|Sunday, 21 January 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-06-03
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 3 June 2013 Issue No: 4375
 IMF's Lagarde praises progress in Greece, urges reformsNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
"The Greek authorities have made commendable progress in reducing fiscal and external imbalances and in restoring competi-tiveness," Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde said following a meeting of the IMF's executive board on Saturday evening which approved the disbursement of the latest tranche of a rescue loan to Greece of 1.74 billion euros.
"The authorities remain committed to make rapid progress on productivity-enhancing structural reforms and on tax and public administration reforms," Lagarde added.
The IMF chief stressed that Greece was well underway to complete its ambitious fiscal adjustment plan, and that it was on track to meet its 2013 fiscal targets.
However, she set tackling tax evasion as a critical priority "by pressing forward rapidly with reform of the revenue administration to improve operational independence and make the burden of adjustment more equitable."
As far as tax reduction is concerned, Lagarde said that the Greek government should resist the pressures exerted. She noted that "decisive steps are needed to reform public administration, including through targeted staff reductions, to lower costs, improve efficiency, and increase fairness."
Addressing the issue of bank recapitalization, which is near completion, the IMF head said "the authorities must reinforce the governance framework and return to the private sector the stakes in banks that are under the government's control at an early time."
Lagarde concluded by saying that additional measures to reduce Greek debt - which "is projected to remain high well into the next decade" - to levels below 110 pct by 2022, would be welcome by the IMF, provided that the country fully implements all programme conditions. She said it was essential for Greece's European partners to continue their commitment "to provide adequate financial support to Greece during the life of the program and beyond until it has regained market assess, provided that Greece complies fully with the program."
 Finance ministry response to "Lagarde list" news reportA finance ministry statement on Sunday denied a newspaper report alleging that a ministry-issued circular offers amnesty to certain individuals on the so-called "Lagarde list" with the names of Greek citizens that have sizeable bank accounts at the Geneva branch of HSBC bank.
The finance ministry noted that on the contrary, the circular fills any void that could be used by certain individuals for the purpose of paying lower taxes, adding that the crosschecks on taxpayers who are on list were launched months ago.
 Archbishop Ieronymos, Patriarch Kirill jointly officiated at a mass in Athens' Agios Panteleimon ChurchArchbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece, who jointly officiated at the church of Agios Panteleimon, Acharnon in Athens on Sunday with visiting Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, referred to the old ties between the two Churches.
Archbishop Ieronymos underlined that Orthodoxy remains united despite being administratively segmented.
On his part, Patriarch Kirill referred to the common faith of the two peoples, noting that they share the love for God despite the different languages, traditions and certain rituals.
On Sunday afternoon, Patriarch Kirill will hand over segments of the relics of two saints to Panagia Soumela Church at the Metropolis of Ilion and afterward he will visit the Athens Archdiocese NGO "Apostoli".
On Monday, Patriarch Kirill will have separate meetings with Republic President Karolos Papoulias and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.
Later in the day, he will depart for Thessaloniki and the monastic community of Mount Athos in Halkidiki Peninsula, northern Greece, where he will wrap up his formal visit to Greece on June 7.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia arrived in Athens Saturday afternoon for an official visit to Greece from June 1 to 7.
He received at Athens' "Eleftherios Venizelos" International Airport at 18:15 by Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece and members of the Holy Synod.
 PM Samaras to address ND pre-congress in Thessaloniki, June 9Preparations are being stepped up in Thessaloniki for the New Democracy party's Pre-Conference, to be addressed by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Sunday, June 9.
The ND Thessaloniki Executive Committee held a meeting on Saturday, during which members were briefed by chairman Minas Smantzidis on the progress of preparation work.
Attending the session was also alternate minister of Environment Stavros Kalafatis, who reported on legislative initiatives on illegal buildings and government action on the Land Register, forest protection and environmental protection.
 ND official addresses pre-congress event in Patra"We are really optimistic that Greece will soon be out of its current predicament and that we will hand to new generations a country worthy of Greek people's expectations," the secretary of the Political Committee of the New Democracy party Manolis Kefaloyiannis said on Saturday on the occasion of ND's 10th Pre-Congress.
