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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 14-06-17

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

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

Tuesday, 17 June 2014 Issue No: 4684

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece exits stronger from the crisis, PM Samaras says
  • [02] Greece, Azerbaijan agree on need to speed up completion of DESFA deal
  • [03] PM Samaras advocates a European 'vertical corridor' gas pipeline starting from Greece
  • [04] President Papoulias meets with his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev
  • [05] President Papoulias hosts dinner for visiting Azerbaijani counterpart
  • [06] PM Samaras meets with Azerbaijan's President Aliyev; visit to Acropolis
  • [07] FM Venizelos holds meeting with visiting Azerbaijani president
  • [08] Parliament president receives visiting Azerbaijani president and delegation
  • [09] PM meets IOC President Thomas Bach
  • [10] PM Samaras to address EPP event on Tuesday
  • [11] The Greek President's election relates to parties and deputies' obligation for stability, Venizelos says
  • [12] General government payroll cost in 2013 was 20 pct less than in 2011, Alt. Finmin tells Parliament
  • [13] Adm. Reform ministry remains on course with reforms in the public sector
  • [14] No dismissals before the evaluation process is completed, Education Minister says
  • [15] Gov't mulling performance-linked pay bonuses for public-sector staff
  • [16] Fiscal savings for public sector staff cuts to total 100 mln euros, report
  • [17] Transport minister announces reduction of public transport ticket and monthly pass
  • [18] SYRIZA MEP Papadimoulis in ANA-MPA interview: Justice minister should resign over 'legislative oversight'
  • [19] FM Venizelos to meet Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on Tuesday
  • [20] Deputy FM Kourkoulas to Rome for international conference on Lebanon
  • [21] Joint actions to promote tourism and cultural heritage agreed by the ministers of tourism and culture
  • [22] SYRIZA deputies walk out of parliamentary committee session
  • [23] Independent Greeks party leader in Tokyo for NATO sessions
  • [24] Independent MP under investigation in Golden Dawn case released without conditions
  • [25] Eurozone should restart debate on debt mutualisation, head of Central Association of Chambers says
  • [26] Council of State: Bank accounts can be seized without warning
  • [27] Culture Ministry staff to hold work stoppage on Tuesday
  • [28] Potami party completes preparations for founding congress on June 27-29
  • [29] Shipyards blackout not affecting missile boat programme, Greek Navy says
  • [30] ADEDY union calls work stoppage in Attica prefecture on June 18
  • [31] State to extend health coverage to SME owners and families with debts
  • [32] Tourism Minister welcomes first passengers of Shanghai-Athens direct flight
  • [33] Workplace accidents cost Greece more than one billion euros a year, labour minister tells European conference
  • [34] Greek inflation rate falls to -2.1 pct in May, Eurostat
  • [35] Tax burden up in Greece and in EU in 2012, Eurostat
  • [36] Athens Exchange settlement cycle reduced to T+2 as of October 2014
  • [37] Coastal navigation crews to retain 2013 levels in wages, allowances and fees
  • [38] Akis Skertsos new SEV general director
  • [39] Retail sector employment index down 1.2 pct in Q1
  • [40] Gulf Air resumes flights from Bahrain to Athens
  • [41] Greek stocks end moderately lower
  • [42] Bond market closing report
  • [43] ADEX closing report
  • [44] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [45] Corruption and graft in Greece still widespread, according to Ernst & Young Global Fraud Survey
  • [46] Journalism unions, GSEE Labour Institute announce initiative for unemployed media personnel
  • [47] Stylida mayor and former actor Apostolos Gletsos acquitted for road toll protests
  • [48] Wildfire at Armenistis, Halkidiki under control
  • [49] Lefkada Island to inaugurate museum dedicated to Japan's national poet Lafcadio Hearn
  • [50] Police bust doctors writing out fake prescriptions to deceased patients
  • [51] 'Electronic war' case defendant released with conditions pending trial
  • [52] Minor involved in heroin haul case released with conditions; authorities locate suspicious truck
  • [53] Polish tourist found dead in central Greek canyon
  • [54] Overcast on Tuesday
  • [55] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies Politics

  • [01] Greece exits stronger from the crisis, PM Samaras says

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Monday reiterated his confidence that Greece is exiting from the recession at the presentation of the Greek EU presidency's achievements ."Greece is coming out of the crisis stronger, and this proves the strength and the maturity of the Greek people," Samaras said in his speech at the 51st Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs.

    Setting the reduction of unemployment as a main priority, Samaras referred to the enormous sacrifices of the Greek people: "Take my word for it, in a country like ours where unemploy-ment climbed to 28 percent last September, and youth unemployment to 60 percent, you realize that the difficulties are enormous. And the measures taken - for example we have lost 25 percent of our national income over these last years - you can realize that these measures could not have brought results without the tremendous sacrifices made by the Greek people and by every Greek household," the prime minister noted.

    However, he expressed his optimism about the future as the messages are positive. "The fact that unemployment has started falling over the last few months, slowly but in a stable way, and the fact that a really important framework for investments in Greece has been developed as well as the fact that everyone recognises that we have achieved a lot in terms of fiscal progress and structural changes in these difficult times, fills us with optimism for the future. Greece is indeed getting out of the crisis stronger," he added.

    According to Samaras, during the Greek presidency, 67 legislative texts were concluded on a political level while there was political concession on Council level for a few more for which Italy will be called to negotiate with the European Parliament. Moreover, he said, significant political texts on the security and prosperity of European citizens were debated, agreed and adopted. Emphasis was given on the euro's "structural deficits" arising from the last crisis, on halting the recession and tackling the unemployment, which has crucially hit the social cohesion in Europe along with the undocumented migration issue.

    "Among all the things that happened in the last six months, some may consider the steps towards the Banking Union were the most important. In Greece and in some other countries of the south, perhaps the measures to tackle undocumented migration and to relieve unemployment may be considered the most important ones," Samaras said. He added that in the long term, perhaps the most important contribution of the Greek presidency was that it marked the "turn to the sea" as well as the upgrade of Europe's marine policies.

    "Our union is our strength! And our ability to overcome these problems is the proof that we use this strength wisely," he pointed out.

    [02] Greece, Azerbaijan agree on need to speed up completion of DESFA deal

    Speeding up procedures for the approval of the transfer of a majority stake in DESFA (Natural Gas System Operator) to Socar and the beginning of construction works of a Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) natural gas network according to set timetables, were the focus of talks held on Monday on the occasion of an official visit by Azeri President Ilham Aliyev to Athens.

    In his meetings with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in the presence of Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Yiannis Maniatis, and government Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Azerbaijan's president discussed energy cooperation between Greece and Azerbaijan, a strategic cooperation between Azerbaijan and the European Union and the role of Greece as an entry gate of Azeri energy raw materials to the EU, amidst a crisis in the Ukraine.

    The two sides agreed on the need to avoid any delays in Brussels for the completion of the transaction. Greece has agreed to sell 66 pct of DESFA to Socar for 400 million euros. The transaction needs approval from the European Commission.

