Browse through our Interesting Nodes on Armenia A)? GHT="50">
Compact version
Today's Suggestion
Read The "Macedonian Question" (by Maria Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou)
HomeAbout HR-NetNewsWeb SitesDocumentsOnline HelpUsage InformationContact us
Wednesday, 16 October 2019
 
News
  Latest News (All)
     From Greece
     From Cyprus
     From Europe
     From Balkans
     From Turkey
     From USA
  Announcements
  World Press
  News Archives
Web Sites
  Hosted
  Mirrored
  Interesting Nodes
Documents
  Special Topics
  Treaties, Conventions
  Constitutions
  U.S. Agencies
  Cyprus Problem
  Other
Services
  Personal NewsPaper
  Greek Fonts
  Tools
  F.A.Q.
 

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 15-04-03

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

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

Friday, 3 April 2015 Issue No: 4926

CONTENTS

  • [01] The basic scenario provides for a 1.2-1.5 pct of GDP primary surplus, government sources say
  • [02] Gov't spokesman: We are close to an agreement
  • [03] Eurogroup Working Group to meet April 8 to 9, Reuters
  • [04] Finance ministry denies Reuters report claiming gov't said it will run out of cash on April 9
  • [05] Negotiations with the partners will soon be concluded, Economy Min Stathakis says
  • [06] We are bound by confidentiality terms, FinMin Varoufakis says on government proposals
  • [07] Gov't spokesman on primary surplus target
  • [08] PM Tsipras reveals the main directions of health policy
  • [09] KKE on PM's announcements for changes in health sector
  • [10] PM Tsipras to visit Moscow on April 8-9
  • [11] Ministers brief SYRIZA parliamentary committee on current developments
  • [12] SYRIZA party official says members will continue to express diversity in opinions
  • [13] Greece needs to do more on the quantification of measures, French FinMin says
  • [14] PM Tsipras replies to ND's Bakoyannis, insists on need for memorandums investigation
  • [15] National broadcaster ERT draft law tabled in parliament
  • [16] Samaras willing to join a unity government to keep Greece in the eurozone - Bloomberg
  • [17] ANEL criticise ND leader for comments in Bloomberg
  • [18] Scenarios of a memorandum unity government are' midnight spring dreams', gov't spokesman says
  • [19] Main opposition leader Samaras lashes out at government
  • [20] New Democracy accuses government of keeping Greeks in the dark on list of reforms
  • [21] ND spokesman comments on reform list
  • [22] Potami comments on FT leak, criticises government for failing to unveil positions
  • [23] Potami leader Theodorakis backs Bakoyannis' proposal for 'Economists' Committee'
  • [24] KKE leader: SYRIZA, a bourgeois government with left wrapping
  • [25] PASOK lashes out at the government on the primary surplus issue
  • [26] Gov't orders nationwide TV channels to pay 40 million euros for radiofrequencies
  • [27] President Pavlopoulos receives defence minister, armed forces leadership
  • [28] SYRIZA parliamentary spokesman on anti-establishment groups and sit-in protests
  • [29] Justice minister mulling amendment for releasing accused relatives of prisoners
  • [30] Bill on abolition of maximum security prisons tabled in parliament
  • [31] Protest in Korydallos against plan to hold Golden Dawn trial in Korydallos prison
  • [32] Foreign Minister Kotzias attends luncheon at Latvian Embassy in Athens
  • [33] NBG will respond to country's growth wager, says bank's chief Katseli
  • [34] Bank of Greece says it pays in time all EU funded projects
  • [35] Greek ministers to meet Swiss delegation on tax evasion on April 14
  • [36] New Energean drill for Prinos oil field inaugurated in Perama on Thursday
  • [37] Greek steel companies violated competition legislation, report to Competition Commission says
  • [38] One million-plus passengers use Athens airport in March, for highest numbers since 2010
  • [39] Shipyard workers to be paid before Greek Orthodox Easter Sunday, minister says
  • [40] Loan portfolio deal between Piraeus Bank and KKR Credit falls through
  • [41] Athenian Brewery to start exporting beer to China and Italy
  • [42] Athens hotels' occupancy rate up in Jan-Feb, report?
  • [43] Microsoft Hellas courses available online to registered unemployed
  • [44] Greek stocks end moderately higher?
  • [45] Greek bond market closing report?
  • [46] ADEX closing report?
  • [47] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday
  • [48] Jailed wife of former Greek minister escapes
  • [49] Jail officials arrested over escape of former minister's wife released pending investigation
  • [50] Guards of escapee Vicki Stamati were not part of jail staff, federation clarifies
  • [51] Two Albanian nationals arrested in relation with 'Conspiracy of Cells of Fire' terror group
  • [52] National Herald, iconic newspaper for Greeks abroad, celebrates centennial
  • [53] Doctors, lawyers of prisoners on hunger strike warn of serious health risks
  • [54] Ministry asks for full investigation into fatal accident at Larco mine
  • [55] Antiquities' guards say free Sundays for museums, sites will depress revenues
  • [56] 3.8 Richter-scale earthquake NE of Edessa, Macedonia; no damages reported
  • [57] Large quantity of contraband cigarettes found in freighter; huge tax loss for the state
  • [58] Tension outside Athens Economic University
  • [59] Technical upgrade in ANA-MPA to affect stories on Friday
  • [60] Mostly fair on Friday
  • [61] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] The basic scenario provides for a 1.2-1.5 pct of GDP primary surplus, government sources say

    The Finance ministry's reform list which was made public -but was not leaked by the Greek side - is being read selectively resulting in the misinterpretation of the government's fiscal targets, government sources said on Thursday noting that any list is a "working document" and not an agreement.

    The sources added that the Finance ministry's growth forecasts stand at 1.4 percent of GDP for 2015 and 2.9 percent for 2016, stressing that any measures that will be agreed will not be recessionary ones and will aim at expanding the tax base so as to prevent the burdening of specific social groups - salary earners, pensioners and generally the middle class.

    Reiterating that the Finance Ministry's list is a "working document", the same sources estimated that the new measures - if all of them are successfully implemented - can result in a 4.7-6.1 billion euro fiscal benefit.

    Noting that no measure has ever fully paid off, they added that if there is an above 1.5 percent surplus, this obviously will not be directed to the 'black hole' of the debt, since the Eurogroup decision on February 20 has been very specific: the obligation for extremely high surpluses is now a thing of the past.

    Therefore, if we achieve surpluses higher than the commitments (1.2 -1.5 pct), these will be returned to social groups that tragically experience the consequences of the crisis through the implementation of the government's policy announcements, the sources said.

    They also noted that if the basic scenario is a primary surplus of 1.2-1.5 percent of GDP and if the measures pay off, the extra surplus will be allocated to social action. Moreover, they reminded of a statement made by government sources on the issue on March 27, 2015 under which "The Programme has been worked-out and priced, forecasting a 1.5 percent of GDP primary surplus for 2015" and "revenues of 3 billion euros that will not come from cutbacks in wages, pensions or lump sums."

