|Sunday, 21 July 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 14-06-30
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 30 June 2014 Issue No: 4695
 Gov't spokeswoman blasts SYRIZA announcement on 'overthrow' of memorandum policiesGovernment spokeswoman Sofia Voultepsi on Sunday blasted an announcement by the main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party regarding an "overthrow" of austerity policies and the present government, noting that "no one listens to them anyway, but this time they have gone too far."
"The confusion and anxiety that has seized SYRIZA is so great that it is continuing to blast out the spiel of an 'overthrow' even as the paeans for our national team are sounding, with the wishes of all Greeks united behind them," she said.
She said that SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras must wait for Monday, the crucial day for Argentina, "which managed to follow alternative paths to get out of the crisis with growth, employment and social cohesion!".
Voultepsi was reacting to a SYRIZA announcement saying that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his government had not "got" the message of their policy's defeat from the European elections. It also accused the government "of trying in every way to draw out its time in power, continuing relentlessly on the same memorandum path of austerity and the selling off of public wealth, such as beaches and the PPC."
"These faits accomplis that the government is trying to create in view of its overthrow in a short space of time are not binding for a social salvation government of the Left. SYRIZA will intensify even more its efforts to form fronts on a social and political level in order to avert privatisations and create a new coalition of power," the announcement added.
 Gov't, main opposition 'cross swords' over PM's statements in BrusselsMain opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) on Saturday renewed its attack on Prime Minister Antonis Samaras over his statements in Brussels, saying that "the time for the overturning of his policy and his government will not be long in coming".
"Even though defeated in the elections, Mr. Samaras continues to pose as the prime minister and goes to summits to support the continuation of memorandum austerity policies and the selling off of public wealth, such as the PPC," a party announcement said.
Replying, government spokeswoman Sofia Voultepsi said that SYRIZA was "mired in its internal conflicts, sailing in seas of grumbling and confusion, and desperately seeking allies that, nevertheless, do not come, while continuing to refer to an electoral battle in which, despite its promises and insults, it lost 150,000 votes." No matter how hard SYRIZA tried to conceal this defeat, some component faction in the party would be there to remind it," she added.
"Let them understand this, once and for all: in Brussels, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras was congratulated on the Greek EU presidency and Greece's efforts by 27 prime ministers from every political background and all heads of EU institutions," she said.
 Ind. Greeks leader criticises PM's statements in BrusselsIndependent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos on Saturday slammed statements about continuing reforms made by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in Brussels.
"Unemployment is rising at a steady rate and with absolute certainty the citizens will be unable to pay the heavy taxes and soon the banks and public sector will acquire the total sum of Greek citizens' property," he said.
 Defence minister Avramopoulos: consensus must be found for election of presidentNational Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos stressed the need to seek political and fair means to achieve consensus for the election of the next president of Greece, in order to ensure the country's stability and continuity, in an interview with the newspaper "Real News".
"Today, political developments make this sort of consensus more imperative than ever, to the degree that majority governments are now a difficult proposition," he stressed. He said that the Parliament, in its current composition, can and must proceed with the election of a new president since Greece was on the verge of exiting the crisis, returning to growth and proceeding with reforms.
"We are obliged for the common good to complete this course and this is what's at stake in these presidential elections," Avramopoulos said, underlining that the huge sacrifices made by Greeks must not go to waste. He called for a new president that would ensure national understanding and unity, saying that all democratic political forces must exhaust every margin for convergence on this issue.
In this context, he did not rule out a 'grand coalition' that would include main opposition SYRIZA "on terms of sincere cooperation and understanding and with the interests of Greece as the common denominator".
  Labour ministry secures funding for nurseries and other children's stationsA call for applications by parents to nursery stations, creative-play centres for children and centres for children with special needs is expected to be announced on Tuesday by the Labour ministry, according to sources speaking to ANA-MPA.
The ministry has secured funding for about 68,502 openings for 2014-2015, nearly the same number of openings as last year. A total of 160 million euros has been allocated, with 120 million euros issuing from EU funds and the rest from the ministry's budget. Last year's budget was for 180 million euros.
According to ministry sources, the amount of each voucher provided to families was reduced by about 9% in order to maintain the same number of openings. In addition, they said that the family income criteria were also made stricter.
