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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 14-04-28

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

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

Monday, 28 April 2014 Issue No: 4643

CONTENTS

  • [01] Finance ministry refutes reports of new austerity measures
  • [02] Alternate FinMin: Greece's needs 'fully covered for next 12 months', interview
  • [03] Minimum wage payouts to begin 'right after elections', minister says
  • [04] Venizelos: European election results must preserve political stability
  • [05] Venizelos: 'governmental, political stability the wager in upcoming elections'
  • [06] Gov't VP Venizelos begins campaign tour at Arta
  • [07] ALCO poll gives SYRIZA slight lead in Euroelections; puts ND ahead in general election
  • [08] Gov't has admitted to new memorandum, Tsipras says; gov't spokesman responds
  • [09] SYRIZA leader meets Soares during campaign in Portugal
  • [10] SYRIZA chooses final candidates for its EuroParliament ballot
  • [11] DIM.AR leader rules out government coalition with ND, PASOK
  • [12] Independent Greeks (ANEL) leader starts Cretan campaign tour
  • [13] A strong KKE everywhere the 'only hopeful result', KKE leader tells voters
  • [14] KKE leader: 'All for one and one for all'
  • [15] EU Commission's report good news for big business, not people, KKE says
  • [16] Potami party's Theodorakis visits Komotini, calls for new 'political culture'
  • [17] Defence minister on brief visit to Egypt
  • [18] Hellenic Parliament president Meimarakis on official visit to Albania
  • [19] Justice ministry unveils draft criminal procedure code for public consultation
  • [20] Protest on Crete against open-sea destruction of Syria's chemicals
  • [21] PASOK replies to press reports concerning its finances
  • [22] Strike suspends operation of open-air markets as of Monday
  • [23] Hail damages production in the Argolid plain, Peloponnese
  • [24] Busloads of PAOK supporters flock to Athens for Cup final with Panathinaikos
  • [25] Two to face criminal charges over Cup final match incidents
  • [26] Boy killed, sister seriously injured in tragic play area accident at Elliniko
  • [27] Two Russian sailors rushed to Volos hospital with severe burns after explosion
  • [28] U.S. National Institute of Health replants cloned Hippocrates tree in special ceremony
  • [29] 51 arrested over football match incidents Saturday
  • [30] Sex workers' union challenges new laws on brothels as unconstitutional
  • [31] Armenian genocide commemorated in Thessaloniki
  • [32] Organs for transplant flown to Thessaloniki by Air Force jet
  • [33] Former member of NGO arrested for debts to state
  • [34] Thunderstorms on Monday
  • [35] The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Finance ministry refutes reports of new austerity measures

    There are no 7.7 billion euros' worth of new measures, new taxes or further cuts in wages and pensions, the Finance ministry said in an announcement late on Saturday, rebutting press reports about further auste-rity measures in Greece.

    The ministry referred to the European Commission's evaluation report on the Greek adjustment programme on Friday, which gave Greece a positive assessment thus opening the way for the disbursement of an 8.3 billion euros' support loan to Greece (6.3 billion of which will be disbursed next week), and said the reports were spread by "the same circles that claimed the country would not meet its fiscal targets, the same people who are always spreading rumours of danger and cultivate a climate of fear and catastrophe."

    They "either do not know how to read charts or are 'blinded' by their government opposition attitude," the ministry added in its announcement, pointing out that "Greece has entered a long period of high and viable primary surpluses." It also quoted the report on a primary surplus of 0.8 percent over GDP in 2013, which it said "overshoot the (fiscal adjustment) programme's targets and presented the opportunity to distribute a social aid bonus."

    Among other things, the Finance ministry said the charges of fiscal gaps "don't add up" and that any "forecasts by the troika (of lenders) for even higher primary surpluses (which would have thus led to a fiscal gap) are being dealt with through structural interventions that are in no way related to wages and pensions."

    In conclusion, it asserted that any fiscal gap existing now relative to the next few years will be "cancelled out by the satisfactory execution of this year's budget, the implementation of structural interventions and the gradual improvement of liquidity following the reintroduction of the state and Greek banks to (international) markets, in combination with the wider growth initiatives that will be announced in the immediate future."

    "As the forecasts of the Greek government have been proven true the last two years," the Finance ministry said, "the same will happen now."

    [02] Alternate FinMin: Greece's needs 'fully covered for next 12 months', interview

    Greece's fiscal needs are fully covered for the next 12 months, Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said in an interview published in Sunday's Eleftheros Typos.

