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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 12-11-16

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Merkel: No change in Greek debt policy
  • [02] Justice minister opposes reforms dictated by Greece's lenders
  • [03] SYRIZA leader calls for an end to privatisations
  • [04] Greeks receive Vatican's Guiseppe Sciacca Awards
  • [05] Turkish FM comments on Greek Muslims 'without substance,' ministry says
  • [06] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies
  • [07] Annual Leonid meteor shower
  • [08] 39th anniversary of Polytechnic students' uprising
  • [09] Greece posts lowest inflation rate in EU in Oct.

  • [01] Merkel: No change in Greek debt policy

    AMNA-- Germany's position against another haircut for Greek debt remains unchanged, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said here on Thursday.

    "Our position on restructuring [the Greek debt] has not changed, neither should it change," Merkel told a press conference after a meeting with French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault. She urged the Eurogroup, scheduled to meet on November 20, to find a fast solution for Greece. amna

    Ayrault, on his part, said both he and Merkel agreed that "we must do everything to ensure that Greece remains in the Eurozone," adding that if there was "the slightest doubt or reluctance, we would have carried a heavy responsibility."amna

    He added that "the time of decisions for Greece is approaching, and France as well as Germany hope that these decisions come the soonest possible."

    Responding to questions about the heckling of the German consul by protesters in the northern city of Thessaloniki, Merkel said "violence is not a way to express disagreement" and added that the right to demonstrate should be carried out peacefully.

    [02] Justice minister opposes reforms dictated by Greece's lenders

    AMNA--Justice, Transparency and Human Rights Minister Antonis Roupakiotis on Thursday expressed complete opposition to measures affecting lawyers included in the omnibus bill of structural reforms and prior actions demanded by Greece's creditors, which was passed by Parliament the previous week. In a press conference to present a new code for the correctional system and a new code for lawyers prepared by his ministry, Roupakiotis unveiled draft legislation that directly contravened measures in the omnibus bill pertaining to lawyers' fees and the mandatory attendance of lawyers at the signing of contracts.

    The government minister also levelled harsh criticism against Greece's European creditors and accused them of imposing extremely tough terms, while he disagreed with measures on nationality adopted by the government.amna

    "They stepped on our neck. They abolished fundamental rights of lawyers, especially the nouveau poor, who are today working for 400 euro. They demanded and succeeded that there should be no minimum limit for those working in the private sector. This was imposed by the finance ministry and the troika for the sake of banks and insurance companies," Roupakiotis said. A former president of the Athens bar association, Roupakiotis stressed that he did not care if he was called the "minister of lawyers and judges".

    The draft legislation prepared by the ministry committee contravenes the provisions of the omnibus bill, which abolished minimum fees or a mandatory requirement that lawyers be present at the signing of contracts.amna

    "The justice ministry accepts the dimension given by the committee, even if this is in conflict with whatever dictates have already been imposed," the minister said.

    The measures proposed in the draft legislation instead require that buyers employ a lawyer for all transactions exceeding 60,000 euro in the Attica area and for all transactions exceeding 20,000 euro in the rest of the country, barring donations, endowments and other types of gifts.amna

    For the seller, the ministry committee proposed that an ownership deeds survey be submitted before any contracts are signed.

    Explaining the reasoning behind the specific measure, Roupakiotis stressed that the requirement for the presence of a lawyer was waived only where there was land register, which has not been completed for Greece, and that those claiming the opposite were failing to respect the truth.

    The minister also disagreed with the prime minister's call for new legislation on acquiring Greek nationality, following a Council of State ruling that judged previous laws passed by PASOK unconstitutional.

    "The tougher we make the laws, the more we strengthen Golden Dawn instead of weakening it. The state must see other possibilities at the root of the problem," Roupakiotis said.

    He opposed suggestions that Golden Dawn should be outlawed, however, noting that "political problems are solved in other ways".

    Presenting the new correctional code, the minister underlined the "shameful" conditions in some Greek prisons, citing the situation at Hania correctional facility, which had 25 beds and 38 inmates, as an example. amna

    Under the new code, inmates will have conjugal rights and for the first time be given access to computers and the Internet for educational and research purposes. Prisoners will also be able to reduce their prison time if they successfully graduate from a completed course of study.