Speaking in the Peloponnese city of Patra, Kefaloyiannis referred to the pre-conference proceedings noting that "by debating with society, we gain more insight into its problems."
The ND official, in a joint press conference with the chairman of the Central Committee of Conference Proceedings Filipos Tavris, said that "western Greece has a huge development deficit and projects need to be advanced towards making Patra the country's gateway to the west." He made special reference to Olympia Street, and to the development of the port of Patra.
Regarding the procedures of the Pre-Congress, Kefaloyiannis stressed that "we want to change the New Democracy and help (Prime Minister) Antonis Samaras to change Greece, and this is why we are in an open dialogue with society."
He added that as the country was in the midst of a major crisis, changes were needed on economic, social and institutional levels.
 PASOK leader calls on all parties to vote for anti-racism bill"There are no scenarios for early elections," PASOK party president Evangelos Venizelos told reporters in Thessaloniki, western Greece following the end of an anti-racism event organised by the Andreas Papandreou Institute of Strategic and Development Studies (ISTAME) and the Thessaloniki Municipality. He was responding to a question regarding scenarios for early elections in the wake of coalition government disagreement on the anti-racism bill.
Venizelos, whose party is a junior partner in the coalition government, added that "the country must finally exit the crisis, become stable and safe within a Europe which is always in a crisis - we should not forget that."
The PASOK president called on all political parties to vote for the anti-racism bill, stressing "we will observe parliamentary procedures and each party must take responsibility. If the opposition is entrenched behind a supposed anti-memorandum stance, this actually provides alibi and immunity to the [extreme-right] Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) party.
 PASOK leader Venizelos visits KilkisPASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, a junior partner in the coalition government, on Sunday addressed an audience of party cadres in the Chamber of Commerce of the city of Kilkis in northern Greece.
He referred to party issues and raised again the issue of a government reshuffle.
Venizelos underlined that solving the problem of unemployment is his party's priority, noting that state inter-vention is necessary.
Later he discussed the problems of the local business community with the president of the Chamber of Commerce and accompanied by Agriculture and Foods Minister Athanassios Tsaftaris, visited a local dairy industry and met with farmer representatives.
Joint resistance by the peoples of southern Europe is the alternative solution to the crisis, SYRIZA-EKM leader Tsipras says
Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA-EKM) leader Alexis Tsipras underlined that "the joint resistance of the peoples of the European south, that will spark a major political upset across Europe, is the alternative solution to the economic crisis problem".
Tsipras made the statement in Madrid on Saturday where he participated in a rally against the troika (IMF-EC-ECB) before wrapping up a three-day visit to Spain.
He underlined that austerity tears down societies across Europe, particularly in the southern European countries.
 SYRIZA dismisses police announcement on 'no evidence of abduction of Turkish national'The Greek police is "provoking public sentiment" with its announcement denying the abduction and return to Turkey of Bulut Yayla, main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) said on Sunday.
According to police sources, Yayla - whom SYRIZA named but the police announcements did not - was declared missing at a police station in Athens' Exarchia district in the early morning hours on Friday and a suit was filed at noon on Sunday alleging that he was abducted.
The police said they had a report that a specific individual was abducted on Thursday night on Solonos Street, near Kaningos Square in downtown Athens, by unidentified individuals who forced him to get in a private car.
In a press conference at the offices of the Network of Social Support for Immigrants and Refugees, it was reported that several hours later the missing Turkish national was traced at the anti-terrorism service headquarters in Istanbul, where he is allegedly being interrogated.
According to information, Yayla arrived in Greece roughly two months ago and appeared before the Greek Council for Refugees. Three weeks ago the council forwarded his file to the responsible authorities suggesting that he is eligible for an asylum.
Late on Sunday, the Greek Police implied that the abduction reports were not true: "Concerning the specific Turkish national," the police announcement said, "there is no personal appearance, official record, or registration of his presence in the country, according to the Greek Police services."
"Also, the same Turkish national never applied for political asylum," it added.
