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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 15-07-31

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

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

Friday, 31 July 2015 Issue No: 5011

CONTENTS

  • [01] We had to choose between a painful compromise and a disorderly default, PM Tsipras says
  • [02] The agreement has priority over party unity, gov't spokeswoman says
  • [03] Dragasakis proposes 'refounding' process for SYRIZA
  • [04] Plan A failed and those in charge of negotiations are responsible, Isichos tells SYRIZA meeting
  • [05] SYRIZA's Rudi Rinaldi rains fire on government before resigning from central committee
  • [06] IMF will not participate in Greek bailout at this stage, according to FT article
  • [07] Institutions' mission chiefs to meet FinMin, Economy minister on Friday
  • [08] Hugo Dixon to ANA-MPA: Tsipras needs to form a stable and credible government
  • [09] Defence minister rules out salary cuts or dismissals in military
  • [10] PM to answer questions about Varoufakis in Parliament on Friday
  • [11] Society shouldn't be forced to watch 'theatre of the absurd' in SYRIZA, Theodorakis says
  • [12] PASOK leader on internal strife within SYRIZA
  • [13] Russia's Ambassador to Greece Maslov visits ANA-MPA
  • [14] ASE to reopen early next week, Botopoulos says
  • [15] Government presents draft legislation to combat contraband cigarette, tobacco sales
  • [16] Alternate Environment Minister unveils plan for new waste management model
  • [17] Intralot Group buys 35 pct stake in Bit8
  • [18] Plastic packaging production recovered in 2014, ICAP report
  • [19] Jumbo Group says annual sales up 7.51 pct
  • [20] Two high-speed ferries collide in Piraeus port, no injuries reported
  • [21] Eighty-five indicted over 2011 match-fixing scandal
  • [22] Air traffic controllers to hold four-hour work stoppage next Wednesday
  • [23] Fire reported in Inofita
  • [24] Fair on Friday
  • [25] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] We had to choose between a painful compromise and a disorderly default, PM Tsipras says

    "We were forced to make difficult decisions," Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Thursday said addressing SYRIZA's Central Committee. "We had to choose between a painful compromise and a disorderly default," he added, explaining his decision to agree to a third programme or harsh austerity measures that has splintered SYRIZA's ranks and split its Parliamentary Group.

    The prime minister also stressed that the division within the Parliamentary group must end, saying that the government cannot continue to exploit the votes of the opposition to sustain an "irrational dualism" within its ranks.

    "The first government of the Left in Europe after the second world war is either supported by leftist MPs or it is not supported because it has stopped being left and falls," Tsipras said.

    Tsipras proposed either an extraordinary party congress in September, once the agreement with Greece's creditors had been signed, or else a referendum open to SYRIZA members on Sunday that would allow the party's grass-roots base to decide.

    Noting that the government had pushed the negotiations to the brink, he again challenged those who believed the blackmail against Greece was false and that the country must immediately disengage from talks with creditors to come forward and explain their alternative plan and how it would be sustainable.

    "I propose that, whatever the collective decision of our party might be, that we agree that we can't continue like this," Tsipras said. "We must make a commitment that the decisions of the majority...will be respected."

    Tsipras said that the strategic question that must be answered is whether, after signing the agreement, the government can continue to fulfil its election pledges.

    "The answer I give is that the battle will be tough and constant. The country continues to be under conditions where a major part of its sovereignty is suspended. It will be a difficult battle that will depend on the course of the economy and the issue of debt, which is linked to imposing this supervision," he said.

    Though the programme included harsh measures it would be equally wrong to overly dramatise the situation, Tsipras said, pointing to the lower primary surpluses and the fact that the need for debt restructuring was now generally admitted.

    "We are no longer talking about whether there will be a restructuring but about its size and depth and whether it will solve the problem of excessive debt," he pointed out.

    The government also had some leeway to propose equivalent measures, Tsipras added and the Left now had to decide whether it will play a central role or not.

    "To this strategic question, I believe we must answer positively," he said, adding that there was no way to "magically escape" from the negative power balances currently prevailing in Europe.

