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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-01-14

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM: Stability plan is our only choice
  • [02] Two aides injured in attack on deputy justice minister's office
  • [03] Trial on beating death of Australian youth Doujon Zammit opened on Lesvos
  • [04] PM: Support for quake-devastated Haiti
  • [05] FinMin unveils Stability Plan
  • [06] Katseli at Hellenic-French Chamber
  • [07] ASE opening: Rise

  • [01] PM: Stability plan is our only choice

    Prime Minister George Papandreou underlined that the effort over the next three years will be crucial for the future of the country, in an address to his Inner Cabinet on Thursday that convened to ratify Greece's updated Stability and Development plan ahead of its submission to the European Commission the following day.

    "We will leave all the deficits behind us," said Papandreou, adding that "we must turn the biggest and most complex crisis of the last decades into an opportunity for the country."

    "We will reverse all the established situations that are holding our country back," stressed Papandreou, who expressed his certainty that the goal of fiscal streamlining in the space of the next three years "is feasible with hard work".

    The premier called for the acceleration of the reforms and changes, underlining that "we know what's to blame better than anyone else", and reiterated his position that "the country's fiscal problem is a symptom of a chronic problem with the way of governance of the country being the tip of the iceberg".

    "Those problems were exacerbated over the preceding five years. We will not succeed in exiting from the crisis in a viable way if we will not confront their causes," he added.

    Papandreou said that the new Stability, Growth a and Restructure plan that will be submitted on Friday to the European Commission does not contain only immediate fiscal adjustment measures, but a substantial part of the Plan concerns the Restructure Program for the country. "It is a plan with very specific and long-term measures that set out reversals everywhere: in the State Budget, taxation, our production model and the function of the state with policies aiming to put an end to mismanagement and the wasteful spending of public money, and at a substantial redistribution of the income." he elucidated.

    "The picture of a helpless country does not befit us. Just as we belied the 'Cassandras' (doomsayers) in the past, we will again do so now. We will not back down. There is no time to waste. The Stability plan is our only choice," stressed Papandreou, expressing belief that "our EU partners will appreciate not only the efforts of a government but of an entire country", adding that, "at the end of this endeavor, every Greek will be proud of his country".

    "We will succeed because it is our historical duty and because this is in the best interest of our country," concluded Papandreou.

    [02] Two aides injured in attack on deputy justice minister's office

    Two aides of deputy justice minister Apostolos Katsifaras were injured on Thursday during an attack by a group of hooded individuals on his first-floor office in downtown Athens.

    The minister's secretary and another assistant were injured when a group of 5-6 people wearing hoods stormed into the office, while about 10 others waited outside the building.

    The assailants beat up Katsifaras' secretary, who was rushed to hospital by ambulance, and also vandalised the office before fleeing.

    Katsifaras was not in his office at the time of the attack, as he was attending an Inner Cabinet meeting.

    Police were investigating the attack and seeking the assailants.

    [03] Trial on beating death of Australian youth Doujon Zammit opened on Lesvos

    The trial began on the island of Lesvos on Wednesday against a former bouncer at a club on the island of Mykonos who is accused of intentional homicide in the death of 20-year-old Australian tourist Doujon Zammit outside the nightclub.

    The trial opened Wednesday after Greece's Supreme Court on December 8 rejected an appeal by the criminal case defendant against a lower appeals court ruling indicting him on intentional homicide charges in the death of Zammit.

    Zammit's beating death, which generated international media coverage, occurred outside a bar on the island of Mykonos in late July 2008.

    The defendant Marios-Sosipatros Antonopoulos, a bouncer at the now defunct "Tropicana" club at the time of the fatal incident, is also charged with the attempted homicide of other foreign tourists accompanying the victim, possession of a lethal weapon and unprovoked grievous bodily harm. Three other men, club staff who were with the primary suspect and were released by a lower court, are co-defendants and face the lesser charge of attempted homicide.

    The trial began with the submission of a series of objections on the trial procedure. Present in court were the victim's father Oliver and mother Rose and his two brothers, who flew to Greece for the court procedure, together with Costas Gribilas, who received Doujon's heart in a transplant after the parents donated Doujon's organs after the young man was declared clinically brain dead.

