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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 14-02-19

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

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

Wednesday, 19 February 2014 Issue No: 4590

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greek presidency given flexibility to negotiate deal on SRM, Stournaras says after ECOFIN
  • [02] Greek presidency to press for agreement on Single Resolution Mechanism
  • [03] Greece-troika talks to begin on Monday, IMF spokeswoman says
  • [04] Venizelos holds series of meetings in Belgrade
  • [05] FM Venizelos on case of NGO fraud against the state
  • [06] Development minister's schedule in Brussels Wed.-Thurs.
  • [07] Adm.Reform Ministry initiates pilot activities to simplify licence issuing
  • [08] Temporary shutdown of EOPYY clinics is a result of doctors'strike, Georgiadis says
  • [09] Doctors started handing over EOPYY clinics
  • [10] Health minister to meet with PASOK delegation to discuss primary health-care law
  • [11] PAME labour union holds rally in Omonia Square
  • [12] Agriculture minister presents Greek presidency's work program to EU ministers
  • [13] PM meets Piraeus mayor, expresses support for his re-election
  • [14] Greek President expresses doubts about Turkey's stance on Cyprus issue
  • [15] Samaras government 'on its way out', SYRIZA leader Tsipras says
  • [16] FinMin to meet Central Macedonia MPs within the next days to discuss farmers' issue
  • [17] SYRIZA calls for ample light to be shed on last 15 years' subsidies to NGOs
  • [18] Shipping Minister on Thessaloniki port
  • [19] PM and Piraeus mayor to meet, sources say
  • [20] Greek foreign minister condemns terror attack in Egypt
  • [21] Court orders seizure of 2.5 million euros in armaments case
  • [22] Justice Minister tables amendment discharging convicts suffering from serious deseases
  • [23] Golden Dawn asks the Council of State to lift block on party funding
  • [24] Preliminary investigation ordered on disciplinary liability of Korydallos supervising prosecutors
  • [25] Bill on immigrant voting rights for local gov't elections passes Parliament committee
  • [26] Gov't recalls decision over taxation on armed forces' allowance
  • [27] School guards protest underway
  • [28] PASOK MEP Koppa announces decision to leave party
  • [29] Water airports to start operating in summer, Deputy Transport Minister says
  • [30] Environment ministry speeds up water airports permit procedures
  • [31] Gov't on alert to support Greek heavy industry
  • [32] Decision for task force to expand Greek-Chinese cooperation in tourism
  • [33] Development minister reveals proposal for tax incentives to boost aluminium industry
  • [34] Cephalonia puts a strong foot forward at international tourism fair in Milan
  • [35] EIB's exposure to Greece totaled 16.6 bln euros in 2013, official says
  • [36] Cruise ship owners holds talks with Corinth officials on developing city's cruise market
  • [37] Logistics sector hit by economic crisis in 2012, survey
  • [38] Greek stocks end slightly lower
  • [39] ADEX closing report
  • [40] Greek bond market closing report
  • [41] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday
  • [42] Greeks pessimistic about EU's future but positive about union, euro
  • [43] Protesting farmers prepare for rally in Athens on Wednesday
  • [44] Peloponnese farmers escalate protests
  • [45] Onassis Foundation presents final studies for the project "Rethink Athens"
  • [46] Crete signs agreement with Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature
  • [47] Archimandrite's murder solved
  • [48] Police detains Turkish political refugee allegedly involved in explosion, after his testimony
  • [49] Sudden mist in Piraeus port has not disrupted ship traffic, navigators report
  • [50] Authority against money laundering presents scathing report to Parliament
  • [51] Deaths from flu rise to 43
  • [52] Coast Guard pulls up another three bodies, two of them children, from Farmakonissi wreck
  • [53] EU heads of national organisations of medicines meet in Athens
  • [54] Police officer arrested for drug dealing
  • [55] Achilleion palace's sculptures declared monuments
  • [56] Greek-owned freighter rescues 125 migrants northeast of Tripoli, Libya
  • [57] Carnival events in Piraeus start on Saturday
  • [58] Overcast on Wednesday
  • [59] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies Politics

  • [01] Greek presidency given flexibility to negotiate deal on SRM, Stournaras says after ECOFIN

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - M. Spinthourakis)

    EU finance ministers continued efforts to find a compromise on the issue of a European banking union during Tues-day's ECOFIN Council, as the European Parliament and Council remained divided regarding a Single Resolution Mecha-nism (SRM) for European banks.

    Presenting the results of the meeting in his capacity as council chair, Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras (photo) said the Greek EU Presidency welcomed the Council's willing-ness to give sufficient flexibility to explore alternative solutions with the European Parliament. He said that these be examined in detail at the next ECOFIN meeting on March 11 and stressed that finding a common ground, which would allow agreement within the current legislative period, was a matter of urgency for the Greek presidency.

    Stournaras insisted that a final agreement is in the joint interests of all parties involved. On the issues on which a compromise might be found, he referred to the details concerning the decision-making process during the transitional period in the operation of the SRM, the role played by the Council and the European Central Bank and bail-in procedures.

    European Commissioner for internal market and services Michel Barnier said there had been a constructive spirit during Tuesday's talks, while acknowledging the obje-ctions voiced by the European Parliament.

    He appeared confident that a deal can be struck between the Council and the EU Parliament within the next two months.

    Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem also spoke of "constructive" discussions that made it possible to come closer to an agreement, noting that all sides had stressed the need for an agreement by the end of March.

    The European Parliament objects to the ECOFIN Council decision last December to set up parts of the SRM through an intergovernmental agreement. It also questions the decision-making process for placing a bank into resolution, saying the decision should be made by the European Commission and not the member-states.

    [02] Greek presidency to press for agreement on Single Resolution Mechanism

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V.Demiris)

    The Greek EU Presidency will ask from an ECOFIN council if not for a new mandate, at least more flexibility in negotiations with the European Parliament to close all pending issues regarding a Single Resolution Mechanism for European banks, Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said on Tuesday.

    Speaking to reporters, ahead of an ECOFIN meeting in Brussels, Stournaras said: "We want everyone in the whole process, that what's important," while he expressed the hope that a next ECOFIN council will reach an agreement on banking union.

    Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Eurogroup president, speaking to reporters acknowledged a gap in negotiations as the European Parliament still opposed an agreement reached by the European Council in December. He noted, however, there was still time to reach an agreement and predicted that a compromise solution could not be reached before March.

    France's Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici told reporters that an existing agreement should become the basis of discussions and noted that France was a country facilitating decision taking and was in favour of an ambitious banking union.

    [03] Greece-troika talks to begin on Monday, IMF spokeswoman says

    WASHINGTON (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)

    Greek authorities will begin negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission, with Poul Thomsen as head of the delegation, and representatives of the EU and the ECB on Monday, February 24, IMF spokeswoman Angela Gaviria said.

    The aim of the negotiations is to reach "an agreement on a series of policies required to complete the fifth assessment" of the economic program under the Extended Fund Facility, according to the IMF spokeswoman.

    During a recent press conference in Washington, IMF's spokesman Gerry Rice referred to the "funding gap" saying this was an issue to be considered when the mission returned in Athens. Regarding the achievement of a primary surplus and whether this "triggered developments" on the Greek debt, Rice reiterated that "Greece's European partners have agreed to go ahead with a debt relief if this is necessary, which would depend on how aligned Greece is to the implementation of the programme's pledges."