    "We have no right to abandon unprotected the people that trusted us and stand at our side, give us courage to continue and choose us to clash with the established interests," Tsipras said.

    [02] The agreement has priority over party unity, gov't spokeswoman says

    "It is a collective procedure, extremely important, to address the issue of how and through which path we will reach, through a broad debate, the right and necessary conclusions in the interest of the Greek people, and the country, on top of the interests of SYRIZA, the Left," government spokeswoman Olga Gerovassili on Thursday said upon her arrival at SYRIZA Central Committee meeting.

    Asked whether the agreement or the party unity comes first, she replied: "The agreement is first at this crucial period of time and always in the interest of the country."

    Regarding the risk of a split, Gerovassili said "right now there are two different strategies. One is outside Europe and one is in Europe. At a government level these seem unable to concur."

    On the possibility of elections, she stated: "Right now elections are not our aim. Our aim is to push forward the country's issues. Elections will always be a way out when needed."

    [03] Dragasakis proposes 'refounding' process for SYRIZA

    Addressing Thursday's meeting of SYRIZA's Central Committee, government Vice-President Yiannis Dragasakis proposed a process for refounding the party, adding that "parties within the party" had been allowed to operate unchecked until now.

    "We will reap what we have sown," he told members and said blame should not only be directed at those who had handled the negotiations for their failure, but also the "theoretical mistakes and premises" that had been proved wrong, such as the belief that the threat of a rift and EU break-up would cause a huge upheaval to markets and the eurozone.

    He stressed that the government had been the target of "asymmetric warfare" that used the flight of deposits as its chief weapon, while he did not conceal the fact that the government had serious concerns about whether, in the case of a rupture, it would be able to finance imports of absolutely essential goods.

    He said that SYRIZA must discuss the events of its five-month term in government while stressing that "if we return to the opposition, we will never have the chance to test our strength and our endurance."

    [04] Plan A failed and those in charge of negotiations are responsible, Isichos tells SYRIZA meeting

    Plan A had failed and the responsibility for this was with those in charge of the negotiations, SYRIZA MP and former alternate minister for defence Kostas Isichos told a SYRIZA Central Committee meeting on Thursday.

    Among the members of the government that were ousted after refusing to support the agreement reached with the creditors, Isichos said that answers must also be given for those in the party that were responsible for SYRIZA's pre-election programme.

    He called for a "coordinated plan for immediate disentanglement from the memorandum and the productive reconstruction of the country."

    [05] SYRIZA's Rudi Rinaldi rains fire on government before resigning from central committee

    SYRIZA's Rudi Rinaldi on Thursday resigned from the party's central committee after a speech that lambasted the prime minister and those that voted in favour of a third bailout for Greece in Parliament.

    The country was heading toward national and social destruction for which the PM's office, the government of Alexis Tsipras and all those that voted 'Yes' bore huge responsibility, he said.

    He stressed that SYRIZA had promised "other things" to voters and said the party's relationship with the people had been damaged.

    [06] IMF will not participate in Greek bailout at this stage, according to FT article

    The International Monetary Fund cannot participate in a third bailout for Greece at this stage, according to a document leaked to the Financial Times.

    In a meeting late on Wednesday, the IMF's board was told that Greece's debt levels were too high and its record for implementing reforms to poor to qualify for assistance under IMF rules.

    IMF negotiators will take part in talks on the bailout programme but they "cannot reach staff level agreement at this stage".

    The Fund will only decide whether to participate after Greece has "agreed on a comprehensive set of reforms" and after eurozone bailout lenders have "agreed on debt relief".

    [07] Institutions' mission chiefs to meet FinMin, Economy minister on Friday

    The mission chiefs sent by the four institutions representing Greece's creditors are to have an introductory meeting with Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and Economy, Infrastructure, Shipping and Tourism Minister George Stathakis on Friday morning.

    According to finance ministry sources, the meeting is to take place at the hotel where the four mission chiefs are staying.

    The same sources said that talks on a technical level continued on Thursday in order to determine the long-term growth rate of the Greek economy and the key factors determining this.

