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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-02-19

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM chairs interministerial committee on economy
  • [02] Current accounts deficit at 14 pct of GDP in 2008
  • [03] Police appeal for information on failed car bomb attack

  • [01] PM chairs interministerial committee on economy

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday chaired a meeting of the inter-mnisterial committee on the economy, which was briefed by economy and finance minister Yiannis Papathanassiou on the European Commission report on Greece's updated stability and growth plan recently submitted to the EU by the government.

    Papathanassiou told reporters afterwards that the provisions contained in the plan needed to be applied immediately, adding that his ministry has already begun doing so, noting that in the chapter on spending all the flexible expenditures have been listed, which will be cut by 10 percent, while a 10 percent reduction of all project contracts has also been decided.

    The minister said that the establishment of a civil servants' payment center was also discussed.

    Regarding state revenues, Papathanassiou said that there has been progress in carrying out the required organizational changes so as to render the ministry's mechanisms more efficient.

    Asked whether he was worried about the course of the economy due to terrorism, the election talk and political tension, Papathanassiou stressed that the government has submitted a plan which will be strictly applied to take Greece out of the crisis with the fewest possible repercussions.

    "We are here to monitor it and its implementation continuously," Papathanassiou added.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis

    [02] Current accounts deficit at 14 pct of GDP in 2008

    Greece's current accounts deficit totaled 14 pct of the country's Gross Domestic Product in 2008, the Bank of Greece said on Thursday.

    In a report, the central bank said that foreign direct investments in the country totaled 1.6 billion euros, while the value of stock shares liquidated by foreign investors reached 3.7 billion euros in 2008.

    The country's current accounts deficit widened by 8.0 pct to 35 billion euros, reflecting higher deficits in the trade balance and the incomes balance, despite an increase in the services and current transfers' surpluses.

    The trade deficit grew by 2.5 billion euros last year, reflecting a 2.9 billion euros increase in net payments on fuels, while the trade deficit -excluding fuel and ships- widened by 422 million euros, with export proceeds rising by 1.8 billion euros and import payments rising by 2.3 billion euros. Greek exports grew by 15.2 pct in 2008, while imports rose 5.8 pct.

    The services' surplus grew by 607 million euros, reflecting a 13.3 pct rise in proceeds from merchant shipping, while net proceeds from travel services grew by only 186 million euros.

    The incomes deficit widened by 22.5 pct mainly because of higher net payments on interest, dividends and earnings, while the current transfers surplus grew by 1.2 billion euros due to higher transfer of funds from the EU.

    The financial services balance recorded a net inflow of foreign direct investments totaling 1.7 billion euros, while portfolio investments balance recorded a net inflow of 16.4 billion euros. The "other" investments category recorded a net inflow of 12.1 billion euros.

    [03] Police appeal for information on failed car bomb attack

    Police on Thursday appealed to the public to come forward with any information that may assist their investigation of an attempted powerful car-bomb attack at a Citibank office building in the northern Athens suburb of Kifissia, which was neutralized by bomb-disposal experts.

    A police announcement issued Thursday morning also said that the booby-trapped car contained 60 kilograms of explosives packed in five propane canisters.

    The car, a grey Mazda 323LX bearing the licence plate XIA 1830, had been stolen on January 25 in the Kaisariani residential area, the police announcement said.

    "Anyone with any knowledge regarding the car in question or who was in the area and saw something suspicious is kindly requested to contact the police at the telephone lines 170 or 1014, from a landline or cell phone," the announcement said, stressing that the identity of callers will be protected.

    The announcement further contained photographs of the car for publication, in the hope that someone will recognize it and come forward with valuable information.

    A powerful home-made time-bomb was neutralised by a police bomb-disposal unit at dawn on Wednesday outside a Citibank branch in the upscale northern Athens district of Kifissia, and police later said the bomb was a booby-trapped car filled with a large quantity of explosives, identified as ANFO, left by unknown individuals in the building's parking lot at about 4:30 a.m. The individuals' moves aroused the suspicion of the bank guard, who alerted police after the individuals failed to return for the car.

    Authorities who rushed to the scene discovered that the car was loaded with five propane tanks attached by wiring with a briefcase, and called in the bomb disposal unit. The car-bomb was neutralised via a controlled explosion at roughly 6:40 a.m.It was as yet unknown why the device did not explode. Also, no warning telephone call was made.

    The bomb's mechanism -- comprised of electrical detonators, batteries and two mechanical clocks -- was taken to the police crime lab for examination. The quantity of the involved explosives -- the same used in the Oklahoma federal building bombing -- was reported as unprecedented for local terror gangs.

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