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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 14-03-26

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

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

Wednesday, 26 March 2014 Issue No: 4618

CONTENTS

  • [01] In a few years Greece will be stronger than ever, PM Samaras tells Greek retired Reservists of Australia
  • [02] President Papoulias attends 'March 25' military parade in Athens
  • [03] US President Obama's message for Greece Independence Day
  • [04] Greek-American community celebrates March 25 national day
  • [05] Interior minister sends people's unity message on national anniversary
  • [06] Greece needs to draw on symbolism of March 25, Defence minister says on anniversary
  • [07] Public Order minister's statement on March 25th anniversary
  • [08] ND message on the March 25 national anniversary
  • [09] KKE party leader says 1821 revolution valuable heritage for people
  • [10] The anniversary symbolizes the hope for a better future, DIMAR said
  • [11] Deputy FM Gerontopoulos' meetings in Melbourne
  • [12] Deputy FM Gerontopoulos holds press conference in Australia
  • [13] Gov't VP Venizelos on the public debt's sustainability
  • [14] Tsipras asks that the full text of government-troika agreement be submitted to Parliament
  • [15] MPs will be convinced to support milk reforms 'once they have all the details,' gov't spokesman says
  • [16] Charakopoulos optimistic on breaking the deadlock on the issue of milk
  • [17] Pharmacists announce indefinite strike from March 26
  • [18] Health ministry hopes for 'logic and calmness' to prevail among pharmacists
  • [19] Flu death toll reaches 110; doctors blame lack of effective vaccination policy
  • [20] SYRIZA on the number of influenza deaths
  • [21] Education Minister Arvanitopoulos visits the Ecumenical Patriarchate
  • [22] Venezuelan deputies' delegation visits KKE party headquarters
  • [23] KKE party leader signs condolences book at Cyprus Embassy
  • [24] German president gives interview on his apology to Greece over Nazi atrocities
  • [25] Greece granted asylum in 3.8 pct of applications considered in 2013, Eurostat report shows
  • [26] Nearly one third of Greeks admit to purchases involving suspected undeclared labour in Eurobarometer survey
  • [27] European governments should have not let Greece fall into the troika trap, French Green MEP Jose Bove says
  • [28] Parliament president to inaugurate EUROLAT plenary session
  • [29] Greek President Papoulias to meet with Pope Francis on Friday in Rome
  • [30] Greece reports 2.063-bln-euro primary surplus in Jan-Feb
  • [31] General Accounting Office decides on beneficiaries to receive social dividend
  • [32] KKE comments on distribution of primary surplus dividend
  • [33] SYRIZA on the BoG code of conduct in managing unserviced loans
  • [34] Greek current account deficit down in January
  • [35] Tourism Minister Kefalogianni to visit Paris
  • [36] Greece expects improved offer for Hellinikon by Wed., March 26
  • [37] Online voting for 'Greek Product' label to resume on Monday
  • [38] Two major data management conferences are being held in Athens on March 24-28
  • [39] Piraeus Bank launches international book-building for share capital increase
  • [40] Thrace Plastics reports lower profits, higher sales in 2013
  • [41] Greek stocks end moderately lower
  • [42] Greek bond market closing report
  • [43] ADEX closing report
  • [44] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [45] Justice minister expresses sympathy for murder of prison police sergeant
  • [46] Fire in Russian embassy vehicle
  • [47] Istanbul Greeks express 'profound regret' over Lakis Vigas' resignation
  • [48] Six in 10 Greeks never exercise, Eurobarometer polls finds
  • [49] Police defuses makeshift explosive device outside Korydallos' Tax Bureau
  • [50] Velvendo residents vote against local elections
  • [51] Cloudy on Wednesday
  • [52] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] In a few years Greece will be stronger than ever, PM Samaras tells Greek retired Reservists of Australia

    MELBOURNE (ANA-MPA/S. Hatzimanolis)

    On the 200-year anniversary of Greece's Independence, the country will be more stable, more prosperous, more competitive and stronger than ever, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told Greek retired Reservists of Australia, on the occasion of the March 25th anniversary.

    Samaras noted among others that he has spent some years with Greeks of the Diaspora.

    "I have visited the Greeks of Australia," he said, "a country with which we have the best relations - and I often meet with your representatives. I feel, we all feel, your love for Greece. As I am aware, we all are aware of your creativity...

    I have always been puzzled why Greeks of the Diaspora show such dynamism while they languish at home. So today, we are changing our country! We are building a new Greece, where Greeks will showcase their talents and creativity, just as they do everywhere in the world."

    Greece was reborn in 1821 after centuries of slavery. And now it is being reborn through the most severe crisis of the last decades, the prime minister said.

    "Today we lay the foundations so that Greece can very soon make you even prouder. In a very few years, on the 200-year anniversary of our Independence, our country will be stable, more prosperous, more competitive and stronger than ever. This is not only my commitment. It is our duty," he said.

    Day by day we are giving this fight and day by day we are winning it. We know that we have you on our side. And we know that you, the Hellenism of abroad, are Greece's greatest power," he added.

    [02] President Papoulias attends 'March 25' military parade in Athens

    The military parade to celebrate the March 25 national anniversary came to an end at Syntagma Square in downtown Athens at noon on Tuesday, in the presence of President Karolos Papoulias and under tight security measures.

    Speaking after the end of the parade, President Papoulias praised the struggle made by the people for freedom 193 years ago and, referring to current developments in the country, said that "today, our people are waging a battle and a struggle to break the ring of the lenders and this struggle shall be victorious."

    Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said on his part that "we convey a message of strength, a message of peace. Greece has passed the worst. Let us struggle for the better things that are coming".

    Parliament President Evangelos Meimarakis said "we are leaving behind Greece of misery and of the bailout memorandums with steadfast steps."

    [03] US President Obama's message for Greece Independence Day

    The United States offers its continued support to Greece, a valued NATO ally, which is taking "tough action to rebuild its economy and bring relief to the Greek people," United States President Barack Obama said on Monday, in a proclamation honouring Greek Independence Day on March 25.

    In his message titled "Greek Independence Day: A National Day of Celebration of Greek and American Democracy," Obama said that "Greek antiquity has inspired generations, from writers and activists to architects and inventors" and forged deep ties between the two countries, which share democratic ideals.

    "Greece is a valued NATO ally, and our friendship remains as strong as ever," the US president said. "As Greece takes tough action to rebuild its economy and bring relief to the Greek people, the United States offers our continued support. Today, let us reaffirm a bond that extends beyond government, connects our peoples, and inspires all who strive to choose their own destiny," he added.

