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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 15-01-13

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

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

Tuesday, 13 January 2015 Issue No: 4858

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece nearing the end of the sacrifices, PM Samaras says in Epirus
  • [02] PM Samaras in Ioannina: SYRIZA is 'an accident waiting to happen'
  • [03] PM Samaras says Christian icons will not be removed from public buildings
  • [04] Venizelos says Pasok may give 'vote of tolerance' to new government
  • [05] PASOK leader Venizelos to speak on Tuesday in Halkida
  • [06] SYRIZA leader Tsipras promises to reinstate the pensions of repatriated Greeks
  • [07] SYRIZA leader to visit Kavala, Drama and Komotini
  • [08] SYRIZA unveils its state deputies' ticket
  • [09] ANEL leader Kammenos tours the city of Tripolis, southern Greece
  • [10] ANEL leader Kammenos charges gov't with 'terrorising citizens'
  • [11] ANEL leader Kammenos visits Athens 'Varvakios' fish and meat market
  • [12] SYRIZA accuses finance ministry of acting like 'branch of PM Samaras' office'
  • [13] Finance ministry, gov't spokesman respond to SYRIZA
  • [14] Any debt negotiation translates into new anti-popular measures, KKE sec gen says
  • [15] Potami leader presents nationwide 'State Deputies' ballot ticket
  • [16] ND secretary Papamimikos lashes out at SYRIZA candidate MP Lapavitsas
  • [17] ND candidate and former minister Dinopoulos meets ND secretary Papamimikos over video on internet
  • [18] Dep. Admin Reform minister says PASOK will overcome 'problem' caused by Papandreou party
  • [19] SYRIZA might moderate stance if in government, ESM's Regling says
  • [20] Podemos leader Iglesias' message to the SYRIZA leader
  • [21] Greens-Democratic Left unveil their nationwide state deputies ballot
  • [22] PASOK-Democratic Wing party announces list of state deputies
  • [23] SYRIZA leader denies his party will ban hunting if elected
  • [24] SYRIZA leads over ND, says opinion poll
  • [25] Opinion poll gives SYRIZA narrow lead over ND
  • [26] There are solutions allowing 18-year-olds to take part in election, Greek Ombudsman tells ANA-MPA
  • [27] Deadline for submitting state deputy lists, party alliances ends at midnight
  • [28] Germany sees no basis for Greek claim to Nazi-era war reparations, German finance ministry says
  • [29] National Council for Education agrees on method for deciding higher education admissions
  • [30] Teachers' union files lawsuit against Education, Administrative Reform ministers
  • [31] Municipal employees demand back pay for the 2012 general elections; say they will refuse services in forthcoming elections
  • [32] Defence Minister Dendias meets with Australian Ambassador Griffin
  • [33] There are limitations in issuing T-bills, Finance ministry says
  • [34] Greek economic sentiment index down in Dec
  • [35] Terna Energy launches 150-mln-euro energy project
  • [36] Car registrations up 30.2 pct in 2014
  • [37] Greek stocks end sharply higher
  • [38] Greek bond yields show signs of improvement
  • [39] Greek bond market closing report
  • [40] ADEX closing report
  • [41] Foreign exchange rates - Monday
  • [42] Ships remain docked in Piraeus, Rafina, Lavrio, due to strong winds
  • [43] Fire department receives dozens of calls due to strong winds
  • [44] Mycenaean-era 'Ring of Theseus' on two-month show at National Archaeological Museum
  • [45] Prosecutor orders investigation into cancelled Thessaloniki underwater road tunnel project
  • [46] Thessaloniki officials discuss building crematoria during municipal meeting
  • [47] Greek schools will be closed on January 23 (Friday) and 26 (Monday), for national elections on January 25.
  • [48] Mostly fair; rain in the eastern parts on Tuesday
  • [49] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Greece nearing the end of the sacrifices, PM Samaras says in Epirus

    "We will not succumb. The Greek people did not make all these sacrifices to stop now," Prime Minister and New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras said in his address on Monday at Filiata, as he launched his campaign in Epirus, northwestern Greece.

    "We are at the end of that road. We will pass beyond it and enter the major highway of growth that Europe opened for us," he added.

    Samaras underlined that "the national elections offer two different worlds and the citizens have to choose. The first is the way of growth and seriousness, the world that offers stability to the country. It is the world that yesterday (Sunday) in Paris understood that there are other, special and new problems that are added to the already huge problems that exist. The second is a world that wants us to believe in ideas and policies that not only don't suit the Greeks but also lead to nowhere, only to a world of poverty at a time when Europe and Greece are recovering."

    During his tour of Epirus that took in the port city of Igoumenitsa and the city of Ioannina, Samaras focused mainly on infrastructure projects that boosted growth, such as Igoumenitsa's port or Ioannina's airport, as well as a rail line to Epirus.

    Epirus Region governor Alexandros Kahrimanis and the mayors of Filiata and Thesprotia received assurances from the premier that Epirus will be among the first region's to benefit from the European "highway of growth" opening up for Greece, "as it has given a battle and we owe it [to the region]".

    In Filiata, he visited the hospital and two new wings that were recently opened, holding talks with the management, doctors and nursing staff, as well as patients.

    He congratulated everyone that contributed to the project's completion and said the hospital was a significant addition to the health sector in an outlying region near the borders.

    "At a time like this, people have need of good doctors and staff, but mostly of humaneness," he added, referring to the fact that the hospital had treated survivors rescued from the burning ferry "Norman Atlantic".

    [02] PM Samaras in Ioannina: SYRIZA is 'an accident waiting to happen'

    Greek people should fight populism and not vote for the main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said in a campaign speech in western Greece on Monday, which is not a political adversary but more of "an accident" that must not happen to Greece.

