|Sunday, 25 February 2018|
Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 13-01-29
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 KKE leader: Reversal means change of policy, not gov'tAMNA--The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) will insist on the reorganization, restructure and rebirth of the labour and popular movement, KKE secretary general Aleka Papariga said, speaking on private Kontra TV channel late Monday.
Papariga said that the people must believe that they can win, but at the moment they do not believe it, and for this reason they are vulnerable to any kind of pressure.
She also noted that in any case, the labour movement's opposition against any government is not enough, what is necessary is to fight against the policy being implemented. "Reversal does not mean change of government if the policy remains the same".
Referring to main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras' recent visits to Germany and the US, the KKE leader noted that "we are not demonizing the visits per se" but added that "the purpose of these visits was to reassure them to not fear SYRIZA even as a 'governmental interval'."
Asked on government's economic policy, Papariga said, beyond the KKE's positions, that they are trying to attract investments, something that may succeed, but at the expense of the people's interests. She added that a Greek exit from the eurozone has probably been avoided, "unless the crisis in the eurozone is aggravated".
Concluding, Papariga said that the KKE will not say to the people that without struggle and sacrifices, and 'just by pushing a button', things will change.
 DIMAR leader meets with farmersAMNA--Democratic Left (DIM.AR) president Fotis Kouvelis, leader of a junior member of Greece's coalition government, on Monday had separate meetings with Panhellenic Confederation of Unions of Agricultural Cooperatives (PASEGES) President Janetos Karamihas and representatives of the Initiative for the Reconstruction of the Farmer Trade Unionist Movement.
Farmers in Greece warned on Sunday that they will stage mobilizations stressing that their sector is on the verge of collapse as a result of the economic crisis, combined with increased taxation and production cost. amna
Kouvelis noted that the problems faced by the farmers are real and should be resolved. "Indeed, there are issues related with production cost, fuel expenses, taxation and social insurance taking under consideration that the retirement age has increased," the DIM.AR president underlined.amna
He pledged that he will bring the issues up for discussion within the framework of the government policy to reach a solution.
 Last surviving member of 1967-1974 Greek junta in prison dies of strokeAMNA--The last surviving member of the military junta that ruled Greece between 1967 and 1974, Nikolaos Dertilis, died at the 'Erythros Stavros' hospital on Monday. He had been transferred to the hospital in early December when he had a stroke, after spending 38 years incarcerated in Korydallos prison in Athens.
Dertilis, aged 92 at the time of his death, had been serving a life sentence for the murder of 20-year-old Mihalis Myrogiannis on November 18, 1973 during the events of the Polytechnic uprising. amna
He had for many years refused "on grounds of principle" to make use of a right given him under the law to apply for his release to prison. He insisted on this stance even when his 62-year-old son passed away earlier in 2012, refusing to apply to leave the prison to attend the funeral even though Justice Minister Antonis Roupakiotis had given instructions that he should be assisted in the matter if he wished to go.
 PM begins visit to Qatar, investments high on the agendaAMNA--Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras begins an official visit to Qatar on Tuesday afternoon, during which he will meet with his Qatari counterpart and the Emir of Qatar aiming at enhancing economic relations between the two countries and attracting investments to Greece.
Two accords will be signed during the meeting, one setting up a Greece-Qatar Business Council, which has been drafted by the Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) and an inter-state cultural cooperation accord.
Samaras, who arrived in Doha on Monday evening accompanied by several ministers and a 40-member business delegation, aims at attracting investments to Greece and rekindling Qatari investment interest.amna
Samaras will meet with the prime minister of Qatar, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, on Tuesday afternoon.
On Wednesday he will meet with the heir apparent to the Qatari throne, the Crown Prince of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Khalifa Al Thani, followed by a meeting with the Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, after which he will attend the signing of the agreement for the establishment of a Greece-Qatar Business Council.
The Greek premier will also attend a lunch hosted by Arab businessmen.amna
Samaras will further visit the Museum of Islamic Art before departing Qatar on Wednesday evening.
Samaras is accompanied Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis, Defence Minister Panos Panatiotopoulos, Tourism Minister Olga Kefaloyianni, deputy development minister Notis Mitarakis, deputy energy minister Asimakis Papageorgiou, foreign ministry secretary general Panagiotis Mihalos, state deputy Chryssanthos Lazaridis, and Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED) CEO Yiannis Emiris.amna
The agenda of the discussions focuses on all issues of mutual interest, including energy, Greek state property denationalizations and tourism investments.
