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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-11-18

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PASOK to vote against 28-bln package for banks
  • [02] Gov't announces new measures for prisons
  • [03] Saudi FM meets Greek leaders
  • [04] President Papoulias meets SYN leader

  • [01] PASOK to vote against 28-bln package for banks

    The main opposition PASOK party will vote against the government's draft bill for a 28-billion-euro package to shore up bank liquidity, on the grounds that this was sloppy and ill-conceived, said party spokesman George Papaconstantinou on Tuesday. "We still do not have the final approval of the EU, it is not transparent and it does not ensure that the extra liquidity will be channelled into the real economy in the form of better lending terms for businesses and households," Papaconstantinou said in criticism of the draft bill.

    The spokesman claimed that ruling New Democracy was attempting to undermine the value of the proposals made by PASOK, while the government's stance was giving Greek banks an excuse to continue charging extremely high interest on loans and credit cards.

    [02] Gov't announces new measures for prisons

    About two thirds of people convicted of drug-related offences will benefit from a draft bill projected to improve the country's correctional system, according to the justice ministry.

    The draft bill will be presented on Wednesday by Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis and includes arrangements meeting 14 out of the 16 demands made by inmates, as well as "new beneficial terms that the justice ministry has been preparing and examining for some time for users and people convicted in drug cases, people awaiting trial, financially weak detainees, etc."

    At the same time, as a result of "inaccurate allegations by certain circles" regarding the new arrangements, the Justice ministry clarified that on account of the new measures:

    -- All detainees and people convicted in general, for perpetrating misdemeanours, are released or pardoned from serving a sentence, provided that they have served a fifth of the sentence for a two-year conviction and a third of the sentence for a conviction of over two years. In such cases of release from prison, the payment of an amount of money to buy off the sentence is not anticipated.

    -- The possibility is anticipated for a prison sentence of up to five years for misdemeanours or felonies to be turned into a financial conviction (with a lumpsum implementation of the measure). The change takes place automatically. The same applies for cases of dealing in and selling drugs in which people have been convicted to sentences of up to five years. In cases where the defendant obiuously is unable to buy off his sentence, and in which case the price of release of release from prison has been set at three euros for every day of the outstanding sentence, the court may decrease the buyoff price to one euro a day.

    -- People convicted in drug-related cases in general are also subject to terms applying to all detainees, provided that they serve three fifths of their sentence instead of the current four fifths. An exception will only apply for those convicted of drug dealing by profession, particularly those dealing in a large quantity of drugs.

    [03] Saudi FM meets Greek leaders

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis met on Tuesday with her Saudi Arabian counterpart Prince Saud al-Faisal, who is currently on an official visit to Greece. Bakoyannis praised the Saudi foreign minister as distinguished figure internationally, who has worked consistently to strengthen the friendship shared by the two countries, while noting that Saudi Arabia is one of the "key pillars of global economy". Earlier, the Saudi Arabian FM was received by Greek President Karolos Papoulias and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. The two ministers discussed the international economic crisis, considering that Saudi Arabia is participating in the so-called G-20 group of countries, which convened in Washington to deal with the global crisis. Bakoyannis also referred to Saudi Arabia's special standing in the international financial environment, whereas Athens' standing interest in the Middle East peace process was reaffirmed. On the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, she stated that she had the "opportunity to be briefed first hand on developments" within the framework of a Saudi Arabian initiative, "which Greece has supported from the very outset". Prince al-Faisal expressed appreciation for Athens' stance in favour of justice and equality before the law in the Middle East, a policy based on international law, and manifested both in international fora and within the EU framework. The head of the Saudi Arabian diplomacy arrived in Athens from New York, where a high-level meeting on religious dialogue and peace culture was held at the UN Headquarters following an initiative by his country. A similar event on Orthodoxy and Islam will be held in Athens in 2009. The Saudi Arabian head of diplomacy referred to Greece's extensive experience on tourist issues and the progress made in the country motivated by the hosting of the 2004 Olympic Games. Regarding a piracy reported on board a Saudi Arabian oil tanker, he commented that such practices and terrorism are "illnesses" that affect everybody and demand cooperation and joint action. On her part, Bakoyannis underlined that "such incidents attest to the correctness of Greece's decision to participate in the joint effort against piracy with a navy frigate and a helicopter and by taking over the naval command of the operation."

    Caption: President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias (R) greets Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Saud Al- Faisal at the presidential mansion in Athens, Greece on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008. ANA-MPA / M. MAROGIANNI.

    [04] President Papoulias meets SYN leader

    Hellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias received on Tuesday Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) President Alexis Tsipras who expressed concern over the conditions in the Greek prisons.

    Tsipras handed over to the President figures as regards the Greek jails gathered by the Initiative for the Rights of Prisoners and pointed out that most of the inmatesâ demands can be met based on the existing legislation while others have already been incorporated into proposals put forth by institutions, such as the Athens Bar Association.

    Responding to a question on the State Budget, Tsipras stated that it will not last beyond February adding that the government needs to change course.

    He also underlined that changes and reforms in support of the workers are necessary and unavoidable.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of President Karolos Papoulias.

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