    He added this would mean that the debt to GDP ratio would fall to 124 percent in 2020 and significantly below 110 percent of by 2022. "If Greece implements the pledges of its programme, the Europeans have said they would help Greece," he pointed out.

    [04] Venizelos holds series of meetings in Belgrade

    BELGRADE (ANA-MPA/N.Pelpas)

    The start of the negotiations for Serbia accession to the EU will work as a catalyst for the whole region of the Balkans, Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos said on Tuesday after his meeting in Belgrade with Prime Minister Ivica Dacic.

    Venizelos as president of the EU Ministers Council is paying an official visit to West Balkans capitals from Tuesday to Friday.

    The Greek official pointed out that the Greek EU presidency's aim is to "maintain the rate of the negotiations by opening as many issues of the negotiations framework as possible".

    He reassured that Greece will continue to support Serbia's efforts towards its accession to the EU and after the end of its presidency, by offering support to the European institutions and knowhow.

    On biletaral issues, Venizelos said that the excellent relation between the two countries was confirmed adding that Greek investments in Serbia exceed 2 billion euros and that Greece, despite the crisis, remains a strong economic factor in the area.

    On his part the Serbian prime minister underlined that Serbia's target is the negotiations with the EU to have been completed by 2018 so that from 2020 Serbia would be ready to become a full member of the EU.

    Venizelos also met with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, the vice president of the Serbian government Aleksandar Vucic and the Serbian Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkic.

    On Tuesday afternoon, Venizelos will visit Montenegro where he will have a series of meetings with the country's political leadership.

    [05] FM Venizelos on case of NGO fraud against the state

    BELGRADE (ANA-MPA/N. Pelpas)

    Government Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Tuesday commented on a major fraud case against the Greek state involving a non-governmental organisation (NGO) and the foreign ministry, unveiled the previous day by Greek police.

    He said the case, in which the NGO was used as a front to extract state funding with the aid of foreign ministry officials, was "regrettable" and promised that the individuals involved will be removed if the charges are proved. Venizelos made the statements during a discussion with reporters shortly before his departure from Podgorica, his next stop in a tour of western Balkan capitals conducted in his capacity as chair of the EU Council.

    "It is now up to justice and the law. It is regrettable that diplomatic staff should be involved. If such a thing is proved, they shall be placed on suspension. There are always political responsibilities in these cases. I, however, would never oblige an employee to sign something, when he himself does not want to," Venizelos stressed.

    In a statement after arriving in Montenegro, the minister later clarified that his reference to "political responsibilities" did not concern former premier George Papandreou.

    "I am happy that there are so many PASOK officials, such as George Papandreou, Dimitris Dollis and Andreas Loverdos, who help to shed light on this case," he told reporters in Podgorica.

    According to a lengthy investigation by the financial police, the NGO had received nine million euros in funding between 2000 and 2004, ostensibly to clear mines in countries abroad, but without fulfilling the necessary criteria. The funds were disbursed with the assistance of foreign ministry officials, some of them still in active service and occupying key positions.

    [06] Development minister's schedule in Brussels Wed.-Thurs.

    Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis will be meeting in Brussels on Wednesday with the representatives of the Alliance for a Competitive European Industry, formed by 11 major European industry sector associations and BusinessEurope, a social partner representing businesses in the Europe.

    The industries represented include cars, chemicals, cement, paper, food/beverages, textiles/clothing, iron/steel and oil refining.

    Hatzidakis will also be meeting in Brussels with EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn and Israel's Economy Minister Naftali Bennett.

    On Thursday he will chair the session of the EU's Competitiveness Council, whose main topic on the agenda is the competitiveness of European industry, an issue also on the agenda of the European Council to be held on March 20-21.

    [07] Adm.Reform Ministry initiates pilot activities to simplify licence issuing

    The Administrative Reform Ministry is initiating pilot activities that contribute to the simplification of licensing systems, beginning with 25 licensing procedures for specific small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

    Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis's initiatives are harmonized with the framework law to clampdown bureaucracy in business licence issuing presented on Monday by Competitiveness and Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis in the presence of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

    [08] Temporary shutdown of EOPYY clinics is a result of doctors'strike, Georgiadis says

    The decision for the temporary shutdown of the National Organization for the Provision of Healthcare Services (EOPYY) clinics is a result of the doctors' ongoing three-month strike, Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis said on Tuesday.

    "This process was rendered inevitable as a result of their own actions," Georgiadis told ANT1 radio station adding that according to initial plans the reorganization would take place while clinics were still in operation.

    Georgiadis apologized to EOPYY insured members for the trouble of the last three months and added that conditions in health care provision would be difficult for one more month "so that in the future we can have a system that actually works."

    Georgiadis also talked on SKAI TV and said that even uninsured citizens will have access to the new EOPYY clinics.

    He said that the new organizational planning and the mergers of the units would be implemented in six months, while the aim is to have at least one clinic in each municipality.

    "By incorporating them into the National Healthcare System (ESY) we will be able to finance these clinics with EU funds and replace laboratory equipment," he added.

    According to Georgiadis, 85 percent of the EOPYY units have been handed over by doctors. The minister called the managers of the rest of the units to hand them over to tripartite EOPYY committees.

    Late on Monday night, the law for the new Primary National Health Service, which will turn EOPYY into a procurer of health services and bring all primary care outlets under the National Health System (ESY), was published in the Government Gazette, making the law effective immediately.

    It will affect 8,599 staff at EOPYY branches, who will be placed on a mobility scheme, leading to transfers or gradual layoffs.

    [09] Doctors started handing over EOPYY clinics

    The National Organization for the Provision of Healthcare Services (EOPYY) clinics officially closed down on Tuesday for a provisional period (according to the government they will reopen on March 18) and with its 8,500 doctors and employees being placed under the availability-mobility scheme.

    Late on Monday, the law for the new Primary National Health Service, which will turn EOPYY into a procurer of health services and bring all primary care outlets under the National Health System (ESY), was published in the Government Gazette, making the law effective immediately.

    According to data from EOPYY doctors' associations, the majority of clinics have been handed over to authorities, while protests have been taking place at 15 units in different parts of the country, hindering the inspection of the premises and the recording of the equipment and the medical supplies.

    Doctors are now concerned at the way they will be incorporated in the new health entity, as they have to submit an application within seven days and choose between working in public health care or working out of their private offices.

    Doctors are reacting, claiming the statement they have been asked to sign was binding and deprived them of the right to use legal means.

    [10] Health minister to meet with PASOK delegation to discuss primary health-care law

    Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis will receive a Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) delegation at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, to discuss specific proposals on the application of the new primary health care law.

    The proposals aim at offering citizens more effective services in general and during the transitional one-month period that the system will remain shut down to reorganise.

    [11] PAME labour union holds rally in Omonia Square

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Dimitris Koutsoubas, addressing a rally held by the party's affiliated labour union PAME in Omonia Square in downtown Athens on Tuesday on health, said that "no health unit must close, no worker or health official must be laid off and, of course, full free medical and pharmaceutical care must be secured for all the people".

