|Wednesday, 21 February 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-08-27
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 27 August 2013 Issue No: 4444
 Admin. Reform minister confirms 12,500 civil servants will be on mobility by end-Sept.Greece will keep its timelines and 12,500 civil servants will be placed on mobility by the end of September, Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Monday following a meeting at the government headquarters of Maximos Mansion.
The meeting of the Administration Reforms Council focused on the restructuring of ministries and agencies and on the mobility scheme that will see some civil servants transferred to cover needs elswhere and others placed on a gradual layoff programme.
"We ratified the relevant decisions," Mitsotakis said, "in order for the country to keep its timelines and place on mobility 12,500 civil servants by the end of September." He added that mobility is an obligation Greece has but will also lead to improved use of existing staff and added that in the first phase of the plan already carried out, all civil servants were transferred to services that were short-staffed.
The meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, was also attended by government Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos and several ministers whose ministries' restructuring was under review.
Among issues decided on was the approval of revised organisational charts for ministries that were split (Development and Competitiveness from Infrastructure and Transport & Networks and Culture & Sports from and Education & Religion) and organisational improvements in the ministries of the Environment, Agriculture and Interior.
Updated staffing plans were approved for the ministries of Finance; National Defence; Development & Competitiveness; Infrastructure, Transport & Networks; Environment, Energy & Climate Change; Culture & Sports (except for the General Secretariat of Sports); Labour, Social Insurance & Welfare; Health; Agriculture; and Tourism.
All staffing plans also list the extraneous positions that may be abolished by joint ministerial decisions, as laid out by Article 90 of law 4172/2013.
Also approved at the meeting were the evaluation reports and staffing plans for insurance fund and social security agencies under the Labour Ministry (such as OAED, IKA, OAEE, OGA and ETEA) and the Health Ministry, as well as an action plan for the assessment of other agencies and legal entities under the jurisdiction of any ministry.
 Parties react to Cabinet meeting on civil service staffing; gov't spokesman response to SYRIZAOpposition parties unleashed strong criticism against government plans to reduce staffing in ministries, as reported following the Cabinet meeting held Monday at the government headquarters of Maximos Mansion under Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.
Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) said the Samaras government is "dealing a death blow to the civil sector and to social services" and that "The state and the public sector are not the property of the government and of Greece's lenders to (allow them to) finish them off."
Responding to the charges, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said the SYRIZA is "stuck in the past, bound by the worst unionist of the past who are now its main component group, and wants nothing to change."
Democratic Left (DIMAR) noted that the government "should renegotiate with the troika of lenders, to show the fiscal cost instead of the so-called benefit arising from disorganising public operations."
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said that the layoff of 12,500 civil servants was serving Greece's obligations to the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (two of its lenders), as well as the interests of large business groups, and called on people to join the party and overturn the government's policies.
 Public sector 'not the property of the gov't', main opposition chargesThe government of Antonis Samaras is dealing a death blow to the civil sector and to social services, Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party charged on Monday.
In a statement commenting on the administrative reform government council that met on Monday, the main opposition party said, "The state and the public sector are not the property of the government and of Greece's lenders to (allow them to) finish them off."
The announcement charged that the shutdown and merger of public sector entitites, layoffs and uncertain work conditions were not a reform or rationalisation of the state, but a breakdown of any social state left and of any possibility of economic restructuring and revival.
At a time of profound crisis, it noted, the public sector must become the means to support development, economic restart and weaker social grups, education, health and other welfare strucures. "The fundamental restructure and reorientation of the public sector - which cannot be achieved by layoffs and mobility schemes - plays a central role in SYRIZA's proposed programme for a socially just exit from the crisis, beyond austerity memorandums."
 PM Samaras holds investment talks with IBM, Nestle executivesPrime Minister Antonis Samaras separately met on Monday with representatives of IBM and Nestle Hellas, to discuss business collaboration and expansion.
IMB President and CEO Virginia Rometty and IBM Hellas chief executive Spyros Poulidas discussed the government's intention to promote Greece as a technology and innovation hub in the greater area, developing the necessary technical expertise, attracting investments and using the existing human resources in Greece.
IBM expressed interest in collaboration with small and medium-sized enterprises, providing training and programmes to support them. It is also interested in creating a business analytics centre for investments in Europe, a project that could create about 120 positions for specialised staff.