    Almost two centuries ago, he said, "the people of Greece laid claim to their independence and began a long struggle to restore democracy to its birthplace. Greek Americans crossed oceans to fight for the freedom of their ancestral homeland, and through two World Wars and a Cold War, Greece and the United States stood side-by-side. On Greek Independence Day, we honour the deep connections between our two nations and celebrate the democratic ideals at the heart of our shared history."

    [04] Greek-American community celebrates March 25 national day

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)

    The Greek national independence day of March 25 was celebrated by the Greek-American community, as well as U.S. officials, with school parades already held in a number of cities, while others are scheduled for next or the following Sunday.

    The customary main parade will be held on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue on Sunday, March 30.

    Events and special ceremonies to celebrate the independence anniversary of the Greek uprising against the Turkish rule in 1821 were held in a number of schools, while a special event will be held here on Tuesday evening at the New York City Hall.

    [05] Interior minister sends people's unity message on national anniversary

    Interior Minister Yiannis Mihelakis, representing the government at March 25 national anniversary celebrations in Corfu on Tuesday, said "we have a double celebration today. We have the Evangelismou celebration and the anniversary of the national regeneration".

    The minister added that "it is not by chance that two great national anniversaries in this country are for the start of a struggle, they are not for some great victory. And the greatest victory is the start of the struggles for national independence and freedom. And the message we could get from the present day is unity of the people to be able to struggle again so that the country will come again to the position it deserves".

    [06] Greece needs to draw on symbolism of March 25, Defence minister says on anniversary

    The anniversary of Greek Independence on March 25 "acts mostly primarily as a symbol and reminder of what a people can achieve with unity and concord, when circumstances warrant and the historic duty requires so," Minister of National Defence Dimitris Avramopoulos said on Monday in the order of the day.

    "During these critical times," he added, "Europe faces visible threats that undermine the idea of common European home and the principle of social cohesion and represent threats to democracy in Europe such as the rise of extremism, populism and, in some countries, fascism''.

    Europe's challenge today ''is to build a political structure that will embrace all the people of Europe and give real meaning to the values of progress, growth and social cohesion. A Europe worthy of its heritage and the struggles that European citizens went through for democracy and freedom. A Europe able to guarantee global stability and validity of international law," he said.

    The minister concluded by saying that Greece is at a similar critical junction as in 1821, when it declared independence, and is "called as a nation to overcome the challenges and difficulties and move to our homeland's reconstruction.'

    [07] Public Order minister's statement on March 25th anniversary

    March 25 is a national day of remembrance and honour for those who fought for the freedom and independence of Greece, Public Order Minister and Citizen Protection Nikos Dendias said in a statement.

    "It is a day which also gives us the opportunity to ponder and use the vision, supreme sacrifice and determination of our ancestors as examples," Dendias noted.

    "The success of the Revolution of 1821 amidst many adverse factors demonstrates that any national effort can have results when the collective and individual efforts converge to the pursuit of a common purpose," he said adding that "no objective can be achieved without sacrifice."

    Dendias underlined the importance of preserving national unity and not giving in to "preachers of division". "It is also known from our history that united we can achieve miracles," he stressed.

    The aim for a strong Greece can be achieved with unity and faith in the country's abilities, he said. "We owe it to those who fought for this country to be free, we owe it to ourselves and to our children," the minister concluded.

    [08] ND message on the March 25 national anniversary

    The March 25 dual celebration of the Feast of the Annunciation and the anniversary of the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Turks in 1821 sends out messages of faith, national self-confidence and national dignity, an announcement by the New Democracy (ND) press office underlined on Monday, noting that the lessons taught are on national freedom, economic recovery and social cohesion.

    "This is the struggle we are continuing with all our powers; the struggle to make Greece stand on its own feet and move forward again, free from past dysfunctions and optimistic about future prospects," the ND announcement noted. "United and determined, having faith in our country and confidence in the endless powers of our nation, we the Greeks can make it," it added.

    "We have proved this many times in our centuries-old history. We are proving it now as well. Our country is exiting the crisis for good, to become stronger than ever. Greece is winning the future it deserves," the ND announcement concluded.

    [09] KKE party leader says 1821 revolution valuable heritage for people

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Central Committee Secretary General Dimitris Koutsoumbas, in a statement made on Tuesday on the occasion of the March 25 national anniversary, said that "festive speeches for the country and the nation are more than enough these days. The struggle for the prosperity of the people is national and patriotic however, it is not the submission to the modern 'Holy Alliance of Metternich', meaning the dictatorship of the monopolies, the EU, that contributed to the economic crisis and the present misery of our people that fill the Aegean with grey zones, increase Turkish aggression, promote new Annan plans for the Cyprus issue, involve our people in new ordeals".

    Lastly, Koutsoumbas said that "the revolution of 1821, like the great National Resistance and the heroic-leading moments of the class struggle throughout the entire decade of 1940 constitute a valuable heritage for the people and our country's youth".

    [10] The anniversary symbolizes the hope for a better future, DIMAR said

    The anniversary symbolizes the hope for a better future, the Democratic Left (DIMAR) said in a statement on Monday on the occasion of the March 25 anniversary."Struggling to deal with the consequences of the economic crisis is a struggle for the dignity of the country and its people. It is a guarantee for social cohesion and the future of the new generation," DIMAR said.

    [11] Deputy FM Gerontopoulos' meetings in Melbourne

    Deputy Foreign Minister Kyriakos Gerontopoulos on Monday met with Bishop Ezekiel of Dervis in Melbourne, followed by a visit in two of the city's Greek community schools, in the framework of his four-day visit in Australia which will conclude on March 26.

    Gerontopoulos was also received by Greek Australian State MPs Giannis Pantazopoulos, Tzeni Mikakou, Leonidas Tarlamis and Andreas Katos in the State Parliament of Victoria, after which he visited the Hellenic Museum and met with the board of Melbourne's Greek-Australian Chamber of Commerce (HACCI); talks focused on the enhancement of Greek-Australian commercial cooperation.

    The deputy minister also attended an event dedicated to the Greek Independence Day anniversary of March 25 organised by the Greek General Consulate in Melbourne in State Parliament's Queens Hall, and met with State Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship Minister Matthew Guy, who also addressed the event.

    On Tuesday, Gerontopoulos will wisit Canberra, the capital city of Australia.

    The deputy minister has attended the Melbourne Greek-Australian community's parade for Greek Independence Day on Sunday and laid a wreath before the memorial.

    [12] Deputy FM Gerontopoulos holds press conference in Australia

    Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni in the beginning of May will visit Australia to promote Greek tourism and sign an interstate agreement between Greek and Australia to grant tourist visas to young people aged 18-30 with the right to work for up to one year, Deputy Foreign Minister Akis Gerontopoulos said in a press conference in Melbourne.