    The new code establishes the maximum number of inmates per square metre, giving the citizens' ombudsman, Parliament and other groups the power to regularly visit and inspect prison facilities. Concerning the issue of GPS ankle-bracelets to prisoners during furlough, Roupakiotis said he was waiting for the recommendations of the appropriate ministry committee.amna

    Other innovations introduced by the new code for lawyers include a nationwide exam for registration with local bar associations, with more stringent security measures to prevent cheating. It also stipulates that lawyers can be either Greeks, Greek expatriates or citizens of the European Union.

    The new code bars lawyers elected to Parliament or the European Parliament from undertaking to defend cases involving drug offences, sex crimes or other crimes whose defence might shock or offend public opinion.

    Other changes concern disciplinary action against lawyers, forbidding the search and confiscation of documents, the arrest and trial of lawyers in a police court for minor offences or their arrest during a trial.amna

    It also sets the fees of salaried lawyers working for banks, public-sector legal entities and other organisations and extends the term elected bar association officials, while reforming legislation for mistrials and making them statute-barred after three years instead of six months.

    [03] SYRIZA leader calls for an end to privatisations

    AMNA--Selling off national assets must stop, Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras said on Thursday, adding that the rush for privatisations was instigated by Greece's creditors.

    He also referred to a "looting of the country ... taking valuables, the silver cutlery, anything that's left."

    Speaking at the Larco mining and metals processor in central Fthiotida prefecture, Tsipras said that selling off the company was "a national crime." amna

    Cutting wages and pensions paled before the sell-off of public assets, he said, and was carried out "so that the national salvation government that will take over very soon does not have tools to rebuild production." He called the case of Larco, the largest ferronickel producer in Europe, "emblematic," as the company turned profits in 2010 and 2011 and represented 3 percent of national exports.amna

    The SYRIZA leader also contested the election of the head of TAIPED, the agency responsible for privatisations, saying the he lacked a majority vote.

    [04] Greeks receive Vatican's Guiseppe Sciacca Awards

    AMNA--The awards ceremony of the 11th International Giuseppe Sciacca Awards was held at the Vatican's Universita Urbaniana on Thursday.

    Young people aged 18-35 with significant activity in the arts, culture, science and society as well as exceptional personalities were awarded.amna

    The special award for Archaeology was bestowed on archaeologist and director of the excavations and restorations in Ancient Messini Professor Petros Themelis.

    The Social Work award was given to the founder and president of the "Kivotos tou Kosmou" (Ark of the World) organisation Father Antonios Papanicolaou for his important support of and contribution to children and families that are facing difficulties.amna

    Cypriot Olympic sailing champion Pavlos Kontides received the Sports Award for his success in the 2012 Olympic Games (second place in sailing, which was the first Olympic medal for Cyprus in the modern history of the Olympic Games).amna

    A 17-year-old high school senior from Greece, Giorgos-Nektarios Delis, received the "Maria Grazia Balducci Rossi Award" for Social Sensitivity and Volunteerism.

    [05] Turkish FM comments on Greek Muslims 'without substance,' ministry says

    AMNA--Claims by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at the Organisation of the Islamic Conference that Greece does not respect the rights of the muslims in Thrace, Rhodes and Kos are "rhetoric meant to impress and without substance," the Greek foreign ministry said on Thursday, adding that such statements did not contribute to a good climate and the building of confidence.

    A statement by the ministry noted that fortunately the Greek Muslims in Rhodes and Kos and the Muslim minority in Thrace do not share the belated interest of Davutoglu on human rights, since "they know that the Greek state is a model of respect for human rights and live peacefully with their Christian fellow-citizens".amna

    If Turkey showed the same interest for the ethnic and religious minorities in its territory, "most of which have been extinguished," the ministry said, "the situation would be very different in our sensitive neighbourhood."

    [06] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies

    The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The efforts for a final solution to the Greek debt at the upcoming Eurogroup meeting on Tuesday and the increasing number of households in which the Public Power Corporation (PPC) has cut off electricity supply over unpaid bills, through which the extraordinary surtax on real estate is collected, were the main front-page articles in Athens' dailies on Friday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "30,000 electricity supply 'cuts' every month".

    AGGELIOFOROS: "Society a pot ready to boil over".

    AVGHI: "Samaras at mercy of German stalling tactics until September 2013 elections in Germany".

