|Friday, 21 September 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-10-25
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Friday, 25 October 2013 Issue No: 4495
 "We are here to find a solution to the illegal migration problem," Prime Minister Samaras saysBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / M. Aroni)
The "acute" and "long-standing" problem of illegal migration faced mostly by southern Mediter-ranean countries was underlined on Thursday by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, as he arrived for a European Council meeting in Brussels.
"We are here to talk about the digital economy, banking sector unification, economic growth and the creation of new jobs focusing on youth employment. We are also here to seek a solution to an acute and long-standing problem faced mostly by the southern Mediterranean countries, which has to do with illegal migration. Many goals have been set and we are moving forward," Samaras said.
Earlier, on the sidelines of the European People's Party (EPP) summit, Samaras had a private meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The European leaders will meet on Thursday and Friday in the Belgian capital to discuss the social aspects and problems associated with unemployment and to seek ways to improve the coordination of the members-states' economic policies.
The issue of the constantly increasing migration flow to Europe after the recent tragic incidents in Lampendusa, Italy will be also high on the agenda.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi will be present at the leaders' working dinner on Thursday, during which they will discuss economic and social policy as well as the Economic and Monetary Union.
Regarding funding of the economy, the European leaders will seek new ways to facilitate the access of small and medium sized enterprises to funding, based on the European Investment Bank's report.
The migration issue will be discussed on Friday.
 Development minister meets with French ministers, OECD repPARIS (ANA-MPA/O. Tsipira)
French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici expressed his country's interest in participating in the planning of the Hellenic Development Fund (EAT), during a meeting held at his ministry with visiting Greek Development and Competitiveness Minister Costis Hatzidakis on Thursday.
Speaking to ANA-MPA, Hatzidakis said that the two ministers "mainly discussed business cooperation between the two countries, the further expansion of our economic relations, and progress on privatisations, given that quite a few French groups are participating in various bids for tenders."
He said France would be interested in participating to the setup of the EAT through the French Credit and Loans Fund (Caisse des Depots), and that a French representative would be added to the closed group working on it. The fund aims to augment already existing instruments and to increase liquidity to small and medium-sized enterprises. Other members sitting in the group besides Greek representatives include the German investment bank KFW, the European Investment Bank, and the European Investment Fund, he added.
On a two-day official visit that comes after an invitation by Minister of Industrial Renewal Arnaud Montebourg ahead of Greece's EU presidency in January 2014, Hatzidakis participated in an unofficial bilateral meeting between the Greek and French ministries on industrial policy in Europe. The meeting was organised by Montebourg and included other EU ministers as well as Antonio Tajani, vice president of the European Commission responsible for industry and entrepreneurship.
Hatzidakis also met at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) with the organisation's deputy secretary general, Pier Carlo Padoan, with whom he discussed a programme ("tool kit") to strengthen competition. He noted that Greek exports to France lagged behind compared to those to Germany and Italy and said there were opportunities to develop and expand through the OECD tools available.
 Venizelos addresses PASOK parliamentary group on coalition gov't agreementThe national reorganization plan defined by the New Democracy (ND)-PASOK policy platform is the only proposal that will lead the country out of the memorandum, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos said on Thursday, adding that it constitutes the negotiation framework with the country's creditors.
Addressing PASOK's Parliamentary group, he also underlined that the policy platform agreement does not abolish differences, memories and principles, noting that in times like these none should be apathetic and no wavering or ambivalent emotions can be justified.
He added that this is a proposal "persistently directed" to all forces that do not have a concrete alternative proposal and strongly criticized all those who invest, systematically and openly, only in national disaster scenarios".
"The country needs frankness, stability and time," Venizelos said, adding that holding elections after the government serves its four-year term in office is the basis of the policy platform.
He also underlined that the burden of implementing the policy platform agreement will be shouldered by ND and PASOK Parliamentary deputies.
 No success story when the country is in humanitarian crisis, SYRIZA's Tsipras saysThe government cannot talk about a success story when society is faced with a humanitarian crisis, main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras on Thursday underlined during a public debate on the issue of health held in Parliament by his party.
Tsipras pledged to back public healthcare, primary healthcare in particular, and characterized the handling of health sector issues by Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis as "indescribable".
He also said that the "healthcare bomb" in Greece is unprecedented for a European country and undermines European culture.
Referring to the policy platform agreed between New Democracy (ND) and PASOK, he said that "those who have led us to the crisis by insisting on the implementation of the same memorandum measures are economic assassins," while as regards the surplus, he said that it is reminiscent of George Papandreou's "there is money".
 Restoring access to healthcare to be 'first clash' with memorandum, SYRIZA's Tsipras saysRestoring the entire population's access to state healthcare structures will be the first major clash with austerity policies and the interests represented by bailout memorandums, main opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras stressed on Thursday.
Addressing a public consultation on health organised by the relevant section of SYRIZA's Parliamentary group, Tsipras underlined that full, equal and free access to healthcare will be restored for the entire population on the first day that SYRIZA comes to power.
The main opposition leader expressed concern about the repercussions of austerity policies on the health sector, saying that Greece was faced with a humanitarian crisis "with serious risks for a large part of the country's population."
"I believe that we must all of us get serious," he added and, in comments that hinted broadly at the current health minister, said that these issues could not be dealt with through "wisecracks" and a "superior" attitude.
