|Thursday, 22 February 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-06-05
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 5 June 2013 Issue No: 4377
 Prime Minister Samaras: Hydrocarbon exploration procedures to speed upPrime Minister Antonis Samaras on Tuesday announced the speeding up of procedures for hydrocarbon exploration in Greece and the establishment of a Public Company for Hydrocarbons.
In a meeting he chaired at the ministry of Environment, Energy & Climate Change attended by the ministry leadership and experts, the prime minister underlined that the speeding up of the hydrocarbon drilling procedures constitutes a "major comparative and geopolitical advantage for Greece". He also referred to the commitment of the Greek scientists involved, which he called "a prerequisitive for the successful exploitation of the country's natural deposits that can generate wealth".
Samaras noted that the Greek programme will have to be incorporated in the new European energy networks, underlining that it will play an important role in buffering the Greek economy and achieving energy autonomy.
He spoke about strategic alliances with international exploration companies, putting an emphasis on the explorations in the Ionian Sea region and south of the island of Crete, and said that tenders are in progress for companies wishing to undertake explorations in Ioannina (western Greece), Katakolo (northwast Peloponnese) and Patraikos Bay (linking the western mainland with the Peloponnese).
According to the prime minister, "The great interest shown by foreign companies in other regions as well is proof of the confidence foreign players have in our country."
 PM Samaras watches joint aeronautics drillPrime Minister Antonis Samaras spent 2.5 hours on Tuesday evening at the Navy General Staff Operations Centre in Athens watching part of the joint aeronautics exercise Kataigis-Iniohos (Storm-Charioteer), conducted in the Aegean.
According to reports, the premier was briefed by the Navy Chief Vice-Admiral Panagiotis Litsas on the exercise's technical aspects, while he also had a communication with the commander the navy force. Samaras, the same reports said, watched some technical subjects of the drill conducted in the central Aegean.
Samaras had a prior communication with Defence minister Panos Panayiotopoulos, who is attending NATO's defence ministers meeting in Brussels and was briefed on issues discussed.
Kataigis, involving all available warships, is to conclude on June 8, while its combined Air Force exercise Iniohos is to end one day earlier.
 Luxembourg's Prime Minister Juncker predicts Greece's return to the marketsBERLIN (ANA-MPA / F. Karaviti)
Luxembourg's Prime Minister and former Eurogroup president Jean-Claude Juncker praised the efforts made by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in comments he made to the German stock exchange news website, noting that Greece is on the right track and a eurozone exit is out of the question. He predicted that Greece will achieve primary surplus and in a few years the country will return to the markets. Referring to the Greek people, he said that "they have a lot of courage".
Juncker made the statements ahead of his visit to Athens, noting that he would not object to a third loan in support of the country until it returns to the markets.
The former Eurogroup president clarified that the decisions made by the Greek government helped the country avoid a eurozone exit. He said that the OECD predictions on Greece are pessimistic, underlining, however, that there is still a lot to be done to combat tax evasion. He also noted that he would give the names of Greeks with bank deposits in Luxembourg banks if requested by the Greek authorities, noting that all eurozone countries should do the same.
 Foreign Minister Avramopoulos addresses the American Jewish Committee annual global forumNEW YORK (ANA-MPA / P. Panagiotou)
The rise of antisemitism in Europe "is an insult to civilization", Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos underlined earlier on Tuesday (Greek time), addressing the World Leaders Plenary of the American Jewish Committee annual Global Forum in Washington.
Having the Greek flag as a background and being warmly applauded by the forum participants, Avramopoulos said that "Greece will never allow hatred to grow and spread".
He called on the members of his audience to visit and invest in Greece outlining the country's comparative advantages. "Now is the time," he said, noting that "Greece was and will always be a reliable and unwavering factor of stability in Eastern Mediterranean".
Avramopoulos also referred to the cooperation between Greece, Cyprus and Israel, particularly in the energy sector, and to the cooperation between their diaspora organizations.
Referring to developments in Greece, he said that "the impressive deficit reductions and the surplus in the balance of payments are expected to bring hope this year. We can see a ray of light at the end of the tunnel and our country's competitiveness has improved considerably. Private and public investors all over the world have expressed interest in investing in strategic projects in Greece".
