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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 12-06-29
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Samaras: Greece determined to fulfill bailout obligationsBRUSSELS (AMNA) -- Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, in a letter to the European Union's heads of state and government, re-asserts Athens' volition to fulfill commitments resulting from the country's bailout agreement.
The new Greek prime minister also raises the issue of certain necessary "modifications" to check the unprecedented unemployment and a disastrous recession plaguing Greece.
The letter's contents were unveiled here on Thursday.
President Karolos Papoulias heads a delegation at EU Summit, replacing Samaras, who is recuperating from an operation on his right eye.
"With this letter I would like to reassure you that Greece is absolutely determined to fulfill its obligations emanating from the recent bail-out agreement. The new Government of Greece accepts ownership of the adjustment Programme and is fully committed to its targets, its objectives and all its key policies.
"I will speed up the implementation of the programme with special emphasis on the Privatisation agenda.
"Of course, there is a question of some necessary modifications to the programme in order to control unprecedented unemployment and halt the devastating recession Greece is going through for the fifth consecutive year. This would also ensure that all targets are met ... I am looking forward to meeting you, as soon as my medical doctors allow me to travel," Samaras concludes.
 Growth policy and combatting recession Greece's main targetsBRUSSELS (AMNA/M. Aroni) - Greek President Karolos Papoulias stressed during his address at the European Council in Brussels on Thursday that the development policy with a scale of expenditures and the combatting of recession are Greece's main targets, according to government sources.
Papoulias held a brief conversation on the sidelines of the conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron. Papoulias also held a private meeting with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and was expected to meet with European Commission President Jose Barroso.amna
Papoulias stressed during his address that the funds provided for growth must be adequate and added that for the targets of political cohesion to be achieved "a fair distribution of the funds" is necessary. He further said that the challenge for Greece, as well as for other countries, is how the losses from EU funds will be minimised. He added that for this reason the assessment that will take place on the allocation of the funds must be based on the Greek economy's most recent data that reflect the real situation.
Papoulias also referred to the high unemployment rate, particularly for young people in Greece.amna
Lastly, he said that the member-states that are called on to implement fiscal discipline measures are subject to intolerable pressures.
 The Friday edition of Athens' newspapersThe Friday edition of Athens' newspapers at a glance
The EU Summit in Brussels and Greece's positions, Germany's forced retreat and the merger or abolition of public entities, mostly dominated the headlines on Friday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS:"Exams for 587,467 civil servants!".
AVGHI: "Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' provocative letter: "I accept , I pledge, I accelerate".
DIMOKRATIA: "The MPs did not understand a thing".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Germany's elimination from the euro and the EURO 2012".
ESTIA: "Society suffocates".
ETHNOS: "Closure or merger of 60 Public entities".
IMERISSIA: "Thriller for the euro".
KATHIMERINI: "Athens lowers its expectations".
LOGOS: "Euro-balance of terror".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Germany' isolation increases the European impasses".
RIZOSPASTIS: "PAME (Labour organisation affiliated to Communist Party of Greece): Immediate targets of battle against poverty and destitution".
TA NEA: "Germany lost in two fields".
 Priests arrested for forged payroll scamAMNA--Two priests responsible for managing the payroll for clergy in the Thessaly and Farsala diocese have been arrested on charges of embezzlement and fraud to the amount of 690,000 euros in the first half of 2012. The two are accused of tampering with the amounts recorded on payroll documents in order to rake in large sums on their own behalf.
The two priests, aged 36 and 38 years old, respectively, were arrested in Farsala on Wednesday by Larisa security police. The charges against them include forgery, fraud, embezzlement and extracting false certifications.
Their activities were reported by the finance ministry's financial review board for Thessaly, which found suspicious looking intervention and alteration of sums in the documentation for the Farsala municipality clergy during an inspection carried out two weeks earlier.amna
Another inspection on June 25 showed that the two priests in charge of the payroll had submitted a forged payroll statement to the Farsala tax office, on which the state's share of payroll spending had been increased to 28,864 euros instead of 8,864. Police then lay in wait for the two priests at the bank branch where the money would be withdrawn, catching them in the act of taking the sum of 28,864 euro, of which only 8,864 euro was destined to be used for priests salaries.amna
Police confiscated the additional 20,000 euro, as well as a personal stamp found on the 38-year-old priest and a stamp of the Thessaly diocese that were used to collect the full amount. A search of the 36-year-old priest's home also revealed a number of original payroll documents. These showed that the two suspects had managed to embezzle a total of 690,000 euro using the same method since the start of the year.
 Athens Stock Exchange opening: SurgeEquity prices were rising at the opening of trade on Friday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with the basic share price index up 4.14 percent, standing at 602.25 points at 11:00 am, and turnover at 8.775 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was up 5.83 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was up 4.03 percent.
Individual sector indices were moving upward, with the biggest gains in Banks, up 12.69 percent; Public Utilities, up 6.77 percent and Travel and Recreation, up 5.96 percent .
The only losses were in Commerce, down 0.10 percent.
Of the stocks traded, 46 were up, 5 were down, and 2 were unchanged.
 Pharmacists resume giving drugs on creditAMNA--Pharmacists on Thursday decided to resume supplying drugs on credit to those covered by the state's health insurance provider EOPYY after the first payments for outstanding debts in April started to be disbursed. The news was greeted with relief by thousands of people in Attica and other areas around the country, many of whom had been unable to cover the cost of medication vital for their health.
According to new Health Minister Andreas Lykourentzos, the settling of EOPYY's outstanding debts to pharmacists will be completed by July 5. The management of EOPYY on Wednesday earmarked 127 million euro to settle its debts to pharmacists in April, prompting the Attica Pharmacists Association to suspend its refusal to fill EOPYY prescriptions on credit from Monday.amna
Lykourentzos was notified of the decision by the head of the Attica pharmacists' association Constantine Lourantos during a meeting at the health ministry on Thursday evening. Afterward, Lourantos said he was satisfied that the ministry had upheld its promises and expressed hope that a solution would be found quickly for the outstanding debts of 2011.
The minister said that he understood the problems faced by pharmacies, including a major credit squeeze as a result of the delays in payment, and promised that EOPYY would soon be financed so that it could meet its obligations.amna
The head of the national pharmacists association also contacted the 54 local associations around the country, asking their heads to also stop their mobilisations.amna
He nevertheless warned that pharmacists might soon be forced to stop supplying drugs on credit once again, since the money available for EOPYY in the next month was minimal and it was unclear where the money to pay them would come from.
 Greater Athens hotels' occupancy rates 18pct downAMNA--Hotels in Athens and the surrounding Attica prefecture suffered an 18-pct drop in room occupancy rates in the first five months of 2012, evidence of a crisis hitting the area's tourism sector, official figures showed on Thursday.
A report by the Athens and Attica Hoteliers' Association showed that occupancy rates fell 18 pct in the January-May period, while average room price was down 6.8 pct and revenue per available room dropped 23.5 pct over the same period for all categories of hotels, compared with the corresponding period last year.amna
Occupancy rates dropped 26.5 pct in May, while average room prices were down 10.7 pct and revenue per available room plunged 34.4 pct, the Association said. The report noted that Athens hotels were suffering accumulated losses of between 42-48 pct in the last few years.
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