    Representing doctors working for the National Organisation for the Provision of Health Services (EOPYY), Dr. Vassilis Topalianidis criticised the main unions of the private and public sectors (GSEE and ADEDY, respectively), as well as main opposition SYRIZA for supporting the coexistence of both public and private health sectors.

    The rally in Omonia Square, in which hundreds of PAME members participated, was followed by a march to the Health ministry.

    [12] Agriculture minister presents Greek presidency's work program to EU ministers

    Agriculture Minister Athanassios Tsaftaris chaired a meeting of the EU Agriculture Ministers Council and presented the work programme of the Greek presidency, information and promotional measures of agricultural products and issues regarding the impact from the African swine fever outbreak in Lithuania.

    The Council held a policy debate on the information provision and promotional measures of agricultural products. Most member states said they were in favour of information provision and promotion of agricultural products in the internal market and the third countries, the maintaining of national co-financing and the involvement of member states in the process of selecting promotion programmes and the extension of the scope of products covered.

    On the consequences from the outbreak of the African swine fever in Lithuania, the delegations of Lithuania and Poland briefed the council on the disease cases and asked the Commission to continue efforts to prevent its spread.

    [13] PM meets Piraeus mayor, expresses support for his re-election

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Tuesday expressed his support for the re-election of current Piraeus Mayor Vassilis Michaloliakos, after a meeting held by the two men over lunch at a restaurant in Piraeus' Pasalimani waterfront district.

    After the meeting, Samaras described Michaloliakos as a "model" mayor that had managed to transform Piraeus during just one term, adding that "no one, of course, changes a successful mayor".

    "I don't know whether he will say yes or no. That is his own choice. I hope that he says yes for the good of Piraeus," the premier added.

    Michaloliakos refused to officially confirm his intention to run for re-election in statements to reporters, however, saying that the "clock in Piraeus will chime when the time is right. I will not declare the start of the pre-election campaign from now."

    [14] Greek President expresses doubts about Turkey's stance on Cyprus issue

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday expressed doubts about Turkey's stance and its contribution to the new efforts now being launched by the island's two communities for a solution to the Cyprus issue.

    "I cannot see this road opening, even though we all hope that something will happen, but we cannot be the ones that essentially accept Ankara's demands," Papoulias said in statements as he received the mayor of the occupied Morphou, a town in northwest Cyprus.

    Morphou Mayor Christos Pittas, on his part, expressed his concerns regarding the negotiations seeking to find a solution to the 40-year division of the island republic, since its northern third was invaded and occupied by Turkish troops in 1974.

    "We see the other side being intransigent, being provocative. And this concerns us greatly, as much as a non-solution of our national problem, naturally," he said, while emphasising that "for us, no solution is not a solution. It leads with certainty to a catastrophic course."

    [15] Samaras government 'on its way out', SYRIZA leader Tsipras says

    The present government led by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is "on its way out," main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras asserted in an address read out at the Economist conference in Thessaloniki on Tuesday.

    The main opposition leader, who said that he was unable to attend the conference in person "due to circumstances beyond his control," claimed that the present government lacked the political legitimacy to bind the country to a new memorandum agreement and should seek to renew the popular mandate.

    "The Samaras-Venizelos government, which is exercising the EU presidency as the appointee of [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel, is asked by its partners to commit the country to a third, successive austerity memorandum. The Samaras government is on its way out and does not have the political legitimacy to commit the people and the country to a new memorandum, independent of its name. It must set the choices and the commitments before the judgement of the Greek people," he said.

    Tsipras said that the conference was taking place at time that was crucial for both Greece and Europe, with the latter now at a strategic dead-end as austerity policies destroyed not just democracy and social cohesion but also Europe's future.

    He said the May European Parliament elections were perhaps the most crucial in the EU's history, creating new political correlations for dealing with the crisis.

    "In the Euro-elections in May, through the vote of its citizens, Europe must emerge - and it will emerge - from the long night of neoliberalism and austerity. It must emerge once more into the light of democracy," Tsipras stressed.

    [16] FinMin to meet Central Macedonia MPs within the next days to discuss farmers' issue

    Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras will meet with MPs for Central Macedonia within the next days, given that the minister is expected to return from Brussels on Tuesday night.

    The deputies and Stournaras will discuss the farmers taxation issue.

    Northern Greek farmers at Kouloura roadblock on Egnatia highway expect that the meeting will have a positive outcome for them so that they can decide to end their mobilizations.

    [17] SYRIZA calls for ample light to be shed on last 15 years' subsidies to NGOs

    The main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) on Tuesday called for ample light to be shed on the subsidies received by non-governmental organisations in the past 15 years and stressed that justice must be allowed to complete its task unimpeded. The party made the announcement following revelations concerning an investigation into the activities of the Greek NGO "International Mine-Clearing Centre".

    SYRIZA stressed that this scandal had not come out of the blue but was the tip of the iceberg concerning a series of untransparent subsidies amounting to hundreds of millions of euros, in a system of political patronage and taking care of "our guys" that two-party rule had maintained for years.

    Lastly, SYRIZA's announcement stressed that at a time when the social state was being torn apart and prior to the pretext of the memorandums, the PASOK and New Democracy governments had elected to loot public property and share it out among their friends.

    [18] Shipping Minister on Thessaloniki port

    The Shipping Ministry is still awaiting for the proposal of the country's privatization agency TAIPED on the development of Thessaloniki's port, Shipping Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis said on Tuesday.

    "TAIPED has not yet come up with a specific proposal to the ministry on how it intends to proceed with the development of the Thessaloniki port. We are open to dialogue, we are not hiding [...] The state-depended development model has eradicated and the new generation wants more international cooperation and competitiveness," Varvitsiotis said at an Economist conference in Thessaloniki.

    On the sidelines of the conference, he said he would prefer a different model for the development of Thessaloniki port compared to Piraeus, clarifying that the final decision lies with TAIPED.

    "I have my own views on how the issue should proceed. I believe that the model should be different from that of Piraeus port," he said.

    Varvitsiotis said that he supported the government's decision on the "selling of the majority of Piraeus port shares. After Piraeus, our priority is to finalize the decisions on Thessaloniki port so that in 2014 we can proceed based on what the shareholder and the government have decided."

    He also added that a mechanism that would supervise the contracts for the ports was being set up in the ministry. Thessaloniki port is in the 'heart' of the city and not its outskirts and for that reason "it has a social role besides its social and economic dimension," he noted.

    "We must respect the opinion of Thessaloniki's institutions and entities on the way the port should be developed," he added.

    During his speech, he noted that a call for expression of interest for a majority stake in Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) would be submitted to Parliament for approval over the next few days.

    He added that last June the government "managed to plan the extension of the contract with Cosco on pier 3 of the OLP, which is still in the process of being approved by the European Commission."

    "Despite repeated attempts to curb the objections of the EU, we have not received the 'green light' to proceed with the investment," he said.

    Varvitsiotis added that "maritime transport is a top priority under the Greek presidency". He underlined the need for a comprehensive policy on European shipping instead of incoherent strategies by geographical region.

    "In case (in the EU) we adopt regional policies on shipping, there is a risk that a project will not just leave Piraeus to Rotterdam but to Asian countries," he said.

