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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 12-07-06
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 PM meets troika, says government will speed up reformsAMNA--Meeting the head of the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund 'troika' mission in Athens on Thursday, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras underlined the government's willingness to make more decisive progress in the fiscal consolidation programme for Greece and accelerate structural reforms that would allow the economy to recover, create jobs and strengthen social cohesion.
The meeting lasted nearly an hour, during which Samaras outlined his main positions for the future of the Greek economy as these were laid out in his letter to the Eurozone member-state leaders at their recent summit, including the premier's statement that Greece accepts 'ownership' of the fiscal programme.amna
According to one of the prime minister's aides, the government intends to first implement policies that produce tangible results and then seek a renegotiation of bailout terms. Emphasis is also given to the meeting between the troika and Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Sunday, after which the finance minister will travel to Brussels to attend the Eurogroup. The government's goal is to avoid the necessity for ratification of any decisions taken by European member-states by EU national parliaments, which it believes will introduce further complications and launch a new round of debate concerning the Greek problem.
 Venizelos calls for extension of fiscal adjustmentAMNA--Greece now needs the clear political support of its partners, so that the fiscal crisis will not turn into a crisis of social cohesion and political dysfunction, because Greece cannot serve as a "laboratory of failure of the eurozone policies" but rather of those policies' renewal to bring it out of the crisis, PASOK party leader Evangelos Venizelos told a meeting of his party's parliamentary group.
He said that "we need an agreed, realistic and applicable framework that is in harmony with the decisions of the European Council", adding the Mid-Term framework currently in effect was inadequate and therefore a new, realistic, updated Medium-Term Programme is needed, with extension of the fiscal adjustment to 2017.amna
Greece, he continued, states its preparedness to apply all the necessary reforms and structural changes that are linked to changing the state, growth and the creation of jobs, but added that blatant dismissals in the public could not be made and are not required, but rather an overall evaluation of the structures, services and personnel in the public sector.
 New FinMIn: There's light at end of tunnel; tunnel longAMNA / "Starting today we are entering very deep waters. We have difficult years ahead and we can only promise hard work. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but the tunnel is long," new Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters during a swearing-in ceremony at the ministry, Stournaras stressed: "We are taking over at perhaps the most difficult time for the Greek economy".
Commenting on his meeting earlier with the heads of the EC-ECB-IMF "troika", the minister said that the troika representatives was briefed over the situation of the Greek economy after two general elections, adding that the programe was both in and out of the framework. amna
"We do not see the troika as occupiers, we see them as colleagues, they represent creditors and we are obliged to live together," Stournaras said. The new FinMin said he will brief his European colleagues at the Eurogroup next Monday over the condition of the Greek economy.amna
 Votanikos-Alexandras twin regeneration projectAMNA--An environmental study on the Votanikos-Alexandras Avenue twin regeneration project was approved on Thursday by the Regional Attica Council, giving the "green light" to the largest project ever implemented in the municipality.
Regional Governor Yiannis Sgouros said the approved environmental impact study is in compliance with a relevant Council of State (CoS) ruling.
The long-standing twin urban regeneration project involves the old Alexandras Avenue Panathinaikos pitch and the currently run-down Votanikos district in downtown Athens. amna
According to the current plan, building construction at the Votanikos site will be reduced by 66,000 square meters, while open spaces and "green" areas will be increased by 30,000 square meters. A total of 178,000 square meters will become public recreation spaces and "green" areas, while 43,000 square meters of private real estate will be turned into a department store.
 Three individuls threw handgrenade against police officersAMNA--Three unknown individuals on early Friday threw a handgrenade against police officers and shot at them, in the Athens district of Neos Kosmos.
At about 4:20 the three perpetrators, who also had a bicycle, saw a passing police car and, for no apparent reason, abandoned the bicycle and fled.
A pursuit followed, during which the suspects threw the handgrenade and opened fire against police, managing to flee.amna
No injuries were reported from the hangrenade's explosion, only damage to four parked cars.amna
The evidence collected from the spot was sent to police labs. An investigation is underway.
 The Friday edition of Athens' dailiesThe Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
The troika's meetings with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Thursday, the crucial decisions for the economy and the debate on government policy that opens on Friday in parliament, mostly dominated the headlines on Friday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Changes in Memorandum mandatory".
AVGHI: "End to the 're-negotiation' bubble".
AVRIANI: "The programme is not working and changes are necessary".
DIMOKRATIA: "They ask for blood again".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Pensioners and social security funds are collapsing".
ESTIA: "Crucial decisions for the Economy".
ETHNOS: "Landing....on troika's thorns".
IMERISSIA: "Troika message: Come back to earth".
KATHIMERINI: "Harsh start from troika".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Memorandum programme out of targets".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Antipopular commitments and government's barbarous measures".
TA NEA: "Cheaper loan installments".
 Finances of insurance funds worseningAMNA--The situation concerning insurance funds is shaky according to data provided on Thursday at the 2nd annual regular conference of the Panhellenic Federation of Social Policy Organisations Staff.
According to the Federation's president Thanassis Kapotas, the Social Insurance Fund (IKA) must secure 1.4 billion by the end of the year or 350 million a month to be able to meet its commitments.amna
As regards the Self-Employed Professionals Insurance Organisation (OAEE), the Organisation's deficit expected for this year is about 830 million euros.
 Athens Stock Exchange opening: Small declineAMNA--Equity prices were declining at the opening of trade on Friday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with the basic share price index down 0.11 percent, standing at 636.34 points at 11:00 am, and turnover at 1.77 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was down 0.30 percent, while the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was down 0.07 percent.
Individual sector indices were moving mostly downward, with the only gains in Technology, up 1.04 percent; Health, up 0.30 and Food and Beverages, up 0.14 percent.
The biggest losses were in Personal and Household Goods, down 1.53 percent; Telecoms, down 1.36 percent and Raw Materials, down 1.27 percent.
Of the stocks traded, 12 were up, 19 were down, and 7 were unchanged.
 Epidaurus Festival opens Friday with 'Oedipus the King'AMNA--This summer's Epidaurus Festival opens Friday with a performance of Sophocles' ancient tragedy "Oedipus the King" (Oedipus Rex) at the ancient Epidaurus open-air theater, translated by Minus Volonakis and directed by Cezaris Grauzinis, in a co-production of the Volos Regional Municipal Theatre's Aptivities company and the Greek Festival
Oedipus, the child of Fate. Fate, the mother of Crisis. As the archetypal man in crisis, Oedipus tempts his own fate. The emblematic tragedy "Oedipus Rex" by Sophocles (430-425 BC), directed by Lithuanian director Cezaris Grauzinis, unfolds like a rite initiating the audience into the truth of tragedy, into mercy and into fear. The all-male cast employs theatre's most fundamental tools to present the sacred game: the struggle of the man who, in losing himself, gains knowledge of the gods. amna
The all-male cast stars popular Greek actors Emilios Chilakis and Constantine Markoulakis, together with Christos Sapountzis, Kostas Koronaios, Alberto Fais, Giannis Tseberlidis, Kostas Siridakis, Panagiotis Exarcheas, Onik Ketsogian, Giorgos Papandreou and Jef Maarawi.amna
Sets and costumes are by Kenny MacLellan, lighting design by Nikos Vlasopulos, and music by Dimitris Theocharis.
The performance will be repeated on Saturday.
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