|Thursday, 14 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-01-29
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 PM: Greece has not asked for help or rescueRome (ANA-MPA/Th. Andreadis) -- Prime minister George Papandreou reiterated that Greece is not seeking help and has made no request for rescue, stressing that "my government has clearly stated that we will solve our problems ourselves", but warned that what is happening in Greece today could happen in other country tomorrow, in an interview with the Italian financial daily "Milano Il Sole 24 Ore" appearing on Friday.
Asked whether Greece truly does not need an EU rescue plan or and IMF loan, as stated repeatedly by the Athens government, Papandreou replied that "Greece is not seeking help and has made no request for rescue".
"My government has clearly stated that we will solve our problems ourselves. It is true that the deficit is at 12.7 percent, much higher than what we expected when we took over the government. Although we inherited these problems from our predecessors (in the government) we are working fervidly to solve them. We started out by applying a series of deep reforms that will bring the deficit below the Maastricht levels over the next three years," he said.
"However, our European partners must realise that these are common problems at a time of great difficulty for the international economy," Papandreou continued, adding that "today we are talking about Greece, but tomorrow it could be some other country's turn. It is important that we use this crisis as an opportunity to set out new ways with which the European institutions can contribute, averting a repeat of such kinds of problems," the Greek premier explained.
Asked if he believed there could be problems in Parliament regarding ratification of the Stability plan, Papandreou said that "the decisions of the preceding government led us to an impasse and now we must proceed with radical reforms to correct our course".
"This means sacrifices by everyone. The Greek people gave our party an unprecedented parliamentary majority. I have great confidence that there will be no problem in approval of the plan by Parliament," he added.
Papandreou further said that tax-evasion is perhaps the biggest problem in the country's balance sheet. "In the context of our effort to broaden the tax base we recently began a campaign calling on the citizens to ask for and keep receipts from every service. We are focusing on reducing unnecessary expenditures in the state sector, and also on cutting back public sector salaries."
Questioned how his party could be modernised when one was facing such a broad economic crisis, the premier explained that "such a big crisis was needed in order for the political institutions to be modernised".
"In good times, we cease to take tough decisions. The lesson we can draw from this crisis is that we all need to be more transparent and responsible, from the banks to the political parties. The politicians' views should contribute to the formulation of our policies. This process marks the beginning of a new kind of socialist governance, with a much more active role of the citizens," Papandreou explained.
Asked if greater coordination is necessary in the eurozone's tax policy, the Greek prime minister replied in the affirmative.
"Yes, the global recession has caused unprecedented economic instability and deficits. This requires a sense of responsibility and European economic governance. A closer coordination at European level is of fundamental importance. More solidarity is also needed," Papandreou said.
To another question, the premier said he believes that the Greek people have cognizance of the severity of the situation. "There is a vision we all share. We know that we cannot move forward this way. Although the reforms will be painful, the people know that in the long run we will all be better off," he said.
"We have a unique opportunity to put our country on this virtuous course, and we are determined not to miss this opportunity," the Greek premier concluded.
 Arson attacks in Athens, Thessaloniki(ANA-MPA) -- A number of arson attacks were recorded overnight in Athens targeting parked vehicles. A company truck parked in the district of Exarchia was set ablaze on Thursday night and was slightly damaged. Two propane canisters found intact at the scene are being examined by police.
A few hours later two UN vehicles parked in the Athens district of Nea Smyrni were completely destroyed when unidentified individuals doused them with flammable liquid and set them on fire.
Another truck parked in the district of Zografos was slightly damaged in a similar arson attack.
A few minutes earlier, at 1:05 am, a group of 8-10 individuals broke the glass faĆ§ade of the local offices of main opposition New Democracy (ND) party in Nea Smyrni and set them on fire using flammable liquid. The damage caused was minor.
In Thessaloniki, a number of high-end cars parked in different parts of the city were set ablaze between 2:40 a.m. and 2:45 a.m. The arson attacks continued at 4:35 a.m. in the municipality of Kalamaria where firefighters quickly put out a fire before spreading to a fast food outlet. A nearby bank ATM was completely destroyed.
The "modus operandi" of the attacks points to self-styled anarchist youths mostly active in criminal mischief in central Athens and Thessaloniki.
 Exploration of shipwreck of PolyaigosThe Culture Ministry intends to designate a shipwreck off the tiny uninhabited Cycladic isle of Polyaigos, in the central Aegean, as a "underwater archaeological site" after completion of an initial examination of finds that surfaced during recent marine digs, according to a ministry announcement.
Divers on the maritime excavations in November 2009 recovered vases dating back to the 4th and 5th centuries BC from depths of 25-49 meters off the coast of Polyaigos.
Aquatic archaeologists brought up such artifacts as amphorae used for carrying, and small table ceramic vases, all intact, as well as fragments of the shipwrecked vessel's anchor.
A team from the the underwater antiquities Ephoreia comprised of archaeologist-divers Elias Spondylis, George Koutsouflakis and Efstathios Stathis, depth technicians Petros Tsampourakis and Ludwig Mersenier, and underwater photographer/cinematographer Vassilis Mentoyiannis, in November made an initial exploration of the wreck site, which had been spotted in 2004. The ancient vessel was loaded with amphorae, which are scattered around the wreck in two main concentrations.
An analysis of the amphorae recovered dated the wreck to between the end of the 5th century BC and the first half of the 4th century BC.
At least three types of amphorae were identified, of which one originated from ancient Peparithos (the island of Skopelos), while the others were closely identified with Classical Era amphorae workshops of the northern Aegean.
Four of the intact amphorae recovered were pointed-bottom carrying vessels, while the other two intact amphorae were smaller ceramic table vases.
Fragments of the ship's anchor were also found.
According to the ministry, the Polyaigos shipwreck sheds light in the study of sea-borne commercial routes of the Classical period and the movement of goods in the southwestern part of the Cyclades island chain.
The shipwreck was photographed in detail, resulting in a high-definition photo-mosaic, and also filmed, while procedures have been set in motion to designate the area as an underwater archaeological site.
Polyaigos lies near the islands of Milos and Kimolos.
Its name means "many goats", given that it is inhabited only by flocks of goats -- belonging to shepherds from nearby Milos and Kimolos -- that roam its two mountains, Stroggylos, which rises to 330 meters, and Psilo Vouno (meaning 'high mountain'), which rises to 370 meters.
Although barren due to grazing by the livestock, Polyaigos has a sprinkling of breathtaking beaches, mainly on the southern coast of the island, but also a large number of sea-surface caves that are home to a population of the Monachus monachus Mediterranean monk seal, one of the most endangered species of mammals in the world.
 Farmers block PromachonasProtesting farmers, in their 15th day of roadblocks, on Friday blocked again the Promachonas border post which, however, had remained open during the night. Egnatia motorway is also closed at the Kedryllia intersection while the Serres-Thessaloniki old highway is open.
Meanwhile, the coordinating body of farmers at the Promachonas roadblocks held a meeting in Malgara, Thessaloniki with protesting farmers from Macedonia and Thrace to specify the framework of their demands.
The talks among the farmers' representatives will continue on Saturday at Angistro, Serres, where a final decision will be reached. The farmers' demands will then be forwarded to Agricultural Development and Food Minister Katerina Batzeli.
Grevena prefecture farmers will block for one hour (3:30-4:30 pm) on Friday, the Egnatia motorway at the Mersina intersection. Farmers will proceed with the closing of the road because, as they stated, they are not satisfied with the outcome of their coordinating body's meeting with Agricultureal Development and Food Minister Katerina Batzeli
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