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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-06-19

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

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

Wednesday, 19 June 2013 Issue No: 4385

CONTENTS

  • [01] Cosco says Piraeus cargo terminal profits more than triple in 2012
  • [02] 'Significant progress in PM Samaras-troika meeting, FinMin says
  • [03] Troika concerned over 2013-14 fiscal gap
  • [04] Gov't preparing plan for 'transitional' public broadcaster, sources say
  • [05] PASOK party on transitional broadcaster formation
  • [06] Council of State provides further clarifications on ERT temporary ruling
  • [07] Council of State president denies issuing clarifications on ERT decision
  • [08] ERT's legal experts say 'company still valid'
  • [09] PASOK calls for the immediate reopening of ERT
  • [10] DIM.AR calls for immediate application of Council decision on ERT
  • [11] PASOK, DIM.AR spokesmen call for ERT's reopening
  • [12] SYRIZA: Gov't must reopen ERT
  • [13] Main opposition: PM Samaras 'a law-breaker' if he delays ERT reopening
  • [14] KKE's amendment on Legislative Act abolition will not be put to vote
  • [15] KKE criticises government, SYRIZA over ERT issue
  • [16] EU Commission urges Greece to respect CoS ruling for ERT, 'follow legal procedures'
  • [17] President Papoulias on official visit to Serbia
  • [18] Cyprus Republic within its international rights in drilling of Field 12, FM spokesman
  • [19] Deputy Foreign Minister Tsiaras attends Ministerial Conference on National Communities Abroad
  • [20] Parliament passes draft bill on Errikos Dynan hospital
  • [21] PM, Archbishop Ieronymos discuss education of clergy
  • [22] SEV president says early elections 'fatal' for economy
  • [23] KKE party leader addresses rally in Elefsina
  • [24] Appeals court hands down guilty verdict for former MP Mantouvalos
  • [25] Agriculture and Foods Minister Tsaftaris meets visiting Lithuanian counterpart
  • [26] Socar submits improved offer for DESFA
  • [27] Greece raises 1.3 billion euros from T-bill auction
  • [28] New Boeing 747-8 makes its first landing at Athens airport
  • [29] Intralot wins five-year license extension in Tasmania
  • [30] Greek stocks end higher on Tuesday
  • [31] Greek bond market closing report
  • [32] ADEX closing report
  • [33] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday
  • [34] Qatari prime minister cruises Sporades Islands in Greece
  • [35] Demokritos science centre to host science, technology & innovation forum in July
  • [36] Acropolis Museum to mark 4th anniversary with gallery talks, extended opening
  • [37] Criminal Court of Appeals hands down life sentence in Sergianopoulos murder case
  • [38] Police dismantle burglary gang in Aharnes
  • [39] Crete after-shock activity 'no cause for concern,' seismologists say
  • [40] Four arrested for possession of contraband cigarettes
  • [41] Convict escapes from Larissa courthouse
  • [42] Serb wanted by Interpol arrested in Kilkis
  • [43] Police to increase controls over long weekend
  • [44] Foreign Ministry employee to testify on embezzlement charges
  • [45] Fair on Wednesday
  • [46] Athens Newspaper Headlines Politics

  • [01] Cosco says Piraeus cargo terminal profits more than triple in 2012

    Cosco on Tuesday said that pre-tax profits of its affiliate company operating the cargo terminal in Piraeus port more than tripled in 2012 compared with the previous year.

    The company said its revenues jumped 43.1 pct last year to 104.3 million euros, from 72.87 million euros in 2011, gross earnings jumped 101.8 pct to 26.7 million euros, pre-tax earnings soared 203.7 pct to 19.56 million euros and net earnings shot up 203.7 pct to 15.56 million euros in 2012.

    The company said its workforce totaled 254 people at the end of 2012.

    [02] 'Significant progress in PM Samaras-troika meeting, FinMin says

    All the pending matters concerning Greece's fiscal consolidation programme have been on the negotiating table during a meeting between Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and the representatives of Greece's troika of interna-tional lenders on Tuesday evening, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said after the end of the meeting.

    "There has been significant progress," Stourna-ras said. The finance minister said that the troika representatives will leave Athens and will be back next week.

    [03] Troika concerned over 2013-14 fiscal gap

    Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Tuesday met at the Finance Ministry with the heads of the troika of Greece's international lenders, whom he briefed on Monday's developments regarding the future of state broadcaster ERT, including decisions taken by the Council of State and the three political leaders of the coalition government.

    The thorny question in the meeting, according to a high-ranking ministry official, has been the rising fiscal gap in the years 2013 and 2014 as a result of a deficit recorded by the central healthcare system EOPPY and the funding needs by Greek pension funds.

    The same official said that the troika has set up a special commission at the Health Ministry to examine measures to be taken, while a similar commission at the Labour Ministry will look at the funding needs of pension funds.

    Discussion between the two sides also touched upon a delay in the government's privatisation programme following the failure of a tender to sell DEPA, the country's natural gas company.

    The government also pressed with a demand to lower VAT on the tourism and restaurant sectors from 23 pct to 13 pct, for a period of six months. The troika has not yet replied on that issue as it still examines data by the State General Accounting Office.