    Gerontopoulos, who is on a four-day visit to Australia, also said that the General Secretariat of Greeks Abroad would resume hospitablity programmes of young Greeks of Diaspora in Greece.

    Referring to the World Council of Hellenes Abroad, he said that there have been efforts so that it now operates on a different basis and it becomes "self-financed" while he added that during the last year - and generally the last years- the amounts allocated for it were minimum.

    Gerontopoulos said he was in favour of granting vote to the Hellenism of Diaspora but pointed out this had to be done after deliberations, adding that an acceptable system supported by the grand majority of the Parliament and not just by the parties participating in the government should be found.

    On the double taxation between Greece and Australia, he pointed that it is something that "Athens has wanted and looked for but Canberra does not seem to care about."

    Gerontopoulos on Monday met with Bishop Ezekiel of Dervis and visited the Greek community school, Alphington Grammar and the Hellenic Museum. He also met with the board of Melbourne's Greek-Australian Chamber of Commerce, in a meeting aimed at promoting Greek exports. He held a press conference and then visited the State Parliament to attend a reception on the occasion of the Greek National Anniversary.

    On Tuesday, 25 March, he will travel to Canberra, where he will visit the Hellenic Memorial, the Hellenic Club, and the Greek community nursery school of St. Nikolaos. He will then visit the Federal Parliament and meet with Greek Australian Deputy Minister Synodinos and Greek Australian federal MPs and senators. On Tuesday evening he will depart for Sydney, where he will meet with Archbishop Stylianos of Australia and with the board of the Greek community of New South Wales.

    On Wednesday, 26 March, Gerontopoulos will meet at the State Parliament in Sydney with Greek Australian Culture Minister George Souris and the Greek Australian MP Sophie Cotsis. He will then meet at Sydney Town Hall with Greek Australian local administration personnel, visit the Greek Australian college of St. Spyridonos, and attend the joint Greek flag-raising event of the adjacent municipalities of Hurtsville and Kogarah. Finally, Mr. Gerontopoulos will speak at a Hellenic Initiative event.

    [13] Gov't VP Venizelos on the public debt's sustainability

    Government vice-president and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Monday repeated his position on the sustainability of the Greek public debt following criticism on statements included in an interview he gave on Sunday.

    Venizelos underlined that the debt is sustainable because 80 pct of it is in the hands of institutional investors and creditors and because after the "haircut" and the restructuring it underwent in 2012 it "has very good parametric characteristics". He also noted that it is a mistake to deal with the Greek debt as a GDP percentage and to think that this is the only factor on which its sustainability depends.

    Venizelos underlined that this fundamental differentiation is presented in an excellent way by European Stability Mechanism Managing Director Klaus Regling, who clarifies which parametric changes are necessary and absolutely feasible without causing any problems with eurozone national parliaments.

    In this context, Venizelos said that "we would have accepted a further haircut of the debt's nominal value if offered," noting, however, that "it is a crime against the country, the people's sacrifices and the future prospects of the Greek economy to say ourselves that our debt is not and won't be sustainable unless it undergoes a new nominal haircut."

    Strongly criticizing those who made negative comments on his statements, Venizelos said that "it is tragic that domestically some people react to these positions and identify with the toughest IMF circles or conservative German economic institutes that are in disagreement even with the German government itself".

    [14] Tsipras asks that the full text of government-troika agreement be submitted to Parliament

    Main opposition SYRIZA party leader Alexis Tsipras has asked for the full text of the new agreement between the government and the troika to be submitted to Parliament.

    In an application for the submission of documents also signed by his parliamentary group and addressed to Labour and Finance Ministers, Tsipras and his deputies refer to "2014 Memorandum" citing a report in daily Efimerida ton Syntakton, which claimed that the government was covering up a new package of austerity measures on labour issues.

    "This report presents the timing and the content of regulations, which are a tombstone on workers' rights and strangle the citizens' dignity," SYRIZA said in a statement.

    The party pointed out the "disclosure of the document in English shows that this particular agreement is part of a larger text, drawn up along the lines of the two previous memoranda."

    [15] MPs will be convinced to support milk reforms 'once they have all the details,' gov't spokesman says

    The measures for milk would go through without any need for imposing party discipline, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said on the private television ANT1 on Monday.

    "As soon as they have all the details, the MPs will be convinced of the rightness of the changes, he said and stressed that it was not an issue of party discipline but "national responsibility".

    He confirmed that the omnibus bill on the measures agreed with the troika representing Greece's lenders will be tabled in Parliament duirng the week.

    Talking to the SKAI network, meanwhile, he denied that the government had backed down on its promise to spend 70 pct of the primary surplus to relieve society, restricting this amount to just 17 pct - or the roughly 500 million euros announced as a social dividend. Kedikoglou pointed out that the 70 pct was given in three ways, with one billion euros to be given in tax returns and 350 million euros will be spent to cover the shortfall in social insurance fund revenues resulting from a reduction in social insurance contributions.

    Attacking main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), he said that it was "begging for a new memorandum, because without one it lacks a reason to exist."

    In statements on the milk issue to the radio station 'Sto Kokkino' on Monday, PASOK MP Mihalis Kassis was adamant that he would not vote in favour of the measures for milk. The MP said he had "regretted supporting his party's joint government with New Democracy" and did not care if he was expelled from the party as a result of his defiance. PASOK is the junior member in the coalition government.

    [16] Charakopoulos optimistic on breaking the deadlock on the issue of milk

    Agricultural Development alternate minister Maximos Charako-poulos on Tuesday expressed optimism that the current problems facing the farming sector will soon be overcome and the foundations will be laid for a new, healthy and productive model that the country is in need of.

    Charakopoulos was speaking in the central Greece city of Larissa where he represented the government in celebrations for the Independence Day of March 25.

    Replying to a question as to whether a proposal put forward by cattle breeders could form the basis of a settlement on the issue of extended shelf life for fresh milk, Charakopoulos said that dairy farmers took a step backwards and submitted a specific proposal.

    "I would like to believe that everyone involved will rise to the challenge in breaking the deadlock on the issue of milk," he added.

    [17] Pharmacists announce indefinite strike from March 26

    Pharmacists announced an indefinite strike starting on March 26 in respond to the "government ambush, which insidiously brings at the last minute, in the bill agreed with the troika, changes to the status of pharmacies. leading a sector of 12,000 pharmacies to disaster and putting public health at risk."

    "Greeks insured by state health funds lose their neighborhood pharmacy. These are situations beyond all reason and favour five strong players, allowing them to control health care," said Panhellenic Pharmacists Association (PFS) President Kyriakos Theodossiadis, calling on the prime minister, government vice-president and health minister to intervene "and call those drafting the bill to order".

    "Pharmacies will not go as lambs to the slaughter. Those who need medicines can go to the office of Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis. Let the MPs who intend to vote for these measures find medicines for the people," he added.

