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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-09-25

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

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

Wednesday, 25 September 2013 Issue No: 4469

CONTENTS

  • [01] Troika satisfied with Greek reform efforts, administrative reform ministry sources report
  • [02] Greece, troika reach agreement on 4.0 pct GDP decline this year
  • [03] Brief Obama-Venizelos meeting at reception for delegations to UN
  • [04] Venizelos: 'No reference to four-party talks' in meeting with Davutoglu
  • [05] FM Venizelos meets with UAE counterpart in NYC
  • [06] Public order minister briefs President Papoulias on actions to curb Golden Dawn
  • [07] Dendias gives additional evidence on Golden Dawn to Supreme Court prosecutor
  • [08] Parliament president: Violence must be isolated
  • [09] Mihelakis: Citizens now mature enough to see Golden Dawn's real face
  • [10] Tsipras asks for Parliament to convene on neo-Nazi violence
  • [11] DIMAR criticises govt for refusing to convene meeting on Golden Dawn issue
  • [12] Prosecutors intensify scrutiny of Golden Dawn case files
  • [13] Raid on Nikaia police station by internal affairs officers
  • [14] Police officer arrested in Agrinio, after search of Golden Dawn offices (ADDS)
  • [15] Four Golden Dawn members convicted for weapons law violations
  • [16] Justice minister promises to bring anti-racism bill 'very soon'
  • [17] 'Declaration of Rome' against racism ratified by 17 EU member-states
  • [18] New Albanian PM Rama: 'Greece a strategic partner of Albania'
  • [19] KKE calls on FM Venizelos to inform Greek people of his talks with Turkish FM
  • [20] Chief of Greek General Staff in Armenia on Wed.
  • [21] Greece could need additional help, Regling says
  • [22] Gov't to waive environmental-impact studies for roads, helipads, other infrastructure
  • [23] SYRIZA to demand roll-call vote on shipping stock 'declaration exemption'
  • [24] SYRIZA open meeting on Piraeus' future on Wed.
  • [25] Healthcare spending down around 50 pct in 2009-2012
  • [26] Hellenic Exchanges to absorb ASE
  • [27] BlackRock raises equity stake in OPAP to 5.1688 pct
  • [28] Greek stocks jump 2.60 pct on Tuesday
  • [29] Greek bond market closing report
  • [30] ADEX closing report
  • [31] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday
  • [32] Greece to celebrate World Maritime Day on Sept. 27
  • [33] ADEDY rally shuts down Syntagma Square
  • [34] Greek court staff join ADEDY strike Tue., Wed.
  • [35] Press unions hold work stoppage 10 am to 1 pm Tuesday
  • [36] Weekend of free activities in museums, sites Sept. 28-29
  • [37] Eight-member drug trafficking ring dismantled
  • [38] Fair on Wednesday
  • [39] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Troika satisfied with Greek reform efforts, administrative reform ministry sources report

    Greece's efforts to reform its public sector and shed excess staff has extracted praise from the heads of the EU-IMF troika mission representing the country's creditors, administrative reform ministry officials reported after a meeting with the troika at the ministry held on Tuesday. They said troika officials expressed clear satisfaction with the progress made in implementing the public-sector mobility scheme and all actions agreed during their previous visit.

    Aides of Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that there had been recognition of Greece's efforts in this area and the inclusion of 12,500 employees in the mobility scheme by representatives of all three organisations in the troika - the IMF, European Central Bank and the European Commission. Indicative of the good climate in the meeting, they noted, was the fact that it had been cut short to just one hour and 20 minutes instead of the two hours originally scheduled.

    The minister's aides noted that the ministry's heightened credibility will have a positive impact on the full range of the government's negotiations with the troika, given that public-sector reform had always been a sticking point between the two sides.

    Among issues raised by the ministry during the talks were the essence of structural reforms as opposed to the strictly quantitative targets, which aides said was positively received by troika members, and the transfer of employees to public-sector services that are short-staffed.

    The troika's reply, possibly to be given during the next meeting on Friday, is pending on the ministry's request for an extension to a deadline for the second wave of 12,500 employees to enter the mobility scheme and the inclusion of some 6,000 people currently employed in the public sector on the basis of temporary court orders count toward the targeted lay-offs. The cases of these 6,000 individuals are expected to be finalised by the courts within the next few months following new legislation speeding up the relevant judicial processes.

    [02] Greece, troika reach agreement on 4.0 pct GDP decline this year

    The Greek Finance ministry and the troika is said to have reached an agreement on an estimate for an economic recession of 4.0 pct this year, Finance ministry officials said on Tuesdsay.