    He added the Greek presidency aimed at attracting more employees to shipping industry and with the prospect of having "7 million employees from 5.5 million in 2020 in Europe."

    Until recently, the minister added, Greece considered its ports as infrastructure, aiming at regional growth and the servicing of domestic trade.

    "During the last few years, this strategy has changed... Piraeus, which has turned from a regional port to one of European Union's hubs, is a characteristic example," he said.

    [19] PM and Piraeus mayor to meet, sources say

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is to meet Piraeus Mayor Vassilis Michaloliakos at a restaurant in the municipality's Pasalimani waterfront district to discuss works underway in the city, the upcoming local government elections and concessions of property owned by the municipality, sources said on Tuesday.

    [20] Greek foreign minister condemns terror attack in Egypt

    Government Vice-President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos condemned a terror attack on a busload of tourists in the Sinai peninsula in Egypt, which left four dead and many injured, in a statement released on Tuesday by the foreign ministry.

    Venizelos expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and his hopes for a rapid recovery of the injured.

    "Greece condemns every act of violence and terrorism and expresses its undivided support for the efforts to stabilise the political climate and establish a sense of security in the region," he emphasised.

    "The people of Egypt should know that, in these difficult times, the Greek people stand at their side," he added, while also highlighting Greece's strong interest in the protection of the St Catherine's Monastery in Sinai as a global religious and cultural heritage monument. The Sunday bomb attack targeting a tourist bus killed three South Koreans and an Egyptian, while 14 South Koreans were hurt. The bus was reported to be heading into Israel from St Catherine's monastery during the attack.

    [21] Court orders seizure of 2.5 million euros in armaments case

    Investigating magistrate Gavriel Mallis has ordered the seizure of 2.5 million euros in bank accounts of Panayiotis Efstathiou, a defendant in the case of the National Defence ministry's armaments programmes and a representative of the German STN ATLAS and Rheinmetal AG companies.

    According to the charges, the money is believed to be part of the amounts transferred through accounts held by Efstathiou for "beneficial payments" estimated to reach nearly 36 million euros in total.

    The 83-year-old defendant, who has testified and has been released on a 500,000-euro bail, is involved in both the procurement of the ASRAD anti-aircraft systems and in the case of submarine contracts. The investigator has also sent a summons for testimony to his wife, who is charged with money laundering, as she holds joint accounts with the defendant.

    Six former military officials are also expected to be called for testimony on charges related to the ASRAD system; they participated in committees that approved the specific purchase during the period in question.

    Swiss and German authorities are also showing interest in the armaments case, according to reports from judicial sources, in relation to an official at Swiss banks, Jean-Claude Oswald and his subordinate, Fanis Lyginos.

    The two are under suspicion for sending money abroad and eliminating the traces of these amounts as well. Lyginos was named recently by former deputy armaments procurements director Antonis Kantas, being held in custody, as a "key figure" in the transfers of illegal money. The names of the two bank employees have also been involved in the Siemens case, in which they have testified in the framework of the investigations of the Greek and German authorities.

    [22] Justice Minister tables amendment discharging convicts suffering from serious deseases

    Justice Minister Charalambos Athanassiou on Tuesday tabled an amendment in Parliament allowing the discharge of all convicts suffering from serious illnesses who are serving less than 10-year sentences.

    The bill includes illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, severe paralysis, cancer and AIDS, as well as those who have undergone heart or kidney transplants and have already served two-fifths of their sentences. The bill also applies to female convicts who are raising their underaged children in jail.

    The diseases must be diagnosed and certified by public health-care institutions, while the proposed legislation excludes convicts serving sentences in connection with terrorism, paedophilia, organized crime and embezzlement of public funds.

    [23] Golden Dawn asks the Council of State to lift block on party funding

    Extreme-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) on Tuesday filed a motion with the Council of State asking for the suspension and cancellation of a ministerial decision blocking state and private funding towards the party.

    Golden Dawn asked Council of State President Sotiris Rizos to order a temporary suspension of the ministerial decision on grounds it is unconstitutional, illegal and against the European Convention on Human Rights.

    The decision was decided jointly by the ministries of Finance, Interior and Justice on December 23, 2013.

    According to Golden Dawn, the party will suffer great financial damage as it will not receive 873,114 euros as part of their 2013 funding; the corresponding amount for 2014; and any funding for the oncoming European Parliament elections in May. Furthermore Golden Dawn stressed that they were unable to pay for social security of their staff and office rent in branches throughout the country.

    Golden Dawn's motion will be discussed by the Council of State plenum on April 4.

    [24] Preliminary investigation ordered on disciplinary liability of Korydallos supervising prosecutors

    Supreme Court prosecutor Efterpi Koutzamani has instructed Piraeus Appeals Court chief Evangelos Zaharis to carry out a preliminary investigation to probe the possibility of disciplinary offences by prosecutors supervising the Korydallos prison.

    The prosecutor's instruction was given on the occasion of a newspaper report (16.2.2014), according to which a meeting contravening regulations was held among individuals involved in the robbery taking place at Velvendo in Kozani in February 2013.

    According to the report, in September 2013 five anti-establishment inmates, were allowed by prosecutors to visit a fellow defendant of theirs who had been moved to the Korydallos prison hospital from the prison in Avlona.

    Moreover, according to the report, last summer an unsupervised meeting had allegedly been allowed at the lawyers' hall between members of the Cells of Fire with friends and family.

    [25] Bill on immigrant voting rights for local gov't elections passes Parliament committee

    Parliament's Committee on Public Administration, Public Order and Justice on Tuesday voted in favour of a bill facilitating the participation of persons with European citizenship in the oncoming local government elections.

    The bill excludes the participation of expatriates (Greek nationals residing abroad), legal immigrants without Greek nationality and citizens of countries-members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

    New Democracy (ND), Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) and Democratic Left (DIMAR) voted in favour of the proposed legislation while the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) declared "present".

    The bill was however criticised as it deprives expatriates of the right to vote in local elections, with Independent Greeks (ANEL) rapporteur Marina Chryssoveloni describing it as "a bill against expatriates" that equates expatriates with non-Greek immigrants.

    "Until now we had 20 laws and 42 regulatory decisions regarding legalisations. Now we have one law. Procedures are simplified. Work permits now have only one category, and we are abolishing 20 supporting documents," Interior Minister Yiannis Michelakis said and underlined that "we have more favorable conditions for immigrants' children."

    Michelakis noted that the government is tabling a bill that follows a Council of State decision and underlined that other issues related to the Citizenship Code will be covered by a future bill.

    [26] Gov't recalls decision over taxation on armed forces' allowance

    The government, by decision of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, is recalling a decision to tax the high-risk allowance for armed forces.

    Any deductions that have been made in the meantime will be returned to the beneficiaries.

    The prime minister ordered the relevant ministers to immediately settle the issue with a legislative act.

    [27] School guards protest underway

    School guards held a protest outside the Administrative Reform Ministry on Thursday against the government's mobility scheme, a few days before their 8-month suspension expires.

    Ministry sources said that the political leadership is not going to meet with a school guards delegation.

    Meanwhile, traffic on Vasilissis Sofias avenue where the relevant ministry is located is being carried out with difficulty.