He stressed that SYRIZA's non-negotiable position was for all Greek men and women to have equal and free access to medical services and healthcare, with universal coverage of all health needs in the country and social control and community participation in decision-making, while redirecting health policy to a more holistic approach.
"For us, the primary healthcare system must be directed toward prevention and promoting health, to be organised on the basis of health centres in cities and rural areas. The health centres must have functional links to hospitals," he said, while stressing that the institution of a family doctor would underpin the system.
Tsipras also referred to the submarines languishing at Hellenic Shipyards in Skaramangas, repeating SYRIZA's view that this was a scandal involving the current PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos. He said that the ruling coalition's leading partner New Democracy was trying to assuage Venizelos' anxiety over the issue through the policy agreement announced by the coalition on Wednesday.
Responding to Tsipras' speech in an announcement, ND noted that "even the European old-style Communist parties that he represents are 'on' to him" and accused the main opposition leader of undermining Greece's efforts and "siding with those that are betting on our failure".
"Wherever he goes, he hopes and prays that we don't succeed in achieving a primary surplus," ND claimed and accused Tsipras of "brazenly discrediting the country, even to the point of threatening investors who show confidence in our economy with handcuffs," the party said.
 KKE says gov't ot negotiating for interests of the people at summitThe Communist Party of Greece (KKE), in an announcement on Thursday, said that "the policy platform agreed between Samaras-Venizelos is the proof that at the EU summit the government is not negotiating in the interests of the people but in the interests of business groups. The agreement between the 'government partners' is their proposal for an exit from the crisis for the benefit of the capital."
KKE added that "for this reason they (the government) are speaking of an immediate implementation of the capitalist restructurings that will level the price of the working force, labour and security rights, providing cheap labour hands for the capital and for this reason they are promising a host of economic benefits, tax breaks as well as the opening of new profit-making fields of action for the monopolies."
 Russian FM in Athens on Oct. 30; to meet with Venizelos and open symposiumGovernment Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos will meet at 12:30 pm on Wednesday, October 30 with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the framework of the latter's official visit to Greece.
After the conclusion of their meeting, delegations of both sides will have a broad discussion and sign bilateral agreeements.
Venizelos and Lavrov will make statements to the press at 14:20 pm on Wednesday. Later Venizelos will host a dinner in honour of the Russian Foreign Minister.
The two officials will jointly declare the opening of the Symposium "Ioannis Kapodistrias and the modern Greek-Russian relations", which will take place at Divani Caravel Hotel in downtown Athens also on Wednesday.
 Dendias holds talks with Bulgarian counterpart, calls for closer cooperation against baby traffickingMeeting Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Tsvetlin Yovchev in Athens on Thursday, Greek Public Order and Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Dendias stressed the need to boost cooperation between the Greek and Bulgarian police, especially in fighting the trafficking of babies.
They also discussed the help Bulgarian authorities can give in finding the birth parents of five-year-old Maria, a blonde and green-eyed girl found living with a family of Roma in Farsala, central Greece, who were not her real parents and had not legally adopted her.
The meeting was attended by delegations of officials from both sides.
It focused on issues of bilateral interest, with emphasis on illegal migration and international terrorism, and ways to boost police cooperation between the two sides.
On the issue of illegal migration, Dendias stressed the importance of coordinated action by countries in the European south that are close to the EU's external borders, with the aim of formulating common positions and actions against the constantly growing problem, especially in light of the volatile political situation in the eastern Mediterranean as a whole.
Dendias also reaffirmed Greece's unchanged position in favour of Bulgaria joining the Schengen area.
At the request of the Bulgarian side, Denidas agreed to provide training and knowhow to Bulgarian authorities on dealing with crime. After the meeting, Yovchev invited Dendias to visit Sofia and the invitation was accepted by the minister, who said the visit will take place before the end of the year.
 Troika to return to Athens in early November, IMF saysWASHINGTON (ANA-MPA/P.Panagiotou)
The EC/ECB/IMF troika of Greece's lenders will return to Athens in early November, a spokesman for the International Monetary Fund said here on Thursday.
William Murray, an IMF spokesman, speaking to reporters said that the troika and Greek authorities were currently in talks over technical issues. He said that Poul Thomsen will represent the IMF in the troika and added that talks will focus on a funding gap and the 2014 state budget and not on the sustainability of the Greek public debt.
Commenting on the possibility of additional fiscal measures, the IMF spokesman reiterated a comment made by IMF's head, Christine Lagarde, on the sidelines of an IMF/World Bank Summit in Washington recently, that if new measures were needed, it will not be additional fiscal measures and not horizontal, but interventions of structural nature and not in the form of additional horizontal measures and cuts in wages or pensions.
Murray said there would be no delays in the fifth assessment of the Greek program by the troika, while commenting on the sustainability of the Greek debt, the commitment made by the European partners and the implementation of pledges taken by Greece, the IMF's spokesman declined to comment.
 Defence Minister Avramopoulos receives new US envoyDefence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on Thursday received newly-appointed US ambassador to Greece David Pearce.
During the formal meeting, Avramopoulos discussed with Pearce issue of common interest as well as the prevailing conditions in the wider region and Greece's role as a factor of stability.