    Pharmacists are determined not to re-open pharmacies until the measures are withdrawn.

    [18] Health ministry hopes for 'logic and calmness' to prevail among pharmacists

    Health ministry on Monday commented on Panhellenic Pharmacists Association decision for indefinite strike starting on March 26, and expressed its hope that 'logic and calmness' will prevail among the pharmacists.

    "Despite the undoubtedly successful negotiation process between the Greek government and troika," says the ministry's announcement, the Association has announced an indefinite strike, "pursuing the non-implementation of a very important regulation."

    The regulation will facilitate the entrance of new pharmacists in the field and the establishment of pharmacists' consortiums, a very important step for the field in order to cope with the crisis, stressed the ministry's announcemeny.

    The ministry also announced that the government succesfully negotiated with the troika of creditors and achieved the measures' postponement until June.

    However, according to the Association, pharmacists are determined not to re-open pharmacies until the measures are withdrawn.

    [19] Flu death toll reaches 110; doctors blame lack of effective vaccination policy

    The death toll as a result of seasonal influenza climbed to 110, based on an announcement issued by the Centre for the Control and Prevention of Diseases (KEELPNO) on Monday, with the majority of the victims belonging to high-risk groups that had not been vaccinated against flu.

    Another 46 patients were currently being treated in hospital intensive-care units with symptoms of flu, while the total treated in ICUs since the start of the flu season in October was 286 individuals, KEELPNO reported.

    Commenting on the announcement, the head of the Athens Medical Association (ISA) Giorgos Patoulis blamed the lack of an effective national prevention policy for the high death rate, pointing out that the population's coverage through vaccinations did not exceed 35 pct.

    "Public health is an obligation of the state. The phenomenon highlights the tragic indifference of those who have the fates of the Greek people's health in their hands, when these deaths could have been avoided with a vaccine costing six euros," ISA said in an announcement. It called on the health ministry to undertake initiatives for an effective vaccination policy.

    [20] SYRIZA on the number of influenza deaths

    The very large number of seasonal influenza deaths compared to the country's population highlights and mirrors the huge problems in the primary public healthcare system and the absence of an immunization policy, main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) on Monday underlined.

    According to SYRIZA, this year's flu epidemic found the country without public structures of primary healthcare after the shutting down of EOPYY units (Greek National Organization of Healthcare Services) to be replaced by PEDY (Primary National Health Network) and without a well-organized immunization policy, while the information provided was inadequate and vaccines were in short supply.

    [21] Education Minister Arvanitopoulos visits the Ecumenical Patriarchate

    Education and Religious Affairs Minister Constantinos Arvanitopoulos continued his official working visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul on Monday, with a formal visit to the Theological School of Halki, where he was received by Metropolitan Elpidoforos of Bursa.

    On Sunday, he attended the Patriarchal Holy Mass and afterward he met with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Fanar where a working meeting took place.

    An education ministry statement underlined that the Ecumenical Patriarch thanked the minister for his visit, for the sincere cooperation and his continuous efforts aimed at solving the crucial issues the Ecumenical Patriarchate is faced with.

    Arvanitopoulos also chaired a meeting of faculty members of the Greek community schools held at the Sismanoglio Building in the presence of the education coordinator. The meeting focused on Greek community school teachers' issues.

    [22] Venezuelan deputies' delegation visits KKE party headquarters

    A delegation of deputies from Venezuela, currently in Athens, visited the headquarters of the Communist Party of Greece's (KKE) Central Committee in the Athens district of Perissos and met with a KKE delegation, heed by George Marinos, a member of the Central Committee's Political Bureau and head of the party's International Relations.

    According to a KKE press release, the Venezuelan delegation briefed KKE on "the struggle of the people of Venezuela against the plans of the forces of reaction, that are taking place over the past six weeks for the overthrow of President (Nicolas) Maduro".

    The delegation was accompanied by the ambassador of Venezuela in Greece, Farid Fernandez.

    [23] KKE party leader signs condolences book at Cyprus Embassy

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Central Committee Secretary General Dimitris Koutsoumbas visited the Embassy of Cyprus on Monday and signed the book of condolences opened for the death of Tasos Mitsopoulos, 49, the Cyprus Defence minister who collapsed in the ministry and died on Saturday from a cerebral hemorrhage.

    [24] German president gives interview on his apology to Greece over Nazi atrocities

    BERLIN (ANA-MPA / F. Karaviti)

    Germany's President Joachim Gauck in an interview with Germany's state television ARD on Monday, outlined the reasons for visiting Greece to apologise for the atrocities committed during the Nazi regime, expressed admiration for Greek President Karolos Papoulias and said he had visited Greece as a representative of a "new, supportive Germany".

    While noting that some Greeks might "imagine solidarity differently" from others or from Germans, he said the visit was primarily about an injustice that had been done to the Greeks. To have this recognised by a central German authority, to extend a formal apology and admit what was done "was not an easy path," Gauck added, but otherwise the Germans would be a people "that did not talk about their own guilt". He said that not avoiding responsibility but talking about it and trying to make restitution where this was necessary was also "liberating".

    According to Gauck, the most touching aspects of his visit was not reflected in the media reports and concerned the stance of the Greek president himself, who had been a resistance fighter in his youth and "stood next to me full of trust, because he felt that what I was doing was sincere, that I was not putting on a show".

    "What he said to me, the sentiments shown by the man whose right to life was going to be taken away by my ancestors, was so wonderful and so majestic. In such cases, one feels that something like forgiveness is possible," he said, though admitting that not all Greeks were as ready to forgive.

    Gauck also stressed that the full extent of the atrocities committed by Nazis in Greece was not widely known, even to "experts on the past" like himself, who had read extensively on German history. He admitted that he had been unaware of the massacre in Ligiades, the village that he visited in order to express his apology, though he knew more widely publicised and high-profile cases, such as the massacre in Distomo.

    [25] Greece granted asylum in 3.8 pct of applications considered in 2013, Eurostat report shows

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ M. Aroni)

    Greece received 8,225 applications for asylum in 2013, according to figures on asylum applications in the European Union released by Eurostat on Monday. The number of asylum applications per one million inhabitants in Greece was 745, below the EU28 average of 860 applications per one million inhabitants.

    The majority of asylum applications in Greece were submitted by Pakistani nationals (1,360), Afghans (1,225) and Bangladeshis (730). During the year, Greek authorities examined 13,080 asylum applications, of which 12,580 were rejected and 500 were approved.

    In the cases where asylum was granted, 255 applicants were granted refugee status, 175 were granted asylum for reasons of subsidiary protection and 70 for humanitarian reasons.