    Speaking to ANA-MPA, the officials noted that Greek authorities began negotiations with the troika on the assumption that the Greek GDP will shrink by 3.8 pct this year (down from an initial estimate for a recession of 4.2 pct) and explained the deviation to 4.0 pct as a safety margin in order to achieve the new target. They added that lower recession meant lightening of the fiscal deficit. The officials said that negotiations with the troika have not yet focused on next year, but the Greek side hopes for an estimate for an economic growth of 0.6 pct in 2014.

    [03] Brief Obama-Venizelos meeting at reception for delegations to UN

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/ P. Panagiotou)

    United States President Barack Obama had a brief meeting and conversation with government Vice-President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos in New York. Their meeting took place at a reception given by the U.S. president in honour of the delegations attending the 68th United Nations General Assembly on Monday.

    According to information obtained by ANA-MPA, Obama referred to his meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in August and repeated in talks with Venizelos that there will be a follow-up on all issues discussed in the White House at that time.

    On Tuesday, Venizelos represented Greece at the opening of the UN General Assembly meeting and attended speeches given by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Obama.

    He is continuing a series of meetings scheduled on the sidelines of the UN meeting, including meetings held earlier on Tuesday with the prime ministers of Italy, Albania and Malta.

    [04] Venizelos: 'No reference to four-party talks' in meeting with Davutoglu

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/ P. Panagiotou)

    Government Vice-President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Tuesday denied there had been any reference to a "four-party conference" on the Cyprus issue or any other Greek involvement during his meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu the previous day.

    Replying to reporters' questions, Venizelos stressed that they only discussed the Cyprus president's request that the Greek government agree to a meeting with the Turkish-Cypriot community's negotiator.

    "The President of the Cyprus Republic Nicos Anastasiades asked the Greek government to accept a meeting - at a level to be determined - with the negotiator of the Turkish-Cypriot community, in order to facilitate a meeting of the Greek-Cypriot community's negotiator with the Turkish government. This is what we agreed with Mr. Davutoglu. There was absolutely no reference to a 'four-part' conference or any other involvement by Greece," he underlined.

    Venizelos noted that the two communities on the island are recognised under the existing Cypriot Constitution of 1960 and the appointment of negotiators was carried out many times in the past.

    "Preserving, in any case, the international legal identity of the Cyprus Republic, which is represented by its president and acts as a sovereign member-state of the United Nations and the European Union, is our fundamental concern. Greece, as I had an opportunity to say to the UN Secretary General, supports the initiatives of President Anastasiades aiming at a just, functional and viable solution within the framework of the relevant decisions of the UN Security Council and compatible with the Community acquis," he added.

    [05] FM Venizelos meets with UAE counterpart in NYC

    Government Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos met with United Arab Emirates (UAE) Foreign Minister, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on Monday in New York City, on the sidelines of the 68th UN General Assembly meeting.

    They exchanged views on international and regional issues and examined ways of extending political and bilateral cooperation between Greece and the UAE. They also expressed interest in pursuing agreements related to health, roadworks and maritime transportation that could be signed during the second joint

    Greek-UAE interministerial committee that is convening by the end of the year at Abu Dhabi.

    Venizelos said that he pointed out the investment opportunities in Greece for Emirates companies and reiterated Greece's strong support in the abolishing of the Schengen visa requirements for Emirates nationals.

    [06] Public order minister briefs President Papoulias on actions to curb Golden Dawn

    Public Order and Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Dendias was received by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday, briefing him on the actions taken by the government to curb illegal activity by the far-right Golden Dawn. According to Dendias, his orders from Prime Minister Antonis Samaras are that "assault battalions and neo-Nazi organisations in the country cannot be tolerated".

    Receiving the minister, Papoulias said that he was closely following the highly important actions and initiatives being taken by the government.

    In statements after the meeting, Dendias said that he told the president about the report that he sent to the Supreme Court prosecutor concerning criminal cases involving the far-right party.

    He also stressed that "the overwhelming - and not just great - majority of the men and women of the Greek Police are proud people that do anything to protect the life, property and safety of Greek citizens, under extremely difficult conditions and with very low wages, in a climate that prevents them from performing to their utmost ability."

    The minister pointed out that the police had mourned 86 deaths among their ranks since 1984 and had lost more members than any other professional group to protect the life and security of Greeks.

    During their meeting, Papoulias also noted the strongly favourable impression made on him by the female officer that arrested a Golden Dawn supporter accused of stabbing the rapper Pavlos Fyssas in Keratsini and Dendias said that he intended to call her the following week to congratulate her.