    In a speech attacking SYRIZA at Ioannina, Samaras spoke of the conflicting views of top officials, indecision about the party's stance with the EU and its policy of "favouring granting citizenship to illegals."

    "Party officials have informed us that their main weapon is suspension of payments: in other words, bankcruptcy - a great negotiating tactic! Another announced Greece's immediate exit from NATO and a third one asked for a referendum," the prime minister said. "You cannot ask Europe for money and not follow its practices," he noted.

    Samaras also referred to his attendance of a march of state leaders in Paris on Sunday to protest terrorism, saying that the march was in support of a Europe that was secure and safe, above and beyond religions, "a Europe that is thinking again about issues of respect of principles and values which everyone must respect. In this Europe, those who want to open borders and grant citizenship to every illegal, instead of controlling (the borders), are like flies in the ointment."

    Soon, he said, SYRIZA "will want jails without bars, courts without prosecutors. A government must protect its citizens, their right to circulate freely, and yesterday (Sunday) in Paris they shouted loud and clear 'We are not afraid'. What planet does SYRIZA live on, doesn't it see what's happening in the rest of the world?... SYRIZA is an accident that must not happen."

    Greece is very close to "breaking up the past of populism and statism," he said, and asserted "the country is very near to the best and very near to the worst" on election day, when "every single vote counts."

    [03] PM Samaras says Christian icons will not be removed from public buildings

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Monday gave assurances that Christian icons will not be removed from public buildings, according to a comment he made during his tour of northwest Greece inspired by the icon of the Mother of Christ at the Filiata City Hall library.

    Samaras noted that "there are certain ones who raised this issue, namely, that probably we should remove the Christian icons from all public places; from the parliament to the city halls to public buildings and ministries, and of course from our schools. The icons will never be removed. The Greek people are religious. And this is the most clear response to the individual who dared to say to me that we should remove the icons. I know his political affiliation and I'm aware of the political party programme that says something like that. The icons will never be removed."

    [04] Venizelos says Pasok may give 'vote of tolerance' to new government

    Pasok President Evangelos Venizelos on Monday didn't rule out giving a "vote of tolerance" to the government that may result from the general elections on January 25.

    Speaking on private TV station MEGA, Venizelos said that although he believes it's unlikely that the first party will achieve absolute majority in the first round, there shouldn't be a second round. Instead, all parties that believe in Greece's European path should try to cooperate.

    He also said New Democracy and main opposition SYRIZA are embroiled in a "blind" confrontation and noted that both parties make deceitful and dangerous proposals.

    Venizelos said SYRIZA will now have to reveal its real plans and will show if it has a Plan B for the country, while he described To Potami party as a "consortium" which includes pensioners from conservative parties and neo-liberals.

    Commenting on George Papandreou, a former prime minister who founded a new party which will run in the upcoming elections, Venizelos said that if people believe Papandreou should have a say in the running of the country again, they can vote for him.

    Speaking earlier at a hotel in central Athens, the leader of Pasok warned against both complacency and intimidation.

    Venizelos said political uncertainty may continue if Pasok is not the third party in the elections and criticized the clash between New Democracy and SYRIZA on Greece's financial needs.

    "Neither intimidation, nor complacency, neither upgraded threats, nor downgraded reassurances that everything is Ok," he told union leaders, adding that reality is clear and simple and is reflected in numbers and European processes.

    [05] PASOK leader Venizelos to speak on Tuesday in Halkida

    PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos on Tuesday will deliver a speech in Halkida, according to a party announcement.

    The speech has been scheduled for 6.30 pm.

    [06] SYRIZA leader Tsipras promises to reinstate the pensions of repatriated Greeks

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras on Monday pledged to support the repatriated Greeks with all his powers, underlining that their pensions cut by the Samaras-Venizelos government will be reinstated and the major injustice done to tens of thousands of citizens will be fixed.

    Tsipras made the pledge in a meeting with representatives of repatriated Greeks' unions, noting that this commitment was included in his party's programme against the humanitarian crisis announced in Thessaloniki.

    He reiterated that the Thessaloniki programme is non-negotiable and the cost takes under consideration the country's current potential, noting that is based on a radical change of political and social priorities in the context of balanced budgets.

    [07] SYRIZA leader to visit Kavala, Drama and Komotini

    SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday will visit the northern Greek cities of Kavala, Drama and Komotini, according to a party announcement.

    Specifically, at 11.15 Tsipras will meet representatives of Kavala farmers union and other associations. At 13.15, he will visit Drama and at 18.30 he will deliver a speech in Komotini.

    [08] SYRIZA unveils its state deputies' ticket

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) on Monday unveiled its nationwide state deputies ticket, which is led by Greek sociologist Constantinos Tsoukalas, a professor in the University of Athens Political Sciences department.

    SYRIZA's list of 12 state deputies includes the party's spokesman Panos Skourletis in third place, the academic Rania Antonopoulos in second place, retired general Nikolaos Toskas in fifth place, chemist Yiannis Tsironis of the Ecologists-Greens in seventh place and Athens University Rector Theodosis Pelegrinis in 12 place. Six of the 12 candidates are women.

    [09] ANEL leader Kammenos tours the city of Tripolis, southern Greece

    Opposition Independent Greeks (ANEL) leader Panos Kammenos visited the southern city of Tripolis in Peloponnese on Monday where he met with local entrepreneurs and young people. He also met with the city mayor and was briefed on local problems.

    Kammenos said that his party will cooperate with anyone willing to assist in the efforts "to liberate the country" and referring to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, he said that his efforts to intimidate the Greek people are failing, characterizing as "sad" the New Democracy election campaign spot addressed to the young.

    Kammenos also presented his party's candidates in the electoral district of Arcadia.