 Sessions of 4th Greek-German Assembly in Nuremberg concludedNUREMBERG (ANA-MPA/D. Dimitrakoudis)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's envoy, German Deputy Labour Minister Hans Joachim Fuchtel, speaking in an exclusive interview with the ANA-MPA on the conclusion of the sessions of the 4th Greek-German Assembly in Nuremberg on Wednesday night on the theme of "The municipality of the future", termed the Greek-German Assembly a model for Europe that contributes indeed to Europe's "binding" with roots.
Fuchtel said the signing of the relative agreement in 2010 regarding the Greek-German Assembly, between Chancellor Angela Merkel and then prime minister of Greece George Papandreou was a very important decision for an intensive and friendly cooperation in a difficult era, an agreement that concerns cooperation at local government level and "something ingenius since there is nothing similar anywhere in Europe".
Fuchtel believes that suitable solutions will result for the Greek side through this cooperation. Making an assessment of the work of the Greek-German Assembly and praising the Greeks who are making "pioneering work" in its framework and cover a sector that did not exist in these dimensions until now, the German chancellor's envoy stresses that the fact that 20 percent of Greece's mayors were at the sessions of Assembly's fourth meeting in Nuremberg over the past two days "speaks for itself".
According to Fuchtel, it is necessary for Greece to be supported in its efforts for stability, something which is very important for Europe and is also positive for the Germans as well.
In his interview with the ANA-MPA, Fuchtel also refers to the better absorption of resources by the European Regional Developoment Funds to which, as he points out, both the conferences and the working groups contributed for the activation of local government authorities in various sectors, as well as the exchange of thematic visits by mayors and experts from Greece and Germany that were held in the framework of the Greek-German Assembly, which is now entering the phase of deepening and specifying cooperation.
The Greek-German Assembly constitutes a wide initiative for cooperation between Greek and German regions, municipalities, experts, businesses and representatives of social agencies with the main aim of cooperation and the exchange of experiences, as well as the development and creation of new contacts between the local government officials of the two countries.
 Parliament ratifies European common airspace agreementA European Union agreement between member-states on coordinating airspace for both civilian and military uses was ratified by majority vote in the Greek Parliament's plenum session on Thursday.
The "Single European Sky" initiative was voted by New Democracy and PASOK parties, while main opposition SYRIZA voted "present", because of reservations on certain of its regulations. Independent Greeks, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) voted against it, arguing that it harms Greece's sovereign rights.
Infrastructure and Transport Deputy Minister Michalis Papadopoulos said the agreement was very important and a significant step of progress in air transportation that would play a decisive role in promoting a unified Europe.
The minister rejected charges by opposition deputies that he was opening a way for FYROM to use the name "Macedonia" on airplanes entering Greece's airspace and landing in Greek airports, saying that national interests are fully covered by the agreement, as all EU member-states have fully accepted the Community's vested interest in air transportation as set out by UN Security Council resolutions and European legislation.
The objective of the programme, according to the EU, is "to put an end to a way of organising air traffic management which has not changed since the 1960s and is one of the main reasons for the congestion of air traffic today."
 ESIEMTH condemns monitoring of journalists' telephone communicationsThe Journalists' Union of Macedonia and Thrace Daily Newspapers (ESIEMTH) on Thursday reacted strongly to revelations that National Intelligence Service (NIS) had monitored and recorded telephone conversations between journalists and local residents objecting to gold mining operations in Skouries, Halkidiki, in northern Greece, as well as telephone interviews with radio and television stations, newspapers and news agencies like Reuters and ANA-MPA, so they could be included in case files and used as incriminating evidence in court trials, an ESIEMTH statement underlined.
ESIEMTH expressed concern about the "uncontrollable way in which authorities can have access to journalists' communications and to journalistic research material".
"The right of the authorities to investigate cases in any way legislation allows is equally important with the journalists' right to privacy and source protection. It is the state's obligation to provide guarantees that the way in which the means at its disposal are being used will not become a Trojan Horse for the monitoring of journalists and the utilization of their work in bad faith," the statement issued by ESIEMTH concluded.
 Parliament president says Greek Police in their entirety protect human rightsParliament President Evangelos Meimarakis, speaking during his meeting with the presidents and members of the Panhellenic Federation of Police Employees on Thursday, said that "the Greek Parliament, the parties and Greek society believe that the Greek Police (ELAS) in their entirety protect human rights and always move within our constitutional and legal framework".
"As in all sectors and collective organisations, there may also be in ELAS isolated cases and exceptions which however are judged independently and must not mar the overall image of the Corps," Meimarakis added.
The Parliament president, who has also been a recipient of complaints by the men of ELAS, regarding salary and institutional issues, said that "we are in constant communication with the parties and with the relevant ministers to find a solution to these problems", adding that "the primary surplus, also in accordance with the prime minister's statements, will be distributed to the weak and the unfairly treated - and police are included in this category".
 Culture Minister Panagiotopoulos holds meeting with Chinese officialCulture Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos held a meeting with China's Deputy Culture Minister Li Xiaojie on Thursday, which, according to a ministry press release, inaugurated a new chapter for closer cooperation in cultural relations between Greece and China.
The Chinese official attended the opening of the 3rd International Conference of Experts on the Return of Cultural Property, at the Acropolis Museum on Wednesday.
According to the press release, the Chinese deputy minister congratulated the Greek minister on the holding of the conference and for the Greek government's efforts for the protection of cultural heritage.
"Greece and China are two of the most ancient countries with the most ancient cultures. Both of us have suffered from phenomena of illicit trade in antiquities and it will be useful for us to have a common stance against the illegal trafficking of antiquities", the Chinese deputy minister said.