    Main opposition SYRIZA MPs who joined the protest expressed their support to the school guards and promised to bring the issue to parliament for discussion.

    [28] PASOK MEP Koppa announces decision to leave party

    Europarliament PASOK deputy Marilena Koppa on Tuesday announced her decision to leave the party.

    "As of now I am not related to PASOK on an organizational level. I am still an independent Europarliament deputy in the Socialists and Democrats group," she said in a statement.

    Koppa expressed her intention to leave PASOK and join the Democratic Left (DIMAR) party in an interview to the Sunday edition of Eleftheros Typos.

    Financial News

    [29] Water airports to start operating in summer, Deputy Transport Minister says

    The first licences for the operation of water airports in Greece will be issued on Friday, Deputy Transport, Infrastructure and Networks Minister Michalis Papadopoulos said on Tuesday at an Economist conference in Thessaloniki, which is being held under the auspices of the Greek presidency of the EU.

    Papadopoulos said that the completion of the legislative framework opens the way for the issuance of permits, while the first flights are expected to start in early summer, improving coastal areas connectivity and acting as a growth engine for the islands, with knock-on benefits for the Greek economy.

    He also underlined the need for Greece to exploit its geographical position and become a hub of European transports.

    This requires the creation of modern infrastructure that would make the country more attractive to investments, while the strengthening of trade routes, the development of intermodal freight transport and logistics are also pivotal, he noted.

    In this context, the institutional framework for the issuance of permits, the facility areas and the management of all complex issues with emphasis on simplification is delivered to all involving parties for consultation. "Our efforts are aimed at establishing a competitive environment and sustainable development," he said.

    [30] Environment ministry speeds up water airports permit procedures

    Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Yiannis Maniatis on Tuesday met with Hellenic Seaplanes representatives to discuss the speeding up of the environmental permits issuing procedure regarding the creation of water airports throughout Greece.

    The aim is the setting up and development of water airports before the 2014 tourist season in order to improve connectivity of Greek coastal areas.

    "Our aim is that we, as a ministry and as a government, contribute significantly to the investment initiative so that the construction of water airports can enter its final stretch," Maniatis said, while pointing out the many benefits that they would arise, such as job creation, regional development, infrastructure development and networks, positive effects on tourism and boosting of domestic industry. Moreover, he pledged to a thorough examination of all requests.

    Hellenic Seaplanes president and CEO Nikolas Charalambous said that due to their strategic nature, these investments would create favourable investment climate for the development of isolated areas and were expected to provide opportunities and incentives for tourism investments in the wider areas of water airports.

    [31] Gov't on alert to support Greek heavy industry

    The Greek government has announced a series of initiatives in the heavy industries sector, trying to put a brake on a downward trend that would see the shutdown of companies and the sector's demise.

    Development and Competitiveness Minister Costis Hatzidakis is recommending the adoption of tax incentives for Greeks who want to carry out an energy upgrade of their homes that would support the Greek aluminium industry; aluminium officials have sent an alarm signal under the pressures of high energy expenditures that threaten some 7,000 companies and 30,000 workers in the country.

    Energy deputy minister Assimakis Papageorgiou on Wednesday will announce measures aimed to reduce energy costs for energy-consuming enterprises (steel industries, cement and aluminium, among others) while an inter-ministerial commission will meet on Friday, chaired by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, in an effort to find means of supporting Greek enterprises hit by a freeze in building activity and a sharp rise in energy cost. Market sources have said that the cost of averting the "death" of the Greek steel industry totals 100 million euros.

    Eleftherios Tafroglou, managing director of the Aluminium Association of Greece, addressing an industry event on Wednesday said that the energy cost for Greek industries soared by 30-40 pct for electricity and by 60 pct for natural gas compared with the European average, creating a huge comparative disadvantage for Greek industries and threatening the viability of enterprises and thousands of job positions. "A lack of intervention by the state to deal with the high energy cost problem hinders any effort made to find a way out through exports," Tefroglou added.

    Meanwhile, Hellenic Halyvourgia, owned by the Manessis family, announced the shutdown of its unit in Aspropyrgos and the layoff of 108 workers, a few days after Halyvourgiki announced it was placing in suspension of 200 out of its 263 workers in its production unit.

    [32] Decision for task force to expand Greek-Chinese cooperation in tourism

    Tourism minister Olga Kefalogianni and the new Chinese Ambassador in Athens Zou Xiaoli decided to set up a task force to expand Greek-Chinese cooperation in tourism, during their meeting at the Ministry of Tourism on Tuesday.

    During the meeting Kefalogianni stressed the major reforms carried out in Greece over the past two years and expressed the country's wish to further strengthen Greek-Chinese relations in the tourism industry, with mutual benefit.

    Among the issues discussed at the meeting was the issue of visas to Chinese citizens wishing to visit Greece, where Kefalogianni stressed a series of actions taken by the Greek government to speed up and simplify visa procedures for visitors from third countries.

    In the frame of improving tourism relations between the two countries, the Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) General Secretary Panos Livadas traveled to China for a special screening of the new Chinese film 'Beijing Love Story' featuring scenes shot on the Greek island of Santorini, with the support of the GNTO.

    The film was watched by 2,500,000 Chinese people on the first day of its release and broke Chinese box office records.

    [33] Development minister reveals proposal for tax incentives to boost aluminium industry

    Development and Competitiveness Minister Costis Hatzidakis on Tuesday proposed the introduction of tax incentives for home improvements as a means of supporting Greece's aluminium industry. Speaking at an event organised by the Aluminium Association of Greece, the minister also announced that the building materials sector will be singled out in the new 2014-2020 National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF), as one of eight key sectors for the recovery of Greece's economy, and thus be eligible for greater funding.

    The new NSRF will continue to finance the "Saving at Home" programme for improving building energy conservation and efficiency features, providing even more funds, he explained. In this context, Hatzidakis said he had also proposed tax incentives for improving energy efficiency as a way to support the construction sector and especially the aluminium industry.

    He said the measure would not further burden the state budget since the cost could be offset against heating benefits that were not absorbed, or households could opt to trade a heating benefit for the tax relief to carry out a home upgrade.

    On the issue of high energy costs for industry in general, Hatzidakis said that a interministerial committee for industrial policy had been set up and was due to undertake initiatives to reduce energy costs within the next few months.

    "We want to be an industry ministry with active industries in the country," he said.

    [34] Cephalonia puts a strong foot forward at international tourism fair in Milan

    The International Tourist Exhibition BIT 2014, held in Milan on February 13-15, gave a chance to the Ionian island of Cephalonia to highlight its tourist advantages at a pavillion on the islands region.

    Cephalonia, which recently went through a destructive series of earthquakes and aftershocks, was represented by officials of the municipality, the Federation of Rented Hostels of Cephalonia & Ithaki, and the Cephalonia Hoteliers Union.

    Representing the island, deputy mayor for tourism and culture Vangelis Kekatos told ANA-MPA that he and Greek National Tourism Organisation (EOT) director in Milan Kyriaki Boulasidou held important work meetings with travel officials of Europe and administrative officials of shipping companies as well as with the director of Grimaldi Lines, Fausto Di Niro, to examine the possibility of Cephalonia's coastal linkage with Italy.

