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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-02-17

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Police break up gang of foreign nationals holding man captive for ransom
  • [02] Banknotes Museum of Corfu: A sojourn through Greece's economic history
  • [03] Rise at ASE opening
  • [04] Athens Newspaper Headlines

  • [01] Police break up gang of foreign nationals holding man captive for ransom

    Thessaloniki police late Tuesday broke up a gang of Pakistani nationals who were holding captive a 24-year-old fellow national in demand of ransom, it was made known on Wednesday.

    Three of the four gang members were arrested in a coordinated operation between the Thessaloniki security police's crimes against life division and the Athens security police branch in the Peristeri district.

    According to the Thessaloniki general police directorate, the gang comprised four Pakistani nationals aged 24-30, who took the 24-year-old Pakistani's documents and personal effects and held him captive in a shack in Diavata, Thessaloniki. The gang grabbed the captive last week while he was en route from Athens for work in northern Greece.

    The gang then contacted the captive's mother and sister in Pakistan, demanding 10,000 euros for his release, instructing that they deposit the money in a bank abroad.

    The captive managed to escape however, and was spotted by a police patrol car in nearby Oreokastro, and informed the police of the situation.

    Police then raided the shack, where they found and arrested three of the gang members, as well as several pistols, 30 hunting rifles and ammunition, which were confiscated. The fourth gang member is wanted.

    [02] Banknotes Museum of Corfu: A sojourn through Greece's economic history

    The Ionian island of Corfu, home of the mythical Phaiakes, or Phaeacians, one of a race of people inhabiting the island of Scheria (identified with present-day Corfu) visited by Odysseus on his way home from the Trojan War, is home to the Banknote Museum of Greece, the only one of its kind in Greece and one of the very few in the world, with a comprehensive and continuously expanding collection.

    The Banknotes Museum is housed on the first floor of the preserved building that was the first branch of the Ionian Bank (now Alpha Bank) in Corfu, and showcases a near-complete collection of Greek banknotes, from the very first ones circulated in 1822 to the last ones withdrawn in 2002 with the advent of the euro, sketches, essays and printing plates for various Greek banknotes, archive material (documents, accounting books, checks, photographs relating to the history of the Ionian Bank), and a complete series of the last issues of the national banknotes by the euro-zone member states before their replacement by the single currency, the euro, as well as a reproduction of the mondern manufacturing process of banknotes. The collection numbers more than 2,000 items.

    The building was designed by Corfiote architect Ioannis Chronis circa 1840, and the Museum was founded by the Ionian Bank in 1981. Ionian Bank merged with Alpha Bank in 2000 and three years later the Museum was closed for renovation, reopening in 2005 with an additional exhibit hall added showcasing "Ionian Bank Limited", which was a British venture and the first bank to operate in Greek territory.

    Museum curator and historian Aris Rapidis undertook the renovation and coordination of the radical reorganisation of the collection in accordance with the latest museological standards.

    The second floor of the building was configured into an exhibition hall in July 2007, with the purpose of hosting visual art exhibitions and other cultural events. The inaugural event was the exhibition ''Greek Costumes - Printed sources of the 16th-20th centuries'', jointly organised with the Benaki Museum.

    The Banknotes Museum contains historical material pertaining to the history of the Ionian Bank and a complete series of the last issues of the national banknotes of the eurozone states prior to replacement by the euro. The manufacturing process of banknotes is included among the exhibits as well as the method of adding a watermark, while a workshop details the metal plate engraving process.

    The Banknotes Museum's collection is considered one of the most complete of its kind in the world, and includes the first treasury bonds issued by the newly-liberated Greek State in 1822 up until the replacement of the national currency, the drachma, by the euro in 2002.

    The exhibits include some rare specimens of Greek currency, including the 1860 "colonata".

    One of the rarest banknotes on exhibit is one depicting the Byzantine church of Aghia Sophia in Constantinople, designed in 1920, without the Ottoman minarets, but it was never circulated since the Asia Minor disaster occurred only a few years later.

