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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 16-05-09

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

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

Weekend News Bulletin

Monday May 9, 2016

CONTENTS

  • [01] Tsipras: 'We will set Greece on its feet at all costs'
  • [02] ND leader Mitsotakis slams planned pension and tax reforms, attacking PM
  • [03] FinMin Tsakalotos heading to Eurogroup with 'agreement in principle' on key points, sources say
  • [04] Trade unions out in force throughout Greece on Sunday, in protest against planned pension reforms
  • [05] Anti-establishment youths clash with police in the early hours of Sunday
  • [06] EU now faced with major challenges, President Pavlopoulos notes in message for Europe Day
  • [07] Juncker: Greece has virtually met its targets and won't need new aid package
  • [08] Parliamentary debate interrupted, Golden Dawn MP expelled after exchange with minister
  • [09] Greek 'veto' to FYROM assured if it insists on 'falsifying history,' Pavlopoulos says
  • [10] Athens medical and pharmacists associations threaten to expel MPs that vote for measures
  • [11] Gov't worked hard to bring reforms to make pension system sustainable and fairer, PM says in tweet
  • [12] Open letter signed by noted academics, politicians and analysts urges EU leaders to help Greece
  • [13] Gov't withdraws article for tax reductions to wage earners with income over 20,000 euros
  • [14] KKE leader strongly criticises proposed measures in Parliament
  • [15] Greece's foreign ministry condemns attack on Cairo suburb
  • [16] Clashes between protestors and riot police, two detained
  • [17] Opposition party leaders scathing in their criticism of tax and pension reforms bill
  • [18] Culture minister to show 100 refugees around Acropolis to mark Europe Day on Monday
  • [19] Police order investigation into injury of LAE party member by tear gas canister
  • [20] Nine detained during incidents in Exarchia, Syntagma Square
  • [21] British Airways begins direct flights between Kalamata and London
  • [22] Syrian refugees apprehended after illegally crossing Greek border into Albania
  • [23] Athens Headlines at a glance Politics

  • [01] Tsipras: 'We will set Greece on its feet at all costs'

    Taking the stand to address Parliament after main opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Sunday said the main opposition party lacked "any kind of alternative proposal" and that Mitsotakis was in danger of making ND a "protest party". Replying to Mitsotakis' criticism of the proposed measures in the tax and pension reforms bill, which is to be voted on by lawmakers at the end of Sunday's debate, Tsipras accused the opposition of "having no proposals".

    "When you ask for elections without having any alternative proposal, anyone can understand the reason why you do this. Your concern is to save of your friends that face prosecution, some media owners that see the system of graft crumbling," he added, promising to fight corruption and set Greece back on its feet at all costs.

    "For decades the pension funds were looted and the opposition recounts the myth that the pension system was derailed by a government that negotiated," he said. He said ND and the other parties in its camp were in a strategic impasse, on the one hand accusing the government of leading the country off the rails and on the other hand of giving in to the creditors demands.

    He also pointed out that Mitsotakis, while criticising the government for pension cuts and reducing incomes, "had the bravery to say that ND's alternative proposal for exiting the crisis is to cut spending: in other words, cut salaries, pensions and lay off workers."

    "For the first time the agreement, even though it is difficult, can be implemented," he said.

    Tsipras insisted that the government would not cut main pensions by even a single euro, while pointing out that those now complaining of a "tax storm" had earlier gladly voted for measures amounting to 62 billion euros.

    Greece's pension system had been irrational, socially unjust, labyrinthine and rife with political clientelism to begin with. After six years of economic recession it could not possibly survive without deep reforms, he said.

    "With the bill we are voting on today, we aim to create a viable social insurance system that guarantees the pensions of all citizens and simultaneously does this with social justice, taking into account the difficult economic situation," he said. "We will not burden pensioners for the 13th time. This is what we promised in September," he added.

    While the opposition was indulging in doom- and disaster-mongering, the government was working methodically on the negotiations and on a careful plan for the day after the review was completed, when the priority will be on the transition from extreme recession to growth with a social character and with protection for labour, Tsipras said.

    Among others, he said the government's plan included the introduction of a stable tax rate for 12 years for those making investments above 20 million euros.