    In addition, a work meeting took place with the mayor of Ischia Island, Giuseppe Ferrandino, in the framework of the signing of a twinning protocol between the two islands.

    At the same time, collaboration on a special cultural event to promote Cephalonia in Venice was scheduled between the head of the Greek Byzantine and Postbyzantine Studies Institute of Venice, Pantelis Papadopoulos, and professor of Ca' Foscari University, Evghenia Liosatou.

    [35] EIB's exposure to Greece totaled 16.6 bln euros in 2013, official says

    European Investment Bank's exposure to Greece totaled 16.6 billion euros, or around 9.1 pct of Greek GDP in 2013, Constantine Synadinos, head of the bank's credit department for Greece said on Tuesday.

    Addressing an Economist conference in Thessaloniki, Synadinos noted that EIB signed contracts worth 1.465 billion euros with Greece, with disbursements totaling 1.1 billion euros in 2013. He said that EIB has offered a significant help to the Greek economy, such as offering guarantees for supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises in the country.

    Synadinos said the Greek economy suffered from a significant liquidity problem and as a result the private sector often was unable to participate in co-funded projects by EIB. He noted that the situation in banking credit in Greece was problematic as the troika of Greece's lenders was pressuring for a deleverage of the banking system while Greek enterprises desperately needed liquidity.

    Synadinos said that EBI, following a share capital increase plan worth 10 billion euros, raised its lending in the EU by more than 40 pct in 2013 and he predicted that EIB will support investment projects worth up to 180 billion euros in the 2013-2015 period.

    [36] Cruise ship owners holds talks with Corinth officials on developing city's cruise market

    A delegation from the Association of Cruise Ship Owners and Associated Members visited the port facilities in Corinth on Tuesday, in order to be briefed by local authority officials and the port authorities on improvements underway, with a view to developing the Corinth cruise market.

    [37] Logistics sector hit by economic crisis in 2012, survey

    The logistics and transport sector was hit by a shrinking import and export business and a declining production due to the economic crisis in the country in 2012, with new orders falling significantly, a survey by Infobank Hellastat showed on Tuesday. The survey said that according to official statistics, the turnover index in the logistics sector fell by 4.8 pct in 2012.

    The logistics sector was hit mainly by customers' decision to lower their inventories and by a rising cost of fuel. A decline in revenue has been accompanied by liquidity problems because of delays in payments, a combination raising credit risks because of debt provisions and a limited access to bank credit, the survey said.

    Infobank Hellastat analyzed the financial reports of 253 enterprises in the sector. Total turnover fell 4.7 pct to 1.03 billion euros in 2012, with 55 pct of enterprises reporting lower sales. EBITDA fell 18 pct to 61.37 million euros, while pre-tax results showed a loss of 17 million euros. Average EBITDA was 6.2 pct.

    [38] Greek stocks end slightly lower

    Greek stocks ended slightly lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday with share prices moving in tight ranges as the market awaited for new directions. The composite index eased 0.15 pct to end at 1,274.94 points, after rising as much as 0.50 pct during the day. Turnover was an improved 64.99 million euros.

    The Large Cap index fell 0.28 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 1.26 pct higher. Intralot (2.83 pct), Hellenic Petroleum (1.84 pct), Alpha Bank (1.58 pct) and Korinth Pipeworks (1.55 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Jumbo (3.97 pct), Ellaktor (1.63 pct), Titan (1.56 pct) and Piraeus Port (1.26 pct) were top losers.

    The Media (5.25 pct), Health (2.13 pct) and Technology (1.89 pct) sectors were top gainers while Personal Products (2.69 pct), Insurance (2.0 pct) and Construction (1.33 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 78 to 66, with another 25 issues unchanged. Naftemporiki (29.86 pct), Fieratex (25.79 pct) and Kyriakoulis (21.29 pct) were top gainers while Dias Aquaculture (20 pct), G.E. Demetriou (17.14 pct) and Maillis (15.73 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -2.00%

    Industrial Products: Unchanged

    Commercial: -0.23%

    Construction: -1.33%

    Media: +5.25%

    Oil & Gas: +0.94%

    Personal & Household: -2.69%

    Raw Materials: +0.31%

    Travel & Leisure: +1.33%

    Technology: +1.89%

    Telecoms: -0.82%

    Banks: +0.63%

    Food & Beverages: -0.69%

    Health: +2.13%

    Utilities: +0.32%

    Financial Services: -0.90%

    Chemicals: +1.29%

    Real Estate: -0.59%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 0.70

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 11.07

    Coca Cola HBC: 19.30

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.18

    National Bank of Greece: 3.67

    Eurobank Properties : 7.95

    OPAP: 10.40

    OTE: 12.15

    Piraeus Bank: 1.93

    Titan: 23.38

    [39] ADEX closing report

    The February contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading around its fair value in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover rising sharply to 82.217 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 37,360 contracts worth 77.869 million euros, with 52,149 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 6,765 contracts worth 4.348 million euros, with investment interest focusing on OTE's contracts (980), followed by Alpha Bank (628), National Bank (620), Piraeus Bank (693), MIG (683), PPC (912), OPAP (413), Mytilineos (588), Hellenic Petroleum (165), GEK (115), Intralot (327), Motor Oil (54) and Terna Energy (50).

    [40] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds rose slightly to 5.92 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, from 5.87 pct the previous day, with the Greek bond yielding 7.59 pct and the German Bund 1.67 pct. Turnover was a thin 2.0 million euros, all sell orders.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 0.547 pct, the nine-month rate was 0.468 pct, the six-month rate was 0.386 pct, the three-month rate was 0.287 pct and the one-month rate eased to 0.224 pct from 0.251 pct.

    [41] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.393

    Pound sterling 0.835

    Danish kroner 7.573

    Swedish kroner 9.055

    Japanese yen 142.88

    Swiss franc 1.240

    Norwegian kroner 8.468

    Canadian dollar 1.528

    Australian dollar 1.544

    General News

    [42] Greeks pessimistic about EU's future but positive about union, euro

    Greek citizens polled as the most pessimistic about the future of the European Union, believing it is heading in the wrong direction, according to a Eurobarometer poll released on Tuesday by the European Commission.

    The poll, conducted in November 2013, shows that Greeks and Cypriots share a negative image of the EU (both polled at 54 percent on an EU average of 28 pct, followed by the Portuguese and the British (both 39 pct). Conversely Bulgarians (49 pct) and Polish (45 pct) have the most positive opinion.

    They also are very pessimistic about the future of the EU (69 pct versus EU average of 28.43 pct) and strongly believe that the EU is heading in the wrong direction (72 pct versus 47 pct average). They also blame the EU for the austerity affecting Europe (79 pct versus 63 pct).

    Conversely, Greeks have a very positive opinion on the European Monetary Union and the euro (62 pct, over 52 pct in the EU) and greatly appreciate both the free movement of European citizens, goods and services (62 pct) and the achievement of peace (53 pct).

    The highest rates of approval of the EMU and the euro are given by Luxembourg (79 pct) and Slovakia (78 pct) while the lowest are given by Great Britain (19 pct) and Sweden (23 pct).

    The Greeks still want a common foreign policy (69 pct) and a common defense policy and security (71 pct) but seem rather skeptical about a further enlargement of the EU (51 pct).