SYRIZA dismissed the announcement, saying: "In reality, the Greek Police fully confirms the charges, since it mentions nothing about the essence of the case.... In other words, it says nothing about Bulut's abduction in the centre of Athens, a witness account that the car used in the abduction had licence plates that - according to the Police - belong to a police vehicle and his transfer to Turkey through an illegal crossing of borders," it charged.
As to the allegations of the police that he did not apply for asylum, the party said "the reply was given on Saturday by his lawyer, Marianna Tzeferakou, of the Greek Council for Refugees," who had said an asylum application was filed but was obstructed "by the chaos reigning in the relevant services".
SYRIZA also said that the police's foreigners department knew about Yayla, and that there had been frequent communication between the department and the Council.
"The police should stop the ridiculous attempts at covering up the abduction and start investigating which domestic and foreign services are involved," the party announcement concluded.
 Police investigation reveals no 'abduction of Turkish national in Athens'The Greek police said late on Sunday that reports that a Turkish national, characterized as torture victim in Turkey, was allegedly abducted did not appear to be true.
"Concerning the specific Turkish national," the police announcement said, "there is no personal appearance, official record, or registration of his presence in the country, according to the Greek Police services."
"Also, the same Turkish national never applied for political asylum," it added.
Police sources had said earlier that the specific individual was declared missing to a police station in Athens' Exarchia district in the early morning hours on Friday and at noon on Sunday a lawsuit was filed alleging that he was abducted.
According to police, it was reported that the specific individual was abducted on Thursday night on Solonos Street, near Kaningos Square in downtown Athens, by unidentified individuals who forced him to get in a private car.
In a press conference at the offices of the Network of Social Support for Immigrants and Refugees, it was reported that several hours later the missing Turkish national was traced at the anti-terrorism service headquarters in Istanbul where he is allegedly being interrogated.
According to information, the specific individual arrived in Greece roughly two months ago and appeared before the Greek Council for Refugees. Three weeks ago the council forwarded his file to the responsible authorities suggesting that he is eligible for an asylum.
 Opposition AN.EL expresses concern about developments in TurkeyDevelopments in Turkey are characterized as "extremely alarming" in a statement issued by opposition Independent Greeks (AN.EL) party on Sunday.
The party statement also urged for vigilance in response to recent incidents in Turkey.
 KKE expresses solidarity to Turkish demonstratorsOpposition Communist Party (KKE) on Sunday condemned the heavy-handed police tactics used against demonstrators in Istanbul and other Turkish cities.
KKE expressed solidarity to the people of Turkey and to the country's Communist Party "that participates actively in the popular mobilizations".
 Deputy Dev't minister to meet Romanian minister, address event in ThessalonikiDeputy Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Notis Mitarakis will meet in Athens with Romanian Deputy Foreign Minister George Ciampa at the Development Ministry on Monday.
In the evening, Mitarakis will address a meeting in Thessaloniki on "How to fund investments", held by the Alumnae/i of American Universities.
 Out-of-parliament "Drassi" party elects new presidentMEP Thodoros Skylakakis was elected president of the small out-of-Parliament "Drassi" party.
The party's Central Committee also elected three new vice-presidents and the Managing Committee members, it was announced on Saturday.
 Council of State upholds forestland classification challenged by developersThe absence of a land registry for forest land does not mean that the forested property loses its classification and therefore its protection, the Council of State ruled, rejecting a suit by landowners in the area Perivolakia in Rafina, the coastal town in east Attica.
The landowners wanted to nullify a part of a presidential decree setting the building zone restrictions in the town plan and beyond that declared the Perivolakia area a green zone, in order to develop it.
In addition, the court ruled that despite the fact the specific piece of land appears to have been developed - with roads, power and water networks, among others - its classification does not change.
 IMF approves disbursement of tranche to GreeceNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
The International Monetary Fund's executive board on Saturday evening approved the latest tranche to cash-strapped Greece, and completed the third review of Greece's performance under the Extended Fund Facility arrangement.
The completion of the review enables the disbursement of about 1.74 billion euros (2.26 billion dollars). The?money?is part of a bailout package agreed by the IMF and Eurozone member states.