    They also noted that the Uniform Real Estate Ownership Tax (ENFIA) will be abolished within 2015 and replaced by the Large Property Tax, while the new tax law, which will include a 12,000 tax-free threshold for 2015 income that will be declared in 2016, will be tabled in parliament in the second half of the year.

    [02] Gov't spokesman: We are close to an agreement

    "We are close to an agreement," government spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis estimated speaking to MEGA TV on Thursday.

    "It has been clarified to our partners that the Greek government has a specific popular mandate to follow and is committed to it and is not willing to proceed with additional recession measures and I believe that it is and will finally be accepted from the institutions and from the partners," he noted.

    Asked on the possibility of a VAT increase in some islands he said "that such horizontal recession measures are not in the government intentions or proposals."

    Referring to the 27-page text that the Greek side sent on Wednesday to the Brussels Group and was published in the Financial Times, Sakellaridis referred to targeted measures "in order the low incomes, the salary earners, the pensioners and the middle class not to pay again the damage."

    On the primary surplus target included in this list, he clarified that the basic scenario speaks of 1.2 percent primary surplus "with increase prospects if the specific measures do not bear fruit in combination with the course of the economy."

    [03] Eurogroup Working Group to meet April 8 to 9, Reuters

    The Eurogroup Working Group will meet on the evening of April 8 and the morning of April 9, according to Reuters, which quoted German officials in Brussels.

    The officials did not state explicitly that the issue the EWG will discuss is the Greek government's list of reforms.

    [04] Finance ministry denies Reuters report claiming gov't said it will run out of cash on April 9

    The finance ministry denied categorically on Thursday a news report by Reuters on alleged requests made by the Greek government to its EU partners during a teleconference of eurozone deputy finance ministers on Wednesday.

    "The finance ministry categorically denies the anonymous report by Reuters for issues that were allegedly discussed during the Euro Working Group on April 1," the ministry said in a statement.

    Reuters, citing Eurozone officials, reported on Thursday that the Greek government told its creditors during the teleconference that it will run out of cash on April 9 and asked them to disburse a tranche of its rescue loans before reforms are agreed and implemented.

    [05] Negotiations with the partners will soon be concluded, Economy Min Stathakis says

    Negotiations with the partners will soon be concluded, probably even next week, Economy Minister George Stathakis on Thursday said during his speech at the Hellenic-French Chamber of Commerce.

    The negotiations will reach an agreement and statements regarding the extension of the uncertainty and even more extreme statements regarding the country's exit from the eurozone will be stopped, he added.

    [06] We are bound by confidentiality terms, FinMin Varoufakis says on government proposals

    Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis on Thursday speaking to Parliament said that the public opinion cannot be informed by websites on the negotiation with the partners.

    New Democracy deputy Yiannis Voutsis had earlier said that deputies are informed on the government's proposals on the Internet.

    "This was not our choice, we are bound by confidentiality terms. I think that this confidentiality affects the interests of Europe and that these leaks undermine the confidence in the institutions," Varoufakis said and added that the Greek government had asked several times for the proposals to be published.

    Regarding Peter Spiegel's report in the Financial Times, he said that the proposals had not been leaked by the Greek government.

    "This sort of supposedly confidential procedure undermines the relations of the countries of the European Union," the minister underlined.

    [07] Gov't spokesman on primary surplus target

    The basic scenario provides for a 1.2 percent primary surplus "with prospects of being increased if these measures pay off in conjunction with the course of the Greek economy," government spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis told Mega TV.

    The measures that the Greek government has proposed with this document are estimated to bring maximum revenues of 6.1 billion euros, which Sakellaridis acknowledged as "a big amount", while he noted "there is room to raise revenues from ways unused before by the previous governments." He also wondered why there have been no moves to address tax evasion and overdue debt.

    Regarding Wednesday's statements by (ministers) Voutsis and Skourletis on the possible inability to repay loans, he reiterated that "what the Greek government has to and will do is to ensure it will pay its obligations in the country and abroad."

    He assured the there is money to pay the April obligations but admitted that "there are liquidity problems in the Greek economy."

    "How can this be any different when in the first four months you have actually paid more than 6 billion euros in financing needs abroad and when you have not received any money since August 2014," he stressed.

    He made clear, however, that "despite any problems, we will meet our obligations."

    He also rejected talk over disagreement with the President Parliament regarding the invasion of anti-establishment protesters in the parliament courtyard on Wednesday. "We did not fight," he noted and added "I was not misled by the media. I basically spoke of an invasion in the parliament courtyard. What (Zoi) Konstantopoulou said is that the media presented the issue as an invasion in the parliament building."

    He once again referred to an "incomprehensible and provocative move" and said: "We cannot understand, especially when the demands of those protesting are demands which are being gradually resolved and move forward and not under the pressure that is currently exercised by specific people...The government's policy plans includes the bill on the humanization of jails and the abolition of maximum security prisons."

    "Democracy has nothing to fear from any sort of protest... let's not get to other end," he noted.

    [08] PM Tsipras reveals the main directions of health policy

    The government's great effort to restore social justice will start from the health sector, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Thursday said during his visit to the Ministry of Health.

    Tsipras was briefed by the political leadership and then he revealed the main directions of the ministry's policy.

    The prime minister decided to visit the Health ministry first, because as he said, health is the priority of the current government. In that framework, he announced the main directions of the health policy, which, as he said, have started being implemented.

    The aim of the government is the equal access of the population to the national health system, to medicine, to vaccines and to tests. From a victim of the memorandums and the austerity measures, health will become again the right of every citizen, he said. The urgent needs of the national health system will be immediately met, Tsipras noted, announcing the hiring of 4,500 qualified staff, doctors, nurses and paramedical staff, 700 of which will cover areas where there is an immediate need, such as the islands of the Aegean, western Macedonia, Thesprotia and Thrace.

    He said that the primary health care system is of paramount importance, adding that if it operated in a proper way, it would relieve the whole system. The prime minister also said that the five-euro admission fee to the hospitals has been officially abolished as free accessibility to health services is a right of every citizen.

    He added that the political leadership of the Health ministry is creating the national electronic health record for each patient, which will improve service levels and reduce health costs.

    Regarding medicine policy, the prime minister said that special attention will be paid to the strengthening of the domestic pharmaceutical industry.

    After describing the gloomy memorandum policies of the last five years, he referred to the issue of corruption in the health sector. "Citizens are our priority and we will not tolerate corruption phenomena in the health sector. We will not tolerate the exploitation of human suffering," Tsipras said and explained that the development of electronic systems in the health sector will fight corruption and save enormous resources that can reach up to 10 percent of the budget, money that will be returned to the citizens.

    [09] KKE on PM's announcements for changes in health sector

    Despite Mr.Tsipras attempt to keep distances from the previous governments' policy, he did not succeed in it and "the reason for that is the agreement with the EU's strategy as well as in the health, welfare and medicine sector" the Communist Party (KKE) said on Thursday referring to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' changes in the health sector.