    They also reported a special meeting on taxes for third party, which the creditors would like to see abolished, proposals to set up an interministerial committee to simplify the issue of business licences, a proposal to abolish the 8 pct solidarity contribution for incomes above 500,000 euros in case it leads to tax evasion and talks on a new framework of collective labour negotiations to ensure fairness and efficiency in the workplace.

    Asked to comment on a Financial Times report about the IMF's participation in the Greek support programme, the sources noted that the IMF was taking part in the talks and its position concerning the need for debt relief for Greece was not new.

    Greece is currently engaged in talks with representatives of the European Commission, European Central Bank, IMF and European Stability Mechanism on a third bailout package and the measures accompanying the new loans.

    [08] Hugo Dixon to ANA-MPA: Tsipras needs to form a stable and credible government

    "If Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras does form a credible and stable government and has a constructive relation with creditors then I think he can look towards a better future for Greece; not in the next 6 or 12 months, but in the period beyond that," Hugo Dixon, columnist of Reuters and New York Times among others, said in an interview with ANA-MPA.

    "Nobel prize winning economist Amartya Sen made a very good analogy and said that austerity is like rat poison and structural reforms are like the antibiotic that a patient needs to take if he has fever," Dixon stated. "The problem in Greece's case is that it is required to take a pill that mixes the good antibiotic with the bad rat poison. Unfortunately, Greece does have to take a little more of rat poison; that is the reality of how things are," he added.

    Dixon underlined that "we hope to have a quick lifting of capital control and I think the ECB will be prepared to stand ready to act to the Greek banking system once Greek banks have been properly recapitalized and provided there is a stable and proper government. In a good case scenario that could happen later this year, not early, but towards the end of this year."

    "Second thing is that Tsipras will get, provided he is implementing, a debt relief package; not a debt haircut but it will result to even lower interest rates and longer period to repay the loan.... The debt relief that Greece could get could be quite big and it won't be a haircut, but it would have the same effect as a haircut," Dixon stated.

    He estimated, however, that GDP would shrink even with a debt haircut. "I do not think it is much you can do to prevent the economy shrinking this year. The question is when the economy can start growing. Clearly this year and the first half of next year are certainly going to be extremely difficult because of the impact of extra austerity, the capital control and the overwhelming knock to business and consumer confidence by the terrible events of the last months. The next 12 months there is not much you can do about growth."

    According to Dixon, the most important problem that the current government has to deal with is forming a stable and credible government. "The two important issues that are linked together are trust and implementation. Because they do not really trust Tsipras to implement. So what he needs to do is to form a stable and credible government. Now, he has a great opportunity to form a new government because of the split in SYRIZA."

    He also considers that SYRIZA cannot avoid splintering. "I think it is unable to avoid splintering and I think it is desirable that it splits. I think it is a good thing for Greece and Tsipras because then he could form a new government that is not as extreme as the previous government and which will be more competent that the previous government. The last six months of Tsipras' rule had been fairly incompetent as well."

    According to the British columnist, there are three options: "One is snap elections, not so snap though, as you have to go through the negotiations on the MoU. And in these new elections, Tsipras runs without the Left Platform and the other people that have been rebels within his party like (former Finance Minister Yanis) Varoufakis and (Parliament President) Zoi Konstantopoulou. The second option is a national unity government where Tsipras stays prime minister but kicks out the rebels and he then forms a new government with New Democracy and To Potami and maybe PASOK. Both these options are quite good options. The third option is if he somehow manages to get SYRIZA together but in an extremely unhappy marriage that does not do a proper job and it leads to one disaster after the other. I do not recommend this option."

    The full interview of Hugo Dixon to Lila Chotzoglou follows:

    - What do you think is the most important problem that the current government has to deal with?

    It is actually forming a stable and credible government. The two important issues that are linked together are trust and implementation. Because they do not really trust Tsipras to implement. So what he needs to do is to form a stable and credible government. Now, he has a great opportunity to form a new government because of the split in SYRIZA.

    - Do you think that SYRIZA cannot avoid splintering?

    I think it is unable to avoid splintering and I think it is desirable that it splits. I think it is a good thing for Greece and Tsipras because then he could form a new government that is not as extreme as the previous government and which will be more competent that the previous government. The last six months of Tsipras' rule had been fairly incompetent as well.