Rometty explained how IMB works with governments using Big Data, Cloud Computing, Social Business networks and mobile technologies.
Poulidis said the company has a 75-year presence in the Greek market and is involved in projects that include free access to its products for research and study at Greek universities, linking them with institutions abroad and helping them create graduate programmes in Big Data and Business Analytics.
During Samaras' meeting with Nestle manager for Europe Laurent Freixe they discussed the expansion of the company's collaboration with Greek distributors, based on the company's four plants in Greece. The company, Freixe said, had an investment programme that looked to create 10,000 new positions throughout Europe; in Greece, there would be 600 openings of a three-year duration each.
 Finmin holds meetings to examine EAS, ELVO and LARKO restructuring plansAs the Greek government has up to the end of August to submit to the troika of lenders its plans over the future of the country's two defence industries, Greek Defence Systems (EAS) and Greek Weapons Industry (ELVO), as well as the mining company LARKO, a couple of meetings were held on Monday at the Finance ministry under minister Yannis Stournaras to discuss restructuring procedures for the specific companies.
The restructuring plans are a precondition for the disbursement of the September rescue loan tranche, while implementation of the plans should conclude by the end of the year.
Employees with the three companies gathered outside the ministry while the meetings were under way to protest the government plans and the likely layoffs.
EAS employees have not been paid their salaries for the last eight months, while ELVO staff for the last four months. A redundancy plan in ELVO has reduced staff to 350 from 1,200.
In a press release Monday evening, the Finance ministry said that the future of EAS and ELVO was discussed in depth and a decision should be expected by the end of the week, with both the Defence and Finance ministries looking for the best possible solution.
The government's plans for LARKO to be submitted to the troika, were presented to representatives of the company's employees during a meeting with the political heads from the ministries of Finance and Environment.
 Health minister meets with Attica regional governor on health sector restructureHealth Minister Adonis Georgiadis held a meeting with Attica Regional Governor Yiannis Sgouros on Monday, focusing on restructuring in the health sector, the absorption of National Strategic Reference Framework (ESPA) funds, cooperation between the ministry and the regional service, and the regional service's duties regarding health issues.
Georgiadis said that "the Attica region produces work and is a model for the way that our country must function" and briefed Sgouros on the restructuring plan that is being implemented at the Health Ministry.
 Papoulias to meet with Samaras on TuesdayPresident of Republic Karolos Papoulias will meet with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Tuesday at 14:00 at the Presidential Mansion, it was announced on Monday.
 State debt rise due to extreme austerity programme, SYRIZA chargesThe increase of the state debt is caused by the extreme austerity that Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras supports, the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) charged on Monday.
Responding to statements by Stournaras and the Finance Ministry on Sunday attributing the rise of the state debt to bank recapitalisation, the main opposition party charged Stournaras with being "fully aligned with the German creditors" and with "refuting himself by stating explicitly that there is no need for a new 'haircut' of the debt."
Instead, SYRIZA charged, Stournaras is ready to present a new memorandum, "ignoring" the fact that the austrity programme has so far blown up the debt to great heights, destroyed society and deepened recession.
"The excuses of a temporary rise in the debt because of banks' recapitalisation are inadequate, as its rise is mainly caused by the deep recessionary policy of extreme austerity that Stournaras defends right and left. The real aim of the memorandum policy now applied is the full subjugation of the labour sector and the destruction of the social state," the party said.
In conclusion, SYRIZA warned, "The politically delegalised and socially isolated Samaras government does not have a right to sign a new memorandum. The Greek people will stop them."
 DIMAR party says Greece does not need new loansThe Democratic Left (DIMAR) party, in an announcement on Monday responding to press reports of a new "haircut" for the public debt, said that the debt must become sustainable and the country must meet its loan commitments.
It also proposed alleviating the burden of the debt by cutting of part of it, rolling over bonds and reducing interest rates to create preconditions for growth are essential.
However, DIMAR adds that a strong growth programme that will confront the recession and create jobs is required at the same time. "Greece does not need new loans that will burden the state budget, but measures to alleviate burdens and back recovery," the announcement said.
 Eurodeputy delegation briefed by Deputy FM on Greek presidency agendaDeputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas met with a delegation of Eurodeputies from the European Parliament's Committe of Internal Market and Consumer Protection on Monday to brief them on Greece's priorities when it takes over the rotating six-month presidency of the European Council in January 2014.