    Referring to the TAP pipeline, Greece and Azerbaijan agreed on the importance of the South Corridor of natural gas towards improving the EU's energy safety. The pipeline will transport natural gas from Shah Deniz field in Azerbaijan through Turkey, Greece and Albania to Italy, while talks also focused on the possibility of supplying other countries in the region through a vertical Greek-Bulgarian pipeline (IGB) promoted by DEPA.

    The TAP pipeline will have an initial transport ability of 10 billion cubic metres of gas annually, with the investment in the Greek part of the pipeline (with a length of 870 klm) totalling 1.5 billion euros. The project will create 2,000 direct and 10,000 indirect job positions. TAP's shareholders are BP (20 pct), Socar (20 pct), Statoil (20 pct), Fluxys (16 pct), Total (10 pct), E.ON (9.0 pct) and Axpo (5.0 pct).

    Aliyev, who is paying an official visit to Athens by invitation of President Papoulias, said that his second visit to Greece demonstrated the high level of the relations and cooperation between the two countries, particularly in the energy sector, while Papoulias mentioned that relations between the two countries had strengthened and pointed to the teaching of Greek language at the Baku Slavic University.

    The two presidents attended the signing of three agreements between the two countries by Venizelos and his Azeri counterpart, Elmar Mammadyarov, for cooperation in the agricultural sector, youth issues and a memorandum on EU and?Azerbaijani?issues.

    Earlier in the day, Aliyev had met with Samaras, who held a working luncheon that was attended by several ministers including Venizelos, and focused on energy issues.

    Among other activities, the visiting president was received by Greek Parliament President Evangelos Meimarakis, who presented him with the Parliament's Golden Medal, with Foreign Minister Mammadyarov and the country's ambassador to Athens, Rahman Mustafayev, in attendance.

    Also on Monday, Aliyev and his wife were also accompanied by Deputy Culture Minister Angela Gerekou on a guided tour of the archaeological site of the Acropolis, while later, the prime minister's wife, Georgia Samara, accompanied?Azerbaijan's First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva on a visit to the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens and they had lunch together.

    [03] PM Samaras advocates a European 'vertical corridor' gas pipeline starting from Greece

    In addressing a meeting of the visiting Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev with Greek businessmen in Athens on Monday evening, Premier Antonis Samaras advocated the construction of a "vertical corridor" gas pipeline - along with various inter-connections - which would allow the transportation of gas flowing from the South to the North, feeding energy to the Balkans, the central and Eastern Europe.

    According to Samaras, Greece could be the starting point of this corridor, which could be supplying gas from the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) or other sources which either exist today or will exist in the future, including from within Greece.

    "Greece is implementing a very important privatisation programme, which offers significant possibilities to foreign and Greek investors", said Samaras, adding that the reforms implemented in Greece have led to a positive environment conducive to business. He also expressed his certainty that the cooperation enjoyed with Azerbaijan will be extended to other sectors as well - apart from energy - such as commerce, tourism, real estate and many more.

    [04] President Papoulias meets with his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev

    The cooperation between Greece and Azerbaijan in the economic sector has deepened, especially after the selection of the TAP gas pipeline, which will transport natural gas from Azerbaijan to Europe through Greece, and the majority participation of Azeri SOCAR into Greek gas operator DESFA's shareholding structure, Greek President Karolos Papoulias said after a meeting with his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev.

    Aliyev is paying an official visit to Athens following an invitation by Papoulias.

    The political relations between the two countries are undergoing constant development, and so are in the cultural sector, the Greek President said pointing to the teaching of Greek language at the Baku Slavic University. Papoulias briefed his Azeri counterpart on the Greek national issues and in particular the talks on the Cyprus issue, which are, as he said, in a critical phase, with the aim to find a viable and workable solution that would put an end to the Turkish occupation.

    Moreover, Aliyev said that his second visit to Greece demonstrates the high level of the relations and cooperation between the two countries, particularly in the energy sector: "Energy security is of strategic importance and the TAP pipeline is not only an energy project, but the upgrading of relations between Azerbaijan and Greece." The Azeri president added that the TAP pipeline and the exploitation of the Shah Deniz gas field are important for Europe: "Thanks to those, gas will be coming to European markets for decades," he said.

    Papoulias and Aliyev attended the signing of three agreements between the two countries by the Government Vice-President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos and his Azeri counterpart for cooperation in the agricultural sector, youth issues and a memorandum on EU and Azerbaijan issues.

    [05] President Papoulias hosts dinner for visiting Azerbaijani counterpart

    Our talks have confirmed once again the high level of our political relations, based on mutual respect and trust, President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias said in his address to Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, at an official dinner held in the visitor's honour at the Presidential Mansion on Monday night.

    "Our economic cooperation has great opportunities of growth," Papoulias said, referring to the energy agreements between the two countries, adding that "the further expansion of Greek-Azerbaijani relations will strengthen the geostrategic and geoeconomic position of your country between Europe and Asia."

    Papoulias also referred to Greece's support of stability in Caucasia, and Greece's hope for solutions of the conflicts there on the basis of international law, which includes respect of countries' national and territorial sovereignty; the improvement of relations with Turkey, which "Turkey must contribute to...as purposeless sailing of Turkish navy ships within Greek territorial waters which are being repeated with great frequency do not constitute harmless passage"; and a comprehensive solution for the Cyprus issue.

    President Aliyev spoke of Greece's contribution to the relations his country has with the European Union and said Azerbaijan was interested in further investments in Greece, beyond the Trans Adriatic Pipeline. In terms of events in Caucasia, he said he was particularly distressed by the occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh by Armenia, and said the issue should be resulved on the basis of United Nations resolutions and international law.

    [06] PM Samaras meets with Azerbaijan's President Aliyev; visit to Acropolis

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Monday had a meeting and a working luncheon with visiting Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

    Their talks focused on energy issues, including the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) project and the Hellenic Gas Transmission System Operator S.A. (DESFA), as well as on geostrategic issues. They also discussed developments in Russia and Ukraine and Greece's role in Europe's energy autonomy.

    The prime minister, in his capacity as the European Council president, discussed with the Azeri president EU prospects and recent developments.

    The talks were held in a cordial atmosphere, with government sources underlining that high-level bilateral relations have made significant progress following Prime Minister Samaras' visit to Baku in May 2013.

    Deputy Culture Minister Angela Gerekou later accompanied the Azerbaijani president on a guided tour of the archaeological site of the Acropolis in Athens and noted that bilateral relations will continue to yield results in the sector of culture as well, underlining that Azerbaijan, like Greece, was and still is a crossroads of cultures.

    Meanwhile, the prime minister's wife Georgia Samara accompanied Azerbaijan's First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva on a visit to the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens and they later had lunch together.

    [07] FM Venizelos holds meeting with visiting Azerbaijani president

    Government Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, speaking after meeting visiting president of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, said "it is Greece's strategic choice to promote our bilateral relations with Azerbaijan".

    He also stressed that "in a troubled region, that extends in both the eastern and the southern neighbourhood of the European Union, it is of very great importance to have some strategic partners who function as anchors of stability. This is the role of Azerbaijan, which is ready, also, to invest in Greece and contribute to the development of the real Greek economy, now that we are exiting from the crisis".