    Responding to a query, among others, on whether the fiscal gap for 2015-2015 could be covered without a new memorandum of understanding between Greece and its troika of lenders, Staikouras was quoted as saying, "It is obvious, among others from the Eurogroup's statement as well, that Greece's fiscal needs are fully covered for the next 12 months, even in the worst-case scenario of reaching 8.6 billion euros. We assess, that, given certain conditions, there is no fiscal gap for the next 12 months."

    Greece on Friday received a positive assessment from the European Commission, in a report on fiscal programme progress, that will lead to the release of the next loan tranche.

    The minister added, "Supporting this assessment is also the gradual and measured return to international markets for long-term borrowing, earlier than the original assessments."

    At another point in the interview, Staikouras was quoted as saying, "The achievement of fiscal targets obliges our (eurozone) partners to assume specific initiatives to further support the long-term viability of the the public debt. These initiatives must begin soon. There do exist realistic solutions, feasible techniques, and equivalent methods."

    [03] Minimum wage payouts to begin 'right after elections', minister says

    The guaranteed minimum wage to unemployed and socially vulnerable groups will begin immediately after the elections, Deputy Labour Minister Vassilis Kegeroglou said in an interview to private TV station Mega on Sunday.

    The amount will come to about 400 euros per month, he said, depending on income and assets, with additional assistance in kind. These will include programmes for re-entering the labour market, reduced Public Power Corporation electricity rates, heating subsidies and health coverage.

    The measure will be fully implemented by 2015, he added.

    [04] Venizelos: European election results must preserve political stability

    Government vice-president and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos stressed that the result of the upcoming European and local government elections must act to preserve political stability, in an interview with the newspaper "Sunday Ethnos" due to hit the newstands.

    He stressed that the elections must protect "the completion of the only national strategy that exists and is now giving results," and which he said was leading to an exit from the crisis and memorandum-imposed austerity measures.

    "The government must not simply be considered a New Democracy-PASOK coalition government. After May 25, we want a government that expresses all the creative forces of the country," he added.

    Venizelos also highlighted the importance of strengthening the progressive pole in the framework of government stability, adding that the "democratic faction has roots and resilience" and predicting an impressive representation at local government level.

    Commenting on calls for a debt haircut for Greece, PASOK's leader noted that to ask foreign Parliaments to essentially take on Greece's debt would be "politically futile" and counter-productive.

    "We do, of course, need parameter changes in interest rates and maturities, especially after the period of grace. But this is easy to do and will be done," he added, saying the government had created the conditions that would allow the country to forge ahead without new loans and memorandums, though not without the supervision that now existed for all Eurozone countries.

    [05] Venizelos: 'governmental, political stability the wager in upcoming elections'

    The dilemma facing voters in the upcoming European and local government elections was whether the country will "complete what it has begun with governmental and political stability or whether some very important things will be cast into doubt," Government Vice-president, Foreign Minister and PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos said in a press conference on Sunday.

    Venizelos underlined the need to respect and use the great sacrifices made by the Greek people, which he said were only now starting to yield results.

    "It is imperative that together, all Greeks complete this goal we have set and once again make our country a normal, regular country, independent and essentially equal within Europe, or whether we cast all these things in doubt. Let us think what will happen if we had not followed the difficult party: would everything exist, would we have the prospect to fight unemployment, or would we be a mess, a jungle," he said.

    [06] Gov't VP Venizelos begins campaign tour at Arta

    Greece is recovering its lost ground after the crisis, government Vice President Evangelos Venizelos said midday on Sunday in Arta, northwestern Greece, where he formally began his campaign tour.

    At the city-based poultry cooperative, Venizelos noted that "innovative Greece can be mostly found in regional Greece, and we must bring it to centre stage. The elections - local, regional and Europarliamentary - are an opportunity to promote this aspect of Greece and leave aside miserliness, petty party politics and whining."

    Venizelos, who was accompanied by Agriculture Minister Athanassios Tsaftaris, spoke with managers of the cooperative and expressed his commitment to strengthening local production. He chose Arta, he said, "because the area is authentic and deals with real issues of real people - this is what we are missing, in Greece."

    He also referred to the great prospects of poultry and animal farming in general, and said that "Greece, following the crisis, is holding up and is regaining the ground it lost."