    - Are snap elections a one-way road for Greece? Do you see other options?

    There are three ways this development could proceed. One is snap elections, not so snap though, as you have to go through the negotiations on the MoU. And in these new elections, Tsipras runs without the Left Platform and the other people that have been rebels within his party like (former Finance Minister Yanis) Varoufakis and (Parliament President) Zoi Konstantopoulou. The second option is a national unity government where Tsipras stays prime minister but kicks out the rebels and he then forms a new government with New Democracy and To Potami and maybe PASOK. Both these options are quite good options. The third option is if he somehow manages to get SYRIZA together but in an extremely unhappy marriage that does not do a proper job and it leads to one disaster after the other. I do not recommend this option.

    - Why do you think that Germany opposes to a debt haircut?

    I do not think that any country would like to admit that it has lost money because it lent money to Greece. It is not just Germany. Debt haircut is difficult for most of the eurozone countries. It is much easier to extend the loan and have low interest rates and pretend that Greece will repay the money that has borrowed rather than a haircut where you acknowledge that you will not take back the money you have lent.

    - Do you think that growth can be achieved without a debt relief?

    Yes.

    The European Commission is now predicting GDP will shrink 2 percent to 4 percent this year.

    Even if you have a debt haircut it will still shrink to 2 percent this year. I do not think it is much you can do to prevent the economy shrinking this year. The question is when the economy can start growing. Last year there was a little bit of growth in the economy. It is not beyond imagination to say that it could be more growth of the economy looking forward. But clearly this year and the first half of next year are certainly going to be extremely difficult because of the impact of extra austerity, the capital control and the overwhelming knock to business and consumer confidence by the terrible events of the last months. The next 12 months there is not much you can do about growth. However, if Tsipras does form a credible and stable government and has constructive relation with creditors then I think he can look towards a better future for Greece; not in the next 6 or 12 months, but in the period beyond that. And there are several things that you would expect to get. We hope to have a quick lifting of capital control and I think the ECB will be prepared to stand ready to act to the Greek banking system once Greek banks have been properly recapitalized and provided there is a stable and proper government. In a good case scenario that could happen later this year, not early, but towards the end of this year.

    Second thing is that Tsipras will get, provided he is implementing, a debt relief package; not a debt haircut but it will result to even lower interest rates and longer period to repay the loan.... The debt relief that Greece could get could be quite big and it won't be a haircut, but it would have the same effect as a haircut.

    - Is it realistic for the Greek bonds to be included in the ECB's quantitative easing programme?

    It is realistic. As ECB president Mario Draghi and Vice President Vitor Constancio said at the last press conference about ten days ago, Greece has to be in a programme and credibly implementing the programme. So we are getting back to this issue again of implementation and credibility. Greece could be in a programme by the end of August. I do not think that it will meet the 20 August deadline but it will probably spread a little bit. Once you get the programme and be implemented a bit, and if there is an agreement on the programme and immediately a new election, the ECB will wait after the election, and if after the election you will have a credible new government, probably led by Tsipras again, but with a different parliamentary majority and a more stable and constructive parliamentary majority, then the ECB will move quite fast to include Greece in the easing programme and will have huge benefits for Greece. The yields of bonds would fall substantially and it would be a great, a huge shot of adrenaline into the economy. I can see all these things happening maybe by the end of the year. Things could easily go wrong, but in the best case scenario all those things happening by the end of the year; quantitative easing, lifting of capital controls and a package of debt relief. The mood will change quite dramatically and going into the second half of next year you can even have growth, not great, and not guaranteed either.

    - Does austerity policy imposed by Germany in the rest of Europe eventually leads to social explosion, not only in Greece, but in other countries of southern Europe?

    The austerity policy has been excessive. It was necessary to have austerity because the Greek public finances were way out of balance and you needed to do something to increase taxes and cut spending but what we had was austerity after austerity that led to shrinkage of the economy.

    Apart from Greece, this policy has been adopted by four other countries - Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Cyprus - and all these countries are growing again this year and some even last year. Not to deny there are some social problems like high youth unemployment in Spain. Even though these policies have been badly designed and excessive, you can still emerge from them and see light at the end of the tunnel.