    [04] Gov't preparing plan for 'transitional' public broadcaster, sources say

    The government was on Tuesday working full-out to prepare a plan for a "transitional" public broadcaster that it says will comply with the Council of State ruling for ERT, which Prime Minister Antonis Samaras intends to present to the two junior partners in the ruling coalition on Wednesday, government sources said.

    The new broadcasting body will be answerable to the finance ministry, which will set up a department for this purpose, and operate with a temporary governing committee. The two junior coalition partners, PASOK and Democratic Left (DIM.AR), will be invited to appoint their own representatives to this committee, as promised by the prime minister during his meeting with the heads of the coalition parties on Monday.

    A meeting was held at the finance ministry on Tuesday morning, with the participation of Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras and government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou, who is in charge of media issues, as well as the transport general secretary Menelaos Daskalakis.

    In order for the transitional public television to operate, staff will be hired on the basis of temporary two-month contracts. It is estimated that roughly 30 employees will work to produce a 'bare-bones' programme to replace the current 'black' screens on ERT frequencies, which will include three news programmes. All current ERT channels will broadcast the same programme during the transitional period.

    The government is also open to the prospect of an immediate appointment of a deputy minister to oversee the transitional body and the establishment of the planned new public broadcasting body NERIT, saying that the person chosen might originate from one of the two junior parties in the coalition government.

    According to government's reading of the CoS decision, the plan overcomes the problem created by the abrupt cessation of broadcasts on public broadcasting frequencies and also "saves" the Act of Legislative Content that shut down ERT, while complying with the CoS President's temporary order for the immediate resumption of broadcasts from all public television frequencies.

    [05] PASOK party on transitional broadcaster formation

    The PASOK party reacted strongly on Tuesday to "scenarios" that, as it says, "are circulating -with supposed sources within the judiciary itself- on what the transitional formation of Public Radiotelevisioon shall be", terming them "unconstitutional, illegal and practically inapplicable".

    A press release stressed that "those trafficking unconstitutional, illegal and practically inapplicable scenarios on supposed 'compliance' with the temporary order of the Council of State's president on the immediate resumption of programmes of Public Radiotelevision are offending Justice and playing naive and dangerous games against political stability".

    [06] Council of State provides further clarifications on ERT temporary ruling

    The Council of State, Greece's supreme administrative court, on Tuesday provided additional clarifications for the interpretation of its Monday night temporary ruling, which partially rescinded the closure of the public broadcaster ERT.

    The court noted that, based on its ruling, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras and government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou must immediately appoint staff that will temporarily keep public television running and that this 'skeleton staff' will be hired on the basis of temporary contracts. It will be up to the two ministers to decide whether those hired are dismissed former ERT employees or not, while the task of this skeleton staff will be to operate the entire public television and radio network on all frequencies.

    The court noted that, based on article 3 of the June 11 joint ministerial 'Act of Legislative Content' that abolished ERT SA, all ERT staff have been dismissed and will not receive a salary from that date.

    The two ministers must also appoint a body for the oversight of the interim public broadcaster, which will also pave the way for the operation of the new public broadcaster provided for in the draft bill unveiled by the government. This will determine the number of employees necessary for the functioning of the new public broadcaster and the number that must be rehired, as well as those that must be dismissed.

    The Court further made it clear that a ruling on a request made by ERT's staff union POSPERT to have the government decision for ERT's closure suspended is not likely to be issued within the week. It did not, however, rule out the prospect of a ruling on the issue within the week if there were "new, important facts that overturn the current map at the broadcasting headquarters in Aghia Paraskevi".

    Regarding the government's failure to comply with the court's order to immediately restore ERT's signal, the court said that no judicial act on the part of the court president was envisaged, unless POSPERT complained in writing. In this case, the court president will examine what action he can take.

    [07] Council of State president denies issuing clarifications on ERT decision

    The President of the Council of State Constantine Menoudakos issued a statement on Tuesday evening in which he denied having issued directions as to the way Monday's CoS temporary injunction regarding the state broadcaster ERT should be implemented.

    He added that comments and clarifications on the CoS temporary injunction were not issued by himself, but possibly by other judicial and legal circles.

    [08] ERT's legal experts say 'company still valid'

    In an opinion on Monday's decision by the Council of State on the fate of state broadcaster ERT, the legal department of ERT said on Tuesday evening that ERT S.A. is still a valid company as there was no express repeal of it.

    ERT's legal department said that there was no doubt that ERT's status as a public broadcaster was maintained in order to continue to operate and provide its services as a public broadcaster during the current transition period - until the establishment of a new broadcasting entity.

    On the same legal grounds, it added, the employee contracts remain in effect so as to carry out the transmission of programme and operation of web sites.

    As the CoS temporary injunction allowed for ERT's continued broadcasting and operation of websites, it was obvious that ERT was still the only public broadcaster in the country, set up by the state in accordance with the constitution, ERT's legal department said.

    [09] PASOK calls for the immediate reopening of ERT

    PASOK, a junior partner in the ruling coalition, on Tuesday called for the immediate restoration of the operation of public broadcaster ERT as a show of respect to the democratic state of law, in compliance with a relevant Council of State (CoS) ruling issued on Monday evening.

    A PASOK press office announcement underlined that "the immediate compliance with the temporary order issued by the CoS president is imperative as a show of respect to the democratic state of law," adding that "no delay can be justified".