    Replying to questions concerning the resignations and transfers of senior officers within the police force on Monday, Dendias pointed to a Greek Police announcement on the issue and stressed that the changes "do not constitute an admission or suggestion that they have links to Golden Dawn".

    [07] Dendias gives additional evidence on Golden Dawn to Supreme Court prosecutor

    Public Order and Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Dendias on Tuesday sent an additional report on attacks by extreme-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) members to Supreme Court prosecutor Efterpi Koutzamani, who is handling the case file review for the party's possible penal liabilities.

    Dendias' report includes a cover letter by Security Police related to an attack on the offices of the Perama branch of the Communist Party of Athens (KKE) on September 12 and a list by date of attacks by members or supporters of Golden Dawn, presented to the minister in person by main opposition SYRIZA State Deputy Manolis Glezos.

    [08] Parliament president: Violence must be isolated

    "Parliament will see to that there will be no diminution of democracy, ofn civil rights, freedom of speech and the efforts Greece is exerting right now," Parliament president Evangelos Meimarakis said on Tuesday to President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, who had invited him to discuss extreme right Golden Dawn's antidemocratic practices and to find ways to isolate it.

    Meimarakis said that a solution must be found that will totally isolate the violence and extreme opinions, that often find ground to flourish in these extraordinary conditions we are experiencing as a country.

    He expressed his confidence in Greek people's democratic morale and underlined that it is necessary to re-explain the obvious qualities of democracy, adding that the Greek Parliament will respond positively to the social alliance against extremes..

    On his part, Papoulias expressed his satisfaction because, as he said to Meimarakis, "I knew that from you I would get a sincere and real picture of what is happening in Parliament. Thank you for accepting my invitation". The president also said Parliament "used to be calmer than what it is today. Not that it's not carrying out the work it must do now, but it does so under more difficult circumstances, and you are facing problems. I am watching you and I am pleased that you have intervened calmly many times to allow the Parliament's legislative work to proceed" Papoulias said.

    Moreover, it was announced that President's meeting with Justice Minister Haralambos Athanassiou on Wednesday at 2:00 pm has been rescheduled for the same time Friday.

    [09] Mihelakis: Citizens now mature enough to see Golden Dawn's real face

    Interior Minister Yiannis Mihelakis expressed his belief that now the citizens have the maturity to see the real face of extreme-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi), speaking on Tuesday to private TV Mega.

    He confirmed that the municipality police officers were included in the mobility scheme as of September 23.

    Referring to the number of employees that will leave from the municipalities until the end of 2013, either by transfers or layoffs, he noted, "The evaluation of the organisational structures and of municipalities' staff must be completed and then we will be able to know the number of employees who will leave".

    [10] Tsipras asks for Parliament to convene on neo-Nazi violence

    Main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras requested on Tuesday that the Parliament plenum convenes immediately to discuss the upsurge of the neo-Nazi violence and the steps the body must take to deal with it.

    Tsipras sent the request in writing to Parliament president Evangelos Meimarakis.

    [11] DIMAR criticises govt for refusing to convene meeting on Golden Dawn issue

    Democratic Left (DIMAR) expressed the opinion that New Democracy's (ND) refusal to convene a political leaders' meeting chaired by the president of the republic to discuss the latest violent incident a step "below circumstances that weakens the sense of democracy".

    In Tuesday's meeting, the party's executive committee discussed the anti-democratic acts of extreme-right party Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi), saying that "our consistent stance calls for the establishment of a united front among the democratic parties. No political difference or opposition should hamper unity before 'total evil'", the party said.

    The party said it will re-introduce to Parliament the joint DIMAR-PASOK antiracism draft law within the next few days.

    [12] Prosecutors intensify scrutiny of Golden Dawn case files

    Politicians and party representatives have been summoned to give depositions before the Supreme Court deputy prosecutor Charalambos Vourliotis, who is handling the files of 32 pending court cases that involve extreme-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) party members.

    He also requested a copy of the case file on an incident involving a fight in the Perama section of Piraeus between Golden Dawn members and PAME, the labour union affiliated with the Communist Party of Greece.

    On Tuesday morning, Vourliotis heard journalists who had interviewed former members of Golden Dawn or published features about the party.

    Supreme Court prosecutor Efterpi Koutzamani, responsible for overseeing all Golden Dawn case files, has ordered all magistrate courts nationally to hand over all pending cases that involve Golden Dawn members.

    The prosecutors are comparing case files to see whether specific individuals are appearing as perpetrators in multiple events in Greece.

    On Tuesday, Public Order and Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Dendias sent an additional report on attacks by Golden Dawn members to prosecutor Koutzamani. Dendias had sent her a list of incidents to review for penal offences last week, following the stabbing death of a young man by a self-professed follower of Golden Dawn in the Piraeus district.

