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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-01-14

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PASOK positions on economic crisis
  • [02] Terrorist group assumes responsibility for riot police attack
  • [03] Ecumenical Patriarch briefs distinguished Open Society group
  • [04] FM spokesman on aid-laden vessel heading for Gaza
  • [05] ADEX closing report
  • [06] FinMin defends economic policy

  • [01] PASOK positions on economic crisis

    Main opposition PASOK party economy sector officials Louka Katseli, Dimitris Kouselas and E. Koutmeridis charged during a press conference on Wednesday, revolving on the theme of PASOK's positions on managing the economic crisis, that "the government's options are undermining the Greek economy. (Prime Minister) Mr. Karamanlis is not addressing the rescue of the economy, but the rescue of his New Democracy party."

    Katseli "sounded the alarm" for a coming recesssion in the economy and a wave of mass dismissals, as she said. She also referred to a feeling of "fear and insecurity in society," adding that PASOK has already submitted a realistic and integrated salvation and development perspective programme for the economy that is based on four axes, and has presented proposals for a short-term programme to exit from the crisis with support for small and medium-size businesses, the weaker classes and the unemployed.

    [02] Terrorist group assumes responsibility for riot police attack

    An Athens weekly on Wednesday announced that it had a received a voluminous -- 11 pages -- proclamation from a shadowy ultra-leftist terrorist group claiming responsibility for the early morning attack on Jan. 5, 2009, against three riot police officers guarding the culture ministry in central Athens.

    One police officer, 21, was seriously injured in the ambush.

    According to reports, the "Revolutionary Struggle" group also assumed responsibility for a Dec. 23, 2008 shooting against a bus carrying riot police in the Athens district of Goudi and for an attack against a petroleum multinational's offices in the Paleo Faliro district of southern Athens on Oct. 24, 2008.

    The weekly, "Pontiki", is expected to publish the proclamation in its Thursday edition.

    [03] Ecumenical Patriarch briefs distinguished Open Society group

    ISTANBUL (ANA-MPA / A. Kourkoulas) - Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I (Vartholomeos) raised issues concerning the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the ethnic Greek community in the Bosporus metropolis at a working lunch with European politicians here on Wednesday.

    The meeting was organised at a downtown hotel by the "Open Society" Foundation, with the participation of Marcelino Oreja Aguirre, former Spanish foreign minister, Italian Minister Emma Bonino, Albert Rohan, the former Austrian deputy foreign minister, and Hans van den Broek, the former Dutch foreign minister.

    Also participating in the Foundation are Michel Rocard, the former French prime minister, Kurt Bidenkopf, former PM of Saxony in Germany and other politicians.

    After an address was made by former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari, a discussion followed, with the Patriarch saying that the reopening of the Halki School of Theology is an urgent priority, while stressing that an Orthodox Christian seminary at whatever local university is no solution.

    The European leaders were also briefed by the Patriarch on the situation at present

    [04] FM spokesman on aid-laden vessel heading for Gaza

    VIENNA (ANA-MPA / D. Dimitrakoudis) - Greek foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos on Wednesday said here, in reference to the Gaza-bound "Arion" vessel loaded with humanitarian aid, that every legal activity by NGOs must be unhindered.

    "At the same time, the Greek government has briefed, comprehensively and in a timely manner, before the sailing of the 'Arion', and cautioned those in charge and all who are participating in this initiative over the serious security risks entailed in their planned action, which means passing through the closed sea military zone determined by Israel..." the spokesman said.

    "We have also taken at the same time and we are continuing to take all the necessary diplomatic actions towards the Israeli side, underlining the purely humanitarian character of this effort and calling on Israeli authorities to handle the situation with the necessary sensitivity and special care, so that the security of those on board the vessel will not be jeopardised," Koumoutsakos added.

    [05] ADEX closing report

    Greek futures contract prices ended with a sharply widened discount at the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover at 52.745 million euros. The March contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 3.15 pct, with volume of 8.937 contracts worth 40.803 million euros.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 14,117 contracts worth 11.555 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (3,609), followed by Eurobank (589), MIG (580), OTE (877), PPC (1,032), OPAP (560), Piraeus Bank (767), GEK (961), Alpha Bank (1,393) and Marfin Popular Bank (771).

    [06] FinMin defends economic policy

    Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou on Wednesday defended the government's economic policy, saying it remained focused on gradually cutting a fiscal deficit below 3.0 pct but not at the expense of social cohesion in the country.

    Commenting on a decision by Standard & Poor's to downgrade Greece's credit rating to A-/A-2 from A-/A-1, the Greek minister said:

    "The main reason why Standard & Poor's downgraded the country is that Greece faces an international financial crisis with high public debt and fiscal deficit. I would like to note, however, that the public debt has fallen to 93 pct of GDP, down from 100 pct in 2004, and that the fiscal deficit has been cut significantly from 7.5 pct of GDP in 2004.

    "It remains, however, at high levels because of the government's decision to put the real economy and supporting weaker classes as a top priority. In a difficult international conjuncture, currently prevailing, minimising deficits by ignoring social consequences cannot be a target. After all, several Eurozone member-states will exceed the 3.0 pct target. We are a country with a high public debt and it is to our benefit -and not because it is imposed by a Stability and Growth Pact- to gradually cut the deficit below 3.0 pct. And this will happen with a plan without leaving behind the need for social cohesion. That's exactly what we will seek with our updated Stability and Growth Program which we will present by the end of month".

    S&P downgraded the country's credit rating because of a decline in competitiveness and higher fiscal deficits. However, S&P maintained the Greek economy's outlook as stable.


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