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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-10-14

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 14 October 2013 Issue No: 4485


  • [01] FinMin: No to salary cuts; tax increase
  • [02] Troika rejects Finance Ministry' proposal on heating oil tax
  • [03] Gov't spokesman: PM has full confidence in FinMin Stournaras
  • [04] No concerns over talks with troika, senior government official says
  • [05] Dendias: SYRIZA must isolate extremist elements
  • [06] SYRIZA on Citizen Protection Min. statements to newspaper
  • [07] PASOK sources on the theory of two extremes
  • [08] SYRIZA: new measures on the way
  • [09] DIMAR on heating oil taxation
  • [10] ND, SYRIZA cannot deal with the big problems, KKE leader says in Alexandroupolis
  • [11] KKE leader: Re-organisation of the labour movement
  • [12] Opinion poll shows ND lead over SYRIZA
  • [13] GD leader: prosecution against us political
  • [14] Minister slams proclamation claiming responsibility for attack on his office
  • [15] Teachers, defence ministry staff to contest abolition of their jobs under mobility scheme
  • [16] ECB chief: Greece has made substantial progress
  • [17] Supreme Court to discuss property tax via power bills next Friday
  • [18] Strong quake jolts Crete
  • [19] Hania municipality checks buildings after the 6.2R quake; 40 aftershocks recorded
  • [20] Woman suffering from lupus and renal impairment gives birth to baby girl
  • [21] 154 kg of hashish found in car; two arrests
  • [22] Warm and sunny on Monday
  • [23] Athens Newspaper Headlines Politics

  • [01] FinMin: No to salary cuts; tax increase

    No to cutbacks in salaries and pensions, no to tax increase and no to the possibility of new reforms in the social security system, said Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras (above) in an interview on Saturday with Ependytis newspaper.

    On a possible haircut of the Greek debt, Stournaras noted that the government's strategic intention is the decrease of the debt in order to become sustainable adding that "a nominal haircut can't be applied" and that the "debt decrease must be applied in a way that will be accepted from all".

    He also noted that the government is in a continuous deliberation with the troika and that up to the moment Greece has succeeded to get what it wanted adding that in 2014 it is possible for Greece to get into the markets.

    However, Stournaras clarified that the government's wish is that Greece will get into the markets even as a test but under two conditions "to exist a primary sustainable surplus and a positive growth rate".

    On the prospect of a new loan contract, Stournaras said "loan programme does not necessarily means new measures" adding that "what other measures to impose, there are no margins for other measures and they are not necessary'.

    Finally, asked on the theory of the two extremes the Finance Minister said that "extreme is anything that has a criminal activity.Politically, at this moment, I can only see one extreme not two".

    [02] Troika rejects Finance Ministry' proposal on heating oil tax

    Troika (EC, ECB, and IMF) rejected Finance Ministry's request for a 15 pct cut in special tax in heating oil, according to information on Saturday.

    The ministry is expected to send a new proposal to the troika within the next week.

    [03] Gov't spokesman: PM has full confidence in FinMin Stournaras

    The government on Sunday denied media reports referring to problems in Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' relations with Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras.

    Government spokesman said that "Prime Minister has total confidence in Finance Minister.

    [04] No concerns over talks with troika, senior government official says

    Reports in the press about alleged government 'concern' over the outcome of upcoming talks with the EU-IMF troika were greatly exaggerated, the general secretary for coordination of the government's work Dimitris Vartzopoulos said on Sunday.

    Speaking on the sidelines of a New Democracy youth party (ONNED) meeting in Thessaloniki, Vartzopoulos said that things were "on a good path" for when the troika returns in roughly 10 days to two weeks' time.

    "The main prior actions for the remainder of last quarter's tranche are essentially finished. I think there have to be some final touches regarding the issue of the defence industries but I consider that this is a given within a very short space of time...apart from that, the remaining issues still on the table chiefly concern public finances and I think they will be dealt with in a spirit of good cooperation, with the approach of the Greek side prevailing in the end, which is more realistic," he said.

    Vartzopoulos also stressed that there was agreement between the two sides on the size of the primary surplus for the current year and that this was "absolutely clear". This meant that a promise made by the Eurogroup ministers last November for a "softer approach" to the issue of Greek debt if a primary surplus was achieved would be activated, he added.

    "Of course, this will be discussed and decided at the Eurogroup in the first quarter of 2014," he pointed out, estimating that this would take place around April.