    The Eurostat report showed a significant increase in the number of asylum applications received by the EU as a whole in 2013, from 335,000 in 2012 to 435,000 in 2013. Of asylum cases considered in EU28 countries in 2013, 65 pct of first-instance decisions were rejections, 15 pct of applicants were granted refugee status, 14 pct subsidiary protection and 5 pct authorisation to stay for humanitarian reasons.

    The majority of applications in the EU28 in 2013 were submitted by Syrian nationals (12 pct) and Russians (10 pct), while the countries receiving the highest number of applications per million inhabitants were Malta (5,300), Austria (2,100) and Luxembourg (2,000). The lowest number of applications were made to Spain (95) and Portugal (50). In absolute figures, the most applications were received by Germany (29 pct of the total), followed by France (15 pct), Sweden (13 pct), the UK (7 pct) and Italy (6 pct).

    [26] Nearly one third of Greeks admit to purchases involving suspected undeclared labour in Eurobarometer survey

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / M. Aroni)

    Roughly three in 10 Greeks (30 pct) admitted that in 2013 they had bought goods or services they suspected were the product of undeclared work. This is the highest percentage in the EU28 and is dramatically increased compared to 2007 (17 pct), according to a Eurobarometer survey on undeclared work made public on Monday.

    Respondents were asked if they had bought goods or services they had good reason to believe involved undeclared work (no receipt, VAT) in the past 12 months. A total of 30 pct of Greeks responded positively, compared to the EU average of 11 pct, followed by Holland (29 pct), Latvia (28 pct) and Denmark (23 pct). The lowest percentages were recorded in the UK (8 pct), Germany (7 pct) and Poland (5 pct).

    A total of 54 pct of the Greeks, compared to the EU average of 32 pct, responded positively to the question if they know anyone who works without declaring their income or part of it to tax or social security institutions. The Greeks come third after the Danes (59 pct) and the Dutch (55 pct). The lowest percentages were recorded in Ireland (25 pct), Malta and Romania (20 pct) and UK (15 pct).

    Forty-four percent of Greeks said that a lack of monitoring by authorities is a factor leading to undeclared work, compared to the EU average of 21 pct. The same response was given by 56 pct of Cypriots and 37 pct of the Maltese. Also, 33 pct of the Greeks responded that the very high taxation and social insurance contributions lead to undeclared work, compared to the EU average of 26 pct.

    However, only 3 pct of the Greeks (4 pct in the EU) admitted that they had done undeclared work in the last 12 months. Of them, 16 pct have stated that they earned more than 1,000 euros from undeclared work.

    According to the Eurobarometer, Greeks are most likely to have purchased goods or services, which may have included undeclared work for home repairs or renovations (25 pct), compared to the EU average of 29 pct, car repairs (13 pct) compared to 22 pct in the EU, health services (16 pct) while the EU average is 8 pct, followed by home cleaning (12 pct), compared to the EU average of 15 pct.

    Also, 23 pct of Greeks (25 pct in the EU) responded that in the last year they spent 50 to 200 euros to purchase goods and services without getting a receipt while 19 pct said that they spent more than 500 euros.

    [27] European governments should have not let Greece fall into the troika trap, French Green MEP Jose Bove says

    Europe has returned to a outdated vision, as the way it is being set up is to the detriment of its peoples, French Green MEP Jose Bove said in an interview on ANA-MPA web TV.

    This development has caused "dramatic consequences in each country, as we see the rise of the far right, while populists and nationalists use the crisis not to improve the situation", but instead to promote proposals changing their stance, which is unacceptable, Bove said.

    Referring to the situation in Greece, he argued that "the way the troika imposed austerity on Greece through cuts in social spending, wages and pensions, etc. is unacceptable for any people of Europe. The real problem is that the troika lacks any legitimacy. Everything was beyond the control of citizens and the European Parliament - this is unacceptable. Instead I believe that Europe is the means to help a country."

    The French politician also criticized the other European governments, which, he said, "accepted the troika's policy (...). They should have vetoed and not let Greece fall into the trap. But none of the other European countries said it was not right to impose these measures."

    "Of course there were internal problems in Greece, but these problems were not dealt with," Bove said adding that "we have seen measures taken, but these measures have not addressed the real structural problems, which were also internal problems in Greece. Well, mistakes have been made in this case. I would now say that the Commission moved to a completely autonomous direction, without consulting national parliaments or the European Parliament and this is a major gap in what has been built."

    [28] Parliament president to inaugurate EUROLAT plenary session

    Greek Parliament President Evangelos Meimarakis will inaugurate the works of the Seventh Ordinary Plenary Session of the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EUROLAT) on Thursday, March 27.

    The works of EUROLAT's Parlimentary Assembly Plenary will be held at the Greek Parliament's Senate hall, in the framework of the European Union's Greek Presidency, from March 27 to 29, with the participation of 100 Eurodeputies and deputies from Latin American countries, as well as representatives of the diplomatic corps, staff of parliaments and academics.

    EUROLAT, the Parliamentary axis of interregional strategic cooperation between the EU and Latin America, adopts and submits resolutions and recommendations to organisations, foundations and ministerial groups responsible for the implementation of partnership relations of Latin American countries with the EU, or details, through its reports, decisions that are taken by interregional summits or interministerial sessions. The main issues of interest to it are economic relations, immigration, environmental protection and climatic change management, the combatting of organised crime and of drug trafficking.

    Apart from Meimarakis, the formal opening, at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, will be addressed also by the Assembly's Co-Presidents Leonel Bucaro (El Salvador) and Jose Ignacio Salafranca Sanchez-Neyra (European Parliament-Spain), as well as EU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki and Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas.

    [29] Greek President Papoulias to meet with Pope Francis on Friday in Rome

    Greek President Karolos Papoulias on Friday will meet with Pope Francis in the Vatican. Papoulias will travel to Rome to inaugurate jointly with his Italian counterpart Giorgio Napolitano an exhibition of Greek and Italian antiquities. The exhibition is co-organized by Greece and Italy, as the Greek EU presidency is followed by the Italian one.

    Papoulias and Napolitano will hold a working meeting, while Papoulias will also meet with the president of the Italian Parliament. The Greek President, who will fly to the Italian capital on Wednesday afternoon, will be accompanied by Education and Culture Ministers Constantinos Arvanitopoulos and Panos Panayiotopoulos.

    Financial News

    [30] Greece reports 2.063-bln-euro primary surplus in Jan-Feb

    Greek authorities on Monday reported a primary surplus of 2.063 billion euros in the first two months of 2014, from a surplus of 487 million euros in the corresponding period last year.

    The finance ministry, in a report on the final figures of budget execution, said that the state budget reported a surplus of 487 million euros in the January-February period, from a deficit of 788 million euros last year and from a budget target for a deficit of 527 million euros.