    [10] ANEL leader Kammenos charges gov't with 'terrorising citizens'

    Independent Greeks (ANEL) leader Panos Kammenos in a campaign speech in the Peloponnese on Monday called on Greek people not to listen to the prime minister, whom he accused of "trying to terrorise citizens," and asserting that after "destroying the middle class" New Democracy will take further austerity measures.

    In a campaign speech at the southern Greek city of Kalamata, Kammenos called for cancellation of debts for SMEs, low-tax zoning on islands, drastic reduction of production cost and increased construction.

    [11] ANEL leader Kammenos visits Athens 'Varvakios' fish and meat market

    Independent Greeks (ANEL) Panos Kammenos on Monday visited the Athens central fish and meat market known as "Varvakios."

    Kammenos talked with shop owners and spoke of an "empty market."

    "The degradation of the middle class, the downgrade of standard of living and the pensioners' survival, the huge unemployment through internal devaluation need to be terminated on January 25," he said. "ANEL asks the Greek people to trust us so we can turn the page on this tragic picture that our country now presents as a result of the policy that has led Greek people to degradation," he added.

    [12] SYRIZA accuses finance ministry of acting like 'branch of PM Samaras' office'

    In an announcement on Monday, main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) accused the finance ministry of "acting like a branch of [Prime Minister] Antonis Samaras' office," in response to the ministry's comments about SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras' speech on bank liquidity.

    SYRIZA termed the ministry's announcement a "political impropriety" and noted that the ministry had no right to intervene in the elections.

    The party asked the ministry to name the officials "that received orders and from whom, to make the relevant announcement," and also whether there would also be announcements answering and commenting on the statements of other party leaders, specifically Samaras himself.

    With respect to bank liquidity, SYRIZA said that the finance ministry was mistaken to raise the issue again when the Bank of Greece had just yesterday officially given assurances that the situation was under complete control. Furthermore, the party added, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi was responsible for the major systemic banks and it would be unreasonable and a big blow to the banking union in its early stages if he created problems for the banks he supervises.

    [13] Finance ministry, gov't spokesman respond to SYRIZA

    The finance ministry and the government spokesman on Monday responded separately to main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) criticism alleging that the ministry acted "like a personal office" of the prime minister, and to statements by its party leader Alexis Tsipras concerning market liquidity and bonds coming due in March.

    Following up on an earlier announcement about bonds, the finance ministry said it would "clarify critical technical issues related to the country's issuance of bonds to serve the country's debt." Finance Ministry Gikas Hardouvelis, it clarified, "has operated since his first day in office on the basis of public interest, and this is true during the campaign period as well."

    In its announcement, the ministry said that Hardouvelis expressed his opinions "regularly and backed them up with facts, which is true also when he defended the stability of the Greek financial system as well as when he expressed an opinion that the major political forces in the coutnry want Greece to remain in the eurozone." It cited related interviews in To Vima (Deceber 28) and Wall Street Journal (January 9).

    The minister, it said, "chose neither to whitewash events nor to stroke people's egos; he does not get involved - nor does he wish to get involved - in the campaign plans of parties vying for rule in the elections of January 25."

    Government spokesman Stefanos Anagnostou said SYRIZA had a lot of "audacity" because "while it knows that what is claims is simply not possible, it insists on proclaiming it."

    [14] Any debt negotiation translates into new anti-popular measures, KKE sec gen says

    Greece can stand on its feet outside the EU with a new social organisation and the power of the people that socializes the produced wealth and the centralized means of production, thus enabling nationwide central planning and allocation of resources and workforce, communist party KKE secretary general Dimitris Koutsoumbas on Monday said in an interview with private Star TV.

    Koutsoumbas pointed out that the people's power will unilaterally write off the debt, adding that any negotiation would translate into new anti-popular measures.

    Moreover, he stressed that the country would not be left alone as it could sign agreements with other countries as an equal partner. When asked why countries such as Russia and China did not support Greece in the past, he said that as long as Greece remains in the EU, this is not going to happen.

    KKE secretary general underlined that KKE has prepared legislative proposals that will bring to Parliament while the party is ready to vote for any bill that will benefit the Greek people.

    [15] Potami leader presents nationwide 'State Deputies' ballot ticket

    The Potami party leader Stavros Theodorakis on Monday announced that Panagiotis Karkatsoulis, awarded as the world's best government official, will have the leading position in the nationwide "State Deputies" ballot ticket.

    Theodorakis, who made the announcement during a press conference held in the central Greek city of Larissa, said that the party's "State Deputies" ballot ticket comprises 12 persons who can effectively help the country and are not involved in the old electoral system.

    Moreover, he estimated citing opinion poll results that the Potami will get the third place in the January 25 elections. He noted, however, that coming in third is not the only important thing; its percentage also matters, he said explaining that having 8 percent will be different from getting 15 percent.

    He also added that his party would cooperate with anyone that is to the country's interest and said that on January 26 the party will have prepared its government proposal, taking also into account the result of the elections. He added, however, that there are a number of preconditions for any cooperation.

    [16] ND secretary Papamimikos lashes out at SYRIZA candidate MP Lapavitsas

    Ruling coalition leader New Democracy (ND) on Monday lashed out at Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) in response to the statements made by economist and main opposition party candidate MP Costas Lapavitsas to ANT1 private television.

    ND secretary Andreas Papamimikos underlined that Lapavitsas shared the positions of ND, foreign analysts, organisations and reliable economists. Namely, that SYRIZA's programme does not include funding resources and its positions entail the country's exit from the eurozone and continuous political and social instability.

    Papamimikos said that Lapavitsas admits that if SYRIZA implements everything it says it would lead to an explosion and to a collision with the EU, noting that in essence, Lapavitsas foresees the party's dissolution and admits that the financing of the Thessaloniki programme is up in the air.