    "We are putting our faith and trust in the Greek justice system and its lovely people who have supported us so far to send out the right message that this is not Greek behaviour that has been shown," Oliver Zammit said, adding that the perpetrators must be punished.

    The trial will resume on Thursday with Doujon's father, Oliver Zammit, taking the stand.

    The Zammit family has endeared itself to the Greek public, apart from the compassion for the unprovoked loss of their son, with their decision to donate Doujon's organs for transplant. Gribilas, who received Doujon's heart, postponed his honeymoon to be at the Zammit family's side during the trial. Gribilas recently married his sweetheart Poppy in Sydney, with Oliver Zammit standing as his best man.

    The Athens Academy gave an award late last year to Oliver Zammit "for his altruism and noble humanitarianism", while the Greek National Transplant Organization (EOM) honored the family at a special ceremony in Sydney, and the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre in Athens also held a special event to honor the "extraordinary generosity" of the Zammit family, and for raising awareness on organ donation.

    [04] PM: Support for quake-devastated Haiti

    Prime Minister George Papandreou on Thursday voiced support for and solidarity with the people of Haiti following a devastating earthquake that struck "one of the poorest countries of the planet".

    Speaking at the start of a crucial Inner Cabinet meeting on the economy, Papandreou called on his ministers to do everything possible, each in his own area of authority, for immediate Greek assistance to Haiti.

    Papandreou also recalled that Haiti had been the first country, in 1822, to acknowledge the Greek Revolution (against Ottoman rule), while adding that the latest developments "come to remind us that we do not live alone in this world".

    [05] FinMin unveils Stability Plan

    Reduction of the state deficit from 12.7 percent of GDP in 2009 to 8.7 percent in 2010 and to 5.6 percent in 2011 is targeted in the updated Stability and Growth Program to be submitted to the European Commission on Friday, which was unveiled by finance minister George Papaconstantinou during an Inner Cabinet meeting on Thursday.

    For the two following years, the Program also envisages further reduction of the deficit to 2.8 percent of GDP in 2012 and to 2.0 percent in 2013.

    Regarding the state debt, the Program predicts an increase to 120.4 percent of GDP this year, from 113.4 percent in 2009, and a leveling off at 120.6 percent in 2011, followed by de-escalation over the next few years beginning in 2012.

    The Program further envisages reduction of state expenditures and increase in state revenues, while Papaconstantinou put emphasis on the planned reform of the taxation system.

    [06] Katseli at Hellenic-French Chamber

    Katseli addresses Hellenic-French Chamber

    Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Louka Katseli on Wednesday evening spoke at a dinner hosted by the Hellenic-French Chamber of Commerce in Athens.

    The Minister focused on the government's actions and aims in economic policy that will also bring the enhancement and invigoration of Greece's and France's bilateral trade relations.

    Katseli gave a speech on the theme "2010: Prospects in cooperation and development" and emphasised the government's Stability plan and her ministry's initiatives to boost liquidity in market and reduce bureaucracy, in the foundation and operation of enterprises in Greece. She also referred to the role that the programme "Invest in Greece" and the Exports Promotion Organisation (OPE) may play in the future.

    The new staff members at the French Embassy in Athens and new managing directors of member-companies of the Hellenic-French Chamber of Commerce (Alstom Hellas, Alstom Transport, Danone, Emporiki Asset Management, Emporiki Bank, Gefyra, Geniki Bank, Gras Savoye, I.F.A., Interattica, L'Oreal Hellas, Olympia Odos êéUbifrance) were presented before the dinner.

    [07] ASE opening: Rise

    Equity prices were rising at the opening of trade on Thursday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with the basic share price index up 0.43 percent, standing at 2,182.69 points at 11:00 a.m., and turnover at 46,881 million euros.

    The biggest gains were in Travel and Recreation, up 2.00 percent and Financial Services, up 1.13 percent.

    The biggest losses were in Oil and Gas, down 2.38 percent and Media, down 1.78 percent.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was up 0.45 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was down 0.17 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index was up 0.71 percent.

    Of the stocks moved, 55 were up, 27 were down, and 27 were unchanged.


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