    They don't trust the Greek government (87 pct) or the Parliament (86 pct) but they are also negative towards the institution of the EU (77 pct vs. 58 pct which is the average among the 28 members) and towards individual institutions.

    A great dissatisfaction is expressed on the economic situation of Greece (98 pct vs. 68 pct in the Eu) while Cypriots (87 pct) along with Greeks (71 pct) believe that the worst is yet to come.

    Cypriots and Greeks do not see themselves as EU citizens (75 pct and 72 pct respectively, compared with 52 pct as the European average), and they do not feel that their interests are well represented in the EU (85 pct and 83 pct respectively, on 53 pct EU average).

    [43] Protesting farmers prepare for rally in Athens on Wednesday

    Groups of protesting farmers from areas throughout Greece were making feverish preparations for the organisation of a rally planned in Vathy Square in central Athens on Wednesday afternoon. Based on the organiser's estimates, they expect a large turnout for the 13:00 rally, not just by farmers but also other groups of disaffected workers.

    According to the head of the farmers' nationwide roadblocks committee Maroudas Rizos, he expected farmers to come to Athens from northern Greece, Thessaly and even as far away as Crete, with at least 30 buses already laid on to carry protestors from Thessaly alone. The organisers also warned that Wednesday's rally may not be the last protest action.

    Meanwhile, farmers in the Peloponnese have taken a tougher stance and called for a rally at the Nestani road tolls on the Korinthos-Kalamata highway for Friday.

    The coordination committees of Peloponnese farmers' roadblocks, which decided to escalate protests, met in Tripolis and issued a common resolution that included five demands.

    In Central Greece, the police have extended the duration of detours around farmers' protests and roadblocks around Larissa until Sunday.

    Farmers object to new tax laws, demanding a higher tax-free allowance of around 20,000 euros a year. They also object to a requirement that they keep detailed accounts of their income and spending, saying that this requirement should be dropped for farms with a turnover less than 40,000 euros a year. Other demands related to tax-relief on fuel and cut-price power rates for farms, abolition of VAT on agricultural machinery and supplies, abolition of direct and indirect restrictions on production imposed by the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and other measures to lower their costs.

    Talks between farmers and Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras broke down last week, with the minister stating that the farmers' demands had been met by the improvements already made to the draft tax bill and farmers claiming they had come away from the talks empty-handed.

    [44] Peloponnese farmers escalate protests

    Peloponnese farmers have taken a tougher stance against the government and have called for a rally at Nestani tolls on the Korinthos-Kalamata highway for Friday.

    The coordination committees of Peloponnese farmers' roadblocks, that decided to escalate protests, met in Tripolis and issued a common resolution that includes five demands.

    Farmers are asking for the withdrawal of the new taxation law, interventions in production costs, the annulment of taxation on fields, the freezing of farmers' debts for three years and the withdrawal of the measure that extends the shelf-life for fresh milk from 5 to 7-10 days.

    In Central Greece, police has extended until Sunday 23 February the traffic measures taken around Larissa so that drivers can find alternative routes and avoid farmers' protests and roadblocks.

    [45] Onassis Foundation presents final studies for the project "Rethink Athens"

    The 33 final studies for the "Rethink Athens" project, which calls for a radical overhaul and redevelopment of the city centre, will be accessible to the general public from Wednesday. The studies will be shown in the Arsakeio Arcade (or Orpheus Arcade as it is more commonly known) and help to ''revive'' 19 currently empty stores in the arcade. The exhibit, which will run until March 10, marks the completion of final studies and their delivery to the state and citizens of Athens.

    The exhibit is entitled 'Rethink Athens: The center of Athens - the final studies' and is organized by the Onassis Foundation. Visitors will have the opportunity to find out about the project, which centres on Panepistimiou Avenue, through 42 special issues, twelve video walls, press kits, photoimaging and architectural designs.

    "In this space, the definitive studies are not just exhibited but also invite the audience to participate in a vision for the city, in the constant condition of the active citizen who does not abandon the city but returns to it," stressed Onassis Foundation board chairman Antonis Papadimitriou at a press conference.

    "These studies are not unilateral but innovative on a European level, specifically in the direction of reconstructing public space, which is transformed from an area for the transit of cars to a destination for residents," said NTUA's Prof. Panagiotis Tournikiotis, who was responsible for the scientific oversight of the exhibit.

    The studies presented in the exhibit are exposed in thematic sections on: Accessibility and streetscapes, the details of the architectural design, static design, electromechanical design, architecture of streetscapes, strategy for green spaces, urban equipment, water strategy and water features, remembering old Athens, environmental impact studies and the bioclimatic study.

    The spaces presenting the exhibit will host lectures and other events, whose programme will be available on the website of ?Rethink Athens? (www.rethinkathens.org).

    The project 'Rethink Athens' aims to reconstruct the centre of Athens by 'reshaping' Panepistimiou Avenue and surrounding streets. Amalias Avenue, Panepistimiou avenue and the streets and squares up to Omonia Square, as well as Patission Street up to the level of the Archaeological Museum, are to be redeveloped and pedestrianised based on the plans unveiled.

    'Rethink Athens: The center of Athens - the final studies' will be open daily from 9 am to 9 pm.

    [46] Crete signs agreement with Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature

    The Region of Crete on Tuesday announced the signing of a cooperation memorandum with the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature (HSPN), a national coordinator of "Blue Flags" and "Green Key" environmental and tourism programmes.

    "It is the first time that we managed to connect all agencies under the Region's umbrella in order to highlight the island's comparative advantages -sea, nature and culture - with respect for the environment and rational natural resources management," Regional governor Stavros Arnaoutakis said.

    HSPN General Secretary Leonidas Kollas also addressed the event. "The Region of Crete is the first region in Greece with which we have proceeded with this important cooperation; other regions of the country will soon follow," he said.

    [47] Archimandrite's murder solved

    Police solved the case of a 54 year-old archimandrite's murder in Chora Trifillias, southern Greece, as it was announced on Tuesday.

    The archimandrite was found murdered at his home on Sunday morning, after not showing up at the church for the mass.

    A 24 year-old man from Georgia and a 18 year-old local confessed the crime.

    The two men said that they went to the victim's house on Saturday evening and asked for money in order to go to watch kart races. The archimandrite said he did not have any money and argued with the Georgian. Afterwards, the Georgian hit the victim on the head with an iron glove and then strangled him with his shirt.

    [48] Police detains Turkish political refugee allegedly involved in explosion, after his testimony

    The police announced on Tuesday that a Turkish political refugee will be remanded in custody after his testimony before a Thessaloniki examining magistrate.

    The man, arrested last week on an arrest warrant issued last year, is allegedly involved in an explosion in October 2011 at an apartment in the suburb of Triandria in Thessaloniki, where a 32-years-old Kurd lost his life and where the police found heavy weaponry and explosives.

    In his testimony the man denied all charges and stressed that the only incriminating evidence against him is some pamphlets that the police found in his apartment which were similar to the ones found in the apartment in Triandria. He also testified that he is not related to any acts by the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), a party that the Turkish authorities have classified as a terrorist group.