    Also on display are the first banknotes issued by the first Governor of Greece Ioannis Kapodistrias, featuring a rose colored phoenix on a white background, while the collection also contains the pre-Kapodistrias treasury bonds issued by the provisional Greek government in "grossia" (or pisters).

    With the establishment of the National Bank of Greece in 1841, the ancient drachma once again became the official currency of Greece. On display are the first banknotes printed by the British printing houses Perkins Bacon and Bradbury Wilkins, followed by the American Banknote Company that succeeded the British at the turn of the century, which printed Greek banknotes up to about 1982, when the Bnak of Greece undertook the printing of the country's currency.

    Rare art deco style banknotes, printed in France, some featuring Hermes, allegorically depict the continuity of the Greek currence and commerce from antiquity to the 1930s, while the exhibition further includes banknotes issued during WWII by the occupying Axis forces, and banknotes issued by the provisional "mountain government", which was valued against the equivalent value of kilograms of wheat.

    Another highlight is the 100 billion drachma banknote issued during the hyperinflation year of 1944, which remains the highest banknote denomination in Greece. After the hyperinflation ended, its value fell to just 2 drachma.

    [03] Rise at ASE opening

    Equity prices were rising at the opening of trade on Wednesday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with the basic share price index up 1.43 percent, standing at 1,893.62 points at 11:15 a.m., and turnover at 20.984 million euros.

    Individual sector indices were moving upward nearly across the board, with the only losses in Food & Beverage, down 0.38 percent.

    The biggest gains were in Telecoms, up 2.78 percent; and Banks, up 2.63 percent.

    The biggest losses were in Public Utilities, down 2.63 percent; and Banks, down 2.60 percent.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was up 1.84 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was up 0.71 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index was up 0.74 percent.

    Of the stocks moved, 60 were up, 7 were down, and 10 were unchanged.

    [04] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    EU pressure on Greece for additional austerity measures, the announcement of the establishment of a fact-finding commission on the economy, prime minister George Papandreou's talks in Moscow and a bloody clash between police and bank robbers in Vyronas in which a citizen was killed were the main front-page items in Athens' dailies on Wednesday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Athens a second 'Chicago' - Plethora of unbelievable crimes and robberies".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Deadly battle with Albanian (bank) robbers - The perpetrators were the same ones who grabbed the weaponry of a police patrol car crew Monday night in Maroussi".

    AVGHI: "Death blow instead of support measures".

    AVRIANI: "Foreign banks 'cutting' credit to Greek merchants and industrialists".

    CHORA: "Brussels will decide for Greece in absentia - The economy under stifling surveillance".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Two resounding slaps for George (prime minister Papandreou) from Moscow - Putin and Medvedev in aggressive mood".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The country is collapsing and the government is setting up fact-finding commissions".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Burning fact-finding commission on the economy, to see who skyrocketed deficits and budgets".

    ESTIA: "Political bravery necessary - The prime minister spoke frankly".

    ETHNOS: "The fiasco ended in tragedy - Double miss by police, resulting in an innocent victim".

    IMERISSIA: "Additional measures for (collection of) 3 billion euros - EU: Reduce the deficit by 5.25 percentage points this year".

    KATHIMERINI: "EU calls for new measures with or without Greece's consent by March 16".

    LOGOS: "The '14th salary' (half-salary Easter and summer holiday bonuses) the target - Stifling pressure on Greece - Papaconstantinou (finance minister) left the possibility open".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "EU calls for imposition of new taxes and reduction of expenditures".

    NIKI: "Catharsis here and now - The crime against the economy has a name".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Popular insubordination now to EU, government, plutocracy - Ecofin decided new, heavier anti-labor measures".

    TA NEA: "New ultimatum: Dismissals in public sector - Cut in the '13th salary' (full-salary Christmas bonus) as well - Brussels demands even tougher measures".

    TO VIMA: "Karamanlis (preceding ND prime minister) and Alogoskoufis (economy and finance minister in preceding ND government) face the 'bench' over the shipwreck - Fact-finding commission on the economy".

    VRADYNI: "Pensions, benefits up in the air - Major social security Funds in the 'red'."

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