Kourkoulas expressed his appreciation that the specific Committee was the first one to visit on Greece's presidency. Among other issues, he also referred to the unprecedented efforts of the Greek people in the last few years to help exit the crisis and to the significant improvement of macroeconomic numbers.
Referring to the European Parliament elections in 2014, Kourkoulas noted that the key issue was to restore the European idea in the hearts and minds of European citizens, and stated that the dominance of anti-European forces at the elections would be disgraceful.
The delegation is headed by committee president Malcolm Harbour and will be in Athens until Tuesday. Its schedule includes meetings with more cabinet members and market representatives.
 Deterioration of situation in Syria examined at Foreign MinistryThe deterioration of the situation in Syria was examined at the Foreign Ministry on Monday at a broad meeting of ministry officials chaired by government Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos.
The Foreign Ministry considers completely unacceptable and provocative any action hindering the work of the UN experts who are investigating the real situation with regard to the perpetration of the heinous crime of use of chemical weapons.
 KKE's Papariga tables question on developments in SyriaCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) parliamentary group head Aleka Papariga tabled a question on Monday on developments in Syria and directed it to government Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos.
"KKE denounces the military preparations of the US, Britain, France and their allies against Syria under the pretext of the allegation of use of chemical weapons by the Syrian armed forces," Papariga stressed and remarked that "the dangerous developments in the region are based on imperialist aggression and the intensification of competition for control of natural resources. This is the exact truth that the US, NATO and the EU are attempting to conceal, using pretexts of all kinds that fell apart afterwards, as they did in the wars against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya".
The former KKE party leader also criticised successive Greek governments, pointing out that they are greatly responsible for the situation by allowing use of the base of Souda, on Crete, and other military infrastructures and backing the previous imperialist wars, involving the country and its people in great danger."
 Government Vice President Venizelos to visit Egypt on September 5Government Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos will be making a visit to Cairo on Thursday September 5, 2013, at the invitation of Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy.
 Tsochatzopoulos denies involvement in offshore companies, in courtFormer minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, who is on trial for bribery charges in a submarine programme, told the court on Monday that "I have nothing to do with offshore companies" and denied absolutely all that is being attributed to him in the voluminous file of proceedings regarding the case of "kickbacks" that he allegedly received for the Defence ministry's armaments programmes.
A focal figure in the case, Tsochatzopoulos denied that he received kickbacks for exercising his duties and that he had any involvement with the companies that, according to the indictment, were used to conceal and legalise -through real estate and shares purchases and sales- tens of millions of euros that were transferred on the occasion of weapons purchases.
The former minister stressed in court that neither his wife, Vicky Stamati, nor his daughter Areti Tsochatzopoulou had anything to do whatsoever with all that was being attributed to them.
Tsochatzopoulos termed his wife's remanding in custody, still being held temporarily in Korydallos prison, as "inhuman and extortionate". He said that his wife's remanding in custody was totally unjustified and "therefore interventions took place and you cannot get this out of my mind."
The former minster appealed once again to the judges, calling for the release of Stamati and claiming that the decision for her detention constituted the "height of the fabrication" that was targeted against himself.
 Turkish aircraft intercepted in the AegeanA formation consisting of six Turkish aircraft, an isolated aircraft of the CN-235 type and a helicopter entered the region of the Northern and Southeastern Aegean on Monday, infringing the Air Traffic Rules in the Athens FIR and Greek Air Space, according to an announcement by the National Defence General Staff.
"All the aircraft, two of which were armed, were intercepted and identified in accordance with international rules, according to standard practice," the announcement said.
 EU Maritime Affairs Commissioner holds talks with Shipping ministerEU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki met with Shipping Minister Miltiades Varvitsiotis on Monday with talks focusing on priorities in the maritime affairs sector during the Greek Presidency in the first half of 2014.
The undertaking of initiatives by the Commissioner and the minister for briefing and discussing, with all the relevant agencies of Piraeus and of Shipping, the successful holding of the European Maritime Day in May 2015 that Greece has been chosen to organise.
Lastly, the coordination of the actions of the Commission and the ministry for the more effective control of fishery practices by the Harbour Corps for the implementation of the terms of the Mediterranean Fishery Regulation. Mainly for the immediate and definite end to disastrous practices for marine deposits (dynamite, implements dragged close to the shores, etc).