Although Qatar prefers direct inter-state agreements in its areas of interest, the Greek side has stipulated that, at least with respect to participation in the denationalizations and privatizations, investment interest must be manifested via the relevant international tenders.
The members of the large business delegation, representing a wide range of activities, are expected to close or at least prepare deals with their Qatari counterparts.
Also in Doha are senior executives of four large Greek banks -- National Bank of Greece (NBG), Piraeus Bank, Eurobank and Alpha Bank, Hellenic Defence Systems S.A. President and Managing Director Konstantinos Pilalis, and New Acropolis Museum president Dimitris Pantermalis.
 Bus drivers to decide on future of mobilisationsAMNA--Athens buses will not be running until drivers hold a general meeting on Tuesday morning at 10:00 a.m. to decide their next move, in spite of decisions by other public transport unions to return to work on Monday.
The bus technicians union OASA-OSY had also voted to end the strike but the head of the Athens Urban Transport Organisation (OASA) employees union Leonidas Skoulos said strike action would continue until Tuesday's meeting was completed.
Other public transport unions, including those for the trolley buses, the Greek railways and the Proastiakos suburban railway had also decided to return to work, along with metro workers forced to return with individual 'back to work' orders. amna
Sources within the transport ministry expressed satisfaction at the transport unions' decision, saying that the "had heard the voice of reason" and expressed hope that bus drivers will also soon follow suit. They again stressed that the government would under no circumstances not implement the laws.
The president of the bus technicians union urged the start of sincere dialogue with the government on Monday, without conditions, on the signature of a new collective agreement for OASA.amna
OASA employees union president Leonidas Skoulos, however, noted that there were other forms of action that did not involve inconveniencing commuters and criticised the government for invoking 'emergency powers' to force strikers back to work, stressing that "extortion does not help in finding a solution".
He also called for sincere dialogue with the government, saying union proposals included a cheaper ticket and free travel for the unemployed while there demands were not exclusion from the uniform public sector pay scale but the signature of a collective labour agreement adapted to their working conditions.amna
The bus and trolley strikes were on Sunday declared illegal by a first-instance court that reversed an earlier court ruling in the workers' favour. The hearing was conducted in the absence of representatives of the workers, who said they had not been informed that it was taking place until late the previous night.
 Greek private sector debt fell to 2007 levels in 2012AMNA--Greek households' and enterprises' debt to banks fell to 2007 levels at the end of 2012, hit by a continuous decline in new credit to the private sector over the last few years, the Bank of Greece said on Monday.
The central bank, in a report, said that the outstanding debt of the private sector shrank to 227.7 billion euros at the end of 2012, falling around 2007 levels (215.8 billion euros). New lending to enterprises and households fell by 4.0 pct in December to a negative flow of 152 million euros. The electricity sector was the only one to record a positive new credit flow in 2012, with a growth rate of 4.5 pct, while the transport/shipping sector recorded the biggest decline in the year (-8.1 pct). The insurance sector recorded a 21 pct drop in new credit, while lending to self-employed fell by 3.1 pct in 2012.amna
Greek households' debt in mortgage and consumer loans fell to 106.6 billion euros last year, from 104 billion euros in 2007. Mortgage loans fell by 3.3 pct to 74.6 billion euros, while consumer credit recorded a 5.1 pct drop to 30.2 billion euros.
 Potential for increase of tourist arrivalsAMNA--The Thessaloniki Hoteliers' Association sees potential for the attraction of tourists from Turkey, countries of the Balkan Peninsula, Russia, Ukraine, India, Israel, and countries of the Arab world as well as from China on the occasion of its participation in the 17th International Tourism Exhibition EMITT in Istanbul.
Association president Aristotelis Thomopoulos said to AMNA that "the prospects for further promotion on the Turkish tourist market are huge given that last year 46,000 overnight stays were recorded particularly, for so-called city breaks (2-3 day visits). Moreover, said Thomopoulos, we can develop the opportunities arising from our cooperation in the last 1.5 year with the Turkish Airlines to attract tourists from other destinations it serves, such as India, a country with a large population.amna
On his part, central Macedonia prefect Apostolos Tzitzikostas who also attended the exhibition, called on the Turkish tour operators to draw up tourist packages to Thessaloniki and the wider region of Central Macedonia.amna
During his visit to Istanbul, Tzitzikostas met with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. The meeting focused on the social solidarity actions developing in the recent period. On his part the Ecumenical Patriarch referred to the Patriarchate's decision to designate 2013 the year of Human Solidarity and expressed his wish that a large part of humanity will become sensitive to the spreading problem of poverty.
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