    The cooperative's president raised economic and insurance issues for the cooperative's workers, who number 268, and Tsaftaris told him that an amendment is expected to be tabled in Parliament on Monday that would resolve these issues.

    Venizelos and Tsaftaris are expected to visit Ioannina, further north, later on Sunday. They are accompanied by Eurodeputy candidates Sylvana Rapti, George Vernicos and Aphroditi Al Saleh.

    [07] ALCO poll gives SYRIZA slight lead in Euroelections; puts ND ahead in general election

    A slight lead for main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) in the upcoming European elections - but with current government leaders New Democracy (ND) easing ahead in the case of national elections - was recorded in an opinion poll conducted by ALCO and published in the newspaper "Proto Thema" on Saturday.

    SYRIZA came first in voter preferences with a 0.5 pct lead over ND for the European elections and a 22.3 pct share of the vote. Voters gave ND a 0.7 pct lead and 22.2 pct of the vote, however, when asked what they would vote in a general election.

    The results of the poll concerning voter intentions in the case of general elections were as follows: ND (22.2 pct), SYRIZA (21.5 pct), Golden Dawn (6.7 pct), Potami (5.3 pct), Elia (4.9 pct), Communist Party of Greece (4.7 pct), Independent Greeks (3.6 pct), Democratic Left (2.5 pct), Union for the Homeland and the People (1 pct), other parties (5.2 pct), blank vote (2.4 pct), abstention (4.5 pct), undecided (15.5 pct).

    The poll results concerning voter intentions in European and local government elections this May were as follows: SYRIZA (22.3 pct), ND (21.8 pct), Potami (7.2 pct), Golden Dawn (7 pct), Communist Party of Greece (5 pct), Elia (4.8 pct), Independent Greeks (3.4 pct), Democratic Left (2.2 pct), Union for the Homeland and the People (1.1 pct), Ecologists (0.9 pct), ANTARSYA (0.9 pct), National Front (0.7 pct), Popular Orthodox Rally (0.5 pct), other parties (2.4 pct), blank vote (3.3 pct), abstention (5.2 pct), undecided (11.3 pct).

    Of those taking part in the poll, 41 pct said a criterion for their vote in the European elections will be preserving political stability, while 42 pct said their intention would be to overturn the government.

    Regarding who they would trust as prime minister, 32 pct replied current premier Antonis Samaras, 20 pct chose SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras and 42 pct said they trusted no one. On recent developments in the economy, 29 pct said these vindicated Samaras, 21 pct said they vindicated Tsipras and 50 pct said they did not know.

    [08] Gov't has admitted to new memorandum, Tsipras says; gov't spokesman responds

    The government has officially admitted to the existence of a new memorandum via Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras asserted in a statement to the newspaper 'Realnews' published on Saturday.

    "This admission tears to shreds the claims made by [Prime Minister Antonis Samaras] that we are finished with the memorandums and that there won't be a new one," Tsipras added, citing the response given by Stournaras to the main opposition's request to see the final agreement with the EU-IMF troika tabled in Parliament.

    He also accused Stournaras, who replied that documents are posted on the finance ministry website after being updated, of showing contempt toward Parliament.

    According to the main opposition leader, the government had been caught out and "the new memorandum is Samaras' secret pre-election programme," adding that this would include further easing of restrictions on lay offs, generalised 'renting' of employees even in the public sector, abolition of entitlements and new pension cuts.

    Replying, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou dismissed the main opposition leader's claims, noting that "Greece's success has been painful to many".

    "We are moving ahead. Let others continue to dream of new memorandums and repeat their mistakes," he said.

    [09] SYRIZA leader meets Soares during campaign in Portugal

    The European South must collaborate to overthrow austerity, legendary Socialist politician Mario Soares said in Porto, northwest Portugal, late on Saturday, following a meeting with Greek main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, who is campaigning as European Commission candidate under the European Left party.

    According to a SYRIZA announcement, Soares said that "the wider alliance of the European South is necessary, to become free of austerity," and expressed support for Tsipras.

    Soares said he loves Greece and was a friend of the late PASOK founder Andreas Papandreou, adding that the present party has nothing to do with the PASOK of old. He also expressed the belief that, within measure, Greece is the country from which the collapse of austerity will begin, hopefully also to happen in Portugal and Spain.

    In other statements at Porto, SYRIZA called the European Parliament election "a life referendum", as it would be "the first time that the election results are so critical for Europe, for our countries, and for each country and each of us individually." He also expressed the hope that the election brought more European Leftists to the European Parliament, to fill it with hope.