 Varvitsiotis discusses privatisation plans with port employeesPrivatisation plans for Greece's ports, especially the Piraeus and Thessaloniki ones, have been the focus of a meeting on Monday between Shipping minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis and representatives of the Federation of Greek Port Employees (OMYLE).
"I prefer privatization rather than overburdening the entire society with deficits resulting from borrowed funds. The recipe of wage cuts and overtaxing has failed," the minister said after the meeting.
Varvitsiotis expressed his understanding of the concerns of port employees, stressing that safeguarding jobs was one of his primary concerns.
He added that the privatisation model for ports was preferred as it would help reduce public debt and add to growth efforts.
OMYLE president George Georgakopoulos disapproved of the privatisation plans, stressing the high levels of job insecurity among port employees.
 Merger of children's goods company with technical-commercial co. approvedThe Ministry of Development and Competitiveness approved the merger of Compton House (Hellas) company of children's goods and educational toys with I. Kloukinas-I. Lappas Technical and Commercial SA, on Monday.
Compton Hellas will be absorbed by the latter company.
 Betting agency OPAP to present Jan.-June results on Aug. 29State betting organisation OPAP will announce results for the Jan.-June 2013 period following the closing of the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) session on Thursday, August 29, on both its own and the ASE's web page, at www.opap.gr and www.athex.gr.
The results will also be presented to analysts and institutional investors at a teleconference on Friday, August 30 at 4:00 p.m., OPAP said.
 Dion-Olympus mayor meets with Serbian minister, business delegationDion-Olympus mayor George Papathanasiou met on Monday with a group of Serbian businessmen in the northern town of Katerini to create a network for the promotion of alternate tourism.
The group is headed by Serbia's Deputy Trade and Telecommunications Minister Liliana Stankovic.
The initiative was presented by the Serbian side to assist businesses in both countries and develop alternative tourism, Papathanasiou told the ANA/MPA.
Stankovic mentioned that 70 to 100 Serbian nationals that have arrived in the region recently are taking advantage of health and fitness programmes being offered, while, apart from using the beaches, they have already held walks and treks on Olympus.
Moreover, she said that 150 Serbs are expected to visit the region in the coming period.
 Greek stocks drop 0.61 pct on MondayStock prices on the Athens Stock Exchange dropped on Monday, as investors showed little appetite for risk, sending the basic index just below the 920-point mark. The basic index lost 0.61 pct, ending at 918.82 points, after a session high 929.27 points or up 0.52 pct, and a low of 916.57 points or -0.85 pct. Turnover remained thin, at 16.55 million euros.
The Large Cap index lost 0.77 pct, while the Mid Cap dropped 0.20 pct.
Titan (2.78 pct), EYDAP (1.33 pct), Folli Follie (0.78 pct), Viochalco (0.68 pct), MIG (0.65 pct) and Intralot (0.63 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Motor Oil(-2.48 pct), OLP (-2.35 pct), Hellenic Petroleum (-1.96 pct), PPC (-1.71 pct), Hellenic Exchanges (-1.66 pct), National Bank (-1.64 pct) and OPAP (-1.59 pct), were top losers.
Among individual sectors, profits were recorded by Constructions (1.26 pct) and Commerce (0.80 pct), while Oil (-2.19 pct), Travel (-1.34 pct), Health (-1.20 pct) and Foodstuffs (-1.11 pct) recorded losses.
Broadly, decliners led by advancers 65 to 55, with another 21 issues unchanged.
Marak Electronics (19.30 pct), Spider (18.18 pct), Selonda (14.29 pct), SATO (13.64 pct) and Kathimerini (12.63 pct) were top gainers, while SIDMA (-20.00 pct), Boutaris (-18.33 pct), Varvaresos (-17.50 pct), Nikas (-11.54 pct) and Alpha Trust (-10.00 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -2.19%
Personal & Household: -0.43%
Raw Materials: -0.67%
Travel & Leisure: -1.34%
Food & Beverages: -1.11%
Financial Services: -1.02%
The stocks with the highest turnover were OPAP, National Bank, Piraeus Bank, Alpha Bank and OTE.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 0.496
Public Power Corp (PPC): 7.47
Coca Cola HBC: 20.95
Hellenic Petroleum: 7.51
National Bank of Greece: 3.00
Eurobank Properties : 7.10
Piraeus Bank: 1.03
 ADEX closing reportThe September contract on the FTSE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 0.59 pct on Monday, with turnover at a low 4.192 million euros.
Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 1,382 contracts worth 2.196 million euros, with 47,367 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 7,379 contracts worth 1.996 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank (2,283), followed by Alpha Bank (1,881), Piraeus Bank (778), Eurobank (568), GEK (527), OTE (251), PPC (251), OPAP (143), Hellenic Exchanges (106) and MIG (105).
 Foreign Exchange rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.356
Pound sterling 0.871
Danish kroner 7.571
Swedish kroner 8.859
Japanese yen 133.72
Swiss franc 1.253
Norwegian kroner 8.204
Canadian dollar 1.427
Australian dollar 1.505
 Fire breaks out on Mt. Olympus again, but 'controllable'A wildfire broke out again at an inaccessible part of the northern flank of Mt. Olympus, but firefighters said there was no cause for concern because it was limited in range and there was no wind in the area to spread it.
A water-dropping helicopter was assisting in putting out the fire, which broke out 500 metres away from a similar fire on August 20; the earlier fire had been difficult to contain because of high winds at the time.
The operations director of the Greek Rescue Team, Alexis Liamos, said that the fire was not a rekindling of the old one, it was at a lower altitude, and was probably caused by lightning, as in the earlier case. A team of firefighters was heading there on foot, he added.
The northern Greek mountain is the country's tallest and a popular hiking place; it also features prominently in ancient Greek mythology.
 Wildfire on Kythira islandA wildfire was reported on Monday in a forested area in the region of Pitsinianika on the island of Kythira. The fire broke out in a ravine where winds of a moderate intensity were blowing. According to the Fire Brigade no houses were in danger, while the blaze was being tackled by 14 firemen with backing by seven vehicles and four firefighting aircraft.
 Turkish national involved in weapon-carrying dinghy case gives himself upA 53 year-old Turkish national against whom an arrest warrant had been issued by the Chios island prosecutor appeared voluntarily at the anti-terrorism service in Athens on Monday.
The Turkish national, owner of a grill restaurant in the Athens suburb of Aghios Dimitrios, is involved in the case of the inflatable dinghy found loaded with heavy weaponry, which was was located late July between the islands of Inousses and Chios.
According to the case file, the man is the one who gave the dinghy to a 51 year-old Greek, who has already been arrested, along with another Greek and two Turkish nationals on board. The case began after a routine check. The boat was headed toward Turkey when it was intercepted.
Police have arrested a number of individuals in Athens and Thessaloniki over the case.
 Bakery looks to record-making with giant rusk presented in HaniaA bakery on the island of Crete, hoping to earn a place in the Guinness Book of World Records, baked and presented a giant rusk (dakos) measuring 7.45 metres on Sunday night at the city of Hania, in the western part of the island.
The Fourakis bakery owners said they made the rusk, a staple of local diet, to celebrate their 30th anniversary of operation, to promote the Cretan diet - on which the Mediterranean diet model is based - and to earn a place in the Guinness book of records.
 Father and son arrested after cannabis drying plant is found in church basementA father and son, aged 45 and 19, were arrested on Monday at Topolia on western Crete for turning the basement of a church into a drying space for cannabis plants.
Acting on a tip-off, police acting seached the Aghios Rafail church's basement and found five dry 3-metre cannabis plants, while a raid in the suspects' house revealed one cannabis plant and three packages containing a total of 425 grams of unprocessed cannabis and a non-registered shotgun.
Aghios Rafail is a secondary church in the village and only used once a year, on the saint's name day.
 Fair on TuesdayFair weather and variable winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday. Winds 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures between 18C and 37C. Fair in Athens with variable 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures between 22C and 36C. Slightly cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 21C and 34C.
 The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceDIMOKRATIA: Double price in medicines.
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: The... hunting period begins.
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: Deadline for 2 million illegal buildings.
ESTIA: National depression symptoms.
ETHNOS: Danger zone for 5,000 municipality employees.
NAFTEMPORIKI: Troika to government: Sell immediately state buildings and organisations.
TA NEA: Towards two-speed evictions.
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