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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-06-15
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Gov't on Moody's report on Greek economyana-mpa/The Greek government rejected on Monday night a Moody's Investors Service report downgrading Greek bonds to junk, saying that "today's downgrading of the Greek economy by the Moody's firm in no way reflects neither the progress achieved over the past months nor the prospects opening up from fiscal restructuring and the improvement of the country's competitiveness."
A Greek finance ministry statement added that "data on the implementation of the budget show with great clarity that the programme which Greece has agreed with the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund is being carried out as normal, with the deficit having decreased 40 percent compared to 2009. This considerable improvement has been recognised by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. In addition, recession in the first quarter is smaller than what is anticipated by the Memorandum for the entire year. Receipts from VAT, that was created during the first quarter, increased 6 percent while last year they had decreased 11 percent.ana-mpa
"All various structural actions anticipated in the Cooperation Memorandum are being implemented as normal and many are already ahead of the timetable that has been set. The course of the debt, although on an upward trend today, is expected to de-escalate as of 2013 and maybe earlier since more favourable conditions appear to be shaping gradually.
"The Greek Government remains absolutely adherred to the task of monetary adjustment and the improvement of the country's development prospects."
 Samaras urges support for shippingana-mpa/Main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras promised to reinstate the merchant marine ministry if his party returns to power, during an address on Monday to Greek shipping firm representatives and owners. He strongly criticised the government for dividing up the merchant marine ministry into three parts and abolishing the two ministries for shipping and tourism. ana-mpa
"It is as if Saudi Arabia shut down its ministry of oil. Tourism and shipping combined generate more than 30 percent of our country's GDP," Samaras pointed out.
He expressed clear support for the lifting of cabotage, however, saying that this was something that should not be done with "half-measures" and called for an overall reassessment of the country's policy for ports.
 New law for prosecuting ministersAna-MPa/‘he contents of a proposed new law for prosecuting ministers are scheduled to be unveiled to the Cabinet later this week, Justice, Transparency and Human Rights Minister Haris Kastanidis revealed on Monday.ana-mpa
Kastanidis refused to reveal any details about the draft bill before this was shown to the Cabinet but did clarify that the new rules would not have retroactive force, as was the case with all criminal law.
Concerning existing cases of scandal where there is a possibility the statute of limitations under the old law might expire, Kastanidis stressed that the was a "huge legal armoury" dealing with this issue and ensuring that those involved were given fitting punishment.
According to Kastanidis, the decision by the previous Karamanlis government to suddenly end Parliament early aimed to have certain offences statute-barred but this did not necessarily mean that the aim would be achieved.
 Health minister: Medical suppliers using 'blackmail' tacticsana-mpaHealth Minister Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou on Monday charged that hospital suppliers have adopted a "blackmailing stance", which has led public hospitals' finances to the nadir and caused an extreme shortage in some medical supplies.
"The party is over in the sector of health as well," was the minister's statement.
"Despite its pledge to reach a settlement with suppliers and pay off debts, the government is faced with a double blackmail, by those who do not accept the terms of the settlement and by others who do not want new rules to be put into effect, ones aimed at ensuring better pricing and monitoring of hospital procurements," she said.
Xenoyiannakopoulou stated that overpricing practices in previous years generated extravagant profits for hospital suppliers, to the detriment of the social insurance funds and the National Health System (ESY).
 16th Kalamata International Dance Festival16th Kalamata International Dance Festival
The Kalamata International Dance Festival is the crown event of the year for the city's International Dance Centre, which was founded in the spring of 1995 for the purpose of supporting and promoting the art of dance via research, education, and artistic activities and creativity.
Currently in its sixteenth year as an active presence in the Greek dance scene, thanks to the support of the local authorities, the Kalamata Festival has earned itself a special place on the festival map of the Mediterranean South, and built bridges to international dance creativity.
A number of influential figures, whose work is shaping the history of contemporary dance, made their first Greek appearance at Kalamata, while the Festival has also taken care to promote and support Greek creativity in the field by commissioning works from talented Greek choreographers and supporting new companies in their experimental explorations.
Another integral part of the Festival are the seminars and talks aimed at dance students and professions alike, while other parallel events include publications and video dance productions.
From the very start, the Festival was programmed with two considerations in mind: the wide range of trends in contemporary dance and the ever-larger audiences this art-form attracts. Today, sixteen years down the line, every year sees a widely-varied audience enthusiastically respond to the call of the Festival.
Kalamata, the city of dance, is set to host its 16th annual programme of events between the 15th and 22nd of July, 2010.