    "Those who found the way to interrupt the public broadcaster's operation in just a few hours, have an obligation to do everything necessary to restore its operation," the announcement said.

    The CoS ruled late on Monday that ERT, officially shut down by the government, would have to reopen under its current scheme with an administrator appointed to oversee its needs and to decide on layoffs. It also confirmed that the agency that will eventually replace it cannot be a private entity because it must serve the public interest.

    [10] DIM.AR calls for immediate application of Council decision on ERT

    The temporary order of the Council of State to reopen public broadcaster ERT, issued Monday night, was effective immediately and should have been applied as of Monday night, Democratic Left (DIM.AR) said on Tuesday.

    A junior partner of the ruling coalition, DIM.AR said in an announcement following an executive committee meeting that not applying the temporary decision constitutes an illegal act, as the decision called for restoring all ERT bandwidths.

    The party also called for the rescinding of the ministerial decision that led to the broadcaster's shutdown a week ago Tuesday and said the necessary restructuring and its rationalisation must take place without delay while ERT is still in operation.

    [11] PASOK, DIM.AR spokesmen call for ERT's reopening

    Press representatives of the junior parties of the ruling coalition called on Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to reopen the public broadcaster ERT, in statements they made to a radio station on Tuesday.

    "ERT must reopen. The blank screen must be revoked and replaced by ERT's shows and programmes, as they were," before the shutdown, PASOK secretary of communication Dimitris Karydis told Vima radio station.

    Democratic Left (DIM.AR) spokesman Andreas Papadopoulos told the same radio station that his party "did not celebrate" on Monday night, which saw a meeting among coalition partners on the ERT issue and a decision by the Council of State on the stations reopening under an appointed manager with jurisdiction over layoffs.

    "What we said, and what [DIM.AR leader Fotis] Kouvelis said after the meeting of the three coalition partners is that Samaras has the opportunity to use the specific Council decision and begin ERT's operation again. We believe there must be a normal schedule of operation, not shilly-shallying," Papadopoulos told the station.

    [12] SYRIZA: Gov't must reopen ERT

    The Council of State's decision on Monday puts a brake on the government's plans to continue the shutdown of public broadcaster ERT and forces it to restart the agency, the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party claimed early on Tuesday.

    Responding to the high court's decision, the main opposition said in an announcement that the government had to reopen ERT, which ought to operate as it used to before it was shut down by ministerial decision, and to include all staff at the time.

    No decision on public television can be valid without parliamentary approval, SYRIZA said, adding that "any attempts by the government and its coalition partners to gain time by trying to avoid the political isolation they have come to exposes them even more to the Greek people, who are claiming the right to information, and who have realised that the true issue is memorandum or democracy."

    According to the Council of State's decision, clarified by its president Constantine Menoudakos late Monday night, ERT in its entirety - NET, ET1, ET3 and radio, among others - will function under its current scheme with an appointed administrator, at whose discretion it is to retain or lay off part of the staff or all of it. The court also confirmed that a public radio and television agency cannot be privately owned, as it must serve the public interest.

    [13] Main opposition: PM Samaras 'a law-breaker' if he delays ERT reopening

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is "being compromised and a law-breaker" as long as he does not apply the Council of State decision to restart the operation of public broadcaster ERT, the main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) said on Tuesday, asking for "Samaras' immediate compliance" with the decision.

    The Council ruled late on Monday that ERT, officially shut down by the government a week ago Tuesday, would have to reopen under its current scheme with an administrator appointed to oversee its needs and to decide on layoffs. It also confirmed that the agency that will eventually replace it cannot be a private entity because it must serve the public interest.

    SYRIZA added that both leaders of the minor parties in the ruling coalition must clarify whether they still disagree witht the ministerial decision used by the government to shut down ERT and whether they intend to request that it be submitted to Parliament so that they may vote it down.

    [14] KKE's amendment on Legislative Act abolition will not be put to vote

    An amendment tabled by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on the abolition of the Legislative Act concerning the state broadcaster ERT will not be discussed and nor will it be raised for voting.

    The government, via Health Minister Andreas Lykourentzos, clarified that the specific amendment - included in a health ministry draft bill concerning Errikos Dynan hospital, will not be accepted.

    Panayiotis Kouroumblis, a deputy with the main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), stressed that the amendment must be discussed because it also has SYRIZA's consent. A similar position was taken by Vassilis Kapernaros, an Independent Greeks (ANEL) party.

    KKE Parliamentary representative Thanassis Pafilis accused the government of implementing the Regulation a la carte and insisted that the amendment must be discussed and put to vote, also calling for a roll-call vote.

    After the rejection of the amendment, KKE walked out of parliament, and shortly afterwards, in a discussion with reporters, denounced the stance of the deputies of PASOK and DIMAR parties, who did not speak during the discussion on whether or not the amendment will be discussed.

    In another development, KKE secretary general Dimitris Koutsoumbas, speaking in Elefsina on Tuesday evening, accused the government of refusing with procedural tricks the discussion and putting to vote the amendment tabled by KKE on the abolition of the Legislative Act.

    [15] KKE criticises government, SYRIZA over ERT issue

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) charged the ruling coalition partners on Tuesday with "manoeuvring to lay off thousands in the public sector" and said that their new agreement and impending Cabinet reshuffle was "along the same lines", leading to a new phase in antipopular policies.