    "The prime minister with his statements buries even with words the 'free' public health that before elections his party stuttered. With clarity he supported the local medicine industrialists," said KKE adding that the only 'for free' service after the abolition of the 5 euro admission fee to hospitals will be the entrance to the hospitals because the exit from them will be with high costs for the patients for a series of examinations that will be not compensated by the social security funds."

    [10] PM Tsipras to visit Moscow on April 8-9

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will pay a working visit to Moscow on April 8-9 at an invitation of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.

    According to the announcement of the prime minister's press office, "the talks of Greek Prime Minister with the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will include issues of bilateral interest, such as, among others, trade and economic cooperation issues, investment, energy, tourism and educational-cultural cooperation, in view of the events of 2016 Greece and Russia bilateral year."

    At the same time, the leaders of the two countries will discuss issues related to EU-Russia relations, as well as current developments in regional and international issues.

    [11] Ministers brief SYRIZA parliamentary committee on current developments

    Government Vice-President Yiannis Dragasakis and Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis briefed the parliamentary committee of majority coalition partner SYRIZA during a three-hour meeting on Thursday night.

    The two cabinet members briefed the MPs in the Parliament building about the economy and negotiations with Greece's partners (its creditors).

    Varoufakis said among other things that efforts for an agreement were undermined at technical level, alleging that while partners often call for confidentiality, texts sent to them from Athens are distributed to the foreign press and thus lead to their devaluation and to non-substantive talks. He also said that a majority of the primary surplus foreseen in the government's reform proposals will come from growth instead of from austerity measures.

    Dragasakis referred to his and Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias' trip to China and the prime minister's upcoming visit to Moscow, saying these open new paths in the country's development future.

    The SYRIZA deputies were also briefed by Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis about his recent trip to Moscow. He spoke of the positive impact on Greece if the natural gas pipeline Turkish Stream passes through Greece and in agreement with neighbouring countries heads towards central Europe through the Balkans.

    [12] SYRIZA party official says members will continue to express diversity in opinions

    Greece will achieve a mutually beneficial agreement with its partners, SYRIZA central committee secretary Tassos Koronakis said in Patras on Thursday evening, adding, "The battle the government is waging in Brussels is everybody's business."

    Expressing his optimism during a press conference, Koronakis said that "we have already seen that there is space for negotiation, something we had not known up to now; the [Eurogroup] agreement on February 20 carries some benefits."

    Among other things, he said that the party and the government act independently of one another, while he played down any differences within the party. "We have not taught you to expect uniformity - you knew that there are many and different voices and that we have a democratic and diverse democracy. That's the way SYRIZA was created, and that's the way it will continue," he noted.

    [13] Greece needs to do more on the quantification of measures, French FinMin says

    The new Greek government has made progress defining its reform proposals but more needs to be done, French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said on Thursday, according to Reuters news agency.

    "There is progress with the last list ... Is there a need for more progress? Yes - in the quantification of the measures," he told reporters in Paris.

    [14] PM Tsipras replies to ND's Bakoyannis, insists on need for memorandums investigation

    In a letter replying to main opposition New Democracy MP Dora Bakoyannis on Thursday, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras insisted on the necessity of a Parliamentary investigation into the events that led to Greece signing bailout agreements with its creditors.

    "I respect you opinion concerning setting up the fact-finding committee, however I do not share it," Tsipras said in response to the MP's request to postpone the formation of a Parliamentary committee and instead set up a committee of internationally recognised economists to study the weaknesses of economic policies implemented in the last five years.

    The prime minister stressed that the Greek people have a right to know all aspects of the facts and decisions that led the country into a "frightening tailspin" and that the aim was not to provoke tension but shed light on what remained dark.

    At the same time, he said that Bakoyannis' proposal for a parallel inquiry by economic experts was "extremely interesting" and suggested that it could also look into the incompatibility of specific policies and economic choices with European legal precedent and the Charter of fundamental rights. He noted that, on this basis, he would back Bakoyannis' proposal with the Parliament President and hoped for the MP's cooperation in its implementation.

    Tsipras was replying to a letter that Bakoyannis had addressed to Parliament President Zoi Konstantopoulou, while also sending a copy to him.

    [15] National broadcaster ERT draft law tabled in parliament

    The draft law for the new ERT, submitted on Wednesday to parliament, provided for the re-operation of all former broadcaster channels(ET1,NET,ET3), radio stations as well as the republication of Radiotileorasi magazine.

    The draft law provided for balanced budgets, decrease of co-production and external productions, check of the past economic activity, abolition of high salaries and benefits of those working in the state broadcaster. Moreover, the direct control of ERT belongs to the State with penalty applications from the National Broadcaster Council (ESR).

    In a letter submitted to parliament, State Minister Nikos Pappas explained that the new ERTs staff will be 2,500 persons.

    ERT's board tenure will be five years which could be renewed once. Two of the board's members will represent the company's staff, one of them will be a journalist and will be elected by the staff. The other members of the board will be appointed following State Minister's public tender and a relevant recommendation to the parliament's Institution and Transparency committee which will express its opinion.

    The specific draft law also introduces a principals contract between the Greek State and ERT following deliberations with ESR and the workers. The contract includes the conditions that will secure pluralism and polyphony in information, the upgrading of the national broadcaster's quality as well as the rules of transparency and financial sources.

    Moreover, independent services or contract awards to natural or legal persons will be allowed following the recommendation of the managing director and the board's approval. However, the cost of the projects awarded cannot exceed 25 percent of the company's annual budget.

    [16] Samaras willing to join a unity government to keep Greece in the eurozone - Bloomberg

    As Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras struggles to secure a financial bailout to stay in the euro, his chief rival, opposition leader Antonis Samaras, in an interview with Bloomberg news agency said he is open to offering a political rescue.

    Samaras signaled his willingness to join a unity government. "If the plan is to keep Greece in the euro area, we will provide support," Samaras. "Exit would signal a total catastrophe."

    While Samaras questioned Tsipras' commitment to the single currency, he said it's the only conceivable economic path for Greece.

    "For the euro area, the spillover effect from Greece leaving the euro is not going to be today as big as it would have been four years ago," Samaras said. "But it's still going to be huge, and it's going to be a political disaster," he said.

    The government should honor the commitments made in February's deal to extend the bailout, he said. "If they ideologically decide they won't abide by this agreement, then you may have a default," Samaras said.

    "Euro-area countries which have lower GDP per capita than Greece, countries which have elections and countries which have themselves gone through a program won't give us any more money if they see that the government is not abiding by its commitments and it's behaving in an anti-European manner," Samaras said.

    He dismissed criticism he's not supporting the government, saying his party "voted in favor of the two bills the government brought to parliament."

    According to Samaras, Tsipras is further undermining the country's credibility by making overtures to Russia. "When you are in Europe and ask Chinese, Iranians, Russians to finance your deficit, don't you send a signal to the rest of Europe that you are not really a serious pro-European?"

    [17] ANEL criticise ND leader for comments in Bloomberg

    Junior coalition partner Independent Greeks' (ANEL) spokeswoman criticised on Thursday main opposition leader Antonis Samaras for telling Bloomberg he's willing to join a unity government to keep Greece in the eurozone .