 Droutsas on GazaLUXEMBOURG (ANA-MPA/V. Demiris) - The European Union's General Affairs Council convened in Brussels on Monday, focusing on developments in the Gaza Strip and the accession prospects of the Western Balkan countries. Greek positions were backed by Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas.
On the question of the blockading of Gaza in the wake of Israel's military operation against the activists' flotilla, the alternate foreign minister said that the EU adopted conclusions that include all the Greek positions expressed recently.
He stressed that with their decisions the "27" presented the framework of a substantive intervention by Europe to enable the flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza to increase, condemning in parallel Israel's action.
According to Droutsas, the EU's foreign ministers spoke clearly about the need for a peace process and called for the holding of a full and in depth independent investigation that will bring everthing to light.
Droutsas further said that Greece and Cyprus assumed a joint effort regarding the increase in the flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza. He maintained that with an understanding with Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the important actors in the region the possibilities will be probed of creating a mechanism for humanitarian aid to be provided in Gaza.
Caption: Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas(L) talks with Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos(R) during the meeting of the European Union's General Affairs Council in Brussels on Monday 15 June 2010. Ana-Mpa/str
 Developments in Siemens caseThe Parliamentary examination committee investigating the Siemens kickbacks scandal has asked that it be allowed to continue its investigation until September 30, by unanimous decision of its members. The request has been initially agreed to by Parliament President Philippos Petsalnikos.
According to the committee chairman Sifis Valyrakis, a team of MPs is preparing to visit Germany in order to examine former Siemens executives Reinhard Siekaczek and Michael Kutschenreuter and try and extract testimony from the main suspect in the Greek scandal, Mihalis Christoforakos.
Christoforakos fled to Germany once the investigation into the Siemens case was begun by Greek justice, managing to avoid extradition to Greece as a German national.
 Plan for Athens-AtticaAna-MpaEnvironment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili on Monday presented a programme for the environmental management of Athens and Attica in 2010-2014, outlining the ministry's priorities for the capital and surrounding countryside.
These included arresting the spread of urban sprawl to rural areas of Attica outside the town plan, better transport options that include bicycle lanes and make heavier use of train and tram routes, a major programme to improve currently run-down inner city areas like Aghios Panteleimonas, Theatrou Square, Kolonos and others, the creation of three metropolitican parks and protection of the Attica countryside and mountains.
The minister clarified that the programme "Athens-Attica 2014" was binding in terms of its goals and directions for the "New Attica Regulatory Plan", which is due to be completed in the form of a draft bill and presented for public debate at the end of 2010.
She also announced that the ministry hoped to have a similar programme ready for Thessaloniki and its surrounding regions within six months.
The ministry programme calls for extensive pedestrianisation in central Athens, including Vassilissis Olgas Avenue and Panepistimiou street, which will only be open to tram and trolley buses.
 Athens Newspaper HeadlinesThe Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
The medical supplies shortage in Greek state hospitals, Jean-Claude Trichet's (European Central Bank-ECB president)encouraging statements and Greece's new downgrading by Moody's, and the EU-ECB-IMF troika's warning for high inflation and long-lasting recession dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "National Health System (ESY) paralyzed - Unbelievable condition in hospitals, patients at risk".
APOGEVMATINI: "The patients in God's hands - National Health System left without gauzes, blood and medicines".
AVGHI: "Unscrupulous interests and government strangling the National Health System".
AVRIANI: "Moody's foresees 'sudden death' for Greek economy".
ELEFTHEROS: "Former Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis: 'They will not dictate to me what to do - I decide when I will speak'."
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Lives in danger in hospitals".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Troika sees the light - They now acknowledge that we cannot bear another cutback in salaries".
ESTIA: "A generation leaves ruins behind it - It has spent more than it has produced".
ETHNOS: "Civil servants' relief fund in the 'red'."
IMERISSIA: "New suspicious quadruple blow from Moody's - Sudden downgrading of Greek economy".
KATHIMERINI: "Hope that the GDP reduction will be less than 4 percent - New downgrading by Moody's".
LOGOS: "Troika's warnings for ....high inflation and long-lasting recession".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Moody's heavy downgrading of the Greek economy took us by surprise".
NIKI: "Scandals and recession are leading the political system to a crash".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Condition in hospitals is tragic".
TA NEA: "Four bravos from Olli Rehn (EU Commissioner for economic and monetary affairs), Jean-Claude Trichet (ECB president) Josef Ackermann (Deutsche Bank CEO) and troika inspectors, and new provocation by Moody's".
TO VIMA: "Moody's plays dirty".
VRADYNI: "Government and troika are devastating the social state".
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