    Dendias' report included a cover letter by Security Police related to an attack on the offices of the Perama branch of the Communist Party of Athens (KKE) on September 12 and a list by date of attacks by members or supporters of Golden Dawn, presented to the minister in person by main opposition SYRIZA State Deputy Manolis Glezos.

    [13] Raid on Nikaia police station by internal affairs officers

    Officers of the police internal affairs department on Tuesday carried out a raid on the Nikaia police station, acting on reports that officers at that station were extorting money from foreign nationals. According to an official complaint, police in the Nikaia station were allowing foreign nationals to sell contraband cigarettes in exchange for a percentage of their profits.

    Similar accusations were made to the media on Monday by the head of the Pakistani community and were followed by an official complaint filed with the police, which was forwarded to the internal affairs department and prompted an internal affairs investigation. Investigating officers are now in the process of taking the testimony of Nikaia police officers.

    The investigation will also examine whether the police officers accused were acting in concert with members of the far-right Golden Dawn party, as part of a broader internal affairs investigation into links between Golden Dawn and the police force and possible collusion in criminal activity, ordered by Public Order and Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Dendias on Monday.

    Meanwhile, in response to questions tabled by main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) MPs, the government confirmed that the Hellenic Coast Guard had also conducted an internal inquiry into possible links between coast guard officers and Golden Dawn earlier in the year. The investigation had been prompted by complaints that Golden Dawn posters put up at the Piraeus Technological Educational Institute (TEI) had been printed on the back of unclassified coast guard documents, which only someone serving within the coast guard could have access to.

    In an announcement issued late on Monday, meanwhile, the police force stressed that the transfers of senior officers removed from their posts earlier that day - including two that resigned - were not the result of any questionable action, links or behaviour on their part and "do not lend themselves to the creation of impressions, speculation and arbitrary conclusions".

    According to the announcement their positions would be filled by internal transfers within the police force, without promotion, until the regular promotions in March.

    [14] Police officer arrested in Agrinio, after search of Golden Dawn offices (ADDS)

    A police officer was arrested on Monday afternoon in Agrinio, western Greece, after a police investigation in the local Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) opposition party offices.

    During the search, police found 30 shields, two motorcycle helmets, 15 torches, 11 poles with flags, three wooden rods, five bludgeons and an ax.

    They also found a police hat, a police helmet with shin guards and one magazine with 17 game cartridges.

    According to police, the magazine and cartridges belonged to the policeman arrested.

    The arrestee, 45, was a bodyguard of Golden Dawn MP Ilias Barmbarousis, but had been suspended from the police force since September 2012 after he was caught participating in violent incidents provoked by the Golden Dawn in a Messolongi street market.

    He will appear before a prosecutor on Wednesday on charges of possession of ammunition.

    [15] Four Golden Dawn members convicted for weapons law violations

    A Thessaloniki police court on Tuesday handed down suspended sentences of six to 10 months in prison and fines of 300 euros to four of the five Golden Dawn members arrested last Friday on charges of illegal weapons possession, illegally bearing arms and violations on laws concerning firecrackers. The jail sentences are suspended for three years and all four were released after they filed for appeal.

    The four men - aged 39, 25, 22 and 20 - were each found guilty and sentenced, while the fifth, aged 17, was referred to a juvenile court to stand trial.

    All five had been arrested in the centre of Thessaloniki last Friday carrying clubs, knives, pepper spray and a firecracker.

    [16] Justice minister promises to bring anti-racism bill 'very soon'

    An anti-racism bill will be among the very next draft bills that the justice ministry will table in Parliament, Justice Minister Haralambos Athanassiou promised on Tuesday. Speaking in Parliament, the minister admitted replied to criticism from main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) over the failure to pass anti-racism legislation by admitting that there had been a delay on this issue.

    The issue arose during a discussion in the relevant Parliamentary committee of a draft bill for electronic monitoring of convicts and remand prisoners using 'ankle bracelets' in a bid to relieve prison overcrowding and problems that have led to repeated convictions for the country in European courts for violating human rights. The maximum capacity allowed under European regulations in Greek prisons is 9,886 inmates, while the total prison population in the country is now at 13,139, of which 3,129 are jailed on remand.

    [17] 'Declaration of Rome' against racism ratified by 17 EU member-states

    Representatives of the 17 EU member-states that participated in the Rome conference on signed the 'Declaration of Rome' against racism and xenophobia, in addition to condemning racist attacks targeting Italian Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge. The pact was signed on Monday with Interior Minister Yiannis Mihelakis signing on behalf of Greece.