    President Aliyev, who is accompanied by Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, had earlier met with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

    [08] Parliament president receives visiting Azerbaijani president and delegation

    Parliament President Evangelos Meimarakis on Monday received visiting Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and the country's ambassador to Athens, Rahman Mustafayev.

    Meimarakis presented the Azerbaijani president with the Parliament's Gold Medal and underlined that an Azerbaijani Parliament Friendship Group visited the Greek parliament last November, also noting that he is scheduled to visit Azerbaijan in the context of efforts aimed at further boosting bilateral relations.

    Meimarakis also said that parliamentary diplomacy can play a very important role in bilateral cooperation and in finding solutions in all pending issues.

    On his part, the Azerbaijani president noted that this is the second time he visits Greece in last five years, which is indicative of the ties of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

    [09] PM meets IOC President Thomas Bach

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Monday had a meeting with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach at the Maximos building, the government's headquarters.

    In a brief exchange before the cameras, Bach told the prime minister that people appreciated everything that Samaras had done.

    "We went through an unbelievable state of affairs but things are going much better. I am very optimistic," Samaras replied.

    "The figures you see are very promising and I think there is a lot of admiration for everything that has been done at this time. Because everyone knows the hardships you are going through and and that it takes time so that the hard work can bring results," Bach said.

    [10] PM Samaras to address EPP event on Tuesday

    LISBON (ANA-MPA/S.Goutzanis)

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will be in Portugal on Tuesday to address an event of the European People's Party (EPP) parliamentary group on the theme of "Strategy for growth and jobs, 2014-2019".

    Attending will be the European Council president Herman Van Rompuy, and European Commission incumbent and candidate presidents Jose Manuel Barroso and Jean-Claude Juncker, EPP president Joseph Daul, Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho.

    Samaras will be holding meetings on the sidelines of an event with the leaders there.

    [11] The Greek President's election relates to parties and deputies' obligation for stability, Venizelos says

    The unhindered course towards the completion of the programme and the exit from the crisis is a top national policy priority, Government Vice-President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos said on Monday during a meeting with PASOK and Elia's incumbent ministers and deputy ministers.

    In relation to that, Venizelos noted according to party sources, the Greek President's election is one of the most crucial issues as it determines the stability of the country and the course of its governance.

    The government's four-year term should be concluded and the effort should go all the way to 2016, when the programme is completed, Venizelos stressed and added that the issue of the Greek President's elections is not about persons but the parties and deputies' obligation for stability.

    According to the same sources, Venizelos criticized main opposition SYRIZA of having a "civil war rationale" and its leader Alexis Tsipras of touring Europe to conduct a European campaign against the country.

    He reiterated that PASOK - following the message of the elections in Greece and Europe and the government's reshuffle - is the one that assures a progressive orientation, the one that has promoted central pillars, such as reforms, growth, liquidity and employment and that PASOK wishes to express the national unity and reunite the nation. He underlined that the main objectives are maintained, which among others are concession, a national debt negotiation group, the implementation of five points, the support of the real economy, social issues, entrepreneurship and liquidity.

    Regarding the negotiations with the troika, Venizelos said, according to the same sources, that the issues of mobility fall within the wider context of talks and negotiations with the troika, which related to debt sustainability as well as fiscal and other issues that could be raised again.

    He also noted that "we are not denying the memorandum obligations we have signed to date, but at the same time we must improve the course of things when they don't bring any results" citing the example of companies' social insurance contributions.

    He said that the fact that targets are being accomplished does not rule out problems and added that this meant the effort should be completed unhindered.

    Regarding the role of PASOK's government officials, he said there should be coordination and pointed out that they are not simply ministers or deputy ministers but they also represent the party.

    [12] General government payroll cost in 2013 was 20 pct less than in 2011, Alt. Finmin tells Parliament

    The general government spend on wages in 2013 was 20 pct lower than in 2011, based on figures that Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras unveiled in Parliament on Monday. The information had been requested by PASOK MP George Dolios before he had joined the cabinet as a minister.

    The progressive changes in payroll cost since 2009, meanwhile, showed an accumulated reduction of 31 pct by 2013.

    The rate of change on an annual basis was -11 pct in 2012 and -10 pct in 2013, with general government spending on the payroll amounting to 19.6 billion euros in 2011, 17.4 billion euros in 2012 and 15.79 billion euros in 2013.

    Dolios, in a question tabled in Parliament, had pointed out that the cost of wages had significantly contributed to creating Greece's public deficit and had asked for figures showing the payroll cost in central government and local government since 2009.

    Staikouras was not able to produce figures for primary-level local authorities but only the central administration (ministries, decentralised authorities, secondary-level local authorities).

    [13] Adm. Reform ministry remains on course with reforms in the public sector

    The government is strictly keeping its part of the agreement with the troika of Greece's bailout lenders as regards layoffs in the public sector, collaborators of Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Monday. The specific ministry has a key role in implementing the decisions of the Governmental Reform Board.

    The same people maintain, that it is exactly the ministry's consistency in negotiations with the troika, that the latter's demands for another 16,000 availabilities and 8,000 layoffs in the public sector during 2015, were averted.

    In statements to private radio stations on Monday, Mitsotakis said that his ministry's reformative aims have switched from quantitative to qualitative targets for the public sector, so that it can become friendlier and more useful to the citizens, as in the cases of simplifying procedures and reducing bureaucracy, or in the new procedure which governs the selection of department chiefs.

    Despite 8,000 layoffs that have already taken place, there are about 6,800 more layoffs scheduled in the public sector by year-end, a number attainable without shutting down any public organisation. These public servants are expected to be drawn from the careful re-examination of about 40,000 temporary contracts that were made permanent, the examination for fake supportive documents and credentials accompanying recruitments in the public sector, and from the 5,000 employees already under "availability status" (suspended with reduced pay as part of a mobility scheme) and other realistic sources.

    The ministry is currently considering a plan which would financially reward public servants who surpass their productivity targets.

    [14] No dismissals before the evaluation process is completed, Education Minister says

    Education Minister Andreas Loverdos on Monday gave assurances that there would be no dismissals of university administrative staff before completing the evaluation process of the institutions' organisational charts.

    "There was a political issue which was concluded in the best possible way. We succeeded in opening 600 administrative positions. Moreover, we managed to proceed with the evaluation of the organisational charts of eight universities, so that more hirings may be possible after the completion of the evaluation process. There will be no dismissals until this procedure is completed. I think this is a very good choice," Loverdos told radio station Alpha 9.89.

    [15] Gov't mulling performance-linked pay bonuses for public-sector staff

    Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday said that "a way is being sought to link public-sector employees' performance on the job with bonus payments," referring to a press report on restoring the so-called "13th salary" in the public sector.

    Speaking on SKAI television, Mitsotakis also explained that this does not mean that less productive employees will suffer pay cuts and underlined that any renegotiation with the troika on a total of 7,000 layoffs, as desired by government partner PASOK, will be hard to implement warning that "any divergence from the programme could usher in new problems".