The programme will be administered by the umbrella agency of local government (EETAA). Qualifications include a family income that does not exceed 27,000 euros annually for mothers with up to two children. The ceiling is extended by 3,000 euros for every child thereafter, with the absolute cutoff limit set at 36,000 euros.
Applications will be accepted until August 4, including applications already made as of July 25. Final decisions will be publicised on August 31.
 Public order minister chairs meeting on forest fires, appeals to volunteers and citizens to helpPublic Order and Citizen Protection Minister Vassilis Kikilias chaired a meeting on the strategy against fires on Saturday, during which he appealed to volunteers and the public to contribute to the effort to prevent and deal with forest fires.
The minister was briefed on the fire brigade's actions and planning for the fire season, in a meeting held at the fire brigade's headquarters and attended by the head of the fire brigade Lieut. Gen. Vassilios Papageorgiou, Civil Protection General Secretary Patroklos Georgiadis and fire brigade officers.
Kikilias acknowledged that there were problems with both the fleet of aircraft and the vehicles for fighting fires, stressing that the men of the fire brigade will once again do their duty and appealing to the public and volunteers to contribute.
"Our aim is to be alert, complacency cannot be permitted and I want to stress that we are constantly seeking solutions in order to defend our country's natural wealth, the life and property of citizens and the 20 million tourists that we are expecting," he added.
 British ambassador gives interview to ANA-MPA WebTVGreece may get over two million British tourists this year, due to good prices and stability, British Ambassador to Athens John Kittmer said in an interview to ANA-MPA's WebTV on Saturday evening.
This summer, he said, the British Embassy was launching the "Holiday Hangover" campaign at all favoured British holiday locations in the Ionian and Aegean Islands, to explain to young people on holidays - often for the first time without their parents - how to behave in terms of local customs. The campaign, in collaboration with local authorities, is accompanied by memorabilia that list both reminders to exercise caution and emergency numbers. A new Twitter account was also launched for young people, @hangovergreece.
Among other issues, Kittmer said that Britain was directly interested in Greece's hydrocarbon production in western Greece, especially at Katakolo, and in the collaboration of Trajan Oil with Greek-based Energean Oil and Gas. A Greek team would launch a campaign in London within this coming week, to find investors interested in funding hydrocarbon research at the Ionian Sea and western Greece.
Britain is interested in privatisations in the tourism sector, he added, but this would take time as British investors need support in bureaucratic issues and at loal communities, where they would like to offer new job openings.
The ambassador wished Greece good luck in its Sunday evening game with Brazil in the World Cup, adding that "At the British Embassy, especially after the misfortune of the British team, we support Greece unreservedly."
(The full interview is posted on http://www.amna.gr)
 Stavros Theodorakis elected 'head' of Potami as congress at Lavrio wraps upStavros Theodorakis, founder of To Potami (The River) and the only candidate of the movement that garnered 6.6% of the vote during Euroelections, was elected by a count of hands leader at the close of the three-day party founding congress in Lavrio, in southeastern Attica, on Sunday.
"Your clapping is dedicated to all congress members who came from everywhere in Greece and provide the best proof that this country will change," Theodorakis said.
The attendees had approved of the positions and conclusions of the congress earlier, including the founding charter which calls members "volunteers" and Theodorakis "head" of the organisation.
What lies ahead, he said, is the work by elected representatives of the movement, which does not yet have formal party status, in travelling to regions and being helped by local volunteers to intervene in local issues and suggest solutions. Votes are expected to have been counted by late Sunday afternoon. Candidates' names were submitted for a national roster of 30 members and 40 for regional representatives in the country's 13 districts. The national group will elect in an open vote 7 members of the coordinating committee.
The congress was attended by representatives from several parties and from the mayors of Athens and Thessaloniki.
 'We will take responsibility together,' Potami's Theodorakis tells founding conference"We will take responsibility together," Potami party leader Stavros Theodorakis stressed on Saturday, while addressing delegates during the second day of his party's three-day founding congress in Lavrio. He underlined that the founding of Potami was a "a very great responsibility because, after decades, a party is being born in Greece that does not have at its core or in the thoughts of its founders some other party."
The second day of the founding congress will be devoted to speeches by delegates and friends of the party that are on the Dialogue Committee, while the final conclusions and the election of its president and 30 regional heads will take place on Sunday.