    The budget showed a primary surplus of 2.063 billion euros from a budget target of a primary surplus of 1.047 billion euros.

    Net state budget revenues totaled 9.463 billion euros, up 4.7 pct from budget targets, while net regular budget targets totaled 7.867 billion euros, down 6.9 pct compared with budget targets. Tax revenues totaled 6.879 billion euros, down 6.2 pct from targets. Special category income tax revenues surpassed targets by 33.7 pct in the January-February period, other direct tax revenues surpassed targets by 67.7 pct and other product VAT revenues were up 9.1 pct compared with targets. On the other hand, income and corporate tax revenues fell short of budget targets by 12.1 pct and 92 pct respectively, while oil product VAT revenues fell short by 10.6 pct in the two-month period.

    Tax returns totaled 497 million euros, up by 304 million euros compared with budget targets. Public Investment Program revenues totaled 1.594 billion euros, sharply up compared with targets.

    State budget spending totaled 8.976 billion euros, down 587 million euros compared with targets. Regular budget spending totaled 8.369 billion euros, down 844 million euros from budget targets reflecting a decline in primary spending by 789 million euros.

    Regular budget spending were down 8.5 pct compared with the same period last year.

    [31] General Accounting Office decides on beneficiaries to receive social dividend

    Finance ministry's General Accounting Office after a meeting on Monday announced the three categories of beneficiaries eligible for the social dividend derived from the primary surplus, while authorities are reviewing the exact income and property criteria of low-income households that will receive an additional one-off dividend.

    The social dividend amounts to 480 million euros and concerns the homeless, persons serving in security forces and uninsured employees that will receive 20, 35 and 20 million euros in total, respectively, while the amount of 20 million euros will be reserved for the unemployed of 2013.

    The amount of 500 euros has been set as the minimum supplementary dividend for families which may be increased, depending on family dependents, to 800 euros for households with two children or 1,000 euros for larger families.

    The bill concerning the above-mentioned categories which is part of the deal finalised between the government and Greece's troika of creditors, will be tabled on Thursday or Friday in Parliament, while the dividend will be paid by the end of May.

    Deputy Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, Deputy Labour Minister Vasilis Kegkeroglou, General Secretary of Public Revenue Charis Theocharis where among those who participated in the meeting.

    [32] KKE comments on distribution of primary surplus dividend

    The dividend the government wants to give poverty-stricken families cannot hide its anti-popular policy, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) charged on Monday, about the distribution of part of the primary surplus for 2013.

    "The crumbs from the government to the most extreme poverty-stricken people will vanish before they reach their destination,'' commented the KKE. ''They cannot hide (the fact) that the anti-popular policy will not only continue but will escalate with the government's draft bill that implements guidelines by the EU and monopolies," it added.

    "A massive popular reaction is needed, a massive participation in the rallies of (communist-affiliated labour group) PAME on April 1 on the occasion of the meeting of the Ecofin-Eurogroup in Athens, and in the general strike on April 9," the party concluded.

    [33] SYRIZA on the BoG code of conduct in managing unserviced loans

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition's (SYRIZA) economic policy sector on Monday lashed out at the government and the Bank of Greece (BoG), noting that the Code of Conduct that the latter has forwarded to the country's banks to regulate the management of unserviced loans reveals that "those in government do not have in mind the relief of borrowers who are in despair."

    According to SYRIZA, "such actions, camouflaged as an effort to relieve loan recipients facing survival problems, are aimed at improving the banks' economic figures and at seizing private property."

    "First it was public property and now it's the turn of private property," SYRIZA underlined, noting that the terms 'cooperating borrower' and 'reasonable living expenses' will have to be clearly defined.

    According to SYRIZA's economic staff, "everything is left to the banks' discretion," adding that they will have rights to the private property of borrowers without offering relief or facilitation to over-indebted borrowers who are being tested by the catastrophic austerity of the memorandums.

    SYRIZA underlined that the impoverished borrowers could face the nightmare of having to pay rent for their own homes or even having to voluntarily give them up.

    [34] Greek current account deficit down in January

    Greece's current account balance showed a deficit of 295 million euros in January, down by 19 million year-on-year, the Bank of Greece said on Monday.

    The central bank, in a monthly report, attributed this development exclusively to the improved income account, which recorded a surplus, against a deficit in January 2013, because the trade deficit rose and the services and current transfers surpluses fell slightly.

    The 105 million euros increase in the trade deficit is attributable to the higher net oil import bill, while the non-oil trade deficit narrowed as a result of a decrease in the import bill which was stronger than the reduction in export receipts, the central bank said.

    A slight decline (of 9 million euros) in the services surplus is accounted for by a worsening of the "other" services balance, which was for the most part offset by an increase in net transport and travel receipts. In more detail, travel spending in Greece by non-residents increased by 22.4% year-on-year, reflecting a 10.6% rise in non-residents' arrivals over the same period, according to the Bank of Greece's border survey.

    In January 2014, the current transfers balance recorded a surplus of 885 million euros, down by 16 million year-on-year, mainly on account of the higher receipts from the reallocation of ECB monetary income that were recorded in January 2013, compared with the same month of this year.

    In January 2014, the capital transfers balance showed a deficit of 13 million euros, while the overall transfers balance (current transfers plus capital transfers) showed a surplus of 872 million euros in 2014, down by 20 million over 2013.

    In January 2014, non-residents' direct investment in Greece showed a net outflow (decline) of 44 million euros (against a net inflow of 556 million euros in the same month of 2013), without any remarkable transaction. Residents' direct investment abroad recorded a net outflow (increase) of 105 million (compared with a net outflow of 44 million in January 2013). The most remarkable transaction concerned an outflow of 64 million for the participation of Alpha Bank in the capital increase of its subsidiary in Cyprus, Alpha Bank Cyprus.

    Under portfolio investment, a net outflow of 2.2 billion euros was recorded (against a net inflow of 882 million euros in January 2013).

    At the end of January 2014, Greece's reserve assets stood at 4.6 billion euros, compared with 5.4 billion at end-January 2013, the Bank of Greece said.

    [35] Tourism Minister Kefalogianni to visit Paris

    Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni on Monday visited Paris for a series of meetings aimed at promoting Greece and boosting the already strong tourist arrivals recorded from the beginning of 2014.

    Kefalogianni met with the Director General of the tourist organisation ATOUT FRANCE Christian Mantei and participated in a working sessions with members of the agency to exchange know-how regarding the organization, procedures and operation of the two entities as part of the cooperation agreement signed last year between the tourism ministries of the two countries.

    The Tourism minister was also scheduled to meet with the Director General of UNESCO Irina Bokova and attend an event organized by the Greek embassy in Paris to celebrate the March 25th anniversary. During her stay in the French capital, Kefalogianni was scheduled to give interviews to media.