    After six years in which the Eurogroup convened and discussed only austerity measures for Greece, Monday's Eurogroup will officially have a restructuring of debt on the agenda, the prime minister said and expressed hope that Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble will display the same constructive stance on this issue as Germany Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel.

    [02] ND leader Mitsotakis slams planned pension and tax reforms, attacking PM

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis launched a full frontal assault on Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during his address to lawmakers in Parliament on Sunday, while dismissing the proposed measures in the draft tax and pension reforms bill as bound to fail.

    "In this country it has now become a historic necessity to speak the language of truth," he said and noted that the country was now being asked to take additional measures by its creditors as a "premier's personal unreliability clause".

    "There are lies, damned lies and Mr. Tsipras," he said, paraphrasing Mark Twain, citing the prime minister's earlier promises and accused the Labour and Social Insurance Minister George Katrougalos of "amoralism of the worst kind," noting that he had in the past gone to court over measures that he was now proposing.

    "The measures we are voting on today are the bill for your delays, ineptitude and unreliability...at the end of 2014 there was no demand to reduce main pensions, only supplementary pensions," he said.

    He criticised the proposed measures, saying they relied too heavily on taxation and would not allow a return to growth, while noting that the pension system reforms did not touch the socalled "aristocratic funds" that burdened the system, calling for a reduction in spending.

    Greece needed a reduction of taxation and a reduction of state spending, Mitsotakis said, whereas the government's bill increased taxes and contributions, leading to an inevitable increase of tax evasion and contribution evasion.

    "This bill is the epitome of you ineptitude...it took you nine months to deliver this mess," he added, noting that the proposed measures cut pensions of those retiring from now on, "wiped out" the self-employed, mocked farmers and reduced the real income of all workers, as well as their tax-free allowance. "Will this, perhaps, be the last intervention? Unfortunately, the precise opposite is true. It is certain that the citizens' sacrifices will be for naught," he said.

    According to Mitsotakis, there was another way and hope, "a way of truth, an agreement of truth that addresses the biggest problem in relations between politicians and society, which is a problem of trustworthiness. The country must create wealth and not redistribute poverty."

    The fiscal policy mix chosen by the government would not achieve this and the precautionary measures demanded by the creditors would be made mandatory, he added.

    "Unfortunately, the creditors are also responsible for this development because they have accepted a package of tax raids that they know will not bring a result and demanding additional measures, so that the total of measures reaches 12 billion," he said, promising that ND will reduce taxes and repeating his demand for elections.

    [03] FinMin Tsakalotos heading to Eurogroup with 'agreement in principle' on key points, sources say

    Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos is heading for the extraordinary Eurogroup meeting in Brussels on Monday with an "agreement in principle" on key points in the negotiations, finance ministry sources said on Sunday. They said this agreement also included the new privatisation fund, the treatment of non-performing loans, pension reforms, income taxation and indirect taxes.

    In addition, they said the Greek proposal for an automatic deficit regulating mechanism had been sent to the institutions and that a discussion on this was expected to take place, while the Eurogroup meeting will for the first time also discuss the debt, as foreseen in the agreement made last summer.

    In preparation for the Eurogroup meeting, there will be a Eurogroup Working Group meeting on Monday morning that will be attended by Alternate Finance Minister George Chouliarakis. The Euro area finance ministers are then scheduled to convene at 15:00 local time.

    [04] Trade unions out in force throughout Greece on Sunday, in protest against planned pension reforms

    Trade unions came out in force throughout the country on Sunday, with labour rallies held in every Greek city to protest against the draft tax and pension reform bill due to be voted on late on Sunday night, as well as to mark Labour Day. Protest action in Athens began early on Sunday morning, with the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) holding a rally in Klafthmonos Square and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE)-affiliated trade union faction PAME holding a rally in Syntagma Square opposite Parliament, together with Greek farmers.

    The day's action will culminate in a rally and concert organised by the civil servants union federation ADEDY, starting at 18:00 in Syntagma Square as lawmakers continue the debate on the controversial bill, leading up to the late-night vote.

    Earlier, representatives of ADEDY, pensioners and other trade unions, political parties and organisations attended the GSEE rally and took part in a march to Parliament.

    PAME is also planning three "pre-rallies" later on Sunday at 19:00, at Omonia Square, the Old Parliament building and the Temple of Olympian Zeus, while it will hold a solidarity concert during events in Syntagma called "A song for the refugee".

