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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-07-20

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM: Wound of Cyprus occupation must close
  • [02] Economy in the spotlight
  • [03] Journalist gunned down in Athens
  • [04] 'Banks will pass stress tests'
  • [05] Rise at ASE opening

  • [01] PM: Wound of Cyprus occupation must close

    Prime minister George Papandreou will meet on Tuesday with visiting Cyprus foreign minister Marios Kyprianou, while on Wednesday he will have a brief discussion with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias at Larnaca Airport, where he will be in transit for a few hours en route to Israel and Palestine.

    Papandreou said the situation in Cyprus must end and the wound of the unacceptable occupation must close, and called on Turkey to manifest the necessary political will for a just settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    In a message on Monday marking the 36th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of the northern part of Cyprus, the premier reiterated Greece's active support for the efforts by President Christofias to achieve a settlement of the Cyprus problem at the negotiations table, adding that for Greece the Cyprus problem is a top national priority.

    He also called on Turkey to manifest the necessary political will for a just settlement of the Cyprus issue, without which there can be no full normalisation in Greek-Turkish relations. "It's (Turkey's) role is crucial and decisive for a speedy solution to the problem," Papandreou added, in a message.

    "The current situation in Cyprus is unacceptable and must be terminated," Papandreou said, and stressed the need for a just, viable and functional settlement based on the UN Security Council resolutions and EU decisions...a solution of a bicommunal, bizonal federation with a single sovereignty, a single international entity and a single citizenship.

    [02] Economy in the spotlight

    The Greek economy will be in the spotlight in the coming days, as a team of experts of the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) "troika" are due in Athens later in the month for the first full review of the country's economic stability program.

    In an interview with the UK newspaper Guardian, prime minister George Papandreou said that Greece is on a normalised path, while an IMF interim report issued on Friday said that the Greek stability program is broadly on track, with the Greek authorities having made considerable progress in putting the public finances on a sustainable path and having implemented major reforms ahead of schedule.

    [03] Journalist gunned down in Athens

    Ballistics tests on cartridges collected from the crime scene have linked the dawn shooting of journalist Socrates Giolias to the terror group "Revolutionaries' Sect", police announced on Monday.

    The ambush killing was quickly condemned by the country's political leaders.

    Giolias, 37, general director of the private Thema 98.9 FM radio station and long-time former associate of investigative journalist Makis Triantafyllopoulos, was riddled with bullets outside his home in Ilioupolis by unidentified individuals in the early hours of Monday morning.

    A ballistics investigation of cartridges collected from the scene of the shooting revealed that both weapons have been used in all three past attacks by the terror group "Revolutionaries' Sect".

    Police found a total of 16 9mm cartridges, of which 13 came from the same gun used in the June 2009 murder of 41-year-old counter-terrorism police officer Nektarios Savvas, who was gunned down in Patissia while guarding a key female witness in the trial of the urban guerrilla group "Revolutionary Popular Struggle". The woman had been in a witness protection programme since 2002. Officer Savvas was also riddled with bullets in the attack.

    The remaining three were fired from a different 9mm pistol that had also been used in the Patissia attack, as well as in the armed attack on Korydallos police station in February 3 2009 and an attack on Alter television station on February 17 the same year.

    The cartridges fired by the specific gun are also a match for a cartridge found on the gravestone of Alexandros Grigoropoulos, a teenage boy shot by two police guards in December 2008, on the day after the attack on the Korydallos police station, along with a proclamation claiming responsibility for the specific attack.

    According to a statement to police by Giolias' wife, an unknown man rang the doorbell of their second-floor apartment at about 5:20 a.m. and when Giolias opened the door the man told him that the alarm of his car, parked outside the apartment building, had gone off.

    When Giolias descended to the building entrance where he had parked his car, the gunmen were waiting in ambush and shot him several times as he came out of the elevator, killing him on the spot.

    The perpetrators, tentatively believed to be three, fled in a car.

    At around 7:00 a.m. a burned car was found approximately 1.5 kilometers from the murder scene, and police believe it was the killers' getaway car. The car had been stolen from nearby Alimos two days earlier (Saturday, July 7) and its theft had been reported by the owner to the local police station.

    The motives of the killing are still unknown, and police are examining all possibilities.