 SYRIZA tables draft law on 'crimes with racist characteristics'Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras tabled a draft law in Parliament on Tuesday evening on "combatting crimes with racist criteria" containing 10 articles.
According to the report accompanying it, "with the settlements in the present draft law an integrated and effective framework for the penal handling of crimes with racist characteristics is created and, at the same time, for protection for victims and witnesses. The aim is the explicit defining of the punishable action and the securing of guarantees so that the prosecution of crimes with racist characteristics will be achieved".
The draft law anticipates among other things:
-Prosecution for crimes with racist characteristics will be exercised ex officio, while conviction will also entail the deprivation of civil rights.
-The deprivation of civil rights is enacted as an ensuing penalty even for misdemeanours in cases of the conviction of public functionaries and employees.
-The responsibility is set and sanctions are anticipated against legal entities of public law and unions of people.
 Tsipras addresses SYRIZA event at Kesariani firing rangeMain opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras, addressing a SYRIZA event at the historic firing range at the Athens suburb of Kesariani on Tuesday evening, expressed his total disagreement with the possibility of its privatisation.
He said that government policy and the prime minister's stance personally entails the danger "of an uncontrolled social tension, it entails the danger of the country turning back and rekindling dissensions and divisions that we have ultimately left behind in the past".
Tsipras referred to the historic value of the premises and to the sacrifice of 200 patriots who were executed by the Nazis, to underline the great sentimental and political value that this location has for the left.
He added that this location belongs neither to the left nor to the right, but belongs to the Greek people in their entirety and said that his party will struggle so that this symbolic place will not be sold out.
 Gov't spokesman: Tsipras is a 'political sponsor of Golden Dawn'Commenting on a speech by the leader of the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), Alexis Tsipras in Kesariani, Athens, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou called on the main opposition leader "to look in the mirror and you will understand who nourishes and subsidises the (far-right) Golden Dawn (Chyssi Avgi party)."
The spokesman said Tsipras' "dividing delirium" made of him "a great political sponsor of the other extreme: the Golden Dawn".
 DIM.AR leader Kouvelis visits ThessalonikiDemocratic Left (DIM.AR) leader Fotis Kouvelis, whose party is a junior partner in the coalition government, on Tuesday ruled out the likelihood of early elections.
Speaking in Thessaloniki after meeting with Macedonia and Thrace Minister Theodoros Karaoglou, Kouvelis said that common ground should be found with New Democracy (ND), the largest of the three political parties in the coalition government, to have the anti-racism draft bill tabled in Parliament by DIM.AR and PASOK, the other junior member of the ruling coalition, voted in parliament.
Kouvelis said that there is no likelihood for early elections and that the government will serve its full term according to the constitution. He added that the country is on its way out of the crisis and efforts should continue for success. "Elections are not necessary," he said.
In a meeting with local authorities, including Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris, Kouvelis expressed opposition to the privatization of the Thessaloniki Water and Sewerage (EYATh), stressing that water is and should remain a public good.
The absorption of National Strategic Reference Framework (ESPA) funds was discussed in a meeting Kouvelis had with Central Macedonia Regional Governor Apostolos Tzitzikostas.
Kouvelis is also scheduled to address an open meeting of DIM.AR at the Thessaloniki port in the evening.
 DI.MAR's Kouvelis addresses party event in ThessalonikiThe Democratic Left (DI.MAR) will continue following its policy in the same responsible manner, and even if it did not entirely agree with the government's work it will not jeopardise its stability, party president Fotis Kouvelis said in Thessaloniki on Tuesday evening.
Addressing supporters, Kouvelis, whose party is a junior partner in the Antonis Samaras coalition goverment, added that he participates in the ruling coalition in an effort to achieve the best possible political ground and the best possible infuence on policies being implemented.
The DI.MAR leader strongly criticised main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party and called on "all democrats and progressive citizens to rally behind DI.MAR for the re-establishment of the party of democratic socialism."
 Troika technical experts start review in AthensThe visiting technical experts of Greece's troika of lenders (European Commission, European Central Bank and the
International Monetary Fund) have scheduled a meeting with Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Monday to review progress on the fiscal adjustment programme, government sources said Tuesday.
