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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-12-10

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] KKE's Papariga on Wed. strike
  • [02] MIG blasts 20% cap in stake for major utilities
  • [03] Coast guard intercepts 113 illegals near Kos

  • [01] KKE's Papariga on Wed. strike

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga on Monday called for the greatest possible participation in Wednesday‚s strike, called by the country's main trade unions against government-proposed reforms of the social security system.

    "All Greece must be transformed into a river of protest by struggling wage-earners, in the public and private sector," she said during a tour of a major shopping mall in northern Athens.

    "On Wednesday Dec. 12, everything, shops, plants, all work places must be closed, dead," she noted, adding "we must stop measures tabled now by the government against health, social welfare, retiring age limits and pensions."

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of KKE leader Aleka Papariga.

    [02] MIG blasts 20% cap in stake for major utilities

    Marfin Investment Group (MIG) on Monday called on the government to withdraw a recently tabled provision preventing private investors from holding more than a 20-percent stake in a handful of "strategic" utilities, a development related directly to MIG's recent stock acquisitions of state-run Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE), the biggest telecoms and telephony company in the country.

    Conversely, MIG vice-president and executive board member Andreas Vgenopoulossaid the group would not seek recourse to the European Court over the stock ownership cap, while hinting that the Commission may itself, however, take up the matter.

    In a bid to allay the government's concern that bourse-listed OTE will slip out of the state's control through stock purchases on the open market - OTE announced late last week that MIG holds an 18.4551-percent stake in the blue chip company - Vgenopoulosproposed that shareholders themselves guarantee the state's interests in the utility.

    Additionally, the chief executive of MIG in Greece didn't mince his words in calling on the government to take back the provision "to the benefit of the Greek economy", while warning that the move may result in a lack of confidence by domestic and foreign investors.

    He also said that high-flying MIG, a Dubai-backed group whose presence in Greece over the recent period has been punctuated by several major purchases and investment, still aims to acquire 20 percent of OTE.

    "Now, we prevented from acquiring a bigger stake, something that was not in our intentions anyway," Vgenopoulossaid, before launching into stinging attack on OTE president and managing director Panagis Vourloumis, referring, amongst others, to a "dictatorial governance of OTE" and attempts to create an impression of a "hostile takeover".

    He nevertheless repeated that MIG does not dispute the state's sovereign rights in the utility, but insists in a minority representation on OTE's board.

    Caption: MIG vice-president and executive board member Andreas Vgenopoulosaddresses a press conference in Athens on Monday, Dec. 12, 2007. ANA-MPA / A. BELTES

    [03] Coast guard intercepts 113 illegals near Kos

    The Greek coast guard on Monday morning intercepted and detained 113 illegal immigrants discovered aboard a 12-metre Turkish vessel identified as the "Berivan", near the eastern Aegean island of Kos.

    Coast guard officers reportedly fired warning shots to force the vessel, sighted off the islet of Pserimos in the vicinity of Kos, to head for shore.

    The migrant-smuggling vessel had been spotted by personnel at a military outpost while sailing in Turkish waters toward the sea boundaries with Greece, and was placed under surveillance. The crew of a coast guard vessel initially tried to prevent the vessel from entering Greek territorial waters but then had to change tactics when the vessel's skipper attempted to ram the Greek patrol boat.

    A second patrol boat was called in and fired warning shots over the vessel's bow in an attempt to make it stop for an inspection.

    The coast guard reported arresting 113 men, most of whom claim to be from Afghanistan, while they suspect that a crew of at least four Turkish immigrant smugglers are concealed among them and will eventually be identified.

    The vessel was towed to the harbour in nearby Kalymnos.

    Caption: A file photo dated Dec. 6, 2007 shows a group of illegals huddled on a beach in southern Crete, Siteia district, after a migrant-laden freighter carrying a total of 204 illegal immigrants, presumably aiming for Italy, was forced to divert to the island after experiencing engine trouble amid rough seas. ANA-MPA / STEFANOS RAPANIS


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