    People often confuse structural reforms with austerity. There are different things though. Austerity is cutting spending and increasing taxes. And reforms are important things like reducing the amount of early retirement, making people pay their taxes, dealing with justice system, corruption, labour market, product market etc.

    Nobel prize winning economist Amartya Sen made a very good analogy and he said that austerity is like rat poison and structural reforms are like the antibiotic that a patient needs to take if he/she has fever. The problem in Greece's case is that it is required to take a pill that mixes the good antibiotic with the bad rat poison. Unfortunately, Greece does have to take a little more of rat poison; that is the reality of how things are. It is not ideal, but it really does need the antibiotic of further reforms and it is really important not to confuse the two.

    - Lila Chotzoglou

    [09] Defence minister rules out salary cuts or dismissals in military

    Defence Minister Panos Kammenos on Thursday stressed that he will not accept any further reduction in the salaries of armed forces' officers, which had already been reduced by more than 60 pct.

    Kammenos was speaking during swearing in of new recruits in the city of Tripoli, where he pointed out that military officers were "not doing the same job as other civil servants" but were on call and on alert on a 24-hour basis.

    He also ruled out the possibility for further cuts to defence budgets or dismissals for the armed forces.

    [10] PM to answer questions about Varoufakis in Parliament on Friday

    The issue of former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis is expected to occupy Parliament on Friday, during the prime minister's question time, following a question tabled by PASOK leader Fofi Gennimata.

    PASOK's leader asks Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to adopt a position concerning Varoufakis' recent revelations that he had been working on a 'Plan B' that involved Greece leaving the euro.

    Tsipras is also expected to answer a questioned tabled by Parliament vice-president Nikitas Kaklamanis on measures against illegal migration.

    [11] Society shouldn't be forced to watch 'theatre of the absurd' in SYRIZA, Theodorakis says

    The prime minister must act boldly to resolve the country's major problems and not have everyone preoccupied with SYRIZA's internal affairs, opposition Potami party leader Stavros Theodorakis said on Thursday, when asked to comment on the prospect of a referendum within the ruling coalition's leading party.

    In statements after meeting the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) trade union leadership, Theodorakis noted that Tsipras was elected to be prime minister in January and not SYRIZA or a part of SYRIZA.

    "Society has made up its mind, Parliament has made up its mind and all the rest are games for [internal] party balances," he added. Theodorakis called on SYRIZA's members to show seriousness and stressed that a society facing so many problems "cannot be asked to watch this theatre of the absurd happening in SYRIZA's interior".

    Regarding his talks with the GSEE trade unionists, Theodorakis said that they wanted to return to the labour conditions that existed in the past but accepted the need to discuss the problems again in the light of the new agreement with the creditors.

    [12] PASOK leader on internal strife within SYRIZA

    "Grexit is on our doorstep. The danger has not passed and those risking the country solely for the benefit of their party bear grave responsibility," PASOK leader Fofi Gennimata stressed on Thursday in Larisa.

    She was commenting on internal developments within SYRIZA and the prime minister's call for either an emergency conference or a referendum within the party to decide its stance.

    "I would like to ask Mr. Tsipras whether he will finally make the decisive step and turn toward realism or whether he will continue to be a hostage of the component movements of his party? Can someone tell us whether the country's future, the negotiations, the specifying of the measures, the signature and vote on the memorandum depend on SYRIZA party members and their decisions. Let's get serious," she said.

    [13] Russia's Ambassador to Greece Maslov visits ANA-MPA

    The Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Greece Andrey M. Maslov on Thursday visited the offices of the Athenian-Macedonian News Agency.

    The Russian Ambassador had a discussion with the president and general manager of ANA-MPA, Michalis Psilos, on the course of Greek-Russian relations and the international developments.

    Financial News

    [14] ASE to reopen early next week, Botopoulos says

    The Athens Stock Exchange is expected to reopen early next week, Capital Market Commission president Konstantinos Botopoulos told a television interview.