    He said that the implementation of the public sector reform policy has been ratified by the prime minister and the government councils of reform, noting that together with his deputy minister Evi Christofilopoulou they fought a tough battle to ensure that there will be no more layoffs after 2015.

    Referring to the agreement reached on the university administrative staff issue, he said that "the solution found is satisfactory and compatible with the country's obligations".

    [16] Fiscal savings for public sector staff cuts to total 100 mln euros, report

    Net fiscal savings from government interventions to promote restructuring of the public sector through placing civil servants in availability will total 100 million euros in the period 2013-2018, according to a report by Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, tabled to Parliament.

    The report said that the Medium-term Fiscal Strategy Programme envisaged that in the period 2013-2018 there will be a net fiscal saving of 100 million euros through a series of interventions focusing on: including 25,669 civil servants in an availability status, 15,000 dismissals from the public sector and 15,000 new hirings.

    Staikouras, in the report, noted that fiscal savings this year would total 164 million euros, including only a part of the cost of new hirings, which will total around 8,000 in the last quarter of 2014 and 7,000 in 2015. The report was tabled to Parliament in response to a parliamentary question tabled by Independent Greeks deputy Marina Chrysoveloni.

    [17] Transport minister announces reduction of public transport ticket and monthly pass

    Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Michalis Chryssohoidis on Monday announced changes in public transport tariff policy, effective as of September 1.

    According to the minister, the monthly pass price will be reduced to 30 euros from 45 euros currently, while ordinary fare will cost 1.20 euros from 1.40 euros and will be valid for 70 minutes instead of 1.5 hours.

    Moreover, the 20-euro monthly pass exclusively for buses and trolley buses will be no longer available and commuters will have to use the 30-euro integrated card.

    "A year ago, the increase of the ticket price was an obligation under the memorandum; nevertheless, today we decided to change public transport as well as tariff policy. It's an act of responsibility," the minister said.

    "Despite the fact we expect these decisions to result in an annual 10 million euro decrease of revenues, we expect an increase of passenger traffic which will compensate for any revenue losses," he noted.

    He also made clear the government would not consider recalling its decision. "This is not just a decrease, it is an integrated intervention; an intervention that paves the way. We need to radically change the way public administration works," he said. He also said that ticket inspections would be reinforced, which coupled with the introduction of electronic ticket in two years, would help reduce the number of fare-dodgers. The Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA) will also launch a mobile application, which will enable passengers buy tickets using their mobile phones, while tickets will be available at 5,000 sales points. Moreover, OASA will design its corporate identity in order to regain the public's trust. The head of OASA Gregory Dimitriadis pointed out that the aim is to make public transport the top choice for moving around Athens and promote combined transport. According to OASA, 636 million passengers use public transport each year, while on a daily basis there are 1 million single passengers. In the first quarter of 2014, the company saw its revenues rise by 6.3 million euros from cards and tickets compared to the same period of 2013. "This is not circumstantial and it marks the coming back of citizens to public transport," Dimitriadis said.

    Deputy FM Kourkoulas to participate in an international ministerial conference in support of Lebanese Armed Forces on Tuesday

    Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas on Tuesday will participate in an international ministerial conference in support of Lebanese Armed Forces, which is being held, on the initiative of the Italian Foreign Affairs Ministry, to confront the repercussions for Lebanon of the crisis in Syria.

    The conference, which will take place in Rome, will look at the issue of the stability of Lebanon's economy and institutions, as well as at support for the Lebanese Armed Forces, according to a ministry announcement.

    [18] SYRIZA MEP Papadimoulis in ANA-MPA interview: Justice minister should resign over 'legislative oversight'

    MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis, elected with the main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party, called for the resignation of Justice Minister Haralambos Athanassiou in an interview with ANA-MPA on Monday.

    Papadimoulis rejected the minister's explanation that a clause included in laws passed by Parliament, which converted embezzlement of public funds from a felony to a misdemeanour, had been a "legislative oversight" and said the minister's excuses were "blatant lies".

    The SYRIZA MEP said that the explanation was not convincing because, if it had been an oversight, the clause would have been withdrawn following the strong objections raised.

    He said that the clause creates a legal precedent and "a legal black hole", adding that it is already cited by those seeking a more favourable treatment. This clause, in effect "whitewashes" those involved in scandals like the Siemens kickbacks case and submarines, he underlined.

    On the election of a new President of the Republic by the current Parliament, Papadimoulis said that SYRIZA's position is that the new President should be elected by a Parliament with a recent popular mandate, because the decisions to be made in the next few months will be binding for the country for decades to come.

    Referring to the comments made by the New Democracy (ND) spokeswoman, according to which a text signed by 53 SYRIZA MPs and cadres give the "green light" to a process challenging the leadership of Alexis Tsipras, he noted that the ND spokeswoman is not in a position to interpret SYRIZA's internal party procedures.

    The full interview, in Greek, is available on the ANA-MPA website.

    [19] FM Venizelos to meet Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on Tuesday

    Government Vice-President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Tuesday will meet with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, according to a Foreign ministry announcement.

    The meeting will take place at the Foreign Ministry, at 15:00.

    Former Golden Dawn MP Alexopoulos testifies to examining magistrates

    Former Golden Dawn and now independent MP Chrysovalantis Alexopoulos on Monday testifies to the examining magistrates investigating the Golden Dawn case.

    Alexopoulos is facing charges of participating and leading a criminal organisation after the lifting of his parliamentary immunity.

    [20] Deputy FM Kourkoulas to Rome for international conference on Lebanon

    Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas will participate in an International Ministerial Conference in support of the Lebanese armed forces to take place in Rome on Tuesday at the initiative of the Italian Foreign Affairs ministry, it was announced on Monday.

    The conference will discuss the impact of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon and focus on the stability of the Lebanese economy and institutions, as well as on the support for the Lebanese armed forces.

    [21] Joint actions to promote tourism and cultural heritage agreed by the ministers of tourism and culture

    Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni and Culture & Sports Minister Konstantinos Tassoulas on Monday agreed on a number of joint actions aimed at promoting the Greek tourism product and cultural heritage.

    In their meeting at the Culture ministry building, they underlined that through coordinated actions tourism can give extroversion to culture and on its part, culture can provide value added to tourism.

    They decided to utilise the archaeological museums nationwide in the promotion of tourism, highlight the archaeological sites and promote them to attract visitors and ensure accessibility for people with disabilities.

    The creation of a framework aimed at attracting international film productions that will promote the Greek culture was also discussed and underlined that modern Greek art will also have to be further promoted.

    [22] SYRIZA deputies walk out of parliamentary committee session

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) deputies withdrew from the scheduled second reading of the bill on the forced disappearance of people on Monday in protest that the government included an amendment relating to financial statements.

    The reading was held in an evening session at the Parliamentary public administration and justice committee.

    Zoe Constantopoulou, SYRIZA deputy, said the procedure to include a three-month extension to the submission of source of wealth statements (known as "pothen esches"), was a deviation from parliamentary procedures.