    "My political actions are legal and known," he said in his testimony, adding that he is active in the Solidarity Committee for Political Prisoners in Turkey and Kurdistan. He also stressed that he has been living in Greece for many years under political asylum. The examining magistrate was not convinced, however, by his testimony and ordered his detention.

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), in a resolution of support, asked for his immediate release and for his exoneration and expressed its solidarity towards all political refugees. Solidarity to the man was also expressed in an announcement by the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist).

    [49] Sudden mist in Piraeus port has not disrupted ship traffic, navigators report

    The thick mist that suddenly descended and reduced visibility in the port of Piraeus on Tuesday evening has not disrupted traffic into and out of the port, navigators said in statements to the ANA-MPA. They said the phenomenon was the result of a sudden downward movement of warm air masses in the area.

    "It is a phenomenon that will dissipate quickly, while there are no particular problems for the movement of ships," navigators said but warned that greater care was needed and ship captains must adhere faithfully to codes for avoiding collisions.

    [50] Authority against money laundering presents scathing report to Parliament

    Mayors, doctors in the National Health System (ESY), referees and journalists are some of the professionals represented on a list turned over to Parliament's Committee of Institutions and Transparency on Tuesday by the Authority for Fighting Money Laundering.

    According to the Authority's report, which pertains to 2013, a total of 413 cases have been turned over to justice over false tax returns, with local government officials leading tax evaders, followed by ESY doctors.

    Authority head Panagiotis Nikoloudis spoke in the report of "a special kind of organised criminal activity," "criminal behaviour" and "a phenomenon of ravaging the banks from inside." He also spoke of "difficulties in order to cull data and information from banks being checked which exposes their administration."

    The so-called Nikoloudis list also mentions but does not name individually 75 cases of mayors, 6 of regional directors, 62 hospital doctors, 48 presidents of agencies, 37 members of examination evaluation committees, 18 journalists, and 7 referees of professional sports.

    [51] Deaths from flu rise to 43

    The death toll as a result of this year's flu outbreak had reached 43 by Tuesday, while 61 patients were being treated in hospital intensive care units (ICUs). A total of 156 people have been hospitalised in intensive care units for influenza since the start of the outbreak, according to the Centre for the Control and Prevention of Diseases (KEELPNO).

    KEELPNO advised those belonging to vulnerable groups to be vaccinated against the flu and take anti-viral medication when the first flu-like symptoms appear.

    According to scientists, the percentage of those vaccinated against the flu that belong to vulnerable groups is 30 pct in Greece, while in other countries of Europe the same percentage reaches 70 pct.

    KEELPNO President Jeny Kourea-Kremastinou stated that one of the reasons that led to this year's outbreak of influenza was a lack of public awareness of the dangers.

    [52] Coast Guard pulls up another three bodies, two of them children, from Farmakonissi wreck

    The Coast Guard on Tuesday pulled out another three bodies from the boat that sank off Farmakonissi, north of Kalymnos in the Eastern Aegean, on January 19 involving undocumented migrants, some of whom had drowned when their boat capsized.

    The bodies were pulled up in the presence of an investigating magistrate from Kos and high-level Coast Guard officers, and were transported to Rhodes for autopsies: they are of a woman around 30 years of age and two boys, one around 10 years of age and another, 1-2 years old.

    Resting at 73 metres deep, the boat was also pulled up with the help of the frigate "Thetis" and will be taken to Leros island.

    Sixteen people had been rescued off it before it capsized under unknown circumstances; 8 children and 3 women lost their lives during the operation.

    The Greek Council on Refugees has been notified of Tuesday's events by request of Shipping Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis.

    [53] EU heads of national organisations of medicines meet in Athens

    The two-day proceedings of the 75th meeting of the heads of the National Organizations of Medicines opened on Tuesday at Zappeion Hall in downtown Athens.

    The meeting was organized in collaboration with the ministry of Health, under the Greek Presidency of the European Union.

    The representatives of EU agencies will focus on the coordination and harmonization of relevant policies in the European Union, on taking decisions and on reaching consensus on strategic issues relating to the European Medicines Regulatory Network.

    [54] Police officer arrested for drug dealing

    Preveza examining magistrate issued an arrest warrant against a police officer for drug dealing. The police officer had been suspended for another case.

    Igoumenitsa Drugs Squad carried out a tip-off organized operation on Friday 8 February at Valtos beach in Parga, where the drugs had been transferred by boat from Albania. Police seized 19 bags with drugs and arrested two Albanians and two Greeks while one man of Albanian nationality managed to escape. The owner of the boat was arrested in Athens.

    [55] Achilleion palace's sculptures declared monuments

    The sixty-one marble sculptures that adorn the halls, the terraces and gardens of Achilleion palace on Corfu were declared monuments by the Central Council of Modern Monuments.

    The majority of frescos, busts and statues created by noted or unknown sculptors of the 19th century are copies of work of arts that are kept at the Archaeological Museum of Naples and several museums in Rome.

    Most of the sculptures are at the same positions where Empress Elisabeth (Sissy) of Austria who was the first owner of Achilleion has placed them.

    To most famous of all the sculptures is "Dying Achilles" created by Ernst Gustav Herter in 1884. The sculpture was the Empress' personal order to Herter and was initially placed at the Imperial Summer Palace in Vienna.

    The construction of the palace started in 1889 and was completed in 1891.

    Paintings, photographs, engravings, furniture, clocks and china are also included in Achilleion's movable works of art, however, the sculptures are considered the most important artworks of the palace.

    [56] Greek-owned freighter rescues 125 migrants northeast of Tripoli, Libya

    The Greek-owned freighter "Rizopon" rescued 125 migrants who were on a boat in danger northeast of Tripoli off the Libyan coast, following an order by Rome's Search and Rescue Centre. Two migrants were found dead.

    The ship was due to drop off the foreign nationals at the port of its final destination - Augusta in Italy - on Tuesday afternoon.

    [57] Carnival events in Piraeus start on Saturday

    Carnival will open on Saturday at the municipality of Pireaus with a series of events including concerts, kite flying and traditional feasts.

    The traditional fly of the kite will be held on Ash Monday (March 3) on Freattyda beach.

    Weather forecast

    [58] Overcast on Wednesday

    Fair weather, high temperatures and northerly winds are forecast for Wednesday. Wind velocity will reach 6 on the Beaufort scale. Scattered clouds in the northern parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 6C-18C. Fair in the central parts and in the south, 7C-22C. Sunny over the islands, 11C-19C. Fair in Athens, 6C-20C.Scattered clouds in Thessaloniki, 5C-16C.

    [59] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies

    AVGHI: (Main opposition) SYRIZA: Our duty to win in May's elections.

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) landmines explode.

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: The landmines of NGO that made fortunes explode.

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: 9 million euro fraud by former Prime Minister George Papandreou's confidant.

    ESTIA: Bureaucracy's clampdown.

    ETHNOS: The secrets for the tax return statement.

    IMERISSIA: The way opens for the disbursement of the 8.8 billion euro tranche.

    KATHIMERINI: Business to take licences within 24 hours.

    LOGOS: Three programmes for 27,713 unemployed.

    NAFTEMPORIKI: Ambition 'battle plan' against bureaucracy.

    RIZOSPASTIS: People must block the way to government's plans for Health.

    TA NEA: The traps of the new tax return statement

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