    Speaking on the Greek economy, Tsipras said "it is not true that the memorandums of understanding are finishing...Because the memorandums are not about the borrowing, but about the state of social dissolution and deregulation they created for the past four years in our countries' societies. It is the statues of a permanent austerity that they want to institutionalise into European treaties."

    The main opposition leader also charged German Chancellor Angela Merkel of setting up "a pre-electoral theatre of the absurd" as "her PR staff created a campaign 'success story' of her to convince German voters that her European policy has succeeded and to vote for her, but also to allow her political allies in our countries to hide."

    "Who dares speak of stability," he asked, "The governments... that are responsible for nearly 2.5 million uninsured in Greece, with no medical coverage? For the unprecedented unemployment rates, which in Portugal officially stands at 16 percent, and in Greece at 27 percent? Or for the scandal of youth unemployment, which has climbed over 60 percent in Greece and 35 percent in Portugal?"

    [10] SYRIZA chooses final candidates for its EuroParliament ballot

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition on Saturday filled the two final slots in its ballot for the European Parliament, in an emergency meeting of the party's Political Secretariat.

    The party's new candidate MEPs will be Constitutional law expert Ilias Nikolopoulos and trade unionist Alkistis Tsolakou. The meeting also discussed ways to enhance the party's political and communications action, as well as tactics and coordination ahead of the European elections in May.

    [11] DIM.AR leader rules out government coalition with ND, PASOK

    Opposition Democratic Left (DIM.AR) leader Fotis Kouvelis ruled out the possibility that his party might again participate in a coalition government with the New Democracy and PASOK parties, "as long as they continue to follow the same policy," in an interview with the newspaper "Efimerida ton Syntakton" published on Saturday.

    According to Kouvelis, coalition governments were inevitable but "not a government, like the present, that obstinately insists on a failed and dangerous political and economic mix". According to DIM.AR's leader, meanwhile, a new general election in 2014 will be hard to avoid.

    He said that his party's goal was to provide the greatest possible support to the "Democratic Left - Progressive Cooperation" faction, since this would be the only way to come closer to the target of a major democratic faction, that was pro-Europe and wanted reforms.

    "The progressive pole cannot be either a satellite of neoliberal policies nor a supporter of leftist populism. It will either be progressive or not exist," he said.

    Regarding his presence at a book launch with former premier George Papandreou, Kouvelis underlined that this was merely a coincidence.

    [12] Independent Greeks (ANEL) leader starts Cretan campaign tour

    Greece is living under an occupation, Independent Greeks (Anexartiti Ellines, ANEL) leader Panos Kammenos said on Sunday, at the start of his campaign visit on the Aegean Island of Crete.

    "We are living under occupation, and this occupation cannot be borne on the shoulders of Cretans and of Greeks, and we shall prove it during European Parliament elections," Kammenos said during his arrival at Chania airport, NW Crete, adding, "Hellenism is much stronger, democracy is much stronger, and it will win."

    Kammenos is participating in an action by Cretan organisations at Sfakia, SW on the island, to protest the destruction of chemical weapons from Syria in the Mediterranean Sea.

    Starting Monday and until Wednesday, he is scheduled to meet with local agency and organisation representatives and local government candidates in all major cities of the island.

    [13] A strong KKE everywhere the 'only hopeful result', KKE leader tells voters

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Dimitris Koutsoumbas urged voters to cast their vote for his party throughout the country, in a statement to the newspaper "Realnews" appearing on Saturday.

    "A strong KKE everywhere, in all ballot boxes! This will be the different, hopeful electoral result that no one can read differently," he said.

    He stressed that main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) did not want the people to know the truth, which was that SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras and current premier Antonis Samaras were competing to be the "chosen" champion of a capitalist European Union, of monopolies and industrialists.

    "On the day after the elections, no matter who comes first - whether its ND or SYRIZA - unemployment, cuts to wages and pensions, head taxes and the dismantling of health and education will still be here," he stressed.

    [14] KKE leader: 'All for one and one for all'

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) "will continue to consistently fight everywhere and in Parliament for measures to immediately relieve workers, low-pension recipients, working-class families, and especially the unemployed," party Secretary General Dimitris Koutsoumbas said on Sunday.

