade in Baku on Tuesday with talks focusing on relations between Greece and Azerbaijan in the energy sector and the Nagorno-Karabakh issue.
It was the third meeting between the two ministers within the year, something that indicates, as Avramopoulos said during a joint press conference, "the very high level of the two countries' bilateral relations." The two officials examined the prospect of cooperation within the framework of international organisations with Avramopoulos briefing his counterpart on the priorities of Greece's EU presidency that begins on January 1. 2014, as well as the Greek plans aiming at the promotion, enhancement and upgrading of Azerbaijan's relations with the European Union.
Both sides agreed to work jointly in sectors that they can have a further cooperation (tourism, trade, culture and energy). Talks focused among others on the TAP natural gas pipeline, a project that Greece along with Italy and Albania totally support.
At a query whether he is satisfied with Greece-Azerbaijan's cooperation in energy issues, the Azeri Foreign Minister said "I would say that I am not satisfied because we believe that there exists a huge opportunity which we should take advantage of. As I said today the volume of the bilateral trade between Greece and Azerbaijan, only in the last year, quadrupled and reached one billion and most of it came from the energy sector. The main issues of our talks were oil and natural gas. Now we will discuss the development of a more specific cooperation in the natural gas sector. As Mr. Avramopoulos said regarding the start of the submission of tenders on the denationalisation of Greek State Gas Company (DEPA) and Greek Gas Transmission System Operator S.A. (DESFA), you are already aware that the State Gas Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) participates in the tender. Moreover, opportunities for different kinds of investments exist in the sector of energy and energy plants. We also said that a business forum must be established in which energy and other sectors will be included. So, the opportunities exist and the companies and the business world must know that, from the political perspective, we can further enhance our cooperation."
Avramopoulos welcomed SOCAR's participation in the privatisation process of DESFA something which certifies, as he said, that substantial investing opportunities are open in Greece.
Aegean Airlines have already announced that it will begin direct flights from Baku to Greece starting as of May 28.
Asked on Greece's position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Avramopoulos said that "the peaceful solution of the differences with respect to the international law and the national sovereignty is a fundamental principle of Greece's foreign policy as well as of the European Union... The most important is for the involved sides to express the volition, the political volition, for the finding of a solution through negotiations," Avramopoulos concluded.
 Labour Day rallies concluded; SYRIZA leader's statementLabour Day demonstrations were concluded on Wednesday. Major labour union umbrellas GSEE and ADEDY held a rally at Klathmonos square, central Athens while PAME (labour organisation affiliated to Communist Party) gathered at Syndagma square in front of the parliament.
"Labour Day sends a message that the one and a half million unemployed, the thousands of labourers lacking security, the thousands of households without income and the thousands of young people that migrate are not the burden of our country; they are the hope and the power of our country. They are the power to change the future" stated main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras who was present at the unions protest.
 KKE leader: Rally with KKE to exit from the capitalist crisisCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Dimitris Koutsoumbas on Wednesday sent a message to the Greek people to "rally with the KKE for an exit from the capitalist crisis in the people's interest to become reality".
Koutsoumbas was speaking during a Labour Day rally in Syntagma square in downtown Athens.
In a related development, KKE demanded in a statement that no further cuts in pensions be made, asking at the same time that the needs of all pension funds be covered immediately by the state and the big capital. KKE also demanded an increase in pensions and the securing of public, free health and welfare services for pensioners and their families.
Koutsoumbas is scheduled to meet with representatives of all pensioners' unions and social security funds' employees on May 13.
 Prosecutor lays charges on five individuals for participation in terrorist groupA public prosecutor on Wednesday laid additional charges on two of five individuals arrested on Tuesday by the counter-terrorism squad in an operation in Athens' northwestern suburb of Nea Filadelphia. The five are facing charges for alleged participation in the terrorist group "Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire."
A sixth person arrested during the operation was released, late Tuesday night, as no evidence was found on his involvement in terrorist or other illegal activities.
The two young men in custody, against whom arrest warrants had been issued by the appellate magistrate in charge of terrorism cases, were taken to the Public Prosecutor together with three others arrested in Tuesday's operation.
The two, 23 and 22 years old, respectively, are to face charges for allegedly setting up and joining a criminal organization with the aim to commit robberies.
According to reports, the case file forwarded to the district attorney is said to include evidence from genetic material for two of the five suspects.
However, controversial findings need to be thoroughly investigated to determine whether any additional criminal acts have been committed or whether the suspects did actually participate in the terrorist group "Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire."
While entering the court building, the five young men shouted "Long live anarchy. Nothing is over."
 Police finds three bags with Molotov cocktails in ExarchiaThree bags containing 18 homemade cocktails, a flare pistol, a gas mask, a slingshot and firecrackers were found and confiscated by police in central Athens Exarchia neighbourhood.
The Security Department at Attica Police Division is conducting a preliminary investigation.
 Illegal migrants, smugglers arrestedSix Bulgarian nationals were arrested on Wednesday near the northeastern Greek city of Alexandroupolis charged with human smuggling, during a police operation conducted by Soufli border police.
Police confiscated four vehicles with Bulgarian plates. In two of them police found 11 illegal migrants, 6 from Syria, 4 Afghanis and one Iraqi national.
The suspects will be sent before Alexandroupolis prosecutor.
 Fair on ThursdayFair weather and northerly winds are forecast for Thursday. Wind velocity will reach 7 on the Beaufort scale.
Scattered clouds in the northern parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 10C-31C. Fair in the central and southern parts with temperatures ranging from 12C-32C. Sunny in the islands, 15C-27C.
Fair in Athens, 14C-31C; the same for Thessaloniki, 12C-29C.
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