    "Mr. Samaras will have to understand at some point that the Greek people sent him irrevocably to his political isolation," Marina Chrysoveloni said.

    [18] Scenarios of a memorandum unity government are' midnight spring dreams', gov't spokesman says

    "Mr. Samaras expressed his willingness for a national unity government that will continue his unfinished work. This, fortunately, remained unfinished on January 25. Today, the Greek people seem to further denounce his government term and further support the current government, regardless of the recent vote," government spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis said on the occasion of (main opposition leader) Antonis Samaras' interview with Bloomberg news agency.

    "That is why we continue placing memoranda in the dustbin of history, defending the European values of prosperity, social justice and dignity, with determination and sobriety," he noted and added: "Scenarios of a memorandum unity government heard on the part of Mr. Samaras and other groups in Greece and abroad are midnight 'spring' dreams."

    [19] Main opposition leader Samaras lashes out at government

    New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras on Thursday lashed out at the government saying that "the country is under a constant occupation."

    In his statement, Samaras said that "public security is daily threatened" and accused the government of having lost the control over the universities because of "the extended dialogue with the hooded persons" and their tolerance to attacks against police stations. He also accused the government of being unable to protect the country from the migration flows that have been increasing.

    Main opposition leader also underlined that the government cannot even protect the Parliament as their party cannot agree whether the invasion of an anti-establishment group in the Parliament is a "provocation to democracy" or a "peaceful protest."

    [20] New Democracy accuses government of keeping Greeks in the dark on list of reforms

    Main opposition New Democracy on Thursday accused the government of allowing the public to be informed through media, rather than being open about its actions, following leaks in the foreign press of the reforms list sent to Greece's creditors.

    "The Greek people were informed that [PM Alexis] Tsipras' government, through its Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, sent a list of reforms to the EuroWorking Group. They found out through leaks in the media, scorning the Greek Parliament and despite the fact that Tsipras had held an emergency meeting of political leaders two days ago in which he never informed us about any of these proposals, their fiscal result, or their implementation," the party said in an informal briefing note.

    New Democracy also said Tsipras' government essentially signed an extension of the memorandum without getting any money and that now it is sending a list of measures to secure a positive review of the current bailout programme from the troika, as it is clearly stated in the agreement.

    The main opposition said that, in the end, 'Varoufakis' e-mail' proves that Tsipras' lies will be paid dearly by the Greek people, as it includes worse projections for the economy in 2015.

    [21] ND spokesman comments on reform list

    "More lies; (PM Alexis) Tsipras used to say 'End to the memorandum, end to the review. Yesterday, (Finance Minister Yanis) Varoufakis signed both a memorandum and a review," New Democracy spokesman on Thursday said on the measures list.

    According to Karagounis, "the Finance Minister proposed the first list of measures to the troika so that the government can be evaluated and get a part of the tranche from the memorandum."

    "And not just that; the 2015 surplus, which they would reduce from the 'toxic and non feasible' 3 percent, is now going up to 3.9 percent," he added.

    "More lies to follow..." he concluded.

    [22] Potami comments on FT leak, criticises government for failing to unveil positions

    Once again the Greek people are being informed of the government's positions through a leak to the international media and not by official announcements, the opposition Potami party commented on Thursday in response to a Financial Times article leaking the list of government proposals to Greece's international creditors.

    In an press release, it called on the government to make its positions and the agenda of the negotiations clear, while also calling for real reforms. "We cannot believe that over-estimated taxation notions will cover the gap of substantive reforms," the party added.

    Potami said that it was "laughable" that the Greek Parliament had held a discussion on the negotiations on Monday without any knowledge of the list submitted by the government only to have this list published by FT three days later.

    "What is the government afraid of that it systematically hides behind leaks and non-papers? How can it ask for the support of the people and Parliament without having the courage to make its proposals public," the announcement said. Potami further criticised a lack of uniformity in statements emerging from ruling coalition ministers and MPs, which often entirely contradicted the list from the negotiations.

    It called on the government to explain why it agreed to the creditors' demand for a 3 pct primary surplus, after both Potami and SYRIZA had said that such surpluses were impossible and that Greece must strive to lower targets to 1-1.5 pct of GDP.

    "What happened so that SYRIZA backed down from a position that would have truly given a respite to the Greek economy and allowed the strengthening of social protection," the announcement asked.

    [23] Potami leader Theodorakis backs Bakoyannis' proposal for 'Economists' Committee'

    In a letter sent to Parliament President Zoi Konstantopoulou on Thursday, opposition Potami party leader Stavros Theodorakis expressed agreement with a proposal put forward by main opposition New Democracy MP Dora Bakoyannis, who suggested the formation of a committee of internationally recognised economists to examine the weaknesses of economic policies implemented in Greece over the last five years.

    [24] KKE leader: SYRIZA, a bourgeois government with left wrapping

    Communist Party (KKE) secretary general Dimitris Koutsoumbas on Thursday said that strong criticism against whatever authority, particularly against a government that we consider, and we are judged for this, that is also a beaurgois government, an anti-working class government which has a left, popular-friendly wrapping but will make new committments, new agreements and new memorandums whatever they are called, must be also objective. We will criticise and we will keep a stance of criticism, he said speaking to private radio Alpha.

    Koutsoumbas made clear that the communist party is interested in the authority clarifying that his party will participate in a government with the people in power.

    This foresees rifts, he said adding that KKE since its foundation speaks of a necessity not only ideological but also of a specific practice, change of this system of the state and its 'rot' and we believe that "socialism can replace it."

    Finally, KKE leader said that his party will be against whatever effort of privatisation or merging of social security funds "under whatever form, whatever wrapping or collaboration between the public and private sector, meaning the public sector holds 51 pct and the private sector 49 pct. This refers also on the strategic infrastructures of the country, ports, airports and major enterprises of the public or of the wider public sector.

    [25] PASOK lashes out at the government on the primary surplus issue

    PASOK on Thursday issued a statement on the primary surplus issue.

    PASOK said that "during the parliamentary debate on Monday, (PASOK leader Evangelos) Venizelos persistently asked (Prime Minister Alexis) Tsipras to present the macroeconomic framework which includes the government's proposals, so that the 2015 fiscal target can be assessed and the way to cover the financing needs can be examined. No answer was given; however, the latest detailed document that the government sent to the European partners and the IMF was published yesterday."

    "Yesterday's version of the fiscal measures proposed by the government to the troika and the EWG is based on an impressive assumption that reverses the foundation of all hitherto arguments of Mr. Tsipras, according to which the primary surplus target for 2015 and the subsequent years should be significantly reduced," it said and added:

    "The government accepts as a target for 2015 a primary surplus exceeding 3% and being between 3.1 and 3.9%. Therefore, any specific proposals for measures should, in terms of actual performance, have the corresponding amounts in absolute terms.

    Is this a conscious change of stance, which necessarily leads to additional and stricter fiscal/revenue collective measures, as during the last three months all figures unfortunately deteriorated or another superficiality of the "tireless negotiation" that is simply consuming national time and hurting the real economy?"