    Justice Minister Haralambos Athanassiou rejected SYRIZA's accusations, saying that a SYRIZA deputy, whom he did not name, had told him that the arrangement on the extension of the submission of the source of income statements "is not bad".

    [23] Independent Greeks party leader in Tokyo for NATO sessions

    Independent Greeks (ANEL) party leader Panos Kammenos is in Tokyo to participate in the sessions of NATO's Parliamentary Assembly that is taking place in Japan's capital from Monday to Friday, 2014.

    According to ANA-MPA reports, Kammenos will conclude by next week the issue of cooperation between the Independent Greeks and the Christian Democrat party's president, Nikos Nikolopoulos. According to the same reports, a meeting will be held between the two men at the ANEL leader's office in Parliament, where an agreement on their cooperation is expected to be reached.

    [24] Independent MP under investigation in Golden Dawn case released without conditions

    The independent MP Chrysovalantis Alexopoulos, who testified to examining magistrates in connection with the ongoing Golden Dawn party investigation on Monday, was later released without any conditions. The MP later praised the decision as correct and said he had submitted evidence proving that charges of his involvement in illegal activity could not be supported.

    He also reaffirmed claims he had made while speaking in Parliament that the far-right party's leadership had a "secret agenda" that it had not revealed to MPs and members of the party.

    On Tuesday morning, the magistrates in charge of the case are to examine jailed GD MP Georgios Germenis, who has been remanded in custody pending trial, while the party's MP Eleni Zaroulia is to testify on Tuesday afternoon.

    [25] Eurozone should restart debate on debt mutualisation, head of Central Association of Chambers says

    The debt mutualisation debate should reopen in the form of a Eurobond issue and the EU should distant itself from the harsh austerity doctrine that has dominated during the last few years, Konstantinos Michalos, head of the Central Association of Chambers and the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said on Monday.

    "We should focus on in the coming years so as to have a Single Market that supports reforms aimed at growth and the generation of jobs", Michalos said during a conference organized by the Finance Ministry and the European Commission entitled "Is Single Market set to New Growth?"

    Each policy, as part of the Single Market, should aim for the final exit from the recession and the stagnation, the revitalisation of the periphery's economies and the dealing with unemployment, Michalos said and added: "The achievement of such a goal presupposes a daring turn to growth policies, as well as more effective use of the European Central Bank role. The implementation of a more expansionist policy in the Eurozone is a one-way direction, with interest rates cuts and measures to enhance liquidity."

    He also said that plans for quantitative easing movements should be put forward, with securities purchase programmes on the secondary market.

    Regarding the mutualisation of debt within the Eurozone, in the form of a Eurobond issue, Michalos said this was related to the support of small and medium-sized enterprises.

    "It takes specifically planned measures of enhancement. There is a need for adequate and innovative investment funding mechanisms to develop smart infrastructure and adopt innovations...Improving access to European funding is an area which special emphasis should be given to, while there should be a consultation with the ECB to achieve simplification of lending procedures through banks, including the approval of guarantees."

    [26] Council of State: Bank accounts can be seized without warning

    The Greek state and insurance funds have the right to seize bank account deposits over debts without informing the owner, the Council of State ruled on Monday, in a decision that overturned earlier rulings and is irrevocable.

    In its justification, the court said that "had the owner been notified of the measure, he would rush to withdraw from the third party (the bank) the funds" or "would transfer to another party his assets, making it therefore impossible to satisfy the public's demands for satisfaction from these assets."

    The court said the lack of notification does not violate constitutional rules. It added, "The debtor knows directly when his debt is past the payment deadline" and warned that "the introduction of obligatory measures against him to collect the debt is possible from the very next day of the deadline passed."

    The case was initiated by the case of a CEO of a now defunct societe anonyme. The tax service drew a report for seizure over the company's outstanding debt of 565,393 euros to the Social Security Foundation (IKA) and then proceeded to withdraw the funds from the account in which his pension was paid. He found out of the seizure nine months after it occurred, when he went to withdraw funds.

    In a decision in March, a section of the Council of State had decided the seizures were illegal if the state did not inform the account owner. In Monday's decision, however, it reversed its judgement.

    [27] Culture Ministry staff to hold work stoppage on Tuesday

    Culture Ministry employees on Tuesday will hold a work stoppage from 12:00 until the end of the shift. At 12:30 they will gather outside the Byzantine and Christian Museum, where an informal meeting of EU officials will be held, and then they will march to the Administrative Reform Ministry.

    "We continue our struggle against any attempt to shrink the Culture Ministry, reduce or eliminate positions, as well as against wage degradation, availability and redundancy, whatever they are called, and privatizations," they said in an announcement.

    They added that, at the same time, they seek "a state that will act in the public interest and will uphold the social goods: education, health, culture."

    [28] Potami party completes preparations for founding congress on June 27-29

    The newly-formed Potami party on Monday announced that preparations were complete for the party's founding congress, which will be held at the Lavrio Technological Cultural Park on June 27-29, after the election of the 490 delegates from among the members.

    The election of the delegates was held on Sunday throughout Greece and the congress is now ready to approve the party's Manifesto and policy platform, as well as to elect the members of the party's various bodies, during a three-day congress that organisers said would also include some surprises.

    [29] Shipyards blackout not affecting missile boat programme, Greek Navy says

    The safety of the missile boats at Neorion Elefsis Shipyards and the progress of the "Ritsos" missile boat testing programme have not been affected by the Public Power Corporation's decision to cut off electricity in the facilities over unpaid electricity bills, Hellenic Navy General Staff (HNGS) sources clarified on Monday.

    The Elefsis shipyards, northwest of the main port of Piraeus, are used for construction of ships up to 100,000 DWT and yachts, maintenance and repairs and other industrial works like oil rig repair or conversion.

    [30] ADEDY union calls work stoppage in Attica prefecture on June 18

    The Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) has called a work stoppage in the Attica prefecture from 12:00 until the end of the shift on Wednesday.

    At the same time, ADEDY's Executive Committee calls on employees in the public sector to participate in the rally announced for 12 noon on the same day outside the Health ministry in Athens in the framework of the 24-hour strike called by the hospital doctors' and public hospital staff unions (OENGE and POEDIN, respectively).

    A march will then follow to the Administrative Reform ministry and to Karageorghi Servias street, in the Syntagma Square area, where the Finance ministry's cleaners have been staging protests over their layoffs on a daily basis.

    ADEDY, the country's umbrella public sector union, stresses in its announcement that labour action by employees in the public sector against the measures of evaluation, mobility, suspensions and layoffs will be continuous and daily.

    Financial News

    [31] State to extend health coverage to SME owners and families with debts

    Owners of small and medium-sized (SME) businesses in debt to the state and their families may get their health coverage renewed once the Labour ministry completes the necessary process, the president of the National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE), Vassilis Korkidis, announced on Monday following a meeting with Labour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis.

    Korkidis said that the ministry was taking into account a proposal by ESEE, which would cover SME owners - currently active or with suspended businesses - who have accrued outstanding debts to the state in the economic crisis, particularly from 2011 on.