    It refers to the European humanist values that must be protected and stressed the need to "turn into reality all the promises for democracy and all the values of European humanism. It is important for us to keep in mind the massacres caused by racism or xenophobia that occurred in history and to keep this memory alive."

    It added that "now more than ever we must preserve in full the possibility to express our abhorrence, to condemn and to react before racism and xenophobia".

    Reference is also made to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and stresses that "despite the real progress that occurred in the texts and the development of society, many citizens are still victims of various forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance that is linked to these phenomena".

    The declaration further says that today one out of four people from a minority group has been faced with a racist crime and that 74 percent of all attacks and threats are not reported to the police.

    Also condemned are "political programmes and organisations that are based on racism, xenphobia and theories of racial superiority, as well as legislations and practices that are based on these motives".

    Lastly, is supports continuation of a discussion started by the Irish presidency (17-18 January 2013) on the EU's actions in the field of combatting crimes of hatred, racism, anti-semitism, xenophobia and homophobia and the higher level of commitment that must be shown to this cause by those in positions of responsibility.

    [18] New Albanian PM Rama: 'Greece a strategic partner of Albania'

    TIRANA (ANA-MPA/I. Patsos)

    Greece is "a strategic partner of Albania" that can promote the country's process of integration into the European Union, newly-installed Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama told ANA-MPA on Tuesday, a few days after his investiture.

    "The relations between the two countries will be the mark of close cooperation, to the benefit of both", Rama said, and asserted that Albania's policy will be based on the principle of "zero problems with our neighbours".

    Rama called the construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline - to carry natural gas from Azerbaijan through Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea to Italy - "a good opportunity, not just for Albania, but for all neighbouring countries".

    Responding to the fact that it is the first time since the fall of the communist regime in Albania that the Greek ethnic minority in the country is not represented by a minister in the cabinet, the new prime minister asserted that the Unity for Human Rights Party, representing the minority, "remains a strategic partner of the Socialists", referring to his party. He also expressed the certainty that the Unity party's leader, Vangelis Dules, will contribute "with his maturity and experience" to the good management of the Parliament's work through his position as that body's vice president.

    [19] KKE calls on FM Venizelos to inform Greek people of his talks with Turkish FM

    Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos "is obliged to inform the Greek people and the parties of the content of his talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu" on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said on Tuesday.

    The KKE also called on Venizelos to "express his stance on media reports saying that a new process of negotiations will begin on the Cyprus issue, with direct involvement by Greece and Turkey through direct contacts of Athens with the Turkish-Cypriot community representative, and of Ankara with the Greek-Cypriot representative".

    The party said it "follows these developments with grave concerns, at a time when there are developments at the expense of the Cypriot people and generally the peoples of the Eastern Mediterranean".

    In statements to reporters after his New York meeting Monday with Davutoglu, the Greek foreign minister said:

    "We can shape a new momentum in the Cyprus issue, on the basis of proposals tabled by Cyprus President (Nikos) Anastasiades and because the Cyprus government has asked us to meet with the Turkish Cypriot negotiator, we are ready to do so, of course as long as the Turkish government accepts to talk with the Greek Cypriot negotiator. This is very important, it is a new procedural element that contributes to the creation of a new momentum in the Cyprus issue."

    [20] Chief of Greek General Staff in Armenia on Wed.

    National Defence Chief of General Staff Michail Kostarakos will pay an official visit to the Democracy of Armenia on Wednesday, following an invitation by his Armenian counterpart, General Yuri Khatchaturov.

    Financial News

    [21] Greece could need additional help, Regling says

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M.Spinthourakis)

    The Greek economy is stabilizing, but the positive results of this stabilization will be felt by the large part of the Greek population at a later stage, Klaus Regling, head of the European Stabiilty Mechanism said on Tuesday.

    Addressing a hearing at the Economic Affairs Commission of the European Parliament, Regling noted the progress made by the Greek economy, although he stressed it was likely that Greece could need additional help after the end of the existing programe. He noted that Greece's exit from the crisis was a task more difficult than the ones in Ireland and Portugal, but he stressed it was extremely positive the fact that international organizations acknowledged the progress of the Greek economy.

    Regling also acknowledged that three years ago, during the early stages of Eurozone's support to the three countries currently implementing a financial restructuring programe, borrowing terms were punishing and prohibitive. He said that the ESM was currently lending money to the thee Eurozone states at the same interest rates which the Mechanism was borrowing for itself, plus operating expenses. Low interest rates and extending the maturity of bonds -which in the case of Greece reached 30 years- are the two basic factors that can keep Greek state debt sustainable, Regling said, while he compared Greece with Japan, a country with very high level of public debt.