    At an event organised for the unemployed by labour unions and Piraeus' party committees, Koutsoumbas said that at times such as these "it is important to express class solidarity so that nobody is left alone in the the crisis, but to make the saying 'one for all and all for one' a reality."

    The party proposed an emergency bonus of at least 1,000 euros, he said, an unemployment benefit for all regardless of conditions, free medical coverage for all the unemployed and their families, an end to asset seizure and to house auctions, continued electrical power, water and telephone services for all, and free public transport. He also said that the time spent unemployed should be counted as credit for future pensions.

    [15] EU Commission's report good news for big business, not people, KKE says

    "Big business has every reason to be satisfied with the European Commission's report but not the people, who will come up against more anti-popular reversals in income, labour and insurance rights through the long-term memorandums imposed by the EU," the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said on Saturday.

    It urged voters to "turn their backs to the government's promises, which conceal permanent mechanisms of EU supervision, and to the declarations of [main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA)] who are pretending that they can supposed humanise this reactionary edifice."

    [16] Potami party's Theodorakis visits Komotini, calls for new 'political culture'

    The founder of the newly-formed Potami party, TV journalist Stavros Theodorakis, on Sunday outlined the need to transmit a new "political culture" that respected all citizens equally, while speaking in the city of Komotini in Thrace.

    Theodorakis said that this was possible and supported by 'Potami' and could highlight the city's developmental advantages, while pointing to the "miserable conditions" in which some residents of Komotini were currently living.

    "This morning I took a long walk on foot and went to some nice neighbourhoods; but I also went to some very ugly ones that are an insult to the city. Do you realise how many million millions have been given over the years by European funds for the Roma? Where is this money?" he asked.

    Referring to the problems faced by regional areas, he criticised policies that had made central government the only centre for decisions and distributing cash, saying this role should go to the regions. He also called for looser ties between the Church and the State and, on the issue of guarding borders, stressed that Greece's borders were also those of Europe and the cost should be undertaken by Europe and not burden Greek society alone.

    In this context, he criticised the positions of main opposition SYRIZA concerning migration, noting that Greece's borders could not be left open and that calls to that effect were "irresponsible".

    [17] Defence minister on brief visit to Egypt

    National Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos is currently on a 24-hour visit to Egypt, the ministry announced on Sunday.

    Avramopoulos is expected to hold talks with his Egyptian counterpart, General Sedki Sobhi, and to be received by Arab Democracy of Egypt Interim President Adly Mansour.

    He will also meet with the Greek community of Cairo, who will hold a dinner in his honour. The Greek minister is accompanied by chief of the Navy General Staff, Vice Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis.

    [18] Hellenic Parliament president Meimarakis on official visit to Albania

    Hellenic Parliament President Evangelos Meimarakis was in Tirana on Sunday, carrying out an official visit to Albania at the invitation of his Albanian counterpart Ilir Meta. In statements after their meeting, Meimarakis stressed that one of the goals of Greece's EU presidency is for Albania to be awarded the status of EU candidate-country by June.

    "As we supported Albania's entry into NATO, with greater force and desire and doing everything possible we will support that it be granted the status of candidate for EU accession during our presidency," he said.

    The Greek Parliament speaker pointed out that Greece had actively demonstrated its intention to bring the entire region into the EU and NATO, adding that this would help preserve stability, security and growth in SE Europe.

    His visit to Tirana was a hopeful message that relations between the two countries were excellent and of strategic importance, he added.

    Meta also referred to the "bridge of friendship and cooperation" joining Albania and Greece, in the form of Albania's Greek minority and the large Albanian community in Greece.

    "Albania and Greece have played an important role for stability and security in the region," he said, stressing the need to further reinforce cooperation, especially in energy security.

    Meimarakis also had meetings with Albanian President Bujar Nishani, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and the country's main opposition party leader Lulzim Basha.

    On Monday, Meimarakis will take part in the 12th Conference of the Speakers of the Parliaments of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative, of which Albania currently holds the chair.

    [19] Justice ministry unveils draft criminal procedure code for public consultation

    The justice ministry on Sunday posted a draft law on the criminal procedure code for a period of public consultation. The ministry said the draft bill includes several innovations that have already been successful in other countries, such as the United Kingdom, United States and Germany, and are designed to free the courts of a backlog of thousands of cases.

