|Sunday, 25 February 2018|
Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-06-16
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 KYSEA cuts military service, arms spendingThe government council for foreign affairs and defence (KYSEA) that met Tuesday chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis approved the reduction of mandatory military service in the ground forces to nine months as well as armaments' spending cuts.
Speaking after the meeting, National Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis stated that the funds saved in 2010 will amount to 15 pct whereas for the next 4 years they will reach 10 pct, adding that they could be used in other social actions planned by the national economy and finance ministry.
As regards the reduction of mandatory military service in the ground forces, Meimarakis stated that the measure would go into effect for all those presenting themselves in August. Shorter reductions will go into effect for those that presented themselves for military service earlier in 2009. Specifically, those who began their national military service last February will serve 11 months in total, while those that began in May will serve 10 months.
Previously, the length of mandatory military service had been exactly one year.
KYSEA was also briefed by the defence minister and the Chief of the National Defence General Staff on the new structure of the NATO forces and the Larissa headquarters.
Earlier, the prime minister had a separate meeting with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.
 Papandreou: government lacks voters' trustThe government lacked the voters' trust and was in a more difficult position after the European Parliament elections, where society had rejected its policies, main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou stressed on Tuesday.
"The government is a part of the crisis, which it created itself, and a hostage of its own dead-end policies, which is why it cannot offer Greece any prospects," PASOK's leader said.
Addressing a meeting of his party's Parliament group coordinating body, Papandreou stressed that the government was unable to undertake initiatives in this way.
He said that PASOK would continue to exercise responsible opposition and address itself to those groups of voters that abstained from the elections, expressing their displeasure toward the entire political system.
The meeting also focused on PASOK's tactics in Parliament, with Papandreou stressing that the party would have an important role to play in the coming months.
PASOK's president said that the party will focus on issues concerning the economy, agriculture, the proposal for changing laws on ministerial responsibility, illegal immigration, tourism, fires and fire-fighting and the government's role in covering up scandals.
On the issue of ministerial responsibility and changing the law, Papandreou accused ruling New Democracy of trying to raise a "smoke-screen" in order to conceal its responsibility for scandals, cover-ups and non-transparent actions.
 Bank of Greece funds study on repercussions of climate changeBank of Greece governor George Provopoulos on Tuesday announced that Greece's central bank has set up a committee of expert scientists and academics from all relevant fields, who will carry out a study on the probable economic, social and environmental repercussions of climate change on Greece.
"The only way to resolve the 'political' problem that climate change represents is to provide governments and society with the broadest possible detailed knowledge on the prospects of climate change and its repercussions, information based on analytical scientific study," Provopoulos said.
Outlining the bank's initiative, the central banker said the expert committee was first formed in March this year and is expected to complete its work within two years, with funding provided by the Bank of Greece.
"Only in this way will today's citizens be concerned - the younger ones about what kind of world they will have to live in during old age, the older ones about the world that their children and grandchildren will inhabit. Only in this way will today's citizens be able to force today's governments to promptly take measures - in other words, ensure that any inertia by governments throughout the world has a "political" cost greater than that of taking measures today for benefits in 2050 or 2100," he stressed.
The study will have two separate phases. The first will cover the larger part of the climate, environmental and socio-economic section of the study, with analysis of the forecasts of climate models in order to estimate the repercussions of climate change on the environment. Then, economic models will be attempt to assess the cost of climate change.
The second phase will combine all the findings and the study will be completed by assessing the cost of the necessary measures and political management, as well as an overall assessment of the environmental and socio-economic benefits of the above approach.
The head of the committee, Athens Academy member Constantine Drakatos, stressed that a number of Greece's most prestigious scientists were voluntarily participating on the committee and expressed conviction that the study would be useful for the national economy but also the start of a permanent surveillance of environmental repercussions on economic affairs in Greece.
 Alavanos on Tsipras leadership, Euro poll resultsThe head of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group Alekos Alavanos on Tuesday underlined the need for SYRIZA and its senior coalition partner, the Coalition of the Left, of Movements and Ecology (SYN), to radically rethink their entire strategy in light of SYRIZA's poor results in the European Parliament elections. He had been asked whether he regretted backing SYN leader Alexis Tsipras for SYN's presidency after Alavanos stepped down as SYN leader himself.
"I haven't reached the conclusion that I regret it but we must definitely look at everything again from the beginning," he told reporters.
Asked whether SYRIZA would go to general elections with Tsipras at the helm, Alavanos said that this was not the main issue but "whether we can learn the right lessons and whether SYRIZA can give people hope."
The disappointing election result had been a small earthquake for SYRIZA and had been followed by after-shocks that would not, however, last very long, he added.
"What worries me is whether SYRIZA will be able to win society's approval and support," he stressed.
He also denied any plans to resign from SYRIZA's leadership, saying that the party was in the midst of a "brave discussion on how to restructure SYRIZA's presence". He confirmed that "improvements and corrections" in SYRIZA's policy were likely to happen.
Alavanos was speaking after the first meeting of SYRIZA's Parliamentary group after the Euro polls, which focused on the party's initiatives in Parliament in the next few months.
 NBG share capital increaseNational Bank of Greece (NBG) on Tuesday announced a planned share capital increase, through which it aims to raise up to 1.25 billion euros. Previous shareholders will be given first option, with two shares for every nine existing shares at 11.30 euros per share. The bank's board will meet on Thursday to decide the exact size of the share capital increase and the precise terms.
The move was praised by Bank of Greece governor George Provopoulos, who said it was positive since it would increase the bank's already strong capital adequacy and also pointed out that increased size also increased competitiveness. The central banker dismissed fears that the share capital increase would drain the Greek stock market of funds, saying that the Greek market was now international and such issues did not arise.
Political reactions to NBG share capital increase
The government on Tuesday welcomed news about a planned share capital increase by the National Bank of Greece (NBG), which announced that it intends to raise some 1.25 billion euros on the stock market.
"The government cannot but be positive about such an initiative, since in this way the country's banking system is protected even more and the conditions are created for the stable and healthy growth of Greek banks," a finance ministry announcement said.
It said that the participation of public-sector organisations in the share capital increase, with the percentage due to them based on their existing holdings, will help to further improve their asset positions.
Main opposition PASOK, however, accused the bank's management of attempting to further reduce the state sector's percentage in the country's largest bank, during a time of great upheaval, and to "throw off" the social insurance funds from the bank's share capital.
According to PASOK's spokesman for economic issues Louka Katseli, NBG was attempting to evade all social and public control by 'revoke' the privileged shares recently bought by the Greek State as part of the bank support package.
She called on the government to state whether and how it intended to guarantee the unobstructed participation of social insurance funds in the share capital increase and that the agreements would be kept, without compromising their viability or damaging their portfolios.
 Stocks plunge 4.62%The Athens Stock Exchange general index fell sharply on Tuesday, plunging 4.62 percent to end at 2,279.96 points. Turnover was 322.5 million euros, of which 2.6 million euros were block trades.
The individual sector indexes all moved lower, with Banks (7.63 percent), Health (7.51 percent), Mass media (5.76 percent) and Personal-Household (5.10 percent) posting the biggest percentage losses of the day.
The FTSE/20 index ended 5.21 percent lower, the FTSE/40 index posted losses of 4.28 percent and the FTSE/80 closed 3.15 percent down.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 200 to 32 with another 27 issues unchanged.
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