    Journalists also joined in the action, with their union federation POESY calling rally outside the Athens Journalists Union (ESHEA) at noon, followed by a march to Parliament. POESY and ESHEA were protesting against the abolition of an advertising duty that currently finances the journalists' social security and pension funds.

    PAME's rally in Syntagma was addressed by KKE General Secretary Dimitris Koutsoumbas, who said that "capital and the governments were now trying to take back all the entitlements that the workers in our country and throughout the world had shed their blood to win. We must not do them the favour. The working class, the labour movement, in our country and in Europe, worldwide, must regroup, rally its forces and pass to a counter-attack."

    Rallies were also held throughout Greece in Thessaloniki, the prefecture capitals in the Peloponnese, the port city of Patras, Agrinio, Mesologgi, Nafpaktos in western Greece, and the cities of Hania and Iraklio in Crete, among others.

    [05] Anti-establishment youths clash with police in the early hours of Sunday

    Anti-establishment youths armed with fire bombs clashed with riot police and inflicted minor damage on the culture ministry and National Archaeological Museum in the early hours of Sunday, around the Athens Polytechnic in central Athens. The incidents started shortly after 4:00 and continued until about 6:30, though Patission Street remained closed for some time while the fire brigade and municipal workers cleared the damage. There were no police reports of persons detained or arrested.

    [06] EU now faced with major challenges, President Pavlopoulos notes in message for Europe Day

    In a message marking Europe Day on Sunday, President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos stressed that being European meant having obligations, as well as rights, and required "practically demonstrating solidarity in defence of the common European vision."

    Speaking from the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, Pavlopoulos said that the EU was now facing major challenges that "primarily concern its cohesion but also, in due course, its economic unification." He also highlighted Greece's contribution to building the EU, citing the historic speech made by the late Greek statesman Constantine Karamanlis in 1979 when Greece signed the agreements for its entry into the then European Economic Community:

    "Fundamental for the survival of Europe is its gradual economic unification, which will ensure the use of a huge reserve of natural and human resources. It will organise the economy around the person, instead of people around the economy."

    The EU was now faced with major challenges that it must meet successfully, in accordance with its history and prospects, Pavlopoulos added.

    [07] Juncker: Greece has virtually met its targets and won't need new aid package

    Greece is very close to achieving its targets, returning better-than-expected economic results, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told journalists from the German media group Funke on Sunday. There was no issue of a new aid package and definitely not of the country's exit from the Eurozone, while Monday's Eurogroup will focus on how Greece's debt can be made sustainable, he added.

    "At this time we are at the stage of the first review of the programme and the targets have almost been achieved," Juncker said, noting that there would be a "first discussion" on how to make the Greek debt sustainable on Monday and ruling out a third aid programme.

    He said the Commission expected a return to growth in the second half of 2016: "With the programme that Greece began last summer, it acquired the foundation for a return to permanent and stable economic growth," while adding that Greece's exit from the Euro was not an acceptable choice in the previous year "and is obviously not one today".

    The Funke group includes the newspapers Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, Berliner Morgenpost, Hamburger Abendblatt, Westfalische Rundschau and others.

    [08] Parliamentary debate interrupted, Golden Dawn MP expelled after exchange with minister

    The Parliamentary debate on the draft bill for tax and pensions reforms was interrupted for approximately one hour on Sunday evening, resuming after the presidency announced its decision to expel Golden Dawn MP Yiannis Lagos from the chamber during Sunday's debate for making offensive remarks about Environment and Energy Minister Panos Skourletis.

    The decision followed an incident sparked by a heated verbal exchange between Skourletis and GD Parliamentary spokesman Christos Pappas.

    The presidency, represented by Giorgos Lambroulis, announced that Lagos will be barred from Sunday's session, while a repetition of the same behaviour by the MP will lead to him being excluded from Parliamentary sessions for 15 days.

    [09] Greek 'veto' to FYROM assured if it insists on 'falsifying history,' Pavlopoulos says

    In a warning to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on Sunday, President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos said that a Greek 'veto' to its ambitions to join the EU and NATO were "a given and non-negotiable" as long as it insisted on views that misrepresented history and the Greekness of Macedonia down the centuries.