    Once the funding issues for the next years had been essentially dealt with, he added, the prime minister's statement that Greece will return to borrowing from the markets in 2014 and embark on a course of substantive progress and growth were "visible from today."

    Replying to questions about the fate of Hellenic Vehicles Industry (ELVO), meanwhile, Vartzopoulos said that the defence firm's production line "will continue to serve the Greek army in a different but equally useful way."

    [05] Dendias: SYRIZA must isolate extremist elements

    "It is extremely important for the country and the society and for main opposition SYRIZA to isolate the extremist elements that exist in the party" said Citizens Protection Minister Nikos Dendias in an interview with NEA newspaper on Saturday, adding however that "nobody can accept that SYRIZA is an extreme party. Particularly, if we also bear in mind that SYRIZA was voted by 27 percent of the Greek people.

    [06] SYRIZA on Citizen Protection Min. statements to newspaper

    Main opposition SYRIZA called Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Dendias "even with delay to condemn his party (New Democracy) MPs statements that were flirting with the idea of a possible co-governance with the criminal formation of Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) and to isolate the extremists that exist in ND.

    Responding to Dendias' interview to NEA newspaper on Saturday who said that 'extremist elements exist in the main opposition party', SYRIZA noted that "the mud and the speculation against the Left and the social struggle have margins".

    In its announcement SYRIZA said that "Citizen Protection Minister remains faithful to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' dangerous line and hypocritically rejects the government's responsibilities on Golden Dawn's activity and follows his party's theory on the two extremes.

    [07] PASOK sources on the theory of two extremes

    We do not believe and we do not accept the theory of the two extremes, because violence can't be divided into individual parts. It can't be cut in pieces. Violence is not two extremes, is one extreme" said PASOK party sources answering to press questions on Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' address to his New Democracy (ND) Political Committee on Friday.

    Under any circumstances, PASOK sources said "PASOK reiterates the need of the rallying of all the democratic parties in the struggle against extreme-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) with a stable and clear front".

    On the occasion of the 69th anniversary from Greece's liberation from the nazis on Saturday, PASOK underlined "We have to pay honour to our co-patriots, victims of the nazis and have national unity, cohesion and stability in our country"

    [08] SYRIZA: new measures on the way

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) on Sunday predicted that new austerity measures were on the way, including pension cuts and reduced health and education services, adding that Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras was unable to convince anyone of the contrary.

    In an announcement, the party pointed to the imminent lifting of restrictions on carrying out foreclosures and auctions for family homes, saying this once again proved the unreliability of the government and the failure of the so-called 'success story'.

    The party especially emphasised the government's insistence on the higher special consumption tax imposed on heating oil, which was made the same as that for diesel used in engines, in spite of the "tragic repercussions" in terms of heating homes, atmospheric pollution in urban areas [through a switch to wood fires and subsequent smog] but also on slumping tax revenues "that showed, in this case, how bizarre and criminal a faithful implementation of the memorandums is."

    [09] DIMAR on heating oil taxation

    Democratic Left (DIMAR) in an announcement on Sunday said that the government should revoke the uniform tax for heating and diesel oil a few years earlier, which replaced the lower taxation rate for heating oil that existed until that time with the higher rate imposed on diesel, without waiting troika's approval. The party underlined that heating oil consumption had dropped substantially after the tax was raised, with a negative impact on both state revenues and to citizens' health.

    "Greek households must not freeze through the winter, waiting for the thoughts of the troika's economic teams to 'mature' on this issue," said DIMAR, adding that its Parliamentary group has already tabled a relevant amendment.

    [10] ND, SYRIZA cannot deal with the big problems, KKE leader says in Alexandroupolis

    In a speech in Alexandroupolis in the extreme northeast of Greece, the last stop on his tour of Macedonia and Thrace, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Dimitris Koutsoumbas on Sunday urged voters to support the KKE and stressed that the real adversary was the "power of monopolies and the European Union".

    He warned them not to be disorientated by the new 'bipolarity' that New Democracy and main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) were trying to cultivate, stressing that both ultimately aimed at growth fuelled by capitalism.

    The KKE leader also said voters should not be distracted from the real problems of working class families by developments concerning far-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi), stressing that the struggle against GD was part of the broader working-class struggle.

    Koutsoumbas criticised the government, saying that it was cultivating hopes that the country would return to growth but concealing that this growth would be based on a "a solid, anti-working-class edifice, that demolished worker entitlements and rights". Such growth meant profits and privileges for capital but joblessness and poverty for the working class, he added.