    [36] Greece expects improved offer for Hellinikon by Wed., March 26

    Greek authorities are expecting a new improved offer by Lamda Development in a tender for the exploitation of the former airport of Hellinikon (Elliniko) by Wednesday, March 26.

    Lamda Development was the only bidder in a tender for Hellinikon but the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund has asked for a new improved offer (a technical offer has been accepted).

    Under the submitted plan, Lamda Development plans to create a 2 million sq.m. entertainment park, high-level sport facilities, a new upgraded seafront, touristic infrastructures, creating a destination which is expected to attract an additional one million tourists in Athens. The investment plan, worth 7.0 billion euros, will create around 15,000 job positions and a total of 50,000 direct and indirect job positions following completion of the project.

    The Hellinikon site is more than three times the size of Monaco, two and more times the size of Hyde Park in London and almost two times the size of Central Park in New York.

    The exploitation of Hellinikon will redefine Athens as a tourist destination, as a business centre and as an entertainment area in Eastern Mediterranean.

    The project is expected to send a strong message to international community that Greece was changing radically, to become an attractive investment destination.

    [37] Online voting for 'Greek Product' label to resume on Monday

    The online voting process to select the logo for the 'Greek Product' label, which is to be awarded to certified Greek products and services, will start again on Monday after being discontinued last Thursday.

    The vote will start again from scratch with stricter technical and security specifications for participants entering the development ministry website (http://www.mindev.gov.gr) and last 15 days.

    The results will be announced to the press and on the Internet, the development ministry said.

    [38] Two major data management conferences are being held in Athens on March 24-28

    Two international conferences regarding data management -- EDBT (Extending Database Technology) and ICDT (International Conference on Database Theory) -- are being held in Athens between March 24 and 28.

    Data management, one of the driving forces behind the rapid development of computer science, has many significant practical applications. The quality of daily life, work productivity, optimal use of natural resources and infrastructure of a country largely depend on the ability of states, organizations and societies to produce and process large volumes of digital information.

    EDBT (Extending Database Technology) international conference is an established and prestigious forum of scientists, developers and users, who have the opportunity to report latest research results, exchange views and share experiences.

    The ICDT (International Conference on Database Theory) international conferece, being held since 1986, is more focused on theoretical themes as it relates to contemporary research on the theoretical foundations of databases.

    About 300 people from around the world will participate in this year's joint conference. Distinguished researchers with an international reputation at the forefront of cutting-edge systems and database theory have been invited to give keynote speeches.

    This year's event is supported by the University of Crete and Institute of Computer Science Foundation for Research and Technology (FORTH). Major research institutions and companies such as National Center for Scientific Research of France (CNRS), LIG, LogicBlox, Google, IBM, Technicolor, Intrasoft International and HP are sponsors of the conference.

    [39] Piraeus Bank launches international book-building for share capital increase

    Piraeus Bank announced on Monday the commencement of the book-building process for investors outside Greece in connection with the Equity Offering. The bank's board of directors will seek authorisation from the scheduled extraordinary general meeting of shareholders, which will convene on 28 March 2014 to proceed with the Equity Offering and determine its timing and specific terms and intends to propose a total proceeds amount of up to 1.75 billion euros.

    In addition to the book-building process for investors outside Greece, the Equity Offering is expected to include, subject to the authorization from the scheduled EGM and all necessary regulatory approvals, the solicitation of investors in Greece through a public offering.

    Credit Suisse Securities (Europe) Limited, Deutsche Bank AG London Branch and Goldman Sachs International will act as Joint Global Coordinators and Joint Bookrunners and Mediobanca-Banca di Credito Finanziario S.p.A. and UBS Limited will act as Joint Bookrunners for the Equity Offering, and BNP Paribas will act as Co-Lead Manager, in each case in connection with investors outside of Greece.

    The new shares are being sold to qualified institutional buyers in the United States pursuant to Rule 144A and offered and sold outside the United States pursuant to Regulation S under the Securities Act of 1933.

    The new shares have not been registered under the Securities Act of 1933 or any state securities laws and may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration or an applicable exemption from the registration requirements of the Securities Act of 1933 and applicable state laws.

    [40] Thrace Plastics reports lower profits, higher sales in 2013

    Thrace Plastics on Monday reported lower profits and higher sales in 2013. Consolidated turnover rose 0.2 pct to 265.3 million euros, compared with 2012, while consolidated net after tax and minorities earnings fell 35.1 pct to 3.7 million euros in 2013, from 5.7 million in 2012.

    Gross earnings fell 6.9 pct to 47.7 million euros and EBITDA dropped 19.9 pct to 20 million euros and pre-tax earnings fell 21.1 pct to 6.3 million euros. Net borrowing from banks eased 5.6 pct to 32.6 million euros.

    [41] Greek stocks end moderately lower

    Greek stocks ended lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday with turnover shrinking on lack of fresh incentives and directions in the market. The composite index fell 0.11 pct to end at 1,329.20 points, after rising as much as 0.60 pct during the session. Bank shares came under strong selling pressure, while buying activity focused on blue chip stocks such as OPAP, Mytilineos, OTE, PPC and Coca Cola HBC.

    Turnover was a low 71.34 million euros. The Large Cap index rose 0.12 pct and the Mid Cap index eased 0.66 pct. OPAP (4.49 pct), Mytilineos (2.64 pct), Coca Cola HBC (1.84 pct) and Ellaktor (1.82 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains among blue chip stocks, while Alpha Bank (5.15 pct), National Bank (4.24 pct), Terna Energy (3.68 pct) and Motor Oil (2.05 pct) suffered losses.

    The Travel (4.08 pct), Food (1.79 pct) and Telecoms (1.57 pct) sectors scored gains, while Banks (3.23 pct), Media (1.96 pct) and Oil (1.75 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 67 to 66 with another 25 issues unchanged. Kekrops (29.41 pct), Kreka (20 pct) and Varvaresos (19.89 pct) were top gainers, while NEL (16.36 pct), Sato (11.43 pct) and Xylemporia (10 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Banks: -3.23%

    Insurance: -1.35%

    Financial Services: -0.14%

    Industrial Products: +0.03%

    Commercial: -1.30%

    Real Estate: +0.91%

    Personal & Household: -1.53%

    Food & Beverages: +1.79%

    Raw Materials: +1.27%

    Construction: -0.28%

    Oil: -1.75%

    Chemicals: +0.45%

    Media: -1.96%

    Travel & Leisure: +4.08%

    Technology: -0.47%

    Telecoms: +1.57%

    Utilities: +1.13%

    Health: -0.81%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 0.70

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 11.68

    Coca Cola HBC: 17.69

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.48

    National Bank of Greece: 3.84

    Eurobank Properties : 9.10

    OPAP: 11.86

    OTE: 12.29

    Piraeus Bank: 2.02

    Titan: 25.06

    [42] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank to 5.23 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, from 5.35 pct on Friday, with the Greek bond yielding 6.81 pct and the German Bund yielding 1.58 pct. Turnover was a thin 2.0 million euros, all buy orders.