    Among the new measures is that of a "criminal plea bargaining prosecutor", where the accused and public prosecutor can reach agreement on the sentence imposed before the case reaches court and, if agreement is reached, the case could bypass court entirely. This type of mediation can only occur for offences with a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and not for offences involving public sector embezzlement or fraud.

    In the case that the accused agrees to a plea bargain, then the sentence imposed must be clearly more lenient than that imposed by a court and the sentence must have more favourable terms for release.

    The draft bill will also abolish five-member criminal appeals courts, while five-member courts will be reserved for offences described as "complex" and those coming under public-sector embezzlement laws.

    [20] Protest on Crete against open-sea destruction of Syria's chemicals

    Representatives of parties and hundreds of Cretans took part in a protest held at Sfakia on the island of Crete on Sunday, demonstrating against plans to destroy chemical weapons from Syria in Mediterranean waters south of Crete. The protest was the third held on the island against the plan to dispose of Syria's chemical weapons, which will be done by ships while sailing on the open sea.

    After speeches by the organisers, protestors boarded boats, fishing craft and a local ferry to set up a symbolic 'naval blockade' of the sea corridor between Sfakia and the islet of Gavdos.

    Local residents object to a plan to dispose of Syria's chemicals by a process of hydrolysis conducted in the Mediterranean. Among those attending the protest were Independent Greeks party leader Panos Kammenos, who is currently on a tour of Crete, as well as MPs and local government officials.

    [21] PASOK replies to press reports concerning its finances

    Ruling coalition partner PASOK, the junior party in the coalition government, on Saturday issued a lengthy announcement in reply to a front-page article in the newspaper "Efimerida ton Syntakton" saying that its finances were being investigated by justice.

    PASOK noted that the article was "old news" and that the party's debt burden was well known, while the problem was not confined to PASOK alone but one shared by many political parties, whose finances had also come under scrutiny from special bodies foreseen under the Constitution.

    "This organ bases its inspections on the reports of chartered accountants. These were sent to the magistrate's court judge that asked for them," the announcement said.

    Concerning an auditor's report referred to in the article, PASOK noted that this was "additional, private and advisory" and denied that it had been shelved, while attributing petty political motives, seeking to present this as an internal problem within the party.

    Financial News

    [22] Strike suspends operation of open-air markets as of Monday

    Fruit and vegetable producers of open-air markets and sellers will hold a rally at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, the beginning of a long-term strike, tto protest a new draft bill promoted by the Development and Competitiveness ministry.

    The move suspends the operation of open-air markets until the issue is resolved.

    The producers and sellers will rally at downtown Athens' Kaningos Square and march to Parliament, while a similar rally will be held in northern Greece, at 9:00 a.m. in Kamara, Thessaloniki, where protesters will march to the Macedonia-Thrace ministry. They said the measures "are threatening 50,000 families and serve large interests."

    Among the contested articles in the bill, the federation of open-market producers and sellers mentioned the decision to allocate stalls by annual lottery, the right of municipalities to decide on the ceiling in the number of sellers at markets, the separation between producers and other sellers at the market, and the fines (ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 euros) and sanctions for transgressions, which they said in their majority also carry jail terms of three months to a year.

    General News

    [23] Hail damages production in the Argolid plain, Peloponnese

    Intense rain and hail fell on Sunday on the major fruit and vegetable producing area of Argos and Nemea, in the northeastern Peloponnese, damaging crops and orchards.

    Half an hour of almond-sized pellets of hail damaged cultivations in several villages on the Argive plain, especially apricot and olive trees, vines, and some citrus trees.The deputy regional director of the

    Argolid, Tassos Cheividopoulos, told ANA-MPA that he had spoken with the president and other officials of the agricultural insurance agency (ELGA), which will send inspectors on Monday to assess the damage and begincompensation proceedings for producers.

    [24] Busloads of PAOK supporters flock to Athens for Cup final with Panathinaikos

    Traffic had to be diverted at the Afidnes tolls on the Athens-Lamia national highway on Saturday, due to the dozens of coaches full of PAOK supporters that made the trip to the capital to attend the Cup final match between their team and rivals Panathinaikos in the Greek soccer league.

    Police were stopping coaches in the line for inspections, leading to long queues at the tolls, while normal traffic was not restored until late on Saturday afternoon.

    The first of the 350 coaches expected, with an estimated 21,000 PASOK supporters aboard, started arriving at the Afidnes meeting point at around 9:00 in the morning. The trip was mainly uneventful apart from a minor pileup involving four coaches in the PAOK convoy just outside Volos, at 6:30 in the morning, in which no one was injured.