    In comments made to ERT TV, Botopoulos said the aim was for the market to reopen on Monday and noted that a ministerial decision must be signed first after resolving a technical problem with banks' IT systems that must be adjusted to a new environment envisaging limitations in share trading for Greek investors. Botopoulos said that banks needed a few more days to resolve the problem and noted that pilot testing will be made during the weekend ahead of a final decision to reopen the market.

    He stressed that the European Central Bank was concerned that a reopening of the market without any limitations in trading for Greek investors could lead to a significant capital outflow from the banking system. Greek investors could use "fresh" money, using bank transfers from abroad or capital from selling stocks, or using money remaining as credit reserves with securities firms.

    [15] Government presents draft legislation to combat contraband cigarette, tobacco sales

    Minister of State Panagiotis Nikoloudis on Thursday presented draft legislation prepared by the government in order to stamp out the "black market" in cigarettes and tobacco.

    The law introduces checks all along the production line, as well as packaging, trade, distribution and retail sales, in a bid to prevent illegal trade and tax theft, while "cleaning up" the sector for the benefit of honest traders, who will regain their competitive advantage.

    Nikoloudis, in a press conference, said that the new control systems will including an electronic tax and security band that will include all the information concerning the product, including its quality, provenance and route before sale at retail level. He said this will allow the authenticity of tobacco products to be confirmed, whether they packets, cartons, crates or even individual cigars.

    All the information on the electronic band will also be uploaded onto a finance ministry database, he said.

    [16] Alternate Environment Minister unveils plan for new waste management model

    Alternate Minister for the Environment Yiannis Tsironis on Thursday unveiled a National Plan for Waste Management that he said represented a break with the policies adopted to date and moved toward a zero waste economy and society, which would convert rubbish into resources.

    "Its harmonisation with European law and the use - and in some cases transcendence - of the more positive elements of the community acquis, combined with the secured financing of all the necessary infrastructure and actions, are a first step for passing from a medieval-type uncontrolled dumping of waste to a modern outlook for its recovery in ways friendly to the environment and society," Tsironis said.

    [17] Intralot Group buys 35 pct stake in Bit8

    Intralot Group on Thursday said its subsidiary Intralot Global Holdings BV purchased a 35 pct stake in Bit8. Under the terms of the agreement, Intralot has a call option to raise its equity stake in the company to 60 pct in the next two years depending on achieving specific economic targets. The agreement also offers existing shareholders a put option to sell the remaining stake in Bit8.

    Intralot and Bit8 are cooperating since February 2015 as part of a plan to smoothly integrate Bit8 platform into Intralot's platform, offering Intralot's customers customer relation management services and player account management services over a series of new lottery and gaming platform.

    [18] Plastic packaging production recovered in 2014, ICAP report

    Greek plastic packaging product industry production showed signs of recovery in 2014, after a five-year decline, a report by ICAP Group showed on Thursday.

    The size of the domestic production of plastic packaging products grew by an annual average rate of 5.2 pct in the 1992-2008 period, but fell in the 2009-2013 period with the size of production falling by 13 pct in 2013 compared with 2008. In 2014, this trend was reversed with production rising by 2.0 pct.

    ICAP said that the quantity of imported plastic packaging products fell by 4.7 pct on average in the 2007-2013 period, while exports grew by an annual average rate of 5.8 pct in the 2010-2012 period. Exports fell by 5.0 pct in 2013, while the value of total exports fell 2.0 pct in the same period.

    Iakovos Katakouzinos, senior manager of economic research department ICAP Group, commenting on the report said that the size of the domestic market grew significantly in the 1992-2008 period, but an economic recession that followed led the market to a 4.4 pct annual average decline rate in the 2009-2013 period.

    Data from a sample of 79 companies in the sector showed that assets fell by 1.3 pct in 2013, total sales eased 0.54 pct while gross earnings grew 5.3 pct in the same year. These companies showed profits in 2013, after losses in 2012, while EBITDA grew 19.6 pct in 2013 from 2012.

    [19] Jumbo Group says annual sales up 7.51 pct

    Jumbo Group on Thursday said sales surpassed 582.5 million euros in the year ending on June 30, 2015, from 541.84 million in the previous 12-month period.