    [26] Gov't orders nationwide TV channels to pay 40 million euros for radiofrequencies

    The government told nationwide private and pay TV channels on Thursday to pay a total of 40 million euros which are owed to the State since 2011 for the use of radiofrequencies, according to a document.

    The debt concerns an annual 2 pct fee which TV channels are required to pay based on their revenues.

    Based on the document issued by the government, private TV channels will have to pay 24.15 million euros for the years 2011-2014 and pay TV channels OTE and Multichoice Hellas are asked to fork out 16.32 million euros for the years 2012, 2013, 2014.

    The government said the operating license for television channels is granted on condition that the company pays the State a minimum annual fee for the use of some radiofrequencies. The fee has been set to a 2 pct of the channel's gross revenues, though the percentage can be amended with a joint decision of the finance and press ministries.

    The document also says the same law can be applied to radio stations.

    [27] President Pavlopoulos receives defence minister, armed forces leadership

    President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Thursday received Defence Minister Panos Kammenos, Hellenic National Defence General Staff chief General Mikhail Kostarakos, and the new chiefs of staff of the army, air force and navy, as well as recently promoted senior military officers.

    Addressing the leadership of the armed forces, Pavlopoulos stressed that they must be aware that they are not only defending the borders of Greece and Cyprus but also the borders of the European Union, which after the Agreement for Migration and Asylum are the borders of its member-states.

    He also noted that the borders did not determine only the extent of Greece's "stricto sensu sovereignty" but also the rights associated with these, especially those rights relating to the exploitation of natural resources.

    "Something that has repercussions on all that concerns the Exclusive Economic Zone," he added.

    Pavlopoulos assured the country's military leadership of his support for their work and stressed that both he, as Greek president, and the government were "fully aware of the huge importance of your mission and will do everything - are doing everything - to ensure that you have the things you need personally and in terms of means, that are required for you to carry out your mission."

    Referring to his recent trip to Cyprus and his visit to the Greek force stationed there, he underlined that Greece and its armed forces were "present" on the island republic and would remain until the last of the occupation troops and the last of the Turkish settlers had left.

    [28] SYRIZA parliamentary spokesman on anti-establishment groups and sit-in protests

    "We need to ask ourselves. This did not only happen in municipalities, this also happened at SYRIZA's offices in Patra and in the radio station 'Kokkino'. And this should be examined by the National Intelligence Service. Are all these coincidental? I do not know if all these are triggered by foreign or domestic powers. Why should it be a foreign one? I am rather concerned and I cannot rule out any option," SYRIZA parliamentary spokesman Thanassis Petrakos said in statements to radio station VIMA FM commenting on the mobilisations and sit-in protests by anti-establishment groups.

    "Nothing can be ruled out, but a SYRIZA government reassures that the protesting worker will not be beaten. Neither a pensioner, nor a student, nor an elderly person. I see things from another point of view, but on the other hand, we are not totally gullible with what is going on," he added.

    [29] Justice minister mulling amendment for releasing accused relatives of prisoners

    Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos said on Thursday he is considering adding an amendment to the submitted draft bill on the penal code and the abolition of high security prisons, which will allow the accused spouses, partners or relatives of prisoners to be placed under house arrest instead of prison, if the charge against them stems from the conflict arising form that relation.

    Paraskevopoulos also made "a personal appeal to everyone to uphold life as a paramount value."

    Interpreting the amendment which is being considered, legal sources said it will affect, among others, Athina Tsakalos, the mother of the Tsakalos brothers who are serving time for belonging to the terrorist group Conspiracy of Cells of Fire, and Evi Tsatiri, the partner of one of the brothers.

    Athina Tsakalos, although she has been released on conditions from prison, she's refusing to leave the premises saying Tsatiri must also be released.

    The two women are charged, among others for harboring a criminal, Angeliki Spyropoulou, who is considered by police as a main member of the terrorist group Conspiracy of Cells of Fire.

    [30] Bill on abolition of maximum security prisons tabled in parliament

    The bill on the abolition of maximum security prison and reforms of the penal law has been tabled in Parliament.

    [31] Protest in Korydallos against plan to hold Golden Dawn trial in Korydallos prison

    Local residents, school children and teachers on Thursday took part in a protest outside Korydallos prison, demanding a change of venue for the trial of far-right Golden Dawn. High-ranking members of the party, including its leader Nikos Michaloliakos, are up on charges of running the party as a criminal organisation.

    Korydallos residents say that the high-profile trial, due to begin on April 20, will greatly disrupt daily life in the area, including a large numbers of schools that are in close proximity to the prison.

    Mayor Stavros Kasimatis, in his address, repeated a demand that the prison be moved from Korydallos entirely and stressed that the trial must not be held in the same area as the crimes that prompted the arrests of Golden Dawn's leadership in the first place, namely the murder of singer Pavlos Fyssas and the attacks on trade unionists and Egyptian migrants.

    Support for the mayor has also been given by the education ministry, which notes that there are 11 schools and two exam centres near the prison and that the lengthy trial, which is expected to be the focus of demonstrations, counter-demonstrations and media interest, could well hamper the holding of nationwide university entrance exams in early summer.

    A first protest to coincide with the launch of the trial has already been announced by the United Movement Against Racism and the Fascist Threat (KEERFA) on April 20, while sources report that a rally in support of the defendants is being organised by Golden Dawn supporters on the same day.

    [32] Foreign Minister Kotzias attends luncheon at Latvian Embassy in Athens

    Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on Thursday attended the Community luncheon hosted in his honour by the Latvian Ambassador to Athens, Ivars Pundurs, marking the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

    Financial News

    [33] NBG will respond to country's growth wager, says bank's chief Katseli

    National Bank of Greece (NBG) president Louka Katseli in her address on Thursday to a Greek-French Chamber event, referred to the need of a successful end of the negotiations and the securing of the necessary financial stability as soon as possible.

    Katseli reassured that the National Bank will respond to the country's major growth wager that translates into productive investments, cooperations and investment initiatives.

    NBG, said Katseli, will hold a leading role in the capital and investments attraction campaign to Greece and will develop innovative funding tools with the form of recycling capitals in cooperation with European and international entities as the European Investment Bank and IFC of the World Bank.

    [34] Bank of Greece says it pays in time all EU funded projects

    The Bank of Greece said on Thursday it pays in time all projects funded by the EU, refuting a complaint issued by the Hellenic Association of Engineering Companies.

    "The Bank of Greece executes regularly all payment orders according exclusively to the flow set by the General Accounting Office," the bank said in a statement, adding that it disbursed large sums on Thursday as well as the previous days for projects relating to the Public Investments Programme.

    "It has to be noted though that the volume of transactions is large and that it increased more lately," it said.

    The central bank also said its services are doing their best to settle all the orders of the finance ministry, according to the sequence of incoming orders.

    [35] Greek ministers to meet Swiss delegation on tax evasion on April 14

    Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and State Minister for Combatting Corruption Panagiotis Nikoloudis will meet with representatives of Switzerland's finance ministry on April 14 (Tuesday) in Athens, government sources said on Thursday.