    The convoy was escorted by a large police force, making two stops on their way to Athens from Thessaloniki, while the operation will continue throughout the day as the PAOK supporters are gradually transported into Athens for the game taking place at the OAKA stadium.

    A minor incident involving an attack on PAOK supporters in a Kolonaki cafe in central Athens, again with no injuries, was reported on Saturday afternoon. Police also arrested two individuals, aged 33 and 37 years old, respectively, after a raid on a PAOK supporters' clubhouse on Pireos Street that revealed a number of banned items, including 15 fireworks, three metal rods, four bottles filled with flammable liquid and two knives.

    [25] Two to face criminal charges over Cup final match incidents

    Two individuals arrested during incidents at a PAOK, Thessaloniki and Panathinaikos, Athens Cup final match are to face criminal charges after appearing before a public prosecutor on Sunday. Police arrested 51 people at the time of the match on Saturday evening, who were brought in for mainly minor charges, such as violating laws on sporting events and possession of firecrackers.

    The two facing criminal charges are accused of illegal possession of explosives and will be led before an examining magistrate.

    Among the 49 arrested on lesser charges are a known anti-establishment activist, who was additionally charged with violating drug laws and abusive behaviour.

    [26] Boy killed, sister seriously injured in tragic play area accident at Elliniko

    A 13-year-old boy was killed and his nine-year-old sister critically injured on Sunday afternoon, while playing in a swimming pool at an organised children's park in Athens' coastal Elliniko district.

    According to witness accounts, the two children were playing in an inflatable tube in a swimming pool within the grounds when a sudden squall picked up the tube with both children still inside and dashed it against other objects in the park.

    Efforts by the parents and others on the scene to revive the two children were in vain and both were rushed to Aghia Sofia children's hospital in central Athens by ambulance.

    According to the hospital, the boy was dead on arrival and the younger girl was immediately hooked up to life support in an ICU unit. Doctors later announced that she had sustained a lung injury, describing her condition as stable and saying that she was conscious and able to communicate with those around her.

    Police have arrested the owner of the park and the two managers in charge, holding them for questioning at the Elliniko police station.

    [27] Two Russian sailors rushed to Volos hospital with severe burns after explosion

    Two Russian nationals, crew members of the Russian-flagged freighter "Nakhoda", were rushed to hospital in the coastal town of Volos on Saturday, after suffering severe third-degree burns in an explosion and fire in the vessel's hold. The explosion took place on Saturday morning, while the ship was docked in a harbour in Amaliapolis to load a shipment of cargo from Loulis Mills.

    The fire was subsequently extinguished by the fire brigade, while the ship's first and third engineers were also injured.

    The causes of the accident have not yet been determined, with an investigation underway by Amaliapolis coast guard officers, who answers to the Volos Coast Guard. The ship has been forbidden to set sail until damages are repaired and it has received a certificate of seaworthiness from the classification society to which it belongs.

    The ship had a crew of 11, all Russian nationals.

    [28] U.S. National Institute of Health replants cloned Hippocrates tree in special ceremony

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/ P. Panagiotou)

    The U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) on Friday paid tribute to Hippocrates, considered the father of modern medicine, by planting a sapling derived from the original plane tree that once shaded the ancient physician as he taught on the Greek island of Kos, thousands of years ago. The new tree, along with a marble plaque dedicated to Hippocrates, will be planted near the library, within the grounds of the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland.

    The sapling is actually a clone of a cutting donated to the NIH by Greece in 1961, which also had graced the grounds near the library until it was infected by a fungus in the 1980s and eventually felled in 2013. The cutting was said to be derived from the original tree where, according to tradition, Hippocrates had sat to teach his students. Its death also served as a project in cutting-edge science, however, in which a scientific team at the institute collaborated with scientists at the Smithsonian to reproduce a clone of the original, presenting saplings of the historic tree to the NIH.

    These were replanted with all due pomp and circumstance on Friday, in a ceremony attended by the Greek Ambassador to the United States Christos Panagopoulos.

    [29] 51 arrested over football match incidents Saturday

    Police called in a total of 119 people for questioning, as reported late Saturday evening, after incidents related to the final football Cup match between Panathinaikos and PAOK, taking place the same day at the OAKA stadium north of Athens.

    As of information provided yesterday evening, 51 of those questioned were arrested for incidents around the stadium and in several parts of Athens. The arrestees include fans of both clubs.