    OAEE, the Self-employed Professionals Insurance Organization, will provide the coverage, Korkidis said. Terms of eligibility include a combined family income of up to 12,000 euros, and dues to OAEE that do not predate 2011.

    Those approved will be granted health coverage up to February 28, 2015, Korkidis said, hailing the decision by Vroutsis. He added that this decision will reverse the injustices perpetrated on SME owners, protecting them and retaining entrepreneurship activity in Greece during the crisis.

    [32] Tourism Minister welcomes first passengers of Shanghai-Athens direct flight

    Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni and secretary general of GNTO (Greek National Tourism Organisation) on Monday welcomed the first passengers of the direct flight Shanghai-Athens at Eleftherios Venizelos Athens International Airport.

    The air-link that will run until 19 October is supported by one of the most important Chinese tour operators.

    According to the schedule, the 180 passengers flight will be carried out once a week to Athens.

    The activation of this link is another important step for the promotion of the Greek tourist flow from the Chinese market.

    Kefalogianni stated that "Today is a very important day for the Greek tourism. The Chinese market for which we constantly work for is bringing fruit. Every day we make a step ahead. All our actions and initiatives aim to make our tourist product competitive and attractive and the air transports are crucial for the development of the Greek tourism. The messages until today are very positive. We will succeed once again this year."

    [33] Workplace accidents cost Greece more than one billion euros a year, labour minister tells European conference

    Workplace accidents cost Greece in excess of one billion euros a year, without calculating the cost of treatments and permanent disability benefits, Labour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis informed the European Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Conference that started at the Zappion building in central Athens on Monday.

    Delivering the opening address, Vroutsis said the global cost of workplace ailments and accidents was around 4 pct of world GDP, representing what he called an "unacceptably high cost, with direct negative repercussions on social insurance spending and measurable losses in productivity.

    On a European level, he added, more than 4,000 employees died as a result of accidents taking place at work and more than three million had a serious accident at work that necessitated their absence for more than three days.

    The labour minister stressed that investing in safety and health in the workplace boosted competitiveness and was financially sound, since 'investments' of this sort could yield very high returns that, on average, were 2.2 times the amount spent.

    Noting that prevention of workplace hazards was a strategic goal of the European Commission, he called for emphasis on the "three major challenges identified by the European Commission for 2014-2020: the implementation of rules for health and safety in the workplace, preventing professional ailments and formulating policies that take into account the ageing of Europe's labour force."

    The conference started on Monday at 14:30 and is due to be completed on Tuesday.

    [34] Greek inflation rate falls to -2.1 pct in May, Eurostat

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V.Demiris)

    Greece moved deeper into deflation in May, with the consumer price index falling by 2.1 pct in the month compared with the same period last year, Eurostat said on Monday.

    The EU executive's statistics service, in a report released here, said that Bulgaria (-1.8 pct), Portugal (-0.3 pct) and Cyprus (-0.1 pct) recorded negative inflation rates, while Austria (1.5 pct), Luxembourg (1.4 pct) and Romania (1.3 pct) recorded the highest inflation rates in the EU.

    In the Eurozone, the inflation rate eased to 0.5 pct in May from 0.7 pct in April, down from 1.4 pct a year earlier. In the EU, the inflation rate eased to 0.6 pct from 0.8 pct, down from 1.6 pct in May last year.

    The inflation rate fell in 16 member states, it was unchanged in four and rose in seven member states. There were no figures for the UK.

    [35] Tax burden up in Greece and in EU in 2012, Eurostat

    The total tax burden, or tax revenue as a percentage of GDP, grew in the European Union and in Greece in 2012, Eurostat said on Monday. In a report on "Taxation trends in the European Union", the EU executive's statistics office said the overall tax-to-GDP ratio rose to 33.7 pct in Greece in 2012, from 32.4 pct in 2011, while in the EU, the ratio rose to 39.4 pct from 38.8 pct over the same period, and in the Eurozone the ratio rose to 40.4 pct from 39.5 pct.

    Hungary (from 37.3 pct to 39.2 pct), Italy (from 42.4 pct to 44 pct), Greece (from 32.4 pct to 33.7 pct), France (from 43.7 pct to 45 pct) and Belgium (from 44.2 pct to 45.4 pct) recorded the biggest percentage increases, while the largest falls in the ratio were registered in Portugal (from 33.2 pct to 32.4 pct), the UK (from 35.8 pct to 35.4 pct) and Slovakia (from 28.6 pct to 28.3 pct).

    Eurostat said that in Greece corporate tax revenue fell from 25 pct in 2011 to 21.8 pct in 2012, while in the EU corporate tax revenue rose from 20.4 pct to 20.8 pct and in the Eurozone from 19.8 pct to 20.2 pct. Revenue from compulsory social contributions grew to 41.9 pct in 2012 from 36.5 pct in Greece, while they remained unchanged at 53.3 pct in the Eurozone. Revenue from consumption tax fell to 36.3 pct in 2012 from 38.6 pct in 2011 and in the Eurozone they fell to 26.8 pct from 27.3 pct. Labour taxes rose to 38 pct in 2012 from 30.9 pct in 2011 in Greece and were up to 38.5 pct from 37.7 pct in the Eurozone over the same period, respectively.

    [36] Athens Exchange settlement cycle reduced to T+2 as of October 2014

    Athens Exchange announced on Monday that as of October 6, 2014 the settlement cycle of the trades executed on listed securities in its regulated securities market and alternative market, will be reduced to T+2 (completion of settlement within two working days after the execution of a transaction), from the current T+3.

    "The decision to change the settlement cycle, is in accordance with the new European Regulation related to central securities depositories (Central Securities Depositories Regulation - CSDR), which among others aims to harmonise the securities settlement cycles in the European Union", noted Athens Exchange in its announcement.

    Updated documentation regarding the transition will be available on the project-specific page on Athens Exchange website (http://www.helex.gr/Tplus2).

    [37] Coastal navigation crews to retain 2013 levels in wages, allowances and fees

    The monthly wages, allowances and additional fees of the crews of coastal navigation passenger ships will remain for 2014 at the same level as they were in 2013, according to the industry's collective labor agreement signed on Monday by the Aegean and Shipping Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis.

    The new collective agreement - valid only for the 12 months of 2014 - had already been signed in April 2014 by the representatives of the Association of Passenger Shipping Corporations (SEEN), the Panhellenic Seamen's Federation (PNO) and sector unions.

    In an statement noting the development, the ministry stressed that it encourages the social dialogue between the interested parties, so as to reinforce labour peace in sea transportation and safeguard the healthy operation of coastal navigation shipping.

    [38] Akis Skertsos new SEV general director

    The director of former Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras' office, Christos-George (Akis) Skertsos, assumed the duties of general director of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) on Monday.

    Skertsos holds an M.A. in Political Management and Lobbying from the George Washington University in the United States and a B.A. from the Journalism and Media School at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (1995-1999).

    He speaks English and French, is married and has a child.

    [39] Retail sector employment index down 1.2 pct in Q1

    The employment index in the retail sector fell 1.2 pct in the first quarter of 2014, compared with the same period last year, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Monday.