According to the sources said that current negotiations are significant - although the political approval for the release of the next tranche to Greece of 3.3 billion euros has already been given - especially because they are relevant to Greece's ongoing request that the VAT for the food sector be lowered from its current 23 pct, especially during the apex tourist season of summer.
The experts however have at least 147 pending issues on their agenda that must be resolved by end-June, topped by the issues of privatisations, loan repayments for indebted households, corruption, tax revenue collection, bank recapitalisation, liberalisation of the energy market and the fiscal deficit.
Discussion on how the fiscal gap for 2015-2016 will be covered is to go on the agenda of the next troika review, in the fall.
 Political parties' reactions to troika visitGreece's political parties reacted strongly to the latest visit to Athens by the troika of lenders' technical experts for yet another review of the country's economy and progress in the implementation of the rescue programme, known as memorandum.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) charged that the government welcomed the troika of lenders amidst a barrage of misleading statements by the finance minister (Yannis Stournaras) and the governor of the Bank of Greece (George Provopoulos), designed to prettify economic and social conditions.
The party's eurodeputy Nikos Hountis called on the government to "give up its communication games and announce unilaterally a reduction in VAT for tourism and restaurant business, as it has the right to do."
In a speech in Thessaloniki, Democratic Left (DIMAR) president Fotis Kouvelis said as the issue of VAT reduction is already a subject of negotiation with the troika, "there should be a timely agreement on the issue so that it may benefit this year's tourism season." Kouvelis added that "the reduction in VAT should be combined with a set of effective measures to ensure invoicing and collection of VAT."
Notis Marias, spokesperson for Independent Greeks (ANEL) also voiced his party's opposition to government plans to follow troika's directives and go ahead with cuts in allowances and unemployment benefits, as well as with public servant layoffs.
In its own reaction, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said in a statement that troika's latest visit "is aimed at speeding up anti-popular measures which have already been co-decided with the Greek government and stipulate laying off public servants by abolishing public bodies and organisations, as well as privatisations, cuts in allowances and more taxes."
 Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia arrives on Mount AthosPatriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, currently on a visit to Greece, arrived on Mount Athos in Halkidiki Peninsula earlier on Tuesday launching a formal three-day visit to the monastic community.
Patriarch Kirill was formally welcomed in the administrative center of Karyes by the Hiera Epistassia (Athos' executive committee) and representatives of the 20 monasteries comprising the monastic community. A mass was later celebrated at the Protaton Church.
Patriarch Kirill will depart for the Russian Monastery of Saint Panteleimon later in the day after meeting with the Mount Athos holy fathers.
On Wednesday, he will lead a mass at the Saint Panteleimon Monastery and afterward he will visit the monasteries of Megisti Lavra and Iviron. On Thursday, he will visit the monasteries of Vatopedion, Hilandarion and Pantokrator.
 Golden Dawn party tables draft bill to 'fight racism against Greeks'Opposition extreme-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) party on Tuesday tabled a draft bill to "fight racism targeting Greeks" also suggesting that crimes committed by illegal migrants be treated as special offenses.
Golden Dawn lashed out at the "systemic political parties", as it called the established parties, and claimed that "for days, they have been competing with each other for the toughest anti-racism draft bill that will perpetuate illegal behaviour and make the Greeks a minority in their own country."
The party's MPs also condemned the anti-racism draft bills tabled separately by other political parties, calling the bills a "disgrace".
 PASOK reacts to Golden Dawn bill, urges vote on anti-racism billThe extreme right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) bill tabled to "fight racism against Greeks" is an "insolent act" and "shows the great responsibility shouldered by the forces of non-extreme parties in Parliament, especially New Democracy and the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA)," the PASOK press office said Monday, referring to the main party of the ruling coalition and the main opposition party.
In an announcement, PASOK, a junior member of the coalition along with Democratic Left (DIM.AR), said that "It is obvious that the concerted deflection of the Nazi-like creation's acts is not enough. It is imperative that a new law of wide acceptance be voted immediately, based on the joint PASOK-DIM.AR proposal, which was first to be tabled."
The party also said that the national plan to manage illegal immigration flows must be applied in order to strengthen the sense of security citizens have while respecting the Constitution and the European legal order.
 IMF's Christine Lagarde urges Greeks to keep up effortsInternational Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde on Tuesday underlined that the programme for the Greek economy is more or less on the right track despite the difficult fiscal adjustment.
