|Sunday, 18 March 2018|
Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 12-07-15
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Annual summer sales open on MondayAMNA/ The annual summer sales season debuts throughout Greece on Monday, with merchants promising major discounts and urging shoppers to take advantage of the reduced prices.
The annual summer sales, which will run through August 31, provide consumers with the opportunity of purchasing products at discounted prices, with reductions reaching as much as 70 percent off the original prices.
Shop owners are looking to the sales to generate much-needed revenues, which have dropped sharply as a result of austerity measures that have caused shoppers to restrict purchases to the bare necessities.
 Thessaloniki police make counterfeit goods bust, arrest 13AMNA/ Thessaloniki police on Saturday reported that large quantities of counterfeit goods destined to flood the beaches of Halkidiki had been confiscated in two raids targeting hawkers in the coastal villages of Neon Flogiton and Neon Plagion. A total of 59 people were detained during these raids, mainly Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Nigerian nationals, of which 13 were arrested for violating immigration laws as they lacked residence permits allowing them to live in Greece.
Authorities have also drawn up charges against the six landlords of the apartments in which they hawkers were staying for leasing their property to illegal immigrants.
The raids were carried out following complaints made by local residents.
 Seich Sou Forest fire fully containedAMNA/ A huge wildfire that broke out in the Seich Sou forest near Thessaloniki on Saturday was reported as having been fully contained by Saturday night.
A major fire broke out at around 2:30 p.m. on Saturday within the Seich Sou forest near the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, starting at the Neapolis junction of the ring road around the city and heading toward Retziki.
Two aircraft, one helicopter and a large force of firemen with 13 fire-engines were originally deployed to put out the flames, while the arrival of reinforcements raised the forces ranged against the fire to six airplanes, one helicopter, 20 fire-engines and 90 firemen, as well as large numbers of volunteers.
The fire brigade was able to bring the blaze under control by Saturday night, since there are no strong winds blowing in the area.
Initial reports said the fire was started by someone throwing a lit cigarette from a passing car but this has not been officially confirmed at present.
Traffic along the road bypassing Thessaloniki is continuing as normal but police urged drivers to avoid the road as far as possible in order to facilitate the fire brigade's work.
An estimated area of 13 acres of forest was burned before the blaze was placed under control.
 Athens' Newspaper Headlines at a glance on SundayAMNA/ Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance
AVGHI: "Arsonists with 15 billion euros in measures - Decisions by September".
AVRIANI: "Gigantic tapping scandal in mobile telephony networks".
DIMOKRATIA: "New middle-term programme on the horizon - 'Code 24 July'."
ELEFTHERI ORA: "Will they bring Tsipras to 'finish' the Left?"
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "First dam against recession with new middle-term programme - The Samaras framework for the renegotiation".
EPOCHI: "Taxation 'settlement' - Households hit by unemployment and unemployment in despair".
EXPRESS: "'Raid' for overdue debts against 78,108 debtors".
KATHIMERINI: "Expensive prices under Troika's microscope - Warning to ministries over energy, fuel, food, private schools, etc".
KERDOS: "New taxation scale - What the services recommend for relief of taxpayers".
LOGOS: "August's 'storm' will sweep the households".
NIKI: "Earn good money with 'smart' deposits".
PROTO THEMA: "All double pensions being cut - What the government's 'equivalent measures' contain".
REALNEWS: "Finance Minister to coalition government's three party leaders: The government would have fallen if I had put forward the issue of extension".
RIZOSPASTIS: "KKE draft law a contribution to the people's battle".
TO ARTHRO: "Venizelos the new Karatzaferis?"
TO PARASKINIO: "Shocking names in the hands of EYP (National Information Service) - Revelation of the CDS a matter of time and determination".
TO PARON: "Surprising RASS opinion poll: 41.6 say 'yes' to privatisations so that new measures will not be taken".
TO VIMA: "Declare and save your bank deposits before the 'source of wealth' is applied for everyone".