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: "They're (Germany) modernizing us".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Price hikes from PPC as the citizens are not paying".

    ELLADA: "German 'boot' in soccer, too - Germans want to abolish Bosman Ruling".

    ESTIA: "Speedy recovery sought".

    ETHNOS: "End violence".

    IMERISSIA: "Battle for the debt - Three proposals (to be discussed) at Eurogroup".

    KATHIMERINI: "Strict surveillance of banks".

    LOGOS: "Greek enterprises the 'champions' in salary reductions".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Eurozone opens road to solution of Greek debt".

    NIKI: "Secret 'ace' for (making) good money from deposits".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Government should immediately annul military cooperation (agreement) with Israel".

    TA NEA: "The Greek 'trick' with the offshore companies".

    VRADYNI: "Mortgage loans: Arrangement for (settlement of) loans, with four-year grace period".

    6DAYS: "They're sowing layoffs, reaping tempests".

    [07] Annual Leonid meteor shower

    AMNA-- Inhabitants all over the planet, including Greece, will be treated to a cosmic fireworks display put on by shooting stars, as the annual Leonid meteor shower peaks in the first hours of Saturday just before dawn, while will be a rare second wave of meteors that will peak in the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday.

    The Leonids, the most spectacular of the meteor showers, grace the night skies in November each year.

    The best time to view the meteor shower is in the last hours before dawn, after the moon has set and as the constellation Leo, from where the meteors appear to emanate, is at its peak in the southeastern sky.amna

    The Leonid 'shooting stars' are actually the cosmic debris from the Tempel-Tuttle comet. The tiny comet particles orbit the sun in a direction opposite that of the Earth. As a result, they hit Earth's atmosphere at exceptionally high speeds of some 72 kilometers per second, resulting in very swift streaks of light, some of which leave persistent trails in their wake lasting for several seconds.

    [08] 39th anniversary of Polytechnic students' uprising

    AMNA--The gates of the Athens Polytechnic opened on Thursday morning for the annual three-day commemoration of the November 17, 1973 Athens Polytechnic students' uprising that led essentially led the collapse of the 7-year military dictatorship in Greece (1967-74).

    Officials, trade union representatives and citizens laid wreaths and placed flowers at the Polytechnic (now the National Technical University of Athens-NTUA) monument.amna

    The three-day events will wind up on Saturday, November 17, with a march to the US embassy in Athens.

    A three-day commemoration is held nationwide each year in tribute to a student uprising against the military dictatorship ruling Greece at the time, that was violently put down in the early hours of November 17, 1973 when the army and tanks were brought in to disperse the students that had taken over the Athens Polytechnic building and the civilians who had thronged to the site in support of the uprising.

    The commemoration will once again take place under stringent security measures. The various departments of Athens University scattered throughout the Greek capital closed on Wednesday night and will remain closed throughout the three-day events.amna

    The Polytechnic gates will open every morning and close at night during the three days, while teams of students, professors and NTUA workers will remain inside the Polytechnic campus to guard the premises.

    Traffic restrictions have already gone into effect in the Polytechnic environs.amna

    The organizers of the commemoration are mulling the holding of memorial events inside the campus in addition to the traditional exhibitions and speeches.amna

    The commemoration of the Polytechnic uprising will be held on Friday in primary and secondary schools.

    [09] Greece posts lowest inflation rate in EU in Oct.

    AMNA--Greece recorded the lowest inflation rate in the European Union in October (0.9 pct), Eurostat said on Thursday. The EU executive's statistics agency in a report published here said that the average inflation rate in the Eurozone was 2.5 pct in October, from 2.6 pct in September, while in the EU-27 the inflation rate eased to 2.6 pct in October from 2.7 pct in September.

    Greece (0.9 pct), Sweden (1.2 pct) and Latvia (1.6 pct) recorded the lowest inflation rates in the EU, while Hungary (6.0 pct), Romania (5.0 pct) and Estonia (4.2 pct) the highest rates.amna

    The inflation rate was 2.6 pct in the Eurozone in the period October 2011-October 2012 and in the EU-27 2.8 pct. Sweden (0.9 pct), Greece (1.4 pct) and Ireland (1.9 pct) recorded the lowest inflation rates, while Hungary (5.5 pct), Estonia (4.3 pct) and Poland (4.0 pct) recorded the highest inflation rates.

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