    The Swiss delegation will be headed by the State Secretary in the Federal Department of Finance, Dr. Jacques de Watteville.

    The same delegation had visited Athens and met with Sate Minister Nikos Pappas in March 26 to start and intensify cooperation between the tax authorities of the two countries.

    According to government sources, the Swiss authorities had expressed their wonder at the lack of interest by the Greek authorities during the previous period for pending cases of Greek citizens and businesses in Switzerland

    [36] New Energean drill for Prinos oil field inaugurated in Perama on Thursday

    The 'Energean Force' drilling rig owned by Energean Oil & Gas was inaugurated on Thursday at the Perama shipyard zone, with Parliament Vice-President Alexis Mitropoulos reading an address on behalf of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

    A new Energean drilling programme at the Prinos oil field in Kavala Bay is due to begin after Easter, aiming at the production of some 30 million barrels of oil that have been confirmed to exist at the site.

    The total investment at Prinos stands at 200 million dollars and includes 15 drilling rigs at Prinos, at the Epsilon and North Prinos fields, in the next two years that will increase production to 10,000 barrels a day from about 2,000 at present.

    Energean said the confirmed deposits will guarantee oil production and jobs in the area for at least 15 years.

    Also present at the inauguration on Thursday were Canadian Ambassador to Greece Robert Peck and Kavala area MPs and local officials.

    The drill was bought by the German company KCA Deutag and remodelled in Perama. The investment came to 30 million dollars in total.

    [37] Greek steel companies violated competition legislation, report to Competition Commission says

    In a recommendation to Greece's Competition Commission on Thursday, the General Directorate for Competition said that three Greek steel companies - Sidenor, Halyvourgiki and Hellenic Halyvourgia - had for years engaged in harmonised pricing policies through the exchange of confidential information that violated competition laws.

    The report, which is not binding for the Competition Commission, said that confidential figures on production, exports and imports were exchanged by the three companies via the non-profit Union of Steel Manufacturers of Greece (ENXE), in which all three were members. It said there was evidence that all three had violated laws on the "horizontal, harmonised practice of exchanging confidential information on figures relating to production and exports," as well as responsibility on ENXE's part for facilitating this.

    The Directorate launched its investigation into the case following media reports of synchronised and excessive price hikes for steel products, as well as complaints lodged by Iron Tenco SA and the Technical Chamber of Greece.

    The case will be discussed by the Competition Commission on May 29.

    [38] One million-plus passengers use Athens airport in March, for highest numbers since 2010

    Passenger traffic through Athens international airport exceeded one million in March for the first time since 2010, rising 24.5 pct, airport authorities said on Thursday.

    According to figures released by the airport, international flight passengers increased 20 pct and domestic flight passengers by 33.2 pct. The number of Greek passengers increased significantly by 21 pct, while their numbers on domestic flights rose 36 pct. Foreign travellers with Athens as their sole destination also rose by an impressive 29 pct.

    Passenger traffic for the first quarter of 2015 was roughly 2.98 million passengers, rising by 25.7 pct overall. This reflected a very large jump in domestic traffic (36.9 pct) as well as a significant increase in foreign travel (19.7 pct).

    There was also an increase in the number of flights operated from Athens airport in the first three months of 2015, which increased 17.1 pct compared with the same period in 2014, as a result of an increased offer of flights and seats during summer months by a large number of airlines.

    [39] Shipyard workers to be paid before Greek Orthodox Easter Sunday, minister says

    Skaramangas shipyard workers will be paid their wages by April 9 (Thursday) the latest, in the Greek Orthodox Easter Holy Week, Alternate National Defence Minister Kostas Isichos said on Thursday.

    Speaking to a delegation from the workers union at the ministry, Isichos asked for a comprehensive proposal for the future of the shipyard's ownership and reiterated that the government's priorities include supporting and expanding the ship-repair industry as part of the restart of the Greek economy.

    Both sides agreed to have their legal counsels collaborate on guaranteeing the best way possible workers' rights and the state's interests.

    [40] Loan portfolio deal between Piraeus Bank and KKR Credit falls through

    The agreement between Piraeus Bank and US fund KKR Credit for the transfer of a portfolio of serviced and nonperforming loans as well as stocks worth 1.2 billion to a structure managed by the latter was annulled, the bank announced on Thursday.

    "The binding exclusivity period of the agreement has expired and despite the fact that the negotiations had reached an advanced stage they were not completed, taking into consideration the recent developments," Piraeus said in a statement.

    [41] Athenian Brewery to start exporting beer to China and Italy

    Athenian Brewery will begin exporting to China and Italy, its management announced on Thursday, at an event on company premises in Athens that was attended by embassy officials.

    The company said it will export Heineken beer to China (leaving from the port of Piraeus) and to Italy (from the port of Patras); the beer will be manufactured at its Patras plant, where it has invested 2 million euros to increase production.

    For 2015, the company expects to more than double its export volume, to over 400 million liters. Its export portfolio includes Heineken, Amstel, Alpha, Fischer beers, Ioli mineral water and innovative malt-based products exclusively for export, like Fayrouz. Exports since 2008 have totalled 122 million euros.

    The event was addressed by Athenian Brewery CEO Zooullis Mina and the commercial attaches of the Chinese and Italian embassies in Athens.

    [42] Athens hotels' occupancy rate up in Jan-Feb, report?

    Athens hotels' occupancy rates grew by 21 pct last year, compared with 2013, to reach their highest levels since 2008, although average room prices increased by 5.6 pct in the same period, a report by the Athens-Attica Union of Hoteliers and GBR Consulting showed on Thursday.

    The report, which was presented during the 45th general assembly of the Hoteliers' Union, underlined that Athens enhanced its dynamism in 2014 and became an attractive city break destination and stressed that this dynamism was continuing in 2015, with occupancy rates rising by 14.5 pct compared with the first two months of 2014, while average room rates grew 2.4 pct over the same period.

    Culture, entertainment and people's behavior were the strong assets of Athens as a tourism destination, Stephan Merkenhof, an official from GBR Consulting said. The report showed that tourists spent an average 111 euros daily in the Athens, of which 60 pct on food, while around 3.0 euros per visitor remained in the city. Among tourists' demands are a Sunday opening of shops and an extension of working hours in museums.

    [43] Microsoft Hellas courses available online to registered unemployed

    Nearly 30,000 registered unemployed will get access by April 6 to the programme "IT Academy", set up by the self-employed and professionals insurance fund OAEE and Microsoft Hellas, it was announced Thursday.

    OAEE said it has begun as of today (Thursday) emailing the URL, the user name and passwords and other data to the first batch of 28,372 unemployed who have registered for the programme.

    The programme will give access to information technology training, in order to enhance people's resumes. The programme is expected to continue for the next three years with additional online courses.

    [44] Greek stocks end moderately higher?