    The statistics service, in a report, said the employment index in the food store sector fell 1.2 pct, while the employment index in the other store sector fell 1.1 pct in the January-March period.

    The composite index fell by 0.3 pct in the first quarter compared with the fourth quarter of 2013, with the food store index rising 0.1 pct and other store index falling by 0.7 pct.

    [40] Gulf Air resumes flights from Bahrain to Athens

    Gulf Air, Bahrain's national carrier, celebrated the resumption of its operations to Athens with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Bahrain International Airport on Monday, before the airline's inaugural flight landed at Athens International Airport.

    Gulf Air will be operating four weekly flights from Bahrain to Athens International Airport with an Airbus A320-ER aircraft in a two-class configuration, featuring 14 Falcon Gold Class seats and 96 Economy Class seats.

    Gulf Air Acting CEO, Maher Salman Al Musallam, commented: "We are delighted to further strengthen our European operations with today's return to Athens, particularly in light of recent positive signs of Greece's economic recovery. We expect our newest destination to appeal to Bahrain and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) residents not only as a prime holiday destination but as a key business link between Greece and the region. The addition of Athens to Gulf Air's network is in line with our strategy of strengthening the airline' s network with key global destinations."

    [41] Greek stocks end moderately lower

    Greek stocks ended moderately lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, remaining on a correction trend for the fourth successive session. The composite index of the market eased 0.66 pct to end at 1,262.31 points, after rising as much as 0.83 pct during the session, for the net loss of 4.58 pct in the last four sessions. Turnover fell to 91.74 million euros, shrinking below the 100-million-euro level for the first time in 28 sessions.

    The Large Cap index eased 0.56 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 0.66 pct lower. National Bank (1.85 pct), Alpha Bank (1.40 pct), Hellenic Exchanges (1.27 pct) and MIG (1.27 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while OPAP (3.47 pct), Jumbo (3.12 pct), Terna Energy (2.50 pct) and GEK Terna (2.34 pct) were top losers.

    The Insurance (1.44 pct), Financial Services (1.27 pct) and Banks (0.84 pct) sectors scored big gains, while Travel (2.97 pct), Personal Products (2.71 pct) and Food (1.84 pct) suffered heavy losses.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 69 to 53, with another 22 issues unchanged. AXON Holdings (19.35 pct), Perseus (18.64 pct) and Dionic (14 pct) were top gainers, while Varvaressos (20 pct), Pegasus (20 pct) and Geniki Bank (14.22 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Banks: +0.84%

    Insurance: +1.44%

    Financial Services: +1.27%

    Industrial Products: +0.02%

    Commercial: -1.83%

    Real Estate: -0.49%

    Personal & Household: -2.71%

    Food & Beverages: -1.84%

    Raw Materials: -0.26%

    Construction: -1.40%

    Oil: -1.25%

    Chemicals: +0.14%

    Media: -1.25%

    Travel & Leisure: -2.97%

    Technology: -0.08%

    Telecoms: -0.50%

    Utilities: -1.48%

    Health: -0.07%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 0.72

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 11.50

    Coca Cola HBC: 17.22

    Hellenic Petroleum: 6.02

    National Bank of Greece: 2.75

    Eurobank Properties : 8.80

    OPAP: 12.50

    OTE: 11.85

    Piraeus Bank: 1.70

    Titan: 24.50

    [42] Bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened slightly to 4.46 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, from 4.36 pct on Friday, with the Greek bond yielding 5.81 pct and the German Bund yielding 1.35 pct. Turnover was a moderate 68 million euros, of which 39 million were sell orders and the remaining 29 million euros were buy orders.

    In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate fell to 0.496 pct from 0.507 pct, the nine-month rate eased to 0.404 pct from 0.413 pct, the six-month rate fell to 0.316 pct from 0.326 pct, the three-month rate eased to 0.223 pct from 0.224 pct and the one-month rate fell to 0.126 pct from 0.14 pct.

    [43] ADEX closing report

    The June contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a discount of 0.59 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover soaring to 115.874 million euros.

    Volume on the Big Cap index totalled 47,768 contracts worth 97.914 million euros, with 64,063 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totalled 61,335 contracts worth 17.960 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Eurobank's contracts (19,019), followed by Alpha Bank (10,417), Piraeus Bank (1,918), National Bank (10,959), MIG (5,270), OTE (1,842), PPC (1,339), OPAP (2,377), Mytilineos (1,750), Hellenic Petroleum (2,838), Hellenic Exchanges (245), Titan (324) and GEK (925).

    [44] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

    Reference rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.353

    Pound sterling 0.797

    Danish kroner 7.457

    Swedish kroner 9.000

    Japanese yen 137.81

    Swiss franc 1.217

    Norwegian kroner 8.119

    Canadian dollar 1.472

    Australian dollar 1.442

    General News

    [45] Corruption and graft in Greece still widespread, according to Ernst & Young Global Fraud Survey

    Incidents of corruption and graft in Greece remain "widespread" according to 72 pct of Greek company executives participating in the Ernst & Young 2014 Global Fraud Survey "Overcoming Compliance Fatigue: reinforcing the commitment to ethical growth".

    Most Greeks, however, consider that there is a commitment on the part of managements to stamp out the phenomenon and that penalties have been imposed on those exhibiting delinquent behaviour.

    On the plus side, Greece's executives rank second worldwide (along with those of the UK) in terms of not underestimating the dangers from cyber crime, considering that this poses a significant threat for their business.

    Worldwide, about 40 pct of those responding consider corruption and bribery to be extensive phenomena in their country, while managements are struggling to cope with long-term threats and also emerging threats, such as cyber crime.

    The survey was carried out between November 2013 and February 2014, and involved 2,719 interviews in the local language with senior decision-makers in a sample of the largest companies in 59 countries and territories.

    The polling sample was designed to elicit the views of executives with responsibility for tackling fraud, mainly CFOs, CCOs, general counsel and heads of internal audit.

    [46] Journalism unions, GSEE Labour Institute announce initiative for unemployed media personnel

    The Labour Institute of the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE), the Athens Journalists Union (ESHEA) and the Union of Athens Daily Newspapers' Employees (EPHEA) on Monday announced a joint initiative for the support of the large numbers of media-sector staff made unemployed in recent years.

    GSEE's Labour Institute and media unions will sign a cooperation agreement on Tuesday at ESHEA's offices in Athens and then set up a coordinating working group to undertake the planning, monitoring and execution of the actions to be undertaken.

    The initiative will combine the unions specialist and technical resources with the aim of returning the unemployed to the job market, studying employment in the sector, analysing trends and particular characteristics of this labour market and developing services to provide information, advice and career orientation to those out of work, as well as organising specialist professional training and work experience programmes.

    These activities are to be financed via national Strategic Reference Framework funds for boosting employment.

    [47] Stylida mayor and former actor Apostolos Gletsos acquitted for road toll protests

    Stylida Mayor Apostolos Gletsos, a former actor and popular leading man in a succession of Greek TV series, was on Monday acquitted by a Lamia Misdemeanours Court for a protest against high road tolls in January 2011. The court also acquitted a deputy mayor and five municipality employees of the same charges.