    Speaking during a visit to the Macedonian Tombs outside the northern Greek city of Naoussa, Pavlopoulos noted that "this sacred site for the Greek nation proves, with incontrovertible historic proofs, the Greekness of Macedonia through the ages. The cynical falsifiers of history, who are unfortunately the heirs and continuers of the thinking of totalitarian regimes - as proven by their recent barbarous behaviour toward the refugees - have no right to painlessly pretend to be friends of Greece and, even more, cannot conceivably imagine that with such views they can become members of the European Union and NATO. A Greek veto is given and non-negotiable," he said.

    Pavlopoulos was visiting Naoussa for the 194th anniversary since the sacking of the city by Ottoman Turks in 1822, during the war for Greece's independence, and was declared an honorary resident. He earlier attended an official mass and visited the site where the women of Naoussa had sacrificed their lives to avoid falling into captivity, at the Arapitsa River where he threw a wreath into the water.

    The events concluded with the laying of a wreath at the 1,241 New Martyrs Monument and a parade before the president.

    [10] Athens medical and pharmacists associations threaten to expel MPs that vote for measures

    The Athens Medical Association (ISA) on Sunday appealed to its members that are also MPs to vote against the draft bill for pension reforms brought by the government, which it said was "flawed in its philosophy and at its core." It warned that the next ISA board meeting will consider the possibility of disciplinary action against any members that vote in favour.

    Earlier, the pharmacists' association also announced plans to expel any MPs that are part of the association and vote in favour of the measures.

    [11] Gov't worked hard to bring reforms to make pension system sustainable and fairer, PM says in tweet

    "We have worked hard to bring reforms that ensure the sustainability of the social insurance system, combined with social justice. Our new proposal for the taxation system was drawn up on the basis of a fairer distribution of the burdens," Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Sunday, in a tweet posted ahead of his speech in Parliament due to begin soon.

    [12] Open letter signed by noted academics, politicians and analysts urges EU leaders to help Greece

    Dozens of academics, analysts, politicians, journalists and trade unionists throughout the world have appealed to European leaders and European institutions - including those conducting the ongoing negotiations with Greece - to change their stance and agree to disburse loans to the country, avoiding additional austerity measures, delivering humanitarian aid and restructuring Greece's debt in the current year.

    In an open letter, they noted that this was necessary in order to avoid provoking a suffocation Greece and its democratically elected government under the pressure of permanent demands by its creditors to service the debt.

    "The catastrophic humanitarian situation in Greece has been known for some time. Added to it are the unusual burdens borne by the Greek people for the reception and care of refugees.

    In this situation, Greece needs the real support of its European neighbours and not additional measures for cuts. After years of deprivation and economic collapse, to ask these is political blindness to reality, is economically inexcusable and unacceptable to demand of the Greek people," the letter says.

    The letter was reproduced by the German economic magazine oxiblog.de and is addressed to the leaders of several large EU countries, including the UK's David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

    The list of those that have signed the letter so far is given below:

    Nicola Acocella, Roma, Italia, economist

    Elmar Altvater, Berlin, Germany, political economist, member of the scientific council of ATTAC-Germany

    Antoine Artous, Paris, France, political scientist

    Etienne Balibar, Paris, France, philosopher

    Thomas Barth, Ilmmunster/Munchen, Germany, sociologist

    Rudolph Bauer, Bremen, Germany, sociologist, publicist

    Seyla Benhabib, Yale, USA, philosopher, political scientist

    Stefan Bestmann, Berlin, Germany, social research

    Jacques Bidet, Paris, France, philosopher

    Hans-Jurgen Bieling, Tubingen, Germany, political scientist

    Gretchen Binus, Berlin, Germany, economist

    Joachim Bischoff, Hamburg, Germany, sociologist and journalist

    Heinz - J. Bontrup, Gelsenkirchen, Germany, Wirtschaftswissenschaftler

    Andreas.Botsch, Berlin, Germany, economist

    Miriam Boyer, Berlin, Germany, sociologist, social scientist

    Reiner Braun, Berlin, Germany, Co-President of the International Peace Bureau (IPB)