    Greek stocks resumed an upward trend in the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday, after Wednesday's decline, as investors seemed more optimistic over a positive outcome in negotiations between Greece's authorities and its creditors. The composite index of the market rose 0.78 pct to end at 771.32 points, off the day's highs of 772.41 points. The Large Cap index ended 0.97 pct higher and the Mid Cap index fell 0.35 pct. Turnover remained a low 59.85 million euros.

    Mytilineos (5.84 pct), Titan (3.48 pct), Eurobank (2.70 pct) and Coca Cola HBC (2.63 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Alpha Bank (4.73 pct), Ellaktor (3.33 pct) and GEK Terna (2.27 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    Among market sectors, Raw Materials (5.16 pct), Chemicals (2.93 pct) and Health (2.80 pct) scored big gains, while Insurance (2.98 pct), Financial Services (1.38 pct) and Commerce (0.74 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 63 to 53 with another 14 issues unchanged. Pasal (19.35 pct), Hellenic Sugar (18.01 pct) and Galaxidi (10 pct) were top gainers, while Fieratex (29.20 pct), Perseus (20 pct) and G.E.Demetriou (19.23 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Banks: -0.43%

    Insurance: -2.98%

    Financial Services: -1.38%

    Industrial Products: -0.26%

    Commercial: -0.74%

    Real Estate: +1.28%

    Personal & Household: +0.80%

    Food & Beverages: +2.61%

    Raw Materials: +5.16%

    Construction: +1.59%

    Oil: +0.01%

    Chemicals: +2.94%

    Media: Unchanged

    Travel & Leisure: +0.04%

    Technology: +0.41%

    Telecoms: +2.50%

    Utilities: -0.10%

    Health: +2.80%

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

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE

    Large Cap index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 0.26

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 5.50

    Coca Cola HBC: 17.14

    Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE): 3.53

    National Bank of Greece: 1.09

    OPAP: 8.82

    OTE: 8.20

    Piraeus Bank: 0.34

    Titan: 21.38

    Grivalia Properties: 7.48

    Aegean Airlines: 7.50

    [45] Greek bond market closing report?

    Greek state bond yield jumped to new highs in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Thursday, with the three-year bond yield rising to 23.67 pct from 22.66 pct the previous day, and the five-year bond yield rising to 17.46 pct from 16.95 pct. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened slightly to 11.46 pct from 11.32 pct on Thursday, with the Greek bond yielding 11.63 pct and the German Bund yielding 0.17 pct. There was no turnover in the market.

    In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate fell to 0.195 pct from 0.196 pct, the nine-month rate eased to 0.135 pct from 0.136 pct, the six-month fell to 0.086 pct from 0.088 pct, the three-month rate was unchanged at 0.018 pct and the one-month rate fell to -0.019 pct from -0.017 pct.

    [46] ADEX closing report?

    The April contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 0.74 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 2,514 contracts with 40,454 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 31,891, with investment interest focusing on Eurobank's contracts (10,773), followed by Alpha Bank (10,489), Piraeus Bank (6,209), National Bank (2,229), MIG (154), OTE (416), PPC (440), OPAP (259), Mytilineos (181), Motor Oil (114), GEK (174), Jumbo (77) and Piraeus Port (94).

    [47] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday

    Reference rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.083

    Pound sterling 0.7316

    Danish kroner 7.4708

    Swedish kroner 9.3445

    Japanese yen 129.59

    Swiss franc 1.04

    Norwegian kroner 8.6506

    Canadian dollar 1.3693

    Australian dollar 1.4343

    General News

    [48] Jailed wife of former Greek minister escapes

    Vicky Stamati, wife of the jailed former minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, escaped from Dromokaitio Psychiatric Hospital sometime late on Wednesday or early Thursday.

    At 5.45 a.m. on Thursday morning the hospital staff found her room empty. The padlock of the balcony door in her room has reportedly been broken, according to the head of Dromokaitio Psychiatric Hospital Isidoros Proios, who estimated that the escape probably happened during the changing of the guard. He added that the management of the hospital is not held accountable for what happened because Stamati was under constant guard.

    Akis Tsochatzopoulos' wife has been in prison since April 2012 accused of money laundering and accepting illegal funds which the former Minister of Defense received from armament procurement programmes. Stamati, who has been sentenced to 12 year imprisonment, was initially jailed in Korydallos Prison, but was later transferred to Dromokaitio Psychiatric Hospital as she was found to be suffering from severe depression.

    On Wednesday, the court rejected her request for early release. Stamati, who later spoke with her lawyer, told him that she did not want to die in prison and wanted to be with her child, the lawyer said.

    [49] Jail officials arrested over escape of former minister's wife released pending investigation

    Four penitentiary officers arrested over the escape from a psychiatric state hospital of jailed former minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos' wife were released as prosecutors conducted an urgent investigation on the premises.

    Vicki Stamati was serving a 12-year sentence for complicity over her husband's financial crimes in Korydallos Prison and transferred to the Dromokaitio Psychiatric Hospital from where she escaped on Thursday morning, probably between 1:30 and 5:00 a.m. She left through the balcony door - its padlock was found unlocked but not broken - and took all her belongings with her.

    The four officers were responsible for two out of the three shifts of guarding Stamati; they were released on orders of the two prosecutors until the investigation of liabilities for the escape is completed.

    The investigation was ordered by Supreme Court (Areios Pagos) chief prosecutor Efterpi Koutzamani, while Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos has also ordered an urgent disciplinary investigation into the issue.

    [50] Guards of escapee Vicki Stamati were not part of jail staff, federation clarifies

    The people guarding Vicky Stamati, the wife of jailed former minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos who escaped from a psychiatric hospital on Thursday morning, belong to special guards and are not jail staff, the federation of penitentiary employees of Greece said on Thursday.

    Four guards were arrested and then released pending the conclusion of an investigation into how Stamati, who had been serving a 12-year sentence for collusion in her husband's armaments kickback case, escaped for the Dromokaiteio Psychiatric Hospital. She had been transferred there from Korydallos Prison for depression and was under guard. The balcony door from which she escaped had a padlock that was found open but not broken.

    The federation of jail staff said those guarding inmates outside jails are called "exterior guards" and is overseen by the Greek police and the central services of the ministry of justice. They also said they did not know whether the keys to the room Stamati was in were held by "the nursing staff, the administrative staff or the exterior guard."

    [51] Two Albanian nationals arrested in relation with 'Conspiracy of Cells of Fire' terror group

    The Counter-Terrorism Squad early on Thursday arrested a 27-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman, both Albanian nationals, on the charges of supplying the "Conspiracy of Cells of Fire" organization with a weapon.

    The police clarified that the weapon was not found in the possession of the two persons but they had already given it to the terror group and for this reason the special appeals examining magistrate issued arrest warrants against them.

    Police is currently searching their house while the two persons will be sent to Athens Appeals Prosecution possibly in the afternoon.

    [52] National Herald, iconic newspaper for Greeks abroad, celebrates centennial

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)

    The National Herald celebrates its centennial this year, marking the New York City-based daily as the second oldest Greek-language newspaper in the world, after Athens-based Estia.

