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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-04-09
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 ND on economy, spreads, taxationMain oppositon New Democracy (ND) party spokesman Panos Panayiotopoulos criticised the government and the prime minister on Thursday on the issue of spreads and taxation policy.
Panayiotopoulos attributed responsibilities to the prime minister on the increase of borrowing interest rates, that emanated from a publication in the German media, concerning the supposed leak by a government official.
"The prime minister must assume the responsibilities corresponding to him, he must reveal the official who made the leak and apportion the responsibilities," Panayiotopoulos said.
"Under the conditions that we are experiencing, the government must realise that silence is golden," the spokesman added.
He further said that it would be better if government officials spoke of measures for boosting the market and promoting employment.
 Considerable decrease in budget deficitANA-MPA/The budget deficit decreased considerably by 40 percent in the first quarter of the year, reaching 4.3 billion euros from 7.1 billion euros in the first quarter of 2009.
The figures were announced by Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou in Parliament on Thursday, according to an announcement by the Finance ministry.
 Underage eyewitness defies court hearing Grigoropoulos caseA court in the western town of Amfissa on Thursday ordered that a 17-year-old teenager be forcibly produced as a witness in the trial of two special police guards facing homicide charges linked with the Dec. 6, 2008 shooting death of 15-year-old pupil Alexis Grigoropoulos.
A police document read by the presiding judge mentioned that the teen eyewitness was not at his residence in the Psychiko district of Athens when police arrived before dawn to escort him to Amfissa, based on a court warrant ordering that he testify in the case.
According to the 17-year-old's father, his son left their house during the night and the family has had no contact with him because he has changed his mobile phone number.
Based on these developments, the court also decided to forward excerpts of the court minutes to the first instance court prosecutor's office in Athens to investigate whether the parents of the 17-year-old can be accused of lax supervision of a minor.
 Border police catch six with 50 kilos cannabisA group of six Albanian nationals was caught in the act of smuggling 50 kilos of cannabis into Greece on Thursday, by border police in the mountains of Grevena.
A police announcement said that the foreign nationals were proceeding on foot, carrying sacks full of the illegal drugs on their back. They dropped the drugs and attempted to escape on foot when a patrol attempted to stop and search them.
In the pursuit that ensued, police succeeded in capturing a 25-year-old member of the group while the rest managed to get away and are now being sought.
 Gul, Erdogan receive DroutsasANKARA (ANA-MPA / M. Savva) - Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday received Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, following the conclusion of the latter's working visit here.
The Greek delegation's contacts in the Turkish capital on Thursday aimed to ensure the intensification of "exploratory contacts" with the goal of delineating the Aegean's continental shelf within a "reasonable period of time", and if this is not possible, then recourse to the International Court at The Hague being the next step.
The purpose is for the next round of exploratory contacts to take place before the Turkish prime minister's visit to Athens in mid-May.
According to Greek officials, Athens reiterated that the framework for such talks is absolute respect for territorial integrity, sovereign rights and international law, referring to the latter as essential preconditions for the two countries' substantive rapprochement.
It was also stressed in the talks that Turkey must fulfill commitments towards the European Union, as well as all its member-states, including the Republic of Cyprus.
Droutsas also met with the chairman of the Turkish national assembly's foreign policy committee, Murat Mercan.
Caption: Turkish President Abdullah Gul (R) welcomes Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas (L) on Thursday 8 April 2010 in the presidential mansion in Ankara. ANA-MPA/ Orestis Panagiotou
 Tax bill ratified in principleThe taxation bill was ratified in principle and for its articles at the Parliamentary Economic Committee on Thursday.
The main opposition New Democracy (ND) party voted in favour of about a third of the articles, while it reserved judgement on some others at the Plenum. The Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) voted against in principle and for all, calling in parallel for stricter clauses concerning living criteria and reserved judgement for each of the articles at the Plenum, after examining the changes announced by Yiannis Papaconstantinou. The Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party reserved judgement both in principle and on the articles, while the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) stated that, although it agrees with some of the arrangements in the bill, it votes against all, expressing its opposition to the Finance ministry's bill that is "distinguished by the tax exemptions that it anticipates for the big capital and the big debtors."
 Trichet on Greek spreadsFRANKFURT (ANA-MPA) -- European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet on Thursday declined to comment on the skyrocketing spreads for Greek 10-year bonds, while noting that a joint EU-International Monetary Fund aid programme for Greece outlined by euro-area leaders on March 25 was a "workable statement."
He also emphasised that there was no issue of Greece not being able to make its payments, while it was up to Athens to activate the support mechanism.
 Environment Min. in ParisPARIS (ANA-MPA) -- Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili met in Paris on Thursday with her French counterpar Jean-Louis Borloo.
Their meeting focused on the promotion of bilateral cooperation in the sectors of environmental protection and energy.
They also expressed support to the efforts for a global agreement in the UN convention of climate change to take place in Mexico at the end of the year.
Accompanied by the presidents of Public Power Corporation (PPC) and DE.PA natgas utility, Birbili had contacts with the representatvies of companies active in the energy sector, including GDF SUEZ, EDF Energy, AREVA, for talks on strategic cooperation issues.
 Athens Newspaper HeadlinesThe Friday edition of Athens ' dailies at a glance
The dire condition in the economy and skyrocketing Greek 10-year bond spreads -- 463 basis points -- together with the bourse's "nosedive" and high-profile comments by ECB President Jean Claude Trichet mostly dominated the headlines on Friday in Athens ' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Trichet's explicit statement: 'No bankruptcy issue for Greece '."
APOGEVMATINI: "Government's mishandlings, incessant mistakes and vague EU support plan drive spreads crazy".
AVGHI: "Greek people's sacrifices being lost in spreads".
AVRIANI: "Greek banks take bold initiative to save country from IMF's grip".
ETHNOS: "Corrections in proof of standards of living, taxes - 30 changes in tax bill ".
ELEFTHEROS: "PM George Papandreou dances to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's tune - Ankara dictates and Athens carries out".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Secret moves towards IMF."
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Speculators unstoppable - Derailment of spread exceeded every limit in Greek bonds".
ESTIA: New changes in taxes - Government's unprecedented shoddiness".
IMERISSIA: "Suffocating pressure on markets - Spreads drive us to EU-IMF".
KATHIMERINI: "Black Thursday and IMF, EU on horizon - Athens awaits Brussels to determine details of rescue mechanism".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Trichet: " Greece not threatened with bankruptcy".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Ruthless attack against people as spreads skyrocket".
TA NEA: "23 changes in taxes - Who loses, who gains - The final plan".
VIMA: "Government prepares counter-attack with reforms - Jean Claude Trichet's intervention acts as life jacket".
VRADYNI: "Shock with spreads - They're pressing government to activate the support mechanism".
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