    The ND secretary underlined that in the forthcoming general elections the people will have to choose between the country's presence in the eurozone, regardless of the cost, and economic growth with the stability it guarantees, which is the governing party's position, or an indiscriminate conflict, confrontation and the country's exit from the eurozone prepared by SYRIZA.

    Earlier, SYRIZA's Imathia electoral district candidate MP Lapavitsas had told ANT1 television that austerity must end and unemployment should be tackled. He noted that these should be the goals set by Greece and not to create primary surpluses, underlining that what SYRIZA wants to do is absolutely right. "To attempt to finance this, within the tight framework imposed today by the troika and the EU rationale, is extremely difficult as you can understand and a confrontation is necessary," Lapavitsas clarified.

    He also added that when SYRIZA rises to power he "expects friction, explosions and conflicts," within the party, noting that "this is the point when a political party like SYRIZA, that expanded so suddenly and so quickly, will face internal structural problems."

    He repeated that SYRIZA's programme has no funding resources, noting that he has expressed his doubts publicly about it, noting that "this financing is insecure at this moment...When half of the revenues will supposedly come from tackling tax evasion and the repayment of old debts to the state, one can understand that this issue had to be studied more carefully...," he underlined.

    Replying to ND's announcement, Lapavitsas accused the party of distorting his positions and "selective" emphasis, adding that his positions were known and that he supported SYRIZA in the great effort to implement its programme.

    There were now two proposals for governing Greece, he said: "On the one hand is SYRIZA, who chooses to write off the debt, lift austerity and clean hands in the government of the country. On the other hand is ND, which will continue to do whatever the troika tells it to. This is the way of poverty and national withering."

    It was to SYRIZA's credit that it was able to accept voices that have strongly criticised it in the past, Lapavitsas said, "this is its strength and this is why it will govern the country."

    [17] ND candidate and former minister Dinopoulos meets ND secretary Papamimikos over video on internet

    New Democracy candidate MP and former minister Argyris Dinopoulos on Monday had a meeting with ND Secretary Andreas Papamimikos and, according to sources, informed him about a video that was briefly posted on the internet in which he made comments about Democratic Left (DIM.AR) leader Fotis Kouvelis.

    According to Dinopoulos, the video is a recording of a meeting with friends supporting him during his election campaign and was posted on the internet for roughly an hour.

    During the meeting, one of the people at the table said that main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras had let down Kouvelis and Dinopoulos had quipped that Kouvelis had been "well paid" by SYRIZA, which had made him drag the country to early elections and then thrown him into the waste bin.

    The former minister clarified that his comment in no way intended to denigrate DIM.AR's leader and that the phrase he used referred to the fact that SYRIZA's leader had misled him, promising him cooperation only to cast him adrift after the presidential election was over.

    [18] Dep. Admin Reform minister says PASOK will overcome 'problem' caused by Papandreou party

    "There is a problem with the personal party of [George] Papandreou but we consider that we will overcome this," Deputy Administrative Reform Minister and candidate MP for PASOK Evi Christofilopoulou said on Monday.

    "The people of PASOK have understood that, in spite of the problems, PASOK has played a stabilising role for the country," she added, expressing her conviction that her party will win third place in the elections.

    "In 2012, PASOK with took the third mandate and not only called New Democracy but also SYRIZA and all the other parties for cooperation. This is what we will do now as well. If it is not possible to set up a national unity government, then at least there must be a national negotiating team with the forces of the democratic arc that accept the European framework and agree to a framework of reforms," she added.

    Christofilopoulou admitted that there were was concern about what lay ahead but criticised both ND for "terrorising" voters and SYRIZA for "uncontrolled promises and populism".

    "We agree on the need for Europe to change but this must take place within the European family," she said.

    She added that PASOK will hold a congress after the elections in which it would seek to forge alliances with other political forces, adding that dialogue could be held with both the Democratic Left (DIM.AR) and To Potami.

    [19] SYRIZA might moderate stance if in government, ESM's Regling says

    SYRIZA may moderate its anti-bailout stance if it is in government following a January 25 election, the head of the euro zone's rescue fund said on Monday, according to Reuters news agency.

    "Maybe a new Greek government will come with new policies, but we don't know," Klaus Regling, head of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), told a conference in Lisbon.

    "We know that opposition parties say one thing during the election campaign but once they come to power moderate these positions."

    "Everybody is very concerned about the elections in Greece, and that's normal in democracies," said Regling, referring to "excitement" created by German newspaper reports last week about Greece's possible exit from the euro zone.

    "But I prefer to wait for the elections and see what happens," he added.

    He said Athens should continue with current policies which would take time to bear fruit.

    "Nobody wants to give new conditions, it's just that Greece is on a very positive track and I think the governments in the euro area and the Eurogroup hope that this path continues ... in order to reach the full benefits of the adjustment," he said.

    [20] Podemos leader Iglesias' message to the SYRIZA leader

    The certainty that the Greeks "will choose a Greek new prime minister for the country" was voiced by Spanish Podemos party leader Pablo Iglesias in a message made public on Monday.

    "I'm Pablo Iglesias from Podemos and my message to the Greek people is quite clear. I think there are two options in the new elections in Greece, two candidates. The candidate whose name is Angela Merkel and is represented by parties like PASOK and New Democracy and the Greek candidate, his name is Alexis Tsipras. I'm sure the Greek people are going to choose a Greek new prime minister for the country. I think in the south of Europe we need prime ministers that will defend and protect the national sovereignty," the Podemos leader said in his videotaped message.

    [21] Greens-Democratic Left unveil their nationwide state deputies ballot

    The nationwide state deputies ballot of the Greens-Democratic Left election cooperation, headed by author Vassilis Vassilikos, was unveiled on Monday by the leaders of the two parties, Nikos Chryssogelos and Fotis Kouvelis respectively.