    Criticising the Council of State decision on ERT's restructuring, KKE charged that "the fact that the process will be completed while ERT is 'open' does not disprove the fact that thousands of ERT employees will be kicked out on the street and that its assets are being turned over to large capital." It added, "That is the reason after all that the finance ministry, PASOK and Democratic Left (DIM.AR) rushed to adopt" the decision, it said, referring to the two junior parties of the coalition.

    KKE also dug into main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), which it saw as being mainly responsible for "celebrating the Council's decision while criticising the government and main party New Democracy (ND) from the position of defendng 'democracy' and its 'insititutions'."

    "SYRIZA's criticism of the government is reminiscent of the immortalised bipartisan fight between PASOK and ND, while it is now proven that SYRIZA's transformation into a clone of PASOK is in full swing and completion," the party said.

    [16] EU Commission urges Greece to respect CoS ruling for ERT, 'follow legal procedures'

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - M. Aroni)

    The European Commission on Tuesday urged Greek authorities to respect a ruling issued by Greece's supreme administrative court, the Council of State, concerning the fate of Greece's public broadcaster ERT. Commission press spokesman Olivier Bailly also repeated a call for Greek authorities to respect Community legislation on dismissals.

    Repeating that the European Commission is not in a position to comment on the management of public media by member-states, he nevertheless stressed that the Commission expects Greek authorities to respect the CoS ruling and follow legal procedures.

    He noted that alternative solutions for putting Greece's public television back into operation had been put forward and Greek authorities must now decide what to do, in line with the existing legal framework.

    Asked whether the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) troika had "indirectly" asked for ERT's closure, Bailly denied that either the Commission or troika officials had asked, directly or indirectly, for the closure of any public entity and especially not the public broadcaster. He said that the Commission was informed of the Greek government's decision to suspend the operation of ERT on the day it was publicly announced by the Greek government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou.

    Bailly added that Greek authorities have made a commitment to restructure and downsize the Greek public sector to make it more efficient and must soon present alternative solutions concerning dismissals and the time frame when these will occur.

    The Commission spokesman also pointed to specific sections in the memorandum for the bailout programme referring to ERT, noting that the decision to downsize ERT had been announced in 2011 but that the reference talked of reducing its size and not the shutting down of the broadcaster.

    The CoS ruling on Monday night partially suspended a joint ministerial decision shutting down ERT and said the public broadcaster's entire range of services must be immediately resumed, with an administrator appointed to oversee its needs and decide on layoffs. It also confirmed that the agency that will eventually replace it cannot be a private entity because it must serve the public interest. The decision does not cover the ERT orchestras nor the printed TV programme guide 'Radiotileorasi'.

    [17] President Papoulias on official visit to Serbia

    BELGRADE (ANA-MPA / N. Pelpas)

    Bilateral relations, economic issues and the European course of Serbia and the Western Balkans dominated Tuesday's talks between Greek President Karolos Papoulias, currently on an official visit here, and his Serb counterpart Tomislav Nikolic.

    President Papoulias is accompanied by a government delegation.

    In a joint press conference, he underlined that bilateral relations are excellent, noting that Greece strongly supports Serbia's European course and its request to receive a date for the start of EU membership negotiations soon.

    President Papoulias said that he briefed his Serb counterpart on national issues, underlining that a solution of the Cyprus problem will contribute to regional stability and thanking Serbia for its stance on the issue.

    The Greek President said that the name dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) was among the issues discussed and that he repeated Greece's sincere desire for a mutually acceptable solution as soon as possible. He also underlined that "observing the principle of good neighbourly relations is a fundamental precondition for the European future of all candidate states for EU membership".

    On his part, the Serb President expressed his country's appreciation for Greece's stance on the issue of Kosovo and for its support of Serbia's efforts for European integration.

    Referring to the opening date of negotiations for his country's EU membership, Nikolic said "we did what we had to do. Now it is the other side's turn to keep its promises".

    President Papoulias also visited the Serbian Parliament and met with its President Nebojsa Stefanovic.

    At noon, he attended a luncheon given in his honor by Serb Prime Minister Ivica Dacic.

    [18] Cyprus Republic within its international rights in drilling of Field 12, FM spokesman

    The Cyprus Republic can exercise its sovereign rights, which include drilling at Field 12, the Greek Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

    Responding to a press question on a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement related to the opening of the second round of confirmatory drilling at Field 12 off the island and within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Republic of Cyprus, Ministry spokesperson Konstantinos Koutras said, "As a sovereign and independent state, the Republic of Cyprus is moving ahead with the exercising of its sovereign rights within its exclusive economic zone - rights that are fully guaranteed by international law and the Law of the Sea and are recognised by the whole of the international community, with the sole exception of Turkey."

    Unfortunately, Koutras said, the statements relating to the drilling "and the unacceptable references to a two-state solution raise serious doubts as to Turkey's intentions of contributing to a comprehensive and mutually agreed solution of the Cyprus problem based on the UN Security Council resolutions and Cyprus's status as a member state of the European Union."

    He added, "Greece reaffirms its support for the UN Secretary General's Good Offices Mission for the achievement of a bizonal, bicommunal federation solution and stands at the side of the Republic of Cyprus, which has exclusive competency for granting permits for the exploration and exploitation of the natural resources within its EEZ."