    In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving higher. The 12-month rate rose to 0.60 pct from 0.593 pct, the nine-month rate rose to 0.513 pct from 0.507 pct, the six-month rate rose to 0.425 pct from 0.42 pct, the three-month rate rose to 0.32 pct from 0.315 pct and the one-month rate rose to 0.24 pct from 0.239 pct.

    [43] ADEX closing report

    The June contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a discount of 0.35 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover shrinking to 12.665 million euros.

    Volume on the Big Cap index totalled 4,046 contracts worth 8.652 million euros, with 58,004 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totalled 8,889 contracts worth 4.013 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (1,895), followed by National Bank (969), Piraeus Bank (1,716), MIG (480), OTE (719), OPAP (620), Hellenic Exchanges (952), Mytilineos (131), GEK (179), Ellaktor (146) and Titan (172).

    [44] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.398

    Pound sterling 0.847

    Danish kroner 7.576

    Swedish kroner 8.995

    Japanese yen 143.17

    Swiss franc 1.238

    Norwegian kroner 8.474

    Canadian dollar 1.568

    Australian dollar 1.531

    General News

    [45] Justice minister expresses sympathy for murder of prison police sergeant

    Justice minister Haralambos Athanasiou on Tuesday issued a message of sympathy for the murder of police sergeant Giorgos Tsironis at Malandrinou prison, mainland Greece.

    Tsironis was stubbed to death while on duty by an Albanian inmate serving a life sentence.

    In addition, Athanasiou stressed that "the Greek state will allow no one to undermine its anti-crime policy. The Rule of Law will work and citizens will feel they live in a safe and well-governed country."

    [46] Fire in Russian embassy vehicle

    A fire broke out in a Russian embassy vehicle shortly after 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday. The vehicle was parked in an apartment building's parking lot in A. Diakou street in the Athens suburb of Neo Psychiko. According to police, the vehicle was driven by an embassy employee. A firelighter used for fireplaces was found at the spot.

    [47] Istanbul Greeks express 'profound regret' over Lakis Vigas' resignation

    ISTANBUL (ANA-MPA/A. Kourkoulas)

    The Support Association of Public Benefit Foundations of Greeks in Istanbul (SYRKI) expressed its "profound regret" over the resignation of Lakis Vigas, elected representative of minority foundations in Turkey's General Directorate of Foundations since 2008.

    "He is a genuine defender of the rights of the non-Muslim communities and he fought with courage and self-denial at the side of every community from Istanbul to Adiyaman, Mersin and Antioch", according to an announcement issued by the Federation, which thanked him publicly for his services.

    The board decided to send a protest letter to the General Directorate of Foundations immediately over the delay of the publication of the new regulation that impedes the free holding of elections. The suspension of the election process since January 2013 has left "a legal gap" and been "frustrating and disappointing," the board said.

    Vigas, former SYRKI president, was the first minority official to be elected and serve as member of the 15-member Council and supreme organ of the General Directorate of Foundations.

    [48] Six in 10 Greeks never exercise, Eurobarometer polls finds

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ V. Demiris)

    Nearly six in 10 Greeks, or 59 pct, never or rarely exercise according to the findings of a Eurobarometer poll published on Monday. This is significantly higher than the average for the European Union as a whole, where 42 pct of the population say they rarely or never do any sports or physical exercise.

    Based on the poll, only 7 pct of Greeks (as opposed to 8 pct in the EU) exercise regularly, or five times a week, while 24 pct (33 pct in the EU) exercise between 1-4 times a week. A further 10 pct of Greeks exercise between one and three times a week (17 pct in the EU) and the remainder exercise rarely or never.

    The fittest Europeans, based on the findings of the poll, are in northern Europe while the populations that are least keen on exercise are in the south and east. Those who exercise most regularly are the Swedes, where 70 pct do some form of physical exercise or sports at least once a week, followed by the Danes (68 pct), Finns (66 pct), Dutch (58 pct) and Luxembourgians (54 pct).

    The Europeans who exercise least regularly are the Bulgarians, where 78 pct says they rarely exercise, followed by the Maltese (75 pct), Portuguese (64 pct), Romanians (60 pct), Italians (60 pct) and Greeks (59 pct).

    The Eurobarometer poll was conducted among 28 member-states from November 23 until December 2, 2013 using a sample of 28,000 people from different social and population groups.

    [49] Police defuses makeshift explosive device outside Korydallos' Tax Bureau

    A makeshift explosive device was defused in a controlled explosion by police shortly after midnight outside the Tax Bureau of Korydallos.

    In telephone calls to Mega Channel and Zougla.gr website, an unknown person warned that a bomb would explode in 20 minutes at the Tax Bureau of Korydallos. Police was notified and cordoned off the area, while a suspicious bag was found by the bomb squad at the entrance of the building.

    Police defused the bomb in a controlled explosion and found a clockwork explosive device. The remains of the device were taken to forensic labs for further examination, while the counterterrorism police is also investigating the case.

    [50] Velvendo residents vote against local elections

    A referendum was held Monday and Tuesday in Vevlendo, Kozani, northern Greece to decide whether locals would participate or abstain from the forthcoming local elections.

    The ballot boxes closed at 20:30 Tuesday evening, with a total of 1433 citizens having voted.

    Results showed that 371 voted in favour of participating in the local government elections, while 1026 voted against. Blank and invalid ballots numbered 36.

    Local citizens are opposed to the merger of Velvendo and Servia town into a single municipality.

    Weather Forecast

    [51] Cloudy on Wednesday

    Cloudy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday. Winds 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures between 5C and 19C. Slightly cloudy in Athens with southerly 3-6 beaufort winds and temperatures between 8C and 18C. Local showers in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 8C and 18C.

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

    AVGHI: Vote and do not examine.

    KATHIMERINI: National pride at pupils parade.

    LOGOS: Who are entitled to social dividend.

    RIZOSPASTIS: The social insurance issue target of government-troika agreement.

    The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: What the government is hiding on labour issues

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: 12 keys to get pension by the age of 60

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Pensions for parents of minors at the age of 52

    ESTIA: SYRIZA trapped in its own slogans

    ETHNOS: Performance files for all teachers

    TA NEA: Bonus for those who pay on time

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana.gr * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: ANTONIS SKYLLAKOS


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