He also promised that the Chinese government will be hosting the conference next year and invited Panagiotopoulos to Beijing. "You have longstanding experience and I hope that the Greek scientists will meet and cooperate with my fellow countrymen", Li Xiaojie added.
 Culture minister receives Philippines counterpartCulture and Sports Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos met on Thursday with his counterpart from the Philippines Felipe M. de Leon for talks focusing on cultural cooperation between the two countries.
According to a Culture ministry press release, the two officials also referred to social aspects common to the two nations, such as the role of family ties, religion as well as the new entrepreneurship that is in progress in Greece and Philippines.
The two ministers also agreed on setting up a joint committee aimed at paving the way for closer cooperation in actions relating to both the ancient and contemporary culture of the two countries.
 Gerontopoulos: 'It is politically important to find the kidnapped metropolitans'Deputy Foreign Minister Kyriakos Gerontopoulos assured Patriarch of Antioch Ioannis that "the Greek government will not stop searching for the two kidnapped metropolitans, as it is a politically important issue".
In the meeting Gerontopoulos had with Patriarch Ioannis in Balamand Abbey, Lebanon on Wednesday they discussed the issue of the kidnapped metropolitans, the problems currently faced by Christians due to the Syrian crisis and the role of Christianity in the Middle East.
Gerontopoulos said that he had raised the issue with the Lebanese foreign minister, adding that "Greece supports the Patriarchate of Antioch's efforts for the survival of Christianity and Orthodoxy during this difficult period and amidst the problems in the region."
He stressed the importance of the kidnapped metropolitans' issue for the Greek government and that it was one of the basic reasons he visited Lebanon. Apart from meeting with Patriach Ioannis, Gerontopoulos also visited the Agios Ioannis Damaskinos theological school, Balamand University and St. Georges Hospital in Beirut.
 Request to remove immunity for two Golden Dawn MPs to ParliamentThe Supreme Court on Thursday relayed a request to Parliament, asking for a decision on whether to remove immunity from prosecution for far-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) MPs Ilias Kasidiaris and Dimitris Koukoutsis so they can be prosecuted for libel and related offences.
Kasidiaris, in particular, is accused of repeated counts of defamation and libellous defamation targeting the company 'Doryforiki' (Alpha) owned by journalist Irene Kouvelioti regarding his claims about an interview given by a former GD member.
The charges against Koukoutsis are for offences carried out in Athens that include abuse, libellous defamation and causing physical assault.
Meanwhile, the Messolonghi first-instance court had forwarded three case files concerning members of the party for attacks in Aitoloakarnania to the two appeals court examining magistrates handling the rest of the GD case.
The cases relate to an attack by some 80 individuals on a Roma settlement in the town Aitoliko in January 2013, the second an incident in December 2012 when unknown culprits attacked a settlement of Bulgarian Roma with flammable materials and the third an attack by hooded assailants that broke the windows of a Pakistani man's house and threw in a flaming rag.
All three cases carry criminal-level charges such as attempted homicide, arson that endangered human life, disrupting the peace, damaging foreign property, inflicting bodily harm, weapons violations, and violating laws on racial discrimination.
 Minister rules out closure of drug rehab, detox centresDeputy Health Minister Zetta Makri on Thursday ruled out the closure of any drug rehabilitation and detox centres, during her visit to the new KETHEA drug therapy services in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki.
Replying to questions about the imminent closure of psychiatric clinics that will also lead to a suspension in the operation of drug rehabilitation unit operating within the Thessaloniki Psychiatric Hospital, Makri underlined that such 'sensitive' units will on no account be closed but actually further enhanced. She also underlined the ministry's support for KETHEA's efforts, saying it would seek to ensure its unobstructed operation as one of the main pillars of national policy and strategy against drugs.
 Finance ministry to investigate university financesThe ministry of finance will conduct an investigation into the finances of universities and technological educational institutes TEI nationwide, following an order conveyed to Education Minister Costas Arvanitopoulos by the prime minister, it was announced on Thursday.
The investigation will focus on the management of scientific research accounts in the last five years.
The decision is expected to lead to further deterioration in the already tense relations between the state and tertiary education institutions, which object to labour reserve measures removing administrative staff from eight universities in the country.
Protest mobilizations by the University of Athens administrative staff continue for the eighth consecutive week, while a relevant decision by their colleagues in the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) is still pending.
 Parliament to MPs: You can be reimbursed for airplane tickets or toll fees, not bothParliament will cover toll expenses for deputies travelling by car to their constituencies as long as they resign from their right to be reimbursed for airplane tickets to the same areas, according to a decision Thursday.
The decision by the Parliament's presidium was ratified unanimously by the plenum
 Non violent civil disobedience workshop in ThessalonikiAn experiential workshop focusing on the theoretical and practical dimensions of non violent civil disobedience and action, seen in the broad context of social defence, will be offered in Thessaloniki and Ierissos, Halkidiki northern Greece by French activist Xavier Renou, who will present his civil disobedience manual "Petit manuel de desobeissance civile".
The seminar tackles issues such as private and social boundaries, violence management techniques, physical resistance, risk analysis and protesters' rights.
The workshop on non violent civil disobedience will be held in Thessaloniki on Friday with the support of the Green Institute, a scientific organization founded by the Ecologist-Greens party.
 Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew visits Ataturk's house in ThessalonikiEcumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on Thursday afternoon visited the reconstructed childhood home of Turkey's historical leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (1881-1938) on the grounds of the Turkish Consulate in Thessaloniki.
Accompanied by senior Patriarchate clerics, Bartholomew was received by Turkey's Consul General to Thessaloniki Tugrul Biltekin, who gave him a guided tour of the renovated museum featuring press publications and photographic archives on Ataturk. A wax sculpture of Ataturk is also on display.
The Ecumenical Patriarch signed the visitors' book writing: "We are happy to visit the renovated house of Ataturk, founder of the Republic of Turkey. We wish that God will rest his soul and we pray to the Almighty that his reforms will live forever and his words 'Peace at home, peace in the world' will become a reality as time passes. Blessings."
 FinMin talking with banks to prevent account seizures of low-income depositorsThe government is collaborating with banks to clarify the issue of seizures of account deposit money of debtors whose accounts hold less than 1,000 euros, Deputy Finance Minister Giorgos Mavraganis told Parliament on Thursday.
He was responding to a question by Independent Greeks (ANEL) deputy Notis Marias, who charged that instead of the government seizing assets of tax-owing individuals who have millions of euros in banks overseas, the government is using fast-track methods to seize the wages, pensions and unemployment benefits of those who cannot afford to pay their debts.
"The banks claim they are not responsible. The ministry says it doesn't know and that the banks must search and find out whether these are wages or pensions. There must be specific regulations," Marias noted.
Mavraganis said the ministry was in talks with the Hellenic Bank Association over the issue, which would be clarified very soon, while Marias said that a pensioner has 24 hours to make a withdrawal before protection ceases and their account money is seized, and called for a quick amendment to rectify the situation immediately.
 Shipping Ministry's aim is to offer job opportunitiesThe Greek shipping sector's contribution is approximately 13.4 billion euros, an amount equal to 6 percent of the Greek GDP based on 2010 statistics, while over 160,000 people are working in the shipping sector, said Shipping and Aegean Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis on Thursday in his address to the 3rd Shipping conference of the Hellenic Management Association.
The minister said that shipping and shipowning have been targeted by populist criticism in the past, which claims that they do not contribute as much as they could in the battle against the crisis.
He also noted that the ministry, in cooperation with the Greek Shipowners Union and the Panhellenic Seamen's Federation, tries to offer more job oppurtunities and praised both associations for their cooperation.
Referring to the ports, he said that they must become real 'poles of growth' for their regions by spreading wealth and new job opportunities to the local communities and called Cosco's example in Piraeus port a successful one.
Varvitsiotis also stressed that Piraeus port via its privatisation, may become the central port of the Mediterrenean for the next 25 years.
 President Papoulias congratulates tourism minister for 'bumper year' in 2013Hellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias on Thursday congratulated Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni on a very good year for tourism in 2013, praising the work she has done, during her visit to the president's mansion to brief him on the tourism ministry's plans for 2014.
She noted that 2013 had laid the foundations for the next year and appeared confident that there will be a further rise in the number of tourists arriving in 2014.
"We have good signs about 2014 but I must say that we are not resting on our laurels and the success we had, since we did not only say we had a very large number of visitors, we also had increased revenue from tourism, the average per capita spending increased," Kefalogianni said.
The minister added that there were many things for Greece to promote and all regions of the country should be able to support their income on tourism to some extent.
"We do not stop promoting the country. Throughout the year we continue the efforts to promote Greece as a destination where one can find different things, in different areas, during all seasons of the year," she added.
 Greek metals industry opposes Larco's split privatisation processThe Greek metals industry on Thursday intervened in a privatisation process of Larco metallurgical company and recommended that the company be privatised in full operation and as a single entity with all of its assets, including its plant and mine.
"It is a mistake to separate the company's assets, which will be legally wrong and against the company's business interests," the federation said in a letter sent to Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund. "Any separation of assets, even the recent scenario of having two separate tenders, engenders great risks.
In our opinion there is a danger of either a depreciation of the plant or the mines."
It added that the state has made huge mistakes in Larco's management over the last 20 years and noted that the company was of a very strategic importance both for Greece and Europe, as it covered around 7.0 pct of iron/nickel production needed for stainless steel production in the European Union, with exports surpassing 300 million euros in value.
Larco is the largest ferronickel producer in Europe, and one of the five largest producers globally, according to its site.
 Internal devaluation process is not the solution, Daskalopoulos saysAn internal devaluation process leads to a dramatic downgrading of the Greek people's living standards without offering a way out of the crisis. If, for Greece, it is necessary to honestly pursue a reforms policy, for Europe it is necessary to lift all uncertainties created by the burden of the Greek public debt as a way to attract capital, investments, creating jobs and achieving economic growth - all basic preconditions to strengthening social cohesion.
That was the message sent by Dimitris Daskalopoulos, president of the Federation of Hellenic Enterprises (SEV), during a tri-party meeting between workers, employers and EU community officials in Brussels on Thursday to discuss ways of deepening social cohesion in Europe.
"Our partners are criticising the Greek political system for reluctance and delays in a reform process, even failure to implementing its commitments. Maybe this is true. But what I want to point out is that this shortcoming is being paid for by the vast majority of the Greek society for the fourth consecutive year".
Daskalopoulos noted that the crisis could not be dealt with only bureaucratic planning and regulatory decisions, it demanded radical choices and long-term policies for the European ideals to be reborn in the eyes of European citizens.