    The historic newspaper serving Greeks primarily in America put out its first issue on April 2, 1915 (leading with an interview with statesman Eleftherios Venizelos) and proceeded to help Greeks in the United States "retain their identity and keep constant touch with the homeland, being briefed on time, objectively and independently about events there," as its editor and publisher Anthony Diamataris told ANA-MPA.

    "I am sure that if the same editorial philosophy is followed and the newspaper continues to support, through its articles, progressive positions that improve society and contribute to the freeing of a person's potential, then the National Herald can become the authoritative medium of Hellenism globally and manage to celebrate its 200th anniversary," Diamataris said.

    He added that it was hard to believe the newspaper was 100 years old, especially a daily newspaper of overseas Greeks, "strong, authoritative, independent and with international appeal through the internet."

    Diamataris said he was 29 years old when he took over the newspaper and its shaky financial future. "My anxiety was... to make sure the newspaper survived," he reminisces, adding his admiration and gratitude to several generations of Greeks in the United States who supported it and understood its contribution in keeping their identity. He also mentioned the founder of the newspaper, Petros Tatanis, and the thousands of staff that worked for the paper.

    [53] Doctors, lawyers of prisoners on hunger strike warn of serious health risks

    Doctors and lawyers of a group of prisoners who have been on hunger strike for 31 days (since March 2) protesting against terrorism laws and high security prisons, warned on Thursday their health is at risk during a joint press conference.

    Hunger strikers also demand the release of convicted terrorist Savvas Xiros and family members of convicted members of the terrorist organization Conspiracy of Cells of Fire and the amendment of the procedure for taking and using DNA samples.

    "This is the first time there is such a harsh hunger strike to such a large extent," Dr Olga Kosmopoulou told journalists adding that some of the prisoners suffer inhumane healthcare conditions.

    "There's a Russian roulette being played. There's always the possibility of a painful incident to happen. We're talking about fatigued bodies of prisoners who have gone on hunger strikes in the past," Dr. Lina Vargopoulou said, adding their state of health is reaching a dangerous point.

    "We won't stop until our requests have been met," hunger striker Dimitris Bourzoukos said over the phone, adding that another hunger striker, Mihalis Nikolopoulos almost had a heart attack last night. Bourzoukos reiterated the group's demands saying the government is evading the issue and accusing the media for misinformation.

    The lawyer of Xiros, who is serving time for his membership in the terrorist group November 17, said the requests of the prisoners are not revolutionary demands, but meritorious legal claims. Anny Paparousou described the 187A legal provision as "unconstitutional", spoke of the procedure followed for taking DNA and said that Xiros' release is an obligation for Greece because the country has been convicted by the European Court of Human Rights. "We have a hunger strike with a deadly course," she added.

    [54] Ministry asks for full investigation into fatal accident at Larco mine

    Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis on Thursday expressed his condolences to the family of 48-year-old worker Vaios Doulas, who died in a fatal accident in a Larco mine the previous day. Lafazanis asked the services responsible for a full investigation into the causes of the accident and for appropriate measures that would prevent a repetition of such tragic incidents in the future.

    The Mines Inspection Service has already ordered that work in the specific mine be temporarily put on hold and the site of the accident cordoned off so that the evidence is not tampered with. A team of engineers is due to visit the site on Friday to carry out an investigation and determine the cause of the fatal accident. The service will then file an expert report.

    [55] Antiquities' guards say free Sundays for museums, sites will depress revenues

    The Panhellenic Union of Employees for the Guarding of Antiquities (PEYFA) on Thursday criticised a government proposal for free access to archaeological sites and museums at least one Sunday each month, saying such a move will greatly reduce revenues.

    They said the plans, which called for one free Sunday each month during the high season and several Sundays during the winter, would encourage travel agents to organise free visits by groups and cruises on those days and thus avoid paying entry fees.

    "This is exactly what occurred over many years in the past and, because the state lost vast sums, this was abolished with our own intervention," the union's announcement said. The measure would only benefit foreign visitors and Greek tour operators at the expense of state revenues, they added, urging the government to withdraw the proposal.

    [56] 3.8 Richter-scale earthquake NE of Edessa, Macedonia; no damages reported

    An earthquake measuring 3.8 on the Richter scale shook the area of Edessa, northwest of Thessaloniki, at 21.37 on Thursday night.

    The epicenter was 17km northeast of Edessa. It was close to the surface and there were no damages reported to date, the University of Thessaloniky Geophysics Lab said.

    [57] Large quantity of contraband cigarettes found in freighter; huge tax loss for the state

    St.Vincent and Grenadines-flagged freighter GENC 3 loaded with contaband cigarettes which was located on April 29 by Coast guard northeast of Kipoula cape, southern Greece was led to Kalamata port.

    After the counting of the illegal cargo, authorities found 107,480,000 contraband cigarettes in 10,748 carton boxes.

    Tax losses for the State are estimated at 19,666,991 euros.

    The eight members of the crew are remanded in custody, following Kalamata examining magistrate's decision.

    [58] Tension outside Athens Economic University

    Tension prevailed outside the Athens University of Economic and Business.

    A group of young people set fire to two garbage bins. Police did not intervene, however, they remain in the area.

    Approximately fifteen persons currently remain at the university's entrance gate.

    [59] Technical upgrade in ANA-MPA to affect stories on Friday

    Please note that due to an upgrade of the ANA-MPA's internet connection speed, the agency will not be sending news stories out for 20 minutes on April 3 (Friday) from 08:30-09:00.

    Thank you in advance for your understanding.

    Weather forecast

    [60] Mostly fair on Friday

    Mostly fair weather in most parts of the country and winds from variable directions are forecast for Friday. Wind velocity will reach 6 on the Beaufort scale. Partly cloudy in the northern parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 04C-16C. Scattered clouds in the western parts with a chance of rain in the afternoon and temperatures between 09C-20C. Mostly fair in the eastern parts and temperatures between 06C-22C. Scattered clouds over the islands, 08C-18C. Mostly fair in Athens, 09C-20C. Scattered clouds in Thessaloniki, 08C-15C.

    [61] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    AVGHI: Tormenting period.

    DIMOKRATIA: Parliament has fallen.

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: 'For free' finished.

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Bonuses and traps for 100,000 debtors to social security funds.

    ESTIA: No production of domestic wealth.

    ETHNOS: Government on red alert while the hourglass empties.

    IMERISSIA: Suspended step.

    KATHIMERINI: Turbulences after the invasion (of anti-establishment group in parliament's courtyard).

    LOGOS: Fruitless EuroWorking Group.

    NAFTEMPORIKI: New list (of measures) too ambitious.

    RIZOSPASTIS: Another 'new list'...with additional antipopular commitments.

    TA NEA: Under siege?


    Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
    Back to Top
    Copyright 1995-2016 HR-Net (Hellenic Resources Network). An HRI Project.
    All Rights Reserved.

    HTML by the HR-Net Group / Hellenic Resources Institute, Inc.
    ana2html v2.01 run on Friday, 3 April 2015 - 22:39:06 UTC