IMF chief Christine Lagarde said that Greece was "well underway" to bring its government deficit under control and on track to meet 2013 fiscal targets. She called for "decisive steps" to reform government administration and reduce the state payroll.
 Alternate finmin to attend Greek Investors Forum in New YorkAlternate finance minister Christos Staikouras will be the keynote speaker at the 2nd Greek Investors Forum, entitled "Greece: Seizing the Opportunity," to be held in New York, June 5-6.
The forum is co-hosted by Athens Exchange?and the?American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce.
During his visit to New York, Staikouras will have contacts with executives of American investment companies, financial professionals and representatives of Diaspora organizations. He will also be meeting with Archbishop Demetrios of America.
This year' s forum will explore Greece' s prospering investment climate and provide leading international institutional investors the premiere opportunity to meet with some of the country' s most prominent and promising companies, an announcement by the organisers said.
The?investment forum?will include a series of discussions that highlight the important structural changes taking place in Greece and the significant investment opportunities that have risen out of the country's reorganization.
 Athens mosque construction procedures get 'green light'Procedures are getting under way for the construction of a mosque in Athens' Votanikos neighborhood, following the approval of credit funding of 946,000 euros. The mosque will be built by retrofitting an existing building and the project will be auctioned by the state by an open procedure.
The related decision was signed on Saturday by alternate Development minister Stavros Kaloyiannis.
The plan includes construction the necessary support functions (restrooms, etc.).
 Greek-descent father and son killed by Oklahoma tornadoThe team of three storm chasers that were killed by a tornado in Oklahoma on Friday included a father and son of Greek descent, according to Reuters news agency on Sunday.
Tim Samaras, 55, considered a veteran storm chaser and a leader in his field, his son Paul, 24, and their friend and colleague, meteorologist Carl Young, 45, were killed in the El Reno suburb of Oklahoma City, according to Tim's brother Jim.
Five tornados hit the state of Oklahoma on Friday, killing ten people, just a few days after the extensive damages sustained by the city of Moore, where 24 people died a few days earlier. Neighbouring Missouri was also hit by storms.
Samaras had founded Twister, a company researching tornadoes. The Colorado-based company collected temperature, humidity and speed data on winds to formulate a system of early tornado warning; it had been partly funded by National Geographic Society.
Tim Samaras is survived by his wife Kathy and two daughters, Amy, 30, and Jennifer, 28.
 Pakistani national arrested over death of couple in EviaA 23-year-old Pakistani national was arrested over the death of a couple in Aliveri, Evia, on Sunday, along with six fellow nationals who are being held for aiding him.
The man is being questioned by the police over the couple found stabbed to death. The 54-year-old woman was found in the yard and her husband, 56, in the house.
The police was notified by their daughter after repeated phone calls to the house were not answered on Saturday evening.
 Foreign national arrested for forging travel documentsA foreign national was arrested accused of forging travel documents, it was announced on Sunday.
An Egyptian national was arrested, while other two, also Egyptians, are still wanted by police. They are accused of supplying foreign nationals with forged travel documents for a fee as high as 1,200 euros. The documents were used by illegal migrants to be able to stay in the country and go through passport checks.
A police search in their apartment in the district of Koukaki and in the suspect's car revealed tens of passports, rubber stamps, photographs and various documents.
 Gold mine protest march by residents in HalkidikiResidents of the northeastern part of the Halkidiki Peninsula, in northern Greece, held a march on Sunday to the Hellenic Gold mining area of Skouries to protest the project in the area.
Despite the rain, the protesters, who have kept the goldmine works in the news for several months, began their march at Ierissos and Megali Panagia.
Riot police were present but without incident, as of this news item.
 Weak tremor recorded near Lake Polyfytou in the country's northwestA weak tremor measuring 3.8 on the Richter scale was recorded in the early morning hours on Sunday in the region of Mount Vourino between the prefectures of Kozani and Grevena, in the northwest, near the seismically active region of the artificial Lake Polyfytou.
According to Thessaloniki Aristotle University (AUTh) Geophysics Laboratory, the tremor was recorded at 02:03 and its epicenter was 17 kilometers SW of the city of Kozani, near the region that gave the strong earthquake that measured 6.5 on the Richter scale in 1995.