Theodorakis urged the delegates to be "strict and careful" in their choices, while noting that there were no lists of "desirables and undesirables" during Sunday's vote. He stressed that the movement must have the "ingredients, principles and policies that we say we must have" and the most able people, rather than the "friends of the president or the friends from the neighbourhood".
The congress was also addressed by Athens Mayor George Kaminis, who expressed support for Potami and said Greece did not have time to repeat the same mistakes, with or without memorandums. "I have hope and faith, however, and that is why I am here. You have immense power. You have undertaken a great obligation for the country," Kaminis said.
Supreme Court upholds firing of senior managers in state organisations without compensation, on contract termination
The Supreme Court plenum on Sunday found that the automatic termination of specific-term employment contracts of senior management in the public sector and broader public-sector legal entities, without compensation, was in line with the Constitution.
The court had been asked to rule on articles 10 and 11 of law 3260/2004, under which such contracts automatically lapsed on expiration without any kind of severance pay, including any severance pay agreed in the case that the contract was prematurely terminated.
The supreme court judges found that through the Pavlopoulos law, there was automatic termination of contracts in state entities through which government policy is exercised on the departure of the political leadership making the appointment, on the grounds that such senior positions in state entities were positions "of political trust".
Based on the Supreme Court ruling, the replacement of these senior managers "was dictated primarily for reasons of political trust, such as occurs after a change in government, when it is judged that persons chosen and hired on the basis of having the confidence of a specific political leadership are unable to continue exercising their duties and cooperating with the new political leadership after the departure of that which has selected them."
The case concerned the CEO of the Volos port authority, who had been hired on the basis of a private-sector-law employment contract and was fired in accordance with the 2004 law, without payment of compensation.
 Objections to last European elections filed at Electoral CourtThe parties 'Patriotic Union - Greek Popular Rally', National Popular Formation', 'Movement for Political Truth' and independent candidates Odysseas Tiligadas and Constantinos Gekas on Sunday jointly filed an objection to the recent European elections of May 25, calling for their outright annulment, to Greece's Electoral Court.
The case is filed against the president of Greece, the political parties, MEPs and others and seeks the annulment of the elections, the stripping of New Democracy and PASOK MPs of their seats in Parliament, the removal of all government members from public office, the removal of their political rights, implementation of simple proportional representation and a reduction in the number of MPs to 200.
 EIB president to Greek business owners: 'Send us business plans for funding'The European Investment Bank (EIB) will fund "good proposals" by Greek business owners, Werner Hoyer, president of the European Union's bank, told Kathimerini's Sunday edition.
According to the newspaper, EIB "can provide the know-how so that the business plan is developed further. You only need try." He added that Greek business owners "are not ambitious with Greek investments. They prefer to invest in the United Kingdom, and that's a big problem."
EIB is prepared to do more to support research and innovation in Greece, he was quoted as saying, adding that well-trained Greek researchers recognised globally staff many scientific organisations.
 Single centre for administering pensions by end 2014, labour minister tells 'Imerissia' newspaperThere will be a single national centre for administering pensions by the end of the current year, Labour and Social Insurance Minister Yiannis Vroutsis revealed in an interview with the Greek financial paper "Imerissia" published on Saturday.
This new body will be responsible for administering the pensions of all pension funds and will receive all applications for main and supplementary pensions and lump sums. According to the minister, "from now on, the granting of a pension with the support of the 'Atlas' IT system will be a matter of a few days".
The system will not require the applicant to be physically present and the entire process will begin with an online application, he added.
The new centre will be staffed with employees from all pension funds, who will have immediate access to the social insurance background of each person insured even when a succession of social insurance funds is involved.
"The long waits for a pension to come through will soon be just a bad memory," Vroutsis stressed, noting that the administrative unification of all pension funds will be completed this year but will not affect pensions or benefits. Asked about the repercussions of the new method for calculating pensions after January 1 for those that have secured a right to retire with more favourable age limits, Vroutsis noted that there were no plans for new changes that would alter the plans for thousands of citizens that had secure or would secure the right to retire.
He also ruled out the prospect of a zero-deficit clause for main pensions, similar to that for supplementary pensions and lump sums, noting that the main philosophy of the system would not change.