VRADYNI: "Retire earlier with smaller pension from IKA".
 Hahn: Greek economy has positive prospectAMNA/ European Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn expressed certainty that the Greek economy has a positive prospect and that the Greek government and the EU will work closely to overcome the existing difficulties, during a press conference in Athens on Friday.
Hahn, who arrived in Athens on Thursday on a mission to accelerate exploitation of the ESPA (NSRF National Strategic Reference Framework) funds and increase liquidity in the Greek economy, said after talks with the ministers of finance, development, and the interior and with the Athens mayor since his arrival that he is more optimistic that every other time, adding that he has a very good impression that the new government is dedicated to implementation of its work, but predicted a "hot summer" due to the volume of work that needs to get done.
Asked if an extension should be given to Greece to implement its fiscal adjustment programme, Hahn said that "we have always shown not only flexibility but also readiness to discuss", adding however that nothing can change with respect to the targets and agreements.
The biggest obstacle hindering the exploitation of EU funds that the Greek government must deal with immediately is the confusion in responsibilities, mainly the overlapping of authority among ministers, but also among the local, regional and central administration, Hahn said adding that the Commission Task Force for Greece could be very helpful in that direction., is positive," Hahn said.
Hahn said there are delays in the materialisation of the works for the exploitation of the Community funds due to the long pre-elections period, but added his certainty that the new government is working hard and is dedicated to its task.
A blatant example of delay is the low rate of absorption of funds from the Community Fund for the unemployed, he said, adding "I ask myself how a country with such high unemployment has a rate of absorption of the Community Funds lower than the EU average?"
For the same reasons there are delays in the materialisation of the works concerning waste management, the National Cadaster, the management of highways.
On projects outstanding from the previous financing framework and the prospective loss of the relevant funds earmarked for Greece, Hahn expressed certainty that more than 90 percent of those projects can be completed with the deadlines, noting that progress has been made which will be continued by the new government, and urged a better ęstructure" of the responsibilities in the administration.
Asked whether, for the long-term 2014-2020 fiscal framework the specific economic conditions in Greece will be taken into account, Hahn said the Commission applies a methodology for all 27 member states based on the last data for 2007-2009 for the periphery, and on the 2008-2010 data for the entire country.
This was the starting point, he said, but in negotiations with the member states more specialised solutions could be found.
On the co-financing percentages, Hahn said that the Commission's proposal for the new longer Fiscal Framework entails European participation of 85 percent against the current 95 percent and against the 75 percent in effect before the Greek crisis.
As for the European Investment Bank's (EIB) participation in the Greek developmental effort, he said the agreement has not been finalised yet but next week, during the EIB president's visit, the differences will be resolved.
Reviewing his two--day talks with government members, Hahn put emphasis on his two-hour meeting Wednesday with development minister Costis Hatzidakis, he said they discussed the list of priorities and the course of implementation of 181 projects budget at 11 billion euros, of which 15 of the projects, budgeted at 250 million euros, have been completed and 100 projects were within the deadlines, while for the rest "we must see how they will proceed".
Also on their agenda were the concession of highways and management, the illegal garbage dumps, progress in the financing of small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) and the National Cadaster, which Hahn said was a serious obstacle to investments given that "it is unclear what belongs to whom".
Other obstacles pinpointed by investors in the past year included the licensing procedures, taxation ambiguities and long court disputes, he added.
Asked on the portion of financing earmarked for the development of the Greek periphery, the Commissioner said that five operational projects are provided for of approximately 7 billion euros, which could rejuvenate the SMEs, the islands, the public health sector and transports, but in order for the funds to be absorbed those projects must be ripe.
Despite the obstacles, Hahn said, "Greece continues to be an interesting market for investors with dexterities, intelligent people, with opportunities and possibilities, and if we all work closely together, which I have no doubt on, the difficulties will be overcome and there will be recovery".
"Some measures are needed. The outlook, though
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