    The Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader said that "the two parties will give the election battle together seeking an election outcome that will turn them into a stabilising force," adding that "the democratic-progressive change should be made with a measure of responsibility, guaranteeing today and tomorrow and the country's firm and unswerving course in the European reality."

    On his part, the Greens leader said that the cooperation between the two political parties is based on principles, political programme and commitment "to overcome past mistakes and weaknesses."

    [22] PASOK-Democratic Wing party announces list of state deputies

    The PASOK-Democratic Wing party, the smaller of the two party's in Greece's coalition government, on Monday unveiled the list of 12 candidates included on the party's state deputy ticket.

    The list contained no surprises, with former minister and MP George Floridis heading the list, Parliamentary group secretary Panagiotis Rigas in the second spot and Nikos Bistis third. The list also included seven women, a former MEP and former mayor, as well as a number of academics.

    [23] SYRIZA leader denies his party will ban hunting if elected

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras on Monday denied reports and posters claiming that SYRIZA intends to ban all hunting, a popular recreational activity in Greece, if it becomes government.

    Tsipras dismissed the rumours as "lies and provocation" in a meeting with representatives of the Hunting Confederation of Greece, saying that SYRIZA "recognises the hunting associations and their contributions and wants to defend hunting within the framework of the law and European directives".

    He promised that the party will work together with hunting clubs and federations to find the best ways for hunting to continue while protecting biodiversity in Greece.

    [24] SYRIZA leads over ND, says opinion poll

    Main opposition SYRIZA leads over ruling New Democracy (ND) with 4.5 percentage points, according to an opinion poll conducted by DATA RC for Peloponnisos newspaper.

    According to the poll results SYRIZA comes first with 27.8 percent followed by ND with 23.3 percent, Potami with 5.6 percent, Communist Party (KKE) with 4.7 pct followed by Golden Dawn with 4.1 percent, PASOK with 3.3, Independent Greeks and newly founded George Papandreou's party Democrats Socialists movement with 2.1 percent, ANTARSYA with 1 pct. 5 percent of the respondents said the will vote another party and 16.9 percent did not answer or said they will cast blank.

    The poll was conducted between 7 and 9 January 2015.

    [25] Opinion poll gives SYRIZA narrow lead over ND

    An opinion poll shows that the gap between New Democracy (ND), the leading party in Greece's ruling coalition, and main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) has narrowed to 1.9 pct.

    According to a nationwide opinion poll conducted by Interview on behalf of northern Greece's Vergina TV on January 9 and 11 on a sample of 1,000 people, SYRIZA remained in the lead, with 28.3 pct of voters saying they intend to vote for the party, followed by ND with 26.4 pct, To Potami 5.5 pct, Golden Dawn (GD) 5.1 pct, Communist Party (KKE) and PASOK 4.1 pct each, newly-founded Movement of Democratic Socialists (KIDISO) 2 pct, Independent Greeks (ANEL) 1.7 pct and Democratic Left (DIMAR) 0.2 pct.

    According to the same poll, 55 pct of those asked said that they think that the scenario of Greece's exit from the eurozone is more likely under a SYRIZA-led government and less likely under a ND-led government (10 pct).

    Also, 41 pct of those polled believe that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras can negotiate better with the country's lenders than SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras (32 pct).

    [26] There are solutions allowing 18-year-olds to take part in election, Greek Ombudsman tells ANA-MPA

    Greek Ombudsman Calliope Spanou on Monday repeated that the law provided solutions to overcome the technical obstacles that now prevented new voters born in 1997 from participating in the upcoming elections, even though the Constitution gives them the right to vote.

    In an interview with ANA-MPA, Spanou said that the law provided procedures that would allow the 100,000 young people to vote, provided the necessary mechanisms were activated immediately.

    "It is not an issue of illegality, it is a problem that it would be good to deal with," Spanou underlined.

    She pointed out that the problem arose because the law allowed voters to take part in elections from the start of the year in which they become 18 but the electoral rolls are not updated until February of each year, so that they do not contain new voters if elections are held at the start of the year.

    Spanou said that this raised an issue in that the right to vote was given by law but was then denied for technical reasons. In order to overcome the problem, which she described as essentially technical, the Ombudsman suggested two solutions:

    Either that the date for updating the electoral rolls be brought forward through a legislative act, since Parliament was currently closed and the law could not be modified, even though this was a period in which it should not be taking place under normal circumstances.

    The second solution was to employ an already familiar process used in the case of voters that are left off the electoral rolls for any reason. In this case, they present a certificate from the local authority that they are listed in the local municipal register and vote on this basis. Spanou said that this could be accompanied by a clearly-worded circular to election commissions regarding the procedure to be followed and possibly a single polling station per municipality set aside for this category of voters in order to simplify the process.

    She warned, however, that the interior ministry had to act quickly in order for either solution to be implemented since time was very short, while pointing out that all the necessary information was available digitally, so every municipality could easily track the persons having the required age.

    [27] Deadline for submitting state deputy lists, party alliances ends at midnight

    The deadline for parties and party coalitions to submit declarations of the candidates running on their ticket, as well as their list of state deputies, to the Supreme Court Prosecutor expires at midnight on Monday.

    These names will then be announced officially by the Supreme Court on Wednesday, which will simultaneously notify the interior minister and deputy regional authority governors.

    The last will issue a proclamation informing the regional authority of each prefecture of the names of all candidates, with the proclamation made public and posted by January 20 at the latest.

    [28] Germany sees no basis for Greek claim to Nazi-era war reparations, German finance ministry says

    BERLIN (ANA-MPA/ F. Karaviti)

    The German government sees no basis for a Greek claim to Nazi-era war reparations, German finance ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger said on Monday. He was responding to questions references in the Greek media to a report from Greece's General Accounting Office, according to which Germany owes Greece 11 billion euros from a forced occupation loan extracted by Nazi Germany in 1942.