    [19] Deputy Foreign Minister Tsiaras attends Ministerial Conference on National Communities Abroad

    Deputy Foreign Minister Kostas Tsiaras attended the Ministerial Conference on National Communities Abroad in Paris, held at the initiative of Minister Delegate for French Nationals Abroad Helene Conway-Mouret.

    Participating ministers representing 34 countries exchanged experiences and views on the issue of nationals abroad and the organization of their communities.

    "Referring to common experience, we sought common policy axes for the national communities abroad," Tsiaras told ANA-MPA, adding that "substantive conclusions have been reached as regards their political participation in their countries of origin, including national elections and mail vote."

    In the margins of the conference, Tsiaras met with his French counterpart Conway-Mouret focusing on the progress made on issues they had discussed in their previous meeting last February in Athens.

    Tsiaras also met with representatives of the Greek community in Paris to discuss the reorganization of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE), as well as educational and cultural issues of concern to Greeks abroad.

    [20] Parliament passes draft bill on Errikos Dynan hospital

    The three political parties of the coalition government - New Democracy, PASOK and Democratic Left (DIMAR), unanimously voted for a Health Ministry draft bill in parliament Tuesday evening, on the handling of emergencies and extraordinary needs of the public benefit foundation (hospital) Errikos Dynan (Henry Dunant).

    Earlier, the main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Independent Greeks (ANEL) party had walked out of the parliament's plenum in protest at the rejection of an amendment tabled by KKE regarding the cancellation of the Legislative Act by which the state broadcaster ERT was shut down last week.

    [21] PM, Archbishop Ieronymos discuss education of clergy

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Tuesday received Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos at the government headquarters in Maximos Mansion for talks focusing mainly on the education of the clergy.

    The Archbishop was accompanied by a delegation of high-ranking clerics, including the Holy Synod's chief secretary.

    Sources said that the two sides agreed to strengthen the legislative framework for upgrading eccesiastical education and setting up further learning programmes for the clergy. They also agreed to have a second meeting to discuss issues of broader interest.

    Before the meeting took place, Education and Religions, Culture and Sports Minister Constantine Arvanitopoulos had visited the Archepiscopate and to prepare the issues to be discussed with the premier.

    [22] SEV president says early elections 'fatal' for economy

    Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) President Dimitris Daskalopoulos said on Tuesday that early elections in the country would be "fatal for the course of the economy".

    "At this moment elections would be fatal for the course of the economy and our relations with our European partners. Therefore, no serious political party would have any interest in pursuing elections and citizens were wise not to want them," Daskalopoulos said in an address to a one-day congress on reforming the licencing system for works and activities.

    What is needed, SEV president added, is a "well prepared and correctly prioritised programme of real reforms".

    [23] KKE party leader addresses rally in Elefsina

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Dimitris Koutsoumbas, addressing a rally in Elefsina on Tuesday evening, stressed that "the government, at the same time that it is supposedly lamenting for the 1.5 million unemployed and is trying to reassure that unemployment is slowing down, at the same time that it is cultivating hopes for the unemployed that they have something better to wait for from the much-desired growth, is proceeding with determination on the implementation of the target of over 2,000 layoffs of civil servants in June".

    "The government of New Democracy, with the responsibility of the parties that are jointly ruling as well, or support it such as Golden Dawn, is determined. And for this reason and with a Legislative Act is giving the possibilities to the ministers to proceed with layoffs throwing thousands of working people into the street. You must not be deceived by the manouevres of the parties of the coalition government, they are not disagreeing with the layoffs but with the way they shall take place," Koutsoumbas noted.

    [24] Appeals court hands down guilty verdict for former MP Mantouvalos

    An Athens Criminal Appeals Court on Tuesday handed down a guilty verdict against lawyer and former New Democracy MP Petros Mantouvalos for his involvement in a high-profile judicial corruption and trial-fixing scandal. Mantouvalos was given a suspended sentence of seven years imprisonment and deprived of his political rights for a period of three years after he was found guilty of being a direct accomplice in money laundering linked to the trial-fixing ring's activities.

    The court did not admit any extenuating circumstances in the case of the Piraeus-based lawyer, who was accused of instructing a junior colleague to deposit the sum of seven million drachmas into the account of a corrupt former examining magistrate Evangelos Kalousis, who was jailed for his part in the scandal. The public prosecutor said the defendant had persuaded his then youthful associate that the deposit was being made at the instructions of an elderly and infirm female lawyer, who has since passed away.

    Mantouvalos denied the charges against him, claiming that he had been away in Romania at the time the events described took place.

    The lawyer and former politician had originally been acquitted for the same charges on February 26, 2010 but the Supreme Court contested the verdict and ordered that the trial be repeated based on allegations implicating Mantouvalos that were made by another defendant in the case, Ioannis Boletsis, after the latter was found guilty in the same case.

    This resulted in Greece's Supreme Court to be tried again before the Criminal Appeals Court for the charge of money-laundering, with a different panel of judges.

    Financial News

    [25] Agriculture and Foods Minister Tsaftaris meets visiting Lithuanian counterpart

    Agriculture and Foods Minister Athanassios Tsaftaris on Tuesday met with his Lithuanian counterpart Vigilijus Jukna, currently on a visit to Athens, focusing on new Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) issues ahead of next week's Agriculture Ministers' Council in Luxembourg.