"Political time, along with social consequences of the crisis, run faster than bureaucratic procedures. Europe's political leaders have to re-examine fiscal policy not as an austerity dogma but as a growth tool, to adopt focused policies of regional development to cover a gap between North and South (eurozone countries) and to seek the creation of truly single currency through the completion of a banking union and the issuance of eurobonds," he noted.
 Greek pharmaceuticals/cosmetics/detergents industry's production up 11.3 pct in Jan-AugThe Greek pharmaceuticals/cosmetics and detergents industry remains in a positive course this year as it continues to improve its export performance, a development that helped the industry to report remarkable operating profits in 2012, a survey showed on Thursday.
The survey by ANA-MPA, based on Hellenic Statistical Authority Elstat's data on the January-August 2013 period, showed that production of pharmaceuticals grew 11.3 pct helped by rising orders from the international market and higher sales of generics in the domestic market. Cosmetics production grew 4.0 pct in the eight-month period, while production of detergents jumped 14.5 pct.
The pharmaceuticals/cosmetics/detergents sector, with 64 enterprises, said its 2012 EBITDA were almost unchanged at 2011 levels and net profits fell despite the fact that pharmaceutical companies reported a significant improvement of their profitabiity. Revenues totalled 1.87 billion euros in 2012, down 2.0 pct from the previous year, while assets in circulation totaled 2.6 billion euros. Gross earnings fell 3.0 pct to 636 million eurs, EBITDA totaled 235 million euros and pre-tax and interest earnings rose 10 pct to 153.3 million euros.
Pre-tax earnings fell 31 pct to 25.6 million euros, while net earnings after taxes dropped 75 pct to 1.2 million euros.
Based on net results, 32 out of the 64 enterprises in the sector (50 pct of total) were profitable, while the other 32 were loss-making. Net profits by the 32 profitable companies were 67.1 million euros, while net losses of the 32 loss-making companies were 65.9 million euros.
 Greek ports to acquire cutting-edge infrared scanner systemsThe shipping and Aegean ministry on Thursday announced the acquisition of three cutting-edge mobile infra-red scanner systems known as 'x-ray vans' for use in Greek ports, to aid in the fight against organised crime, tax evasion, smuggling and illegal migration.
The scanners are to be delivered over the next five months and strict penalty clauses have been added by Shipping Minister Miltiades Varvitsiotis in the case of late delivery.
For security reasons, the locations where the three scanners are to be installed will not be announced and, since they are mobile, they can be moved to wherever they are needed, either periodically or in response to information that reaches authorities.
The x-ray vans can identify and detect explosive devices, contraband cigarettes and other items brought illegally into the country as they enter or exit a port.
 German MEPs visit the port of PiraeusA delegation of German MEPs on Thursday visited the passenger and container terminals at the port of Piraeus and discussed development strategy issues and the role of the seaport network in the country's economy with the Piraeus Port Authority S.A. management.
The visiting delegation expressed interest in the environmental policies implemented.
The port of Piraeus was also visited by a delegation of Hong-Kong's Trade Development Council.
 Poor reception from retailers for the operation of stores on SundayThe development ministry's announcement on Thursday that a measure allowing small and medium-sized shops to open up to seven Sundays per year, to start on November 3 with the inauguration of the new law, met with a poor reception from the sector.
Trade associations in every region must decide whether stores will take up the option, however, there is no unified view among shopkeepers, who are mostly opposed to working on Sunday. Associations in Keratsini, Ilion and Nikaia have already decided that shops will remain closed.
The president of Nikaia Trade Association Thanasis Tsinos stated to ANA-MPA that "the board has not been convinced about the government's plan". The law stipulates that stores will be open from 11.00 to 20.00 on Sunday and resulted in various reactions.
Owners and shop assistants talked to the ANA-MPA about the new law and the state of market in general.
Dina Kouroupioti, a ladieswear shop owner in Nea Ionia, said that the opening of stores on Sunday will increase operating costs and added that "this is due to the fact that the market has changed compared to what it was like before. Sales have decreased, bills have increased" she said adding that there is nothing to do, but remain optimistic.
Sophia Menti, a children's footwear shop owner, said "I run the store alone throughout the week and I oppose this new law. I need to rest with my family on Sunday."
Stavroula Kourti, a lingerie store manager in Peristeri, claimed: "Greeks are used to resting on Sunday and not going out shopping, there will be no change in that".
Nektarios Kavourinos, a jewellery shop owner in Peristeri, believes there's no reason for stores to open seven Sundays a year. Kavourinos said "whoever wants to shop will do so during the week, if they can afford it". He pointed out that reduced rents did not mean product prices will drop because wholesale prices remain the same.
Despite working in the center of Athens where tourists usually shop, Mary Menegaki, a shop employee in Ermou, is not sure about the new measure's outcome in terms of sales.
Ioanna Eikosipentari, owner of a womens' clothing and accesories shop in Ermou agreed with the new measure. "The financial conditions make us want to work more," said Eikosipentari. Giorgos Psillos, another shop keeper in Ermou, had doubts about the new measure's outcome: "I am against this measure, however, I will agree if shops open five to seven Sundays a year and no more."