    According to Jaeger, Greek claims have been settled as a whole and no request has been made by Athens.

    He also pointed out that, 70 years after the end of the war, the issue of reparations had lost its legitimacy and "we do not see any basis for such a demand."

    Jaeger said that this position also covers the legal aspects of the issue and he referred to a 1960 agreement, saying that all claims were finally settled through this. Regarding the 2+4 treaty for Germany's reunification in 1990, he said an issue of reparations had not been raised. This had been recognised as a legal commitment in the framework of the Charter of Paris, which was also adopted by Greece. "This is why we consider that there is no basis for these demands," he said.

    He also repeated that a change in government after the elections in Greece "changed nothing in the agreements with the Greek government" and that each government must respect the agreements made by its predecessors. He also refused to comment on the effect of a 'haircut' of Greece's debt on Germany's budget, saying that there was no such issue.

    [29] National Council for Education agrees on method for deciding higher education admissions

    The number of students admitted to Greece's universities and Technical Educational Institutes (TEI) will be set by joint decision of the education ministry, higher education institutes and the Authority for Ensuring Quality in Higher Education, the National Council for Education decided on Monday.

    The decision was taken at a meeting also attended by representatives of the country's universities and TEI.

    "We are all here at the education and religions ministry, very satisifed because an issue that we raised in November, agreeing to meet now in January, is ending very well," Education Minister Andreas Loverdos commented after the meeting, saying the talks had yielded very positive results.

    The ministry had originally proposed that the higher education institutes have full control over the number of students admitted but rectors disagreed, proposing the above solution that the minister agreed to. He said the number of student transfers based on social criteria should also be decided in the same way.

    [30] Teachers' union files lawsuit against Education, Administrative Reform ministers

    The high school teachers' labour union OLME on Monday filed a lawsuit against the Ministers of Education Andreas Loverdos and Administrative Reform Kyriakos Mitsotakis, demanding that the public prosecutor presses charges for breach of duty and embezzlement for unpaid teacher wages.

    OLME president Themis Kotsyfakis, accompanied by representatives of teachers who have been suspended from their jobs, argues in the lawsuit that the wages of 85 teachers have been illegally suspended since April 22, 2014 without an official dismissal and must be restored.

    [31] Municipal employees demand back pay for the 2012 general elections; say they will refuse services in forthcoming elections

    The municipal employees' union federation POE-OTA on Monday addressed a solicitor's letter to the ministers of interior and finance, noting that municipal employees nationwide have yet to receive their extra pay for additional duties assigned to them during the 2012 general elections, despite the repeated complaints addressed to those responsible.

    In protest, POE-OTA underlined that municipal employees have decided not to offer their services during the forthcoming general elections namely, prepare polling stations for the voting procedure or transport and guard election material, among others.

    POE-OTA also mentioned a letter addressed to the minister of finance by Central Union of Municipalities of Greece (KEDE) that referred to the problems created as a result of the municipalities' inability to pay the municipal employees for their extra duties.

    [32] Defence Minister Dendias meets with Australian Ambassador Griffin

    National Defence Minister Nikos Dendias on Monday met with Australian Ambassador to Athens John Griffin.

    The meeting took place in the minister's office at the ministry of defence.

    Financial News

    [33] There are limitations in issuing T-bills, Finance ministry says

    Greek authorities will have to reach an agreement with the country's partners and lenders to exceed a 15-billion-euro ceiling on issuing new Treasury bills while the country will also have to conclude a review of its Economic Adjustment Program with the troika -or to agree on an extension of the program- by February 28 to allow banks to borrow from European Central Bank's liquidity mechanisms in order to have the necessary liquidity to buy more T-bills, a Finance ministry announcement said on Monday.

    The announcement, in a reply to comments made by SYRIZA president Alexis Tsipras that a possible SYRIZA government would issue more treasury bills to repay bonds maturing in March, said that Greece and its lenders have agreed on a 15-bln-euro ceiling for Treasury bill auctions this year, a sum that has been fully covered in December and that any additional auctions would need the agreement of the country's partners and lenders.

    The Finance ministry also noted that Greek banks -which were currently the sole buyers of T-bills- will have to have the necessary liquidity to participate in T-bill auctions. The European Central Bank said last week that it could terminate liquidity offered to Greek banks if the country has not reached an adjustment program. The ministry said that the country should seek an agreement with its lender to extend a deadline of a review of its economic adjustment program and to push forward to concluding this review the soonest possible in order to ensure smooth liquidity flows in state coffers and safeguard stability and an economic recovery trend in the country.

    [34] Greek economic sentiment index down in Dec

    Greece's economic sentiment index fell to 98.9 points in December 2014, to its lowest level since April, the Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) said on Monday.

    In a monthly report, IOBE said all economic sectors -with the exception of constructions- recorded a weakening of expectations, while consumer confidence worsened significantly in December. The December figures ended a period of improving expectations as political uncertainty which emerged in December ahead of a snap general elections affected both business and household expectations.

    IOBE noted, however, that the economic sentiment index rose to its highest levels in the last six years in 2014.

    More analytically, business expectations in the manufacturing sector deteriorated both on short-term production developments and current order and demand levels.

    In the services sector, business expectations fell on current activity and short-term demand. In the retail sector, expectations over current sales weakened along with estimates over short-term sales. In the construction sector, business expectations over current work program improved, while employment estimates worsened further.

    Consumer confidence worsened significantly, while saving intentions deteriorated slightly and pessimistic estimates over unemployment grew further.

    [35] Terna Energy launches 150-mln-euro energy project

    Terna Energy is at the last stage of implementing a 150-million-euro investment project to build a wind power energy station on St George islet south of Cape Sounio.