    "This is a crucial period," Tsaftaris said, underlining that hopefully "the three European Union bodies will reach an agreement and the CAP discussion will be completed" in the last session of the ministers' council under the Irish EU Presidency.

    "If there is no agreement, Lithuania, which takes over the rotating EU Presidency on July 1, will have to fight for an agreement while enjoying broad-based support," Tsaftaris underlined. He noted that "the agricultural sector will continue to be supported, adding that there will be no void, either in a new context or based on the existing one which will have to be extended for one more year in case of no agreement.

    [26] Socar submits improved offer for DESFA

    Socar, the Azeri natural gas company, has submitted a new improved offer, worth 400 million euros, for the purchase of 66 pct in DESFA, sources close to the negotiations told ANA-MPA on Tuesday.

    The new offer is considered satisfactory since the independent company which completed an evaluation of DESFA had set a minimum value of the 66 pct stake at 330 million euros. The same sources said this development was crucial for the purchase of DESFA by Socar, paving the way for the country's participation in the TAP natural gas pipeline project.

    [27] Greece raises 1.3 billion euros from T-bill auction

    Greece on Tuesday successfully auctioned a three-month Treasury bill issue, raising 1.3 billion euros from the market.

    The Public Debt Management Organisation in a statement said that the interest rate of the issue was set at 4.02 pct. Bids submitted totalled 1.715 billion euros, 1.72 times more than the asked sum.

    The auction was made with the market's primary dealers, while settlement date was set for Friday, 21 June. The Organisation will also accept non-competitive bids up to 30 pct of the asked sum by Thursday, 20 June.

    [28] New Boeing 747-8 makes its first landing at Athens airport

    The first of the jumbo-sized Boeing 747-8 aircraft to land at Athens 'Eleftherios Venizelos' Airport, the pride of Lufthansa's fleet, touched down at the Greek capital's international airport on Tuesday.

    Its arrival was marked with a special welcoming ceremony, with the participation of Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis and Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni, as well as the airport's general director and representatives of Lufthansa.

    The Boeing 747-8 is the company's biggest passenger plane and an improved and longer version of the classic 747. It has a cabin capacity of 358 passengers, with eight seats in First Class, 92 seats in Business Class and 258 in Economy Class.

    A Lufthansa executive stressed that Greece is the ideal choice for presenting the aircraft, since it is famous for its unique and genuine hospitality. He said that Lufthansa, which has a presence in Greece for more than half a century, "chose Athens and Eleftherios Venizelos airport for the presentation of this impressive aircraft, since it considers Greece an important European market, declaring its intention to further boost strong Greek-German ties."

    The German carrier is the first, and until now the only, airline to use the new 747-8 on transatlantic routes, with the first planes used on flights from Frankfurt to Washington, New Delhi, Bangalore, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Miami.

    [29] Intralot wins five-year license extension in Tasmania

    Intralot on Tuesday announced it has won a five-year extension of a lottery games license in Tasmania, Australia.

    The company said its lottery games license has been extended until June 30, 2018.

    "Intralot has managed to establish a strong presence in the continent through its licenses in the states of Victoria and Tasmania in Australia, and the five-year extension of our license in Tasmania is part of our strategy to continue investing in Oceania," Antonis Markopoulos, Intralot's managing director for Oceania said.

    [30] Greek stocks end higher on Tuesday

    Greek stocks moved higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, as the market reacted positively to developments which cleared the road from the prospect of early general elections in the country. The composite index of the market rose 1.16 pct to end at 918.03 points, off the day's highs of 935.72 points. Turnover remained a low 54.98 million euros.

    The Large Cap index rose 1.63 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 2.79 pct higher. Korinth Steel (5.47 pct), Coca Cola HBC (5.45 pct), Jumbo (5.10 pct) and Hellenic Exchanges (5.08 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Piraeus Bank (5.41 pct), Hellenic Petroleum (3.66 pct), OPAP (3.57 pct) and Alpha Bank (1.18 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    The Food (5.37 pct), Personal Products (4.76 pct) and Financial Services (4.41 pct) sectors were top gainers, while Travel (2.99 pct), Oils (2.01 pct) and Banks (1.90 pct) were top losers. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 95 to 35 with another 23 issues unchanged. Audiovisual (24.56 pct), Athina (19.67 pct) and Boutaris (19.61 pct) were top gainers, while Axon Holdings (20 pct), Marak (19.64 pct) and Perseus (18.82 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: +2.90%

    Commercial: +4.16%

    Construction: +3.38%

    Oil & Gas: -2.01%

    Personal & Household: +4.76%

    Raw Materials: +3.57%

    Travel & Leisure: -2.99%

    Technology: +2.96%

    Telecoms: +0.95%

    Banks: -1.90%

    Food & Beverages: +5.37%

    Health: +4.28%

    Utilities: +2.22%

    Financial Services: +4.41%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were Frigoglass, OTE, Piraeus Bank and OPAP.