    Gletsos and the other defendants had been sued by the company operating the Lamia-Larisa national highway - Aegean Motorways - because municipality crews acting on Gletsos' orders had removed the bars from toll booths at the 246th kilometre of the highway, in order to create toll-free access. The action was taken in protest against what local residents saw as exorbitant charges imposed on them when they were forced to use the highway to go about their daily business.

    The charges in the case, the trial of which was postponed several times, included vandalism, disrupting transportation safety and 'taking the law into one's own hands'. Gletsos had been additionally charged with morally instigating the above offences.

    During the hearing, however, the witnesses for the company failed to provide evidence supporting the charges, saying that the municipality had taken measures to avoid causing damage and that the protest had been symbolic in order to press for a parallel toll-free road network in the area. The company filing the charges was not represented as a civil claimant in the case.

    In light of this, the court decided to acquit all the accused, finding that the evidence did not support a conviction. The public prosecutor on the bench also noted that road tolls were charged even for individuals unable to use alternative routes to get to their homes or their workplaces.

    "It is inconceivable for citizens to pay road tolls twice or three times a day, or however many are needed to get to their fields. The company should have made provision for this," the prosecutor said.

    After the verdict was handed down, Gletsos noted that the problem had been resolved because a road bypassing the national highway had since been built for use by locals.

    [48] Wildfire at Armenistis, Halkidiki under control

    A wildfire that broke out on Sunday morning at a remote area in Sithonia, Halkidiki (near Armenistis camping) on Monday was reported to be under control.

    A strong force of firefighters remains in the area to prevent rekindling.

    The fire, probably provoked by a lightning, did not threaten inhabited areas or the camping's facilities.

    According to estimations approximately 70 hectares of forest land were burned.

    [49] Lefkada Island to inaugurate museum dedicated to Japan's national poet Lafcadio Hearn

    The Ionian island of Lefkada on July 4 will inaugurate Europe's first museum dedicated to Japan's national poet Lafcadio Hearn (Koizume Yakumo).

    Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904), the son of Irish Charles Hearn and Greek Rosa Kassimati, was born in Lefkada, grew up in Ireland, immigrated to the US and finally moved and spent the rest of his life in Japan.

    Some of his first editions, rare books and Japanese collector's items will be exhibited at the "Lafkadio Hearn Historical Centre" in the island's main city. Through photographs, texts, exhibits and interactive applications, visitors will have the opportunity to see significant moments in Hearn's life and browse through the European, US and Japanese cultures of the late 18th and early 19th century.

    In order to set up the museum, the Cultural Centre of the Municipality of Lefkada cooperates among others with the municipalities of Kumamoto, Matsue, Shinjuku and Yaizu as well as with the Toyama University.

    [50] Police bust doctors writing out fake prescriptions to deceased patients

    The Hellenic Police on Monday announced the cracking of cases of fraud costing the Greek state more than 150,000 euros, in which doctors were caught writing out fake prescriptions to patients that were either deceased or unaware of what was being done in their name.

    A police announcement said an investigation lasting many months revealed that doctors were able to write prescriptions for patients that had died and whose Social Insurance Number (AMKA) had not been removed from the e-prescription system. The investigation confirmed that 51 doctors had written out prescriptions for such deceased patients in the seamen's fund (NAT) in June-August 2012. They also found 2,585 prescriptions made out to deceased IKA pensioners in the first three months of 2013.

    In addition, following complaints from patients, police discovered prescriptions written out without the patient's knowledge, as well as a number of other irregularities involving prescriptions.

    [51] 'Electronic war' case defendant released with conditions pending trial

    Businessman Thomas Liakounakos, one of the defendants in the so-called "electronic war programme" purchase case, was released with conditions pending his trial after testifying before prosecutor for corruption Kostas Sargiotis on Monday.

    Liakounakos, who posted a 300,000-euro bail and is banned from leaving the country, is accused of moral complicity in breach of faith in connection with a 2001 purchase of scramblers and 11 listening centres from his company SONAK by the Greek army. The contract was never honoured, even though the state had paid a 35-million-euro deposit.

    The contract was investigated by prosecutor Popi Papandreou, who had issued indictments against a total of 19 individuals, including Liakounakos, a former Army General Staff chief, two former defence ministry general directors and 14 army officers, who participated in defence ministry evaluation committees.

    [52] Minor involved in heroin haul case released with conditions; authorities locate suspicious truck

    The underage son of the 40-year-old shipowner, allegedly involved in the large heroin haul seized last Thursday in Athens by the Coastguard, was released with conditions, it was announced on Monday. According to sources, the 15-year-old had allegedly sent an SMS to one of the 11 individuals arrested in connection with the case.

    An Albanian national, also involved in the case, turned himself in to the Piraeus Coastguard on Sunday and will give his testimony on Friday.

    Five individuals, all Greek nationals, will be led before a Piraeus prosecutor on Tuesday in connection with the case that concerns a total of 1,133.420 kilos of heroin with an estimated street value of roughly 30 million euros. Among them, the 40-year-old shipowner, his ex-wife and her mother, their housemaid and a friend of the 40-year-old's ex-wife. Another five defendants, all Turkish nationals, will appear before a prosecutor on Wednesday.

    Coastguard sources said that the drug-trafficking ring's mastermind is most likely a Turkish national.

    Meanwhile, a truck with special hidden compartments to hide the drugs and smuggle them from the seaport of Patras, southern Greece, to Ancona, Italy and from there across Europe, was found in a truck yard in Piraeus' Keratsini district.

    The same sources said that the heroin came to Greece from Iran via Turkey, hidden in another truck.

    [53] Polish tourist found dead in central Greek canyon

    A 55-year-old man from Poland on Monday was found dead in Kalypsos Canyon, in the central Greek region of Larissa.

    According to the information available so far, the man was on vacation in the area and on Sunday he decided to visit the canyon along with his friends. As he was trying to climb on the rocks next to the waterfall without the necessary equipment, he fell from 20-metre height and fatally hit on the rocks.

    Divers pulled the man from the lake at the end of the waterfall in a depth of five metres. His body has been transferred to the University Hospital of Larissa.

    Weather forecast

    [54] Overcast on Tuesday

    Scattered clouds will start to mass and give way to showers and storms in the afternoon, especially in the west, north and central parts of Greece on Tuesday. Winds will be mainly southerly, rising to a maximum of 5-6 Beaufort, while conditions are favourable for dust clouds transported from the west and south. Temperatures will range from 15C to 34C. Sunny in Attica, with temperatures between 18C and 33C. Clouds and later rain in Thessaloniki, with temperatures from 17C to 30C. Same in Cephalonia, with temperatures from 20C to 27C.

    [55] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Headhunters.

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: Full salary and for the STAGE (Work experience programme).

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: 20 categories of insured to take their pension before the age of 60

    ESTIA: Endless hours at the Taxisnet.

    ETHNOS: Administration Reform Ministry's three reforms radically change the public sector's operation.

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    TA NEA: Greece the eighth more overtaxed country in Europe.

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