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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 12-07-07
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Athens Newspaper Headlines on SaturdayAMNA/The Saturday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
The new coalition government's policy statements presented by prime minister Antonis Samaras and the state of the economy dominated the headlines of Athens' dailies on Saturday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "9 changes counter to recession".
AVGHI: "Land and air - Everything for sale".
AVRIANI: "Samaras commitments for immediate initiatives on all the burning issues".
DIMOKRATIA: "How we destroyed Greece".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "Syria and global zionist dictatorship".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "What we are seeking - What we will do".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "With the Troika's eye".
ELLADA: "End to tax exemptions - Checks and collection in private hands".
ESTIA: "Bold programme of denationalisations".
ETHNOS: "Not one euro unless you attain the targets".
IMERISSIA: "The public utilities and organisations (DEKO) go to private concerns".
KATHIMERINI: "Samaras commitment for reforms".
LOGOS: "The 9 points of negotiation with the Troika".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Message to interior and abroad of change of course".
NIKI: "The hidden secrets of the 'haircut' of loans".
RIZOSPASTIS: "The OSE Hellenic Railway should remain the property of the people and the public sector".
STO KARFI: "Memorandum of death".
TA NEA: "Three leaders, nine steps, one wager".
VRADYNI: "No dismissals - Denationalisations, investments and extension of the unemployment benefit".
 Bank robbers' gang broken upAMNA/ Coordinated action by police in Trikala and Karditsa in central Greece resulted to the dismantling of a gang of bank robbers, police announced..
The gang leader is allegedly a 53-year-old who is in jail since March after being arrested in Athens for other offences. His main associate was a 46-year-old Turkish national who was arrested last November in Trikala and has already been extradited. Another four members of the gang are still wanted by police.
All face charges for setting up a criminal organization, armed robbery, gun possession, larceny and forgery.
 Two arrested for possession of 84 kilos of hashishAMNA/ Police seized a quantity of about 84 kilos of hashish, following the chase and arrest of two 23-year-olds on the Antirio-Ioannina motorway.
According to the police, the quantity of drugs was to be taken to Athens, while another two persons are being sought for the same case.
The hashish, contained in 75 packages, was found in the car, after the driver attempted to speed away and was stopped at the Kefalovryso intersection.
 PM announces 9 immediate measures for growthAMNA/ Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, reading out the three-party coalition government's policy statements in Parliament on Friday evening, announced nine steps that will enable the country to forge ahead and lead it, as he said, to growth.
The prime minister placed emphasis on the structural changes and announced as the first step the provatisation of the Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE) and the deregulation of the energy market.
"We do not see the privatisation of OSE and the deregulation of the electric power market from a revenues point of view but from the point of view of growth," the premier stressed.
The measures announced by the prime minister that will proceed immediately include the following:
-The disengagement of ESPA amounting to 12.5 billion euros with the combatting of bureaucracy.
-The closure or mergers of organisations of the public sector by the end of the year.
-A legislative arrangement for facilities for bank deposits that left abroad.
-The creation of a supreme coordinating body under the prime minister.
-The speeding up of the procedures for the offsetting of debts owed by the public sector to individuals.
 40 of 56 obligations have been metAMNA/ Forty of a total 56 obligations Greece has undertaken vis-a-vis the EU/IMF 'troika' were fulfilled in the first half of the year, it was pointed out on Friday night in a meeting between Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks minister Costis Hadzidakis with officials of the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) 'troika' of Greece's international lenders.
The problems in liquidity faced by the Greek economy were the main focus of the talks, and high-ranking ministry source told AMNA that the minister told the troika representatives that "we are doing what needs to be done, but you must help too", referring chiefly to unblocking the ECB funds.
The same sources said the minister further told the troika that he will seek a speedier absorption of the NSRF (National Strategic Reference Framework) funds, while they also discussed the prospect of reforming some of the programmes, given that, as Hadzidakis said, "it is easier to build a new house than to repair an old one".
The two sides further discussed the delays in the structural changes, such as the public procurements system and the state contracts.
The troika delegation, which had its first "sounding-out" meeting with Hadzidakis on Friday, will return to Athens in late July.
 Acceleration of structural changes, halting recessionAMNA/ The coalition government is placing emphasis on speeding up structural changes and combatting recession so as to create the necessary framework for renegotiating the loan contract, according to the reading of its policy statements by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in Parliament on Friday evening.
"We are calling for amendments of the programme particularly on those points that intensify the recession precisely for us to achieve the targets," Samaras said and clarified that the government is speaking of renegotiating so as to underline that it desires consensus and agreement with the partners rejecting unilateral actions.
Referring to the measures of immediate priority for combatting recession and speeding up structural changes, the prime minister announced that emphasis will be placed on privatisations and indeed even on those that "do not constitute immediate contractual obligations" but must take place to bring investments, jobs and growth.
The prime minister made special reference to the operational sector of the Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE) and the deregulation of the energy market, "something that certainly includes sections of the productive part of PPC (the Public Power Corporation) as well."
However, Samaras clarified that "the networks are being maintained under public control" that there shall be special care for the mines for which there shall be granting of exploitation rights and not of an ownership status.
The main criterion for attracting investments will be the creation of jobs and improving the competitiveness of the economy. The government will be particularly careful with the "programmed privatisation of the waters companies" with the strengthening of the state's arranging control in the management of water resources.
He said that the assignment of infrastructures (mainly regional ports and airports) with the presence of a public supervising authority is also proceeding.
"Because salaries and pensions cannot be cut at the same time that the assets of the state remain unused and are being downgraded or looted," as he said, the utilisation of the real estate of the public sector will be set as an immediate priority and for the serving of this target, apart from Hellinikon, an investment vehicle of special purpose will be created for public property that lies in the region extending from Faliro to Sounio that remains unused.
The specific "large scale" plan will be the pilot for the corresponding utilisation of the public sector's real estate all over the country. There shall be legislative initiatives for the ownership titles to be cleared, land uses and building rates to be determined. In every case, all the necessary measures shall be taken for the environemnt to be upgraded and overexploitation to be avoided.
However, for the effort of privatisations and the attraction of investments to succeed "the unfortunate statements by foreign officials that harm the image for Greece must stop. Usually unprovoked and for no reason," Samaras pointed out.
The government will proceed for the disengagement of EU funds of ESPA with the sidestepping of bureaucracy, as the prime minister announced and for the major projects there shall be central licensing by the Development ministry.
The evaluation of agencies and organisations of the public sector is also going ahead so that before the end of the year the decision on most of them regarding their closure or merging to have been taken.
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