 Greek stocks resume upward trend on ThursdayGreek stocks resumed its upward trend in the Athens Stock Exchange on Thurday, following Wednesday's sharp correction, recovering a good part of their previous day's losses despite the fact that bank shares remained under pressure. Buying activity focused on blue chip stocks such as Terna Energy, Mytilineos, Viohalco, MIG, Hellenic Petroleum and PPC. The composite index of the market jumped 1.56 pct to end at 1,174.41 points, after falling as much as 0.75 pct during the session. Turnover remained a strong 112.5 million euros.
The Large Cap index rose 1.53 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 1.14 pct higher. The Raw Materials (5.53 pct), Travel (4.33 pct), Industrial Products (4.30 pct) and Utilities (3.88 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Banks was the only sector to end lower (1.92 pct). Terna Energy (8.36 pct), Mytilineos (6.70 pct), Viohalco (6.45 pct) and MIG (5.73 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while National Bank (4.60 pct), Athens Water (1.51 pct), Piraeus Port (0.99 pct) and Piraeus Bank (0.60 pct) were top losers.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 97 to 46 with another 20 issues unchanged. AEGEK (14.81 pct), Sato (10.47 pct) and Fieratex (10.17 pct) were top gainers, while VIS (28.11 pct), Spider (20 pct) and Compucon (20 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +3.69%
Personal & Household: +0.07%
Raw Materials: +5.53%
Travel & Leisure: +4.33%
Food & Beverages: +2.39%
Financial Services: +2.19%
The stocks with the highest turnover were Piraeus Bank, National Bank, OTE, OPAP and PPC.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 0.666
Public Power Corp (PPC): 10.21
Coca Cola HBC: 21.48
Hellenic Petroleum: 9.43
National Bank of Greece: 4.15
Eurobank Properties : 9.03
Piraeus Bank: 1.67
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds rose to 6.78 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Thursday, from 6.72 pct the previous day, with the Greek bond yielding 8.53 pct and the German Bund 1.75 pct. Turnover was a thin 1.0 million euros, one sell order.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 0.53 pct, the nine-month rate was 0.44 pct, the six-month rate was 0.34 pct, the three-month rate was 0.224 pct and the one-month rate was 0.129 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe November contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a discount of 0.24 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday, with turnover at 18.607 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 5,524 contracts worth 10.729 million euros, with 49,905 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 17,172 contracts worth 7.878 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (4,040), followed by Alpha Bank (2,403), Piraeus Bank (2,319), Eurobank (677), MIG (591), OTE (1,313), PPC (1,248), OPAP (650), Mytilineos (1,381), Motor Oil (644), Intralot (410) and Viohalco (300).
 Foreign Exchange rates - FridayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.401
Pound sterling 0.866
Danish kroner 7.571
Swedish kroner 8.894
Japanese yen 136.33
Swiss franc 1.248
Norwegian kroner 8.242
Canadian dollar 1.457
Australian dollar 1.456
 Parents of mystery child Maria found in Bulgaria, local media reportSOFIA (ANA-MPA/ B. Borisov)
A Roma couple claiming to be the birth parents of Maria, the mystery five-year-old child found living with a family that were not her real parents in Farsala, central Greece, has been located by Bulgarian police in eastern Bulgaria, according to local media reports on Thursday.
According to the Bulgarian media, police authorities have concentrated their search in the town of Nikolaevo and found a man and woman called Atanas Rusev and Sasha Ruseva that claim to be her parents.
The online version of the Bulgarian newspaper "Trud", which cites unofficial sources, said the Rusevs have lived in the village of Nikolaevo for the last seven to 10 years and their other two children bear a strong resemblance to Maria.
Maria's uncle on her father's side, identified as Angel, told the newspaper that the little girl had been born in Greece when her parents were working as farm labourers, harvesting oranges and olives. He said they left her behind when they were unable to obtain the necessary documents in order to return with her to Bulgaria. An older child in the family, however, told the BTV television channel that his parents had taken money for Maria, the paper added.
The mother, according to media reports, has refused to reveal any details about where she left the child to the press, saying only that it "all happened a long time ago" before she climbed into a police patrol car that took her and her husband away for questioning.
The reports have not been confirmed by the Bulgarian government, with the relevant services refusing all comment on the case, while the couple is expected to undergo a DNA test to determine whether or not they are her biological parents.
 'Rebel' ERT satellite transmissions to stop from Thursday eveningThe satellite signal broadcasting the programme of 'rebel' former ERT employees that remain inside the former broadcaster's headquarters will stop being transmitted after 6:00 p.m. on Thursday evening, according to an announcement by former ERT staff.
They said that the Astra satellite that they were using to continue broadcasts around the world in the last four months will stop operating.
"We will do everything we can so that they don't succeed. Keep your radios tuned to the medium frequencies. Contact regional ERA (the ERT radio) in your area," the announcement said. They also urged the public to visit ertopen.com and the site thepressproject. gr and other websites where ERT's programme is shown online.
The former broadcaster's laid off staff, who still occupy the ERT headquarters in Agia Paraskevi, said they were concerned that the government intends to organise raids in Athens and Thessaloniki and other facilities throughout Greece in order to get them out, over the long weekend.
 Greek Police announce traffic measures for October 28th long weekendGreek Police on Thursday announced strict traffic measures throughout the country for the October 28th long weekend to facilitate motorists travelling on the highways.
In an announcement, police said that patrol cars, motorcycles, vehicles and specialised personnel will be on alert during the long weekend. In addition, the circulation of trucks with loads over 1,5 tons will be restricted to specific hours.