    Regling said that liquidity in the Greek market will begin to improve following completion of a banks' recapitalization plan and a government effort to repay its outstanding debt to the private sector.

    [22] Gov't to waive environmental-impact studies for roads, helipads, other infrastructure

    A series of infrastructure projects will be exempted from environmental-impact studies and automatically receive the relevant environment ministry licence by just filling in an application, based on a joint ministerial decree signed on Tuesday by Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Yiannis Maniatis and Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis.

    The new rules concern infrastructure considered to have only local and insignificant impact on the environment and which are subject to the requirements, terms and restrictions for its protection. According to an environment ministry announcement, the measure seeks to speed up the time and restrict the cost of obtaining a licence for infrastructure projects, most of which are public works.

    The type of projects involved include rural, forest, secondary and tertiary roads, all types of collector roads except those in Natura 2000 areas, helipads that don't include maintenance and supply facilities, flying clubs that have landing/take-off strips, intercity bus stations serving 50,000 to 150,000 passengers per year, truck parking lots ranging from one to five hectares and car terminals of 800-10,000 square metres.

    [23] SYRIZA to demand roll-call vote on shipping stock 'declaration exemption'

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) will demand a roll-call vote in Parliament on a controversial amendment that will exempt those submitting origin of wealth statements from declaring shipping stock, SYRIZA Parliamentary spokesman Dimitris Papadimoulis announced on Tuesday.

    In statements to journalists covering Parliament, one day before the draft bill containing the specific amendment is due to go before the Parliament plenum, Papadimoulis expressed SYRIZA's concern that Justice Minister Haralambos Athanassiou has not withdrawn the relevant amendment, which was criticised by MPs of all parties during a discussion at Parliament's Production and Trade Committee.

    Papadimoulis also expressed hope that the rest of the parties will maintain the opposition expressed during the debate at the Committee on Monday when the vote is held.

    Unless the justice minister withdraws the measure, which was included as an article in an amendment that deals with other unrelated issues, the roll-call vote on the measure will be held on Thursday.

    The measure, if passed, will abolish current requirements to declare shipping stock in origin of wealth statements that individuals in positions of influence are required by law to submit, such as politicians, the police and judiciary, civil servants, media owners and journalists.

    SYRIZA has criticised the measure as one facilitating tax evasion, money-laundering and graft and being the result of pressures from 'vested interests' seeking to avoid "even the most basic rules of transparency and oversight". SYRIZA MPs also noted that it opens the way for direct investment by shipping tycoons in media enterprises without them being subject to any scrutiny of their activities in the shipping sector and enjoying a "privilege of untransparency" that would be supplied by the law.

    [24] SYRIZA open meeting on Piraeus' future on Wed.

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras will deliver a short speech during a public meeting organised by the party at the main port city of Piraeus on Wednesday, at 7:30 pm at the Iroon Square.

    The meeting will address the following topic: "The port of Piraeus is not for sale - For a publicly restructured Piraeus Port Authority - A nucleus of life for development, jobs and the environment." SYRIZA deputies in Piraeus Panagiotis Lafazanis and Thodoris Dritsas will also speak.

    [25] Healthcare spending down around 50 pct in 2009-2012

    Public spending on healthcare services fell by almost 50 pct in the period 2009-2012, from when the economic crisis began in Greece. A report, submitted to Parliament by Labour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis, said that spending on healthcare services of all social insurance agencies totalled 8,383,755,274 euros in 2009, falling to 4,521,063,549 euros in 2012, around their 2003 levels.

    According to the report, healthcare spending was:

    23,476,898 euros in 1974

    27,820,446 euros in 1975

    39,022,512 euros in 1976

    48,819,709 euros in 1977

    64,707,753 euros in 1978

    77,520,481 euros in 1979

    100,841,000 euros in 1980

    131,612,000 euros in 1981

    147,507,000 euros in 1982

    194,271,000 euros in 1983

    242,782,000 euros in 1984

    278,267,000 euros in 1985

    312,363,000 euros in 1986

    370,617,000 euros in 1987

    446,489,000 euros in 1988

    520,511,000 euros in 1989

    639,078,000 euros in 1990

    789,626,000 euros in 1991

    1,014,415,000 euros in 1992

    1,467,789,000 euros in 1993

    1,803,243,000 euros in 1994

    2,028,262,000 euros in 1995

    2,337,444,000 euros in 1996

    2,636,663,000 euros in 1997

    2,664,484,000 euros in 1998

    2,981,112,000 euros in 1999

    3,219,393,000 euros in 2000

    3,559,850,000 euros in 2001

    3,559,850,000 euros in 2002

    4,008,711,000 euros in 2003

    4,461,232,000 euros in 2004

    5,564,272,000 euros in 2005

    5,732,170,000 euros in 2006

    6,333,119,000 euros in 2007

    7,876,835,000 euros in 2008

    8,838,755,274 euros in 2009

    6,736,565,749 euros in 2010

    5,855,662,050 euros in 2011

    4,521,063,549 euros in 2012

    The report also included figures for public spending for the protection of handicapped people, which will total 36,121,825 euros this year and 36,880,000 euros in 2014, from 37,844,000 euros in 2012.