    Michael Brie, Schoneiche, Germany, philosopher

    Andrea Brock, Hurth, Germany, international relations

    Susan Buck-Morss, New York, USA, philosopher, intellectual historian

    Judith Butler, Berkely, Calif., USA, philosopher

    Claude Calame, Paris, France, social anthropologist

    Mario Candeias, Berlin, Germany, political scientist

    Patrice Cohen-Seat, Paris, France, lawyer, honorary president of Espaces-Marx

    Laurence Cox, Dublin, Eire, sociologist

    Alexis Cukier, Strasbourg, France, philosopher

    Rolf Czeskleba-Dupont, Hvals?, Danmark, geographer

    Bo Dahlqvist, Waterloo, Belgium, student

    Georgios Daremas, Athens, Hellas, member of the Executive Committee of Attac-Hellas

    Nick Dearden, London, Great Britain, campaigner, director of a democratic justice organisation

    Judith Dellheim, Berlin, Germany, political economist

    Andreas Diers, Bremen, Germany, historian

    Stephane Douailler, Paris, France, philosopher

    Sebastian Dullien, Berlin, Germany, economist

    Rolf Eckart, Munchen, Germany, social activist

    Roland Erne, Dublin, Eire, Senior Lecturer, School of Business, University College Dublin

    Trevor Evans, Berlin, Germany, economist

    Michael Ewert, Munchen, Germany, Germanist

    Jean Louis Fabiani, Budapest, Magyar Hungary, sociologist / social anthropologist

    Karl Fischbacher, Wien, Austria, Labournet-Austria

    Nancy Fraser, New York, USA, critical theorist,

    Hans-Peter Gase, Munchen, Germany, member of "Sozialforum Munchen"

    Dorothea Harlin, Berlin, Germany, member of ?Berliner Wassertisch"

    Peter Herrmann, Roma, Italia, social scientist

    Gustav Horn, Dusseldorf, Germany, economist

    Claus-Dieter Konig, Brussel/Bruxelles, Belgium, director of the Brussels office of a foundation

    Joachim Klein, Offenbach, Germany, political theory and philosophy

    Jurgen Klute, Herne, Ex-MEP, Germany

    Sudhir Kumar, Chennai, India, architect

    Jeremy Leaman, Loughborough, Great Britain, European Political Economy

    Steffen Lehndorff, Duisburg, Germany, social researcher

    Jurgen Leibiger, Radebeul, Germany, economist

    Brian Leslie, Tunbridge Wells, Great Britain, economist

    Jakic Ljubomir, Bruxelles, Belgium, journalist

    Camille Louis, Paris, France, philosopher and dramaturgist

    Alberto Martinez Sanchez, Valencia, Spain, Vicepresident of ATTAC in the Valencia Region

    Angie Mathieu, Paris, France, student/squatter

    Sandro Mezzadra, Bologna, Italy, political theorist

    Hans Misselwitz, Berlin, Germany

    Margret Moenig-Raane, Berlin, Germany, former services trade union leader

    Kalypso Nicolaidis, Oxford, Great Britain, international relations

    Norman Paech, Hamburg, Germany, jurist

    Dagmar Paternoga, Bonn, Germany, Council Member of ATTAC Germany

    Helmut Penschinski, Wuppertal, Germany, economist

    Bruce Robbins, New York, NY, USA, English and Comparative Literature

    Michelle Riot-Sarcey, Paris, France, historian

    Thomas Sablowski, Frankfurt a.M., Germany,political scientist

    Pierre Salama, Paris, France, Latin-American studies

    Thomas Sauer, Jena, Germany, economist

    Patrick Saurin, Paris, France, Spokesperson for the French Union Sud Solidaires BPCE

    Gesine Schwan, Berlin, Germany, political scientist

    Mechthild Schrooten, Bremen, Germany, economist

    Ingo Schulze, Berlin, Germany, writer

    Ursel Schumm-Garling, Berlin, Germany, sociologist

    Lynne Segal, London, Great Britain, psycho-social Studies

    Jai Sen, New Delhi, India, Director of CACIM - India Institute for Critical Action: Centre in Movement

    Francis Sitel, France, political analyst

    Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Coimbra, Portugal, social scientist

    Dieter Spori, Berlin, Germany, former minister of economics

    Elsa Stamatopoulos, New York, NY, USA, jurist, anthropologist

    Roland Su?, Birkenau, Germany, member of council of Attac-Germany

    Rolf Sukowski, Berlin, Germany, chair of OWUS e.V.

