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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-01-18

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Samaras cites concerns over Kallikratis plan
  • [02] Moderate quake in western Greece (adds)
  • [03] Protesting farmers' roadblocks affect border crossings
  • [04] Gov't sharply condemns latest arson incident at Hania synagogue
  • [05] Migrant-smuggling arrests north of Athens
  • [06] Stocks drop 2.53% on Mon.

  • [01] Samaras cites concerns over Kallikratis plan

    (ANA-MPA) -- Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras, speaking Monday at the annual Central Union of Municipalities & Communities (KEDKE) conference and immediately after PM George Papandreou detailed the government's plan to merge local government entities around the country, emphasised that his party will avoid a "direct intervention" in local societies, particularly the smaller ones.

    "What we heard from the government is merely a general outline on the situation at hand, yet we detected omissions," he said, charging that any discussion on local administrations' reform and modernisation should first be accompanied by the central government's allocation of 330 million euros it owes local governments from the last three-month period of 2009.

    In repeating his high-profile criticism of the government's intention to naturalise certain categories of non-EU migrants in the country -- i.e. second generation children of migrants -- and allocate voting rights to immigrants, Samaras said the government is rushing to give 250,000 migrants voting rights in the upcoming local elections "believing that it will serve petty party expediencies".

    The former minister decried what he called "interventions" by the government and called for a wide-ranging discussion on specific criteria and rules governing the granting of citizenship and voting rights to migrants.

    In returning to his criticism of the initiative to merge and modern local government entities, dubbed the "Kallikratis" plan, Samaras said the government should clearly spell out its positions ahead of the November local elections and not to create "foregone conclusions".

    "If you do not cooperate with the opposition, with KEDKE and ENAE (the union of prefectures); if you decide to proceed with a piecemeal intervention without funding and necessary resources, you will merely undermine the entire endeavour," the ND leader said during the conference, held at the Athens Concert Hall (Megaron).

    Among one of his ideas, Samaras cited the possibility of one ballot box for the mayor's race and other for municipal councilors.

    "We, in ND, will follow the path of dialogue, fact-based proposals and responsibility. Let the government do the same, as every failure will fall upon its shoulders," he said.

    [02] Moderate quake in western Greece (adds)

    A moderate quake measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale was recorded at 17:56 (local time) on Monday in western Greece.

    The quake's epicentre was located in the region of western Evpalio, 160 km west-northwest of Athens. The quake was particularly felt in the port city of Patras, Nafpaktos and the wider region.

    No damages were reported.

    [03] Protesting farmers' roadblocks affect border crossings

    Rural Development and Food Minister Katerina Batzeli Monday said the "government opts for fair and viable solutions through a dialogue open to all and not for short-lived settlements," pointing out that the "payment of state subsidies, without a planning and lacking a structure in support of the agricultural economy, will have no real effect on the farmers' income."

    Inviting protesting farmers to a dialogue, Batzeli said the farmers' issue does not concern "two sides but the society as a whole and all social partners".

    Batzeli made the statement in response to the demands made by protesting farmers, who have set up roughly 20 tractor roadblocks along the national road network.

    Farmers continue their protests in northern Greece and in Thessaly, central Greece, with motorists being forced to use secondary provincial roads.

    Farmers in the prefecture of Kilkis blocked traffic at the Doirani border station on the border with fYRoM, while a decision will be made later in the evening on whether they will set up blockades at the Ormenio customs post with Bulgaria. Tractors remained at Nea Triglia site in Halkidiki, while traffic was obstructed at the Vogatsiko section in Kastoria and at the Krystallopigi intersection on the Greek-Albanian border.

    The border post of Promachonas with Bulgaria was closed by protesting farmers in Serres Prefecture.

    [04] Gov't sharply condemns latest arson incident at Hania synagogue

    (ANA-MPA) -- The government on Monday categorically condemned the weekend arson attack at a historic synagogue in the Cretan port city of Hania, the second such heinous incident within the past month.

    Meanwhile, the Jewish community of Thessaloniki, the largest in Greece, on Monday added its condemnation of the incident, expressing what it called its "sorrow and indignation".

    The fire that began in the early hours of Saturday morning was extinguished by the fire brigade, but not before it caused an estimated 30,000 euros in damage, burning through the building's wooden roof and floor, several books and archives, among others.

    A police announcement said the fire was set by one or more unidentified individuals that entered the synagogue's yard through an adjacent building and then broke in via a door on the ground floor. The method used to start the fire has not yet been determined.

    [05] Migrant-smuggling arrests north of Athens

    (ANA-MPA) -- Three foreign nationals and a local man were arrested on Monday following the discovery of 22 illegal immigrants crammed into a residence in the Agii Apostoli seaside village, north of Athens.

    According to police, the three foreign suspects will also be charged with assault and extortion, as they are suspected of beating the illegals in order to blackmail their relatives for money.

    The suspects were identified as two Iraqis and a Syrian national, while the detained undocumented foreigners are from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, among them nine minors, one as young as two years old.

    All of the illegal immigrants were ferried into Greece via Turkey, reports state.

    The local man was charged as an accomplice for leasing his property to a criminal ring.

    A handgun, ammunition and cruder weapons were also seized at the site.

    [06] Stocks drop 2.53% on Mon.

    Stocks came under strong selling pressure in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, pushing the composite index of the market below the 2,100 level. The index ended at 2,090.29 points, off 2.53 pct, with turnover a moderate 207.107 million euros.

    The FTSE 20 index dropped 2.69 pct, the FTSE 40 index fell 2.93 pct and the FTSE 80 index fell 2.34 pct. The Health (6.79 pct) and Constructions (5.75 pct) sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while Travel (1.06 pct) and Utilities (0.24 pct) scored gains.

    Elfico (16.22 pct), Fieratex (12.50 pct), Desmos (10 pct) and Lanakam (8.80 pct) were top gainers, while United Textiles (14.29 pct), Klonatex (12.50 pct), Lyberis Publications (10 pct) and Altantic (9.76 pct) were top losers.


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