    According to an eye-witness account, the perpetrators were at least three and were wearing uniforms, possibly of a security company or the municipal police.

    Based on the method used and ferocity of the attack, police initially surmised that it was a contract killing, since the attack was well-organised.

    Giolias' wife, who has suffered an intense shock, and the couple's 3-year-old child were in the apartment at the time of the killing.

    Reactions

    The government expressed its strong condemnation of the "cowardly, cold-blooded murder", and expressed its condolences to the victim's family.

    "Democracy and freedom of speech cannot be muzzled, terrorised or threatened," government spokesman George Petalotis said, adding that the authorities have already taken action to arrest the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

    Petalotis disassociated the killing from "social violence", warning that "if we adopt such an idea, it would be tantamount to lending legitimacy to what happened".

    In a written statement, parliament president Philippos Petsalnikos, on behalf of the House, expressed rage and grief over the killing, and conveyed the MPs' condolences to Giolias' family.

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party press officer Panos Panagiotopoulos, a former journalist himself, said the "cold-blooded murder of journalist Socrates Giolias creates sentiments of abhorrence in the public and shocks the journalistic family, of which he was an eminent member".

    He added that Greek society was expecting the authorities to quickly solve "this very dark case" and "locate and arrest the murderers as speedily as possible".

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) condemned "the heinous murder" and expressed its condolences to the deceased's family.

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis said that "today is a sad day because not only a courageous journalist was murdered but journalism itself".

    "Socrates Giolias' murder was an act of intimidation, a death contract signed by those who were displeased with Socrates' revealing reporting," Karatzaferis added.

    The Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) said the "gangster-style" murder has caused shock among journalists but also more generally as well, and expressed its condolences to the deceased's family.

    The Panhellenic Federation of Journalists' Unions (POESY) strongly condemned the killing, adding that the execution of the killing employed the most barbarous method witnessed by Greek society, and renders imperative the immediate and drastic action of the authorities to solve the crime and bring the perpetrators to justice.

    POESY also expressed condolences to Giolias' family, stressing that it was at their side.

    [04] 'Banks will pass stress tests'

    Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou on Monday appeared confident that Greek banks will be able to pass upcoming stress tests successfully and said that the government was carefully examining a proposal by Piraeus Bank to acquire ATEbank and Hellenic Postbank for 701 million euros.

    "The government is examining every proposal very carefully -based on the public interest and viability of Greek banks, of the banking system and of the Greek economy in general- with open procedures for all," he said while addressing an event on "the Greek economy and the Stability Program".

    The Greek minister stressed also, that despite the fact that the Greek banking system exited the crisis relatively unscathed, it was currently in a difficult turning point. While certain that stress tests will be passed, he urged Greek banks -traditionally one of the most important engines of growth- to implement changes and restructuring plans.

    Commenting on the prospects of the Greek economy, Papaconstantinou said he was optimistic it would win the budget bet, as budget revenues will be boosted by new VAT hikes and special fuel consumption taxes along with additional cuts in public wages, pensions and subsidies. He also announced the government's next round of interventions, by reining in overspending in the health sector and similar problems in municipal authorities, public sector enterprises and pension funds. He said a reform of the pension system was "deeply fair", while he welcomed the signing of a national collective labour agreement.

    Papaconstantinou sounded certain that despite sacrifices and problems, citizens were supporting the government, as they have acknowledged the necessity of the measures. The government‚s big challenge is to persuade citizens there was light at the end of the tunnel and that all burdens would be equally distributed. He reiterated that the government did not fear any political cost for its policies and it would not back down under any pressure. Papaconstantinou said economic growth will return when confidence was re-established and private initiative begins working. He called on Greek shipowners to return capital in the country.

    [05] Rise at ASE opening

    Equity prices were rising at the opening of trade on Tuesday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with the basic share price index up 0.40 percent, standing at 1,633.12 points at 11:15 am, and turnover at 16.955 million euros.

    Individual sector indices were moving mostly upward, with the biggest gains in Insurance, up 1.50 percent; and Travel & Recreation, up 0.91 percent.

    The biggest losses were in Construction, down 1.20 percent; and Food & Beverage, down 0.71 percent.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was up 0.30 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was up 0.02 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index was up 0.69 percent.

    Of the stocks traded, 33 were up, 26 were down, and 39 were unchanged.


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