    Barbara Spinelli, MdEP, Roma, Italia

    Axel Troost, MdB, Leipzig, Germany, economist

    Hans-Jurgen Urban, Frankfurt a. M., Germany, Board of the Metalworkers' Union

    Marie-Dominique Vernhes, Hamburg, Germany

    Lode Vanoost, Sint-Genesius-Rode, Belgium, former Deputy Speaker of the Belgian House of Representatives

    Guido Viale, Milano, Italia, economist

    Antje Vollmer, Vizeprasidentin des Deutschen Bundestages a D, Berlin

    Immanuel Wallerstein, New Haven, Conecticut, USA, social scientist and social historian

    Angela Wigger, Nijmegen, Nederlands, international political economist

    Ulrich Wilken, MdL, Germany, Frankfurt a. M.

    Frieder Otto Wolf, Berlin, Ex-MEP, Germany, philosopher

    Harald Wolf, MdA, Berlin, Germany

    Andrea Ypsilanti, MdL, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

    Gabi Zimmer, MdEP, Werder, Germany, group president

    [13] Gov't withdraws article for tax reductions to wage earners with income over 20,000 euros

    Alternate Finance Minister Tryfon Alexiadis on Sunday announced that the government was withdrawing an article in the draft bill under discussion, which granted tax reductions for income over 20,000 euros a year for salary earners and pensioners. Alexiadis said the measure will be tabled again in another bill, after processing to make the structure of the tax fairer.

    [14] KKE leader strongly criticises proposed measures in Parliament

    Strongly criticising the package of measures proposed by the government in its draft tax and pension reform bill, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Dimitris Koutsoumbas on Sunday said the government will "stop at nothing in order to complete the mission assigned to it by capital and its partners, such as Merkel, Hollande and the like."

    Speaking in Parliament during the debate on the draft bill, Koutsoumbas said the measures aimed to dismantle any labour and popular rights still left standing while "managing" the popular reaction so that it was defused quickly, during the holidays. The aim, he added, was to proceed without obstructions on the predecided course toward a fourth memorandum, "the automatic or semi-automatic "cutter", the sum of the new anti-popular measures that you are preparing over the coming period, all that will come after May 24."

    [15] Greece's foreign ministry condemns attack on Cairo suburb

    Greece's foreign ministry unequivocally condemned the deadly terrorist attack that was carried out today in Helwan, a southern suburb of Cairo, in an announcement on Sunday.

    "We express our condolences to the families of the victims and to the government of our friend Egypt, whose stability is key to the stability of the whole Eastern Mediterranean region," the announcement added.

    [16] Clashes between protestors and riot police, two detained

    The police on Sunday detained two individuals in connection with incidents between protestors and riot police that took place in Syntagma Square during the evening protest rally. Violence erupted when groups of youths launched fire-bombs, rocks and flares at MAT riot police outside the entrance of the Grande Bretagne Hotel on the square, prompting police to reply with tear gas and stun grenades.

    The incidents led to a marked reduction in the number of protestors in the square, prompting the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) to demand "immediate government intervention" to stop riot police from using tear gas on protestors not linked to the incidents.

    [17] Opposition party leaders scathing in their criticism of tax and pension reforms bill

    The opposition party leaders were united in rejecting the proposed measures in the tax and pensions reform bill tabled by the government, during the last day of the debate on the bill in Parliament on Sunday.

    Speaking for the Democratic Coalition, PASOK leader Fofi Gennimata called the bill an "abortion" and accused the prime minister of promising the Greek people hope but delivering despair.

    "No matter how much you look among us for accomplices in your policy of deceit you will not find any. You can kneel as much as you like, you will not make the country kneel," she said, saying the bill was not so much radical reform as a razing and demolition of the pension system.

    Potami party leader Stavros Theodorakis said the measures did not guarantee pensions for the next generations and "studiously ignored the professional funds, private insurance and the reality in Europe." He said it would raise the burden on employment and enterprise, reinforcing the flight of Greek businesses abroad.

    The burden in contributions and taxes for the small businessman and the self-employed will be between 33 pct and 56 of their income from 2017 until 2020, while the from 2021 this will increase to 46-56 pct of net income, or even 65 pct for those earning over 70,000 euros.