    [26] Hellenic Exchanges to absorb ASE

    A Hellenic Exchanges' board meeting on Tuesday approved a merger plan with Athens Stock Exchange SA (ASE) and a plan to shed its depository and settlement services.

    Under the merger plan, Hellenic Exchanges will absorb its 100 pct subsidiary, non-listedm ASE, while its central depository, settlement and clearing systems, operated by Hellenic Exchanges, will be separated and transferred to its subsidiary, Thessaloniki Exchange Centre.

    [27] BlackRock raises equity stake in OPAP to 5.1688 pct

    OPAP - Greece's lottery and betting services company - on Tuesday said that BlackRock Inc raised its equity stake in the company to 5.1688 pct, or 16,488,424 shares.

    The betting company announced the transaction in a statement to the Athens Stock Exchange.

    [28] Greek stocks jump 2.60 pct on Tuesday

    Greek stocks jumped 2.60 pct in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday after FTSE Group announced its decision to maintain the Greek market in the developed market category. The composite index rose 2.60 pct to end at 1,016.11 points, with buying activity focusing on blue chip stocks such as OTE, Titan and MIG. The index was up 3.33 pct early in the day. Turnover rose to 58.47 million euros.

    The Large Cap index ended 2.41 pct higher and the Mid Cap index jumped 3.15 pct. MIG (7.58 pct), Titan (6.94 pct), OTE (5.16 pct) and Intralot (4.82 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Athens Water (1.22 pct) and OPAP (0.86 pct) were the only blue chips to end lower. The Travel sector was the only one to suffer losses (-0.27 pct), while Constructions (5.36 pct), Telecoms (5.16 pct) and Personal Products (4.43 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 103 to 35 with another 19 issues unchanged. Boutaris (20 pct), Kathimerini (19.94 pct) and Pegasus (18.75 pct) were top gainers, while PC Systems (19.70 pct), Teletypos (18.64 pct) and Kreka (17.20 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: +2.38%

    Commercial: +0.01%

    Construction: +5.36%

    Oil & Gas: +1.62%

    Personal & Household: +4.43%

    Raw Materials: +3.01%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.27%

    Technology: +3.56%

    Telecoms: +5.16%

    Banks: +2.83%

    Food & Beverages: +0.99%

    Health: +3.34%

    Utilities: +2.52%

    Financial Services: +3.11%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 0.579

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 8.26

    Coca Cola HBC: 22.08

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.80

    National Bank of Greece: 3.04

    Eurobank Properties : 7.48

    OPAP: 8.10

    OTE: 7.95

    Piraeus Bank: 1.29

    Titan: 18.50

    [29] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds eased slightly to 7.97 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, from 8.0 pct the previous day, with the Greek bond yielding 9.83 pct and the German Bund 1.86 pct. There was no turnover in the market.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 0.55 pct, the nine-month rate was 0.45 pct, the six-month rate was 0.34 pct, the three-month rate was 0.225 pct and the one-month rate was 0.129 pct.

    [30] ADEX closing report

    The October contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 0.52 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover at 19.045 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 7,540 contracts worth 13.005 million euros, with 48,910 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 15,389 contracts worth 6.040 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (3,418), followed by National Bank (1,075), Piraeus Bank (3,098), MIG (719), OTE (2,795), PPC (1,110), OPAP (372), Mytilineos (565), Ellaktor (423), GEK (377) and Titan (250).

    [31] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.367

    Pound sterling 0.856

    Danish kroner 7.569

    Swedish kroner 8.761

    Japanese yen 134.91

    Swiss franc 1.247

    Norwegian kroner 8.140

    Canadian dollar 1.406

    Australian dollar 1.456

    General News

    [32] Greece to celebrate World Maritime Day on Sept. 27

    Greece will celebrate the World Maritime Day, annually held on the last week in September, on September 27, the Ministry of Shipping and the Aegean announced on Tuesday.

    The Day was established by the United Nations through the International Maritime Organisation, and celebrates the maritime industry's contribution towards the world's economy. This year it will be celebrated on September 26 and be dedicated to "Renewable Growth".