    On Saturday, police had initiated a series of security measures in an effort to keep incidents down, as 350 coaches were expected from various cities of Greece to carry an estimated 21,000 PAOK supporters to Afidnes, a meeting point on the Athens-Lamia national highway. Traffic had had to be diverted and a large police force escorted the buses into the city.

    Panathinaikos won the cup 4-1.

    [30] Sex workers' union challenges new laws on brothels as unconstitutional

    In a case brought before the Council of State, Greece's supreme administrative court, the Greek sex workers' national union and five women sex workers from Thessaloniki have challenged new restrictions on running brothels as unconstitutional and contrary to internationally established personal and civil liberties.

    According to an announcement on Sunday, the new rules have led the Athens municipality to revoke the licences of nearly all the city's brothels, except three. The closed brothels, according to the sex workers' lawyer, have since reopened and about 500 are now operating illegally.

    Under ] previous laws passed in 1999, it was already forbidden to set up brothels in listed buildings, in buildings that didn't meet construction code requirements, as well as buildings that were less than 200m from churches, schools and other areas frequented by children. Laws passed in 2014, however, extended the ban to buildings that were within 200m of 3-star to 5-star hotels.

    Those who defy the ban and continue to operate a closed brothel face prison sentences of up to three months, which cannot be suspended, converted to a fine and are not open to appeal.

    According to sex workers, these laws violate a series of articles in the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as international agreements on personal and civil liberties. In addition, they claim, they violate the right to free economic competition, also protected by the Constitution, while the inability to appeal against sentences violates the principles of holding a fair trial.

    They also stress that the measures will lead some 7,000 individuals, including sex workers and support staff, to losing their livelihoods, undermine public health when brothels are driven underground and cost the state hundreds of thousands of euros in lost VAT earnings.

    [31] Armenian genocide commemorated in Thessaloniki

    The Armenian National Committee of Greece held an event at the I. Vellidis conference centre in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, to commemorate the 99th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

    Following a keynote speech by Dr Theofanis Malkidis, the members of the committee and community members held a walk to the monument of heroes of the Third Army Corps, where they laid wreaths.

    [32] Organs for transplant flown to Thessaloniki by Air Force jet

    A Greek Air Force Embraer jet flew from Eleusis air field west of Athens on Sunday to Thessaloniki, carrying the donated organs of a deceased patient from Rio, central Greece to recipients in northern Greece.

    A 62-year-old patient in Thessaloniki is expected to receive the donated liver, while the kidneys and heart will be transplanted accordingly by decision of the National Organisation of Transplants (EOM).

    The flight was accompanied by a group of doctors and approved by the National Defence minister following a request by the National Centre of Emergency Aid (EKAV), which is also assuming the cost of the flight.

    [33] Former member of NGO arrested for debts to state

    A 76-year-old woman, a former member of a non-governmental organisation, has been arrested for overdue debts to the state exceeding one million euros, the police announced on Saturday. She was led before an Alexandroupolis public prosecutor.

    Weather forecast

    [34] Thunderstorms on Monday

    Rain and local thunderstorms midday are forecast for most of Greece, except for the Cycladic Islands and Crete where there will be scattered cloud cover; conditions are expected to improve by evening. Variable winds from 4 to 6 Beaufort, rising to 8 at the Cyclades. Temperatures from 11C to 22C. In Athens, thunderstorms expected midday, mostly in the north. Variable winds, 3 to 4 Beaufort, and temperatures from 15C to 20C. In Thessaloniki, the same, with temperatures ranging from 13C to 19C.

    [35] The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    AVGHI: "Greece pawned off to (German Chancellor Angela) Merkel by (Greek Premier Antonis) Samaras"

    DIMOKRATIA: "Tax changes on property - the good and the bad news"

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Illegal property additions up in the air - 500,000 owners left hanging"

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Tax reductions for businesses and homes"

    ETHNOS: "What Samaras hopes for, what (main opposition leader Alexis) Tsipras is afraid of"

    KATHIMERINI: "'Guest resident' - a new tax evasion scheme"

    LOGOS: "Suicide tendency rate among military recruits at 3 percent"

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Strong Communist Party: People battle-ready in clash with EU and monopolies"

    TO VIMA: "Underground schemes in the shadow of unknown election results"

    VRADYNI: "Go on pension now, before troika brings changes"

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