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

    Alpha Bank: 0.420

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 7.400

    HBC Coca Cola: 19.740

    Hellenic Petroleum: 6.840

    National Bank of Greece: 4.030

    Eurobank Properties : 6.660

    OPAP: 6.750

    OTE: 6.360

    Piraeus Bank: 1.400

    Titan: 13.900

    [31] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds eased slightly to 8.37 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, from 8.40 pct on Monday, with the Greek bond yielding 9.94 pct and the German Bund 1.57 pct. Turnover totaled 12 million euros, all sell orders.

    In interbank markets, interest rates moved higher. The 12-month rate rose to 0.50 pct, the nine-month rate rose to 0.41 pct, the six-month rate moved higher to 0.32 pct, the three-month rate was 0.21 pct and the one-month rate was 0.11 pct.

    [32] ADEX closing report

    The June contract on the FTSE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 0.85 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover rising further to 80.788 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 42,843 contracts worth 67.482 million euros, with 46,520 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 31,187 contracts worth 13.306 million euros, with investment interest focusing on OTE's contracts (6,702), followed by MIG (5,593), PPC (3,771), OPAP (741), Hellenic Exchanges (896), Mytilineos (1,915), Hellenic Petroleum (505), Motor Oil (293), Sidenor (493), Metka (359), GEK (5,157), Ellaktor (1,335), Intralot (1,306), Piraeus Port (336) and Terna Energy (1,255).

    [33] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.357

    Pound sterling 0.869

    Danish kroner 7.571

    Swedish kroner 8.805

    Japanese yen 129.46

    Swiss franc 1.25

    Norwegian kroner 7.808

    Canadian dollar 1.384

    Australian dollar 1.434

    General News

    [34] Qatari prime minister cruises Sporades Islands in Greece

    The prime minister of Qatar and his family are currently on a cruise of the Sporades Islands, enjoying the Greek sun and the crystal-clear waters of the Aegean Sea.

    For the past few days, the 156-metre-long luxury yacht of Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani has been anchored off the coast of Skiathos, near the island's popular Koukounaries Beach, after visiting the island of Skopelos.

    "The Qatari prime minister and his family had lunch at Skiathos Palace Hotel and in the evening he dined at a restaurant on the island. He leaves his yacht frequently, always accompanied by his security. He is very friendly with the people and he visits the island's beaches by boat," Skiathos Mayor Nikolaos Plomaritis, who is scheduled to meet with him on Wednesday, told ANA-MPA.

    He also noted that the prime minister of Qatar had visited Skiathos before, two years ago.

    The Sporades Islands are a complex of many small islands along the east coast of Greece, northeast of the island of Evia. Only four of them, namely, Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonnissos and Skyros, are inhabited all year round.

    [35] Demokritos science centre to host science, technology & innovation forum in July

    Strengthening research and innovation to enhance competitiveness and productivity in the country is the focus of the 1st Hellenic Forum for Science, Technology & Innovation hosted by the National Centre for Scientific Research (NCSR) "Demokritos" on July 17-19.

    The forum will give Greek scientists living abroad to play a major role in building bridges with the research community in Greece, enhancing collaboration in innovations in science and technology through international exchanges.

    The programme will include a series of lectures on nanotechnology, energy and the environment, life sciences, ICT and particle and nuclear physics, while speakers and guests will have the opportunity to visit an exhibition of Greek innovation technologies.

    The event will close with presentations by representatives of organisations and companies whose focus is on fostering innovation in Greek and international business.

    [36] Acropolis Museum to mark 4th anniversary with gallery talks, extended opening

    The new Acropolis Museum on Thursday celebrates its 4th anniversary with a series of special lectures on the "untold stories" of the Parthenon frieze segments, cut-price admission of just 3 euros for visitors and extended opening hours from 8:00 a.m. until midnight.

    In a series of gallery talks offered by museum archaeologists, visitors will have the opportunity to learn the stories of the surviving blocks of the frieze in the last 300 years, with the aid of 3D presentations on four special screens installed in the Parthenon Gallery.

    The talks will explain the significance of the various drill holes in the scene depicting a rider with an unruly horse on the western frieze, how stone III of the southern frieze was removed by the crew hired by Lord Elgin in 1803, the stages for carving stone II on the northern frieze and other details concerning the monument.

    Participation in the talks is limited to 20 visitors per session on a first-come first-served basis. For registration details, please refer to the Information Desk at the Museum entrance. Gallery talks in Greek will be held once an hour, on the hour, from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and from 5:00-9:00 p.m.; Gallery talks in English will be held at 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. and one in French will be held at 12:30 p.m.

    At 9:00 p.m., the Athens Municipality Philharmonic Orchestra will present a musical concert in the Museum's entrance courtyard with famous melodies of the world band repertoire. In addition, the Museum will commence the exclusive production of copies of two exhibits, the head of Poseidon and the head of Artemis from the east frieze of the Parthenon, available in the Museum Shops.

    [37] Criminal Court of Appeals hands down life sentence in Sergianopoulos murder case

    A Criminal Court of Appeals on Tuesday sentenced Georgian national David Murthiknelli, 34, to life imprisonment for the gruesome murder of popular Greek actor Nikos Sergianopoulos on June 3, 2008.

    The judges found (6-1) that he was guilty of intentional manslaughter not committed under stress and rejected his defence attorney's arguments, who had suggested that his client had no prior criminal record and that the victim's behaviour was inappropriate leading to the murder.