    IMO is holding a symposium in London on September 26 ("Sustainable Development: IMO's contribution beyond Rio+20"), to which Helmepa, the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association founded in 1982, has been invited.

    According to a related announcement, Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis said that priorities "lie in adopting and applying policies that relate to attracting young people to seafaring jobs, to offering new openings and to maintaining seafaring know-how" and he vowed to support Greek shipping to retain its leading position and lead events in the future.

    [33] ADEDY rally shuts down Syntagma Square

    Thousands of workers held a demonstration from Klathmonos Square to the Administration Reform Ministry at Syntagma Square, responding to the public sector umbrella union ADEDY's against the mobility scheme and the layoffs in the public sector.

    "We are fighting to save whatever we can and our battle will continue", ADEDY president Odysseas Drivalas stated.

    Main opposition SYRIZA parliamentary spokesman Dimitris Papadimoulis spoke of a "sea of people" that comprised a "message against fascism and the austerity imposed by the government".

    The demonstrators are currently outside the Admin. Reform Ministry, while streets around Syntagma Square have been blocked to traffic.

    [34] Greek court staff join ADEDY strike Tue., Wed.

    The federation of staff at Greek courts (ODYE) said on Tuesday they were joining the nationwide 48-hour strike called on Tuesday and Wednesday by the public sector umbrella union ADEDY over transfers and layoffs in public administration.

    [35] Press unions hold work stoppage 10 am to 1 pm Tuesday

    In the story about the work stoppage called by major press unions, it was incorrectly reported that it would be held two days, instead of just today (Tuesday). The corrected story follows:

    Press unions held a work stoppage from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Tuesday in all private and public media to protest the shutdown of former broadcaster ERT and layoffs in media, including public radio.

    According to an announcement on Monday by the Panhellenic Federation of Journalists' Union (POESY), ERT employees' union (POSPERT) and Panhellenic Federation of Press and Mass Media Staff (POEPTYM), an exception was granted only for on-site reporting of strike-related news.

    "We are fighting for the right to work and the right to dignity. We are fighting against unemployment and in support of the signing of collective work agreements," the announcement read. "We are looking for solutions leading to the viability of health and pension funds which are in a process of dissolution."

    [36] Weekend of free activities in museums, sites Sept. 28-29

    Museums, monuments and archaeological sites throughout Greece will celebrate the consecutive United Nations' World Tourism Day and the EU's European Heritage Days on the weekend of September 28 (Friday) to 29 (Sunday).

    Most of the museums will focus on programmes for primary and secondary school students, while they will also offer free guides to their collections to adults.

    The sites and museums should be contacted separately for hours and programmes. In Athens, events are scheduled by the Acropolis site, the Athenian Agora, the Kanellopoulos Museum, the National Archaeological Museum, and the Byzantine and Christian Museum, among others.

    [37] Eight-member drug trafficking ring dismantled

    The Harbour Corps-Greek Coastguard and the Greek Police dismantled on Tuesday a ring of eight people, including two port officials, that forwarded drugs from Albania to the island of Mykonos.

    Investigations carried out during the operation led to the discovery and confiscation of about 300 grams of cocaine, four kilos of unprocessed cannabis, 12,000 euros, two portable computers, a taser apparatus, two collapsible metal rods, two electronic precision scales, a car, mobile telephones and SIM cards.

    By decision of the Harbour Corps-Greek Coastguard chief, the two port officials involved have been suspended, while an official enquiry has been ordered.

    Weather forecast

    [38] Fair on Wednesday

    Fair weather and variable winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday. Winds 2-5 beaufort. Temperatures between 12C and 31C. Fair in Athens with variable 2-4 beaufort winds and temperatures between 14C and 30C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 13C and 28C.

    [39] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    AVGHI: Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Dendias...'eats his children'.

    DIMOKRATIA: Surcharge and in hospitals for Greeks only.

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Two resignations, four suspensions and eight transfers in Greek police only a drop in the ocean.

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: 13 Greek police top officers removed.

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: The hiring criteria for 10,000 seasonal employees in local administration.

    ESTIA: Taxisnet a madhouse.

    ETHNOS: Storm of revelations for extreme right Golden Dawn supporters in Greek police.

    IMERISSIA: Greece again on foreign investors' agenda.

    KATHIMERINI: Government breaks Golden Dawn's clusters in Greek police.

    LOGOS: Golden Dawn's string disentangled.

    NAFTEMPORIKI: Bonds and shares on foreign investors' microscope.

    RIZOSPASTIS: People's way out from the crisis will come from below, with struggle and social alliance.

    TA NEA: Sweeping changes in Greek police a message to Golden Dawn.

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