    Lastly, he opposed projects to mine gold in Thrace, saying this amounted to theft of a precious and non-renewable resource of strategic importance.

    [11] KKE leader: Re-organisation of the labour movement

    Communist Party (KKE) leader Dimitris Koutsoumbas on Saturday underlined the need for a radical reorganisation of the labour movement 'in order the continuous antisocial policy and the harsh economic measures that aim to the weakening of the popular bases to be confronted' in his address during his visit to the northeastern Greek city of Kavala, the first stop of his two-day tour in East Macedonia and Thrace.

    Koutsoumbas called on the Greek people to rally with KKE in an effort, as he said, to prevent the worse for the popular movement and urged the citizens "not to trust any political force that is part of the system".

    He said that does not agree with the government's optimism on the economy's recovery and estimated that the Greeks will continue to experience a difficult and harsh reality. He said he is against a new haircut of the Greek debt and of the renegotiation of the memorandum and opined that "it will not safeguard, under any condition, the citizens' social welfare".

    On far-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) issue, Koutsoumbas blamed the government that it "cultivated political opinions on migration and racism and tolerated the GD phenomenon for a very long time".

    Finally, Koutsoumbas estimated that general elections will not be held very soon.

    [12] Opinion poll shows ND lead over SYRIZA

    New Democracy (ND) leads by 1.3 over main opposition SYRIZA, according to an opinion poll conducted by Rass for the Sunday edition of Eleftheros Typos newspaper.

    According to the poll results, ND leads with 24.1 percent, followed by SYRIZA with 22.8 percent, ultra-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) with 6.3 percent, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) with 5.2 percent, PASOK with 5 percent, Independent Greeks with 4.8 percent and Democratic Left (DIMAR) with 3 percent, while 4.3 percent.

    In response to who would be most suitable for prime minister, current Prime Minister Antonis Samaras (and ND leader) was preferred by 45.5 percent of the respondents, followed by SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras with 26.5 percent.

    Regarding the recent developments on Golden Dawn, 81.9 percent said that the arrest of Golden Dawn's leaders was right.

    [13] GD leader: prosecution against us political

    In an announcement on Sunday, opposition far-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) leader Nikos Michaloliakos, currently jailed on remand pending trial on charges of leading a criminal organisation, asserted that after the actions targeting his party nobody could doubt that "the prosecution against us is political".

    "The political prosecution and jailing of the leadership of Golden Dawn did not, however, bring the desired results for them. In the face of political terrorism, the Movement of Greek Nationalists is holding up politically, morally and in the polls, if it is not actually stronger. For this reason, therefore, they are plotting other schemes. Dark and dangerous plans for the political life of the country. They want to and are trying, literally by tearing the Constitution to shreds, to exclude Golden Dawn from the elections."

    [14] Minister slams proclamation claiming responsibility for attack on his office

    Reacting to a proclamation claimining responsibility for an attack on his political officer earlier this week, Shipping Minister Miltiades Varvitsiotis on Sunday commented by saying that "extremes see and exercise violence as a means of imposing their views".

    The unsigned proclamation claiming responsibility for the arson attack on the minister's office did not name any particular organisation and was posted on the Athens website on Saturday. Its author referred at length to the theory of the "two political extremes," saying this had been generated by the "system" in order to "lump together fighters and potential disrupters of law and order with the Nazis," and to "inactivate any reaction, since this will automatically become equated with the supposed effort of the neo-Nazis to overthrow the polity".

    [15] Teachers, defence ministry staff to contest abolition of their jobs under mobility scheme

    The five high school teachers in the Lesvos high school staff union and eight employees of the national defence ministry have filed a case with the Council of State, the country's supreme administrative court, contesting the abolition of their jobs under the government's mobility scheme.

    According to an announcement on Sunday, the plaintiffs are asking the court to revoke the ministerial decisions that abolished permanent teaching positions on Lesvos, as well as 1,230 permanent jobs filled by civilian staff based on private-sector-law employment contracts at the defence ministry, who were all placed on suspension and face possible permanent dismissal in a few months.

    They claim that the ministerial decisions are unconstitutional, contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Social Charter, as well as Greek and European law.

    Financial News

    [16] ECB chief: Greece has made substantial progress

    "Greece has made substantial progress" said European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi at a press conference in Washington on Saturday within the framework of International Monetary Fund and World Bank's annual meeting.

    Responding to a press question on "when Greece will go bankrupt", Draghi ruled out such a possibility stressing that "the country has made substantial progress in the fiscal adjustment programme and in the current account deficit" adding that "the current programme is within the targets and Greece's funding continues normally".