 Development minister to address SEV event on MondayDevelopment and Competitiveness Minister Nikos Dendias will attend and address an event organised by the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) on Monday evening at 18:00 at the Hellenic Cosmos venue 'Theatron'. The event marks the completion of the first round of the programme to boost start-ups by young scientists.
 Civil aviation union calls off planned 48-hour strikeThe Civil Aviation Authority staff union OSYPA on Saturday called off a planned 48-hour strike due to be held on Monday and Tuesday.
The union said the decision to suspend the strike was made following appeals made to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and the transport ministry by tourism industry and airline associations and "because it is not our intention to cause trouble for local communities hoping to make a living from tourism nor to passengers, the national economy and the country's image".
It accuses the authorities in charge of the sector, however, of indifference and not engaging in an immediate and constructive dialogue so that the problems at Greek airports might be dealt with. The union also announced plans to file charges at the Supreme Court against the minister and all other parties responsible for "the continued deterioration of the service and everything this means for flight safety".
 Woman found dead in basement fire at KypseliA young woman was found dead in a fire that broke out in a basement apartment of the Kypseli district in Athens.
According to the Fire Brigade, the fire broke out on Kresnas Street and the woman had suffered severe burns. According to unconfirmed information, she was around 30 years old.
An investigation is being carried out on the fire's cause.
 Patras port authorities find 150 kg of hashish on Italy-bound truck of watermelonsNearly 150 kilos of hashish were seized on a freezer truck carrying watermelons at the main northern Peloponnese port of Patras on Sunday.
Port Authority police searched the truck before it boarded a ship bound for Italy and found the drug in 137 plastic bags packed in 14 carton boxes, the latter hidden between pallets with watermelons.
The 45-year-old driver was arrested, while the authorities are investigating the provenance of the shipment and the people involved.
 Fire in forest area in greater Peania containedA fire that broke out in a rural forest area of Peania, east of Athens, earlier on Sunday has come under partial control, the Fire Brigade said.
It is currently outside the city limits, but is burning near a volleyball court. A Fire Brigade force with 10 trucks and 20 fire fighters are at the location. There are mild winds in the area. No further information is available.
 Fires in Karystos and Malesina contained, Fire Brigade saysA fire that broke out in Karystos on the eastern island of Evia (off the eastern coast of Attica) midday on Saturday has been contained, while the fire that broke out in Malesina (eastern Attica) on Thursday is under full control, the Fire Brigade said Sunday.
The fire department said that a total of 34 forest fires broke out between 06:00 Saturday and 06:00 Sunday.
According to the Public Order ministry, the areas high on the danger list for fires include the island of Crete, Attica, the Cycladic and Dodecanese Islands, the northern Aegean islands, central and southern Evia island and the south parts of the area of Viotia, central Greece.
 Earthquake 4.1 on Richter scale off Karpathos island, SE AegeanAn earthquake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale occurred at 14:19 at sea, 64 km southeast of Karpathos island in the Southeast Aegean, on Sunday, according to the Institute of Geodynamics of the National Observatory of Athens.
The epicenter was about 134 km south of the city of Rhodes, also in the Dodecanese Islands.
There is no further information about injuries or damages.
 Earthquake measuring 4.1 on Richter scale west of Lamia, central GreeceAn earthquake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale was recorded at 19:59 on Sunday night, a short distance west of the city of Lamia in central Greece, the Athens Geodynamic Institute reported. The epicentre of the quake, which came just hours after a tremor of exactly the same magnitude near the island of Karpathos in the southeast Aegean, was located 13 km southwest of Sperchiada, 25 km southeast of Karpenissi and 40 km west of Lamia.
 Two men arrested over luxury rental car scamTwo Greek nationals were arrested on Friday for stealing luxury cars in Greece under the ruse of renting them and then selling them off in Bulgaria.
According to the Financial Police on Sunday, the two men - 48 and 32 years old - had tried unsuccessfully to lease a luxury car at a rental agency branch in the northern suburb of Kifissia, and then tried the same at the same company's northeastern suburb of Aghia Paraskevi, where staff notified police.
The 48-year old used a fake Cyprus identity card and a fake driver's licence; the two also used stolen or fake credit cards for the scam.
Rental cars they focused on were worth between 25,000 and 50,000 euros, with an asking price ranging from 8,000 to 15,000 in Bulgaria. The two men bought fake identifications online, which they paid for by credit card then received through regular mail.