    The leader of the Centrists Union Vassilis Leventis attacked both the present and previous governments, saying that they had made no real reforms and blasting the present agreement as "one-sided" and "shameful" for the country. The problem with the country's pension system can only be resolved by finding new sources of financing, growth and investments, he said.

    [18] Culture minister to show 100 refugees around Acropolis to mark Europe Day on Monday

    Culture Minister Aristidis Baltas is to receive 100 refugees from the Elaiona and Schistos reception facilities at the Athens Acropolis on Monday, in a gesture to mark Europe Day. The refugees - mostly families - will be shown around the site and then given a tour of the Acropolis Museum, a ministry announcement said. The aim of the visit is to raise international sensitivity to the crucial issue of the refugee crisis.

    The initiative will be carried out with the assistance of the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Flux Laboratory organisation.

    General News

    [19] Police order investigation into injury of LAE party member by tear gas canister

    The police on Sunday announced the launch of an investigation into the injury of Popular Unity (LAE) party Political Secretariat member Sofi Papadogianni, who was rushed to hospital after being hit on the head by a teargas canister during the rally in Syntagma Square.

    "The Citizens' Protection ministry will not tolerate actions and practices moving outside the rules set," a ministry announcement said in response to the incident.

    The left-wing party member was taken to hospital with three more party members that were also injured by MAT riot police, the party said.

    According to Hellenic Police (ELAS) sources, Papadogianni testified to police investigating the incident that she felt a sharp pain during the protest rally and was informed by others on the scene that she had been hit by a teargas canister.

    A LAE announcement accused riot police of "striking indiscriminately, unleashing teargas and grenades at the peaceful crowd" and in the process hitting Papadogianni, as well as LAE member Vassilis Makridis and two younger members of the party.

    [20] Nine detained during incidents in Exarchia, Syntagma Square

    Nine people were detained during clashes with anti-establishment protestors in Athens' Exarchia area and the protest rally in Syntagma Square on Sunday, the Hellenic Police (ELAS) announced.

    Six were detained during violence that erupted in Exarchia at around 22:30 on Sunday night near Stournari and Bouboulinas Street, where the rioters set up makeshift barricades using burning dumpsters and attacked police with fire bombs and other objects.

    Three had been detained earlier during incidents around Syntagma Square.

    ELAS said that around 50 people currently remain in Exarchia Square but calm has been restored throughout.

    [21] British Airways begins direct flights between Kalamata and London

    British Airways flight 644, the first inaugurating a direct link between Heathrow Airport in London and the airport of Kalamata in southern Greece, was received with all due pomp and circumstance on Sunday. Peloponnese Region chief Petros Tatoulis said it was a "historic link" that reflected the regional authority's efforts to boost tourism in the Peloponnese.

    BA representatives Freddie Stier thanked the regional authority for its cooperation, saying it had made the Heathrow-Kalamata flight possible, and noted that BA expected to bring more than 10,000 visitors through the scheduled flights to Kalamata.

    [22] Syrian refugees apprehended after illegally crossing Greek border into Albania

    A group of 16 Syrian refugees were apprehended by Albanian authorities on Sunday after illegally crossing the border with Greece near the Krystallopigi border crossing. The four men, three women and nine minors had reached the Greek-Albanian border from the Idomeni refugee camp by taxi and then entered Albania on foot.

    They were spotted in a village near the border and arrested by Albanian police, who have taken them to a temporary refugee camp near Tirana. They will be returned to Greece, unless they apply for asylum in Albania. The refugees told Albanian authorities that they intended to travel through Albania to Germany, passing through Montenegro.

    [23] Athens Headlines at a glance

    KATHIMERINI: Crucial night in Parliament and Lagarde's terms

    PROTO THEMA: 'Rottweiler' measures shred the people

    TO VIMA: Tsipras trapped

    ETHNOS: Hard bargaining for a debt settlement

    REAL NEWS: Hours of responsibility and suspense!

    KONTRA NEWS: Dirty war by Kyriakos [Mitsotakis] against [President Prokopis] Pavlopoulos

    AVGHI: Three 'scissors' for the debt

    VRADYNI: They are savaging public sector and pensions

    DIMOKRATIA: Angry waves

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