Lagarde told public-run NET television that efforts should not relax, referring to tax collection and the reforms in the products and services markets, because this is the only way to restart the Greek economy and attract investments.
The sacrifices made and the wage cuts should not go to waste, she stressed, adding that "more energy" is necessary in the implementation and adoption of reforms that will greatly benefit the Greek economy. She said that the VAT rate reduction on food catering services is not an insignificant issue, stressing, however, that such a move should not send the wrong message namely, that revenue collection and the revenue collection mechanism reorganization efforts have relaxed.
As regards the debt reduction, she repeated that the European pledges for assistance will be met - even though the way has not been clarified - if the country meets its commitments, which is now the case, and achieves primary surplus.
 IMF general director says Greece on 'good path'NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
International Monetary Fund (IMF) general director Christine Lagarde said on Tuesday that Greece is on a "good path" but must do more for the implementation of the Greek programme, underlining the efforts being made by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and the Greek authorities. She also emphasised the need for the improvement of the tax-collecting apparatus.
Lagarde, in an address at the Brookings Institution in Washington and replying to questions, said that the Eurozone is continuing to be the "important sector of concern" for the global economy and that the world is continuing to be inconvenienced by "unequal recovery" and be divided into a three-speed economy: to those doing well, to others being corrected and those that still have a long way to go.
 Commissioner Semeta optimistic that Greece will return to economic growth in 2014European Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Statistics, Audit and Anti-Fraud Algirdas Semeta, in Athens on Tuesday, expressed optimism that Greece will return to economic growth in 2014, noting that there are clear indications showing that confidence in the country has increased.
Addressing a joint session of the Greek Parliament's committees on European affairs, economic affairs and institutions & transparency, he acknowledged that a difficult task has been performed both by the Greek authorities and the Greek people, allowing for optimistic forecasts.
Semeta underlined the need to reform the taxation system, noting that it is the most important measure for economic growth and social cohesion. "It should be simple, fair, with a mechanism that can trace and punish those who break the law," he said, expressing the view that the VAT rate reduction on food sector requested by Greece is not the best choice in solving its problems.
He said that cooperation between the EU's Eurostat and the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) has been fruitful, producing reliable statistics that have been published six times without reservations. He described as "a positive first step" the establishment of the office of a general secretary for public revenues, noting that progress has been made but strong political will is also necessary.
"The issue is to have fair taxation system with zero tolerance for fraud," he said, adding that the EU Task Force for Greece prepares new taxation codes to be incorporated in the Greek legislation.
Responding to questions by MPs, the European Commissioner said that the European Commission puts pressure on all member-states to tackle the problem of tax havens and underlined that tax evasion should be combated on European and national levels.
 Development minister addresses Greek-German Chamber eventDevelopment Minister Costis Hatzidakis, addressing an event held by the Greek-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday on the theme "The example of Ireland in the exit from the crisis", said that the trust of markets and investors cannot be built with communication moves but is gained with actions of substance.
"We are aware that the positive climate that we are building can be easily overturned if we leave the path of seriousness, of hard work and of strict programming. And we shall not leave it," he said.
Wolfgang Dold, the ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Greece, said that "most approaches to the crisis focus on whether the bailout package of 240 billion euros is adequate and whether the partners in Europe could do something better. The common view focuses on how the others can help us and distances all the more from what we ourselves could do to rid ourselves from misery, to develop our competitiveness".
 Tourism minister holds meetings in NY with tourist industry officialsNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
Tourism Minister Olga Kefaloyianni held contacts with representatives of US tourist industry here on Monday and was to continue her contacts in New York on Tuesday.
Apart from officials of big travel organisations, she is scheduled to meet with airline company representatives to discuss the possibility of direct flights between Athens and New York.
Kefaloyianni would be addressing a gathering at Greece's General Consulate on Tuesday evening and would brief presidents and representatives of expatriate agencies, Greek American teachers and people of literature and art on a series of issues concerning the tourist infrastructure and the effort to boost Greek tourism.
"The contribution of the expatriates is important for our country, since they constitute the bridge with the US", Kefaloyianni said on Monday, following her meeting with Archbishop of America Demetrius, also stressing that "Greece went through a difficult period, but today we are on a course of economic recovery. The effort is continuing and we need the help of our expatriate brothers in this struggle as well".