The earthquake occurred at a depth of 7 kilometers and was felt in regions of the prefectures of Kozani and Grevena. No damages were reported.
Seismologists characterized the tremor as isolated incident that causes no concern.
 Ierapetra farmers donate fruit and vegetable to poor families in ThessalonikiTwenty tons of fruits and vegetables have been donated by producers from Ierapetra, Crete to crisis-hit families in Thessaloniki, northern Greece.
Transportation of some 3,170 packages of products was arranged in cooperation with Red Cross services in both cities. The packages were delivered to 20 community agencies, to Thessaloniki's three dioceses and to individual families based on Red Cross data.
 Latvala is the winner of 2013 Acropolis RallyJari-Matto Latvala, from Finland, won the 2013 Acropolis Rally, the sixth race in the calendar of the World Race Championship (WRC), that ended on Sunday afternoon.
Latvala, who drives a Volkswagen Polo R, finished in 3h 31min 1.2sec, leaving Spaniard Dani Sordo and his Citroen DS3 at the second place (+1:50.0).
Ford Fiesta RS driver Thierry Neuville from Belgium finished third (+2:14.1).
Sebastien Ogier from France won the Loutraki 2 special stage in his Volkswagen (20:38.5) followed by Russian Evgeny Novikov in a Ford Fiesta RS (+9.9) and Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen in a Volkswagen Polo R (+11.6).
 Greek rower wins gold in European Championships in SpainKaterina Nikolaidou won the lightweight women's single sculls final on Sunday at the 2013 European Rowing Championships held in Seville, Spain.
The Greek rower beat Austria's Michaela Taupe-Traer (who was expected to hold the lead but placed second) with a timing of 8:32.92. Marie-Anne Frenken of the Netherlands placed third.
According to the World Rowing Federation (FISA), Nikolaidou had to fight more seasoned competition and "tough head-wind conditions" but remained in control. "In the final sprint (she) upped her stroke rate to 34 in these tough head-wind conditions. Taupe-Traer had no reply. Nikolaidou had become the European Champion", it said.
The Championship was held May 31 to June 2.
 Super League playoffs, final game resultsThe final game in the playoffs for the Super League brought the following results on Sunday:
Atromitos-Asteras Tripolis 0-0
PAS Yiannina-PAOK 1-2
The final score:
PASOK 13 - Champions League (3rd preliminary)
Atromitos 11 - Europa League (playoff)
Asteras Tripolis 9 - Europa League (3rd preliminary)
PAS Yiannina 7 - Europa League (2rd preliminary)
 Fair on MondayGenerally fair on Monday, with temporary rainfall in the afternoon at high elevations in the north. Winds mostly westerly, 3 to 5 Beaufort. Temperatures ranging from 10C to 29C, slightly colder in the northwest. In Athens, generally clear, becoming overcast in the north, west-northwesterly winds 3 to 5 Beaufort. Temperatures 15C to 28C. In Thessaloniki, overcast with rain possible in the afternoon in higher elevations. Winds the same, temperatures from 15C to 27C.
 The Sunday edition of Athens' newspapers at a glanceAVGHI: "Democratic upset in Greece and Europe"
EPOCHI: "Self-destructive course for the eurozone"
ETHNOS: "New deal against unemployment"
KATHIMERINI: "Incentives to employees to uncover corruption"
KYRIAKATIKI DIMOKRATIA: "Fifteen tax exemptions the troika wants to abolish"
KYRIAKATIKI ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "(Finance Minister Yiannis) Stournaras' nightmares"
KYRIAKATIKOS RIZOSPASTIS: "KKE Central Committee invitation for popular alliance"
NIKI: "Illegally built constructions: 10 changes in the draft bill that can save properties"
REAL NEWS: "(DIM.AR MP Maria) Repoussi's lies. Leading historians give documented responses"
TO ARTHRO: "(public utility companies) DEKO sudden death"
TO PARON: "Nearly a genocide for ND"
TO VIMA: "Extraordinary surtax for two more years"
TYPOS TIS KYRIAKIS: "Solve the income tax return riddles"
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