    The 73.2 MW power energy station will be able to cover energy needs of more than 40,000 households annually saving more than 60,000 tons of diesel oil. The project is the largest investment in electricity production from Alternate Energy Sources ever in Greece and the most innovative as it includes a subterranean cable connection with the central energy grid. It is the first on shore wind power station with characteristics of an off shore wind power park, exploiting on a large scale the high wind power capacity of Aegean Sea.

    Terna Energy has a total energy power capacity of 640 MW, of which 386 MW in Greece, 138 MW in the US, 86 MW in Poland and 30 MW in Bulgaria.

    [36] Car registrations up 30.2 pct in 2014

    Car registrations grew 30.2 pct in 2014 after a 69.3 pct jump in December, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Monday.

    The statistics service, in a report, said that car registrations totaled 8,867 in December (new or used ones), up from 5,237 in the same month in 2013 (passenger car registrations were up 61.9 pct in the month). Car registrations were up 7.8 pct in December 2013.

    Car registrations totaled 102,359 in 2014, up from 78,630 in 2013, for an increase of 30.2 pct, after an 1.2 pct rise recorded in the 2013-2012 period.

    Motorcycle registrations totaled 934 in December, up 24.4 pct from December 2013, for a total of 33,578 in 2014, up from 30,742 in 2013, an increase of 9.2 pct.

    [37] Greek stocks end sharply higher

    Greek stocks ended sharply higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, pushing the composite index of the market above the 800-point level. Sentiment was encouraged by a significant improvement in Greek state bond yields, following last week's spectacular rise. The composite index jumped 3.78 pct to end at 809.01 points, off the day's highs of 816.80 points. Turnover was a moderate 82.10 million euros.

    The Large Cap index rose 3.52 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 3.81 pct higher. Coca Cola HBC (2.11 pct) and Grivalia Properties (0.78 pct) were the only blue chip stocks to end lower, while Jumbo (9.27 pct), MIG (9.20 pct), Athens Water (7.69 pct), METKA (6.92 pct) and Motor Oil (6.62 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day.

    Among market sectors, Food (2.09 pct) and Real Estate (0.20 pct) suffered losses, while Personal Products (8.90 pct), Utilities (6.05 pct) and Financial Services (5.68 pct) scored big gains.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 87 to 32, with another 17 issues unchanged. Attica Holdings (20 pct), Alpha Astika (19.72 pct) and Dionic (18.03 pct) were top gainers, while Nafpaktos Spin Mills (29.80 pct), Teletypos (19.54 pct) and Nakas (9.94 pct) suffered losses.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Banks: +5.21%

    Insurance: Unchanged

    Financial Services: +5.68%

    Industrial Products: +4.60%

    Commercial: +5.155

    Real Estate: +5.68%

    Personal & Household: +8.90%

    Food & Beverages: -2.09%

    Raw Materials: +3.60%

    Construction: +2.26%

    Oil: +4.75%

    Chemicals: +2.71%

    Mass Media: +1.92%

    Travel & Leisure: +4.46%

    Technology: +1.96%

    Telecoms: +1.43%

    Utilities: +6.05%

    Health: +2.95%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were Eurobank, National Bank, Alpha Bank and OPAP.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE

    Large Cap index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 0.47

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 5.20

    Coca Cola HBC: 14.39

    Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE): 3.72

    National Bank of Greece: 1.36

    OPAP: 8.80

    OTE: 8.51

    Piraeus Bank: 0.95

    Titan: 19.60

    Grivalia Properties: 7.62

    Aegean Airlines: 7.18

    [38] Greek bond yields show signs of improvement

    Greek state bond yields showed a marked improvement in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday with the 10-year bond yield falling below 10 pct to 9.48 pct, from 9.96 pct on Friday.

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds fell to 8.98 pct. The three-year bond yield fell to 12.18 pct and the five-year bond yield fell to 10.76 pct. A Bloomberg report said that these developments might signal a reverse of a very negative trend which prevailed early last week in the Greek bond market.

    [39] Greek bond market closing report

    Greek bond prices recovered and yields fell in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday as market expectations of an imminent decision by the European Central Bank over a QE program and easing pressure over a Grexit scenario helped to reverse a negative climate in the market. The 10-year Greek benchmark bond yielded 9.18 pct, from 10.01 pct on Friday, with the yield spread against the 10-year German Bund shrinking to 8.7 pct from 9.51 pct on Friday.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were mixed to lower. The 12-month rate fell to 0.317 pct from 0.318 pct, the nine-month rate eased to 0.238 pct from 0.241 pct, the six-month rate fell to 0.167 pct from 0.1678 pct while the three-month and the one-month rate were unchanged at 0.071 pct and 0.009 pct respectively.

    [40] ADEX closing report

    The January contract on the FTSE/ASE was trading at a discount of 0.45 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday.

    Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 27,132 contracts with 51,633 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 30,546 contracts with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (8,725), followed by Alpha Bank (6,732), Eurobank (5,486), Piraeus Bank (2,178), PPC (1,447), OTE (1,412), MIG (1,233), OPAP (1,015), Mytilineos (476), Jumbo (331), GEK (248), Ellaktor (191), Folli Follie (130), METKA (110), Terna Energy (73) and Motor Oil (73).

    [41] Foreign exchange rates - Monday

    Reference rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.1804

    Pound sterling 0.7791

    Danish kroner 7.4391

    Swedish kroner 9.541

    Japanese yen 140.56

    Swiss franc 1.201

    Norwegian kroner 9.1275

    Canadian dollar 1.4043

    Australian dollar 1.4498

    General News

    [42] Ships remain docked in Piraeus, Rafina, Lavrio, due to strong winds

    Ships will continue to remain docked at the ports of Piraeus, Rafina and Lavrio, due to strong northern winds which in parts will reach speeds of 8 to 9 on the Beaufort scale.