    The court also sentenced him to 10 months in prison for robbery.

    The court accepted the arguments of the prosecution, who demanded a life sentence for the defendant, describing the 20-year sentence handed down by a first instance court as a mistake. The prosecution had described the defendant as a

    "dangerous personality that has committed a heinous crime" with the "intention to kill the victim the way he did".

    The defendant had confessed to killing Sergianopoulos in the latter's apartment by stabbing him 21 times when the victim made sexual advances. Addressing the court, he expressed repentance and repeated that he had no intention to kill Sergianopoulos, insisting that the victim had threatened him with a knife to force him have oral sex.

    [38] Police dismantle burglary gang in Aharnes

    Police have arrested members of a gang believed to have carried out 54 burglaries and thefts in factories, businesses and companies in the Attica region of Aharnes since the beginning of the year and are seeking two more accomplices. The total value of the stolen goods amounts to 400,000 euros.

    Police found in their possession and confiscated burglary tools and electric and electronic appliances as well as many car and motorcycle spare parts. Investigations are taking place to ascertain their possible participation in other similar offences.

    [39] Crete after-shock activity 'no cause for concern,' seismologists say

    Several dozens of aftershocks that have jolted Crete since Saturday's 5.9-Richter earthquake are not a cause for concern, seismologists assured the public on Tuesday.

    "We are not worried by the phenomenon," said the head of the Athens Observatory Geodynamic Institute Vassilis Karastathis, in statements to the ANA-MPA.

    He pointed out that the epicentre of the quake was located in a particularly seismogenic region where tectonic plates converged and had all the normal features typical of such an earthquake.

    The first strong earthquake on Saturday was followed by a second powerful jolt measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale in the early hours of Monday morning and a flurry of intense seismic activity throughout the following day, including dozens of smaller aftershocks measuring between 2.9 and 4.0 on the Richter scale recorded and at least 10 measuring more than 4.0 on the Richter scale.

    The epicentre of the quakes was located roughly 100 km south of Tympaki and at a depth of 10 km below the seabed.

    Experts noted that the intensity of aftershocks showed was gradually decreasing, indicating a normal post-seismic pattern.

    [40] Four arrested for possession of contraband cigarettes

    Police have arrested four people from Pakistan in the Attica region of Nikea for possession and trafficking of contraband cigarettes.

    A search of two apartments in Nikea where the arrested persons lived revealed 10,790 packets of cigarettes that lacked consumption tax markings, and which were confiscated. Also confiscated were the amount of 2,493 euros, mobile phones, a machine checking the validity of banknotes and a large quantity of documents and photocopies.

    [41] Convict escapes from Larissa courthouse

    A young Albanian national, serving a 17-year prison sentence for robberies he had committed as a member of a gang, managed to escape at noon on Tuesday from the courthouse in the city of Larissa, central Greece.

    Under circumstances not yet clarified, the convict escaped the attention of the police officers guarding him and fled.

    A police manhunt is underway for his arrest.

    [42] Serb wanted by Interpol arrested in Kilkis

    A 40-year-old Serb man wanted by Interpol, based on a warrant for his arrest issued by authorities in Montenegro, was arrested by Greek police in the northern Greece on Tuesday.

    The 40-year-old is wanted in connection with a series of robberies and was arrested at Eidomeni, Kilkis.

    [43] Police to increase controls over long weekend

    The Greek Police will intensify its checks on highways and post additional patrols during the long weekend (June 22-24) that includes Monday of the Holy Spirit (Whit Monday), celebrated as a public sector and academic holiday in Greece.

    Traffic control will also increase at major travel points, such as airports, ports, train and bus stations, and at toll booths, the police said on Tuesday.

    [44] Foreign Ministry employee to testify on embezzlement charges

    An administrative employee at the Foreign Ministry arrested on Monday will be testifying before a prosecutor on Tuesday on embezzlement charges.

    A Ministry announcement said that after the discovery that a significant amount of money was missing from the Processing and Diplomatic Mail department, Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos ordered a review that led to the arrest of the staff member.

    Weather forecast

    [45] Fair on Wednesday

    Fair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday. Winds 2-7 beaufort. Temperatures between 18C and 35C. Fair in Athens with northerly 4-7 beaufort winds and temperatures between 20C and 35C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 21C and 35C.

    [46] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance focused almost exclusively on the ERT issue:

    AVGHI: Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader "Alexis Tsipras to domestic troika: You are D-O-N-E, agreement or no agreement"

    DIMOKRATIA: "New public broadcaster ERT opening"

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: "Blank screen a slap in the face"

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "ERT scores white, (Prime Minister Antonis) Samaras scores grey"

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left (DIM.AR) leader

    Fotis Kouvelis playing hide-and-seek over ERT"

    ESTIA: "Who is fomenting the government crisis"

    ETHNOS: "Convergence after the political storm"

    IMERISSIA: "Heading towards agreement-deliverance"

    KATHIMERINI: "Government on the edge"

    LOGOS: "Council of State throws life preserver to tripartite government"

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Coalition partners taking steps to agreement"

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Populace's alignment with the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) the only solution"

    TA NEA: "Settlement by judicial assistance...but each of the three gives his own interprestation to the Council of State ruling"

    VRADYNI: "They found common ground: Cabinet restructuring"

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