 Social tourism programmes to be reintroduced by OAEDThe social tourism programmes - which had been severely cut last year - are to be reintroduced, according to a decision taken during a meeting of the board of the Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED) on Tuesday.
The meeting, the first to be chaired by OAED's new chief Theodoros Ambatzoglou, was also attended by Labour minister Yiannis Vroutsis who was briefed on new OAED actions to enhance employment and support the unemployed.
Vroutsis after the end of the meeting referred to the need to improve OAED work in the labour market. He stressed that "the social state is being restarted and reinforced by the reintroduction of the social tourism programmes and other recent schemes, such as the family allowance by the Welfare services and the farmer insurance fund?OGA."
Social tourism programmes were cut in February 2012 as a result of the abolition of the Worker Welfare Organisation (OEE).
 National Bank CEO urges shareholders to participate in capital boost schemeNational Bank on Tuesday urged its shareholders to massively participate in a share capital increase plan which began on May 30 and will be completed in June 13.
"The present share capital increase plan by National Bank, as with all other systemic banks, is different compared with similar moves in the past. Banks are required to ensure that private investors would cover at least 10 pct of recapitalization needs for each bank. And that is what we all look forward: workers in the group and shareholders with the society actively supporting," Alexandros Tourkolias, the bank's chief executive said in a letter to shareholders.
"This goal seeks to safeguard National Bank's decisive role in the economic development of the country and the progress and prosperity of Greeks in and outside the country. With a successful completion of its capital boost scheme, National Bank will expand its abilities to contributing in the development of the national economy, both in our country and in the wider regional market," Tourkolias said.
 Piraeus Bank says its share price will be trading at 1.17 euros from Monday 10 JunePiraeus Bank on Tuesday said that trading in its shares will be temporary suspended from Wednesday, 5 June until next Monday June 10, as the bank is implementing a reverse split programe.
The bank said that from Monday, June 10, trading will resume for its 114,332,657 new shares at a final nominal price of 0.30 euros per share and with an adjusted starting price of 1.71 euros per share.
 First waterway to be created at Corfu portThe first waterway in the Ionian islands will be created in Corfu island port following the activation of the legislation regarding the licence and operation prerequisites of waterways.
Greek Waterways company has submitted all the necessary documents for flight operation over the Ionian islands.
According to sources from Corfu, the company will initially use the island as a hub to provide charter flights to the small islands of Othoni, Erikoussa and Paxi and aerial tours for cruiseship passengers that will want to see Corfu from above.
 Greek stocks end significantly lowerGreek stocks came under strong selling pressure pushing the composite index of the market below the psychologically-critical 1,000 level. The index fell 2.78 pct to end at 981.50 points, its lowest since April, off the day's lows of 976.38 points. Turnover remained a moderate 72.05 million euros.
The Big Cap index dropped 3.14 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 2.39 pct lower. Piraeus Bank (7.14 pct) was the only blue chip stock to end higher, while MIG (7.36 pct), Viohalco (6.28 pct), Alpha Bank (6.20 pct), Terna Energy (5.70 pct) and Frigoglass (5.61 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day. National Bank's shares fell 2.8 pct to 4.52 euros, while its rights dropped 56.60 pct to 0.23 euros.
All sectors suffered losses, with the Oils (4.96 pct), Food (4.49 pct) and Banks (3.38 pct) ending lower. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 124 to 39 with another 19 issues unchanged. CPI (29.55 pct), Douros (20 pct) and Medicon (19.85 pct) were top gainers, while Attica Bank (29.81 pct), Tzirakian Profile (29.63 pct) and G.E.Demetriou (22.64 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -4.96%
Personal & Household: -1.60%
Raw Materials: -1.62%
Travel & Leisure: -0.86%
Food & Beverages: -4.49%
Financial Services: -2.94%
The stocks with the highest turnover were Bank of Piraeus, National Bank, Coca-Cola, National Bank (right) and OTE.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 0.59
Public Power Corp (PPC): 7.75
Hellenic Petroleum: 7.46
National Bank: 4.52
Bank of Piraeus: 0.20
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank further to 7.56 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, from 7.74 pct on Monday, with the Greek bond yielding 9.11 pct and the German Bund yielding 1.55 pct. Turnover rose to 23 million euros, all buy orders. Market sentiment was encouraged by the news that Japonica Partners, a US-based investment company, plans to buy Greek state bonds worth 2.9 billion euros, an unprecedented move in the Eurozone state bond market.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 0.48 pct, the nine-month rate was 0.39 pct, the six-month rate was 0.30 pct, the three-month rate was 0.20 pct and the one-month rate was 0.11 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe June contract on the FTSE Large Cap index was trading at a discount of 1.31 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover at 19.361 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 8,777 contracts worth 14.683 million euros, with 40,619 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 9,863 contracts worth 4.678 million euros, with investment interest focusing on OTE's contracts (1,935), followed by Eurobank (1,006), MIG (791), PPC (1,554), OPAP (485), Hellenic Exchanges (535), Mytilineos (570), GEK (386), Intralot (278), Ellaktor (149) and Viohalco (172).