    In an announcement, Jumbo said that turnover grew by 7.51 pct in the year, surpassing a target for a 4-6 pct increase. "Despite a climate of uncertainty and adversity in the Greek market, Jumbo stores recorded an increase in turnover, evidence of confidence enjoyed among consumers. Stores in Cyprus and Bulgaria recorded double digit growth rates in sales, while stores in Romania also recorded double digit growth rates," the company said.

    In the period from July 2014 to June 2015, Jumbo Group launched seven new super-stores, two in Greece, one in Cyprus and four in Romania. The Group now operates a branch network of 72 stores, 53 in Greece, five in Cyprus, eight in Bulgaria and six in Romania. Jumbo Group plans to open its seventh super-store in Romania by December 2015.

    General News

    [20] Two high-speed ferries collide in Piraeus port, no injuries reported

    Two high-speed ferries collided while sailing out of Piraeus port on Thursday, luckily without any injuries.

    The collision was between the catamaran-style ferry "Jet-1" with 307 passengers on board, heading for the islands of Sifnos, Milos, Ios and Thira, and the hydrofoil "Athina" with 60 passengers, bound for Agistri and Aigina.

    Both the "Athina" and "Jet-1" were temporarily forbidden to sail until inspections of the damage sustained are carried out.

    Some of the passengers were reimbursed for their tickets after the accident while those still wanting to travel were taken to their destination in the high-speed ferry "Speed Runner" for passengers of the "Jet-1" and in another hydrofoil for passengers of the "Athina".

    [21] Eighty-five indicted over 2011 match-fixing scandal

    The Appeals Justices' Council on Thursday indicted 85 people to stand trial before a criminal appeals court in relation to a match-fixing scandal dating back to 2011 in the Greek football league.

    The indictment names players, coaches, bookers and club owners, including current mayor for Volos Achilleas Beos and others in connection with charges such as setting up a criminal organisation, bribery and illegal betting.

    The council fully dropped all charges again current Olympiakos club President Vangelis Marinakis as unsupported by the evidence, as well as individual charges against others of the defendants, while asking for a separate process for specific charges, such as that of money-laundering against Beos.

    [22] Air traffic controllers to hold four-hour work stoppage next Wednesday

    Greece's air traffic controllers' union on Thursday announced a four-hour warning strike to be held next Wednesday from 14:00 until 18:00. They are demanding that a draft bill be tabled in Parliament that creates an Aeronautical Provider for the Civil Aviation Authority as an independent entity, in compliance with European rules.

    The union said that strike action will escalate if there is no response from the transport ministry, starting on August 14.

    [23] Fire reported in Inofita

    A wildfire broke out on Thursday in the region of Inofita, in an area known as Vlachika in the Avlona municipality. A force of 27 fire-fighters, 11 fire-engines, a seven-person team on foot, two water-bombing aircraft and one helicopter has been sent to put out the blaze.

    Weather forecast

    [24] Fair on Friday

    Fair weather and northerly winds are forecast for Friday. Wind velocity will reach 5 on the Beaufort scale. Fair in the northern and the western parts of the country with temperatures up to 37C. Fair in the eastern parts with temperatures up to 39C. Sunny weather over the Aegean islands and Crete, up to 37C. Fair in Athens, up to 39C. Same weather in Thessaloniki, up to 37C.

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

    AVGHI: Tsipras' message ahead of SYRIZA central committee meeting: We cannot force for unity

    DIMOKRATIA: The monster of the new ENFIA (Uniform Real Estate Ownership Tax). No reductions in the objective values of the levy on real estate

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Shock in the economy by the Parliament Budget Office's report

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Conflicts in SYRIZA over the memorandum

    ESTIA: The risk of Grexit exists. Who has brought back the scenario and based on what data

    ETHNOS: The Finance ministry is mulling changes to ENFIA to render it fairer

    IMERISSIA: An image of collapse

    KATHIMERINI: (Prime Minister Alexis) Tsipras points to elections

    KONTRANEWS: Elections for a powerful government

    NAFTEMPORIKI: Economy in dire straits

    RIZOSPASTIS: The new anti-popular memorandum signed by SYRIZA-ANEL

    TA NEA: Tsipras: I need parliamentary majority

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