Police are investigating how many such transactions they carried out before their arrest.
 Authorities locate 38 undocumented migrants in truck carrying bouldersAuthorities at the port of Igoumenitsa discovered 38 migrants without travel documents hidden in a truck carrying boulders, an hour after midnight on Saturday. The truck had set off from Iran and was bound for Italy.
According to coast guard officers, the Iranian driver of the truck was behaving in a way that alerted their suspicions, prompting them to search the truck, where they found the migrants among the boulders. The majority were reported to be Syrian nationals.
The Igoumenitsa coast guard has arrested the driver and the migrants, while the truck has been confiscated and an investigation launched. This is the second case involving migrants at Igoumenitsa in the last three days, following the discovery of another 25 migrants without travel papers in a truck carrying spare parts on Thursday.
 Three Turkish nationals to prosecutor over ongoing gun-running caseTwo Turkish women aged 48 and 24 years old and a Turkish man aged 40 were led before an Athens first-instance court prosecutor on Saturday, following their arrest in Athens' Exarhia district on Friday night. The arrests were part of an ongoing operation to execute arrest warrants issued in connection with an illegal shipment of arms discovered in transit last August, on board a high-powered inflatable speed boat intercepted near the island of Chios.
These were outstanding arrest warrants issued by the North Aegean examining magistrate for all three on charges of participating in a terrorist organisation, issued in connection with the arms haul. The 24-year-old was additionally also wanted for violations relating to explosives, weapons and laws regarding foreign nationals, as well as an Interpol Red Notice requested by Turkey.
 Authorities discover thousands of counterfeit goods in Athens shopGreek authorities on Saturday reported the arrest of two Bangladeshi nationals and said a third foreign national was being sought in connection with thousands of counterfeit goods located by police in a shop in Athens, on Iktinos Street.
Within the premises, authorities found and confiscated 32,400 pairs of sunglasses, 3,133 wrist watches, 320 wallets, 29 belts and three hats that were knock-offs of well-known brand goods.
The two Bangladeshis were arrested as being temporarily in charge of the premises, while the foreign owner of the shop is being sought. They were led before an Athens prosecutor.
 PM contacts Greek players ahead of World Cup final-16 match in BrazilPrime Minister Antonis Samaras telephoned the players on Greece's national football team in Brazil via the Greek Football Federation (EPO), sources said on Sunday. The call was made late on Saturday night, ahead of the Greek team's crucial match against Costa Rica on Sunday night in the final-16 knockout matches of the FIFA World Cup, which will decide whether Greece goes on to the next stage of the tournament.
 Mostly fair on MondayMonday starting fair, but scattered clouds with rain will develop in the west, parts of central Greece and in northern Greece. Variable winds from 3 to 5 Beaufort, rising to 6 in the Cyclades and Crete (to 7 in the eastern Aegean, but gradually dropping). Temperatures from 16C to 34C. In Athens, generally fair, with gradually variable winds up to 5 Beaufort. Temperatures 19C to 33C. In Thessaloniki, fair changing to overcast midday, with spells of rain at higher elevations. Variable winds 3-4 Beaufort, and temperatures from 20C to 31C.
 The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance--AVGHI: "A time ripe for action" before the government moves further into privatisations, beyond the spinoff of the Public Power Corporation, also known as "small PPC".
DIMOKRATIA: "Shock and awe for the middle class" in terms of property taxation.
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Grand feast over inoculation" for the H1N1 virus, with the uncalled-for order of 8 million vaccines in 2009.
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Big Brother for taxes and wages," over plans to have all insurance contributions issued by a single social insurance fund, and then do the same for all wages.
ETHNOS: "Ten bombs in the foundations of the state budget" concerning outstanding cases against the state's austerity cutback measures, which are worth nearly 20 billion euros.
KATHIMERINI: "A minefield of judicial rulings" expected over the above case, of cutbacks in salaries of various branches of the Greek public sector, with a precedent set by the Council of State's rejection of cuts to judges' salaries.
LOGOS: "It's downhill with no end in sight for all wages".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Decisions by the Communist Party of Greece's (KKE) Central Committee meeting, reviews and conclusions about May's elections".
TO VIMA: "War over taxes and wages".
VRADYNI: "Full pension at 55 - all funds' regulations (explained)".
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