 Jailed former banker testifies on alleged 'death contract' for businessmanJailed former banker Lavrentis Lavrentiadis, currently remanded in custody for offences related to his running of Proton Bank, on Thursday testified to a special examining magistrate on a charge of morally instigating the attempted murder of a 43-year-old businessman. Lavrentiadis gave his testimony to the magistrate in the Korydallos Prison psychiatric ward, where he is currently being held due to health issues.
The charge against Lavrentiadis concerns an attempt in June 2012 against the life of the part-owner of a hotel in Iraklio, Crete called Athinagoras Andreadakis, via a booby-trapped package containing a hand-grenade sent to his home in Vouliagmeni, packaged as a gift.
According to authorities, Lavrentiadis is accused of taking out a death contract on Andreadakis for 50,000 euros over personal differences with the victim, who was seriously injured but not killed when the booby-trapped package exploded in his hands on June 15, 2012.
Also accused in connection with the case are another six individuals, five men that include a 44-year-old fireman and a 27-year-old woman. The fireman allegedly acted as go-between and assigned the contract to a 46-year-old hitman who undertook to shoot Andreadakis dead for 25,000 euros but later backed down when he did not receive the sum agreed. The fireman is then believed to have turned to another man aged 42, who organised the 'hit' via the booby-trapped package, assisted by the woman and another man
The police investigation and forensics tests showed that the hand-grenade was in a metal box sent with a potted plant bought in a Voula florist by the woman and the other two men. The woman also later called the shop to ensure that the package was sent.
 Shipping & Aegean Ministry to get three vans with infra-red scannersThe mobile infra-red systems in vans were acquired by the Ministry of Shipping and the Aegean to fight organised crime, tax evasion, illegal trade and illegal immigration, it was announced on Thursday.
The three vans with the scanners will be delivered within the next five months, the ministry said.
Their whereabouts will not be publicised, and their positions will change depending on need. Equipment in them will allow the recognition of explosive devices, contraband cigarettes and other illegally traded items coming in or leaving Greek ports.
 Large cocaine haul seized in Thessaloniki portPolice seized more than 120 kilos of cocaine in the port of Thessaloniki, northern Greece, hidden in a container with bananas from Ecuador, and arrested eight suspected members of an international drug trafficking ring, it was announced on Thursday.
The operation was carried out by the Attica Police organized crime division, assisted by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the financial crimes squad SDOE and the drug enforcement police divisions in Thessaloniki and Attica.
According to police sources, the gang allegedly involves more than 20 people (Greeks, Albanians and Georgians), while some of them are believed to be police officers. The ring smuggles large quantities of cocaine from Latin American countries into Greece and other European states.
The operation began after information was received by the US authorities. Police came closer to locating the ring following the arrests in recent months in Greece of a number of foreign nationals, mainly Albanian and Georgian, who possessed large quantities of cocaine and were allegedly members of an international gang.
Investigations were kept secret and evidence was collected by wire tapping. Detailed information will be provided upon conclusion of the police operation.
 Large quantity of contraband cigarettes seizedThe Financial Crimes Squad confiscated a large quantity of contraband cigarettes on Wednesday, a Finance Ministry announcement said on Thursday.
The contraband cigarettes were found in two containers from Singapore and Malaysia that arrived at Piraeus port on 23 and 26 September respectively and were addressed for delivery to inexistent companies in Faliro and Maroussi. A search in the containers revealed 999,000 packets of ROYAL BLUE brand.
The loss of customs and taxes to the state is estimated at 3,346,915.44 euros.
 Korydallos Prison inmate injures two guards with knifeA 27-year-old inmate in Korydallos Prison in Athens on Thursday attacked two correctional officers under circumstances yet to be clarified, injuring them with an improvised knife.
Both officers are being treated at the prison infirmary and their condition is not described as serious.
The inmate, an Iranian of Kurdish origin, was serving time on drug-related charges.
Three stops on Egaleo-Airport Metro line to be shut down Oct. 26-27
The Egaleo, Eleonas and Keramikos stops on Metro line 3 (Egaleo to Airport) will be shut down over the long weekend for work on the rail line's extension to the Aghia Marina stop in the western district of Haidari.
The stations will be shut down on October 26 and 27, from start of the schedule on Saturday morning until the end of the schedule on Sunday evening, it was announced.
The line will stop and start at the Monastiraki station on its western end, and a free buse (X50, Syntagma Station-Egaleo Station) will be available at Othonos Street, Syntagma Square, to convey passengers to and from the shut-down stations.
 Fair on FridayFair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Friday. Winds 2-6 beaufort. Temperatures between 10C and 25C. Fair in Athens with northerly 3-6 beaufort winds and temperatures between 15C and 24C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 11C and 23C.
 The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceAVGHI: Real estate surtax made permanent and expanded.
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Animal pens to be taxed...
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: They tax villas, houses, farmland, buildings under construction and animal pens.
ESTIA: Shocking document on real estate objective rates in Psychiko (affluent northern suburb).
ETHNOS: The real estate taxes for 2014.
IMERISSIA: The new single real estate tax.
KATHIMERINI: No to measures, memorandum and early elections.
NAFTEMPORIKI: All buildings in single tax's net.
RIZOSPASTIS: They penalise acts against imperialistic barbarism.
TA NEA: Co-habitation with Tax Bureau.
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