    The services from the town of Volos in central Greece to the islands of Sporades and from Kyllini in western Greece to Cephalonia and Zakynthos will also be cancelled.

    The route from Lefkimi in western Greece to Igoumenitsa will not be serviced, while routes from Igoumenitsa to Corfu will only run in closed ferries.

    The only ship routes that will continue are services from Piraeus to Salamina Island.

    According to the Coast Guard, those who plan to travel are advised to contact their travel agents and port authorities for the latest updates.

    [43] Fire department receives dozens of calls due to strong winds

    The Fire Department had received about 80 calls from around Attica by Monday evening for problems caused by strong winds.

    Most calls concerned cutting trees and removing objects.

    At the same time, because of the heavy snowfall, driving on the road section from the funicular towards the casino on the peripheral Parnithos Avenue is only allowed using snow chains.

    [44] Mycenaean-era 'Ring of Theseus' on two-month show at National Archaeological Museum

    A Mycenaean-era gold stamp ring dated to the 15th century BC is the highlight of a new exhibition series that opened at the National Archaeological Museum on Monday and seeks to bring objects out of storage to show the public.

    The exquisite "Ring of Theseus" was found in the 1950s in earth discarded at Anafiotika, the oldest part of Athens, while building the first Acropolis museum. The ring opens the "Invisible Museum" series, which will put on public view one or more objects for two months at a time.

    The ring, also used as a stamp, is engraved with the image of the Minoan ritual of bull-leaping. It will be replaced after two months by a luxurious sarcophagus of a sacred Egyptian cat.

    During a presentation on Monday, museum director Maria Lagogianni said that during the last five years the museum had undertaken 285 research projects and kept over 200,000 objects, classified by type, material and provenance, in its 3,500-sq.m. storage space.

    She said that other events for 2015 include the upgrading of the museum's site (www.namuseum.gr), a periodical exhibit in collaboration with the Parliament on a virtual walk in Athens of the 17th and 18th centuries, and another on string instruments connected to Apollo and his cult. The museum's morning exhibits and modern art shows at the cafe will continue as well.

    Monday's event was accompanied by original ancient Greek hymns and ancient poetry set to music, performed by Nikos Xanthoulis (ancient lyre and vocals), Odysseas Korelis (violin), Antonis Manias (viola) and Vangelis Nina (cello).

    [45] Prosecutor orders investigation into cancelled Thessaloniki underwater road tunnel project

    A prosecutor has ordered an investigation into the canceled Thessaloniki underwater road tunnel project which has been plagued by litigation issues, including a court ruling calling on the Greek state to pay the concessionaire 73 million euros as compensation, it was announced on Monday.

    The 6.5-km tunnel in the gulf off Thessaloniki was expected to reduce the city's congestion problem by providing a link from the western part of the city with the southeast limits of the city proper. Following a tendering process, it was awarded to the Thermaiki Odos consortium, comprising Aktor, Boscalis and Archirodon Group; Parliament ratified the contract in February 2007. Litigation over delays by the state began in 2009 and continue to the present.

    Thessaloniki anti-corruption prosecutor Argiris Dimopoulos ordered the finance ministry's financial crime unit SDOE to carry out a preliminary investigation into the likelihood of a criminal liability for the project's cancellation and to decide whether felony charges can be filed, allegedly against state officials, for breach of faith against the state.

    Dimopoulos intervened in response to a news report published in the Thessaloniki newspaper "Macedonia" two days ago, based on which the first installment of the compensation, estimated to roughly 3.7 million euros, will soon be paid by the state and the rest will follow.

    [46] Thessaloniki officials discuss building crematoria during municipal meeting

    The construction of crematoria in the northern city of Thessaloniki was discussed anew during the meeting of the city's municipal council on Monday, after Mayor Yiannis Boutaris proposed making them inter-municipal businesses.

    The issue was raised by the head of the "Open City" party, Triantafyllos Mitafidis, who accused Boutaris of stalling and urged him to turn to the Regional Municipal Union of Central Macedonia.

    The mayor noted that the best area to build them would be the city's industrial zone, despite the reactions of the Delta municipality in the past.

    Boutaris also said he will invite the mayors of the region for a working luncheon next Friday to present his proposal.

    Schools shut down January 23-26 for national elections

    [47] Greek schools will be closed on January 23 (Friday) and 26 (Monday), for national elections on January 25.

    The principals of schools designated as electoral centres throughout Greece will have to turn over the keys to local township authorities on Friday morning to give them enough time to prepare the classrooms up.

    The decision was signed by Deputy Education Minister Alexandros Dermentzopoulos, who also asked all principals of schools with technical assistance for physically handicapped individuals (such as ramps and lifting equipment) to make it available to voters.

    Weather forecast

    [48] Mostly fair; rain in the eastern parts on Tuesday

    Rain in the eastern parts of the country and strong northerly winds are forecast for Tuesday. Wind velocity will reach 9 on the Beaufort scale. Mostly fair in the northern parts of the country with temperatures ranging from -01C-08C. Same weather in the western parts and temperatures between 02C-14C. Clouds and rain in the eastern parts with temperatures between 03C-11C. Rain over the islands, 06C-12C. Partly cloudy in Athens, 06C-11C. Mostly fair in Thessaloniki, 02C-07C.

    [49] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: We are not afraid.

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Gradual decrease of ENFIA (Single Real Estate Ownership Taxation) and tax on businesses.

    ESTIA: Five elections in 6.5 years!

    ETHNOS: Candidates' tactical moves.

    NAFTEMPORIKI: Agony over the next day in economy.

    TA NEA : Fear the opponent.

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