 Foreign Exchange rates - WednesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.328
Pound sterling 0.868
Danish kroner 7.566
Swedish kroner 8.699
Japanese yen 133.25
Swiss franc 1.258
Norwegian kroner 7.711
Canadian dollar 1.371
Australian dollar 1.374
 World Environment Day events planned in AthensThe importance of effective environmental management was underlined by Environment, Energy & Climate Change Minister Evangelos Livieratos in his message marking the UN World Environment Day celebrated on June 5.
He underlined that effective environmental management can be achieved through sustainable development which can be possible only with the participation of citizens.
Special events are planned for Sunday, June 9 and Monday, June 10 in downtown Athens focusing on the environmental education of children.
 Authorities at the seaport of Igoumenitsa seize 15.9 kilos of heroin hidden in camper vanPolice and Coastguard officers at the seaport of Igoumenitsa, northwest Greece, found and seized 15.9 kilos of heroin hidden in a camper van headed to Ancona, Italy, it was announced on Tuesday.
The vehicle's 66-year-old Turkish driver and a 20-year-old Bosnian woman were arrested.
A heroin package was discovered in the vehicle during a routine check in the early morning hours on Tuesday and other 6 packages of the drug were found under a refrigerator with the help of a sniffer dog.
The vehicle, which was rented in Athens, was confiscated.
 Man arrested for millions of euros of state debtsThessaloniki police on Tuesday announced the arrest of a 40-year-old owner of a food company for outstanding debts to the state of roughly 3.5 million euros.
The exact amount owed to the state is 3,497,924.85 euros. The man will be led before a Thessaloniki prosecutor.
 Farms damaged by hail, heavy rain in northern GreeceHail up to hazelnut size and heavy rain caused damage mainly to farms on Tuesday evening in the northern Greece regions of Thessaloniki, Seres and Halkidiki.
In Asprovalta, Thessaloniki and Kerkini, Seres hail damaged fruit trees, horticultural farms and vineyards, while in northern Halkidiki heavy rain flooded streets, shops and arable land.
Local agricultural services said work will start Wednesday morning to record the damage to farms.
 4.4R quake jolts AthensA light earthquake measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale woke up the Athenians at 4.56 a.m on Tuesday. The quake's epicentre was located 24 km east of Athens at the suburb of Pikermi .The quake's epicentral depth was estimated at 10 km.
No damages were reported.
 Rainy on WednesdayRainy weather and westerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday. Winds 2-6 beaufort. Temperatures between 10C and 30C. Cloudy with possible local showers in Athens with westerly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures between 15C and 27C. Local showers in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 15C and 26C.
 The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceAVGHI: Main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras: First comes society then the lenders.
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Magic picture.
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: Chaos over pensions.
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Arrangements for borrowers with income under 25,000 euros.
ELLADA AVRIO: Arrangement 'deceit' for households.
ESTIA: "Restart of businesses.
ETHNOS: New landscape in real estate taxation.
IMERISSIA: Optimistic sign for three banks.
KATHIMERINI: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan adds fuel to the flames.
LOGOS: Waiting for the... troika (EC, ECB, and IMF).
NAFTEMPORIKI: Bureaucracy chips away payments to privates.
RIZOSPASTIS: Popular Alliance the springboard for successful battles and a way out for the people.
TA NEA: Package-arrangement for mortgage loans.
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