    Moreover, Draghi said that IMF's programme for Greece will run until 2016 while EU's programme will be discussed soon ?We have no reason to believe that this scenario (of bankruptcy) will come true".

    Earlier, speaking to Harvard University, ECB chief supported the creation of a banking association in Europe underlining that "we believe that a uniform clearance of accounts and supervision mechanism will come into force in 2015".

    Referring to the eurozone's prospects, he noted that "euro is an irrevocable single currency which was born from the European countries' commitment for a larger consolidation'.

    [17] Supreme Court to discuss property tax via power bills next Friday

    Greece's Supreme Court is to discuss a petition on whether an emergency property tax levied via electricity bills is Constitutional next Friday, October 18.

    The Supreme Court judge presenting the case is expected to base his recommendations on a decision made by the Council of State plenum, Greece's supreme administrative court, and suggest that it was constitutional to collect first 'surtax' (Emergency Special Levy of Constructed Surfaces having Electricity) via electricity bills but not to cut the power of the buildings in question for non-payment of the tax.

    General News

    [18] Strong quake jolts Crete

    A strong quake measuring 6.2 on the Richter was reported on Saturday at 4.12 pm.

    The quake's epicenter was located in the sea region 60 km west of Hania, Crete island and was felt in the prefectures of Hania, Rethymno, Heraklio and on the Cycladic Islands.

    According to Athens Geodynamics Observatory the earthquake measured 6.2 on the Richter scale while the Euromediterrenean Institute said it measured 6 on the Richter scale.

    First information said that the quake's duration was very long.

    [19] Hania municipality checks buildings after the 6.2R quake; 40 aftershocks recorded

    One day after the 6.2 Richter quake that jolted the island of Crete, the local authorities are conducting inspections throughout the region for damages.

    The Forests Directorate on Sunday morning closed Samaria Gorge in order to check the forest in all its length and particularly in areas where landslides were reported.

    Moreover, the regional road that leads to Therissos was closed after the falling of a rock.

    Inspections for damages in school buildings throughout the city of Hania are held from early Sunday.

    Cracks, mostly in old buildings, were reported by citizens in the region of Hania.

    According to Athens' National Observatory, forty aftershocks have been recorded until Sunday at 11.00 am.

    [20] Woman suffering from lupus and renal impairment gives birth to baby girl

    A 32 year-old woman who is suffering from lupus, bore on Saturday a baby girl.

    The woman was also suffering from renal impairment and was on haemodialysis in the last 18 months.

    The extremely rare medical incident took place at Ippokratio Hospital of Thessaloniki.

    The patient who was suffering from lupus from the age of 15 has given birth with C-section to a healthy baby girl last Wednesday.

    [21] 154 kg of hashish found in car; two arrests

    A couple was arrested on Sunday at Sagiada, northwestern Greece when police found in their car 154 kilos of hashish.

    The drugs were hidden in different parts of the car and were divided in 166 packages.

    According to police the drugs were loaded near the Greek-Albanian border.

    Weather forecast

    [22] Warm and sunny on Monday

    Sunny weather with scant clouds is forecast in most parts of Greece on Monday, though some areas in the west and north may experience mist in the early morning. Winds moderate, mainly from northeasterly directions, ranging from 3-6 Beaufort. Temperatures will range from 12C to 29C. Sunny in Athens, with temperatures from 16C to 28C. Scattered cloud in Thessaloniki, with temperatures from 15C to 25C.

    [23] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    AVGHI: Samaras' line disputed.

    EPOCHI: Extreme-right ruler.

    ETHNOS TIS KYRIAKIS: They've got crazy-eye.

    KATHIMERINI: The 4.4 billion euros to cover 2014's financial gap were found.

    KYRIAKATIKI ELEFTHEROTYPIA: Movement against Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras.

    KYRIAKATIKOS RIZOSPASTIS: Reorganisation of the labour movement.

    LOGOS: The number of suicides increases.

    NIKI: Who and how can take their pension at the age of 60.

    PROTO THEMA: Which 'bug' stung him.

    Realnews: Who and how have burnt Marfin bank offices.

    TO ARTHRO: Entrepreneurship stopper, saboteur of growth.

    TO PARON: Samaras' rebellion against the troika (EC, ECB, IMF).

    TO VIMA TIS KYRIAKIS: The plan for the ballots, benefits and President.

    TYPOS TIS KYRIAKIS: The 20 plus 2 changes in social security system.

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